What We Ate: December + the Move

Wow. It has been an insane few weeks. I don't think I've gone to bed before midnight once, at least a handful of nights past 1am and the night I finished up the Christmas cards, 2am. The packers came on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Jessica came all day that day and took them to art class on Bart, in the rain, but overall the day went pretty well. They did not nap that day. Their room was packed with boxes, William spent an hour grabbing the tape off the box he could reach from his crib before we finally gave up and took him out. Luckily it had stopped raining that afternoon, so Jessica could take out again. I was back over at the new house trying to work things out with the contractor. Yes, we finally found one.

Last dinner at the Brannan

We moved the next day and luckily the weather was pretty good, not raining at least. The movers were fast and we were leaving the Brannan by 10:30am. My mom had come first thing that morning to take the boys to the park, then we all headed over to the new place together and she took them to lunch while the movers brought everything in. They were gone by 1:30. Thankfully the boys napped in their new room that was set up first.

On Friday, demo started on the kitchen. They took down the wall between the dining room and kitchen and ripped out the floor of the kitchen which will be replaced. The appliances are all in the dining room, which means our dining room table is in our living room. Which thankfully works out pretty well, since our living room stuff went downstairs into the family room/playroom which means we have nothing for the new living room. So we have boxes and boxes of kitchen stuff, dry goods, glassware, etc. lining the wall of our living room, which is how it remain, likely until early Feb when they finish the cabinets.

Dining room currently

So to say the last few weeks has been tough would be a huge understatement. For all the progress we've made, all the help I've had (my parents have been amazing -- my dad doing repairs on the place and my mom watching the kids multiple days a week), there's still so much to do. The house was in good shape, most of the stuff we're having done is cosmetic. But both Dave and I are the same way. Why hold off on something that can be done now? We like to just get it done and enjoy it as opposed to doing small projects.

Everything is worked out with the contractor and they're doing the floors while we're in Florida since we'd have to be out for a week anyway with the fumes. The other odd jobs will be done before we're back in early January. The cabinets will take at least a month but at least they can move the appliances back in so we can cook in there in the meantime.

We're so excited to be in the new space, but Dave and I are pretty organized people and both of us like to be efficient. It's frustrating not to be fully set up as we figure out furniture, new organization stuff needed, etc. It's only natural that this will take time, but combine that with the fact that we have stairs, which is new to us (and inevitably what you need will be on the opposite floor that you're on...), that we don't have a useable kitchen (and have to keep them out of several rooms that are blocked off by a plastic sheet -- oh so fun to swat at) and that the boys have had a tough time adjusting to the new place (George specifically has had MAJOR separation anxiety), it's been tough to say the least.

I got some design help on several of the rooms but even outsourcing some of that still involves a lot of work, especially since we want to make quick decisions and place orders since a lot of the furniture takes 8-10 weeks to arrive. My days have consisted of barely surviving, little downtime, next to no patience for the boys and late nights trying to catch up on stuff I didn't have time to do during the day.

We arrived in Florida last night and though it was a bit hectic to move in and turn around and leave 2 weeks later, it's nice to have distance from a lot of that stuff. We're at Disney World for a few days now and we drive to Naples to our condo for the next 2 weeks on Saturday. Then finally I can cook again!

So finally we get to the 'What We Ate' Portion of this post. The answer is: crap. Okay, it's not that bad, but I've had to be really flexible about dinners especially the last few weeks. Overall their breakfast has stayed the same. A lot of oatmeal, yogurt, bananas, berries, cottage cheese. Lunch is fairly similar though not nearly as varied -- mostly string cheese, ham or turkey, whole wheat slider buns with almond butter, berries, apples. Snacks have been a lot of Os or other snack-y foods (meaning packaged snacks - cheddar bunnies, lentil crisps, etc.). They've eaten mac and cheese from just about every establishment in town. Grilled cheese sandwiches too. Oh, and lots of fries. Veggies have been harder to handle. Usually Jessica will heat some frozen ones up with their dinner, which they'll avoid like the plague, but I've been given them at least one pouch of veggies a day, which were formerly reserved for desperate situations. I've stopped keeping track of new foods during this time, because let's be honest, they're not eating anything new.

Dinner in the living room, plastic curtain backdrop
We're so sick of 'eating out' which involves take out, eating out or microwavable food, so I can't wait to be in the condo in a few days and start cooking some of the fresh fish we'll get here. In the meantime, it is what it is. The boys are surviving and hopefully won't lose a taste for some of the healthier options they've been used to thus far.

My mom did bring over a crockpot I used once and the dinner turned out great using this recipe.  Actually, I attempted to cook fresh pasta in it and it definitely did not work.

Slow-cooker Cassoulet
So now we're Florida until a couple of days into the new year. Can't wait to see Ma and Grandpa and our cousins and everybody who comes next week!


Farewell to The Brannan


I sit here writing this surrounded by boxes, on one of the few pieces of furniture that isn't wrapped up. Tonight is our last night on Brannan St. This neighborhood became our default choice because of Dave's job and it's proximity to Caltrain, but things tend to work out as they should and it's been such a great place for us for the last 3.5 years.

I always thought I liked neighborhoods with a bit more character, but truth be told, I have come to love all the conveniences of living in a big building, especially The Brannan. We've had such a wonderful experience here, I still love our place and figured we would live here for a few more years. Though it was great when it was just the two of us, me still working downtown and having a 20-minute walk for my commute, I didn't see it as very family friendly. But then again, I was never home during the day, or walking along the Embarcadero in the early evening. Sure, when going to the Ferry Building, I'd see lots of parents pushing strollers, but I didn't necessarily associate them with our neighborhood.

I feel so lucky that our neighborhood, while not home to nearly as many families as other parts of the city, is still very family friendly. In fact, I think one of the benefits is that you get a lot more new moms in their neighborhood and a lot of young kids (unfortunately the lack of yard and smaller apartments in this neighborhood lead many families to move once their child turns two or three or when another baby arrives). So on the one hand, you go to the park, and all the kids are within the same age range. On the other hand, the families keep moving away, mostly out-of-state or to the peninsula.

Nonetheless, we've really become a part of the neighborhood, many people knowing the boys. I've become friends with some of the moms and with the SOMA playgroup starting to take off, I'm sure that would only get better. 

This is where Dave and our started our family, the only home the boys have known. I think about all the hours I've spent sitting on this couch, feeding the boys and pumping. All the things they've done in this space for the last 19 months. From barely laying there on the play mat to now riding their scooter through the house. 

You know I love lists, so when I first found out we got the place, and I got a little sad -- because it is bittersweet -- I decided to list out all the wonderful things about this neighborhood that I'll miss. Not necessarily in any particular order:
  • A view of the bay from our apartment
  • Being so close to the water
  • Walking the Embarcadero and even driving along the Embarcadero
  • Our little South Beach Playground - the perfect place for a mom (or caregiver) of young twins!
  • American Grilled Cheese. One of my favorite sandwiches in the city.
  • Hearing the cheers from the Giants park, seeing the fireworks before the final play on TV because of the delay
  • The building, getting deliveries was always so convenient. And it was confirmed that we get the most deliveries in the building. SO convenient when you're a mom.
  • Also the staff here, so many have seen our little guys grow up and will definitely miss them
  • Walking by the dog grooming shop - the boys love to peek at the dogs getting a bath
  • The Ferry Building park
  • Crossroads and all the staff there. Such wonderful people, a great mission, good food and such a nice little community garden. The perfect place in the early days to get something to eat, and as the boys have gotten older, it's one of the best places for them to eat and run around contained. Eating lunch in a high chair at least once a week at Crossroads has to have contributed to how good they (generally) are when we eat out at restaurants. I highly recommend practicing in an outdoor, spread out, laid-back environment like this.
  • Harrison Park. A cute little park that we were so lucky to have had built right around the time the boys were playing at parks more. What great to have another option.
  • Baby bootcamp - what a wonderful community of moms. A great workout and so nice to have within a 5-minute walk of our place.
  • Swimming. I fully took advantage of having a pool here. Though we didn't use it so much for basking in the sun, I swam laps several times a week for most of the time we lived here. It was the first activity I got back to after having the boys.
  • So quick and easy to get on the Bay Bridge and so convenient my parents coming from Danville
  • Blue Bottle coffee - this one's for Dave. He also likes The Creamery and Cento. Our neighborhood had a lot more craft coffee options as opposed to all the chains many of the other neighborhood  have
  • Farmers Market and all the stands, especially all the great food trucks
  • The huge master bedroom, but really the apartment as a whole
  • So easy for people to drop off and pick stuff up, just leaving it with security
  • Quick and easy to get on 280
  • Proximity to shopping -- the Rack and TJs just down Brannan St and being able to walk to shopping at Union Square
  • The great light our apartment has
  • The weather -- it really is nicer over in this little pocket of the city
  • All the construction sites -- the boys will certainly miss all the action!
  • The elevator - though sometimes it's a pain to have to lug groceries upstairs, even with an elevator, I think up until this point, with the boys, it's been easiest. I need a stroller anyway and this way I can get them both out at once. Now that they can both walk alongside me, ideally holding hands, it will be nice to just pull in a garage.
  • Ferry Building, Ferry Building, Ferry Building... my favorite spot in the city. I loved walking to the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings even before I had kids, but I don't think I had any idea how wonderful it would be to be within walking distance of this place once I had kids. I remember the early days when sometimes I wouldn't get out until 5pm. But I made it to the Ferry Building, thus getting a walk in, and a snack :)
The good news is it's not like we're moving far away. I can still come to visit my favorite spots. And seriously, we're so excited for our new place. So excited to be living in the neighborhood I fell in love with when I discovered it around the time the boys were born. There is so much to do in Laurel Heights and I love how it feels residential but we're just a half-block from shopping and restaurants and a straight shot down Bush St to downtown.
Brannan St. has been great to us and we're sad to leave but can't wait to be settled in our new home (which probably won't be for months!). I picture us being in this new place for many years to come and can't wait for all the adventures we'll have and memories we'll make there.


What We Ate | Nov. 23-30 + Thanksgiving


The boys' eating is still good but seems to have tapered off slightly and they're not eating second breakfast and lunches so frequently. George has always been a bigger meat eater, but the past week, William has eaten next to no meat. No Thanksgiving turkey, no lunch meat turkey, no pastrami, possibly a little bacon in his egg-bacon-cheese sandwich and maybe, maybe a little turkey meatball. George has eaten his and William's share. William's sweet tooth has definitely shined through though, gobbling down fruit and any dessert he can get his hands on. Oh, and W continues to eat salad whenever offered...


Watching the Thanksgiving parade
While it's been a bit chaotic for me trying to manage everything with the move and the new house, Thanksgiving was such a great time with all of the family. All three of my siblings and families, and our family, stayed at my parent's house on Thanksgiving night and though it's a lot of work to bring everything for them, get set up, get acclimated to the new space, etc., it was totally worth it. Having all that time with the cousins was so great for William and George and I think everyone got to know them a lot better than if we had just come for a few hours for dinner.



Dave was on kid-duty while I played head chef in the kitchen. We had quite the spread with plenty of appetizers to start the day and then a complete Thanksgiving feast. William didn't touch dinner. Well, I take that back, he ate his butter roll from Danville bakery, a holiday tradition at the Geilhufe house. George ate pretty well, thanks to my older sister who kept playing the 'mine!' game with him, which in turn would lead him to say, 'no, mine!' and eat the food himself :) George didn't want dessert, was having too much fun playing, but William ate more than his share.



 
 
We had 17 people stay at my parent's house that night, pretty crazy! But it was so much fun. The kids jumped in the leaves, rode scooters in the front yard (and 2-year-old twin girls happened to be visiting across the street), managed to get 5 of them in the bath together after dinner, and the older cousins were so sweet with the younger ones. My sisters and I escaped for some Black Friday shopping at the outlets (won't be doing that again!).



















It worked out perfectly that we were able to see Jenn when she was in town. We met at the newly-renovated Heather Farms Park which was awesome! There were so many families there that it was a little hard to have a conversation and try to keep up with at least one of the boys, but seeing Jenn is always great regardless. Then we headed to fuddruckers for lunch -- George loved the hot dog, his first, and no surprise there! William stuck to the fries and grilled cheese and both loved dipping into the melted cheese sauce.

Dominic and Joseph with G&W
Saturday we headed to the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building, and to the park. I figured it would probably be the last time that we'd be able to walk there. Our favorite salmon sandwich stand wasn't there unfortunately, but I'm grateful that the break in the rain was long enough for us to get out for a few hours. We even managed to make it to the Carousel-lighting at the Creativity Museum that evening. The boys did not enjoy waiting in line for the carousel but had a blast riding and it was a festive way to spend the evening.

On Sunday, it was raining again, but my older sister and her family came over to hang out. Oftentimes having that many people in our small space, especially 5 crazy kids running around, can be pure chaos, but it worked really well this time. I think the boys had all bonded over Thanksgiving and had a great time playing together again. William even learned to say Kyle's name!

Our new Bob the Builder trucks, Brady's old ones!



















It really was such a great weekend and I'm so grateful that my boys have all these cousins, some who they don't see often, but they're now at the age where they can actually hang with the older kids a bit and are more fun in general.

Thanksgiving menu (at least what I prepared):
Sausage Queso Dip with a Soft Pretzel Wreath


5 Layer Baked Hummus Dip
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle








I'll also led the charge on the mashed potatoes and Cider-Brined and Glazed Turkey.  Everything else was brought potluck-style.


I tried to do as much prep as I could in advance, including trying to get a few things done on Wednesday morning. Things were going pretty well just letting the boys play with my pots and pans and some fake lemons.



Then I decided, okay, why not let them dump a little flour into a bowl?






That quickly turned into this:



Which led to William riding his scooter right through the mess.



G was loving it:



Well, for a while.





Here's how W ended up:



Thankfully the cleaners were coming so we vacuumed up what we could, shook out their clothes and moved on. I'm so looking forward to having a bigger kitchen in our new place and I just purchased a learning tower so both can be up next to me helping me cook. We'll see how that goes!

As for the weekly food update, here are the dinners:

Mon: Leftover baked farro and butternut squash with cottage cheese
Tue: One Pot Andouille Sausage Pasta, recipe (added bell peppers)
Wed: Leftover sausage pasta
Thu: Thanksgiving - G ate a lot of turkey and the dinner roll mostly. Wouldn't even try the sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Fri:  Trader Joe's Wild Soy and Ginger Cod with Pumpkin Orzo (just cook orzo according to package, stir in a little pumpkin puree and s&p) -- boys loved this and ate a ton, in fact, there wasn't much left for Dave and I
Sat: Leftover orzo with chicken sausage, sweet potato falafel and other freezer finds :)
Sun: Hodgepodge of leftover pasta, pork chili and turkey meatballs

New lunches:
Hot dog from fuddruckers - I actually got it for myself, W wouldn't try it, G loved it
Hummus dip with pita chips (as listed above in Thanksgiving recipes)

New fruit/dessert:
Chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds (can't remember if they've had these before)
Pumpkin milkshake (mom's guilty pleasure and I know I can't get them for much longer)
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle (recipe listed above)




19 Months Old


G emphasizing his 'Miiiinnne' by pointing to himself

We continued the trend from last month, which was the day they turn a month older, things change. When they turned 18 months and for the week that followed, it was some of the toughest days I've had with them, probably since the very early days. They were cranky, they were whiny, George in particular wouldn't stop going after William screeching 'Miiiinnne!'. Their naps weren't great and at least one of them was waking up very upset. There were two days in a row when George was inconsoleable for almost an hour. Everyone was done. My mom could joke about it, but I think she was definitely ready to head home for the weekend. Even Jessica, who was still her cheery self, seemed to be feeling it. And after the weekend, Dave and I both sighed a breath of relief that at least we had made it through, hoping the coming days would be better. And they were. As always, who knows what it was. Both are getting more teeth in (William has had a big drool patch form on his shirt daily most of this month). Everyone caught a cold right around their 18-month birthday and it dragged on for more than 2 weeks. Not to mention, they're 19 months old. So much of this is normal. Even though it feels like they have a lot of words, they're obviously still not able to communicate everything they want to so I'm sure frustration adds to it.

Besides that rough week, we had a pretty good month. They're still loving MyGym and are so independent now, I almost don't need a second person there with me. I say almost because I still can't keep them with me for circle time, and of course I'm sure after saying this one will be precariously climbing up something while the other is leaping onto another kid in the ball pit. Two people definitely make it easier so I'm glad my mom still has the time to join us. George's balance and coordination are improving a bit but William is still the more agile one. So much of that has to do with the height and weight difference -- I think George is growing quicker than his body can keep up with developmentally. He's totally fine though, but each definitely has their strengths.

Even dolphin swing gets to wear G's favorite hat
 



G's 'Best Day Ever' shirt was appropriate -- got to sit in this car the whole class


This month they did so much better in art class. The extra three months since they started at 15 months definitely made a difference. They're more engaged in the activities now and while they still don't stay focused on any single one for very long, they're becoming more interested in the art components. They like painting, glue and the rice in the water/sand table best.




 






 

I haven't gotten much of an update on music class from Jessica, but we won't be signing up for the next round of classes. I'm sure we'll find something in our neighborhood to check out.

They haven't made much progress with swimming this month. They still love being in the water, but don't like wearing goggles or floating on their back. I think we've just had bad luck on swim lesson days -- they've woken up really early, been not feeling well, etc. They can now swim 3-4 feet on their own and kick, sometimes will move their arms a little, but just haven't really progressed much since last month. They seem to be more difficult to keep engaged as well. My mom and I try to get them to swim to toys when it's not their turn to swim to the teacher, and sometimes that works, but there have been several times in the last month where they've been practically falling apart by the end of class. I've heard this happens -- not so much the crankiness but more the plateauing -- so we'll see how they do over the next month. Maybe the break in Florida will be good -- lots of fun in the pool.

Other than that, we've been meeting with all our neighborhood friends on Mondays for the SOMA playgroup, usually finishing up with lunch and playing in the fountain at Crossroads. I will definitely miss such a kid-friendly place to dine, the nice garden along the water (and right by our house).  It's given me so much more confidence in taking them out to lunch elsewhere, even by myself, since we get weekly practice eating out there.

On Saturday a few weeks ago, we checked out the Science Fair at AT&T Park but it was at the end of their awful week so we barely stayed 10 minutes. William did get to stomp on third base. We had a fun morning in the woods of the Presidio getting our holiday photos done (just ordered Christmas cards today!). We've also had some great cousin time, having dinner at my brother's house -- not the boys' best performance -- and we visited the Creativity Museum together which was a blast. It's so much fun now that the boys are a little bit older. They're still not really playing with Crusoe and Tenzing but at least they can run around with them. Thursdays we continue to see my dad, which has been so great. The boys love spending time with him and it's nice to have it be part of the routine.





















We also had a fun morning at Hobitot in Berkeley with Ashely, London and Preston.

 




Our weeks have been packed with our set activities that it's left little free time to check out new spots, meet up with friends on the fly, etc. Now that we're moving, our schedule will be changing a bit, which I think I'm ready for. At least in the beginning, it will be nice to have nothing planned and just see what we stumble upon. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll be asking around and researching to find all the best spots ;) For the next week though, I'm cramming in one more time at all our favorite spots. It's not like we're moving far and can't come back to our favorite spots, but there's something so special about just being able to put the kids in the stroller and walk to them. No worries though, there will be plenty of spots like this to discover in our new neighborhood.




Highlights from the month:
Oct. 21 First pony ride, they loved it!
Oct. 28 Witnessed the Giants' World Series win (well, they were sleeping and slept through hours of honking outside our window)
Oct. 29 First ride on muni
Oct. 30 First dentist appt.
Oct. 31 First trick-or-treating
Nov. 8 W went pee pee in the potty for the first time
Nov. 12 G went pee pee in the potty for the first time
Nov. 20 First day playing out in the rain
Nov. 21 W went #2 in the potty! (technically for next month but couldn't resist)



New this month:

Les Deux can...
Ride their scooters really well with one foot on and one foot off
Climb up the inclined rock wall at the park unassisted
Say 110+ words
Pee in the potty (not exclusively though)
Identify (and say) some colors
Successfully eat off of real plates and bowls, drink from glasses
Eat at the table in their booster seats
Sit on the tall stools (though mom stays close by!)
Make appropriate sounds (like 'weehoo weehoo' for fire engine, fake snoring, vrooming of a car, etc.)
Identify all the main trucks

William can...
Climb to the top of the rope structure by himself (not so good at coming down though...)
Jump up and down unassisted
Climb into George's crib

George can...
Figure out which shape is missing from his shape sorter
Identify several letters and numbers

Our favorite place to eat 'second breakfast'
EAT: As my What We Ate posts have featured lately, they are eating like crazy and continue to. I seriously can't come up with enough ideas to offer variety over the day and week, but they eat most of what I'm offering so I'll keep up with it. William continues to eat more at breakfast (though G is still eating plenty), both eat a second breakfast, snack, and often 2 lunches. Then afternoon snack when they wake up from their nap but it's really dinner that's hit or miss. Rarely, they don't eat at all, usually they'll eat at least something and often they eat pretty well, but it's definitely not as much compared to the meals they eat earlier in the day.

Wed lunch at Shanghai Dumpling
Wed lunch at Olive Garden

They eat at the table in booster seats now, which besides the huge mess on the table, is going pretty well. Sometimes they'll use their plastic bowls in the morning when Dave feeds them, but other meals are all real plates, bowls and glasses. They're doing great with this. We've (knock on wood) had no plate-throwing episodes and besides them enjoying stirring their milk with a fork, they're pretty civilized. As long as you take away their food when they say they're done, we tend to avoid bigger messes.

Family dinner





The snack cups are still a huge hit during the day and it's often hard for them to part with their 'cupp-a'. I can put just about anything in there and they will eat it and it's nice because I end up continuing to offer uneaten food for afternoon snack so usually by the end of that day, even those lone green beans are gone.


Their favorite foods surprisingly still haven't changed much. For G, it's definitely cheese. He also ate an incredible amount of protein this month and is definitely inclined to meats in general. William is still fruit man but we've discovered is the same about sweets. Whereas G finally took a bite of my cookie I made last weekend after about 5-10 minutes of holding it, and then ate it really slowly, W gobbled that thing down in seconds, quickly asking for more. I got a cinnamon roll after art class and same thing, I think G got 2 pieces and W 6. W snatched it away so quickly and G was just much slower at eating.

Other foods they consistently eat well are tofu, fish, cottage cheese, yogurt, bananas and eggs. Oh, and of course French fries. I stopped offering smoothies so frequently as they weren't really interested and now they're doing better with those. I still don't offer them every day, but they, William especially, seem to do best with them as we're heating up their dinner. They've eaten more cold cereal this month and love the oatmeal bakes I've been doing, W especially. They haven't been doing great with vegetables. I can usually get them to eat a few small green beans or some peas as their snack during the day and then they have whatever veggies are in the dinner, but I'd say this is the area they really need to get better about. As far as fruit goes, we've been getting berries here or there, but as they're getting more expensive, we've been going more with fall fruit and they actually really like eating whole apples (W especially).

SLEEP: It seems like within each month there are is so much variation. As of right now, we're in a really good place. With the time change a few weeks ago, they started out fine, waking up fairly late, especially when considering the 'old' time. Then about 4 days after the change, they started waking up really early. Like 5am. It also didn't help that around the same time, William figured out how to climb over and into George's crib, most of the time landing right on him, so if he wasn't awake already, he certainly was after that. It was probably a week of this, but luckily they've readjusted and for at least a week now, they're waking up much later, more often than not waking up around 6:30. We're happy with this.

Going to bed at night had been pretty easy for months now. They'd get in bed around 7pm, read their books, play, talk, and then fall asleep by 7:30. The majority of the nights are still like this, but we have had a few random ones here or there where they've just had trouble going down. I think it's related to teething but who really knows.

As for naps, overall, this has been really good as well. They both go down easily and quickly, and have been going down a bit earlier than last month, with William going down closer to 1pm and G pretty much as soon as W is down, so 1:30pm. It's still working really to put William down first, then once he's totally asleep, I come in and read books with George for 5-10 minutes, then put G down. Waiting the extra time has been great for G, he usually falls asleep within 5-10 minutes, as opposed to whining and taking up to an hour to fall asleep before. Both are sleeping longer as well. Within the last week, we've had a few problems, a couple days when W has woken up screaming long before his nap should be over, and then the same with G (not on the same days). Again, I think this has to do with teething as it's clear they don't want to be up yet. I try to calm them down, but honestly, that never works and usually I give a little medicine and leave the room. They cry for another few minutes and then are back to sleep.

After nap is a crap shoot. Rarely, but sometimes, they both wake up in a good mood. Sometimes it's just one who's very grumpy, crying, etc., but often both of them are. I'm not sure if it has to do with being somewhat dark already when they wake up from their nap and that's throwing them off or what. They are also very clingy at this time and Jessica often has to get them in the stroller crying to take them out. Of course, once she gets outside with them, they're fine.




The above has been pretty typical for us, varying wake up times, occasional challenges with nap and bedtime but the one thing that has been consistent is them sleeping through the night without waking up. I think I'd keep it this way but I've heard from so many other parents with kids this age that theirs have gone through a regression so I'm hoping we can bypass that.

Schedule:
6:20-6:40ish up
7:00 breakfast (and usually second breakfast)
out of the house for an activity by 9am
9am snack
Eat lunch out almost every day, by noon (second lunch at home often around 12:45)
1:00 or so W down for a nap (reads for 5-20 mins, usually sleeps 3 hours)
1:30-2ish G down for a nap (sleeping on average 2-2.5 hours)
4pm snack
6pm dinner
bath, stories
7pm in bed
Usually asleep by 7:30

PLAY: Though there's definitely still a lot of fighting over toys (and George usually just wants whatever W has), I feel like that's improved slightly. When we're home, they're playing together, or near each other, more and more. I got a bunch of new toys at the parents of multiples consignment sale a few weeks ago and though I tucked most away, the ones I put out for them they really love.

Same trucks, different day




















They're so into trucks, so I got a few big ones and also some much smaller ones. I picked up a race track with two little matchbox cars and that's a hit as well. It's surprising how much they actually play with all of their toys, but they really do. Various trucks, the toy garage, the farm, they're starting to do more with blocks. The ride-on digger Dave got months ago is now a huge hit. George is still really into shape sorters, though they don't get as much action as they have previously. All the push toys continue to be a hit. I can't believe it, but they're still obsessed with the doll stroller. That is seriously the best $20 I've spent and that thing has held up so well. They're a bit more interested in actually putting a baby in it now and when baby falls over, G tries to place him back properly repeating 'sit, sit, sit'.

They still haven't gotten sick of construction sites either. They both started using the word 'eye-sh' and we couldn't figure out what they were talking about. Finally we figure it out -- construction site. They've made a lot of progress at the site across the street and some of the workers even know them.

W in awe of the construction site

The boys are both still really into books and current favorites are a Pooh bear one and Bob the Builder. They love the books that have 20 different items on a page and they can identify almost all of them now.




We even like reading in the wagon!

The biggest changes in play are that they are talking a lot more and doing a lot of imaginary play. They makes sounds for a fire engine, a car, when sweeping the floor, etc. They love feeding their baby a little bit of their snack.





They're more and more independent at the park and whereas last month I felt like I needed to be close by to break up fights over toys, I'm able to step back it bit more again. There are definitely times I need to go over and remind them that someone else has the toy, but overall they're really good. The newest development is that William can climb to the top of the rope structure at our little park -- I turned around one day and he was at the top. He's not great at going down so I definitely always keep track of where he is now.





George is most often sitting with other kids playing with toys in the sand, whereas William is more likely to be running around with other kids, ideally bigger kids. Both are social in their own way. They're playing more with trucks and cars, driving them on the wall, etc.

W with one of his many big-kid friends



I feel like I haven't spent too much time with them at bigger parks, but the few times we have, I am feeling more comfortable with them on play structures. I'm always right there but I think they have a better sense that they can't get too close to the edge. Although we were at one park that had a fire pole and older kids were sliding down and William was right on the edge, trying to go down. He had a fit when I had to take him down. They still both like to swing.



It's definitely tough that it's getting dark so much earlier, usually by 5:20, but Jessica can usually keep them at the park for a while, maybe getting home a little before 6 so they can play with their toys a bit before dinner. I don't think they knew what was going on the first night they were out after dark, but they got a huge kick out of seeing the dancing lights on the Bay Bridge. Now Christmas lights are popping up too.


Biting update: Right when they turned 18 months, I wouldn't say things had gotten much better, I was still trying to keep a close eye on William when he was starting to get frustrated. I don't think he's totally over the biting phase, but he hasn't done it for the past two weeks and though he's not using 'his words' instead necessarily, he is being more verbal when G takes something from him which is usually when it happened. It's too early to tell if we're on our way out of this or not, but I'm hoping that as he continues to gain more language skills, he'll bite less and less (if at all!).

TALK: I've heard from many parents that there's a clear switch when speaking just takes off. About halfway through the month, that's what we experienced. They are talking like crazy. On average, within the last week, they're saying about 4 new words a day but within the few days, they're now starting to repeat words too. They're able to put together a few words for phrases like 'all gone', 'my turn', 'here you go'. It's getting to the point where I probably won't be able to keep track of all their new words, but I still attempted to this past month. I'd estimate they're around  110-120 words. They're word for word with each other, when one says something new, the other one says it within a day or two.

What's so great is that they have some of the words to tell us things they would've only been able to cry about before. They tell us when something is stuck, or when the straps of the stroller or bib are too tight. They even say 'nose' when they need a tissue.

New words: Help, hot, apple, milk, stuck, top, potty, shoe, sock, banana, park, table, truck, tight, dump, 'my truck' - etc., my turn, book, dark, gone, numbers, letters, colors, play, clap, more milk, all gone, no more, bed, nap, shower, tool, tape, soup, ‘here you go’, juice, rock, seat, glue, dog, train, bean, bone, rain, diaper, spoon, bowl, plate, Carlos (their baby's name), cookie, one, two. They repeat other numbers and colors after we say them.

They're using their signs less and less, which is probably natural since they know more of the words. They still use signs for 'please' and 'thank you' and just within the last few days have been attempting to say these words, but only with lots of prompting by me. They say 'milk' but luckily often sign it too since it sounds similar to 'more'. Same with 'open' which sounds similar to up. 'Again' is still consistently signed as they're having trouble with this word.

POTTY: Let me just quote myself from one month ago... 'No, we're not considering potty training this early, they're definitely not ready.' Hmm, well things have certainly shifted in this department. William went pee on the potty before bathtime on the 12th and has continued to go every day since, sometimes several times a day. I need to prompt him, though there have been a few times when he's said 'potty' and we put him on, sometimes successfully. He clearly has control over his body in this way though and seems to have the 'urge to go' down. But not to the point where he's refusing a wear a diaper, in fact, he's much more successful later in the day.  So it's been about 2 weeks of him going pee on the potty, and then on the 21st, he was in the bathtub, and said poopoo so Jessica got him out and put him on the potty and he did a full number 2. I couldn't believe it. The next night he did the same thing.

It took George about a week longer than William, but he also has gone pee on the potty. He seems very interested in the potty, but has only gone a few times, and very little. He's said potty a few times and we put him on, only to see that he's already gone. There have also been several times in the past week where he's peed on the floor while in his towel after bath, and then told Jessica 'potty' -- he hasn't peed outside of a diaper since he was a newborn. So he's learning, but still at the point where he doesn't say anything until after the fact. He's very particular about how it's cleaned though -- he won't go if W's pee is still in there, it has to be rinsed out, etc.

Our current plan is to continue with things as they are. The move to the new house will bring enough change. I think we'll get a little potty for our stay in Florida to hopefully maintain any progress made, but when we're back in January, I think we'll take one of the first weekends home to do a version of 3-day potty training. I'm confident we could try this with William right now and be successful. I don't think George is quite ready but I'm sure if we dedicated a weekend to it and William was doing it the whole time, he'd jump on board pretty quickly. I think having another 6-8 weeks of practice will help though.

Stats: We don't go into the doctor again until they're 2 years old! Only updates are that their teeth are really coming in so now they both have 16 teeth. They're missing the 2-year molars way in the back which will probably be a few more months until they come in. William is now wearing size 4 daytime diapers like George is.

MOM: It's been another very busy month with all my various stuff going on. I've done some additional volunteering through SFPOM and Junior League, but everything has been stuff I've really wanted to do. Add to that all the work I'd done trying to find a contractor, which has involved research, contacting friends, calls, emails, meetings, reference checks, and it's been somewhat hard to manage. Most disappointing, we still don't have a contractor.

Along the same lines is all the stuff that goes with a move -- finding movers, arranging for all the cleaning and minor repairs on our current place, new stuff for the new place, etc. Luckily my parents have been so helpful -- my dad with the contractor stuff, and my mom in watching the boys while I have to meet with contractors, designers, etc. Trying to do this stuff after Jessica arrives at 4pm is difficult, but we've had extra help from her on the weekends too so I really can't complain.

Working out has slid this month as I've really needed to prioritize my time. I have been doing two swims a week and have gone to bootcamp maybe twice in the last month. I'm still cooking a fair amount -- I just can't pass up all the great recipes I've been pinning for fall.

I have been spending WAY too much time on the computer, but that has to do with my lengthy to-do list because of all the house stuff. Reading before bed has not been going well... not sure when that will realistically improve.

Book club: We had a great time at book club this month and I think only two people read the book. The rest of us hadn't even bought it... That didn't stop anyone from coming though. It was great to catch up, and celebrate 2 new pregnancies and just a week to go for one of the other moms. We're taking a brief hiatus over the holidays and won't meet again until early February.

Date night highlight: I've been making reservations at all our top neighborhood spots, not that we can't go to them again, but just taking advantage of the convenience of being able to walk or take a short cab ride. We ate at Marlowe, one of our favorite restaurants in the city, again last Thursday. Though it was raining and getting a cab was next to impossible, even the 2.5 blocks to the restaurant felt far. The pork chop was as good as always and I love their new space right on Brannan St.

Looking forward to:
...Thanksgiving with all of my siblings and staying at my parents house so all the cousins can really hang out
...Moving to our new home!
...Christmas in Florida, already less than a month away!

To my boys...


What a month it has been! It's been so fun to hear both of you say so many words. I love your little voices. I can't wait to hear what comes out in coming months, as you repeat more, learn more words and start to communicate your own thoughts. So much fun! I think my favorite part has been hearing you call 'Mama' from your bed. I'm sure some babies make sounds that are similar at a much younger age than this, but I feel like it was just this past month when I got the full, clear, intentional 'Mama' calls from your bed. Of course, in a way, I never really want to hear it -- it happens in the morning when I'm still sleeping, or in the afternoon when I'm trying to finish up my work and you should be napping longer, or at night either when you're having a hard time falling or sleep, or worst of all, if you've woken up shortly after falling asleep. I know I shouldn't like hearing it, but I do. It's such a vulnerable moment for you and at least while it's still so new, it's hard to resist coming in. You also continue to be very affectionate with us and each other, but the wrestling, especially in the bathtub, has been taking to a new level. You both seem to be enjoying it so we haven't stopped it yet. As always, we have a good routine going, but new this month is that you give kisses to each other before W goes down for his nap. Both of you make an exaggerated kiss sound.

Just missed the Lady and the Tramp moment by a split second :(

William...


Daddy and I have started calling you our little model. You definitely have a way with people by flashing a smile, batting your eyelashes or turning your head just so. And though I am not great at capturing each of these moments, somehow this part of your personality still comes through in photos. So much development for you this month...
...You're starting to fight back a bit more, which I think is a good thing. You don't let G take your toys and are starting to verbalize more (not necessarily through actual words), and are mostly avoiding the biting. We're so proud of you!
...You're very tactile and especially at art class, love to rub the medium on your face, whatever that may be -- chalk, glue, paint on a paint brush, clay. It's so odd as you've never really done that with toys or other things, but when we're at art class, you like to feel it on your face, lower cheek, adjacent to your chin.
...You are crazy about fruit, can nibble an apple down to nothing. But new this month is that your true sweet tooth came out. You went crazy for cookies, having a breakdown when I wouldn't allow you more than 1 1/2 cookies. You left next to no cinnamon roll for G and half the icing ended up on your car seat and face, but oh well.
 ...Every once in a while you do this almost-evil hardy-har laugh (though of course it's not evil at all)
...Not only are you saying more words, you're stringing together words as well. You're longest phrase so far, 'here you go'. You heard Jessica say it to you when she handed you your dinner and you repeated it. She then told me the next day that you handed something to her and said, 'here you go'.
...You are so sweet and still very open (most of the time) to people you don't see every day. You couldn't stop giving Uncle Jon hugs when we were leaving the Creativity Museum the other day and you ran over to our security guard Boniface to give him a big hug too.
...I really can't get over your success on the potty. You seem so comfortable and pretty nonchalant in general. So so proud of you!
...Your climbing is impressive too, though I can't really say I'm a huge fan of it...climbing into G's bed and landing on his head, or making it to the top of the ropes at the park without me noticing. So scary.
...You loved going down the big slide at the Ferry Building Park with Papa and wanted to go down by yourself. Such a daredevil!
...For a while you were into baseball caps and G was obsessed with that one fedora. I went on a hunt for more and came home with this gray one and it never made it to G. You claimed it and become very attached, very quickly.
...Your little body gives the best tight hugs, can't get enough. I love you!!
























 
















George...



...You're very obsessed with cleaning and like everything just so. Cabinet doors are closed, drawers are pushed in... though now that I think about it, you're zero help cleaning up your toys. If something spills, there are plenty of 'Oh no!'s and you scurry to get the play vacuum to 'clean' it up. You now do a loud noise to imitate our vacuum too. There was also a day when the wind blew some trash out of the can at the park and you ran over, saying 'oh no!' and started picking it up.
...You impress us every day with how smart you are. A couple of weeks ago, you became very interested in the difference between letters and numbers and have started to pick several up.
...You make impressive connections too, like you found the old little orange Sesame Street doll we have. We have another book that has Elmo's arms that come out of it and the book is basically 'If You're Happy and You Know it'. When you found this little doll, you put your hands over its hands and clapped them together, saying 'clap, clap'
...You like everything to be a certain way and totally freaked out when you put 5 of the 6 pieces into your sorter and realized that the orange one was missing. You were clearly upset and kept pointing to the orange hole, knowing it was gone
...W may have a sweet tooth, but you're just like Mom and love your meat!
...Another example of having everything just so -- you know which snack cup is yours and if you've finished yours and are still hungry, and W has some in his, I'll give you his, you'll proceed to take out all the snacks from his and put them into your cup before eating. Many times I'll hand you some food, and you'll put it in your cup, only to pull it right back out. There's something you guys love about your 'cupp-a'.
...I still can't get over how smiley you were at our Christmas photo shoot. No offense, but W is usually the photogenic one, but you stole the show here. Poor W had been up since 5am and was pretty grumpy next to your big smiles.
...You continue to stalk W and often only want to play with what he has. Watch out, he's starting to fight back.
...You were definitely tentative about your first time finger-painting at art class -- you kept saying 'uh-oh' and wanting to wash your hands. We had to keep reassuring you that it was okay.
...My favorite moment of the month was when we were walking along the Embarcadero and you saw a woman with a fedora crossing the street. You kept pointing to her and saying 'Mine, mine' (at least it wasn't your typical 'Miiiinnnnne!'). Sorry, not all fedoras are yours!
....Nothing gets by you -- after swim class, you saw another kid eating Pirate's Booty and Dedee told you that she had some in her car and would bring it to him. You immediately took her hand and said 'car, car'.
...Your hat. I don't even know what to say about it. That thing is so deformed but it's by far your favorite hat. Luckily I tracked one down on ebay just in time for you to lose the original one night at the park with Jessica. We went back and searched for it in daylight, but no luck. I didn't want to break out the new one so soon, but it's already deformed too, from you pulling it down on your head. Oh well, this one I labeled with your name and our phone number so hopefully it will stick around until we can find another one you like.
...You definitely had a tough start to the month, but you continue to surprise me with how cuddly you are with your hugs (and occasional kisses). I love you!!


Favorite hat, new jacket and sleepsack: quite a combo!