Coming Down

What a week, or really month, it's been. It's been a whirlwind with Dave's new job and I've been busy running after two full-on WALKERS, party-planning and finishing up the project for Travelzoo. It was a great weekend with their first birthday party on Saturday and their (and my) baptism on Sunday. But I'm exhausted. I don't think I've been this drained since the newborn months... and I've gotten more sleep than I normally do since as of today, I'm no longer pumping.

So tomorrow I'll still be running around after W&G, and while I'm looking forward to putting up my feet and doing NOTHING in the down time, I do feel a bit anxious about everything culminating at once. They're already a year old. I've spent a lot of my 'free time' of the past few months planning their birthday party (which I thoroughly enjoyed doing). My project with Travelzoo wrapped up on Friday. And I'm done pumping, and will continue to wean the last few breastfeedings with George within the next few days.

There's been so much anticipation for so many of these moving pieces, and while I'm not necessarily sad that it's over, it's definitely a feeling of coming down. Sort of, 'what's next?'. I have no doubt I'll quickly find something to fill my new-found free time, but for the moment, I guess I just need to let the dust settle.

I'm excited to post about their Birthday/Easter, their First Birthday Party, Weaning, and more of what they've been eating. Some of that I'm waiting on photos for (either from the photographer or for
Dave to edit, but he's so busy too!). But regardless, that should keep me busy for a while!

When There Were Two...

One year ago today, there were just two of us. I didn't know it at the time, but it was my last day of work, conveniently, a Friday. It was a beautiful day, hot, especially for San Francisco. Although I was still on bedrest, I was almost 37 weeks pregnant so I while I wasn't doing anything crazy, I was allowing myself to be on my feet just a bit more. I decided to drive down the street to pick up a burrito from my favorite place and I brought it back to eat it by the pool. I even took a picture because I was going to do a blog post about 'my views for the past four months', including my work laptop balanced on my belly and the view from the apartment looking out onto the bay. I spent a lot of time laying on my bed working on that laptop, and most of my other time was spent relaxing on the couch and I definitely can't complain about that view.

Here was my view one year ago today:

One year ago today, I was feeling cautiously optimistic. That's how I had felt for the previous four months I spent on bedrest, but the difference was that I had 'made it' just about to full term for twins. We certainly weren't out of the woods yet, the babies weren't even here, but it was an odd feeling of a waiting game, waiting longer than you thought you'd ever make it, yet wanting to make it even longer.

That night we didn't go out to dinner like we normally did on Fridays. I hadn't made a reservation, but instead had decided to order BBQ delivery of all things. I remember that Dave got spicy sausage and warned me it would not sit well, but I wanted to taste it anyway, it was something I loved pre-pregnancy. With horrible reflux, it would not be the best choice, however I still took a tiny bite just to taste it. Disgusting. We watched a show, went to bed and slept most of the night, until I woke up and had a feeling that that day, April 20, 2013, would be the day we'd become four.

As I'm sure most parents experience the same feelings, I can't believe a year has passed. While this milestone is bittersweet, I'm only focusing on the 'sweet' at least for this next week. I'm so excited to celebrate their big day tomorrow and I think I'm even more excited for their birthday bash next weekend (hoping it won't rain as predicted!). Happy Birthday-Eve to my little guys!

Week 50

Last week was a great week, for Dave especially :) We had fun celebrating his birthday all week long and it was so nice that he had the whole week off before starting his new job yesterday.

Warm enough for shorts!
We had such great weather last week, so Monday we went to the park, picked up some Sisig, then came back to swim in the pool with the boys. They LOVED it, had so much fun splashing around. It's been a couple of months since they've been in the pool since we haven't been able to get them back into swim lessons so I'm glad to see they still like it. That afternoon, I took advantage of having Dave home while the boys were napping and got to go see Ashley, Preston and London before heading out to meet Jenn for dinner in Walnut Creek. What a great day!! It's so nice to be able to catch up with friends in person, and Jenn just had her third baby and Ashley her second, so these face-to-face meet ups, especially without kids, are few and far between. I really had so much fun getting to catch up with both of them. The only bad part of that day was that someone hit me on the freeway, but luckily it was minor, no one was hurt and it was her fault so her insurance is covering it. Still, I was definitely a little shaken up.

Tuesday I was able to go to bootcamp without the babies, then came home, fed them, and we headed straight out to the park, then picked up lunch at the ferry building before rushing back so Dave and I could go to the baseball game. There was such an energy in the city, especially since we live right by the ballpark -- so many people were out, even at 9am, with their Giants gear, ready for opening day. We had a great time at the game with Megan, Morgan and Greg, though it was so HOT! Yes, in SF! We had to get up several times to stand in the shade. Just as we were leaving the shade was going over our section. Figures. At least the Giants won! We were pretty low-key that night, I made pork chops for Dave and we had ice cream from Humphrey Slocombe. Then we watched a documentary we've been talking about, The Parrots of Telegraph Hill.

Wednesday was the monthly free day at the zoo, but William has been taking really long naps in the morning so we didn't get out there until almost 11:30. We rode the train around the park, which is definitely something that I wouldn't be able to do alone with them at this point. They weren't in the best mood, and it was foggy and cold out there (typical), but it was still fun. Especially since we picked up In n Out on the way home :)

Thursday was our last music class of the session and I think we're going to change it up and try a different one for the next few months, ideally one in our neighborhood so we don't have to drive. We had lunch at Squat and Gobble -- the boys got a massive grilled cheese but at least there's two of them to eat it :) Dave and I celebrated his birthday some more when we ate at Sons and Daughters for date night. Highly recommended, an affordable 7-course tasting menu (not including the 3 bread courses!), great food and amazing service.

On Friday, Dave took care of the boys in the morning and then flew to Vegas for the weekend with his friends. He got to see the big boxing match and had a great time. I took the boys to the park by our house, but George is officially a sand-eater now so I actually had to put him in the stroller while William and I played. It's so terrible, he'll pick up even the tiniest bits of sand, far from the sandbox and trying to deal with that while keeping up with William is definitely a challenge.

G banished to the stroller for eating sand
They were nice to me on Saturday and didn't wake up until 6:45. They were actually in a great mood all day. We headed to the park by the ferry building, though just as predicted of 11 months, which has been so great, it's the calm before the storm. And the storm is starting to brew.

They now will crawl up the play structure, which they've both done as far back as in Florida, but now they do it every time, on their own and they're fast. It definitely makes me a bit nervous, especially if one gets ahead of the other. I want to stand behind them on the steps in case one decides to go from crawling to sitting and falls back, but if one makes it to the top, there are unprotected sides, as well as the slide down. I'm still figuring it all out but can see that it's getting a lot tougher now that they're even more mobile.

We got our salmon BLT like we usually do on Saturdays,
they love it as much as I do!

My mom came over that afternoon to play with them while I went and got a mani-pedi, and they had a great time together going to the park. They really enjoyed their penne with red sauce and meatballs, which they ate several nights last week.

Sunday morning I took them to a different park and then headed over to Red's Java House for lunch, but there were tons of people out for the Giants game, so it was a long wait and then they were out of the corned beef breakfast sandwich that is sooo good. So the boys and I had fish and chips, which doesn't really work out because I end up picking out all the big chunks of fish for them and I'm left with the fried bits. yuk. By the time we got home, Dave was back and got to spend some time with them before they took their nap. He took them out that evening so I could go for a swim. Then I made seared ahi for dinner. Then Dave was off to NYC to start his new job on Monday morning. We're missing him this week!

We Eat | Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas

Whenever I make enchiladas, the recipe always makes a lot more filling than the recipe states and I end up with two casserole dishes of enchiladas. I'm not complaining though, they're easy to freeze and reheat pretty well. And now, I can add 'the babies like them' to that list.

I came across this recipe that is packed with spinach, but I had to add some meat to it. I slow-roasted pork for dinner on Sunday and used the leftovers in the enchiladas which worked great. The boys ate on this for like three days and seemed to really like it. The enchiladas weren't too spicy, but not super-mild either, and they did just fine. I had no idea making enchilada sauce was so easy, I'll definitely do it again though I think I'd add a bit more spice next time.

Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas
Based on The Garden Grazer recipe

3 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup all purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. chili powder

1/2 lb pulled pork (I used this recipe for a meal the night before)
15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen is fine)
6 oz. fresh baby spinach
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp. cumin
3 cups shredded 3 cheese blend (or pepper jack, etc.)
corn tortillas - recipe calls for 8, I had enough filling, adding in meat, for 16

First, make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, 2 tsp. cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Cook 1 minute, whisking. Whisk in broth, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until slightly thickened about 8 minutes. Salt/pepper to taste, and set aside.  Saute the spinach in olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted. In a large bowl, combine pork, beans, 2 cups cheese, spinach, corn, green onions, 2 tsp. cumin, and cilantro. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking dish(es), and pour a small amount of the sauce to coat the bottom. Generously fill tortillas with mixture, roll up tightly with ends tucked in, and place seam side down in dish. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas, coating evenly. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top. Bake about 20 minutes, and garnish with cilantro and/or green onions (optional).

NOTE: While I had enough filling to double the recipe, the recipe for the sauce above is really only for one batch. I had a jar of enchilada sauce so I did one homemade and one batch with the jarred sauce.

We Eat | Rolled, Patted & STUFFED

I've still been looking for creative ways to serve W&G what we're eating, but in a form that's easy for them to feed themselves. One of the best ways to do this is to stuff the good stuff inside of a pita or tortilla.

I've been trying to give the guys fresh vegetables (eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini, etc.) from the farmers market, and since they're not into purees, I've been roasting them up, and then chopping them. They didn't do too well eating it this way alone (though it has been at least a month since I've tried this) so I started filling whole wheat pitas with the roasted vegetables and maybe some hummus, in this case, a spicy hummus. I just cut it up into bite-size pieces and they ate it right up. Spicy hummus and all! Usually I'll make a whole pita, cut it up and then store it in several small containers. It's easy to bring along with us and just sprinkle on their trays at lunchtime. They're getting tons of nutrients and they're able to feed themselves. I find that hummus is a great binder to keep it all together when I cut it up into small pieces. I tried a white bean hummus from Trader Joe's but didn't like it too much. One other binder I've tried is some of the purees I still have in the freezer. These seem to work pretty well.

I've also used whole wheat tortillas or the handmade flour tortillas from Trader Joe's to make simple quesadillas, or quesadillas stuffed with roasted vegetables or asparagus.

Quesadilla with roasted vegetables
Pita with hummus and spaghetti squash - which alone turned out to be too hard for them to eat

Asparagus-stuffed quesadilla

And of course, burritos!
Although not homemade, I find that raviolis or similar stuffed pasta is great for G&W too. I always read the labels and look for those that are low in sodium and try to do more veggie-heavy ones. They did well with an eggplant ravioli from Whole Foods.

Week 49

It's been a great week, we've been lucky to have Dave home all week, and he'll be home another week with us before he starts his new job next Monday.

I had a lot of plans already made since I wasn't planning on having him home, so we went to a playdate with other twins who live in the neighborhood on Monday, but Dave met up with us at American Grilled Cheese Kitchen for lunch. We had to change our order to to-go as it started raining, but we made it home just before the lightening and thunder started -- so crazy for SF! The boys has their first grilled cheese from this awesome spot -- I went all out and ordered them the Mac and Cheese grilled cheese. They seemed to like it, but they've been a little off all week with their eating. Both are getting teeth in so I'm assuming that's affecting things.

It was great to have Dave at home so I could do some stuff on my own. I was meeting up with Jenn in Walnut Creek for an early dinner so I got to stop by Ashley's on my way there. It's always nice to catch up in person and with four kids between us, that's harder and harder to do. I totally blew it and drove all the way out to Walnut Creek only to realize I had the day wrong and it's actually tomorrow that I'm getting together with Jenn, so I took advantage of the free time on my own to run some errands and do some shopping.

Tuesday Dave had his own plans for lunch, but stayed with the babies so I could go to bootcamp -- it started raining right when I was to leave but the instructor had emailed that class was still on. I ran in the rain only to find no one there, not even the instructor. So weird, I felt like things were off all week. I debated going out with they babies several times, but the weather kept changing. Finally around 11:45am I decided to risk it and we were able to make it to the farmers market for lunch, but just came straight home. I had a meatball sandwich from my favorite spot and the babies mostly ate stuff I brought but also got some of the meatballs.

Wednesday I headed over to the Botanical Gardens to meet with two other twin moms, though their twins are closer to 2 years old. I've been trying to connect with more twin moms and a friend had put me in touch with these two. They were really nice so hopefully we meet up again, especially as mine start walking, they should be into more of the same stuff.

Thursday was music class again, then we headed to Squat and Gobble for lunch. It was a nice day to sit outside, though still on the colder side. Dave and I went out to Spruce that night for the first of his birthday dinners and as usual, Spruce didn't disappoint. My asparagus starter, over a grain salad with an egg, was delicious.

Friday I finally got to see Jenn, meet Lucas and see the rest of her family. Again, we were worried about the weather, but luckily it just rained in the early morning and we were still able to meet up at Fairyland. I can't believe I forgot to get a photo of all our boys together! I'm so looking forward to catching up just the two of us tomorrow night. It's such a treat to not only see each other in person, but without the kids.

Saturday, we headed over to one of our favorite parks to meet up with my friend from book club and her daughter and husband, and I had also set up a meetup for some twin moms, though only a couple showed up. Still, it was such a nice day to be out and the boys were in a good mood, which hasn't been the case a lot of this week with all the teething. They ate their lunch on the picnic blanket as we didn't bring the stroller, and it actually worked out pretty well. Then Dave and I stopped by our new favorite sandwich place, Deli Board, to pick up some sandwiches to take home. My mom came over that afternoon -- we hadn't seen her in two weeks since she had been in Chicago -- so it was so nice to catch up. Dave was able to go see Captain America, which he loved.

Today was low-key, we decided to skip church so Dave could go to boxing. We went out for a casual brunch on the water, then to the park for a bit, but George is constantly eating sand so it's really a pain. At our local park, the sand is usually just near the sandbox area, but I don't know if it's from the wind, or from kids dumping it, but sand is EVERYWHERE now. George just presses his hand down so bits up sand are on it, then he licks it. It's awful, and with two, it's nearly impossible to keep him from eating it while also keeping up with William. We got them out for a walk after their nap, but no stopping at the park...

Dave and I have finished Homeland, so we caught up on a few Modern Family episodes, but are now debating what to start next. He's going to be traveling a bit more with his new job, but we're looking forward to having him home all week and celebrating his birthday, plus it's supposed to be great weather!

We Eat | Spinach Banana Muffins

The boys have been having waffles as their carb for breakfast pretty regularly. They're easy to keep on hand and fast to prepare in the morning. But I'm always looking for healthy alternatives to change things up. I came across this recipe and thought it would be great for the boys, but as I avoid bananas at all costs, I knew I wouldn't be partaking. Therefore, I halved the below recipe and didn't use quite as much sugar. The results: the boys love them! William likes them, but George can't get enough. He ate a whole muffin himself this morning and was reaching on William's tray for more. What might be more surprising is that I even tried the muffins -- it's probably been 20 years since I've had a banana or anything banana-flavored. I think the fact that I have to deal with bananas pretty much on a daily basis has lowered my distaste for them, and surprisingly, the muffin was good! I haven't been eating them like George though :)

Spinach Banana Muffins
from Three Green Forks recipe
Makes 24 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour  
1 cup whole-wheat flour  
¾ cup sugar  
2 tsp baking powder  
½ tsp baking soda  
1½ tsp ground cinnamon  
½ tsp salt  
¼ cup canola oil  
¾ cup milk  
1 (6 ounce) bag fresh baby spinach  
½ cup mashed banana (from about 2 bananas)  
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F and line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Combine sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. In a blender, blend oil, milk, and spinach on high for about 30 seconds or until completely puréed. Add banana and vanilla; blend on low just to mix. Pour puréed mixture into dry mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Fill muffin cups about ⅔ full (use a cookie or ice cream scoop for even muffins) and bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Week 48

Well, we're almost through this week and I still need to catch up on last week. It was a busy one; I was doing a lot of work for the project I'm working on with Travelzoo, but by Friday most of it (at least this first part of the project), was done. The hours have surprisingly added up, but it's still been pretty manageable to do while they're napping. I'm usually able to do 30 minutes of emails and stuff during their morning nap and then more in the afternoon. I'm worried they're starting to transition out of their morning nap, but I'm hoping they'll at least make it to their first birthday.

Monday, we had fun checking out Emerald Park which is in an apartment complex a few blocks from our place. The best part of that day was George enjoying his Sisig burrito. I had a Junior League training that night on entrepreneurship, very interesting.

On Tuesday, we lucked out and made it through bootcamp without it raining, and the boys even napped. I knew it was going to rain any time, but I wanted to get them out a bit, so we rushed home to quickly eat, then headed out to the park by the Ferry Building. Of course it started raining right when we got there. I put their hoods up and let them play for 15 minutes, mostly under the coverage of the boat play structure, but it was just getting too wet so I loaded them up and we hurried across to the Ferry Building. I picked up an asparagus focaccia for them and a ramen bowl for me. I let them have some of the noodles and they surprisingly loved them. Luckily it stopped raining in time for us to walk home.

I was worried about the rain again on Wednesday, and though it just drizzled a little, we still headed over to Sports Basement to meet my friend and her son for Breakfast with Enzo. I thought it was a music class but Enzo clarified it's more of a 'performance'. He's got a pretty serious set up (George loved all the plugs though I didn't like keeping him away from that), plays different instruments and involves the children. But this definitely isn't like our current music class where the boys can touch the piano and put their hands all over the guitar. It was a nice change of pace (and only $6 per kid!) but it was hard for me to keep up with them/keep them away from the equipment. At least for going with two kids, I think it would be easier when they're a little older.

Thursday was back to our music class where they could get all over everything. They're still loving the piano, William likes to cruise all around the room and George likes to crawl, oddly, towards the door. That night both Dave and I got out, but we had separate events. I got to go to dinner with a bunch of my girl friends, many who I haven't seen in a while so it was a lot of fun. 

Friday was a super-busy morning catching up on Travelzoo stuff and George didn't really nap. I even had to stop to pick up a quick breakfast for myself before heading to the park to meet a friend and her son. There was the sweetest yellow lab there and the boys loved petting him.

It was a strange weekend, Dave was dealing with a lot of work stuff so was preoccupied with that, and the weather wasn't good. Luckily some twin parents were meeting up at Crossroads literally around the corner from us, so we braved the weather and met them there for lunch. It cleared up enough that I could take them out for a walk after their nap.

Sunday, we went to church, this time with a new strategy. Since they usually nap 9-10am, but sometimes don't fall right asleep, and we have to leave for church around 9:30 or so, it just throws everything off. We decided we'd leave for church at 9, they could (hopefully) fall asleep in the car on the 15-minute drive over and then we'd park and let them sleep until just before 10. I also brought bottles for both of them since George is too distracted to nurse in the car or in the church nursery. It sort of worked -- William did great, slept the whole time and we handed him, and his bottle, off to the teacher. George didn't really sleep but seemed to be okay.

William was pretty fussy that day, despite his good nap, and sure enough, we saw his 7th tooth coming through (bottom left). We got out to the park that afternoon, though he was still pretty cranky (but still enjoyed cruising all around the park).