13 Months Old

Wow, nothing like being just about done and then losing the whole post... here we go again.

Even the paci didn't keep the sand out!

As usual, I can't believe another month has passed. Much of our routine has stayed the same, lots of time at the neighborhood parks and the Ferry Building. We've met up with some new moms, including spending one of the hottest days of the year at the beach at Aquatic Park. That was definitely an adventure since George continues to eat sand. It was pretty chaotic, but fun.

We started swim lessons again and the boys still love the water. They get so excited and immediately start splashing around once we get in. They're doing well with their submersions, but we still need to work on the amount of water they're taking in.

We've visited the Bay Area Discovery Museum several times on hot days, as it's cooler over there, plus they have a really fun waist-height stream that the boys can play in.

We've gotten to see Ashley, Preston and London several times, including a day at the Discovery Museum. Things have definitely changed since the days of the babies just napping in the stroller and us only needing to run after London. Now Ashley and I get to say maybe three sentences to each other the whole time as we run after all three of them, but I'll take it.

We met my brother on his lunch break one day, had lunch and then played at the park. We're hoping to do this at least once a month.

The boys have had some fun adventures with Jessica, including getting a close-up look at a Japanese Coast Guard ship docked near our house, and watching Lenny Kravitz do a sound-check at AT&T park. They were just walking by when Jessica asked the security guard who was playing and the guy said, 'do you want to watch?' and let them in. He made it clear that no photos or video were allowed though.

Our May weekends have been pretty busy, starting with my sister's wedding, then a family birthday party and Mother's day and then my Mexico weekend away. Memorial Day weekend was pretty low-key. Dave was still getting over his cold and I started feeling sick on Friday. We still managed to hit the park and the Ferry Building on Saturday, church and Off the Grid picnic on Sunday and then we went to a park across town and to lunch on Memorial Day, capping off the weekend with a BBQ at the pool. The boys had corn-on-the-cob for the first time, but were much more interested in the brioche hot dog buns.

Highlights from the past month:
April 26 - mom done pumping
April 27 - Baptism
May 1 - first taste of ice cream, chocolate of course!
May 2 - graduated out of their infant car seats
May 3 - G 7th tooth in
May 4 -  G last time nursing
May 15 - mom's first night away from W&G

New this month.
Les Deux can...
put shapes in the sorter (when set up with the right pair)
point to their heads when I ask, 'where does a hat go?'
follow simple commands like, 'pick up the book and bring it to me'... when they feel like it
identify their noses and occasionally the mouth, ears and eyes 
climb up the play structure; go down the slide/twisty slide by themselves
point at helicopters in the sky

George can...
eat an orange slice off the peel, every last bit!
sign 'food' and 'milk' and sometimes 'all done' and 'more'
throw a ball (sort of)
somehow crawl under the crib to find lost pacis
climb up the play structure; go down the slide/twisty slide by himself

William can...
say 'caw' for bird
'roar' like a lion
throw a ball (pretty well)
sign 'milk' and 'all done' and sometimes 'more' and 'food'

EAT: The boys have become pickier over the last few weeks but are still eating a good amount of food. William's favorites are still fruit and cheese and George still loves eggs and cheese. Both continue to eat salmon consistently. I can't think of one vegetable they actually like, though they will tolerate most, at least somewhat.

I'm pretty strict about not offering anything different if they don't like what's been prepared. I've found that a lot of the time, if you leave them there long enough (I'm talking 20 minutes, not hours), they'll end up eating pretty well. Sometimes they start fussing and crying and if that's the case, I assume they're done and take them out. The pediatrician gave some good advice: consider what they're eating over the course of a week, not at each meal. Some meals they'll be hungrier than others and that's okay.

I always try to give them at least one thing I think they like, that way if they don't want to eat the other food, they'll at least have something. The problem is, sometimes a food they've liked all along, they're suddenly over.

I'm also big on continuing to offer foods that they don't seem to like. I've read the repetition is key. I'm currently trying this with grapes, which oddly they only had for the first time this weekend. William will occasionally eat one, George throws it right off the table. We'll see if they're eating them by their 14th month...

I love to eat lunch out so it's one less meal for me to clean up at home -- though vacuuming out the stroller is a pain too. The best is the Discovery Museum where they have high chairs!

Current Schedule:

6-6:30 - W wakes up, G usually a bit later, 6oz milk cup
7:30 - breakfast
8:45-10am - nap
10 - 3oz milk cup (only sometimes finish)
12noon - lunch
1:30 - 5oz milk cup
1:45-4/4:15 - nap
4pm - 3oz milk cup (only sometimes finish)
6pm - dinner
6:45 - 6oz milk bottle
7pm - in bed, talking, playing, etc
7:30-8pm - asleep

They are doing pretty well with taking their milk in a cup, though they're not drinking quite as much as they were from a bottle, which is probably good anyway. The transition was actually pretty easy, we started by doing a milk cup instead of a bottle for the smaller feedings (10am and 4pm) and then one day I just swapped it out for all but the evening bottle. I think we'll eventually drop the milk at 10 and 4 anyway, once they transition to one nap and their schedule is consolidated a bit more.

SLEEP: Their sleep is still pretty good, but they've settled into a routine of waking up between 6 and 6:30 (generally on the early side) and falling asleep between 7:30 and 8pm (generally on the later side). It normally takes George longer to fall asleep at night, but he also sleeps later in the morning by often 20 minutes. We've had some nights in the past month where George has had some separation anxiety and has been crying when we leave the room. We've dealt with it in different ways, but luckily it always seems to be short-lived. While William has always been easy to go down for naps and for bed, George has had stints of crying at bedtime. I've never been able to track it back to anything specific (teething, being sick, etc.), but it could be any of these things, and again, since it always passes fairly quickly, I never get too concerned.

Naps aren't as long as they were a month or so ago (I think that probably had to do with them starting to walk), but they're still solid on 2 naps. Much of this month, William has been so cranky, I've had to put him down for his first nap by 8:30am and he falls right asleep. I'll keep George up for another 15 minutes or so and George still wakes up first after 45 minutes or an hour. In the afternoons, I've had to put them down on several occasions before their normal 2pm naptime and they're still going a minimum of 2 hours.

They've been waking up at night - or at least whining enough for us to go in there and give them a paci - but it's been often enough that I think we may need to stop going in there and let them figure out how to settle back down on their own. Since we've just transitioned away from bottles, I want to let them settle into that before I work on the night wake ups, and eventually trimming the pacis to help them get rid of them (as suggested by my pediatrician).

I've come up with a good way to get them ready for their naps though -- saying, 'do you want to go pick out your paci for your nap?' They practically run into the bedroom to pick out a paci from the bookshelf (I'm really trying to keep the pacis there so they only have them at naptime. Some days are more successful than others).

George sleeps on his side or on his tummy, oddly with his arms down by his side (seems like that would be uncomfortable). He's always right up against the corner of the crib. Nine times out of ten, he won't have his paci in when I check on him. William is still sometimes sprawled out but more often on his side, but always with his paci in.

PLAY: William and George are totally done with crawling and only walk, practically run, wherever they need to go. They still walk with their arms cocked up for balance but they (especially William) can get moving pretty fast. Sometimes I think William is just going to topple over, but he always manages to stay upright.

They're not eating as much sand now!
As expected, going to the park is a whole new adventure now and takes some serious energy. When we get home around 1pm each day, I just have to sit on the couch and watch them play until they go down for their nap. They've been going down without a peep right at 2pm (and sometimes before) so they must be just as tired as I am. They're moving so fast now, that I'm often running to keep one out of danger (running towards the swings, heading towards/under the see-saw when someone is on it, heading up the steps on the play structure) while still keeping an eye on the other. I've also gotten my first taste of toddler tantrums as George does not like me to hold his arm/hand especially when he's on a mission (heading towards the swings for example). He gets so mad!

While the toys they enjoy seem to change by the day/week, their current favorites include the red wagon which was part of a baby gift basket. They both love sitting in it, but not together, and neither likes pushing it, especially with the other one sitting in it. It's hilarious, one of them will just go climb in and sit there waiting for me to push them around. Unfortunately, more often than not it ends in tears, either with both of them fighting to be in it and not wanting the other one in there, or while trying to climb out.

William's new obsession is pushing things (though not the wagon). There was a little girl at the park last week who brought her doll stroller and I guess William is already familiar with the park rules that any toys that are brought to the park are fair game... he practically knocked her over and took off with that doll stroller. So I just ordered him a blue (gingham, which definitely wasn't displayed in the Amazon photo) stroller and baby boy doll. So far he loves pushing it around; it has a much better turning radius than the cart (which they hardly ever use now). George could care less about the stroller. William also pushes around a little frog push toy, as well as the popper push toy which I think I had the same one when I was little. It's so cool to witness them figure out how to use a toy the way it's supposed to be used. That frog push-toy has been around for months, and they would play with it, but one day William just got it out and started walking around pushing it.

They're both really into books, but George especially. Every couple of days it will be a different book that he'll want to carry around with him and if I don't let him take it to bed with him, he gets really mad. The problem is, if I let him take it to bed, he'll just read it and won't go to sleep...

George is still very much into the details and will find a tiny speck of something and pick it up to study it. It's so fun to see the wheels turning and for them to start to get things (point at the right animal for example) we've been saying for months.

Neither one is saying any real words, though William definitely has conversations with us. I expect him to get some words out soon. George is vocal too, but not as much as William.

No stats update until 15 months. George is officially in 12-18 month clothes so now I need to have separate drawers for each as William is still in 6-12. He could probably be bumped up in shirts, but the pants are waaayyy too long. Both are now in size 4 overnights, but still wear size 3 diapers during the day.

Mom: I started and finished this month exhausted. It's funny, I thought I'd have all this free time once I was done with the boys' birthday party and the Travelzoo project. Now I have a pile of stuff sitting on Dave's desk that I've been trying to deal with for the past week. After their party, and this past weekend, I've been taking 1.5 hour naps while they're napping -- I didn't even do that in the early days! I haven't been feeling good and I think my body is desperately trying to stave off whatever Dave and the boys were sick with last week. I think it's also adjusting to the energy required to run after these two all morning. I'm grateful they take good naps as I truly need that downtime.

This month I took over the New and Expectant Parents group for the Multiples club and held two meetings, both with good turnout. It's crazy to see these tiny babies and think back to W&G like that. Such a blur! I'll also be doing some mentor pairing to match up expecting moms with moms with young twins so they can shadow them and see what a 'day in the life' consists of. I'll try to match to various circumstances (LGBT parents, newborn twin + toddler, triplets, etc).

I've also started working with my co-chair for the committee I'm leading next year for Junior League. We need to present our goals for the year to the JLSF president in June, so we met up and planned everything out. It will be a decent amount of work throughout the year, but I'm thrilled to be working with someone who seems really on top of it and enthusiastic.

Book club book: All Joy and No Fun which was a different read as it focused on the parents instead of the kids, or more specifically the kids effect on the parents. It focused one each of the different phases of childhood as well as different aspects of parents' lives. I enjoyed it and it was especially interesting to think that it's only somewhat recently that the idea of 'childhood' came about. Not all that long ago kids were born to help parents (on the farm, etc.) and were definitely not catered too. And certainly parents weren't reading books about how best to raise their kids.

Date night: With Dave traveling and me out of town for one of our date nights, we only got out a few times last month. We tried a new place The Square, and the food was pretty good, though not amazing. The fries were excellent :) It was funny though, the place is run by the people from Sons and Daughters (highly recommended), where we went on Dave's birthday, and host recognized us from last month! Pretty impressive.

To my boys...

William. You've turned into such a happy, outgoing and smiley boy. You have so much fun playing independently and with your brother. You are so sweet - I caught you and George on video when I was watching you chat in bed before naptime. You took his paci and he got really sad and threw down his head. You walked over and gave him his paci back. Sorry, but I don't think he'd do the same for you (at least not when it comes to pacis). You're still such a chatterbox and basically have a language of your own. I can't wait until the words start forming. I have a feeling once you start, you won't stop. You love dogs and get so excited anytime you can get close to one or pet them. You're still our 'fruit man'. It's crazy how fast you inhale fruit and it's actually working out well for you and your brother, as he is pretty much over fruit right now so I just give his to you and everyone's happy! You have a new-found love of pushing things and have really taken to the toy stroller and your new baby that Daddy named Carlos. You also love hiding under the dining room table, playing in the tunnel and catching things with the net I found in the dollar bin at Target. You're the one-shoe bandit; inevitably you'll end up with one completely bare foot while the other still has the shoe and sock on. Daddy swears you're on the brink of a growth spurt, but I'm only noticing that hair is still growing like crazy. We may need to get you another haircut and it's only been 5 weeks! You've turned into quite the charmer and flash a big smile that can totally melt my heart. I just gave away your 'Heartbreaker' shirt, but I have a feeling you'll be fine in that department for years to come.

A rare moment when you wanted to cuddle
George. You've turned into quite the little stinker. You run away laughing when I try to get you dressed, shake your finger at me and giggle when I scold you and throw a mini-tantrum when I try to hold your hand to lead you somewhere. While your brother gave me trouble in the early days, I think you'll be the tougher toddler. You are so strong and oh so smart. You understand so much now, even if you choose not to do what I'm asking. You're still very tactile. Anytime I feed you something from a spoon, you need to put your finger in your mouth to feel it again. You love holding something at all times -- luckily you're over carrying around a spare diaper, but now it's often a sock, the small tube of sunscreen or if you had your way, a paci. You still eat quite a bit, though are matter-of-fact when you don't like something (as opposed to dramatic like your brother) and slyly drop it off your tray or put it on William's tray if you can reach. You're a much slower eater than William and even something as small as a raspberry, you like to enjoy in bites. Your size leads you to be rough with your brother sometimes and I'm still trying to help you understand how to be gentle with him. He's getting better at taking things back that you've grabbed from him though, so watch out. You still love playing with doors -- we couldn't get you away from the gate at the park yesterday -- but otherwise books are really your favorite thing at the moment. You like looking at the same books over and over again, and still love pushing buttons, specifically the buttons on the truck book.

always something in hand!

You both have given up the fight on hats and even try to put your own hat on when I ask you were at hat goes. Success!

Les Deux Princes Turn One

I'm finally sitting down to do this post. I don't really know where to begin. I had never really planned a big party before. Somehow bachelorette parties don't count and even the baby shower I threw was requested to be low-key so it definitely wasn't on the same level as a themed-out first birthday party. I was excited to plan the big day for the boys, but at a loss as to how to go about it all.

Luckily, I had two great resources. First, Ashley, who is amazing at party-planning and anything decor-related. She gave me plenty of good tips on how to get started and then as I got the process going, I ran ideas by her and she came back with great suggestions. Annie was also a good sounding board. Second, I posted on the GGMG forum: 'Need Advice from Party-Planning Moms'. I listed out a bunch of questions and got awesome suggestions.

After all is said and done, here are my tips:

  • Start planning as far in advance as you can - I literally had it on my to-do list back in January. At that point, I was only browsing for ideas
  • Make a timeline of what needs to be done and by when. Not only will this help prevent getting too stressed at the last minute, it will also help you avoid express shipping fees when you realize you don't have what you need and can't find it locally. I had my to-do list broken out by week, and as it got closer, would hopefully delete everything off of that week, otherwise move any outstanding items to the following week. For the last week before the party, I had it broken out by day. I ended up having plenty of time to finish everything up using this system.
  • Use pinterest to map out your ideas, then narrow it down to what makes sense.
  • Decide on a budget - I was shocked to learn how much certain things were (smash cakes were often quoted around $120 each), but having enough time to research allowed me to manage the budget more
  • Choose what you want to do yourself and what you want to pay to have done/made for you. Check in with this list as it gets closer as things on your to-do list may get moved to others as you run out of time. For me, there were certain things I spent a lot of time on that I could have paid to have done, but learned how to do them myself which I looked at as an investment. Other things I knew I could have attempted, but it wasn't worth the time

General party-planning:
  • Call around/get multiple quotes but decide where you want to spend your money. I found a small SF-based party rental company that was about half the price of Classic Party Rentals. After much debate, I settled on a cheaper one-woman operation for the smash cakes and cupcakes, and am glad I did. I didn't skimp on the photographer and the photos were totally worth it.
  • Party-inspiration sites: Hostess with the Mostess, Catch my Party, Kara's Party Ideas, Pinterest
  • Unique and affordable party decor: Save on Crafts (though shipping is oddly expensive)
  • Hire help! I hired a taskrabbit from 9am-3pm to help set up and take everything down, as well as pour drinks and keep food replenished. So worth it!
Lessons Learned:
  • Outdoor parties are really tough. This isn't exactly news and we knew April (or really any day in SF) could be hit-or-miss, and while we were so grateful it didn't rain that day (there were points the few days before where Saturday was listed at a 50% chance of rain...), it was unseasonably cold and VERY windy.
  • If you're having your event somewhere other than your home (where you potentially have endless time beforehand to set up), leave more time than you think it will take to set everything up. We were down to the wire, mostly because we had to set things up multiple times because the wind kept knocking everything over. 
  • Rethink how many decorations you're having, especially if the party is outside. Much of what I spent time on prepping and setting up, was lost in the wind.
  • Know that in most cases, you'll be the only one noticing all the little details. In some ways this is good, but following up on the last bullet, don't get sucked in to all the little things as most are too busy to notice.  
  • Do an online invite. I wouldn't trade my paper invitations for anything, I was in love with them, but realistically, they're not very effective in garnering RSVPs. I did 'regrets only' and I would say 1/4 to 1/3 of people did not RSVP but also didn't show up. Obviously I was bummed not to see these people, but you also end up spending more on food, alcohol, dessert, table rentals, etc., etc., when you're expecting a larger group than actually show up.
  • If you're having a photographer, even if you're so busy with the party, take 5 minutes to let them know who to get photos of and any specific shots to get and yes, make sure to get in some photos! Mine did an awesome job, despite little input from me. I'm glad I emailed her my ideas in advance, but I feel like I could've been more present for the 'photo shoot' before the guests arrived.
  • Catering is the way to go! We got food from La Boulange and it was a hit. Looked elegant and fit with the theme, tasted great and was easy to finish prepping/set out. Well-priced for what you get.
  • Be very clear about what you're expecting from others. I actually think I did well on this - Dave had 3 jobs, my mom knew what she was responsible for, etc.
  • Especially if you have little kids (and twins!), plan on having several people in charge of them. We were lucky and had Dave's mom, my mom and our nanny, who while none were 'on duty', I knew between the three of them, Dave, and other guests who wanted to play with them, they were in good hands. I found myself dealing with a lot of the party stuff so it was nice not to be worrying about them.
After the party was over, I was just wishing I could do a do-over. I had such a vision for the event and a good chunk of it didn't turn out quite as I had hoped because the wind was blowing everything away. This had a snowball effect and had me preoccupied for the first half of the party, just trying to keep stuff from blowing away, that I felt rushed to see everyone, spend time with the boys and just enjoy the day. Though I'm bummed I didn't get to display all my hard-work and fun ideas (I really enjoyed putting everything together and hadn't been that excited for anything in a long time!), Dave put things in perspective and reminded me three things that were also out of our control and could've changed the outcome of the day greatly:
1. The boys were in the BEST mood. They had a blast, were so happy and had so much fun playing with all their little friends. You never know what you're going to get (especially since William had a minor breakdown that morning), but we couldn't have asked for better moods.
2. They LOVED the smash cakes and the whole thing was just classic.
3. The bathtub I borrowed from my photographer friend was the cutest.thing.ever.

And a bonus, it was so much fun to look through all the photographs. In a way, it was just like a wedding day -- always goes by way too fast and there's no way to take it all in, talk to everyone, capture the moments. But the photos highlighted a lot of the little things, the interactions between people and best of all, the joy of the two little princes on their first birthday. So it was all worth it :)

More photos... way too hard to narrow it down so including WAY more than Dave would think appropriate for a blog post.