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)