23 Months



How is it that we're already at 23 months?? Just like last year at this time, I'm so excited for their birthday and their party so there's not really a sadness that they're growing up, but I guess it's always a bit surreal when you realize all these months have passed already.

Overall, it's been a MUCH better month. Last month was tough when the boys' preference for Dave seemed to hit an all-time high. It affected my patience and general attitude but this month things turned around and everything seemed better. We also made major progress with potty training, so while the beginning of the month was still a lot of work, I'm thrilled with where they are now. There was a rough period of sleep for them right after their 22nd month birthday, and then the last week has been really rough for George, serious separation anxiety.

Swimming hadn't been going well for the past month or so, so we considered our options and decided to switch teachers, which required switching days, which of course changes everything since my mom has to come with us. Teacher Ben is awesome and definitely made a difference with the boys. He's super engaging and the boys warmed up quickly to him. He also has good tips for us to help them do better. We'll see how it continues to go but are happy with the switch right now.

We started soccer this month, crazy, I know. You can actually start as young as 18 months. The first class was an absolute disaster. I hadn't been to the field before, but when we arrived, I realized it's like 30 feet from a big playground. Great for after class, not so great when you're trying to keep them on the field and away from the park. So there was that. Then it's the fact that there's two of them. George wanted to go see the little maintenance cart with tools on it and W wanted to head to the park. So it was me attempting to corral them back to the group. Trying to do any of the exercises? No way. It's a really well-run class and there are several teachers so the ratio is good, but the boys don't know the coaches yet so they're not good about going with them if one is trying to help me out. I told the coach after the first class that I didn't think it was a good fit for us, but he said it's like that for most people the first class. I agreed to come back and the second class was going well until the water break, when G saw a kid with his same snack cup so G wanted his, which I didn't bring and it was downhill from there. W just wanted to go to the park so both were just whining/crying and wanting to be carried. Ugh. We'll see if it improves.

They've moved up to the next class in MyGym, 23-30 months. I don't like the time -- 10:30 -- as it doesn't give much time to do anything before or after. Our old time, 9:15, was harder to get out the door for, but then we were done by 10:15 and could go to the Ferry Building park and have lunch, or other fun adventures. Now we mostly go to a park right by MyGym for them to play a little while and have lunch before needing to get home for nap. But the older class is great for them, MyGym is actually a really well-thought out program and the new activities are challenging, but still doable for them.


























The first week of March was the big weekend when preschool letters went out. We only applied to one, sort of randomly right before apps were due, as we had heard great things and it was only a few blocks from our new place. I was also well aware of how popular it is -- they got several hundred applications for the 3s room which turned out to have ZERO spots after siblings were enrolled... It was supposed to be easier for the 2s room as many wait until 3 for the added expense of preschool, but we thought with fewer applicants, we'd have a better chance. Still didn't help, they didn't get in. Back in December when I applied, I had the mindset of 'if they get in, great; if they don't, oh well'. Well, I feel like they've really grown up in the last 3-4 months and now I think they'd really benefit from 2 mornings a week of school. There aren't a lot of preschools that take two-year-olds and I don't want to send them anywhere just to send them, so at this point we don't have any plans for them to go to school next year. Maybe I'll get motivated to see what our options are at this point, but I just haven't had the time.

We've gotten a lot of time with Dedee, Papa and our cousins this month too.






Highlights from the month:
Potty-trained!

New this month:
Les deux can...
Say 5-word sentences
Use some prepositions now in their sentences
Say their last name, well, they can say 'McDowell', not sure they get what a last name is
Sing several songs
Go down the big slides at Koret playground and Fairyland
Carry their plates to the table
Build a tower with the boxes (one that goes inside the other for storage) and understand how the bigger one needs to go on the bottom

G can...
(I know he did new things this month but nothing specific I noted down)

W can...
Pull his pants up

EAT: Not too much to report in this category. William's fish allergy is documented here.

In general, W seems to be eating more than normal this month. He eats more at breakfast and dinner, or maybe it's just that G hasn't really eaten dinner the last few nights. Regardless, W loves oatmeal and both have been on a pancake kick. I've started making smoothies again and am loving my new Vitamix. I literally throw anything and everything in there since it purees it so smooth -- frozen peas and carrots, edamamae and then all the other stuff -- tofu, avocado, honey, spinach, chia seeds, fruit, yogurt and juice. I'm not sure if it's just that they're still 'new' again, but they've been loving them. I've tasted them... they're okay, but not something I'd be excited to drink every day.

One thing that's annoying is that especially in the morning, they're grazers. They only eat a little bit when Dave sits with them, then they want to play. I love having our home so open, but it makes it difficult to separate playtime with eating. We're trying to avoid food in the other room so it's not like they're walking around with it, but they have been up and down at breakfast, sometimes finishing everything, but other times not eating much more. It makes it difficult to actually clean up after a meal.

W has been on a sandwich kick lately and is always asking for sandwiches for lunch. We've been eating a bit more on the go, otherwise having sandwiches or quesadillas when at home. They're still eating berries obsessively. Bananas occasionally, though that's picking up again too.

Dinner has been been okay, but as mentioned, G has completely skipped dinner several nights. We stopped giving a snack after naptime when we were adjusting them for the time change and noticed it helped them eat more at dinner and they haven't even been asking for anything when they wake up from nap. Usually G will at least have some milk even if he doesn't eat and he's still eating so much during the day that I'm not too worried about it. They've been okay at dinner, there has been some food throwing here and there and when I ask the perpetrator, 'do we throw food??', they (either) always says, 'No, throw ball'...

I was expecting it to be difficult to get them off of juice after the potty training but they quickly forgot about it. Sometimes they'll ask for it in the morning if they see us having some and I'll give them a little watered down which seems to satisfy them.

We've slowly been eating out more with them again and it's gone pretty well. I got a small pack of Tegu magnetic blocks and they've been great for restaurants. Obviously we're still doing our eat-as-fast-as-you-can thing, but I'll take it. It's still good practice for them.

Schedule:
6:15-6:45ish up (it's been on the later side, occasionally until 7am or even later)
7:00 breakfast (right when they wake up; still eating it in two different seatings, usually second around 8:30)
out of the house for an activity by 10:30 -- they're wanting to play at home more
Home by noon for lunch (or have it while we're out and home by 12:45)
1:30 or so W down for a nap (also had some 3+ but lately has been 2-2.5)
2-2:30 G down for a nap (such a range this month, some 3 hours, many 1.5 hour)
(no longer doing a snack after nap)
6pm dinner
bath, stories
7-7:20pm in bed
Usually asleep by 8 but lately it's been almost 9pm for G

SLEEP:
I always have to be careful when I time the writing of certain parts of the posts. I'm sure it came through a bit last month, but it was it was a tough month in general. It's been a tough week sleep-wise and Saturday night was especially bad, but I smartly waited until later to write this.

It's the same story every month. For some reason or another (teething, sickness, anything-else-I-can't-figure-out), there's usually a week of not-great sleep. Sometimes this means that naps are shorter than normal, or sometimes it's worse, and bedtime is tough. Then usually there is a week or so of great naps -- 3+ hours for both of them and I get so much done. Then there's the week of on and off, maybe one does better than the other.

This month was no different, but looking back, it seems like G had a tough few nights at the end of February -- clingy, coming into our room several times and sleeping on the rug next to my bed. But then things quickly turned around and there were a lot of great naps. In fact, the week before daylight savings, we put them to bed 10 minutes earlier each night so that by the time it was daylight savings, they'd be back to their old bedtime. It worked surprisingly well. They were even going down for naps earlier naturally and sleeping a long time. The first couple nights after daylight savings still weren't great though, but I think that had more to do with the fact that we had been gone in Vegas and both were dealing with it in their own ways. A few days later they adjusted well.

But for the last week/almost 2 weeks, G has had a really tough time at both naps and bedtime. Basically, following the old routine of us leaving a few books in his bed after reading a bunch together, and saying goodnight, we leave the room. He used to be fine, sometimes would whine a bit, but could easily be left to settle down, read and eventually fall asleep. Not this past week. If we leave him, he immediately starts screaming, and even before putting him down, there's a lot of 'no mommy leave', 'mommy sit down', 'mama hold', 'chair', etc. My attempts to leave him have woken up W several days which meant no more nap for W and none at all for G.So I changed my approach and held him, which meant me losing precious time for myself since even though he falls asleep within minutes of me holding him, I can't attempt to put him in the crib too soon or we'll go back through the same list, 'mommy chair, sit down', etc.

In general, naps have been easier. I just sit with him for half an hour, usually with my phone so in a way I can relax for a bit too. Then when I put him down and I have less time to clean up and do my other stuff, at least I feel like I've had a bit of a break.

Bedtime has been a different story. We can't leave G screaming as he will not stop. He's so stubborn he literally would cry all night. That means W won't fall asleep. If W isn't asleep, it makes it really hard to be in there holding G. Which means that bedtime is a 2-man job. One rubbing W's back to settle him down, and the other sitting with G in the chair. Unlike naptime when G will fall asleep pretty quickly and can be transferred in a reasonable time, it seems like the wait has to be much longer at bedtime. Even after all this, we've had several nights where he's woken up in the middle of the night and even sitting in the chair won't put him back to sleep. He's ended up on our rug or in bed. Oddly, he's done fine when Dave and I aren't home and it's just Jessica, which makes me think nothing is truly wrong.

I'm torn in what to do. Usually I'm more of a cry-it-out as it's worked well for us in the past. I believe that some of that is a natural release and going in too soon just creates a vicious cycle. This past week seems to be different than that though. I want to be there for him, but Dave and I were both losing our patience the other night. We're just hoping that like has always happened in the past, it quickly ends and I'm sure we'll be dealing with some new sleep disturbance again in a few weeks. Since I started writing this post a week ago, luckily things have improved a bit. We've now been able to put G in his bed awake (sometimes) and just sit in the chair until he's asleep. That's a big improvement in my book.

I guess the good news is with this poor sleep, we have gotten some late mornings, sleeping in until 7:30, one morning (after that especially bad night) even until 8:15! Though it's always the most recent that sticks in my mind, I do recall a great week of looong naps for both of them that was just the best. Everyone was happier!

PLAY: I know I said it last month, but they're really playing more and more together now. Lots of sound effects, tons of talking, some fighting over certain toys of course. Still some bossiness on G's part...'No Wawee farm!' It's like, who cares if he wants to take the farm down, you don't have to play with it!


It's not just at home either, they're much more likely to be playing together, or at least sitting right next to each other at the park now too. Up until recently, they'd be at different ends of the playground, or one in the sand, the other on the slide. They're both very into sand now, or more specifically, into their diggers. They can sit forever using the little digger to scoop sand in and out. It's so funny to hear them at the park now, with all their words, which I talk about more below. They really are little people picking everything up. Some of the most fun moments at this stage are seeing them together at the park. They are starting to do their own little games, laughing so hard. These are the first signs of the true best friends that I always hoped my twins would be.



 

They certainly have favorite toys right now that seem to consume most of their time. I need to do a favorites post because there are such clear hits, but the brief breakdown is: duplo legos (especially the train), Thomas train set, play kitchen and diggers. I've gotten them in a decent routine of cleaning up one batch of toys before taking out the next so that helps, especially as we get into toys with so many pieces.



Books are still a big part of our day and not just before naps and bedtime. We have several books in the bathroom, then they like to read downstairs on the couch, upstairs in the chair; it's pretty constant.
Current favorites are Train!, Hop Hop and Tip Tip Dig Dig. They also like Mickey Mouse sound books, any wheels on the bus books and most books with diggers. They've always had good focus with books (at least per my mom ;) but there has been a noticeable shift in their attention in the past month or so. I just swapped out a bunch of books and they can definitely focus on books with many more words than the baby books. Now it's full stories that they'll sit and listen to.

While we still get out of the house every day, they really like playing at home so it takes some encouragement to get them out. Once they're out, they're really independent and generally do pretty well interacting with other kids too. Much of the time I'm just sitting there, and could practically bring a book, but they're probably still to young for that.

We've been taking full advantage of the learning tower and have been doing more cooking together. G seems to have more patience for it and always wants to be the one with the spoon, measuring cup, etc. W is interested for a bit. Usually we make muffins, pancakes, a breakfast bake, or they even help me with dinner (usually the one who doesn't nap well and I run out of time). Dave uses the tower in the mornings and lets them drink their smoothies on there while he makes breakfast. They also get to stand in it to wash hands.


 We started work on the backyard in the middle of March and the boys have been into it, but not as obsessed as I thought they'd be. Seeing all the big trucks is their favorite though.




TALK: Again, lots of new words this month but the biggest change is that they're now able to vocalize a lot of the phrases I've been suggesting for months as far as dealing with frustration or manners. I can hardly believe it when I hear W saying, 'No please' to the kid at the park trying to take his lunch. Or G saying, 'scuz me' to go down the slide or 'MOVE please' when a kid kept bumping him on another ride-on toy. Some of the others they tend to use more with each other versus random kids, but they're getting there. W especially is vocalizing so much more. He'll say, 'I use it!' if G tries to take something or 'No like it!' which is what I tell him to tell G ('I don't like it') when he's doing something to annoy him like putting his foot on W's in the car seats. There's also a lot of 'No fank you' when they don't want something or if the other is trying to get them to do something they don't want to do.

They're also repeating a lot so luckily the worst they've said is 'Geez Louise' or 'Gosh darn it!' They really do pick up everything though and start using the words on their own too. 'Oopsie' is a favorite. G now knows to say 'Bless you Mama' after I sneeze, sometimes it takes some prompting. W hasn't picked up on it yet.

They're starting to get tone too. For example, when they keep asking for something and I repeat no, then 'The answer is NO". They both enunciate and say, 'YES, answer YES!' :)

I realized this month that we rarely refer to them as twins and they probably don't even know the word. So when they had on matching shoes or the same hat, I started saying, 'you're dressed alike, you're twins!' Now they say it, but again, only when they have something that's the same (which is rare). Then one will say, 'Twins!' and the other will say it back. It's so funny that they're only sort of figuring this out now. Side note: when looking at photos of the two of them, they will get confused as to who is who. G will pick out W as himself sometimes and the same with W.

Songs are new this month and in addition to 'Tick, tock, tick, tock, I'm a little cuckoo clock', they sing 'no more monkeys jumping on the bed' and 'twinkle twinkle little star'. I've also been teaching them 'Happy Birthday' but so far only get 'Happy Wawee' or 'Happy Georgie'.

They're both doing much better with please and thank yous by actually saying them, though I feel like I'm prompting them most of the time, and seemingly more than I was last month. Just comparing them to what I wrote last month, they've improved with words like 'potty' and no longer say 'pobby'. G says 'yesh' for 'yes' whereas W says 'dess'. They're saying more and more complete sentences, well, minus the prepositions. The few times I've repeated back parts of the sentence with a preposition, G has repeated correctly, but all parts aren't coming together quite yet. Still a lot of 'No' for the negative, like 'no mommy leave'. They've moved on to 5-word sentences this month.


W's frustrations tend to come out more when he's too impatient to do something, as opposed to not being able to communicate. He's been doing these instant-mini-tantrums lately where he'll get upset immediately for things like his buddy blanket being stuck, or he can't open a toy. Basically things that if he took a few seconds to sit down and try, he'd be able to do fine, but he just freaks out. I just try to deal with it by walking him through the solution and he instantly calms down.

G's tantrums also usually aren't related to lack of vocabulary but instead come out when he doesn't get his way. Usually when W has something that he wants and W won't give in. Or if W has chosen a book first but G wants his book read first, this will cause a tantrum. And it's a new one this month. G gets SO mad, clenches his fists, closes his eyes and makes his body really stiff with an 'Ahhhhhhh!!!!' It's hard to keep myself from laughing as he really is just so mad.

Biting update: Doing MUCH better here. I think we had mabye a bite or two the whole month, but that was when they were fighting and no one was in the room. Otherwise usually I can talk W though how to deal with it another way. His language is improving and I'm impressed with all he can get out. Even if G doesn't always listen, I think it still helps him get enough frustration out.

As a side note, we went through a big pushing phase for a couple weeks this month and it was usually W as the instigator. He usually did it as a form of play, while laughing, versus when he was mad, frustrated or upset. If it was when he was joking around, G would usually laugh and play too, though I always reprimanded. G played the victim in times when W did it out of frustration. This has calmed down a bit in the past few weeks.

POTTY TRAINING: It's now been about 5 weeks of potty training and I'm happy to say, we're in a great place. I still expect some regression here or there, but G has continued to do well and W has improved greatly with little resistance about going to the potty. I would consider them 'potty trained' now, though obviously there are still accidents here and there.

future underwear model :)

























I don't expect future updates to be this lengthy, but it was a big first month.

Wins:
  • No problem pooping in the potty, even for W who seems to be a bit constipated. G is on his standard 3-4 times a day, the same times he went in a diaper. W has gotten into a similar rhythm the past two weeks as well.
  • G has not gone #2 in his diaper (for naps and overnight) since we started potty training. Since several accidents in his underwear the first week of potty training, he's had zero poop accidents. He's even told Dave several times when they've been in public bathrooms that he's had to go poop and he's gone without a problem (I haven't had the pleasure of this yet).
  • G is pretty self sufficient. If he doesn't have underwear on, there have been several times I've walked into the bathroom with him flushing his poop away. He's sat down, gone, poured it in and flushed. Now he just needs to learn to fully pull up and down his pants...
  • Neither is scared of public potties whatsoever, including loud flushes
  • Good at dumping the little potties in the big... except for that one time that it somehow completely flipped out of W's hands and poop and pee went everywhere. So fun.
  • Have had success moving the little potties from the main rooms back into the bathroom. They know to run in when they need to go.
  • We're done with the little potette potty. It wasn't fun to carry that thing around and it seemed like whenever they were peeing using it, the pee was spraying straight out as public potties don't have a toilet seat that wrap all the way around so it would spray through the opening. What's awesome now, is that when we're out, they stand to pee 100% of the time. I always give them a choice but they always want to stand. I hold them up over the potty (their knees are close to touching under the toilet seat) and they pee no problem and with fine aim, without using their hands. Dave has just held G when he has to poop.
  • They can pee anywhere! Okay, so I'm sure not everyone follows this mentality, but when my other option is to somehow grab both twins and RUN for the nearest bathroom (which may be nonexistent anyway), this is awesome. When we're at a park that doesn't have a bathroom, I take them to a private corner among plants or grass, pull down their pants and tilt them over. Finished in seconds! I never do this if there is a bathroom around as I don't want them to think they can go anywhere. For example, Dave and I sort of debated about the backyard, why not just let them pee in the bushes, but we decided that was a slippery slope, at least for now, and that they need to keep going in the potty.
  • It made a huge difference for W once he started peeing standing up. I'd say that was the turning point for him when he came around about 2 weeks in to potty training.
  • Though sometimes they still ask for stickers, I don't feel like rewarding them that way (which we only did randomly anyway, mostly for #2) had any negative impact. They'll go fine without stickers too.
  • Speaking of stickers, sometimes G really does want them and gets competitive with W. W will say he has to go poop and goes and sits on the potty. G knows W will get stickers so he says he has to go too. TMI, but he'll squeeze out the littlest thing possible just to get stickers.
  • Along the same lines, they love to look at each others and compare, 'big poop!' or 'just a little bit'.
  • It's worked well to have their animals go first. We haven't been doing this as much lately, but definitely a few weeks ago when W was still have some trouble, it helped.
  • G is getting much more comfortable going with other people. Last week at church, he went #1 and #2 with the lady there. W didn't go at all, but went with us before and after so perhaps he didn't have to go (doesn't have to go as much as G), but in general I don't think W is quite there yet with strangers.
  • Neither ever 'waited' for a diaper to go poop, though after the initial week of potty training, W had regressed and wasn't pooping on the potty. He wasn't really saving it for diapers, but around 10pm, several nights in a row, we'd have to go in and change him. This has completely changed. He goes several times a day in the potty and since they both tend to go before nap, the last few days he's told me he's had to go potty when I've tried to put on his diaper, and he goes #2 in the potty. He knows he could go in his diaper but doesn't want to.
  • I feel like we've been really luckily, it's rare we need to sit in the bathroom and wait for them to go. I read a lot about that how sometimes you can be in there for an hour waiting for them to go. Sometimes we'll have to wait a few minutes for #2 to come, but otherwise it's in and out (which is still a process with two of them).
  • G is dry most days after nap, W is usually wet, but just a little wet. Their nighttime diapers aren't as wet as before either. It's amazing how their body naturally learns this (though we don't plan to go diaper-free while sleeping for a while)
  • TMI, but G got diarrhea at the park the other day and actually told Jessica and held it until he got to the bathroom. He did the same at bedtime, asking Dave to take off his diaper so he could go potty. Luckily it seemed to clear up after that.

Room for improvement:
  • They still can't pull down their pants totally on their own which really means they can't go on their own unless they don't have anything on.
  • It is extremely rare for them to have an accident when we're home and it's usually when they're fully clothed. We continue to take their pants off when home, but with so many people in and out of our house, try to keep them in underwear. When we're home, they just say, 'potty!' and run into the bathroom, then I come to help with their underwear. When we're out, it's me telling them when to go. They've improved greatly here since they'll now usually go without fighting me since I tell them if they don't try, then we need to leave. We go to the potty when we leave the house, and depending on how far away the place is that we're going, when we get there, perhaps once when we're there and before we leave to come home. They almost always go when I take them, but when we're out, they're still too distracted to stop what they're doing and tell me they need to go.
  • While full accidents that go through to their pants are rare, I would say on average, once per day or so one of them has a pee half-accident as I call it. They wear these nice thick training underwear from Hanna Andersson which is great for protecting clothes. At first I wanted them underwear-free so they could really feel when they had an accident, but after a day or so of training, they had already learned that feeling. So sometimes they seem to let a little bit out, but not enough for a full accident. We'll see if this continues or if it's just part of the learning. I don't plan on moving them to thinner underwear for a bit so for now it seems to be okay.
  • There was some (but not total) regression when Dave and I were away for the weekend at the beginning of March. My mom thought it was their way of dealing with us being gone. 
  • When we're at home and a lot is going on, like when the cousins were over to play, they get distracted and don't want to go when we ask and don't tell us when they have to go. Not full accidents
  • 'Aiming down'. Of course it's when I don't want to take their pants all the way off that they end up peeing on them. This happens often when they're in their PJs and then say they need to potty. Half the time they end up with new bottoms on.
Overall, we're in a great place. I'm not saying it's easy, but after the initial training period (which as my previous posts stated, seemed to be more difficult for all the surrounding reasons - changes in eating, poor sleep, general fussiness), it's not nearly as hard as people have made it out to be. I heard a lot of, 'you'll need to know where every bathroom in the city is' or pictured trying to make it to the bathroom with two. A few weeks ago, when W was still a bit resistant to pooping in the potty, he was standing on the play structure and started saying 'potty!!!'. I had to grab him, get G and run outside of the park to the bathroom, asking W to hold it though I already smelled something. I put G down in time for him to find a pile of dirt to start rolling around in while I took W in to see he had pooped in his pants. Luckily it was pretty easy to clean up and didn't even require changing his underwear amazingly enough, but that's been the one episode of that. Though I want them to be able to take a break when they're playing and tell me they need to go, for now, just taking them to the bathroom every hour or so is working fine for us and both seem to be able to control their poop more. It's been so nice to be diaper-free and now that they stand to pee, it really does seem to be a lot easier than diapers.

Though it took W a few weeks to adjust, he's doing great. Both Dave and I feel very confident in our decision to start potty training so young. Though I hadn't realized it initially, G was definitely ready and took to it quickly. I don't know if it's the natural pressure that comes from G doing it, but W seems to have totally moved on from his fears or resistance and I don't think it's anything Dave or I did.

Looking back, for us it was a tough two weeks to start. It was really only a day of them learning the feeling of going, but the biggest challenge was they couldn't tell us they had to go when they were out, but they (or sometimes just W) didn't want to go when we asked either, which obviously leads to accidents. Pushing through has made all the difference. W naturally came around (perhaps because of W?) and I don't feel like we pushed him too hard. There was a clear shift about two weeks in it's only gotten better since then. I'm sure everyone's experience is different, but I'm so glad we did it how we did; it's been totally worth it.

Oh, and how is it that kids immediately learn the power of the word 'potty', even at bedtime?? With twins it's even worse. One says they have to go and of course the other does. And they're already at the point where they don't want to go in their diapers, even at night (of course once they're asleep, they don't have much of a choice).



STATS: One more month until the big 2-year appointment. G seems to be slimming down slightly and W is definitely growing. I can't wait to see how big they are now!

MOM: It's been a bit of a tedious month as my recent post described. Just a lot of extra time spent chasing up on stuff that wasn't done right the first time. In the scheme of things, it's nothing big though and as I see it coming together a bit more, it makes it all worth it.

The biggest difference of the last month is that the boys have come around a bit and aren't only wanting Daddy all the time. I would still say he's number one, but they ask for me enough that it's changed everything. My patience with them has been so much better. I'm not sure what changed; I doubt it was just a phase as it seems like they've always preferred him, but whatever it was, it was significant enough that it's sort of reset the tone around here for the better for me.

It's been a tough couple of weeks with G's separation anxiety and neediness around naps and bedtime and I've had bad luck the past few days with W waking up shortly after I put G down in his bed (after holding him for maybe 30 mins). It's left very little break, if any, during naptime. Obviously I always get a break when Jessica is here, and have been getting a workout in, but I feel like a lot of that time is still spent with them, either dealing with a tough transition when she arrives, or reading them books before bedtime when they just want Dave or I. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind this, and like reading to them at bedtime, but I'm not very productive during the day, so have wound up staying up late just getting through a few things on my to-do list.

Junior League will be wrapping up in May and now is the time to decide what I want to do next. I just attended the Placement Fair and have a few ideas but not a clear direction. While may people want something low commitment and super flexible, one reason I'm active in JLSF is to have a social outlet so I want to make sure I'm choosing something that has frequent enough meetings and not too much done through email or phone calls.

I hadn't been getting good turnout at the twin support group that I lead, partly because we'd had a hiatus over the holidays and then I had to switch the day and time. Anyway, it was annoying to coordinate everything with my mom and then have no one, or one person come. I ended up sending out a survey for feedback and it seems to have worked. The last two have had at least 5 people come (ideal size is like 4-8). While I do enjoy leading the group, I want to make it worth my time and I felt like I had to discreetly threaten to hold them less frequently to get people to show up. I hope it keeps up as people who come always seem to get a ton out of it, but the group isn't very active online so I feel like it takes a lot to get someone to come for the first time.

Dave and I had a fun weekend in Vegas and my parents did really well with the boys. There was a bit of regression in the potty department, but they quickly got back on track. It was fun to get dressed up, actually put full make up on and be kid-free for a bit.

I actually read a fun book last month, The Hypnotist's Love Story and enjoyed it. It was fun to have something I liked enough to want to read at naptime (the book club books are a bit more forced). I enjoy reading so much but there is always so much other stuff to do. Maybe when all this house stuff is done and we're through the boys' birthday...

Parenting book club: We're reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I haven't made it to far but it's highly recommended so looking forward to it. We meet at the beginning of April and we've only had one meeting so far this year and it turned out to be a small group so I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.

Date night: We checked out Cockscomb a few weeks ago, a new spot in our old 'hood. Definitely worth the wait for a res, everything was excellent. We also enjoyed Beso last week. It's a Spanish restaurant in the Castro, where we rarely go. It was authentic (both in food and all the staff seemed to be Spanish as well).

Looking forward to: Easter and of course the boys' birthday. They're at such a great age now when they're starting to understand this stuff. We've already been hiding eggs with little snacks in them and they love it. They're obsessed with the book Hop Hop that my mom got so it will be fun to do some official Easter egg hunts. We'll spend the morning after church at Elizabeth's parents' house.

I'm so excited for the boys' birthday, or more specifically, their party. They're obsessed with diggers (still) so we're doing a construction party which will also be a sort of housewarming party. I have tons of ideas and my dad should be a big help with a bunch of stuff he already has as well as his friends at Home Depot. Really excited to be in our new backyard, which *should* be done well in advance of the party.

To my boys...



It's been so much fun to watch you guys play more and more together. You're now at the point that you are starting to make up little games and actually talk, make noises while playing together and not just next to each other. Despite a short-lived pushing phase a few weeks ago, you generally get along very well, though your individual personalities certainly shine through when dealing with each other (more details below). The most fun is when you find something silly to do and both of you seem to have an inside joke about it. One of you was playing on the spinner at the park one day and the other came over. I'm not sure who started it, but one fell off (purposely) and fell on the ground laughing. It turned into your own little game with both of you getting on, falling off and laughing and laughing. I love to watch that.

You're almost two and I feel like I should be sad that you're growing up, but I really love how grown up you both are. It makes me so proud the things you're able to do yourself and how you're able to communicate. I love seeing you both become little people figuring everything out.



Other fun notes from the month:
  • You're both so quiet in the car now! It's strange. You never hated the car, but were never that quiet either. Then W went through that phase in Florida where he cried most times we were driving. But now, total silence. I keep thinking you guys are sleeping but you're not!
  • There was a weird period where you both didn't want to get out of the car, you both just wanted to sit in the carseat, buckled in, in the garage and would freak out when I would take you out.
  • I'm in awe of your fearlessness -- both of you! You've loved going down the huge slides at Fairyland and Koret in Golden Gate Park.
  • Family swim on the weekends has been a nice way for you to get extra time in the water and have it be purely fun (though I always try to get some submersions in)
  • I've been so impressed that you've made it through church with no accidents and even actually gone with the ladies several times. You've also been pretty good about the separation anxiety as well.
  • Not sure what clicked but G started being sweeter to me at the beginning of March and quickly W followed suit -- that's what's  hard with twins, when one wants something, they both do, but I guess sometimes that can work to my advantage.
  • It was crazy what a good sleep week you guys had heading into daylight savings. Early and long naps, going to bed a little past 6 without a problem. Too bad it didn't seem to translate to the next week...
  • You both love the pink potty at music class and get so excited to go in it.
  • You've both been loving to twirl -- around the kitchen, around the family room, etc. Twirling around until you're dizzy.
  • I'm not sure how I started it, but I did a pat, rub, scratch on their back and asked them which one they like best (this is when they're going to sleep). Just like Daddy, both like to have their back scratches, but William has especially taken to it. The other day George asked me to 'paaatt, ruuuub, skach' :) 
  • You (G in particular) love getting a roll of wrapping paper out of the closet and pretending it's a vacuum
  • You guys have a joke with Daddy where he says 'Ah-ha-ah' and you both laugh and say, 'ah-ha-ah'
  • You love when I do Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum up the stairs in a scary voice
  • I can't believe I actually let both of you out at the store to let you use the little shopping carts... 

Bringing Mommy flowers
George. You are so determined with just about everything. Now over a month into potty training, I can't believe how well you're doing. Something really seemed to click and I think if we took the diapers away during nap, you'd be totally fine. As it is, we end up using the same diaper for days on end since it's always dry when you wake up. While you actually haven't been quite as bossy with W this month, you're still constantly preoccupied with him. It's always a constant, 'Georgie xyz, no Wawee xyz'. Even when W is asleep in the other room, you're still worried about him, saying,' Georgie cook with Mommy, no Wawee cook'. It does start to get on my nerves sometimes, it's like, just let it go! Worry about yourself! Another common phrase is 'Georgie first, Wawee second'. But the twin relationship is obviously very complicated so you're probably just working through some of that.








Other G-notes:
  • You're such a rule follower (well, most of the time) and love to repeat phrases we've told you like, 'Hold on tight', 'Only Mommy Daddy move, no Georgie move' (re: the learning tower). Also applied when working in your play kitchen 'hot, stay back, don't touch', etc.
  • I was amazed when one day you went to get your shoes out and as you're pulling out your 'mocs' -- moccasins -- you say to yourself, 'Georgie mocs 8, Wawee 7'... Though we never taught him, somehow he knew that he wears the size 8s, which are clearly marked in the shoe.
  • You prefer the car undies
  • When pantless, you will run, poop and dump all on your own. Don't worry, I'll figure it out at some stage of this, usually the dumping, and finish cleanup.
  • You're so motivated and to flush once more or get another sticker, you'll sit down and squeeze out one more drop
  • There have been more than a few instances this month when you've gotten so mad, you hold your fists tight, body stiff and scream.
  • You're very polite with your words and when another kid was bumping you at the park, you said, 'No fank you, move please!'
  • When W bumped his head and I said, ‘poor William’, you came over and said, ‘poor George’ in a sad voice and a fake cry
  • When I told W that he was going to the doctor and you would stay with Dedee, you got mad, but then something clicked and you got sad and said, 'ear hurts, ear hurts' (the last time we went to the doctor was for when I thought was an ear infection for G, nothing turned out to be wrong).
  • You've had an odd regression with counting. Last month you were getting to 5 consistently and then some, now you do 'one, two, eight, nine'
  • You love running up the hill and down to the grass and baseball field at the Laurel Hill park
  • We had a great afternoon this month when the weather was beautiful and we were sitting in the backyard while you and W played. Dad and I each had a drink so you demanded your milk and once you had it, wouldn't stop, 'cheers!'-ing us. Very fitting. 


William.
I feel like I was tough on you last month, my patience was short and your preference for Daddy was wearing on me. Luckily things turned around this month and though you've had some really whiny mornings, I think in general we've been a much better team. I'm so proud of you for how you've progressed with potty training, plus it was you who decided you didn't want to sit down to pee which in turn got G to go standing up and now things are easier for everyone. I really admire how you're able to deal with your brother's preoccupation of what you're doing at all times. Many times you just ignore it. If he wants what you have, sometimes you hand it over, but in a nonchalant way. Like you didn't really want it anyway. Other times you really stand up for yourself and are so good at using your words, 'No like it!', 'No fank you!', 'I use it!'. It really fires G up, but it's good that you can challenge him.

























Other W-notes:
  • You love playing with big kids which unfortunately has mostly turned into annoying them
  • We never really used a monitor so I haven't had the pleasure of watching you the moment you fall asleep, but this month I caught you drifting off and saw that you actually fall asleep sitting up sometimes. Didn't catch the rest of it but I guess you eventually topple over.
  • One day you woke up from nap in an especially bad mood and threw a fit all the way to music class, 'no music!' By the time you left, you were saying, 'more music, no go home'.
  • G really took to the choices thing, where I'd give him 2 choices that would work for me instead of the thing he wanted. You don't go along with this at all. You just keep asking for the one thing you want.
  • You prefer the robot or airplane undies. Though it seems like some of them got stretched out by G's thighs and now completely fall off you if you're not wearing pants. I guess we needed to have some that only you wear!
  • You're very good with the 'no please!' which is interchangeable with 'no thank you' in your book and use it with other kids when they do something to you that you don't like
  • You went through a phrase when you got to tantrums very quickly. Like one thing would go wrong and that would be it. We've been talking you through it more lately and it seems to have helped.
  • One night you were awful at dinner but kept asking for fruit. I said you had to try your dinner if you wanted fruit so you put a bunch of edamame in your mouth and discreetly (though not really), let them fall into the pocket of your bib. Uh, not fooling anyone dude!
  • You have little conversations with us, straight face and serious but it’s the funniest thing!
  • You impressed me so much at MyGym, able to do all the games with the cone that some of the bigger kids weren't even able to do. You have excellent balance and coordination.
Next stop, TWO!




Two Steps Forward, One Back

I feel like I've been very patient throughout the prep for the move, the move, the work done on the house, waiting for furniture, etc. There have been times Dave has been ready to throw in the towel, but I've stayed calm and reminded him that it's not that bad and we're so close to being done.

Well, several weeks ago, I reached my breaking point. We had waited 3 months for the upstairs couch to arrive (we had no furniture in that room since the couch from Brannan Street was downstairs). I was so excited when it was set to be delivered. It was bad timing all around. About a week into potty training so I was already stressed. We were running late from Bay Area Discovery Museum, of course there was an accident just before the Golden Gate Bridge and the delivery truck was waiting for us when we got home. They took the couch up to the front door (so up one flight of steps) and the guy warned me that he had a similar couch that he couldn't get in at our neighbor's house... I wasn't worried yet, give it a try. They wiggled it, tried standing it up. They knew what they were doing and luckily my dad was there too, suggesting other ideas. After numerous dings in the walls on the porch, it was determined it was not going through. We looked at other entry options, nothing would work. I was freaking out, what were we going to to?? The delivery guy was pretty nonchalant and said, 'it's no problem. It's not custom so it can be returned and the money will go back on your card in 3-5 days'. Great. And what do I do in the meantime about a couch? Everything takes at least 2 months and we are ready to be settled. He suggested a sectional, or a smaller couch. For the room and what we had already purchased, neither was an option. Not to mention that a sectional would cost twice as much as the couch we bought. So they said that maybe it could be hoisted through the window. At this point I had no idea what to do and didn't want the couch sitting in our garage and us parking on the street for several weeks, and even worse, having to schedule them to come pick it up again which would take several weeks. So they took it away.

In the end, I met with several movers who could hoist it in, but it was clear we'd need a window installer to come and professionally remove the windows and then put them back in once the couch was in. The windows that pop out weren't big enough for the couch to come through. After some debate, Dave and I decided that it was worth the cost to just get the couch in. So I scheduled to have the couch re-delivered (for free thankfully!) and set up the mover and window installer. I can't believe it, but it all went off without a hitch and the whole thing was done in 45 minutes. It probably took them 2 minutes to lift the couch in. Crazy!

There have been plenty of other moments in the past few months where we're so close, but then so far away. I want to say that none of this stuff is that important in the scheme of things. It sounds so silly to get stressed out by this stuff, but that doesn't mean it doesn't eventually get to you. This process has dragged on a bit and we're so looking forward to being all set up and enjoying it. It seems like every time we take two steps forward, it's one step back:
  • We ordered shades for the two big windows in the front and the french doors in the boys' room. It was a pretty quick process, about three weeks to make and then a week to ship, though additional time to get an appointment to get installed. I got word that the shades had shipped, but only the 2 big ones -- the fabric for the boys' had been flawed so we had to wait on that one. Okay, temporary blackout shade with suction cups would remain for a few more weeks, no big deal. Finally several weeks later it arrives and was installed and I notice that it's not very dark in their room -- it was supposed to be blackout material on the back. I went back and looked at the order and felt a pit in my stomach when I saw that 'privacy', not 'blackout' was ordered. The salesperson I met with wrote up the order, but it was still my responsibility to double-check everything was correct. I knew we had discussed that since it was a bedroom and the boys' room, I definitely wanted blackout material. Everything worked out in the end, the salesperson quickly took responsibility and another one will be shipped out and installed soon, at no charge to me.
  • One of the first things that arrived was the rug for our bedroom. We loved it, it worked perfectly... and then we opened the closet doors (they open outward). They didn't clear the rug... I thought I could deal with the doors only open a third of the way but Dave said no way. I looked into getting the rug professionally trimmed but others suggested cutting the doors. I hated to do that, I didn't want it to look odd, but in the end, it was an easy job for the contractor and it all works fine now.
  • I ordered a play kitchen for the boys back on Black Friday. I had researched a lot and found the perfect one -- a little bigger than a normal kitchen since two would often be playing at it and complete with washer, dishwasher, microwave, stove and oven. Once it arrived, it dawned on me that the corner wall wasn't nearly as long as I thought it was. I checked the measurements (why didn't I before?? Well, we weren't living there yet...) and sure enough, it would be sticking out. Ugh.  I'd have to pay a return fee and return shipping (on a 75+ lbs) and in the end, not get much money back at all. I tried to sell it but had no luck. Finally a twin mom I'm friends with wanted it for her girls. This did all work out in the end. A neighbor a few doors down was selling an unopened play kitchen on NextDoor and it turned out to be perfect, and a good deal, which balanced everything out.
  • Dave was getting annoyed by the rocking chair in the boys room since it was dinging the wall when the boys were aggressively rocking it. So I gave in and ordered a new chair, one that we could all sit in comfortably. Of course it would take at least two months to arrive. Luckily the chair for the living room arrived shortly after we got rid of the rocker so we were able to put that in the boys' room temporarily. Finally today the chair for the boys room arrived. It was front door delivery and there was a small ding in the box but Dave didn't think much of it. Well, the chair has a gash in the back. For us, this is still manageable because the back of the chair will be against the wall, but it's still such a pain. You want it to be in perfect condition. Plus we waited so long for it, I know if we want a replacement, it will be another two months and there will be wear on the current chair. We'll see what they say tomorrow.
  • I ordered two Anthropologie rugs for the entry as I wanted to see which one looked better. Well, I'm not sure what happened to the one I decided not to use. It's seriously a blur. I don't think it was sent back, but it's gone. I can't remember if I took it to the post office with other stuff but didn't have a shipping label on it. I have no idea. It's so unlike me but I did so many various returns it's totally blended in. Luckily the rug wasn't too expensive, but still kills me to lose that money.
  • I found two pieces of art on One Kings Lane and we thought would fit great upstairs. Ordered them and got the shipping alert. I was so excited to have more of the room come together so when it didn't arrive as scheduled, I check into it and saw that it had shipped to our old address on Brannan. Ugh. So I called them and they confirmed they had it and would hold it for me. So my dad goes by today to pick it up and they don't have it. After much back and forth, I talk to FedEx and apparently it was refused at the Brannan a week ago and shipped back to the company. I called the company and loosely explained the situation and it sounds like they can reship the items to our new address without an additional shipping charge, thankfully.

'Nothing is ever easy' has been our mantra the last few months. While all of the above really isn't all the big of a deal, each problem takes so much time to sort out. It's checking in to see what progress is being made, scheduling delivery, then doing it all over again when it doesn't work out. It requires being really proactive and often more research than it should.

Last Friday seemed like a turning point. Two big pieces of furniture I had been waiting for for months finally send me shipping confirmations that they were on their way. Our landscaper surprised me and said he'd actually be able to start a day early. And everything was so smooth with the couch being hoisted through on Saturday. Finally everything was coming together.

Despite the above list, we really have so so much to be grateful for. First of all, we absolutely love the house, the neighborhood and everything about being here. We've also been very lucky with all the renovations. While we've certainly gone over budget and added to the project, it has all been money we wanted to spend and luckily no major problems have come up that we had to dump money into. I know that will happen with homeownership but we're happy with how we've been able to spend the money so far. We also have the best neighbors who live upstairs. It's two women, sisters. They have been so patient and gracious. We've had work going on for months and it will continue for the next month with the backyard. We are noisy with the boys running around like crazy. They never complain. The boys have had some tough nights, especially right when we moved in. Again, no mention of it. I've had to ask them to vacate the garage while we have furniture moved in, they gladly do so. I feel like bad neighbors happen to so many people and can have a serious impact on your daily life. I'm not sure how long they'll stay (they've owned the place, as well as ours, for years, but will likely move back to Japan soon).

Finally, I want to add one more story; a blessing in disguise. I was so excited when I got a phone call that our chair was ready to be delivered, along with the couch (this is probably two months ago). I was shocked -- I didn't think the couch was going to be shipped for another 2 months. So I get ready, I list the couch on Craiglist, I negotiate with a few people but end up not agreeing on a price. No big deal, we'll store the couch for a few days and list it again the next week and best offer gets it. So they show up with the chair and I ask about the couch and they say, no, it's just the chair. What?! I call the customer service and they confirm that the only things on the order are the 'chair and couch legs'. Couch legs? What are couch legs? Apparently the name of the legs that go on the chair. When they had called me before, they had clearly said 'chair and couch'. This was back in January, actually just before the Superbowl, that they delivered the chair. The couch is being delivered tomorrow. Yes, a full 6 weeks later. I can't imagine if we had sold the couch that weekend, the new couch hadn't arrived and we had nothing to sit on down here for the long time. So luckily it all worked out!

For the lack of photos in this post, a quick peek at W decked out in green for St. Patrick's Day:




Fish Ban

It's official. William is allergic to fish.


W&G have been eating fish since they were about seven months old and it's actually one of both of their favorite foods. I usually make fish once a week and the boys have the leftovers the next night too, so for over a year they've been having fish twice a week without any problems. They also really like this salmon jerky.

A little over a month ago, I gave them both some salmon jerky while we were walking home and W quickly developed a red rash on his face. By the time we got home, he had a few hives on his hand. Within 30 minutes everything had returned to normal so while I took pictures of it, I didn't think too much of it. It was the first time he'd had the Trader Joe's salmon jerky so I figured it was just a reaction to that brand.



A few days later we had salmon, and W again had a reaction. I noted these things down, but the redness around the mouth always went down pretty quickly. It wasn't until I served paiche two weeks ago (W was scarfing it down and already asking for more), that I realized this was more than a little reaction. Around his mouth immediately got a patchy red rash, but this time his whole neck was bright red, including the back of his neck. He told me his neck hurt but was showing no signs of trouble breathing. He also developed a rash on his stomach. We took pictures, gave him a dose of benadryl and gave him a bath.



Even after the bath, it was still there, but within an hour or so, had completely gone away. The next day I called the pediatrician and she referred me to an allergist. We were lucky to score an appointment with the best one just two weeks out, today.

After having a conversation with the nurse, and then with the doctor, they decided to test for 'mixed fish' (cod, halibut and several others), salmon, shellfish and nuts. W has never really eaten much shellfish; though we've offered shrimp and crab, he never ends up eating it, though he has put it in his mouth. The doctor thought it would be good to test to be sure. He also wanted to test for several types of nuts. Since it's rare to develop an allergy to a food that has been tolerated for so long and thus an immunity is built up, he wanted to make sure there wasn't a nut allergy developing in addition to the fish.

William was so great, he had 2 testers with multiple sticks administered and he wasn't phased at all. No crying, nothing. Though we had to wait ten minutes, it was clear within minutes that William was allergic to the mixed fish as well as salmon. Luckily, there showed no allergy to nuts or shellfish.


So the next steps are that William can't have fish for at least a year, when he'll be retested to see if the allergy still exists. I asked the doctor what the chances are that he'd outgrow it and he said 20%. Ugh. And I guess if he does outgrow it, it would be very unlikely to do so in less than three years.

We're really lucky that it's a mild allergy -- a rash and maybe some hives. No trouble breathing or anything more serious. But I'm still bummed. Of course it has to be something healthy that he happens to love. Seriously, I give a decent portion and within minutes he's asking for 'more fish'.

So for now we've been given a plan by the doctor. Allergy medicine to administer in the case of a mild reaction like he's had thus far. But we also have to get an epi pen should anything more serious happen.

Because it's a mild allergy at this point, I feel comfortable continuing to serve fish once a week. When I gave it last weekend, I just added some to G's plate and didn't say anything, so W never saw it and asked for it. I think that's what we'll continue to do. Fish is so healthy and I want to make sure the rest of us are eating it. If W had a more serious allergy to it, then I would definitely make a call to never have it near us.

Obviously I hope William grows out of this allergy, but even if he does, I'm worried that he won't like fish anymore. What five year old starts eating fish and likes it after not having it for several years? I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Despite the expected news, we had a nice morning. My mom stayed over so she could play with G this morning and I could take W on my own. It was such a weird feeling to have just one with me. Seriously, I never do that. To go out the door with just a purse and just have one kid seemed so easy. I started prepping them yesterday, telling W that he was going to the doctor. G already had a fit, he wanted to go the doctor too and when I told him he didn't have to, he used a sad voice and held his ear and said 'ear hurts, ear hurts'. Such a drama king!

I was able to leave with W easily this morning as G was having fun playing with my mom. After the appointment, W and I went out to Mel's diner. It was so relaxed. He had a hard time getting in the car seat when he realized G wasn't coming, but after that, he didn't seem to notice he wasn't there. He didn't seem to be living it up having me all to himself, it was just very normal. He was calm at the doctor, liked playing with the toys, and had all the little old ladies swooning when he slowly walked by all the tables saying good bye to everyone after lunch.


 G had a blast with my mom, it wasn't until we got home and both boys figured out they hadn't been together that W started acting like King of the Castle and G fiercely jealous. He had to have the big sticker W had on his shirt from the doctor. Luckily W just gave it to him. We brought home a cardboard car from Mel's and they both fought over it. G was definitely acting out. It was similar to how they both acted when Dave and I got back from Vegas. They were both fine the whole time, but once we got home, they both gave us a hard time. G was totally wound up and ended up waking up W when I tried to put him down (that never happens). So at least W got about an hour nap, G didn't sleep at all and they both jumped around in their cribs for an hour or so before I got them up.

Dave and I definitely want to spend more time with them one-on-one but I think it will work best if we each take one out instead of leaving one with someone else. It might feel more balanced to them, even if Dad is still the preference.




What's in My {Diaper} Bag



I've been meaning to write this post forever and now that they're out of diapers, I figure it really is time to write it.

I always loved Kate Spade diaper bags, or Kate Spade anything really, so when the Kate Spade Outlet opened in Livermore when I was about 4 months pregnant, my mom and I made the trek. And walked up to a long line. We debated whether we should wait or leave and finally decided to stay. After an hour or so, we made it into the store and it turned out to be totally worth it. I found a great diaper bag  -- black and white stripes (gender-neutral since I didn't know what I was having, not that I would've gotten something more gender-specific anyway) and a good size; not too big, but big enough for what I needed to carry and stay organized. It has plenty of pockets. Downfalls would be that it doesn't have a cross-body strap (makes it much easier to carry when carrying a baby) and some kind of key hook so keys don't get lost in the bottom would be nice too.

So I had found my bag, and it was such a good deal! I can't even remember now, but it was like 50% off, plus an extra 30% off. Definitely under $100. But then I found another diaper bag I liked. Sleek, simple black, this one was a cross body and narrower. I didn't see it being my every day bag, but I thought it would be great for travel. I know, this seems ridiculous to get two bags, but they were such a good deal and hey, I was doing this all at once. I'm sure many people end up getting a new diaper bag with kid number 2, I was just getting them both at the same time.
Crossbody bag for travel

Everything worked out as I'd had hoped. The striped bag has been great for daily use and has held up so well. The black one has been great for travel. It fits what I need for one kid on the plane (Dave got his own Skip Hop for air travel) and is still big enough for what we need for both of them for the rest of the trip when we use just one bag. If I had to do it over again, I'd get the same ones.

Dad's diaper bag
First of all, having twins does not mean you need a 'twin diaper bag' or even a massive diaper bag. Sure, you're carrying more stuff, and while my bag never really zipped (it's easier to access when it's unzipped anyway), it still fit everything I needed.

I remember when I was pregnant I searched 'what to put in diaper bag'. Sure, diapers, wipes, change of clothes... is that it? Things have changed a bit since the early days, and now that I don't need to pack diapers, they've changed even more, but the core contents have remained the same. I'm unpacking all pockets to reveal the contents.

Large interior pocket: Used to hold 4 diapers and the rolled up changing pad. Now it holds one diaper, not sure why I keep one in there, I guess just in case one is sick or something. It also has some gallon size ziplock bags for wet clothes.



Small interior side pockets: One holds 2 pouches. Used to also hold their bibs and baby food spoons. The other holds little diaper trash bags. I don't think I ever used these. Also 2 pairs of sunglasses for the boys.



Medium interior pockets: One contains boogie wipes (so great for snotty noses!), sunscreen, sunscreen face stick and hand sanitizer. The other one has diaper cream (just got rid of this), a laundry stick, pen and post-its, band-aids and neosporin spray, sunscreen for mom, $5 just in case, their immunization records (idea being I would remember to update them at each dr. appt, but I haven't), kleenex, copy of insurance cards for W&G and church name tags - would forget them each week otherwise.


Main bag: 2 lightweight jackets (I've found great ones at J&J and Zara)-- you never know when the temp is going to change in SF and we rarely use these, but they fold up so small so they're perfect to keep in there at all times. One spare shirt and pants for each. I have Carters basics that they never wear otherwise so I don't have to worry about switching out the cute clothes so they can still be worn. Honestly, I think in almost 2 years, there has only been one 'blow-out' that required new pants on W. I think I have a higher threshold for dirty as far as shirts go so I never use these clothes, but of course when you take them out, you'll need them. Now I have a quart-sized ziplock with a spare pair of pants and underwear, labeled for each boy (since they wear different size pants). These are pretty slim and easy to grab in case of an accident; I don't have to be digging through for the right pants. Plus I can stick the wet clothes back in the ziplock. I still keep the other spare clothes just in case there is more than one accident per kid, but I think we're beyond that. I also keep a pair of socks for me (for MyGym) and a spare for them. I see I have a sunhat in there that probably doesn't fit anymore, as well as a beanie, but honestly, they won't leave the house without a hat so I no longer need to keep spares in here. I got a small tegu block set which is perfect to take out when we're waiting at restaurants. An Aden + Anais blanket has been in our bag since the early days. At first I kept two in there, easy to throw over the carseats or put on the babies if it got chilly. Eventually I moved to keeping just one in there but actually end up using it fairly often. They're so absorbent -- can be used as a towel if they end up getting into water somewhere (Discovery Museum for example) and are great at drying up dew-drenched slides or benches at the park. Finally, a container of wipes. My wallet is usually tucked in next to the wipes.



Exterior side pockets:  Garage door opener (we roll the stroller in and out through the garage), stickers for potty (a bribe they rarely need anymore) and a reusable shopping bag.

This seems like a ton of stuff but it's actually well-organized so I'm not dumping the bag out each time to find what I need. There's the key stuff (wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, boogie wipes) that I use daily -- and conveniently is what we keep packed in the wagon bag), but there's really nothing I'd get rid of at this point. I'm sure when I take anything out, it will be the time they scrape their knee or puke on themselves.

I'm trying to remember what else I kept in there when they were babies and things that come to mind:
-teething tablets
-2 burp clothes
-several scoops of formula, an empty bottle and an 8oz bottle of water in case of emergency
-small baby toys/teethers in the exterior pockets
-small container of puffs

So now that they're out of diapers and they're getting bigger meaning we don't always need to take the stroller with us, I've started using a backpack here and there. I'm not totally into it yet, it can be hard to find stuff in the bottomless pit, even in a smaller backpack, but I see how it will eventually be easier when I need to carry even less stuff. I think in the next few months as they continue to have fewer and fewer accidents, I can reduce the clothes I'm carrying and maybe even some of my extras. It's definitely nice to be hands-free though so I can definitely see this being the natural next step in bags. Now when can I go down to just a purse when I'm out with them?? Considering I carry a medium-sized purse at best, probably not for a while...