26 Months

Another month has flown by and even though we're officially to summer, you wouldn't know it by the temp here. Or maybe you would. Summer is never warm in SF but it seems like since the boys birthday party, we've had a cold streak that has only broken a day here and there. It seems to be city-wide, but Dave has definitely noticed days he's gotten off the train in our old neighborhood and it's sunny and somewhat warm, only to cross Market St. and start heading in our direction where it's significantly cooler. We don't have it nearly as bad as the Richmond or Sunset -- the fog usually stops at the bottom of the hill at Arguello -- but we're certainly not in the warm part of the city anymore.

The past month has been much about friends and family. We've been having more playdates at our house and the backyard has also hosted at least a few BBQs, one with Dave's friends, another with our nephews. We're getting a lot of use out of the backyard and despite all the work involved, really enjoy having others over to enjoy it too. It's been a fun week of family, starting with the Geilhufe family reunion in Clovis last weekend and continuing as Justin and Kyle stayed up here through the week.


  • The boys spending a lot of time with their cousins (in Clovis and SF), so much fun to see!
  • Dinner with friends: celebrating Mariela's new baby at Flour + Water and a girls night in with Morgan and Stacey and Morgan's place 
  • Warriors Finals game (and win!)

There's definitely been a lull in the schedule, both the boys' and mine, for the past month and I've really enjoyed it. It's allowed flexibility to meet with friends and a bit more free time to work on projects that have long been on my list. We're down to just two scheduled activities.

Dance time!

  • My Gym: Dave got to come to a class last week and I think it was fun for him to see how much the boys are capable of now. They're getting so good at saying their name, which is one of the new things that's practiced in the older class. The teacher goes around and asks each child their name, and most, including mine for many weeks, get shy and won't say it or will say it so softly no one can hear. W & G have both gotten great at saying their name loud and proud (after much practice). George often prefers to shout 'George Louis McDowell!' when asked his name ;). It's been so fun to see the new games they do for the kids now (they moved up into the bigger class at 23 months) and all they're capable of now, including following directions, cleaning up, taking turns and all the physical challenges they set up for them. I've been very strict about the rules of the mini trampoline (only one kid on at a time, and 10 jumps per kid if someone else is waiting -- My Gym's rules, though most other parents don't enforce). Now they're definitely the best at taking turns and they actually count to ten for the kid they're waiting for. They're not perfect, there are times they don't want to get off, but if that happens, then they have to be done with the trampoline for the rest of the class (my rule) so they're getting much better. My Gym is a trek for us since we moved, but they really do a fantastic job with all the new things they do each class that you can tell how much the kids are learning through a fun way, that it's totally worth it.


    • Swim: We just had our last class today. Since we'll be gone for a week next month and then miss 2 weeks due to summer camp at the end of July and early August, I decided to take a break. I'm on a waiting list at the JCC and hope to start back up in August.  It had been working out to switch off between the boys and whoever didn't come to swim lessons with me and have 'special time' after, got to stay with Dedee to go to storytime at the library and then to the park. The past 2 lessons in particular were really great for both William and George. No complaining, lots of good swimming, using arms and legs and most importantly, they seemed to be enjoying it. I think the time in the pool this past weekend in Clovis made a difference too.
    We've been visiting the Academy of Sciences with a friend many Tuesday mornings during members hours.


    a little bread with your brie?
    • William especially is doing better with vegetables! He likes asparagus (well, I use 'likes' loosely) and will eat green beans too. G is at least getting better at tasting (thought only when prompted).
    • They've been doing so well with whatever Dave barbeques -- chicken, beef, ribs, whatever. They prefer it off straight off the bone.
    • I think we may finally be getting over oatmeal a bit. Even W isn't really finishing his and I've been saving it to be reheated the next morning. Dave told me today's was on day 3 so I think that's a sign. They've been more into cold cereal but I think mostly because that's what I've been eating lately.
    • Tofu has been a rediscovered hit. I'll grill it up in a little olive oil and twice now they've eaten an entire container in one sitting.
    • Still somewhat picky, in general. One night I served a dish and G took one look and said 'No quinoa!'... it was barley, but I guess close enough...
    • William has gone crazy for peaches, especially the first few of the season, literally slurping the whole thing down in seconds
    • I feel like I've gotten in a food rut with lunch. Most days they have a walnut protein bar thing with almond butter or a quesadilla. Of course they have all kinds of sides like grapes, blueberries, cheese, etc., but I need to work on some more ideas for the 'main'.
    • They're eating at their little white table a lot more for breakfast and lunch, though we still eat as a family at the big table for dinner. Dinners are still hit or miss, but generally speaking, I'd say things are getting better. They still can't sit and wait for others to be done. Not one bit.

    6:45-7:15am - wake up. The tot clock was a hit and they're sleeping in later than ever!
    Eat breakfast immediately
    8am or so, come back upstairs and finish breakfast, eat a bit more when I eat my breakfast
    10am out for an activity - sometimes playing in the backyard before or after
    Home by 12:30
    1pm W down - After they both potty, we read a few books and W is quickly asleep
    2pm G down - Same thing here, G has been falling asleep quickly
    Up by 4pm - we're strict about this and wake them if they're still sleeping
    Out to the park
    6:30pm Dinner - we've moved this slightly later and it's working well
    Bath, get dressed, play/clean up
    7:20 Upstairs for reading
    7:40 One more potty run, last book, in cribs for song and scratch
    8-8:15pm (most nights) asleep


    rarely do they sleep in the same position
    • Though we had gotten through G's tough sleep phase, I had heard so many great things about tot clocks, that I decided to get one. We have no intention of moving them to toddler beds anytime soon, but I figure we'll use it for that eventually, encouraging them to stay in bed. We got this one and it's been a complete hit. They love saying 'hi' to moon and it's incredible how good they are about waiting to call for us until sun comes up (at 6:50). Sometimes we hear W in there but sure enough, it's not until 6:50 on the dot that he'll call for us. 
    • In general, they're sleeping later anyway and there have been quite a few morning where one sleeps as late as 7:30 and hasn't been woken up by the other.
    • Going down for naps has been really easy. There were just a couple of days straight where they didn't take naps for some reason (every month there seem to be a few days that are off like this).
    • They've been good about going to bed as well, though there are nights that G has trouble and whines for a bit, or on the worse nights, actually needs one of us to come in.
    • There have been very few wake ups during the night, in fact, they seemed to be W this month and mostly him asking for water. A few times G has woken up and asked to use the potty.
    • After the tough sleep we had with G a few months ago, I started tracking their sleep. This past month, W's naps seem to be a bit shorter, settling around 2 hours. Often 1-3, 1:30-3:30. It's sometimes hard because I can't put G down much before 2 as he's just not tired yet, so by the time I sit down after cleaning up, I don't have much time before W wakes up. It's nice though, as G continues to sleep and it gives me some time alone with W. G's been very consistent at 2-4pm.
    • G loves doing the naptime routine for W, meaning once we put W in his crib, G will go scratch his back while singing a song. Then he goes to the door and sings one more song, just like I do at night.
    • No matter what bed he's in, G tends to sleep right up in the corner of it. 


    • They're both getting really good at climbing and can climb up both hard ladders and rope type ladders (even twisty ones) at the park. I'm pretty confident with them on there but if it's higher than my eye-level I definitely want to be right there to spot them.
    • They're more into imaginative play, adding stories to their set ups. Their towers, houses and buildings are more complicated as well.

    • Favorite toys haven't changed much -- trains, diggers and trucks, duplo legos, the drill/tools and they're also playing with little trucks and cars more.
    • Books of the moment -- surprisingly I can't remember many in particular that I had to read over and over and over, but they're really into the music books right now, the ones that have the piano keys on them and the buttons to push for the full song. Dr. Seuss books too.
    • They've been more into playing with all their stuffed animals, and occasionally the dolls I got them too.
    • Lots of playing outside, rock box and driving their red cars.
    • Playing together a ton, whether it's one making up some kind of game, playing trains or kitchen, or just chasing after each other and wrestling.
    • We did have about a week this month where there were daily bites, one time W even bit G on the face.  Just like their potty regressions, it cleared up pretty much as quickly as it started. W still uses his words but since G doesn't stop what he's doing, he went in for the bite.
    • They can both go down the big slides at Koret and Dolores Park on their own.


    • Talking so much! W is literally a nonstop monologue explaining everything that is going on. Many times it makes me tired just trying to listen, but it makes me smile too. It's amazing how much he's able to tell us. His words are clear, but obviously sometimes it's still hard to figure out what the whole idea is, but if we really pay attention, usually we can figure it all out.
    • They both tell Dave about their day now and are pretty accurate. They'll talk about what park they went to, or that they 'rode a zebra at key-sel' (aka carousel). That's the kind of stuff that you really have to be patient with and then you're like, 'oh, the CAROUSEL' and they're like, duh, the key-sel!
    • They're remembering and able to communicate things that happened in the past, with W even referencing, 'yesterday I fell down'
    • I'm confident G knows just as many words but he doesn't talk nearly as much. He's much more intentional with his words and you can tell how much effort he makes to enunciate. He talks slowly and you can tell he's trying to piece all the words together. We can figure out much of it, but his words aren't as clear as W's. He also mumbles or talks quietly occasionally but often times I'll just tell him I can't understand if he doesn't speak loudly and clearly (because I know he can). I wouldn't say he's quiet by any means but in general uses his words when he specifically needs to communicate something as opposed to W who has a constant story coming out of his mouth.
    • They both love singing songs and are getting more of the words to more and more songs. 
    • They can sing their ABCs pretty well now, getting most of the letters.
    • They can identify most letters (both when I ask them to point to it and when I point to a letter and ask them what it is) as well as single-digit numbers.
    • They both can 'read' to me -- G can read certain books where he's memorized all the words, W is better at the ones that have very few words and he just tells us the story. Totally captures their personalities! We have great videos of this.
    • Some regression this month - W went through maybe 5-7 days of a poop regression (seems to happen every 6 weeks or so). He just stops going #2 on the potty and then varies between going in his diaper during nap or the middle of the night, or having an accident in his pants every 2-3 days. After talking him through it and encouraging him, everything sorts itself out again and he's back to going on his own daily or twice daily.
    • G also went through a regression this month. G has always been more prone to having slightly damp underwear, like a little bit came out before he realized he needed to go, but this month, for a week straight, G was having a least one accident a day. The mornings are tough -- we think W goes in his diaper when he wakes up, but G will have been holding it for a while, yet does not want to go right when he wakes up. So they go have breakfast, start to play, and he ends up having at least part of an accident, but often gets very wet. This regression had moved beyond that, I'd follow him into the bathroom and he'd have wet underwear when he was trying to go. Then he had a full on accident at the Academy last week, he came running over and I picked him up to realize even his pants were wet. We've been very lucky and almost all of their accidents have been at home so I can't even remember the last time I had to take out new pants when we were out. I started reminding him and becoming more strict about 'we can't go do x until you try to go potty' and just like that, he's back to no accidents.
    • They still like privacy in the bathroom, W especially will close the door on me when going number two and say 'privacy momma'
    • G told Dave he had to poop at the park and was able to go on the big potty just fine. I think W has done this maybe once. I hope we're at least starting to move away from the little potties...
    • W in general has been much better about the potty -- when I say before nap or bedtime, 'potty time!', he'll run in and go, whereas he was more resistant to it last month.
    • They've gotten much better at 'aiming down'
    • They're getting much more interested in standing at the big potty, 'like (their cousin) Crusoe'.

    • I've had few meetings this month which has been really nice
    • More people are coming to the New and Expectant Twin Parents support groups, which has been great. It's always fun when there's a larger group as I feel like I can add things here or there, but facilitate discussion between everyone more, which is nicer than me just speaking from my own experience.
    • I switched my schedule around for workouts and now found a much better pilates mat teacher. I'm still doing 5 workouts a week -- 2x swim, 1 boot camp, 1 mat pilates, 1 pilates reformer.
    • I've been wanting to get back into reading but it's just so tough to set the time aside. I downloaded some audiobooks from the library just before our trip to Clovis and am on my third audiobook now! It's the perfect thing to have on when spending time washing dishes, cleaning up, etc., especially when moving around and TV isn't an option. I also listen during the downtime that I'm just doing mundane stuff on my computer. I even listened with one earphone while the boys played in the sand at the park for over an hour last week! Much easier than constantly looking up from a book to make sure they're okay and I can still hear fine. Maybe this is what all the nannies at the park with headphones in are doing??
    • I've started my new committee for JLSF next year, Done in a Day (DIAD) which means I'll be coordinating the volunteer shifts for some of the 500+ events that JLSF supports throughout the next year (things like the AIDS Walk, school fundraisers or other events that need volunteers).
    • We met for book club this month, but most people didn't read the book (of course 2 hours of chatting flew by quickly) so we're going to attempt reading The Whole Brain Child again.
    • My big project of the month was to get all my recipes transferred from Delicious to a recipe manager. I've heard great things about the Paprika App. Unfortunately there's no way to import from Delicious, so everything has to be manually done. Not terribly bad and I got most of my 1000ish recipes uploaded but there were some that had to be further manually uploaded (meaning instead of just clicking on the recipe and hitting 'add', I had to cut and paste the different things in). So annoying but I'm almost done and it will make it so much easier moving forward to have them all in this system. My goal is to be done by the end of the month, which I think is realistic. It's easy to do while listening to my audiobook or watching a show.

    Date night: We had dinner at Spruce at the bar one night, which was delicious as ever, but we also ate at Mission Beach Cafe -- we've been trying to eat there forever and finally went. It's not hard to get into or anything, which I guess is why we hadn't been. It was sort of a back-up for when I couldn't get a reservation somewhere else. Anyway, it was SO good. Everything we had (the most delicious flatbread, truffle fries, amazing chocolate cake) was excellent and the server was great too. We'll definitely be back.

    Looking forward to... celebrating 4th of July and REAL summer in Cincinnati. We're getting all our shorts ready!


    To my boys...
    Every month does get better and better. Whereas before you would typically be on opposite sides of the room or playground, now you're usually together. Not all the time and you still split up at the park a fair amount, but you're playing together so much more. It's rare for you guys to be doing something different from the other when at home. Usually when one sees the other doing something fun, they want in immediately. It is so fun to see the wheels turning and the little stories and games you're coming up with. I'm also getting a taste of you two plotting together. During the couple days that you guys didn't nap this month, I finally left you in your beds with some books while I went to do stuff on the computer in my room. I knew you weren't going to sleep but I knew you'd be happy enough for a little bit while I got a break. All of a sudden I hear you guys talking about zipping sleepsacks and climbing out and then what do you know, two boys start giggling and run of the room and down the hall. I could barely keep myself from laughing. You really did figure out how to take the sleepsacks off and climb out. Lucky for me, it hasn't happened since, and while you know you can do it, you also seem to know you shouldn't, and therefore don't. At least for now.

    The aftermath of that 'nap'

    W&G notes:
    • Although 'special time with Mommy' after swim class used to involve an errand and maybe a treat of some sort, we've lucked out and there's a huge construction site right at Crissy Field with multiple diggers, a huge crane thing off a barge and more. You both love walking over there to check it out. It's so nice to have one of you at a time. 
    • You both love going to childcare at JCC. One day I walked in to find William laying back on one of the teachers while she was reading, she seemed to be loving it even more than W! G was wrestling with a 4-year old on the other side of the room. 
    • You call the touchless flusher in public bathrooms 'magic'
    • You'll both use the hand dryer now, though Dad says G is scared of it.
    • Always shout 'timer!' when you get frustrated and want a toy the other has (G does this more often than W)
    • You say 'real' now. Like 'I want a REAL snack' if you're not into what I've offered.
    • You both still like me to sing 'Happy Birthday' before bed, but your favorite part is when I say at the end, 'Happy birthday to you. and YOU. and YOU and YOU and YOU!' and poke them in the tummy.
    • You're obsessed with the Music Together cd and I can't even get out of the garage before you're requesting the Hello Song
    • You like to 'cheers' when you each have the same thing - like cups, drills, etc.
    • You thought it was 'so much fun' to switch carseats and pillows
    • You love the spinning game with me, where I hold one of you tight (sort of in a baby hold) and swing back and forth really fast. You love doing 'mountain climber' with Daddy where you can climb up his whole body.
    • You both went off the diving board at Aunt Meghan's and had so much fun!
    • You've started saying '2 minutes' or '5 minutes' when I say 'time to go'

    William. You are generally so happy, smiling and bursting with positive energy. You have a way with people of all ages just by flashing your smile. You are so sweet and generous and give the tightest hugs. You are an absolute chatterbox and you continue to amaze me with how many words continuously roll off your tongue. I look forward to all the stories you'll share in the coming years.

      W notes:
      • You've gotten much better at saying 'William' instead of 'Wawee', but 'Wawee' still comes out often when you're referring to yourself (vs. when someone asks you your name and you say 'William'.
      • You certainly have a lazy streak and have a way of getting people to do things for you. You say 'digger' and I tell you to get up and get it and you do your eyes and say, 'Mama get it'.
      • Anytime you are walking as opposed to the stroller, you don't make it very far before saying, 'legs tired' and requesting to be carried.
      • Anytime you see two of something, like 2 dogs for example, you'll say, '2 dogs, one Wawee, one Georgie!'
      • A younger boy was messing with your blocks at the Academy and you said, 'Don't knock down my tower!' 
      • You loved dancing to the music at the Ferry Building Farmers market and had fun putting a dollar in the case
      • I've been trying to find a second Sammy dog just in case anything happens to the original. I finally tracked one down on Amazon.co.uk (for the equivalent of $50, ugh!) and when it arrived, I realized it's Sammy's little brother and not as big as the original Sammy. Well, you've really taken to 'Little Sammy' and we've put away the original.
      • The first day Dad was on his work trip this month, you were not happy to see me. In fact, you wouldn't stop saying, 'I want my Daddy back'.
      • There was a week or so this month that you were very quick to tantrum, kicking your legs out when I pick you up and you don't want to do something. I know this will be back, but it was short-lived, at least this month.
      • On Father's Day, you kept wanting to sing Happy Birthday to Dad
      • You've started doing this thing where you say, 'X make me feel better', but for the most random stuff. 'Milk make me feel better', 'Book make me feel better', even 'shoes make me feel better'. You say it in a sad voice trying to get sympathy. You've also used it for things like 'ice cream make me feel better', which does not work.
      • You loved berry picking! Though not too many made it in your baskets...
      • The things you say crack me up. Very matter-of-factly and complete. 'I want butter on my corn'. Well, okay then.
      • You've been so sweet and cuddly with me again this month and I absolutely love it. You call me Mama which is so sweet too.
      • You are oddly generous sometimes and I can't figure it out. Every single day, you choose books to read and come over to my lap while G is still choosing. We start reading your books, G comes over and says, 'no this book, this book', meaning HIS book and you agree. Every day. You always push your book aside. Many times G will get so upset that you have a toy he wants. You'll keep it for a minute but all of a sudden stop playing and go give it to him.
      • We were building the train track and you kept pointing and saying 'Mine! Mine!' and I told you to use your words as I didn't know what you needed. Then I figured out you literally wanted the track that's a mine...
      • You always talk about 'stabilizers down' when playing with your digger and referring to the stabilizer legs.
      • You said 'so much fun!' multiple times this month when doing stuff you enjoyed (like switching carseats with G)
      • You always say 'K' at the end of everything. You'll tell G about what you guys are going to do and then say 'K', as in okay. And not a question of 'K?'. But more like 'K, good, glad we're all on the same page.'


      George. You're a little stinker and know how to push William's buttons. You've been pushing the limits with me a bit lately too. When I ask you to take a bite of something you don't want to, you get the absolute smallest piece of it in your mouth. When I ask you to share a piece of food with William, you pick off the most miniscule crumb. You're also the best helper and I can already see you being the 'responsible one'. You're so literal and remember the most specific things. You give the best hugs and when you run after Dad trying to get one before he leaves for work, I always think you're going to start crying, but very matter-of-factly, you request a hug (and kiss) and then run off to keep playing.

      G notes:
      • You're not good with the surprise toy motto of 'you get what you get and don't get upset' at My Gym. You will pout and refuse to participate if you don't get a yellow one.
      • You gave Simone a kiss (unprompted) right on the lips!
      • You went down for a nap at 1:20 when Papa watched you. You never fall asleep this early for me!
      • You named your baby doll Pokey
      • You figured out how to open the child-locked closet door, which requires 2 hands and holding down one piece while turning the other... all to be able to get the vacuum out.
      • You LOVE helping at My Gym, holding the bottom of containers that the teachers carry, carrying the swings back to the room, etc.
      • I told you 'I love you' as you were heading off for bathtime and you turned back and said, 'I wuv you' :)
      • You like brushing my hair
      • When packages arrive, you run to get the plastic knife out of your kitchen to help me open them
      • When there's something you want that we don't have two of and W is using, you've started saying, 'Mommy order another one'... ugh, I guess you've gotten the hang of Amazon Prime.
      • You were helping me cook one day and I said, 'my eyes are hurting' after cutting an onion. You told me, 'turn on the fan' (the one over the stove). Good idea.
      • You are constantly repeating little phrases (in the appropriate situation) that I've said over and and over, like 'touch potty wash hands', 'everybody's still eating', 'stay together', 'don't run away'.
      • You say 'All mine' like 'AAAAAALLLLLLLL mine' for emphasis
      • You love playing in the little kitchen and adding all your spices. I got a great video of you 'cooking' and narrating everything you were doing.
      • You can blow your nose, meaning I hold a tissue, but you can actually blow it out instead of sucking it in
      • After you do something bad and I ask you what you're going to say, you say, 'Sorry. No do it again', complete with your sign for again. You often do it again...
      • You are very interested in clocks ever since you weren't doing well at swim class and I told you we weren't getting out until the clock said 10:15. At your last class, right when we got in the pool, you said you wanted to swim to the clock, which I guess meant swim to where you'd have a view of the clock.
      • Along the same lines, one day at naptime, I said, it's naptime, it's already 2:11. He asked to see the time on my phone and now every day when I say it's naptime, he says, 'no two one one'.
      • You love sausage and pick it out of whatever dinner it's in, then ask for 'more sha-shage'
      • If someone is using one of your toys at the park, you walk over to it, pointing at where 'McDowell' is written on it and say, 'Mine, McDowell' and take it back.
      • You got in the bad habit of asking for medicine at bedtime, actually all sick and saying 'teeth hurt'. Luckily we got over this.
      • One day you were very sensitive and broke down when we got to the park and we hadn't brought any of the diggers. I told you we could walk home and get them, but that you'd have to walk, I wouldn't carry you (Dad stayed at the park with W), thinking we'd make it half a block. Despite asking to be carried several times and saying your legs were tired, we made it all the way home AND back with the diggers. By then W had found a red digger so in the end, you still ended up crying because you didn't want any of our diggers, just the red one. So sad!

      Family Reunion in Clovis

      We did our first Clovis Family Reunion two years ago at my sister's house... the boys were barely three months old. It was hot, they still ate every few hours, I was pumping as often and sleep still wasn't regular. I don't think I helped with much of anything that weekend but still remember enjoying myself. The boys were still in the stage of sleeping well in the carseats so the drive was actually really easy.

      Thankfully the 3.5-4 hour drive wasn't too bad even with two 2-year olds, but it certainly wasn't as quiet. The boys love this Music Together cd and even though the sounds (which I've heard hundreds of times) should drive me bonkers, somehow they haven't. We left after MyGym on Friday -- it was fun for Dave to see them in class as he hadn't in months and so much had changed, but it was also such a good idea to let them get all that energy out before getting in the car. We had lunch at American Grilled Cheese before hopping on the bridge. As we hoped, after turning on the cd, they both fell asleep quickly. I think they only slept an hour and a half, maybe slightly longer for William, and that's really as long as they'll sleep in the car at this point. We brought their leapfrog laptops and a bunch of books and for the most part, that was fine. The last 20 minutes started to get there, but I knew we were close. We somehow survived without a show at all.

      We arrived on Friday around 3:30 and luckily missed most of the traffic that others coming from the area got stuck in. The boys immediately checked out the horses that we had been talking about for the last few weeks. They had so much fun playing in the front yard on the swing and ladder and the big hit -- something that is likely banned in SF -- playing with the hose, or more specifically, water coming out of the hose.


      I did all the meal planning and shopping list planning for the weekend and my dad and Kenny were on shopping duty.

      The Menu:
      Friday dinner: Taco/Burrito bar with all the fixings, chicken, steak and ground turkey, a big salad
      Dessert - this was a total hit and something I can't really justify making at home. Just a small square is enough but it was so good!

      Breakfast: Breakfast burrito bar with the leftovers from the night before. This worked out great! We had to make like 36 eggs, scrambled and like 3 lbs of bacon for everyone. Big fruit salad too.
      Lunch: Mini rolls from Costco, lunch meat, sliced cheese. Grapes, chips and dip.
      Dinner: BBQ - Travis manned the grill and made a bunch of sausages, tri-tip and grilled chicken. We had corn-on-the-cob, I made a big mac and cheese, garlic bread, a big salad, potato and pasta salad. Tons of food!
      Dessert: Cupcakes for Michelle's birthday and s'mores.

      Brunch: Dutch baby, several breakfast casseroles - I made this and this (vegetarian). I also made these homemade 1-hour cinnamon rolls. Lots of fruit.

      It was a lot of work to prep and plan but the food worked out really well. We had enough and everyone seemed to liked the options. I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, which I like to do, but also had time to swim in the pool with the boys.

      It was about 102 degrees (definitely not what we're used to!) so the pool was a hit. I also picked up a slip 'n slide, a little sprinkler thing and an inflatable pool. (The latter two actually made the trip home with us so may eventually see the light of day on the one hot day we get here this summer). The best part of the trip was the kids having so much fun with all their cousins. Between watching the kids and prepping food, I really didn't get to have any long conversations with anyone, but that's kind of how it goes at this point. Dave said the same thing, especially since he was on kid-duty. With the ungated pool, we were both super paranoid so we made sure one of us was with them at all times (which was mostly Dave).

      It was so much fun to have a typical (for places outside of SF) summer weekend, with the kids running around without shoes and in swimsuits. Side note: SO happy they were potty trained for this, having to switch between diapers and swimsuits all day wouldn't have been fun. Though we get to see Tenzing and Crusoe here and there, we even don't see them that much. And seeing Kyle, Justin and Brady (the BIG cousins) is so much fun for W&G. They also have their cousins Anna and Adam; all the kids seemed to get along great this year.

      Had to stop at In n Out on the way home!
      Overall, a big hit. Dave and I have thought about where we could do it next time. Clovis is so convenient since it's somewhat closer to my sister in LA, but it would be great to rent a bigger place, maybe in Tahoe or Carmel, where everyone could stay together. My sister's place actually is pretty big though and it's obviously nice that they live there, meaning they have all the basic pantry items for cooking, and all the other little things that you'd have to buy even for a short weekend at a rental. Definitely crazy to see what a difference 2 years makes!