32 Months

What a fun month it's been! Lots of family time at Thanksgiving and so many holiday activities. I think the boys liked everything as much as I did ;) It was a busy few weeks before leaving for Florida, but so worth it. I feel like we really had a great Christmas and it wasn't even mid-December! People kept asking the boys if Santa was going to come and I had to keep saying, 'Oh, he already visited our house'. It's so weird, it really feels like Christmas is over, and did before we even got on the plane. Dave wants to do the same trip again next year, leaving mid-December for Orlando and then coming down to Naples, which does work well, but we'll still see how long we can continue it before we need to stay closer to home for actual Christmas.

It seems like this month was packed into a few weeks and it was all about the holidays. First Thanksgiving and all the family time at my parents' house and then we dove right into Christmas. Decorating the house was fun and I crammed most of the holiday activities into the first two weeks of December before we left for Florida. This month then wrapped up with 3 days in Orlando which was lots of fun (but plenty of 2-year old moments).

Most of our activities were on hiatus for the holidays but we had a few classes of MyGym and also continued with swim class. They still don't quite have their back float down so we have to stick it out in the Mommy and Me class a bit longer. Even with just a few pool days in Florida so far, they're doing awesome with their swimming so hopefully all the water time will make a difference. They're grabbing the wall, pulling themselves out every time, jumping in, diving down to the bottom and using their arms and legs. Both can swim about 6-7 feet when jumping in and most importantly, they absolutely love the water.

We also had a successful dentist appointment:

  • Lots of sweets this month with the holidays... from gingerbread houses to cookies to their advent calendars, it was a bit of a sugar overload but 'tis the season I guess!
  • It's never easy to eat every meal out when we're traveling but Disney actually had some pretty good options and we were always able to start our day with fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, etc. so that gave us a good base. There have been more chicken fingers and mac and cheese in the last week then they've probably had the entire last year but I think we've been able to work in some healthy stuff here and there to balance it out.
  • They've been obsessed with waffles lately and that's been the breakfast of choice -- the multi-grain Trader Joe's freezer waffles.
  • W has always been a huge fruit eater but G always did okay. Lately he's been eating less and less fruit and we all had a cold the first two weeks of the month so I told them that fruit helps your cold go away. Now when W doesn't finish his fruit, G will remind him that he's going to get a cold. Luckily it's gotten G to eat a bit more fruit too.


  • Besides the sleep debacle at my parents' house over Thanksgiving, it was such a great month for sleep. They were going down easily every night. We'd do our routine, say goodnight and leave the room and that was it. Many nights not a peep more, some nights we'd hear some chit chat but no calling for us.
  • Last month I thought G was really giving up his naps but thankfully things turned around and I think for the next week straight, he napped every day. There were a few days that he didn't, but December has been a good month for naps (with so much going on, I've needed to catch a quick naps some days!)
  • Wake ups are still pretty consistent, though the change of the month was them not waking up at the same time. They'd switch off days, but some days one would sleep til 7:15 or 7:30, then the next day the other one would.
  • They're really good about staying in their beds now, especially at bedtime, and do not get up. Even in the morning they tend to stay in bed and call for us, though occasionally W is waiting by the door. I think we'll keep the monkey lock on as I still like to know that they can't wander the house at night -- not that I think they would. We brought it to Florida and lost it somewhere between the Orlando hotel and our condo. We debated ordering one, but keeping them in the room really isn't a problem (but they haven't been falling asleep nearly as easily).
  • The time change has obviously been challenging, and that combined with all the excitement, change of scenery and lack of schedule definitely affected them at Disney. There were so many little moments (luckily nothing too major) -- W would should 'No! No! No! No! No!' or lots of battles over walking versus sitting in the stroller versus them running off. Then there was a little bit of line-waiting which is hard, and of course when we had to get off rides, that was hard too. I think much of that comes back to sleep and the attitudes have seriously changed for the better now that we're settled at our condo, have a bit more of a routine, are taking a consistent nap each day and a bit more on local time. Bedtimes are improving every night. They wake up somewhere between 7:30-8:30am (thankfully it's getting later) and though we put them in bed about 9:15, they're still not asleep until 10. W naps from about 2:15-5 and G naps from about 3:15-5 (though not every day). 
  • We were a little worried about their sleep situation in Florida since they're getting too big for the travel cribs (and can climb out of them easily) so we didn't want to lug them along unnecessarily but we knew it would be a risk not to bring them. My mom had a great idea to let them pick out sleeping bags, then let them sleep in them on their beds for a few days at home and tell them the plan that those would be their beds on our trip in Florida. Overall, it's worked really well (and I think we've moved on from sleep sacks). At the Orlando hotel, we had adjoining rooms with 2 doubles, so we set up each of their bags on a double bed, all packed in with pillows. Here in Naples, there's just one double bed so we have them sleeping next to each other, the opposite way of the bed. I think each has asked to sleep on the floor once, on separate occasions and that worked fine but now a few nights in in Naples, they're even napping side-by-side. I'm surprised as they're very in tune with having their own space and rarely let the other one even play in their bed at home. I've always wanted to get cute pictures of them falling asleep all over each other but that just would never happen with these two. Finally got one last night :)


  • I'm sure I've said it before but they play together so much now. I feel like we've hit a sweet spot where having twins really starts paying off. They have a built-in buddy and it's been the most noticeable difference from our Florida trip this year versus last year. Not only are they more independent and don't need to be watched nearly as closely, they interact so much and generally play really nicely together. I know Jessica jokes that she gets bored -- since it's been dark so early, she usually had almost an hour and half with them playing at home and just sits back.
  • They come up with so many games and songs now and really play off each other. They're so creative and imaginative and the same games and songs will often go on for weeks.
  • They are SO good on their scooters. I've had more time with them scootering here and had no idea how capable they are, especially G (who took a bit longer to get comfortable with it). Everyone we pass on the street stops to turn around to watch them go by. They still look so small to be going so fast (and with a fair amount of control). Dave and I trust them quite a bit, they know to stop before a street, look out for people, etc., but they're still 2 years old so sometimes it's hard to balance that freedom with limits. Their new trick is to crouch down with both feet on while continuing to roll. Who knows where they learned this!
  • They're totally independent at playgrounds now and though G goes through the occasional scaredy cat phase, he's gotten a lot better too. Sometimes it takes him a little while to warm up (like in the pool he won't jump right under like W will, or our first day at the beach he needed to hold my hand tightly to get near the water, but was going under water half an hour later) but he's able to try just about everything W does.
  • W has been loving shows as much as ever though he's gotten a bit more on vacation and has trouble when it's time to turn them off. W loves Gruffalo, Gruffalo's Child and Room on the Broom and they both like Paw Patrol.
  • Books: I've already forgotten which books were the hits right before we left, but I downloaded a bunch of ebooks from the library for our trip and that's been a hit. They love reading books on the ipad and 'flipping' the pages. Fred and Ted has been a hit and George loves The Day the Crayons Quit, which we hadn't read before. 
  • Playdough has still been a big hit but we'll see what other toys. They got new stuff for Christmas right before we left so we'll see what rises to the top as far as favorites go.
I'm bummed that I just can't keep up with all the funny things they say and new stories they tell every single day. I'm still noting things down here and there but just like there was a point where I couldn't keep track of new words they were using at a certain point, it's probably time to move on here too. I have a few funny quotes below but it really is so much fun to hear everything they have to say. The explanations they come up with... W basically starts everything with 'Yes because' or 'No because' and then goes into a long spiel.  They ask tons of questions, remember new words we tell them and can communicate just about everything they need to (though there are still plenty of times I need to remind them, 'I don't know what stomping means, can you tell me in a different way?' or similar. Luckily they usually turn it around pretty quickly. They also are memorizing words to more songs and can recite their favorite books which is so much fun to hear.

  • Back on track here. G has had maybe an accident or two on this trip but nothing major. We had pull-ups on them on the plane but they told us when they needed to go (G even had to go #2), which I'm not surprised. They're not into going in their pull up if they're awake/aware of it.
  • They're going on the big potties no problem and doing so pretty independently. G even prefers to wipe himself, though he has a long way to go there.
  • They're pulling their pants up and down by themselves, I guess unless I'm in a hurry and do it for them first.
  • They're really good when swimming too and will tell us when they have to go so we get out of the water.
  • We started giving them the option of no diaper at nap but for the past month they never wear a diaper. I think we've just had a small accident or two and always when we forgot to go right before naptime.
Biting update: Thankfully this never happens anymore, but when they get at each other, they do this new thing, which is basically like giving each other a zerbert on the face or body, pretty aggressively, but there are no teeth. We usually break it up at that point.

MOM: I've just been really tired, had a bad cold at the beginning of the month and felt like I had a ton to do before our trip. Mostly fun things, but still required going.going.going so it's been great to be relaxing in Florida, especially since the boys are more independent, I think Dave and I are feeling like we're both getting breaks (hopefully he is!).

Date night: Dave and I had no December date nights due to his holiday party and travel but I think we'll likely go out here in Naples one night and I have some fun places lined up for January back in SF.

Looking forward to:
  • We still have a week and a half left in Florida so looking forward to plenty of fun in the sun and time with Ma and Grandpa. I know the boys love having Dave every day all day too.
  • We don't have much planned for January yet, but it will be nice to settle back into a routine (and get daily breaks from Jessica!).

To my boys...

You had your share of 2-year old moments, specifically on our Disney trip but being in Florida has shown Dad and I how much you've grown up in the past year. It's surreal to do the same exact trip now three years in a row. I kept telling people that I expected it to be even better this year but then started worrying that I was jinxing myself. Really, it's been great, and it's been such a clear difference year over year. You are so independent and play together so well on your own. Dad and I can actually sit down together at the park, we know you're capable of doing everything there and keeping an eye on you from a distance is just fine. Though still not pros, eating at restaurants is much easier now. Oh and the plane flight?? We're considering a trip to Europe now! Well, not really, but we're confident we could give W the ipad and he'd be fine for any ridiculous length of time. G was great on the plane too, doing a mix of his backpack toys and watching shows. Swimming is so much fun this year. We're loving the zero entry pool at the condo and can sit on the side while you're playing in that area and though you're far from water safe, you guys are both so comfortable in the water, it's so fun! And the beach. Gosh, I remember that first year when we stayed at the beach and you were 8 months old... what a disaster that first day at the beach was. Sand in the mouth, crawling towards the water. Now we don't even need to both be down by the water with them! Although they were walking last year, 20 months is quite different than their stage now. They can walk further distances and besides Disney, we don't use the stroller at all. So many changes that are making this age so much fun and all of our Christmas adventures at home before coming to Florida were no different. Merry Christmas my sweet b's!

  • You loved chasing the pigeons at the Ferry Building and yelling, 'Fly away birds!', and also pulling the wagon together. 
  • You finally got to do the JCC dance class with Dedee and loved it
  • You went through a phrase of saying, 'Go away to your own house!' (G started it) but now you say, 'Go away cars, go to your own house!' when we're driving around looking for parking.
  • You're getting so much better at getting yourselves dressed. Pretty good at getting underwear and pants on, but shirts are still pretty tough.
  • The drive from Orlando to Naples started out okay, with you guys making up funny songs and laughing.
  • You both love to run for one last hug and kiss anytime one of us is leaving

George. You've always been quite particular about things but this month you turned into even more of a rule-enforcer. You like to correct other kids, usually right to their face, but occasionally tattling on them. Of course, you don't mind breaking rules yourself sometimes... You're still a huge fan of signs and always want to know what things say. You can 'read' a handful of signs by sight now.

  • You asked me to read the sign on the jumpy house and later came over to tell me that someone had their drink inside and they shouldn't.
  • You like to sit in big church with us (even though W is already downstairs) for the beginning and then go down with the other kids after the children's sermon.
  • You're really into being a snake right now and love your snake pjs.
  • You say,  'I'd like to come here another day' when you likes something
  • You told Jessica, ‘you have to eat your chicken before the fries’ b/c that’s what we told you at the Golden Gate Park party.
  • You love watching the cart escalator at Target. 
  • You remember everything I tell you once and often repeat it back later.
  • You woke up one morning and said, 'I had to wait forever for sun to come up'.
  • One day you weren't being nice to W and I reminded you about the elf. I later heard you whispering to the elf that you kissed W.
  • You found one little chip crumb in your bib at dinner and were super excited.
  • Dedee said her phone was dead and you said, 'It needs to be plugged in'. So we go out and Dedee looks for her phone everywhere and eventually finds it partially plugged into Daddy’s charger. She asks if I plugged it and and you said, 'I plugged it in'. 
  • You ate so much candy when decorating the gingerbread houses. You even ate Santa out of the chimney!
  • You and W were crying after nap one day and you went to find my ear plugs. You had found them earlier and asked what they were and I told you I used them when they were babies and their crying was too loud. 
  • You sang me a version of the bedtime song I do for you, ‘hush little mommy, don’t you cry, Geogie’s going to buy you a bicycle. And if that bicycle don’t have wheels… or pedals, Georgie's...'
  • You can count to fifteen, pretty consistently
  • You have taken to giving big goodnight kisses smack on the lips and always requesting extra hugs and snuggles

William. If I had to sum you up in two phrases this month, it would be 'No because' and 'Okay, sure'. You are often the most easy going kid. George will make all sorts of suggestions and usually you're up for just about anything. I love to hear all your explanations and reasoning.

  • You have picked up on using 'shall'. I'm not sure where you heard this but everything is shall. 'Shall we taste it?' 'Shall we go?' 'Shall we open it?'
  • You have the best memory, especially after nap/bedtime, when we're using a bribe or even just something to look forward to... we better have whatever was promised ready!
  • One night you tasted your enchilada, opened it up and said, "There's something in here I don't like." Then a few seconds later, "Can I have a treat?"
  • You often walk with your hands in your pockets. 
  • You said ‘I had fun dancing with my brother’ after the tree lighting in Golden Gate Park, dancing with the Chinese New Year dragons
  • We had a new friend over and you wouldn’t stop getting close to him. Finally the little boy warmed up and let you chase him.
  • You can do a back float unassisted or I should say that you have done a back float unassisted. You did it a bunch of times in class one day and haven't really done much since.
  • You didn’t even open your backpack the whole flight to Florida, only needed the ipad. 
  • You were eating the legs off the gingerbread man and told Dedee, 'so they won’t run away!'

Christmas by the Bay

The boys are starting to 'get' Christmas a bit more this year, but not enough that they're worried about Santa finding them in Florida. So it was easy enough when we chose Saturday night to be our Christmas Eve and prepped them for Santa's visit. Saturday night was a bit rushed as we had been at a birthday party late and came straight home to head into the bath. We let them choose several cookies to leave out for Santa (and G requested carrots to leave for the reindeer but we were out...) and we read a couple of Christmas books before they thankfully went to sleep quickly.

I was so grateful to have wrapped all the presents on one of the nights when Dave was out of town last week. Both Dave and I were exhausted by that evening so it was so nice to have him just carry everything upstairs from the storage closet. I guess I was too prepared as I forgot to put out one of their big gifts, which was unwrapped, a fire house (dollhouse-style) with furniture, etc., that my mom had picked up at the thrift store. In fact, I decided to keep it hidden for now, they had plenty to play with yesterday so that will be nice to take out on a rainy day.

I was so excited for Christmas morning and I thought they would be too. William especially has a good memory and usually wakes up first thing in the morning asking about anything I told him the night before (going on the cable car, getting a new toy, etc.). So much so that we really need to be careful -- one night my mom was telling them all about a truck in her car that they could play with the next morning. Well, 6:45am, they're crying for the truck from Dedee... Anyway, W woke up first and G was still sleeping so Dave suggested W watch a show in our bed and wait for G. W of course was sold. Well, G wakes up 2 minutes later but I can't convince W to come out to see if Santa came. He tells me he'll come when the show's over. Geez!

Finally 25 minutes later, they come out to check the tree. I wasn't sure what to expect -- if they'd open one thing and play with it for a while and it would take us all day to get through the toys, or if we should start a tradition like opening stockings before breakfast and presents wait (like it was in my house). W went straight for his M&Ms, which were having a second ride after St. Nicholas day. He nibbled on those while checking a few presents out. The umbrellas were first to be opened and were a big hit (they had asked for them and helped me pick them out).

We had a nice breakfast of bacon, fruit and Dutch baby pancake and then went back to opening more presents. It was actually a perfect day for it as there was a crazy storm and it was raining so hard and really windy out. We made it out for church which was a nice change of scenery before coming home for lunch and opening a few more presents.

The guitars, the gift they asked Santa for, were also a big hit and they had lots of fun playing with Daddy. They got into various other toys throughout the afternoon and luckily mom got her Christmas present of a nap while Dad took the boys out for a scooter ride when the weather had cleared. G didn't nap and W had a short one so it was a long day...

We had a prime rib roast with potatoes, green beans and popovers for dinner -- luckily we had a 2-rib roast which gave one rib to each of the boys to gnaw on.

We'll see how we do Christmas in coming years as the boys get a little older and moving Christmas isn't as easy. For now this is working great, that we get to go away for so long over the holidays, when it's easiest for Dave to be out of the office.

2015 gifts: guitars, umbrellas, superhero capes, Unlock It game, wood blocks, Melissa and Doug shape art, books, Paw Patrol stuff, fire station doll house, Daiso pots and pans, flashlights, etc. for stockings.

Christmas Festivities

I've been having a blast cramming Christmas into the first two weeks of December before we leave for Florida. We've visited Santa and have crossed off a lot of other fun things on my holiday list.

Tree Lighting in Golden Gate Park

The city put on such a great event, totally free, with rides, crafts, Santa, cookie decorating, etc. It was from 4-8pm on Thursday night and Dave had his holiday party that night so it worked out nicely that Jessica and I took the boys over. We got there at 4:30 and it was already packed, but nowhere near as busy as it would be 2 hours later. We waited in line for 40 minutes to ride the dinky little train... I can't believe the boys wanted to do it, but they were so patient. Jessica and I split up and she waited in line for the helicopters which the boys absolutely loved. Then I took them to do crafts (no line) while she waited in the cookie decorating line. The boys played in a block pit and finally it was our turn for cookies. Thankfully we got the sweet snack because despite the short line, the food truck is what too forever. We finished our chicken fingers and fries and then caught the tail end of the Chinese New Year dragons dancing around. The boys loved it and followed with their own dance. We got home late but managed to still get them in bed on time. It had been a long day, but totally worth it. It was a really well-done event, the only problem was that it was obviously popular. I think we'll definitely attempt again and hopefully try to get there right at 4pm.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

It's a German tradition to put your shoes out on the night of December 6, and if you've been good, St. Nicholas will come and fill your shoes with treats. I always loved this tradition as a kid and was excited to do it this year. The boys weren't particularly good, even when threatening that St. Nicholas wouldn't come. I suggested putting out their biggest shoes, and as predicted, W chose his slip-on tennis shoes... pretty much as little room as a shoe could have. I recommended rain boots and there still wasn't much room! I had picked up a few things from the Target dollar bin and Daiso and then a candy cane of M&Ms for each. They also had one of the Christmas presents wrapped up -- they both wanted aprons with their names on them -- and I wanted them to be able to use those when decorating their gingerbread houses before Christmas so included those as well. In the end, they were excited to see what St. Nicolas had brought, but they really couldn't get past the M&Ms. I had to keep asking them to open the wrapped presents and finally they did, not really impressed, though they did like the little Paw Patrol cars. It was really the chocolate candies that were their favorites though... Good tip for Christmas. Think simple.

Cable Car ride to the Fairmont Gingerbread House

This was a banner day for the boys. Bus to the cable car to the Fairmont Hotel. We checked out the huge gingerbread house display, complete with Santa's workshop and a train, which the boys loved. We got hot chocolate before trekking down several steep hills to catch another bus to North Beach. The new playground is awesome, though we didn't have too much time there, but we'll definitely be back. Then we headed to legendary Tony's for pizza right when they opened at noon. Two buses later, we made it home by 1:15 and thankfully both boys napped (mom needed one too!).

Decorating Gingerbread Houses

I was so excited for this, perhaps more excited than the kids. We went to Trader Joes and Target and picked out all kinds of toppings. I knew it was way too much effort to go to for two 2-year olds who would probably be interested for 5 minutes so I'm glad my brother and his family came over to decorate too. The kids loved all the different toppings and overall it was a huge success (though G probably ate 10 pieces for every piece he put on the house...)

It was tough to have so much packed into two weeks and there were a few things I wanted to do that we didn't get to -- the Zoo Lights (though I heard it was pretty disappointing) and then going to look at Christmas lights around town, especially at the Tom and Jerry house. Oh well, next year!


How lucky we were to just travel over the bridge to my parents' house for Thanksgiving. My poor sister and her family spent 8 hours getting up from LA and swear they won't do it again (over Thanksgiving). We planned to spend a few days out in Danville to maximize the time with my family. With a total of 16 people staying at the house, we knew it wouldn't be idea, but would be great for the kids.

In the end, there was a little family drama that led people to lose their appetite at dinner but I think everyone has moved on. Dave and I struggled with the boys too, as neither napped on Thanksgiving. G can miss a nap and be fine, but W never does and the combination of no nap, lots of sugar, so much excitement and stimulation, was just too much and led to meltdowns at bedtime. Worst of all, W kept waking up during the night and then G cried for like 10 minutes. We just couldn't win! It's so stressful for that to happen when you're exhausted not to mention your whole family is sleeping in rooms all around. Ugh.

The next day wasn't much better as again we couldn't get W to nap after he dozed off for a few minutes in the car earlier. By this point Dave was saying he was going to cancel his trip down to Chip's, that he was supposed to leave for around 4pm. Luckily G eventually fell asleep on the couch while watching TV with his cousins and I got a 15 minute couch nap too which was so needed. I convinced Dave to still go -- he needed the break and I knew I'd be fine with the boys with all the family I had around to help. We drove Dave into Walnut Creek Bart and of course W fell right asleep.

Trip to Papa's hardware store!

They loved the car cart at Safeway!

Dave had a great visit with Chip and I'm so glad he got to do that. We hadn't had a free weekend for him or us to drive down there so this was a good opportunity since I knew I'd be spending some time in Danville anyway. The boys and I had fun at the Danville tree lighting and thankfully went down easily that evening.

The next morning I got to do some much-needed shopping at the outlets with my sister and the boys stayed with my parents and their cousins and had a blast. I packed up the car and we headed for the city about noon on Saturday but unfortunately got stuck in bad traffic. I was trying everything I could to keep them awake as I needed a break during their nap at home before heading into the evening. Somehow they manged to stay awake even though we didn't get home until almost 1:30. They went down easily and were so good all evening too. They played together so nicely that I was able to get the stuffed-to-the-gills car totally unpacked and everything put away.

Dave and I are still debating how we'll handle these family gatherings in the future. On the one hand, we never travel to see my siblings so I feel like we should spend as much time as we can with them after they make the trek but it's really stressful for Dave and I when their schedule is thrown off so much and no one gets a rest. I hope with age that will improve but I'm still looking back on Thanksgiving as a positive experience. The boys adore their cousins (and I think their cousins feel the same), so it's really special for them to get so much time together.

Oh and I forgot to mention, one of the best parts of Thanksgiving is that we didn't have to make the turkey (Liz's dad did) so that took a lot of stress off of me. I brought the following:

Meeting Santa!

On Monday, we took the bus downtown for a very important meeting... with Santa! We had talked at length about how fun it was going to be and that they would tell him their names and what they wanted. Santa opened his shop at 11 and I wanted to miss any potential line, since I was by myself, wrangling the two of them while waiting in line would not be an option.

First, we walked to Macy's to see the the windows that they deck out different each year. This year, they were partnering with the SPCA and had the cutest little kittens playing in the windows. We walked by Union Square to see the big tree and then made our way down to the mall. I managed to do some quick returns at Nordstrom (and G happened to stumble right into the sharp corner of a table but miraculously there was barely a red mark on his chin).

Next stop: Santa! The boys were repeating, 'I won't be scared' as we waited in the nonexistent line -- highly recommend seeing Santa so early in the season and right when he opens ;) They climbed right up and told Santa their names and then they each said they wanted a guitar. He asked 'electric or 6-string' and they said, 'like Daddy's'. We even got some great smiles, though I was surprised none of the photos captured anything better than the above. Oh well, they both loved their visit with Santa and he gave them a good pep talk about being nice, good listeners, etc.

Next, we headed to the longtime SF favorite, Sears Fine Food for pancakes. Managing two of them can be challenging but we were doing really well, did our potty, washed our hands and waited nicely for the food. Then G fell off his booster seat... twice. It was like slow motion. He was seated across from me and I leaped up, but there was no chance to catch him. The second time, I was reminding him not to move around on his seat, when he leaned to the right and boom, there he flew once again. Lots of stares in the restaurant, but he was fine.