3 Years Old: Birthday Interviews

I love doing the annual birthday boards and for the first few years, stats are really the things to include -- their measurements, basic likes and dislikes and new abilities. Now that they're three, and talking a lot more, I figured it would be fun to do a birthday interview. I did a basic one last year for W and G, but knew I'd get some better answers this year. It's always so funny, what they say isn't necessarily their favorite thing or the thing I would answer for them, it's really what pops into their head at that given moment. I gave no prompting whatsoever and quoted whatever they said.

3 Years Old!

What a month (and year) it has been! I'm not surprised that they're already three years old, I feel like the last few months they've seemed so much more grown up that they just seemed too old to be two. They talk so much, play so well independently, are doing more and more on their own and of course becoming more opinionated and testy too. With the pregnancy though, I'm really appreciating their age and that they're capable of understanding more and doing more on their own or with less assistance from me.

Highlights from the month:
  • Easter and the various celebrations
  • A week in Hawaii for mom and dad, a week with the grandmas for the boys
  • Their actual birthday, so much fun
  • Their birthday party, more to come when we get the photos back next week

As nothing really has changed in the past few months, I'd rather highlight out all their favorite foods at 3 years old.
William: oatmeal, muffins, waffles, fruit, noodles (but only certain ones), fries, PBJ sandwiches, figs, 'big corn', bread and butter, chips.
George: cheese, quesadillas, meat on the bone (ribs, chicken legs, steak, pork chops - and he can eat a full adult portion), fish, fries, chicken nuggets, pepperoni pizza, cottage cheese, figs, 'big corn', bread and butter, chips.

I'm hoping to enjoy the next month of continued good sleep as I'm sure transitioning them to twin beds in the room downstairs is going to lead to some sleep issues. They're excited now, but we'll see... Otherwise, I really can't complain. They've been napping well, with G just missing a nap a couple days in the last month. His phase of only wanting me to get him up in the morning has ended, though he still is having some trouble (but not much) going to sleep at night. I think it probably has to do with the fact that he's not that tired. It's great he's still taking a nap, but sometimes it's after 9pm that he's still calling for another hug from us, as W snores away next to him. Waking up from nap is still tough some days, but it's more hit or miss as opposed to the period where waking up was bad every day, for each of them. G seems to be having a harder time waking up.

We got them strider bikes for their birthday but really haven't used them much yet. We really tried to keep the gifts to a minimum as we feel like they have so much stuff right now, even as we attempt to rotate toys, but they still got plenty of stuff from family. They have so much fun opening presents now, so it was nice to have some stuff for them to open on their birthday but I was telling Dave, with 30 kids at their birthday party, I can't even imagine if we had not said, 'no gifts'. Just way too much stuff. Anyway, here are their current favorites:
Books: Dragons Love Tacos, The Wonderful Things You Will Be, various firetruck books from the library, The Ultimate Construction Site Book
Games/imagination: Garbage truck - loading up every pillow, book, toy, etc onto their little white chair (garbage can) and dumping into the big blue chair (this seems to be an upstairs only game), firefighters - rescuing the kitty, putting out various fires, driving the truck, setting up a train (or sometimes it's another vehicle) with their little white chairs, using sticks for various things like leaf blowers, fire hoses, etc.

Toys: Playdough isn't as much of a hit but I still have to include it on the list, same with their play kitchen - not used daily necessarily, but still used often and is usually combined with some other game they're playing. Maganatiles are a huge hit, they love building with them and we were considering getting another set as they really do use them all, and then a friend gave them another box which was perfect. They love playing with the garbage and fire trucks (they got this one and this one for their birthday) and love loading it up with various blocks. The Melissa and Doug wood people continue to be used all the time, often with these vehicles. We have a large alphabet train puzzle which they like, George especially. Trains haven't been used nearly as much lately.
Stuffed animals - Ugh, I've never been a fan of stuffed animals, even as a kid, and it seems like they always multiply and are hard to get rid of (you really just have to throw them away which is a bummer), but the boys love their 'friends' and use them in a lot of their imaginative play. We've always had a back up of each of their animals (monkey bear for G and sammy dog for W) and they've decided to give the backup to their brother so now they each have one of each (and we have no backups...).


TALK: I haven't been doing as well at noting down all the funny things you say, but it still amazes me how you're able to communicate just about anything you need to. It's not just the words used, it's the tales you can tell, explanations you give, negotiations or justifications. I hear kids who are a little bit older and there speech seems so clear -- I feel like you guys are pretty easy to understand for people who are often around kids, but nowhere near as clear as some of these other older kids so I'm sure in the next 6 months or so, that will really develop.

POTTY: You were potty trained by age 2 and honestly not much has changed in a year. G still has trouble stopping to go on his own and has accidents here or there, but overall I hope we're heading out of that. William continues to do great.

I feel like Hawaii was a turning point. The spotting has stopped so that's really made me feel more comfortable with the pregnancy. It was so nice to get away and relax and spend time with Dave. April was consumed by birthday prep, but everyone (including me) had such a great time at the party that it was definitely all worth it. After doing this several years now, I've learned a lot and it does get easier and less stressful each year. I've already moved on to buying stuff for the boys' new room that we'll move them into next week and just over the past few days, we've started listing all the guestroom furniture to get rid of. I can't wait to see their new room all set up! Unfortunately we still haven't found a longterm nanny, but we have a good candidate set up for a trial week next week, and one more woman coming this week for a trial day (and unless she's amazing, I probably won't change anything with the trial week next week). I still can't believe it's taken this long to find someone, and unfortunately I still don't know if we've found 'the one', but May has to be the month to get it all settled. Ugh, what a process. If I can get that settled, and most of the boys' room stuff ordered this week, then I'm hoping I can actually work on their books in May and then focus more on getting ready for the baby in June. The plan is to keep the nursery basically as is since the boys will be getting new stuff for downstairs. I think I'll start pinning a few ideas for boys or girls nurseries but won't buy anything or worry about having it set up until after the baby arrives. It's been so nice to have a lot of my friends 'done' having had their second child about a year ago, so I have one book club friend in particular who has unloaded most of her baby stuff on me. I have a short list of things I need to get, and a lot of that has already come from my friend, so it will mostly be things like a new infant towel, sheets for the crib and other pieces that aren't handed down. I feel like Dave and I have some fun stuff coming up to, more things to check off my 'before baby' list :)

Looking forward to...
  • Possible day in Santa Cruz at the boardwalk and the beach this weekend
  • Spa day with Annie
  • Dinner at Ninebark up in Napa with Dave
  • Birthday party at our place for my Dad's 75th birthday

weight: 30.5lb (29lbs 6 months ago) -- 38th percentile
height: 36.5 inches  -- 18th percentile
shoe size: 8
clothes: comfortably in 2T, tried some of G's old 3Ts but still too big for him

weight: 39lbs (36 lbs 6 months ago) -- 98th percentile
height: 39.5 inches (37.8 inches 6 months ago) -- 87th percentile
shoe size: 9
clothes: a mix of 3T and 4T -- a lot of the 3T pants were getting too tight in the waist. The 4Ts need to be rolled a little but at least we can button them!

To my boys...

You're three years old! I love so much about this age already. You guys have been the best helpers and are becoming so much more independent (specifically with me as you know I have my limits). I love when I find the stool below your light switch in your room -- George was creative enough to figure out how to do it himself instead of asking me to go turn on the light for him. For the most part, you don't seem to be resentful that I can't carry you, lift you into the car, etc. and are proud of what you're able to do on your own. Dad still spoils you in some of these ways, but you've just accepted that it's not an option with me. You guys are having so much fun together -- coming up with new games, having a great time, with the occasional fight of course. I notice that when you're out at the park, you're much more protective of each other and more likely to gang up on someone who's not being nice to one of you. It's so fun to witness the experiences you'll have as twins that so many others will never get. I know the next few months are going to have lots of transitions, but we'll figure it out together. I'm so grateful we're going through these transitions at age 3 and not a year ago though.

  • You loved riding the power wheels when we saw Jenn and her family
  • You had to come to several of my ob appointments this month and were pretty good. I think you liked hearing the heartbeat through the doppler.
  • You always want me to stop in Gymboree (the store) because there's a TV with kids shows on
William. You've actually had more moments of frustration than normal this past month, lots of stomping off or throwing yourself on the floor. You're actually really good at using your words too, and there's so much emotion in them: 'GEORGE!!! I DON'T like that!!!' or 'I am VERY mad because you won't let me do that!' It still takes a lot to manage these big emotions and though my approach is to try to remain calm and remind you that I can't understand what you mean when you're stomping around, it's still going to be a process. You're actually really good at taking a breath and then grumpily saying why you're so upset. You're still so sweet about the baby and always like to feel my belly when curling up for a story. You're trying to do more and more on your own, which is great, since you really weren't interested in that before. You like to try to put on your socks and your shoes. You say 'I love you' unprompted and it's often 'I love you because you make me X' or 'bring me to Y'. It's really the best.
  • We were driving and I said, 'Oh, look, it looks like Dedee's car!' and you said, 'but it doesn't have the orange band' (referring to the orange duck tape on her side mirror ;) 
  • You get really stressed out when G isn't listening and I do things like say, 'Okay, I'm going then George' and pretend to leave. You get all upset and say 'No!' to me, and then quickly shout, 'Georgie, come on, hurry!'. G doesn't do the same for you.

George. Whereas William has become more dramatic this month, you managed your emotions much better than last month. You still have your moments of getting frustrated but are getting better at verbalizing what's wrong before you start a tantrum. Even after all these months, you're still so into the routine. You request a quesadilla every day after we put W down for nap. You require I do it on the stove so you can flip it. You always want a few pieces of cheese to nibble on while I slice the rest for the quesadilla. It has to be cut in 5 triangles and you'll eat it while we read books before naps. Any deviation from the plan does not go well. With several different nannies coming through for trials, you're always the first one to say when they're doing something differently and the 'right' way they should do it. You're still my great little helper and have become so creative in what you're able to do yourself.
  • Dedee told you  that the ticket lady was outside and you said, 'No Dedee, it's the meter maid!'
  • You got a time out at swim class and had to sit outside the pool. You weren't listening to Blaze and wouldn't stop jumping on the castle.
  • You are adamant about wiping your own butt and actually do a really good job.
  • We told you you couldn't get a treat at Off the Grid if you didn't eat your lunch so you promptly ate 3 chicken legs... and got your cupcake.
  • You shout commands at W like you hear me say (when W is in his room for nap but still talking, or saying he can't see his books) - 'Go to sleep!' or 'Use your guy!'
  • I was eating a chocolate (though you didn't see it at all, it was already in my mouth) and you said, 'what is that smell? Is that a chocolate smell?' How did you know??
  • You can finally say 'yellow' correctly instead of llello!
  • You can draw a G

Happy 3 Years Old, my big boys!

April 20, 2016

Each year, birthdays get better and better with the boys. I even noticed a difference between Christmas a few months ago. They're totally into opening presents and get the excitement that it's their birthday.

I usually go to pinterest for ideas on how to make their actual birthday special. Balloons seem like the biggest (and easiest) hit. Dave and I spent about 20 minutes decorating after they went to bed on Tuesday night. We put streamers and balloons hanging down from their door, some yellow balloons in their room, lined the hallway with a criss-cross of streamers and balloons (which they called the 'carwash'), hung several birthday banners and set out their presents at the end of the path. I had birthday hats and poppers on the table for them and even wrote a birthday message under the toilet seat in washable marker. To be honest, it's always kind of a pain to do this stuff -- it's obviously always during a week when I'm really busy getting ready for their party and combined with the pregnancy, am already really tired, but it was 100% worth it. And as I expected, I heard William's little voice whispering to George, 'Georgie, there's balloons in our room!" It was so fun to see how excited they were about everything.


Opening presents and then playing with everything kept them occupied for about an hour which gave me time to make 1-hour cinnamon bun 'cakes' for each in the shape of a W and a G. I also baked bacon in their initial shapes. These, of course, ended up taking longer than an hour, but I know what I need to do next time to get it to go a little faster.

They loved playing with their balloons, that was a hit all day long.

After breakfast, we did a scavenger hunt (I got the idea from one of their favorite books, Max and Ruby's treasure hunt). I wrote out excerpts of nursery rhymes, which they love and know the words to, so they were able to figure out the missing word and run to that place to find the next clue. That was the best! At the end, they found their new yellow strider 2-wheel bikes with balloons tied on. They rode around on these in the backyard for a while before we all got dressed.

For their big birthday activity, we gave them several options based on things they had previously said they wanted to do. Initially we thought TrainTown in Sonoma or something similar, but a lot of those places aren't open midweek. So the options were riding the double decker tour bus, or riding the 'subway' (which they had seen in one of their books). They decided on riding the subway to the taqueria to get their favorite strawberry fresca drink. So we took the bus down to Union Square, then walked over to Bart and took Bart out to Balboa Park (had barely even heard of it). The plan was to just get back on Bart going the other way, but Bart is actually pretty fast and it was barely 11am by this point. Plus, they saw the muni trains (which go above ground) and wanted to ride one so we found a route where we could take muni, then a bus, over to the taqueria.

Everything was a success and we had quesadillas and tacos for lunch and they each got a strawberry drink. Dave was hoping to hop in an uber home, but we were all the way across town and I just didn't feel safe trekking with them out of carseats. It was two buses to get home but seemed straight forward enough. Well, it took forever. We waited a bit for the bus we needed to come, then after a few blocks, it broke off the rope track and we had to get off and wait for a new bus. Dave was about to throw in the towel but luckily we didn't have to wait too long. But it's just a slow route headed up Van Ness. They we caught the last bus back down Sacramento/California and made it home about 1:45. Mom and Dad were exhausted (I couldn't go back to sleep after going to the bathroom at 4am, which has been randomly happening) so luckily everyone took a nap.

They decided they wanted to go for a swim at JCC when they woke up for their nap so we headed over. They are getting to be such great swimmers! Especially in the shallow end where they can swim for a few feet and then put their feet down :) They're really using their arms now which is great, but most importantly, they love the water.

We came back home and I made these chicken fingers for dinner and 'big corns', their favorite. Mom and Dad needed the chicken over a salad after the heavy lunch. I wanted to avoid more cooking, plus I knew there would be cookies, cupcakes and cake at their party on Saturday, so we decided on root beer floats with whipped cream for their birthday dessert.

Overall, such a fun day. I don't think the boys fell asleep until after 9:15pm as they were chatting away and talking about their balloons. Next up, the big party!

40th Birthday Trip/Babymoon

I feel so lucky that we got to spend the last week in Hawaii, just the two of us. It was so relaxing and between Dave's bum foot and me being 7 months pregnant, we are quite the pair who could manage little more than a short walk.

Since we're so spoiled with great food in San Francisco, my expectations are always low for Maui. Of course there was a list of places people rave about, but often those end up being just okay. I think both Dave and I were pleasantly surprised with the food we had -- and I feel like we had it all.

Our resort
We started by hitting Mama's Fishhouse, supposedly the spot on the island, and decided to go for lunch since it was just past the airport and would mean an hour plus drive each way if we went from our hotel another day. Such a stunning location, the open-hair restaurant was right off the beach and had excellent food. I had their crab-stuffed mahi mahi and Dave had an awesome 3-fish curry. Really good drinks, even the mocktails, too.

We had a great noodle lunch at Start Noodle off the beaten path in Lahaina (but very well known for it's food and it lived up to the hype) and picked up sandwiches at Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop on the way to the airport (Dave wasn't convinced it was worth the stop until he took the first bite!). Otherwise we ate by the pool. Breakfast was often room service, but we tried out The (famous) Gazebo which was just a few minutes from our resort. Another stunning location on a cliffside and the food was pretty good too (though it's a 45 minute wait no matter how early you arrive so not sure any breakfast is that good). On a rainy day, we also checked out The Plantation House north of Kapalua which had a nice golf course view. I had heard people rave about the dinner, but then read some mixed reviews as well, so decided just to try it for breakfast and it was good.

We ate at Cane and Canoe at our hotel one night, which was overall really good food but very, very slow service. I also debated on Sensai's, which again, is known as the place to get sushi on the island but still got some mixed reviews and seeing as we get some great sushi here, thought we may be disappointed. It's just a few minutes from our resort so we decided to go and it was really good! Dave said it was the best toro he'd ever had! We also ate at Merriman's, another great location and spot to watch the sunset and we could walk from our hotel. Lahaina Grill in downtown is pretty pricy but we had a great meal there too -- Dave had steak, lobster and foie gras! Of course, I had to get a couple of shaved ices too so overall, I'd say we ate very well.

In front of Merriman's, our resort in the background

Our days were lazy and involved a lot of reading and watching some shows. We mostly stayed at the hotel, but did drive out for lunch on the days when the weather wasn't great. We also had some spa treatments on a rainy afternoon. I had an awesome facial!

Laying on the beach, unfortunately so uncomfortable for me at this stage!

Dave especially was a bit worried to leave the boys for so long -- they've been acting up lately with all the nanny changes so we hoped they wouldn't be too bad for the grandmas, and of course, we hoped they didn't get too sad too. Ma was great about recapping everything through photos and I'd say they had the time of their life! It sounds like G had one meltdown midweek asking for us, but otherwise they went with the flow. I think the grandmas did a good job of preparing them for what was next, who was coming, what they were going to do and when we were going to be home. My mom said on Saturday afternoon when she said she was going home, G said, 'who's coming over now?'.

We left Monday morning and my mom was with them all day until Ma arrived that afternoon. Sounds like they were really excited to see her! Luckily Ha came Tuesday through Friday to give them a bit of a break each afternoon and then they read books and put the boys to bed. On Tuesday they headed to the Academy. Wednesday sounds like a highlight... it ended up being over 85 degrees in SF (and that was on a day it was raining in Maui! The grandmas were ambitious and made it all the way to Baker Beach and it sounds like everyone had a blast. Thursday was their swim class (sounds like they did better this week) and then the library like normal. By Friday the weather had definitely shifted and it was misty for their outdoor class but sounds like everyone had so much fun poking around for rollie pollies.

Ma left early Saturday morning so my dad came in and they took the boys out to Hobitot in Berkeley. Jessica came to relieve everyone at 4pm that day until we got home around 10pm. It sounds like they had fun seeing her as it had been a while. Wow, what a whirlwind!

Dave and I feel so lucky that we have parents that are not only willing and able, but super enthusiastic about spending a week with the boys. Although at times they can feel easy (like when they're playing nicely together), they are still a ton of worth, let alone when they start having their bad attitudes. Obviously time with grandparents is special but we're so glad that Dave and I can get away and feel confident that they're not only loved and taken care of, but having an absolute blast the whole time we're gone.

We celebrated Dave's birthday as a family with Ma's special Eclair Pie (Dave's favorite), which the boys helped Ma make.


To Ma's boys...  
You guys make me laugh...a lot!   Maybe we were building duplos or designing a train and you have a comment that just comes out of the blue.  Of course I can't remember all of them but just know I listen to all your little conversations and I can't believe how much you have changed in a few months.  William, you are always looking out for George.  Sometimes you would tell me about George's favorite color, "yellow" and that a particular toy or cup or shirt would be George's favorite.  I even smile when I hear how you pronounce George's name, so carefully and distinctly. Very cute.  And George, you are so precise in everything you do, reminding William about where certain pieces go or how to connect the Magnatiles in just the perfect order.  You each have your own special qualities and talents and you are best friends.  So sweet.

And you are both such big helpers.  George knows where everything is stored in the house.  All I had to do was mention that I couldn't find something and George was on a mission to find it...thanks so much for your help.  And George is the best at cleaning up toys before moving on to the next activity.  Ma really appreciates all that help.  And even though you are kind of set in your ways about certain things you didn't complain when Grandma Jeanne and Ma picked out the wrong clothes for after our swim.  Your jeans were much too tight - probably Williams - but you didn't complain and just proceeded to eat your lunch and walk to the library like there was no problem.  Those pants were so tight Ma thought you looked like a real San Francisco Metro Male.  So cute and so handsome in those tight jeans!

William, you are the charmer. You can tell a story and roll your eyes and have me wrapped around your little finger.  You can play by yourself using your imagination to create all sorts of scenarios that Ma cannot see or be a part of.  But is is fun to sit back and watch you, deep in thought and play, oblivious of your brother or anyone else in the room.  I know another little boy just like you who could play just like you do...your daddy.  

I love how you always wash hands at dinner and after using the bathroom.  I love that you know your routines and like to stick to them even when Ma and Jeanne are visiting.  I love that you are so independent and can do lots of activities on your own.  I LOVE how you love to read "bookies".  There is nothing like having both of you crawl up into my lap or next to me in the chair with a book to read. 

I do remember one conversation with William.  After using the bathroom you told me you didn't have to wash your hands because you "didn't touch your penis or the potty".  Hmmmm...don't think that will work but it was funny!

Let's see if I can remember all the fun activities:
Mon - Ma arrives and you were waiting for me after your nap!  We played outside and had dinner with Pop pop and Dede.  Then we had big fun in the bath tub before we went to bed.

Tues- After the garbage truck left (and the garbage man waved at us in the window!) we went to The Academy of Science.  What a great day playing in the museum and eating lunch outside!  Ha came over in the afternoon and we all had dinner together and played for a while after bath time.

Dedee's special treat -- whipped cream!

Wed - Today it was 80 degrees in San Francisco so we went to Baker Beach.  We played in the cold Pacific and built castles in the sand.  Then you two found a hole in the sand that made a perfect play spot and spent a long time with your toys creating your own imaginary playscape.  We brought a little sand home and Ha accidentally got some on the floor when she was getting your shoes out for the park.  George told her that "Mommy wouldn't be happy about the sand on the floor and we needed to get the Baccume out to clean it up!!!"

Ma's special treat -- white donuts!

Thur - We did a big walk today, first to the YMCA to swim then to the library to read books and color a picture for mommy and daddy and finally to the bagel store for chocolate milk and a blueberry bagel.  Whew...that was an exciting day and we even saw a big cement truck pouring concrete so we stopped to watch and the firetruck passed as we waited for the walk light and the firemen waved and honked their horn.  So fun!  We got a little off our schedule today because of our long walk, so naps were late and Ha just played at home with you because you woke up late form your nap.  No problem!  We even got to watch a short "show" tonight as a special treat after our bath!

Fri - What a great hike in the Presidio.  We climbed on big logs, looked for worms with our sticks, and we found "more than 5" roly-polies .  I think there were thousand in that log and you two were such good scientists looking for more hiding under the bark and then replacing all the pieces so the little guys could go back to sleep with their families.  You were good listeners today and I had such a good time on that beautiful path...thanks for letting me join you!

Sat morning I had to leave early - before you woke up - and by accident I had 3 cabs show up to take me to the airport.  I guess calling more than once is not necessary - even when the cab is later than promised!  Ma went home on two jets and Grandpa Gary was very happy to go to dinner with Ma and listen to all my stories and look at all my pictures of William and George.

I love you William and George.  You laughter and enthusiasm for life is so contagious.  We talked a lot about your new baby and I know you will be good big brothers.  I already miss you and can't wait to see you again.  You are Ma's sunshine and happiness.  Hugs and kisses, Ma