Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our Weekend: Redwood Hike

We've visited a nearby redwood forest several times since we moved here last year, but this was our first springtime visit and everything was completely transformed and colorful and even prettier than usual. 

We went right after Ez's soccer practice on Saturday, and since we'd gone to the airport to watch planes take off and land a few weeks ago he kept asking if we could go see more planes. Luckily this particular redwood forest is right next to Roaring Camp Railroads. So even though we didn't see planes we did see a steam engine train which seemed to make things alright.

Technically this was Declan's first real hike, where he actually had to put in some of the effort anyway. No more lounging around on our backs or in the stroller. Since he decided he just had to walk at nine months he's pulling his own weight from now on ;) Ez was kind enough to help him out. The hardest part was not stopping to eat every stick and leaf we passed. So much temptation.

Ez and Declan loved wandering into all the tree caves and tunnels and climbing on everything that was climbable. Running around getting all sweaty and dirty is exactly what weekends are made for and they took full advantage of that. We strayed from the short loop we normally stick to and followed the path uphill. Way waaay uphill. With the double stroller. That was definitely more of a workout than we were planning on, but we came across so many beautiful sights, like a mountain stream and a train passing overhead on a bridge, that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. 

Eventually Ez and Declan passed out. Being pushed up a mountain is exhausting work. Joe and I left them with grandma and then continued hiking for a little bit. It was so peaceful and shaded, I have a feeling this will be our new favorite summer hiking spot.

The best thing about posting a weekend recap on a Thursday is that it's basically the weekend again already. Yay for that! Got anything fun planned? We might go visit a nearby mission.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Grandma Kat's Visit

Joe's mom was in town for the weekend and we somehow managed to pack a lot of excursions and Uno into three short days. As soon as she arrived Ez gave her a lesson on Monster Trucks. She'd finally memorized all the Cars characters, so of course Ez moved onto a whole new set of vehicle names she needed to know. Declan showed off all the skills he's learned since Christmas, mainly swaggering around the house like a little cowboy.

On Saturday we stuck with our normal morning soccer routine but this time grandma got to join in on the fun. Ez was slow to start but by the end he was having fun. Declan, meanwhile, is getting increasingly skillful at sneaking onto the field. He wants to be out there chasing the ball around so bad.

After soccer we went hiking in a nearby redwood forest where we took so many pictures that I'll save them for another post. 

On Sunday I got the afternoon off while everyone else went to San Francisco. I watched one of my favorite movies then spent a long time leisurely browsing at the bookstore. And no kids meant I could even stop by the cafe for an iced beverage and still have a hand free to look at books. Quite different from the last time I went when I spent half the time trying to usher Ez past the toy section and the entire time I was in line trying to delay the inevitable afternoon meltdown by fishing every snack and toy out of my Mary Poppins purse. 

As with every fun-packed weekend it flew by much too quickly and we're already looking forward to the next visit.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Our Experience With Baby Led Weaning

Baby led weaning was something I'd read a little bit about back when Ez first started eating solids, but he didn't have any teeth till he was a year old and I just couldn't comprehend how he would chew food. Turns out baby gums are like little metal compactors so I didn't need to be so concerned, but we still stuck with purees for him. 

Fast forward almost three years and we've got one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. Since a lot of people claim baby led weaning leads to more adventurous eating habits I decided to give it a shot this time around. You can read more about baby led weaning here, but basically it means you skip purees and cereal and go straight to solids that babies can pick up and eat themselves.

Here's how the experience has gone for us:
Declan enjoys putting everything in his mouth and chewing on it, but once it reaches an appetizing slimy mush consistency he spits out about 80% of it. And that's after he's already swiped about 80% of his food onto the floor. So I'm not keeping strict count, but I'd say he's only eating about one bite at a time. At nine months he has slowly started swallowing more of his food, but it's been a long, slow, messy process to get to this point.

Originally I tried really hard to give him a good mix of all kinds of foods. But Declan's the second child, so you know what that means. His meals have evolved into scraps of whatever big bro won't eat off his plate. Lots of sandwich crusts, discarded apple cores, small bites of waffles, cut up fruit, and a handful of cereal scattered directly onto the table. My poor little hobo child. Obviously I don't stop and take pictures of the table scraps he eats (often directly from the floor), but on a good day Declan might get a complete meal like this one (probably not though):
eggplant, melon, brussels sprouts, tofu
Declan has given us quite a few choking scares. I've tried cutting his food up in thin strips so he could grasp it better or tiny chunks to make it easier to swallow and it made no difference. It got to the point where meals were giving me a heart attack because I was constantly watching him to make sure he didn't need to be heimliched. I've heard that babies have extra sensitive gag reflexes and it's usually nothing to worry about, but I'm a mom and worrying is my job, so we switched solely to purees for awhile. 

In terms of actually swallowing his food he seemed to prefer the purees. Now we do a combination of both and that is working well for us. 

His favorite foods include:
  • Waffles 
  • Cereal 
  • Melon
  • Yogurt
  • Green smoothies 
  • Plum fruit & veggie pouches
  • Rice cakes
  • Sweet potatoes & squash
  • Tofu 
  • Apple 
  • He'll try most veggies but he spits a lot of them out

In the end we didn't really stick with one weaning style. Some moms have told me their babies started stealing food off their plates from a really young age and loved solids from the get go, others said their babies had no interest in solids till they were almost a year old, so just like with everything else all babies seem to have their specific tastes and go at a different pace. For us it was actually very freeing to have an "anything goes" mentality this time around, compared with Ez where we felt we had to do only cereal for a certain amount of time, and then just one pureed food for a week at a time, introducing everything slowly. I'm obviously no expert so my only advice for other moms would be to not get caught up in the "rules" of whatever weaning method you choose. Pick and choose what works for your child and go with your gut. 

And just for fun, here's Declan spitting his food out at us:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Our Weekend: Kidfree Staycation

For Valentine's Day my parents gifted us Sharks tickets and offered to watch the kids so we could enjoy a date night. The game was this weekend and we decided my parents should just spend the night instead of driving all the way home in the rain. Then we had an even more brilliant idea and decided we should get a hotel room and have a little kid free staycation. We literally live a mile from where the Sharks play, so a hotel wasn't necessary, but Joe and I have not had a kid free night since before we had kids. That's three years. I've only spent one night away from Ez and zero nights away from Declan so this was long overdue. 

We got to the hockey game a little early because our tickets were for the penthouse suites which included a buffet and drinks. Here's how I envisioned the night would go: show up, eat and drink, then leave about halfway through. Neither Joe or I had ever been to a hockey game and we don't follow the sport so we didn't think we'd be that into it. We were wrong. Right off the bat the music and the crowd's energy pumped us up. It was like being at a concert. Then two of the players started fighting which really got the crowd riled up. I was pretty much hooked after that. The game flew by and we stayed till the end. Sharkie even walked through our area and we got to witness a full grown woman with kids my age hit on him and call him sexy. To each their own. Also, awkward ;) And the best part is the Sharks won 1-0, go sharks! 

Afterward we were basically swept back to our hotel in a sea of hockey fans and decided on one more margarita and dessert in the lounge. Then we enjoyed our first full night of sleep in years. I woke up at 4am a little confused about why nobody had woken me up yet, but went right back to sleep until 8. It was glorious. Only another 4,763 nights of sleep like that and I should be all caught up.

We started our morning at the hotel gym followed by breakfast burritos. Balance. After that we got Starbucks where we happened to be in line behind Karrueche Tran, who you probably wouldn't know unless you read tabloids, but it turned out to be incredibly awkward because the Starbucks employees kinda recognized her but didn't know exactly who she was and asked her if she was Chris Brown's baby mama. Super blunt. And then they got right in her face and asked for pictures. I thought she handled it very well by politely posing with them even though they were rude to her.

By that point I was more than ready to see my babies. I made Joe rush us home, ran through the door, and was greeted with... barely a second glance. I think it literally took four or five glances before either of them drummed up any interest in me. I'm glad they had so much fun with the grandparents though, and am incredibly thankful for a much needed kidfree getaway. Thanks Gangy and Grampa!

Cheers for making it this far! Hope you all had an amazing weekend. Maybe even with a few margaritas thrown in :)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Time With the Family

Last week we spent a few days at my parent's house. Ever since the Easter bunny hid our eggs over there Ez had been asking to go back and look for more eggs. Needless to say that was the first thing we crossed off our list as soon as we got there. We also went to an arcade with friends where Ez fell in love with the alligator bop game. I took him on his first go kart ride, and despite his love of all things that go he was petrified after half a lap. Maybe mommy is a scary driver? The next day we met the same friends for a picnic at the park where Declan loved being fawned over by the other kids and Ez was content to roll around in the dirt. Does anyone else ever feel like having kids is a whole lot like having a puppy? Other highlights of our visit included making the uncles chase Ez and Declan in circles around the house, playing and watching monster trucks, lots of Gangy and Grampa snuggles, and chasing the cats all over the place. It was so much fun that the only way I could convince Ez to leave was with promises of seeing daddy. Speaking of which, Declan was so happy to be reunited with his dad that he pretty much sprinted toward the door as soon as it opened waving his hands and squealing excitedly. I think he was missing all of his and daddy's inside jokes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I Love SF

"It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco." ~ Oscar Wilde

Of all the big cities I've ever been to, (which admittedly isn't a whole lot), San Francisco is my favorite. As far as mileage goes it's not the largest, but it feels like each neighborhood is a completely new place that you could easily spend a whole day exploring. I love that the bay is such a prominent part of the city, from the piers, to the bridges, the hilly views of the water, and the briny, shellfish scents. I love the steep hills, the architecture, the infinite sources for people watching, and the street art. A lot of big cities wind up being gray and tall and crowded and busy, but San Francisco has somehow managed to stay colorful and unique.

Even though we've spent plenty of afternoons wandering around the wharf, we still discovered a new-to-us place on our most recent trip. The Marketplace is full of specialty shops and restaurants and it was really hard not to eat one of everything we passed. If you ever visit there, make sure you go hungry. Eventually we settled on sushi and a crab breakfast burrito, both of which were amazing. Even more so because we got to eat them with an incredible view of all the boats on the bay. 

After lunch we wandered down to Pier 39 while Ez pointed out every trolley along the way. We watched dozens of sailboats taking advantage of the sunny, slightly breezy weather and then stopped by to say hi to the sea lions. One of them kept knocking another one off the dock into the water which Ez found hilarious. I'm going to assume they are brothers.

We didn't have an agenda and just wandered around people and vehicle watching until it was clear both boys were on the verge of overtired meltdowns. We capped off our visit with more seafood and headed home with enough time to watch an episode of House of Cards followed by the Walking Dead finale. Perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

"San Francisco itself is art...every block is a short story, every hill a novel." ~ William Saroyen