Monday, October 29, 2012

A Tale of Two Beaches Part II: Stinson Beach

Exactly a month later on Mark’s and my fifth wedding anniversary, we hit the beach again this time to the north instead of south. Before leaving the house I actually got Julia to wear a dress! It involved receiving a bribe of a Cookie Monster cookie after she put it on and another in the car if she kept it on. (The first time I tried cookies as a bribe she immediately wanted the dress off as soon as she received the cookie so I’ve learned from that mistake.)

First stop was Park Chow in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset. James and Julia were excited to (slowly) walk up the stairs to the heat-lamped covered balcony, creating a line of traffic behind them. A woman sitting nearby with an interest in twins was charmed by ours and gave us four free Oakland
Zoo passes (score!).

Mommy walks with James and Julia in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset.

Waiting for a table at Park Chow

James puts on a Halloween mask. Oh wait, that’s his actual face.

James pulls Julia out of his hat.

“Seriously, Mom, don’t you have enough pictures already?”

Then we snaked along the Marin County coast to Stinson Beach, and James and Julia napped on the way just like I planned. It was a chillier beach and some people were in long sleeves - you could definitely tell we were north of San Francisco! The twins, particularly James, enjoyed viewing a game of beach volleyball having just watched that on TV during the Olympics. They liked playing in the sand, and James discovered the joys of hiding his feet under it. The twins and I were particularly struck by how cold the sand was in the shade on the walk back to the car.

We arrive at Stinson Beach.

Daddy gets comfortable.

Not only did I get Julia in a dress I somehow managed to get her in pigtails too, which got sloppier and more uneven throughout the day. However, I dared not touch them for fear she’d remember they were there and want me to take them out.

James sets up a shell game to con other toddlers.

Julia and James try to catch Daddy.

James suddenly wants a hug.

And then after the hug break more trying to catch Daddy.

Mommy’s going to get James.

“I’m going to get Julia!”


Heading home

Mommy, James, and Julia stand in the cool sand.

Then for dinner we stayed on San Francisco’s west side again and ate at Mandalay, a Burmese restaurant in the Inner Richmond, for the first time. With James wearing his red hat and Elmo overalls, one of the patrons tells him he looks like Super Mario. The twins loved the tea leaf salad and broken samusa soup.

James and his other twin, Super Mario

James eats Mommy’s food at Mandalay.

The Stinson Beach jaunt was a longer drive than expected and it resulted in us arriving home 1 ½ hours later than they usually go to bed. Unlike our return from Santa Cruz where a roused-from-sleep James had a major meltdown upon arrival, this time they were still out when we carried them in. It was the first time we’d ever brought them in when they were overtired and they just wanted to be put in bed.

Asleep in the car holding Doggy and Bunny

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Tale of Two Beaches Part I: Aptos and Santa Cruz

In July when the twins were two-and-a-half, Mark took the day off and we drove to the Santa Cruz area for the day. First stop was Cafe Bittersweet in Aptos for lunch. I gave James some of my cole slaw and the name seemed to cutely confuse him: “It not hot. It cold slaw.” He was also excited to eat some of our delectable banana chocolate bread pudding.

Outdoor lunch at Cafe Bittersweet

Happy chocolatey boy

For James and Julia’s first big trip to a beach, we went to Rio del Mar in Aptos, parked for free right next to the beach (a godsend when transporting toddlers), and got the twins dressed and ready in the hatchback of the Prius (which has essentially become a mobile diaper changing station).

Heading to the beach

It was my first time at a non-San Diego area beach and with the sun beating down it felt like home. As did the cold water. Speaking of which, as soon as we arrived Mark and I led the twins to the water, but the the tide going in and out scared them. They would look at the waves and get upset and point as though to say “What kind of witchcraft is this?” They were convinced that Mark was behind it and wailed, “Daddy, stop it!”

I suggested playing in the sand and returned to our picnic blanket. James insisted at first on playing in the sand behind the blanket, as though the blanket was a wall that could protect him from the evil waves.

James Sad Face suspiciously watches the tide.

“We should be safe from the waves in this bunker.”

James and Julia were upset at first when Mark waded in the water by himself, but they liked what he returned with: pails and yogurt containers full of water. The first time Julia misunderstood and tried to drink the seawater! Soon they realized it was fun to pour out the water, and then as soon as Mark would return they’d immediately dump the contents onto the sand.

Daddy brings the twins cups of seawater.

They promptly pour it out and demand more.

“Yay! Daddy’s coming with more water!”

James discovered he loves kicking sand. Too bad there were no weaklings nearby to bully as well. I showed them shells and they picked out a few to give Gaga for her upcoming birthday.

Daddy shows them how to make a wet sand mound and James immediately shows Daddy how to kick it.

James readies his kickin’ foot.

Julia looks at shells.

Before we left I held James’s hand and Mark held Julia’s and they seemed fairly relaxed as we walked to the shore. We carried the twins while the waves hit our feet. James was quite stressed as the waves hit my legs and, although calmer than before, he’s still not getting a foam finger that says “Go Waves!” anytime soon.

Mommy holds James to let him see the water.

Watching the water isn’t nearly as scary as standing in it.

We drove to Pacific Avenue, the main retail drag of Santa Cruz, for dinner. James overheard me refer to it as an outdoor mall and hearing the word “mall,” kept looking around for his favorite thing, escalators. They ate corn dogs for the first time at Hoffman’s (the subject of a Food Network Restaurant Impossible special several months before), and we arrived at home an hour past bedtime with a James who did not take well to being awoken to get out of the car.