Thursday, April 11, 2013

Twin Birthday 2012: The Family Celebration

We decided that we’d fill Julia and James’s birthday with their favorite activities as opposed to what we thought would be fun or appropriate like a trip to a museum or zoo. Three of their favorite things are pancakes, escalators, and doughnuts so we decided to plan a day revolving around that. My parents came to town for the twins’ birthday and when I told my mom my plan she seemed skeptical. She said, “This sounds like something you and Mark should do with them...” Later when she experienced their enthusiasm firsthand she recanted and was glad we picked such Julia- and James-centric activities.

Before heading out we took their 3-year photo with Patrick Pup to see how much they’d grown. I actually got a headband on Julia, but then she caught sight of herself in the mirror and promptly pulled it off. I also got her into a dress, albeit over her beloved jeans.

The official 3-year portrait with Patrick Pup

First stop: Alana’s Cafe in Redwood City - a restaurant in a cute converted Victorian house. The twins were pretty excited their first meal of the day was at the - as they call it - “breakfast restaurant!” James enthusiastically chanted “pan-cakes!” They cleaned up an order of chicken apple sausage and homefries, and played with restaurant-provided Wikki Stix.

Julia eats her pancakes dreamily.

James is little more overt in his excitement.
Julia licks her pretend Wikki Stix lollipop.

Evil Mark twists the end of his 'stache, 
no doubt hatching a nefarious plan.

Stop number two: Sunnyvale Target. This location has escalators, and Julia and James were so excited they were practically running as they led us to the up escalator. We took turns accompanying them up and down the escalators. Once they finished a rotation they’d drag one of us off to ride again. I lost track of how many times I rode myself, let alone the other three adults, but I would guess we did this for a good half hour. Julia also liked walking up and down the escalator stairs while riding. They are now pros at getting on and off themselves.

Next was a stop at Target for countless escalator rides. Cue Reservoir Dogs soundtrack.

James and Papa are ready for another trip up and down.

 Julia rides with Gaga and is ready to do it all again.

James scurries off at the end after riding with Daddy.

The twins excitedly rush off to the escalator to ride again.

Mommy gives Julia a big jump.


And she nails the dismount.

Kathy doubles up.

After riding the escalators, Mark buckled them into one of the shopping carts made to hold two little kids that is so ridiculously long it resembles a parking lot tram, and ran with them in it around the store. They loved when he went fast. They picked out some fruit and vegetable pouches, and we sat down with Papa and Gaga for a snack.

Time for a ride around the store!

Here Julia has just spotted the giant, lit-up Christmas tree.

Daddy proves you’re never too old to eat from a pouch.

Julia gives James a food court kiss.

Third stop: After naps, we hit the road again to meet up with my parents at Sweet Mango, a Burmese/Chinese restaurant (and one of the James’s and Julia’s favorites). The proprietor always remembers the twins and likes to give them lots of hugs. Afterwards we drove around Willow Glen to see the Christmas lights.

Apparently ice water is cold.

Julia enjoys her broccoli chicken.

"Put that wallet away," James told us. "I've got this."

Final stop: Donut Wheel, a 70s era hole-in-the-wall doughnut shop in Cupertino frequented by Woz. The twins excitedly picked out their doughnuts. “Rainbow sprinkles!” they squealed. Papa lit candles in Julia’s doughnut, and we all sang “Happy Birthday.” James had told me he didn’t want candles, but after watching Julia blow out hers he decided he wanted some too. Not surprisingly, Julia pecked at her doughnut and James devoured his.

“I’ll have one of everything.”

Like a dog balancing a treat on its nose, James patiently waits until it’s time to dig in.

Julia watches her candles while we (and the rest of Donut Wheel) sing Happy Birthday.

James wastes no time. Julia takes a more studied approach.

Finally she dares.

Halfway through his donut James came around and decided he wanted candles too.

We ran out of time to open presents that night, so the twins opened their gifts in the morning. Papa and Gaga planned to leave early in the morning to drive back to San Diego, but stayed just long enough for the gift-opening festivities. 

Blowing on the card like it's a birthday candle on a cake activates the music.

Opening presents the day after their birthday

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