The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Chicago – Thursday/Friday

This one is going to be long and picture heavy. Just a warning.

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Thursday’s drive was long. We hit a bit of road construction, and then rush hour traffic. By the time we got to the apartment it was dark, and I ended up parking in a spot where we would have gotten towed. The whole thing was confusing so I messaged our host to figure it out, and then we headed off to dinner. Delaney was very nervous about the parking situation. She asked a lot of questions, and while I knew things would get worked out, she didn’t. As we sat down to dinner she said “I want to go home.” I felt so bad! Once we got the text where the parking permits were, you could see the stress leave her.

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Friday morning we took the subway downtown and ate breakfast at the Wildberry Cafe. People raved about their gluten free pancakes, so we had to go. They had super fun kids food, an outdoor waiting area, plus it was next door to Millennium Park so it was the perfect spot.

Friday was gorgeous. Sunny and 60, it was perfect weather. We headed for the fountain first where everyone took turns taking pictures. For some reason we caught the perfect window where we had it virtually to ourselves!

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After the fountain we headed straight for the bean. Both girls were enthralled with it, but especially Caden. When we hit the souvenir shop the one thing she really wanted was a postcard of the bean. After taking a million pictures, we wandered through the rest of the park and saw the cool sculptures. The girls were super hyped up, running from thing to thing.

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Slight tangent. While getting ready that morning, I realized that none of the shirts I had packed for Delaney fit her, they were all too short. She’s been on a dress kick lately, so I didn’t notice. After Millennium Park we hit up Michigan Ave and did a little shopping at the Gap. Somewhere in the last year shopping with my kids has turned the corner from chaos to fun. I love it.

Continuing the tangent, at breakfast Caden declared that there was a space between her teeth. I looked at her teeth and sure enough, her right front tooth was hanging at a weird angle, and there was a big space between it and the next tooth. She’d been complaining of a headache the last few days, so I’m guessing her jaw grew to accommodate her new teeth? It was the craziest thing. (She pulled it out herself Sunday night. That kid is fearless right now.)

How did I not notice either of these things happening??

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After shopping we grabbed some lunch (Corner Bakery, worst salad ever) and hit the John Hancock building to do the observatory deck. We all loved it, although the girls loved playing the games on the screens more than looking out at the view. Personally, I could stare out at large bodies of water for hours, but onward we went.

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By this point we’d done a lot of walking, so we grabbed a taxi cab to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The girls were incredibly excited about riding in a taxi. No car seats! They were mystified as to how we were going to get one though. When I told them you just throw your arm up, they didn’t believe me.

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This guy was my favorite at the zoo. There’s just something about the big cats. The girls liked the monkeys I think? I have to say, this zoo was insane, especially since it’s free. We walked around for hours, and I think we missed a few animals. But, all the walking around definitely pushed me over the edge. I got tired before the girls did, and insisted we head back. The walk to the apartment wasn’t far, but as soon as we left the zoo they were exhausted. The problem of course was that we were only a few blocks away, and we were on a street where there were no taxis.

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If this becomes our Christmas card, please act surprised. As soon as I saw this, I knew we had to take pictures here. (Also if you zoom in, you can see Caden’s wonky tooth, and even from this perspective you can see the gap.) This picture is fairly indicative of their attitudes for the trip – smiling and cooperative.

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Chicago!

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We made it to Chicago! And back! As you can see, the girls had absolutely no fun.

This was our first trip somewhere new, just the three of us, and it went so well. It was so cool to see the girls embrace travel and new experiences. Caden was hailing cabs and riding the subway like she grew up there! And Delaney tried a new food at every restaurant we went to. I was so proud of both of them.

The drive was long. On the way there we ran into road construction, and then rush hour traffic. The girls rotated between coloring, iPods, and tv shows on the iPad. They were awesome. We packed lunch and snacks, so we didn’t have to try to find food anywhere. I thought we would stop more, but we only stopped twice since I wanted to push through and just get there (and likewise get home). I’d heard the drive was boring, but I thought it was beautiful. Maybe it was because I had no one to talk to, but I couldn’t have asked for better scenery than the fall colors. That said, I think we’ll fly for the next trip.

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The girls were awesome about cooperating for pictures. I took this shot with my big camera too, but I like this one from my phone better. Saturday was a gray and rainy day, but the girls didn’t complain. As we were leaving the aquarium I couldn’t help but get a picture of them with the city in the background. Just perfect.

This trip was a test for an eventual trip to New York. I thought I was trying to see if the girls could handle a lot of walking and a big city, but in the end I realized the test was really for me. Doing a trip like this with two six-year-old’s was exhausting. All the decisions, all the planning, trying to figure out if we should take a taxi or walk, where on earth can we eat, what should we do next. I was exhausted. I love travelling, but I was missing Annabelle and my bed something fierce Saturday. I almost drove home through the night, except I knew I would never make it. On the other hand, the girls didn’t want to leave Chicago, and kept asking if we could move there.

More pictures tomorrow, but we will definitely be back Chicago! There were so many things we didn’t do, and I really want to hit the city when it’s warm out.

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Sweater vests

oct 10

Friday, October 10. Delaney was sick, so it’s a solo Caden day. They used to care about things like that, but it doesn’t even register anymore.

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Monday, October 13. We bought this sweater vest over the weekend and since Caden got dressed first, she got to wear it.

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Tuesday, October 14. And then on Tuesday, Delaney wore it. It’s super cute though isn’t it? Caden went with head to toe sequins. You can’t see, but she’s also wearing hot pink tights with polka dots on them. Best outfit ever.

oct 15

Wednesday, October 15. So zen Caden, so zen.

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Trip planning

Our Chicago trip is coming together! Luckily, I have a lot of coworkers and friends who have either been to Chicago a number of times, or grew up there. I’m definitely a planner, but it’s always nice to bounce ideas off someone else.

After much debate, I bought a CityPass. I wasn’t sure it was going to be worth it, but the weather is looking windy and slightly iffy, so I went for the abundant indoor options. Also, when we talked about what everyone wanted to do, the girls got very excited about the Shedd Aquarium and the Planetarium.

I found some road trip games, and we downloaded a few tv shows, so hopefully our drive will be uneventful. A coworker of mine cannot believe I’m doing this road trip with my kids. He keeps telling me to just book a hotel in the Dells or Milwaukee and call it good when we get that far. Ye of little faith! Starbucks will get me through right?

I’ve identified the nearest Starbucks, the best gluten free cupcakes, pancakes, and doughnuts, so I feel like our meals are covered. We will not lack for sugar or caffeine on this trip. (Caden said – I really want to go to Starbucks. Um, that won’t be a problem! Starbucks is a vacation staple.)

With the transition to fall and school and all that goes with both, things have been a little crazed around our house. I’m super excited for this trip, for the mother/daughter bonding time, and for my mom to finish potty training Annabelle.

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No more pictures

crying

We took some family pictures at my parent’s house this weekend. We did a round in front of a tree, then moved to this bench. I really liked the location and had high hopes, but Caden melted down very quickly. I don’t even remember what set her off, but once she was crying she just couldn’t stop. I tried to switch things up and do something to make her laugh, but it wasn’t going to happen so I kicked her sister off the bench and we hugged it out.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. A few weeks ago when we took family pictures at my brother’s house she melted down before the grandkid picture. I’m not sure exactly what it is. Both times happened after a full day of playing and being with family. She’s pretty social, but maybe she was just done? She’s also been more clumsy lately, which makes me think she’s growing?

Who knows, but I’m trying to give her a little more grace right now.

ps – is it just me or do my eyes look super freaky here?

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Apple Day

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My grandpa has an apple tree in his yard and every few years it produces a ton of apples and we all descend on his house and make apple pies and apple crisp en masse. Of course I don’t like apple crisp and I can’t eat apple pie, but we do love apple sauce in this house, so we’ll take all the apples we can get and cook them down over the winter.

We had three corer/peeler/slicers. Two worked well, one worked okay. Delaney and my grandpa manned one, I manned the other, and Caden occasionally made an appearance at the third (which is about how things shook out two years ago too). It was so cute to watch Lane and my grandpa work together. They were quite the team! I think I heard we made 16 pans of apple crisp, 6 pies, two batches of applesauce, and I took home four bags of sliced apples. Definitely a success.

At one point Alyssa left to make a butter run, so Delaney took over her job of quartering the apple slices. It involved using a big knife, so we quickly went over knife rules and she was good to go. My mom and aunts were a little surprised I let her do this, but we’ve practiced knife skills at home and she knew how to handle a big knife, so I felt confident. She did great.

Funny story from the weekend. Saturday morning my mom made cinnamon rolls and the girls were each going to frost two. Caden frosted her two rolls, then Delaney started frosting hers. My mom’s back was turned though? So she didn’t notice the switch and with their similar pink pajamas and same hair she kept telling Delaney “You need to save some frosting for your sister! You were only supposed to frost one!” Finally I said “You know that’s Delaney right?” It’s good to know they fool someone besides just me!

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Ask your sister to do it

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Friday, October 3. Caden originally had hot pink leggings under this dress. I casually mentioned that maybe they didn’t work? She didn’t believe me, but did go change into these flowered leggings that I thought were perfect.

oct 6

Monday, October 6. When one sister wears something and declares it amazing, it always travels to the other sister very quickly. Here’s Delaney wearing the twirly dress.

oct 8

Wednesday, October 8. You’ll notice no Tuesday picture? That’s because our bus driver this year is on time to early, and maybe we headed out to the driveway only to realize the bus was there! Oops. At least we made it. This morning I casually mentioned that they had sweaters in their drawers and that’s what they both picked out to wear.

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Thursday, October 9. Delaney was coloring and didn’t want to pick out clothes so she asked her sister to do it for her. Caden brought her multiple options, and then put together an outfit down to the undies for her. So sweet! And so smart of Delaney since her sister is pretty good at pulling together cute outfits.

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Annabelle, week 2

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Isn’t she adorable? She’s lucky she’s cute.

Potty training is not going well. If I’m completely on top of my game and we have alllllll the time in the world, we’re good. If we’re in a rush, accidents happen. She just doesn’t seem to understand that she’s supposed to go to the bathroom outside. I’m hoping continuing to take her outside continuously will lock things in for her, but who knows. There have been times when she’s been outside for 30 minutes, then comes in the house and pees on the floor. It’s mind boggling.

She’s realized that the girls are fun, but Mom is where it’s at. Delaney loves to pick her up which she tolerates for a while, and then she’s over it. Caden mostly ignores her unless I ask her to play with her, and then she’s awesome. Unfortunately, Annabelle often thinks the playing is continuing long after it’s over which doesn’t sit well with Caden.

On the upside, she’s a total snuggler. She runs around and around in the evenings, and then collapses on my lap and sleeps. It’s adorable. She sleeps with me at night now too. She either snuggles by my side, or sleeps by my feet under the covers. She goes nuts when I come home. That little butt wiggles so hard she can hardly contain herself. I love it.

Question for those with little dogs. She’s a total freeze baby. It’s not even cold outside and she’s shivering nonstop (hence the coat). In the winter I don’t keep our house very warm, and I think she’s going to need a sweater or something. Any recommendations? I saw a snuggie on Amazon, but I’m not sure what works well and what doesn’t.

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Close Ups

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I love this picture. It’s so totally Caden with the hat on and her blue eyes sparkling. I love the green grass and her red nose. It’s fall in Minnesota y’all!

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As soon as I got Caden’s shot, I was on the hunt to get a similar shot of Delaney. Somewhere in the back of my head I was thinking maybe I could use them on our Christmas card but seriously, no. Ha! Love my smiley girl here though.

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Chicago!

We’re headed to Chicago for a quick road trip next week. I’m excited about this trip for a few reasons. First, road trip! I’m more apt to shell out for airfare than to drive a really long distance, so this six hour trip will be the longest road trip we’ve taken as a family. It will likely be more of a drive straight through than stop and smell the roses road trip, but family bonding time! Second, Chicago! I’m excited to get the girls to a bigger city and see how they do with exploring and walking and dealing with all of that.

I looked at hotels, but they were booked up so instead we’re renting an apartment in Lincoln Park. I’m excited to stay in a neighborhood where we have cafes and little shops right out our door. I’m debating taking the girls to a nice dinner out. I think it might be fun? And then I think it might be a waste of money. Any suggestions if we go for it?

Our agenda is wide open at this point. Thinking the Lincoln Park Zoo and Navy Pier if the weather is decent. Either the Field Museum or the Museum of Science and Industry. Beyond that …. ???? They aren’t American Girl girls, so that shopping adventure is (luckily) out. Any suggestions internets? I’ve done some research, but nothing is really jumping out at me, plus the weather is unknown at this point, but hopefully 60 and sunny?

Any Chicagoans want to meet up for lunch or an outing?

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