The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Separating

I separated the girls three years ago in daycare when they entered the preschool classrooms. There were two rooms so it was an option, and it seemed like it might be the right thing to do. It was. My girls unequivocally do better when they are separated. It forced them to learn how to make friends and navigate the social scene without their sister beside them, and it’s allowed them to each have their own best friends without bickering over who that friend plays with more (which happened last year at after school care).

People often asked me if the girls played together better at home now that they were separated during the day. Maybe? It was hard to say. My kids fight as much as any other siblings, but I never really could give a solid answer because I couldn’t remember how much they fought before.

This summer the girls were together all day every day at summer camp. Their group was fairly large (30-40 kids most days) but they often ended up in the same smaller groups and they hated it. By the end of the summer there was so much fighting, so much bickering, so many tears we were all incredibly ready for school to start.

Since school has started it’s like a breath of fresh air. They have so much fun playing together! It’s a lot more laughter than tears now, a lot more. They are truly excited to come home and play with their sister, which I love. Every once in a while I’ll find something to do near them so I can hear their banter back and forth. So many crazy made up games, sometimes even made up songs. It’s been fabulous!

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No Sugar(ish) September

Let’s talk food. We haven’t done that in a while in this space, so clearly it’s time.

Coming out of my Whole30, I realized I needed to be gluten free, dairy free, and almond free. That’s a bit of a tough combo, although certainly doable. You know what you can’t have when you’re dairy free? Milk chocolate. Very specifically peanut butter m&m’s and heath bars. Those were my staple candies that I kept in my drawer at work, and had a few each day after lunch. After no sugar for 19 days, and then not being able to eat most of the sugar I really wanted, it seemed like an easy thing to just stay away from sugar. But it’s never that easy is it? As the summer went on I found myself seeking out candy that I could eat, or choosing other sugary things to satisfy my sweet tooth.

I realized that I needed to cut back on my sugar and honestly for me, it’s better to be black and white and go no candy then to have a grey area. About the time I really started thinking about this I also bought the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook. I’ve followed her blog for a long time and was inspired by how her kids really got into cooking real food with her. After reading through her book I realized I really wanted to make changes to my kid’s diet as well. The amount of processed food they eat crept up and up throughout the summer, and the requests for candy were nonstop all day every day. We needed to make some changes.

So here’s our plan for September.

No candy. That’s a hard and fast rule. None for any of us. I threw out what we had in the house, and we won’t be buying more. Our evenings have been GLORIOUS! Do you know how much I love not having to field “Can I have a piece of candy?” 15 times every night? SO MUCH. Do you know how much I love not arguing over whether they can have dessert? SO MUCH. I will give my kids so much credit on this, they have not asked for candy one single time since September 1. (Don’t tell them but this rule will continue forever and ever amen. I love it that much.)

Dessert on the weekends only. When we talked about not eating any sugar for September they were crushed. But, I don’t want this to be a never ever because that just sets us up for failure. Out shopping on a Saturday and we pass by our favorite cupcake shop? Head on in girls! Out at a restaurant on the first day of school and the kids want a brownie sundae? Sure. But we keep it to a minimum. Desserts are for special occasions, not for every night.

Cut out/down processed foods. I threw out so many boxes of crackers that I bought, and they refused to eat. Instead, I’ve been baking muffins to pack in their lunch boxes and snack bags instead. We also made homemade granola bars that are divine, and I can eat them too! (If you’re dairy free, the chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s are dairy free!) I also made homemade waffles to replace their Eggo’s.

Halfway through the month I will say that this has been a success. The girls looked through the new cookbook and marked the recipes they wanted to try. It got them excited and they’ve even tried new foods (guacamole!). I feel better about the food they’re eating, even though we haven’t completely eliminated sugar or processed foods. I’m excited to keep on keeping on with them, and discover even more recipes that everyone loves.

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Beautiful weekend!

When we’re home for the weekend it can be really easy to get caught up in cleaning,organizing and cooking and just let the girls play on their own. This month I’ve been really trying to choose to have a positive attitude, and to find things to do with the girls. After mowing the lawn and realizing what a crazy beautiful day it was, I asked the girls to bike while I ran.

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They biked, I ran. That combo doesn’t always work out so well. Since I knew I wouldn’t get much mileage in (not that I would have without them either!) and my muscles were warm from mowing, I challenged Laney to a race. She biked as fast as she could, and I full out sprinted beside her. Holey moley! After a bit of a break, I did the same with Caden. It was a great workout. We did another loop of our circle at a more reasonable pace, but then just as we were almost home Caden said “Beat her Mommy, beat her!” So I did. Thought I might puke, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t run that hard since high school, but it felt GOOD.

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After our bike ride I stretched out, and they went right back out to their spot. They spent most of the weekend out here making dirt pies and who knows what else. We have such a great backyard, it always makes me so happy to see them playing out there. Someone needs to make use of it besides the bunnies!

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It’s cold!

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Friday, September 5. At least we’re getting a little more personality in these pictures!

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Monday, September 8. Mondays are hard. Delaney did not want to go to school at all, and Caden wasn’t far behind her.

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Tuesday, September 9. Clothes and more clothes from our friends. Delaney kept her serious face for every single picture I took. She committed!

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Wednesday, September 10. After attempting to get by without buying raincoats, I finally broke down and did it. I love Columbia jackets, and these are big enough to last several years. And they put a smile on the girls’ faces!

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Thursday, September 11. Delaney wasn’t feeling well and stayed home, so it’s a solo Caden shot.

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Bedtime

The girls’ bedtime has long been 8:00pm. It’s rare that I actually get them both into bed by that time, but that’s the time we shoot for. On the weekends it’s frequently 9:00pm or even 9:30pm. Either we’re watching a movie, or there are s’mores to be roasted, there always seem to be good reasons to stay up late. But, they also sleep in later on the weekends, which makes up for the late nights at least a little.

Since we rarely hit 8:00pm, I’ve been wondering if I should just call it and say their bedtime is 8:30pm. But here’s the thing, once they’re in bed it’s MY TIME. I get to watch my shows, I get to browse the internets, I get to read my book. If I let them stay up later, it seriously cuts into my down time and as an introvert, that down time is precious and necessary.

Here’s the other thing. My kids don’t want to get up in the morning. It’s rare that they get up on their own, I generally have to wake them at 7:30am. And then it’s like waking a teenager. Delaney does not like getting out of bed.

On top of all of those things, we’ve had a few meltdowns in the evenings. I think it’s a combo of first weeks of school, allergies, and too many late nights, but it’s clear they are tired and in need of sleep.

Boring story longer, we’re sticking with the 8:00pm bedtime and possibly even making a stronger effort to actually enforce it.

**When should I actually be looking at moving it to 8:30pm? High school?

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I sure did

The girls have had very different reactions to their first week of first grade. Delaney had an epic meltdown Wednesday evening. Once we got the crying out of the way, we talked about things to figure out what was bothering her. She said there wasn’t enough time to play, that first grade was just so. much. work. I think overall, it was a pretty tough transition from the nonstop play of summer camp, to the rigors of elementary school.

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Caden has had a very different first week. This was the note she brought me Thursday evening. In case you can’t decipher, it says “Thank you for signing me up for school. For Mommy. From me Caden.” She is so excited to learn, so excited to read! more! books!

The second week is already going better for Delaney. They’ve started the Daily Five for reading, and she’s loving it so I know things will even out, it just always cracks me up how they can be so completely opposite.

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Leopard, and then a little more leopard

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Saturday night I met Amanda out for drinks and some girl time. After drinks and food and house tours and dog greetings, she pulled out a bag of clothes for the girls. Her step daughter is a year older than the girls, so when she grows out of things, Amanda hands them down to us. Amanda is a bit of a fashionista (more than a bit?) and the girls love the funky hand me down clothes they get from her.

First she showed me a leopard top. A few pieces later was a leopard skirt. I immediately said “They will have these two pieces on, and will pull out the leopard coat you gave us last spring before breakfast.” Word.

At 7:20am Delaney was at my bedside saying good morning. By 7:30am she was standing there in the leopard top, skirt, and headband asking me where I put the coat. Ha! I know my kids well.

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Back Again!

And the outfit photos are back again! So far, the girls aren’t feeling it, but I’m hoping we’ll turn a corner soon once we find our morning groove.

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Wednesday. I’m not sure how much longer the girls will be able to wear shorts to school. Looks like the weather will get cooler next week.

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Thursday. I laughed when I saw the outfits they picked out. Even when they do the choosing, they still manage to pick out similar outfits like I would!

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Budding Photographers

On Sunday while we were at the lake, the girls asked to take pictures with my camera. Sure! We don’t do this often, but they know the rules well enough that I don’t worry about them like I used to. They snapped tons of pictures while I caught up with one of my high school girlfriends. It was so fun to scroll through the pictures that they took.

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I love how close up this was, so I went a different direction with the editing than I normally do. I think it could be black and white too.

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Love!

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There were three baby goats no more than a few weeks old. They’d been hiding in the shed, but finally they came out! So lots of pictures of the baby goats.

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Although to be fair, they were very cute.

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First day of First Grade!

First grade!

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We were running a tiny bit behind and didn’t have a ton of time to take nice pictures like last year. Oh well. I got a few at least.

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Delaney was really nervous. She even pulled the “I don’t feel very good” card to try to get out of school! But, when she came home she told me how much she loves her teacher, so she’s much calmer now.

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Caden’s seasonal allergies are in full effect right now and she feels awful. She’s also extra sensitive. She wasn’t super nervous until we got to her room, then she didn’t want me to leave. (Both girls absolutely play out first days the same year after year. If I wasn’t so lazy I would link to their first day of separate preschool rooms. Exactly the same.) Anyway, she came home excited about her day, but then cried over the littlest things. Not sure if she held it in all day or what, but I’m hoping things get better for her today.

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