The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Definitely going back

girls 1

To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous about this vacation. The weather wasn’t looking all that warm, the girls were complaining they didn’t want to swim in a lake, and we were spending money to go to a cabin, when my parents already own a place on a lake (that also has a pool). I thought maybe I booked something that we didn’t need at all. Obviously, that was completely wrong because this place was exactly what we needed.

caden_

This vacation was about one thing – Saying Yes. I wanted to be able to say yes if the girls wanted to play in the sand, go swimming, stay up late, sleep in, get a treat, read a book. Whatever they wanted to do, I wanted us to be able to do it. Because the beach was visible from our cabin, the girls could play in the sand whenever, and with three adults someone was always willing to sit by the beach if they wanted to swim. The office was directly behind us, so getting an ice cream treat was as simple as walking 10 yards and writing it down on our sheet (and there was always an adult willing to grab an ice cream treat).

girls 4

I’ve taken vacations with my parents before and know that it’s easy for everyone to get on each other’s nerves when you’re in close quarters. We may have had a few moments, but overall, the week went so well. Everyone pitched in with the cooking and cleaning, and we all retreated to our own corners when we needed to. For me, it was really nice to have two other adults to help with the girls, and the girls got quality Grammy and Grampy time in.

lane grampy

Before we left, my mom and I put together a list of meal ideas and a grocery list. We brought a few things, but bought a bunch of groceries when we got there. It all worked out really well, and we ate all but one of our meals at the cabin. I was a tiny bit done with cooking by the end, but it was nice to just stay where we were and not haul everyone into town to spend a bunch of money on food my kids didn’t eat.

mom erin

We made friends with our neighbors early in the week and found out that the families on both sides of us are there every year (and have been for many years). I spent the week thinking “Could I spend another week with these people next year?” The answer was definitely yes. There were a bunch of kids that the girls played with, and the adults either kept to themselves, or were fun to chat with. We’re automatically signed up for the same week next year, and we all agreed we want to go back. It’s such an ideal situation. Two hours away, 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, right on a lake with great fishing, in a well equipped resort.

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Back to normal

laney lake

I was going to write up a wrap up vacation post but anything I write on Sunday is like pulling teeth, so instead, a few last pictures from the lake and a weekend recap.

caden lake

We checked out on Saturday, but weren’t really sure what time we were supposed to be out. We felt good about being packed up by 9am, then found out that was check out time. Since we were out so early, we hit Caribou on our way out of town. Even stopping for lunch, we were home by noon, unpacked by 1:00pm! It was so nice to have Saturday and Sunday at home to decompress.

laney lake 2

On Sunday we did some yard work, then hit the pool. The girls loved the lake, but were so excited to swim in a pool again. Luckily the pool was busy, so the line was too long for the tube slides and this girl did not have to take her already exhausted legs up and down them. We stuck to a bit of swimming, then headed home after a few hours. And now, I hope we can all get up at a reasonable hour in the morning!

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First Crappie!

fish 1

We’ve done a lot of fishing this year. It’s been fun to move off the dock at my parent’s lake and find some fishing holes where we can catch a bunch of fish. (It looks like we were fishing in a field which cracks me up. No! Just fishing deep in the weeds.)

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For whatever reason, Caden is obsessed with catching different types of fish. She really wanted to go trolling for northerns, not really even understanding what that meant. So far, we’ve caught sun fish (and the bass she caught at my parent’s lake). But last night we put minnows on and the crappies started biting. They were fighters and took a little more finesse to catch, but it was so fun. She was beyond excited to catch one!

fish 3

Wednesday night my dad took them out fishing and they caught a bunch of sunnies. The girls wanted to help him clean them. The fish cleaning house is decent so I let them, but man oh man did they stink when they came in so they went straight to the bathtub.

fish 4

We had enough fish to do a fish dinner last night, and freeze a few packages. If the weather is decent today (it’s supposed to be windy) we’ll head out and try again. For me, if it’s nice out I don’t even care if we’re catching anything. I just love being out on the boat, it’s so peaceful.

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HORSES

horse 1

The YMCA camp offers a horse camp where the kids get to ride for an hour plus a day. The girls aren’t old enough to do it yet, but it’s still all they talk about. They can’t wait to go to that camp. (omg so many cut off horse heads. sorry! sometimes the 50mm lens just doesn’t fit it all in!)

horse 2

In the meantime, we had planned to ride at the resort near our cabin. I thought they could do a riding lesson, but at this age they only do lead arounds.

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It really didn’t matter, the girls were beyond thrilled to get to ride big horses.

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They had huge smiles the entire time.

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Doing things like this always makes me want to find more opportunities for them to ride, it’s just hard to fit one more thing into our schedule.

horse 6

This summer, maybe we’ll just come back and do this one more time.

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Not So Bad

sunset

This is our nightly view this week. It’s helping to make us forget the not so great weather during the day (but things are trending warmer!)

sand 1

Last winter I decided that since we weren’t going anywhere for spring break, I definitely wanted to go somewhere for a week this summer. My requirements were that it be within a few hours driving distance, on the lake, with a nice beach, and a playground for the kids. The place I found is in a town that we drive through to get to my aunt and uncle’s cabin, and it’s been perfect.

sand 2

We weren’t here 30 minutes before the girls had both changed into their swimsuits and were in the water. They’ve swam, made friends, built sand castles, and fished. We’re all a little exhausted, so we’ve fit in a few naps and plenty of downtime too.

sand 3

Delaney is fighting a summer cold, but Caden has been the picture of pure childhood joy. She has been go, go, go, play, play, play. It’s been fun to watch, especially since she is usually the one who heads inside or needs a break. We’re hoping the polar vortex retreats to Canada and we can get some sunshine again. There is a perfect raft that I want to jump off of, but we need it to warm up a bit! Until then, we’re hitting the local (indoor) attractions.

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Summer Camp

This week the girls went to a different summer camp with the YMCA. Every morning I drive them down the street where they hop on a bus that takes them to a lake outside the city. I’ve heard mixed reviews from friends so I wasn’t sure how this camp would go for us, but it has been so much fun.

They have done archery, canoes, swimming, and all sorts of activities and crafts. They know a million camp songs now, and they have approximately 10 requests of camps they want to do next year (Horse riding camp being at the top of their list). My favorite day was Wednesday, when they did a hot dog cookout for lunch, which meant I didn’t have to pack one!

Last night was family night, so I got to ride a bus out to camp and check it out. I never went to any sort of camp when I was a kid (neither did my friends, did these things even exist back then?) so I am absolutely intrigued by all of this. We ate our hot dog dinner, the girls gave me a tour of camp, and then we watched the camp skits. I loved it all.

The only downside of this week is that they girls are absolutely exhausted. Caden was already short on sleep coming off the 4th of July weekend, but this go go go all day is really getting to her. I keep telling her to sleep on the bus ride, but she never does. I’m definitely sneaking in some naps next week on vacation!

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Agnes

agnes

Internets, please meet Agnes. She is my cousin Alyssa’s boyfriend’s dog. I’m not usually a huge fan of these tiny dogs with hair everywhere, but we all fell utterly and completely in love with Agnes. She was the sweetest dog ever. She didn’t bark, she was very calm, and she looked crazy adorable in her 4th of July shirt.

This may sound weird, but it was like she was Madison, but in dog form. She was super chill, happy to sit in your lap or arms, and let Delaney carry her everywhere. I think I heard Dane say that she isn’t usually like that around kids? (although that could have been the drinks talking)

Maybe that’s why we were so drawn to her? She was so like Maddy, and we all miss her so much. It was this huge gift for Delaney to have this cuddly dog to snuggle. They were both so calm, just hanging out together.

I really don’t want another cat, but it had never occurred to me to get a smaller dog like Agnes. But now? Let’s just say I will be keeping my eyes open for another Agnes.

Note to Alyssa – we’ll dog sit anytime!

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Days 2 & 3

boat 1

Boat parade! Does every lake do a boat parade for the 4th of July? I love them, but I feel like in the past we’ve never had quite enough decorations. This year, we did it right! While I was up winning the ladder golf tournament, the others decorated the boat. When I came down to the lake I was so impressed. So patriotic! (Caden and my dad are flying a kite in this picture. Just noticed it looks a little weird if you didn’t know that.)

boat 2

Alyssa brought these sunglasses last year and they came in handy again this year.

boat 3

Even the dog was dressed! It will surprise no one that we won, and apparently we get to be the judges next year? I hope the rest of Round Lake brings it. We set the bar pretty high!

fish

After the parade, my dad, Heather and I took the three six-year-olds and Gage out fishing. The 4th was pretty windy on our side of the lake, but there was a spot across the lake near some weeds that was calm, and seemed like a good spot to catch some sunfish. It took us a little while to find our spot but once we did, the kids caught fish left and right. At one point, all three of them had a fish on their lines! The adults spent the entire time taking fish off the hooks, and putting worms back on. I was a little stinky and gross after that, but it was worth it. We went back to the same spot the next morning and caught another 36 fish. They weren’t super big, but big enough to keep and cook up for lunch!

The cabin is close enough to North Dakota that everyone has pretty decent fireworks. Between what we set off and the neighbors, it was quite the show. We tried to sit at the end of the dock and watch everything going off around the lake, but the mosquitoes were bad and it was late, so we headed to bed.

float

Saturday was sunny and beautiful, so we did this for a few hours. Just floated and relaxed. At one point I had the floater to myself so I tried to catch a quick nap. No rest for me! Caden was having a rough day. Too many late nights, crazy days, and no naps. She was a mess Saturday and all day Sunday. Poor kid!

Once again, a huge thank you to my Aunt Sheila and Uncle Jeff for hosting us! My girls and I look forward to this every year! It’s so awesome to spend the weekend with our family all around us. And to do it there, at that cabin, where so many good things have happened throughout the years, makes it even more special.

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Day 1

tubes 1

We got up early on Thursday and hustled up to the cabin since that was the only day predicting sunshine for the weekend. We got things unloaded and set up, then hit the lake for some tubing. The girls were on one tube, and their cousins(ish) on the other. I felt bad for the boys because they wanted to go fast, and my two were yelling for us to slow down.

tubes 2

Isn’t this the quintessential northern Minnesota picture? So perfect with the lake and the trees in the background.

swings

The girls had so much fun with their cousins. They followed them around, played tag, squirted water guns, and did a lot of giggling. I feel like they spend a lot of time with other girls, so it was fun to see them play differently.

chickens

Delaney asked my aunt over and over when could we get the chickens out? Finally things were quiet enough that we could move them from under the deck to their normal house. Delaney was so patient, waiting for the chicken to come over to her. Finally, she got her chick! On Saturday she told me she saw one of them lay an egg. She was quite specific about how the egg came out, so I’m thinking she actually did see them lay an egg which is crazy!

breakfast

The last two years we’ve slept in a tent next to the house. This year the sleeping was a little rough, but I wouldn’t trade it. We get up early and head into the house as soon as the girls spot movement, and then we have an hour of chatting with my aunt and uncles and grandpa. There is a lot of people running around during the day, so it’s nice to get this quieter time with everyone. Caden even helped make breakfast both mornings. That girl loves to be helpful!

cotton 1

After breakfast Jeff busted out the cotton candy machine. I can’t even! Five different flavors! We tried them all.

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I swear every time I turned around my kids had cotton candy in their hand. It was easy to make, so people kept firing up the machine. And so, so tasty. And sticky.

Up next, the boat parade!

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4th of July

lake 2

We trekked up to my aunt and uncle’s cabin for the 4th of July with the rest of my family. It was so much fun.

lake 3

The weather was mostly good, the food was excellent, the fishing was great and the company wasn’t half bad. But, we are all still exhausted from that much fun and sun, so more to come this week.

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