The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Pre-Halloween

oct 24

Friday. Tis the season to be sick. Delaney had to stay home and miss pajama day! Pajama days are always interesting. The girls seem to want to wear their footie pajamas (not workable) or their summer nightgowns (no to those as well). Luckily, Caden was open to this.

oct 27

Monday. We’re working harder on brushing all of our hair, I promise. And when they are giving me the blankest smiles ever, I just ask Caden to give me her ninja kick and it guarantees a better photo!

oct 28

Tuesday. And now it’s getting cold out. We pulled the sweaters out and I realized most of them are too small!

oct 29

Wednesday. Caden’s turn to be sick. She missed Wednesday and Thursday, and missed their fall party. She was so sad! Delaney is wearing a dress we bought in Chicago. We have purple leggings that go perfectly with this, but they were in the laundry.

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Timing and Balance

chicago family

The trip to Chicago came at the perfect time for us.

Losing Madison and Lucy within six months of each other was hard. Really hard. I did not handle Lucy’s death well. I was sad for a while, and then I was angry. Angry all the time. The summer was rough, and I didn’t really transition well into school and the fall. Our house was not a happy place.

Everyone was looking forward to Chicago. A little time to ourselves, away from everything.

It was everything we needed. Away from work and home and to do lists and all the anger leftover from the summer, I laughed easily and joked with the girls. We cranked the music and sang along to songs. We had adventures and went out for dinner and snuggled in bed together. When I asked Delaney her favorite part of the trip, she said “You”.

As a single mom, it can be hard to be really present with my kids. There is always something that needs to be done, it’s endless. Add that on top of everything else, and we were just completely off. I try really hard to find a good balance, but that balance just wasn’t there at all this summer or early fall and that sucked for everyone.

When we were at Shedd Aquarium the girls were taking a really long time picking out their souvenirs. As I looked around I spotted a cool Chicago Christmas ornament (perfect tradition to start!) and a key chain. I bought them both, with the hope that they would remind me of our trip to Chicago. Every time I grabbed my keys, I would remember how much fun we had, and relax bit.

Once we were back I thought the pressures of normal life would creep up on us again, and things would go back to the same. They haven’t though. Everyone is a little more relaxed, a little goofier. We still need to get out the door in the morning, but everyone pulls together, and we laugh as we run late to the bus. It’s been good.

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All carved up

pumpkins

Here they are! I wanted to grab a picture of the girls with them, but Mondays are gymnastics night, so no time for pics.

Speaking of gymnastics, the girls are still loving their new gym. I feel like they are getting better, but it’s kind of hard to say since most of the class they are in a part of the gym where I can’t see them. Every once in a while I’ll catch a peek, and they seem to be progressing? They are nervous about moving up to the next class though, because then they’ll work on backbends, and apparently those are scary.

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Pumpkin patch?

pumpkin 1

Since the weather was forecast to be sunny and warm, and we were spending the day at my parent’s house, I emailed my mom to see if there were any Halloween things going on? There was nothing, so I googled to see if there was a pumpkin patch we could hit. I found one and sent the link to my mom, who was surprised since it was near their house!

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Turns out, it was kind of a pumpkin patch. They sold pumpkins, but there weren’t any other activities or anything like that. And they were almost sold out of pumpkins! I guess that made choosing easier?

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Delaney has been trending sick all weekend, so it was probably better that it was a low key activity. They carved the pumpkins Sunday morning with my dad. I’m all for painting, but carving just isn’t my thing. I bought stickers, but of course forgot those stickers at home. The pumpkins are now sitting on our front step, just waiting for the squirrels to destroy them. Pictures of that tomorrow!

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Blurry Times

It doesn’t seem to matter what we do, we get out to the bus stop at the last minute, so I generally only have a minute to get the girls to stand next to each other and snap off a few photos in the morning. Even when school is two hours late, we’re still … late. (See Monday, no picture!) Looking through the pictures from this week, a few are blurry. Not sure if it’s weird lighting, movement, or if I need to bump up my ISO. I’ll try harder next week!

oct 21

Tuesday. I bought some knit fabric to make skirts and dresses for the winter, but after seeing Caden wear her maxi skirt again, I did a quick google to find a maxi skirt tutorial. They’re super easy! But then she came home that night and told me she had tripped on the playground and skinned her hip, so she wouldn’t be wearing her maxi skirts to school anymore. Delete pin.

oct 22

Wednesday. As the girls were getting dressed I heard them saying “Life is rough! Ha!” but I didn’t know what they were talking about until I saw what they were wearing.

oct 23

Thursday. Delaney is wearing a new dress we bought in Chicago. I love it! It’s short sleeve, but she’ll be able to wear it all winter with a cardigan. So adorable!

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Caden’s tooth

I forbid Caden from pulling her tooth out in Chicago, or even wiggling it a lot. I had visions of the tooth coming out while we were out and about, miles away from any napkins or kleenex (because these things bleed, always). Or worse, having her pull it out while laying in bed, on all white sheets and a white comforter. Bleeding all over the all white bed.

Oddly enough, she didn’t wiggle it.

As soon as we were home though, she wanted it out. I had her wiggle it a few times, then I grabbed onto it with a paper towel and pulled. Then pulled again. I adjusted my grip, pulled again. The tooth was hanging by a thread, I thought for sure it would come out! But no.

I told her to wiggle it for a bit to loosen it up, and then we would try again. Two minutes later she told me she pulled it out. All by herself! We were in the basement at the time, and when she pulled the tooth flew out and we lost it in the carpet. Delaney and I searched forever, but we could not find the tooth. I hate losing teeth!

She wrote a note to the tooth fairy explaining the situation, and went to bed, giving me strict instructions not to stay up too late, or the tooth fairy would never come. The tooth fairy was very happy she still had cash in her wallet from the Chicago trip!

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Chicago – Saturday

sue

Saturday was museum day. It was supposed to be colder, so it was the perfect day to be inside. We took the subway downtown to grab breakfast at Yolk. As we were walking there, which was a much longer walk than it looked on the map, it started raining. Then raining a little harder. As we waited for our table it rained harder. Luckily, the museum was just across the bridge, but we ended up running most of the way. The girls were laughing, they thought it was so fun to run! But I felt bad because I’d packed hats and rain coats, but left them at the apartment. Oh well. We dried out in the Field Museum, while we checked out Sue, the T-Rex.

Our CityPass included a 3D movie (we saw the Ice Age movie) and the ticketed exhibit. It was about biomechanics and while it was cool, it’s always hard to do those exhibits with younger kids. We loved the movie though, and it was very cool talking evolution with the kids and seeing all of the skeletons. We zipped through the other exhibits, grabbed lunch, and then headed to Shedd Aquarium.

sting ray

We spent three hours at the aquarium, and probably could have stayed there for another two or three. The girls got bored looking at the smaller aquariums of fish, but loved the other exhibits. When we go back, we would definitely spend a whole day there.

The sting ray pool was still open, and the rain had stopped, so we headed outside to pet a few sting rays. Delaney was very sure she had zero intention of touching a sting ray, yet had her hand in the water after a few minutes. The sting rays were a little wary of the little hands, but both girls got to pet quite a few.

After the sting rays was the 4D movie. I knew what 3D was, but was wondering what 4D would mean. The movie was Sea Monsters and was so cool. Our seats vibrated, when the monsters jumped out of the water we were shot with a spray of water, and I’m fairly sure it rained on a few people. Again, so cool. Also? I had no idea there used to be an ocean over Kansas. I think we skipped that part in history class.

For $2 extra, I bought tickets to the dolphin show. This was awesome because we got there 30 minutes early, so had some time to sit and rest our legs after walking most of the day. Plus, the show was amazing. At one point they came out and talked about how they adopted a dog, and trained him similar to how they train the dolphins. They brought the dog out, and a dolphin and showed them doing the same tricks. It was both girls’ favorite part of the show. Caden could not stop talking about it!

skyline

Here’s another picture I took on our way out. A few other people were taking shots here, but it wasn’t until the girls stepped in place that I realized that $#@!% pole was right in the way. I think I should be able to clone it out though? I’ll at least give it a try.

While waiting for the dolphin show I had made dinner reservations at a taco place that a friend recommended. After hitting the gift shop, we headed out to the taxi stand only to realize there were no taxis coming. We waited for a bit before I finally called it and we headed towards another area where we had seen taxis earlier. The girls thought this whole part was a great adventure. Caden kept looking for taxis and throwing her arm up to hail one (one stopped for her, but another family snuck in before we could get there). We eventually snagged one that passed by us randomly.

This restaurant wasn’t necessarily geared towards kids, so they didn’t have any kid’s coloring stuff. I was nervous for a second, but this actually meant that my kids had to talk to me instead of coloring with their head down! Our server was awesome and made great recommendations, both girls tried new things, and dinner was excellent. As we left, they asked how we were getting home. I told them we’d take a taxi, so Caden walked to the curb and threw her arm up. Five seconds later a taxi pulled up. The kid is a pro at big city living!

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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!

chicago 1

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.

museums

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.

oct 13

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

oct 14

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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