The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

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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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

apples

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

oct 3

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.

oct 9

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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