The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

All the things

* I’m still incredibly sad about Grey’s Anatomy.

* The girls had their last night of gymnastics last night. The “Spring Show” is on Saturday and honestly, I have no idea what they’ll be doing! It’s supposed to be like a meet, but they haven’t been working on anything resembling a routine. I can only guess the coach will lead them through things like it’s a regular class? Anyway, they have both improved dramatically this year. It took us a while to find a coach that really challenged them, but we finally did. We’re taking the summer off to do t-ball and swimming lessons, and will start back up in the fall.

* I love Amazon Prime a crazy amount, but had never done the Subscribe & Save thing. There are a few things that we order fairly regularly, so I signed up for those only to realize if you have five subscriptions in your box you save 15%. Of course I found five things we need every three months, but now I’m trying to figure out the best way to take advantage of this service. I have a feeling I will add another item or two over time. Anyone else do Subscribe & Save? The Amazon Mom thing came about after the girls were out of diapers, so I never had a need for it. I’m kind of excited about this!

* Two weeks ago Delaney came home from school with a big bruise on her cheek. She had bonked heads with a girl during a game of freeze tag. Last night after warm ups, the girls came over to do the trampoline which is right in front of the parent area. Caden’s cheek was bright red. I gave her the “What happened?” look and she gave me the wide eyed “Tell you later!” look. She went down the tramp again and it was looking worse, so I pulled her over to the side. She bonked heads with her sister during the warm up game and now has a bruise in the exact same spot! Sometimes their twinness is a little too crazy. (Remember their chin stitches on opposite sides just a few months apart? That was super weird too.)

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Piano Lessons

I finally connected with the piano teacher and yep, she was right at the end of her lessons. She said she could have done lessons with them for six weeks, but they would likely forget everything over the summer so she suggested we wait until fall.

The girls are very into the piano right now. They play it almost daily, either playing random notes or trying to read their piano books. I really wanted to take advantage of that excitement so I decided to give them piano lessons until fall. I took piano lessons for years as a child, and according to my mother I was quite good. I’ve lost 90% of that, but I can handle the early stuff. Luckily, I bought them a few books for their birthday and they got a few as gifts, so they each have their own book to work through. Otherwise, I think the competition would be fierce!

I’m keeping lessons to 20 minutes or so, and not pushing practicing a ton. They practice once or twice a week and for now, that’s enough. We are slowly working our way through their books, and trying to keep the frustration on the low end. So far, so good.

An interesting note on the piano books. Of the three we have practiced from, one was very different from the others. It labeled the notes with numbers rather than the letters, and focused mostly on the black keys, rather than the white keys. I was so thrown by it that we set it aside and moved on to another book. Overall I like the books they’re working on now, and it’s interesting to see how the same skills play out in the two books, and how the girls pick up or struggle on different things.

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Projects

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My parents came up on Saturday and we knocked out two quick, but big projects. First, a new back door! Let’s talk about my old door. At some point, one of the neighbor dogs put two paws through the screen and ripped it. It was uneven and you could see a solid half inch of light at the bottom. This spring the spring that closes it fell off, and the handle had to be tightened once a week in order to actually stay closed. It was sad.

This door! I have a screen I can open again! And a cute little doggy door. It may take Annabelle all summer to figure out the doggy door, but it’s there. (If you hold the flap up a bit she will go out, but she will not come in on her own.) I love it!

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I was going to have the girls pose in the tree house, but then I realized you wouldn’t be able to see them. What I should have done was stand in there and had them take a picture of me, because we raised the roof up high enough that even I can stand up in it! I’m bummed we couldn’t make it bigger, but that would have been a major renovation. The girls are scheming with my mom to get curtains, and I think they may have been talking shelves with my dad. Can you see the hammock seat underneath? My dad figured out a way to hang it up high enough so that when you sit in it, your butt doesn’t hit the ground. The girls have already spent a lot of time in it. I think it will be their go to relaxation/alone time spot this summer.

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Socializing

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Realizing that Annabelle is a little wary of the big, bad world, I’ve been making an effort to get her out and about in smaller situations. When we call her name as we head outside she gets so excited! Thursday and Friday she came out to the bus stop with us. She’s seen the neighbor boys a few times and will let them pet her.

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Delaney requested that I pick her up from school with Annabelle so we tried that Friday afternoon. It didn’t go so well. Too many kids! I held her, but she was pretty overwhelmed. She had a steady stream of kids who wanted to pet her, and Delaney was thrilled to be able to show her off, so maybe we’ll try it again on a day I’m off work early.

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Obedience class Saturday morning did not go so well. I was off on Friday so Annie was out and about with me all day. We went for a run, she spent a good amount of time in the backyard, and did bus stop and parent pick up. She was a tired doggy. She did okay for the first half, but by the second half she wouldn’t even sit, she just stared at us. The teacher came over and we talked and she said Annie was overwhelmed. There are two older dogs in the class who are pretty chill, and I may try to go near them next week. I think she would do better there than by the two hyper puppies we are in between now. If that doesn’t work, we’ll just have to keep working on things at home.

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Our Village

Before school started I went on the hunt for an after school babysitter that could get the girls off the bus every day. I knew from last year that picking them up from the after care place at school made our evenings rushed and difficult. I put out the word to everyone I knew and emailed every possible candidate I could find on Care.com. School start came and went and still I hadn’t found anyone! Luckily, work was slow and I was able to come home early every day and get them off the bus. Everyone told me to give up my search and just sign them up for the after care place, but I knew that the perfect person was out there, I just had to find them. Towards the end of September I found Amanda, breathed a sigh of relief, and crossed my fingers things would work out.

Amanda has been an absolute god send to our family. She gets to our house early and lets Annabelle out. I never worry if she’ll be there on time, because I know she’s always there 30 minutes before the bus arrives. She knows my rules and makes sure the girls eat decent snacks and get their homework done before the tv comes on. She’s taught them how to play Clue, Sorry, and a bunch of card games, and has been outside with them every night this week while they’re on the bikes.

But the best part? She’s a cleaner and an organizer. I come home to backpacks hung up, folders set out for me to go through, mail stacked neatly, and lunch boxes washed and dried. She even empties the dishwasher and washes our breakfast dishes if I don’t get to them! When gymnastics were on Monday nights she cooked them dinner!

Thursdays are my work from home days so she doesn’t come, and I feel the pain every Thursday. The girls dump their backpacks, coats are thrown on the floor, and I forget about lunch boxes until bedtime. I miss her! Woe is me this summer when I have to deal with all of this every evening.

As I get further into this single, working parent game, I’ve realized that the key to having any sort of balance or sanity, is to surround yourself with people who can fill in the gaps that you need. Having a clean, organized house is key to my sanity. When I was interviewing I didn’t even think to look for someone who would enthusiastically make that happen for us, but I am forever grateful that I found someone who does.

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Playing Catch

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On Saturday I played catch with both of the girls. They would much rather practice batting, but with t-ball, I feel likely being able to catch and throw is more important.

Delaney did awesome at first. They both do fairly well throwing, and at first she caught the ball really well. But, the ball came a little too near her face a few times and then she got scared and would flinch and close her eyes every time I threw the ball.

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As soon as we started playing catch I thought ooh! This would make for great pictures! But I kind of wanted pictures of me playing catch with them, so I asked Caden if she wanted to take pictures with my big camera and she said yes. She got a few of each of us, then we were trying to get a picture with both of us in the same shot, but the battery died. Womp, womp. Next weekend!

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No more training wheels!

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On Saturday my brother and sister-in-law dropped off my niece for a Disney on Ice Frozen sleepover. My brother was chatting with the girls and he said “You need to get rid of those training wheels!” Ugh. He’s right. We really need to work on it, but when we tried last spring it was a disaster, so I was not looking forward to doing it again. On Sunday Delaney wanted to ride bike so I said “Should we take off your training wheels?” She was in and five minutes later they were off. A year makes such a difference. She’s stronger now and more confident, and fairly quickly she was able to pedal on her own. Very wobbly, but we made it back and forth on the street a few times with her going farther and farther on her own each time! She was elated!

Caden decided to take a turn next. She was a little more wobbly than her sister, but also got the hang of it fairly quickly. She got fairly frustrated because the bike was all over the place, but she really wanted to keep trying until she got the hang of it.

We were out there again last night, going back and forth in front of our house. They are getting so good! And the pure joy on their face that they are mastering this is so fun to see. Caden kept doing these little jumps into the air and Delaney just grins. They are not yet steady enough for me to let them go on their own, so I’m sprinting back and forth with them. I have no idea how we’ll tackle a bike ride with the three of us unless I run, so for now I’m happy that they are willing to stay close to home.

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Spring Weekends

I love spring weekends. Once summer hits we seem to have plans every weekend, but springtime is free! We did a ton of stuff this weekend, mostly because we had time to and I kept thinking – why not do that?! It felt good to be productive and spontaneous and to be able to say yes.

Saturday morning we headed out of the house to Annabelle’s first dog obedience class. Our class is definitely a mix of big dogs, little dogs, puppies, and older dogs who really could not care less about any of this. (Of course there was a Lucy in our class. She’s a yellow lab and was adorable, though crazy barky.)

Annabelle hasn’t been super socialized, so upon seeing all of these dogs in one room she took one look at me and jumped up into my arms. Despite several other tiny dogs, I was the only one HOLDING their dog. Not a super great start.

Overall, she did okay. She is all about performing for treats, but this will definitely require a lot of work outside of class as well. It was also difficult because Caden and Delaney both wanted to be training her too, and she was a little confused when we all shouted Sit! at her. We’re a work in progress.

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After class we came home and started in on a little yard work. Last fall the leaf guy never made it to my house before the snow arrived, and I’ve been staring at piles and piles of leaves for long enough. I raked and the girls loaded up the wheel barrow. They were enthusiastic helpers at first, but got tired quickly. They hung in there though, and it only took us about an hour to clear the yard of most of the leaves. I came back later and bagged the lawn with the lawnmower to pick up the rest. A clean lawn makes me so happy!

After lunch we went on a bike ride around the circle. Delaney was in the lead, Caden was actually pedaling and keeping up, it was bliss. I was thinking to myself how much I love lazy Saturdays like this, and how awesome it is to have happy bike rides rather than the stress inducing ones of yesteryear. The second trip around Caden was in the lead. We were rounding the (rather) tight last corner back onto our street. Her bike started leaning and she went down. Did I mention my car keys were in her bike basket? And they tumbled perfectly into the storm drain? I could not believe it. I looked everywhere on the street but they were nowhere, so obviously they were in the drain. I told the girls to ride their bikes home and I lay down on the ground staring into the drain trying to figure out how I was going to get my keys out when I couldn’t even see them!

This is a fairly busy corner, and a guy at the stoplight asked if I lost something. When I told him my keys he whipped around, parked, and came to help me. Unbelievable! He was able to lift the storm drain cover off (I couldn’t budge it) so we could get at things. I was about to shove my hand into the water when he said “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Point taken! I grabbed a stick and seriously, within five seconds I had hooked the leather cord on my key chain. (Thank you daycare for cute crafts that save the day!) I could not believe it. I thanked the guy a million times and biked home.

Delaney was outside, but Caden was nowhere to be found. Delaney quickly told me that Caden decided she needed to be punished and sent herself to her room. Awww. I told her she wasn’t in trouble, but that we were all very lucky. That could have gone the other way so easily.

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T-Ball!

Two years ago we did soccer. It went okay, but their team lost every game and it was incredibly hot that summer. Last year they did not want to do soccer. I briefly considered making them, but in the end, we just enjoyed our summer and skipped the organized sports.

Last summer my dad bought the girls baseball gloves. Shockingly, they were quite good at throwing and catching the ball, but by the time I realized that we were already too late to sign up for t-ball. This year though, I’m on top of things!

I signed the girls up for t-ball training camp. It’s three Saturdays, one hour of intro to t-ball. Considering we’re starting a year late and they have absolutely no idea how the game of baseball works (despite going to many, many baseball games and watching many, many baseball games on tv) I think it’s necessary. Proper t-ball games start in June and looking at the schedule, we should only miss one, although it’s the last of the season of course.

I’m kind of excited to get back into the sports thing again!

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I Can and I Will

Today is a new day. On the Whole30 Days 6 and 7 are when all you want to do is take a nap. And that’s exactly where I was. It helped to get on Instagram last night and see others going through the exact same things I’m going through. I’ll admit, quitting would be easy and I’m sure everyone would nod their head and think that that was the right thing to do. But, I’m not going to. At least not yet.

I did spend some serious time thinking about what I’m doing and why and if this is crazy pants. The truth is, I love sugar and pancakes and gluten free bread and cereal! But I don’t feel well after I eat those things. I think I need 30 days away from all of that to reprogram my go to foods. I’m also loving all the veggies I’m eating. So for those reasons, I think the Whole30 is where I need to be right now.

And even though my mom says I have crazy willpower I’m not so sure. With some things? Yes. With others, not so much. But, I’m hoping 30 days of building better habits will help with all of that as well.

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