The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Piano Lessons


We’re in our fifth week of piano lessons now, and we’re finally finding our groove. The first month was definitely a struggle. The girls knew how to play some basic notes, but playing with both hands together was a huge hurdle for both of them. Because of this, they really didn’t want to practice during the week, which made lessons difficult because they weren’t as prepared as they should have been. But, during this last week, things have really come together for both of them and finally practicing became easier and more routine and we fit it in more often. They’re also getting better at playing, which meant I didn’t need to sit next to them while they were practicing. Lessons are expensive, so we’ve talked a few times about how they need to take this seriously, or else we won’t continue it. They both love it, so I don’t think that will be an issue anymore.

Our teacher is really fabulous. They are working on similar things, but she assigns them completely different homework so neither is ever practicing the same piece. This works out perfectly for my two competitive twins, since it takes the competition out of it. She also breaks each piece down measure by measure which has helped them slow down and figure things out.

Lessons are Monday nights, just after dinner. It means I have to be on my game so that the girls are eating by 5:30, but as long as I plan ahead we’re good. It also means that I have an hour and twenty minutes of time to listen to their lessons … and work. It’s actually worked out really well. It’s time when I’m really focused and just sitting at the kitchen table, and I’ve gotten a lot done on these Monday nights.

Any time we try something new there is always this adjustment period where I feel like it’s chaos and maybe we shouldn’t be doing this, and then we settle in. The girls have been so excited about piano, and I worried for a bit that we would never settle in to this, so I’m so glad we have. I’m looking forward to the hopefully many piano recitals we have in our future!

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First off, I do so much better when I post something every day on the blog! Once I’m out of the rhythm, it’s hard to find it again. But honestly, now that the girls are older, there just isn’t as much to post about. It’s a good problem to have isn’t it?

Our lives have been consumed by house stuff for the last few months, so I wanted to do something fun this weekend. I searched around and found out that they were lighting the tree in Rice Park Saturday evening. It was supposed to be cold, but we’d only be outside for a few hours so it should be no big deal, and I figured there would be plenty to distract us.

Thursday I was crazy exhausted and just didn’t feel right. Friday things got worse, so I came home from work early. Friday night I had a fever of 101 and went from chills to sweating to chills and back again. Things were not looking good. Saturday morning I completely lost my voice and wanted to sleep all day. I pulled it together for the adoption event, but knew I wouldn’t be able to stand for 2-3 hours looking at pretty trees so I cancelled the outing. The girls were super bummed, as was I, but we’ll make it over to St. Paul another weekend.

It was certainly nice to take a break from the nonstop way we’ve been going, but it also meant that so many things didn’t get done. I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving this week! I do not have any sort of Christmas plan, although the girls have been using the Target Wish List app to put together Christmas lists. (Note to Delaney: Excellent choice with the air hockey table however, $864 is a little steep. Also, we don’t have room for a trampoline. Please don’t be surprised when you no longer see these on your wish list.) I need to get on my list making!

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scooters 2

Our new driveway is cement! Beautiful, smooth cement. Our old driveway was asphalt and it was rough and full of pockets. The girls could scooter, but it was difficult. Now they have a long garage, plus a good driveway, and our street is quiet enough that they can go out into the street as well. While I loved our old neighborhood, our street was busy and people drove fast so I was always afraid to let the girls scooter or ride bike.


Can you believe it was November and we were all outside in long sleeve shirts? It’s been glorious! They scootered Saturday, Sunday, and even a little Monday evening. You can see that Delaney has an old scooter my parents got her when she was three maybe? A new Razor scooter is on her Christmas list!

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Age 7.5

This age has kicked my butt. In a lot of ways it reminds me of 3.5, with all of the questions and the arguing and the drama surrounding every little thing. There are so many tears! Every day. She’s the worst sister ever, I’m the meanest mom ever, she’s never speaking to her sister, never playing with her sister again! Oof. And then the disobedience. You’d think I worked them from sun up to sun down with how every request I make is met with sighs and growls and I don’t want to! Honestly, just brush your hair.

The other thing that has thrown me off balance with this age is the need to be alone, to be away from me. So many times lately they go into their room and shut the door to play. Or tell me to leave. They wanted to play with their magnatiles Sunday so I asked if they wanted to play with them upstairs where it was sunny. Sure, but then they said they wanted to play by themselves and could I leave? I walked outside to take pictures of them scootering and was met with glares and disdain. They let me take a few pictures, but then asked that I go back inside. If this attitude stays until they’re teenagers it’s going to be a looooong ten years.

Tell me it gets better!

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One Week In

One week in and things are much better. Like so much better.

I didn’t post much last week because it would have been a lot of frustration and negativity and poor me pity parties. I’ve been fairly stressed out since we started this process and the chaos from moving in only compounded that. Packing was easy. Unpacking was not! I packed up a few boxes each night, spending maybe 30 minutes doing so? Unpacking was overwhelming, especially since it seemed like we had something going on every night. I was not doing well with all of the chaos. My parents heard my frustration and came up Saturday morning. By that point we’d at least gotten the girls toys and art supplies unpacked and mostly put away in the basement. My dad reorganized the garage, building a bunch of shelving, and my mom reorganized the basement. The work they did was huge! No more boxes and totes everywhere, everything is put away. It was like a weight was lifted off my chest, I can breathe again. Huge thank you’s to my parents. Without your help, I have no idea how I would have done all of this.

While I definitely have more projects on my list than I thought I would, I’ve also realized that I really do love this house. I may not like it at times, but long term I think it’s going to be a great place for us. The flow is really nice, we get amazing light through all of the windows, and the yard is perfect for us. The girls spent Saturday and Sunday scootering around the garage, driveway, and street, something they couldn’t do at our old house. Annabelle spent the weekend in the backyard watching the golfers play through and enjoying the sunshine. I definitely had my moments wondering if this was all a giant mistake and deciding how many years to live here before selling, but now I feel like we could be here for awhile which is such a relief.

A few pictures of the house!

house 1

These are the windows in the living room. They face west and bring in amazing light. I love having floor to ceiling windows! The dogs love them too and spend a lot of time on their beds here.

house 4

The living room! Same viewpoint as last week, just with furniture. There is a wood burning fireplace in the corner. It will be interesting to see if we use it, or convert it to gas at some point.

house 2

I had no idea where we were going to put the piano. Kristina and I talked through a few options when we were painting, then moving day came and we realized those weren’t going to work. Someone recommended this spot (between the big windows and the door to the backyard). I couldn’t believe it when my dad measured and it fit perfectly! Such the perfect spot.

house 6

This is a crappy shot of the dining room, but best I could do in the late light. It’s similar to my old dining room, but just a touch bigger. We found the black cabinet at Target this weekend, which will work perfectly for barware and my cookbooks. My mom had talked about refinishing the table dark, but instead has decided to paint the chairs black, and leave the table as it is. If nothing else, we’ll find a tablecloth we like. (And by we, I mean my mother.)

house 3

I loved loved loved the doggy door at the old house and had intended to put one in here this spring, but we are all smitten with this floor to ceiling glass door! (I believe there is a screen for it in the garage for summer.) Annie will often just sit and out look out, and there hasn’t been any issues getting the dogs in and out.

house 5

Here’s the backyard. I’d guess it’s about 1/2 the size of my old yard? I worried it would be too small but it’s perfect. We can always see the dogs, no matter where they are, yet they have enough room to run. We back up to a golf course, and I worried Annie would bark nonstop at the golfers, but she’s been great. There is another matching concrete bench, and enough space that we should be able to have a table, and possibly a glider swing. I’m hoping to do some sort of pergola, or something where I can string those cute outdoor lights on. Since we lost the screen porch, we’ll be spending a lot of time out here. I’m excited!


Mornings and Evenings

In the old house, our mornings ran relatively smoothly. The girls were able to watch a little tv while they ate breakfast, and with a few reminders we all got out the door on time. That has not been the same in the new house, and it goes for all of us. On Monday, I didn’t lock a single door and left the garage door open. I have no idea.

Part of the problem with our mornings is that we now only have one tv upstairs. Before we had a little tv in the kitchen where I watched what I wanted to watch (GMA in the mornings, HGTV otherwise) and the girls watched the tv in the living room. They knew they could watch their cartoons while they ate breakfast, so they hustled through getting dressed and getting breakfast. Now, we only have the tv in the living room, and I have stated that if I’m upstairs it will be Good Morning America on that tv. So, the girls have tried to figure out when they can watch their cartoons, which has led to arguments and then Delaney refuses to do anything, I yell, and our mornings suck. We are having a family meeting today to try to figure this out, but I’m thinking of saying they can watch cartoons until 7:30, then the tv goes off until we’re eating breakfast at which point we watch GMA. Eventually I would like a tv in the kitchen, but we’re not there yet.

Our afternoons/evenings haven’t been any better. We can’t seem to find a balance between having a little downtime, and getting all of their things (homework, reading, piano practice) completed. We’ve talked about adding back gymnastics in the new year, but that’s another night we’re away from home which will not help things either.

The move has been stressful on everyone. I’m hoping if we can get our routines back and running smoothly, that will help everyone’s moods.


Check in

This past week has been absolutely crazy. Tuesday and Wednesday I was in California. Thursday morning was the closing. Closing went very smoothly (thanks to my incredible lender) and then I headed to the house to start painting. On Thursday afternoon I painted the girls room, then came back that evening and painted the guest bedroom with Delaney’s help. On Friday my amazing sister-in-law came over and we were painting machines! We painted the entry way, living room, kitchen, bottom half of the dining room and the hallway. That night I came back over and painted the top half of the dining room.

Some notes on painting. Rule number one – buy the good paint! I used the Duration line by Sherwin Williams and it’s absolutely dreamy! Covered well in one coat and just went on so well. We didn’t need to tape anything. Second note, just do it! Kristina and I both said painting is our favorite. It’s a diy job that we can do without our uber talented husband/brother/father, and it’s instant gratification! As the gray went on the house started to feel more and more like my home. (I once again used Mineral Deposit by Sherwin Williams. It’s a blue/gray and again, I cannot say enough good things about it. It sounds like it would be a cold color but it’s not!)

A little before and after for you. He inexplicably painted everything a yellow? Which just didn’t work with the white trim and the gray stone everywhere.



Saturday we moved and unpacked. It was an exhausting and frustrating day. When I first saw this house everything looked so perfect and updated and the more time I spend here the more I realize that was all a facade. The furnace is old, the windows are old, the trim is cheap, the closets are shit, the dryer is 50+ years old and the kitchen is wonky. It’s adding up to be a lot more projects than I ever expected, and those projects will all likely need to happen earlier than I expected. It’s been a rough week, topped off with the neighbor’s pit bull jumping the 2.5 foot fence Monday morning and eagerly greeting my dogs who were not so eager to greet him. If you know a fence guy, clearly I need one.

I don’t live well with chaos, and right now the entire basement is boxes and tubs and stuff everywhere, so that is priority one. I think with a night or two of organizing and a few trips to Goodwill, we’ll be in better shape there which will do loads for my sanity.

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The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Let’s start with the good. The response to my rental ad has been amazing! I’ve showed the house four times, everyone has been really positive about the house, and one couple asked for applications. The 180 this has been from showing my house when it was up for sale cannot be commented on enough. Clearly people who rent are looking at different things than people who buy but man, this is just a breath of fresh air. I also am happy to be providing for the underserved pet owner market! Someone’s dog(s) is going to have a kickass yard of their own very soon. I think there is a very good chance I will have a renter locked down before we move.

The bad. On Saturday the kitchen sink backed up. I had to call four different plumbers before I found someone who could unclog it. Luckily, they work weekends and don’t charge extra. On Sunday Midas fell off a step and injured his back leg. He strained a muscle, so it’s the best possible injury, but he needs to rest it so someone has to hold him at all times. We’ve tried putting him in his crate, but he just barks. I’m fairly sure besides the hopefully nominal pain, this is his version of heaven. And on Monday we had an appointment at 4:00, one showing at 5:00, another at 5:30, and piano lessons at 5:50. Somehow, everything went exactly as planned, even though dinner was hodge podge in between all of those things.

The ugly. This afternoon I am getting on a plane to California to give a presentation at the client. On the one hand – yay! I’m all for good press for our project and it’s fun to be asked to do something like this. On the other hand, doing this days before closing and moving is not ideal. I’ve already told my client dinner will need to involve some wine to alleviate the inevitable anxiety.

Also, Happy Birthday Mom!

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Happy Halloween!

It’s always so much nicer when Halloween falls on a weekend. None of the crazed running around that happens when it’s during the week. When we picked a close date for the new house, I went for November because I really wanted one last Halloween in our neighborhood. Sure we could have come back for it, but it’s just not the same. And our neighborhood didn’t disappoint! There was a little preparty with food and drinks, and a party/bonfire after. Some of the kids only trick or treated a few houses, but my girls were in it to win it! We hit the whole circle. We did the last few houses with one of their classmates that lives one street over which worked out perfectly. Even better, we came home to an almost empty candy bin of our own! That has never happened before.

Onto the pictures! Neither of the girls had any strong ideas as to what they wanted to be this year. The Cartwheel app sent out a notice that costumes were 40% off for one day, so we hit Target up. After a lot of back and forth, Caden settled on this Snow Queen costume, and Delaney decided on this day of the dead costume. We were lucky with the weather this year and the girls only needed fleeces underneath, no hats or gloves so they were able to wear their accessories all night.







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Fall Parties

The house is about 75% packed, the girls have their fall parties today, and it’s going to be decent weather for Halloween. You can’t ask for more than that! Bring on the weekend!

oct 23

Friday. Black and white for a change! Mighty Man gets dragged into a lot of pictures these days.

oct 27

Tuesday. Caden looked so cute in her little fur vest and hat! Very hipster.

oct 29

Thursday. Jackets, hats, and gloves are needed most mornings now. Ugh. I can’t wait until we’re in the new house and can get organized with all of this stuff!

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