The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Weekend groove

The end of July seems to mark the time of year when we really hit our groove. We’re all used to our summer routine, the girls are happy, the sun is shining, and as a family we’re just clicking. That is very true this year as well. We had an awesome weekend. We got out, we saw friends, we spent time at the pool, and the girls liked both dinners that I cooked which never happens!

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Saturday morning we headed to the new footballstadium for a tour. We were the first group to go through, so it was a little crazy. Lots of lines, lots of people, but very fun to get inside the stadium. I thought the stadium itself was gorgeous, but the concourses were very grey. Grey concrete, grey walls, grey floors. I’m hoping they put up some posters or something because otherwise, it’s a little bland.

As we left the stadium a huge storm came through and totally drenched us. We were on our way to ‘The Secret Life of Pets’, so made a quick stop at home to change clothes. Cute movie!

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The girls are ice cream fiends right now. They eat ice cream almost every night after dinner, and we’ve been hitting various ice cream places around town. After dinner (chicken/bacon/pineapple skewers for the win!) we headed out to Excelsior to try Licks Unlimited. Lots of fun choices for the girls! I only had one option, a pitiful sorbet, but we’re hitting Milkjam this week so I will get my good ice cream then.

We finally got Pokemon Go working Saturday morning, so after ice cream we wandered downtown Excelsior for a bit playing. I feel like the game gets a bad rap, and I’m guessing it’s mostly from people who don’t understand it. It was a super fun thing to play as a family, got us out and about (and the dogs walked multiple times), and we chatted up a few other families who were doing the same thing. I don’t think this game will last super long for us, but as long as it doesn’t chew up too much data, I’m down with it.

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Since it rained most of Saturday, we hit the pool for the sunshine on Sunday. I threw their dive toys, I read my book, I laughed at the silly games they played, and I read my book some more. I’m not sure if we’ve just gotten lucky or what, but every time we’re there it’s not busy, and the families that are there are delightful. No bratty kids, no crazy parents, just summer fun.

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Horse Camp Week 2

Last week the girls had their second week of horse camp. I definitely learned from my mistakes during the first week. First, I immediately asked my dad if he would come stay with us a few days and pick the girls up on his way to our house. This was huge! It gave my schedule so much more breathing space and allowed me to work full days and not run pick up the kids, then work more from home. Thank you Grampy! Second, I signed up for before care. I dropped the girls off at 8am rather than 9am. It meant we all got up fairly early, but they loved their hour of barn chores before everyone else got there.

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I took some videos of the horse show but they didn’t really turn out so we’ll skip those. Here’s Caden and Ziggy! Ziggy was such a great horse for her last time, she got to ride with him again. The best part of her week? Cantoring! She was pretty excited to learn that new skill, she even did it for the horse show! Ziggy took such great care of her, I gave him extra kisses (although he kept trying to eat me, I think he wanted his treats!).

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This is Trueman, Delaney’s horse for the week. Trueman was a great horse for Delaney. He didn’t cut corners, he wasn’t scared of mirrors, and he has a nice, fast walk. Delaney tried cantoring too, but is a little nervous about it. I think Trueman went faster than she expected. Next time!

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The sight of them taking care of their horses never gets old.

Riding lessons are expensive, and since we’ve already signed up for ballet and we have piano lessons, I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about them. Truthfully, we can’t afford to do them weekly, and everywhere I looked that’s what you needed to sign up for. I talked with the trainer and she agreed we could do monthly lessons. It’s not ideal, and they won’t progress as fast, but it’s something. They both love horses so much, and they both have gained so much confidence from riding, that I want to help them continue down this path.

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Sunset fishing 

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Last week we tried a few new fishing spots on the lake. After taking a cruise one afternoon, my dad and I realized that one of the bays was really clear, but had some good weeds that would make a good sunfish spot. We headed over there after dinner. At first we fished towards the lily pads, but the fish we caught there were teeny tiny, so we switched to the deeper water and tried there. Boy were there fish! The girls got hit after hit. Some were small, but eventually we found some pockets of bigger fish. I’m not sure if it was because of the weeds or what, but the sunfish had crazy coloring. Some were a very bright green, others were more black/purple/orange.

If we’re hitting them, we generally fish right until after sunset and that night, the sky didn’t disappoint.

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Paddle Boarding

When my parents got the new lake cabin, they also bought a paddle board. We were all very excited! We tried it out Father’s Day weekend and of course, the girls were pros at it. So, they got a second one, except the second one is little and Caden is the only one who can actually use it. The adults sink it, and Delaney can only do it if she’s on her knees. More paddle boarding time for Caden! (Delaney is on the blue/brown board).

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Last week we were able to get out twice. It needs to be fairly calm or it just isn’t doable. The first day I just tried to get the feel for things. Once you find your balance it’s very peaceful! The girls and I tried to go across the lake, but we only made it halfway before we decided to turn around. The second time I brought Lark out with me. She looooves the lake, and I thought this might be fun for her. She did great! I put her in front of me, but she quickly moved to the back of the board. I had to have Caden keep track of her for me, since I couldn’t balance and turn around to look at her, but she alternated between laying down and standing up. Her ears were up the whole time with me, which means she’s happy. (We tried her on the paddle board with each of the girls and her ears were flat so, only with Mom.)

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Fancy Ride

A few weeks ago someone backed into the front passenger side door as we were leaving Trader Joe’s parking lot. It’s not a huge dent, but the door doesn’t work and sometimes when I turn it makes funny noises. Luckily, it was completely the other guys fault and his insurance is covering everything, including a rental car while our car gets fixed.

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Isn’t she pretty? We’ve been driving this car for over a week now! My car is a 2004, and while it’s old, it’s paid off and only has 130,000 miles on it. I hope to drive it for another four to five years but honestly, driving this new car makes me want to shorten that up. You don’t need a key to start it (which I realize is probably standard in new cars now but to me is very fancy and modern), it has blue tooth capabilities, and it’s just so darn comfy. All these nice compartments, and even third row seating! The girls want to have a sleepover just so we can drive their friends home.

It’s times like these when I have to really stay true to my financial goals and remember Paid Off is better than any new accessories. I had money set aside for a new car, but that all went towards the down payment on the new house, so that fund has to be replenished which will take a few years. Until then we’ll enjoy our temporary Dodge Journey.

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Vacation!

We spent most of last week up at my parent’s cabin. It was great to have a nice break from everything, even if the weather didn’t cooperate every day.

The last two years we’ve done Saturday to Saturday at the Lake Mary resort, but since my parent’s have a cabin on a good fishing lake now, we could do whatever we wanted. Two things factored in. First, the girls had a softball tournament Saturday and Sunday that we didn’t want to miss. Second, I was bringing all three dogs along. I knew my max with the dogs was probably five days? So we headed up Monday evening. It was really nice to have a few days at home, plus it rained all day Monday anyway.

So the drive. As we were packing up the car my mom texted and said there were bad storms on 94, which is right on our route. I decided to wait an extra 15 minutes before leaving to give the storms time to pass. As we’re driving, the radio announcer says something about a tornado warning in St. Cloud. (For those who don’t know, a watch means potential, a warning means one has been spotted.) I immediately call my parents and ask them to look up the weather and wouldn’t you know, St. Cloud was under a tornado warning until 8:00pm. I thought we would just miss it, but as I was listening to the very concerned radio announcers on the St. Cloud radio station, I realized it was going to be very close. They were very pointed that this was real, and to take cover. In my head I was going over protocol if you’re in a car and there’s a tornado. I think you’re supposed to get out of the car and lay down in the ditch? With two kids and three dogs are you kidding me? That’s when I thought “Why on earth am I driving into a TORNADO?” and pulled off at the next exit. Best. decision. ever. We hung out in a gas station parking lot for 25 minutes until the tornado warning passed.

Note for future storms. Lark and Midas FREAKED OUT a few minutes before the rain started. They had their noses in the air and Lark headed for the floor of the truck. They knew what was coming! Annie watched out the window, not a car in the world. Turns out I was a lot closer to St. Cloud than I realized and we definitely would have driven straight through during the warning. (That said, as I was driving I checked out the fields and surrounding area and I don’t think any tornado went along our path, but they got a lot of rain.) The rest of the drive was a bit stressful with rain off and on, at times coming down in buckets, but Lark remained calm so I knew nothing bad was coming.

We had a few days of sun, and a bit of rain, so we tried to make the most of our sunny days! Lots of time down at the lake, lots of time fishing! We tried trolling for walleyes but that was a bust. We did hit on the sunfish a few times, so at least we got a meal for our efforts.

The lake is so clear right now it’s crazy. We kept marveling at how far down you could see as we cruised around the lake!

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Almost rained out

This weekend was the girls end of season softball tournament. We played two games on Saturday which determined ranking, and then it was single elimination on Sunday. Our high point of the season was early June. We had been playing twice a week consistently, I had worked with the girls enough on their batting that everyone was getting hits, and we had quite a few home games with our pitching machine which threw consistent strikes. Towards the end of June we only played once a week, and the games were away on less than consistent machines. When the balls are coming high and low and outside and everywhere, we have hitting issues. No hits, no runs.

We did not play the best on Saturday. We could not seem to get a rally going where we could score a lot of runs, and our fielding was off. Oh well. It was sunny and beautiful out, and this season is really about learning anyway. The girls have come so far from the beginning of the season and that’s what counts.

Sunday morning I woke up to thunder and lots of rain. I thought for sure the games would be cancelled but the rain stopped, and with an extra few hours they had the fields playable. It wasn’t hot, but it was humid. We played another SLP team and were squarely beat relatively quickly. While I was sad the season had ended, we had a pool party to get to!

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The club had a pool party planned and we were super excited for it! There was cotton candy (which we ate a TON of), snow cones, lots of food, a bounce house, tattoos, and some pool games. The best part was the DJ who played amazing music the entire time.

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The pool was the busiest I’ve seen it and yet, it’s big enough that it wasn’t crowded. We ate as soon as we got there because we were all starving. From there we bounced between the pool and all of the games. I even got to read my book for a while which is always a bonus.

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Luckily, there was some cloud cover or the day would have gotten crazy hot. As it was, it was a perfect afternoon. I love this pool. Pools tend to be our happy places and this one definitely fits that bill. I love that it’s around the corner from our house, I love that they serve good food, I love that it’s never crowded, I love how awesome the lifeguards are, and I love how awesome the families are that we’ve encountered there. It’s a little oasis of happiness that always seems to slot in just when we need it.

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Confidence 

Coming out of their week long horse camp, I have definitely noticed some changes in the girls.

Caden has been so much more confident. She’s not as nervous going into new situations, and she doesn’t get nervous when she needs to talk to other adults. I think realizing that she could saddle a horse and clean out their hooves, even though she thought for sure she was too little to do those things has really been a boost to her self esteem.

Delaney has been super helpful at home. When I had my work call Tuesday evening she made dinner so I could get my computer set up and be ready to go when the call started. Multiple times when things get crazy she has come to me and said “What can I do to help?” The horse trainer had said they were really helpful around the barns. I think she likes knowing that she can really contribute.

Seeing things like this has made it a little easier to save up and write that check for the second week of camp!

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Laying Low

The actual fourth of July was very low key for us. We drove home and relaxed around the house, watching a movie and reading books. It felt a little weird since everyone on Facebook was at parades and fireworks, but we were exhausted from our lake weekend and needed to recuperate!

Last night I had a late conference call that I took from home. I needed the girls to be quiet. Normally I would have sent them outside to play, but it was raining so that was no go. They asked to play Minecraft so they could keep working on their Harry Potter world. Who knew this was even a thing! Every once in a while they watch Minecraft videos on Youtube Kids, and at some point Delaney stumbled on some where they showed you how to build things so it looks like Hogwarts. Caden is in charge of the Gryffindor common room and Delaney built a Gryffindor bedroom. I had to laugh because of course they found a way to mash together their two current obsessions!

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4th of July!

Picture heavy post warning! We headed up to my aunt and uncle’s house for our annual 4th of July family gathering. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and I feel like we have a nice routine down. Lots of lake time, lots of game time, the meals are covered, fireworks from North Dakota, and everyone has fun.

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We had gorgeous weather for Saturday (Sunday was a cloudy and windy but we didn’t let that stop us) so we spent a lot of time in the water. My uncle has a nice pontoon, but since there’s a lot of us and the kids like to tube, my cousins both bring their boats too. We got to see Alyssa’s new boat! It’s so nice. Such a smooth ride and the perfect place to chill. Captain Dood thought so as well.

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Missing one sibling, but here’s the group that brings us all together.

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A lake selfie. We took a few this year.

The girls love my aunt and uncle’s house. First off there’s a lake, so that’s huge. They also have chickens that lay eggs (they got to collect four!) and a huge garden. Delaney kept talking about how peaceful it was, which is what she says when she wants to move somewhere. That kid seems to be a country girl at heart!

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This was the first year in a while that water volleyball made a comeback and it was a huge hit! When forced to divide into two teams Coach told us line up shortest to tallest and number off. Dane, I’m not sure you belong at the end of the line.

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Our family is a little bit competitive, and whenever there is a lull we immediately bust out a tournament bracket and throw down. Water volleyball was no different. I am sore from diving after balls and my swimsuit had a fair amount of sand in it! Still can’t believe we lost both games.

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Sunset cruise time. The lake they are on is small, but there are always a ton of boats out! We’ve been coming up here for 30 years, so it’s fun to see what’s changed as we cruise around the lake. 2016 will forever be the year of the new canal.

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All three of our dogs stayed behind with the dog sitter and we missed them! Luckily there were a few dogs around for us to love on. Asa loved Caden. He was a big, sweet boy.

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The swan floatie that is everywhere! It’s everywhere for a reason people, this thing was awesome. Super fun to play on, and also super fun to just hang out on.

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My aunt and uncle got a jet ski this year and everyone was excited about this new toy! Both girls rode on it and loved going super fast.

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A little blurry because the sun was going down, but the younger cousins swinging. These kiddos had so much fun! And even though Sam is the oldest, he still hangs with them and indulges them.

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