The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Tiny Bits

I haven’t done one of these posts in a long time!

  • Lola is really, really happy right now. I was out of town for a week which I think threw her off. But I’m home now, and we’ve rearranged things at the barn so we’re the only ones riding her and she could not be happier! The girls are riding her really confidently, and it’s so fun to see her happy kicks during lessons. I love seeing her put her head down and GO! I get to ride her on Sunday and I’m beyond excited.
  • I try not to talk about things the girls are going through on here, but it’s no secret that Delaney is a procrastinator. She waits until the last minute to do absolutely everything, and in middle school that is affecting her grades. She hands in SO many assignments late. So. Many. And I can see them all and how they’re affecting her grades and it’s crazy making! She forgets things in her locker, in her binder, doesn’t print things out, or just doesn’t get them done. She currently has lost her phone and the chrome book until she gets everything turned in.
  • Last weekend Delaney came home from school on Friday afternoon and didn’t leave the house until Tuesday morning when she went back to school and she could not have been happier.
  • January and February are traditionally growth months for the girls and this year is no different. (I’m always grateful for this blog for reminding me of things like growth spurts!) I spent $150 on groceries last weekend and we had to stop at the grocery store on the way home from riding to stock up on a few more things that we were out of. It’s forcing me to cook dinner every night and get creative about snacks. We don’t usually buy bread in the winter because the girls don’t do sandwiches very often, but we’ve gone through a loaf a week lately due to pb&j’s and grilled cheese sandwiches as snacks. It’s crazy!
  • We’re all in love with Nina. She’s coming out of her shell more and more, and it’s so fun to watch her be more playful and enjoy being a dog! She loves to follow Annie around the yard, and thankfully, Annie tolerates it well. Also? She’s potty trained, so bonus.
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Internets, meet Nina! She’s a two-year-old chihuahua/terrier mix. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you met her yesterday. She’s only been with us for a few days, but we have all fallen in love with her very quickly!

I picked her up on Saturday afternoon. When the dogs arrive at the rescue, there’s a whole process they go through. It’s very organized, I love it. They get weighed, get dewormer, get their picture taken, and see the vet. Nina was very nervous throughout this whole process. I held her most of the time, and when I did put her down, she sniffed for a second and then hid between two pieces of furniture.

We really thought she was going to have anxiety issues which would have been totally fine. We have Lark, so we’re used to it and I figured Lark would help. But! Once at our house it she settled in very quickly and we haven’t seen a moment of anxiety.

On Saturday we were at the bottom of the vet list, so we had a lot of time to kill. I took her outside several times to walk around and she wanted nothing to do with it. She literally wouldn’t move a paw in the snow. Now that she’s at our house, she LOVES to be outside! Slowly but surely she has found her way around our backyard, following Annie, and then exploring on her own. One thing she’s realized though, is that she has to have a sweater or jacket on. She has no body fat, so she shivers immediately, and you can see she wants to stay outside, but just can’t do it. Luckily, we have a lot of sweaters that fit her.

Our biggest thing right now is getting her skin to a better place, and putting some weight on her. She was definitely a stray before she came to us, and she is SKINNY. She’s 13 lbs right now, our goal is to get her to 16 lbs and evaluate from there. Good quality food and time will help heal both of those things.

Her personality is just coming out, but so far she’s very chill. She likes to hang out on soft blankets, and take naps in comfy dog beds. Once she’s feeling better, it will be interesting to see if she perks up and is more active!

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The girls have been asking to go to Rem5 (virtual reality) for a few weeks. I had said we would go last weekend, but didn’t realize that over the last few months they’ve gotten busy! We tried to book a pod on Saturday and there was nothing available for Saturday OR Sunday. We’ve always been able to get in whenever we wanted to, so I felt bad. But, also yay for Rem5?! So, I immediately booked a pod for Friday evening.

And then Friday came. It had been a long week and Delaney was unable to have any sort of conversation without turning it into an argument and declaring everyone else rude. I gave her some time to cool down and change her attitude but she couldn’t, so Caden and I went by ourselves! Which meant I actually got some VR time! I played Beat Saber and loved it. However, I didn’t wear my glasses with the headset and definitely should have. Our guy kept asking me to pick things on the screen and I had to tell him I couldn’t read a thing!

Caden had her first Quiz Bowl tournament on Saturday! I dropped her off at the middle school at 8:00am, and she was off with her team! Her team was all 6th graders, and they were against mostly 7th and 8th grade teams most of the day. They did win their last game when they were up against other 6th graders, so that was a good way to end the day.

While she was gone, Delaney and I did some menu planning and grabbed groceries. As we were checking out Caden finished up, so we drove down and picked her up, perfect timing. Then we all came home and did a bunch of cleaning. We opened windows, cleared off the desk and dining room, and scrubbed floors. It felt so good to air out the house and right the ship! Oh, and we watched four episodes of Cheer. So. Good. Highly recommend!

Saturday evening I had my work holiday party. It was a little weird to have it in February? I kept hoping I wouldn’t tuck in to watch a movie with the girls and forget about it. It was fun though, dinner was great and my trivia team actually knew a bunch of answers.

Sunday was a day at the barn. As it should be. I love the crew that is at the barn on Sundays, and we always have a good lesson. Plus, there are two of the most adorable sisters that have a private lesson during that time that always make me smile. After the lesson we grabbed lunch with one of the girls from the barn, then came back and hung out with Lola for a little bit because why not? For her Halloween costume I braided her tail. Delaney loved that braid (see below, it was cute) and wants to learn how to do that braid on her tail, so we’ve been practicing. It’s still a work in progress.

And then we hit Target and completely skipped the Super Bowl. Some years I’m into football, this year was not one of those years. We finished Cheer and made a double batch of chili instead.

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Morning Routines

For the past six years the girls got on the bus at 8:46am. None of us are super morning people, so even though I didn’t love not being able to get into the office early, this schedule worked for us.

And then came middle school and a 7:00am bus time.

I really didn’t know how this would go for our family. Delaney regularly went to bed at 10:30pm. She’s a total night owl, and I worried she wouldn’t get any sleep. Caden and I are morning people, but that is still super early.

How has it gone? Honestly, much better than I expected.

I get up at 5:30am.  I have a very love/hate relationship with alarm times that begin with a 5.  I love the extra time it gives me in the mornings, but would not do it if I didn’t have to. 

But why do I get up at 5:30am when I got easily get away with getting up at 6:15?  For me.  To start the day on my terms, with quiet and intention and meditation.  I start the day by meditating even before I get out of bed.  Then I let the dogs out, and sit down with my gratitude journal.

I did have to tweak my morning routine a few times. I tried to keep it the same as it was when I got up at 6:30am, but 5:30 is early guys, and it takes me a bit to wake up at that time. I finally shuffled things around so I meditate first, and then by the time I sit down to journal I’m more awake and can think.

Caden gets up at 6:00am and Delaney gets up at 6:15am. We don’t turn on the tv, everyone does their thing and then we gather in the kitchen. At that time of day, the girls aren’t super hungry, but will usually have something small.

So here’s the magic in my morning.  I do my morning thing, chat with the girls while they eat breakfast, walk them to the bus stop, and then the house is mine for the next 1-2 hours!  I try to at least take a shower and get dressed while they’re getting ready, so that once I’m back from the bus I can throw on some makeup and grab my own coffee and breakfast.  

And then I listen to podcasts, I read a book, I leisurely drink another cup of coffee.  It’s pure introverted joy. 

If I need to I can cut my morning short and go into work early, which honestly, has felt really good to do lately.  Or, I can just keep filling my cup! I love it, and it makes the 5:30am alarm worthwhile.

Obviously, our bedtimes moved up as well. The girls go to bed around 8:30pm, and I’m usually getting ready for bed around that time too. It’s definitely changed our evenings. We are much more intentional with our time, because there is no staying up late when you get up that early. I try to be in bed by 9:30pm.

For the most part, earlier bedtimes happened naturally. We’re all tired in the evenings, and everyone wants to get good sleep. The biggest change has been with Delaney. My kid who used to stay up as late as possible, now puts herself to bed first! She’s growing so much I think she needs her sleep, and I love that she prioritizes it. Caden has struggled with this schedule a bit. She runs so hot it’s hard for her to fall asleep, and then things fall apart from there.

Once we go back to a later start time in the fall will I stick with this wake up time? No. Over the holidays I realized that my body naturally wants to get up at 6:30am and go to sleep at 10:30pm. I think if I can stick to something closer to those times, it will be easier all around.

Anyone else have to change their routine because of a start time? Work or school?

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Snow and Cold

Did anyone else have a weird week last week? I swear every day Delaney would think it was Thursday and that I was leaving for my work meeting. It made for a very long week!

So my work meeting was in Fargo. Thursday was -23 in Fargo? It was a cold drive up, but it’s an easy drive so I didn’t mind. But then overnight the wind started blowing. We all knew it was going to snow Friday afternoon, but I had hoped we’d be done with our meetings before the snow came. Except, the wind came first and it was white out conditions on the highway. They weren’t advising travel, and the thought of not getting home to my kids was panic inducing. Luckily I have an awesome client and awesome coworkers and they got me on the road asap with another coworker and we made it home, but goodness! The first two hours on the road were rough, with moments when we couldn’t see more than 20 yards ahead of us. Luckily the snow was just blowing across the road, not accumulating, so everyone just kept going and there were no accidents that I saw. The second two hours were a breeze, and we made it back before the snow started.

Caden was supposed to have her first Quiz Bowl tournament on Saturday, but that was canceled. We were going to just stay home, but we’d only gotten a few inches of snow, so we braved the roads and went to riding lessons. I think we hit the window of time just perfectly, because things got worse later in the day and the roads got icier.

Sunday was more riding lessons since we’d missed our usual Thursday lesson. It’s always fun to be at the barn two days in a row. Plus, they jumped their biggest jumps yet, which is always exciting.

And that was our weekend. Which was relaxing? But I feel like we should have gotten out and done something. The last four years we’ve had some sort of kid activity on Saturdays at noon. It’s the worst time, since it cuts into just about anything you want to plan, and so I’ve stopped planning things. But that means that our weekends are mostly spent at home if we don’t have anything else going on. The next few weekends we have activities, so I’ll probably look back fondly on our weekend of horse movies (watched Seabiscuit Friday and Dreamers on Saturday, recommend both!) and chill time. It made me realize that I need to get back to seeking out things to do though.

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Vision & Dreams

Last Saturday I hosted a Vision & Dream Workshop. It was amazing!

I’ve wanted to host some sort of retreat for years now. Last year I did a Galentine’s lunch at work where I brought all of the women in the office together, to share our stories and see how we could support each other. It was a start, but I knew I wanted something bigger and focused on helping people dream big. I kept thinking it needed to happen in the summer, so we could end the night around a campfire, but then a friend told me not to wait, to find a way to do it now. So I did.

It came together fairly quickly. A friend worked at a spa and fitness facility that also had meeting spaces. I emailed, toured, and booked it. I’ve done so much work on my own dreams and vision for the future, that I quickly wrote out an outline of the day. I knew what had helped and what hadn’t, what I wanted in, and what I wanted out. I posted on social media, I ran some ads, and five people signed up!

First off, the space was perfection. One wall of the room was almost all windows, letting in tons of natural light. The room was big enough that we were able to sit in a u-shape which was perfect for conversation. Plus the vibe was very zen. Oh! And the food was so, so good! The people that came were totally brought together by the universe. There were so many amazing connections, it was certainly not coincidence.

I wasn’t sure how much people would share, but we talked and laughed all day. They shared insights, I shared my own stories, the energy was amazing. I loved hearing the a ha moments people had throughout the day!

One of the reasons I chose this topic was because it takes a few hours to really do this work. Even knowing how important this work is, I couldn’t seem to find the time to do it for myself. And if I need to get out of the house and have a block of time to dream, surely others did too right? Which yes. And it also meant that I did the exercises right along with everyone else.

One of the big activities of the day was making a vision board. Vision boards are so powerful! After we bought Lola, I looked at ours and realized the picture of a horse I’d cut out from the Dover catalog looked EXACTLY like Lo, down to the halter! Anyway, that vision board was a magnetic board, so I used it since I felt connected to it. Everyone else did cork boards, which was smart. You could definitely put things on them in a more organized fashion. Any way, long story longer, everyone else’s vision boards looked amazing, and mine was a mess! I’ll redo it at the next one.

I had my own a ha moments journaling too. I love to journal! Things spill out on the page and surprise you! My vision for the future and my dreams are fairly locked in, but, a few cool things came out throughout the day that were key.

My big takeaway is that I want to spend more time around female entrepreneurs. First off, it’s always great energy. Second, I’m very much used to working as part of a team. Being solo and having no one to bounce ideas off of has been the hardest part of this journey. I’m part of one networking group but the meetings don’t work with my current schedule, so I’m going to do some searching. A friend told me about SCORE, which has a few chapters in my area. I’d love to find more online entrepreneurs that could meet up in person every month or so, so if that’s you, comment or email me!

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Tack Trunk

I have updates on the weekend, but before I get to them I need to post about this beautiful tack trunk!

Before we bought Lola, the girls had small bins at the barn to keep their stuff in. They each had their own and would put their boots, half chaps, helmets, grooming kits and treats in their bin. They worked really well, but once we bought Lola we moved to a different tack room because now we’d have a saddle, bridle, and everything else. Luckily, I know a guy who builds stuff!

Our journey designing the trunk was long. We looked at everyone else’s tack trunks, my dad had some ideas that we noodled on, but finally we talked to the barn owner at the holiday horse show and that was where things got crystal clear. The tack trunk is really to take your tack (saddle, bridle, girth) to horse shows, so it needs to be a specific size, and needs to be easily loaded onto a truck to be transported. That clarified all of our questions.

In the end, my dad built it deeper with a shallow lid, but with a deep bin that sits on little rails. We really wanted somewhere the girls could easily access their boots and helmets, and that has worked perfectly. It’s big enough to carry two saddles, and he put heavy duty handles on the sides so it can be carried.

My dad built the tack trunk while he was home over Christmas, and it’s gorgeous! It’s been so nice to have a proper tack trunk, and even better to have one that is so well built and exactly what we need. Previously we’d been using a large plastic bin, but it wasn’t big enough for everything. I love that we have so much room now, and can fit everything in it, including all the treats that we’ve accumulated.

Everyone at the barn knew my dad was building it. I clearly undersold how good he is at building this stuff because everyone keeps saying “I can’t believe he built that!” “It looks so professional!” Curt does not build crappy things people!

Thank you to my dad for building this trunk! I know it was a journey and it took up all of your time at home, but we love it so much! Can’t wait to take it to our first horse show next summer!

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Catch Up!

Delaney informed me it’s been too long since I’ve posted here, so let’s get to it! (She’s right, I’m super behind)

First off, I thought we’d get so much done over break. I was working (my project managers were off, so I was covering both projects) but my meeting schedule was light. I thought I’d knock off a bunch of work projects while working from home, while the girls watched movies and played board games. Nope. I even tried to implement a screen time limit (which I think mostly worked?), I’m just not sure what happened to our time! Winter break was really nice though this year. Not a ton of fighting, they both found things to do, and it felt relaxing. Sometimes when I work from home it can get hectic, but this year it didn’t.

Quick funny story. December 23 we were trying to make creme brulee and meringues for Christmas Eve. I had back to back meetings all day and was trying to help the girls and get all the things done. I put the creme brulee in the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes rather than 25. When I checked on them, they were burnt on top. I was SO mad. That’s what I get for not focusing! That night I had the girls taste test one to see if we needed to remake them and wouldn’t you know, I’d forgotten the sugar! Good thing I burnt them, otherwise we wouldn’t have noticed until Christmas Eve when it would have been too late! Sometimes the universe does crazy things.

My parents came up Christmas Eve morning. We cleaned the house, played some cards then ate our traditional roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy dinner. I must say, I killed it this year. That roast chicken was perfection! As was my gravy. Afterwards we drove around a bit to look at the Christmas lights. There aren’t a ton of good houses in our area, but I was able to find us a few.

Christmas morning was very relaxed. I think the girls got up around 7:30 or 8? There were no presents from Santa this year. They knew about almost everything, since most of it was horse related. They’d even tried on their fleece breeches to make sure I bought the right size. I told both of them multiple times that it was going to be a small Christmas (they did get Lola after all!) but in the end, it actually wasn’t that small! Beyond the horse stuff they got Risk, which I’m hoping we can play this summer, extreme Dot to Dot books, and Delaney got a wooden puzzle gearjit. All went over well, everything has been used, so a complete success.

Beyond that, things were pretty quiet. We went back to my home town to watch my cousin’s kid play basketball and see the family. We had riding lessons over the weekend. It’s always nice to ride back to back days, and I do love spending the weekend at the barn.

We had friends over on New Year’s Eve which was super fun. We fondued for dinner, which took about two hours, then just hung out until the ball dropped.

And then the girls went back to school yesterday. We all overslept, but made it to the bus on time. It was so nice to be able to sleep in a bit, but I’m ready to get back to our routines!

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Internets, meet Dottie! She’s our latest foster dog. She’s a cattle dog, she’s a year old and 22 lbs. She’s almost a big dog, but you can still pick her up which is nice!

Dottie is the sweetest, softest dog I’ve ever met. She loves to crawl into your lap and snuggle, and she loves to lick your face. She is not awesome about personal space, but I think it’s because she’s so grateful to have a family.

She is that perfect blend of playful and calm. She doesn’t need a ton of exercise, but loves walks. I think if it were warmer out, she’d spend a lot more time outside. Given that it’s full on winter here, I’m just happy that she is willing to go outside.

We are loving the name Dottie. Not every name lends itself well to nicknames, but Dottie totally does. She is Dots, Dotster, Dottie Dot Dot, and all variations in between. Lucky for her, she gets spayed on Friday, and meets a potential forever family on Saturday, so a big weekend ahead for her!

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Holiday Horse Show 2019

Our barn does a Holiday Horse Show every year. Last year we had family Christmas that day, so missed it. I think we maybe went the year before that? But the girls were young and nervous and didn’t want to be in it. But this year! This year they were very in.

We got to the barn at 9:30am, the show started at 10:00am. We weren’t sure when the girls would ride, but found out when we got there they would be part of the Junior Demo (so special!) and would ride at noon. So we had a lot of time in the morning to eat cookies, drink hot chocolate, introduce my brother and his family to Lola, and watch the other girls compete.

In my head, I wanted to take pictures of the day, of the girls getting their horses ready, riding, and then after. I thought I would have picture overload! I even brought my big camera! But the morning was like Wait, Wait, Not yet, Don’t get her out yet, and then The group in front of you is going you need to hustle! I did get a few though.

Delaney and Lola! Lola looked amazing, and I never get tired of people telling me how beautiful she is. Delaney gets nervous in front of crowds, but she did really well. We talked ahead of time that when any fear or nervousness came up, to just reaffirm how grateful they were to be there.

In our family my dad and I love horses, but my brother and mom weren’t super into them. But my mom’s love for horses has blossomed! Which I love. At one point during the day I couldn’t find her, and she was in Lola’s stall hanging out with her! (To be fair, it’s a great spot to hang.)

The Junior Demo was all girls who own horses. The barn gave us the option to have the girls each ride Lola, but ride in separate groups, or ride together in the Junior Demo, but someone would have to ride another horse. Caden loves Gabe, so she was happy to ride him.

I took some pictures of them warming up, then went to a prime spot to take video of them doing their course. And I forgot to press the button to actually record Delaney. I just, I can’t. I felt sick when I pulled up my photos to show her her video and realized that it was 10 seconds of the ground in the arena. I can’t believe I did that!

They did their course, they showed off their posting trot and canter, and then they led their horses out of the arena. By the time I saw them again both horses were back in their stalls, and I had failed to take post show pictures of them. Some days you have it together, and some days you don’t. At least I have months and months before the next show to get my ish together and have a plan for pictures and video?!