The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Cool Sunglasses


Caden has asked a few times this summer for sunglasses. My intention was to go on the Zenni Optical site and order from there, but then I realized I have a bunch of FSA dollars, might as well get nice sunglasses from Target. Since Target had done their eye exam, we just stopped in on a Sunday while they were open and the girls picked out some sunglasses. They can do those lenses on any frame, but they started out trying out the Ray-ban frames. OMG they looked so adorable! They each tried on these two and decided very quickly. I was dying! Even better, Target is running a back to school sale, so you get free lenses when you buy Ray-ban Jr frames. Their sunglasses were only $70 each! And they were ready three days later, just in time to take them up to the lake.


I wasn’t sure how much they would wear them, but my mom reported they wore them quite a bit all weekend. I love it, since I know how hard it is on your eyes when the sun is bright. They have new cases for these, and I’m crossing my fingers they continue to take good care of them!

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Cousin Time!

Last Thursday, the girls headed up to the cabin with two of their cousins for a little lake time with Grandma and Grandpa. They had a BLAST! They had special meals, orange soda floats, go karts, bumper boats, tons of swimming time, a trip to the library, and Netflix shows. They seriously had so much fun, both girls are already planning the next one. Huge thanks to my parents for making this so fun for the girls!

I went up on Saturday morning, and as soon as we got the dogs settled, we took the boat out. We tried to fish, but nothing was really biting so we moved to deeper water to swim. Once again, in went the dogs. To be fair, it was hot and I hoped this would cool them off. If you zoom in, you’ll notice Midas giving some great side eye. He was less than pleased. (He went back in the boat pretty quickly.)

Once I got in the water, I had the girls take Lark and Annie away from me, and then let them swim towards me. They can swim when they need to!

I swear the kids could jump off the pontoon for hours.  They were like energizer bunnies, they just kept going and going!  I tried to take pictures but I had the wrong lens on my camera.  Most were too close up, but I got this happy surprise!  I don’t think I have any splash pictures so this is perfect.

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Exhausted

The girls and I are exhausted, and honestly, we kind of have been all summer. It started back in May. That last week was jam packed with softball, getting the renters out, painting and getting the house ready, then heading to NYC. We came back to softball and YMCA and while we love both, combine those with late bedtimes for everyone and we’re tired.

I keep the girls home with me on Thursdays so they can have a day to sleep in and rest. I always think we’ll hit the pool in the afternoon or a playground, but they are mostly so tired that it’s books and movies. At least a few times a week Delaney asks if she can just stay home and sleep. While I feel her, it’s not really an option. Mama can’t work from home every day! I occasionally wonder if I should get a nanny next summer? But no. Too expensive, we all love the YMCA and the friends they’ve made there, and also no.

Any other moms out there have trouble going to bed a decent hour? I used to go to bed around 10:30, maybe 10:45. That time has slowly slipped until now it’s often 11:30 when I turn my light off. What am I doing to myself? I know I should go to bed earlier. I’m exhausted, I’ll even put my book down, but then I just can’t stop doing things on my phone until boom! It’s close to midnight. I’ve been trying to set an alarm so that I have a audible reminder to go to bed, but it’s only been a few nights.

The other side of this is that now that we’re all overtired, it’s hard to get a good nights sleep. We go to bed early but toss and turn trying to fall asleep. Then, kids are waking up in the middle of the night, dogs are waking up in the middle of the night, which means I’m waking up in the middle of the night. It’s complete chaos at 4am.

Wish us luck. We are on a mission to get back on a better sleep schedule. I feel like if they can be in bed by 8:30pm, that gives me downtime to relax and get to bed earlier, and hopefully gets them asleep earlier. I’m hoping we can get back into a better sleep groove quickly!

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Sold

A few months ago the housing market in my area started getting a little nuts. Houses were selling for way more than they normally would and my interest was piqued.

Every month there was some sort of money stress. While my renters were great, they paid their rent through a website and since it was a transfer, it didn’t actually get to me until the 5-8th, depending. I always tried to have some cushion, since both mortgages and piano lessons and a multitude of other things happen at the beginning of the month, but that didn’t always work.

When I bought the new house without selling the old, I used money from my investment accounts to pull together the down payment. When you’re a single mom, a financial cushion is non-negotiable and now my cushion was very slim. I was rebuilding my accounts, but that was going much slower than I had hoped (please see vet bills, kids activities).

I did a bunch of research and honestly, keeping the rental is the smart financial decision. It’s cash flow positive and over time I would make far more money keeping it than I would selling it. But, as we all know, financial decisions aren’t based on the numbers alone. I was definitely feeling the weight of this money anxiety and felt like selling the house was the right move. After talking to my realtor, we agreed to put it on the market June 2 after the renters moved out.

Overall we had about 60 people look at the house. It was brutal because once again, every other house was selling within hours of hitting the market and yet here was mine with no offers and people citing deal breaker after deal breaker in the feedback. My house is quirky. It has a tuck under garage and the basement has a weird layout, the bedrooms are small and the lot huge. It’s not necessarily a house you walk through and think that you need to make an offer on it immediately. Mentally, I began thinking through what I would need to do to rent it out again, and what I would do differently (raise the rent, hire a lawn service).

After three weeks on the market I got an offer, but it was very low. I stuck to my guns and countered, but ultimately walked away from it. There was a huge part of me that wondered if I should just take the offer, but I also knew that I would be bitter about it and I didn’t want to walk away from this house unhappy. My parents came up and we spent a day sprucing things up, doing things I didn’t do initially because I hoped it would sell quickly. Right after that, I got another offer and this one was solid and the price I was looking for. I happily accepted.

I really waffled over selling this house. I love the idea of a rental property as an investment vehicle. Finding renters was easy, and I had already done a bunch of updates to the house, so the risk of unexpected expenses was low. But the truth is that while the house itself is great as a rental, the yard isn’t. It’s huge and requires a ton of upkeep, much of which I was still doing. Despite promising me they would, the renters didn’t rake the leaves last fall. Well, they raked them into a pile and then left them there while the grass underneath died. I was over there all the time trying to keep the weeds under control which honestly, is practically a full time job. Any waffling about selling vs continuing to rent went out the window in June as I realized all of this which was good, because it meant I have zero regrets about selling and I’m not second guessing that decision at all.

I was at the house a few times last week and was able to get the last few things out of the shed that I wanted, and say goodbye to each room. I may have done some ugly crying, but that’s what happens when you live somewhere for 14 years, have amazing neighbors, bring home two daughters, lose a dog and a cat, and gain three more dogs. A lot happened there, so it felt good to properly say goodbye. I wish I could have stolen the strawberry plants, but we’ll just have to plant some next spring at the new house.

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Weekend!

Our summer has been full of activities and while we’ve loved softball, it’s been so nice to have our weeknights to ourselves again. We stayed home this weekend without any real plans, which was also so nice. We had some plans, but were also able to be spontaneous and work in a sleepover and a playdate.

Friday afternoon I picked the girls up early from YMCA and we went and got our toes painted. I had intended to grab a quick pedicure by myself, but at the last minute I decided to include the girls. I thought it would be fun and it was, but it was also way more expensive than I had planned for AND, Caden ruined her big toe as soon as we left the salon. That happens every single time! After we tried out a new (gluten free friendly) Chinese place. I was super excited to have lemon chicken except, the chicken wasn’t breaded (wrongly assumed it would be) and the sauce was way too sweet. After dinner we quickly packed an overnight bag for the girls and they headed to a friends to go see an outdoor movie and have a sleepover!

The next morning I picked the three girls up and we headed downtown for donuts and a library run. Caden asked to explore a new library since she’s pretty much shopped our current one out of graphic novels. I figured the downtown library would have the biggest selection and I was right! The girls had so many to choose from! We’ll definitely head back there again. There was a big of shenanigans since I had planned to walk from the library to the donut place, but not with a bag of heavy books so we headed back to the truck and then drove to the donut place, but had to find parking which was a huge pain since downtown was busy. The bakery had a bunch of gluten free options though, so that completely made up for it. (I got three cake donuts and a scone. I always over buy gluten free stuff to a) have it for later and b) buy enough so they keep making it.)


It was a hot day so we headed to the pool. It was such a hot day you needed to either be in the water or the shade which we tried to do, but wasn’t always possible. We were at the pool from 1-4 and that was about an hour too long. We took breaks, but the heat just sucked all of the energy out of us. Everyone was droopy and we all collapsed on the couch after.

Sunday was supposed to be much cooler, so I figured it would be the perfect day to use our free zoo tickets from work. Except, it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be and every single animal was hiding/sleeping in the shade. The bears were clustered in one corner with their paws covering their faces. So we zipped through things, grabbed some (awful) lunch, then hit the bird show. We used to be members of the zoo, and even still we go once a year or so, but we have never been to the bird show! It was THE BEST! So much fun we all kept wondering why we had never been before! We peeked in on the 11:00 show just in time to see a hawk fly over the crowd, so when we went back for the 1:00 show, Caden picked seats right in his flight path. He flew over us three or four times, and a few other birds flew super close to us. We stayed after to watch their training session with a new parrot, who pooped right next to us much to Caden’s delight.

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Very Specific

Lately Caden has been making very specific requests. No idea why.

When we were at the cabin for the week, she requested ‘breakfast ham’ when we were getting groceries. My mom was confused. Canadian bacon? No. Really, it’s just sliced ham that we fry up and eat, usually for breakfast, but we haven’t had it in a long time because I haven’t made ham in a long time. Luckily, they sell tiny sliced hams and she got her wish.

When we got home she had two more specific requests. She wanted to go see Despicable Me 3, at night, during the week. My rule is that I won’t pay evening prices for movies since it just gets too expensive. But, since she asked I did a little digging. The theater we like has $5 Tuesdays, and since we’re members of their club, we got free popcorn too! Next week – Spider man!

She also wanted to go to the Club for breakfast, during the week. I asked if maybe we could go on Saturday instead? No, during the week. We headed over Thursday morning since it was a work from home day, but it turns out I should have done my research. They don’t technically open until 10:00 and we were there at 9:00, and they only do eggs, no pancakes. We made do by heading to another local breakfast place, but the service was awful and I felt crappy all day.

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Throwback Thursday 

We’re throwing it back! Back to Horse Camp Week. I have videos and pictures from that day and with the holiday right after, there was just never time to share them.

Disclaimer: I saw a meme on Facebook that said “No one wants to see your kid’s dance recital Jan!” And I totally get that. Feel free to just scroll on by this one, it’s mostly for archival purposes since the grandparents and others have already seen the videos. But, I like to have things on the blog and on vimeo so there you go.

I was very excited to see the end of week show since both girls had been cantering quite a bit all week. There were 14 kids in camp which is a lot! Some of the horse were ridden twice, which was cute after as the girls divided up duties getting the tack off and brushing them down. My two were the last two to go. There is a small space where you can get good video and pictures and the parents were good about letting you up front when it was your kids turn. With that many kids I was a little worried about being able to see, but it worked out well.

Caden first! They wore their new outfits, but she also wore her horse shirt over her other shirt. The night before she sat at the kitchen table and wrote out her route. They wouldn’t let me look at it, but I did catch that it said Trot 1, Canter 1. She trotted through all of her jumps, and took a different path than Delaney did. She did awesome with Ziggy, I love to watch them ride together. She had an awesome week, and was super happy to ride her man Ziggy after not riding him for a month.

Delaney next! She’s riding Lacy, who I love. Delaney finally taught me that Lacy has two white socks. There are a bunch of brown horses, and I can never tell them apart even though every other mom seems to be able to, so it’s nice to be able to pick her out at least. Delaney also went with Trot 1, Canter 1, but then takes her own path through the jumps. She even canters the last two jumps which is a pretty big deal. For our Wednesday morning lessons, the girls are the youngest, least experienced riders in their lesson. I was worried that because Delaney wasn’t confident cantering, she would hold the group back. I was so happy to see her canter with confidence! She really needed that to keep improving.

After the show we headed to the event room for ice cream and train rides. They have a little train that takes you around the farm and we all love it.

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Go jump in a lake

It got really hot on Wednesday, so we took the pontoon out for an evening cruise after dinner and headed towards a spot on the lake that we knew was over 20 feet deep. A perfect swimming hole. I’d already showered so I was out for swimming, but my dad jumped in with the girls. At first they swam with life jackets, but they’re strong swimmers so I let them take them off and they did jumps off the side of the boat. They had so much fun we did it again the next night!

We also took a ton of slo mo videos which I will not bore you with again here, but were so crazy fun to do. The girls were so happy and had so much fun jumping and doing cannon balls and just giggling in the lake, this was absolutely the highlight of the week for me.

Three stooges.

Annie knows who gives out the best snacks on the boat.

Check out that smile!

I should probably darken this up a bit and make it into more of a silhouette, but what can I tell you how happy I was when I looked at the back of my camera and saw this? I just kept snapping as the girls ran off the pontoon and jumped in, and I caught the sunlight just right here. Love. this.

This was Caden’s version of the Statue of Liberty.

Delaney doing a cannon ball.

It was also our annual “Put the dogs in their lifejackets and make them swim in the water so they know what to do if they go overboard” drill. Midas was THRILLED.

Lark sat on top of Midas for the rest of the cruise.

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Paddle Boarding v2017

Also known as, my parents bought another paddle board so all three of us could be out at the same time!

First things first, we’re back home. The girls had their end of year softball tournament on Saturday, so we headed back Friday night. It is incredibly difficult to be on vacation for a week, then have to be at the ball fields at 8:00am. Most of our girls were half asleep. But! They woke up for the second game and we won. We lost the next game and were out, but it was an amazing season. Couldn’t have asked for better kids or better coaches to play with. I had a blast this year, but will readily admit I’m a little nervous for 10U. It’s kid pitch and the rules change, and it’s going to be a whole new game.

Back to the lake! Tuesday we headed out on the paddle boards and good thing we did. Wednesday was HOT and the next two days were windy, so it was our only day out. We tried to paddle across the lake, but there were a lot of boats and jet skis pulling tubs and skiers, so I made us head back (You can see exactly how Caden felt about that in the third picture). The lake is very clear right now (zebra mussels apparently) and it’s WAY freaky to look down and be able to see the bottom, or at least very tall weeds. Caden headed in, then Laney and I paddled down the shoreline of the lake. Again, a little freaky to look down at the bottom of the lake, but also way cool since it wasn’t as deep. Had a great little chat with Delaney as we paddled too.

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Loons

The loon is Minnesota’s state bird. They are gorgeous, and their calls are quintessentially summertime at the lake. On my parent’s lake, they put out loon nests to help them find safe places to have their babies, so there are a ton of loons on the lake. It’s amazing, and it never gets old to see and hear them up close. Last year I tried to get pictures of them, but my lens wasn’t enough. I bought a 55-250 lens and this summer was the first time I was able to try it out. I brought it on our Monday evening boat cruise and we came upon a mama and her two babies! We slowed way down to check them out and by the end, I wouldn’t have even needed a big lens, they were that close! Unfortunately, I was shooting into the sun (I think?) and the water was reflecting off the lake and the trees were dark behind, and I suck at editing, but out of my 50+ pictures, there were two that came out kind of okay. Not what I had in my head, but it’s a start.

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