The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Long weekend

Last week was the weirdest week. I was off Monday, went into the office Tuesday and Wednesday, then worked from home Thursday and Friday. It felt like we had another long weekend, even though we didn’t! It was a very relaxing weekend though. I was able to do a bit of cleaning and laundry Thursday, the girls did their cleaning on Friday, which just left me a few things to do on Saturday. It’s so nice when the weekends aren’t rush, rush, rush.

Saturday. When the info about the Women’s March came out I checked it out, but the girls have ballet at noon, plus January in Minnesota? I counted us out. Friday night I was more than a little bummed I hadn’t made the call to ditch ballet to march, but without a plan on how to get there, etc, I knew it was impossible. Thank you to everyone who marched! I shed many happy tears watching the videos and looking at the pictures. Next time we will be there!

Saturday evening was my work holiday party. It had been a long two days home with the girls, so I was definitely ready to go out! Last year I plopped myself at a table and talked to whomever came over. This year I was much more social and it was fun. That’s what working from home for two days in a row will do to you! People at work definitely know I foster dogs, so I chatted with a few people and promised to keep an eye out for them. I *love* to play doggie matchmaker!

Sunday was nothing. We all read our books, the girls practiced piano, and I roasted chicken and potatoes for dinner.

Lamest weekend ever and I loved every minute of it!

Leave a comment »

Short Week

The girls were off Monday and Friday this week and of course, Friday caught me off guard. Luckily, it’s a quiet day at work with very few meetings, so I’m just going to work from home. Woo! It’s also steak night at the golf club so I don’t have to cook dinner either! It’s shaping up to be a winning day.

The cloudy mornings were not my friend! Pretty sure I need to bump up my ISO when shooting indoors these days. But, we did get three pictures this week. Caden is always ready before Delaney, so sometimes she has her snow pants on. I’m tempted to take the picture right after we get up from the breakfast table, but Delaney would probably have crazy hair and we can’t have that.

jan-17

Tuesday. So Delaney’s mad at me, probably because I asked her to brush her hair? It’s tough to know these days.

jan-18

Wednesday. They are both wearing shirts! And not t-shirts!

jan-19

Thursday. Delaney had a huge tangle in her hair at the back of her head, so yeah, not the greatest morning.

2 Comments »

Saving my Sanity

One of my favorite simple life bloggers wrote a post titled “Seven things saving my sanity right now”. Life has been pretty hectic around here lately, so I read it with great interest. None of them really applied to me though, so I kept thinking I needed to write my own post like that! Except, I couldn’t come up with one thing saving my sanity much less seven. I kind of hated that so I took a different tact and tried to figure out what was driving me mad.

Here’s the deal. I’m an introvert. I’m very social at work, partly because I really do like people and partly because I’m a project manager and that’s my job. Then I come home to two very chatty 8-year-olds who want to tell me about their day (and I want to hear about it!). I very much need my downtime after they go to bed to recharge. I need peace and quiet, where I can just hang out and watch tv and not talk.

The girls go to bed somewhere around 8:30. They can read until 9:00pm, then it’s lights out. But like they have since they moved to big girl beds, they come out of their room approximately 1,239,283,331 times per night. I need a hug, I need water, I need to give Annie a kiss, I need to go to the bathroom. It is nonstop. And lately! They are not even asleep when I go to bed at 10:30 and want to come to bed with me where they continue to talk to me and the dogs while I try to read. It’s maddening and exhausting. Without this time to recharge at night I am a beast during the day. When my team commented on it at work, I knew I needed to do something about it.

So I’m reclaiming my evenings. Bedtimes are back to 8:15. They get a little more reading time, I get a little more me time. They have been told not to come out of their room unless someone is bleeding. So far, eh. They’ve been staying in their rooms better, but this week one of them has been awake every night when I go in to check on them before going to bed. I know they’re exhausted, so I think earlier bedtimes will help everyone, we just need to get there.

Leave a comment »

Bathroom makeover 

Last fall I did a lot of painting. I repainted almost every room in my house as well as the trim. Every time my realtor came over there was something else we spotted that needed touching up. Then we moved into the new house and I repainted the main floor. I love painting, I love the transformation that happens so quickly, but I was burnt out. I bought the paint to repaint both bathrooms but never painted them.

After living in this house for a year I finally feel ready to finish decorating. I’ve done a tiny bit of shopping and found a few prints that I love, but they were for the bathrooms and it seemed silly to hang them before I painted. With the girls and I both off on MLK Day, it seemed like the time to paint.

This is my bathroom. Before on the left, after on the right. You are going to have squint hard to see the difference! It’s definitely more obvious in person. Before it was a darker green. It was fine, but I wanted to lighten it up a bit. From the start of prep to finished painting it only took two hours! I love small rooms.

This is the print I found at Kirkland’s. It was on sale for $39! I obviously broke No Spend January to buy it. I maybe hung it a tiny bit high, but when I look in the mirror my head is perfectly in the top of the flower which makes me happy.

img_3885

(This collage saved smaller, no idea why.) The girls bathroom! This room was an awful tan before, same green as my bathroom after. Oh my! It looks so much better now! It matches their shower curtain, and the elephant prints we found at Christmas are perfect. This room took me an hour start to finish. The crazy part is that as I was painting, I found some traces of black paint by the trim. I think this bathroom was black in a previous version. It’s a super tiny bathroom, so I can’t imagine it black. There were definitely some crazy design choices made in this house.

The full pic because the shower curtain was cut off in the collage.

When we had to get the old house ready to go on the market I completed a ton of tiny projects that I had put off doing for ages. Nothing took me more than a few hours to do, and most only took 15 minutes. Most of those projects I’d meant to do for years. Once they were done the house looked so much better! I hate having tasks hanging over my head, but I get caught up in “I don’t have enough time to do that!” far too often. After that, I vowed I wouldn’t put off doing small things that can have a big impact on how the house looks again, but of course I did. I’m a little annoyed with myself that I took this long to get three hours of painting done, but at least it’s done now.

Leave a comment »

Demi

demi-1

Demi has only been going to adoption events since December. She is the sweetest thing with the best personality, but in with a lot of dogs? She didn’t always do well. She barked. A lot. But other times she would be her cute self! And then I got an email requesting a meet and greet. We were excited!

demi-2

When the woman arrived Demi barked and I got nervous. But! This woman had done her research and knew hos chihuahuas can be and the barking didn’t put her off at all. Demi soon calmed down and really seemed to connect with the woman. The woman asked a lot of questions which showed me she’d done a ton of research. We walked through Demi’s day, crate and potty training, and I tried to show off her awesome personality. Luckily, Demi cooperated and played fetch, gave kisses, and played with Annie like a champ. It all went really well and she emailed the next day saying she wanted to proceed with the adoption.

demi-3

Obviously with our first two dogs we foster failed. The two puppies that we fostered this summer were only with us for two weeks each. We loved them, but it was much different sending them on the way to their forever homes. Demi had been with us almost four months! She fit perfectly into our house. She was super easy, loved to play with Annie, and (mostly) knew when to stay away from Midas. She never fails to bring a smile to your face and loves to give kisses. I’ve said that if we didn’t already have three dogs we would have failed with her, but the flip side of it was, she was never going to be ours. So from that standpoint, I always knew we would be just a stepping stone for her.

demi-4

Her new mom emailed me on Wednesday and said her new name was going to be Lucy. It was perfect. It was more than a little weird calling her Lucy, but we did our best to help her learn her new name! Her new mom came over Saturday morning to pick her up so we spent a little time beforehand getting pictures. Every other picture I have of her is blurry or she’s looking away, but on Saturday she knew how to be the perfect model! I had a few moments when I was giving her kisses and whispering how much I loved her when I cried, but I pulled it together because I knew had to. The handoff went well, she got a new snazzy coat, and I kissed her off to her new life. I’m so thrilled for her. She will be the center of attention at her new house, which she will love. She will have lots of dog friends in the building to play with, and I know we will see her again at doggie playdates this summer. In the end, it wasn’t hard because I knew she was going on to an amazing life.

Leave a comment »

Wine and Conversation

The girls had riding lessons last night. Starting in January we are doing lessons twice a month, which is very exciting. I’m hoping that more consistent lessons will really help them improve. Yesterday was a busy day, and with lessons at 5:30, we have to hustle once they get off the bus to change, eat, and get back out the door. We were running later than I would like, so everyone knew they needed to hustle once we got to the barns. I went to put coats and my purse in the viewing room, and as I walked in another mom announced they were having wine and cheese. So nice! I helped the girls get their horses saddled and then headed back in for a glass of wine.

There are two lessons going on during our time on Thursdays. Along with the group lesson, there are three older girls training with the owner. They all own their horses, are there 4-5 times per week, and are so much fun to watch ride. Their horses are beautiful and they are all excellent riders. Their moms were the ones with the wine and cheese!

They both asked which rider was mine (I have two!) and wanted to know how long we’d been riding. Over the hour I talked with both of them extensively about their experiences as well. It was interesting hearing about their horses (one family has four!) and how and when they decided to buy a horse. They were planning their horse show schedule as well, so it was interesting hearing about that. Overall they were just so nice, which I kind of needed after working at home all day by myself.

When I look at the cost of riding, especially once you move up to leasing or buying a horse, I freak out. There’s a part of me that thinks we will never make that leap, and another part of me that knows I’ll find a way to make it happen if that’s the route we end up choosing. But, it was good to be reminded again to take it one step at a time. The girls and I talked about it on the way home and agreed that we’re strictly lessons only for at least another year.

Leave a comment »

I think I’ve failed them

Monday evening we were having dinner and discussing their day. I usually ask them what they had for lunch, and Monday’s lunch was their favorite – grass fed beef hot dog! – so they were super excited to tell me about it. I asked what came with the hot dog and Delaney said “Spuds”. Spuds? What are spuds? Delaney tells me they are mashed potatoes wrapped in bread. Say what? Wrapped in bread how? How big are they? They both kept saying they were mashed potatoes in bread like … duh mom! And I was thinking is this a pancake? What on earth is this?

And then it hit me.

You mean a tator* tot?

YES.

My kids don’t know what a tator tot is. We have work to do.

* Is it tator tot or tater tot? Neither look right.

2 Comments »

Myths and Gods

After Delaney completed the Harry Potter series, she was a little adrift bookwise. We did some research and requested a bunch of books from the library, but she wasn’t into any of them. I’m pretty sure she didn’t even crack most of them open. We continued to go to the library and get books, but she stuck mostly to short chapter books or graphic novels.

There are two kids channels that show movies frequently, Freeform and Discovery Kids I think? The first Percy Jackson movie was on one night so we watched. Delaney was intrigued, and Caden had just checked out the graphic novel for the second Percy Jackson book. Once we realized it was a series, Delaney was in and we checked it out from the library. While we were in Arizona she finished the first book. Since we were still on hold for the second, we hit up Target and bought the series. She plowed through those books!

I think she likes/needs the huge fantasy worlds that are created in these books. The characters have depth, there’s action and adventure, and some sort of hero. It feeds into their superhero fascination and explains why she just doesn’t get into the Little House books or any of the Beverly Cleary books. Or honestly, any book I ever recommend.

This has opened up a whole new world of books for her. Rick Riordan has written a ton of books, so she’s working her way through those, but she’s also seeking out other books/graphic novels about the gods, Olympus, myths, and Thor. She’s super into reading again which I love! I have to check on her after lights out or she’ll sneak her light back on and try to read some more.

8 Comments »

No Spend January

In 2015 I didn’t spend any money on clothes for myself. It was a great way to break from that shopping cycle and I loved it! It made me really utilize the clothes in my closet, and freed up so much time. But, it also made me realize some holes in my wardrobe and in 2016 I filled those holes. And then some. I love to shop. There’s no way around that. I love going to the mall, I love browsing, and I love treating myself. I really thought I could keep that “I don’t need that!” attitude beyond my shopping ban, but it was hard, especially once the floodgates opened.

September – December is always expensive. Back to school, back to activities, Christmas shopping. I felt like money just flowed out of my account with no control. Having No Spend January is always this light at the end of the spending tunnel. I love knowing it’s coming!

This year the rules are going to be a little different. I’ve noticed that I’m fairly good at sticking with something for a month, but beyond that it gets difficult. New habits, new routines, exercising, frugality – I can do all of those things for a month, but then things fall apart. I want 2017 to be a year of saving/paying down, and that is going to require more than one month of not spending.

No coffee shops, but that’s an easy one. We scaled back our coffee shop spending last summer when the girls started horseback riding. I got a gift card for Christmas, and I go occasionally for work, but this isn’t a three times a week thing like it used to be.

No clothes until May. With the girls growth spurt I bought them both quite a few clothes in the last month. They have more than enough to get them to warmer weather. Same with me. I’d really like to get to May before purchasing anything new.

Eating out. I meal planned for the whole month and you guys, do you know how awesome it is to know (and like!) what you’re cooking for dinner every night? It’s been amazing. The stupid thing is, I know how much meal planning benefits us, I was just burned out on it. I thought it would be SO hard to do it for the whole month, but it wasn’t. And it means every week I don’t have to dread the task because it’s already done! I think we’ll be able to make it through the month easily with no dinners out except social events. I also meal planned smarter this time, using cheaper cuts of meat and recipes I know we like so there is less waste. Last year we spent more in January on groceries, than we normally do on groceries plus eating out. That was dumb. I’ve also pulled a few recipes I know I like to take as lunches. It helps that it’s cold out and I don’t want to leave the building.

Needs vs wants. The girls are very much involved in No Spend January and we talk about it quite a bit. They both needed new ballet shoes, so we bought them. But, when we went to Target we stuck to our list. Speaking of Target, I’m shooting for two trips for the month. I stocked up on creamer and coffee when I was there so we don’t have to go back again next weekend. I’m also shooting for two Amazon orders outside of our Subscribe and Save orders. The UPS guys will have some extra time on their hands, but I’m guessing they’ll appreciate it.

I’m hoping this month is a good reset for all of us and that I can carry that new mindset forward. There are definitely things I want more than another pair of black pants, and I need to remember that when the urge to shop hits!

Leave a comment »

It’s Cold

It’s cold! It’s been below zero the last few nights and today it barely got above zero. This morning it was so cold that when Demi and Lark came back inside they cried. I think the cold maybe makes the concrete patio extra cold? I’m going to see if I can find some straw to put down to help with that.

jan-4

Wednesday. A few weeks ago I realized Delaney had outgrown some of her shirts, but last week I realized she had outgrown all of the size medium shirts. Awesome. Luckily Old Navy had an awesome sale and we were able to pick up long sleeve t-shirts for $6 and under. I thought maybe a large would be huge on her, but it fits perfectly. (To be fair, I think this shirt is from the Gap and we got it during their 50% off sale last week. The next one is definitely from Old Navy though.)

jan-5

Thursday. Caden lives in her hat these days. A hat, dress, and leggings seems to be her go to outfit. Keeps her warm and cozy!

Leave a comment »