The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Meet your teacher and get back to school!

As you do, the girls got haircuts yesterday just in time for back to school. Caden decided to go for the short bob. She also wanted to donate her hair, which complicated things a bit since it was just the 8 inches it needed to be. Our hairdresser worked her magic though, and she got a cute bob! She hates getting her hair brushed so this is a good thing, but looking at this before picture, I’m going to miss her long hair.

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Last night was also meet your teacher at school. Love this event! I get to see all of our old neighbors and chat with them, and the girls see all of their friends and chat with them. It was so cute watching them reunite with their friends. Each girl has a good mix of kids in their classroom, which makes me happy. I was also happy to see books that were their reading level in their classrooms. Last year they didn’t have much in their classroom to read, so we depended on our own trips to the library. This year they’ll have bins of books, plus I think they can check out books more often from the library? We’ll still hit the big libraries, but it’s good to know they’ll have lots of options.

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Hiking the Falls

While Friday was beautiful weather, Saturday was forecast to be rainy. Friday afternoon we contemplated heading up to Gooseberry Falls, but decided we wanted to enjoy the day in Duluth. We knew it might mean hiking the falls in the rain, but we were willing to take the chance.

We started the morning at the Lester River falls. They are small waterfalls just on the edge of Duluth. They were a perfect start with a nice trail that ran along the river. We wandered back and forth a bit and tried to get a family picture. Focus fail, but we’re all in the shot!

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The rain had held off until this point, so we were hopeful, but by the time we got to Two Harbors it was raining hard. We had packed rain gear, but waited until the rain lightened up a bit before heading to the falls. We just hit the closest waterfall since we knew it wasn’t the day to do much hiking. But! The waterfall we saw was gorgeous! It didn’t disappoint.

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The Cabin in the Woods

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This is the cabin my mom rented on airbnb. I love that site. You can find the best places to stay! I much prefer staying in a house over a hotel. I love being able to make my own meals, and relax and live like you’re in a home. Once the sun went down the mosquitos came out, so it was nice to be able to watch the Olympics in the evenings, and a movie or two via Netflix (while sitting on a couch and comfy leather chairs, rather than a hotel bed).

This cabin was quintessential up north log cabin. Cute little kitchen (decked out with granite counters and stainless steel appliances), sleeping loft, and a bedroom and bathroom downstairs. There was a gorgeous deck off the front which we made good use of Thursday evening. Unfortunately after that, it was either too late or too wet for us to sit out there.

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There were plenty of board games, and even a croquet set! Grampy and the girls made up their own rules.

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The hammock was the big draw for the girls! With the roof, it stayed dry in the rain and was big enough for both of them to be on at the same time. They both spent a lot of time on it. My mom and I watched Caden swinging and talking to herself. She later told me she was making up a story in her head.

When I asked about what to put in the backyard for the girls, Laura recommended a hammock. I’ve been thinking on that ever since, but haven’t pulled the trigger on it. We all loved this hammock so much, I asked my dad if it would be doable to put something like this in the backyard? Not such a solid structure, maybe just a pergola instead of a roof? But a sturdy hammock that we wouldn’t have to bring in out of the rain. We think we have a spot for it behind the garage, cross your fingers it all comes together next spring.

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Tall Ships

Back in January, my mom emailed and asked if we would want to go to the Tall Ships festival in Duluth. I immediately said yes! We haven’t been back to Duluth since the girls were 18 months old, and I figured we’d all love the tall ships.

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My mom rented a cabin west of Duluth that was picture perfect (more on that tomorrow). We headed up Thursday and spent the day relaxing at the cabin. Friday morning we headed into Duluth. We had tickets into the festival and could tour the ships when they were docked, but we did not get tickets to sail out on the ships.

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By the time we got parked and took the shuttle over, it was maybe 10:00? And there were already long lines to get onto the ships. If you wanted to tour the really big ship, there was a line to get into the area where you waited in another line! The guy told me it would be about four hours. No thank you.


We did stop to admire the biggest rubber duck though. Love this guy!

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Instead we wandered around Canal Park. It was an absolutely perfect day and we weren’t about to waste it! After lunch on a patio, we headed to the lake walk to walk out to the lighthouse. It was fun to watch the boats come in and out of the harbor, and watch the lift bridge go up and down.


As we were wandering, we saw some people riding one of those surrey bikes so we decided to rent one. What a great idea right? No! Because we were five people and the kids were big, we had to get the big bike and that thing is heavy! You really need four adults to pedal, except we had three adults and an eight-year-old who could barely reach the pedals. My dad and I were sweating by the time we biked down to Fitgers and back. Lesson learned. (The lake walk was beautiful though.)

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We headed back into the Tall Ships to see if the lines were any shorter (nope), so we did some shopping and grabbed some food. We debated heading back to the cabin, but decided since it was so nice out, we should head up to Enger Tower to check out the view. By this point everyone was tired, so only Caden, Mom, and I went up the tower. The view was amazing! You get such a different perspective from up there. After we headed down, we went to the scenic overlook so my dad and Delaney could see it as well. Delaney snapped a few pictures (this one!) while we relaxed and watched one of the tall ships sail out of the harbor. You can just see the boat beyond the bridge!

Our intention was to grab some groceries and make dinner at the cabin, but I was Starving and didn’t want to wait (or cook) so instead we headed back down to Canal Park and had dinner at Red Lobster. This was the very same Red Lobster that we brought the girls to in 2009. At that visit they melted down as soon as the food arrived. We had to pack up and leave in a hurry they were crying so loudly. This time, they were well behaved and even ate most of their meal.

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Scooter Power

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The girls have been asking forever if they can scooter with Annabelle when we go for walks at night. I’ve said no so far because I felt it could go terribly wrong very easily, but last weekend I was heavy with the YES’s with the girls, so I decided to continue that and I’m so glad I did! It worked so well. Caden did it with her first, and then as soon as Delaney found out what she did she was out there in a flash.

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On their scooters the girls can’t go too fast, but it’s just fast enough that Annie can run beside them and really get her energy out. We did two laps of our loop and she was worn out! I’m loving it, since I haven’t been running with her like I hoped to do this summer and she loves the exercise.

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Reward for Reading

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At the end of the school year, Delaney’s 2nd grade teacher sent home a note with a candle. The note said that the kids should pick a goal for the summer, and when they complete the goal they can light and blow out the candle. Delaney decided her goal would be finishing Harry Potter Book 6 by the end of the summer. I have been so proud of her for reading her way through this series, that I said we should really celebrate this accomplishment by going out to a nice dinner. At the time, Caden was reading Book 2, so we decided that Caden’s goal would be to finish that book. (She’s not super into the series, so I was happy she wanted to even finish Book 2.) Our summer got busy, and the next thing I know, Delaney is finished with Book 8! Which definitely was cause for a celebration. We dressed up and headed out to Benihana.

The girls are both voracious readers, but definitely read different types of books. Caden likes graphic novels because they are shorter, full of action, and have pictures. Delaney will read most anything, but loved having a series of books to read. After Harry Potter, we went on the hunt for a new series for her. We started with these two lists from an author whose tastes are similar to mine. Delaney liked the lists because she could read a little about the book, tell if it was part of a series, and then mark the ones she wanted to check out from the library. We put holds on maybe 10 books? Which are slowly coming in. Last night we picked up “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and I’m just so excited for her to read that.

For Caden, we hit up this list of strong females in graphic novels. Caden found around ten books to request as well. In the past we’ve gone to the library and checked out whatever looked good. I like that they’re being intentional about what they want to read and requesting it, but we shall see how long this lasts. I can see Delaney continue to request books as part of series she likes, but I think Caden will probably go back to hunting through the library stacks.

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Pictures of Pooches

I have been horrible about taking pictures with my big camera this summer. I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking it everywhere with me, and I just can’t seem to remember to pick it up. So Sunday, Delaney grabbed it and took a bunch of pictures. She did an awesome job!

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Como Zoo

Both days of the weekend were supposed to be sunny and nice, so the plan was to hit Como Zoo on Saturday, and the pool on Sunday. Except we also needed to clean the house and get groceries, which took all morning and then some on Saturday. We ended up just getting stuff done around the house on Saturday, and figured we’d play Sunday by ear. I’ll be honest, I wanted to hit the pool, but the girls really wanted to go to the zoo so off we went.

It took forever to park which was annoying, but once we got into the zoo it wasn’t very crowded. We wandered around a bit, ending up by the giraffes around 2:00. You could feed the giraffes at 2:30, so we got popsicles, then got in line. At first I wasn’t going to feed them, but they only let you up close to the giraffe if you paid the $5, so why not?

They recommended taking video since the giraffe is quick, so that’s what I did for the girls. Caden was designated photographer for when I fed the giraffe, but that picture only features the giraffe. (As short as she is, there’s no way she could have gotten me in the shot too, but you only realize that once you’re right there.) It was very fun! But of course goes very quickly.

After that you wouldn’t think our day could get much better but wait! They had the butterfly exhibit open! Delaney spotted this on the map and I was so glad she did. It was insanely cool. So many beautiful butterflies everywhere. There was a big blue butterfly that flew kind of slowly around the room. He would get super close to everyone, but as soon as he landed he folded his wings up so you couldn’t get a picture of how pretty he was. You can’t touch the butterflies, but they will land on you. They were landing on everyone else but us until finally, one landed on Delaney’s back! It was a Blue Moon butterfly, which was the one she picked out before we went in that she wanted to find. It even matches her shirt! You can kind of tell from this picture, but she was in total shock, and could only see it out of the corner of her eye.

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Caden wanted one to land on her so terribly badly. We stayed for another 15 minutes, trying to be statues, trying to be where the butterflies were flying, but none wanted to land on her. She was so disappointed. It was such a cool experience I would have stayed longer, but it was 4:00 and I knew we still had to take a shuttle back to the car, so eventually I convinced her it was time to go.

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Travel Planning

Last week when I was in California I wondered once again, how is it that I’ve never brought my kids out here? I love California, it is absolutely one of my favorite places, and yet, in all of our trips I’ve never been able to figure out how to get us out there. One of the problems is that I always try to make it a long weekend, and with the time difference, that’s difficult. But the other is that there are just so many places I want to take the girls! It’s hard to fit it all in.

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If it were up to me, we’d spend a week in Mexico on the ocean every winter, and a week up at the lake every summer. While I love to travel, I’m also a creature of routine and I love the water. But when I start thinking about all of the places I want to take the girls, I realize we can’t fall into those ruts. We have to branch out! I need to be intentional when planning our trips.

Here is what is on our list right now. We are heading to Arizona in November to see my parents. We’ll go to New York next June once school is out. I’m still debating on whether or not we’ll go somewhere for spring break, but if we do, it will be to Universal Studios in Florida for Harry Potter World (along with some beach days tacked on?). Delaney is CRAZY obsessed with Harry Potter right now (she is finishing up book 8 as I type this) and so I feel like now is kind of the time to go? And yet, funds.

Beyond those trips, I have my eye on Hawaii and Europe (specifically Paris, I’d love to go for a few months and also hit Italy and Germany). Those are trips we’ll have to save and plan for more than others, so they are probably 4 and 8 years out? Next summer I’m thinking of possibly taking a road trip to the Black Hills. It seems like we should do that since we’re so close. Obviously San Diego needs to happen soon. I keep thinking about a summer trip out to Maine or the Cape or Nantucket or one of those islandy places, and we should probably visit Vancouver in case we need to move there.

What else should be on our list?

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Twinning 

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We’ve been eyeing the Cat & Jack clothes at Target for a few weeks, and finally decided to hit Target for a little back to school shopping. I had heard they had a Panda purse, so we were over by the accessories looking for it when Delaney spotted “fashion glasses”. They look remarkably like Caden’s glasses and she could not put them down. Monday morning they were so excited to both wear their glasses and fool their YMCA counselors. I had to laugh, since they are fairly easy to tell apart, but they don’t get to look alike very often so this was super fun for them.

PS – This is their librarian pose, which also cracks me up.

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