The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Valleyfair 2015

  

Every age with the girls has been fun. The weird thing with twins is that you never get to experience that age again, so the current age they’re at is generally your favorite age. I feel like there is something magical about seven though. They’ve gained just a little bit more independence and they’re just a little stronger and more coordinated, and that affects everything.

We went to Valleyfair two years ago and had a blast. It’s fun, but it’s expensive, and you really need to go during the week which can make scheduling it difficult. My parents gave the girls passes for their birthday, which ensured we made a trip there this year. They are just over 48″ which made things so much easier this time around. They could go on everything they wanted to go on. The rides you needed to be taller for, they had absolutely zero interest in.

The weather could not have been more perfect. Warm and sunny, a little humid, but not too hot. The park wasn’t crowded at all, which meant little to no wait for the rides. The water park wasn’t crowded either! The wave pool was a huge hit with both girls, and I loved the big water slide. It was nice to cool off, and then to take a break and relax for a bit before heading home.

I was a bit worried this day trip would push us all over the edge and have us tired and cranky by 4pm, but it wasn’t that way at all. As we were heading for the (gluten free!) french fry stand for our afternoon snack, I commented to my mom that I felt really good. I wasn’t exhausted, my feet didn’t hurt, and because there weren’t crazy crowds, I wasn’t ready to hit anyone. The girls did awesome right up until Delaney won the whack-a-mole game (her second win) at which point Caden melted down, but she’s not the best at losing so I’ll discount that. Overall, it was a really easy, super fun day. Top ten of the summer.

(Best part? We had swimming lessons at 5:05pm. I wanted to get to them, but refused to stress about it. If we made it, we made it. Traffic was awful on the highway, but google maps sent us down some crazy backroads and we made it to the YMCA at 5:01pm! Success! And the girls took a shower and washed their hair after swimming lessons so that task is checked off as well!)

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Timing is everything

Last week was so busy. We had something going on every night, which isn’t like us. The girls were exhausted, I was exhausted, but I knew we would have this week off and would be able to recuperate. But, one of the reasons I took this extra time off before the 4th of July was to spend time with the girls. I wanted to be able to go to the pool and do all sorts of fun things, but everyone is too exhausted!

We spent the morning at home yesterday which was fine. Originally I thought we’d hit the pool for a few hours after lunch, but the girls were tired and were happily playing with their Legos, so I did laundry and got the house in order. We did eventually hit the pool for an hour, but then it started raining so we had to head home.

Last night we watched my niece play softball and as we were leaving my dad asked if we wanted to go get ice cream. Normally I would say yes, but it was already late and the girls were super tired. Today we’re heading to Valleyfair so they needed to get to bed at a decent hour, which meant we needed to head straight home.

At this point I’m starting to reconcile the fact that there is just no way to get through summer without two exhausted kids. Maybe if I had a nanny who could keep them home on days they’re tired, but that isn’t our life. Running around outside and swimming at the pool is going to tire a kid out, and truly, that is what summer should be anyway. Hopefully we can fit in some quiet days in the middle, and hopefully they get to better at a decent hour 50% of the time. At this point, that’s the best I can hope for!

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Annie, The Lake Dog

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This was Annie’s second trip to the lake. She was a little more relaxed, and a little more curious. Saturday afternoon we had chips and salsa on the patio and she stayed right next to my chair. She wandered around a bit, but then seemed to want to stay close to me.

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She loves the boat so much! As soon as she saw the dock her tail started wagging and she started tugging at her leash. Caden took this picture and I love it! She stayed on my lap most of the boat ride.

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Except for when she was on my mom’s lap giving her kisses.

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Such a pretty girl. Her nose was twitching with all the smells.

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She even let Delaney rock her in the rocking chair. Although at this point, she may have been too exhausted to protest.

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Meet Skittles

  

Meet Skittles. He was Delaney’s horse for the week. At first she was a little sad because he’s only a pony, not a horse, and he’s rather short, but I think Skittles served Delaney well. He was easy going, didn’t spook, and for the most part did what he was told.

Last night was family night so I got to see the horses and where they ride. (Caden’s horse was Harley, and since he was all brown, he was hard to spot.) They had talked about going around barrels and cones, and it was exactly what I pictured. Great way to learn how to tell a horse which way to go.

They have both talked nonstop about the horses and how much fun they have, and why they love to ride. I totally get it. I grew up with horses and while I love to ride, I also love just being around them. I’ve done a bit of investigation and found a few stables that offer week long camps where you spend more time with the horses (with this it’s only one hour each day). I think if we did a week back here, along with a week at a stable, that would give them some solid horse time. Of course the stables don’t offer buses that pick you up two minutes from your house, so we’d definitely have to work that part out.

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Last game

last game
We had our last softball game last night. The girls played really, really well on Monday. They hustled on the field, they hit the ball really well, it was a great game. Unfortunately I think everyone was a little tired last night.

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They played okay, but there was a lot of standing around on the field, not a lot of hustle. Caden did get a few outs at first! And Delaney almost caught a fly ball. The other team were some Hitters. They hit two balls into the outfield!

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The girls had so much fun this season! I was a little bummed the season was so short, and then they sent out a registration form for fall season. Perfect! It’s an 8 and under league so they use a pitching machine and do outs. I think it will be the perfect next step.

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Chaos and Horses

This summer I decided we were just going to stick with YMCA camps. No random camps that throw off our summer routine. The transition from school to summer was a little rocky as the girls adjusted to being a lot more active during the day, but overall it went well. Lights out at 9pm and we were good on that front. They packed their own snacks, and even helped me pack lunches. We found a ham and turkey that they liked so it wasn’t pb&j every day, I was feeling good.

And then we got to this week. Horse camp at Camp Christmas Tree! They have been beyond excited for this week, they finally get to ride horses on their own! But this camp is just different enough to throw us off our routine. A few more things to pack, forms to sign and return, buses to catch and wait for, family nights. They also will have two softball games this week and swimming lessons, plus we’re trying to water the new grass/sod. It’s a lot.

But, it’s only a week and they have so much fun at this camp, it’s completely worth it. I forgot all the activities they do! Horse riding is only one hour out of the day. They swim, they do archery, I heard them talking about building forts, and today for lunch they’re doing a cook out. Tomorrow is family night where I’ll meet their camp counselors and possibly even their horses (Skittles and Harley). So exciting!

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Done! Except for the watering

back house

I took pictures last night, but I feel like they don’t do the backyard justice. It really does look so much better now. When I bought this house 15 years ago, they put “Professionally Lanscaped!” on the brochures. I’ve always hated the landscaping. So much rock, so little color, and so difficult to change out. It’s finally the landscaping I’ve pictured since I bought the house!

The paver patio really works so much better than the deck did. Nothing living underneath it, and just a better elevation. My dad brought up more sod, so there’s just a little strip that we had to seed in front of the patio. I actually think we have a shot at getting that grass to grow now!

side garden

This used to be a much bigger garden bed, but after the pine tree fell, it just didn’t work. We made it much smaller, and planted a flowering crab tree along with the perennials I saved from before this was all dug up. We had way more than we needed, and used some of the hostas by the shed. Once the grass seed grows in and the tree perks up, this will look gorgeous.

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You can’t see it at all in this picture, but by the side of the house were awful shrubs and rock. I hated it all (except the lilac bush). The landscapers pulled it all out, my mom and I planted new shrubs, and then hauled in a ton of mulch. Mulch is infinitely better than rock! I love the way it looks.

From this viewpoint you can see where the lawn was tore up and needed to be reseeded, as well as where Lucy’s kennel used to be (black dirt at the very left of the photo). My brother took down her kennel years ago, but the cement pavers were still there. We pulled those up Thursday night, brought in black dirt, and then planted some hostas and grass seed. This makes my mother very happy.

We have something of an intricate sprinkler system going on right now. My dad bought a thing that allows us to attach three hoses up, except that doesn’t provide enough water pressure. Everything is still hooked up, but we ran a hose from the front of the house over to the side garden, and we’ll only turn one sprinkler on at a time on the main hose.

A huge thank you to my parents for spending Father’s Day working on this project! We started at 10am and didn’t finish until 6pm. It was a long, hard day of work! Even Annabelle was passed out under a tree by the end of the day.

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Progress

  

And we have sod! The area between the sod and my grass will get grass seed on Sunday. Pray for us and the grass. My kids run out the back door 10 times a night. To get them to go left and stay away from the sod and seeded areas will be difficult. And now we water and hope for rain!

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Getting hits

  

The girls had their best game yet last night! Caden got a hit all three times, and she fielded a ton of balls when she played short stop. Even better, Delaney was playing second base so they got to make a few plays to get girls out. The next inning Delaney was in the pitcher position and threw to Caden at third three times. Caden gets very, very excited each time the ball comes near her, whether she’s throwing or catching it. It was hilarious and awesome to watch. Delaney got one hit, and did an awesome job in the field. She hustled so much!

It’s been so great watching them improve this season. Two more games to go!

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Patio time

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I should probably find an old picture of the deck, but it’s late, so just picture a deck with peeling paint that hid critters where the dirt is. That’s the before. This picture shows Step 1, after tearing off the deck last fall. I thought the mud would be a complete pain, but it really wasn’t bad. This picture was taken before all the weeds started to grow though, and those I hated. By the time the landscapers arrived I was very much ready for a change here.

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Step 2. Paver patio installed! It’s great to have this area be usable again. I so missed having somewhere to sit and read my book while the girls played. The bummer is what you can only partially see. You can see the dirt in front of the patio, there is also a bunch of dirt to the left of the patio, where their equipment tore up the lawn. Understandable given what they had to do, but it hurts nonetheless. Thursday my dad is installing some sod around the patio, and hopefully this weekend we can finish the rest of the landscaping. Things need to be edged, and I need to plant the bed that’s to the right of the patio. I dug up all of the perennials that used to live there, so it’s just about putting everything back in a way that makes sense.

Hopefully final pictures coming Monday!

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