The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

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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Dottie

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?!

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Goals and 2020

I love reading old blog entries. I always read back a few years for the month that’s coming up. You’d be amazed at how the same things come up at the same time of year, EVERY YEAR. Growth spurts, frustrations about helping around the house, illness. It’s weird, but it’s one of the things that keeps me writing in this blog!

I had to laugh as I read this post from January 2016 about my “goals” for the year. Honestly. Could I have been more vague about my goals? And also? Not a single one came to fruition or even close. I did not save much money, I didn’t date, and I didn’t start exercising consistently.

For years and years I created vague goals like that. I never kept track of them, they never really happened, but I also never felt bad about missing the mark. But those were also years when I felt completely stuck in a rut, searching for something more, and trying to figure out my life.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the tools then that I have now. Now I know that goals like that aren’t really my thing. I’m way more motivated to take action when I create a vision for my life that I’m emotionally connected to. It forces me to ask better questions, and stay open to the possibilities.

How do you think Lola came into our life? I kept asking How can we find a horse that works for our finances? and she appeared.

Lola makes our family so crazy happy that I want everyone to find their own personal version of Lola. My heart lights up when I think about spending time at the barn. The people, the horses, all the things. I love it all, and it’s been such an amazing thing for us. I’m crying just typing this! Owning Lola makes us so happy, and I want that for you too!

But here’s the thing, it takes work to find your thing. To look inside, take down the walls and really cast a vision for what you want your life to look like. Because we all come with a lifetime of baggage that tells us what we can’t have, and all the dreams that aren’t worth dreaming. Reality steps in, and it’s easy to just push those dreams aside. I did for years.

Those tools I talked about earlier? I’m about to bust them out to do a whole bunch of dreaming for 2020. It’s a new decade, and I’m determined to make the most of it. And guess what? I want you to join me.

Saturday, January 4 I’m hosting The Vision and Dream Workshop for 2020.  It’s a in person one day workshop for women to come together, dream big dreams, get clear on how they want the next year to feel, and cheer each other on.  If you’re local to Minneapolis, I’d love to have you there. I’ve been dreaming up this day for a while now, and I can already feel the dreams that will come alive in that room! 

Click the link for more information and please reach out if you have any questions. If you’re interested, but that date doesn’t work, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and sign up for the wait list. I’d love to do this again in February!

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Tack

Many people assumed that when we bought Lola, she would also come with a saddle and bridle. But she didn’t. The saddle is fit to the rider not the horse, and quite a few people have more than one horse, so they keep their saddle. So we had to buy all of that stuff, which has been quite the journey.

I have found that this is how I approach pretty much all horse purchases.

  1. Find out what I need. Look at the price.
  2. WHOA. Do we really need to spend that much?
  3. Research all my options.
  4. Spend a lot of time looking at cheaper options.
  5. Almost buy one of the cheaper options.
  6. Make peace with the price and buy the nicer option.
  7. Fall in LOVE with the nicer option and wonder why I ever doubted that we needed to spend that much since it’s totally and completely worth it.

Let’s start with our bridle. This was a fairly straight forward purchase. The barn recommended we get an Edgewood, since you need fancy and gorgeous to compete in the hunter ring. I contemplated some cheaper options, but in the end ordered an Edgewood. You guys, I’m not sure I’ve loved leather more. It’s Beautiful. I thought it would just be a bridle, but when it came it was so much more!

And when you’ve been used to using school bridles for three years, the difference is crazy! It’s clean! The reins are just the right length! The leather is just so nice!

When you get the bridle it’s orange. You need to oil it before you use it, and the oil take it from the orange color to a deep brown. We knew we had enough oil on it when we could no longer see any orange in the leather.

I told the girls this was completely their task. They set up shop in the living room on some old towels and got to work while we watched tv. Both girls started on the project, but taking care of the tack has really become Delaney’s thing, and it’s been so amazing to watch her. When she takes apart the bridle she writes down which holes were used so when she puts it back together it fits Lola again. She researches how to best oil and clean things, and watches video after video about it. It’s honestly been one of the best things about this journey, watching Delaney just blossom into being a horse owner.

It didn’t take long to oil it, it’s fairly straightforward, but then you have to put it back together. That was a bit difficult. Delaney had to watch quite a few videos to get it right. Luckily, she’s done it a few times now and it’s become easier. (We’ve oiled the bridle five times now?)

Next up is the saddle. This was a tough purchase because there are so many options out there, and you really need to get the right fit which means bringing them to the horse and trying them on. There’s a local saddle shop in town that sells used saddles, so we made a few trips there to try some out. None worked though, they just didn’t fit Lola well at all. The barn said it could take a year to find the right saddle, and to be patient, but spoiler alert, I was not patient at all.

But! We were in luck and the saddle guy (from Wisconsin) made a trip to the Cities and brought a bunch of his saddles with him. He was super knowledgeable and we were able to have both girls ride in two different saddles on Lola, and have both him and the barn owner assess them. In the end, Caden fit better in a slightly smaller saddle, but it made more sense to buy the bigger saddle since all three of us will fit that saddle. I was worried that it would be just way too big for Caden, but it isn’t. And honestly, it still fits her 100 times better than the school saddles fit her.

Saddles are expensive. You can buy a cheaper saddle, but none of those fit Lola (she’s big and long and has weird withers). I’m glad we had a few months of looking to let me get comfortable with the price though. My mantra was the right saddle at the right price. The girls will be able to ride in this saddle for years and years, which made the price a lot easier to swallow. (Also the saddle guy was French and handsome, so that made it easier as well.)

Last Sunday I was finally able to ride Lola in all of our new tack. I had asked the girls for details on how the new saddle is different from the school saddles. They both said it’s cushier in the seat, which they appreciate (as did I). It also has knee pads, which they love, but I really love. It’s great for helping keep your leg on, which I need help with. I also loved that the reins are much shorter, so it was easier to handle those. Overall, I am super happy with everything we bought. It’s all been absolutely worth the hunt and the price.

I am slightly obsessive about keeping our new tack clean. We have leather conditioning/cleaning cloths that I use after each time we ride to wipe down the bridle and saddle. (The other girls that ride say “Do you do that every time?” Yes, yes I do.) The saddle has a cover, and I always make sure it sits on a saddle pad or something, not just straight onto wood. We are planning on cleaning everything once a month, likely at home, but possibly at the barn depending. I feel like the least we can do is take really good care of everything, considering the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that went into the purchases. Also? It really makes me feel like a horse owner to have our own tack. The barn was awesome and let us use theirs for as long as we needed to, but I wanted our own.

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Wild Horses

There are a lot of wild horses in the Mesa area near where my parents live. No idea why we haven’t gone looking for them in past years, but this year we did a little research and headed out. Luckily for us, people post pics on Facebook and tag their location, so once we searched, it was easy enough to figure out where they were.

I will spare you the long story, but essentially we saw cars pulled over on the side of the road, but weren’t sure they were for the horses. So we checked out another area only to come back to the first spot. As we started walking we heard a horse whinny, and everyone started running. They had just fed the horses some hay, so there were horses everywhere! Probably 100 spread out in various groups? They were eating so everything was calm and you could get fairly close to them. We did keep our distance because they’re wild and we want them to stay wild, but it was hard not to try to pet them!

These horses were mostly smaller. More narrow and shorter than the horses we ride, although there were a few bigger stallions that looked close to Lola’s size. It was so hard to tell though, you’d think a horse was big and then get close and it was pony sized.

Lots of foals, which was the cutest. (Of which I apparently took zero pictures of. )

We headed back out again the next morning. They were in the same area. Since they’re being fed there, there’s no reason for them to roam far. There were four stallions fighting and chasing each other, and then a few groups of horses hanging out either sleeping or eating. We hung out for about an hour, just wandering and watching.

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Christmas Lights

I’ve found that there is a very short window of time when I need to get my Christmas lights up. Since we head to Arizona for Thanksgiving, they really have to go up in those weekends just before. By the time we get back home I have too much to do, and it won’t happen. And! Since it’s Minnesota, it has to be warm enough because I surely won’t do it if there is snow on the ground or it’s too cold.

And so, last weekend when it was predicted to be 44 for the high, Delaney and I got out there to put our lights up. I knew from the last time I put them up that you have to be really aware of how everything plugs in to each other, and if you get that wrong you’re going to be taking a lot of lights down and putting them back up. So we talked through all of that before putting up any lights.

Can I take a moment here to talk about how amazing it is having kids old enough to help out with this? And to not only help out, but to really take ownership and drive where and how and which lights? Because it really is a two person job. Delaney did the lights on the shrubs, the windows, and the trees. I got up on the ladder, but she did everything else. It was a really fun afternoon doing this with her, and I can see her getting new ideas every year of how she wants to execute this.

The pictures look a little sad, but I swear our light display looks really good! I especially love the corner of our house with the three shrubs. And, that blank spot on the front of the house? We bought a giant snowflake to hang there, but we need to get a hook that actually sticks to our siding, as well as one more extension cord to plug it in. Super excited about our display this year!!

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Percy!

I almost didn’t blog about Percy since we were only foster sitting him, but he worked his way into our hearts (and I did his adoption) so I knew he needed to make the blog.

Percy is a chihuahua/terrier mix, just like Annie. I think that’s partly why I connected with him. He is such a sweetie! Didn’t get into trouble, not a ton of puppy energy, and the best snuggler. When I would meditate in the mornings he would curl into my lap.

As we were driving him to his forever home last night I asked Delaney if she would miss him. She said she would, but that he deserved to have his own family so she was happy for him.

That’s why we foster. To see these dogs find their perfect forever families. To see kids jumping up and down as we pull into their driveway, because they know we have their puppy. You can’t beat the feeling!!

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