The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

The Big Jump!

This fall the girls did horseback riding lessons once a month. It wasn’t enough. They forgot everything in between, would lose their confidence, and it was not good. In January we started doing lessons twice a month and the difference has been huge! They are much better riders now. They are more confident, they handle their horses better, and every lesson gets better and better. Two weeks ago Delaney’s horse would canter out of jumps. Delaney hasn’t cantered much and is nervous about it, but she handled it like a champ! And grinned from ear to ear. Last night Caden did a high jump! Her horse wasn’t super excited to go over the jump, but she turned him around and made him try it until they went over. She was so proud of herself. Even better, all of the girls in her group lesson cheered her on, even the big girls who own their horses and are exceptional riders. She was so thrilled and so proud of herself.

Another mom was videotaping her daughter, so it made me pull my camera out and record Caden. This was a timed course, so they were trying to get through as quickly as they could. You’ll see her go over the logs, then she goes into the box where you have to turn your horse around, circle around and then do the jump. Of COURSE there’s a pole in the way but you get the gist of things. So proud of her!

** Delaney has another fever so she didn’t ride last night.

3 Comments »

Train the Crazies

Last fall I bid on and won a gift certificate for some dog training at an Underdog silent auction. Clearly, we needed it because our pack is a bit loose on rules. When Annie was around a year old we took her to the beginner obedience class but it was overwhelming for her, and we weren’t good about reinforcing the commands at home. This time, I’m hoping to do better.

Each dog had some behavior I wanted to correct. The woman who came out was from the same place that we did the obedience classes, so as she was walking us through things it all started coming back to me. It also seemed to come back to Annie as well, since she caught on to things very quickly.

For Annie, we need to handle the barking and the guarding of house. She gets very territorial about defending us against just about anything (did I mention on here that there was a coyote about 10 yards from our backyard a few weeks ago? Ever since that incident Annie’s guarding has gone into overdrive). We have a few things to work on that should help distract her. It was nice to really talk through the situations and see that I wasn’t taking it far enough. I would distract her, but I need to remove her from the situation as well.

Midas is also a barker and a guarder, so everything we work on with Annie, we’ll also do with him. He knows his name and responds well to that, so he’s already started off on the right foot.

Lark is generally my main concern. If there’s anything we can do to ease her anxiety we obviously want to do that. Overall, we’re supposed to reward her for good interactions, but also give her her space. She had great observations about how the girls interact with her that was really helpful as well.

I had thought this would be a very expensive thing, with multiple lessons needed, but I don’t think it will be. She walked us through everything I wanted to address and said I could email her with any questions. I was super happy! I feel like we have things we can work on to help the dogs, and I didn’t have to spend a ton of money to get it.

Leave a comment »

Spring in February

scooter-1

Like the rest of the country, we had gorgeous weather this weekend! Friday was probably the best day in our area, 65 and sunny, just gorgeous. Saturday was also nice, not quite as warm but still over 60 so we were outside as much as possible. Sunday was cooler, cloudier, and windy. I took the dogs for a nice long walk, but that was about it.

scooter-2

Our driveway has been a sheet of ice all winter. I think I only got the snowblower out once or twice? The other times it snowed it didn’t snow much, but then it would melt and … ice. With all of the warm weather we’ve had, the ice was finally gone and they could scooter! You can kind of see in these pictures, but they would get their tires wet, then draw designs on the concrete. We also did a little bike riding, but Delaney’s brakes weren’t working well so they went back to scooters.

scooter-3

Also, any snow or ice you see here is now gone, and the tiny piles that remain will disappear today during the all day rainathon. We’ve got beautiful temps for a few more days, then a snowstorm next Friday. Depending on who you believe, could be 3 inches of snow, could be 10 inches. Ahh, weather forecasting. It’s going to be 40 right after that though, so the snow won’t stick around!

Leave a comment »

TGIF

It’s Friday! And the girls have a four day weekend! I meant to as well, but you know what happens when you don’t block off your work calendar? People book meetings. And then you have to work. Oh well. It’s going to be 60 degrees this weekend so we will survive.

feb-10

Last Friday. Clearly no one was happy with me this day.

feb-15

Wednesday. With most of the snow gone, the girls don’t have to wear their snow pants to school so Caden doesn’t start getting her gear on super early, which means I have a chance at getting a picture! My favorite part of this is the serious side eye Midas is giving. Sorry buddy.

feb-16

Thursday. Delaney was running super late and god forbid, I reminded her to brush her hair. I forgot to ask them if they tried to coordinate the last two days, or if it just happened by chance.

1 Comment »

Be my Valentine 

img_3959

Valentine’s Day is kind of my holiday where I go all out. In past years we have done photo shoots and fancy cards with special candy, but this year I just didn’t have it in me. Also, I really didn’t want to drop $100 on this holiday again.

So we didn’t and guess what? The girls were just as happy. They picked out valentines at Target (they both really wanted candy so Delaney did Avenger’s themed sweet tarts and Caden did fun dip) and we were done.

I did want to make the day special for them so I got up early to get my workout in and give myself enough time to make them breakfast. Normally they make their own breakfast, but I wanted to do bacon, heart shaped pancakes and heart shaped strawberries. They were thrilled! By the bacon most of all, but still.

1 Comment »

Larkie

lark

Poor Larkie. She has quite a few skin issues. I talked to my regular vet about them, but eventually went to a veterinary dermatologist. (McKeever in Eden Prairie if you’re local.)

She has three main issues. At first I thought they were all connected since they all present at the same time, but turns out that is just coincidence.

lark-1

Pattern baldness. She loses hair on her neck, her buttocks, behind her ears, and recently down the fronts of her legs. Apparently this is common in rat terriers. At some point the hair might not grow back, but at this point it still does (and then she loses it again). Her fur is thin at best, so she wears a sweater or fleece most of the time. I’ve found that the fleece suits that go down her legs work best because they keep her warmer, and they don’t irritate her skin by chafing. I’ve since cut the turtleneck off this one to make it more comfortable, and we have another similar in grey.

Her spots. In the winter her skin is white underneath her fur, but in the spring her spots start showing and by summertime, she is as spotted as a dalmatian. Turns out she has extra melanin in her skin and it comes to the surface when she is exposed to more sunlight. Nothing to worry about luckily!

Allergies. She gets pretty itchy, which we’ve been assuming is seasonal allergies. We treated them with various medicine last year, but my hope was to be able to pinpoint what she’s allergic to with allergy testing, and then do allergy shots year round to avoid the medicine. Allergy shots are more natural, more specific, and work better than medicine. The vet did allergy testing in July and oh man, that was rough. They shaved her fur and injected 54 different allergens into her skin. I had to keep her calm through 54 pricks! It was not good. Worse, she reacted to nothing! Oddly enough, I had awful seasonal allergies but also never reacted to anything with allergy testing. Turns out my inflammation was from gluten, which made my histamines react to seasonal allergens. Lark eats a grain free diet so that shouldn’t be her issue, but we repeated the allergy testing on Saturday (for free!). She’s been itchy lately, so it seemed like a good time to recheck.


This time I was smart and asked them to sedate her. She did much better with the allergy testing, and they were able to do it faster since she wasn’t wiggling on the table. And she reacted to things! A few weeds (that bloom in the fall, which explains why she didn’t react in July), dust (you’re in the wrong household for that allergy!), and mice. Now that we know what she’s allergic to, we can treat it appropriately. She will get diluted allergy shots every two days and then sometime in March or April it switches to every 20 days and a non-diluted formula. I think that her itching and her anxiety are at least somewhat tied together, so hopefully this will help all around.


Lark is the one I worry most about. Annabelle certainly gets anxious in situations, and Midas obviously has his quirks, but overall, those two lead relatively normal lives. Lark is always waiting for the other shoe to drop kick her, even after a year and a half with us. She has made huge strides in that time, but still gets scared every day from every day noises. I have a trainer coming in at the end of the month and I’m hoping that will help us help her. I just want to give her as many peaceful moments in her day as I can, and if that means $400 vet bills, so be it. (I did however make sure to get some free advice on how to treat Midas’ seasonal allergies this spring.)

Leave a comment »

Canter On

feb-7

Tuesday. Our timing in the morning is still terribly off. On days when they’re both going to school Caden is ready and in her snow gear long before Delaney’s hair is brushed and suitable for a picture. Eventually we’ll get back to it. This was Caden on Tuesday. She definitely has a bit more fashion flair than Delaney, but I was still a little surprised when she came out with this outfit. Super cute though!

Leave a comment »

Monthly Meal Planning

First, a Delaney update. Her fever was 101 all Monday and I started to get worried.   The doctor confirmed it was a virus, nothing bacterial to be treated, so I took her to our chiropractor for an adjustment. Her fever stayed below 100 all day Tuesday, so barring a crazy spike this morning, she’s off to school today! I’m sure I just jinxed myself.

Meal planning! I have been meal planning since the girls started eating. At first I just wrote out their meals, since I barely cooked for myself. It helped me prep ahead, and helped the nanny know what to feed them. That morphed into weekly meal planning for our family once we started eating the same dinner. I have a very love/hate relationship with meal planning. As a planner and someone who is not a spontaneous cook, I NEED IT. Without it our meals end up being pancakes and eggs and the occasional protein based meal. But I am so terribly burnt out on it as well. Once dairy went out the window for me, I felt like so many fun meals went out the window as well. It’s been hard to find any joy in meal planning when I felt like it was the same thing over and over.

I’d been toying with the idea of meal planning for an entire month for a little while. I honestly don’t have the time or energy to do it weekly, why not take 30 minutes and do it for the whole month? Thinking about it, I assumed it would be overwhelming. How would I find enough meals for the whole month when I can’t find enough for a week? But it turns out it’s easier to do it for the whole month because I don’t have to filter down to just 5-7 meals.

When I planned for January I took some time and printed out a bunch of recipes from my pinterest boards that I wanted to try. I paired those with recipes I had and liked, and started plotting out my month. I added in staple meals – roast chicken, sausage and veggies, fried rice – as well as new things. I was also mindful of my proteins and not repeating the same thing over and over. It came together incredibly quickly.


For February, I planned similarly but this time I just wrote down the recipes I wanted to try. To be honest, I didn’t like this. One of the things I liked about January was that I had everything printed out and in a folder. When it was time for dinner, I didn’t have to wonder if I’d printed out the recipe or not. It was there. I need to do that for the rest of February and keep that in mind for the future.

What happens if I don’t feel like a meal that night? I move it. To another week, or later in the week, it’s easy to swap because I can see the entire month at a glance and can see where it will fit in. This has happened a few times on weekends where I suddenly realize I don’t have the three plus hours needed to make that beef stew, so I swap it with the shrimp and grits I have scheduled the next week.

Another weird bonus? The kids are eating what I cook every night. Before this they’d ask what we were having and then reply “I don’t want that, I’ll have a bowl of cereal.” Talk about crushing my cooking mojo. But there has not been a single bowl of cereal for dinner in the last month! And the girls have been trying even the new recipes! Could just be a new phase with them too, who knows.

We have gone out for dinner most Friday nights for the past few years. It’s always my sanity saver at the end of a long week. But with No Spend January, there was no going out for dinner. I thought it would stress me out more, but I was so wrong. I made sure to plan an easy meal for Fridays that we would all like, which made coming home to cook it an easy task. Also? It was nice not to drag everyone back out in the cold to go to a restaurant and pay money for a meal my girls barely touched. Bonus win.

2 Comments »

Fever

You know how when life gets crazy you think, man, I would really love a weekend at home with nothing to do. Then by Sunday noon you’re ready to stab your eye out with a fork? Yeah. That was us.

Let’s back up. Friday morning Delaney came into my bathroom in search of the thermometer so she could take her temperature. Normally, Caden is the one hoping for a fever to get her out of school, so I was a little surprised. Even more surprised as I watched the thermometer climb up to 102.1. Yikes.

Friday Delaney’s temperature was all over the place, even with meds. And yet, that was really her only symptom. She was a little tired, but nothing else. Just before dinner she looked off, so I had her take her temp again and it was 103! Into the tub, more ibuprofen and all of our weekend plans off the table.

Saturday morning rolled around and while she hadn’t slept well, she was feeling good. No fever in the morning so we hit up ballet. Shortly after we got back her fever was back up again so we committed to home and I tried to keep her low key. I figured I would use this unexpected time at home to get a few things done.

  • Took a nap
  • Served popcorn for dinner
  • Lark has two fleece suits.  One has a turtleneck and the other doesn’t.  I cut the turtleneck off, flipped the ends under and sewed it up!  Now it’s not so tight around her neck which if nothing else, makes me feel better.
  • Put together a puzzle with Caden
  • Watched the Harry Potter movie that’s about the tri-wizard tournament.  Two thumbs up!
  • Read my book by the fire
  • Washed the sheets on the guest bedroom bed
  • Watched the Melissa McCarthy SNL skit over and over
  • Told the girls 45 times that no they are not bored, there are plenty of things to do

Be careful what you wish for.  While we had a weekend at home, we were all going stir crazy by Sunday.  Delaney’s fever stayed under 101 on Sunday (although stuck around 100.8 most of the day) so I’m hoping whatever virus she had is now gone.  Now to get on top of some plans for next weekend!

Update. Her fever is 101.1 this morning so another day at home. 😫

Leave a comment »

Thank you!

Thank you so much to everyone who left ideas on how to control the library books. I do love the internet. As I was typing responses to everyone, it became very clear that we had no system whatsoever for our library books, and just hoping that the girls would be responsible clearly wasn’t enough.

First, let’s cover what we do have in the way of storage and systems. We have a bookcase with two shelves. Last week we pulled out all of the books they don’t read, and I switched things around so that Caden has one shelf and Delaney has the other. This at least helps them find their books, should their books actually make their way to the bookshelf.

They each have a bin under their bunk beds for their books. We bought these bins about a year ago? Again to try to control the library books. They worked better when their beds weren’t bunked, now that they are they always seem to have books in them, but they aren’t the best storage place.

After dinner we read through all of the comments and talked about what would and wouldn’t work for us. I wanted the “Library books don’t leave the house” rule, but they both really wanted to be able to read their books on the bus and at school during Independent Reading time, as well as in the car. They both read a lot in the car, especially in the summer. I asked if they couldn’t rely on school books or our books for that and they didn’t think so.

Here’s what we’ve come up with. I think our biggest problem is that they read in bed, and then the books are in bed, on the floor, and everywhere else. They go to bed about 8:15, with lights out at 9:00. Once it’s lights out, they will have to get out of bed and put whatever books they’re reading away (bookcase or bin). We’ve also created a Sign Out sheet for any book that leaves the house (either to go to school, or if we have a long car ride). They will sign the book out, and then sign it back in that evening. I like this idea, I just need to stay on top of implementing it. I’ve also told Delaney she needs to use the Kindle as much as possible. I think once she gets used to it, she’ll like it, but I know from personal experience it takes some time to build up a list on the elibrary site.

All of this thinking also made me realize our house has gotten out of control since Christmas. Work has been really busy. Really, really busy. By the time I get home I’m exhausted, and I just haven’t been keeping up on picking things up. I’m hoping this weekend we can right the ship.

Cross your fingers!

Leave a comment »