The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Morning pictures!

I’ve been trying to take pictures in the mornings again.  I love looking back through these and seeing their personality, and the outfits.  We’re just getting back in the groove of these, so no crazy poses quite yet, but I do love the holiday cheer the tree adds.

December 3.  Their hair is getting so long, and now that they actually take the time to really brush it, it’s so shiny and gorgeous.
December 5.  Love their smiles!
December 10.  Some days it’s just one kid that’s ready on time.  We all remember this from past years of these pictures, yes?
December 11.  Delaney was running late and putting on her socks, and Caden was feeling the effects of having two teeth pulled the previous evening.  Blurry, but I still love it.  
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All dressed up

Every year I make a calendar using pictures I’ve taken throughout the year.  In past years I’ve used a pic from that month as much as possible.  This year, that wasn’t even close to possible.  In fact, there were several months that had zero pictures, and several that only had pictures of our foster dogs!  I just did not pick up my big camera much in 2018.

Honestly, it’s big, and lugging it around sucks.  Also?  Both of my good lens’ are broken, and with how few pictures I take, I don’t want to spend a bunch of money to get them fixed.  So I’m stuck with the lens that came with my camera which is fine, but not amazing, and definitely doesn’t inspire me to pick up my camera.

But you know what?  That shouldn’t matter.  I need to make do with what I have.  I do feel like the backyard in our old house provided a lot more opportunities with the swingset and everything else.  Do I really need to take a 100 pictures of Delaney reading her book in her bed?  Maybe not, but I need to figure out some way to stop using my phone as my only camera because even looking back, I didn’t take that many pictures with that either!

I took some pictures before the Santa Brunch.  We were a little rushed and I forgot how much the windows blow out my shots, but at least I got something?

Maybe next time I’ll set up my shot a little better so we can do this in front of the fireplace!

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Winter Wonderland

We had quite the weekend!  Per the usual, Friday and Saturday were busy, and Sunday was chill.  I kind of like that!

The girls didn’t have school on Friday, so we had one of Delaney’s friends over for a sleepover.  This is a friend she’s gotten much closer to this year, so we all wanted to get to know her a little better.  She was really sweet!  She came over Friday afternoon.  They all really wanted to sled, so we headed to the sledding hill around the corner from our house. It was cold, but fun.  We were only there for maybe 30 minutes?  But it did feel good to get some fresh air and exercise hiking back up the hill.

I talked about this a bit on Facebook, while the girls do occasional sleepovers, but they are generally at someone else’s house.  It was surprisingly fun to have the sleepover at our house.  It was fun to get to know her new friend, and it was fun being the sleepover mom, joking around with the kids. 

Saturday morning was Santa Brunch at the club.  This is always an amazing event with good food, great crafts, and some holiday cheer.  People really dress up for this, but I did not do a lot of planning and so we were at Target Friday evening buying tights and a dress.  What I didn’t have the girls check was if they had shoes!  Delaney was able to wear a pair of my heels (!), but Caden was stuck with her wedding shoes from the summer. Oh well.  (If you look at the bottom of this pic you can see them.  Black tights, tan open toed sandals.  Oops.) 

Saturday evening was the Nutcracker!  A friend of mine has a daughter whose ballet school puts on the Nutcracker.  I do love supporting these smaller schools, so it was perfect.  They did an awesome job!  And we found a cute, short Nutcracker to add to their collection. I have zero pictures from this event, unless you want the one I posted to my Insta stories of Caden’s eventual outfit.  She hated her tights from the morning, so kept her silver dress, but put on colorful leggings and wore her sneakers.  We were all tired from everything, and I just didn’t have it in my to care, so we went with it.

As the curtain went up and I thought about my friend and how fun this weekend was for her and her daughter with all of the performances.  I had a moment when I was a little sad that we are now out of the dance world.  I really thought I’d be a dance mom! But, then I remembered that I love being a barn mom, and we landed where we were meant to be.

I let Delaney sleep in on Sunday, and when she woke up she looked a little rough.  We started taking her temp and it climbed from 99 to 101 within a few hours, so I sent her back to bed.  She eventually hit 102.5, so I got my work laptop out and started making adjustments to things so I could work from home today.  Not sure yet what this is, but she has responded well to a bath and ibuprofen, so I’m hoping it isn’t strep.  

For us, a bath with epsom salts is our first line of defense if anyone feels sick.  Does anyone else do that?  I think it started when they were younger and I’d throw them in the tub when they had a fever, but it honestly seems to help, so we stick with it.

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Winter

Winter Erin and Summer Erin are two fairly different people.

In the summer, we’re out and about doing things all the time.  I’m chatting with the neighbors, going for walks with the dogs, heading to the lake, meeting up with friends.  I cook as little as possible, and spend as much time outside as possible.

In the winter, we’re home.  I see my bus stop neighbors, but not the rest of the neighborhood that we used to see on our evening walks. But we text! I love to cook, and make dinner for our family 4-5 nights a week.  We snuggle up on the couch and watch shows together, and bust out big puzzles to put together.

I’m an introvert.  While I love summer, I need the hibernation portion of fall and winter to really recharge.  And while I’m loving loving to cook again, I’m realizing that we can’t just stay home and hunker down.  We need to get out and do things!  We need to see our friends!  I feel like in the past we’ve been better about playing board games and planning fun little activities for our weekends, and we need to get back to that.  The holidays will definitely provide baked in activities for the next few weekends, but I’m hoping to maybe make a winter bucket list or something once we get to January?  Then at least we have some ideas to choose from. 

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Weekend Update!

We had a family filled weekend!

Friday evening we went and watched my hometown basketball team play!  My cousin coaches, and two of my cousins’ kids play.  With the game on a Friday night and close to the metro area, a bunch of us went to the game!  I waffled a bit on going, but every time I thought about all of the people I know that would be there, I knew we had to go and I’m so glad we did!  It was a super exciting game, and Nicollet had a huge crowd cheering them on!  And they won in overtime!  

Saturday was Bake Day!  Looking at posts from previous years I really need to bring my big camera!  I took some pics for Insta stories, but the lighting is awful with my phone camera.

This year we made peanut butter cups, peanut blossoms (with the hershey kiss), and chocolate crinkle cookies. Everything turned out really well!  We also helped with a few other recipes, so it was an action packed day of baking!

First up though, was our craft.  How pretty is this lazy susan?  We tried a few different ways to get the design on it, but vinyl seemed to work the best.

The girls were very into the sugar cookies!  Both of them helped me mix up the batter, and once they had chilled they rolled them out and used the cookie cutters all by themselves!  We kept checking in with them but they had everything under control so we left them to it.

This is always such a fun day every year!  Thank you Lisa for hosting!  

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The Zoo!

We hit the Phoenix Zoo twice!  Once during the day to see the animals, and once at night for the zoo lights.  

The weather was absolutely perfect when we were there during the day on Sunday – 73 and sunny.  I thought for sure the animals would be out playing, but almost every single animal was sleeping in the sunshine!  Including the flamingos!  

We headed back on Wednesday evening to see the Zoo Lights.  We went last year and loved it so much, we knew we wanted to go back.  Right when you get in there’s an area that has tons of lights.  There’s a lot going on back there, but the saguaro cactus that are all lit up are my absolute fave every year!

How crazy do they get with the trees?  Can you imagine how long this takes to do?  So many trees all wrapped up in lights like this!

There was a tent area that was covered in lights, all the way up the walls and across the ceiling. It was meant for selfies, so Caden and I ran in there and snagged a few pics!

We were hoping to get some pictures in front of the lights, but without a big camera with a nice lens, it just wasn’t possible.  We all loved this huge Christmas tree though!  Last year I swear there was a marching band playing Christmas music next to it.  We saw the band members, but they were walking around the zoo, not playing, so not sure how we missed it!

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Cantering western!

The girls ride English for their lessons, which means they are fascinated by Western riding.  If you’ve ever ridden English, you know how tiny the saddle is.  I’m comfortable on horses, and even I get nervous in those saddles!  (And am forever humbled when I watch how incredibly comfortable cantering and jumping THEY are!)

And so after hearing about how different western saddles are, they’ve become kind of obsessed with cantering in a western saddle.  But here’s the problem.  Even though we’ve ridden western a bunch of times, it’s always somewhere that only allows you to walk with the horses.  Not even a trot!

Luckily my dad has friends with horses, and also makes friends with everyone.  He found someone in Arizona with horses that would let us ride.  The ranch was about an hour away, and we really had no idea what to expect.  Would we be going on a trail ride?  Riding in an arena?  We tried to keep the girls expectations in check, but they were really hoping to be able to canter.

As we pulled up there was a group of people just finishing up riding.  As they got off their horses, the girls grabbed helmets, we all grabbed gloves, and we jumped on three of the horses.  There was a riding ring, and we were able to do whatever we wanted for an hour!  

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses of course.  My horse just wanted to go back to the barn with the rest of her friends.  She wanted nothing to do with riding around the ring, and would only entertain me for a bit, before just heading straight for the fence, usually cutting off Delaney’s horse.  Delaney’s horse was a bit of a follower, but Delaney handled her well.  Caden’s horse was a dream!  As I was trying to get my horse turned around and going the right direction, I glanced to see Caden quite easily nudge her horse into an easy canter.  Her horse was so dreamy that at the end, I jumped on him just so I could take a few laps!  (He had such a smooth canter, he was awesome.)

Delaney cantering!

Caden cantering!

Because my horse didn’t really want to ride, I pulled her off to the side a few times and just watched the girls.  They are so comfortable on horses, and such good horse women, I could watch them ride for hours.  It was really fun getting to watch them riding outside!  And honestly, it really reinforced that we are a horse family, and that we’ll do anything to spend more time with these gorgeous animals.  I waffle on a daily basis if we’ll actually move out to the country and get a farm with horses, but I do know that horses will always be in our life.  

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Vacations with 10 year olds

So let’s discuss this vacation.  First, I packed last minute with no lists.  That was a huge mistake. I forgot my sunglasses, packed my old swimsuit that is super stretched out, and just overall packed a weird mix of clothes. I also realized once we got there that both my flip flops and my sneakers were worn out.  My feet hurt after barely walking!  Plus, Delaney forgot sunglasses, and we realized that we couldn’t find her hoodie.  So yeah, we went shopping the second day we were there!  So annoying!

You know how when you go to Disney World you’re expecting an on the go vacation?  I feel like any vacation with 10-year-olds is an on the go vacation.  This happened with us in San Diego as well.  I think last year was more relaxing, but this year it felt like if we weren’t doing something, they were on their ipads or were watching tv. 

And that is a battle I’m fighting continuously at this point.  At home I feel like it’s handled better, but on the road the rules are a bit more relaxed, which of course makes it difficult.  That said, if we weren’t doing something (and we did a ton!) there wasn’t much for them to do.  They read their books, but beyond that, what is there to do?  We weren’t at home, so options were limited. So they watched tv and played on their ipads, which of course annoyed me and my parents. I probably should have done more to make sure they had stuff to do, but I just wasn’t thinking ahead. 

But, it does make me want to plan better for spring break!  Anyone have tips on engaging kids on the road? 

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Arizona!

We’re in Arizona again! Back here for our third Thanksgiving. We have loved this new tradition and look forward to it every year, especially when winter hits a little early in Minnesota.

This year we have biked a ton. So first off, I know she isn’t wearing a bike helmet. My mom and I discussed this beforehand and I was sure their adult bikes would be too big for the girls to ride, so we didn’t pack their helmets. Well, of course they both ride the big bikes easily! And it’s been a great way to get around the park. The park is huge and while we can and do walk, you can cover a lot more ground on bikes, which makes it a lot more fun. We’ve taken family bike rides every day just to explore (and find the pet areas so we can love on whatever dogs we come across!)

There was a big debate about what outings we should do. On Sunday Caden wanted to go to the zoo, but Delaney wanted to stay home and just play around the park. There’s pickle ball, bocce ball, plus the pool – so lots to do! I kind of sided with Delaney, why leave home if you don’t have to? But Caden and my mom said we should go to the zoo and they were right! It was the perfect outing. The weather was perfect, the zoo wasn’t crowded, and we all love to see the animals.

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Lark

Lark.  She has a lot of anxiety.  We’ve worked with the other dogs in the house to try to help with this, she gets medicine, but it’s still hard to be Lark. 

I hold her if I can, or have her on my lap since touch seems to be something that grounds her.  But we still keep an eye on her ears to see how she’s feeling all day long.

I hosted a Rodan + Fields event at our house on Sunday.  We don’t have a lot of people over super often, so the dogs were all over the place.  Annie loved going up to everyone and getting pets. Midas looked adorable and charmed everyone, and Lark just wanted to be held.  But at some point, she made her way under the new breakfast nook.  Her old safe spot was under our kitchen table.  Midas loves the beds under the breakfast nook, but she’s never laid in these beds until yesterday!  This was the spot where people were getting their nails done (my friend who sells Color Street was there and it was so fun!) so there were always people sitting here, but she settled in and FELL ASLEEP!  I’m not sure if she was just exhausted or what, but she was there for over an hour.  

On top of that, twice this weekend she jumped up onto either the couch or the girls’ bed to be near them.  It’s so hard with her to know if she’s nervous or anxious or happy, but slowly but surely, I feel like we’re making progress with her.  (And as I type this Sunday evening she’s sleeping on her side, which is another sign she’s relaxed!). 

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