The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Busy

In August I told everyone that we’d grab coffee or lunch in September.

In September I thought October would be less busy.

Guess what? It doesn’t seem to get less busy! In previous years our schedule would quiet down once fall hit, and we’d have a lot more free time. Except this year, that didn’t seem to happen. Last week we had something going on every night of the week!

I try to have fairly good boundaries around our time. Delaney and I are both introverts, and while I love to be social, I also need quiet time to recharge. I’ve been protecting our weekends in November, just to ensure we have down time. It’s been so nice to make dinner and watch a movie together on Saturday evenings, or go out for breakfast on Sunday mornings. I feel like things are starting to lighten up a bit maybe? Just in time for the holidays!

Our weekend was pretty quiet. Friday evening we headed out to the barn to wish Grace good luck at Nationals in Las Vegas. Everyone is very excited! Grace is super sweet and totally indulged all of my questions about her horses, and even gave me some winter riding gear suggestions for the girls.

Saturday we cleaned, went to the dentist, then grabbed groceries. My plan for the afternoon was to put up our Christmas lights since it was 40 degrees out, but as Delaney was pulling the lights out from storage it started raining. Ugh! I really wanted to get that done, but it’s going to be 40 again next weekend so we’ll try then.

Side note on the dentist. A few years ago they told me to get electric tooth brushes and ever since then the girls have zero to very few cavities. They’ve been life savers!

Sunday was riding lessons and more errands. Our lessons on the weekend are with the barn owner, and they generally go over an hour. I love his lessons because even I learn something watching them. He really challenges the girls, and we’ve had multiple conversations about how riding will likely get frustrating as they learn and grow over the next year. Also? There’s a lot of science in horseback riding. Who knew? Angles obviously, but I did not expect centrifugal force to come into play, and yet, it did.

Caden has been wearing leggings for the last month, but busted out some jeans over the last few weeks and they are all about two inches too short for her. We hit up Target hoping their Cat & Jack brand would work, but no. Everything was super baggy. Luckily Old Navy had their 50% off sale going on, and their ballerina jeggings fit her perfectly. Picked up a few more shirts for her too. I love that the girls are branching out beyond long sleeve t-shirts!

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November!

Let’s start with Halloween. The girls went through a lot of costume ideas. At one point they were going to be Ghostbusters, there was a pirate idea thrown in there, and then once we decided on Lola’s costume, I thought things were locked in. But, when Delaney and I went to Goodwill to find her a brown sweater, she told me she didn’t want to be a reindeer for Halloween. Totally fine, but what else to be? We looked through all of their costumes and things either were too kiddy, or too gruesome. I tried to talk her into being a cat (cat ears and an all black outfit!), but she wanted to be an elephant. I kind of love that she went a little different.

Our riding lessons are at 5:30 on Thursday, so we moved up to the 4:30 lesson. This was great but, it meant we didn’t get home until after 6:00 and it was already dark at that point. I hate when I don’t get good Halloween pictures! Oh well. We grabbed one indoors and one under the street light with their friend (who was the Swedish Chef! Such a great costume!). It was chilly so we trick or treated for about an hour, then headed back.

Our neighborhood was once again decked out to the nines! Tons of crazy cool carved pumpkins, and a few of the houses go all out with the decorations. It makes it so much fun!

By the time we got to the weekend we were all pretty tired. I had friends over for a girls night in Friday, which was exactly what I needed! Saturday and Sunday were riding lessons, and not much else! A little leaf raking, some cleaning and organizing, and we even found Malcolm his forever home. So maybe a little eventful?

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Malcolm

Internets, meet Malcolm. Our newest foster!

It’s been awhile, right? We took a year and a half off from fostering. We had a few fosters in a row who were barkers, and that made Lark’s anxiety much, much worse. We loved fostering, but needed to put Lark first so we took a break. I started volunteering with a new rescue this summer, and finally, finally! the time was right to foster again.

And boy did we hit the jackpot with Malcolm! He’s super chill. Either that’s his personality, or he was living a pretty stressful life before us, but this guy is a sleeper. He loves nothing more than to snuggle up on a bed or the couch, and sleep. The first night he was at our house he was fairly playful, so I’m guessing he just feels safe now, but who knows! In the past it’s taken fosters about three weeks to really show their full personality, so we’ll see what comes out in the next few weeks.

If you’re looking for a dog, Malcolm is a shepherd/pug mix. He’s 9 months old and 20 lbs, will likely get to around 30 lbs when he’s full grown. He’s got the shepherd coloring, but he’s teeny! He’s potty trained and crate trained, and excellent with kids and other dogs.

He does not love this cold weather though! Getting pictures of him was interesting. We’d set him down and he would race back into the house. Hopefully I can get some better shots of him with my big camera this weekend.

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Halloween week!

We had a really great weekend. Just the right amount of socializing and being home. It’s always a tough balance, but I feel like we did well this weekend.

Friday evening was an unexpected shopping trip with Delaney. When she tried on long sleeve shirts that morning we realized that she only had two long sleeve shirts that fit her. We needed to hit Goodwill for her Halloween costume anyway so we started there, found a few at Old Navy, and a few at the Gap. Enough to get us to the Christmas sale season. Side note, almost everything she got was stripes. It seems like that’s the only pattern these days?

Saturday we had riding lessons in the morning. The lesson started out a bit off, but both girls pulled it together and ended really strong. We saw friends we haven’t seen in a while that afternoon, then came home and made tacos for dinner. While we watched a few shows, the girls oiled Lola’s new bridle. The bridle is gorgeous! Fancy stitching and leather for when we show her next summer. In order to oil it, you have to take the bridle apart. The girls oiled it twice, then Delaney spent a good half hour putting it back together. It’s complicated! She kept trying it on her own head which made me laugh.

Sunday was the barn Halloween Open House! Our favorite event every year. Delaney started planning Lola’s costume in September. I wasn’t sure we were going to do it since it involved me sewing a lot. But, my mom helped me figure out everything last weekend, so it felt doable.

People kept asking where we bought her blanket. I kept saying “We didn’t buy it, I sewed it!!” I can sew straight lines people, but don’t ask for more than that. Can we take a moment and just appreciate this costume though? She totally looks like Santa! Belt and everything!

I would also like to note that I even braided her tail and made a bow for her. That bow was almost the death of me, but it actually looks halfway decent here.

At some point last weekend we realized that the girls would need costumes as well. Caden quickly decided on being an elf, which was easy to get from Amazon. Delaney wanted to be a reindeer. We debated a onesie pajama reindeer outfit, but instead went with antlers and a brown sweater. I was happy with our choice.

It was so much fun getting Lola ready, especially since we had a solid plan for everything this year. I learned a lot from last year’s costume! I brought safety pins in case the velcro didn’t work, and had back up plans for any extra accessories.

And don’t worry, Lola got plenty of treats for dealing with all of these shenanigans.

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Gorgeous weekend!

The weather in Minnesota was absolutely gorgeous this weekend! Sixty degrees and sunny, you can’t beat that. My parents came up Saturday morning to watch one last riding lesson for the girls, and so my mom could officially meet Lola. It was a quiet morning at the barn, and it was just the girls plus one other advanced rider in their lesson. They always love their lessons, but it was nice to not have so many riders in the arena so my parents could really see them ride. They did a triple jump, which I think was their highest jump yet! Caden was on Lola, and I’m always amazed at how confidently she rides her. They did awesome, and I think Lola loves the bigger jumps. Delaney was on Oz, her favorite, and they were a great team.

After their lessons we went to the Original Pancake House for lunch. After lessons the girls don’t stop talking about the lesson, but they were extra excited and chatty on Saturday. It’s been so amazing to watch them flourish with this extra second lesson each week.

My parents helped with the last of the fall yard clean up. Delaney and I pulled thistles, my mom and Caden trimmed shrubs, and my dad cleaned the garage out and mowed.

My dad had the lawn mowing left to do, so I talked my mom into going to the fabric store with us to figure out Lola’s Halloween costume. We had a picture and a solid idea, but pulling these things together without a pattern is not my strong suit! After our shopping was done, we realized it was getting late in the afternoon and I talked them into staying for dinner too. It was such a nice day. We don’t get to spend days like that with my parents much anymore, so I was extra grateful to get one in before they leave for Arizona.

Sunday was more horseback riding! The girls had a lesson in the morning, then I had a Mom lesson at 1:00. I’ve found that the more we’re at the barn, the more we want to be at the barn. We love our barn family, and it’s been so fun to get to know not only the other moms, but also the other girls that ride.

While I was riding Lola in the Mom lesson, two of the girls were giving private lessons in the arena as well, and were cheering me on. I love love love that the culture at the barn is one of support and encouragement. It’s been such a great lesson and environment for the girls (especially since they see the other side of that in their other sports).

So riding Lola. I should possibly make this it’s own post but, there is something special about riding your own horse! Even better that she is easily the best horse I’ve ridden, and she took such good care of me. My legs weren’t strong and they were all over the place, but she still trotted and cantered and made sure we didn’t run into anyone. Every day we fall more in love with her.

When my mom met her Lola was outside in her paddock. As soon as the girls walked up Lola walked over to greet them. My mom said “She knows them!” Yep. She knows her family.

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On the hunt

I’ve debated writing about this because it is still a jumble of thoughts in my own head, but I’ve overshared on here for so long, why not keep going right?

We eventually want to move to a hobby farm. Ideally we’d have some acreage, and a barn that would allow us to have a few horses and maybe some goats. Okay, I totally want goats, and chickens too.

But the thought of taking care of that is overwhelming. Like, I have no idea what goats need, or even horses (I pay handsomely for someone to take very good care of Lola). So trying to narrow down exactly what we want in our future farm has been difficult. Do we really want a barn? Could we just get by with a chicken coop? Would we still board Lola? How on earth would all of this work?

Last weekend there was an open house tour of a bunch of different horse farms. I thought this would be a good chance to walk through farms and get some ideas about what we wanted, and what we didn’t want, as well as maybe where we were willing to live (aka – how far west are we willing to go?)

It was perfect in that it made us think through all of those questions. Unfortunately we didn’t have answers to everything, but we did get clarity on a few. We definitely want a barn and an outdoor riding ring of some sort, but as long as there is space for all of that, we could build it ourselves later. There is as limit as to how far west we would go, and there is a perfect area that I’d like to be in.

And then we walked through a house that was too far out and in the wrong school district and we all really liked it. To be fair, it’s currently out of our price range, but that didn’t stop us from doing some serious dreaming. The house was nice (although too formal) and the barn was gorgeous and it had a riding ring! It was so picturesque and so pretty and honestly exactly what I had in mind. Ugh. Why so far out?!

My brain has been spinning a mile a minute since we got home. It made me realize all the things we don’t know (but will figure out), and that it’s not just money that is keeping me from being ready to move. Let’s be honest, I’ve lived in or near the city for 20 years. Moving to the country is going to be a big deal. I’m moving away from friends, and I know how isolating it can be out there.

But, I also know how amazing that life can be! And truly, it is all Delaney wants. She wants a farm and to have her own horses in her back yard SO BADLY.

And so, we continue to look, with some better boundaries this time.

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Harvest Horse Show!

First, the girls had homework this weekend where they had to build a timeline of their life. They did most of their research finding dates for things on the blog! This bad boy is coming in handy over and over again!

Before we bought Lola we were people who loved horses, but now that we own a horse, something has shifted. We are now Horse People. Both girls commented on it on Saturday, that now that we own a horse we’re serious about this. We feel like we belong now. It’s a shift I didn’t see coming, but one that we all feel and love.

I mentioned last week that there was a horse show all week. We had tickets to the Grand Prix on Saturday evening, but also decided to spend the day there on Saturday to watch our barn friends compete.

Speaking of that shift I mentioned? Next year we’ll be showing Lola at this show. Whereas last year we would have talked about maybe in a few years we’ll be showing, now we know it’s coming next year. So exciting!

The events happen in two different arenas. The bigger jumps and bigger events are in the coliseum, the smaller jumps for the younger kids are in a smaller arena. Delaney has a fear of performing in front of a crowd of people. She’s shied away from even the holiday show at our barn because she gets too nervous. But, as she sat in the smaller arena she said “I could do this. It’s quiet here, there aren’t that many people.” So glad to see her confidence building.

We took a break in the afternoon to go home and let the dogs out, change into warmer clothes, and grab some dinner before we headed back for the Grand Prix. This event is always so amazing. The jumps are so high, and the horses and riders are so impressive. It takes my breath away to watch them do these jumps! I did a little looking online but couldn’t find the exact height of the jumps. They can be as high as 5’3″, but the girls stood in front of them so I’m guessing they are around 4’8″?

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Fall Ball

A little weekend recap for you!

We have been loving having two riding lessons a week, especially since our second lesson is super flexible. We just drop in to whichever lesson works for us that week (we have 6 times to choose from). But this week the entire barn is at a horse show, which means no lessons for the entire week. We had an extra lesson last week, and we’ll get another one in next week. It was really fun having three lessons in one week! The more we ride, the more we want to ride. =)

Sunday was the State Tournament for the Fall Ball fastpitch softball league. The league has a lot of teams in it, but they break everyone up into different tiers based on your schedule and record. It was of course cold and drizzling all day, but we were able to wrap up in blankets and stay warm for the most part. The girls lost their first game, but then battled back and won their next two, losing their last game. It was a long day, but fun to watch a team of girls that really want to win.

Softball has been interesting this year. They’ve learned a lot, but definitely came onto a team that where the players had played together all summer, which was difficult at times. I’m not sure what next summer will hold for us. I know there are a lot of families out there that live for the softball life, and love weekend tournaments and all that entails. I will be very honest and say that isn’t me. On the other hand, ask me to spend an entire weekend at the barn? Sign me up! But, if the girls want to play we will figure it out.

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Let’s talk phones

The girls have been asking for cell phones for two years. I was adamantly against them. First off, they never had a need to call anyone. Second, they can’t have them out in elementary school anyway. Third, they had ipads for games. So no.

But it was a continuous conversation, since so many of their friends and classmates had them. At a gathering, I was talking to a friend whose daughter had just started middle school. Middle school is a huge transition, and she told me how nice it was that her daughter could text her if she needed to. I took that to heart, and mentally decided to get them phones just before school started.

We got them phones the last week of August. I upgraded to an iPhone XR, Delaney got my old 7, and Caden got my mom’s old 6. I was adamant that we’d do hand me down phones only.

We’ve definitely battled them being on their phones too much. Some rules have been easy (no phones while we’re eating), others areas are more grey. I thought we’d stick to 45 minutes of games like we did with their iPads? But that hasn’t been as easy to track.

At school they can only have their phones out when passing in the halls or during lunch, which is really nice. Keeps the distractions to a minimum there. They text me almost every day from lunch. We have a group text, and they both chime in on it. I love it. Some days we talk about what we’re all eating for lunch that day (they are fascinated by what I’m eating and who I’m eating with, which makes me laugh!), other days it’s just a quick check in.

Overall, the phones have been a really awesome addition. I LOVE being able to text them! During the day at school, or at night when they’re at a sleepover. It’s added this extra layer of communication that has been really nice for us. I also think we got the phones at the right time for our family. They’ve proven really useful for when they’re getting out of school or practice and need to communicate with me.

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Our Weekend

I haven’t done a weekend recap in a long time! But we had a lot of fun this weekend so let’s recap.

Delaney’s best friend’s mom pinged me early in the week and asked if we were going to the Homecoming football game? We didn’t have plans to, but once she suggested it we were in! We met beforehand at the local pizza place for dinner, chatted up their 5th grade teacher, and had a really fun night. It was 70 and clear, perfect night for football. I’m so glad we were able to do this with them, because a football game by myself wouldn’t have been fun. While the girls ran around, we chatted up the flute players in front of us and got the scoop on the Homecoming Court and the dance on Saturday.

Our second riding lesson is generally on the weekends (unless they’re at a show or out of town). These are nice because they’re drop in, so we can go when it works. We will most likely hit the 10:00am lesson most weekends. It gives us all a chance to sleep in, but we can be home by noon. For September Caden rides Lola on Thursdays and Delaney rides her on Saturdays. Lola is a bigger, stronger horse than they are used to riding, and it’s taken Delaney a few lessons to get used to that. On Saturday she was confident enough to canter the course and finally got to feel Lola’s power. She loved it!

Saturday evening they had a sleepover with a friend from the barn. I love her mom, so I hung out and caught up with her for a bit. It was fun for all of us to spend time with them away from horses.

Sunday was the last regular season double header for softball. When we got the schedule on Wednesday the team we were playing looked familiar, so I texted my SIL and sure enough, we were playing my niece! We kept it a secret from the kids, and they were SO surprised when they got to the field! My niece was catcher, so it was cute to see my two giggle when they got up to bat.

Also, in case you wondered, I spoke too soon in regards to sleep. Last week was rough, we just never got to bed on time all week and paid for it. This week will be better though!

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