The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

State Fair 2015

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We have not been to the Minnesota State Fair since 2011, so I figured it was time to go back. For some people, the State Fair is an annual thing. For me? Not so much. We didn’t go a ton as kids, so I don’t have that pull from childhood. Plus, most of the food that you think of getting is deep fried and I can’t eat it. But, I had heard there were some great gluten free dining resources and they were correct! So we headed back this year with Grampy.

We focused on animals, rides and food. It was cloudy and cool (predicted to be sunny and hot, so we were lucky) and I think the clouds kept most people away. We were able to hit quite a few things in the morning with no lines. We wanted to go see the animals while it was still cool and the crowds weren’t crazy, so after getting in a few rides and some mini donuts, we headed into the Miracle of Life center. I have mixed feelings about this place. I think it’s super cool that people get to see all of these babies either being born, or shortly after, but I also just want these mamas to have a little peace and privacy! This brave mama sheep had quadruplets earlier that morning! They named them Eenie, Meany, Miney, and Mo. So adorable.

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I think usually we hit the horse barn and then skip the rest, but this time we wandered through the cattle barn as well. So many pretty cows! I always think of cows as black and white, but we saw some gorgeous brown cows, and some brown and white cows. It was fun. I loved how these two snuggled up together for their morning nap. Here’s to hoping they are the kind of cows that get to go home at the end of the fair.

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It’s not the fair if you don’t hit the rides! The girls are still a little too young for the big kid rides, so we hit the kids midway. They didn’t really want to do the same rides, so my dad took Laney and I took Caden. She was very excited for her Jumping Dumbo ride.

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For lunch, we headed to the food building. Delaney wanted pizza, so my dad took her and they found some pizza. I wanted to find the place that did gluten free beer battered bratwursts. When you’re gluten free, most fried food is out because of cross contamination, so when something deep fried, and even better beer battered comes along, you go for it. Except I couldn’t find the shop! Caden wanted a quesadilla, and once we finally hunted that down I just ordered there since they labeled their menu (LOVE!) and they had gluten free beergaritas! So all was not lost.

We took the bus this year and I’m so glad we did. Some years that whole thing is a cluster, but this year it was super smooth. Plus, after walking around for six hours, I was more than happy to sit down and let someone else drive me home.

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Don’t tell

  

But I kind of like having three dogs.

It’s like having my own little circus, my own tribe. I’ve never had more than one dog at a time, and the interaction between them is really fun. Plus, they are so crazy excited to see me always! It’s fun to get that kind of reaction.

Midas is so darn funny. He grunts and grins and wags his tail and sleeps. Lark is coming out of her shell more and more, but is still pretty nervous most of the time. I’ve tried some calming essential oils, but I don’t know that it makes much of a difference. Annabelle has been enjoying having playmates, although I’m always surprised when Midas puts her in her place.

On the flip side, I do not enjoy when the dogs think midnight is a great time to chase each other around my bed. Nor do I love all the poop that goes along with three dogs.

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More fall softball

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The girls had another softball game on Sunday. All of their games are on Sundays which is kind of nice. For this one we had to travel to the way south metro. Long drive on a beautiful day, but what are you going to do? This was yet another team that looked really good in warm ups and had the parents a little worried. Our girls have had some trouble adjusting to the pitching machine. We get hits, although not a ton, and we’ve heard of other teams scoring 5 or 6 runs a game. Anyway, we were fairly well matched which was nice!

This is Caden batting. We are working on her remembering her batting stance. She needs to push her butt out a little more. It makes her lean in a little and she gets a hit almost every time then. She did get a hit at this at bat though! A really nice solid crack up the middle.

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And Delaney. She hunches a little in her shoulders, but it mostly works for her. She also got a hit and even scored a run! She was beyond excited about that. This isn’t like summer softball where everybody got a hit and everybody made their way around the bases. We only scored two runs (we won 2-0) so she was excited to be one of them.

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Last week the coach invited us to an extra practice to get time in front of the pitching machine. While we were there Delaney did some catching. She liked it and was good at it so he had her catch the first two innings of the game. She has great form, and actually catches the ball most of the time! She really likes catching so I hope he will continue to put her there.

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This is Caden at third base. They’ve been working on fielding and where to throw the ball. She got one hit to her here, fielded it, then panicked as to where she should throw it. The play was at first base and she tried to make the throw, but that’s a long ways! She also played first base and did an amazing job there. She caught throws twice (and held on to the ball) and got two people out!

They’ve only been playing with this crew for a few weeks, and I can already see their skills increasing. I love it!

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Refreshed!

The last two days were exactly what we needed. Wednesday was a rest day. The girls watched a movie, Caden took a nap, they had some computer time, and some Minecraft time. It was exactly what they needed.

Thursday was a chores day! The house was kind of a mess, and there were a few things on my to do list that never seemed to get checked off. I finally realized that they could do the tasks. Isn’t that what kids are for anyway? They organized their school supplies into separate bags and made a list of what we still need to get. They tried on all of their shoes to see what was too small. They vacuumed and cleaned out the truck, and they organized the living room. It was amazing! They love to have jobs, and I love a clean and organized house. We got so many things crossed off our to do list! Love.

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Exhausted

This has been an exhausting summer. I don’t know what was different about this year, but we are all completely exhausted. We’ve been out of town most weekends, and our weeks have been go go go as well. We’re all tired, we’re all yawning, we’re all done.

More and more there have been tears for no good reason other than the girls are exhausted and just can’t deal. I’ve found myself snapping at them for no reason as well. Last night Delaney was staring and Caden looked so awful I made her take her temperature three times to prove she wasn’t running a fever.

I love all of the field trips they go on with the YMCA, and so do the girls. Every night as we walk to the car Delaney tells me “Mom. I really want to go back to (wherever the field trip was that day) with you soon. I loved it so much!” But those field trips, those activities, the swimming, mean the girls are in nonstop motion. Today would have been a site day, meaning crafts and activities, swimming, and a trip to the library, and yet I knew even that was more than the girls could handle so I kept them home. They’ll have Wednesday and Thursday to stay home, relax in the sun, and recharge. Hopefully it will be enough to get us through the last week before school starts. The last thing I need is for them to get sick because they’re completely run down!

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Fall Ball

  

The girls had their first fall softball game on Sunday! I knew things would be different, but I didn’t realize how different until they handed out the new rules. Each girl gets three swings or five pitches, and it’s three outs per inning. This drastically changes the game! I think it’s really good, but it means a lot more emphasis on batting, and a lot less emphasis on fielding since most girls strike out. If a girl hits the ball, no matter which team, all the parents cheer!

I had kind of high expectations for the game? I hadn’t watched them practice a ton, but I thought their hitting skills would translate. Caden got one hit! It was a nice hit back towards the pitcher. Her team even scored a run! Which meant we won the game 1-0. (I was very worried it would be a 0-0 tie.) Delaney didn’t get a hit, but her swing looked off so we’re going to work on that. Luckily, her coach called and they are going to be at the practice field tonight and any girls that want to come can get in some practice with the pitching machine. Both girls are IN. They really want to work on their hitting so we’ll head over there for an hour or so. During practice they only get about 10 pitches from the machine, so I’m hoping some solid one on one time will be good for them.

Note – this picture is awful but, it was windy and chilly at their game and my phone died so I didn’t get a picture then. By the team we came home Caden was practically comatose she was so exhausted. This was the best I could get.

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Up North

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These three had so much fun this weekend! I wish I would have gotten a picture with Samantha in it too, because they all hung out together and played and enjoyed the cousin time.

We headed up to my brother and sister-in-law’s cabin this weekend. The weather was cloudy and chilly, but we just adjusted our plans a bit. We went for walks, and the girls played a lot of games. They were introduced to Mancala, and even put on a play for us! Perhaps Samantha has a future as a director? We went into town and wandered around a bit, hitting the chocolate and ice cream store, and the coffee shop. Luckily, we snuck in a bonfire and s’mores Friday night because it rained and rained Saturday night!

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This is Jackson, their new puppy. He and Annabelle played a lot. She didn’t know what to make of him at first, but she quickly realized he was her size and the perfect playmate.

Annabelle is very used to a fenced yard, and isn’t known for coming when called. I was worried (and so was Laney!) that she would run off, so we put a leash on her. Except Jackson thought the leash was the BEST tug of war toy! We quickly took it off and crossed our fingers. She did so well! She stayed near their cabin, and the few times she started to wander off, she quickly corrected when I said No! and called her name. I was so proud of her! And so happy I didn’t spend my weekend chasing her through the woods.

It was a fabulous weekend!

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For me?

For all of the girls activities thus far I have stayed and watched. Dance, swimming lessons, gymnastics, softball, whatever it was it was usually an hour or less, and there just wasn’t enough time to leave and get back. Plus, I like to watch them!

Last night I packed up my Kindle and my sweatshirt and we headed out to softball practice. Once there we realized we had forgotten water bottles, so I ran home to grab them. As I parked again, I realized all the other moms had dropped kids off and left. No one was hanging out for the practice. It would have been weird if just I had stayed for practice right? So I dropped off the water bottles and told Laney I’d be back at 8pm.

My intention was to go home and read my book on the patio in blissful peace and quiet. Two hours! Think of all the reading I could do! The relaxation! And then I realized that maybe I should just stop in to Walgreen’s and pick up some Vitamin D. As I was walking out of that store I realized I should probably fill the car up with gas. As I was filling up with gas I realized I should probably pick up the last of our groceries for the cabin weekend instead of waiting until Friday. By the time the groceries were put away it was 7:20 so I just went back to the field to watch the last half hour of practice. I was super annoyed with myself for not getting a little downtime in, but I know I’ll appreciate having these errands done this afternoon when we’re leaving town.

Another mom and I were chatting about what to do during these two hour practices. Every Thursday! With the foster dogs, things have gotten a lot crazier around the house and downtime for me is scarce, so I’m hoping this errand running thing is a one time deal. It would be nice to have some quiet time each week!

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Wednesday

* I’m trying not to make the blog all dogs all the time, but they take up every spare spot in my brain these days. Going from two to three has definitely been a big change. Midas is very chill and easy to take care of, but he’s also tiny and I’d prefer someone keep an eye on him at all times. He’s really the sweetest little guy. Loves to cuddle, isn’t a barker, and he loves kids.

* Lark had some sort of allergic reaction, and got a sore under her chin. Because she’s a foster, she has to go to a special vet which of course isn’t really near our house. She was itchy so we raced around and made it work. I’m going to have to make a schedule for her meds, but here’s to hoping this calms her anxiety a bit too.

* I keep seeing blog posts about getting ready for school, and figuring out how to pack lunches and changing your morning routine. We are in the opposite group! Once school starts our routines relax! No more packing 15 lbs of stuff into a backpack and packing a lunch every day. Today they are going roller skating and the rink is providing lunch. HALLELUJAH. It’s like Christmas for me! That said, lunches have gone very well this summer. We switched from the PBK bento boxes to a Ziploc container with three compartments. Sandwich/meat in one, fruit in another, grain in the last. We’ve found a good rotation between pb&j, ham, and turkey so no one has gotten burned out on any one thing. For grains we’ve done tortilla chips, popcorn, pretzels, and cheddar crackers. We’re onto stone fruits right now after doing a lot of strawberries and blueberries (yay for plums!). It’s been very low stress. I’ve also been doing as much as possible the night before, making lunches and getting my coffee ready. It definitely helps out in the mornings!

* I’m also ready for school and daily outfit pictures, anything to push my photography beyond dogs! I’ve really slacked on taking pictures this summer. I’m going to take my camera along this weekend. I’m hoping new scenery will get me out of my rut.

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This girl is a sucker

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First, I can’t believe how long it took me to figure out to just throw a leash on Lark when she went outside. We spent every morning last week patiently calling her in so that we could leave, and every day it got worse and worse. She loves to be outside! Now she wears a leash and when I need to grab her, I just step on the leash. Easy peasy. Fool me once!

Lark had an adoption event on Saturday. My parents had the girls Friday night, so we met up with them on Saturday, then headed to the adoption event. She did so great! When people would come over to pet dogs, she would scoot right in there. She got picked up a few times and I got excited for her, but I think those people were just there to pet cute dogs. Oh well. I do think she’s a bit deceiving at these events because she is constantly running around the pen, when in reality, she spends most of her day sleeping. I’m going to start being more proactive and chatting with anyone that picks her up so they can get the scoop on her.

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When we chose Lark to foster, there were two other chihuahuas that also needed fostering. All three dogs were good with the girls, but ultimately I felt like Lark needed us more. Both dogs are still in boarding, so the girls spent a lot of the event holding one or the other. Everyone at the event fell in love with Midas. He’s so sweet and you could tell he just relished being held.

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When I told Caden we couldn’t take him home she started crying. I went to talk with the director to tell her that if he still needed a foster in a week, we’d take him. We’re headed out of town this weekend and I wouldn’t be comfortable bringing him along. She immediately said “Take him now and we’ll put him in a temporary foster home or back in boarding for the weekend.” Okay?

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Saturday evening was perfect. We hit the pool, then grabbed takeout on our way home. The weather was gorgeous, my dad had mowed the lawn, and all the dogs and all the kids played until it got dark. It was exactly what we all needed. As you can see, Midas loved it as well. I about died when I saw them laying on the ground like this. When you put him on his back his eyes close and he blisses out. It’s hilarious.

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His first night at our house was a little all over the place. Lark is finally comfortable at our house, so a third dog in the mix threw everything off. He didn’t know where he wanted to be, but Annabelle and Lark didn’t want him anywhere near any of their things. I tried him in our small pet porter while we went to the pool, but he didn’t like that for bedtime so in the end he went into the big crate since Lark doesn’t need that as much anymore.

Day 2 went better than day 1 did. We wore them out outside, then all the dogs took long naps in the afternoon. It’s becoming clear that Lark is my dog, and Midas is the girls, which is fine. He’s small enough (5 lbs!) that they can easily take care of him. He does a little exploring, but mostly he naps which I’m in favor of.

PS – As a thank you to Annabelle for dealing with all of this, I got her three knee bones to chew on. She is a (mostly) happy dog.

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