The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Fourth of July!!

Normally for the 4th we head to my aunt and uncle’s cabin for some extended family together time. But this year my cousin is getting married, so the family is getting together for her wedding instead. Also, we have our national parks road trip coming up in August, which means our vacation time is going towards that, not a week at my parent’s cabin. Long story longer, we spent a long weekend at my parent’s cabin for the Fourth!

I boarded Lark and Annabelle for this trip for a few reasons. First, fireworks scare Lark. Last year people were shooting fireworks off at random times all day and night which made things difficult. This year I wasn’t taking any chances. Second, three dogs at the lake is difficult. I wanted to relax and enjoy our time, so we just took Midas. And Midas was the happiest man ever! He got so much attention! Everyone snuggled him and snuck him food. He got to go on all the boat rides, and I carried him up the hill so he wouldn’t tire out. My mom and I kept saying that while he might have missed his sisters for a hot minute, he quickly realized he had hit the jackpot and ate up his solo pup time.

It rained a decent amount, so we only got a few boat rides in, and only went fishing once. There were crazy storms overnight twice, and super strong winds a few times. One night there was a lightning show for over thirty minutes. I did not get much sleep that night! But, we made the best of the weather and made sure to get out on the water when the sun was shining, and played games and watched movies when the rain came.

Two of my nieces came up Monday and the girls were so excited for cousin time! I’m not even sure what they did, but there was lots of giggling.

We left the lake just after lunch on the Fourth. I wasn’t sure when we’d be driving home, so I didn’t try to make any sort of plan for fireworks or anything. Honestly, I was so exhausted I was just happy to get home! I thought the girls were too until 9:00pm when they told me they really wanted to watch the fireworks. At that point I was barricaded in the basement with Lark trying to keep her calm, so there was no way I was going to get them to the church parking lot to see the town fireworks. They were crushed. They tried to watch from our yard, but you can’t really see anything because of the trees. But! There are big fireworks in a few weeks and I’m hopeful we can find a good viewing spot for those!

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Lego Robotics

Caden loves dresses. She wears them year round so we have a lot of them. With this week being Lego Robotics camp week, I suggested that she wear a dress every day since they wouldn’t be climbing or running or doing things like that. She loved the idea and immediately picked out five dresses and hung them on her closet door. And then she asked me to braid her hair every day! It was a fun week.

Monday. Simple black dress. I did a single braid down the back and she added in the headband. Perfect!
We missed Tuesday.

Wednesday. I love this LLR dress! It’s swingy and a gorgeous print and just perfect for her. She asked for a braid that went into a ponytail. Done!

Thursday. Another LLR dress! Same style as yesterday, just one size up. Love the stripes! We did pigtail braids which I adore on her.

Robotics camp! They loved it. Every day they had some task or obstacle they had to get their robot to do. The coding they do is similar to some of the coding I’ve seen on Tynker, where you assemble blocks of code by grabbing pieces of code. It sounds simple, but I looked at some of the routines they coded and it got complex! This is such a great introduction to coding for them, really getting them to think in steps and blocks. Next year I am definitely finding a real coding camp for them. I think they’re ready!

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Mighty Adventures

The last time we were at the lake, Midas did really well walking next to us. Normally he waits until I’m sufficiently relaxed and then he bolts in another direction. But this time he was awesome! We even took him on a longer walk and he kept up for most of it. All of the exercise he gets at the lake is so good for him. He had gained some weight over the winter, but dropped most of it with just one weekend at the lake. It is so good for him and makes him so happy, I wanted to try to take him for some walks at home too.

We’ve tried this before and it hasn’t gone well. Midas does not do leashes. He wants to go where he wants to go, and that’s that. There is no tugging him in the direction you want to go. He digs in his feet and refuses. The few Mighty Adventures he’d had on our street consisted of him running the opposite direction that we were walking and me chasing after him. Our street is quiet but not that quiet, so I didn’t want to chance it.

But, this weekend we tried again and he did awesome! I had him trail a leash, that way we could at least grab it and stop him if he did run off. It’s .33 miles around our loop. He trotted happily the first 100 yards. Then he got distracted and we had to carry him, but the entire time he was being carried he had the biggest grin on his face! I’m sure he was sick of just seeing the house and our yard!

Last night I took him for another walk. He got so excited when I got the leashes out! He ran the first little bit, then got distracted at the same place. I carried him most of the way around the loop, then put him down so he could walk home. He only really walks if where you’re going is where he wants to go, but he seems to get that he’s supposed to follow us, so that’s a step in the right direction!

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Morning barn time

First off, summer is absolutely killing us. We have to get up about 30 minutes earlier than normal, but we of course don’t get to bed any earlier. YMCA wears the girls out, and work has been busy for me too. I keep the girls home with me on Thursdays and it’s supposed to be a day they can sleep in and relax, but we have riding lessons Thursday mornings this summer so they have to get up even EARLIER. Both girls were in tears before bed last night, so I’m hoping a quiet weekend will right the ship.

Morning lessons are the best. The barn is quiet, we’re the first lesson of the day, and it’s so peaceful. Last summer our morning lesson had six girls in it, this year there are only three girls! The girls were able to do four different courses during their lesson! It was really nice for them to be able to work on a bunch of different things.

Caden rode Frodo for the first time. Delaney has ridden him quite a bit, but this was Caden’s first time. He’s an amazing horse, and it was interesting to watch them work out their teamwork throughout the lesson.

Delaney was on Velvet. We all LOVE this little horse but she is a handful. She loves to go faster and faster. I’ve seen her dump two kids (Caden being one of them) because if you aren’t ready for her to take off, it can be hard to stay on. I talked to Delaney before the lesson to make sure she controlled the pace and didn’t let Velvet get out of control. She did SO well! You’ll be able to see in the video, but Velvet loves to canter out of jumps but Delaney was able to keep her under control.

First, the light coming through the windows and doors totally messes up my videos! But, here’s Caden on Frodo. They canter in a circle (they’re supposed to start at a certain point, then drop to a trot to do the jump. She didn’t quite get into her corner, but she did awesome! (If you click on the little thing in the lower right corner it will make the video larger.)

Here’s Delaney on Velvet. Watch as they canter out of the jump, Delaney sits back heavy to slow Velvet down. Well done Lane!

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Lark, Confidence

In the last six months I’ve realized that Lark’s anxiety is getting worse, not better. She’s been with us for almost 3 years now and somehow, she is not much more comfortable in our house than when she came to us. That pains me. I’d hope we would help her build confidence, but that didn’t seem to be happening.

I started looking for a trainer to help us. One day as we were leaving riding lessons I realized that one of the women that we ride with is a dog trainer! Over the next few months I got to know her, and we chatted about dogs. I’ll be honest, it took me a while to pull the trigger because it took me a while to pinpoint what I wanted her to work on. In the mean time, she gave us advice a few times on our fosters, and finally I asked her to come evaluate our dogs.

When most people think about dog trainers, they think of teaching a dog the common commands like sit, stay, and down. While I’d love to eventually get there with Lark, those aren’t even on my radar at this point. Our priorities are helping Lark with her confidence, help Midas stop being an asshole, and help Annie stop barking.

Mary sent the training plan to me this week and I almost cried when I read it. We had worked with a trainer a year ago and she had zero ideas on how to help Lark. Mary had four sessions mapped out with things that would help all three dogs. It hurt a little to read her assessment of Lark as being very shut down, but it didn’t surprise me.

I’m so excited to start this journey. I’m hopeful that with some work, we can have a happy, healthy, well behaved pack. We’re also going to take a long break from fostering. Lark’s anxiety around certain things has gotten much worse in the last six months, and I have to wonder if the fosters haven’t worsened things in some way. While I love fostering, I have to put our dogs first. At least for a while. Hopefully we can get back to it eventually, but for now it feels right to focus all my love on my pack.

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Summer of Love

We had an amazing weekend! Friday was Field Day at school. My parents came up to volunteer again this year. They switched things up a bit, so not as many volunteers were needed so they were able to follow the girls around while I manned the game we were assigned to. It was absolutely gorgeous, the perfect day to hang outside all day. After, we headed home for a bit to rest, then went to the pool to cool off and grab dinner. Perfect ending to our day!

Saturday was my cousin Alyssa’s bridal shower! We are all in her wedding party, so we were excited to shower her with presents and love before her big day. The hostesses and mother of the bride killed it with the food and decorations! The mimosa bar was a huge hit. I was the designated champagne opener and they kept me busy!

There was also a picture of Alyssa with the bridesmaids, but the girls took it and they were way off to the side. But I mostly love this picture! Except Delaney was being a little weird.

Every summer we make at least one trek out to the horse track. It’s always a super fun day. We love to head out front and watch while they parade the horses and then the jockeys get on. After that, we head inside to place our bets and find a good seat to watch the race from. Yesterday was perfect because it was early in the season, it wasn’t a specialty day (like when the dogs race) so it wasn’t crowded. We could easily move around, the lines to bet weren’t long, and we were at the fence to watch the horses every time.

This year we invited my parents along! I knew they would love it, and bonus that they hadn’t been to the track in like 30 years.

With three adults, we could place a lot of bets! We picked the spunky horses that were prancing in front of us, which was a great strategy! We won a lot of bets, and if I lost one of mine, my dad won on one of his.

In one race, Delaney and I had picked two horses (3 & 5) and placed bets on them that they would place either 1st or 2nd. Turns out, they did just that! Horse 5 won and 3 got second. But there was an issue because 5 collided with another horse and was disqualified. So while I lost that money, it meant that with 3 winning the race, my dad won $31 on a $2 bet! Caden was BEYOND thrilled since it was her pick! Overall, with each race I’d win $4-$8 and then turn around and bet it. We lost a few at the end, but my all day fun only cost $10.

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First cabin weekend!

Normally we head up to the cabin earlier in May, but this year there was just too much going on so Memorial Weekend was our first weekend! We headed up later Friday evening to miss traffic and it worked perfectly! We ran into a few slowdowns, but never stopped and made it in just over two hours.

Saturday we headed out on the pontoon for a little fishing. We found a spot where they were biting as soon as the worm hit the water, which is always key because otherwise the girls get bored. We caught enough for lunch on Sunday!

I think the thing the girls were most excited about was banana boats around the fire.

Sunday was rainy during the morning, but once the rain cleared it got hot! So we headed out on the pontoon so the girls could swim in the deeper water.

Annabelle was in heaven all weekend at the lake! She was a happy, exhausted dog by the end of it! Actually, all the dogs were happy and exhausted. It’s definitely their happy place.

There’s a beach where the girls can swim, but especially on holiday weekends there can be a lot of kids there. The girls much prefer taking the pontoon out and getting to a spot in the lake where it’s deep and they can swim and jump in and hang out on their noodles. There were a few people with aqua pads this weekend. We’ve talked about getting one since our days on Lake Mary, and my mom finally pulled the trigger. It will be great when we’re out on the lake and they want to swim!

Monday morning was hot and humid. Since the girls had riding lessons later that afternoon, we packed up and headed back. By the time we got home we were all hungry, and it was really hot out, so we unpacked quickly and headed to the pool. We all cooled off, got lunch, and scorched our feet on the hot concrete. By the time riding lessons rolled around the crazy heat had brewed up a crazy storm! Just as they went into the ring to start their lesson it started absolutely pouring! Hail, thunder, lightening – the works. Caden’s horse was spooked a bit, but once they got going he settled down. I was a little nervous we were all going to have to hide out in the tack room, but luckily the storm lessened to just rain.

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Holiday Weekend!

We had an amazing weekend! But, this girl is exhausted so you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the low down. Until then, I’ll leave you with this picture of the happiest dog on the lake.

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Not our best effort

This week was definitely not our best effort. Delaney wasn’t feeling well on Monday, Caden didn’t feel well all week so I finally kept her home on Thursday. We missed the bus only one day, so that’s a bit of a win? But yeah, ready for the weekend.

Before we get to the pictures this week, last night was the 4th and 5th grade music concert! The music teacher always does an amazing job with the kids. Both girls had been singing a few of the songs at home, and were super excited. Unfortunately, since Caden was sick she missed, but Delaney did awesome. I was sitting next to a friend and we both commented that the difference between the 4th graders and 5th graders was super obvious. The 5th graders are so much bigger and looked so much more mature!

Tuesday. I’m always nervous about buying fashiony jackets like this, but Caden really seems to wear them!

Wednesday. This Lularoe shirt is a size 14 and I love it! Nice and long and cozy.

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Our Current Circus

I really, really make an effort to walk the dogs every day. We shoot for the mornings, because then Delaney will come with me, but sometimes it doesn’t happen until the evenings. I love walks with the dogs. When we have fosters, it’s the perfect way to integrate them into the pack. It’s also a great way to work on leash skills if they aren’t used to leash walks, because they have Lark and Annie as role models. I also love when Delaney comes with me because we always have the best conversations. And I love that she makes the effort to get out of bed early to go on these with me.

Daisy and Charlie really love walks, so it’s fun to watch them get super excited and wag their tails. It never fails to make me smile!

There are times when I walk them myself when I think I’m a little crazy, but when this happens, I think I must be some sort of dog ninja!!

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