The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Father’s Day & Fishing

We headed up to the lake for Father’s Day weekend. When we got there Saturday morning it was sunny and beautiful! So the girls put their swimsuits on and headed down to the lake with the paddle boards. Unfortunately, I thought it was supposed to be cool and rainy on Saturday, not 80 and sunny, so I didn’t pack my swimsuit! They only swam for a bit, but it would have been fun to get out there with them.

After lunch the clouds rolled in and it sprinkled a bit, but we were still able to get out for a boat cruise for a bit with the family. It’s been a while since we did happy hour on the boat!


Sunday was cooler and windy, but we were determined to get out and do some fishing. There are two islands on our side of the lake, so we headed behind one of them hoping to find calm waters. It was calm and sunny – so perfect! And there were tons of fish! A lot of them were small, but as soon as your put your hook in the water some fish bit on it. The water was so clear that right by the boat, you could see the fish swimming towards your hook. We saw a big fish coming and going, but he didn’t seem interested in the bait. I moved to the back of the boat and when he swam near I caught him! He was the biggest sunfish we’ve caught in years! He must have been a fighter because one eye was clearly damaged (perhaps he’s Midas’ fish twin?). Luckily we got my dad a new filet knife for Father’s Day, so he had a nice sharp knife to clean all the fish with!


Funny story. My grandpa does not like dogs. But, my dogs aren’t around him enough to know that. In fact, Saturday evening he fed Annie cheetos (she stared at him and he couldn’t resist). Sunday morning he gave her some of his leftover eggs so clearly, she thought he was her BFF. As soon as we put down the anchors she hopped right up on his lap. I could have died.

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NYC – Cookie Do & Bronx Zoo

Tuesday! Cookie Dough! I have no idea how I found this place, but somewhere along the line I pinned it when I realized they had gluten free/dairy free cookie dough as well. So yes, it really is unbaked cookie dough. They use pasteurized eggs so you won’t get sick. It’s in Greenwich Village and very popular, so we got there just before they opened. It was the perfect 10 minute walk from our apartment. Oh! And! We saw them shooting a tv show as we walked, that was very cool.

The girls both got the Unicorn flavor, although neither of them loved it.

Since we may never get back here, I told both of them to get two flavors to try. It was definitely more than we could eat, but we took it back to the apartment and had it for dessert that night. My mom got a salty/sweet flavor which she really liked, and I liked both of my flavors (regular choc chip cookie dough, and a pb choc chip flavor). Everyone that works there is super nice and they make the experience really fun!

I love the Village and really wanted the girls to see NYU and Washington Square Park. Unfortunately, it was drizzling but we did wander through the park and they played on the playground for a bit before we headed back. We had lunch at the apartment, then headed to the subway for the 43 minute trip up to the Bronx Zoo. This was easily the longest subway ride any of us had been on and it went by surprisingly fast! We even were above ground for a good portion of it which was cool as well.

The Bronx Zoo! This was Caden’s one request and I’m so glad we did it. The grounds are lush! It was raining but that really didn’t matter because of all of the trees.

We headed into the Bird building right away to avoid the rain and were all pleasantly surprised by all of the gorgeous birds! I will spare you the 50+ pictures my kids took of them (didn’t bring the big camera along due to rain) but we were fascinated. The zoo did a really amazing job with the enclosures. There were gorgeous paintings and lots of trees and rocks for the birds to hang out on.

Both lions were sleeping, but doesn’t he look like a curled up kitty?

I love zoos, but goodness with all of the walking. We were exhausted by this point, so we headed over and grabbed a snack so we could rest a bit. There were peacocks everywhere throughout the zoo! They must get along with every animal because we saw them in 90% of the enclosures. This guy was just wandering the zoo, and came over by everyone eating. Some kids were chasing him so I stepped in, and he followed us to our table.

If you are in New York and have the time to hit up this zoo, we all highly recommend it. It was an absolutely gorgeous zoo, and they do a fabulous job with all of the animals. Every animal has a big enclosure and plenty of room to roam and play. The one bummer was that because it was middle of the week, a lot of the shops and extra things were closed. Would be fun to get back on a sunny day!

After our subway ride back, we had intended to go to Chelsea Market for dinner, but on the walk there we passed a chicken place that had intrigued me when we passed it earlier. Dirty Chicken! The food was delicious, and everyone was happy. The girls got soup and mashed potatoes, my mom got fried chicken and I had rotisserie chicken. They even served alcohol (rose cider for the win!).

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NYC – 9/11, Grand Central, Library

Because of the dinner fiasco Sunday evening, I tried to plan a little better for Monday. We walked a ton on Sunday, so we were hoping to walk a little less, and get back to the neighborhood in time for dinner, then watch a movie before bed (Ironman for the win!). Luckily, we had walked past a mexican restaurant that fit the dinner bill perfectly on Saturday. The promise of guacamole kept us going throughout the day!

First up, 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

The museum was incredibly well done. My mom and I worried that the girls wouldn’t understand the gravity of 9/11 while going through the museum, but they do such an amazing job that that wasn’t an issue at all. I assumed there would be pictures and memorabilia, but I was not prepared for the recordings. Listening to the voicemails people left for loved ones was overwhelming, and felt intensely personal. The girls listened to everything, I only listened to some. It was a heavy experience for everyone and I’m so glad we went.

After we headed to Wall St to catch the subway. I really wanted to find the Fearless Girl statue but I’ll be honest, I was tired and I wasn’t up to googling and mapping and figuring out how to get there. And I was hungry. So we headed to another one of my favorite places – Grand Central Station – for lunch.

My next genius idea was to head to the library! The girls love reading, and I’d never been to the New York Public Library so this was the perfect pit stop. We ate some treats in Bryant Park, then found the children’s section (which was right inside the door, clearly we weren’t the first people to do this) for a little down time. The girls found graphic novels to read, mom and I hit the couch for a little rest.

Can you spy them on the steps?

After we headed back to Times Square to catch the subway I’m guessing? And then walked to Dos Caminos for dinner? No, I think went to the apartment first? Either way, highly recommend Dos Caminos. Everyone loved their food, and the guac was worth it.

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NYC – Boat Cruise + Aladdin

The weather forecast was very iffy for the week and kept changing. Sunday seemed like a day that would be relatively rain free, so we booked our harbor cruise. The timing worked out well because the dock was on 42nd Street, and we also had tickets for Aladdin at 3:00, and the theater was on 42nd Street. Since we were hitting a Broadway show, the girls dressed up! Except right after this they put their coats on and really never took them off the rest of the day, so that was kind of a bust.

We ate a small breakfast at home, then went out for crepes as kind of a brunch? Caden was really excited about the crepes and turns out, she was right to be. They were fabulous! They even had a buckwheat crepe that I could eat. The girls did dessert crepes, and my mom and I got prosciutto and brie. They were to die for.

After brunch we took the blue line up to the Times Square station and what do we see as we get to street level? Carlo’s Bakery! We are big Cake Boss fans, so the girls were thrilled. We took a quick look inside, but since we’d just eaten, we came back after the boat cruise for treats. We had plenty of time, so we wandered Times Square a bit. This area has changed so much! It was mind boggling. Lots of places for people to gather and hang out, as well as food truck type buildings. It was pretty cloudy, so the girls got a good view of the billboards, but we also walked back through at night on our way to the subway stop when they got the full Times Square experience.

The boat cruise was really well done, except it was really hard to get pictures. People sat in chairs initially, but quickly got up to take pictures on either side. I’m not the type to do that so I have people in my shots. If you want unobstructed views, book the VIP package (premier I think?) where you have the top deck and it’s much fewer people. The guy did an awesome narration, but because we were towards the back of the boat, we saw whatever building he was talking about once he moved onto the next topic. My mom and I were v. confused at first until we figured that out.

 

You go right out next to the Statue of Liberty which was perfect. The girls got a great close up view of it! The guide had lots of great facts which they totally soaked up.

Isn’t the Brooklyn Bridge beautiful? We intended to walk across it, but with the cool and rainy weather, it just wasn’t in the cards. Next trip I’m definitely getting over to Brooklyn though!

I’ve done a harbor cruise before, but I think it was an evening cruise, and I don’t remember seeing all of the different bridges. This bridge was built after the Eiffel Tower, so the bases are steel rather than granite like the Brooklyn Bridge.

Right after the Statue of Liberty it totally started raining. My mom and I laughed because this was supposed to be a day without rain! And of course it rained. Luckily, the rain ended by the time we needed to hike back up 42nd Street to go to the show. LOVED Aladdin. Totally loved it! It was 2.5 hours long, but super engaging. The costumes were amazing, the musical numbers were amazing, and the Genie totally steals the show. Highly recommend it!

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NYC – Central Park

Apologies in advance for the picture overload, but Saturday was our only sunny day and we spent it in Central Park, so I have zillion pictures.

After trekking through Belvedere Castle, we wandered down towards the boat house for a little snack. There were a ton of people renting boats! It was a miracle there were no accidents out there. After our fries and ice cream, we headed over to the Bethesda Fountain. This is one of my favorite places for people watching in Central Park. We sat down by the fountain and proceeded to take a million pictures, most of them goofy. The girls don’t necessarily get the whole people watching thing and we needed a break, so I handed over my camera and let them snap away.

After the fountain we headed down the walk, intending to head towards the southern end of the park. But, there were portrait artists everywhere and Delaney really wanted her portrait drawn. One guy waved us over but as I looked at his drawings I realized I did not want to pay for that, so I snagged the girls quickly and found a different guy (who was of course directly across from the first guy, Caden was beyond embarassed but I did not care). He said it would only take 10 minutes, but it was just about an hour to draw both girls. It looks amazing though! He did a fantastic job. We wandered up and down and checked out all of the art, watched the guy do a sand drawing, and ogled the wedding parties having their pictures taken. Also a solid people watching spot.

By this time we were tired and hungry, so we headed back to the apartment to find dinner. Eating dinner was definitely more difficult with kids. Not every restaurant has kids menus, and I was not having my kids order expensive entrees. Saturday we went to a neighborhood spot called Corner Bistro that luckily served burgers, fries, and grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with bacon. There was a hangry moment where I thought we might lose Caden, but the bacon came through for her and she now has a new favorite sandwich.

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New York City!

If you’re friends with me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve realized we were in New York City the last few days. I have been planning this trip for a very long time! New York is one of my favorite cities to visit. It’s always felt like home to me and has been somewhere I feel a pull to return to over and over. But I will definitely admit, it’s very different doing the city with kids.

Two plus years ago we went to Chicago. While we live near a big city, it’s not really a big city. Chicago was the trip to see if the girls could handle NYC. When that trip went well, I knew we’d be fine in New York. I didn’t want to go over spring break, but instead just after school let out so we’d have a shot at warmer weather. It worked out well to go this year since we were in Arizona over Thanksgiving, which made it easier to skip a spring break trip.

In the past I’ve used to points to stay at nice hotels in the city but, I don’t travel enough to have a ton of points anymore, so we used Airbnb to rent an apartment. I love staying in apartments when I vacation. I stay in a lot of hotel rooms for work and while they’re fine when you aren’t in them much, I really like having a couch to relax on, rooms for people to retreat to, and a kitchen to cook in. I looked at a lot of apartments online, and ultimately went with one in the West Village that was nicely updated, but still in an area I was familiar with and knew would be a good neighborhood. We ate breakfast at home every day, and it was nice having a refrigerator to keep snacks and leftovers in. While the apartment was small, the space was used well and it didn’t feel small at all. It was also across the street from a chocolatier, Starbucks, and above a wine shop and a french bakery. We all loved having our home base in a quiet neighborhood, especially the girls as they watched dog after dog get walked on our street from the fire escape.

More posts to come once I have a chance to process all of our pictures, but for now, a few from our first day in the city. Saturday was our only sunny, gorgeous day, so we headed straight up to Central Park. I had never explored the Belvedere Castle before, so we climbed to the top and took in the amazing views!

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Last Day of School

Today is their last day of school! Third grade has flown by! I can’t believe they’re going into fourth grade. Pretty soon it will be middle school and I’m certainly not ready for that.

Tuesday. Cool and rainy, so Caden was ready with her umbrella.

Thursday. Sunshine! Finally it’s warmed up! I asked them for a fashion pose and this is what they gave me, so maybe we need to work on that one.


Friday! It’s going to be close to 90 today! Caden was beyond excited to wear her favorite dress. 

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Memorial Weekend + Field Day

Friday was Field Day for the girls. My dad and I have volunteered the last few years, and this year my mom came along as well since she’s retired now! Now that the girls are in 3rd grade, Field Day is in the afternoon. We met them for lunch, then headed over to hand out ribbons at the 50 yard dash. You would think this would be a straight forward task but it isn’t. The kids argued with us over which place they came in. Over and over. They were wrong much of the time but that didn’t stop them. Also, there were a bunch of times when three or four kids would cross the line at the same time. So much pressure! It was fun though, and I love getting to see all of the kids that we know.


This year they added the tug of war. Caden’s classroom won the third grade contest! I’m sure it was her brute strength that gave them the advantage.

As soon as tug of war was over, we grabbed their backpacks and headed home to grab the dogs and get on the road. Our route to the cabin is the same as many, many others and we knew we would run into traffic. Which we did. It was slow going much of the way, but we stopped off and grabbed dinner which broke it up a bit.

The weather on Friday was absolutely gorgeous. Saturday was warm but cloudy, and it rained off and on. We fished a few times, and the girls swam for a bit. I thought I took way more pictures than I did, but apparently I only grabbed these two of Caden. Then the rain came so I headed up to the cabin with my camera.


Luckily we got some fishing in on Saturday, because Sunday was cold and windy. I read my book and watched the seven hour Twins game. The girls reconnected with their friend and played Barbies and ate way too much candy. We headed back to the Cities after dinner so that we could get the house organized before another busy week.


On the dog front, Midas crazy, crazy loves the lake. He has so much fun there, I think he really loves the change of scenery and the wide open spaces. I figured I would work with that tendency to run and have him practice walking on a leash. He did pretty well! As long as that was the way he wanted to go. If he didn’t, he just sat there until we picked him up and carried him. So, mostly the same as usual, but at least I did less chasing.

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Flowers! A lot less of them.

Free time has been at an all time low the last few weeks with all of our activities. With the rain, I really didn’t know when I was going to get some flowers planted. Last year I mostly replicated what I did at the old house – lots of pots of flowers on the patio. But it didn’t work. The pots looked out of place. So this year I scaled way back. A few pots out front and a few pots out back, and then focusing more on planting more perennials and more color in the back of the yard.

Delaney and I picked the flowers out on Sunday evening. It was cold! And the selection wasn’t huge so we chose quickly and figured we’d work with what we bought. I spent $50? Which is easily the least amount I’ve ever spent on flowers.

Monday night was our only free night, so we planted everything after dinner. Delaney and I strategized pot selection and placement, I filled the pots with dirt, Caden sprinkled fertilizer and Delaney planted. We are a well oiled machine! I forgot how much fun it is planting flowers with the girls. Even better that it was a low key event this year.

Delaney planted a cabbage plant that she brought home from school a month ago, and she has been steadily watering it every night. Watering is my least favorite activity, so it works well that she just waters everything now. I don’t even have to ask her which is even better.

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Ballet 2017!

The ballet recital for our studio is very low key. Rehearsal is just before, they wear their regular leotards but add a hair piece. I clearly wasn’t too worried about it, because we all overslept and only had 45 minutes to get ready and out the door!


My last ballet bun! And it was quite possibly my best. It didn’t do well once Delaney pulled her shirt over her head, but for a moment, it was perfect.

During class, most of the moms run errands, so we haven’t really gotten to know each other. But, one other mom and I have chatted a few times, and run into each other at Trader Joe’s while we’re both getting groceries, so we hung out during rehearsal. That was nice, otherwise it would have been a very long day.

The one picture I got of them! I bought them those ballet sweaters last year and they wore them almost every class. At least they got a lot of use out of them! On the recommendation of their teacher, we pulled Caden’s hair half back. We talked about a low pony, but I don’t think it would have stayed in. She could not wait to get that out! Delaney left her bun in most of the day. I just love her with her hair up.

I shot this during rehearsal, while also trying to snap a few pictures with my big camera. Of the younger kids, they knew their routine the best (although I think they also had the shortest routine and it repeated which helped). I absolutely loved their teacher and all that she taught them. They made huge progress throughout the year, and for the most part, really enjoyed class every week.

As we tend to do at this time of year, we talked about possibly doing one class next year. The classes they would be in are actually at 6:00pm, which we could make more easily than the 4:45 classes. It wouldn’t be a Saturday class, but with piano and riding, it would mean three evenings a week and do I want to do that? No, no I don’t. If we only do riding twice a month it’s a possibility? But I also would love to not spend $900 on dance again. If they had a lot of passion around dance it would make it an easier decision, but they love riding so much more, it’s not a contest.

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