The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Friday!

Summer is such a balancing act for us. I try to get out and do fun things, but also balance that with time at home. We try to hit the lake a ton, but I know we also need weekends at home too. This weekend we’re staying home, hitting some fireworks and a few of our favorite restaurants. Maybe even the new ice cream place! It’s perfect timing since I need to recharge.

Since we signed up for a pitching clinic, softball was three nights a week for us. It was a lot, but I had lunch with a baseball mom this week and when I told her our schedule she said “That sounds divine.” so perspective I guess? I did try to embrace softball and not moan and groan that I wanted to be home during the week, since I knew it would be over soon enough. But now that it is? Being home during the week is so nice! Last night we made a nice, leisurely trip to the library. Tuesday evening Delaney and I took Annabelle for a nice, long walk. It’s been really nice not to rush through things and just be home.

I may even write up a meal plan for next week and cook!

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Let’s Plan

We leave for our National Parks Road trip in less than three weeks! We’re very excited and planning is in full swing.

I booked all of the hotels back in February, so that is taken care of. What I’m trying to nail down right now is food. I know from San Diego that eating out all three meals gets expensive quick, and since this is a two week trip, we need to be smart about food.

All of the hotels have a fridge and microwave in them, and I’m going to buy a cheap toaster to bring along with us since frozen waffles is a solid meal option for everyone. (The toaster I have is a cute yellow toaster that has been with me in all four of my houses and I am not chancing leaving it in some hotel!) I also ordered plastic bowls, glasses and silverware that we can take with us. We have a cooler for the car, but we only have maybe three or four long drives? (I did not buy a Yeti thanks to Delaney, but man I want that Yeti bag cooler so bad! But we settled for an Igloo bag that will work just fine.)

I have no idea what kinds of grocery stores we’ll be able to find along the way, but I do know there are zero Trader Joe’s in South Dakota, Wyoming or Montana, so anything from there will be purchased before the trip. Here’s what I’m thinking for easy food ideas:

* Apples with peanut butter
* PB & J (I’m going to bring along gf bread and bagels)
* Frozen waffles
* Rotisserie chicken
* Oatmeal packets
* Turkey sandwiches
* Yogurt (still searching for a decent dairy free yogurt)
* Mac & Cheese cups
* Soup

What aren’t I thinking of?

I have a Thirty One bag that I’ll use to organize the food stuffs in the car, and we’ll have the cooler bag to take things with us during the day. What else?

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End of the Season

We packed it in this weekend!

Saturday was the girls’ end of the season softball tournament. It was going to be hot out, so we packed snacks, gatorade, and plenty of water. Luckily the dug outs were shaded, and some wise parents brought a tent for us to hang out underneath. Without that tent it would have been rough!

I haven’t talked a ton about this season, but it’s difficult to rank things based on win/loss because all the girls on our team swing the bat. We go for hits. The parents cheer loudly when the girls get a hit, so everyone tries to get a hit. We all love this, but it also means that girls strike out, and girls get thrown out at first. But we’re okay with this because we all would much rather they swing, than do what a lot of other teams do and hope that they get a walk. So this means we will often lose games but again, we don’t care.

We weren’t super sure how we would do in this tournament, but we won our first game! The second game was a little more difficult and we lost. It was definitely hot, and we had been making sure the girls were drinking plenty of gatorade and water. After the second game Caden told me she wasn’t feeling well. I got her under the tent and in the shade and tried to get her to eat something. She wouldn’t, and then she fairly quickly went downhill. Another mom asked if she was okay and I told her she wasn’t, so we both started stripping off her socks and shoes, getting her more water, and putting ice cubes on her neck. A dad asked if I wanted her to sit in his truck with the a/c and I was like duh! Air conditioning! So we headed to our truck to cool down. All she wanted to do was go home and go to bed, so after a few minutes I realized that was our best course of action. We had at least one more game to play, and she was miserable. Luckily, we were only 15 minutes from home, so I was able to get her home and get back for most of the last game. We lost that game, but the girls rallied and played really well so it was a great way to end the season.

So a little more craziness. I kept calling Caden every 15 minutes or so and she told me that the house was kind of warm. I thought maybe the a/c couldn’t keep up with the heat? We get home and the house is 86 degrees. Yikes! The circuit breaker had flipped so no a/c. I turned it back on, we got some fans going, and an hour later the whole neighborhood lost power! Luckily it came back on within a few hours so we were all able to get some sleep.

Sunday was the pool party at the golf club! I love their pool parties. They bring in a dj, there are tons of people at the pool, and they serve great food. Our plan was to get there earlyish and just stay for a few hours. And then we got there and it was gorgeous out, the cotton candy was delicious, the dj was playing crazy good songs, and all of our friends were there so we stayed until the end. It was glorious. I was a little worried about Caden given the day before, but she took breaks and I think all the swimming they did helped.

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The Heat

It’s been hot here this week. I don’t mind it, but I spend most of my day in air conditioning. On Wednesday, the girls were taking a field trip to the Minnesota Twins game. It never fails that this field trip happens on one of the hottest days of the summer! When the morning weather guy said it was going to be 92 with a heat index of 105, I thought Caden was going to start crying. I felt so bad!

Luckily, we were having one of their favorite meals for dinner (chicken satays with peanut sauce) and we had nothing going on that evening so we were able to hit the pool by 6:00pm. I love living 5 minutes from the pool! It’s so nice to run over there for an hour or so in the evenings to cool off. We all floated on noodles for a half hour or so, then I read my book while they made up a darts game with dive toys. It was bliss!

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Pitching

We had pitching clinic on Monday evening. The coach kept telling the girls to make sure they pivoted their hips.
Something about all of the training they have done clicked with Delaney and she understood what she was asking her to do and could do it. She pivoted her hips, flicked that wrist and was slinging that ball.

She pitched in the game last night and from her first pitch I knew she had it. She looked so good. Her pitches were coming in fast and strikes. Everyone was cheering for her, her pitches looked so good! Not everything was strikes, but she was able to strike one girl out, and a few girls got hits off her.

She was all smiles after the game. She’d pitched well and she knew it. It has been so amazing to watch both girls progress with their pitching from last fall, to this spring, to now. They have come so far!

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Bring the heat

We had a fabulous weekend! Fourth of July week was stormy, but the weekend was straight sunshine and heat.

I’m not sure about everyone else, but it can be difficult to fit in cleaning and grocery shopping in the summer. So this weekend I made sure we knocked that out Saturday morning. I got up before the girls and got breakfast going, and then immediately after sent them outside to mow the lawn and water everything while I swept and mopped the floors. It was so nice to get that done right away! As we left to go grocery shopping we hit Clean on the Roomba and came home to sparkling clean hardwood floors too. It’s the little things that make me happy these days.

And then we hit the pool! For three hours. It was so nice. The sun was out, we spent some time in the pool, and some time on our chairs reading our books. The pool is my happy place. We go sometimes during the week and I love that too, but the sun is always going down and it’s just so nice to go on a weekend when we have the time to just chill there for a bit.

Dinner! Since we had zero plans for the weekend I decided we’d go out for a nice dinner on one of the lakes Saturday evening. I did a little research and decided on Lord Fletcher’s. It’s on Lake Minnetonka, I know they have a gorgeous deck, and I haven’t been there in decades. I called just before we left and was reminded by the woman on the phone that that deck is packed and getting a table would be insane, so I made a reservation for indoors and that was the BEST idea we made all weekend. We were able to sit in their screened in porch, with full view of the big fancy boats that come and dock and have dinner, without having to deal with the craziness of the deck. I would also like to note that if you have kids who love steak, their kids steak dinner is $8 and was quite possibly some of the best steak the girls have eaten in a long time. It was perfectly cooked, tender, and just the right size.

Sunday was errands and chilling in the air conditioning. It was 90 degrees out and I thought for sure we’d hit the pool at some point to cool off but no. None of us were up for that. And that was fine. The girls spent time giggling on their iPads, and I was able to get a bunch of work done. It was a win all around.

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Revelations

I’ve had some moments throughout this journey that I’ve been on the last six to nine months. Every time I contemplate getting them down here, I waffle and wonder if they’re really a blog post and how much to share and all of that. But I decided that I’m just going to share the stories and not overthink things. So here we go!

First, I’ve done far more personal development in the last nine months than I have in the last nine years. It just wasn’t something I dove into, though I don’t know why. I can guess, but it is what it is.

There’s a promotion at work that I’ve been going after for over 10 years. When I had kids I pulled back on my career for a bit, but this title was always in my sights. And yet, it was never mine. Either I wasn’t in consideration, or I was approached but ultimately turned it down. Say what? Yes. I was offered this role twice at least, and after considering it I turned it down. At times I wasn’t sure I wanted the responsibilities that went with the role, at other times I was worried it would affect my family too much.

The thing is, before now, I wasn’t ready for it. I didn’t have the experience or the confidence in myself to step into this role. I also didn’t have the maturity to lead a larger team and deal with all that comes with. But I learned. I stopped discounting the knowledge I did have (oh imposter syndrome, you’re the best!) and started realizing that maybe I did know what I was doing.

I also gained a lot of clarity throughout this R+F journey. I realized that one of the things I was passionate about was leading a team, pulling together that team culture, your ride or die tribe, and connecting with the people on my team. And while that was one of the things that excited me about Rodan+Fields, I also do that every day at my day job. Obviously I knew I lead teams, but there was something about connecting the dots of “I want to build a team and spend my time coaching and mentoring them” and then realizing hold up! I actually do spend my days doing that already! This realization clarified my career path and when the role came open, I said yes without hesitation. I knew it was the right decision, I didn’t hesitate about whether or not I could do the job, and I stepped into it excited about all of the new possibilities. Would I have done that a year ago? Nope. I would have found reason after reason why it wouldn’t work for me. But this time I knew, this was the role I was meant to have.

This is a long way of saying, I think it’s healthy to do a lot of different things in your career. But if you’re stuck, maybe look at yourself. I was sending so many mixed signals about how I felt about the position, how I felt about my company, and truly all the things it was no wonder the universe didn’t know if I wanted the position or not. But once I felt it in my bones, it was done.

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Mama’s Time

When I signed the girls up for this sleep away camp I thought “Mama is going to get some time to herself!” And then you realize it’s really only two nights away. But! I was determined to be intentional about how I spent that time. There have been other nights when the girls have had sleepovers and I usually end up just watching tv or cleaning. Those are both worthy pursuits, but I didn’t want to just have it be a normal night.

I dropped them off Wednesday afternoon, then came back home to work a few more hours. Wednesday was my evening to myself. I took the dogs for a walk, I worked on an assignment in my goal setting/mindset class about what my dream house looks like (I had a lot of ideas to get down!), I worked on some R+F stuff, and then I realized it was only 7:00! It’s amazing how much you can get done when you aren’t hustling two girls home and through dinner and everything else. And then I watched tv because I was out of things to do.

The house was really quiet though, which made me realize that I am so, so thankful I took that big leap over 10 years ago and got pregnant on my own. The one night to myself was good, but I missed the hustle and bustle that is our life. My kids talk a lot and ask a lot of questions and sometimes it drives me batty, but it was good to realize I don’t really want the flip side either. Attitude of gratitude. I’m trying!

Thursday I went to happy hour with two girlfriends at a local cider beer taproom. Since I can’t drink beer, I usually choose cider, but not all ciders are good. I love Sociable Ciderwerks, and was super excited to try out some of their other flavors. It was so good to have something to look forward to all day, to get out and try a new (hipster) spot, and to chat with my girlfriends. We talked about sending kids off (to wherever, a coworker’s kids are going to another country for a month to visit family) and how long is the perfect break. I’ll be honest, overnight sleepovers are great, two nights at sleep away camp is great, and I think a week would be great. I know there are so many kids who are gone longer than that, but I’m not sure I’d love that for us. Although if I were married that would probably be a different answer. Definitely a different answer.

Can you believe I dragged this whole thing out into an entire blog post? Eek. Does anyone else overthink what they’re going to do with their kid free time?

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Camp!

The girls went to their very first sleep away camp last week! We know a few kids who have gone to this camp for a week, but when we started talking about it this winter it became clear that a week would be too long. We decided on a three day, two night camp and one of their friends was going to go too. Even though they would have their sister there, it always seems easier to do new things with a friend.

Leading up to camp they were both excited, but as we drove closer and closer they both got a little nervous. I didn’t blame them! But, they settled in quickly and I knew they’d be fine. They had been to other YMCA day camps before, and the setting looked very similar, which I think helped.

I feel like I should interject here that I never went to sleep away camp. Our church didn’t have one, and I didn’t know anyone that went to one, so it’s not like it was a thing where I grew up. But, if had gone to one, I’d want it to look just like this one. Cute dining hall, dark log cabins, next to a lake, in the woods. It was exactly what you’d dream up for a camp!

I dropped them off Wednesday afternoon and picked them up Friday afternoon. I was towards the later end of the pick up window which definitely caused some anxiety, plus it was hot as blazes. They were pretty sedate when I picked them up. I thought they would be excited to see me, but they just seemed really tired.

On the drive home Caden talked nonstop about the food. Delaney said most of the things she ate made her stomach hurt. I’m going to go out on a limb and say she was probably pretty anxious, and that was the cause of the stomach aches, but who knows. They did give me a rundown of their time and it seemed like they had fun? Even if that wasn’t what they were necessarily saying. When I asked Delaney if she wanted to go back next year for a week she said no without hesitation. I was kind of bummed! I really had hoped they’d have fun at this camp, make friends, have some new adventures, and maybe next year want to go for a week. (To be honest, I’m conflicted about them being away for a week. On the one hand, a break is nice. On the other, I love my kids and love spending time with them, and don’t really want them gone for a week. With just me at home it gets a little boring.)

Long story longer, by Sunday when we were talking about camp with my aunt they both had a much more positive attitude about their time there. It became clear that Caden was more impacted by camp (more on that later this week), but I do think they’ll both go back next year, but for the shorter version not for a week. I always think doing new things like this are growth opportunities, and this one definitely was. Delaney always likes to help my dad, but I feel like she was extra helpful this weekend. Caden was also helpful in ways she usually isn’t. Camp seemed to kickstart some things for her which I love.

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At the barn

There was a week off from riding lessons between the school year lesson schedule and the summer lesson schedule. My wallet didn’t mind the break, but the rest of us did. We love being at the barn and being around the horses. It’s a bit crazy to me that this has only been a thing for us for the last two years! How did we ever do lessons just once a month?

I don’t have to help the girls get their horses ready anymore, but I still like to be there when they do that so I can love on their horse. All of these horses have such different personalities. We all have our favorites, but I give them all love. After lessons I give treats to all of the horses. I used to just give treats to the horses that the girls rode, but then I started giving them to all of my favorites and at this point, pretty much everyone gets treats.

Except, there is one horse that I avoided because I was told by one of the girls that she was a biter. During their lesson this week I was standing at the gate watching, and this horse (Landra) was waiting there for her turn. Landra immediately started bumping me with her nose until I scratched her. Poor girl wanted her chance at some love too! She got lots of treats after! I’m not sure if she used to bite or what, but she was total sweetheart on Monday.

So while I was at the gate, every horse that was waiting by us turned to me for pets. One of them full on burrowed his head into my shoulder. Ha! They all know I hand out the treats! I love that they love me. Like LOVE that they love me.

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