The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Two Weeks In

It’s been two weeks since I’ve started my Rodan + Fields journey so I thought I would update with my thoughts and impressions. Full disclosure, this will not be a regular thing.

I’ve been at my day job for over 17 years now. That’s a long time at one place. Starting this business was like starting a new job, without having to leave my old job. New processes to learn, new lingo to learn, and a whole new industry to learn. Without a doubt the thing that has surprised me the most is how thirsty I am to learn all this new information. Every night I’m digging into the product info to learn more so I can better advise my customers. I’m reading books on network marketing, trying to figure out how to do this in a way that feels genuine to me. I’m watching videos and reading blog posts by people who have been crazy successful. It’s been so FUN. I absolutely didn’t expect this, but I’m loving it! It’s also been fun to think about events and Facebook posts and think strategically about how I want to run this business. Like I said, I’m absolutely loving this aspect of it.

The week after I joined was Rodan + Field’s annual convention. Such perfect timing. I was able to get virtual access to the talks and watch from my computer. It was such great information! And it was so great to see just how supportive everyone is of each other. In this business, you are only successful if your team is successful. For me, that is so powerful. At my day job I build and manage teams, so to think about how I can carry that over to here has been exciting.

They also talked about how need to be genuine and authentic when you talk to people about the business or the products, and that you really need to focus on them and not yourself. This was good to hear since that is easily the thing that I am most nervous about. I’m still very much a work in progress on that front so if I pitch the business to you and you say no, please know I will not be offended. More than anything I need practice!

At first I was thinking this would be a little side income. A little extra for horseback riding, a little extra for travel. But after watching convention and realizing there are people out there making five, six, and seven figures a month doing this, I readjusted my expectations. Maybe this could be more than a little extra on the side? Long term goal, I’d love to make enough to quit my day job. How amazing would it be to be able to decide how to spend my time every day? To focus more on the dog rescue work that I love, or quality time with the kids? But let’s be realistic, first, I’m risk averse, so it would take a lot of banked money for me to quit my job. Second, most don’t make that kind of money. But! I’m definitely going all in with this to see what I can do.

Here’s my shameless plug. I really do love this company and their products. It’s a great time to become a part of our team since they are also offering some amazing incentives for new consultants. Do you know anyone that would be a good fit? For the business or the products? I’ve love to talk to them!

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We are being intentional about a lot of things at our house these days. It seems that with time at a premium, unless we are all on top of it and really making an effort, things slide and then that’s no good.

We are being intentional about spending quality family time together. Less screen time, more family time. Even though I’ve paid for all of these online services, I decided I have to just let that go. We played Ticket to Ride last Saturday, and last night watched a Percy Jackson movie together. Even if we’re all just sitting on the couch watching a show together, that’s better than everyone in a separate room doing their own thing. It’s been good and the girls are really on board and making suggestions as well.

We are being intentional about bed and wake times. I don’t know what it is about fall but our sleep just goes out of whack every year. I used to put them to bed and let them read, and they would turn their lights off on their own. No more. I’m trying to be more strict about the 8:30 bedtime, and more strict about the 9:00pm lights out rule. There were nights they weren’t asleep until 10:30 and that wrecks the next day. I’m also waking them at 7:15am no matter what time they fall asleep the night before. It makes our mornings go so much smoother!

We’re being intentional with the dogs. Somehow Annie and Midas gained weight this summer and extra weight on tiny dogs is no good. We’ve been doing walks for Annie (and Lark) and really making sure no one feeds any extras to the dogs. I’m also trying to be sure to get them outside frequently so we don’t have accidents in the house. Now that we’re back down to four dogs, I want to work with them on letting us know they need to go out. Occasionally they’ll go to the back door, but I want to really lock that skill in.

I’m also trying to be more intentional about keeping the house clean and not letting messes pile up. We’re making progress, but we shall see if that one sticks.

**Hazel update. Her parents emailed that she is better than advertised and they are so in love. Miss that little nugget, but Annie has stepped up in her absence and has been sleeping with the girls and snuggling with them on the couch.


Less Screens

Last Saturday a coworker had a bunch of us out to his house for some barbecue. He is a pro at smoking meats so I was really looking forward to this and the food did not disappoint! He did a beef brisket and two chickens. I’m not a huge smoked chicken girl, but I have never had chicken that juicy and moist ever. It was life changing. He may have converted me to brining the night before.

As we were hanging out we were talking Minecraft and Roblox and all the various things kids play on computers, ipads, and xbox these days. We all groaned about the insane youtube videos they love to watch and how none of us get the appeal of Minecraft. I can’t believe my kids are still loving and playing that game two plus years later!

We also got onto the topic of turning the games off, and how that can result in not so happy, whiny kids. We are very definitely in that space right now.

I continue to kick myself for not putting in any sort of play structure at this house. Now that we’re home more, the girls want to play xbox, go on their ipad, play on the computer, or watch tv at every turn. There isn’t a ton for them to do outside, and while there are plenty of toys, games, and crafts to do inside, they forget about all of that. I feel like we get better the more we are home, and we find board games and puzzles and all of that, but right now it’s a constant request for some sort of screen time and I’m over it. I’m also over their attitudes about everything as well. If I say no, I’m the meanest mom ever.

Lately our evenings have been crazy. We all get home at the same time and it’s a mad rush to get the dogs let out and get dinner started. They’ve been parking their butts on the couch and watching tv which I get, a little downtime can be necessary. But their attitudes were awful and I was over it. Starting last night, I’ve banned the tv until 7pm and you know what? Wednesday evening was glorious.

I feel like we are wading into dangerous territory. I’ve paid for three subscriptions – Marvel comics on their iPad, Tynker coding on the computer, and xbox live. If I’m going to pay for these things, I want them to use them. On the flip side, I want less screen time! We need to figure out how to have both. Tokens have worked well for us, but I can tell those rules aren’t working as well since I’ve had to go back on decisions multiple times lately. Per the usual, as soon as you get into a good routine, everything changes!

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The first IB unit of the year is always “Who We Are”. Each grade dives into that question differently. I remember in kindergarten they did a self portrait, this year they are studying about their own cultures and heritages.

Here’s the problem. We don’t really have one. The girls keep saying we’re American, but that’s not really a culture. We’ve done the 23andme testing and their ancestry is 27.4% French & German, 26% British & Irish. We’re supposed to talk about foods, dance, family traditions from our culture and I’m drawing a blank. I’m sure my great grandmas made amazing German food, but I don’t even like german potato salad.

Delaney loves crepes, so I said that could play into her French heritage? Caden said since they’re British she could use bacon. I was all – ummmm no? We know our ancestors are from Germany, so maybe research that? I’m hoping we can include some German things even though they aren’t our traditions or family recipes?

Any ideas?


A New Venture

I posted about this on Facebook yesterday, but I wanted to expand on it a bit here.

I’ve been interested in personal finance for a long time. As a single mom, I try to be frugal, to be wise and intentional with my money. When the girls were younger daycare took up a big chunk of our budget. Now that they’re older, it’s the activities. Even with just piano and horseback riding, it adds up! There are also so many places we want to travel to.

I follow a few different personal finance blogs. A few have retired early, a few have bought multiple rental properties, a few have paid off their mortgages. Lately I’ve felt really inspired by all of this. It seems like with every story, there’s also a story of their side hustle, these little ventures started on the side that if you do it right, can bring in some solid income. Good Morning America even did a piece of side hustles last week! I’ve been on the hunt but honestly, I’m a single mom with a full time job! I just couldn’t find the right fit.

A few weeks ago a coworker told me her friend was selling Rodan and Fields. I’d heard of it, but didn’t know much about it. We started talking and she told me about the Lash Boost. I did a little googling and what the what?! My lashes are sad. The next day I told her I needed to talk to her friend.

I ended up ordering the Redefine regimen along with the Lash Boost and immediately I noticed how soft my skin was. For the last 10 years I’ve been fairly minimal with my skincare routine. I use goat milk soap and a moisturizer heavy with vitamin e. It did the job but let’s be honest, I’m not getting any younger and what I was doing wasn’t going to combat the wrinkles! My new skincare routine is definitely more than I used to do, but it feels good to spend a little more time on my skin, especially when I noticed how much more confident it made me when I was makeup free.

The more I heard about the money her friend was making selling this, the more intrigued I became. No parties. No inventory. Work from anywhere. Could this be my fit? Yes!

And so, who needs some Rodan and Fields skincare?!

I’m hoping a few things with this new venture. First, that it reconnects me with my friends. I’ve been an awful introvert lately. Some of it is just time, but some of it is an awful anxiety I’ve gotten about socializing as my hormones go wonky. It’s not fun, and I miss my friends, so if this is the push I need to schedule coffee or lunch then so be it. Second, I really do want to bring this fantastic skincare line to people. I love the science behind it, and I love that it’s a product that’s been on the market for a long time and is proven to work. And third? I name my savings accounts. I’d like to add to ‘Horseback Riding’ and ‘Travel’ a little faster than I’m adding now. The girls want saddles, and I want to travel to Hawaii, so lets make those things happen.

If you’re interested, please reach out to me! The website is a little tricksy to navigate, and I can explain things and help you find the best deals. I’ll hopefully be doing promotions and freebies on Facebook, so if we’re not already friends, please add me!

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I can’t believe I haven’t written a post about Alexa before this!

We have three echo dots. One in the kitchen, one in the girls room, and one in my bedroom. We love them! I think once you get used to using them, you really kind of want one in every room.

The kitchen. We use this one for timers, alarms, reminders, shopping lists, and the news. In the winter we’ll play 21 questions or other games, or I’ll play a podcast while I’m cooking dinner. Realizing I could play a podcast through the dot was huge! Even though I kind of knew my news was a podcast, listening to other podcasts that way has been a game changer. Also a game changer? Reminders. I use them all the time to remind the girls to let the dogs out, turn off their lights, or to give Midas his eye drops. LOVE!

The girls room. They use it mostly for music. They fall asleep to music every night, and frequently play music any time they’re in their room. Caden has had a lot of trouble falling asleep lately, so I found a guided meditation skill for her. One of my main issues is that we’ll enable a skill, but then won’t remember the magic word when we want to use it, so I wrote it out on a post-it note for her and she has it next to her bed. Not sure if it helps, but if they can’t fall asleep we at least try it. Caden also sets an alarm if she needs to get up early, and when they remember they get the forecast.

My room. I used to have an alarm clock because I like being able to know what time it is if I wake up in the middle of the night, and I like waking up to the radio. However, my clock was never ever the right time and you couldn’t reset the time! When it was 19 minutes ahead I threw it out and ordered another dot. I use it mostly for the alarm, time, and weather, and occasionally will play a podcast on it. I almost forgot! We use it as a sound machine. The girls listen to ocean waves and I like the babbling brook.

Anyone else out there use an Alexa? Have a favorite skill you recommend? Do you have a good way of remembering how to use the skills you don’t use frequently?

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Tiny Bits

* I had planned a chicken verde in the crockpot for Monday but didn’t have time that morning to pull it together, so I threw it in yesterday morning. I had grabbed chicken thighs instead of breasts from the freezer, but I figured that might even work better? Dumped half a jar of Trader Joe’s salsa verde in and set it for 6 hours on low. As I walked in the house last night I had a pit in my stomach. I had zero plan for the chicken, and really wasn’t in the mood for tacos. It wasn’t a soupy mess so that was good. I shredded it a bit and cooked some rice. Done and done and everyone loved it. Delaney immediately grabbed seconds and asked for it to be on the menu again soon. What an absolute, complete surprise!

* Caden is bored at school. I keep hoping things will kick up a notch, but she still reports every day as boring. Anyone have any math ideas that would challenge her? She does Khan Academy at school, so that’s out. We have searched for math apps that are challenging, but not too, without much luck. I don’t think it helps that her class is rowdy, and so they spend a lot of time trying to quiet down. Last night she told me she’s not having a great fourth grade year, which just bums me out. I was debating emailing the teacher, but parent teacher conferences are coming up soon so I’ll probably just wait until then to discuss.

* I really need to do a post on our awesome LuLaRoe kids clothes, but until then, if you have little girls check out their kids clothes! The leggings are super soft and their dresses are adorable. We picked up a few more of each last week at a school fundraiser. The girls wore their other stuff so much this summer, it just made sense.

* Midas has been extra grumpy lately and I always worry that means he is hurting. I’m giving him extra snuggles and debating taking him to the eye doctor for peace of mind.


Meal Planning

When I sat down to meal plan for September I realized that one of the reasons I didn’t want to cook this summer was because I didn’t want to eat a lot of the meals we’d been having over and over. Being gluten and dairy free can be limiting. We’d gotten into a rut of protein + vegetable and I was sick of it. I’ve been trying to expand our menu options, and think beyond what we’ve been eating the last few years, but it’s difficult.

The other thing I realized this summer was that we don’t need a huge dinner. We survived just fine on cereal, yogurt, and other small, easy meals. Every January I try to buckle down and not eat out or buy anything we don’t need. Last January I followed a protein based meal plan. It was so amazing having everything planned out for you, but our grocery and food budget was more than we’d been spending other months when we were eating out a fair amount! So much food waste. And so, I’ve realized I want to rethink our meals.

One resource recommended a framework for the week. I love this idea, but we don’t always fit into it very well. While I love a good stir fry when we eat out, we don’t do well with them at home so asian night generally consists of fried rice. I’d love to do an easy tex/mex night, but what to do besides tacos?

I’m trying to hunt down more pasta recipes that we would all eat, as well as soups. I also love the idea of a grain bowl night. That would be so easy to throw leftovers together, or items that you can prep earlier in the week.

I also need to remember we are not good at eating leftovers. I made pesto last week and it’s still sitting in the fridge. Will we eat the rest? Probably not. Grilled a steak last week and the leftovers are yep, still in the fridge. It should be easy and yet, it’s not. We just don’t do well with them. I look at the tupperware in the fridge and think – there must be something else to eat right?

And so, it’s an ever evolving thing. I still love planning all of the meals for the month, but I’ve learned to just write ‘Easy’ for a few nights each week. I’ve also learned to have some frozen meals on hand for those nights when there isn’t anything else readily available.


So Delaney

The girls had softball evaluations last night. First they pitched, then they had skills evaluations a little later. I really had no idea what to expect from this since they only do this for 10U and up.

For skills they had to bat, field ground balls, then catch fly balls. The balls were coming a lot faster than they were used to, but they both hit a few. Fielding ground balls was pretty standard and they did well there. For fly balls, they used a machine to launch them. We practiced pop flies this summer, but nothing like this.

Caden was first and she got a few in her glove, but they popped back out again, but a few went over her head as well. When it was Delaney’s turn, she caught quite a few! I was impressed! When she came off the field she told us that she watched the girl in front of her, and noticed that the ball always came to the same spot every time. (They had the girls start from different spots so they had to move up, back, and side to side, but she was right.) So she always ran to that spot, and then she was at least in the right area to catch the ball. I had to laugh, because this is so Delaney. Watch, analyze, and then learn from the person ahead of you. This kid is destined for science!

**To be fair, Caden was the first to go through the stations and didn’t have the opportunity watch anyone do it before her.

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The Weekend

I was chatting with a coworker Friday afternoon and told her I was a little nervous since we didn’t have much planned for the weekend. I’m not used to having to seek out activities, with summer there’s always something going on. But, we made it!

Friday evening we went to the Homecoming parade. Ours is … short? It wasn’t much but we ran into friends so the girls were happy. Afterwards we went to the club for dinner. I had the most divine halibut, and we were able to sit outside! Definitely a solid end to our week.

Saturday started off with some solid piano lessons. My plan is to clean during lessons, but with five dogs in the house, it’s practically full time job keeping them quiet for an hour and a half, so that’s pretty much what I did. Oh well. After, we ran over to the adoption event to grab a jacket for Midge. It’s getting cold out and with her cast, she can’t wear anything I have in her size. While there, we saw Libby. It was so sad you guys. Before we got there she was hiding in a corner and wouldn’t let anyone pick her up. When she saw us, she immediately came over and let me pick her up. The other fosters came right over and couldn’t believe it. I almost started crying. Two fosters went back and forth about who would be able to take her. I’m so glad she didn’t have to go back to boarding.

Next up, bounce house party! That was the perfect social event for us. Parents that I like, kids that the girls like, plus some sugar and a physical activity. It was really fun.

For dinner I made homemade pesto with the basil we’ve been growing and tried to get everyone to bed at a normal hour. I’m not sure what was in that pesto, but we all slept until 9:45am Sunday morning. As I grabbed my phone to turn the alarm off, I kept looking at the time. How on earth did we all sleep that late? Clearly our bodies all needed the sleep but still. We did have yet another chat about how the girls have to fall asleep before 10:00pm, but we shall see if it makes a difference.

Sunday was cleaning, cleaning, and some more cleaning. It felt good to be productive. We were home all day so we got our cleaning done, took the dogs for a walk, practiced softball, and mowed the lawn. I organized the girls’ bookcase a bit, and they reorganized their dresser. Both are major dumping grounds, but their room still needs more work. Next weekend.

Overall, a fairly boring weekend, but what are you going to do?

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