The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Blankets for Doggos

I posted on Facebook about how I’m busier than ever. I’ve taken on some new responsibilities with the dog rescue, my R+F business is growing, plus work, plus getting ready for vacation, there’s a lot going on! But it’s all stuff I’m excited about, and I’m in the mindset where I really want to do these things so it feels good.

For the rescue, I’m in charge of fundraising. Someone suggested an idea that people could sponsor dogs as they came into our rescue, and that they could also purchase a blanket for the dog. Because we have dogs coming up on Saturday, I really needed these blankets done quickly. Because we are vacation prepping my time was limited and I decided I’d just sew the six blankets myself. Maybe not the best plan? It didn’t take a ton of time to sew them once I figured things out, but my eyes were so tired by the end. All that focusing was exhausting. But the blankets turned out really cute! If you’re interested in donating one or sponsoring a pup, go here!

Let’s all take a moment to admire my straight freaking lines. This was clearly the last blanket I sewed and I had figured out how to keep things from bulging everywhere. But didn’t the blankets turn out so cute? It was really hard to pick the fabrics, there are SO many adorable fleece prints! We bought enough to do three different designs, and I”m going to try to get back to JoAnns to buy more while the fleece is still on sale.

Beyond sewing, we hit up the Club for dinner Friday and breakfast Sunday. I do so adore going out for dinner on Friday nights. I look forward to someone else cooking, and a glass of really good wine with really good food. Our dinner was perfection! (Breakfast was too, they really do a great job with the food there and so many gluten free choices for me.)

The girls also finally watched Wonder Woman! I kind of forgot about it and then realized it was on HBO and we didn’t even need to rent it. They loved it!

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Overall, the girls are not super picky eaters, but we’ve never been able to break through on vegetables. They like snap peas, edamame, corn, and potatoes. Pretty much everything else is a solid no go. I have tried many times and in many ways to get them to expand those horizons to no avail.

I’m not sure what brought it on, but a month ago Caden declared that she was going to start eating healthier. There was a lot of candy consumed in December and January, and she’s pretty aware of how her body feels after she eats something. In order to eat healthier, she decided to try the salads at school. The girls have tried salads before, but they mostly eat things one at a time, and let’s be honest, lettuce on its own just doesn’t taste great. But, she ate them a few times a week and continued to eat them. I was astounded.

On Monday we were looking at the lunch menu and if they would need to bring home lunch and she said no, she’ll just eat the Veggie Salad at school. Like any reasonable parent I kept my cool and said “Veggie salad? What’s on that?” Veggies! “And you eat the veggies?” That’s basically the whole salad Mom!

Who is this kid?

Tuesday was Taco Salad and she declared it best salad ever. I don’t disagree. I’m trying to figure out how to bring this openness to vegetables home, but I’m also wary of pushing things. Even if she only eats these salads at school, that’s still better than not eating them!

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Rescue Weekend

Let’s start with Friday. Some weeks I plan meals and I execute them and we eat really well. Some weeks I just don’t have time to plan at all, so we wing it and that never really goes well. Last week I made chicken Sunday, thinking we could eat it in different ways all week, but it just didn’t work that way. I worked from home on Friday, so I spent a little time looking in the fridge to see what we had, and hunting down a recipe online for shrimp and asparagus risotto. Risotto goes over really well in our household, everyone likes it and it’s a group cooking process that Delaney really loves. While I prepped dinner, the girls got in the spirit and made gluten free chocolate chip cookies! It was really nice to eat a good meal, and to have all of us in the kitchen together.

Saturday! We had piano lessons after having a few weeks off. Sometimes having a week or two off can throw off our practice schedule, but we stayed diligent and the girls had a really good lesson! Delaney is playing a jazzy piece that I just love. She loves it too and even the piano teacher was surprised by how well and how fast she could play it.

Saturday was a fundraising event for the dog rescue. I’m now in charge of our fundraising events, so if anyone has tips or tricks or great events, send them my way! This rescue is a fairly tight group of people, so it’s fun to see everyone at these events.

We also hit a 6:15 showing of Wrinkle in Time! I wasn’t sure if we’d see this movie based off the trailer, but the stars promoted it every morning last week on Good Morning America, so by Thursday both girls wanted to see it. Our usual theater didn’t have the best times, so I looked at a theater the bus stop moms had recommended that has recliner seats. They had the perfect time, it was smaller so less chaotic, closer to our house, and a better snack bar. Granted no one there knew what was gluten free so next time I’ll do my homework, but we’re excited to have a new theater! AND, we all loved the movie. If your kids are into the fantasy genre, or love the stories that are set in big worlds that really require your imagination, they will love the movie.

Sunday! An adoption event! I did my classic maneuver of “Are you here to see a specific dog? Oh, looks like someone is holding her right now let me introduce you to Tito!” One family seemed possibly interested in him? Although it was hard to tell. He was pretty overwhelmed by the puppies there, so someone held him most of the time. He did play a little, and he snuggled up to a few of the volunteers, but he was much less social than I expected him to be. Some good news though! Ramsey got adopted at the event! A few weeks ago we found a foster that was willing to do a foster to adopt scenario, and they loved him and decided to adopt him! She was telling me about him and I just had to shake my head. He really needed a big dog brother to help him be confident, and now that he has that he’s doing so well. Lesson learned, stick to the little dogs!

And after all of that, this introvert was done. We headed home and everyone headed to their respective space for an hour of peace and quiet. Well, I got peace and quiet, the girls built their ranch on Minecraft.

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Snow Day

Per the usual, we were supposed to get snow and the weather people were totally building it up. The system was going to hang around for a few days, and no one knew how much snow we’d get but they were predicting a lot. I was chatting with someone from the dog rescue and since she works at a school, she was hoping for a snow day. I told her our district NEVER closes for snow. Wouldn’t you know, later that evening got the email that our school would be closed! (It was raining off and on Sunday, so the snow after was really going to get messy on top of ice.)

There is definitely a difference between a snow day with little kids and a snow day with 10-year-olds. I holed up in my office and got a ton of work done. They watched tv, played legos, listened to music, and read books. It was an easy peasy day! Of course the snow didn’t start until 3:00, but I did hear that the roads were not the best. Personally, I’d rather they cancel early and be safe. It allows everyone to plan and not have to scramble last minute!

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* I eliminated dairy for the last five days and guess what? I feel amazing! There were a few times when I had to consciously make a different choice than the one I wanted to, but in the end, it’s worth it. By doing this I’ve also cut back on sugar since chocolate was one huge way dairy was sneaking into my diet. The sugar cravings are strong! But I feel so much better when I really limit my dairy and sugar. My diet isn’t completely where I want it, but it’s much better than where it was a week ago.

* Sleep. I think if you tallied up all of the posts on this blog, sleep posts would win. Maybe not in the last few years, but it’s definitely been on a constant theme for us, even if I’m not posting about it. Bedtime has been very slippery for us the last year. Sometimes that’s fine, other times it isn’t. With the Olympics and Black Panther, things had gotten out of hand. The girls were getting to bed too late, and then Caden especially was having a hard time falling asleep which made everything worse. This week I’ve been focused on getting them into bed by 8:30/8:45, so that they’re asleep by 10:00pm. They aren’t super thrilled, but it’s good for everyone.

* My sleep. I’ve also been making an effort to get myself in bed earlier. I know that in order to get up and exercise in the mornings, I need to get to bed early enough to get my 8 hours in. My problem is that I have some really good books on my kindle right now, which makes putting that down and turning out the light difficult! I’m a work in progress at this point.

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The new car smell

Our car doesn’t have that new car smell, but hopefully you’ll get where I’m going with this.

So I loved my Endeavor, and when I got it in 2003 I upgraded so it had the nice sound system and the big sun roof. But you guys, a lot has happened in technology since 2003 and cars these days! They’re kind of amazing. A numbered list, since they’re my favorite.

1. Different driving modes. Normal, Snow, Lock. I know all wheel drive existed before 2003, but having a truck that can handle snow is THE BEST. It’s so nice to feel confident driving in 8 inches of snow.

2. Keyless all the things! My keys stay in my purse now! The whole keyless start was fairly obvious, but I didn’t realize I had the keyless locks until I talked to my friend Sarah (and then I had to read the manual). When I want to lock the doors I just push the button on the door handle! And to unlock, same thing! I don’t have to fish through my purse to find my keys!

3. Automatic back gate. It took us a bit to figure out where to push on the back gate to get it to go up (okay that was just me, Caden figured it out quickly), but no longer do I get salt and grime on my coat as I heft that bad boy up OR down. Because there’s a button to close it too!

4. Bluetooth. I listen to a lot of sports talk radio because I get sick of the music radio stations quickly. But honestly, there is only so much hockey/basketball talk I can handle too. Now I can listen to podcasts on my commute! We listened to one on the way out to riding lessons and the girls were very intrigued. I’m on the hunt for some good family podcasts for our road trip next summer. Rec me what you love! I only have a few and I’ll obviously burn through those quickly. (Family or for me!)

5. Bluetooth part 2. I can take phone calls in the car without risking my life. Driving out of downtown can be tricky. There are like 5 lanes of cars merging and crossing and I need to concentrate, and it never fails that the girls call me right then. Now I can answer and talk and drive and not worry.

6. Leather seats. I love the leather. The heated seats are not as life changing as I hoped they would be, but I definitely appreciate them. Did I tell you that originally I wrote this car off because the interior was tan leather and I thought it looked weird? It doesn’t.

7. It’s clean. After driving a vehicle for 14 years through a lot of dogs and two children, I cannot tell you how gross it was. There was no getting it clean, no matter how much scrubbing you did. Do not underestimate the power of clean. Even the girls are on board with keeping it clean.

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Black Panther

It snowed in Minnesota on maybe Wednesday last week? And we were supposed to get more snow on Saturday. The new snowblower I have wouldn’t start. My dad was giving me ideas on getting it fixed, but hauling a snowblower to the local hardware store is not on my list of things that I can do. And yet, I really didn’t want to shovel another 10 inches of snow. Short story short, my dad called the hardware store and had them deliver me a snowblower on Friday! I gave them my garage code and didn’t even have to be home for it! It was amazing since we totally got 8 inches of snow and the snowblower took care of it in 20 minutes.

So Saturday. We had a few things going on during the day. My new R+F team member had her launch party! I know R+F isn’t a party company, but I do love doing events and talking to people about the products and how they can help with their skin issues. It was super fun and successful, and it’s always fun to see her friends that I only reconnect with occasionally.

Afterwards the girls and I headed to the West End for dinner and Black Panther! A few of our friends were going to go with us, but with the snow coming they rightly backed out. The movie was amazing, but by the time we got out of the theater we had six inches of snow and the plows hadn’t been out at all. If we didn’t have our new truck and it’s amazing AWD, we wouldn’t have made it home. I love so many things about our new car (possibly a post on that this week!) but the way it handles in snow is number one for me right now!

So the movie! It’s amazing. I’ve talked before about how my girls love graphic novels. They read everything, but we’ve very specifically requested everything in the Black Panther series. They love that storyline and were so excited to watch it come to life in the movie. You know that scene in the trailer where there’s a car chase? As soon as that came on Caden started giggling and got so excited. She’s definitely my action comic girl. Both girls very much loved the movie. I especially loved how there were so many amazing female characters. The sister far and away stole the show for me, they both loved Nakia.

A quick side note, I can no longer sit close to the front of the theater. We were in the first row of the back section and I was wishing I had my cheater glasses with me. It was just too close for me to be able to see everything in focus. Waaaa!

Sunday was a chill day, but not nearly as productive as I hoped it would be considering we had zero on our calendar. I hate those days! We did make a great Target run where we crossed a lot of things off our list, but I didn’t get things cleaned like I wanted to, and I’m not really sure where the time went.

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I need a reboot

So. I’ve been feeling pretty crappy lately. My diet has gotten off track and I’m eating more and more dairy, often without taking a dairy pill so I feel the effects for hours after. I’m not exercising, not even getting walks in like I was when we had Ramsey. I’m not sleeping the best. My mood is all over the place. I’m cranky, I’m sarcastic, it’s been awful. You guys, hormones are no joke and at almost 45, I have years left of this craziness.

I was reading an article about lessening perimenopause symptoms and I’m doing none of it. Exercise? Nope. Cut your caffeine? Nope. Cut out sugar? Ha! Get more sleep? Not that either. I’m trying to manage this myself before I go back to my doctor, but it’s clearly not working.

I’m contemplating a Whole30. There’s part of me that thinks if I can get my eating back in line and put more focus on that that, overall I’ll feel better and that will translate into more sleep and exercise. But a Whole30 is a lot. I’ve tried to do these and it’s just so much prep work. The girls are also in a phase where they are very willing to try new foods, so I hesitate to throw that off track.

It’s clear I need to do something though, so for now I think I’m going to get rid of the dairy. On a good week I’ll eat dairy once or twice, small amounts that a dairy pill can manage. Lately it’s been every day. I’m also hoping to focus more on our dinners. I’ve been punting a lot lately, forgetting to take meat out or planning something that will take too long or too much energy to make. I need to find some solid, healthy meals we all like to eat that are protein/veggie focused. Hopefully if I can do some Sunday prep, our evenings will be smoother.

Anyone have any good mental hacks to exercise in the morning? I just cannot get up and do it. I know I need to get to bed earlier and get more sleep, but when my alarm goes off I just do not want to get out of bed. I know it’s not a priority for me, and honestly, there are times when I think I can’t add one more priority to my list, but I also know I need to get up and move. If it weren’t so cold I’d force my little dogs for walks but that is not an option right now!


New Car!

We bought a new (to us) car!

Our old car was a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor. It only had 152,000 miles on it, so I thought we had a few more years of driving it before I’d need to purchase something new but, last fall it started going through oil a little faster than it should, so I knew our time together was ending.

I had been researching new vehicles that fit our criteria (SUV, 3rd row, large cargo room with 3rd row down, excellent gas mileage) and had decided to get a Toyota Highlander. I was watching the used market to see what we could get for the money I had allocated but man, most of the cars in my price range had 100,000 miles on them. It seemed not smart to get a car with a few thousand miles less than the car I was trading in? So I extended my research. I’ve driven Mitsubishis for 20 years and have had a really good experience with them. I was noticing that I could get an Outlander that was just a year or two old for the same price as a 5 year old Highlander which intrigued me.

I figured I’d wait until May or so before pulling the trigger, but this winter the Endeavor handled the snow horribly and the shocks were so bad I thought that my tire had blown multiple times going down the pot holed streets. And so, the time was now. The first task was to test drive the Outlander. If it drove really badly then I would refocus on the Highlander. But, it didn’t! And the dealership had a Highlander in stock so we were able to compare the two vehicles literally side by side. The Highlander was bigger, but not really bigger inside. Done! Except the sales guy was kind of slimey.

Long story longer, the Cadillac dealership across the highway from us had an Outlander that fit my criteria perfectly (leather interior and sun roof). The sales guy was really nice, and I was crazy excited to be able to get my car serviced 5 minutes from my house AND get free car washes for life! The new car has bluetooth, a backup camera, and heated seats. It feels good to join the 21st century! We’re still figuring out all of the buttons, but we’re all excited about it and everyone has pledged to keep it clean.

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Almost Ten

Ramsey required twice daily walks. His morning walk was non-negotiable and honestly, I was barely awake and so we just went, even when it was really cold. I think it helped that there was rarely a strong wind in the mornings, unlike the evenings. But, Delaney often came with me on our evening walks. Our walks were never super long because no one was up for that, but we’d walk for 15-20 minutes and she would chatter that whole time, telling me about her day. She got really excited when she saw me getting ready to take him out because she loved that time with me.

Delaney is definitely on an upswing. She’s maturing. She’s more aware of time in the mornings and doesn’t like being late, whereas previous years she was just late every day and didn’t really care. She did her breakfast dishes yesterday even though it almost made her late because she knew I would appreciate it. Tuesday evening I had a virtual launch event for a new team member. It meant I needed to go live on Facebook, and then had to post and comment for the event. They gathered all the dogs in their room and made sure the house was quiet for me while I did it. When it was over I tucked them in and she said “Are you a Level 1 now?” She even knows my next title promotion! And the cherry on top? She’s super into trying new foods. She even ate something that was spicy the other day and liked it!

Caden is a little behind Delaney, but that doesn’t surprise me. She has always caught the upswing closer to their actual due date at the end of April. She has a lot of rough days. I try to make sure to listen, but not let her stay down in the dumps. She does see Delaney getting praised, which makes her want to try new foods as well. She had salad at lunch and was super proud of herself! She’s already on time every morning and asking what she can do to help out, but she’s always done that. Right now she prefers alone time on the couch versus going for walks, but I find her in bed with me at least a few nights a week, so clearly she has her own way of getting time with me.

Anyway, this is all to say I’m loving this age! We watch Top Chef and they remember the names of the contestants who were booted off. They are aware of the things I do for them and thank me over and over. It’s been really nice, and has me super excited for our trip to California in March!

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