The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Birthday Weekend

We celebrated the girls birthday all weekend! And it was fabulous.


Birthday morning! They wanted to open their presents right away, so that’s what we did.


We did an extra riding lesson, so that was originally going to be my birthday present to them. But then another barn mom said she bought her daughter a grooming kit and it was a fun, not super expensive present. So I went with that and sure, it was an expensive present but they are over the moon that they have their own grooming kits now so totally worth it. They carry them like purses and Delaney said “I feel so grown up!”


My parents flew back from Arizona for their birthday and we were so happy they did. Friday night we went to Benihana for dinner and it was divine! This is the only place I willingly eat gluten and it’s so worth the five days of being sick. Our chef was hilarious, and we all laughed at every one of his jokes.


Then it was back home for birthday cake. The girls wanted me to bake their cake, and they wanted it to be gluten free/dairy free so I could eat it too. We tried out some new recipes and oof, not a hit. It was a sad birthday cake, but now we know (just order from Nadia cakes and let the pros do it). They were awesome sports about it, and I love how important it was to them that I be able to eat it too.


Saturday was their friend party. They invited three girls they both know and we went to the Big Thrill Factory. They played laser tag, did the ropes course, bumper cars, and arcade games. They were so excited for this, Delaney stood on top of the couch waiting for her friends to arrive!


But first! Nadia Cakes cupcakes for everyone! And another round of happy birthday.

I swear, I have not seen these two smile and laugh this much in a long time. Some years we struggle with their friend party, but this year we nailed it. The five girls got along really well, no one was left out, and everyone had a ton of fun.

They are already planning next year’s party!

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Birthday Parties

party 1

Their sleepover birthday party was Friday night. I picked up the girls from school (they each got to invite one friend) and they were all so excited! So excited that the first 20 minutes they ran from one activity to another, and the next thing I knew Caden was crying. I sent them to the basement where things calmed down a bit and they played with legos and had a dance party.

party 2

I ordered pizza, made popcorn, and they watched Diary of a Wimpy Kid. It was all free of drama and I’m not going to lie, I was nervous going into this! My kids are not known for always playing well with others at our house. Someone gets left out, someone cries, rinse and repeat. I was so happy they had fun and everyone got along. I even thought they might go to bed early! But they were having too much fun. They finally fell asleep about 11:00pm, and of course woke up around 6:30am.

Saturday morning I made french toast while they watched Harry Potter, then drove the girls home. It was lovely.

party 3

The family party was on Sunday, which gave us all day Saturday to clean the house, run errands, bake the cake, and sneak a nap in. When I asked the girls what kind of cake they wanted they said chocolate, with strawberry filling. I showed them pictures of a few different cakes to figure out what strawberry filling meant, and we came up with this cake! I followed Martha’s recipe and it was ridiculously easy.

party 4

The family party was small and relaxed this year. My parents came up that morning to help pull things together. Normally we’re racing around trying to get everything done, this year we had plenty of time. We even figured out the kitchen remodel!

Thank you to everyone for making their birthday so special!


Happy 8th Birthday!

bday 1

Happy birthday girls. Eight years old! The two of you are both incredibly smart, funny, kind, sensitive, and crazy. You are both STEM kids from the word go, and I was not surprised that you wanted light sabers and Snap Circuits for your birthday. You are both so excited to learn new things, I hope that passion stays with you always. I think you two just might change the world someday!

bday 2

Since they have ballet and Science Night tonight, we went out for their birthday dinner last night. Benihana! Such good food, but always way too much food! I’m not sure which is more exciting for them – the tasty shrimp or the chef’s tricks.

bday 3

This year they asked for a sleep over party with their friends. Done and done! Their two best friends are coming over Friday afternoon, and I’m super excited I don’t have to plan another crazy expensive friend party this year. The family is coming over Sunday afternoon, and it’s supposed to be nice so we might be able to be outside! Eight is starting off pretty solid.


Happy Birthday Caden & Delaney


Happy Birthday girls.

I keep waiting to get super sentimental or weepy about you two turning seven, but it’s not happening. I loved reminiscing with your grandparents about the day you were born but truly, I find that most of all I’m EXCITED about seven. I think it started back in Chicago. The three of us had so much fun, and that trip was something all of us had input on. It really felt like a family thing, rather than something that I planned and you two tagged along on. In that trip, I saw all of our future travel together and it got me so excited.

This year we added Annabelle to our family and she loves the two of you something fierce. I love watching the three of you together, and love it even more when she very clearly chooses one of you over me. She loves nothing more than to curl up in your lap and chill.

It’s getting late and I still need to blow up balloons and decorate your room so I will end with this. I hope this next year is amazing. I hope you continue to find joy in the little things, and that you continue to love the things that make you laugh. I hope your friendships stay strong, and that you learn to look past the little thing that get in the way of them. I hope you continue to love math and reading and science and learning all the things. And lastly, I hope you continue to tell me the important, and the not so important parts of your day.


Birthday Weekend!

The girls birthday is tomorrow, so this was birthday weekend. Friend party on Saturday, family party on Sunday.

When they turned four we did a big friend party and a big family party. I was birthday prepping for weeks beforehand. When they turned five we did a smaller family party and no friend party. I was clearly burned out from the year before. For six we did a friend party and no family party, which I hated. I vowed to do better this year.

This year I wanted to get back to having both parties, without going overboard with either. Aside from a timing mishap on Saturday, I think we achieved that.

The friend party was a Glamour party at the local blow dry bar. This was a super fun party to plan! All of the girls got their hair curled.

caden hair

They got a swipe of color, and I made pipe cleaner tiaras for everyone.

laney crown

While half of the girls were getting their hair done, the other half were in the VIP room decorating their picture frame (wood frames from Michaels that we painted a few weekends ago) or getting their nails done. If I did this party again I would skip painting nails. It was too dark to see, and there wasn’t enough time for the nails to dry, so they were getting smudged. We also had pink glitter popcorn and applesauce squeezers for them to eat. No one liked the popcorn, everyone loved the applesauce. Of course they did.

picture frame

The kids had an awesome time, and the hour and a half absolutely flew by. My mom was there to help, as was my friend Amy. I could not have done this party without either of them. With ten 7-year-olds someone constantly needed something, so three adults was essential. Thank you so much to both of you! Amy also took pictures the entire time which was awesome! After each girl was glammed up, she took a picture of them in the queen chair. When we send thank you cards out, I’ll include that picture so they can put it in the frame they decorated.


The family party on Sunday was fabulous. I did a taco bar which came together really easily, without a ton of cooking. My mom and I had hit Trader Joe’s on Saturday and picked up some beer and a bottle of sangria, which I happily drank all afternoon. We got to see family we haven’t seen since Mexico, and the cousins came so the kids got to play. It really was perfection. It was all so relaxed and happy, I loved it.

cake 1

Photobomb! The girls asked for a chocolate birthday cake with frosting that wasn’t too sweet. Done. Chocolate cake with dark chocolate mousse filling, and a whip cream frosting. Those flavors work perfectly together. Everyone loved it, even the people who don’t love chocolate.

caden bday 1

They got really thoughtful gifts. My aunt Lisa got them both dolphin necklaces because they swam with the dolphins in Mexico. Caden cannot wait to wear hers! My parents got them a hammock swing like the one we fell in love with in Mexico, and they got some awesome crafts.

grandparents birthday

It was fun to talk through the day they were born. My parents were such a huge part of that day, and have been such a huge part of their lives since. My mom spent all day Saturday with us running errands, frantically making pink popcorn, and corralling kids. Then she came back up on Sunday with taco meat in tow, as well as folding tables. Thank you so much for all of your help! We wouldn’t be where we are without your love and support.


Last Birthday Post I Promise

The Friend Party! We skipped the friend party last year, and the year before I went over the top with the friend party. This year I wanted to keep the friend party low key, and concentrate on everyone having fun.

Last year I did a ton of research trying to find an affordable party that would allow them to invite all of their friends and just couldn’t find anything. Last September we went to a party at Creative Kidstuff. The party was great, and as we walked out I noticed they did a science themed party which would be perfect for the girls. Once I researched the cost, I couldn’t believe how reasonable they were! When we booked the party in the store, the girls got to sit down with one of the party planners and pick every activity that they wanted to do. It was a mish mash of the princess, science, and super hero parties, so it was a little all over the place, but it was kind of fun to mix up the activities.

As the kids arrived, they each created a crown. They also had science activities out that the kids could dig into.

party 1

This birthday week has almost killed me with the sickness and everything else, but the girls were so excited, it was all worth it.

party 2

After crowns they each got to make their own super hero cape. The kids got so into this!


We had planned a few crafts and then a movement activity, but the kids were clamoring for the food so we took a break in between for some fruit and cupcakes. I kept the food very low key. I did fruit cups, juice boxes, and cupcakes from Target. The party was at 2:00, so I didn’t have to worry about lunch which was also nice.

party 6

The end of the party was a little chaotic. We had 8 minutes to open up presents and as soon as that started, it was paper and bags and toys everywhere. The girls got some great gifts and were super excited about everything! Overall, the party was definitely a winner.

At the end of the party Caden picked up my camera to snap some pictures and she took a picture of me. I even like it!
party 7


The Birthday Shirts

I waffled on doing birthday shirts this year. They’re turning six, so I wanted whatever we did to not look to toddlerish. I did a search on Etsy and found some cute shirts with “six” spelled out on the shirt. Unfortunately, they really didn’t have anything but short sleeve in our size. I almost decided not to do them, when I realized we could make our own shirts!

We first hit up Old Navy where we scored long sleeve shirts for $2.79 each. Nice! Even picked up a few extra for next winter. Then we headed to Michael’s to find iron on letters. I wanted letters that were at least 2 inches tall. They had nothing. So we headed to JoAnn’s. They had slightly more, but again not much. I knew this was our last shot though, so we combed through that aisle a hundred times. Finally, I found mirrored lowercase letters that both girls liked. Only problem? There was only one pack! Oh! And that pack was $9.99. At least the shirts were cheap. Delaney went with those letters and then while I was looking with Caden, she found some sparkly stars to add on to her shirt. Caden and I looked and looked, but found nothing. Finally I remembered a freezer paper stencil tutorial, and we switched gears and bought glittered fabric paint and a few star iron on’s.

Let’s start with Caden’s shirt.

shirt 1

I printed out six in various fonts and let her choose which she liked. I made sure that all of the fonts would be easy enough to cut out. I ended up doing a space between each of the letters, although I’m not sure if I would do that again. I put the image underneath the freezer paper (shiny side down) and traced it, then xacto’d it out.

shirt 2

Then, I ironed the freezer paper onto the shirt (shiny side down). I was oddly skeptical of this part, but it totally worked! Then I sprayed the glitter paint on. The paint I bought was in a pump (like hairspray), but I think most paints you would need to paint on. If I would do this again I would have bought silver paint and put that down first, let dry, then gone over it with the glitter. With just the glitter paint, I had to go super heavy (it took an entire day to dry) to get enough coverage. I sprayed it that night, and then again the next morning. Once everything was dry I ironed on her stars and she was good to go! The tutorial said to iron over the paint, but when I did that, the towel stuck to the paint. So now I’m a little nervous about washing it. I think we’ll line dry this one.

shirt 3

Delaney’s shirts was way easier. Mostly because I handed it off to the babysitter. She cut out the letters and ironed them on, and then I peeled away the backing for the stars and ironed those on. The trick with the stars is that you have to peel the backing away very evenly. If you don’t, the little sequin things will come up and then you have to put it back together and that’s no good. We went with two stars on the front, and the big star on the back. I LOVE IT and want a shirt like this for myself.

delaney bday 2

shirt 5

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Let the birthday posts continue!

Last year we were in Florida for their birthday. When we booked that trip I thought it would be fun, but in the end it was kind of a nightmare. It’s really hard to plan a birthday party away from home. This year I vowed to do better, but with everything going on, I just never found my birthday planning groove. I didn’t have a theme (totally should have done Frozen, but didn’t think of that until Sunday night), due to everyone’s schedules we couldn’t pull together a family party, and I didn’t even bake a birthday cake! But, they still had an awesome birthday.

My parents came up Sunday and we headed to the Mall of America. We’ve been talking about taking the train there, so this seemed like a good time to do that. Except, it was below zero, and we should have ditched that plan, but didn’t realize it until we had bought our tickets.

photo 1

This trip to the MOA was all about the rides. We hit a few kiddie rides, then took the girls on the big roller coaster. It’s pretty tame, and since Caden had done it the year before, we thought it was safe. Delaney loved it, Caden hated it. After the roller coaster Delaney headed for the swings (they go super high and fast!) and Caden went for the little roller coaster that is more her speed.


As we were trying to figure out which rides we still wanted to go on, I noticed Caden was staring. They’ve been getting up early and staying up late, so I figured she was just short on sleep. When we were on the ferris wheel she complained that her throat hurt. By the time we got down to the train station she was running a fever. Of course she was! We had a 45 minute train ride back to our car, with no other way home. She was pretty miserable by this point, but she rested on my lap and we got her ibuprofen as soon as we got home. A doctor appointment on Monday confirmed strep throat. Poor thing! Sick on her birthday. Luckily, she was still in for blowing out candles. I kind of love this picture.

six 1

Monday, the plan was to go to Pizza Luce for their birthday dinner, and do hot fudge sundaes for dessert. Since she was contagious, we ordered in and picked up sundae supplies when we picked up her prescription. As long as we keep up on the painkillers she feels great, so her birthday wasn’t a total loss.


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Happy Birthday Caden!

caden bday 2

Caden. As I type this you’re sleeping off a fever. Turns out, you’re probably going to spend your 6th birthday home with me, rather than celebrating with your friends, which is a huge bummer because you love your new friends and classmates.

Things have clicked for you since the new year. You’re reading like a crazy person. You read constantly, and you read books that make me gaze at you in wonder because how do you know all of these words?! I try to make sure we make frequent trips to the library, but you’ll read anything you find, you aren’t picky at this point.

Music lives within you. You sing, you dance, all day long. It makes me smile. Sometimes I ask you what song is in your head, but you always look at me and say “What?!” Someday you’ll understand.

Happy Birthday. May six be the best year yet!


Happy Birthday Delaney!

delaney bday

Oh Delaney. Losing Madison has really hit you hard. She was yours. She got you and you got her. She snuggled with you and let you haul her all around the house. We all miss her, but I suspect you miss her most. It makes me sad to see you so sad, but I also love how it highlights just how big you love the people you love.

I wouldn’t call you an extrovert, but you are incredibly social. When I pick you up after school, you have to say goodbye to everyone. It makes me laugh, because you’ve always been this way. Even if someone is across the building, if you know them, you simply must say hello. When I volunteered in your classroom I wasn’t surprised at all that you’re friends with girls and boys, and kids of all colors.

You used to sleep in, but lately you are up early, excited about the day. I love it. I’m not a morning person, and more days than not you’re up before me, but I can’t help but get up with a smile on my face knowing I get to hang with you.