The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Not Perfect

Delaney wants to pitch. We did the pitching clinic last fall, and this spring she has said that she really, really wants to pitch for her team. Unfortunately, we hadn’t practiced at all this spring.

And so we’ve been practicing. I will admit, last fall her pitches were all over the place. It wasn’t looking good. But as with all things with kids, a lot changed in six months. She’s much stronger, and she can actually zip the ball in and hit some strikes. Occasionally.

She’s been super frustrated though. She wants strikes every time. She doesn’t understand why she isn’t pitching perfectly. When a pitch goes wide she asks “What do I need to do to pitch strikes?” Practice I reply, lots of practice. This isn’t a math problem you can solve, it’s something that takes work and repetition.

But she doesn’t get it. So many things have come easily for her. Math and reading come naturally. She can master her piano pieces with 10 minutes of practice each night. Even with horseback riding, she has great instincts and is confident.

But pitching a softball? It’s not coming easy and you guys, she is SO pissed. Even better? She pitches really well when she’s angry! She zipped those strikes in there!

We’ve talked a lot about how so much with pitching is mindset. When pitch after pitch is going in the dirt, then over their head, how do you respond? Can you stay strong mentally? Or do you melt?

I love watching her dig into this and want it so badly. I think this whole experience is going to be SO good for her. She’s really going to have to work to be good at this, and that’s such a good thing!

** Pitching clinic is Monday nights in June. If you’re available to catch for one of the girls please let me know!

*** Caden wants to pitch too but is much more casual about it.

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San Diego Beach Photos

While I took my big camera out to San Diego, I didn’t use it a ton. It’s heavy, and lugging it around gets old quickly. But, I did take it to the zoo (pics coming tomorrow!) and I did bring it down to the ocean once for a beach walk. We were about two hours before sunset with these pictures. I thought I was just about in the golden hour, but I wish I would have looked at them a little closer and then gone back and taken more pictures just before sunset. I love these, but they’re a little bright, I’d love it if the light was a little more diffused. Oh well, they’re ocean pictures!

Sorry for the picture overload! I tried to narrow down a bit at least!

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Day 2 – Universal Studios

Day 2 in California was Universal Studios – Hollywood! To be fair, I probably wouldn’t have made the trip up to LA if the girls weren’t crazy Harry Potter fans. But they are, and since Florida isn’t on our vacay schedule any time soon, the only way they were going to see Harry Potter world was in California. Since it’s a decent drive and we wanted to get there when the park opened, we went on day two. Since we were still on central time, it was easy enough to get up at 5 and be out the door and on the road at 6:00am. The drive up was not bad! The drive back was another story.

We headed straight back to Hogwarts. I had done some research on the park but not a ton, so I didn’t have a great idea what to expect. I did know to buy the special wands at Ollivander’s, and to do the Forbidden Journey ride asap.

I upgraded to the Express passes and while it costs more, it was worth it. There aren’t a ton of rides, so the lines for all of them quickly climbed to 45+ minutes. You can use the Express pass once per ride. The only rides we did twice were Forbidden Journey and Despicable Me. We were able to use the Express pass when the line was long, and wait when the line was only 25 minutes. If you do use the Express Pass, make sure you announce yourself when you get to the lines. It’s easy to get swept into the regular line, or miss the person scanning passes. Overall, the pass probably saved us 3-4 hours of waiting time?

I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but none of us liked the Butterbeer. It had a weird aftertaste. We bought two, probably drank one and dumped one.

With the special wands, you would stand in front of a shop window and do a spell, and then something magical would happen. Sometimes a plant moved, sometimes a key turned, sometimes we couldn’t get anything to happen. But, they have people stationed at most of the things to help you figure it out. The girls loved this!

They did a really awesome job building the whole Harry Potter world.  Loved the buildings!

Also, I would like to say that Universal does a great job with their gluten free food. People were very knowledgeable, things were labeled, and when they weren’t sure if something was gluten free (the fries) they went and asked. I appreciated that, and my many options.

Our Express Passes also got us close to front row seating for the Animal Actors show! This was so much fun! We all really loved it. And did you know that most dogs in tv and movies are rescued from shelters? We decided Midas totally needs to be in the next Beverly Hills Chihuahua!

We left the park about 4:00. I naively thought we’d be a little ahead of traffic? Only to realize that there really isn’t rush hours, so much as traffic just gets worse as the day goes on. The trip up was 2 hours 15 minutes, the trip back was 3 hours 30 minutes. It was brutal. Bumper to bumper, barely moving for hours. Delaney really wanted to get back in time to do a beach walk, but there was just no way we were going to make it. We thought about pushing through and just getting home, but around Orange County we all got hungry. I saw a sign that said Oceanside 27 miles, so I told Caden to use my Find Me Gluten Free app to find us a restaurant in Oceanside that we could eat at.

Side note – this app NEVER lets me down. It always finds the best restaurants in whatever city we’re in. The reviews and information are always spot on, and I have a good idea going into a restaurant of what I’m going to be able to eat.

So anyway, she picks Ruby’s Diner because they serve breakfast all day and milkshakes and that sounded good to the two of them. The app gave us directions and as we pulled into town I realized the restaurant was in the ocean! Just kidding, it was out on a pier but we all laughed like crazy when we saw that on the map. How perfect?! It was just 7:00 and the sun was setting, so we had the perfect view. Dinner was good, and it was the break we needed after a long couple of hours in the car.

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Throwback Thursday – Labor Day edition

Throwing back to last weekend, does that count?

But first, a quick glasses story. Back in April the eye doctor told us to bring Caden back in before school started to have her eyes rechecked since they had changed so much in a year. We took her in the last week of August and eek! She couldn’t see very well with her glasses. They ordered new lenses for both her glasses and her sunglasses. We picked them up last night, the nice Target lady fitted them for her and then they said goodbye! And I was all “Don’t I have to pay you????” Nope! Free! Free eye exam and free lenses. Because something something within the time limit? The thing is, I have FSA dollars I’m trying to spend! (Caden said she could break her leg and I was all um, no?) When she put her glasses back on with the new lenses she said “Wow.” Poor kid. I do think she will be an eye exam every six months girl for a while.

Labor Day! We headed up to the lake Friday afternoon and totally did not beat traffic. We took some weird back roads but it didn’t help much. Oh well.

Saturday morning I was putting Midas’ eye drops in and realized his main eye med was on the last drop. Yikes! I called Target and they said they needed a written or transferred prescription in order to fill it, so we made a quick run into town and had the emergency vet see him. Luckily I get his eye med online and so had all of the info to make sure we got the right drops. Phew. I thought for sure it was going to be a huge shenanigan getting everything refilled but the vet saw us quickly and Target filled it quickly and we were back home in under an hour.

The events of the weekend are a teeny bit blurry. We headed out for a boat cruise Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, with the cooler weather the lake wasn’t very warm, but the girls jumped in and swam a little. We paddle boarded on Sunday I think? The girls learned checkers at the YMCA this summer so they played checkers and cribbage with my dad quite a bit. We fished one last time, had s’mores one last time, and made lots of hash browns and crepes for breakfast. It was a great end to our lake visits. Until next year!

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Fourth Grade!

Yesterday was the first day of fourth grade! So exciting. And yet also so anticlimactic. It’s all so old hat at this point, no one even gets nervous!

Both girls got teachers they are very excited about. They are separated from their close friends from last year, but both have realized that there is a girl in their class that they’re really excited about being closer friends with. That is a huge relief for me! Both girls do better when they have a solid friend in their classroom.

This year we were up and ready with plenty of time to take pictures. Yay! Last year we kind of screwed this part up so I was happy that we were able to not be rushed.

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Go jump in a lake

It got really hot on Wednesday, so we took the pontoon out for an evening cruise after dinner and headed towards a spot on the lake that we knew was over 20 feet deep. A perfect swimming hole. I’d already showered so I was out for swimming, but my dad jumped in with the girls. At first they swam with life jackets, but they’re strong swimmers so I let them take them off and they did jumps off the side of the boat. They had so much fun we did it again the next night!

We also took a ton of slo mo videos which I will not bore you with again here, but were so crazy fun to do. The girls were so happy and had so much fun jumping and doing cannon balls and just giggling in the lake, this was absolutely the highlight of the week for me.

Three stooges.

Annie knows who gives out the best snacks on the boat.

Check out that smile!

I should probably darken this up a bit and make it into more of a silhouette, but what can I tell you how happy I was when I looked at the back of my camera and saw this? I just kept snapping as the girls ran off the pontoon and jumped in, and I caught the sunlight just right here. Love. this.

This was Caden’s version of the Statue of Liberty.

Delaney doing a cannon ball.

It was also our annual “Put the dogs in their lifejackets and make them swim in the water so they know what to do if they go overboard” drill. Midas was THRILLED.

Lark sat on top of Midas for the rest of the cruise.

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Paddle Boarding v2017

Also known as, my parents bought another paddle board so all three of us could be out at the same time!

First things first, we’re back home. The girls had their end of year softball tournament on Saturday, so we headed back Friday night. It is incredibly difficult to be on vacation for a week, then have to be at the ball fields at 8:00am. Most of our girls were half asleep. But! They woke up for the second game and we won. We lost the next game and were out, but it was an amazing season. Couldn’t have asked for better kids or better coaches to play with. I had a blast this year, but will readily admit I’m a little nervous for 10U. It’s kid pitch and the rules change, and it’s going to be a whole new game.

Back to the lake! Tuesday we headed out on the paddle boards and good thing we did. Wednesday was HOT and the next two days were windy, so it was our only day out. We tried to paddle across the lake, but there were a lot of boats and jet skis pulling tubs and skiers, so I made us head back (You can see exactly how Caden felt about that in the third picture). The lake is very clear right now (zebra mussels apparently) and it’s WAY freaky to look down and be able to see the bottom, or at least very tall weeds. Caden headed in, then Laney and I paddled down the shoreline of the lake. Again, a little freaky to look down at the bottom of the lake, but also way cool since it wasn’t as deep. Had a great little chat with Delaney as we paddled too.

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Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!

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Softball v2017

We had our last softball game last night until the tournament next weekend. This year has been super amazing. The coaches I’m with are knowledgeable and really make the game fun, and we have a great team of girls. Everyone listens, works hard, and has a lot of fun. For the most part we had one practice and one game each week. A few weeks we had two games and no practices, and I feel like it was the perfect amount of games. We aren’t burnt out, but we’ve had our fill of softball. We won’t be doing fall ball this year, since last year that was too much. We’re all very ready for a break, and to move into a slower summer with a little more downtime and pool time.

Caden in the blue batting helmet, Delaney in pink. One of the downsides of coaching is that I can’t take pictures during the game! I grabbed these during batting practice beforehand.

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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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