The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

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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Loons

The loon is Minnesota’s state bird. They are gorgeous, and their calls are quintessentially summertime at the lake. On my parent’s lake, they put out loon nests to help them find safe places to have their babies, so there are a ton of loons on the lake. It’s amazing, and it never gets old to see and hear them up close. Last year I tried to get pictures of them, but my lens wasn’t enough. I bought a 55-250 lens and this summer was the first time I was able to try it out. I brought it on our Monday evening boat cruise and we came upon a mama and her two babies! We slowed way down to check them out and by the end, I wouldn’t have even needed a big lens, they were that close! Unfortunately, I was shooting into the sun (I think?) and the water was reflecting off the lake and the trees were dark behind, and I suck at editing, but out of my 50+ pictures, there were two that came out kind of okay. Not what I had in my head, but it’s a start.

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Back it up

We spent Fourth of July weekend up at Jeff & Sheila’s house, as we’ve done for the last few years. It’s a tradition we all really look forward to. We sleep in a tent, play tons of yard games (I think the girls can legitimately enter all of the tournaments next year), and hang out with family for the weekend.

The girls see my extended family three or four times a year. They used to be shy around them but no more! It’s fun to watch them socialize and run around without a care in the world where I am. Thank you Jeff & Sheila for everything you do to make the holiday special!

They went tubing. Once. They hate tubing but they give it a go every year.

Played water volleyball with whomever would play with them, went on boat rides, and helped light the little fireworks. We stayed through Sunday night fireworks, then headed to my parent’s cabin for the rest of the week.

The weather has been gorgeous! My mom bought them this unicorn floatie and it’s huge! Perfect for two or three kids to play on.

Lots more boat rides (always with pudding for some reason?). Some boat rides are happy hour themed, some are fishing, some are swimming. We’re trying to get in a little of everything this week! Luckily the fish are biting and we have plenty of snacks and drinks!

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Memorial Weekend + Field Day

Friday was Field Day for the girls. My dad and I have volunteered the last few years, and this year my mom came along as well since she’s retired now! Now that the girls are in 3rd grade, Field Day is in the afternoon. We met them for lunch, then headed over to hand out ribbons at the 50 yard dash. You would think this would be a straight forward task but it isn’t. The kids argued with us over which place they came in. Over and over. They were wrong much of the time but that didn’t stop them. Also, there were a bunch of times when three or four kids would cross the line at the same time. So much pressure! It was fun though, and I love getting to see all of the kids that we know.


This year they added the tug of war. Caden’s classroom won the third grade contest! I’m sure it was her brute strength that gave them the advantage.

As soon as tug of war was over, we grabbed their backpacks and headed home to grab the dogs and get on the road. Our route to the cabin is the same as many, many others and we knew we would run into traffic. Which we did. It was slow going much of the way, but we stopped off and grabbed dinner which broke it up a bit.

The weather on Friday was absolutely gorgeous. Saturday was warm but cloudy, and it rained off and on. We fished a few times, and the girls swam for a bit. I thought I took way more pictures than I did, but apparently I only grabbed these two of Caden. Then the rain came so I headed up to the cabin with my camera.


Luckily we got some fishing in on Saturday, because Sunday was cold and windy. I read my book and watched the seven hour Twins game. The girls reconnected with their friend and played Barbies and ate way too much candy. We headed back to the Cities after dinner so that we could get the house organized before another busy week.


On the dog front, Midas crazy, crazy loves the lake. He has so much fun there, I think he really loves the change of scenery and the wide open spaces. I figured I would work with that tendency to run and have him practice walking on a leash. He did pretty well! As long as that was the way he wanted to go. If he didn’t, he just sat there until we picked him up and carried him. So, mostly the same as usual, but at least I did less chasing.

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Paddle Boarding

When my parents got the new lake cabin, they also bought a paddle board. We were all very excited! We tried it out Father’s Day weekend and of course, the girls were pros at it. So, they got a second one, except the second one is little and Caden is the only one who can actually use it. The adults sink it, and Delaney can only do it if she’s on her knees. More paddle boarding time for Caden! (Delaney is on the blue/brown board).

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Last week we were able to get out twice. It needs to be fairly calm or it just isn’t doable. The first day I just tried to get the feel for things. Once you find your balance it’s very peaceful! The girls and I tried to go across the lake, but we only made it halfway before we decided to turn around. The second time I brought Lark out with me. She looooves the lake, and I thought this might be fun for her. She did great! I put her in front of me, but she quickly moved to the back of the board. I had to have Caden keep track of her for me, since I couldn’t balance and turn around to look at her, but she alternated between laying down and standing up. Her ears were up the whole time with me, which means she’s happy. (We tried her on the paddle board with each of the girls and her ears were flat so, only with Mom.)

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Vacation!

We spent most of last week up at my parent’s cabin. It was great to have a nice break from everything, even if the weather didn’t cooperate every day.

The last two years we’ve done Saturday to Saturday at the Lake Mary resort, but since my parent’s have a cabin on a good fishing lake now, we could do whatever we wanted. Two things factored in. First, the girls had a softball tournament Saturday and Sunday that we didn’t want to miss. Second, I was bringing all three dogs along. I knew my max with the dogs was probably five days? So we headed up Monday evening. It was really nice to have a few days at home, plus it rained all day Monday anyway.

So the drive. As we were packing up the car my mom texted and said there were bad storms on 94, which is right on our route. I decided to wait an extra 15 minutes before leaving to give the storms time to pass. As we’re driving, the radio announcer says something about a tornado warning in St. Cloud. (For those who don’t know, a watch means potential, a warning means one has been spotted.) I immediately call my parents and ask them to look up the weather and wouldn’t you know, St. Cloud was under a tornado warning until 8:00pm. I thought we would just miss it, but as I was listening to the very concerned radio announcers on the St. Cloud radio station, I realized it was going to be very close. They were very pointed that this was real, and to take cover. In my head I was going over protocol if you’re in a car and there’s a tornado. I think you’re supposed to get out of the car and lay down in the ditch? With two kids and three dogs are you kidding me? That’s when I thought “Why on earth am I driving into a TORNADO?” and pulled off at the next exit. Best. decision. ever. We hung out in a gas station parking lot for 25 minutes until the tornado warning passed.

Note for future storms. Lark and Midas FREAKED OUT a few minutes before the rain started. They had their noses in the air and Lark headed for the floor of the truck. They knew what was coming! Annie watched out the window, not a car in the world. Turns out I was a lot closer to St. Cloud than I realized and we definitely would have driven straight through during the warning. (That said, as I was driving I checked out the fields and surrounding area and I don’t think any tornado went along our path, but they got a lot of rain.) The rest of the drive was a bit stressful with rain off and on, at times coming down in buckets, but Lark remained calm so I knew nothing bad was coming.

We had a few days of sun, and a bit of rain, so we tried to make the most of our sunny days! Lots of time down at the lake, lots of time fishing! We tried trolling for walleyes but that was a bust. We did hit on the sunfish a few times, so at least we got a meal for our efforts.

The lake is so clear right now it’s crazy. We kept marveling at how far down you could see as we cruised around the lake!

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4th of July!

Picture heavy post warning! We headed up to my aunt and uncle’s house for our annual 4th of July family gathering. We’ve been doing this for a few years now and I feel like we have a nice routine down. Lots of lake time, lots of game time, the meals are covered, fireworks from North Dakota, and everyone has fun.

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We had gorgeous weather for Saturday (Sunday was a cloudy and windy but we didn’t let that stop us) so we spent a lot of time in the water. My uncle has a nice pontoon, but since there’s a lot of us and the kids like to tube, my cousins both bring their boats too. We got to see Alyssa’s new boat! It’s so nice. Such a smooth ride and the perfect place to chill. Captain Dood thought so as well.

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Missing one sibling, but here’s the group that brings us all together.

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A lake selfie. We took a few this year.

The girls love my aunt and uncle’s house. First off there’s a lake, so that’s huge. They also have chickens that lay eggs (they got to collect four!) and a huge garden. Delaney kept talking about how peaceful it was, which is what she says when she wants to move somewhere. That kid seems to be a country girl at heart!

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This was the first year in a while that water volleyball made a comeback and it was a huge hit! When forced to divide into two teams Coach told us line up shortest to tallest and number off. Dane, I’m not sure you belong at the end of the line.

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Our family is a little bit competitive, and whenever there is a lull we immediately bust out a tournament bracket and throw down. Water volleyball was no different. I am sore from diving after balls and my swimsuit had a fair amount of sand in it! Still can’t believe we lost both games.

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Sunset cruise time. The lake they are on is small, but there are always a ton of boats out! We’ve been coming up here for 30 years, so it’s fun to see what’s changed as we cruise around the lake. 2016 will forever be the year of the new canal.

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All three of our dogs stayed behind with the dog sitter and we missed them! Luckily there were a few dogs around for us to love on. Asa loved Caden. He was a big, sweet boy.

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The swan floatie that is everywhere! It’s everywhere for a reason people, this thing was awesome. Super fun to play on, and also super fun to just hang out on.

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My aunt and uncle got a jet ski this year and everyone was excited about this new toy! Both girls rode on it and loved going super fast.

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A little blurry because the sun was going down, but the younger cousins swinging. These kiddos had so much fun! And even though Sam is the oldest, he still hangs with them and indulges them.

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Paddle board

We were up at the lake last weekend with the family when someone decided to bust out the paddle board. I watched everyone else do it before I hopped on. Since I didn’t have a swimsuit on and was feeling a little wobbly, I stayed in the swimming area. One by one the girls sat on the board with me, then they got on the board by themselves!

And then of course their sister sat on the board with them because why not.

I can’t wait for another calm day so we can take it out a little farther. It’s definitely a good workout for your core!

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Played Too Hard


It was another lake weekend! My brother and sister-in-law were at a wedding, so my parents had my nieces this weekend. They headed up to the cabin on Thursday, and we headed up Saturday. It was hot out, so it was the perfect weekend to try out the swimming beach. We were a little worried it was too small, but they weren’t that many kids there, so it was fine. We had a bunch of floaty things, but agreed that a swimming raft or slide would be perfect.

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I’m still figuring out how to have all three dogs up there and not go crazy. Lark does best when she’s with me, so I decided to just have her with me as much as possible, which meant she needed a life jacket for the boat. I bought this one from Amazon and it worked perfectly. For reference, she is 8 lbs and is wearing the extra small. She wears a fleece sweatshirt most days, so wearing this was NBD.

We took the boat out Saturday afternoon and the kids jumped into the water to cool off, so I jumped in too and brought each of the dogs in with me one at a time. It was pretty cute. I was holding them the entire time so there was absolutely no risk of anything happening, but their eyes were pretty big. All three of them swam with their legs, but I’m not sure how far Annie or Midas would have gotten. Lark’s life jacket totally held her up, so she was good to go. I’m annoyed because I bought one for Annie last summer, but cannot find it. It’s somewhere in the garage, but exactly where is anyone’s guess. I need to find one for Midas. He’s so little, will there even be one that fits him? But, the dogs all love going for boat rides, so he needs something. Safety first!

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We’ve found that we have the best luck when fishing after dinner, just before sunset. We were having a little trouble finding the spot where they were hitting, but my dad had a little luck off the back of the boat so boom! The three kiddos hustled to the back to get their lines in. They didn’t have any luck in that spot, but eventually Delaney started hitting crappies with her new red fishing hook. I don’t know what it was about that hook, but my line was a foot away from hers and she was the one catching all the fish! Luckily, Emma had a red hook too and caught a few, which meant Caden needed a red hook immediately. At least we caught enough for lunch the next day.

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