The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Spring in February

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Like the rest of the country, we had gorgeous weather this weekend! Friday was probably the best day in our area, 65 and sunny, just gorgeous. Saturday was also nice, not quite as warm but still over 60 so we were outside as much as possible. Sunday was cooler, cloudier, and windy. I took the dogs for a nice long walk, but that was about it.

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Our driveway has been a sheet of ice all winter. I think I only got the snowblower out once or twice? The other times it snowed it didn’t snow much, but then it would melt and … ice. With all of the warm weather we’ve had, the ice was finally gone and they could scooter! You can kind of see in these pictures, but they would get their tires wet, then draw designs on the concrete. We also did a little bike riding, but Delaney’s brakes weren’t working well so they went back to scooters.

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Also, any snow or ice you see here is now gone, and the tiny piles that remain will disappear today during the all day rainathon. We’ve got beautiful temps for a few more days, then a snowstorm next Friday. Depending on who you believe, could be 3 inches of snow, could be 10 inches. Ahh, weather forecasting. It’s going to be 40 right after that though, so the snow won’t stick around!

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Ice Castles!

Every few years somewhere in town has a gigantic ice castle. It used to be St. Paul for the Winter Carnival, but now there’s a company that does them in a few different cities throughout the US. I am not the best at wintertime outdoor activities, so when I saw this, I thought it was something we could do as a family where I wouldn’t freeze my butt off. Some friends of ours also wanted to go, and it was a date!

The weather was 26 and sunny, perfect. Any warmer and we would have gotten dripped on the entire time, any colder and I would have been complaining. The ice castles weren’t as tall as I was hoping for, but they were definitely cool. Lots of cool ice formations, tunnels, domes, and a few slides. We spent about an hour there, which is probably typical if you’re there with kids.

And now, picture overload!

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The ice was blue which made it look so cool.  There were also all sorts of nooks and crannies behind the icicles.

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Caden was our official map reader.

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The sky was such a deep blue, I couldn’t resist.

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The girls kept finding photo ops and then posing for me.  They know what’s expected of them when the big camera comes out!

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This was the Dome Room I think?  And curse that man for ruining my shot.

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It’s hard to tell, but she’s kind of tucked back into the ice.  There were all sorts of indents and places for kids to explore.

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These were the little slides.  I knew they had slides, and we saw these after we went through the ice maze.  We kept saying that a bigger slide was surely doable right?  I mean there was so much ice!  Surely they could make a little luge right?

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And they did!  You had to crawl through a tunnel to get to the top, then the kids slid down through this long tunnel.  I kind of wanted to go down this slide, but the adults that came through didn’t seem to have the momentum to make it to the end of the slide, so I skipped.

Stillwater is a bit of a drive, but it was so good to get outside and do something on a sunny, winter day.  Thanks Corinne, without someone to go with I probably would have bailed on this!

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Sledding into the New Year

We headed up to my aunt and uncle’s house for New Year’s Eve. They live on a lake and have snowmobiles so the girls were hoping to FINALLY get in some sledding. The one thing they wanted to do over winter break was go sledding, but it has been cold and windy and rainy and I just couldn’t make it happen. But Uncle Jeff made it happen!

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A few years ago we sledded down the hill. We tried again this year, but for some reason, we were in a much steeper spot. It was too much of a drop off so they put their feet down so they wouldn’t go over the edge.

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While the snowmobiles were elsewhere, they took turns pulling each other on the sleds. I tried pulling both of them but they’re heavy!

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It was COLD out. In past years it’s been around 30 degrees and we were able to stay out there most of the day. This year we lasted an hour, with most of the people heading in after 30 minutes. It’s always the wind that gets you! Once everyone else headed in, Jeff pulled them behind the snowmobile. There wasn’t much snow so he went really slow. They loved it and could not stop grinning.

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Every year Jeff gets rockets to set off. This year he had the Big Daddy! With the wind we had no idea where the rocket would end up, so the first few times they set it off they took it farther onto the lake.

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The last time he brought it in close and let the girls push the button. It must have caught the wind just right because of course it blew over the neighbor’s house and broke a fin. I feel like we break the rocket every year though. Sorry Jeff!


After our outside time we headed into the house for games and food. Growing up, every family gathering involved either dice or card games for money. I loved sitting in on these games and listening to everyone talk smack. This year my girls got to sit on my lap while we played dice and cards and talked a little smack. It was so fun! After the drive and the cold weather, I was exhausted by 10:30pm, so we celebrated the New Year with the east coast ball drop and then headed back to the hotel. I think next year I need to hit the caffeine because I heard things got crazy after we left.

Thanks Jeff and Sheila for hosting!!

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Chill Weekend

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Both days were top ten weather days this weekend and we had basically zero plans! It was amazing. We totally soaked up our outside time, or at least the dogs did. With four dogs in the house, one of them being a puppy who pees a lot, I just kept them outside as much as possible. I did yard work with them, I read my book, I played Candy Crush, I chatted up the golfers. Poor Baron is ready for his long Monday nap at this point! (That look on his face is “Why won’t you just let me sleep??”

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Midas is a hard dog to photograph, but this picture of him! His eyes are clear, his ears are up, and he’s looking right at the camera. I may frame it I love it that much.

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Note to my father, the hammock swing keeps falling down. I think they play too hard on it because I rehung it three times this weekend. Once, Delaney fell pretty hard on her back – oof! They were able to spend a good amount of time outside this weekend. Sometimes the games they make up are super interesting, and other times I have to intervene because someone’s going to get seriously hurt. Eight is an awesome age.

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This is Annabelle’s default mode. Those $@#$! bunnies taunt her from the next yard, it cannot help that she can see them through the slats. I think she only jumped the fence twice this weekend? We have to be super diligent with her because she knows exactly when you’re not looking and that’s when she goes for it.

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Summatime

In the backyard we have two fairly large dips in the lawn. In order to level things out we added some dirt which meant we had to reseed that grass. New grass seed means sprinklers, and once I had the sprinkler going, they couldn’t resist. Both days this weekend they got on their swimsuits to run through the water. I’m still terribly in love with the light in the backyard!

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Done! Except for the watering

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I took pictures last night, but I feel like they don’t do the backyard justice. It really does look so much better now. When I bought this house 15 years ago, they put “Professionally Lanscaped!” on the brochures. I’ve always hated the landscaping. So much rock, so little color, and so difficult to change out. It’s finally the landscaping I’ve pictured since I bought the house!

The paver patio really works so much better than the deck did. Nothing living underneath it, and just a better elevation. My dad brought up more sod, so there’s just a little strip that we had to seed in front of the patio. I actually think we have a shot at getting that grass to grow now!

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This used to be a much bigger garden bed, but after the pine tree fell, it just didn’t work. We made it much smaller, and planted a flowering crab tree along with the perennials I saved from before this was all dug up. We had way more than we needed, and used some of the hostas by the shed. Once the grass seed grows in and the tree perks up, this will look gorgeous.

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You can’t see it at all in this picture, but by the side of the house were awful shrubs and rock. I hated it all (except the lilac bush). The landscapers pulled it all out, my mom and I planted new shrubs, and then hauled in a ton of mulch. Mulch is infinitely better than rock! I love the way it looks.

From this viewpoint you can see where the lawn was tore up and needed to be reseeded, as well as where Lucy’s kennel used to be (black dirt at the very left of the photo). My brother took down her kennel years ago, but the cement pavers were still there. We pulled those up Thursday night, brought in black dirt, and then planted some hostas and grass seed. This makes my mother very happy.

We have something of an intricate sprinkler system going on right now. My dad bought a thing that allows us to attach three hoses up, except that doesn’t provide enough water pressure. Everything is still hooked up, but we ran a hose from the front of the house over to the side garden, and we’ll only turn one sprinkler on at a time on the main hose.

A huge thank you to my parents for spending Father’s Day working on this project! We started at 10am and didn’t finish until 6pm. It was a long, hard day of work! Even Annabelle was passed out under a tree by the end of the day.

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Progress

  

And we have sod! The area between the sod and my grass will get grass seed on Sunday. Pray for us and the grass. My kids run out the back door 10 times a night. To get them to go left and stay away from the sod and seeded areas will be difficult. And now we water and hope for rain!

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Patio time

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I should probably find an old picture of the deck, but it’s late, so just picture a deck with peeling paint that hid critters where the dirt is. That’s the before. This picture shows Step 1, after tearing off the deck last fall. I thought the mud would be a complete pain, but it really wasn’t bad. This picture was taken before all the weeds started to grow though, and those I hated. By the time the landscapers arrived I was very much ready for a change here.

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Step 2. Paver patio installed! It’s great to have this area be usable again. I so missed having somewhere to sit and read my book while the girls played. The bummer is what you can only partially see. You can see the dirt in front of the patio, there is also a bunch of dirt to the left of the patio, where their equipment tore up the lawn. Understandable given what they had to do, but it hurts nonetheless. Thursday my dad is installing some sod around the patio, and hopefully this weekend we can finish the rest of the landscaping. Things need to be edged, and I need to plant the bed that’s to the right of the patio. I dug up all of the perennials that used to live there, so it’s just about putting everything back in a way that makes sense.

Hopefully final pictures coming Monday!

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Summertime

82 and sunny called for a little sprinkler action after school.

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I’m relatively sure this will be the best shot I get of her this summer. It is completely Delaney. Eyes closed smiling, toothless, happy girl.

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And likewise this is Caden. Shrieking with happiness.

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They almost tried to slide on the slip and slide but I cautioned against it. It was not slippery enough and there would have definitely been injuries.

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Flowers v2015

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The last few years we’ve planted flowers with my parents. It’s a fun group activity, and more hands make the work go faster. This year I scaled back my pots considerably. I don’t have a deck to put them on, the backyard is still in upheaval, so it made sense to just do a few containers for when the patio is eventually complete. Since we weren’t planting as many flowers, and Saturday was the sunny day, we got it done just the three of us.

One of the best tweaks I’ve made to our process is to dump the dirt from the flowers next to the shed in the fall, rather than toting it to the back of the yard. It makes it so much easier to fill the pots up in the spring.

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We filled the pots with wet leaves, then dirt, and then placed the flowers in each pot so we could see what should go where. One big flower, one trailing flower, one pop of color in each pot. It didn’t take long to get everything set up. The girls would dig a hole, the other would put in the fertilizer, and I would plant the flower.

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For Mother’s Day the girls got me a flat of petunias. Once the main pots had their big flowers in them, I let the girls go to town with the petunias while I did the flower boxes. I have a million cute pots in the shed, so they were running back and forth, filling things with dirt, then planting the flowers. I love these moments of creative independence, watching which pots they pick, how they work together, how they arrange the flowers. They did an awesome job!

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