The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

End of Summer

dinner

We headed out to the lake one last time before school starts, and my parents close everything down. The weather was hot and humid. It was sticky! And there were crazy thunderstorms at night. I found out that Lark does not do well with storms! She will surely need a thunder shirt next summer.

We did a shrimp boil for dinner Saturday night. So easy and so tasty! It’s the perfect meal for us. Sausage, shrimp, corn, and potatoes all in one tasty pile of goodness.

goofball

The lake is definitely the girls happy place. They got in all of their favorite activities, and helped out with the dogs.

midas et

Poor Midas. I think sometimes the girls forget he really isn’t a doll. I had to laugh when Caden did this to him though, he looks like E.T.!

suit

In years past, the girls have worn five or six different suits throughout the summer. This year, a lot of their one piece suits (which is they preferred suit) were stretched out from being pulled on and off too many times. When they have to get dressed themselves, tankini suits can be difficult, so we headed to Target and got them each a new suit. 2015 will forever be the summer of Caden wearing this suit nonstop. We both loved this suit, here’s to hoping it still fits next year!

trio

One final pool picture! They sure are lucky to have a grampy who gets in the pool with them and tosses them around.

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Swimming and Sunsets

caden pose

We’re back! This is our second time back at this resort. Last year we had an amazing time and the weather was complete crap. This time, the weather is beautiful and we’re having an even more amazing time! Every hour we look at each other and say “It’s absolutely perfect out! This is what summer is all about.”

Saturday was gorgeous and both girls immediately put their suits on and hit the lake. They very quickly made friends with the two neighbor girls who the same age. While they always have each other to play with, it’s so much fun to watch them make friends. Another year has made them strong swimmers, and made it easier to play on the aqua mat and swimming raft. We spent 15 minutes on Sunday thinking up different ways to jump off the raft. Last year the weather was so much cooler, we just didn’t swim as much.

fish 1

We have not yet found the hot fishing spots, but I’m hopeful. We tried a few spots that we fished in last year with no luck, and tried a few new spots, but no luck there either. Delaney caught one sunny that was keeper size, otherwise we’ve caught a bunch of tiny perch. Caden is less than thrilled.

Sunday was HOT. It was awesome. We swam a ton and soaked up the heat. But, with that kind of heat comes crazy weather and we got that too. We knew a storm was coming, but I was shocked when the weather alert on our phones went off. It wasn’t one of those where maybe a tornado was coming, it was the warning where a tornado had been spotted. Yikes! I snapped a few shots of the crazy clouds, then we hit the bathroom for a bit since that was the safest spot. I’m a big fan of a good thunderstorm, and it was way cool to watch it roll in across the lake, but I much prefer riding them out in the comfort of my own basement. That got a little scary.

sunset 1

Monday evening the weather was perfect so I had the girls do some posing to see what kinds of sunset silhouette shots we could get. We kept playing around with jumping shots, and then I asked Caden to fly. I love this one! It needs some tweaking, but it turned out better than I expected. Nice shot Laney!

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Valleyfair 2015

  

Every age with the girls has been fun. The weird thing with twins is that you never get to experience that age again, so the current age they’re at is generally your favorite age. I feel like there is something magical about seven though. They’ve gained just a little bit more independence and they’re just a little stronger and more coordinated, and that affects everything.

We went to Valleyfair two years ago and had a blast. It’s fun, but it’s expensive, and you really need to go during the week which can make scheduling it difficult. My parents gave the girls passes for their birthday, which ensured we made a trip there this year. They are just over 48″ which made things so much easier this time around. They could go on everything they wanted to go on. The rides you needed to be taller for, they had absolutely zero interest in.

The weather could not have been more perfect. Warm and sunny, a little humid, but not too hot. The park wasn’t crowded at all, which meant little to no wait for the rides. The water park wasn’t crowded either! The wave pool was a huge hit with both girls, and I loved the big water slide. It was nice to cool off, and then to take a break and relax for a bit before heading home.

I was a bit worried this day trip would push us all over the edge and have us tired and cranky by 4pm, but it wasn’t that way at all. As we were heading for the (gluten free!) french fry stand for our afternoon snack, I commented to my mom that I felt really good. I wasn’t exhausted, my feet didn’t hurt, and because there weren’t crazy crowds, I wasn’t ready to hit anyone. The girls did awesome right up until Delaney won the whack-a-mole game (her second win) at which point Caden melted down, but she’s not the best at losing so I’ll discount that. Overall, it was a really easy, super fun day. Top ten of the summer.

(Best part? We had swimming lessons at 5:05pm. I wanted to get to them, but refused to stress about it. If we made it, we made it. Traffic was awful on the highway, but google maps sent us down some crazy backroads and we made it to the YMCA at 5:01pm! Success! And the girls took a shower and washed their hair after swimming lessons so that task is checked off as well!)

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Annie, The Lake Dog

annie 1

This was Annie’s second trip to the lake. She was a little more relaxed, and a little more curious. Saturday afternoon we had chips and salsa on the patio and she stayed right next to my chair. She wandered around a bit, but then seemed to want to stay close to me.

annie 2

She loves the boat so much! As soon as she saw the dock her tail started wagging and she started tugging at her leash. Caden took this picture and I love it! She stayed on my lap most of the boat ride.

annie 3

Except for when she was on my mom’s lap giving her kisses.

annie 4

Such a pretty girl. Her nose was twitching with all the smells.

annie 5

She even let Delaney rock her in the rocking chair. Although at this point, she may have been too exhausted to protest.

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Pack Everything

We are at t-minus four days until the last day of school. (We still go next Monday, I know, it makes no sense.) While I’m all – SUMMER YAY! My panic level is rising quickly about all of the shenanigans that go along with summer.

The girls will go to the YMCA again this summer which means two snacks, lunch, water bottle, swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen will need to get packed up every day, and then unpacked, washed and dried. The girls had to bring a snack every day for school this year, so at least I feel like we have a routine down there. The girls are good about packing their own snacks, and we have a solid variety of snacks that I know to buy and keep on hand that work well.

But lunch. I am so nervous about packing a lunch every day. Both girls love pb&j sandwiches, but I don’t want to send that every day. Luckily, we found a deli turkey at Whole Foods that they both love. Delaney has a hamburger/rice dish that she likes and that reheats well, and Caden loves the chicken and rice soup. I’m hoping if I can add in a few more hot lunch options, we’ll be set there. I had hoped the girls would be open to egg salad or chicken salad, but when I suggested those it was meet with a chorus of gross! so maybe not.

I also realized somewhat belatedly that our beloved after school nanny will no longer be around to clean up in the afternoons before we get home, or to empty out the girls backpacks and wash everything up. Those little things make my life so much easier, and it’s been so nice to come home to a clean kitchen. I definitely need to do a better job of cleaning up before we leave the house in the morning. The girls have been told they will need to pitch in and help significantly more than they do now. I’m hoping chore charts and some serious monetary rewards will be all the motivation they need.

I feel like last summer was rough and we just kind of muddled through. We didn’t hit the pool a ton, we didn’t do a lot of fun things around town, and we didn’t see our friends much. There were a lot of contributing factors to that, but I don’t want a repeat. I’m hoping if we can set up some solid systems, it will free us up to be able to have fun and not spend our entire evenings dealing with backpack shenanigans.

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Summertime

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

laney summer

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.

caden summer

And likewise this is Caden. Shrieking with happiness.

sprinkler 1

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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I guess we’re still laying low?

The next three weekends will be spent at the lake, so we stayed home this weekend in order to get things ready for school. I had a list of things I wanted to get done, and I thought we were going to have plans to meet up with friends. We tried to have plans, but both girls were still a little under the weather and nothing really came together. We do okay just the three of us, but we do much better when we’re a little more social.

It was Gap’s Friends & Family weekend, and Stride Rite has their BOGO event going, so we hit the mall. We picked up moto jackets for fall, and a bunch of leggings. Their fall jackets from last year probably still fit, but those jackets were horrendous to zip, so they’ll be heading to Goodwill. I’m really hoping these leggings hold up better than the leggings we bought last year. They’re more expensive, of course, which I’m hoping means they are a little thicker and we won’t have holes in the knees.

Stride Rite proved to be the awful shopping experience it always is. The sales guy was uber slow, I ended up putting on all of their shoes myself, and Caden got in trouble for hiding from me. So, par for the course for us. Delaney got a pair of ballet flats and Caden got a pair of sneakers. Caden’s sneakers are lace up this year. I knew going in we wouldn’t be able to find a pair of velcro sneakers that would fit her and we couldn’t. We will be spending the next three weeks working on tying laces! Here’s hoping she’s a quick study.

I have a bin of clothes that I’ve bought ahead of time so we pulled that out this weekend as well. There are five pairs of jeans, sweat pants, ponte leggings, and a bunch of t-shirts in that, so we are SET. They also tried on all of their shoes and shockingly, a few pairs from last year still fit. I’ve learned the hard way that they really only wear a few pairs of shoes, so I’m hoping to keep things simple as long as possible, and only purchase what it’s obvious they need.

I kind of needed this weekend at home where we weren’t running around trying to make the most of the weather and yet, as I’m typing this on Sunday night I can’t help but think we should have made the effort to hit the pool at least once. It’s the curse of summer in Minnesota. If you’re sitting inside, you are clearly wasting sunshine.

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Definitely going back

girls 1

To be perfectly honest, I was a little nervous about this vacation. The weather wasn’t looking all that warm, the girls were complaining they didn’t want to swim in a lake, and we were spending money to go to a cabin, when my parents already own a place on a lake (that also has a pool). I thought maybe I booked something that we didn’t need at all. Obviously, that was completely wrong because this place was exactly what we needed.

caden_

This vacation was about one thing – Saying Yes. I wanted to be able to say yes if the girls wanted to play in the sand, go swimming, stay up late, sleep in, get a treat, read a book. Whatever they wanted to do, I wanted us to be able to do it. Because the beach was visible from our cabin, the girls could play in the sand whenever, and with three adults someone was always willing to sit by the beach if they wanted to swim. The office was directly behind us, so getting an ice cream treat was as simple as walking 10 yards and writing it down on our sheet (and there was always an adult willing to grab an ice cream treat).

girls 4

I’ve taken vacations with my parents before and know that it’s easy for everyone to get on each other’s nerves when you’re in close quarters. We may have had a few moments, but overall, the week went so well. Everyone pitched in with the cooking and cleaning, and we all retreated to our own corners when we needed to. For me, it was really nice to have two other adults to help with the girls, and the girls got quality Grammy and Grampy time in.

lane grampy

Before we left, my mom and I put together a list of meal ideas and a grocery list. We brought a few things, but bought a bunch of groceries when we got there. It all worked out really well, and we ate all but one of our meals at the cabin. I was a tiny bit done with cooking by the end, but it was nice to just stay where we were and not haul everyone into town to spend a bunch of money on food my kids didn’t eat.

mom erin

We made friends with our neighbors early in the week and found out that the families on both sides of us are there every year (and have been for many years). I spent the week thinking “Could I spend another week with these people next year?” The answer was definitely yes. There were a bunch of kids that the girls played with, and the adults either kept to themselves, or were fun to chat with. We’re automatically signed up for the same week next year, and we all agreed we want to go back. It’s such an ideal situation. Two hours away, 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms, right on a lake with great fishing, in a well equipped resort.

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Back to normal

laney lake

I was going to write up a wrap up vacation post but anything I write on Sunday is like pulling teeth, so instead, a few last pictures from the lake and a weekend recap.

caden lake

We checked out on Saturday, but weren’t really sure what time we were supposed to be out. We felt good about being packed up by 9am, then found out that was check out time. Since we were out so early, we hit Caribou on our way out of town. Even stopping for lunch, we were home by noon, unpacked by 1:00pm! It was so nice to have Saturday and Sunday at home to decompress.

laney lake 2

On Sunday we did some yard work, then hit the pool. The girls loved the lake, but were so excited to swim in a pool again. Luckily the pool was busy, so the line was too long for the tube slides and this girl did not have to take her already exhausted legs up and down them. We stuck to a bit of swimming, then headed home after a few hours. And now, I hope we can all get up at a reasonable hour in the morning!

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A New Routine

Even though the end of the school year got a little crazy and we were all ready for summer, it was still a routine we were all well familiar with. Summer has been interesting. Multiple different camps, different rules, packing lunch and snack every day. It’s been a lot more work!

Their day camp requires lunch, two snacks, a water bottle, swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen every day. I’m constantly drying towels or swimsuits, checking to see if we put the sunscreen back, and trying to figure out lunches and snacks. I spend probably around an hour every night getting their stuff pulled together which is a lot more than we did for school. I’d love to be able to trust the girls to pack things up, but we’re just not there yet. We have discussed that they need to branch out beyond pb&j sandwiches. I’ve sent ham and turkey (that they taste and approve at the grocery store!) but it generally comes back home again. We’ll figure it out.

The other thing I’ve been figuring out is the day camp counselors. The first few days I didn’t even know who their teachers were. One person checks you in and out, and the after care person checks my name against the list, but it took me a bit to work out who their teachers were. I think we’ve figured it out now. I always like making sure they can put a face to a name and that I’ve made a connection with them. You never know when that will come in handy.

Overall though, I could not be happier with our summer camp! They do 3-4 field trips every week, and they go to places they’re really excited about. Traffic sucks a bit picking them up, but I just pay to take the HOV lane and suck it up.

Not to bury this at the end but, we saw the ENT for Caden’s strep throat issues and the verdict is no surgery. The (new) cutoff is 4 cases in 6 months or 3 cases per year for 2-3 years in a row. I’m happy for no surgery and will hope for the best next year. He did say she has a deviated septum that may require surgery when she gets older. Somewhat surprising that no one else has pointed that out before now, since it’s super obvious when you look for it. Oh well!

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