The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

Almost rained out

This weekend was the girls end of season softball tournament. We played two games on Saturday which determined ranking, and then it was single elimination on Sunday. Our high point of the season was early June. We had been playing twice a week consistently, I had worked with the girls enough on their batting that everyone was getting hits, and we had quite a few home games with our pitching machine which threw consistent strikes. Towards the end of June we only played once a week, and the games were away on less than consistent machines. When the balls are coming high and low and outside and everywhere, we have hitting issues. No hits, no runs.

We did not play the best on Saturday. We could not seem to get a rally going where we could score a lot of runs, and our fielding was off. Oh well. It was sunny and beautiful out, and this season is really about learning anyway. The girls have come so far from the beginning of the season and that’s what counts.

Sunday morning I woke up to thunder and lots of rain. I thought for sure the games would be cancelled but the rain stopped, and with an extra few hours they had the fields playable. It wasn’t hot, but it was humid. We played another SLP team and were squarely beat relatively quickly. While I was sad the season had ended, we had a pool party to get to!

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The club had a pool party planned and we were super excited for it! There was cotton candy (which we ate a TON of), snow cones, lots of food, a bounce house, tattoos, and some pool games. The best part was the DJ who played amazing music the entire time.

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The pool was the busiest I’ve seen it and yet, it’s big enough that it wasn’t crowded. We ate as soon as we got there because we were all starving. From there we bounced between the pool and all of the games. I even got to read my book for a while which is always a bonus.

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Luckily, there was some cloud cover or the day would have gotten crazy hot. As it was, it was a perfect afternoon. I love this pool. Pools tend to be our happy places and this one definitely fits that bill. I love that it’s around the corner from our house, I love that they serve good food, I love that it’s never crowded, I love how awesome the lifeguards are, and I love how awesome the families are that we’ve encountered there. It’s a little oasis of happiness that always seems to slot in just when we need it.

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Weekend at home

It was graduation weekend! My niece graduated from high school so Friday night was the ceremony and Saturday was her party. The girls had a blast hanging with their cousins, and we all had fun celebrating Olivia!

A few months ago we got a social membership to the golf club that our house backs up to. They have really good food, but more importantly, they have a very nice pool. Last year we just didn’t get to the Rec Center pool very often since it’s across town and either cold or crowded. This pool is just around the corner from our house and so far hasn’t been crowded which has been amazing. I was hoping that Sunday would be sunny and gorgeous so we could hit the pool for a few hours and it was! I brought my big camera along to take some pictures but man was it sunny! Too sunny for me to really figure things out but I tried. Also, pool water continues to thwart me. It’s just too blue.

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They have tons of swim toys – noodles, frisbees, balls, dive toys. It’s so fun!

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Caden was in and out of the pool the entire time we were there. She loves to swim but then gets so cold, so she’d come out and warm up, then head back in. We took two snack breaks, and they played on the playground for a bit. I picked up some whole milk and need to figure out how to get more calories in her for the summer.

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The pool is set down in a little valley? Which is nice because it’s protected, but SO nice because it’s surrounded by green rather than cement and asphalt. It’s a little slice of paradise.

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They were trying to do goofy jumps but I was always just a second late clicking my camera!

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I’m so mad at myself for this one! It’s a perfect cannonball, but the focus went on the pool just behind Laney. Grr.

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Pool Tricks

We have had so much fun in the pool this year. Since the girls love to do somersaults and handstands in the water, we’ve started tossing them around as well. They’re so light and easy to flip! Every time we do this I think – We need to get this on video! So our last trip to the pool I brought my phone. Then we made ONE more trip to the pool so I brought the big camera. It was a little too dark to get really great pictures, but I got a few action shots.

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I recorded all of these in slow mo, but for whatever reason, whenever I upload it anywhere, it goes back to regular speed. Annoying!

There is a girl at the YMCA that drilled, and I mean drilled, the girls on their diving. She was only seven so I told the girls they could just do their own thing, but clearly she knew what she was doing!

I love that they love to do cannonballs.

My favorite trick!

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End of Summer

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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.

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

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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.!

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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!

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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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Heat and more heat

I contemplated staying home this weekend since we’ve been gone so much, but the forecast said hot and humid so we headed to the lake. My niece had a softball tournament (champions!) on Saturday, so my brother and his family joined us on Sunday since they had a free day.

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My brother and SIL took Annabelle for a walk while the rest of us swam. Isn’t he a good uncle? The week of boarding has really helped Annie come out of her shell! She let my cleaning guy pick her up on Saturday, and was super friendly with my brother. First time for both! Love.

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The girls’ hair has been short for so long, I’m ecstatic that it’s long enough for me to do braids again! Pippi Longstocking for the win. This is the best hairstyle for swimming for us. It keeps it out of their eyes, and it isn’t a snarled mess when it dries.

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Does Laney have the best cannonball or what??? I was so impressed! My dad and I commented that the girls are SUCH strong swimmers. They swim 2-4 times a week, plus swimming lessons. It’s just amazing how confident they are in the pool.

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The Pool!

You might think that with the ocean 30 yards away, a pool is a bit redundant, but you’d be wrong. We swam in the pool a ton, and by we I mostly mean the kids, although the adults definitely got in there as well. The ocean was gorgeous and the water was warm, but there was a drop off not far out, and lots of rocks, so it wasn’t an ideal place for the girls to really swim. Also, salt water is more difficult to swallow than pool water. The pool wasn’t heated (and was on the chilly side) and was also in the shade (which worked to our advantage when I wanted the girls out of the sun), but it was the perfect size and it was all ours! It’s so nice not to have to play around other people!

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The girls learned how to snorkel in the pool. There was an extra set of snorkel gear at the house that they tried out, and once they got the hang of it (and loved it!) I bought Delaney a kid sized mask and snorkel. They were both total naturals. They could just relax and breathe and swim. Delaney snorkeled in the ocean twice (and was able to see a bunch of fish!) but Caden would only do it in the pool. She got nervous in the deeper water.

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It was crazy watching their swimming skills evolve over the week. It took them a day to get comfortable, and by the end of the week they were diving and doing crazy things I swear they weren’t doing last summer!

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One of the days was really windy, so we pulled together a huge game of water volleyball in the pool. The girls were in heaven and had so much fun playing with the adults! It’s one of my favorite memories of the trip.

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We hung at the house quite a bit, just relaxing in the sun and swimming. Delaney was a total water bug and was in the pool whenever possible. Caden would swim for a while, but then she either got bored or cold and would get out, grab the kindle and cozy up with a book. I’m a huge reader (and spent most of my time in a deck chair by the pool reading a book and watching them swim) so I love that she loves to read and would get excited to finish one of her books.

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Almost First Graders

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Today is our last day at summer camp. If I never have to pack up two snacks, lunch, a water bottle, swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen again until next June, I will be a happy camper. We are all over it and ready for school to start. Their backpacks and lunchboxes are trashed from the summer, and I will happily pitch them in the garbage once we’re home. (As well as Laney’s favorite pair of summer shoes that STINK something fierce.) I hope they like school lunch because I want at least a week off.

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Today is also Meet Your Bus Driver and Meet Your Teacher! We had an inkling who their teachers were from the end of the school year, and were happy to see that confirmed this week. Caden’s teacher from last year is moving up to first grade, which will ease her transition big time. Delaney has a teacher we’ve heard amazing things about. I think she used to be an engineer? Delaney is very into building things right now, so that’s a perfect fit. We even got our same bus stop this year, we are ready to go.

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We have a few things planned for September, but in our down time we will be organizing the house from top to bottom. They’ve grown out of a lot of their toys, so I’m hoping to figure out what I can sell in a garage sale next spring, and what should go to Goodwill. I’d also like to reclaim the basement toy room and turn it back into a guest bedroom. They haven’t played down there in a year, might as well clean it out and make use of it.

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Tuesday was my six year blogging anniversary here. I always mean to post something retrospective on that date, but it slips my mind every year. As the girls get older I make more and more of an effort to respect their privacy. This blog has become about more than just them out of necessity. As we move into first grade, I often wonder what, if anything will change. I’ve considered posting less, or focusing more on pictures, but nothing has really felt right to me. Yet. The daily outfit pictures will make a comeback, as I’ve loved looking through last September’s pictures and seeing their long hair! But beyond that, we shall see.

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Progress!

The girls go swimming 2-3 times each week. Every kid has to wear a colored wrist band to show which of the swim tests they’ve passed, which determines where they can go in the pool. The first swim test was front and back float for 10 seconds. The girls can totally do this, but it took Caden two tries because she wasn’t used to going into the float on her own. This nabbed them a yellow wrist band. With this they could go in the shallow water only, not the deep end.

They have been doing so well with swimming lessons that I’ve been gently telling them they should do the next swim test. For this one they have to, in their words, swim with their heads above water for 30 seconds (tread water). We practiced a few times at the pool but it was too easy for them to put a foot down in the shallow water. On Tuesday Delaney said she wanted to test, and Caden did too. When I picked them up they told me they passed! I’m so proud of them! They’ve worked so hard on their swimming this year, it’s cool that they have these tangible times where they can really see their progress.

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Swimming Lessons!

We’ve done swimming lessons since the girls were 16 months old. They’ve been great for getting the girls to love the water, and for giving them the fundamentals of swimming. But, it’s really all the other pool time we spend that gets them actually swimming. I always want our swimming lessons to be more than that, but I’ve come to peace with the fact that they were never going to challenge my kids.

Until this week. It was the beginning of the lesson and they were practicing back floats. My girls can totally do these, and yet their teachers were supporting them instead of having them do it on their own. Just as this was happening the aquatics director (who just happens to be my friend and neighbor) sat down next to me and asked how things were going. I asked how we could challenge the girls a bit more and he responded that it was clear they really loved the water and weren’t afraid at all. We chatted a bit and he talked to the instructor and told her to push them and not be afraid to challenge them.

It was on.

The next thing I knew they were doing the front stroke on their own, halfway down the pool. She was right in front of them with a noodle in case they needed it, but she was letting them do it on their own. I could not have been happier! And the girls were so proud of themselves! Ditto when they flipped and did the backstroke.

I chatted with her afterwards and told her thank you. My girls love to swim and with them going off the diving board and getting more adventurous in the pool, I really want them to be stronger swimmers when they can’t touch the bottom. She said the minimum to pass this level is to swim five yards on their own which they did easily. I love that they have finally shown their teachers what they can really do in the pool, and also that they are being challenged to go even farther. I’m so happy, I’m contemplating signing them up for another round in the higher level this fall. Woo!

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Pool People

I didn’t take a single picture this weekend! Mostly because we spent much of the weekend at the pool.

Saturday we hit up the Edina pool with some friends. Pool playdates are hard to plan because you don’t know until the day of if the weather will cooperate. I can’t say that the weather *did* cooperate on Saturday, but the rain stayed away so we hit the water.

This pool is not our pool and they definitely had some different rules than we do. You had to be 50″ tall to go down the body slide which made me roll my eyes. 50″? Really? My kids have been doing the body slide at our pool (which has more drops and is faster) for two years and neither of them top 46″. Also, no goggles when you’re going off the diving board. The diving board is a new thing for my two and they are loving it! But, the no goggles thing got tough for Caden and threw her off her game. She got flustered and I had to hop in to grab her. We sat out for a bit after that episode.

Even better, we ran into other friends at the pool! It’s pretty much always just me and the girls at the pool, so it was nice to have people to chat with (and other kids for my two to swim with) while we watched the kids swim and swim and swim.

Sunday we headed to the lake to hang with my parents. Once again it was windy, but the sun was out and the pool is protected, so off we went. Delaney is just an absolute fish. She swims and swims and never gets tired. I’m tired just watching her! She was diving off my dad’s shoulders, doing handstands, and swimming after her dive toys. Caden loves to swim too, but she can’t get to the bottom as easily as her sister, and she gets tired and cold every single time. 2% body fat will do that to you. I definitely need to pull in some extra calories for her this summer!

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