The Munchkins

Life with identical twins

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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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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We packed it in!

My parents came up Wednesday evening to watch the girls softball game. As we were driving back to our house, we were discussing the weekend and our plans for the lake. My dad asked if we could come out Friday night? I said why not! I picked the girls up a little early on Friday, and we headed to the grocery store across the street to grab a quick dinner. Mashed potatoes and pizza for them, a salad for me. We got to the lake in time for a few golf cart rides, ice cream, and some relaxation.

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We wore Annie out. She did awesome this weekend! She’s one of the few dogs who does not wind herself into circles when on a tie out. She loved being in the house, minded the screen door, and only ran off once to chase a bunny. She even went on her first boat ride! And stuck her little paws in the lake. Once the water warms up a bit, we’ll get her life jacket on and see if she likes to swim. By Saturday night she was so tired she could barely keep her eyes open. She snuggled up to my dad and fell asleep with her head on his leg. She spent all day Sunday sleeping on my bed. Poor thing.

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There was a lot of this this weekend too. Both girls are so into reading right now. Caden got up first Saturday morning and headed to the screen porch to read her book. Delaney did the same thing Sunday morning. On the ride out Delaney read her book the whole way, and on the ride back Caden did the same. Choosing books over electronics? Yes please.

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After a lunch of grilled pizzas, we headed up to the softball fields for a little practice. My dad coached me all throughout my childhood, and my mom also played a lot of softball, so they were both excited to work with the girls on some of the fundamentals. Since my mom was pitching to them, I got a different perspective and could really help them with their swings.

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Delaney has a great batting stance. We worked on bringing her bat back a little, and not opening her chest so much towards the pitcher. Every time she got her stance just right, she got a hit.

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In the beginning of the season Caden was awesome at hitting, but I think she started overthinking things, so we went back to basics. Her timing was right on, but the bat was too close in. By the time she got the back out and back and then swung, it was too late. Bat back, booty out, and the girl was getting hit after hit.

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After softball my mom mixed up some pina coladas so we could have a little happy hour on the boat. While we were doing that, the girls got in some fishing. They caught a bunch of good sized crappies! My dad cleaned them and fried them up alongside some chicken/bacon/pineapple skewers for dinner. After dinner the girls wanted to go swimming. I said no, right as my mom said sure! At least they’re at the age where an adult doesn’t have to get in the water with them. It was overcast and cool (which worked to our advantage since no one was hot or sun burned) so they didn’t last long. After swimming it was finally time for s’mores and banana boats toasted over my perfect fire. I kept the fire going all day long, so by nighttime things had burned down to perfect coals. Perfect end to the perfect day.

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Long story longer

So I woke up Friday morning and somehow felt WORSE. How does that happen? I went to work because I just kept trudging through my morning, but as soon as I got there I realized that was a very bad decision. I stuck it out through my first meeting, then moved the rest of my afternoon and headed home. After throwing up again (TMI sorry!) I texted my mom who urged me to get to the doctor. A quick call to the nurses line affirmed that I needed to get to Urgent Care immediately.

I will spare you the long version of my urgent care story and go with the short version instead. By the time I got there I was severely dehydrated, my blood pressure was crazy low, and I was feeling more than a little panicky. The triage nurse realized I was about to faint and got me back to a room right away. Not that that made my visit shorter (4 hours), but at least I got to nap on a bed. My doctor was very thorough (two celiac kids and a gluten sensitive one, we covered my acid reflux history as well as my diet), but the final conclusion was that I had a bad case of the stomach flu. Two bags of IV fluids later, I was on my way home. Thanks to the nanny who stayed late with the girls, and my parents came up and watched them for the evening.

Saturday I still felt pretty awful, but I was on strict orders to eat bland foods and drink as much water and gatorade as I could. It’s good to have a goal. In what was a saving grace, the girls had an all day Girl Scout camp thing on Saturday. I dropped them off at 8am and they came home at 6pm. For various reasons, I made zero plans for Saturday. I had a few ideas, but I somehow knew things would get pulled out from under me and they did. My Saturday was spent on the couch. What a freaking waste! Ugh. It killed me, but I knew I needed to rest.

Sunday I felt so much better! I made bacon and eggs for breakfast, had a cup of coffee, felt like a brand new woman! The girls had a waterpark birthday party to go to, and at least this time, I knew I could get a few things done while they were gone. Did some laundry, organized a few closets, and watched the Twins game. It definitely wasn’t the socializing, exercise filled, productive weekend I thought I might have, but what can you do.

On the flip side, I really missed my kids. I know the older they get, there will be more weekends like this where they have activities they take up a lot of time but I have to say, I’m not looking forward to it! It was nice to have a little time to myself, but I did not need two days worth.

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Knocked Out

When I woke up Saturday morning I could barely get out of bed. I figured once I was up and moving I’d feel better but no, no I did not. So I ate a little breakfast and crawled back in bed.

The thing about being sick now is that the girls are a lot more self sufficient. I had already made them breakfast, but they made their own lunch (reheated mac & cheese and fruit). They entertained themselves and knew enough not to create a big mess, and best of all, they let me sleep.

But of course me being sick couldn’t be all that was going on around here. It warmed up. I knew when I tore the deck off that I would have to deal with a muddy dog, but I thought that would be in the spring, not mid-December. If she would have just stuck to the grass it would have been fine, but she was digging holes in the dirt! The first time she came inside the girls didn’t realize how muddy she was and she ran all over the house, then jumped up on my bed getting everything dirty.

The next time she came inside I caught her and we stuck her in the bathtub with a little water. This worked great except the next time it was time to come in the house she didn’t want in. Thankfully it was warm, because she was outside for 2+ hours at one point.

On Saturday she had four baths, Sunday she had three by noon. Ugh! I finally started taking her out on her leash so I could at least control the damage.

But of course she snuck in one more time Sunday evening and ran laps around the house as the girls chased her. I grabbed her and got her in the tub, while they tried to clean up. When I looked I realized it was more than some paper towels could deal with so I told Caden to give her a bath and headed downstairs to grab the mop bucket. Delaney was bummed she didn’t get to give her a bath but I told her mopping was way more fun. She loved mopping and ended up mopping the entire upstairs! It was amazing! And totally necessary after our muddy weekend. I will definitely play that card again soon.

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Apple Day

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My grandpa has an apple tree in his yard and every few years it produces a ton of apples and we all descend on his house and make apple pies and apple crisp en masse. Of course I don’t like apple crisp and I can’t eat apple pie, but we do love apple sauce in this house, so we’ll take all the apples we can get and cook them down over the winter.

We had three corer/peeler/slicers. Two worked well, one worked okay. Delaney and my grandpa manned one, I manned the other, and Caden occasionally made an appearance at the third (which is about how things shook out two years ago too). It was so cute to watch Lane and my grandpa work together. They were quite the team! I think I heard we made 16 pans of apple crisp, 6 pies, two batches of applesauce, and I took home four bags of sliced apples. Definitely a success.

At one point Alyssa left to make a butter run, so Delaney took over her job of quartering the apple slices. It involved using a big knife, so we quickly went over knife rules and she was good to go. My mom and aunts were a little surprised I let her do this, but we’ve practiced knife skills at home and she knew how to handle a big knife, so I felt confident. She did great.

Funny story from the weekend. Saturday morning my mom made cinnamon rolls and the girls were each going to frost two. Caden frosted her two rolls, then Delaney started frosting hers. My mom’s back was turned though? So she didn’t notice the switch and with their similar pink pajamas and same hair she kept telling Delaney “You need to save some frosting for your sister! You were only supposed to frost one!” Finally I said “You know that’s Delaney right?” It’s good to know they fool someone besides just me!

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Beautiful weekend!

When we’re home for the weekend it can be really easy to get caught up in cleaning,organizing and cooking and just let the girls play on their own. This month I’ve been really trying to choose to have a positive attitude, and to find things to do with the girls. After mowing the lawn and realizing what a crazy beautiful day it was, I asked the girls to bike while I ran.

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They biked, I ran. That combo doesn’t always work out so well. Since I knew I wouldn’t get much mileage in (not that I would have without them either!) and my muscles were warm from mowing, I challenged Laney to a race. She biked as fast as she could, and I full out sprinted beside her. Holey moley! After a bit of a break, I did the same with Caden. It was a great workout. We did another loop of our circle at a more reasonable pace, but then just as we were almost home Caden said “Beat her Mommy, beat her!” So I did. Thought I might puke, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t run that hard since high school, but it felt GOOD.

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After our bike ride I stretched out, and they went right back out to their spot. They spent most of the weekend out here making dirt pies and who knows what else. We have such a great backyard, it always makes me so happy to see them playing out there. Someone needs to make use of it besides the bunnies!

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Rejuvenating Weekend

Last week was kind of rough. I was hormonal, the kids were sick, we were stuck at home for five days, and it was cloudy and rainy. I was going bonkers by Friday. Oh wait, I forgot to update last Friday’s post! Remember when I said both kids were going to school? Yeah. I ate those words around 5:00am when Delaney climbed in bed with me and from the heat coming off her body, I guessed her temp at 101. I dragged her into work with me for a few hours and even got her a fancy hot dog from the food trucks. I paid for all of that once we were home where she took a nap, and woke up with a 102.7 fever. Woo.

Anyway, Saturday morning we woke up, the sun was shining, and everyone’s fevers were gone! The weather was absolutely perfect this weekend, which in turn made us super productive.

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Saturday was a little crazy. First, it was my birthday, which I completely forgot about until I checked the weather on my phone and saw Facebook notices. Second, we had a jam packed day planned. Bridal shower in the morning, dance pictures, then the planting of the flowers. It was so warm Caden needed an outfit change.

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We have this down to a science now, so it only takes a few hours. Last fall I dumped the dirt by the shed, so I didn’t have to schlep to the back of the yard this time which helped as well. The girls weren’t as into it this year, although I’m not sure if they were fully recovered. Either way, my mom and I strategized and in the end, we were only one gerbera daisy short.

Post birthday cake, the girls went to a birthday party and my parents and I changed clothes and headed out for a birthday dinner. My neighbor and I had been chatting about me buying his house in a few years, but he’s going to stay for the long haul now, so dinner conversation consisted of throwing around remodeling ideas and me showing them things I’ve pinned over the years. A possible plan is coming together which is actually feasible, I just need a little more expert advice.

I love celebrating birthdays, but I always have trouble figuring out what I want to do for mine. This day was exactly it. Quiet celebration spent with my favorite people. (For any local gf people, I picked up a cake from Bittersweet Bakery and it was super tasty. Highly recommend.)

Sunday was more perfection (thanks grandma, I know that was your doing). We slept in, hit the Farmer’s Market, grabbed groceries, planted the last flowers, tilled and planted the garden, cleaned out the car, read books on the deck, ate an amazing dinner on the screen porch, and went for a bike ride. If the pool had been open we probably would have fit that in too! I had a smile on my face the entire day.

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Mother’s Day!

Apologies in advance, but this is going to be the only in focus picture you see here but I’m posting the blurry pics anyway.

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The girls have very distinct ideas about what they want to get me and my mom for Mother’s Day. They picked out gerbera daisy’s for my mom, and then schemed with my mom to pick out the lily above. Caden found it immediately and then kept hiding it behind her back. It was adorable how she tried to keep it a secret.

We headed down to my parent’s house Saturday morning. They’re redoing their deck, which gave the girls plenty of jobs to help out with. Me? I headed to the salon to get a hair cut (Caden got one too! Her hair is so short and chic again.) When I got back my mom and I went to a local winery that I’ve been dying to try. My mom and I rarely get to spend time just the two of us, so it was nice to have that time to taste and talk. And the wines were really good!

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Before we headed out Sunday morning, we did some family pictures. The girls took most of these and I’m bummed they’re blurry, but you can tell who everyone is so I’m calling it a win.

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Sunday morning everyone slept in a bit, then we headed out for brunch. Super yummy food! Although I’m happy I don’t travel anymore because I could not stay away from those hotel waffles. The smell alone from across the table was intoxicating!

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May is always packed with so many things, so we headed out to the garden centers to pick out flowers and herbs. This is utterly and completely Caden’s element, so I usually just stand back and let her go. The weather is iffy this week, but we still planted our herbs. She just couldn’t wait.

By Sunday evening we were all exhausted, but it was a really great weekend. It’s always nice for the girls to spend time with my parents, and for all of us to spend time together. Watching my girls help my dad drill holes and do whatever else he gets them to do always reminds me of my childhood. So fun.

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What do you do when it’s super cold out?

The meteorologists are predicting record cold weather this week, so everyone knew they were going to be trapped (eventually). Saturday was actually decent (I think we were all expecting the cold to hit sooner than it did), so everyone, and I mean everyone, ran their errands. We stocked up on groceries and gas and then headed home to hunker down.

It was an incredibly productive weekend. Incredibly. Possibly a little manic, but still, productive.

Saturday I made chai tea lattes. I don’t really know why I wanted a chai tea latte so badly, but with the cold weather, it sounded perfect and it was. It could have been slightly sweeter, or more concentrated, but it was the perfect warm drink for a cold afternoon.

And then I did laundry. All the laundry. Sheets, blankets, pillows, taggies, duvets, towels. Everything that could be washed, was washed this weekend.

Sunday morning I started off with pumpkin chocolate chip oat bars. These were a huge hit! So yummy and tasty. We ate half the pan already.

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We ate some lunch, then started a craft the girls got in their stockings for Christmas. Who remembers Bake it’s?

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In hindsight, this was a poor decision. While the girls did fine with them at first, it quickly became apparent that you needed to do this one by one with a tweezer, or you’d have colors everywhere. They started them, I finished them. Never again.

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There was a lull after these baked where the oven was off for a solid hour plus. I ran, the girls got to the Ice Castle in Dora Wii. Then I threw in some chicken breasts, which I baked, cut up, and froze for later use. I used to do this every week, but I had gotten out of the habit. I wanted to do tacos on Tuesday this week, but since we weren’t having chicken Sunday, I didn’t have leftover chicken to use. I realized it was silly to depend on reusing leftovers, so I baked up some to freeze.

Last but not least were the Monster Cookies. My mom made these for Bake Day and the girls have loved them, so I knew we needed more. There is no flour in the recipe, only a whole lotta peanut butter and oatmeal. Note to my mother – did you use butter in yours? Because ours look very different.

The final thing I crossed off my to do list was to hang our family picture in the dining room. I’ve had that thing framed and sitting on the floor for five months? When we were at Home Depot on Saturday I bought picture hanging wire and a bracket. The only wrinkle in this is that the bracket is visible above the picture frame. Like fully visible. But the family picture is up! And every time I see it I’m thankful Angie blurred out my wrinkles. (Picture of the family picture only, since it was too dark to take a picture of my hanging picture.)

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