You have won yourself a copy of The Barefoot Book of Children! Please email us your address.
It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that Marissa‘s son A, an inspiration to so many, passed away yesterday. He was just a few days from his fifth birthday, which his twin brother D will celebrate alone. Help us celebrate A’s life with The Barefoot Book of Children.
A overcame hundreds of expectations that came with a diagnosis of a chromosomal deletion, learning to walk independently and brightening the days of those who met him. He was the inspiration for his mother’s efforts to bring accessible playgrounds to Utah.
Marissa asks that we remember A by sharing with as many children as we can The Barefoot Book of Children. This book shows childhood in all its diversity: the able-bodied and disabled; the rich and the poor; the rainbow of shapes, sizes, cultures, languages, and everything that enriches our experience.
In A’s honour, I am giving away one copy of this book to a reader. Please enter and share this far and wide. A’s life was cut short far too early, but his footprint remains. This giveaway ends on January 16, 2017.
Adding to this tragedy, Marissa and her family lost their home yesterday in a fire. The two surviving boys and both parents are okay. Marissa smelled the smoke and was able to get the children out in time.
However, their pets did not survive. Mementos of A—his baby things and supplies that could have blessed another special needs family—did not survive. The family cars did not survive. Marissa and David will have a lot of work ahead of them to bolster the children’s sense of safety, and all while they grieve A.
Many generous people have stepped forward to help the Christenson-Lang family. I can’t even wrap my head around so much loss being heaped on one family. You can donate financially to help them rebuild for what is left of their family at Youcaring.
A Christmas wish to all NICU families. Thank you, Peekaboo ICU.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, in the neonatal intensive care,
all the babies were sleeping, while sounds of alarms filled the air.
The nurses making rounds, double-checking their meds,
while tucking the little babies, snug deep in their beds.
The stethoscopes were hung, by the preemies with care,
in hopes that they would all soon, be breathing room air.
When out in the hall, there arose such a clatter,
the parents came running, to see what was the matter.
Up from the desk, jumped all of the staff,
to make sure all was well, in each baby’s Giraffe.
The respiratory therapist arrived on the double,
but the babies were all okay, on their oxygen and bubble.
The nurse practitioner was baffled, and exclaimed in a tiff,
“Is this really happening tonight? And on my THIRD shift?”
When what to their wondering eyes should appear?
But a man in a suit, who loved the babies so dear.
With a clipboard in hand, and a velvet satchel too,
they knew at that moment; he must be St. NICU.
He was dressed in red scrubs, from his tip to his toe,
and wearing surgical gloves, so the germs would not grow!
He was a jolly old fellow, with a few extra pounds,
but that didn’t stop him, from making his rounds.
He saw babies in boxes, with tubes and with wires,
preemies and term infants, and their parent’s desires-
To hold and to rock, to kiss and kangaroo;
they all had Christmas wishes, but only these few.
Snuggling the little one, he wrapped him so tight,
he handed the baby, to his mom with delight.
A smile arose from her mouth, with great joy,
for this was the moment, she dreamed of having, with her boy.
Visiting each baby, and their concerned parents too,
He knew right away, there was something special about the NICU.
Placing his hands, on each little head,
kissing their foreheads, he winked, and he said:
“Tiny babies so strong, with determination and might,
so this is where you come, to live and to fight.”
“To breathe and to grow, and to learn how to eat,
what a difficult journey, but such an amazing feat.”
He had a sparkle in his eye, and a hop in his step,
as he approached the incubators, and whispered secrets he’d kept:
“Precious little babies, you are loved, so dear,
by your parents, your nurses, and ALL the staff here.”
“Keep fighting the fight, and showing your power,
and you will grow stronger, with each passing hour.”
Decorating the hallways, with ribbon and tape,
he strung lights on the warmers, the ventilators, and drapes.
He smiled and waved, as he passed by the cribs,
and left presents of pacifiers, and cute little bibs.
His mission was simple, to bring joy where there’s sorrow,
and to remind all of the parents, of a brighter tomorrow.
This Christmas may be spent, behind the walls of the NICU,
but there’s love to be found here, and precious miracles too!
He brought hope to the families, and smiles to the nurses,
as he flew by the monitors, and placed Purell in their purses.
And with a twinkle and a twirl, he disappeared out of sight,
But not before he exclaimed, “Merry Christmas to all” and “keep up the fight!”
© 2014-2016 Peekaboo ICU, LLC
Thank you to all who read, commented, liked, and shared our review of Twinspiration, the fabulous new edition by Cheryl Lage!
Twinspiration is a fantastic resource for expecting and new MoMs (and Double Daddies)!
[I can’t type that without saying, WHY didn’t someone put a copy of this book in my hands when I was pregnant with my twins??? I know without a doubt it would have calmed a lot of my fears, made me feel more in control…and made me feel a little less CrAzY a time or two!!!]
Now…without further ado…the WINNERS of the signed copies are…
Cheryl will be in touch with you directly to get your contact information. And I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!
And please continue to share the word about Twinspiration! What a blessing it is for the multiples community!
Preemie. What image does that bring to mind?
To many people, the term “preemie” is meaningless. To some, “preemie” calls up a perfect tiny newborn.
When I hear it, the word “preemie” makes my stomach sink, just a little.
I know, viscerally and completely, that my 10-year-old daughters are smart, healthy, talented, and vibrant. Any obstacles that their premature birth once presented have been left far behind us. However, there’s a part of me that will always quiver at the reminder of how close we came to losing them. I can’t help but be humbled by the strength of their 4-lb bodies as they fought to breathe, digest, and eat when they should have been serenely safe in my womb.
Read the stories of the HDYDI preemies from across the years.
When I heard that my friend Cheryl was publishing a new edition of her book Twinspiration, I was giddy at the opportunity to review it. See, Cheryl is not (yet!) my friend in real life, but she’s become an amazing virtual friend since my twin girls were born almost eight years ago.
She’s Been an Inspiration for Years
I started following Cheryl’s blog when my girls were infants. At the time, Cheryl’s boy/girl twins were in early elementary school, and I looked up to Cheryl as a twin mama blogger. The mix of advice and antics she wrote about gave me hope that I, too, would get through the dual dirty diapers and not-enough-hands angst that was my life at that time.
My twin girls are long past the diaper phase, and I have come to reckon with not having enough hands. Still, I so enjoyed reading Twinspiration. Years past the infant and toddler stages, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with Cheryl, alternately chuckling, “Ain’t that the truth!” and “I sure wish I’d known this ahead of time!” and finding myself misty-eyed, remembering some of the trying times and the fleeting stages.
What’s in the Book
I thought so many, many times, “Where was this book when I was expecting my girls???” I had several books on pregnancy, and one specifically on multiples, but nothing quite seemed to hit the spot that this book does.
Twinspiration provides a wealth of knowledge on what to expect, specific to a twin pregnancy and twin infant- and toddler-hood. It’s written from the perspective of a MoM who’s been there, of course, but it’s not just an account of Cheryl’s personal experiences.
Certainly Cheryl writes about her dynamic duo, which grounds the book in real-life experience and practical advice. But it’s more than that. Cheryl shares different perspectives, too, informing the reader that things don’t always play out by the book.
There are also tidbits interspersed throughout the book from a pediatrician’s perspective. What I love is that the book doesn’t attempt to present The Singular Answer, but rather it offers a range of possible scenarios. As a prospective/new parent, I feel like this book would have equipped me with the knowledge to ask the right questions specific to my particular situation. And what a treasure that would have been!
Dad’s Eye View
And as an added bonus, there are snippets of insight from Cheryl’s husband, affectionately dubbed “The Double Daddy Perspective”. I know my husband would have appreciated hearing the spouse’s take on some of the twinfant stages. Even now, eight years later, I had to share some of Double Daddy’s accounts with my hubby…it made for a fun conversation for us both, remembering things from Hubby’s point of view.
In Short, I Loved It
Twinspiration. It’s engaging…it’s captivating…it’s a plethora of knowledge and experience. And best? It’s such a warm read, like sitting down for a cup of coffee and hearing the tales from someone who has been there…really been there…and can smile a big, warm, welcoming smile as she tells her tale.
Get Your Signed Copy
At How Do You Do It, we rarely do giveaways. But Cheryl is one of our own. She’s such an ardent supporter of the twin community, and she’s generously offered to give away THREE SIGNED COPIES of her new book to How Do You Do It readers!!!
Are you expecting twins (or more)? Have a friend who would appreciate the support? Want to add a copy to your MoMs’ group library? Or just want to reminisce about those mommy milestones? Enter to win a copy!
To enter, simply leave a comment or a question on this blog post. (Cheryl would love to hear from you!) For extra entries, visit Cheryl’s Facebook page, Twinfatuation, or visit How Do You Do It’s Facebook page! If you like what you see, follow us.
This giveaway will run through November 16, 2016. Please help us spread the word!
MandyE here. Cheryl provided a copy of Twinspiration for me to read. And I loved it. The views I expressed here are my own. I joyfully recommend Twinspiration to any of my MoM and soon-to-be MoM friends!
The only item received in exchange for this review was the HDYDI16 discount code for all InchBug products.
Parents have to label everything. Jackets, shoes, bottles, sippy cups. Every item that could come unattached from a child must be labelled. For those of us with identical twins, even the children need to be labelled for the first few days of daycare or school.
It only took a couple of washes for me to realize just how impermanent permanent marker really is on plastic and glass.
In addition to packing a diaper bag or backpack every day for daycare, I needed to relabel everything for my twin daughters. On the rare occasion that the permanent marker persisted, I was annoyed that the item couldn’t be switched between my children. I’m cantankerous like that.
Enter my friend Sara. A great friend listens to you complain while you bounce three babies on your combined hips. The best of friends goes home, does some research, and gives you an actual solution to your quandary as first birthday gifts for your daughters.
Sara gave me packages of personalized InchBug orbit labels. You just put them on cups or bottles like a snug bracelet. They go on and off easily and can stay on in the dishwasher.
I now had 4 labels each with my daughters’ first names on them on high quality plastic that could stretch and contract to fit around any bottle, snack cup, or sippy cup I dared throw at it.
How do I know it’s high quality? Until we finally lost the last one with its water bottle a few weeks ago at Girl Scout camp, these babies gave us a full 10 years of faithful service, running through the dishwasher surely hundreds of times. A decade, people. Name two other things that your kid can use for 10 years. (Classic books are the first exception. That’s why I asked for two.)
A massive plus for us is the fact that every label comes with embossed print on the front and Braille on the back. We have a friend two doors down who happens to be blind. We’re very aware of how a seemingly small gesture like Brailling labels can open the world up to her.
Imagine my delight when Kayla at InchBug asked if I’d like to offer you all a 15% coupon of everything in the InchBug store. The coupon code is HDYDI16.
Personally, I can only speak to the exceptional quality and usefulness of the Orbit labels. However, InchBug offers other products, including adhesive labels for clothes, books, backpacks, and the like. They also sell the snazzy looking and practical MyDrinky.
MyDrinky is a solution to squeezed juice boxes. You know when you’re taking a long car ride, and you stick a straw in a juice box and hand it back to your kid, and you hear “Uh oh” and know that it’s going to be a really long day? Just me? MyDrinky lets your kid drink his drink without risky an inadverent squeeze that doubles your laundry load.
InchBug also sells sippy cups, water bottles, and other stuff, but their real strength, in my opinion, lies in these one-of-a-kind products that have stood the test of time. Again, our InchBug coupon code is HDYDI16, good through November 10. You won’t regret trying them out.
Ever been in a rut?
There are times in my life when I just go through the motions. In graduate school, although my area of study was deeply interesting, I didn’t feel the glow that came with doing what I was put on the earth to do. I was just doing; I wasn’t living.
I felt dim.
Today, I’m living. Working single motherhood in the suburbs, and all that entails, lights me up from my toes to the ends of the hair. Who could have ever guessed that was my purpose?
When I present a new idea to my daughters and their peers and see it click, I feel that glow. When I write to you here, reaching out to the multiple birth parent community, I feel that glow. When I catch a bug in the software I test before it can cause trouble for a customer, I feel that glow. I count myself among the lucky women who have found our light.
Last weekend, my daughters and I met Sandy Parker, author of Lumi Finds Her Light. She told me that her inspiration for the book was all the women who feel “a bit dim”, who may have given up on even seeking the thing that makes them light up. It was obvious that inspiring others to find their passions is what lights Sandy up.
She’s so passionate, in fact, that she’s offering the Lumi Finds Her Light app free (iTunes/Google Play). It’s free to everyone, everywhere through November 10. It’s essentially an electronic copy of this sweet book, complete with audible narration. Send a text to 22828 with the word LUMI. That’s all it takes. Get a copy for your kids. Tell your friends.
About the book
Lumi Finds Her Light: The Inspiring Story of Being YOU! is the sweet story of Lumi, a firefly who doesn’t yet glow. She has a supportive mother, but feels incomplete as she watches her peers find their lights. She hates being the last one to mature. Eventually, she finds what it is that makes her light up, just as we all hope for ourselves and our children. The pictures draw kids in, and parents connect to the subtext.
Meeting the author
Sandy’s blogger event at Genuine Joe Coffeehouse was intimate and sweet. There were four moms there, plus the author, and 3 of us had our kids with us for a total of one 2-year-old, two 7-year-olds, and two 10-year-olds. While the book itself was a little babyish for my 5th graders, they immediately caught on to the message and saw its value.
It took about 10 seconds for Sandy to realize that the idea of “mischief” was what made my Twin B light up. In fact, the author managed to drop that word into conversation multiple times just to see Twin B transform into light.
Sandy wants to start a movement, encouraging all people to seek their light.
I’ll admit that while they enjoyed meeting Sandy, my daughters were far more taken with the glow in the dark experiments hosted by Mad Science Austin. One of my girls left with a recipe for her own phosphorescence experiment. And how adorable are those lightning bug mason jar cookies Crumbs by Jules? They taste as good as they look, too.
Sandy was kind enough to give us an autographed copy of her book. I look forward to sharing it with kids–and moms–who could use a boost.
Get a free copy
Now, go and get your copy of Lumi Finds Her Light free.
My twin girls are starting second grade this week. On the eve of the beginning of their third school year, I realized I was giving myself a bit of a pep talk. Having two years of school under my belt, I am going to TRY to learn from my hardships and do a few things to give myself an easier time of it.
1. I will carve out time over the weekend to do some food prep for the upcoming week.
While I would love to spend every ounce of the weekends hanging out with the girlies, it makes my life much simpler to put together some make-ahead recipes on Sunday.
2. I will invite the girls to help me in the kitchen when I do food prep.
I have done a pretty good job of this this summer, but it’s easy to get into “get it done” mode during the school year. I’ll feel better about “taking away” time from the weekend for food prep if I can count it as quality time with the girls.
3. I will make lunches the night before.
I’m bad at this one. I get so tired by the end of the day, I often wait until the morning to assemble lunches. I’ll enjoy more of my mornings if I’m not rushing to peel cucumbers at 5:50am.
4. The girls will clean out their own backpacks each day.
We get busy in the afternoons, and I want to spend down-time with the girls as much as possible. This often leaves the task of cleaning out the backpacks to me. I already have an adorable in-box in place. I’m going to try to break this habit!
5. The girls will load their backpacks for the following day (with the exception of their lunchboxes) before bedtime.
6. I will have the girls in the car by 7:30am.
That’s actually a tiny bit more time than we need to get to school at 7:45, but that allows me to run back into the house for whatever it is I forgot that day. (It’s seemingly inevitable, at least once a week…might as well plan for it.)
7. I will fix the coffee pot before I go to bed.
What a great treat it is to get up in the morning with just one button to press between me and that sweet elixir!
8. I will blog at least once a week.
I feel much better when I sit down, relax, and write. It’s so easy to get out of the routine, but I feel much more like “me” when I stick to it. I’m hopeful that I’ll have time in the mornings here and there…since I’m saving myself time on lunches and coffee prep, mornings are going to be a breeze, right???
So here’s my game plan…
A. Get Hubby’s buy-in…
…in the food department. I don’t exactly need (or want!) his help in the kitchen most of the time, but he can help facilitate the Sunday afternoon schedule for me to do that.
…in the management of backpacks. He’s home with the girls in the afternoon, and I’ll ask him to help reinforce our new outline.
B. Keep the girls on task with a fancy list…
…to remind them of their backpack chores each afternoon.
…to provide a checklist of their morning duties to give us the greatest chance of success for that 7:30 departure.
C. Cut myself some slack, when necessary…
…to allow for the occasional pizza night or PB&J two days in a row. Even the best-laid plans don’t always pan out. We will survive!
What am I missing on my list? Any tips and tricks you Multiple Mamas can share that make your days run a little more smoothly???
MandyE is mom to 7 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls. She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.
My girls and I have been going to local playgrounds since they were newborns. Wood chip ground cover was a nuisance when it came to getting around with my double stroller. I remember wondering how parents in wheelchairs managed.
I used to leave one twin at a time in the stroller while I held the other in my lap. We slid down the slide to the sounds of peals of baby laughter. As soon as they were walking at about 12 months old (10 months corrected), my daughters toddled out onto the wood chips. Twin B was a little suspicious of this stuff under her feet. Twin A dived into it with gusto.
My major frustration with the wood chips that lined nearly all the playgrounds near us was that my daughters liked to chew on them. Other children, though, find wood chips to be an impassable obstacle. It keeps them from being able to access the equipment at all.
Marissa‘s son A has a variety of special needs. He has already overcome every expectation doctors set for him. They didn’t think he’d survive. When he proved them wrong, they didn’t think he’d be mobile. Untiring parents, committed therapists, and A’s will of steel keep showing us that the sky is the limit. A uses a walker to get around.
When it comes to playgrounds, the edge of the wood chip ground cover marks the limits of where A can get around easily. Cement playgrounds aren’t ideal, but they are walker and wheelchair accessible. Wood chips catch on A’s walker, and he recently suffered injuries from a park fall.
Here in the Austin area, the Play for All Park in Rabb Park is an accessible playground that is designed with kids like A in mind. It has a swing for wheelchair-users and ramps onto the playscape, tactile surfaces for blind kids, and the ground is covered with a firm but yielding foam-like surface. There are a few areas with wood chips, but much of the playground equipment is accessible.
Unfortunately, nothing like this is (yet) available where Marissa and A live.
Today, the Americans with Disabilities Act is 26 years old. If you can, please contact your local parks and recreation department and ask them to consider playground accessibility. Even paving part of a park would make it more accessible to kids like A. It’s a quick call for you, but a world of inclusion for A and children like him.
If you have any photos or videos of a friend or family member trying to navigate wood chips, please email them to Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be using them to advocate for accessible playgrounds in Utah.