Happy Fathers’ Day!

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Happy Fathers’ Day to all the super dads out there.

We’d like to acknowledge the wonderful fathers behind the MoMs of How Do You Do You It?

Loving father of twins A and B.
Mandy‘s husband with their lovely daughters, A and B.
Grandfather of triplets and a singleton. Happy Fathers' Day!
Mari‘s triplets and their cousin with their very proud grandfather.
Ryan is Dad to two sets of twins. There's a dad to celebrate on Fathers' Day!
Amy‘s husband, Ryan, with their older twins. Talk about superdad!
Brand new grandfatherhood, times two, just in time for Father's Day.
Sadia‘s daughters, M and J, at one month old with their grandfather, J’s namesake.
Happy Father's Day to all dads, and twice over to fathers of twins!
SaraBeth‘s husband, Chris, with their little spitfires, Jack and Molly at just over a year old.
Dad to 5: two sets of twins and 1 singleton.
Michelle‘s husband Scott is Superdad to each of 5 children: one set of fraternal twins, one set of identical twins, and a singleton.
Now there's a dad to recognize on Fathers' Day!
Jessica‘s husband with his little ladies.

We hope you know how much we appreciate you.

Why not a DAD triptych for Father's Day?
Beth‘s kids celebrate Dad.

Canvas Art – A Father’s Day Gift Idea

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Father’s Day is on Sunday. It’s getting down to the wire, MoMs! If you are running out of ideas (or cash) for a Fathers’ Day gift, here’s a quick and easy project everyone can do.

I wanted to have all four kids enjoy the craft and that’s tricky because of their age gap. My oldest is 17 with the twin “cabooses” at 4. I also wanted it to reflect their personalities.

I had originally thought we could all make our own card or picture, but those tend to get discarded over time. Everyone loves to paint so I went to my local craft store in search of cheap options.  I found an 16×20 canvas for under five dollars. The acrylic craft paint was also inexpensive.

I sectioned the canvas with painters tape and let the kids have at it. The only rules were: they had to fill their entire square and no “trespassing” into their sibling’s square. It couldn’t have turned out any better! Each square shows their personality and creativity.

Last minute family Father's Day gift - segmented canvas.

If your kids are too young to follow the trespassing rule, tape down paper to cover all but one of the openings, leaving that one section for one child to paint. When a work of art is dry, cover it and move onto the next child and next opening.

Best project yet!

A cute gift idea for #FathersDay. Give each child part of the canvas to decorate.

I’m thinking of using this same division of the canvas again. I think it would be great for collages, glue art, sand, or even photos. Happy Father’s Day!!

If you decide to try this, send us a picture!

Celebrate Multiples with the TODAY Show on June 22

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Do you live near New York City? Do you have multiple friends or MoM friends in the area?

The TODAY Show is kicking off a series looking at the joys of being a multiple and want you to be part of the celebration! June 22, 2015 is the big day.

I have a feeling this is going to be the next biggest thing after Twins Days in Twinsburg.

Here’s what the TODAY Show has to say:

We want to fill our plaza with twins… triplets… and quads on Monday, June 22nd. Adults, teens, tweens and babies all invited! So, if you’re a mom of multiples or a multiple yourself come on down and help us show off the bond you have.

If you know you can make it – pre-register so we can look out for you! Here are the instructions:

  1. Go to http://visit.today.com/
  2. Click “RSVP” at the top of the page.
  3. Create a TODAY account by filling out the information you see on the screen. Then, press “Next” at the bottom of the page.
  4. When prompted to choose the date you’re coming. (Choose June 22).
  5. When prompted to select a reason for coming, please choose “Other.” Below that, please write TWINS and provide a short description about you and your sibling(s).
  6. Below that, check whether or not you have special needs, and whether or not you’ve visited the plaza before.
  7. In the “Upload Photo” spot, please upload a file of you and your sibling or your multiples.
  8. Press “Complete RSVP” — and you’re done!

If you end up going, drop us a note to let us know about the experience. We’d love to hear all about it and see your great photos!

Spread the word!

Show up in NYC to join other twins, triplets, and quads for the TODAY Show. June 22, 2015. RSVP at http://visit.today.com/.

Make-It Monday: Father’s Day Gifts from the Kiddos

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Father’s Day is fast approaching, and I’m sharing a couple of the ways we’ve made Daddy feel the love on his special day.
I wish I’d had the wherewithal to do this the girls’ first Father’s Day…but, just shy of 6 months old…I think I was still in somewhat of a haze.  Since the girls’ second Father’s Day, though, we’ve been carrying out the traditional of our “Top 10 List”, complete with hand prints, and — since the girls were three — signatures, too.
HDYDI-fd2
On the center card: “The Top 10 Reasons We Think You’re the Best Daddy in the World”, on which I list some of the fun things the girls love to do with their daddy.  I try to come up with things that represent what the girls are doing at that given age/stage.
This picture is from our 2011 list when the girls were two, and it includes cuteness along the lines of:
  • You help us build the best “structures” with our blocks, and the tallest towers.
  • You never tire of sampling our tea and lemonade, and all our culinary creations.
  • You show us how to be super sweet to our furry sister Sasha.
  • Two words…tickle time!!!
  • You sing “Found a Peanut” every night, even though we know it’s not your favorite song, and you make up all sorts of silly lyrics to “Baa-Baa Black Sheep” at our requests.
  • You give us nose kisses the first thing when you come home from work, and you talk to us through the window in the backyard when you cut the grass.

And every list ends with, #10. You’re ours.

Last year, we added a fun new twist to our Father’s Day celebration, and our girls thought it was so much fun.  I drew conversation bubbles and the girls wrote a Father’s Day message.

HDYDI-fd1This year, I plan to have the girls hold the letters D-A-D-D-Y for a picture.  I’m sure that will incite plenty of giggles, too.

Some hand print art and pictures of his girlies…what more could a daddy want?  And I love getting the girls involved in the gift-giving.  That’s what it’s all about!

Do you have any Father’s Day traditions?  We’d love to hear your ideas!

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Wouldn’t Do Without Wednesday: Daddy Dolls

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Monday was Memorial Day, the American remembrance to honour all who have given their lives in service to the USA.

Too often, we get caught up in the excitement of a day off work, family barbecues, and widely advertised sales, forgetting the Memorial part of the day altogether. My daughters’ father is a career soldier and has served 3 combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. While we’re thankful that he has never been injured, I’m very aware that not all military families are so fortunate. On this day of the year, I always remember a waitress I met near where we live. We started chatting about our families when she noticed that my girls were twins. She was pregnant with her twins, she told me, when her husband was killed on duty at the Pentagon, on September 11, 2001. She moved back to Texas so that her parents could help her raise her three children even as she grieved.

It’s easy to overlook how war, especially war that takes place far from our shores, impacts children. It does impact them, though. My daughters have known all their lives that Daddy goes away to catch bad men. They know that he carries a gun, and so do the bad men. They also know that most of the people in Iraq and Afghanistan are just mommies and daddies and kids who don’t want any fighting. They just want to be together.

These conversations with my daughters were not easy. They were at least as hard as the conversations we’ve had about divorce and that mommy and daddy don’t love each other any more. Now that M and J are 9, they can verbalize how they’re feeling. When they were younger, it was much harder, especially with Daddy away more often than he was living with us at home.

To help my daughters talk about and process their father’s absence, I turned to Daddy Dolls, a company started by two Marine wives. They turn the full-length photo of a loved one into a doll for your child to interact with. Ours came out wonderfully. They held up through 2 years of daily hugs and countless runs through the washing machine, looking just as they did they day we received them. Sadly, they’ve been left at the bottom of the toy bin since shortly after the divorce, despite my efforts to bring them out to play.

I ordered the girls’ dolls the day that my now-ex left for his 3rd combat tour. We took photos of L in front of our garage the morning he deployed to Afghanistan. The company removed the background image and printed a smiling picture on each of two camo-backed dolls.

Daddy dolls give the military child something to hold onto while a parent is deployed.

When our then 4-year-old daughters received their dolls, they were completely enamoured. You can see their reaction in this video.

A few days after we received the Daddy dolls, I walked over to J’s bed after brushing M’s hair. J had her doll in her hand, facing me.

J (age 4, as Daddy): Hi Sadia!
Me: Hi L (ex’s name)!
J: So, how are you doing?
Me: I’m fine, but I miss you. I have a hard time falling asleep.
J: I just came by to say, “You’re welcome.”
Me: I see.
J: You’re welcome for the dolls.
Me: I love you!
J: I miss you all, even Penelope (the cat).
Me: And we miss you.
J: (as J, addressing the doll) You and me only have the … What’s the hole called?
Me: A dimple.
J: You and me only have a dimple.
M (age 4): Mommy and me have moles!
J: Does Daddy have a mole?
Me: Yes.

Of course, the utility and value of these dolls isn’t limited to families with a deployed parent. Any child suffering loss might benefit. I gave a gift card to the site to a friend for her son when her husband passed away. Moving away from the morbid, when it comes time for holiday shopping, a Daddy (or Mommy or Grandma or Sister) Doll might make for a good present. We received ours in less than two weeks.

Wouldn't Do Without Wednesday at hdydi.com: This week, the gogo Kidz Travelmate.As with all Wouldn’t Do Without Wednesday posts, I received no compensation for this review.

Mommy-Daughter Date, Single Mom Style

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My birthday is 6 days after that of my twin daughters. Both usually fall in the same week as American Mothers’ Day. In the widest conceivable stretch, all three events occur within a 9-day period. We’re nothing if not efficient.

This year, Mothers’ Day fell on M and J’s birthday. My birthday was the following Saturday, the day before yesterday.

Sadia and her daughters do a lot of celebrating in May.

On Thursday evening, M informed me that she wanted to take me out for a birthday/Mothers’ Day treat. Her grandparents had given her a Starbucks gift card for her birthday and she wanted to spend it on me. This is probably not what they had in mind, but I have the world’s sweetest kids.

Here’s what J presented to me. She’d made me birthday breakfast in bed:

Birthday breakfast for mom from a 9-year-old. Nutella on toast.

Toast, cut into shapes, spread with Nutella, with “Love Mom” and “Best Mom” inscribed in royal icing. Seriously, sweetest kids ever.

M was insistent that our Starbucks celebration be exclusively ours. Her sister was not invited. I told her that I’d arrange a solo playdate for J so that she and I could have our mommy-daughter date.

We happened to be leaving an after-school school-sponsored event when we had this conversation, so I decided to see whether I could locate my girls’ best friend’s family, whom we’d just seen. They were still there. I asked whether they’d be willing to have J over. They said that they could make it happen the very next day.

They would pick J up from school with their daughter while M went to after-school care. I could pick M up at the regular time. It would be nice for their daughter S to get to play with J, since Mom and Dad have been quite occupied welcoming their one-month-old into the world. (Aren’t they wonderful friends? I wouldn’t dream of asking anyone else with a newborn to watch my kid!)

A 9-year-old's preferences for a mommy-daughter date.

M and I had a lovely time. I took her out for dinner at Mimi’s Café and then we headed to Starbucks for dessert on her dime. She got a chocolate milk and brownie. I got a decaf soy java Frappucino and cookie. We talked the entire time, about her friends, what she’s been reading, the state of the dwarf planet Pluto, what I’ve been doing at work, and the importance of feathers in art.

Age nine feels like a watershed between little girlhood and tweendom.

I was not allowed her to kiss her in public, but M did want to sit in my lap. I was not allowed to take photos, but she took my arm everywhere we went. She told both the waitress and the barrista all that we were celebrating. She didn’t mention her sister to either of them, which was a first.

I loved this one-on-one time, in no small part because I knew that J was having an equally good time. It also helped that there wasn’t any time pressure on us to retrieve her. Both my daughters (and their friend) would get tired around the same time, so we would very naturally ending up picking J up in time for bed.

We’re planning a mommy-daughter date for me and J in the near future. M will head off for a playdate with a different friend.

Making quality one-on-one time is a challenge for any parent with more than one child, but it’s all the more challenging for a single parent of multiples. If you’ve ever wondered how you can help the single parent in your life, how about offering to watch one or both children? Don’t be offended if he or she doesn’t take you up on it right away, or ever. It really is the thought that counts.

I’d never been one to think of my birthday as anything but another day of the year, but this year, my girls made it truly special.

A Mother’s Heart

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Yesterday, a package arrived in the mail for my daughters from their father. It contained, among other things, the stuffed toys M had left at Daddy’s house. She had been waiting for their arrival since January, so you can imagine how excited she was.

She introduced her North Carolinian “children” to their Texan siblings.

“I’m so glad you’re all together, just in time for Mothers’ Day, which is also my birthday!”

In my 9-year-old’s mind, today as Mothers’ Day was as great a celebration of her as it is as her birthday. She has a mother’s heart.

Celebrate everyone who loves with a mother's heart this Mothers' Day. From http://hdydi.com

Happy Mothers’ Day to everyone who loves with a mother’s heart.

… to you who ever carried a child in your womb.

… to stepmothers, grandmothers, and aunts.

… to you who welcomed a child into your family through adoption.

… to you who opened your home to foster a child.

… to you who took a moment to show someone that they mattered.

… to you who have dreamed of a child who will some day be yours.

… to you whose child has left us too soon.

… to teachers who have touched the lives of students.

… to nurses who have been there in those most frightening of hours and celebrated every victory.

… to mentors who have nurtured the spirit, intellect, and hopes of a new generation.

… to therapists who have seen each child’s potential.

… to you who have crossed paths with a child and hoped you made a difference.

Happy Mothers’ Day to each of you.

 

 

This Mothers’ Day, Acknowledge Infertility

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For American Mothers’ Day 2006, I received the most wonderful gift: two 3-day-old daughters, doing better than anyone imagined they could, having been born at 33 weeks gestation.

Sadia with her newborns in the NICU. You'd never guess 9 years later that they had a rough start at 33 weeks gestation.

A week from today, on Mothers’ Day 2015, those tiny babies turn 9 years old. Halfway to college.

J and M in their dance attire. You'd never guess they were 7 weeks premature.

Motherhood has been more than I could have ever imagined. More joyous. More fulfilling. Surprisingly, easier than I expected.

There are many others out there, men and women alike, who have planned to have children, only to encounter the monster that is infertility. They would love to be celebrating Mothers’ Day with a child, but have faced obstacle after obstacle in making that child a reality.

Last year, we ran a series called (In)Fertility Tales. I encourage you to read these stories to understand the variety of challenges would-be parents face and how you can help. Hear from the blogger who explains why she remains anonymous when addressing the topic and the news anchor who had her whole community watching as she carried triplets, only to lose two of them.

I echo Angela‘s challenge to you from her post Honoring Moms Who Aren’t: Remembering the Bereaved or Infertile. This Mothers’ Day, don’t just honour those mothers whose children are with us. Remember too those who lost their children or are still waiting for them.

My tiny step to this end was to ask the church pastor’s wife to see whether “mothers at heart” could be given roses this coming Sunday, not just those who the outside world perceives as mothers. Let the roses be a balm and not a thorn, adding to the pain of infertile would-be mothers and loss moms.

Celebrate all mothers on Mothers' Day - even those who children have not yet arrived or have already left them.

Make-It Monday: Valentine’s Countdown Treasure Box

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(Yes, today is Sunday, not Monday.  Sorry to give any sleep-deprived mamas out there another reason to doubt their sanity.  [Been there!]  I would like to say that I was *ahead* of the game…but that’s just not the case.  I wish I’d done my crafting a week ago…but I didn’t.  So I’m posting this hot off the press…on Sunday, not Monday.)

For the last several years, my girlies have had SO much fun with their Advent calendars, counting down to Christmas.  I had visions of doing something fun for Valentine’s Day…but with my girls’ birthday immediately following Christmas (the first week of January), I just didn’t have it in me for another big project.

Vday1I happened upon some Pinterest inspiration, and I decided I was up for a week of counting down.  And I can’t wait to see my girls’ faces when they see this little surprise!

I bought a $1 pill box for each of them (check the dollar store or Walmart).  I am glad I found an extra-large one…it will be easier to fit tiny treasures.

I cut paper to cover each of the days, stamped out a little message, and Viola! this Valentine’s Day countdown was born.

I put in a Hershey’s Kiss for today.

Vday2

The balance of the week I plan to fill with some tiny treats (conversation hearts, M&Ms).  I also plan to put in a couple of activities…I’ll write something like “Make Valentine’s Chex Mix“…to mix things up a bit.

I love sharing holidays with my girlies!  What fun things do you have planned this week?  We’d love to see your ideas!

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Make-It Monday: Involving Your Children in Holiday Giving

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We try to keep holidays sweet and simple at our house, and I’m doing my best to impart the joy of giving of ourselves in my twin girls, who are now almost six.

I love to think of opportunities to involve the girls in the process of making handmade gifts, at least in some small way.  Approaching six years of age, there are lots of things the girls can do, especially when it comes to making holiday goodies with me in the kitchen.  I had to be much more creative when they were smaller…the idea of four little hands in the flour was not one I wanted to tackle with twin toddlers!

Today I’m sharing a some of the things we’ve done over the past few years, going back to when our girlies were approaching two.

Gift tags.  It’s become a tradition that our girls make gift tags to adorn the presents and goodies we give to our friends and families.  (I love that a few family members save the tags and use them as ornaments!)  The first year, I let the girls go to town with green finger paint on white card stock.

Xmas4I used a scallop punch to cut out 2″ ‘wreaths’, and I punched holes to show through to a red paper circle of berries.  I applied glue to the ‘wreaths’ and let the girls put the two pieces together.  Here’s the finished product:

Xmas3Another year I let the girls loose with a ‘present’ stamp, which they then colored.  (I had visions of checkered red and green packages…but they had other ideas, using almost every color in the crayon box.)

Xmas6And my favorite to date the girls did last year.  Xmas8At almost-five, they were able to complete these all by themselves, but these could be done with younger kiddos with some supervision.  We used washable brown ink to make thumb prints, and the tip of their index fingers in washable red ink made the nose.  The girls used markers to draw the eyes and antlers.  I love all the personality these little reindeer have!

Gift bags.  The girls had such fun making these bags when they were near-three.  I let them pick out button eyes, and I assembled the other pieces from card stock, felt, and sequins.  I applied glue to the pieces, and they put them in place.  XMas1

Cards.  I LOVE making cards  with the girls.  XMas2These were some of our earliest holiday creations.  At not-quite-two, I had the girls scribble with green crayons.  I cut out their scribbles in the shape of a tree, and I glued them to a blank card.  I let them decorate the tree with stickers, a favorite pastime at that age.

 

Charitable giving.  The last couple of years, the girls have had so much fun shopping for the food bank…it’s the one time of year I let them drive the miniature shopping carts at the grocery store, and they so look forward to it.  And of course we have to decorate bags to carry our goodies.

Tidings of Cheer.  The girls always go with me to deliver goodies to our neighbors.

Xmas9Since they were tiny, I’ve worked with them on a holiday message.  The first year they were able to participate, just shy of two years old, it was a simple, “Merry Christmas!”  We worked up to them singing, “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!” when they were almost three.  The last couple of years, they’ve sung an abridged version of Jingle Bells as we passed out our goodies.  (Reindeer antlers add to the fun!)

Holidays seem infinitely more fun with littles in tow, and I love involving my girlies in all the festivities.  It’s something pretty special to see the light in their eyes when they share their own creations with our friends and families.

How do you involve your kiddos in the holiday season?

MandyE is mom to almost-six-year-old twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.