In this year of unprecedented EXTRA, we are matched with the opportunity to rise to new levels of creativity, compassion, and courage. As MoMs, we have had to pull out all the stops and creatively keep our kids on track during a pandemic. When parks, malls, and playdates all shut down, we got busy churning out new ideas to keep those babes engaged! We saw uncertainty and economic hardship affect those closest to us, and we became conduits of compassion and generosity. The greater the 2020 EXTRA, the more extraordinary we became. That took courage. That is the word that came to mind when I witnessed families, mothers, and fathers facing the challenges of distance learning, home offices, childcare limits, and the loss of life as we once knew it.
So, let’s talk about courage. As MoMs there's a built-in tenacity to handle the unexpected and all the extra babies at our feet... but I would venture to guess you wouldn’t automatically label what you do on the daily as courageous. In our minds we relegate courage to a quality possessed by firefighters when they rush into a burning building, or an officer charging towards an active shooter situation. Yes, those moments take courage... so does raising a family, maintaining a marriage, relationships, and making tough decisions. Our type of courage doesn’t always make the news cycle, yet it is a key to not only surviving, but thriving in this EXTRA world.
How do we get EXTRA amounts of courage necessary for life? I AM so glad you asked!
Encourage: to put courage in someone. It’s simple. Encouragement is a powerful tool, like a super food for our soul. That superfood of encouragement is only helpful to the busy MOM if we eat it! Let’s consume some encouragement! I have for you three ways to receive EXTRA courage for our EXTRA:
You know we all face situations that are tough, even more so this year. Our situations, however, do not have to determine our level of courage. It is in those EXTRA times that we need to especially focus on fueling our courage levels. My lasting wish is that you find this blog encouraging and it inspires you to be dispensers of courage. First for yourself, then for your sweet loves surrounding you, then for the world! Go get it MoMs!
“Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t be discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take!” -Joshua 1:9
Tonya Flowers is a mother to Lucas, and twins Wyatt and Timothy. She is a wife, nurse, minister and currently serves FWMOM as our Chaplain.
Can you remember the last time you and your partner went on a date? There was a research project done recently by Bradford Wilcox and Jeffrey Dew showing that having regularly scheduled date nights can greatly improve your relationship. The project results demonstrated that date nights allowed an opportunity to better communicate with your partner. Wilcox and Dew pointed out that communication is important because individuals are constantly changing and as their relationship progresses couples begin to encounter new challenges and difficulties. The report also showed couples who went on dates often were less likely to take each other for granted, they were able to de-stress from daily routine and they were more committed to each other, which could be associated with lower divorce rates.
One of the things that I remember the most in the weeks following the arrival of our twins was that my in-laws kept offering to take the kids for a night so we could have date night. At first I thought this was more of a plot for them to get more time with the kids and when I mentioned this to my mother in law and she laughed and reminded me that date nights are important! I dismissed this suggestion almost immediately due to the fact that I felt guilty leaving the kids and before we had them, my husband and I were never really big on date nights outside of our home in the first place. In the past, we would spend time together but it would be spent playing board games or binge watching movies. If we tried to do either of those during those first few months after their birth, we would’ve definitely fallen asleep on top of the Monopoly board.
For a while I felt that everything was fine between us but the more time that passed, the less time we devoted to one another. We quickly grew into the routine of me always being busy and tired from keeping two newborns alive while he was at work, he would come home and give me enough of a break to eat and shower before he went to bed for the night. We did this routine over and over and over again for weeks. After my maternity leave ended the bickering started to become more constant, the tension in the room seemed to get bigger and some days I swore that if he exhaled just a little too loud, that was the day I was going to lose it. We were putting all our time and effort into raising twins and trying to function for a full day of work. There was absolutely zero energy for us to put any effort into our marriage. The days passed and I began to feel so unhappy with the atmosphere. This was not the type of relationship I had with my husband and I missed it so much. He is my best friend and we used to be able to talk and joke with each other for hours on end. I’d heard it so many times before, “kids will change a marriage.” I guess this is what they meant but no! I refused to be okay with us being like this forever, we had a talk and realized we needed to put more time into our marriage. So we agreed we would give date days/nights a try.
I mentioned to my sister that we wanted to try this out but I didn’t really want to be sitting across a booth from someone that felt like a stranger to me at the time. She suggested a “thrift challenge”. We were instantly hooked on the idea! We would get a little break away from the house, and we were able to go shopping (believe it or not, I think my husband has more fun when shopping than I do!).
We planned for a day and had my sister watch the kids. We set the rules for our thrift challenge… there was a $30 limit per person and we had to buy five items for the other person and one item that would be something that we could use for the kids
1. An item that is their favorite color
2. An item that reminds you of them
3. Their favorite snack and beverage
4. Something for the house
5. BONUS: Something for the kids
It took us about an hour of searching and dodging each other throughout the thrift shop before we finished. We agreed he would pay first, then I would pay and meet him in the car and we would open everything together at home. We opened up one thing at a time.
1. For an item of their favorite color I got him a small green bookshelf and he got me a blue Stitch shirt (from the movie Lilo and Stitch)
2. For an item that reminds you of them I got him a s’more machine because he LOVES s’mores and had been talking about how he can’t wait for the twins to have some when the weather got colder. He got me a string art canvas in the shape of The United States, because he knows I love to travel.
3. For something for the house he got a placard that reads “Wine is proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy” and I got a little fondue set.
4. For our favorite snack and drink I got him a Coke and Funyuns, and he got me Dr. Pepper and hot fries. This category was one of the more difficult ones to choose from since thrift shops aren’t exactly known for their snack varieties.
5. Lastly, for the kids he got them a Melissa & Doug dinosaur puzzle (he had no idea why I was so excited over a $2 M&D puzzle). I got him a whoopie cushion because he’s a prankster and I overindulged and got a STEM plankton catcher *insert nerdy emoji here*
With all the stuff we bought his total came out to $19.56 and mine came out to $28.12! We loved everything and laughed the whole time and are dying to do the challenge again at a different store!
After this date, things between us felt a little more normal than they had. I knew after adding two kids to the mix, we would never truly go back to “normal” but we were slowly creating a new normal for us which now included regular date nights. As we have continued going on dates, I felt us reconnecting with each other more and I have learned that our communication skills have overall improved significantly. I love making memories and being able to show our kids what they should look forward to in their future relationships. A few other random benefits that I have found from date nights are you get to dress up and someone else cooks lunch or dinner and cleans up for you.
Excuses…. I know it is easy to make excuses, especially when we are tired after a long week but I have learned that this is something I have to prioritize for my family. I know sometimes finding a babysitter is not the easiest or cheapest task but one of my favorite “perks” about being in a group like FWMoM is that some of our MoMs do date night swaps. This means one couple watches the other couple’s kids so they can go out and then the next time they swap kids so the other couple can go out!
If you are trying to stay under budget, a few other date ideas that we have done that require little to no money have been going on nature walks at some small hiking grounds near our house, having a picnic at a park, or having game night with other friends.
If you are not able to leave the house, you can always try to cook, watch a new show together or even do yard work at the same time. What really matters is spending the time together and acknowledging each other. Whatever you choose, try to make date nights a priority in your household! I suggest planning in advance as it helps with the excuses. If you feel guilty like I did at first, just remember that your partner matters as well, and it is difficult to parent if you are not communicating well and your children will gain so much from seeing their parents build a strong relationship.
Valerie has one year old identical twin boys , Oliver and Dexter. She is currently serving the board as co-chair VP of Programs.
What is it like to be a mom of all boys?
The dictionary defines a boy as “a noise with dirt on it.” You guys, I’m just kidding!! That’s not the dictionary’s definition, but it is a good one! Raising boys can be very noisy, messy, rough & tumble, and completely wonderful , all at the same time. You may have also heard the expression, “boys are a lot less drama, but harder to keep alive.” I think it’s true that boys and girls seem to be wired very differently.
As a boy mom, I try to think about how to best engage my young men in whatever activity we are attempting, whether it be learning new words, baking cookies, doing experiments, or otherwise. I have found a few tricks to capture their attention. If it has to do with dinosaurs, they are in! If they get to pretend to be pirates or knights who are conquering new lands, they are all about it. And if they also get to throw or smash things in the process, even better! These are some of the things that really spark their interest, and capture their imaginations. While some of these interests may appeal to girls, there have been several occasions in our past when they have definitely not.
My boys have received some funny looks when behaving as boys tend to do: roaring like little dinosaurs at the playground, talking like pirates at the store, seeing something interesting and wanting to stomp on it... My boys like to do things that don’t necessarily hold the same appeal for their female counterparts. Sometimes they are too rough. Sometimes they are too loud and sometimes girls don’t even know what to think, but they are just TOO MUCH! Especially when they were younger, my boys would rarely sit down to engage in a quiet activity for an extended period of time. Gently taking care of stuffed animals or dolls is not something they have ever found exciting...but launching them over the stair-rail to crash to the tile below - now that’s fun! It’s no wonder that their friends often choose not to let the boys play with their favorite toys, and I can’t say I blame them. I think the challenge we face as BoyMoMs is how we can discourage our sons from being rough and tumble, while still encouraging them to be adventurers, explorers, and leaders. We somehow have to find that perfect balance of correcting without stifling, supporting without overindulging. It is a daily challenge!
I won’t pretend I’ve got it all figured out. I occasionally still find myself apologizing for my boys’ behavior when I receive funny looks from strangers. At the same time, I am extremely grateful for those supportive and understanding nods I receive from fellow parents of boys. I am equally grateful when parents of girls show forgiveness for toys that are suddenly broken, houses that are instantly messy, and games that morph into rougher versions than their original forms. I think the very best thing I have learned from having all boys is that understanding and acceptance is a gift that brings joy to both giver and receiver. Supporting each other despite our differences is the goal, and when we can do that, everyone benefits.
Through supportive friendships within FWMoM, we not only have the best of friends, but we even get to experience the best of both worlds! As much as I love being a BoyMoM, I occasionally feel a pang of regret when missing out on an experience. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things you can do with both boys and girls, but there are a few exceptions. For my family, I feel like we have missed out on: Daddy-daughter dances, shopping for the cutest clothes and jewelry, sporting matching Mommy-daughter dresses, and all things Disney-princess. Dance recitals would be another exception on my list, however, we actually got to participate in this unique experience through our friendship with another family. This photo of my boys taking flowers to their best friends’ recital says it all!
We cherish all the memories made on playdates, from dress-up and playing house to chopping everything in sight with stick “swords.” I am so thankful for the doors that have been opened to my family through our relationships, and it is my wish that the same would happen for your family. We truly are better together, and this tribe of Mothers of Multiples is evidence to that fact!
So, even though I have all boys and will never know the beauty and challenges that come with parenting girls, I love how full our lives have become as a result of fostering great relationships. I love being a BoyMoM, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I hope you all will attend playdates and watch your kids grow together , as you also form bonds with all of the other BoyMoMs, GirlMoMs, & BestOfBothWorldsMoMs!!
Ashley is a 5 year member of FWMoM, and current serving on the board as Past President. Ashley & Scott have been married for 10 years. Their identical twin boys, James & Timothy, are 5 years old and both very excited to be attending kindergarten!
This school year looks a bit different than years past but one thing which doesn’t change, whether you are learning virtually or in person right now, is the illnesses that come for us all. In the midst of a global pandemic you can fill your grocery cart with things that give your immune system an extra jump start. Now this may not keep you CoVid-19 free but it’s a great move toward an overall immune boost to help prevent other illnesses that can weaken your immune system.
There are plenty of foods and superfoods that will help to keep our defenses as strong as possible, thanks to certain nutrients they contain. Here are just a few:
Sure, you can go to a store and buy vitamins and supplements but food is just such a fun and delicious way to get your daily requirements to help your immune system.
So whether your child is at home doing virtual class or in person at school, all it takes is a few servings of food you most likely already have and are also being served from the cafeteria, to help give their little bodies the best defense they can have during this cold and flu season.
Jennifer Beckom is mom to twin five year olds, Clara and Elizabeth. She is a wife, chef, and child nutritionist. She has served on the board in the past as Secretary and Programs VP for FWMoM.
Hey y'all, and Happy August! I miss adventure. I miss the anticipation of our next big trip. If you do as well, don't miss this interview with Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples’ Silver Sponsor, Whitney Crawford of The Vacationeer.
Whitney is authentic, hard working, and knowledgeable - which are all important attributes I want in my travel agent. It’s no secret that travel agents are always learning and exploring and Whitney is no exception. In fact, she just returned from experiencing a little Disney magic with her family recently. If you are ready to plan a family trip to a Disney destination or really plan a trip anywhere, read along to brush up on COVID-19 travel need-to-knows, and learn some fun tips along the way. The members of FWMoM are absolutely blessed to have so many hard-working, loyal, and passionate sponsors (shout out to you Whitney), so let's get going.
1. Tell us a little about yourself, Whitney. Hi, everyone! I have a 4 year old daughter and twin boys that just turned two years old. My husband and I have been together for nine years and married for six years. For those MoMs who know me well, I stay very busy (just the way I like it) between being a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and training for my first Disney Princess Marathon challenge. I have been planning travel for friends and family since I can remember and it is truly my passion. I love to help others plan their vacation of a lifetime or simply a small weekend getaway.
2. Whitney, what trip is on your bucket list? Oh wow—bucket list trip, hmmmm, I would say Fiji or Greece...what the heck, let’s go with both! My husband’s family is Greek, so visiting Greece is definitely somewhere in my future. As for Fiji, that is a place my husband and I both have dreamed about visiting. We wanted to visit for our honeymoon but it didn’t work out at that time.
3. What has been your favorite trip to help a family/couple plan? Hands down DISNEY WORLD! Disney World is my happy place, and if my husband would allow it, we would spend every vacation there. Disney World has many parts and pieces that go into planning so it can be very overwhelming for those who are not 100% familiar with that type of vacation. I love being able to help families experience everything Disney has to offer. For me, it doesn’t matter if it is a family’s first visit or their 100th visit; every Disney vacation is different and magical.
4. How did you hear about FWMoM? I found out about them from a Facebook group; likely through Jenna B.
5. Can you spill the beans on best kept secret trips you love to help people plan? I would say any all-inclusive resorts. These are my family’s favorite vacations, because we pay for everything upfront, so you don’t have to do anything but relax and enjoy your vacation. An all-inclusive would be my husband’s pick for every vacation. I also work with many honeymooners and big anniversaries, and I love being able to help them plan a romantic and relaxing beach getaway.
6. Please share your recent wins in the travel industry. COVID-19 hit us very hard and will take a long time for the travel industry to recover from, but people are still traveling and things are beginning to look up. A positive takeaway COVID-19 brought is that people have begun to understand the importance of utilizing a travel agent for vacation. I spent (and am still spending) countless hours on hold with different vendors getting refunds or rescheduling vacations for all of my clients. Most people don’t realize that we only get paid by the vendor after travel is completed, so vacations that agents worked on for months and were canceled, we are not paid for. Our industry is an amazing one but there is a lot of work that goes into planning vacations.
7. What are challenges COVID presented to you this year, and how can the members of FWMoM help? The biggest challenge is that people are not traveling like they were. The best way to help is to use an agent to book your travel. Even if just a couple of days at a hotel, we can book all of that for you. My agency has a fundraising opportunity for FWMoM-- anyone who mentions FWMoM when booking (they do not have to be a member), my agency gives 25% of the commission back to FWMOM (after travel is complete). So if you stay in Dallas for two nights and spend $400, then 25% of the commission will be sent directly to FWMoM. It is a very easy way to give back to such a great organization!
8. Disney World has reopened - any recommendations on making plans to book a trip there with The Vacationeer? Disney World has officially been open for a little over a month now, and I just returned from a (birthday) trip for myself. It was wonderful being back “home” and getting to experience the “new” Disney World firsthand. I learned so much that I am thankful I can pass on to my clients who are getting ready to start traveling again very soon. I have been visiting Walt Disney World since I was fifteen (with a 6 month stint as a college program cast member) and have been back every chance I could get. This was the first time I have visited with smaller crowds and it felt like I had the parks to myself. I can honestly say, this will probably not be something we will ever have the chance to experience again.
If you have been to Walt Disney World and are familiar with the attractions then I would recommend you go now, while these crowds are so little (literally walk on to rides all day), however, I would not recommend sending a family for the first time. There is still so much that is not present (although the magic is very much alive, just different), I would be afraid they might feel they really miss out (lots of stores still closed, dining still closed and even snack carts closed). This is especially true for those families who want to make this their once-in-a-lifetime vacation. First timers, if you are ready to plan your Disney vacation, please reach out to me as I will share all of the knowledge I gained to help you absolutely LOVE your vacation!
One thing is for sure, if you are thinking that a Disney vacation is in your future, I highly recommend getting your vacation on the books (or at least starting the planning process). The great thing about current Disney vacation packages is that they only require a $200 deposit (refundable if you choose to cancel before 30 days of travel), you can make payments on your balance, and should you need to reschedule (no matter the reason), there are no penalties (as long as your vacation is not paid in full and you are outside the 30 days of travel window).
Fort Worth MoMs, what questions do you have for Whitney? Leave a comment or question below and share your opinion! I can't wait to hear from you.
Wendy Lee, mother of three boys and one spunky daughter, including twins, Aspen and Jax, met her husband of 13 years through their black lab and German Shepard while apartment living. She has worked in the nonprofit arena for over 21 years raising awareness and funds for various organizations and currently serves as the Major Gifts Officer for Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains. Wendy loves Sour Patch kids, pumpkin spice coffee, hiking in the Colorado mountains, the Grateful Dead, and a good margarita.
2020 has been EXTRA. Kobe. Australia wildfires. Harvey Weinstein convicted. Covid pandemic. George Floyd. Protests. Riots. Murder hornets. Elections. Tiger King... and it’s just September! These things can make life feel overwhelming. Oh yeah, distance learning. Extra.
But we know extra, right MOMs?
Having a bunch of babies at once is extra. Multiples feeding schedules are extra. Getting to the grocery store with the entire litter in tow is extra. Paying double dance class, music lessons, sports tuition is extra.
Everything we do appears to be extra to the outside world.
Extra is our life. Quite frankly most of us wouldn’t have it any other way! However, when the Extra in the outside world invades our inner world, they have a compounding effect that can be overwhelming.
As I’ve thought about what being EXTRA actually means for a group of women with multiples, all I could see was greatness. Extraordinary is not an exaggeration for mothers of multiples. Extraordinary is defined as follows: beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established; exceptional in character; to the amount, extent, degree that is noteworthy and remarkable. In my book, (and to anyone who witnesses you), you are extraordinary! You have received these babies and welcomed them into your family without missing a beat. Yep, it’s extra and busy but you manage and grow and excel. Extraordinary mothers, wives, women you are...never forget it.
This year I want to do a dive into what this truly means. If life is going to be EXTRA (thanks 2020), I want it to be filled with the right kind of extra! We will explore what it means for us in our current seasons of life to be filled to overflow with goodness, peace, joy, tranquility, grace, favor, energy, excitement, optimism, and faith. So let’s flip EXTRA on its head!
What if we had EXTRA peace instead of EXTRA turmoil?
What if we had EXTRA joy to share, instead of EXTRA stress?
What if we had EXTRA grace, instead of EXTRA drama?
What if we had EXTRA wisdom instead of EXTRA information?
We can live the kind of life that produces the right kind of extra. Extraordinary lives require extraordinary choices. Each month we will do a deep dive into how to push out the world’s EXTRA and build on the right kind of EXTRA in our families. We will look at what it means to truly flourish as a family, as mothers, as women, as an organization of extraordinary women!
This is my prayer for you, EXTRAORDINARY women:
“The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you; The lord lift up His approving countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).” -Numbers 6:24-26
“Everything we could ever need for life and godliness has already been deposited in us and by His divine power. For all this was lavished upon us through the rich experience of knowing him who has called us by name and invited us to come to him through a glorious manifestation of his goodness.” - 2 Peter 1:3
Tonya Flowers is a mother to Lucas, and twins Wyatt and Timothy. She is a wife, nurse, minister and curretly serves FWMOM as our Chaplain.
Best Self-care Products for Fellow Working Moms of Multiples, Review from Jess! (AKA Some of my favorite things EVER!)
If it has been a hot minute since you last had a self-care day, or even just incorporated a tiny (2 minute) daily habit to keep your mama stress at bay, it's okay! I wanted to share my favorite self-care/beauty/home products with you fellow mamas of multiples so I rounded up a small list. If you have any questions or need more info on something you see you're interested in, feel free to PM me, text me, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: These are not professional photos, these are simply from my iPhone to yours. ;)
#1 Wicker baskets are a MUST at my house. Not only do they make things feel cozy, but I keep toys, towels, blankets, sheets, pillows, you name it…in baskets. I have a large basket at the bottom of the stairs that collects the kids’ toys that somehow make their way downstairs and every single night I have the kids pick up the toys and place them in the basket for me to carry up and dump into their playroom baskets. This allows for my husband and me to feel like the house is clean from 8:30pm-morning HA!!
#2 Wine... DUH! This is my favorite vineyard in Fredericksburg and they offer monthly or bi-monthly boxes delivered right to your door! You can cancel your membership at any time.
#3 Hand-knitted pouf (back to the cozy thing I said about the baskets), I love my pouf. I use it all the time to put my feet on while on the couch, prop my feet on while on a work call at my desk, my kids constantly use it as a seat, and it just screams, “cozy” in my living room. It's super easy to spot clean if needed. Before I actually owned this, I didn't know why the heck people bought these, they don't really serve a purpose.... so I thought.
#4 Live plants in the house. I don't have a green thumb so snake plants and any succulent are a safe bet!!
#5 Candles are my favorite thing in this world. I am obsessed with a yummy smelling house, and candles can get SUPER expensive if you’re always wanting one lit. I work with one at my desk as well to get my brain to tune out and focus on my task at hand with wedding planning. This smell is incredible. I have gifted this to so many people and they all ask me where they can buy more. (Amazon!)
#6 I have an Alexa in almost every single room in our house. I know there are differing opinions on this for privacy reasons, but I am very PRO Alexa. Music is statistically proven to lower your stress level and positively affect your mood.. So next time you are doing the dishes, you can play the new Frozen soundtrack, (ha!) or whatever!
#7 I have tried ALL THE THINGS for stress acne and this product from CVS or Walgreens is a game-changer.
#8 Costco does it again!! The smell of this giant $8 bottle is like a little vacation to the beach in your shower. Period.
#9 Turkish towels make me feel like I am on vacation, so I have a ton of different colors/patterns in each bathroom in the house. SUPER SOFT!
#10 Epsom Salt Bath in Lavender scent is the perfect way to end a day where you just need a minute to yourself. (Candles are also always a good idea.)
#11 I am sure everyone and their mother knows about the WET BRUSH, but if, for some reason you do not, run to your closest Ulta and get you one!
#12 These $2 hair clips are super easy to throw into your bun and make it look like you spent 20 minutes on your hair. I have gotten a TON of compliments on these hair clips and they’re dirt cheap on Amazon and I have yet to break one. If you like hair accessories, this is a favorite of mine!
#13 Hair scrunchie with the cutest bow, my daughter and I both LOVE these (27 year age gap).
#14 I like to leave my dining room table set and ready to go at all times as if I could host a dinner party with a 5-minute warning. Every time I walk by the dining room it makes me feel relaxed and also it's prettier than an empty table in my opinion. Am I the only one?
I hope you found a few new favorites to try or were inspired to adopt a new habit to lower your stress level and make yourself happy!
Jessica Scott Haner is a twin herself and a boy/girl twin mom to 3 year olds, Adalia and Emerson. She is the owner and designer of J. Scott Events where she plans and executes weddings around the world. Jessica has also served FWMoM's in 2019 as Events Coordinator.
At Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples, we believe in giving back through our time, our talents and our resources. We have partnered with NICU Helping Hands and Gathering Hope by sharing our gift of knitting and crochet.
NICU Helping Hands provides education and support for families while their babies are in the NICU, during their transition from hospital to home, and in the event of an infant loss. One of the many ways NICU Helping Hands provides hope for families in the NICU is through their Beanies for Babies program. Each holiday, volunteers knit and crochet beanies for babies in the NICU. This offers the families a little bit of normalcy and fun during a very stressful time. Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples donated over 200 beanies to NICU Helping Hands during our 2019-2020 year. If you would like to learn more about NICU Helping Hands, visit their website at nicuhelpinghands.org.
Gathering Hope is a non-profit organization which passionately advocates for survivors of miscarriage and infant loss. Each year, Gathering Hope meets together to provide a place to grieve and celebrate the life of each baby, no matter how short. Every mom in attendance receives a small memento of a handmade heart. Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples was able to provide over 125 crocheted hearts for Gathering Hope’s next event, Gathering 2020. If you have experienced infant loss or a miscarriage and would like more resources or support please visit their website at gatheringhope.net.
If you would like to learn how to crochet or if you would like more information about how to participate in Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples crochet group, please reach out to Sue Norton. Sue is also hosting a virtual crochet "get-together" through Zoom tomorrow night (September 3rd at 8 PM). Please join us to make some beanies for NICU helping hands and/or chat with some of the other MoMs. To register please click the following link: https://www.fwmom.org/event-3943828
Jenna Bingener is a twin mom to 4 year old girls, Annabelle and Maggie. She is a flight attendant and training instructor. She also serves on the board as the President for FWMoM.
I love Back to School season. For me and many moms of school aged or even preschool kids, it is my Happy New Year. This is when I make my real resolutions to get my schedule in order, my house in order, my eating and meal planning cleaned up. I exercise regularly and pay more attention to my spiritual growth. I make plans to spend time with friends, and work on my professional development even if I am not being paid for my services. My kids also are ready to get back to school, sports, friends, and even a bit of learning while I take care of the mundane parts of running our household, work on projects that bring me joy, and take some time for myself. The best part of the day is still when they come home and tell me everything that happened while they were away.
This year, we were especially ready for Back to School. I mean that was a really, really long Spring Break. Our school worked hard since March on a plan and safe procedures for in-person learning. We had been following appropriate precautions so that our children would be safe and healthy at school, but not all families had done the same so after the first half day of orientation, our upper school switched to two weeks of distance learning. The hope is that the students can return to in-person learning after Labor Day. The biggest lesson learned since the beginning of the pandemic is how to quickly pivot.
Although we are disappointed, we have continued with our Back to School traditions with changes for the current times. We shopped for school supplies for ourselves, and plenty to donate to others. Only this year, we did it online. We packed up necessary supplies in their backpacks for school: folder, notebooks, paper, pens, laptops, phone chargers, as well as hand sanitizer, a ziplock bag of extra masks and one of disinfecting wipes. Uniforms were ordered and washed and hung up. For now, they only must wear the tops so we will save on wear and tear on the bottoms and their tennis shoes. We planned our “school” lunches, and family dinners since these will all be at home … oh, how I miss their school cafeteria.
The night before the first day, we shared a special family meal, and I made us all breakfast before the first classes began. On the half days, we took pictures in front of the same tree in the front yard that we have taken our First Day of School pictures since kindergarten. We forgot our “First Day of Junior Year” signs, and they weren’t in uniform so we are going to have retakes because over the years, we’ve also learned to be flexible.
In the past, I would have been so unhappy that it did not all work out perfectly, but now I know it is the memories, not the photos, that are important.
Regardless of the challenges, this year’s Back to School will still be my Happy New Year. I resolve to continue to have a positive outlook. I will greet each additional day that my children are home in distance learning as another opportunity for me to model gratitude, patience, grace and resiliency during this uneasy time. My children will see me taking time for my physical and mental well being as I exercise, eat food that fuels my body, read books for fun, read my Bible, reduce my media consumption, play, and rest. I also resolve to focus more on their well being this school year than their achievement. I have been guilty in the past of focusing on fixing my kids so much that I fail at times to thoroughly enjoy them. To that end, we will return to eating our meals at our dining table after we got into a terrible habit of eating watching television together. We will have more family games of cards and movies by the pool. Of course, I also plan to clean out piles of junk. I have scheduled doctor’s appointments – yes I’m in perimenopause and that’s just grand, and finally an optometrist appointment – hello, trifocals. We also have a long-awaited upgrade to our main living space that I cannot wait to share with you all.
The Back to School may not be what we planned for, wished for, or prayed for, but it’s the one we have, and it’s up to us to choose to make it the best Back to School we can for our children and for ourselves.
Linda Kennedy M.S. – TLC’s Dallas Fort Worth area Associate, is the mother of 16 year old twins, Shane and Savannah, and wife of 25 years to Shane, a physician. A former high school and college level science teacher with a masters in Biology, Linda is a busy stay at home mom and community volunteer. After nearly ten years of marriage, Linda and Shane welcomed their twins following IVF and a high risk pregnancy that ended on bedrest and an early delivery at 31 weeks and long NICU stay. A long time member of FWMoM, Linda has served in many capacities including as Programs director and President, where she developed a program and curriculum for expectant moms of multiples and parenting infants and toddlers. This came out of her own experience, and what she learned from the other moms in the FWMoM community. Her favorite thing to tell expectant parents is find your multiples parents group, to help you figure out how to care for multiple babies at once because you are going to be too tired at first to figure it all out. She continues to be an active supporter of moms of multiples finding their own parenting style, becoming confident making choices for their children that bring joy and wellbeing to themselves and their family. You can reach Linda at email@example.com for more information about our Dallas Fort Worth services.
There are days in history that we mark, that changed our world in an instant. Sometimes we see those days approaching and know it’s going to be big. Other times, we are moved by an event suddenly happening. Think of 9/11, Landing on the moon, Hiroshima... to the things within our personal realm like the birth of a child(ren), the ultrasound appointment, the death of a parent, or the moment we fall in love. Each moment has such power to alter the course of our lives. How about a pandemic? 2020 has been a looming cloud, with moments that have shaken our world as we know it. For strong times like this, we need to call on a power greater than any circumstance. That power is the power of prayer.
That’s exactly what Betsy Price and the City of Fort Worth have done. With the support of the City Council, a Proclamation of prayer to eradicate COVID-19 was released. Today is the day. August 19th is the day that this pandemic will be stopped in Fort Worth and the surrounding area. How can I be certain of this? Because the power of prayer is that strong.
“Prayer breaks all bars, dissolves all chains, opens all prisons, and widens all straights by which God’s saints have been held.” E.M. Bounds made this statement and it has stuck with me. There is a power released when we pray that cannot be released any other way. We have experienced this countless times in our family. The most noteworthy in this circle is the healthy pregnancy and birth of our twins. I know many of you have similar stories of how God made a way, where there seemed to be no way. I bet you can look back and see where He answered those prayers!
When we, as a city, pray for the eradication of disease and the healing of our families, we are saying to God: we trust you that You are good, and that You have the power to overcome all the hurt and devastation this virus has caused.
“...the man on his knees has a leverage underneath the mountain which can cast it into the sea, if necessary, can force all earth and heaven to recognize the power there is in ‘His name.” -M.E. Andross.
We should pray as Jesus prayed in Matthew 6, the famous Lord’s Prayer gives us a road map as we align ourselves with this proclamation:
“Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
The statement ‘on Earth as it is in Heaven’... y’all realize there’s no COVID up there!
“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
There is nothing godly or holy or good about this virus! We can pray for deliverance and healing and restoration from anything that punk devil tries to kill us with!
If you’re struggling financially because of this pandemic, you can take it to the bank that God wants to supply your needs (daily bread) and won’t forsake you and your family.
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.”
To be completely clear, the power to eradicate this virus is entirely in the hands of God... but He can only move when we pray. The requirement on us is to pray only and trust that He is working the second we open our mouth. Answered prayer is not based on our goodness, but His, not on our ability to pray, but His ability to move when we pray.
Even if you don’t pray eloquent prayers, or even know how to begin to pray, start here with the Lord’s prayer. It’s possible you’re reading this after the noon hour set aside by the officials. Pray now and don’t stop praying!
We have marked it. This day, August 19th, is set apart as a day that changed Fort Worth and the surrounding areas, which causes a ripple effect to flow across this state and nation! Most importantly, it changed us.
Tonya Flowers is mother to Lucas 9, and twins Wyatt and Timothy who are 4. She's a wife, nurse, and minister, and currently serves FWMOM as our chaplain.
Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples
P.O. Box 123874
Fort Worth, Texas 76121
Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.