by Erin Sweeten
It's our last installment featuring PVMOM members who joined in 2012 or earlier. This week, meet Gina Salazar-Hook and Judy Krendick, both of whom have twin teens! Virtual high fives to both of you for your great support and example through the years. I've also gotten notes from some of you asking when my interview will show up, so I did one too!
Gina Salazar- Hook
Member Since: 2003, when I was about 3 month pregnant with my fraternal twin boys. I couldn’t wait to join, ask millions of questions from car seats to strollers. I always thought PVMOM would be “for my twins” but it ended up being life changing for me!
Children: I have fraternal twin boys, Michael and Kendall age 14, and a daughter, Makena, age 13.
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: PVMOM changed my life in so many ways. First and foremost, it helped me become the best mom I could be thanks to all of the speakers and the support of other families going through similar things. Second, I am blessed with the best “playgroup” ever. We have 10 families who have remained close all these years and who I know will be my best friends for the rest of my life. We still celebrate holidays, birthdays and vacation together. Lastly, my years on the PVMOM and MOA boards revealed skills I didn’t know I had and inspired me to continue doing non-profit work that I love.
Funny Parenting Story: One that always stands out is the time we had two toilets overflowing at once… one with solid waste! The toilets were clogged so bad we had to call a plumber. It turns out my precious toddlers flushed 10 plastic Disney characters down the toilets.
Best Parenting Advice: The days are long but the years are short. Our children grow and change so quickly. Cherish each moment because time moves too quickly.
Member Since: 2003. I am almost positive I became a member in 2003 but could have been 2004. My mind is mush after close to 14 years of my fabulous twins!
Children: My twins will turn 14 in November.
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: I love the resources it has provided over the years! For instance, if you were looking for a doctor or dentist it was right there at your finger tips!
Special Parenting Memory: Hosting the NICU Reunion fundraiser over 10 years ago was a very special time for our family. The Scottsdale Shea (Honor Health) NICU was incredible for the short time our son was in their care.
Best Parenting Advice: When you know better, you do better!
Member Since: 2012
Children: Abigail, age 9. Ronan and Callum, age 6
Favorite Thing About PVMOM: All the tiny tots. Now that my kids are past the tiny, squishy stage I know I can get my baby fix at any family event!
Funny Parenting Story: When the boys were about eight or nine months old, I was in the midst of a messy diaper change with Ronan when my three-year-old started narrating Callum’s sudden blow-out. “Mom, he has poop on his back! Now he’s rubbing his hands in it! Now he’s crawling behind the chair! Now he’s wiping it on the wall! Now he’s COMING THIS WAY! I’m getting OUT of here!” Callum was just out of my line of sight, and I just had to giggle at Abigail’s tenth-level drama as I worked at lightning speed to wipe, butt paste, and seal up Ronan in a new diaper. Every twin mom should have a preschooler narrate her life.
Best Parenting Advice: Jot down the things that make you laugh or warm your heart.The early years become such a blur later on—I love having those little snippets now.
by Erin Sweeten
Each week in October, PVMOM is featuring some of our most loyal members on the blog. This week, take some time on your lunch break or during afternoon nap to get to know a little more about Shenen Dietrich, a past President of PVMOM and our national rep, who clearly looks quite youthful despite what her kids say; Monika Miller, owner of the Once Upon a Child consignment store, a longtime business partner of our club and a twin mom who deserves hardship pay for her experiences with breastfeeding; and Sue Hutchinson, a past board member and frequent giver of sage advice whose children are all now taller than she is, perhaps because of all the peanut butter they used to eat. What a great group of women we have in PVMOM.
Member Since: 2010
Children: My boys are 8 years old
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: The friendships and the sense of having survived and prospered, both as an individual and as a club.
Funny Parenting Story: Two Halloweens ago, our family dressed up as the Scooby Doo bunch. I was Daphne in a purple dress and pink gogo boots with a red wig. Blake, one of my twin six-year-old boys at the time, said that I didn’t look much like Daphne. I asked him why since I was all dressed up. He said that Daphne doesn’t have wrinkles and I had wrinkles. Out of the mouth of babes!!
Best Parenting Advice: Keep to a schedule, ask for help when you need it, and keep them napping for as long as possible.
Member Since: 2010
Children: Brooklyn & Brianna are 7, Bianca is 5
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: Friendships and the ongoing support from other members.
Funny Parenting Story: Imagine trying to breastfeed a newborn with 2-year-old twins non-stop jumping on the bed.
Best Parenting Advice: Life is a journey, not a destination.
Member Since: 2004-- That would be 14 years ago! I am still friends with the moms who referred me! We met at the Paradise Valley Community Center while our 4 year olds were taking an itty bitty sports class. Those four year olds are graduating high school in May!
Children: I have three boys, 13, 13 and 17. They are all over 6 feet tall now, so I am the shortest one in the house!
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: I really loved having the opportunity to learn from other moms of multiples before my twins were born. Their wisdom and recommendations for gear and books, made for much smoother sailing when my twins were born. As my children grow up, PVMOM members have provided a great support system and a resource network. In turn, I enjoy giving back and have served on the board and try to respond on Facebook as much as possible.
Funny Parenting Story: There is the time that I found both of my toddlers sitting on the kitchen floor armed with butter knives, elbow deep in a large jar of peanut butter. They were such a mess, I couldn't even be mad, I just ran for the camera! But even funnier is the time that one of my sons said, "Girls don't have a penis; mommy has a big butt!"
Best Parenting Advice: I have found as a parent of three boys, it is best to choose your battles wisely. So I don't argue with them if they don't want a haircut, even when it falls to below their shoulders and hides their eyes. There are just more important things in life than controlling everything and being "right" all the time. And.... expect to go to the principal's office at least annually!
by Erin Sweeten
Welcome back to the blog for our latest group of interviewees in this month's Member Appreciation series! These wise, real, funny moms have BTDT (been there, done that). I'll let them tell you all about it themselves.
Member Since: 2008. I joined shortly after we moved here when the girls were 10 months old.
Children: My fraternal twin girls, Mia and Rachel, are now 10 years old.
Favorite thing about PVMOM: it is a group of women from all different backgrounds, many who have experienced a complicated path to get here, and we all have come together to share the journey of raising our multiples.
Parenting memory: When the girls were two months old they were finally both home from the NICU. One day, Rachel just wouldn't settle down. She was crying nonstop for over an hour and nothing would soothe her. I was sitting on the couch holding her and I myself crying, feeling so frazzled and not knowing what to do. My husband came down from his office to try to help and he looked at the coffee table in front of me and asked, "Whose bottle is that?" This bottle sat inches away from me and in my exhaustion I hadn't noticed it or realized until that moment that I hadn't fed Rachel her last feeding. The poor baby was starving! Needless to say, we set up a feeding chart that afternoon. So, this isn't exactly a funny story but looking back at it, I recall how overwhelmed and exhausted I was and how hard those early days were taking care of two babies. That incident made both my husband and I realize that I needed more help and more time to take care of myself and that is the advice I always give new moms.
Best Parenting Advice: When my girls were babies, I asked a good friend, who has twin boys two years older than my girls, if it ever gets easier. Her response was, "it doesn't get easier, it just changes." I have found that to be true. I didn't know how we would survive the transition to solids, potty training, moving into big girl beds, grade school, etc. Each time we do survive it and we look back and laugh that we thought it was such a big challenge. Now we face the preteen stage and I'm not sure how we will survive that. Wish us luck!
Member Since: 2006. I started out in BAMOM(Birmingham Area) when my twins were 8 wks & when we moved to Phx in 2006 (then 18 mo) I promptly looked for a new MOM club.
Children: Six children, ages 16, 13, 13, 10, 7, and 4
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: I love the unique connection and instant camaraderie twin moms have. There is absolutely nothing like gestating, raising and loving two (or more) of the same aged kids. I love that we all “get it.” I love being a twin mom and connecting with other ones. I just wish I could do it more.
Funny Parenting Story: I just ran across an old email detailing a day in the life of my energetic two year olds- smashed bananas in the carpet, hair pulling during library story time, flooding the kitchen with the water dispenser and their crowning achievement: working together to get the garage door off its tracks and falling onto the car! There sure were some crazy times, but boy have they always had fun together, and I consider that one of the biggest gifts I’ve given them as a twin mom. They’ve had little undivided attention but they have always had a built in best friend for life. I still love to watch their special bond grow and deepen with time. They’re such a blessing to each other and to me.
Best Parenting Advice: Listen to all advice politely and then promptly do whatever works best for you.
I’ve included “then and now” pics. I always loved that the newspaper hat was unknowingly a BOGO ad in this baby pic;)
Member Since: 2012. I have been a member of PVMOM for 6 years! That's about 40 in singleton years.
Children: My b/g twins Sofia and Nathaniel are 7.5 years old.
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: I met my best friends through PVMOM and it has been my savior through the challenging and often isolating experience of raising twin tornadoes.
Funny Parenting Story: Oh, man, where do I begin? Usually my brain blocks everything out - it's a self-defense mechanism. But I have a fresh example today. See the pic. #SoBlessed
Best Parenting Advice: The best books on raising toddler twins are made in the Napa valley and come in a bottle.
PVMOM is adding new members by the week, and we're so glad you are all here! We want to take the month of October to introduce everyone to some wonderful women you may not know yet: those who have been faithful members of PVMOM for at least six years. Some of these moms have twins in early elementary, while others are navigating the teen years. These are the twin moms who have been there, done that. They have offered advice and friendship through years of parenting. They've made it through the newborn stage and the baby stage and the toddler stage and many more stages, and they've stuck with PVMOM through it all, often serving on the board or in other volunteer roles as well. We are so grateful to have them as part of our mom tribe. Without further ado, let's meet this week's group.
Member Since: 2011
Children: Boy/Girl Twins, turning 7 next month
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: I love that soon to be MoMs & new MoMs have a database of other MoM's in the area to learn and grow from. All of us have a moment of panic when we find out that it's multiples and we just need a community of woman to support us and that is exactly what PVMOM gives. We get a chance to ask different MoM's going through different ages & stages of their children's lives what it has been like raising multiples. We really do have a unique experience raising multiples and it's good for other members to hear them.
Funniest Parenting Memory: After almost 7 years with twins I have so many...but I guess it makes sense to start with the first funny memory. Me being a first time mom of course wanted to have some newborn pix of the kids & Andy and I. Well we show up to this photography studio for these pix & the first picture in Andy is holding Blaze and Blaze starts to pee on him. That is funny enough in itself, but the best part is that I have a picture of my husband Andy trying to cover Blaze's wee wee with a finger laughing hysterically and swearing like a sailor. It was awesome, and I love that I get to see the picture every time I go up my stairs.
Best Parenting Advice: Andy and I have a firm belief that our job as parents is to not raise a-holes. So that is our personal family mantra...definitely not for the more conservative families but it really works for us.
Member Since: 2011 - Jillian Constantino and I attended our very first meeting on the same night!Children: Twin girls, age 7
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: Friendship with other moms who “get” it and being able to offer my experience to help other moms.
Funniest Parenting Story: My kids didn’t truly understand that boys and girls and were different until we had a sleepover early last year with another twin mama’s boys. One of the girls was brushing her teeth and one of the boys came running into the bathroom to go potty. So he’s standing there, relieving himself, and you can see the moment of realization as she stops brushing and openly gawks at him, “What is going on???” I had to explain that boys and girls are different and why boys pee standing up.
Favorite Parenting Quote: “The days are long but the years are short.” It’s so very true.
Member Since: 2008
Children: Twins, age 10; Singletons, ages 6 and 2
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: The support of other twin moms. We face unique situations with twins and it’s nice to know I’m not the only one and I’m not going crazy!
Funniest Parenting Story: I remember just a few weeks after bringing the twins home I was so tired. It was 2 am and they were up. I was changing my daughter and right as I pulled her diaper off, she had explosive diarrhea that shot all the way on the wall, on my feeding pillow, the floor! I was exhausted and at my wits end. But after she did this, I burst out in laughter. It was one of those necessary moments that just got me back on track as a mom. Needless to say, I was up late cleaning that night, and giggling the entire time.
Best Parenting Advice: I was so busy with them at times, I wasn’t in the moment and enjoying it with them. Sometimes we are so busy being moms caring for them, we forget to enjoy them.
Member Since: 2011
Children: Twin boys, age 7
Favorite Thing about PVMOM: Being able to connect with other mothers of multiples who get it! Parenting twins (or more) is different in many ways than parenting children who arrive one at a time, so while I have other friends who are mothers, they can't necessarily relate to all of my challenges and concerns in the same way that other MoMs can.
Special Parenting Memory: Wow, after nearly 7 years of parenting, there are so many that it's hard to choose! One of my most precious memories from the newborn days was the day that we brought our second twin home from the hospital. (They were born nearly 6 weeks early and had to stay in the hospital for a while to "feed and grow," and one was ready to come home a few days before his brother.) When I placed him into the crib beside his already-sleeping twin that evening, he looked at his brother and reached out his hand to touch him, as if to say "There you are! I've been wondering where you went."
Favorite Parenting Quote: This quote is attributed to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus and applies to life in general, but I think it is particularly applicable to parenting: "The only thing that is constant is change." Since my sons were born, I have found that children are always changing. Just when you think you have things figured out, they change.
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