My husband and I wake up together, about 15 minutes before the alarms for the girls go off. We have our coffee together and plan out the day. at 7:00, we listen for the radios to go off. If that doesn't get them up, we personally go in and wake them up. My oldest daughter is going on to 13, so this has been more challenging lately. But, gentle warnings and a big kiss from our dog usually does the job.
The night before, we have our girls prepare all notices from school, lay out the clothes they're planning on wearing, and clean out their lunch bags. We try to get them to shower in the evenings, but they both enjoy taking it in the morning. We now alternate showers between the two, so each one gets one every other day.
Before school, we allow no electronics — no TV, no music, no computer. This has been essential in making sure the girls aren't distracted in their morning routine.
We try to sit and eat breakfast together each morning. Although cold cereal is the easiest, we do try and change it up a few times a week with smoothies, bacon and eggs, waffles, and hot cereal. Personally, I love the morning meal and try to ensure that it is healthy and filling for all of us.
Now that our daughters are 9 and 12, we have worked hard to encourage them to make their own lunches in the mornings. We often have leftovers from last night's dinner, and that allows them to have something warm in their Thermos for the school day.
On my - the hair!!! With two girls this can be the main issue of fights and crying at the beginning of the day. With my youngest, the challenge comes when I try to put a comb through her hair - the screaming! With my oldest, she always wants to use the flat iron and hairspray, and make sure it's just perfect. During the hair stage of the morning, I try and bite my tongue and just go with it. (MUST have an entire coffee at the hair stage). I just try my hardest to be silent. Amazingly, it's faster this way.
Although my daughters are now older, I still give them warnings. "Three more minutes in the shower." "Ten minutes before we have to leave the house." This still seems to be helpful to lessen that morning frantic rush.