Page 1

fall 2016

your body after babies in the face of loss:

when words hurt

the emotional toll of

parenthood 1

boo...x 2!

7 steps to

rid yourself of clutter holiday gift guide


emotions and outcomes around fetal syndrome diagnosis and support.

photo courtesy of drew photography & events

learning to take comfort in what you have 6

Tips to Rid Yourself of Clutter

40 Book Review


The Dr. Is In: Things to Know About the Flu Vaccine

42 Truths about Your Body After Babies

10 A Look at Research Grants and

46 Mom Types You Need as Best

12 The Emotional Toll of

47 Appy Fall

Why We Should Support Them Parenthood




48 A Few Suggestions from our Holiday Gift Guide

Taming of the Technology: Tips for Keeping it in Check!


52 Tackling the Diaper Pail Stench

19 Words Hurt: Helping Parents

the Natural Way!

Who've Experienced a Loss

21 Empowering Your Kids: 5 Ways to Give Them Ownership

54 Breast Health + You 56 Family Friendly Meals from Pinterest

23 Not All Baby Advice Applies

58 Dad Confessions

to Twins!

60 The Buzz...for Fall, Y'all! 61 A Focus on

25 Boo x2! A Look at Some

Creative Costumes for Twins


Family Fitness

32 How Colors Impact Baby's

62 Things People Say


35 The Art of Teaching Your Kids to Share

36 Fashion Finds: Mad for Plaid!

{that are none of their business}

64 YES! Spaces:

Let Them Help Decorate Their Space


cover cuties, addison + logan, 5


Addison loves arts and crafts, dancing, and princesses. Logan loves reading and looking at books, and watching and playing any and all sports. photos courtesy of Firewife Photography multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


I don't know about you, but with the season change, we have been purging clothes and toys my kids have outgrown, and it amazes me just how much they've all grown since last fall! The days are getting darker sooner and the temperatures are certainly bringing relief to the hotter, more humid days of summer. It is this time of year when we love to visit the mountains to see the leaves changing colors, enjoy bonfires, corn mazes and pumpkin picking with our friends, and even plan our last camping trips of the year. With Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas quickly approaching, the coming months are full of busyness, life and special moments and traditions, and while sometimes stressful, each reminds me to be grateful for the life we have been given. We all have our health, my kids are all doing well in school socially and academically, they are finding their fit with sports and after school interests, and my husband and I work at jobs that we love and help us provide for our family.

With that said, this is a very bittersweet "goodbye for now", as Multiplicity is going to take a break for a while. After school started this year with 4 kids in 3 different schools and 3 participating in sports and after school activities, it was painfully clear that I was needed in my mom role more than ever {even if many days to merely play chauffeur and cheerleader}. While my schedule allows me a lot of flexibility, I soon realized that I could certainly juggle it all, but at a lot of expense to myself. I don't think it's selfish to want to be more present in my kids' lives, as I know that my twins' years at home are numbered. Hats off to all of you moms and dads who can do it all and be it all to everyone, at all times. So for now, enjoy this issue and the season of life in which you find yourself, as well as all of our past issues. We have learning, laughing, and sometimes even crying right by your side. Parenting multiples is not an easy job, but it was made so much more doable having been in it together. Until next time...

Talitha A. McGuinness executive editor

be sure to follow us on.. 4


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Editor / Creative Director Talitha A. McGuinness Contributing Writers Payal Tello Cara Krenn Nicole Hastings Edith Szarkowski Dr. Preeti Parikh Barbara Miller Paula Yost Schupp Kevin Zelenka Hindi Zeidman Julie Williams Emily Miller Heather Karpinsky Christopher Stoll Kerry Bergeman Carolyn Christensen Nellie Harden Kara Cozier Dr. Rony Marwan

Contact us: 4700 Hilton Lake Road Kannapolis, NC 28083 980.721.5799

Multiplicity is published as a digital magazine four times per calendar year, with additional supplements as desired. Multiplicity cannot assume responsibility of statements made by advertisers. In addition, though hand-picked and carefully reviewed, Multiplicity cannot guarantee the accuracy of editorial pieces. No portion in whole or in part of this publication may be reproduced without express written consent from the editor. Questions? Email talitha@

adventures in corn mazes, pumpkin picking, apple pie baking, jumping in leaves, laughing by bonfires, donning sweaters for cooler evenings, and enjoying each little moment before it passes by...

happy fall

tips to be rid of clutter


by kevin zelenka 6


Despite popular belief, being a stay-at-home parent isn’t all bon-bons and soap operas. First of all, the television is controlled by two very opinionated threeyear-olds. Watching anything that doesn’t start with ‘Mickey’ and end with ‘Mouse’ is likely to trigger the next World War. Secondly, if you’ve been in a home with multiple children under 5 at one time, you’ve realized that your humble, once semi-organized abode becomes a messy one in no time flat. Who has time to eat anything when you’re busy picking up after the “destruction duo” and making sure they don’t ride the dog (ensuring that the mess will travel faster than on foot)? Believe it or not, there are some secrets to staying organized in a chaotic household. I can’t guarantee that you catch up on Days of our Lives, but at least it’ll give you a moment to catch your

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breath and have a bite to eat. (Pro Tip: Save the chocolates for when the kids go to bed). When it comes to organizing, it goes without saying that it’s easier when you have less space (and obviously, less stuff, too). I have to believe there is something to this whole “tiny house” craze. It’s appealing, but I have a little trouble imagining my wife, twin toddlers, and our 70-pound dog in a space just slightly larger than our current Master bathroom. It makes my head hurt. The thing that we can all learn from the 10’s of people all jumping on the “tiny house” bandwagon is that they’ve all had to downsize from where they were residing before. A LOT. While I don’t recommend heading to Home Depot and starting your build tomorrow, I can get on board with some

of the great ways they use to downsize their households and get organized. Following some of these tips can make your home more organized, and less cluttered. 1. The first rule in decluttering is to do it in steps. Looking at a 2400 sq. foot home and saying you want to get organized is great, but can be a bit daunting. Realize that it’s not going to happen in an afternoon (especially with kids around). Pick one room or problem area and focus your attention there. A bathroom cabinet perhaps, or the pantry. Remember, you didn’t amass everything in 24 hours, so understand that it will take more than a day to go through and get it all in order. 2. Take on one shelf at a time. Being super busy, I like the “One Shelf Method.” It starts by cleaning off one shelf. It can be a shelf in the pantry, or closet. Even a kitchen shelf. Spend 5 minutes and organize just that space. When your 5 minutes is up, take a break and then start on the next shelf, bin, or counter. You won’t realize it until the end, but 5-minute “sprints” of cleaning are far more effective than a whole house “marathon”. 3. Establish a home for everything. Although we didn’t always follow the golden rule growing up, my parents tried teaching us kids the “place for everything, and everything in its place” mentality. The key is the 2nd part. I know the scissors belong in the 2nd drawer in the kitchen. Now the trick is being diligent about putting them back there when I’m finished using them. Make the things you use more often easier to get to than things you only use occasionally. In the summertime, my shorts

are on a built-in shelving unit in my closet. Things like sweatpants, and swim trunks that I only use once in a while are located in a bin on top of the unit. The things you find you don’t use at all? Get rid of them. 4. Question yourself. When you are trying to organize your space, make sure to ask yourself these questions: • Do I really need this? • Have I used it in the last year? • Is there someone else who could use this more? • Will I miss this if I don’t have it? • If I do happen to need it in the future, can I replace it easily and inexpensively? 5. Think about others. Don’t keep things just because they are too good to throw away. There are plenty of organizations that would love to help you get organized by taking your donated items. Is your closet full of clothes you don’t wear or that don’t fit? Think about giving them to an organization that provides clothes for people going on job interviews. There are plenty of places that will take gently used items, or if they’re in great shape and you’d like a little more money in your pocket, consider consigning or selling them through ebay or craigslist. Is your pantry full of boxes of things you bought to try that the kids refuse to eat? Food banks love boxed and canned goods, but be sure to check the expiration dates. Anything past its date should go in the trash! Are your bathroom cabinets full of hotel soaps, shampoos and lotions that were too good to not put in your suitcase? Shelters love getting donations like that and just think what nice little gift baskets they multiplicity

would make for the elderly at a nursing home. 6. Don’t be afraid to purge. Decluttering is so much more than just organizing the clutter you have. The biggest part is getting rid of the clutter and that’s not going to happen without really buckling down and throwing stuff away. 7. Enlist help from the kids. It’s very important to teach your children to pick up after themselves. Not only will it make your job easier, it will put them on the right track when they are old enough to have their own home. The first step is to, of course, lead by example. Have them start with something easy, like putting their shoes away every time they take them off. Then graduate to toys and books. You can buy inexpensive bin racks for toys and mark clearly on the side what each one is for. Then make a game out of matching the item with the proper bin. Once you’ve cleaned an area, stop and take it in. Really examine what an organized space looks like. Do you like what you see? Of course you do! Start thinking of that look as the new “normal” and then be excited whenever you get the next space done. Kevin is a freelance writer and the stay-athome father of fraternal twin toddlers. He enjoys spending time with his wife and sons, attending meet-ups with other dads, and an occasional round of golf. He can be found in the kitchen making lunch and mindlessly singing cartoon theme songs, or on his blog where he shares stories about the struggles and triumphs of raising twins. You can also connect with him on facebook.

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more organization tips...

from a pro!

organize your home --two minutes at a time! Organizing your home can sometimes seem like a time-intensive endeavor. Breaking down projects into two-minute tasks every day could help to make clearing clutter more manageable and easily attainable. And what parent of twins doesn't appreciate that?!? Two-minute task #1: Tackle desk and kitchen drawers one at time. Take two minutes each morning to sort through one. If you find something that doesn’t belong there, put it in its proper place and throw out any unwanted items. Two-minute task #2: Organize and clean refrigerator and pantry shelves one at a time. If you’re already pulling out the milk for your morning bowl of cereal, take two minutes to pull everything else off the shelf, quickly wipe it down and put everything back in. Two-minute task #3: Make your bed every morning. Making your bed starts your day off right, instantly makes your bedroom look orderly, and will help perpetuate other good habits. There’s also a few studies that have linked making your bed to increased happiness!

Originally from Vermont, Julie Williams has lived in the Charlotte area for 16 years. She has identical 8 year old twin girls and a 12 year old boy. With more than 14 years experience as a full time Realtor servicing the entire Charlotte and surrounding areas, Julie works as a buyer and listing specialist. You can also connect with her on facebook.

From organizing smaller, apartment sized spaces to how to tackle a big, messy home with a 15-week total home organization challenge, this book covers it all. The Complete Book of Home Organization spells out everything you need to de-clutter your house, store your belongings, and keep your home—and life—in tip-top shape. Our minds are basically organized like human computers. If we want to improve our daily productivity, efficiency and focus, we need to empty the cache of temporary “files” and reboot for our brains to allow us perform at peak levels. In Organize Yourself in 24 Hours, you will discover how easy it is to organize and declutter yourself. 8


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the dr. is in: tips on the flu vaccine this year

Is it on your calendar to make an appointment for getting everyone's annual flu vaccines? That is good, as the CDC is urging everyone to get their vaccines as soon as possible. About 45% of the U.S. population got vaccinated against the virus last year, which was down from the previous year. The young and the elderly are the most susceptible to life-threatening complications as a result of the flu. With more than 168 million doses available, there will be plenty for everyone. However, as a parent, here are a few things you need to know about the vaccines this year....

by dr. preeti parikh

vaccine was ineffective. The nasal flu mist will not be an available option for this season. It may be best to prepare your older children, having a conversation as to how vaccines protect us against illness. 2. This year there are two vaccines available that are given as shots. There is a trivalent vaccine that covers three strains and a quadrivalent that covers four strains of the flu virus. The AAP does not have a preference of one over the other. 3. If your child is between six months to eight years old, then he or she will need two flu shots that are four weeks apart. The first "primes" the immune system while the second protects it. 4. If your child is under six months of age, then he or she will not be able to get the flu vaccine at all. This in turn makes it even more important for family and caregivers to get the flu vaccine. This will provide herd immunity. 5. Although the flu vaccine doesn't provide 100% immunity, research has shown that those who have been vaccinated, will present with a milder form of the flu.

1. You may need to gear up for the Take care, stay safe and healthy, and enjoy the fall season! tears because unfortunately, the CDC has found that the nasal spray *

Dr. Preeti Parikh is a board-certified pediatrician and serves as the Chief Medical Editor of HealthiNation, a medical expert on, medical contributor to Multiplicity, and has contributed to various other publications. Her goal is to empower both parents and children with the right knowledge and tools to achieve their optimal health. She enjoys her free time with her husband and twin children. multiplicity

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why should we support research efforts?

by rony marwan, md



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A handful of world-class centers offering innovative, cutting edge fetal surgery are just the tip of the iceberg. What people do not see, and certainly may not appreciate, is the amount of hard work and research efforts behind every success. Can we perform cutting edge surgery, offer fetal intervention or understand the natural history of a disorder without research? Absolutely not! What makes it possible to develop any therapy is the plethora of background knowledge, understanding the disease process, and having a firm grip on the potential effects of an intervention. A bench top idea or an experiment is the budding tree that will one day, with the right set of minds, and the right support from visionary individuals and entrepreneurs, be the catalyst for something innovative and novel that surprises us all and captures our imagination. The current state-of-theart fetal surgery to close an open spina bifida defect is the result of cumulative research efforts that demonstrated the feasibility and success of such an approach. There are numerous examples of a new idea that was recognized and supported by foundations prior to becoming a main stream National Institutes of Health funded study. The encouragement, support, and positive feedback accumulating with the aid of these research grants are invaluable. So, are we supporting the success of individuals, promoting growth of a scientist, participating in the

advancement of the field of medicine, or helping someone, somewhere to have a better life? Are they mutually exclusive?

care, minimizing risks to both mother and baby, and potentially providing better neurological outcomes.

I would argue that supporting research efforts does it all. What is better than providing an aspiring scientist to pursue their idea, grow it and make it the reason why the medical team provides an outstanding care to a well-deserving patient?

Supporting research in an essence is the reason why we can do what may seem impossible.

To give specifics, through a grant provided through the Fetal Health Foundation, my lab was able to work on developing a novel gel to use as an alternative to open repairs of spina bifida defects. The success of this approach will allow for earlier, less invasive approaches to fetal

Dr. Rony Marwan specializes in fetal and pediatric surgery at Children's Hospital Colorado. Recognitions include Outstanding Senior Resident Teaching Award, Excellence in Research, ASGT Travel Grant Award, and SUS Young Investigator Resident Award. He attended medical school at AinShams University, Research Fellowship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and Pediatric Surgery Fellowship at Children's Hospital Alabama.

research grant process... Dr. Marwan's team was the recipient of the Fetal Health Foundation's 2015 Research Grant. The grant helped fund research toward a needle-delivered polymer for Spina Bifida. In 2015, the Foundation awarded a second Research Grant to Dr. Miller's team at Johns Hopkins Center for Fetal Therapy to support 3-D Printed Ultrasound Models to improve fetal surgery. Fetal Health's Grant Advisory Board is reviewing 2016 applications and will announce the recipient of its $50,000 Research Grant for the year. The overall mission of Fetal Health's research grant process is to improve health outcomes for pregnancies and infants affected by fetal syndromes. By stimulating and supporting interdisciplinary research from within the maternal/fetal medicine field focused on pregnancy and treatment(s) of any one of a number of fetal syndromes, the Research Grant will subsequently improve successful fetal development and the overall health of the newborn(s). To learn more, visit www. multiplicity

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the emotional toll of parenthood:

needing to cut ourselves slack by nicole hastings


e’ve all been in that pre-kid era where we’re sure we know what kind of parent we’ll be. Admit it, you’ve taken a note or two in your past when seeing a parent with his or her kid in the store and raised an eyebrow at how the parents handled the situation (and more specifically, how you might have handled things a little differently). I know I have. The parent I was going to be looked awesome on paper, but I never took into account the emotional impact of having children and everything that came with them until I was hit with the reality of my own life playing out. My late husband and I weren’t “trying” and we weren’t “not trying,” but when we were told at our six-month gender-reveal ultrasound that we were having not one, but two baby boys, that “perfect parent” image in my head slowly dissipated. The truth is, I hadn’t spent much time around children up to that point, and now we were going to have two of them right off the bat. I knew I couldn’t possibly be alone in wondering how I would do it. Driving home from the hospital with two newborns, I kept thinking, “I’ve never been around babies and now they just send us home with two? We’re not equipped! We’re not prepared!” Deep down, I knew my heart would never be the same. I was introduced to a whole new set of emotions and discovered emotions I never even knew were there. Bringing home those babies (now kindergartners!) created a major paradigm shift in me that showed just how beautiful and deep love truly

goes, but also one that points out my deepest weaknesses and flaws. Not only did I realize (much later) that I was struggling with post-partum depression after my twins were born, I was trying to handle the terminal diagnosis of my young husband. These emotions were real, raw and honest --sometimes more honest than I would have liked them to be. These are the emotions of parenting that we don’t usually talk about amidst the pure joy, love, elation and the reality of when babies come home. Life as a parent is hard --- it is often scary, frustrating and filled with questions, and it is ugly, but in its most raw form, it’s what connects us and makes us a family. Here are a few areas in which we need to cut ourselves a little slack when it comes to parenting our children: • Self-doubt: There are so many times I lay awake wondering if I’m making the right choice for my three kids --- especially since my older two just went to kindergarten. The “momon-paper” me was going to homeschool and do crafts every day. The “real-life-mom” me is faced with having to come up with a sole income for my three children and myself. I now do not have the luxury of staying home and working with them on their early childhood skills, but rather, turn them over to someone else who can do so. Many parents in this situation feel incredible self-doubt and are filled with questions of “Am I doing the right thing?” or “Will the kids understand when they’re older?” We all want the best for our kids, but in this society, we multiplicity

are inundated with so many decisions and choices and information when it comes to “the perfect parenting way”. It’s sometimes difficult to sift out what we don’t need in order to find the nuggets of truth --- truth that settles our hearts and souls when it comes to our parenting. They are there, the nuggets, and when selfdoubt comes swirling around, remember, write them down. The truths you’ve settled on are different for everyone, but equally important. • Mental exhaustion: Pre-kids it was easy to make a space for dreaming about how we were going to parent and the kind of kids we were going to have. Now that they’re here, 99% of our brain space is devoted to keeping these people that we are in charge of alive, safe, nurtured and growing. Not only do we have to multi-task for our survival and theirs to make it through the day, but once kids are in school, juggling our schedules and their activity schedules is downright exhausting --- even if all you do is sit in a car and drive around all day or fill out a monthly/ weekly/daily (sometimes hourly) calendar and schedule. I’ve found that giving up an activity or two to make time for selfcare (and sometimes even sleep!) has been the best way to combat this. • Pressure of influence from our own parents: Having children of our own undoubtedly makes us look at our parents and our own childhood in a whole new light. Either we are even more grateful for the sacrifices our parents made for us, or we

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these feelings have nothing to do with your feelings about your children, but everything to do with your circumstance or current mental state. recoil at how we were raised and vow to never raise our children the way we were brought up. More times than not, we settle for a mixture of both. However, it can be difficult to parent the way you want when grandparents become more involved than you would like. All kinds of emotions relative to our parents or ourselves, can rear their ugly heads at the most inopportune times; feelings of resentment, comparison and anger are just a few. The bottom line is that we are the parents we choose to be. We cannot change the way our parents were or how they chose to parent us, but we can take experiences from our childhood, learn from them, and apply them to the way we wish to parent. Yes, it takes a village to raise a family these days, but it is far more important to be confident and satisfied with your parenting skills than to feel undermined by the pressure of your own parents or in-laws. Equally, they should understand that unless they are asked and for the sake of everyone’s feelings, their opinions may be better keft to themselves. • Not feeling joy 100% of the time: So many times after my twins were born I heard, 14


“Oh twins! How much fun!” And so many times after my third child was born and my husband died, I heard about how blessed I was that “at least” I had three kids. But if I was honest, being with two, and then three children under three years old at the time and dealing with the whirlwind of emotions that come with postpartum depression and grief of the loss of my husband was anything but fun. Full-blown tantrums, crying throughout the night (sometimes x 3), and the incredible pressure of finding things to do to keep everybody’s minds and bodies busy when all I wanted to do was crawl in bed and sleep didn’t feel like much of a blessing at all. I didn’t feel the joy everyone talked about that comes with having kids and it definitely wasn’t “a barrel of fun”. These emotions were completely counterintuitive to the fierce and intense love that I had for all of my children the moment I saw them. How could I not want to be around the people that bring me so much love and that I love in return? The bottom line is these feelings have nothing to do with your feelings about your children, but everything to do with your circumstance or current mental state. Seeking professional help,

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accountability, and someone to talk to honestly and openly can help tremendously in understanding that it’s perfectly alright to feel a whole spectrum of emotions when it comes to parenting. • Guilt: Guilt is at the top of the list of negative emotions I believe troubles parents these days. We have self-imposed or externally imposed guilt about so many things when it comes to parenting. Guilt about having the TV on too much, guilt about what and how you’re feeding them, guilt about which school they attend, and which toys they should play with or sports activities you cannot afford to put them in. There’s also guilt about working too much and not being home enough, or on the flip side, there is guilt about not working and not contributing to the home financially. For many of us, the list goes on and on. Guilt is defined as when you’ve done something wrong and you know it. Shame, on the other hand, is disguised by guilt, and is when you yourself or your feelings are wrong. Do I feel guilty about my parenting because I really could improve on some things, or do I feel shame about the way I parent because I feel I’m just not a good parent? That negative self-talk and putting shame on yourself about doing things that are the best you can do at the time is so detrimental. Change the things that you know need to be changed and that are within your control to change. For example, if you yell and are impatient with your children, that’s a behavior and response that can be changed and

improved on. Understanding what pushes your buttons and how you can handle things differently will help you better manage the situation(s) in the future. Don’t feel unnecessary shame and guilt if you had to feed your baby a bottle instead of breastfeed or put your child into public school instead of private because of circumstances beyond your control. These types of decisions do not make you a better or worse parent. You are simply doing the best you can with what you have at that moment in time. In our optimistic, positive, always happy-shiny society, it’s hard to admit negative emotions as a parent and it’s doubly hard to address and deal with them. I’ll never forget the line from the movie “Room,” when the mother apologizes to her son for not being a good mom and he replies, “but you’re my ma.” We can’t always choose the circumstances in which we find ourselves and most times, no matter how badly we wish to, we can’t choose the feelings that surface with those circumstances. However, we can acknowledge them, fight against them and improve upon them if necessary, and push through to the truth that we are to live out as parents: to be the best parents we can with what we’re given and what we know. We need to always be willing to learn more and recognize that, even though sometimes the circumstance cannot be changed, being willing to change our perspectives accordingly are the best things we can do for our children. Despite our flaws and questioning our parenting skills, our children will turn out just fine. They will one day have their own chance at parenting children...then, they’ll understand! Nicole is a writer, a speaker and a widowed mom. She tells her story to advocate the gift of grief and inspire hope through tragedy and loss. She writes a blog called “Just a Mom” and aspires to create a space to give people permission to grieve, to hope and to be. She lives in Colorado with her four-year old twin boys and two year old daughter. multiplicity

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taming of the technology

+ tips for keeping it in check! by edith szarkowski


ou’re out and about with your twins trying to enjoy the last bit of nice weather before school starts, maybe at a park or even running errands, when you hear a *ding*. The familiar sound of Facebook, Twitter, or whatever form of social media you might use goes off and you’re inclined to pull out your phone or tablet to see who might have tagged, messaged, or otherwise tried to contact you. Just about every family has at least one bit of technology in their home these days --- a smart phone, tablet, gaming system, or a TV. Throughout the day, we participate in a Pavlovian cycle, whipping out these devices to check weather, text friends, catch up on the latest episode of our favorite TV show, or to take a picture of the 16


twins holding hands for the first time (you must share it because it’s adorable!). There were nights at the dinner table where we turned on the TV to unwind while enjoying dinner (Food Network shows can’t be bad for the kids, right?). Recently though, we realized that one of our twins was hardly touching her food, and her eyes were glued to the screen. We tried to call her name, but she ignored us (her sister went right back to eating). It was then that we realized technology had more control over our twins than we did, and we knew we had to set limits and tame its hold on not only the kids, but on us as well. Now, I know this sounds terrible, but I have to be on some form of technology a lot

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throughout the day because I work 40+ hours a week split between being in the office in the mornings and with the luxury to work at home in the afternoons with my twins. This means I try and cram in as much work as I can before I get home (it’s terribly difficult to work with two babies getting into everything). I try to spend as much time as I can with them, but during core work hours, I have to be available whether on my phone to support a conference call or work PC to finish a project for a deadline, even if my twins are awake and running around giggling at something only they can understand. In today’s obsession and engagement with social media (even and especially with businesses), it’s nearly impossible for many

parents to steer clear of their technology for long periods. Here are five tips I’ve implemented to try and keep technology in check while trying to enjoy my twins and to live life to the fullest with them both:

1. Create a Technology-Free Zone.

Ever since we realized our twins were more interested in watching TV than eating, we’ve implemented a rule for no technology at the dinner table until the family is done, meaning no cell phones, TVs, tablets, etc. until the table is cleaned up. We are hopeful that implementing this now will help lessen the kids’ dependence on the cell phones when they get older, too. Everyone is expected to enjoy each other’s conversation and to help clean the kitchen when finished. Afterwards, we move on to playing a board game, watching an episode of something on Food Network or playing together on the Play Station 4 for an hour before bed. We feel that when used to interact and engage with each other, a little technology can be fun to bring the family together.

2. Take Breaks.

When I’m working now, I force myself to take periodic breaks once every hour to try to pay attention to my twins. During a conference call, I’ll go on mute and play with or read to them until I have to speak up (sometimes, I’m lucky and don’t have to speak up at all!). If I’m doing a series of chores, I take a break between chores to play with them. Every month or so, I sit down after they’re in bed to write in two journals, one for

each twin, detailing my favorite memories and what we shared during these short and sweet moments. Hopefully, it’s these little journal entries that will help them remember the moments together when I wasn’t so absorbed in my work and being chained to technology to do it.

3. Involve the Twins.

We try and involve the twins as much as we can because it makes us share interpersonal time rather than with or through technology. When making spaghetti, we have one twin use the egg slicer to slice olives and the other twin takes the sliced olives and puts them in a bowl. When shopping, we work with each twin to write out the shopping list for each location we need to visit, and then at the store, we play a game to see who can find the item first as we walk down the aisles. If we don’t have enough time, I’ll whip out the tablet and jot down the lists while my husband is driving, but we still play the game in the grocery store regardless of how the list was made. It makes them feel involved and that they are contributing to our family. Regardless of the games you play or how you involve them, your kids need to know that you can have fun and be a happy, engaged family without the assistance of a technical device.

4. Set limits.

On the weekends, instead of playing a video game with the twins or handing them the tablet to self-entertain, we take them to a park or a hiking trail that they love where they can enjoy being outside and hold each other’s hands. While they wander off multiplicity

to explore, we made a rule to limit ourselves to use our piece of technology no more than five times (with the exception of taking photos, since that’s how most of us capture the moments these days). After that, we keep the technology in our pockets or purses and ignore what may come up.

5. Technology on a Schedule.

We twin parents know a thing or two about schedules, so I typically take the time when the twins are sleeping to work. When they nap for a couple of hours in the afternoon, I use this time to host conference calls and try to address as much as I can before they wake up. When they go to bed, my husband and I will go and play some of the more adult themed games for a couple hours a few times a week or catch up on any work related items before turning in for the night. The most important thing to remember is that we need to have fun as a family. If we choose to bend the rules once or twice, we need to share in the experience together, whether it’s to watch the newest movie in the theater or to try out the latest video game that just got released. When it comes to technology, there are a few truths: it will always be around and it will never give back the time it takes from so many of us. If it has to be present in your life, make the time worthwhile when you use it. Unless, of course, we invent a time machine or a teleporter --- now wouldn’t that be awesome?

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words hurt: learning to help when parents experience the loss of a child

by paula yost schupp 18


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t takes something monumental to literally divide the span of a person’s life in half. Unfortunately, for many parents, losing a child does exactly that. I’m not talking about parents who are trying to conceive and lose a child during pregnancy. While that loss is no less felt, meaninful and brings its own set of emotions, it is not nearly the same as losing a child with whom you have interacted, shared specific life memories and celebrated milestones. Any time a loss is experienced, we as humans want to share sympathy and easily drum up placations such as “he/she is in a better place” or perhaps even “it was God’s will”. Each of these in their own ways may be true, but none of them help the person dealing with the grief. The first rule for interacting with a parent who has lost a child is not to compare that loss to any other form of loss. Do not compare the loss of the child to the loss of a parent or spouse. It is also important not to compare the loss of a child to the loss of other children. It is inappropriate and meaningless to compare the loss of any child to the loss of any other child, including a miscarriage. For the parents who have had to watch their child die from cancer, they feel a pain and grief that cannot be compared. Those parents had to see their child agonize in their final days, suffering like no child should ever do. However, they were able to say goodbye. They got to go to the beach one last time. For the parent

who had a child killed one afternoon in a car crash, they endure tremendous shock and did not get to prepare at all. Both losses are tragic. Both losses are awful. Both losses are examples of something no rational thinking person would wish on anyone. Trying to compare the losses to one another is unnecessary and unhelpful for those grieving parents. Both of those families need space to feel the way that they feel, completely free of comparison.

bench in a park or a trip to the cemetery many years after a child has passed. This does not mean the parent is emotionally unstable or “unable to let go.” It means that the parent is honoring the life of the child that they lost. They are entitled to carry out and respect that for as long as they deem necessary. It is important that the parents focus on the present, on the here and now. It is the easiest thing in the world for

“There was the timeline and period of my life that happened before my child died. Then, there was the timeline of my life that happened after my child died.” {quote from a mother who lost an elementary aged child} Another rule is that there is no timeline for anything, especially when it comes to closure and the end of grieving. No parent should feel pressured or rushed to do anything with their child’s room. For some parents, dismantling a child’s room may take years. That parent will know when it is the right time to take the room apart and to give away clothing and toys. It is none of anyone else’s business how long it takes. Similarly, a parent is usually different after the loss of a child. To assume that a person will stay the same is probably not rational. Parents frequently will honor their child’s memory with things like a memorial multiplicity

a grieving parent to wonder “What am I going to do on their birthday? What am I going to do for Christmas?” Thinking of all of the celebrations and life moments that they may have shared with their child in the past, can easily lead to anxiety about how they will feel during these future events with their child no longer present. It can become overwhelming so quickly. Many parents learn that the anticipation of the day ahead is so much worse than the day itself. You have to focus on what is happening in your life right now and stay focused on that. One mother told me, “You have got to get up in the

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morning. You have to put one foot in front of the other and you have got to keep going.” This is especially true if you have other children in the home who need you to be a parent despite the loss felt by all in their own unique ways. Also, do not forget the importance of privacy. Privacy needs to be respected. A grieving family is not a focus of your gossip. Let a family feel what they may feel and for as long as they need to feel it. Sometimes they may be in stunned shock and cannot feel at all. Let them feel when they can and what they can. There is no right or wrong as to how a thing like this level of grief works. This is especially critical in situations where they themselves or other family members were injured in fires or automobile accidents. Frequently, a parent is also fighting for their life or has other children who are fighting for their lives. The emotions can literally run the spectrum between grief, guilt, pain, sadness, fear, and overwhelming responsibility. Do not attach your perception of an event onto a parent who is grieving and trying to manage these emotions. Remember that most parents are generally trying to do all that is best for their children. If they are behaving strangely, they may simply be caught up in the life-altering moment of what

has just happened to them. No matter how connected you may be, understand and respect their space during this time. The use of language is also really important to grief stricken parents. It is important to affirm where they are. Simple phrases like, “This was a tragedy” and “I’m so sorry” can be very helpful. Further, using the name of the deceased child is of critical importance. One mother stated, “People comfort me when they say her name. It’s no different than people talking about my other child who survived. She was my child as well. I do not want anyone to forget my child. I know that I will never forget her, but I do not want others to forget her either.” I understand that sometimes it is hard for outsiders, and by outsiders, I mean those of us who have not lost a child to feel comfortable saying a deceased child’s name. For many of us, the reality and possibility of that also happening to us is so horrible and unimaginable that we struggle to sit in that place and put ourselves in the shoes of that parent, even if they are someone we truly love and care about. If you are uncomfortable saying the name of the child, simply practice saying it until you are comfortable. Lastly, don’t say anything to the effect of, “I could never survive what you have survived.” I

realize that sentence is meant to honor the emotional and mental strength of the parent and acknowledge the loss, but really think about that statement for a moment. It makes a very unnecessary and likely erroneous assumption. It implies that the love you have for your child is not the same as the love they had for theirs. It could be that you love your child so much more than they loved their child that you would roll over and die yourself if your child died. Further, it is not a true statement, as you would do what that parent did. You would survive and your life would go on because you truly do not have any other choice but for it to do so, especially if you have other children. You would be forced to keep going. You would be a member of a club for which you never wanted to belong, but if you had to do it, you certainly could. In the event of the loss of a child, acknowledge the situation and express your genuine concern. If you are able, offer help in the form of listening without offering opinions or judgment, shuttling the kids to and from school, or helping prepare dinners for the family or the parents if they do not have other children. These are all tangible and supportive ways that one can help a grieving parent survive the worst months after the loss of their child.

Paula Yost Schupp currently serves as the Chair of the Child Protection Team in Cabarrus County, NC. In addition to being a federally licensed U.S. Patent and Trademark Attorney, she holds a Masters in Clinical Mental Health. Paula is happily married to her husband of six years. They have three children, one adopted and two from scratch. To read more about Paula, visit her website. 20


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empower your kids:

5 simple ways to give them ownership “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” -Confucius

and believe that they are powerful now, as well as creating optimum conditions that mirror back to them these concepts. It literally means to ‘put in’ or ‘to cause’ power, as derived from its Latin roots.”

Empowerment: such a big word for such little people. When it comes to our children, having an end goal of helping them find their inner strength, confidence, and courage is never a bad thing, but how do we go about doing so in a healthy way? When and where do we start so that we can ensure they can reach their full potential and later lead more fulfilling lives? What does it even mean to “EMPOWER” our children?

When we empower our children, it allows them the opportunity to have a more fulfilling life overall. It’s no secret that life is big; it can be demanding and surprising and can throw various curveballs. Learning empowerment from an early age can help your child gain a sense of inner confidence and strength to overcome the obstacles that come their way later down the road.

Psychology Today states “the act of empowering children is a process of guiding them to feel

However, in order for our children to learn how to be “good” responsible members of society as adults, they need to first learn how to do so as children. The plus side? Empowering your multiplicity

by payal tello children can be as easy as simply supporting them in their belief that any and ALL of their dreams can come true. Here are 5 easy ways that you can help empower your children and give them ownership of their empowerment on a daily basis: 1. Give them ownership of their feelings. It’s easy to tell children “It’s ok,” or “You’re fine,” when their reality of falling down, making a bad grade, or losing a game may not be “ok” or “fine.” When we say these kinds of things to our children, we are implying “You are not entitled to how you feel,” or “I am going to tell you how to feel because you don’t really know and understand.” Instead, if we take the time to listen to what they are saying, we are showing respect for their thoughts and

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feelings and validating that it’s alright to feel sadness, anger, frustration or disappointment. We can help them identify what different emotions look and feel like, which more likely will lead to them becoming confident in themselves and how to cope with their emotions as they get older. 2. Choose your words wisely. Children are more likely to take everything literally and, whether we mean to or not, we can present a discouraging attitude if we are not careful with what we say. In addition to acknowledging and complimenting our children on their achievements and milestones, try noticing some of the smaller things in life as well (i.e. “You completed that project all by yourself!”). This will help them become more confident in themselves, and may even help them feel more secure when they meet others who are more advanced in certain skills/knowledge than your child. Obviously you want to avoid overindulging your child with compliments and making them a “praise junkie,” but you can’t go wrong with keeping it encouraging and motivational. 3. Step outside of yourself. Let go of what you or society has told you about children. Every child is different, and perfect in their own way. Instead of comparing them to other children, or that “ideal child” that you had always envisioned

you might have, give them the ability --- and freedom --- to be themselves and embrace that individuality. Give them the opportunity to form their own preferences, opinions, and outlooks based off of their own life experiences. Allow them to experience their own life through their own eyes, and not the way you have always envisioned things should be. Allow them to make mistakes, and teach them how to learn from them. Allow them to learn to appreciate their own abilities, and feel comfortable with what their “best” looks like. Be there for them when they need guidance and support and, most importantly, be sincere about it.

everything you say and do. Between their lack of life experience and them looking to you as their guide and example setter, they will take it all in and try to make sense of their world with it. They will model it (for good or for bad), and will soon learn how their behavior and actions play out in the world around them. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings! Seeing you get upset or frustrated, or celebrate something joyous in your life can help them learn how to identify and manage emotions. This demonstration will also allow them the opportunity to learn coping skills for each that can come in handy later in life.

4. Treat them with respect. “Treat people how you want to be treated” has never rang more true than with your own children. In doing so, we allow our children the opportunity to learn what respect looks, sounds, and feels like. Learning this skill early on may help them cope with negative situations/ confrontations later in life, and allow them to learn how to be the bigger person. When you make showing respect a priority in your relationship with children, you are automatically meeting them on their level and helping them get to where they want to be.

Of course it is important to not confuse empowerment with excessive leniency. With empowerment comes power and an increased ability to take control of one’s life, emotions, relationships, etc.

5. Lead by example. Children are always watching. We’ve always heard that children are like sponges; they will soak in

“Children with a healthy sense of empowerment are less likely to give up in life. They are less vulnerable to pressure from their peers, bullying, gangs... and other negative outside influences. They become more independent thinkers who are better equipped to make decisions. They will learn both how to listen AND how to be heard.” ( In essence, empowering your children will prepare them for taking on the world.

Payal is a mother of toddler twincesses. She founded, where she is dedicated to sharing her own experiences with raising twins through her passion for babywearing, gentle parenting, natural living, and more. She strives to empower parents and caregivers within her communities, both online and local, as a Trained Babywearing Consultant. You can follow her adventures on facebook, twitter and instagram as Twinmommy101. 22


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by cara krenn

not all baby advice applies to twins

{and how to rule out what works!}

Everyone loves to give new parents advice. From in-laws to grocery store shoppers to random parking lot strangers, new parents are sure to hear an ear full of what will and won’t work with their babies. People are happy to bombard a new mom with stories of their own children, their own opinions, and a list of “dos and don’ts.” While often well-intentioned, it’s important to recognize that not all baby advice applies to twins. In fact a lot of common baby platitudes very well may not (and many of us have learned this the hard way)! Here are some examples of clichéd “advice” you can ignore at your choosing once your twins arrive:

*never wake a sleeping baby. You’ll hear this


parenting maxim over and over again, but if you’re trying to get and keep your twins on the same schedule (something apparently only heard of in the twin parenting world), you may have to wake one of your twins from time to time. Parents and grandparents of singletons will often bristle at the suggestion, but you need to do what works for you in the “survival mode” of the first year.

*pick up a crying baby immediately.

It’s important to be attentive to your infants’ needs and not let them cry for hours on end, but with two babies, you’re simply going to have more crying in your house than normal. Chances are pretty high you may not be able to pick up each child immediately

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It’s impossible to love each moment of parenting, and putting pressure on yourself to do so will make you crazy! So if you hate the double diaper changing or double middle-of-the-night feedings, that’s A-OK. every time they cry. Parents of multiples know they have to “triage” which child’s needs are most pressing and do the best they can with two (or more) crying babies.

*enjoy every minute!

Strangers love to dish out this cliché. This sentiment is usually delivered with good intentions (often from parents who are far, far past the baby phase). But really...every minute? What about those minutes when one simply hasn’t gotten the memo to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time, continuing to wake his twin, and you feel like a 24-7 dairy bar? Or when you have just finished washing, drying and folding the week’s laundry to learn that the twins have had yet another blowout, essentially ruining your changes of a slight rest before getting dinner started? It’s impossible to love each moment of parenting, and putting pressure on yourself to do so will make you crazy! So if you hate the double diaper changing or double middleof-the-night feedings, that’s A-OK. There are plenty of other moments to enjoy (like when your kids are sleeping – ha!).

*don’t dress your twins alike (or) dress your twins alike

Some parents love emphasizing the adorableness of two babies 24


and dress their twins alike frequently. Some parents prefer to dress their kids differently every day. Other multiple birth parents opt for complimentary outfits that are similar, but not identical. Dress your babies in whichever fashion brings you joy. When they’re old enough to pick their own clothes --- trust me, they’ll let you know.

*breast is best

Some moms may insist that breastfeeding is the only “right” way to feed a newborn. While breast milk is inarguably good for babies, your twins will certainly be just fine if they are formula-fed. Conversely, some moms may suggest that breastfeeding twins isn’t realistic considering the time and energy you have to put into making it work. Again, this isn’t true. As long as your babies are fed with love, you are doing a good job. End of argument (and really, it is no one else’s business anyway!). So how do you rule out what advice to follow? The best advice is to trust yourself. You’re the mom. Everyone is an expert on their own kids, and you’ll figure out what’s best for your family, no matter how much conflicting advice is thrown in your direction. When I first became a twin mom, I found it helpful to work with a pediatrician who

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frequently handles twins. In fact, my girls’ pediatrician is a fraternal twin herself. These physicians are generally more flexible and understand that there are certain “exceptions” for multiple birth families. They are a great resource in helping you understand that you are totally capable of taking care of your twins in even the most difficult of situations. Additionally, as much as you can help it, don’t compare yourself to parents of singletons. Not everything is different for parents who have one child at a time, but many of the “rules” do change for multiple birth families. When navigating the world of baby advice, consider your own family’s situation. When my twins were infants, my best friend toted her singleton around with an ease I found enviable. But my situation wasn’t hers, and I had to learn not to compare. Finally, when in doubt, consult your twin mom friends. What’s the best part of joining your local twin club? You’ll have a continually accessible group of “experts” ready to give great advice. If you’re encountering a sleep problem, feeding issue, or generally need to vent, use your twin network. These parents have been there --- they get it, and will make you understand you’re not alone. Life with twin babies is crazy, challenging, and wonderful. Follow your inner parenting compass, stay sane, and just do what works best for you. You’ve got this! (Adapted from Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins)

Lucy & Ricky


costume inspiration from around the web!

Peter Pan & Tink



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photo courtesy of @francebender

Ring Master & strong man



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Clowning Around



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Popeye + Olive Oil 29


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photo courtesy of @beckygrimnes

little red riding hood & the wolf



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the good witch vs.

photo courtesy of @twinnerpated

the bad witch



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how colors impact your baby's development

When we learn we are expecting a little one, we often get excited about decorating the nursery for their arrival. We base our color choices on what we like or what we think looks cute. However, each color has different effects on our emotions, making it important to consider the influences of each color. It helps to understand the basic color families. Warm, Cool, and Neutral Warm tones stimulate the mind and energize the body. They can make larger spaces feel cozy and welcoming. However, cozy doesn’t always translate to relaxing and so warm tones aren’t great for bedtime --- especially if your little one is already energetic. Compared to warm colors, cool tones tend to offer a more calming effect. They make rooms feel spacious and relaxing. With this in mind, darker shades should be used sparingly to avoid creating a gloomy atmosphere.

by hindi zeidman 32


Neutral colors typically fall into either warm or cool tones, but since they are more subtle than red or blue, they are considered neutral. While they take on the attributes of both their warm and cool families, they are easier to match with a variety of colors. the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

The Meanings of Warm Colors Red is a very bold color that is associated with aggression and the inability to focus. Red is recommended for use sparingly. However, when utilized as an accent color, red can have positive, invigorating effects. Yellow is a happy, energetic color that can make a room a sunny and bright. Lighter yellows can aid in concentration, while brighter shades can stimulate the memory. Orange is welcoming, often puts people at ease, and is considered a social color. However, like its parent colors, too much orange can be overwhelming. Use sparingly to maximize the positive properties. The Meanings of Cool Colors Blue has a calming effect, associated with decreasing anxiety and aggression. Since blue often reminds people of water, it can emulate a cool environment in a hot or humid setting.

each color has different effects on our emotions, making it important to consider the influences of each color. The right shades of gray can be calming and inspirational. It should be used in combination with warm, bright colors to avoid a somber tone. Black is a powerful and easily overwhelming color --- but like its light shade of gray, it doesn’t have to be adverse. Black is an excellent accent color and goes well in a room with lots of natural light.

You’ll find balance in the colors and shades that you use. While it can be overwhelming to try and make the “perfect” decision for your little one, our best advice is to keep it simple. Stay true to yourself, consider your family dynamic, and take time to think of the kind of environment you desire for your little ones.

White is a pure and clean color. It can help to place the spotlight on brighter colors and play up their meanings. Choosing a Color Scheme If you’re choosing bold, bright colors, try to pair them with white or lighter shades. You don’t want to over-stimulate your little ones, and yet, you want the space to be fun and enjoyable.

Green is most closely associated with health and well-being because of its relation to nature. As a soothing color, it can help increase one’s ability to concentrate. Purple combines the solidity of blue and the vitality of red. It can take on the values of either color depending on the shade. While gray is often thought to be a gloomy color, it can also evoke other, positive emotions. Hindi Zeidman is a baby expert and the inventor of the Ollie Swaddle. This unique swaddle helps ensure baby feels calm, peaceful and comforted so babies sleep better and longer. Its patented soft moisture-wicking material speeds up moisture absorption and diffusion keeping baby comfortable and preventing overheating. And the soft, gentle colors of the new Ollie Nature Collection are designed to soothe and calm baby, promoting restful sleep. multiplicity

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the art of teaching your kids how to share 34


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by kerry bergeman


Sharing is always such a hot topic, but then again, isn’t everything related to our perfect children?!? I’m always telling my girls to share. I’m always sharing with others. I was always told to share…by everyone! Are you seeing a theme here? As I grew in my confidence as a mother, I started to really define my own boundaries of sharing. I wanted to help my girls learn about “healthy” sharing; to understand the good and bad, and the give and take of sharing. After all, we all go through life using this skill, so it’s best to build it when we are young. Sharing is not simply “ok, it’s her turn now” and you make your child stop playing. It’s more than that. We are ultimately telling our kids how much or little we believe in their ability to make decisions. We are telling them that they are not capable of giving, that we will ignore their feelings and force them to give away the one thing that was making them smile at that moment. We are telling them that adults make the rules and control them. I’m not sure about you, but this is not the kind of message I want to convey to my girls. A few years ago, we had a family visiting. As I was sitting on my deck with my youngest two who were only a year old at the time, my friend’s child came out and tried to take the toy she was playing with. I watched, but didn’t intervene; I wanted to allow them to figure it out. My daughter resisted and kept playing, but the other mother got involved.

When we give our children the ability and tools to make their own choices, I find they usually rise to the occasion and grow in a positive manner. She said, “Oh, I guess she isn’t interested in sharing.” I ignored her snide comment, but wanted to say a dozen things such as: *You are in our home and my girls have shared every single thing in this house with your family including their beds. *Why should I tell my daughter to stop playing with her toy so your son can play with it? This is twofold. It tells my daughter she is not worthy to continue to enjoy what she has been enjoying, so in turn, when someone wants something she should stop and give it to them. Two, it develops an entitled attitude in the other child --that he should get whatever it is he wants when he wants it. *Get out! But I wasn’t sure how to handle it and really the best response from me would have been, “she has plenty of toys she is willing to share and has been sharing, but right now she is playing nicely with this one. You can play with it when she is finished.” Even better, perhaps I could have asked my daughter if and when she is willing to share to let us know. That allows her the power to make her decisions and not feel belittled. If my kids are sharing without my intervention, that is a great time for praise and encouragement. When we give our children the ability and tools to make their own choices, I find they multiplicity

usually rise to the occasion and grow in a positive manner. With that said, I do believe in taking turns. For instance, when the girls all run out to the playground swings and they all want to get on at once, we take turns. When they want to help me in the checkout line, we take turns. When they want to play on the computer or tablet, we take turns. I also think it’s important to teach kids that sharing does not mean giving away. It is not permanent, but a temporary act showing kindness and consideration to someone else’s feelings. It’s a fine line, but I don’t want my kids to think the world is going to give them what they want when they want, nor do I want them to think they are not worthy enough to deserve to play or use what they want. I want them to know their value and that I value them. I want them to know they deserve to continue playing with the toy they had been enjoying and make the choice, themselves, when to share. In the long run, I believe giving them that freedom will guide them towards a greater willingness to share without an adult interfering. I’ve witnessed and have been a part of situations when fights break out over something as simple as a favored toy. --- contd. pg. 39

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FASHION FINDS mad for plaid this fall!

by talitha a. mcguinness 36


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Whether casual for running errands or enjoying a day at the park or market, or heading to that very important meeting {or even more important lunch date!}, there are so many fashion options for summer! Show your feminine side with a little lace {black is always more daring than any other color}. Be brave and pair polka dots with a floral print, or try a larger and more colorful than normal accessory with neutrals. While wedges and heels aren’t for the weak at heart {or feet}, there are so many adorable flats like Toms that can get you around without sacrificing comfort, too.


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coordinate & make it a family affair!

Talitha was born a fashionista, sharing a love for beautiful clothing and trends that are timeless. Now with a family of 6, she stretches her budget to the limit, making everyone look great for less! 38


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contd. from --- share If my children are involved, often I will let them duke it out (at least until it seems like one might get hurt), so that they can figure out their own conflict and resolution. In other circumstances, I offer to my child, “he really likes that toy, do you think he can play with it now?” I offer this in situations where my daughter isn’t using a toy, but just doesn’t want anyone else to use it either. I try to guide her to share instead of bullying her by making her share. This freedom and independence will build her trust in our relationship, too.

The only exception I have is if and when a child has just received a brand new toy. Perhaps it is wrong, but I allow them be greedy with it. Maybe that’s wrong and I’m sure some psychologist along the way will tell me I’m raising a serial killer, but when my girls get new “things”, it’s because they earned it and why shouldn’t they be the first to devour all its new specialness? Its newness will soon wear off and they will be more than happy to share a little later on. You could also consider putting “special” toys away when you have a playdate so that you forgo any unnecessary skirmishes.

The bottom line is we as parents need to let kids think on their own any chance we get. Show them how sharing looks even as adults and that it’s something we do daily. Let them feel empowered by making decisions and understanding how others feel. If we, as parents, step in every time they demand their own way, or on the flip side, force them to give and share at every turn, we will only continue the cycle of spoiling or damaging our children. How do you teach your children to share and will what you teach them give them skills to help them later in life?

Kerry is the mastermind behind, a peek at life as a mother of fraternal AND identical twins! Her blog is about life with twins, dealing with infertility, raising awareness for bully prevention, and the challenges of having a daughter with a severe intolerance to dairy. She is the Brand Ambassador/Senior Spokesman of the Twingaroo twin carrier, the first and only ergonomic twin carrier that features a built in diaper bag. Connect with her on facebook, twitter, and instagram.


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book review by the mom squad

Fall brings about a change in seasons, and longer evenings make the perfect time for hunkering down with a good book or two. Young kids often have a hard time understanding the changing of seasons and why certain things happen (i.e. the color of the leaves, etc.). They can join young Fletcher in Julia Rawlinson’s Fletcher and the Falling Leaves as he begins to notice the leaves falling from his favorite tree and worries that something is wrong. But then winter arrives and he is in for an even bigger surprise. If you have easily excited readers, let them enjoy moving around a bit with Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. This is a wonderful, read-aloud romp through swishy grass, squishy mud, over fences, and through storms and blustery winds, ending in a deep, dark cave. 40


What will the family find at the end of their adventure? Only the story will tell, but your children are sure to love hurrying back to the safety of home! For a glimpse and celebration of the things we do in fall, read along with Cynthia Rylant’s Poppleton in Fall. As the cooler days of autumn finally arrive, Poppleton receives a visit from some friendly geese flying south for winter, buys a new winter coat, and enjoys a cozy pancake breakfast with his neighbors. There are also a number of other books in this series, which is great for beginning readers. It’s getting darker much earlier in the day. Struggling to get the little ones off to bed? Sometimes a silly book is just the ticket. And when it comes to silly books, Sandra Boynton is the undisputed queen. In The Going to Bed Book, an ark full of animals watches the sun go down and then prepares for bed. They do all the normal routines --- take a bath, find pajamas, brush their teeth --and some not-so-routine things like doing exercises up on deck, and then finally say good night. Boynton has a knack for knowing what appeals to small children: simple rhymes, goofy animals in goofy settings, and sweet, comforting stories where they can drift off to dreamland.

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In Free Fall by David Wiesner, kids can really let loose their imaginations. They journey along with a young boy who falls asleep with a book in his arms, who travels to a faraway land filled with dragons, castles, and adventures awaiting at every turn. Even more interesting is that the entire story is conveyed through pictures... not a single word is written to share the boy’s experiences! With the holidays upon us, get the whole family into the spirit of “believing” through the pages of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole. Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish and learn a thing or two about believing in something far greater than one’s self. Among the most pleasurable things about children is their ability to view a simple activity as a magical adventure, such as a walk in the woods late at night. Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon captures this wonderment in a book whose charm rises from its simplicity. The two walked

through the woods with nothing but hope and each other in a journey that will fascinate children and parents alike. It makes for a great reminder of what we can learn from and about each other and the things around us in the quiet. Professor William Waterman Sherman intends to fly across the Pacific Ocean. But through a twist of fate, he lands on Krakatoa, and discovers a world of unimaginable wealth, eccentric inhabitants, and incredible balloon inventions. In William Pene du Bois’ The Twenty One Balloons, young readers will delight in the discovery of things unknown in this fantastic tale of the absurd. We’ve all done it...wished we were some place else. But most people don’t have genius parents who just happen to be working on a scientific experiment with time travel at the moment of our wish. In Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle Sandy and Dennys Murry, the “normal” boys in a family of geniuses, suddenly find themselves trudging through a blazing-hot desert, seeking a far-off oasis for shade. Their desperate wandering brings them face-to-face with history --- biblical history, as they run into Noah and his family. Even so, the urgent question is, how

will Sandy and Dennys get back to their own place and time before the floods--the many waters--come? As they begin to cross the invisible border into adulthood, the twins must confront their ability to resist temptation and embrace integrity. Many Waters is a continuation of the Murry family series, which also includes A Wrinkle in Time; A Wind in the Door; and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell is a story of a 12-year old girl who lives alone on a Pacific island after she leaps from a rescue ship. After eighteen years of isolation on the island, Karana learns to fend for herself by foraging for food, building weapons to fight predators, clothing herself in a feathered skirt, and finding strength and peace in her seclusion. This is a great read for tweens fighting for independence and a little freedom to better understand the responsibility that goes along with independence. With deeper content from a troubling time not eagerly discussed that awakens some of the most raw emotions, it is no wonder Number the Stars by Lois Lowry won a Newberry Medal. The evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark is multiplicity

one of the great untold stories of World War II. Lois Lowry fictionalizes a true-story account to bring this courageous tale to life through the eyes of 10-yearold Annemarie Johannesen, whose family harbors her best friend, Ellen Rosen, on the eve of the round-up and helps smuggles Ellen’s family out of the country. It is always night in the city of Ember, but there is no moon, no stars. The only light during the regular twelve hours of “day” comes from floodlamps that cast a yellowish glow over the streets of the city. Beyond are the pitch-black Unknown Regions, which no one has ever explored because an understanding of fire and electricity has been lost, and with it the idea of a Moveable Light. “Besides,” they tell each other, “there is nowhere but here”. Among other things the people of Ember have forgotten is their past and a direction for their future. Following on the heels of Lois Lowry’s classic The Giver, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau finds twelveyear-old Doon Harrow and Lina Mayfleet as the only people who are worried. When Lina finds an old paper with enigmatic “Instructions for Egress,” they use the advantages of their jobs to begin to puzzle out the frightening and dangerous way to the city of light of which Lina has always dreamed. This book, in all of its suspense, will leave tweens clamoring for more!

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some truths... about your body after babies

by heather karpinsky 42


Are you pregnant? I was so happy when my twins were sent home after spending 6 weeks in the NICU, that it didn’t even bother me that I was still wearing maternity pants. I never even thought about the excess weight until I got to leave home by myself for the first time to meet my husband for lunch at his work. I walked in to see him and someone immediately walked over to us and said “Congratulations, didn’t realize you were expecting”. And I wasn’t! I had given birth two months ago. I was surprised and embarrassed (you would think that he would have been, too, but probably not). My body did not immediately return to normal like most celebrities seem to and I immediately wondered why it was taking me so long. It took me a little over 3 months to lose that bloat that made me appear pregnant. His comment made me compare myself with other women post delivery, but the first year with twins was very exhausting and time consuming. I did not have the energy or the time to work out, and my appearance just was not my priority. I know

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I’m not alone in this, as many twin moms have trouble losing the weight after babies come along. Lost the Baby Weight, but Found the Toddler Ten! Once my boys turned 6 months old I started walking again. Walking gave me more energy, which in turn gave me the push to run a little as well. I also started wearing makeup again. I didn’t have an hour to shower and fix myself up like the pretwins me, but I was impressed with what I could do in 10 minutes (and it was enough to make me feel whole again). After14 months post delivery, I finally lost all my baby weight. I was so happy! I started the year off great. My stomach wasn’t flat or perfect, but I was confident enough to wear a bikini for the first time that summer (or willing to because I was so busy getting things for the twins, that I forgot to get a new swimsuit for me). However, and much to my dismay, it was very short lived. The toddler years were also a struggle for me (please tell me you’re feeling the struggle, too!). At 14 months, my boys were starting to eat meals and I started looking at Pinterest to find all the best toddler meals and recipes. I tried everything, but I am the only one that would eat it. My two were so picky that only cheerios and a few other items passed their test. When you work hard to make a good meal and no one will even try it…second breakfast, second

lunch, and a reason for a snack happen, which lead to putting on the “Toddler 10” for me. I wonder if singleton parents only gain five pounds! Getting my Body Back The first two years at home with my boys were a learning experience. Being a new mom is tough and being a new mom to multiples is even tougher. I went from working full-time, exercising, going out with friends to staying at home 99.8% of the time and losing my personal time as well. Sadly, I didn’t worry too much about my appearance and I let all of my better health habits slide. Once my boys turned three, I returned to the gym and started spending more time outside with them as well. It has made a big difference in how I feel. I am still a couple pounds up from my pre-baby weight, but I am comfortable with how I look and that is the most important thing. My body also has gained some stretch marks in this process and I am not going to walk around town anytime soon in a crop top. But I always wanted a tattoo growing up, so I consider them my pregnancy tattoos and tattoos are kind of cool. Right? What I Learned Everyone is different, but we all know when we feel our best. It isn’t even about the size of our clothes or the makeup we wear or don’t wear. We know that being at our healthiest only helps us be the best us we can be for ourselves and for

our families. We can also feel good knowing we’re setting a great example for our little ones. After all, our health is all we have and is one thing in life over which we have most control. Once it becomes compromised, it is so hard to get back on the right track. Do not let comments about your weight impact how you feel about yourself and your abilities, as weight is a constant juggle for everyone. Will you doubt yourself? Will you wish away your weight and extra skin? Of course, but in some cases, it can take years to get to where you want to be. Just take it easy on yourself, set goals and make some simple food changes, and you will get there sooner than you think. In the same token, do not compare your journey with anyone else’s. Our journeys are all different. Some of us started out healthier before having babies, while others of us only wish we had made better food and exercise choices. Take one step at a time, offer yourself grace, because remember, love starts from within. As a mother, I always try to treat myself as I would want my children to treat themselves. I know they are watching and I want to be a good example. I also recommend giving your significant other plenty of donuts and cookies, because the bigger they look, the smaller you look in comparison. Just kidding!

Heather Karpinsky is the founder of Baby A & Baby B LLC and the inventor of the Twin Feeding Set. She had identical twin boys in January 2013 and lives with her family in Louisiana. For more information about Heather and the Twin Feeding Set, visit www. multiplicity

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three mom-types you need as best friends Dear Regina George (kidding!), My sister, who nicknamed me Lou, shares a love for the movie Mean Girls with me. No matter how many times we watch it, it never gets old. For those who haven’t seen it, there is a group of mean girls in a high school that each have a distinctive role to play. There’s the follower who does everything the group says. There’s one gal that tries to hold her own, but to no avail, is shut down rather quickly by the leader. You guessed it...Regina George. Regina is pretty. Regina is hateful. She is controlling and 46


by lacey noland

she lets no one sit with her at lunch. Everyone thinks they want to be friends with her because of what they’ve heard, but in actuality - NO ONE does. She’s a mean girl. Some people feel that motherhood can be like that. Sometimes, there’s that circle of mean moms out there in Motherhood land and let’s be honest, we don’t want to sit with them. I like to choose the moms who bring joy and light into my life. If I had to write my own Mean Girls script, I have the perfect three types of moms I’d

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LOVE to be friends with! “Laugh-at-herself-mom” This mom is fantastic. She takes the task of motherhood and makes it pleasureable, no matter how rough it can seem. Sure, most people would cringe at the thought of being vomited on or changing yucky diapers in the car by herself with no wipes, but this mom understands the grit-and-grind of parenting. She doesn’t take herself {or certain situations out of her control} too seriously. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff and is always down for a good laugh.

“No-frills-birthday-party-mom” This mom rocks my socks off. She’s the mom that feels comfortable in her own skin and thinks stressing over party planning ideas and pinning Pins on Pinterest is ridiculous. She’s the one who realized a long time ago, that perfectly placed table cloths and hand-lettered monogram napkins for a 2 year old’s Soiree’ & Sweets themed party is dumb. Sure, she wants to give her kids the world, but she recognizes they are KIDS. She savors the time with them and not the time it took to plan. Bask in this mom’s carefree spirit while you’re eating sheetcake and hitting a pinata cause she is AWESOME.

“I-have-no-idea-what-i’mdoing-mom” This mom admits that she doesn’t have all the answers, and that’s ok. She listens to others’ stories and suggestions openly without judgement. She’s willing to try anything because she’s honest with herself that she doesn’t know it all. She realizes that her children teach her something new on a daily basis and she enjoys the journey of learning about them and their needs. Sure, she has moments of fear when she truly is unsure, but she’s brave and true to herself and can ask for help. She’s one of a kind in a world where we all can be quick

to think we’ve got it all solved. No matter what kind of mom you are or try to be, one thing is for sure...mothers are unique. There are some mean ones out there. There are leaders and there are followers. There are the those that can laugh at themselves and those that measure worth in moments and not monetary things. I’ll spend my days seeking out those awesome moms in the world and celebrate them and the wonderful examples they set. So here’s to you Regina George’s out there! You can’t sit with us.

Lacey Noland is the writer of Lou Times Two, a lifestyle and parenting blog. She is the mother to twin girls who seem to constantly challenge her in the unknown world of parenting. She is married to a former MiLB baseball player who now coaches high school baseball in their hometown.

appy fall

chore monster They say your kids will beg to do their chores. ChoreMonster is a suite of apps that make chores fun for kids. As a parent, you can easily create scheduled chores with point values. When your child says they're done, you approve and they get the points. Add rewards that your kids “purchase” from their points. A reward can be anything from money to a camping trip. Still not sold? Sign up for free and learn more!

fun, educational apps for everyone in the family! for the preschool and under crowd Artie's Magic Pencil teaches children how simple triangles, squares and circles come together to create everything they see around them, from a butterfly to a building, and a car to an ice cream shop!

Sago Mini Road Trip allows kids to pack and go on an adventure. Pick a destination, select a vehicle and hit the road. Stop along the way to wash and fuel up. When the drive is done, a happy welcome is waiting! for those 5 and up aMath Numbers Eng is a math game based on the Tetris principle. The game helps children learn numbers from 0 up to 100 in a fun way by combining the visual and the audio perception. Monument Valley engages users in navigating mysterious and mind-bending, fantastical architecture, uncovering hidden paths, and unfolding optical illusions of impossible geometry. Both surreal and serene, it is among the most captivating apps out. multiplicity

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holiday gift guide 2016 for the younger kids shape mags These are unique magnetic tile building sets that allow little builders to create castles, bridges, trains, buildings, pyramids, rockets, their name --- the possibilities are endless. Shape Mags also includes instructions that provide a wide variety of visual examples. Retail $24.99+ Ages 3+ finn + emma Treat the little ones to a sustainable baby brand, with Finn + Emma's 100% organic cotton clothing and their newest adorable rattle buddies. Price varies

the magical tales These tales are gift books for children that celebrate the magical moments in every child's life. Help guide Santa and his reindeer to your door with Santa Dust. Help your child sprinkle away their fears with magical Halloween Dust and teach your child the true meaning of friendship with the Friendship Dreidel. Each book is sold in a gift box with one pouch of magic! Retail $28.95

glow in the dark crazy forts Build any play space from your child's imagination. Create a Cave one day, an Igloo, Pirate Ship or Castle the next. Put the pieces together in different configurations, cover with bed sheets and voila. Kids have a unique new play space every time. Retail $43.95

little tikes trampoline This 3-foot kid's trampoline is the perfect size to provide hours of bouncing fun! Little Tikes knows it is important for kids to stay active, and this toddler trampoline is easy to move, so kids can bounce where ever they like, any time they like! Retail $38.70 48


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for the older kids chalk trail for bikes Creativity for sidewalks, parking lots, and streets. Chalktrail is so intuitive --- kids see it and they get it. They can create a masterpiece alone or with a group of riders. Retail $19.95 ringstix pro RingStix uses two Stix shaped like inverted swords to propel a ring at each other. The game is easy to learn and can be played from 50 yards away. Hours of fun awaits you with this awesome game. Retail $29.99

sifteo cubes Portable interactive game system for Intelligent Play, Sifteo Cubes sense each other, and react to your moves. There are four pre-installed games and you can sync to your computer to get more. Retail $250

spring swings deluxe fun ride This swing lets children glide along the cable like an Olympic athlete or a soaring bird in flight for amazing and endless fun! Simply attach the cable between 2 trees or other supports, grab the trolley handles and you're on your way for the best Fun Ride of all! Retail $109

boogie board For a kid friendly AND environmentally friendly gift, you cannot go wrong. Great for any drawing, writing, etc. Plus, it’s a terrific school tool as well. We won’t tell if you won’t! Retail $29.99 patterns of the universe coloring book Whether for meditation, a thrilling creative outlet, or to celebrate the beauty of math, grab your colored pencils and get to coloring! Retail $13.50 3-D home kit For aspiring builders and architect, this kit provides complete materials to design plans & construct a model of almost any home --- up to four stories high & 6,200 square feet. Retail $26.95

razor power rider 360 Blast into the future this all-new, electric powered three-wheeler from Razor. With the push of a button, you're off - no pedaling required. Race at speeds up to 9 mph, cut full 360 degree spins, slide, even drift on the high-performance duel inclined rear caster wheels. Retail $179.99 multiplicity

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for mom & dad acrylic scallop tassel necklace Add a personalized long layer to mom's jewelry wardrobe with this classic tassel necklace. The monogram is cut out of acrylic and surrounded by an elegant scallop frame. Choose your acrylic color, tassel color, and type of chain to coordinate with any outfit. Retail $36.00-58.00 lollia - wander shea butter handcreme Treat mom to deliciously fresh skin with this botanical handcreme made with Macadamia Nut & Avocado oils blended to comfort & soothe skin. Retail $24.95

saranoni extra large throws We know that comfort is something you never grow out of, so why not treat mom to a little luxury for when she has some down time? Saranoni XL home throw blankets are luxuriously soft and measure in at 60" x 80". Retail $96.00-99.00

pebble round 14mm smartwatch Give mom the gift of efficiency and convenience all in the easy-to-use, time-saving features of a smartwatch. She can check notifications, incoming calls, texts, and her calendar, all at a glance. Retail $199.99

personalized slate coasters Square slate coasters give exclusive style with laser engraved personalization! These will look great in the man cave, in the living room or where ever your man likes to hang! Retail $54.95 set of 4

personalized man cave canvas Make it official --- give a personalized canvas to decorate his man cave. Themes include football, golf, baseball and billiards. Retail $59.99 fuego box Spice things up --- in the kitchen! If your man likes to cook with a little spice or you want to heat up a favorite dish (or try a few new ones), Fuego Box offers unique heat like its Hot Honey and Purple Panda Chili Oil. Retail $54.95 50


large sampson duffle Give him style and practicality when he travels. This duffle will go from the mountains to the beach with a smooth transition and wipes clean without a fuss. Retail $54.95

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Need to rethink how you use the spaces in your home? In 5 easy steps, YES Spaces helps you determine the issue, the space and the people to make your design idea work perfectly for you and your space.

Let YES Spaces help you take your DIY to the next level!

When every twin parent hears... how do you do it?

double trouble! are they twins or just really close in age?

are they identical?

were they natural?

bless your heart!

We say, you’ve got this and we're here to help! Holderness Family Video on Fire Safety

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something stinks! tackling the diaper pail stench by kara cozier

Eight years ago when my identical twin daughters were born, I made a decision to learn more about healthier food and that put me on a path to creating a more natural environment in our home. I think of it as an 80/20 lifestyle. Eighty percent clean (toxic chemical free) and 20 percent sugar, wine, and hair dye. There are many things to consider with this new lifestyle and I definitely drove myself a little nuts in the beginning. I was striving for 100% though. My advice? Start somewhere and take baby steps. Being overwhelmed is not fun and usually ends up being expensive! I personally went a little overboard in the beginning and ended up spending 100s of dollars at the health food store for things 52


that I wasn't familiar with and didn’t even know how to use. Also, as a mother of twin daughters who were once in diapers, I know the lovely aromas that can come from diaper pails and trash cans with diapers in them. Just thinking about it brings me back to that lovely sensory experience. The best is when you are trapped in the car with it until the next rest area! If you're looking at learning to block the stench, there are a few things you may want to know. Blogs and social media are a lot of fun to look at, but can really start instilling some fear in our "new mom" brains. The list of chemicals in products and the many posts and graphics about how dangerous they are can be overwhelming. I’m not one

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for diving really deep into the science side of everything. I like the “toxic-free for dummies” version (I prefer to call it something fancier like “simply natural” or get really personal and say “I’m sleep deprived, just tell me what to do.”) The following are the highlights of chemicals in some products that are used commercially to remove the stink: 1. Fragrance. This is a super sneaky word that can hide dozens of chemicals. Many of them may have never even been assessed for safety. 2. Phthalates. These make the fragrances last longer. They are linked to male reproductive system birth defects and hormone disruption. 3. Acetaldehyde. This one is referred to as a Group 1 human

carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. After doing your homework, you may be looking at cleaner ways to tackle that diaper pail stink. The good news is there are incredibly simple and cost effective alternatives to many personal care and cleaning products out there. The best part is they take minimal effort to put together. I’ve experimented with a lot of DIY recipes over the years and have made some decisions about what I’m willing to pay for someone else to make and what I’m willing to whip up myself. For example, I’ll make a DIY foaming hand soap, but I’m buying laundry soap. To quote one of my favorite lines from a viral internet video, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

DIY diaper pail deodorizing powder

Ingredients: *1 cup of Baking Soda *10 drops of Purification *Essential Oil Blend *1 Mason Jar with decorative daisy lid

Instructions: Fill mason jar with baking soda. Add 10 drops of Purification essential oil blend per cup of baking soda. Replace solid lid and then daisy lid over it. Shake to combine. When you want to deodorize your diaper pail, simply remove the solid portion of the lid to use the daisy lid as a simple shaker deodorizer to dispense the right amount every time. I still use this mixture in my

trash can to neutralize odors. Essential oils evaporate over time, so I always keep the solid portion of the lid on in between uses. Happy sniffing! Subscribe here to learn more information on essential oils and receive a FREE DIY recipe download. Get started with a Young Living Premium Starter Kit of 11 essential oils plus your choice of diffuser this month via this link and $40 from every purchase will be donated to the Fetal Health Foundation. You will also receive a bonus bottle of Oregano essential oil and a Welcome Package as a thank you for getting started and supporting this amazing organization.

Kara Cozier is a natural wellness educator and certified Train Your Organization coach. Her approach to natural wellness and finding joy is simple; when you know better do better little by little. Even the smallest of changes have a huge impact! Her mission is to empower women to find true joy, peace, and fulfillment in their lives. Kara is enjoying her ability to work her mission while homeschooling her twin daughters and travel with her family. Her family of four is currently preparing downsize and move to a sailboat to circumnavigate the globe. You can follow her adventures at

Show your

SUPPORT for the Fetal Health Foundation this month!


is donating $40 from every purchase of a Premium Starter Kit. Use Referral



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breast health and YOU...

by carolyn christensen


ith October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, most of us learn how to perform and know the importance of monthly breast checks, but breast health goes beyond checking for lumps. When you have pain, discharge, swelling, or any noticeable changes to your breasts, you need to make an appointment with your doctor. Early detection is key in treating and curing breast cancer. My own personal journey began this year and sent me on a roller coaster of appointments and emotions.

Know when to call the doctor.

You should be performing monthly self-exams and has a 54


terrific shower card you can download to make sure you are are checking your armpits and breasts correctly. I was taught to check for lumps, but you need to be checking for much more (discharge, pain, swelling, redness, new unusual moles, etc.). For me, I never felt a lump; I had discharge for years, droplets of blood once in my bra and extreme tenderness.

Know what information to give your doctor.

The more information you can provide, the better, even if you don't think it is important. Here are a few questions I was asked time and time again. 1. When was your last period? Yes, this is important. 2. Have you found any lumps?

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No, and my Ob/Gyn was not able to feel any either. 3. Are you having pain and tenderness? If so, is it worse during specific times? For me, it was the week of my period and again two weeks later. 4. Have you had any discharge? If so, how long have you been experiencing it? What is the color of the discharge and how much? Has there been any blood? With blood, did you have trauma to the breast at any time during the month? For me, the discharge started after my twins were born (my milk never came in, so I thought it was related to that). The color for me seemed to vary for the times of the month and it never got on my bra it just crusted over. Yes, I had blood on my bra, but only once. Apparently, a trauma

to the breast can take several weeks to bleed from the duct, which was my case. 5. Do you have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer? Has anyone in the family ever been tested for the BRAC 1 & 2 gene? For me, it was yes to both types of cancers, but no one was ever tested. As you can guess, my answers gave me an increased cancer risk of 21%, which does not seem high, but in the breast cancer world, you do not want to be over 19%. I found myself being sent for a Mammogram and Ultrasound. I was hopeful it was nothing, but the radiologist soon came in to say he found numerous masses in both breasts, with one on the right being a concern. He recommended a Breast MRI and referral to a Breast Surgeon. A surgeon?!? Okay, this just got real. The Breast MRI requires you to lie on your stomach on a special table to get scanned with and without contrast dye they put in through an IV while you are in the machine. This test detected another concern for me. No one would say the dreaded "C" word at this point. They suggested an MRI guided biopsy, but I opted to talk to a breast surgeon first before going through any more tests. I needed to know what they really thought was going on. Off to the specialist I went. If you are ever in this situation, I highly recommend asking around your local mom’s groups or checking online for doctor’s ratings, as I found my surgeon came

highly recommended and she specialized just in Breast Cancer and Health. To be honest, I was so nervous I wanted to throw up. However, the surgeon for me was great. She had reviewed my blood work and all the test results and gave us better than expected news; it was not cancer. I have Fibrocystic Breast Disease/ Fibrocystic Breast Change. Basically, I have a bunch of noncancerous masses that are fed by estrogen. There is a small chance one could change, but we will have to followup with ultrasounds every 6 months to a year. She explained while all the tests noted one mass being a concern, she said no two tests pointed that concern at the same mass. They were all different. She also noted my Vitamin D levels were almost nonexistent, which pointed to this disease. She suggested no caffeine and a daily dose of Vitamin E. Now I have no discharge, limited breast pain, and less stress for now. She did recommend genetic counseling and to be tested for the BRAC 1 & 2 gene mutations to determine whether she should pursue a biopsy or just for it to reduce my lifetime risk and give me more peace of mind. Genetic Counseling and Testing to stress or not to stress, that is definitely the question. I refused for years to have this testing worrying that if the tests came back positive, I would be on edge wondering if I would develop cancer. It would be like having a ticking time bomb. After speaking with the surgeon, I realized it is a necessary tool, not only for multiplicity

my future care, but a resource for my daughter and nieces, as well. The genetic counselor will determine whether the genetic testing is necessary based again on your risk and the genetic family mapping you work with them to develop by giving them cancer history for as many relatives as possible. Invitae’s site has a tool to help you develop this, too. My risk increased to 21.8% after mapping, so the counselor recommended I use Invitae for testing since they will work with your insurance company and will not run the test if the cost exceeds $100.00 without your consent. Luckily, I was negative!!! My lifetime risk score reduced to 16% --- and resulted in a little happy dance. While I am not completely out of the woods, I can breathe easier and educate others in the importance to listen to your body. Discharge, pain, lumps, rashes --- none of these are normal. Check yourself regularly, and get checked by a professional if you have concerns. Early detection is everything! To learn more about breast health and what you need to know, visit the following sites: http://www. breast-cancer-awareness-month content/publication/breast-selfexam-shower-card genetics/brca-fact-sheet hereditary-cancer/

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by the mom squad

family friendly meals... found on pinterest With the weather turning cooler, many of us turn to comfort foods like chili, dumplings and casseroles. Of course, we are no less busy than any other time of year, so if you haven't already, it's time to pull out the slow cooker and let it do all the work for you! Here are a few new dishes to throw in with your old favorites. Speaking of chili, I'm sure you have a favorite recipe you use each year. Try mixing things up a bit by serving it over a Cornbread Waffle like the ones from Tastes Better from Scratch. It will add a whole new flavor and texture to the meal and will be a hit, for sure. Most kids love pasta and most kids love pizza. Why not put two of their favorites together in one dish?!? Try Inside BruCrew Life's Meat Lovers Pizza Casserole. You can literally use any pasta you want, including ravioli 56


for added cheese. Done in 30 minutes, this dish makes for an ooey, gooey crowd pleaser! Love the idea of making dumplings, but want to try something new? The Gunny Sack's Chicken Alfredo Tortellini is warm and filling, fast and super easy --- you cook it all in the slow cooker! Once done, be sure to grate and add some fresh parmesan for that extra flavor. Yummo! For another easy peasy meal in your slow cooker, try this Honey Sesame Chicken by Damn Delicious. Once done, just throw on top of some steamed rice and consider throwing in some edamame or carrots, too. Want to really surprise the kids? Grab some fortune cookies on your next grocery run and enjoy a takeout meal, made in the comfort of your own home! Unlike many casseroles that use a lot of processed ingredients

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cornbread waffles like "cream of this or that" soups, this Teriyaki Chicken option from Oh, Sweet Basil uses whole, healthy veggies and will be a favorite the whole family will love. Afraid they may turn their noses and balk at all that green? Skip the sugar snap peas (or you can simply offer them on the side), and chop that broccoli up so small they won't realize they're eating it! Stay warm, eat healthy and well!

meat lovers pizza casserole

slow cooker chicken alfredo tortellini

honey sesame chicken

teriyaki chicken casserole multiplicity

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dad confessions

When my wife was pregnant with our twins, Connor and Grace, I spent a lot of time sitting outside thinking about the changes coming my way. Honestly, I spent most of that time drinking beer and listening to music, generally avoiding my very, very pregnant wife and the mood swings that accompanied her everywhere, but occasionally, a few thoughts slipped in. In one such moment, I started thinking about how much fun Father’s Day was going to be. Then I started thinking about why it was deemed "Father’s Day", and not say, "Daddy’s Day". In my mind there was a huge difference between the two titles. When my children took their first breath, I was bestowed the title of "Father"; it says so right on the birth certificate. However, the title of "Daddy", well, I would like to think that takes some earning. Over the past several decades, men have evolved from Fathers, to Daddys. Long gone are the days of a Father coming home from a long day’s work, kicking off his boots and grabbing a scotch, firing up his pipe and becoming oblivious to his surroundings. That is certainly not a reality in my household. These days, to earn the title of Daddy, you are expected to work just as hard at home as you do outside of it, if not more. Now, a significant part of this evolutionary process is the work/ home balance --- many Mothers work as hard outside of the house these days as they do in it. We, as a society in general, lead much busier lives. Where many children used to play freely in the streets after school and on weekends, they now play organized sports, are enrolled in dance schools, or belong to clubs.

by christopher stoll 58


This means that Mommy or Daddy usually have to chauffeur them the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

back and forth. Many places of employment also have non-traditional work hours, meaning parents are working odd hours to balance their work/home lives. The term “Housewife” has been rendered obsolete in the world in which we live. Our roles as parents have forever been changed; it’s a new song, the remix, if you will. It’s no longer an amusement when a Daddy goes to see a child’s teacher, but rather, a standard issue. A Daddy is expected to coach Little League, play dolls, and fix the roof, all with the same comfort and ease. A Daddy acting befuddled and clumsy when asked to help with small children or to do it all alone, no longer cuts the mustard. A traditional Father would come home, hear that one of his children had misbehaved and immediately dole out some form of punishment. A Daddy is expected to listen to his child, find the reason behind his misbehavior, explain why it was considered bad, find a lesson in the situation…..then maybe find a mild form of punishment. In a nutshell, a Daddy is now expected to be parent, friend, coach, and therapist. This can be overwhelming for most men --- certainly

enjoyable and rewarding, but also very stressful. If you can manage to keep all your balls in the air for any length of time without dropping them, then you can consider yourself a Daddy. If you are still not quite sure of whether you qualify to be considered a Daddy, I offer up the following examples, in the tradition of Jeff Foxworthy. 1-If you can name the cast of the Wiggles quicker than the NY Knicks' starting five…you may be a Daddy. 2-If you can navigate stray Lego pieces in the dark with Ninjalike precision…you may be a Daddy. 3-If you would change the channel from a ballgame in the bottom of the ninth, in a tie game, to My Little Pony…you may be a Daddy. 4-If you can channel the spirit of MacGyver and make a meal from a can of tuna, some jellybeans & a tube of gogurt… you may be a Daddy. 5-If an afternoon spot of tea with Dora, Minnie & Ariel sounds like a fine time…you may be a Daddy. 6-If you have a drawer full of t-shirts with throw up stains on them…you may be a Daddy. 7-If you have coached a ball game, in the blazing sun, after many drinks & 4 hours of

sleep…you may be a Daddy. 8-If you have escorted a child to dance class, and had spirited debates with the other Mommies…you may be a Daddy. 9-If you have stifled a laugh and acted dismayed when told your child has said something inappropriate…you may be a Daddy. 10-If all these examples brought a sense of recognition, amusement and perhaps even pride to your face…you are certainly a Daddy. This article is dedicated to all those who stay in the fight every day, who strive to raise your kids to be great adults, who want your kids to have better lives than you have for yourself. It's for all those Dads who work hard, play harder, and know it’s not just a title, it’s a way of life. So come Father's Day each year, crack a cold one, fire up a grill, or do whatever you find rewarding, and take a bow --you have earned it. Personally, I always just hope for a little peace, quiet, and a big piece of chicken! In honor of all the men and women who balance between being a parent and a friend to your children, I raise my Red Solo cup to you!

Christopher is the definition of a “Jack of all trades”. When he is not spending quality time with his wife & boy/girl twins, there is no telling where you may find him. He may be on the baseball field volunteer coaching, he may be perusing through his music to create his next playlist, or he very well may be writing his next blog. Christopher was born and raised by a single mom in the Bronx, learning most of the life lessons that come through in his writing. He now resides in Staten Island, New York, where he is currently undergoing on-the-job training to be the best Dad he can be. You can check out his blog or follow him on facebook. multiplicity

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the buzz...for fall, y'all!

left to right: everything you need for lots and lots of s'mores; host an adorable party with jessica's printables; cozy up with warm blankets next to your very own fire like bolen bistro's propane firepit; let the kids help decorate the front door; get creative with these mason jar lid pumpkins; embrace the pumpkin with comfy pillows; add some color with josie maran coconut watercolor cheek gelee and lorac pro's rose brown lip matte; showcase your timeless style with a military inspired cape; be daring with a pair of over-theknee boots. 60


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a focus on family fitness The best exercise is the one you will do. The best way to demonstrate good health habits for your kids and set them up for an active, healthy lifestyle is to have one yourself. It is so true that it is easier to stay well than to get well later! I am not going to lie. I have no time to get in a structured workout 4-5 times a week. I have 4 daughters with multiples in there, I homeschool, I volunteer in several organizations, and I own my own business. I know I am not alone when I say there is not enough hours in the day. But, the good news is that this doesn’t mean you can’t be active and enjoy your family! The trick is to be active. Period. Easy Peasy, right?

by nellie harden Our days are filled with unexpected turns, so I love the 0% rule. Anything more than 0% effort at being active counts. We have way too much on our plates to deal with in this life and guilt is a thief that steals joy and productivity. Did you park a little further away? Take the stairs? Walk with a friend? Woohoo! A+ for the day! When you make a habit of being active and demonstrate that to your kids, they notice and you will start seeing it in their own attitudes towards work, fun and activity. Your habits become theirs. Here is a list of some great activities to start with and try with your family. Sit down with your crew and see what ideas they have, too! Just be practical. Sometimes life itself is a workout. Stay busy with home improvement projects, tidying up, and even making dinner. A few cold weather family activities might include: sledding, ice skating, skiing, playing in the snow, shoveling your driveway, and even helping out neighbors, too! A few indoor family activities might include: have a dance party, play Hide and Seek, start wrestle/tickle sessions, learn some new moves with Yoga, challenge your kids to push up/squat/sit up competitions. One other great piece of the activity picture is electronics time. Figure out what is a good amount of time, if any, for your family to spend in recreational electronics time. We have such a small time to make the biggest positive impact we can that will echo throughout the rest of their years and effect even future generations. Have fun. Be active and love life!

Nellie has been married for 14 years and is a mom of four little girls. In addition to being a homeschooling mama, she works with families, schools and corporations to inspire healthy living through good nutrition practices and growing whole foods. She also enjoys writing about all of life’s adventures on her blog. Catch up with her on facebook and twitter. multiplicity

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things people say to moms of twins {that are none of their business}

by emily miller 62


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If you're a mom of twins, no doubt you've had the eyes of strangers on you when out and about. If you're really lucky, you may have even gotten to strike up an interesting conversation with said strangers, answering and responding to all sorts of comments and questions to which the answers are surely none of their business! But alas, this is the life of a twin parent when out with your dazzling duo. If you're new to the twin parenting world, here's a glimpse at the things people may say or ask that are none of their business: 1. Are they twins? Yes, those children who are the same size, sitting side by side in the grocery cart, are in fact twins. (this one is even stranger when they are identical and are even dressed exactly alike!) 2. Do twins run in your family? You might as well be asking me when and just how they were conceived. Honestly, that’s none of your business. While ours were a complete surprise and we didn’t use any fertility drugs to have them, there are a lot of folks out there who have needed a little assistance in this department. They may not want to go and divulge the details on what that process looked like. All I know is that they were conceived the old fashioned way and I think that’s pretty personal information to ask a complete stranger. 3. Are they identical? I have boy and girl twins. They cannot be

All I know is that they were conceived the old fashioned way and I think that’s pretty personal information to ask a complete stranger. identical no matter how you look at it. On top of that, our twins look nothing alike. Our son has blonde hair and blue eyes, our daughter has red hair and brown eyes. Now tell me, do a cat and dog look alike to you? Didn't think so! 4. How do you get anything done? I just couldn’t do it. Thanks for telling me what you are capable of. How do I get anything done? Well, we thrive on a routine, we plan ahead, and we stay organized. You don’t really have a choice when you have twins. Are you saying that you would simply take care of one and not the other? As far as I’m concerned this really isn’t an option and seems like such a silly conversation to have. 5. Will you have more kids? Again, that’s a pretty personal question. See answer to #2. Not really any of your business. And yes, we did in fact have another after the twins. When they see I have a set of boy/ girl twins, and then a singleton they say “Wow, you are brave.” No, I am really just a mom who loves her family and didn't stop at twins.

6. Wow, twins...what was that like? Honestly, I can’t remember much of the first 6 months (and I know I'm not alone!). We were either sleep deprived or operating in survival mode. My husband and I were both holding a baby; there was no trading off or handing the other one over. I was chained to a forty-pound double stroller when I went out with them. I learned we should have bought stock in diapers. 7. You don’t look like you are pregnant with twins. This was probably one of the most annoying things I heard. While I carried my babies smaller, I certainly felt all the pregnancy symptoms. I had off the chart morning sickness, my lower back hurt incredibly bad (so much that I had prenatal massages each week for three months), and I was beyond exhausted. I wanted to tell these people to not tell me what my body should look like while it’s carrying two babies. I didn’t know I was supposed to look a certain way. Regardless of what people say, you can choose to engage or ignore. The choice is always yours!

Emily is mother to four-year-old boy/girl twins, a nine-month old daughter, and wife to a financial cowboy. She is a native of Chicago who has been baptized southern and resides in Knoxville, TN. While she's not managing her three small employees, she works as an Instructional Designer for the University of Tennessee. Connect with her on facebook and instagram. multiplicity

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yes spaces:

let them help design their own unique space

by barbara miller

Children often ask for things in their room that parents think are crazy! It can be as simple as the wall color, but in some cases, can go deeper into the whys of your child's interests. Here are some things to think on in empowering your child to design their own space. 64


Yes Spaces is about more than just fun ideas for families and great rooms for kids. The heart of the business is getting a parent to see your child for who they are, their gifts and their challenges, and reflecting back that knowledge in their home and their own spaces. When you talk with your child about what you see in them, what you can do to support that, and then deliver that in a physical way in your home, they are empowered. You connect with them on a level that a toy or piece of designer clothing can never reach. I am certain that just like myself, you want your children to know they are seen at home by the individuals who matter most in their world.

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I recently had a situation where a parent really had to analyze her own YES level before opening the room design discussion with her son. He wanted to badly to have a "Rasta" room. If it were my son, I would have a very honest discussion about Rastafarianism. I would tell him about the positive things that I see connected to the movement, the music, the fact that it has become associated with many positive aspects of Jamaican culture, the look and the colors that can be pretty darn cool. But, I would be equally honest about my concerns --- the fact that it has been called a religion by some people and one of the principle tenants of that “religion� is the use of illegal drugs.

The most important thing to remember is that you as the parent are in control. This mom does not have to let her son decorate his room however he likes. Creating YES Spaces is about creating environments that support positive interests and connections, not giving children free reign. So have the conversation about Rastafarianism or whatever theme in which they are most interested, then discuss whether that is an appropriate décor for a room based on the outcome of that discussion. Then you can work together to make the design decisions for the bedroom. It is empowering to include children in the design process by discussing many different options until you both agree on the design, but ultimately, parents decide. In this example, if the mom and son decided to create a Rasta Room, included are some ideas to get them started! The son wants to paint every wall of his new room a different color (red, yellow, green and black). You could do this if you used slightly grayed hues of the colors and maybe used blackboard paint for the black wall. He could use that wall for his favorite quotes or music lyrics, or his friends could simply leave him notes. Try one bold wall in the traditional color scheme, or modernize it with stripes

like those above. I would recommend a gray for the other walls rather than the white shown. The white works in this room, but would be too much of a contrast with the traditional Rasta colors. In the Rasta case, if you have concerns, keep the focus on the music. A colorful graffiti poster is a great design element to introduce into the room. If you have one striped accent wall, something like the poster above or a mural of reggae elements would add balance and color to the room for another wall.

Jamaica and Reggae triggers associations of a relaxed, easy-going lifestyle, and that may be just what this boy is looking for. So relax, kick back, have a discussion, and don’t be afraid of some color. Invite them to decorate with you and accept the imperfections that may result. When it comes to designing their space, if you and your child are talking and working together, every little thing is going to be alright… (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

Barbara is the mom of 5 and a professional ASID interior designer. She uses her experience designing high end homes as inspiration for creating stylish, home decor projects you can do yourself on a budget. When she isn’t designing homes, remaking thrift shop finds or driving carpool, she can be found serving on the board of the Portland Children’s Museum, contributing pro-bono hours to local school design committees or supporting child-centered non-profits nationwide. Also, connect with her on facebook and pinterest. multiplicity

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because parenting twins can be this sweet. from learning tricks of the trade to knowing what you need most,

let us be your guide. Baby Gear Guide 2016

A unique resource to help parents thrive in their first few years with multiples, Multiplicity’s annual Baby Gear Guides showcase helpful products and information to make your life with a little easier. Subscribe today and see what you’ve been missing!

available to subscribers in print and online now! 66


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The creator of the Twiniversity online resource delivers the definitive survival guide for all parents of multiples --- from pregnancy through the first year The rate of twin births has risen by 79% over the last three decades, and continues to grow. Expectant parents are overwhelmed with questions: do I really need two of everything? Can we do this ourselves or do we need help? Will I have to rob a bank to raise these babies without going broke? A twins mom herself and national guru on having two (or more!), Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the trenches. What to Do When You’re Having Two covers: *making a Birth Plan checklist *sticking to one sleep schedule *double-duty breastfeeding *must-have gear *building one-on-one relationships with each child early Brimming with tried-and-true tips --- from the diaper budget to stroller sanity --- this is the must-have survival guide for parents of multiples. Natalie Diaz has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Family Magazine, and more. She was named one of the top 100 Social Media Moms on Twitter by Disney and has recently been nominated for a She Knows Parenting Award.

Order your copy today! multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples




the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

Multiplicity Fall 2016  

Multiplicity's fall issue is full of helpful tips. Whether you are in need of purging and ridding yourself of clutter, embracing your body a...

Multiplicity Fall 2016  

Multiplicity's fall issue is full of helpful tips. Whether you are in need of purging and ridding yourself of clutter, embracing your body a...