Multiplicity Magazine - Spring 2012 Issue

Page 1

Spring 2012


welcome to the

teaching your kids to one present? two?

what would you do? spring cleaning:


safety first

the must-read magazine for moms of multiples! Our mom just loves the new Multiplicity Magazine. It’s fabulous, it’s free and it gives her tips on feeding, fashion and fun for the whole family! Subscribe today!


Introducing a new advance for your little one’s brain and eyes

In addition to DHA, Similac® now has more lutein*—an important

nutrient found in breast milk. Lutein and DHA are important nutrients during this critical time of brain and eye development. Learn more about our new advance at

*Vs previous formulation. ©2012 Abbott Laboratories 82940.002/April 2012 LITHO IN USA



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going green: your multiples & you! 6

Add safety to spring cleaning.

46 Time-saving tips --- a must-read


For the love of apples! Growing organic food.

48 Achoo! Natural relief for your

14 Road trip! Fun family ideas when you’re bound for a break.


50 A twin’s tribute to her mom.


52 Welcome to the jungle!

16 Go Green: Make your own laundry detergent.

20 A story of Two Perfect Hearts. 22 Tips for feeding special needs kids. 28 Perfect gifts for moms and dads. 32 Separate Presents, Please! An

etiquette guide for parties with multiples.

34 Fashion finds for less! Must-have items that won’t break the bank!

38 Babies have colic? Now what? 44 Earth Day 2012 - Get up, get out, and get green!

for every mom of multiples!

56 No pins required --- info on the modern cloth diaper.

60 The buzz --- the scoop on the latest products!

62 Tips: Photographing your twins. 68 Tips: Tightening your budget belt.

70 Following your gut when it comes to Autism.

74 Keep your cooking cool &

provide healthy meals, too!

81 Planning a trip? Pack smarter, not



84 Raising hope --- teaching your kids to be charitable.

cover cuties This issue’s cover cuties, Mason & Hayden, are 15 months old and hail from the state of Delaware. Their current favorite thing to do is EAT, but their mom says they also enjoy dancing, chasing each other, listening to stories, and singing their favorite, “Row Row Row Your Boat”.


photo courtesy of Jennifer Smith of LaBella Vita Photography


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When I was a child the only time people were “going green” was on St. Patrick’s Day, now it’s a worldwide revolution. Remember when you used to go to McDonalds and get a Big Mac in a styrofoam container? Forget the dangers of Styrofoam, now it’s taboo if you even have a Big Mac, thanks to the excess in fats and sodium. It’s amazing how much changed in one generation, how knowledge equals power and how not only did we learn how to better take care of ourselves, but our planet as well. Did you know over 46% of households use organic milk opposed to conventional milk as per a USDA study? This little statistic says that folks are reading, learning, and making changes that best suit their family. Personally, we still use conventional milk (I say this as I hang my head down in shame). Initially it was the cost, now I’m not sure why we don’t make the change. Sometimes I think “am I condemning my twins to some horrible adult ailment because of this?”. I should know better, right? Seriously, I live in New York City, where not only do people “go green”, but take it to the extreme and live freegan lifestyles (google it, it’s worth it). I try to go green, I do. I recycle, I try to eat as many whole foods as possible, I don’t smoke, I barely drink, and I try to walk a mile a day minimum. I never litter, Joscelyn Ramos Campbell executive editor

I use energy efficient appliances and I don’t even leave the water running when I brush my teeth. But it’s a challenge to make all the changes that are possible to be truly green. I don’t foresee me ever growing my own food or eating in only farm-to-table restaurants. I don’t see myself switching to organic milk yet, or using only grain fed meats. Yes, I know, many of you are cringing reading this, but I’m just being honest. (Still love me?) I wonder if the next generation will continue on this path of energy efficiency, green living, and healthier lifestyles? I wonder if these changes will truly save the planet? I hope so for my great, great grandkids’ sake. Then again, I think by then their life will resemble more of the Jetsons than how we live now. Geez, I hope so. I always wanted a Foodarackacycle...I hope they have one! This season’s issue is all about just this topic, green living. Families around the globe are making huge changes to improve themselves and their families. Do you make an effort? How does your family “go green”? This discussion will continue on our Facebook page and in our BigTent forums. We invite you to take part, even if just to see what others are doing. Good luck in your efforts and keep up the good work.

Talitha A. McGuinness creative director

Natalie Diaz founder/publisher

Multiplicity is published as a digital magazine four times per year. Multiplicity cannot assume responsibility of statements made by advertisers. In addition, though handpicked 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 publisher.



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To all of our Multiplicity moms..

we wish you health, happiness, love, and lots of sunshine.

Go and grow! photo courtesy of firewif

e photography


a must on your spring cleaning list

t by becky himba

he return of warm air and spring sunshine often inspires us to open the windows, dust some hidden corners, and clean out closets. However, as busy parents of multiples, often not much time or energy is available to spend on regular cleaning, let alone on spring cleaning. Perhaps adding an element of safety to your spring cleaning checklist will give you just enough motivation to get a few important tasks done this season. The following are some important and relatively easy ways to focus on chores that will make your home safer and healthier for your family.

1. Check the smoke detectors.

You should have a smoke detector on every floor of your house and in every bedroom. Make sure that the batteries are working, and dust each one. These detectors should be replaced every 8-10 years. 6


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2. P lace all medicine and cleaners out of reach of your children and lock them

photos courtesy of jane goodrich photography

up, if possible. Make sure all bottles are easily identifiable and get rid of any expired or recalled medicines. Check with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for a list of recalled medicines and how to dispose of them properly. It isn’t always as easy as throwing them out. Also, don’t place them in easy to reach trash cans, which can be a hazzard in and of itself. Flush them down the toilet, take them to your outside trash, or dispose of them as the FDA specifies.

3. Get rid of broken toys. Clean out playrooms and toy boxes looking for recalled or broken toys. Check with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for a list of toy recalls. When it comes to safetly, any toy that can fit through the inside of a toilet paper roll is considered a choking hazard and should be kept out of the reach of small children. Make sure all battery-operated toys have tight screws and well-hidden batteries. Be especially vigilant of toys with magnets, as they can be extremely dangerous if swallowed.

4. Check window screens.

Be sure all screens are in place and in tact and discard them if they have large holes. Window coverings should be cordless or newer than 2001, when new safety regulations were created. Keep all cords out of the reach of children. Continuous loop

cords should be permanently anchored to the floor or wall, and tassel pull cords should be kept short. In order to prevent unnecessary harm or possible falls, move all toys, cribs, and other furniture away from windows.

5. Update your emergency phone list and often. Hang it in an easy to find spot (like on the refrigerator or next to your home telephone). Include numbers for important places such as work, cell phones, pediatrician, poison control, and a trusted neighbor or grandparent. Show older children and babysitters where this list is kept so they know how to find it quickly.

6. Get rid of clutter.

Getting rid of unused items means less to clean and organize. It also means a safer environment for your children. Reduce the amount of clutter around basement doors and windows, and in the garage. For obvious reasons, this clutter can fuel fires and get in the way of an emergency escape. Also, reducing the amount of hazardous materials, such as paint and chemicals creates less of a chance that your children will find them and get into trouble or hurt. Always be sure they are properly labeled and in hard to reach places. Following these tips will ensure a job well (and safely) done when tackling your spring cleaning chores!



to get your twins in on the cleaning fun!

Multiples age 2-3 can: *Make their bed & put toys away. *Put away dirty clothing & feed the family pet. *Help dust all the lower areas. Multiples age 4 and 5 can: *Dress themselves with help. *Help bring in groceries. *Help at dinner & sort laundry. Multiples 6 and 7 can: *Groom themselves and get dressed. *Write thank you notes. *Help vacuum/mop the floors. *Empty the dishwasher/ trashcans. Multiples ages 8-11 can: *Get ready in the morning and at bedtime (give them their own alarm clock!). *Keep their room completely clean. *Be responsible for homework. *Help in the yard and bonus points if they wash the car! Multiples ages 12 and 13 can: *Be responsible for changing their own sheets. *Change lightbulbs, clean the bathrooms alone, and even mow the lawn. *Babysit to earn money, if your state allows. For a more complete list of chores by age, click here, and enjoy the extra time and help!

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for the love of

grow your own organic baby & toddler food


by aviva flowerman vikstrom

f you’ve ever considered planting a food garden, spring is the perfect time to get started. You don’t have to have a green thumb to share nutritious, homegrown foods with your children and family. Whether you are thinking of planting a garden for your babies’ first foods, or want to feed growing children for the toddler years and beyond, everyone in the family can benefit from homegrown fruits and vegetables. Organic food gardening can make a huge impact on your family’s health and the planet with minimal time, space, or money. Growing your own food is easier than you might think. As a busy mom of one year old twins and a newbie gardener living in a house with a small yard in a big city, I am proof that with very little time and space, you can grow food for your multiples. Busy families of multiples may wonder why they should bother with homegrown food when grocery store shelves are lined with commercially-available baby food products. The following are some reasons why:

Affordability. In these economic times, we are all looking for ways to save money and gardening is an easy way to reduce your food budget. On average, a four ounce jar of baby food costs $0.80 to $1.50. For a few dollars, you can purchase a package of organic seeds to grow enough vegetables for an entire season of eating. (contd. pg. 18) multiplicity

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what you’re talking about... Everyone tells me to get my twins on a schedule.

When one baby wants to sleep and the other eat, how do you get your twins on a schedule?

They are 2 different people! Keep them on separate schedules if you find it’s better for them. It’ll get better as they get older. ~ Tami D. You need to do whatever makes things easiest for you. “Everyone” is not always right. ~ Christi M. I solely nursed my twins....they were on the same schedule. I consider 30 minute increments the same schedule. ~ MiaRose M. If you start establishing a routine now, they will fall into the same routine soon, but at 12 weeks, you can’t expect that. I don’t think we really had a “schedule” until they were over 4 months old. ~ Jaimi S. My twins have been on the same schedule since birth, but that’s because that is what I needed to get through the day. They are now 15 months old and nap and eat all at the same times. It is possible to get them on the same schedule, but it also has to be something that works for you. ~ Jamie N. 10


Ditching the pacifier... Readers share ways they got their little ones to give it the boot.

I let all three of my kids have it until age 2...I know, way to long!!! They could only have it for naps and bed after age one. ~ Chrissy T. After failing SEVERAL times I f inally told him he couldn’t have it outside of his crib.... it took a couple days BUT it worked. ~ Lori M. I cut the nipples down over the course of several weeks. Now, my 20 month olds hold the plastic shells when they sleep, but it’s not in their mouths. ~ Becky K. 2 words: “binky fairy”. Takes all the binkies to needy babies and leaves a big-kid toy! ~ Erin B. For my twins the dentist took their paci. I took them in for the first check up and the dentist told them they have to get rid of them. ~ Sonia L. Sent them to the beach with my parents for a week. They were so tired that they didn’t ask for them, so my mom tossed them. They came home paci free at about 10 months old. Best thing ever! ~ Tabatha S.

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the best laid plans: part 2 by mike poff


ressing the emergency ringer, I hugged my daughters tightly and instructed them to go by the window and pray for their mom. There was a little Christmas display of cards and a little wooden Christmas tree with four happy snowmen waving from it there. They went and began urgently telling God how much Mommy needed His help. At that moment my in-laws appeared in the room and I quickly explained that their daughter was in convulsions. I instructed them that they needed to stay and pray with their granddaughters while I quickly had to find a doctor. Running to the nurses’ desk, I found myself calmly explaining what was happening, though I was emphatically pressing upon the urgency that they needed to get our doctor right away.

*this is a continuation of an article featured in our Winter 2012 Issue.

I have always been one to remain oddly calm in a crisis and this trait had served me well over the years. So now I was finding help, explaining the situation, and keeping everyone else as calm and focused as possible. Rushing back to the room with a nurse and an on-call Ob/Gyn Doctor in hot pursuit, calmness was not what we encountered. multiplicity

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Pam’s parents are sweet, loving people, but the delicate balance of calm and crisis is not one of their strengths. Yelling, screaming, and panic began flying like bees in a winter gale. Now this was their daughter so I understood the emotional response, but there is however a very narrow window for rapid actions sometimes. Miss the window of opportunity to take action and your worst fears may happen. As the fuss was holding up the medical team, I explained to them that they needed to immediately take my daughters out of the room before their mother started getting worked on and they became traumatized. I suggested that they contact people we all knew at various churches and begin a prayer vigil immediately. Prayer is one thing my in-laws are great at and prayer is also a powerful thing. They immediately took the girls and jolted out the door running down the list of prayer warriors they needed to call.

the right antibiotic was able to settle into one room. She had been so ill and was so tired but now she could rest and prayerfully recover. The next morning, Pam looked and felt better. The infection had gone through her body and had taken a toll. The Doctor told us that she could no longer handle the magnesium needed to halt her contractions. She would now be going deeper and deeper into labor and the best thing now was to schedule a C-section. After 31 ½ weeks, her mission to keep the Quads inside was over. She was very disappointed and more than a little angry. I was just happy she was no longer convulsing and feeling better. So it was decided that noon the next day would be the big event. The rest of that day Pam and I were devoted to rest and reuniting with happy daughters and her well prayed-out parents.

The operating area was overwhelming... it was a few days before Christmas and this hospital had never delivered quadruplets. People were anxious; they were torn between their holiday plans and missing the big event.

A brief moment of fear took hold and was rapidly overcome by the shout of medical orders and roar of medical equipment coming in. Our Doctor, an experienced Perinatologist and all around “take charge” kind of lady arrived on the scene. It was then I took a deep breath and embraced a bit of the fear that had been swimming upstream for what felt like an hour but was in reality, far less time. In the next several hours Pam and I became acquainted with equipment and procedures we had not known existed. We rushed from floor to floor, test to test and getting negative result after negative result. Our crisis began around 6pm and at a quarter till midnight, our Doctor finally had the results that held an answer. A sepsis infection from the bladder infection caused by the catheterization forced on Pam days ago! Finally, Pam, now on 12


On the start of what became our actual Quad’s birthday, five pounds of papers were signed, and various specialists came in for introductions and disclaimers. Finally Pam was prepped and she was upbeat but nervous. You would not have known it by looking at her but I could tell. Friends and family had gathered by now and the show was moved to the surgical waiting area. There we had our last impromptu prayer time before I was suited up and off we went past the doors where none of the others could go.

The operating area was overwhelming with many medical staff on-hand. It was a few days before Christmas and this hospital had never delivered quadruplets. People were anxious; they were torn between their holiday plans and missing the big event. Folks were excited and ready to do it all on a grand scale, just in time for Christmas. In short order, the first baby was born and I was on the move with a NICU team. We had been told not to expect much movement or cries, but they were wrong.

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Fussing and flailing continued through all the assessments, weights, and measurements. It was an amazing sight! Dozens of people in action, Pam in the center of it all, with me rolling in and out relaying sizes and weights back to her. It was then my task to go with the crew to the NICU and fill out pounds of more paper. After doing this, I marveled at my children who ranged from 3 pounds 8 ounces to 2 pounds 15 ounces. We had picked names long ago and I shared with the nurses who I thought should be Nathaniel, Jonathan, Matthew, and Franchesca. But forms could not be finalized until Pam could come and confer. Unfortunately that would take several days as the spinal tap she had would go on to become a devastating spinal headache (something described to me a as a migraine on steroids). My tough-as-nails wife was unable to even be wheeled in to see the faces she had only guessed about from weekly sonograms for months. It was Christmas Eve before Pam was given a blood patch and the next morning, feeling like a human again, she and I made our way to the NICU. I had told her I had an idea of who should be called what, but the choice would be hers. Tearfully she went from station to station, seeing first hand for the first time, her and God’s handiwork. Then she gave each one the exact name I had thought would fit them best; it was our childrens’ first Christmas present. This was just the beginning of course. Many challenges lay ahead for our unique family, several just outside of our best laid plans. Still it all stems from that first blessed quadruplet Christmas in the NICU, some ten years ago.

go green tip for the kids “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax What “going green” filled parenting magazine would be complete without a review of our beloved and newly released Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax? If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s fun for the whole family (except for the line you might wait in to see it...just a warning!). With trees dying, fish fleeing the waters, the sun all but disappearing, and a host of other catastrophes causing animals and plant life to escape people all in the name of commercialism, this is one movie that will give you lots to talk about in the way of “going green”. You and your kids are likely to learn all sorts of valuable lessons for better caring for our Mother Earth, and this issue has lots of tips to help you on your way!

Mike Poff (sometimes called The Quadfather), lives in the Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his amazing wife Pam, and their seven children who currently range from college to kindergarten. Their Quads are now 10 and that is how long Mike has been their at-home dad. Besides domestic engineering Mike runs a small horse and cattle farm and is a communications and public relations director in his abundant spare time. You can follow along with the Big-Time Family Blog, or check in on the Poffs on Facebook, Shoutlife or LinkedIn. multiplicity

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by kathleen ecker

SPRING BREAK BOUND! t The words “Spring Break” bring many images to mind – beaches, bathing suits, boom boxes and beer bottles. Having had four beautiful children in four years, including one set of multiples, those days are long behind me. But, it doesn’t mean that I can’t still have fun on Spring Break --- it just now means family fun! We are fortunate to live in the Washington, DC area where not only are there so many options for fun things to do right here in our hometown, the majority of the attractions are low or no cost and educational! Being centrally located on the East Coast, we can be in New York City or on



the beach in the Carolina’s within a day’s drive, and suffice it to say we are a definitely driving family. Plane tickets and rental cars for a family of six just isn’t feasible, so we pile in the van and go! A Road Trip can be a day trip, an overnight or a week-long trip. When going on a road trip it is very important to be prepared. That includes, in addition to our luggage, having a stash of items that you can get to quickly and easily. Here are some of the things I always have on hand: bottled water, small potty, pull-ups, emergency change of clothes for each child, zip lock bags (large bags can

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hold the gross stuff, the small ones can be used to divvy out snacks), band-aids, wipes and plenty of snacks! We also have lots of DVDs and music on hand. When selecting our destination, we encourage the children to be involved and discuss as a family the different things to do and see. One of our favorite spots to go in Washington, DC is the National Zoo. The Zoo does not charge an admission fee, and has plenty of picnic spots. The National Zoo is also 1 of only 4 zoos in the U.S. to be home to Panda Bears. Another favorite spot of ours is the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. No visit to our Nation’s Capital is complete without a visit here. All of the Smithsonian’s offer free admission and docent led tours. The Air & Space Museum has two locations: the National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall (home to Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis), and the Udvar Hazy Center (home to the space shuttle Enterprise). Washington, DC is very easy to get around both on foot and by metro rail and you can visit the Our Kids website for more family friendly activities in and around the DC metro area. When we are not doing day trips to DC, we usually head to the beach! The East Coast offers many family-friendly beaches. This year for Spring Break, we will be heading to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. When planning your Spring Break trip it is important to do your homework. You don’t need to spend a fortune on travel books; you can find pretty much everything online and email it to yourself in advance of your trip. Think about things that your family likes to do – make a list and do some research. One of the things we also enjoy doing is learning about the history of our location and experiencing that. In Hilton Head we will be enjoying Low Country Cuisine and discovering the Woodland Indians multiplicity

who first inhabited Hilton Head 4,000 years ago with a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum. The local Convention & Visitors Bureau is a great spot to start. They usually have information on local family-friendly activities, attractions and restaurants. Because we have a large family, I prefer to stay in condos over traditional hotel rooms. I like having a washer and dryer in the unit in order to save on the amount of things you need to pack, and you can go home without a suitcase full of dirty laundry. I also like having a kitchen. We find the local grocery store and buy breakfast and lunch items for the week. To find a condo or house rental, you can go through an agency located in your destination or you can rent directly from the owners. Timeshares often give you the best of both worlds – you have all of the amenities of a hotel (housekeeping, free Wi-Fi, restaurants on site, etc.), but still have the space of a condo. Lastly, wherever you go, be sure to bring a camera! Your children are only this age once. Give them a turn with the camera and encourage them to take the pictures themselves of their most favorite vacation experiences! Capture the memories and treasure every minute of it. For great photo ideas and what to do with all those memories check out my blog next month. Safe Travels & Happy Memory Making! Kathleen Tirella Ecker is a stay at home mom, blogger and event planner. She and her husband have been married for ten years and were blessed with four children in four years, including a surprise set of twins. In their hometown of Virginia, they love exploring the local farms, cooking together, playing tennis and visiting the beach. Be sure to visit her blog and event planning business, DC Event Planners. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


go green tip

make your own laundry detergent i by nickie bell

t seems that everywhere you look these days there are campaigns to “Go Green”. From automobiles, clothing and cleaning supplies, to diapers, reusable lunch sacks and food, everything is a bit ‘greener’.

Though I’m all about saving the environment, I’m honestly more focused on saving my family’s pocketbook. The economy’s current slump has helped people to become more aware, recycle, reduce, and reuse, therefore “Going Green” has become part of the penny-pinching system for many families. We have all seen the success of the Extreme Couponers. Maybe you are one of them (and if you are, I am super jealous and I want you to share your tips!). However, if you’re like me, you’ve found that with a family of at least four, possibly a career and even volunteer work, it may 16


be simply too much work, too time consuming, and altogether just too much. I like simple and good old fashioned “DIY”. It’s because of those reasons that I have fallen in love with homemaking my own laundry detergent and fabric softener. It’s green, cheap, and simple, and with the ingredients and a little know-how,

you can do it, too!

What’s even better than saving money and doing something kind for the environment is that one batch is enough to share. I’m often able to give half of my supply away. Everyone who has tried the recipes has loved them and has been sharing the recipes with their friends and families, too. Try it today. Be kind to the earth, your wallet, and perhaps a neighbor too! (You can even use coupons on many of the ingredients needed for each recipe, so still saving money in the end!).

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To make your own laundry detergent you’ll need the following:

• ½ to ¾ bar of your favorite soap • 1 cup Borax • 1 cup washing soda • Large pot (capable of holding more than 2 gallons --- NOT coated in Teflon) • Grater, funnel & long mixing spoon • 2 empty gallon jugs/containers (ones with easy pour lids would be ideal) • 2 gallons of water


First, simply grate the soap into the pot. Add one gallon of water and heat until the soap completely dissolves. Once the soap is dissolved, add the Borax and washing soda, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from heat and add the second gallon of water. Stir well and pour into storage containers. All the mixture will take is ½ cup per load of laundry.

& softener *And don’t forget, the “greenest” way to dry your laundry is air drying. You can use inexpensive racks indoors, or if you have the yard and space, create a clothesline for hanging linens, clothing, and pretty much anything else, for that matter. Nothing beats the smell of laundry dried by a little wind and sunshine! Nickie Bell from Mommy2Twincesses is a stay at home mom to 3 year old identical twin girls. She is a freelance writer for Everyday Health, who hosts her blog Twins-A Mother’s Joy and Insanity Doubled. Nickie publishes her own self titled blog Mommy 2 Twincesses and manages the family owned business. Talking twins is her hobby so find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. multiplicity

For homemade fabric softener you’ll need the following: • 6 cups HOT water • 3 cups white vinegar • 2 cups of your favorite scent of hair conditioner


First, mix the hot water and conditioner until the conditioner is completely dissolved. Add the vinegar and mix well. Pour the finished product into a storage container and you’re finished. To use your homemade fabric softener you could either fill a downy ball or simply add about 2 tablespoons to the fabric softener spot on your washer.

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contd. from for the love

Health. When you grow

your own produce, you can be assured the food is without harmful chemicals, pesticides, additives or preservatives.

Environmental Impact.

When you grow your own baby food, you won’t be adding packaging to the landfill. And, when you feed your family seasonal produce from the garden, you are reducing your carbon footprint, because you aren’t relying on gas guzzling trucks to cart your produce from South America or New Zealand. Instead of buying imported produce, homegrown baby food can be frozen or canned to enjoy year-round.

Superior Taste. Most

commercially available produce is picked before fully ripened to accommodate long distance travel and to provide a longer shelf life in stores. If you’ve ever eaten a summer tomato fresh off the vine, you know that just-picked foods are more flavorful than those on grocery store shelves. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the thought of starting your first food garden, but you don’t need to have a large backyard, or any yard at all, to grow your own organic food. All you need is a few sunny square feet to get started. Container gardening can also handle a surprising number of crops, if you have a bright spot on a patio, balcony, rooftop, or even an apartment fire escape. Willi Galloway, expert gardener and author of Grow, Cook, 18


Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening, Including 50 Recipes, and Harvesting and Storage Tips (Random House, 2012) shares some great tips on how to get started with your first food garden. First, Galloway says, identify a spot with 6-10 hours of sun everyday. You can remove a patch of grass, add some compost, and start planting. If you are using containers, add some organic potting mix. Talk to your local nursery about what grows well in your area, or better yet, take a class. Galloway also suggests not being a perfectionist. “Don’t worry about your garden looking perfect. Weeds are ok.” One way of ensuring diversity in the garden is to think about planting the colors of a rainbow. Particular colors of foods represent different nutrients. If you plant red strawberries, orange carrots, green kale and so on, you will ensure your children are consuming a wide variety of essential nutrients. For information on freezing or preserving your produce, check out Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron (Paw Prints, 2008). Whether it’s the adults working in the garden with a baby (or two) in a carrier, or allowing older kids to plant and harvest, gardening is a fun, healthy activity for kids. Kids love to unearth root vegetables and help plant foods like peas and beans, because their seeds are large and easy to handle. Later in the season, your kids will love to eat easy-to-pick foods like snap peas and

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cherry tomatoes straight from the vine. Remember to always choose organic seeds, starts, and soil amendments so that your kids can be free to graze in the garden without worry. Galloway credits her own healthy diet to her mother, who allowed her to eat straight from the garden at a young age. “Research shows kids that are exposed to growing fruits and vegetables eat more of them overall.” A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that preschool children with access to homegrown produce were twice as likely to eat the recommended number of daily servings as those who did not. If you can’t plant a garden this year, you can get many of the same advantages by shopping at your local farmer’s market. The benefits of growing organic food for your family far outweigh the limited time, cost, and resources necessary to start a garden. You will save money, make an environmentally conscious choice, raise healthier eaters, and be in total control of how your family’s food is grown and prepared.

Aviva Flowerman Vikstrom lives and gardens in Seattle with her husband and twin boys. She is a natural foods chef, recipe developer, and food writer. She also blogs about food and family at For the Love of Apples.

superfeed your baby with superfoods! by morena escardo When my mother had 2 babies in the 80’s in Lima, Peru, things were very different than they are nowadays. Our diapers where made of cloth and hand washed daily, (which made the planet smile, but my mother frown, I’m sure), children didn’t stare at computer screens, and were entertained themselves by making up their own games, instead. Our food was always homemade and packed with the most important ingredient of all; love. Big baby food brands hadn’t taken the supermarket aisles by storm yet and we were fed only the freshest food available, all made from scratch. Times have changed and supermoms juggle work and home, which makes it hard to use the slow methods of yesteryear to manage their families. However, there is something extremely effective and easy that all Peruvian moms are still doing to ensure their babies’ nutrition; they feed them superfoods. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a millenary staple of the Andean diet that grows high in the mountains. The Incas considered it sacred and offered it to their gods because it provided them with energy and good health. For starters, it is a complete protein, as it contains all 8 essential amino acids, on top of iron, calcium, vitamin E and vitamin B. If you’re not a fan of over-feeding your babies with animal protein, quinoa is a fantastic alternative. Another great thing is its versatility, as it can be eaten both in savory or sweet dishes, and cooked in different ways. There is white, red, and black Quinoa. All are cooked the same way, and you can make them in soups and stews, in desserts, or like rice or risotto. An added bonus, Quinoa is commonly known as a grain, and treated as a cereal when cooked, but what very few people know is that this wonderful ingredient is actually a seed, and hence has a low glycemic index that will keep you, and your babies’ sugar levels balanced throughout the day. I asked all my Peruvian friends with babies about this topic, and realized there was not a single one who didn’t feed their baby quinoa. They all agreed that this seed is a fantastic (for them the best) transition food for that difficult stage when babies start eating solid foods. As an infant and young kid, my sister-in-law Yazmin never liked milk, so quinoa was the alternative to make sure she was strong, well nourished, and getting all that much-needed protein that milk provides. She would drink it cooked with cinnamon, cloves and apples or bananas, and then blended as a smoothie. When she was a good girl, her reward wouldn’t be a sugar-packed, artificially-colored-and-flavored food like the ones kids get nowadays and can’t live without. Instead, she would get one of those scrumptious quinoa shakes, but on these special occasions, they would be blended with cacao powder and molasses syrup, instead of the fruit and spices. Quite a nutritious treat! Now that Yazmin has a son of her own (my lovely nephew Vasco), she repeats the family quinoa tradition. But Yazmin’s secret for making a tasty quinoa for babies and kids --- the seeds need to be washed thoroughly, scrubbing them, and then they have to be boiled twice. Bring them to a boil and discard the water, and then bringing them to a boil again and let them cook. A healthy strong baby is a happy baby, so why not make sure you’re giving yours some guaranteed and easy nutrition that will bring all the goodness to their little bodies and minds, without any cons? The best gift you could give your bundles of joy is to get them used to the taste of healthy foods when they’re small, so these become their comfort foods, as opposed to all the naughty treats available. If you make sure your babies’ best friend in the kitchen is quinoa, you won’t regret it. Morena Escardo is half of the team of Peru Delights, the Ins & Outs of Peruvian Cooking. She has a Bachelors degree in Philosophy, and a Masters in Literature, is a lifetime vegetarian and a serious meditator. Together with her mother, a professional chef and wine expert, they have embarked on the journey of uncovering their beloved country’s food to the world. You can also check them out on Facebook, Twitter and on Pinterest. multiplicity

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two perfect hearts a story of

by julie mccaffrey


will never forget our excitement on the day we headed to my ultrasound when I was 19 weeks pregnant with fraternal twins. I will also never forget the sound in the tech’s voice when she said “she couldn’t find something” and left to get the doctor, the looks on the doctor’s faces, the silent comfort from my husband and the feeling I had just been run over by a bus. I left that day with my first of what would turn out to be many lessons on Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), as this was the day that Baby A was diagnosed with Double Outlet Right Ventrical (DORV) with transposition and a large ventricular septal defect (VSD). I went home that day, gave our 1 year old son a much too big hug and began to research. By the time I was 26 weeks I was at peace with the news and was used to our weekly doctor’s visits. That was until our beloved doctor looked at me and said “Mrs. McCaffrey, I don’t know how to tell you this, but...” and I didn’t hear much else after that. Baby B was not fine, she too had a congenital heart defect



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photo courtesy of donna bukalders photography

and now I felt like that bus had just run me over and then backed up to do it again. In the U.S., one out of 100 babies is born with CHD and I was just told that for some unknown reasons, both my babies had this disease.

open heart surgery and in that there have been moments with him that I feared were going to be my last, but it is clear he never thought that. I will never forget his sauce-covered face when he decided he was ready for his first meal after open heart surgery. He goes on a heart monitor and By the time I was 36 weeks pregnant, I was takes a few medicines every morning as we wait more than prepared in all the areas I could for signs he needs the next open heart surgery, control. I knew every possible but you would never know all this scenario for what my children when he is chasing his sister. Their were about to face and felt I story doesn’t end here and we have That was the had done everything possible to many more doctor visits and a few day she took prepare our home. I stocked up more hospital stays, but I know how at Costco, cleaned and organized blessed we are to have come this far. a turn for the our house, prepared the nursery better and the and wrote a 12-page guide for Immediately after their diagnosis, taking care of our older son. At I was focused on what was wrong first time I saw 36 weeks, my water broke and with their hearts and focused on the power of the while my sister-in-law raced to our understanding their disease and all house, I was thinking about how the ways they could be fixed. That all bond of twins. scared I was there was a scenario changed the moment I was able to I hadn’t thought of. Both twins hold them and I was just focused on were delivered vaginally less than 8 hours later being their mother. The biggest lesson that I carry and the thing I remember most is an immense with me in every interaction with my children is feeling of loss when they whisked my children there is nothing wrong with them and I believe away without as much as a hand to their cheek. they were born with two perfect hearts. They may need a surgeon’s hand to make the blood pump After only 3 days in the NICU, we were told to correctly or to make a murmur silent, but those take Baby A home and “wait for him to fail”, at two hearts made me a better mother. They made which time he would be back in the hospital for me appreciate my family and each and every the first of several procedures. I couldn’t bear moment with them. In the moments that I have the thought of not being with both of my twins, spent with my children when they were ailing I so each night I went home with Baby A and didn’t think about their defects, but I did think each morning brought him back to the hospital. about one of my greatest roles as a mother, and At 6 days old, weighing only 4 lbs, 8oz., Baby B that was to love their hearts in the perfect way had open heart surgery. I will never be able to they were born. Their hearts have made my family thank the NICU nurse that allowed me to hold stronger, our faith stronger, taught me lessons our daughter for the first time before being sent I haven’t yet realized, allowed me to lose some to surgery. The surgery took hours longer than control and fear, and to appreciate it all. expected and even when she came out we were told we shouldn’t see her, to just go home and rest. After a week of fighting on her own, we A mommy to 3 kids, including placed the twins into the hospital crib together a set of twins, Julie owns for the first time. That was the day she took a BabyNav Baby Planners turn for the better and the first time I saw the where she offers personalized power of the bond of twins. She fought hard consultation to new and for another week until we could take her home, expecting parents. She loves paralyzed vocal cord and all. to help moms and dads navigate everything from Baby A has now spent the last two years fighting baby gear to preparing for multiples to getting and he has fought with a smile and a sense of back to work and getting the whole family on a humor. He has endured two procedures and one routine. You can also follow her on Facebook. multiplicity

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tips for feeding special needs children by katiana harrison

Many special needs children suffer from feeding issues and complications. My twins have difficulties with certain foods and textures and have been struggling with this for awhile. Thankfully, because of feeding therapy, we are slowly but surely making progress in this area. The following are some helpful tips and techniques that might help get you started from Speech Pathologist and Feeding Therapist, Heather Boerner. KH: Please introduce yourself and let us know about your background and credentials. HB: I’m Heather Lynn Boerner, M.A., CCC-SLP – a Speech Language Pathologist. I have been in practice for ten years primarily servicing the pediatric population and own Chatty Child Speech Therapy out of New York. I specialize in treating feeding disorders, as well as speech, language and pragmatic language delays. I expanded my knowledge working in pediatric hospitals, schools and clinical settings. 22


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photos courtesy of jane goodrich photography

KH: What are some factors that can cause feeding problems in a special needs child? HB: There are numerous factors that can put a child at risk for a feeding delay or disorder. Parents should be aware that “pediatric dysphagia,” the term used to describe difficulty swallowing can occur anywhere from the mouth to the stomach.

The following is a list of common factors cited from the “Pediatric Dysphagia Resource Guide” by Kelly Dailey Hall. Gastrointestinal or Gastroesophageal tract disorders: Children with normal swallowing function may have gastrointestinal issues (“GI”) that will affect feeding. A child may not be able to tolerate multiplicity

oral feedings because of negative consequences, such as pain associated with food moving from the esophagus to the intestines. Some GI abnormalities include: Vascular Ring, Tracheoesophageal Fistula, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (“GERD”). GERD is one of most common reasons for feeding avoidance

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and occurs when the stomach contents moves upwards into the esophagus and possibly the pharynx. Generally, both medicines and behavioral management are combined to treat the GERD. Malabsorption Disorders of the Small Intestine: This type of disorder is caused by inadequate digestion and absorption of nutrients by the small intestine. Short Gut Syndrome: This is an intestinal disease caused by a combination of factors affecting the immature gut in premature infants. Respiratory Disorders: There are many conditions that can cause a compromise in breathing. Any time there are issues with breathing, then feeding and swallowing may be affected. Traumatic Brain Injury: This is the most common cause of acquired disabilities in children (Source: Finlayson & Garner, 1994) Prematurity and Cerebral Palsy: Premature infants are at a high risk for feeding and swallowing delays due to their undeveloped sensorimotor systems. Autism and Developmental Delays: Many children with Autism have aversions to a variety of tastes, textures and/ or temperatures. KH: Would you suggest getting your child evaluated via a swallow study before pursuing feeding therapy? What are some physiological issues that could be found? HB: Yes, I recommend a 24


swallow study before beginning feeding therapy to rule out structural abnormalities or aspiration. The swallow study is a radiographic procedure or real-time x-ray called a Modified Barium Swallow Study. This test is completed by a radiologist and a SpeechLanguage Pathologist and looks at all the stages of swallowing from mastication to swallowing. It allows for the visualization of the swallowing structures during the process of eating and drinking. The most important signs we look for during a study are aspiration during or following the swallow. Aspiration occurs when food or liquid is deposited into lungs. If aspiration is occurring, the speech-language pathologist may recommend a modified diet with thickened liquids, a modified texture, or a feeding tube placement to increase the safety of the child when eating and drinking. KH: What are some techniques parents can start at home, if their child has feeding/texture issues and a physiological issue has been ruled out? What food choices are best to implement these techniques? HB: If a child is minimally tolerant of a particular food or texture you can introduce the food or texture slowly and increase the demands on the child as he or she becomes more comfortable with the food texture. Start by having your child look at food, or tolerate the food on his or her plate. Second, you can move towards having your child touch the foods with their fingers. Third, have the child touch the food with

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their lips, tongue, and teeth. Lastly, move to chewing and swallowing the novel texture. Reinforce this frequently with praise and maybe an external reinforcement, like a toy or puzzle piece if needed. In terms of what textures are best for the child, every child’s needs are different. It is best practice to consult a trained feeding specialist (a speechlanguage pathologist) to determine a treatment plan that best meets the needs of that child. Here are some general guidelines and ideas for parents and caregivers: The normal sequence of feeding development is bottle feeding, transitioning to pureed foods, soft solids, and then hard solids. A feeding specialist can help a child move through these developmental milestones with an individual treatment plan that is created based on each child’s individual needs and case history. For example, if a child is minimally tolerant of harder, crunchy textures, the speechlanguage pathologist can recommend a variety of foods that will help the child transition to this texture. Some sample foods may include fruit chews, crunchy veggie sticks, or strips of cheese. Foods that have an audible crunch and melting texture would be first good choices to begin to introduce texture into the diet. Again, it is important to consult a feeding specialist before beginning a feeding program and to conduct a swallow study first to rule out any medical issues, structural issues, or aspiration.

did you know?

photo courtesy of venture photography

Chatty Child Speech Therapy is a new state-ofthe art center in downtown Manhattan. They specialize in treating feeding delays and disorders in the pediatric population. They provide professional and comprehensive care to children of all ages who benefit from innovative and creative care, focusing on the achievement of speech, language and feeding developmental milestones. To learn more, visit them at

KH: Any suggestions that parents can try for picky eaters, where the child does not have much variety in their diet because they are scared to try new things? HB: Yes! Try to get the child involved in the food preparation process. Have your child help you in preparing the meal. Seeing the food, touching the food, and exploring the food can help the child be more apt to “try� or taste the new food. Also, try to have every

family member involved in mealtime. Sometimes, when other members of the family are eating and enjoying the food together, this sets a great example and could encourage the child to be less fearful of the new food. If your child is struggling with feeding issues, it is beneficial to seek the help and guidance of a feeding therapist. It can be a lengthy process, but with a qualified professional’s guidance multiplicity

and the implementation of their techniques and individual treatment plans, your special needs child will be on the path to healthier eating habits in no time at all! Katiana Harrison is the mother to sixyear old, twin daughters, who have Autism. Her love for and dedication to her daughters have helped her to grow into an Autism advocate.

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keeping it



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real working within the multiples equation

by ann blizzard

When your newborn twins are going to an event, is it probable that your departure and arrival times will equal or be anywhere near your original estimates? Will you most likely be late for anywhere you go? Bonus points for figuring this out and looking presentable yourself. I have to admit, I was fairly confident this was one math equation I could execute with some accuracy. My husband must have had this same confidence as he actually announced we would be joining him at his work for the “Welcome Twins Party” at 11 am.

photo courtesy of cleobella photography

Perhaps this confidence was because I could now open the double stroller at will and maneuver it at normal speeds without taking out any small children. I hadn’t even told him I was able to get that monstrosity through two single doors injury free. This was the same stroller that had made us decide that one of us, perhaps even both, would need to return to school to learn the basics of engineering. I am sure many of you can

appreciate these (major to us) accomplishments; perhaps you have even shed a tear or done a victory dance possible with many curious observers when you too reached this point. If you are not there yet, please know it will be possible to accomplish without any additional formal schooling. As I began my estimation, I reflected on other recent successes with my twins and household. My personal victory of finally figuring out the correct pressure to release the “easy” drop down rail on the crib without sounding like I was moving the entire house and its contents thrilled me. I had also gone two weeks, even in a sleep deprived state, to remember to put water in the wipe warmer so no wipes turned to a brown color. Even though I was the only adult factored into this equation of bringing the twins to visit my husband’s job, I had planned we were going to be out the door at 10:20 am sharp, looking and smelling, well, normal. As many of you more experienced parents of multiples know, arrival and departure times can many times be as elusive as sleep, due to the wide range of variables. I knew I would need extra diapers and clothing for our visit. However, I just did not factor into using all of them prior to our departure. The silent poo attacks, surprise burp explosions that covered me, as well as one of the twins, repacking, and diapering had put us a bit behind on our estimated departure time and out of range for our arrival time. When my husband called fifteen minutes after multiplicity

the time we had planned to arrive (at 11am sharp), stating the obvious that we were in fact fifteen minutes late and inquiring exactly when we would be arriving, I had to admit my inaccuracies in my equation. I could have blamed it on Murphy’s Law and maybe I should have. He (Mr. Fifteen Minutes Late) seemed quite baffled by my inability to solve this seemingly easy math problem. I am happy to say most of the people at his work were much more understanding with my inaccuracy and if fact were quite supportive, that I even attempted such a difficult task. They even looked at both of us the way we look at parents with triplets --- quite in awe. Of course when my husband (Mr. Fifteen Minutes Late) had his own chance to work with this equation a few weeks later for my work introductions, he had a much better understanding of how difficult twin equations can be. So parents of multiples give yourselves a pat on the back because you have some serious math skills! Ann Blizzard and her husband Brian have learned much from parenting their twin seven year old daughters and five year old son. They try to remember to keep their sense of humor while remembering much like life; parenting is a journey not a destination. Ann enjoys sharing her life experiences and coaching parents on their individual journeys. Email Ann or find her at Kids Make It Real.

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for moms & dads of multiples by laurie danas

Moms and Dads of multiples undeniably merit the best on Mother’s and Father’s Day. From NICU stays to expanded bellies, sleepless nights, juggling feeding, burping and playing with multiples, traditional gifts might not be sufficient in expressing appreciation for what a parent of multiples does for their family. When choosing a gift, consider the age of your children. If your kids are still tiny, a small break like being able to go shopping alone, or taking a long shower or nap can be an enormous gift. Homemade Options: There are so many things you can make using handprints, including creating a handprint flower on a t-shirt for mom or a handprint covered baseball cap for dad. Photo gifts are another option and are perfect for any age children. You can have a photo of your children printed on something like a shirt or coffee mug to enjoy all year long, or take pictures of your children holding letters that spell out messages. Then frame the pictures spelling out “MOM”, “DAD” or any other special message. Inexpensive wooden letters and frames can be found at craft stores. Possible Items for Purchase: If you would rather go the store bought route, the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More, is a collection of heart-warming stories 28


and is a must-have for parents of multiples. Jewelry for mom, in the way of a pendant with birthstones or looped hearts representing the children, or a ring with engraving might be spot on. Nearly all moms are also in need of some pampering, so consider a massage, a manicure or a maid for the day. Even better, hire a sitter and sweep her away for the weekend, the day, or a few hours. Whatever you can squeeze in is bound to be appreciated. An idea just for dad is decorating a cake to resemble a golf course, his favorite NASCAR car or other hobby. Another idea is painting an ordinary rock and writing “Dad You Rock”. Personalized attire with sayings like “Real men have twins” would also make for unique gifts. Whatever your gift is for the parent of multiples in your life, as long as it is chosen with thought and love, it will certainly be treasured. Laurie Danas is a mom of three girls, including preschool fraternal twins. She is stay-athome mom, former teacher and freelance writer. She writes a blog, TwinkieMommie and has a website, the Parenting Multiples Examiner. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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a few more great ideas from MOMs just like you!


by cara krenn

1) Digital Picture Frame:

Sometimes it’s hard to pick your favorite family photos for framing. Make mom’s job easy with a digital picture frame. The whole family will enjoy the fun rotation of photos.

2) P lants or a Tree:

A bouquet of flowers only lasts so long. This year, try giving mom a plant or a tree instead. Indoor plants can brighten up a room, or for a long-lasting and meaningful gift, buy mom a rose bush or a tree that the whole family can plant together and watch grow over the years.

3) E-Reader: The tech-savvy

mom on-the-go will love sporting her own e-reader. More inexpensive than ever, you can choose from a variety of readers that will make reading fun and convenient.

4) A Gift that Gives:

For a gift that truly benefits others, consider making a charitable donation on behalf of mom this year. Check Charity Navigator for an extensive list of nonprofits worthy of your donation and her appreciation.


by claire bingham

1) Mother’s Day Hand Bouquets:

This is a fun project you can create for Mom and Grandma, too! My kids love anything to do with paint, and you could make several at one time. If you don’t have time to mail them, you can photograph and make it an e-card. Sweet!

2) Bacon Cupcakes:

What Dad doesn’t love bacon? This tasty recipe for claims to taste just like the doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland. If it is anything like that amazing doughnut, your guy will be in for a treat! The bacon/maple combination makes it taste like a heavenly breakfast concoction.

3) A Bushel & A Peck Art: One

of my fondest memories of my mom is her singing “Bushel and a Peck”. Now I sing it to my own kids and I love that they sing along. I found these really sweet prints on Etsy that would be perfect for Mom. Claire Bingham is a stay-at-home mom to a 7 year old and 5 year old twins. When she’s not buried in laundry and dishes you can find her blogging at Claire Loves Craigslist, or making Tutus on the side. multiplicity


by helena eynon

1) Mother’s Day Painted Flower Pots:

Why spend money on flowers when your children can grow Mommy’s favorite plant in its own special pot? This is a great little project for children, because it combines the artistic aspects of painting the pot using their imaginations, with growing and caring for the plant until it is ready to give. Tip: For less mess, paint and plant outdoors!

2) Father’s Day Framed Footprints

Daddy’s very first Fathers’ Day will always be very special. Capturing tiny footprints will make a precious keepsake to treasure forever. Squeeze washable paint into paper cups and fill one cup with warm water. Tack a piece of cardstock to a hardcover book, as this gives a firmer surface to press down on when it comes to “stamping” the tiny feet. Then, simply dip the brush into the water - then into the paint - and gently cover baby’s foot with a generous amount. Hold and gently press onto the card. This works well with the babies lying down or sitting in a high chair. Wipe feet clean and when dry, frame their first artwork!

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do they get it?


by barbie heit


fter 17 years of living with my identical twin girls, I have figured out the way to survive--capture the loving, happy times on film and STAY AWAY from the fighting unless blood is drawn! As babies, they played and giggled endlessly. As they grew into toddlers, they shared each and every milestone within a week’s time. The early grades of school brought some healthy competitiveness and the middle-school/high school years turned their bond into a complete love-hate relationship. They couldn’t seem to go more than a few hours without fighting. An hour later, they’d be inseparable again. I gave up on getting involved—it never mattered. It was their bond, their struggle, and their incredible identical twin relationship. I’ve always wondered..,Do they get it? Do they realize how lucky they are? A built-in best friend for life….a person who knows and loves you and shares so much of who you are? Now that it’s almost time to separate for college (their choice to attend


separate schools), I finally have my answer. My daughter, Carlie, is a writer for her high school newspaper. She wrote this article below, and after reading it, I can finally see…..yes, they get it: Identical twins Carlie Schwaeber ‘12 and Sami Schwaeber ‘12 have created all of their memories together, including getting ready for the County’s dance junior year. I don’t think I have ever spent more than a week away from my twin sister, Sami. We share clothes, have the same sense of humor, have primarily the same friends, and as nauseatingly cliché as this is to say, she is my best friend. Now, let’s not be ridiculous. Sami drives me up the wall sometimes, especially when she tells me to stop eating with my mouth open when she is eating just as disgustingly. Yet, no matter how many silly arguments we get in, we usually forget about them within an hour or so. Sometimes in the midst of an argument one of us might mumble, “I can’t wait to go to different schools next year,” in which case we will both awkwardly and dramatically stop talking. In reality, we are both terrified to leave each other. For those who know me, they know I have depended on Sami for my entire life. Come to think of it, I really haven’t experienced anything on my own because I’ve always had her. She was with me on the first day of high school, just like she was with me on the first day of kindergarten. She got her braces on and off

on the same day as I did, she has made fun of me at every doctor’s appointment for being scared to get a shot, she has given me approval on every outfit I wear to school, and she has shared every birthday with me. While all of my friends are applying to their dream schools, I just have to wonder if I am even going to be happy living in a different state without her. I constantly question my ability to make friends without her, to be independent. So, you must be wondering, why don’t we just go to the same school? It would be less nerve-racking, easier for my parents on visiting weekend, and if she had a shirt that I really liked, I could just go to her dorm and take it. There are reasons why that would absolutely not work, though. First of all, as close as we are, we are not attached. We are two separate people with very different goals in life. It is time to be known as “Carlie” rather than “The Schwaeber twins”. Second of all– jealousy. Having a person in my life who looks exactly like me paints a clear picture of what she is better at than me. Looking the same has made it easier to see the differences in our personalities, and there have been many instances where others have compared us. Finally, this is the perfect opportunity for us to separate. I have this reoccurring traumatic thought of being an 80 year old dog lady (cats aren’t really my thing), and multiplicity

sharing a home with my sister because I was too nervous to leave her side when I was 17. We are identical twins, but it is time to live fraternal lives. So, for all those twins out there who are planning on going to separate colleges, here are a few steps that I have gathered in order to prepare myself and others for the dreaded departure: 1. If you don’t have a Skype account or iChat account already, make one! Use technology to your advantage and plan on video chatting with your twin on a daily or weekly basis. 2. To make the transition smoother, start hanging out with a few new friends on the weekends while you are still in high school. This will help you remember that you are two separate people with the ability to make friends on your own! 3. Remember that no matter how far away you are from your twin, he/she will always be your twin. Just because your lives are going to be in different locations now does not mean you can’t still be involved in that life. After all, it’s not goodbye, it’s only see ya later. Barbie Heit is an awardwinning children’s book author, editorial director and proud mother of two sets of twin teenagers.

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separate presents, simple etiquette when attending parties for multiples by susanne budofsky


irthday parties. My kids live for them, and as a mother of triplets, I dread them. Now I’m not talking about the demands of throwing a bash for your multiples and 50 of their closest friends and classmates. The bigger drama in our house is other kids’ parties. Depending on what child (or children) the party is for and what activities or classes we know them from, one, two, or all three of our kids could be on the invite list. Jack has been to three parties this month, for instance, but no invites for my daughter. Besides the potential scheduling and emotional dilemmas, there is the big question of how many gifts we should bring. Party invites, gift giving, and receiving always seem to be topics of discussion among my multiples friends and me. While we’ve found no official rulebook, the following are a few guidelines that we’ve adopted in regards to party etiquette for parents of multiples. Whether multiples, singletons, or two or more children of different ages are involved, the etiquette shouldn’t change. Each child is an individual and should be treated as such. Somehow though, the lines get a little blurred for families of multiples. If all of your multiples are invited to a child’s birthday party, technically each should bring a gift for the birthday child. However, finding three unique and fun presents for one child can be tough for a busy parent squeezing a trip to the toy store in between a hundred other (contd. pg. 67)



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the scoop... white/beige striped sheath - Marshall’s $29.99 floral belted sheath Ross $14.99 black/white/brown striped a-line - Ross $22.99 34 multiplicity

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the scoop... navy cowl neck top - Ross $7.99 & khaki walking shorts - $7.99 striped cut-out top Marshall’s $14.99 & denim capri pants Target $24.99 green/coral top - Ross $29.99

for less

fashion finds by talitha a. mcguinness

*fashion photography provided by firewife photography

Spring has sprung! Sure, we may be chasing our little ones at the park or running car pool, or even busy adding a new client or two, but that doesn’t mean these fabulous finds can’t inspire a little inspiration to your own wardrobe. Each of our moms added several new pieces to their clothing lineup that work for each of their busy lifestyles, all for around $75, and you can, too!


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the scoop... coral/black animal print top - TJ Maxx $16.99 & khaki pants - $19.99 chartreuse animal print top - Ross $8.99 & white capri pants $13.99 floral belted blouse Marshall’s $14.99 36


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dr. sears on advancements in

colic relief a

by jill marcum

crying baby can break any parent’s heart. But when your baby cries for hours and you are unable to comfort them, this can be truly disheartening. Dr. Robert Sears, nationally known Pediatrician, recognized how tough colic is on babies and their parents, so he set out to investigate the root cause of colic and find a remedy that would do more than just “put a band aid” on the problem. He says “[Many people will tell parents that] nothing is wrong; don’t worry about it; your baby will outgrow it. While it is true, your baby will outgrow [colic,] that is a lot of crying months to go through when there may be a possible solution.” In our interview, Dr. Sears shed some new light on the causes of colic and treatment available.

photo courtesy of firewife photography


What is Colic?

Colic is the most common problem among newborns Dr. Sears sees in his office, and statistics show this mysterious ailment affects about 40% of babies. The problem is often recognized to be “basically a digestive problem. Something is hurting the baby’s tummy, either through the breast milk or the the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


type of formula the baby is drinking. Something is causing a lot of pain, gas, and digestive problems. This results in hours and hours of crying… for the first few months of the baby’s life.”

What are the causes of Colic?

Dr. Sears explained there are two primary causes for colic. The first is a cow’s milk protein allergy. A baby with this allergy can be affected when a mother consumes dairy and passes the milk protein through the breast milk. Also, cow’s milk formula would irritate such a baby’s belly. A lot of mothers know about and recognize this as a possible cause and intervene by

eliminating dairy from their own diet or they may change their baby’s formula to a non-cow’s milk formula. This helps babies with this milk protein allergy, but Dr. Sears mentioned there is a new idea “on the other side of the same coin” that you may want to consider first. “Instead of a milk protein problem, some babies are sensitive to the actual milk sugars called lactose. These babies are basically lactose intolerant for the first few months of their life,” so rest assured that it is only temporary. “A mother cannot take [lactose] out of her diet since breast milk naturally has healthy lactose sugars in it. [If] the baby can’t digest mom’s lactose sugars very well, the undigested sugars go through the baby’s system and cause a lot of gas, irritation, pain and bloating.” While there are many tried and true “soothers” that were likely even tried by our own parents, (think white noise and vibration from the dryer and movement from driving around

the neighborhood for hours on end!), there is a new treatment that should help both your baby and you rest a little easier.

What is the treatment for temporary lactose intolerance?

Pediatricians in Europe have been looking at this very cause for colic in babies and have a treatment they have been using for 15 years. This treatment, called Colief, is now available in the United States, and it consists of drops to help your baby digest the lactose sugars. You simply add “the drops to every feeding to help with baby’s digestion to [eliminate] the gas, pain and bloating. An improvement can be seen in just a few days. Dr. Sears says that this treatment has helped with half, (yes half!), of the colicky babies in his office. This relief helps babies to continue to breastfeed without having their tummies hurt. Mothers should hand express a half ounce of breast milk at the beginning of a session, add the drops and feed to your baby by a syringe or spoon. Then continue your regular feeding. For formula fed babies, this will help to eliminate the

Colic is the most common problem in infants Dr. Sears sees in his office. 40


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“formula parade” of switching formulas to find one that works. Switching can be very costly, babies may reject the new formula and the “other formulas aren’t as good for your baby as keeping them on a regular milk formula.” Instead, add the Colief drops to your baby’s current milk formula. “If the baby’s colic is primarily from a lactose intolerance, you will see improvement” without the hassle of changing their formula. “Your baby’s system will mature and start producing more of their own lactase enzymes internally, then you can wean your baby off the drops at about four months of age.”

Where Can Parents Find Colief?

Colief is found exclusively at CVS Pharmacies. Also visit Relieve Colic for more information and a $3 coupon to redeem in store or online (for a limited time only.) Also you can visit Dr. Sears on Twitter and Facebook. Parents are welcome to ask Dr. Sears questions about their baby’s colic and other tummy troubles. Life is full of surprises! Little did Jill Marcum know that she would end up having twins and that it would open up so many new doors to friendships, knowledge, and even a career. Her boys are now over two years old and are very active keeping her on her toes! Jill is a Contributing Writer for Twiniversity and Multiplicity Magazine.

ask the veterans

twins beyond the twos... Q: When one of your twins misbehaves after being promised a treat or privilege (i.e. going to the movies or out), do you punish them both by not going, or do

you treat the one and leave the other home? Many parents love to treat their children for good behavior and with twins, that’s no exception. However, you’re no longer dealing with one child, but two who can easily be faulted in a behavioral situation. Is it really fair to punish them both or do you teach a lesson that good behavior is rewarded by treating the non-offender? A question of the ages, we turned to our readers for tried and true advice... Ariel E. said, “Treat/punish the one that earned it. I’m a teacher and I never treat/punish the whole class unless the WHOLE multiplicity

class earned it. If both kids are terrible, neither get the treat.” Ianca A. said, “Leave the “offender” at home and take the other out. If on my own, both go, but one will sit on the sidelines of whatever we are doing. [It’s] not fair to punish them both.” “It is very hard to punish one and not the other. I’ve never gone so far as to leave a twin behind if going out, but have tried to put the naughty twin to bed early,” said Joanne B. Good luck with however you choose to handle the situation!

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five times the joy

Stephen and Ellen Howell are special CBR clients, not just because they banked with CBR five times, but because they did it all on the same day. This Houston family welcomed quintuplets into the world three years ago. Sidney, Mitchell, Luke, Ivy, and Briellen all born on the same day, but with their own distinct personalities. “Sidney is the first born and a bit bossy, while Mitchell is my happy, easy-going boy who laughs at everything,” explains Ellen. “Briellen, the littlest baby is a firecracker in a small package, strong-willed and a little high maintenance; she knows what she wants.” The descriptions are all different, but all are sweet and surprisingly well-behaved according to both the parents. “I thought my life would be chaos—that babies would take over my world. But the reality is that it is not at all as crazy as I expected,” says mother Ellen. Making the Decision to Bank Cord Blood At CBR, we know that it is sometimes difficult for expectant parents to make a decision on whether to bank cord blood. With multiples, cost is certainly a concern, but Ellen’s sister had chosen to bank with CBR prior to the quintuplets being born and Ellen decided that was the right choice for her family, too. “I think of it like insurance. I hope we will never have to use it, but with the research that is going on, we wanted to be able to do everything possible for our babies.” The Howells made the decision to bank at the last minute, which is why they advise other parents to try to decide before the other stresses of delivering multiples comes. The babies needed to be delivered a few days short of 31 weeks, so a CBR employee personally delivered kits to the hospital so they could bank. A Life at Play These days the 3-year-olds can be seen playing at the park or in their preschool nearby. They can cause a bit of a stir in public with strangers and Ellen is happy to chat about the children, but wishes people would notice that it might be more helpful to chase after a child than to keep her in a conversation. Dad tries to get home by 5:30 every day to help and play. Bath time is his daily duty and it is clear that the family has a great routine. The Howells never planned on quintuplets, but they could plan for their family’s future health. With help from CBR, they were able to do just that. *this article was provided by the Cord Blood Registry



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Because her bunny can’t protect her from everything Save her cord blood with CBR® Bunny can’t protect her from everything life may bring, but saving her cord blood with CBR today could help prepare your family for a lifetime of healthy tomorrows. Ask your doctor why more Ob/Gyns and parents choose CBR.

1-888-CORD BLOOD (1-888-267-3256)

Cord blood stem cells are not applicable for every situation. Use will be determined by the treating physician. Source for Ob/Gyn claim: Blind survey, GfK Market Measures, 04/07, funded by CBR. © 2012 Cbr Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. • 0212 • MA02138.00


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mobilize the earth:

Earth Day 2012 by gabriela kleeman


pril 22, 2012 is the official date for Earth Day. This year’s motto of Mobilize the Earth, coined by the Earth Day Network, implores everyone to take active steps towards a healthier world. This celebration of our environment and a call to its protection is in its 42nd year; it was first observed in 1970. There will be many activities throughout the country. Arguably the most visible celebration is a rally at the National Mall complete with concerts, activities and impassioned speeches. Schools throughout the country will also be teaching children the importance of protecting and respecting our environment. Whether you’re looking for simple ways or more committed ways to get involved, you also have the power to Mobilize the Earth by sharing in some educational and fun activities with your children at home.

Get Out into Nature.

Go for a hike, or better yet, geocaching as a family. Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunt where the goal is to find caches (typically a container of some sort) filled with objects that other people have hidden. The idea is simple: use your cell phone or other GPS-



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enabled device to locate caches that are hidden in the area you are exploring. Once you find one, you can enter your name and date into the cache’s logbook. Caches can also have little trinkets or toys as a reward. Keep your kids interested by having them track how many caches you have found or keep a list of their favorite items discovered. To commemorate Earth Day, bring a trinket that your kids can leave behind in the cache. Go to to find locations near you. If you’re looking for a more traditional outdoor adventure, try a camp-out at one of your local parks. For a list of campgrounds you can visit the National Park Service online or visit your own state park’s website.

Look no Further than Your Own Backyard.

If you’re not ready to brave the wild yet, try a backyard camp-out, complete with the convenience of indoor bathrooms and a stocked refrigerator. Just pitch a tent, get your sleeping bags and make sure to have a flash light handy. Make it as real as possible by having everyone bring their pajamas and change of clothes just as on an overnight trip. Tell fireside stories that incorporate the sights and sounds of the evening and explain to them how nocturnal animals—such as an owl— are part of a healthy ecosystem. Whatever you do, don’t forget the s’mores! Yet another way to enjoy your backyard is to build a

sandbox. Building a sandbox is not complicated and most local hardware stores can give you information on how to complete this project. Your kids—and you—can enjoy hours of digging, burying, sifting, pouring, shaping, and shoveling!

Sow and Harvest.

Get your kids, and yourself, acquainted with how a farm works by visiting it! There are many farms that are open to the public and have kidfriendly activities like petting zoos, tractor and pony rides. Some farms also offer “U-Pick its”, where the whole family can participate in picking fresh, seasonal fruit from the farm such as apples or berries. While you’re there ask the farmer if they participate in CSA (Community Sustained Agriculture), where you can purchase a “share” of the farm and receive seasonal produce, usually delivered right to your home. If you have a green thumb, try planting an herb garden that can grow in small pots on your kitchen windowsill, or a full-fledged garden in your backyard. Most garden centers and grocery stores carry prepackaged seeds. If you don’t have a full backyard, but have a back porch or deck, you can create a raised box-bed to plant a variety of crops. If your children love strawberries, you can buy start-up strawberries from your local nursery and grow them in specially designed strawberry pots.

Re-Use and Recycle.

Host a swap party and invite your friends over for some refreshments and an opportunity to revamp your wardrobes. You can do the same with toys your children no longer use. When deciding what items to bring to the party, use the same criteria you would if you were to consign an item. Generally speaking, bring items you no longer love that are in good condition. Make sure you set rules prior to the swap. One good rule is to accept only items with all pieces (i.e. complete puzzles) and toys in working order. Also, make sure you establish an exchange system (i.e. toy for toy or a ticket system where certain big pieces earn more tickets).

Make Your Home Greener.

Being green can start right at your home. There are many things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, such as recycling, composting and conserving water. (contd. pg. 64) multiplicity

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o t s p i t g time-savin


” l l a t i “do by nicole carpenter

s parents of multiples, we’re often asked, “how do you do it?” From the outside looking in, our life is crazy complicated. We just smile back at our friends or tell the lady behind us in the check-out line, “I have a lot of help”, but the truth is that we just do it.

2. Corral pacif iers and burp clothes. Make sure

In an instant we can survey the scene, take care of the situation at hand, and move on to the next thing, all while trying to cherish the moments along the way. It can definitely be tough balancing careers, kids and homecooked meals. Life with multiples is complex, but the following are some tips to help you save a little time and make juggling the kids not only look easier, but actually feel easier.

3. Prepare a diaper-changing basket. It is much

1. Pre-f ill bottles. When screaming, hungry

babies wake you up in the middle of the night, it saves time and sanity to have bottles ready to go. You can load your bottles with pre-measured formula and have them ready to just add water when needed. But did you know breast milk can sit out at room temperature for hours? La Leche League International says “human milk actually has anti-bacterial properties that help it to stay fresh” and can be stored “at room temperature (66-78°F, 19-26°C) for four hours (ideal), up to six hours (acceptable).” When my twins were newborns and they woke up several times each night, I would feed them a bottle of pumped breast milk, change them, and put them back to sleep. Then I would pump, load their bottles and place them on my nightstand to be ready for the next cycle. 46


every room your babies spend time in has a container with clean pacifiers and burp cloths. If prepared, you might just have a chance to grab that burp cloth in the nick of time to save yourself from yet another dirty outfit! easier to bring diaper changing supplies to you than it is take two (or more) babies to a changing station. Plus, when you’re in the middle of changing a diaper, you’ll be grateful you have everything at your fingertips. If you decide mid-wipe you need diaper rash ointment, you’ll always have it right there.

4. Wash kids’ laundry without sorting it into lights and darks. Lazy? Maybe. But one load

of laundry sure takes less time than two! Do take the time to pre-treat stains on each item of clothing before you toss them into the washing machine. Add a stain-fighting booster, soap, and wash in cold water to prevent colors from bleeding or fading. Take it one step further and do a separate load for each singleton and one load for your multiples. When the load is finished, you can place it in the basket and get the clothes back to their rightful owner without having to sort.

5. Don’t fold kids’ laundry. It’s a bold

statement, I know. But this will save you time. Just right-side out the clothing and place it (neatly if you wish) in your children’s drawers. At our house, we have a drawer just for

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pants, one for shirts, and one for pajamas. Socks and underwear also have their own space.

6. Stack twins’ outf its. When I’m

on my A-game, I like to stack my twins’ unfolded, matching or coordinating outfits on top of each other. Then I fold them over and place them into the drawers. When I’m ready to dress the boys, I just grab a bundle of clothes—voilà! I have what I need for each child.

7. Create a portable breakfast.

Getting everyone where they need to be each morning can be challenging, especially when running late. Having a portable breakfast on hand can turn carpool time into breakfast time. I fill a ziplock bag with dry cereal and dried fruit like cranberries or apricots. I even drop their multivitamin in the bag and shake it. My kids love hunting for the vitamin while they eat their breakfast in the van. Other portable options are granola bars, portable yogurt, sliced fruit or squeezable applesauce.

8. Keep all shoes in one place. Few things are more frustrating than trying to get out of the house on time and only being able to locate three of the four shoes you need for your twins. Trust me, I know from experience. Remedy this problem by keeping everyone’s shoes in one location.

9. Organize toys into activity bins.

I recently organized toys like play dough, crayons, and Matchbox cars into small plastic bins. By limiting the exposure the kids have to the new toy bins, I’ve increased the time they will sit down and play with them! Unlike opening a toy box and letting kids go wild, my toy bins are

controlled and reliable. I can get nearly 40 minutes of play time from all my kids when I sit them at the kitchen table and open the play dough bin. Forty minutes is enough time to check emails, cook dinner or both!

just excited when I squeeze an extra 20 minutes into any given day. Here’s to hoping you find an extra 20 minutes too!

10. Set a timer. Working against

In addition to being a busy mom, Nicole Carpenter is a communication consultant, freelance writer and blogger. She lives in Utah with her wonderful husband, 7-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son and 18-month-old identical twin boys. Nicole owns Sidewalk Communications, LLC and she’s the managing editor of the blog My Everything Else. You can also find her tweeting as @ NicsEverything or through her Facebook fan page.

the clock can accomplish so much. Use your oven or cell phone timer for a quick, speedcleaning session. Grab the kids, set the timer for five minutes and attack a room, getting as much of it clean as you can. When the timer stops, reset the timer and move on to the next room. In 20 minutes, you could have much of the house picked up! Those same strangers who wonder just how I do it all, also remind me that these kids grow up fast and I’ll wish these busy years back. In the meantime, I’m multiplicity

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llergies in children can cause a number of problems for parents. Moms with multiples, however, experience even more difficulty. They battle these seasonal afflictions in each child with a variety of medicines and remedies, but their children may have differences in the severity and variety of allergens, as well. How can busy moms combat spring allergies in multiples with natural, organic remedies? I examined five common spring allergens and offer natural remedies that can reduce the severity of the allergies altogether. Before you try any of these remedies, it is best to consult a doctor to verify the safety of them for your child. Also, natural remedies can be used in partnership with over-the-counter medications or prescriptions.



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gies and their remedies Allergen: Cedar. Cedar grows in numerous

areas in the US and the two types of cedar – Mountain Cedar and Eastern Red Cedar – peak at different times of the year, which makes it harder to manage allergies. These hearty trees peak during the spring, so families with children allergic to cedar will find their children sniffling more during this time period. Remedy: Nettle (Urtica dioica). This herb can be brewed in teas or is sold in capsules.

Allergen: Sweet Vernal Grass. This grass

often flowers in early summer. Known to grow in fields and roadsides, sweet vernal grass is hard to avoid when the weather is warm. Children with an allergy to grasses will have a hard time staying inside during the hot summer months! Remedy: Local Honey. While it has not been studied extensively, eating local honey has been known to be a “vaccine” of sorts that combats allergies. Add honey to your children’s spring drinks or snacks, or take it yourself if you suffer from grass allergies. Your multiples won’t even know they are getting a natural treatment, plus it tastes good!

Allergen: Oak. Oak pollen is a common

allergen and can cause allergy sufferers to feel itchy or congested, among other symptoms. The most common sign that oak pollen is in the air is the yellow deposits the pollen leaves. You might notice this yellow pollen covering your car or on your children’s clothes on peak days when oak pollen is high. Remedy: Cromolyn Sodium. This nasal spray can treat runny noses caused by an oak or tree pollen allergy without some of the side effects from prescribed nasal sprays or over-the-counter remedies. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, patients should begin taking cromolyn sodium a week before they expect seasonal allergies to return. multiplicity

by megan harris

Allergen: Rose Pollen. The gorgeous buds

of roses can brighten your child’s summer days. However, exposure to roses means that your children will also be exposed to their pollen. Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to rose pollen may include rhino conjunctivitis and contact dermatitis. If you notice your children develop a rash or runny nose around roses, it is possible they are reacting to the pollen. This might be tricky to identify, as rashes may develop one to two days after your child has been exposed to rose pollen, but it is something to be cautious about if you plan to take your children to an area where there are many roses. Remedy: Butterbur (Petasites hybridus). A traditional herbal remedy that grows in Europe, North American and parts of Asia, butterbur can be used for seasonal allergies, such as rose pollen, and asthma. In a 2002 study, it was as effective as and less sedating than a commonly prescribed antihistamine for treating seasonal allergies over a two week period. More research is needed on butterbur and its use, but it is worth trying as part of allergy therapy.

Allergen: Johnson Grass. This grass grows

in most states and usually flowers from May to July or, in the extreme south, from December to January. Parents whose children have an allergic reaction to Johnson grass will see much of the same symptoms as with other allergens, such as runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and minor trouble breathing.

Remedy: Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5).

This natural supplement can help reduce nasal leakage and reduce the histamine release in your child’s body that causes their nose to run when an allergen is present. Vitamin B5 stimulates the adrenal glands to avoid the body’s natural histamine response. Here’s to an allergy-free upcoming Spring and that these natural remedies will be helpful to you and your family! the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


photo courtesy of sassyfras studios



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Mom: A

how she helped my twinship

by heather teshera

s I look back over the years of my childhood and through adolescence, I appreciate what my Mom has done for my twin and me. Many women have blessed my Mother's heart when they find out I am twin, unable to imagine themselves mothering twins. Among the many wonderful things she did for us, the following 10 standout in my memories:

She taught us that life is not fair, but that it's ok!

For example, when my sister and I reached a stage when everything had to be fair and equal, my mom allowed us to divide things. One of us would divide the cookie, the stickers, or whatever it might be, and the other would get to choose the half she wanted. Looking back, I see this tactic prevented quite a few tears! Although I knew that my twin might take the better half, it was alright because I had the satisfaction of having split it.

Mom made each of us our favorite meal on our birthday. She gave each of us our own special multiplicity

birthday-girl time. A couple of days before our birthday, we would each specify what we wanted for our special birthday meal. Usually Stephanie requested blueberry coffee cake topped with crunchy cinnamon streusel for breakfast and I always asked for Mom's creamy and delicious homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. While we celebrated Stephanie during breakfast, I was the one celebrated during dinner. It’s the little things!

She encouraged us to pursue the things that interested us as individuals.

Growing up, my twin and I did so much together because we loved being together. Knowing that my sister and I would not always be able to do things together, my Mom and my Dad found activities that interested each of us as individuals. At age nine, my parents started me in horseback riding lessons and while I took riding lessons my sister began taking art classes after school. These times on our own each week allowed us to build our (contd. pg. 55)

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welcome to the


by barbara sergent

n President’s Day I took the kids to an open swim at the local YMCA. It has a great setup for people who have kids of varying ages/ heights. It works great for our family with two good swimmers, one swimmer that is almost independent and two beginner swimmers. When the life guard called “break”, I was approached by a woman I didn’t know. She said, “You’re that woman I see at Target all the time. The one with five kids, right?” Well, I do shop at Target and I do have five kids, so I agreed, “Right.” Embarrassed I said, “Hopefully everyone was well-behaved the time you saw us.” She agreed, “Your children are so well-behaved.” Okay, so she caught us on a good day, I thought, as I heaved a sigh of relief. Our family has always attracted attention. It started right after our first two bundles of joy arrived (“Wow, twins! Are they identical?”), and continued after our son arrived just short of three years later (“Wow, you sure do have your hands full!”), and grew even



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more intense when the next set of twins arrived two years after that (“Wow, are all these kids yours?”). I hope you aren’t waiting for tips on organizing a large family. Truth is we’re a work in progress. Don’t get me wrong, we always get where we’re going, however, we are seldom on time. The kids’ homework is always done, although sometimes they forget to take it to school. We love to have friends over, but our house is often unorganized. What we miss in organization, we make up for with love and lots of fun! I’m told our house is noisy. If I ever noticed, I’ve long since forgotten. And my friends are amazed at our multitasking skills... Cooking dinner, supervising homework, playing a game, watching the kids play outside, carrying on a conversation and balancing a checkbook all seem to happen simultaneously. It’s



just how we roll around here. It’s true, the kids often have to wait a bit once they ask for something, but we figure we are teaching them patience. Or, persistence. And there’s not a lot of alone time, but sharing is also a good life skill, right? Everyone around here has to be self-sufficient and willing to help, and that’s going to teach responsibility, right? I can’t say enough about the help and support of family and friends. It really does take a village. My favorite question for people to ask me is, “How can I help?” When I hear those words, I know that someone is ready, willing and able to jump in and help, and boy, do we appreciate it! However, there are some tricky situations navigating life with a family of seven. Take for example, finding a vehicle. While most car manufacturers offer a 7-seater vehicle, it was challenging to

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fit three car seats and two booster chairs in the car at the same time. And forget about taking anyone with you, as you won’t have a seat for them. That makes car pooling nearly impossible. And when it comes to vacations, unless you plan on renting a condo or house, it’s impossible to rent a hotel room. Seven occupants is way over the limit, not to mention there’s not enough beds for anyone anyways. I must confess, this past summer we bought an amusement park ticket deal that included lodging. First of all, I don’t think I’ve even been in a smaller hotel room, seriously. Next, it’s impossible to get two adults and 5 kids to sleep comfortably in two queen sized beds and one chair. Yes, I said chair, which is where my husband chose to sleep after getting kicked in the back about 37 times! I’m happy to say that the next stop on our trip was a rental townhouse at an all-season resort.

So back to the title of my article, “Welcome to the Jungle”, I have a sense of humor. How could I not? My dad actually said, “At your age I would think you’d know how to prevent a pregnancy!” I always tell people, five kids, that’s doable, but I wouldn’t recommend planning five in less than five years. The two years after the last set of twins was born is a blur. Of course, we didn’t plan it either. I will be the first to admit that things here are crazy, but whenever someone stops me to say, “Wow, you have your hands full,” I like to give them a great big smile and reply with the sentiment, “Yes, my hands are full, but so is my heart.”

My dad actually said, “At your age I would think you’d know how to prevent a pregnancy!”



My sister recently sent me an inspirational saying: My home is filled with toys and has fingerprints on everything and is never quiet. My hair is usually a mess and I am always tired, but there is always love and laughter here. In twenty years, my children won’t remember my house or my hair. I’m counting on that to be true.

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contd. from mom

confidence as individuals and made us value our twinship even more.

Mom simply acknowledged our favorite colors. My favorite color for most of childhood was purple while my twin favored pink. When she'd buy us something or make us things, she made us feel special by personalizing it with our favorite color. Again, it’s the little things!

She allowed us to have our own friends.

I am thankful she did not insist that we have our own friends or insist that we share them either. As it was, we felt the desire to share them anyway and it all worked out. While we had our own friends, we shared many others all the way through high school. After I left for college without my sister, I was certainly glad that I knew how to make friends without her.

Mom used creative tactics that encouraged our twinship.

I wish I could say my twin and I never fought, but we did. After such times, our Mom would stand us facing each other while we held hands. She would then have us sing to each other (think – Barney's I love you). It is very difficult to stay mad at someone when you are holding her hands and looking at her tear-streaked face! Unpleasant at the time, it taught me to always remember that I love her, no matter what.

She did not give us rhyming names.

I am thankful that our names don’t rhyme. Stephanie and Heather. Our names do not sound alike. While not identical, with matching brown eyes, similar oval face shapes and complexion, we do share a family resemblance. As it was, people mixed us up and they called me "Stephanie" and called her "Heather." Thankfully though, it was not a tongue twister for someone to get a name out!

She has always said that she loves being a mother of twins.

I am sure there were times she hasn't, but she has never let on. It surprises me when I meet women who tell me emphatically that they could never be or would never want to be a mother of twins and the idea overwhelms them. My Mom did not ask to be a mother of twins, but she has always claimed that twins are not double trouble, but rather a double blessing.

Mom kept comparisons to a minimum.

As with all siblings, there will be some level of comparison as there seems to be no way of getting around it. Growing up I enjoyed math more than Stephanie, and my brown hair has always been lighter than hers. However, my Mom would not let us keep the other as our standard, but instead made a point to encourage us as individuals and a team. "You're not her!" I remember her emphatically saying after we had made a comparison she felt multiplicity

had gone too far. She still tells us to this day: "You're not her, and she is not you, and God put you two together for a reason." I believe she is right.

She spent individual time with each of us.

Even if it was simply taking only one of us grocery shopping, she made time to be with each separately. My feisty sister has a fasterpaced and more dramatic personality than I do. I now can look back and remember the many times during adolescence when I felt frustrated with my twin, thinking that she received so much more attention. The one-on-one time helped me connect with my Mom without my twin there. It was during those times I could talk about matters with my mom without feeling like I had to compete with my twin. On this Mother’s Day and everyday, I want to say, “Thank you Mom for giving us your best!” I was born one minute after my fraternal twin sister, and we grew up in Oregon. Together we enjoy exploring backcountry roads and sipping hot cocoa in local coffee shops. At 24 years old, I am finally completing a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. My blog is about equine ski joring, an extreme winter sport that I discovered last year. While I have yet to try it, it is fun to watch!

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photo courtesy of third book photography


no pins

a look at the modern cloth diaper by jen jamar



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ake a moment to close your eyes and picture a cloth diaper. What comes to mind? Do you see plastic pants and safety pins? Giant towels wrapped around a baby’s bottom? I’d like to introduce you to the modern cloth diaper. Though there are many different styles of cloth diapers on the market today, from pre-fold and covers to all-in-one and one-size pocket diapers, they all have a few things in common. *No pins! Diapers today use aplix (velcro) or snaps to secure the diaper on your child. *A soft fabric inner. This is the part that touches your baby’s skin. Many manufacturers offer organic or natural fiber options with varying levels of absorbency. *A waterproof outer. This is what prevents cloth diapers from leaking. It may be in the form of a diaper cover (over prefold or fitted) or a layer of PUL sewn into the diaper itself (for pocket or all-in-one style diapers). *A wide variety of colors and prints. You can have diapers in almost every color of the rainbow, and even with some prints, like Dr Seuss, robots, kangaroos, and more. Even storage has come a long way since we were kids. Wet bags and pail liners keep smells contained until laundry day comes. According to my husband, cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposable diapers. To me, that is the highest recommendation I can give – if he thinks they’re easy to use, anyone can use them! Jen Jamar is a busy mom and natural parenting advocate. Her site Life With Levi features articles on cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and attachment parenting. Her latest project, Alpha Wife Adventures, is about adjusting to life as a working mom with a stay-at-home husband. When not online, Jen’s son, husband, and three dogs keep her life full of laughter and love. multiplicity

disposables vs. cloth: how much can you by jen jamar really save?

By combining deals and coupons, you can usually keep spending to about 19 cents/ diaper. I don't use disposables often so I'm going to stick with the expense of $0.19/ diaper for this cost analysis. An average baby goes through 9-11 changes per day through the first year, so $0.19/diaper x 11 diapers/day = $2.09 per day. Not bad, right? Let's add up that cost for a year now: $2.09/day x 7 days/week x 52 weeks/year = $760.76. Oh, and don't forget – this is only the calculation for ONE child. Alright, so we have $760.76 per year. To make our numbers easy, let's just say the average time in diapers per child is 2 years. $760.76/year x 2 years = $1,521.52 for one child. Multiply that number again depending on how many kids you have. Adds up quickly, doesn't it? So how much can you save by using cloth diapers? They come in all price ranges, and having tried over 30 different brands, I'm going to ask you to trust me on some of these assumptions. Low end: $9/diaper x 20 diapers/child, from birth – age 2 = Savings of $1300+ per child. High end: $30/diaper x 30 diapers/child, from birth – age 2 = Savings of $600+ per child. The minimum number of cloth diapers I recommend per child is 20, as it gives you enough to get through without washing every day. Even if you subtract an extra $5/ month increase to your utilities bill and some expenses like a wet bag ($15), pail liner ($10), and diaper sprayer ($25), you still come out ahead. And that doesn't even factor in the resale value of cloth diapers (there's a huge market for used cloth diapers!). You can even mix disposable and cloth diapers as you build up your stash. If you ever try cloth diapers, you'll be amazed at how easy it is and how much money you'll save. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples




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why i let my twin babies

watch videos a

by deborah kania

lthough there is no firm evidence that watching videos or television hurt or help babies, I let my twin boys watch them starting when they were a few months old. One concern with babies watching TV is a potential delay in language development. Admittedly, with some guilt, I made the decision to use baby videos to keep two baby boys still while they drank their bottles.

photo courtesy of firewife photography

Not only was I debating with myself about babies watching TV, there has been a long debate about children and television watching. In 2008, The Journal of Pediatrics released another study by the Center on Media and Child Health (Children’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard University), which showed that television viewing is, “neither beneficial nor deleterious to child cognitive and language abilities” for children under 2 years of age. Concurrently, when you search for “Baby Einstein videos” on, you will see most of the videos have very positive reviews by parents. Many of the parents’ reviews stated that their babies “loved” the videos. Personally, my twins and I both benefited from watching videos. First, videos provided a more relaxed bottle feeding time. Both of my twin boys would actually (contd. on pg. 66) multiplicity

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the buzz

twin tested... MOM approved!

the scoop on things worth giving a try

This issue’s products are a little fun, a little green, and a lot of in between! We hope you’ll find something of interest for yourself or to share with your family. Enjoy and don’t forget to enter to win one of our fab freebies listed at the end!

reusable snack/sandwich bags by ecomcplanet - $5-$15

If you have older children and pack even the occasional lunch, the bags by EcoMcPlanet will save your life (and the earth!). These waterproof bags are great to tote lunches, snacks, and pretty much anything that will fit! Don’t need them for lunches? Think outside the box...wet or soiled clothing, cellphone or camera, and the larger bags are even great for toting that eReader you may get for Mother’s Day (time to pass on the hints to the loved ones)! They come in a variety of sizes: snack (think carrots, crackers, & cereal), sandwich, deli (think bagels & subs), and the multi-bag (great for larger quantities of snacks for the pool, or your wet/soiled clothes). They are easy to clean, as you either wipe after each use or toss in with your regular laundry, and voila! Your bags are ready to use the next day. Don’t see a fabric you like? You can email EcoMcPlanet for custom orders. They also offer reusable napkins with an ultra soft bamboo fabric that helps limit the number of paper towels you might use at home. Talk about decreasing your carbon footprint, one napkin and bag at a time! Want these at a great steal? Visit EcoMcPlanet for 15% off your total purchase now through June 1st. Use code MOMS15 at checkout for your exclusive discount and see below for a chance to win a free set! - talitha mcguinness

cloud b tranquil turtle - $45

Cloud B is known for their sleep aiding toys like the ever popular Twilight Turtle and Sleep Sheep. However, at this year’s NYC Toy Fair, the company debuted its new Tranquil Lagoon Collection, including both sight and sound in the new Tranquil Turtle. With its realistic moving underwater effect projected onto the ceiling, the ability to switch between a calming melody or the sounds of the ocean, your child’s room will be transformed instantly. Aside from lulling your little ones to sleep, another great feature is the automatic shut-off after a certain period of time. Based on the recent review of a 22 month old, the buttons keep him quiet and entertained when he wakes before it’s time to get out of bed in the mornings (what mom wouldn’t love that luxury?!?), and “turtle” is his new favorite word! To learn more, visit Cloud B online. - talitha mcguinness

it works “the ultimate body applicator” - $99 (pack of 4)

A botanically-based body contouring treatment that detoxifies, tightens, tones and firms with results in as little as 45 minutes, and it doesn’t cost a fortune? Too good to be true, you say? Not so with the It Works Ultimate Body Applicator. I will admit that just like you, I was a skeptic. After all, mom always said ‘if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’, but for such little investment, we just had to give it a try. We were dying to use the applicator on our waist (think belly, love handles and all that post-baby flab!). The treatment has a cool, tingling sensation and they recommend that you keep it on for at least 45 minutes. You can also wrap once every 72 hours for maximum effect. With just one wrap, we noticed 2” gone from the waistline (hooray!)! For more information, contact fellow twin mom and It Works Independent Distributor, Abbey Harrison or visit her It Works website. *further applicators could not be used because of a surprise pregnancy --- but we know where to go when we need them after the baby arrives! - talitha mcguinness 60


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lego sort & store by schylling toys - $54.99

Did you know that not only am I the Founder of Twiniversity, but I am a Lego Master? Ok, it’s true. I did give myself that title, but ever since I was a kid, Lego’s have been my favorite toy. Of course I’m thrilled that I’m passing the torch to my twinnies and they are Lego Master Apprentices. By the time they have children of their own, perhaps I’ll be willing to hand over the title. We’ll see. As you can imagine, being a Lego Master means having WAY too many Legos in our home. So imagine my surprise when I found the Holy Grail of Lego containers! We are now the proud owners of a Lego Sort & Store. This giant Lego head allows you to place all of your bricks into the top and then after putting the top on, you can “shake, shake, shake” and it sorts all your bricks! More reasons I love this container: 1. My kids actually put their Lego’s away EVERY TIME allowing me to swear a little less under my breath. (If you’ve ever stepped barefooted on a Lego brick, you know what I mean). 2. Their Lego creations have become more elaborate. Now that the bricks are sorted, they can find the tiny ones to add details like flowers and food on their favorite Lego dude’s plate. 3. It looks great! It’s a great addition to a playroom, bookcase or top of the dresser. Just be careful where you put it. If it contains a lot of Legos it could be a bit heavy. This Lego Sort & Store would be a great present for any Lego Master or Lego Master in training, and be sure to enter to win your very own from this issue’s fab freebies! - natalie diaz

green works cleaners by clorox - prices vary by product

Want cleaning products tough enough to do the job, but safe enough for your family and also protects the earth? Try new Green Works Toilet Bowl cleaner that’s tough enough to fight hard water and rust stains (yeah, all of you with well water, this product is for YOU because it does the trick!), yet is plant and mineral-based. Or give the All-Purpose cleaner a whirl. In a convenient spray bottle that can also be recycled, this cleaner can be used from the cooktop to the countertop, removing the toughest of dirt. The All-Purpose cleaner is our favorite because it can tackle even the messiest high chair tray, kitchen counter or potty seat while leaving us knowing it wouldn’t hurt a hair on our little ones’ heads! To purchase products online or to learn more green tips, visit Green Works online. Also, see below to enter this issue’s contest for your very own Casabella Cleaning Caddy filled with Green Works products! - talitha mcguinness

Want a chance at some fab freebies? This issue, we have several which may be of interest to you! * 1 set of reusable bags (sandwich/snack/deli) by Eco McPlanet * 1 Casabella Cleaning Caddy with products by Clorox Green Works * 1 Lego Sort & Store Click here to leave a comment on our website with your best “green” idea. Not a winner? No worries! We’ll have more great giveaways next time! Still need to join our group? It’s easy and free. Join today and join the multiplicity


YOU could be our


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tips for


your twins by jane goodrich


f you are lucky enough to have multiples, you know you have your work cut out for you. Not only with the regular stuff like feedings, changings, etc., but especially when it comes to taking photos of your babies. However, with a few tips, you can improve your chances of getting great everyday photos.

Tip One- Get Wranglers

Trying to keep one baby or toddler in one place long enough to take a photo is difficult, but you have two, three, or more. What you need is a “wrangler” to help corral your little ones, make them laugh, or just keep them from running off while you try to take some photos. Perhaps when you have visitors, ask them to help and you have the perfect time to take a few shots.

Tip Two: Timing - It’s a Matter of Minutes

You can’t really expect your babies to be patient, and believe me, they won’t be when you want to take that photo for Grandma. Just remember the window of time to capture great photos usually happens for about 5-10 minutes – after that, they will be bored and lose interest. If you know the time of day when your little ones (collectively) are at their most content, start with that time (hint: full bellies and rested babies make for a happy baby). 62


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Tip Three: Keep it Simple

Taking a cue from professional photos, it is a good idea to keep their outfits simple so as not to distract from their cute little faces. You can go from fun, casual clothes or dressy. Make sure that the clothes are timeless as possible. Avoid busy patterns so the photograph is about the children, not the clothes. Let your little ones pick them out for a fun shot - even if the colors clash, you can always make the shot black and white. Shoes are optional. Kids’ feet are just too cute!

Tip Four: Go Candid

Try to have your camera on hand at all times so you don’t miss a moment. Great photos are of real life - playing with a puppy, eating, or simply enjoying a sibling moment. It can help to use a zoom lens so you can take the photo without them noticing. It also is advisable to use an action setting to ensure you freeze the moment and avoid motion blur from little arms waving around.

Tip Five: Don’t Force It

Sometimes your little ones just might not be in the same mood (or awake) at the exact same time. Fear not! Some of the best shots are of the differences - awake and sleeping, crying & laughing. The one thing you do want to do is ensure that their heads are somewhat looking in the same direction (opposite directions work too). Remember it is real life. Capture it!

Tip Six: Get Down and Close

You may have better luck with photos that are down at your children’s level and zoomed in to just their little faces. This can take away the distraction of backgrounds so you get a photo that is entirely “kid-centered”, as well as engaging your kids while you shoot them. Get them started by singing songs, asking them questions, or having a funny face contest – your kids will have fun and you’ll get some great shots to share!

Tip Seven: Take Individual Shots

Even though everyone loves photos of your twins together, take photos of each of them ensuring that you capture what is memorable about them at that moment in time. If one of your twins loves walking around in her socks while your other multiplicity

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one is mischievous, make sure to capture what is unique to that child.

Tip Eight: Avoid Milestone Differences

This might sound contradictory to the last tip, but this is in regards to key developmental milestones that can show up in photos. Examples – one is sitting, the other isn’t or one is walking and the other isn’t. Twins will be compared for the rest of their lives, so not having a permanent memory of a big milestone they were behind in just helps with their individual confidence. Prop the ‘not so good sitter’ into the corner of the couch while the ‘strong sitter’ sits next to them. You can take some photos of them both crawling or have them both standing with support. No one will ever notice!

Tip Nine: Label The P hotos

If your twins happen to look alike, it is important to label your photos – both on the electronic copy and the hard copy. You think you’ll remember, but in a few years, you won’t!

Tip Ten: Have Fun

The best advice is to have fun taking photos of your little ones. If you are having fun, your little ones will too, and it will show in your photos! A New-York based newborn and children’s photographer with an artful eye and a modern edge, Jane Goodrich’s talent lies in her ability to capture a moment in time – no matter how quickly it passes. A twin herself, Jane loves shooting other multiples. With every shot, she aims to let the individuality of each child shine through and capture the uniqueness of their relationship. Jane’s connection with children combined with her genuine intuition translates into award-winning photos that are spontaneous, insightful, timeless and charming. Based in NY, Jane also shoots regularly in Chicago, Denver and London, England. Other locations are available upon request. 64


contd. from earth day

The Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization aimed at American land conservation, has what they call a “Go Zero Calculator”. This tool lets you input your home electricity and gas usage, and number of miles driven and flown to calculate your annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Get your kids involved by having them figure out and input the information. Once your CO2 output is calculated, talk with them about ways you can reduce your overall carbon footprint.

Get to know your town.

Visit your local zoo and ask about junior zookeeper programs where your child can learn about caring for animals and their natural habitats. Also, many cities have nature preserve centers where you can take advantage of guided tours to learn about the animals that live there. Don’t have a zoo in your town? Check for smaller parks such as a butterfly pavilion, safari park or reptile garden. These are great activities for younger, children since they can see and sometimes touch the animals in the exhibit.

Get moving.

Dust off your bikes and head out to your local park for a free concert, or turn the day into an adventure. Search for hidden corners of your town that you never knew existed. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but also a great exercise and it’s free! Gabriela Kleeman is a military wife and mom of a 1.5 year-old son and 3.5 year-old daughter. Gaby has held many jobs: financial writer, journalist and advertising executive, but feels that none have been as challenging and fulfilling as her current duties as a stay-at-home mom. A gardener, avid runner, and beginner cook, she hopes to instill in her children her passions for healthy-living, exercise, and a love of nature.

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twin e


by haley and tirion sheafor

ver since we were little we have known we were different than other sisters. When we walk down the street wearing the same clothes, people always stop us and exclaim, “Twins!” In our 17 years, we have gotten many questions. It is not something that is bothersome; it is just a part of everyday life. In the past two days alone, we have gotten a handful of comments. From the cashier in Target: “Were y’all born on the same day?” From a fellow swimmer: “Do you finish each other’s sentences?” And from the TSA guy at the airport: “Double-trouble?” In the past, we have gotten questions like: “Why do you wear the same clothes?” “Why do you take the same classes?” “Are you going to marry the same guy?” Our parents have always encouraged us to respond to the comments respectfully. After all, people are just curious. As twins, it is our job to educate them. We were born on the same day. We finish each other’s sentences. We are not “double trouble”, but “twice as nice”. We wear the same clothes because we have the same taste and we figure that people who take the time to tell the differences between us are our real friends. We take the same classes because we like the same subjects. We know that the teachers who take the time to get to know us will see the subtle differences in our art or our essays. We are not going to marry one person, but expect to find husbands that like each other. It is not the similarities or the similar clothes we still choose to wear that make us unique; it’s our unbelievable bond. We know each other so well multiplicity

that just a glance can elicit a needed hug or a nod of understanding. When one of us is sick, the other feels sick as well. Whether together or apart, when one of us gets injured, the other feels the pain. When we take tests, teachers are shocked when our answers are similar. We spend every moment together. We have like minds. In a sense, we are one being. Our handwriting is similar. Our likes and dislikes are similar, as we enjoy the same movies and books. It is not these similarities that make us who we are. We are individuals. But we are also who we are, in part, because of each other. We are who we are because we are twins. We sometimes struggle to tell stories because we know each other’s thoughts and we leave out details that others don’t know. We are better together than separate and together we can better address the curiosities of strangers, the accusations of teachers, and even the impatience of friends. We have a level of trust and understanding that is unparalleled and stronger than the best of married couples. Together we can teach the world that twins are different and it is okay to have similar thoughts, interests, and clothes. We can teach the world that twins are different and that our unique bond is a great one. Being a twin carries a responsibility for letting non-twins know what being a twin is like. Being a twin means having someone so close that our understanding of each other’s thoughts is omnipresent. Being a twin means respecting one another. The best part of being a twin is having something that few have: the gift of belonging, no matter what. In a way, the security of our twinship gives us the freedom to be adventurous individually because, no matter what, we will always be there for each other. Haley and Tirion are close to making a decision about where they will go to college next year. They volunteer weekly tutoring kindergarteners in literacy, and swim for a yearround competitive team. They are passionate about the arts, especially photography, and hope to study abroad in Spain during college. The twins are best friends and, no surprise, wrote this article together. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


contd. from watch videos

stay in one place while drinking their bottle so I was more relaxed. Parents of twins can relate that if one twin starts to move around, the other twin will likely immediately follow suit. The baby videos captured my twins’ attention and stimulated their senses. Secondly, being a parent of twins, I didn’t have a lot of time to learn how to teach my babies. Baby Einstein and Sesame Street Beginnings videos helped me teach my boys songs. I had forgotten many of the lyrics in popular children’s songs. The videos were also a good guide for teaching them about animals, colors, characters and more. When I sang and interacted with my babies during the videos it seemed to me that some magic happened. They absolutely loved many (if not all) of the videos. They reacted to the music and loved the puppet scenes. Every time I would put a video on, both boys would get so excited and start to smile and kick their legs. As time has progressed, I’ve watched the boys reach new milestones during video time. At 13 months, they now understand the humor which is demonstrated by their very cute chuckles and squeals, and they mimic some of the motions and dancing. If you want to use videos with your babies, I would limit the time they watch the videos each day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends, “Limiting children’s total media time (with entertainment media) to no more than 1 to 2 66


WHEN I SANG AND INTERACTED WITH MY BABIES DURING THE VIDEOS, IT SEEMED TO ME THAT SOME MAGIC HAPPENED. THEY ABSOLUTELY LOVED MANY (IF NOT ALL) OF THE VIDEOS. hours of quality programming per day.” For children under two years of age, the AAP recommends babies and toddlers “…be as ‘screen-free’ as possible…” Foremost, the AAP recommends that playtime is the best mode of promoting child development. If and when you do use videos and educational television shows, I strongly urge parents to watch along with their babies. Parents can make this time an interactive, developmental, and special bonding activity. When I watch the videos with my boys, we have a great time. We sing, giggle, move and learn with

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each video. I find myself laughing and enjoying the music right along with them. Surprisingly, I don’t even get bored watching them over and over (and over and over)! Deborah Kania is a former marketing executive and entrepreneur. At the ripe old age of 47, she became a first-time mom to twin boys, Griffin and Dylan. Deborah spends a majority of her time with her boys. Occasionally, she’ll write an article, catch a chick flick with a friend, or sneak to bed early.

contd. separate presents chores, and not to mention the expense. I often opt for one larger and more expensive gift, instead of two or three less expensive ones. Sometimes I’ll also include smaller token gifts from each of my kids to accompany the nicer group gift so that each of my kids can hand their friend a present.

If you’re invited to a birthday party for other twins or triplets, to bring a present from each of your kids for each of the birthday twins or triplets would be absurd! In this situation, keep it to one present for each birthday child. Most families of multiples will understand and would frankly be appalled if you showed up with that many presents. Remember, just like you, they’re often on the giving side of the equation themselves and have to struggle with the same issues. If others are buying gifts for your kids, the rules are the same. Each child should receive their own present or all should share one larger gift. The larger gift should be something all of the kids would enjoy. The trick here is to treat the situation as you would want it for your children. Always wrap each child’s gift separately, otherwise someone will feel left out. For instance, we’ll sometimes get one gift for my daughter and one for my sons to share which never seems to be a good situation in our household. Teacher gifts can be another gray area in terms of gift giving. If your kids are in the same class, one slightly nicer gift may

be more appreciated. What if you’re asked to contribute to a group gift? This can get a little ridiculous if each child is asked to contribute $20 toward a gift, which means you pay $40 or more. You might want to explain the situation to the class parent and opt to decline the group gift and do your own thing.

You will inevitably run into the dilemma of having one or two of your multiples invited to a birthday party or play date, but not the others. Although this may be hard on the ones left out, this is a perfectly acceptable situation.

Kids invite their friends to parties and outings. Just because your child shares his or her birthday with a brother or sister doesn’t mean they have to travel in a pack. This is a tough life lesson for multiples and their parents, but it’s a necessary one. Though you might be tempted, I would not call the other parents and ask if all of your kids can attend the event since this may put them in an awkward situation. Think of how you would react if a parent called to see if their older child could attend your kids’ birthday party. In some multiplicity

situations it could be okay, but usually parents have a cap on the number of kids they want at the party for financial or space considerations. If you find yourself in this situation and one or more of your multiples feel left out, you can decline the party altogether. A much better idea though would be to find a special activity to do with the uninvited ones while the party is taking place, especially if it’s only one of your children who have been left out. This would be a perfect opportunity for one-on-one time with that child. As your children enter grade school and if they’re in separate classes, you’ll get lots of separate invites. Whenever you’re stumped by an etiquette situation, just remember to think about your multiples as individuals and ask yourself what the parent of a singleton would do. There really shouldn’t be any difference and when in doubt, a phone call to another parent or teacher to discuss the situation can often yield good results. I think you’ll find that usually the solution is as simple as one, two, and three. Susanne Budofsky, PCD (DONA) is the proud mother of eightyear-old triplets and a former advertising executive turned postpartum doula and now momtrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Greater Than One Kids, and has taught classes, run support groups, and written several articles on raising multiples.

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tightening your budget belt in tough times by kristi gonzalez

Times are tough. Gas prices and utility bills are up, grocery prices have skyrocketed, salaries have been slashed, homes and cars have been lost by many, and retirement funds are shrinking. Sound bleak to you? Well, this is the unfortunate reality for many. Yet all hope is not lost. There are many things we can do to tighten our belts and reign in the high costs of living during our present economic tough times. I’d like to offer some very simple steps to helping you find peace in the midst of a budget that leaves you with more bills than paycheck at the end of the month. A quality budget may feel a little constraining at first but it won’t be long before you feel completely liberated by spending within your means. There is no deprivation in going without something when it in turn brings you great joy at completing your monthly budget on target. Let’s get started with an audit of your budget and see where you can start saving. Establishing a budget and controlling credit card spending are the first action steps to freedom.

Have a written budget that tells your money where to go. It may shock you to 68


find current places that large sums of money are leaking out, especially in the entertainment, travel and restaurant dining categories. If your budget isn’t written down, chances are nearly certain you aren’t following it, nor are you spending in a healthy fashion. You can find a FREE quickie budget and cash flow planner at Dave Ramsey’s website. His tools and budgeting program are simple and practical. They have worked for our family through very challenging times, and if you don’t have a system you are using, I suggest taking a look there.

Cut up those credit cards and start spending cash for the month at hand!

Make a commitment to get rid of spending on credit and stay within your monthly means. I find using cash in envelopes is a great way to ration spending to make the money stretch to month end. This really helps in the categories of Groceries, Restaurant meals, Entertainment, Clothing & Shoes, and Hair and Beauty expenses. Without a tight leash on spending in these areas, it can quickly creep over what your budget had planned. Using cash will tell you when to stop spending within that category and it will help teach discipline.

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So you have your budget in the works, you are rid of credit cards and are learning to spend cash --- what’s next? Most likely you need to start trimming back. These tips may help get you on TARGET with your budget goals by shrinking spending in key categories:

Stop shopping. This may

sound like I’m asking the impossible, however there are many places you CAN stop shopping. I recently told my daughter, “I have learned that if I do not enter a store there is a 100% certainty that I will not spend money there.” This means, don’t tempt yourself for things that are not necessities. When you do need items consider thrift or discount stores, consignment or garage sales. You will save a bundle!

Get rid of unnecessary bills and expenses. Do you really

need the expanded cable with the movie channels? Do you truly require a data plan on your phone? Do you use the sum of the cell phone minutes you pay for each month? Do you need a land line phone in your home? Can you make due without getting your “nails done” each month? Take a hard look at these types of expenses and then start crossing them out!

meal out will make anywhere from 2-8 meals at home for the same cost, depending on the caliber of the restaurant.

Sell it! Most of us have plenty

of things around the house we no longer need or use. Try selling it on the internet, at a garage sale or by dropping it to consignment. We have raised a decent sum of money on a few occasions by listing things for sale that we didn’t absolutely need. Maybe you have a spare TV, a piece of furniture, a gaming system or a child’s old musical instrument that is no longer needed. Gather things up and start collecting the money!

Barter for Goods and Services. People love to barter

in tough economic times. You may cut hair and a friend may do taxes or clean houses. Swap skills. Think of what you have to offer that others would want, and then see what they can offer

you that helps your monthly budget and exchange. It’s that simple! One area of bartering that works great for families is babysitting. We did a co-op with other families when our kids were young that ensured we had inexpensive date nights and blessed the other families involved as well. We also enjoy swapping freezer meals through a cooking club with friends and save by shopping in bulk and planning meals ahead.

Buy Generic Brands or shop at a discount grocery store.

You’ll be surprised how much you can save by having a list and planning to shop at an economical grocery store. Consider the value of shopping with coupons if you have the time AND IF they are for items you normally use.

Don’t do what you can’t afford to do. This sounds basic, (contd. pg. 86)

Don’t dine out. Restaurant

dining is very costly. By the time you add drinks and tips, it is stifling the price most families will pay for the convenience of eating out. Take a look at how much money you spent last month at restaurants and then calculate how many meals that would have made for you at home. For our family a single multiplicity

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gut following your

why it is never too early for autism intervention by erin clotfelter

Did you know that April is Autism Awareness Month? 1 in 110 kids will be diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). That number increases for boys, again for twins, and for identical twins, it goes up even more. As parents of multiples, the red flags for Autism should be something with which we are all familiar. As first-time parents, my husband and I were always on top of the developmental milestone charts. I think most parents are, especially firsttime parents who have nothing which to compare. The night before doctors appointments we’d go through checklists and double-check if there was anything out of the ordinary and make notes on anything that seemed to be lacking so we could be sure and discuss those items with our pediatrician. I also belonged to an expecting club so I could track where we were compared to other kids born the same month. I was never the parent who got overly worried if the boys weren’t at the high end of things (or even the low end). I understood there was a wide range on the developmental curve. My boys, identical twins delivered at 36 weeks, 1 day, seemed to be trucking right along developmentally. At 15 months we started to worry about their speech, or lack of speech. We talked to their doctor; we talked to everyone who would listen to us and our worries. Nearly 100% of the time we were met with a laundry list of reasons we didn’t need to worry --- they were boys, they



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were twin boys, they were identical twin boys, they were premature identical twins boys. By 18 months, not only were they not adding words, they had lost all of their speech and signs they had gained up to that point. Still, we were told to wait to schedule an evaluation until after they turned 2 years old and not to worry. Around their 2nd birthday I found out from a Twitter follower that I didn’t need a referral for an evaluation from Early Intervention. This was a revelation; for the first time I felt in control of the situation. One month later, 30 minutes into the speech evaluation, I was asked what I knew about Autism. I was floored. The boys had been meeting milestones and our only concern was speech. Not to mention, no one else who was around them was even worried about their speech, let alone anything else. How could we have missed something that seemed so obvious in the evaluation? The boys received a formal educational diagnosis a month later and a medical diagnosis four months after that. I relay this story for one reason…as parents,

list for a developmental pediatrician is a mile long, you can always make a phone call and start getting some answers. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, part C (IDEA part C), each state is responsible for providing services to infants and toddlers who are at risk for developmental delays or have a diagnosed physical or mental condition with a high probability of an associated developmental disability in one or more of the following areas: *cognitive development, *physical development, *language and speech development, *psychosocial development, and *self-help skills Access to EI varies from state to state --- most states house EI within the Department of Education. However, in some states you will find it under the Department of Health or the Department of Human Services. A quick Google search for Early Intervention and your

...for the first time I felt in control of the situation. One month later, 30 minutes into the speech evaluation I was asked what I knew about Autism. I was floored. especially mothers, we like to reassure each other that our kids are perfect, nothing is wrong, everything is normal and everything is going to be OK. We don’t always tell mothers to listen to their gut, especially when the outcome could be something like a developmental delay. There are times when mothers just need someone to reassure them they are doing a great job and their kids are doing great. And then there are times when it’s appropriate to acknowledge that there may be something wrong and be supportive by sharing resources. Early Intervention (EI) is a great place to start for all parents. First of all, most services are free. It’s available to every US citizen in every corner of the United States from birth to 3 years, and you don’t need a referral. If your pediatrician is dragging their feet on an evaluation or the wait multiplicity

city should get you a phone number. As parents to multiples, there are many of us who will be introduced to EI from Day 1. Prematurity can bring with it a whole host of issues that can benefit from therapies offered through EI. Services range from Audiology and Nutrition Services to Occupational, Speech and Physical Therapies (and everything in between). Now, I’m sure you are wondering, why the rush? Why shouldn’t I just wait and see? I suggest taking advantage of these services earlier on because this is a valuable resource that is mostly free (I say mostly because there may be some services required that are not covered), and at the magic age of 3, this resource is no longer available. Evaluations and therapies can be quite costly to pay out-of-pocket, as not all insurance covers it and even when it is covered, the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


five-minute fix: by traci zeller


here’s nothing like a decorative tray to make a jumbled mess suddenly look a million times better. A tray can act as a “drop zone” for keys, change and sunglasses, organize the daily delivery of bills and catalogs, create a home for books on a coffee table, or serve as a drinks station during a play date or party. Using a tray adds another design layer, making your arrangement of just about anything look purposeful – instead of “dropped anywhere there was clear space on the counter.” That’s why adding a tray is one of my favorite “five minute fixes” – my term for easy, inexpensive things you can do to make your home look and feel better in the short amount of free time we busy MOMs have! Inexpensive and attractive trays are readily 72



available, but I’ll share a few of my favorites. West Elm carries lacquered trays in a variety of sizes and on-trend colors. I especially love the orange, yellow and green, which feel especially right for spring. Their raffia trays infuse a natural, organic element into a room – and coordinate with just about any design scheme. Interested in adding a festive touch to your tray? Tie a coordinating ribbon around the handles, and you are party ready! I love to use acrylic trays on a coffee table because it adds an extra layer without visual bulk. They also work really well on a desk. My favorite sources for acrylic trays are CB2, The Container Store, and Amazon. For personalized trays, try Etsy! Those tend to get more expensive, but I’m crazy for the selection from Tilly Maison, Pretty Smitten, and A Blissful Nest. They also make

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contd. following your gut

photo credit by dustin peck photography

chic! fantastic gifts for just about any occasion – wedding, baby shower, or birthday. So grab a tray and get chic – in just five minutes! Named by Charlotte Style magazine as one of Charlotte’s 50 Most Stylish People in 2010, Traci Zeller is an interior designer known for her clean, sophisticated mix of classic and modern pieces. Traci developed her refined aesthetic through years of extensive travel, including

exposure to the finest art, architecture and interiors around the world. As a busy wife and mother to active twin boys, she appreciates the need for spaces that are beautiful and functional. Degrees in both accounting and law enable Traci to assist clients with budgets and contracts throughout the design process. Traci also authors a blog, in which she shares her stylish favorites with as many as 120,000 readers per month. Her firm, Traci Zeller Designs, provides full service design and e-decorating packages. multiplicity

it can be limited. No matter what the concern is (not talking, not walking, not interacting with others, etc.), by contacting EI and setting up an evaluation, you may set your child up for some valuable supports so they can get a jump start on the journey to be the best kid they can be. On the flip-side, if there is nothing to worry about, you may just get the peace of mind you needed to be able to enjoy your child and worry a little bit less. Let’s support each other as mothers. Listen to each other and to yourself. Don’t blow off concerns. Offer up resources and encourage each other to trust our instincts. After all, we know our children best. Erin Clotfelter is first and foremost a mom to three charming boys: 3 year old identical twins and an 18 month old. Erin writes at The Slacker Mom where she regales her readers with her adventures in parenting three toddlers with a healthy dose of humor. You can follow Erin on Twitter and on Facebook.

additional resources To learn more about Autism, check out these organizations as leaders in Autism science, awareness and advocacy. Autism Speaks Autism Society First Signs

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ways to provide quick, healthy meals for your family by michele dawson

or many of us, it’s a distant memory; you and hubby enjoying a delicious and relaxing dinner. Maybe a little beef bourguignon a la Julia Child served alongside candlelight and a glass of merlot. As your family grows, the time you once had to dream up and create beautiful, healthy meals diminishes significantly. When you have twins, you’re lucky if you can scrounge up enough time to pour yourself a bowl of cereal and hope it doesn’t get mushy as you feed and burp your babies, fold laundry, or play peek-a-boo. As your kids get older, the game changes. You’re busy chasing toddlers as you carve paths through wayward Lego pieces, wiping runny noses, kissing boo-boos, running from one play date to the next. Next thing you know, you’ve entered the school game.


You’re scrambling to get their breakfast on the table, get lunches packed, tracking down the misplaced homework, putting up the ponytail, reminding them umpteen times to brush their teeth and make their beds, and enduring the rigors of the wardrobe battles. Then after school, it’s soccer practice, basketball games, dance lessons, and homework. Sometimes things get so hectic that a call for pizza delivery is about all that we can muster. I’m speaking from personal experience. Now that my two oldest sons are in double digits and my twins are seven, I’m finally getting my act together. Had I been more organized, I’m confident I could have been on a better meal planning track years ago. Yet I do want to offer some tips and advice to get others going in the right direction sooner.

1. Become a planner (as much as possible). I know, I know.

When you have two (or more) little beings crying and pooping nonstop, planning isn’t part of the vocabulary. But you can start gradually. Choose one hour a week — nap time, after the kids are in bed — whatever you can scrounge up. Grab a notebook or your smart phone and plan your meals for a week. What meat do you have lurking in the freezer? Which vegetables in the crisper need to be eaten in the next few days? What is the pantry heavy on? Round out your shopping list by looking at your local grocer’s sales flyer to

find the best deals. Then peruse your cookbooks or online for recipes. Then make your menu for the week. Plan one night of leftovers each week. If you’re grilling chicken on Sunday, grill some extra for another chicken dish later in the week. Knowing what you’ll be preparing each day will help you stay organized, and can give you a leg up if you have a few extra minutes here and there throughout the day. You can chop, dice, grate, or mix during naptime so there’s less work later in the evening when it’s more chaotic.

2. Double up and freeze. I

have a husband and four kids, including a 15-year-old boy who plays club soccer, high school football, and goes to the gym at least five times a week. A boy who will scramble up six eggs as a snack. I once was able to count on enough leftovers for another dinner whenever I made something like a tray of enchiladas or lasagna. As the kids get older, it’s just not happening. So now what I often do is double up and freeze. If you’re making 12 chicken burritos, it’s really not much more effort to go for an multiplicity

extra dozen. I started doing this two or three times a week several months ago and before I knew it, I had a nice stash in the freezer. It’s so convenient on those nights when we have multiple after-school activities going on. If your twins are in the baby or toddler stages, cutting down your cooking time is essential. It’s nice to have a meal ready to plop in the oven once or twice a week.

3. Don’t underestimate the value of the crock pot. I adore my

slow cooker. Not only does it help create some delicious soups, spaghetti sauces and main dishes, but it allows me to put together a meal in the morning or early afternoon — a time of day when I have the most energy. By the time dinner comes around, I just need to make a salad and maybe boil pasta or rice. I also use the crockpot to double up and freeze. I make a double recipe of spaghetti sauce about once a month and usually have enough left over for three more meals. I simply put the sauce in three individual freezer bags or containers. Then it generally takes one to two days to thaw out in the refrigerator. I also do the same with soups and beans. The crock pot is also great for making a huge batch of shredded chicken. Simply fill the pot with chicken breasts, add about half a cup of water, some salt, pepper, and garlic, and after 8 hours on low, you have cooked chicken that is easy to shred and freeze away

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in a few batches. It’s easy to later pull out the chicken for easy dinners. Grab some tortillas, some sort of sauce and veggies, and you have a quick, easy meal.

4. Meal co-op. Chances are,

you have a group of friends in the same boat as you: lots of kid demands and little extra time. This is a spinoff from the doubling up and freezing strategy. But instead, you’ll cook triple and quadruple and exchange with friends. This works well with three or four. Talk about the menu ahead of time so you’re not duplicating items. Then try to carve out a few hours to shop and cook. If there are four of you all together, then you’ll each make four meals of the same item. Then you’ll save one and give one to each of the friends, so you’ll each have four dinners. If time allows and you’re all feeling ambitious, you can cook enough so that each dish is enough for two meals. So you’ll have eight dishes (two each of four different meals).

5. Buy healthy foods, then prep and bag. My kids like

crackers and chips so I try to stick with the baked varieties. I also try to keep bags of carrots and celery sticks stocked up. I’ll also bag up individual servings of things like trail mix, grapes, strawberries, so they can grab a bag when we’re on the go.

6. Put it in front of them.

There have been so many times when the kids have gotten home from school and I’ll ask if they’d like an apple or some grapes. Invariably, the answer will be “no” as they 76


forage through the pantry for something to satisfy their sweet or salty cravings. One day I decided to try a new approach. I simply set out a bowl of strawberries, grapes, apple slices or carrots. Within an hour the bowl is usually empty.

7. Don’t beat yourself up.

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is not to beat yourself up if you’re not always able to meet your own standards. There are going to be sick kids, crazy schedules, falls off the scooter, last-minute carpooling, or sheer exhaustion. If you’re not able to make that chicken and vegetable dinner you had planned, adjust. But there’s always a healthy way to make it simpler and avoid the drive-thru or pizza delivery desperation. A sandwich night or breakfast for dinner never killed anyone. From experience, eating breakfast for dinner will earn you big smiles and hugs. Michele Dawson is a freelance writer, wife to Brett, and mom to four: Blake, 15; Nick, 11; and twins Zach and Allie, 7. A former newspaper reporter and public relations specialist, she now writes for various web sites and publications but her favorite writing is found on her blog, Arizona Mom on the Run, which she created when her family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 2007. When she’s not writing, planning meals, helping her kids with homework, or assigned to carpool duty, she enjoys running, exercising, photography, crafts, hanging out with her family, and spending the brutal Arizona summers poolside.

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what’s for dinner?


chicken pan pie Ingredients

*2 refrigerated pie crusts *2 cans cooked white chunk chicken *1 bag of frozen vegetables *1 cup chicken broth *8 oz. cream cheese *1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese *salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll one refrigerated pie crust and place in the bottom of an aluminum or glass pie pan. Drain chicken and mix with frozen vegetables in a medium bowl. Add chicken broth and cream cheese in a separate, microwavable bowl. Place in the microwave for approximately 1 minute then stir together. Repeat in 30 second to 1 minute intervals until mixture is creamy. Pour cream onto chicken and vegetables stir until completely mixed together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour entire mixture into the pie pan, sprinkle with shredded cheese and add last pie crust on top. Prick with a knife or fork and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until crusts are light brown. Enjoy!

photo courtesy of michael sult

managing theme parks


WITH MULTIPLES by kelly green

or many children, visiting a theme park is an exciting dream come true. Whether they have always wanted to meet Mickey in person, or wished for a chance to be splashed by Shamu, kids can’t wait to get past the parking lot and through those turnstiles for a day of family fun. Expectations, however, can either help or hinder your family’s magical vacation. Having a plan worked out ahead of time and armed with an ounce of prevention will ensure everyone’s trip is, well, worth the trip! DO: Discuss that “one special thing” each family member has to do Moms of multiples are well-versed in balancing each of their children’s needs. That skill is even more valuable on a day of high stimulation and multiplicity

(potentially) long waits. Amy Guerrini, mother of twin girls, had many a conversation with them about their special hopes for the day. “Alexa is adventurous, while Olivia is content to go on a calm ride or watch a show,” she explains. To accommodate each girl, the family did the “must have” rides first, and then the girls took turns deciding which attraction to see “next,” in relation to where they were in the park. Knowing each of their individual wish lists had been checked off early in the day made for a more relaxed afternoon. “From that point on, we were able to use an app* to help us gauge wait times or, on occasion, split up for a bit.” Positive Parenting Solutions founder Amy McCready agrees. “Have a Family Meeting before the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


DO: Remember your kids’ schedule If your kids take a snooze every afternoon, don’t expect them to be “just fine” without one on vacation. Some parents swear by the plan: open the park, leave in the early afternoon to relax, then go back in a few hours and stay for fireworks. This is more “doable” when staying at a hotel on or near property. If leaving isn’t possible, plan for indoor shows or calm attractions at “that” time of day.

the trip and be sure to include a discussion of what happens if everyone can’t agree.” Will mom or dad decide or will the family leave the park? “If kids have a say in how the process will go, they’ll be more likely to follow the plan when you get to the park.” DO: Take the day at a child’s pace Dr. Laura Markham of, suggests dropping agendas and focusing on being a kid. Flashing lights, loud noises, bustling people, and sometimes even beloved characters in costume can overwhelm. Acknowledge there’s a lot going on and reassure your children with calming words and plenty of hugs and laughs. 1 12/14/11 1:16 PM “Make it your goal to strengthen the bonds you have with your children,” says Dr. Markham.

Meal times should not be ignored, either. If you plan on eating on property, try to gauge crowd levels and perhaps eat a little early if it seems like there might be a wait. If you’re bringing in your own food, pack healthy snacks and be sure your kids are eating on time.** Have special dietary requests or need advice on avoiding allergies at


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Disney? Contact SeaWorld has a Contact Center call number, 888-8005447. They will be able to make notes for the park team and other parks have similar programs. DON’T: Try to do it all Parents sometimes fall into the trap of wanting to do everything. Take your time, suggests Dr. Markham. “If your goal is to hit every attraction and ‘get your money’s worth,’ then go without kids,” she recommends, laughing. Children enjoy watching things that aren’t the main event. My son adores the Longshoremen at SeaWorld and plops down in front of them whenever we stumble on a performance. Be sensitive to your children’s ability to enjoy the moment and go with it! It’s physically impossible to hit every ride and show with multiples in tow, so don’t even try. Do what you can do with the time you have, and savor every magical moment. Whether your destination is SeaWorld, Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens or one of the other great theme park destinations across the U.S., remember to plan for safety as well as fun. **Check with the park’s guest relations office for current policies and procedures on outside food.


*there’s a


Want instant access to the parks and information?

Try out application for iPhone, or the newly unveiled official Disney World app. SeaWorld, ! t Orlando, also has a park for tha app available for free, as does Disneyland, Busch Gardens, Tampa, and Williamsburg. Universal Studios’ app is handy for finding your way around, but does not include wait times. Some parks have apps on additional platforms, so it’s best to search your app store for availability.

Kelly Green is now a full-time mom, homeschooler, and part-time freelance writer/editor/graphic designer for a Florida-based healthcare publication. For fun, and to promote tourism and travel, Kelly enjoys photographing and blogging about SeaWorld as SeaWorld Mommy, as well as other Southeast Area Attractions, theme parks, and places of education and interest around the world. She’s a songwriter, frequent Tweeter, and is newly addicted to Pinterest. multiplicity




Take a picture of your parking row number on your digital camera or phone so you can find your vehicle easier at the end of the day when you’re tired (so there’s less walking through the parking lot!).


Put your child’s name and your local contact number on something you can attach to their shoes or put in a pocket. Some parks have little tags for that purpose. Check with the guest services as you enter the park if you’d like assistance.


Use two single strollers if at all possible or the long narrow double/triple ones. Wide strollers are tricky to maneuver when the parks are crowded.


Bring a change of clothes in a plastic zipper bag for post-splash rides, marine animal spray, or unexpected inclement weather.

a a a

Check park opening/closing times before arrival. Wear sunblock. Check height requirements for rides. There’s no explaining to a child (trust me I know) that he’s now too tall for the ride that’s his favorite, or not yet tall enough for the one he’s been dying to ride.


Give your kids an unusual code word to shout if they get separated. Lots of kids shout “Mommy” or “Daddy” when they’re lost, but if you hear “Liverwurst! Liverwurst!” in the distance, you know what direction to go to find your child.


Show your children how to recognize cast members if they need assistance or get separated from you.

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smarter not harder


traveling with your multiples daily and on vacation by farrah ritter

y family consists of myself, my husband, our three year old, and our 16 month old twins. If we’re not careful we might end up packing a suitcase for every daily ‘jaunt’ out into the world. The number one tip I recommend (since I do believe parents figure it all out as they go along) for packing ‘smarter’ with your multiples is simple. Take everything that you think you need and divide it by half. Take your divided half and decide what you will comfortably need. Be realistic with yourself and your needs because you do not need to pack two, three, or more of everything, as long as you plan. On daily trips, I pack next to nothing in a simple diaper bag built for one. Depending how long I’m gone, I usually pack one diaper for each, some wipes, a drink, a snack and possibly a change of clothes. Parents shouldn’t feel like they have to run out and buy one of those ‘special’ diaper bags built for twins. They’re just a bigger bag in which to stuff more things and you will already have your hands full (as you are most likely reminded of daily). When we go on vacation we pack and stay for a minimum of one week because to us, it’s really not worth it to go for a shorter amount of time. We’ve been on a few weekend trips with the crew to the beach and to be honest, that has been a harder trip for which to pack. We live in South Carolina and our entire


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extended family lives in Michigan, which is about a 13-hour drive for the five of us. In mom-speak, it is an eternity to spend in the car with your children. Last year we went north and I networked with friends in the area to borrow things like swings and pack and plays. My twins were pretty little then, so having those things was kind of a necessity for us. I coordinated via Facebook what we could borrow. We only needed a few items for a short time, so thankfully my father-in-law was able to round it all up before we even arrived. Another tip that helped tremendously was checking local resources within the area you’ll be visiting or vacationing. I purchased a few items on Craigslist where I was going. I made arrangements with my mother-in-law to relist the item(s) once we left and she was able to resell it for the same price. I found that even placing a ‘please help, wanted to buy/borrow’ ad in the baby gear section was helpful. I had a couple of great moms just willing to help out. Before placing the first item in the suitcase, take your time organizing the clothing. With multiples, make sure you pack for mixing and matching outfits. I know its tempting to take all of their cutest stuff, but do you really need to take a pair of pjs for every single night? No, especially not if where you are staying has a washer and dryer. I started by breaking everything down into outfits. I then took outfits that couldn’t be paired with anything else and pitched them. Of course, be sure to pack a few back-up items. It was less to re-pack once we were ready to go. When it comes time to pack up the car, be sure to maximize your space. We have a minivan and I

...[be sure to check] local resources within the area you’ll be visiting or vacationing. 82


wouldn’t trade it for the world! We use a waterproof rooftop carrier that we purchased for around $80. This really is something worth investing in. When it comes to lodging, think...what does the hotel already have? We have always stayed in rooms with the pull-out couch bed for my oldest. He’s only three, but we found that we could make a barricade of pillows to keep him in. For the twins we had a pack and play for each that folds up pretty small. Besides the ordeal of carrying them around (I suggest a Bover Bag), you don’t need anything else. Another tip for a quick getaway is to look at onsite baby gear rental companies. They’re popping up everywhere and truly a brilliant idea. Google ‘baby gear rentals’ and see the list that pops up like national company, Travel BaBees. For those longer trips in the car, a few of our absolute must-haves include a travel potty (a lifesaver many times); a DVD

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more tips for travelling with two or more in tow!

*Flying? Consider investing in the Go Go Kidz Travelmate in order to keep your children contained, moving along, and safe at busy airports. Also, freshen up on airline policies regarding seating of lap children (there’s usually only one extra oxygen mask per row)

photos courtesy of jane goodrich photography

*In a hotel? Confirm cribs are available at reservation and again a few days prior to your arrival. Also consider a kitchen for preparing meals and warming/refrigerating bottles, etc. For more travel tips, check out Twinning At Life. Got a travel story to share? Enter the Cargo Baby contest for a chance to win a Deluxe Travel Package worth $5,000! The contest ends April 27th, so get your entries in today.

player (bring a wide variety of cds and movies so you aren’t going nuts); and personal toys (each of our children have a backpack and I put favorite books, toys and games for each). If you’re just stopping overnight on the way, pack a simple overnight bag for your family so that you don’t have to unpack the whole car. I started doing this when we began travelling as a fivesome and can’t stress enough how simple it will make your life. I hope these tips are helpful and here’s to safe travels with your family! When she finds time to herself, Farrah Ritter jots down the sometimes sporadic and crazy, but always funny adventures of her family at The Three Under. Her boys consist of a 3 year old, 16 month old twins, and her husband. They all enjoy life and living in the southeast with their two labs. multiplicity

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hope by amanda nethero


eaching our children their ABC’s and 123’s seems to be a given to any parent, but teaching our children the importance of being charitable doesn’t always cross our minds. A great way to instill compassion and empathy in your children is to be involved in works of charity. By working with others and sacrificing their own time, talents, and possessions, your child will become empathetic to other’s needs and will more likely grow up to be a charitable adult. I was able to speak with Dr. Joan Friedman and she believes parents can help children learn compassionate behavior. We put together seven different ways to teach children compassion with a few examples to help drive the point home. Teaching your child to delay gratification. Wanting and not getting is a good thing. Delayed gratification is a hard topic, especially when you have two three year olds that have the patience of well…three year olds! Teaching delayed gratification can also be a great teaching experience to explain the difference between a “want” and a “need” to your children. Reward your child in non-monetary ways. I’m lucky that I still have preschoolers and they are often content with stickers. Trust me; I plan on playing that card as long as I can. For older children, a non-monetary reward could be something as simple as not having to do one



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

of their chores for the day. Encouraging your child to volunteer in an organization is another great way to teach them about being rewarded in a non-monetary way. Make sharing with others who are less fortunate a regular part of your life and an expectation. This can be as simple as donating a dollar on your grocery bill, or placing some loose change in the Salvation Army buckets around the holidays. My friend Elizabeth Lyons has instilled this in her daughter Grace from a very young age. “When Grace was 3, we began sponsoring a child through World Vision. About 2 years ago, we were notified that the child’s circumstances had blessedly ‘graduated her out’ of the program. Grace immediately said, ‘Can I sponsor someone else now?’ It’s made the experience extremely personal for her and opened her heart to what real need is.” Find opportunities to show your child that the best things in life are not things. We were “lucky” enough to have an experience over the holidays to help illustrate this to our children. My mother-in-law developed a staph infection from a surgery this past year. As a result, she spent the holidays in a nursing home recovering. We were able to take the kids to see her and often let the kids walk up and chat with the other residents. Nursing homes are a fantastic way to teach your children that family and just taking the time to care about someone is really what is important in life.

Refuse to keep up with the Joneses. Be aware of your own tendencies or need to compete with others. Just to hear what some kids ask for on their birthdays or the holidays is mind boggling to me. Normally it is preceded with “But everyone has one!” While it may be easy for us to explain to our child why they cannot have whatever ‘it’ is, what are we really saying to them when we run out to purchase the latest must have item? Are you really buying that item because it’s supposed to be the best or because Mr. Jones just got one and you have to have one, too? Children will follow the model you set, and if you set the tone that some of these possessions are a want, and not a need, you have won half the battle.

It is important to paint a very real picture for your children about how life may not always give you what you want, but you can always make the best of what you have and still be happy. Model for your child the reality that a happy life always includes ups and downs. Let’s face it, sometimes things just don’t go our way. I was the youngest of six kids, and while I was born long after my mom got rid of my sister’s handme-downs, all of my clothes were still bought on a budget. I wasn’t wearing the latest brand name jeans, but I also didn’t want for anything. It is multiplicity

important to paint a very real picture for your children about how life may not always give you what you want, but you can always make the best of what you have and still be happy. There are so many simple everyday tasks you can do with your children to teach them about charity and compassion. On gift-giving occasions, make a habit of giving a toy to a less fortunate child. Your child can decorate a card for your postal worker and leave it in the mailbox thanking them for delivering your mail. You can take cookies to your local fire or police station and thank them for protecting your community. You can also pick a charity as a family and donate your time, talents, and money to that organization for the year. The possibilities truly are endless and will help your children become kind, caring, and compassionate adults you will be proud of in the future.

Amanda Nethero is a native south suburbanite of Chicago who has the accent and White Sox apparel to prove it, that now lives in the sunshine state. Beside taking care of her 3 ½ year old twins, she also runs Multiples and More, a blog network for families with multiples. You can also keep up with her on Twice the Love…Half the Sleep. Amanda is also a sippy cup hunter, boo-boo kisser, peace talk negotiator, pop culture know-it-all, baker, cook, and loving wife.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


contd. from tightening

but how many people do you know that take a vacation because they “NEED ONE” rather than because they have the money to completely fund it. Likewise, how many do you know that will forego or simplify their Christmas or birthday gift exchanging because things are tight rather than end up with credit card debt. Be the EXCEPTION! You will find much greater peace in the sacrifice and simple living than the costly “THINGS” will ever bring you.

Start SAVING. As you begin to spend within

your means each month, you will begin eliminating debt and eventually you will find that you can start saving for a brighter future! Whether that be a vacation, a first home, college for the kids or retirement, having a good handle on your budget will bring you success in all areas over time. However, remember that changes won’t occur over night. Be faithful and you will eventually find great peace in having control over your family finances, rather than them having control over you! Kristi Gonzalez owns and operates A & K Healthy Living where she offers wellness and nutritional consulting for those seeking better health naturally. Kristi and her husband, Dr. Aaron Gonzalez, have led budgeting and financial classes for couples in their churches. As a mother of 4, she realizes the importance of a safe and healthy home for her family as well as yours, and realizes we all need a little help in attaining the energy and stamina we need to keep up with life!



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples



the must-have magazine multiplicity for all moms the of multiples must-have magazine for all moms of multiples




the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples