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Summer 2012

the story of us: one mom’s reason to write

moving with

multiples in tow

affordable

Great Dates in your own backyard! 1

kegels:

is this down under workout necessary?


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Cord blood stem cells are not applicable for every situation. Use will be determined by the treating physician. © 2012 Cbr Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. • 0612 • MA02138.01


moving, making friends & multiples 6

Intuition: trust that little voice

35 Wait! What? The long journey of

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Multiple Madness that even Calgon can’t take away!

38 Great Dates --- things to do &

11 5 Must-Have Apps for multiples

micro-preemies.

ways to fall in love, right in your own backyard!

13 Moving with Multiples in tow!

40 Freezer Cooking 101

15 Will I ever sleep again?!?

47 Kegels: ways to get your pelvic

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floor back in shape.

16 Vacation survival guide

49 Five-Minute Fix:

19 Sun Safety 101 22 Fashion Finds for Less: Beautiful, affordable pieces for summer!

28 Raising a Manny in Charge

50 Party Pleasers for twins (and moms, too!)

56 Enough “whine” with that cheese? Summer wine tips for us all!

30 The Story of Us: One mom’s

58 Travelling abroad with multiples.

reason to write.

32 Product Buzz - the scoop on

must-have items for moms and kids!

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cover cuties Tom & Abby are 7 years old from California. Tom loves soccer, basketball, tether ball and kick ball. He also enjoys running, biking and scootering. Abby enjoys painting, drawing and creating new hair and jewelry accessories. She also loves to dance and sing. Though they have opposite interests, they truly are the best of friends. photos courtesy of John Rayl Studios

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Every time I take my twins to the playground I see how very different they are. While my little girl goes up to almost everyone there and asks “Hi, I’m Anna. Wanna play?” my little dude takes a back seat and waits for kids to come to him. As a kid, I was always like my daughter. It’s pretty amazing that my core group of women friends have known me since before I could write my own name. Then the babies came. My friends all threw their hands up in the air. Sure, they were unbelievably supportive, but none of them had fed two babies at once, experienced the insane sleep depravation, or knew the logistics of leaving the house with two. It was then that I sought out new friends. I attended a Manhattan Twins Club meeting in winter 2005 when my babies were just a few weeks old. I felt like a little girl all over again and wanted to go up to every woman in the room and say “Hi, I’m Nat. Wanna be my friend?”. I was in a room with women who shared my story, knew my troubles and simply wanted to help or share their own experiences. It was then that I knew the power of the multiple parent community.

A few months later we brought Joscelyn (Multiplicity’s editor) into the mix and the rest, as they say, is history. After many months of emails, phone calls, etc., the three of us finally got into a room together to host a seminar for New York Family Magazine on “The Balancing Act”. Without practice, we just knew what the other was going to say, not because we are all BFFs, but because we are all going through it. We know each others struggles balancing life. We know how we put our kids and husbands first (we are all very traditional in that regard). We know the struggles of women in the workplace (ever tried to have two school birthday parties, make karate class on time, and have magazine deadlines?), and we all have a few “scars” to prove it. We hope that you feel the “love” in each issue since it’s put together by a group of women who not only work together, but are truly friends.

Almost a year ago, my personal and professional lives came crashing together and the concept of Multiplicity was born. Talitha (Multiplicity’s creative director), our good friend Traci Zeller (the talented interior designer), and I were trapped in a cab in Chicago traffic when the topic of starting a magazine came up. It was our “ah-ha” moment! Joscelyn Ramos Campbell executive editor joscelyn@multiplicitymag.com

Talitha A. McGuinness creative director talitha@multiplicitymag.com

Natalie Diaz founder/publisher natalie@multiplicitymag.com

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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multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy, so here’s to...

DANCING

firef ly catching, UNDER STARS, barefoot piggies splashing in the surf,

cool, drippy treats in the heat of the day, endless smiles & giggles, late-night stories, s’mores, and snuggles with each of the ones you love the most.

photos courtesy of jane goodrich photography

Here’s to Summer!


intuition: that little voice is telling you to do something by tobi stanton stewart

t

rust your instincts. The sagacious advice my father, who spent over thirty years in law enforcement, often gave. It was a warning and reminder that there is a little voice inside of us that lets us know when there is something wrong. My father had seen enough in his line of work to encourage his only daughter to trust this voice. Intuition becomes less of a voice and more of a roar when one becomes a parent. My twins are our first born children and my husband and I had all of the anxieties that plague any first time parents. I remember the first time we

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had to use the aspirator to get “boogies” out of an infant. I almost wept. When my daughters started walking, they fell. They fell all the time! My wonderful pediatrician assured me it was the era of bumps and bruises. My sweet mommy friends concurred that their children fell as well. The nagging voice, however, would not leave me alone. My children’s clumsiness was intense and I wanted to bubble wrap our house. photos courtesy of jane goodrich photography

Other developmental issues began to present themselves with my “B” baby. Her vocabulary was deteriorating. If you see red flags in your child’s development then follow up because early intervention is the key. Ask your pediatrician to refer you to your county’s Early Intervention Program for an evaluation or you can call them yourself. Do not just wait it out. Be proactive and follow your intuition. Our pediatrician referred us to the Pediatric Developmental Center at our local children’s hospital. We did not find the answers or guidance that we were looking for there. We knew we would have to seek help elsewhere. As parents it’s important to get on the same page as your spouse for support and understanding. Denial and fear of the unknown will exist because no one wants their child to be ill, but facing it is the only way to make progress. We went on an exhaustive search for help for our daughter which led us to an integrative doctor

As parents, we have choices and we must empower ourselves to ask questions and to educate ourselves. in our area. From there we discovered The Rhinebeck Health Center. Integrative Medicine focuses on the whole person not just fragmented parts of the patient’s health. We learned that baby B was suffering from celiac disease and a mitochondrial dysfunction. Symptoms of a mitochondrial disorder can include loss of muscle coordination and muscle weakness. I venture to guess it is the kind of lack of coordination that would cause a worried mom to want to bubble wrap her house. The exceptional attention and care at Rhinebeck led us to seek treatment there for our other twin, who suffered from reactive airway issues. Extensive blood work revealed that she too has celiac. We were also completely floored to learn that she tested double positive for a mitochondrial dysfunction which we would have never known if we had not taken the twins to multiplicity

The Rhinebeck Health Center. As parents we have choices and we must empower ourselves to ask questions and to educate ourselves. Get second and third opinions until you feel comfortable with the answer. If the nagging “voice” is still there, then you aren’t done. Search and do not yield until the voice subsides. Doctors are frequently asked about vaccines. If you question vaccinations and their role in auto-immune dysfunction and autism, educate yourself on alternative vaccination schedules. You are the expert when it comes to your child. You know your family history and weak immune function is hereditary. Do you want a hepatitis vaccination on the first day? Are you comfortable playing “catch up” on the vaccination schedule and bombarding your child’s immune system? Do you think it is unwise to vaccinate if the child has even a small cold? Speak up! Don’t accept what your intuition questions. In the words of my father, “Trust your instincts. They won’t steer you wrong.” They have not. They have led us to a place where both of our daughters are happy, healthy, and thriving. Thanks Dad.

Tobi Stanton Stewart is a twin mom and writer who blogs about the good, the bad, and the fabulous world of multiples at The Posh Mommas.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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multiple madness: by liza corbo

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multiplicity

the kind calgon can’t

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


take away!

m

ultiples seem to bring the crazy into my life. Scratch that --- identical twin boys who sometimes have the help of their 18 months older brother bring the crazy into my life. I’m never sure if I have double or triple trouble, even though they are not actually triplets. However, it all feels the same on occasion, as my boys sure seem to know how to get things going. So what do you do when your multiples work together to do something devious? This mama has got you covered, because I have been there. It wasn’t soon after the twins started walking that my littlest one got interested in climbing. The twins would work together to push a ride-on toy over towards the bookcase. There was one time I actually caught one holding the ride-on while the other climbed on top, stood up, and attempted to climb the bookshelf. When the twins were barely over two years old, they powdered their entire bedroom, with the help of their three-year-old brother who denied his participation for months, (but was the only one tall enough to reach the changing table with the powder on it). And when I say entire bedroom, I am talking not a single inch left uncovered. Bedding, stuffed animals, glider, toys, floor...so much powder you could actually see it just hanging out in the air, and three small boys with white hair standing in the middle of it all. At three and a half years old, the twins managed to empty an entire tube of Desitin all over their room - this time without their big brother’s help. It was an old tube that I had long since forgotten was left behind and newly discovered by them after bedtime. Desitin on the walls, covering the beds and the floor... their entire bodies. I thought I would never get them - or their bedroom clean. It took hours.

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My youngest twin, at age four, actually managed to unscrew and take apart his toddler bed (during nap time), aided only by Handy Manny tools. You read that right…tiny plastic play tools that came with a Handy Manny doll. Then, there is any time the three of them are out in the backyard or at the beach --- I have the boys that manage to get covered in DRY dirt (who needs mud?), in a matter of minutes. They find the shallow puddle at the beach and decide to roll in it all day so the sand is caked onto every spot of their bodies, and then get upset because the shower at the beach is too cold and they don’t want to get in it. These guys know a thing or two about sticking together. Bottom line is they drive me crazy most days. No Calgon bath, bottle of wine, plate of cookies, or anything else could take the madness away. But I love them so much I wouldn’t really trade these stories for anything. It’s sure not funny as it’s happening (almost ever), but after? It does make for a good laugh. The best you can do is have a cleanup plan in place at all times. Powder your problem? There’s a vacuum for that. Desitin? Turns out peanut butter in the hair helps get some of that out before a good shower (or three), and Dawn dishwashing liquid helps get it out of wood and more. They weren’t kidding when they said it helped with ducks and the oil spill, but it still took hours and several buckets of water to clean that room. Dirty from the yard? When it’s warm enough I hose them down outside before they come in. And when it comes to the beach, when the outdoor shower there fails, I scrub faces and hands with wipes and put the boys in their booster seats on extra towels. There are showers for all when we get home and the seats aren’t too messy from the ride after this tactic. While you can’t always be prepared for what you don’t expect while you are out on the go, you can always keep a bag in the car with an extra set or two of clothes, towels and wipes. I remember thinking when the boys were all finally potty trained I didn’t need to pack these things anymore. Funny thing is it can come in just as handy now that they are a few years older, because the fun shall we say, hasn’t quite stopped yet. 10

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homemade bug spray recipes by wellness mama Essential Oil Bug Spray

Wellness Mama Bug Spray Ingredients: *Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint *Natural Witch Hazel *Distilled or boiled Water *Vegetable glycerin (optional) How to Make the Essential Oil Bug Spray: 1. Fill spray bottle (I used 8 ounce) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water 2. Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top 3. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin if using 4. Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be.

Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray

Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray Ingredients: *Distilled water *witch hazel or rubbing alcohol *dried herbs: peppermint, spearmint, citronella, lemongrass, catnip, lavender, etc. I recommend using at least one herb from the mint family. How to Make the Fresh or Dried Herbs Bug Spray: 1. Boil 1 cup of water and add 3-4 TBSP of dried herbs total in any combination from the above. I use 1 TBSP each of peppermint, spearmint, catnip and lavender, and also throw in a couple of dried cloves. 2. Mix well, cover and let cool (covering is important to keep the volatile oils in!) 3. Strain herbs out and mix water with 1 cup of witch hazel or rubbing alcohol. Store in a spray bottle in a cool place when not using. Wellness Mama (aka Katie!) is a blog to help you sort through health advice and live a healthier life. Katie is a wife and mom of four with a background in Nutrition and Journalism. Her goal is to provide her family with the healthiest foods and lifestyle possible and help you do the same.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


5 on the move! apps for multiples

by erin davis

Moms of multiples often fall victim to “too many hands, not enough thing.” How many times have we had to break up a brawl between four (or more) hands and a soon-to-be ravaged toy, book, or even iDevice? It was this adversity that eventually inspired me to design my own App, The Pete and Sneakers Bath and Bedtime Show. At last, an App that would satisfy the insatiable need for twins to covet their own “thing!” I’m not the only one; check out these five additional multiple-friendly Apps that please and appease ages zero to four—and if lucky, may give you five whole minutes of “you” time. Alien Buddies (Artgig, LLC.) $1.99 – What’s not to befriend about a game that offers activities as diverse as its tentacle-googly-eye swathed creatures? Not only does Alien Buddies offer a pallet of puzzles, matching games, and connect the dots, the layout also comfortably allows for two-plus users. Tucked cleverly within these various activities are lessons in letters, numbers and colors. Sam and Ben (InteractBooks LLC.) $3.99 – A new arrival to iTunes, Sam and Ben is a supremely entertaining tale about twins, designed for twins. The dewy, watercolor illustrations blend nicely with soothing narration to entice multiples into a journey of twindom. Multiples will learn that although Sam and Ben are extremely close, they are more than simply multiplicity

“two peas in a pod.” Throughout a thoughtful storyline of individuality meets special bond, children can join in the fun by activating several interactive components: moving bath toys, prompting Sam and Ben to giggle, and much more. Toca Tea Party (Toca Boca) $2.99 – If you haven’t indulged in a Toca Boca App, then you may be depriving yourself (and your multiples) of ridiculous fun. “Tea Party,” recommended by seasoned App expert The iPhone Mom, is a multi-faceted App meant for multiple hands--I can boast personal success with up to three sets of hands. Party players select their own table cloth, dining dishes, delicacies and drinks. Napkins are provided for spills, as is soapy water for post-party dishwashing—now that’s my kind of tea party! My A-Z (Night & Day Studios, Inc.) FREE – Not only are these digital flashcards sure to entertain, they’ll turn duos and trios into ABC-reciting rock stars. My A-Z enables multiples to share in the task of selecting an image of choice to correspond with each letter of the alphabet. In addition, pairs of preschoolers have the option to record letter sounds with their own sweet sopranos. The builtin camera in A-Z encourages endless candid alphabet snapshots—think about that long drive to grandma’s house, “S” is for that stoplight…or, for that siren (hopefully not behind you!). Build it Up (MyFirstApp) FREE – Forget to pack the babies’ favorite toys? MyFirstApp has you covered. This virtual version of the stacking game so coveted by toddlers and parents is an excellent replacement (or addition) to the real thing—and easier to tote. Small fingers can easily share the screen to stack blocks and rings. For an additional .99 multiples can choose from a number of “stacking boards” including a boat, cake and castle. Erin Davis is the author of multiples-friendly App, The Pete and Sneakers Bath and Bedtime Show. She resides in Arizona with her husband and three girls (ages 5 and under!). When she isn’t chasing husband, kids or Lola (the family dog), she’s freelance writing and creating more children’s books and Apps. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


moving with multiples

or more

tips & advice for moving with two in tow! by barbara wade sergent

W

hen I saw the title of this article, I knew I was meant to write it. After all, our family had recently made the decision to relocate from the Midwest to Southern Florida and I am in the middle of the coordinating process. As is typical of these types of corporate moves, my husband had one foot out the door and the other in Florida as he prepared to start his new job. On the other hand, I was preparing to manage the five kids alone, while readying our home for sale, purging excess stuff, and stuffing as much fun into the next couple of months as possible. Though no expert, I have learned a few things in the process and I hope to share my newfound wisdom with others! • When it comes to telling the kids, lead with the positive. Try to focus on all the new opportunities and possibilities a move will bring. With the kids, you’ve got to sell it! • Involve the kids in the purging process. You don’t want to arrive in the new house only to realize that your daughter is looking for something you sold. • Enlist help. You will have so much to do and you won’t be able to do it all yourself. • VBS (Vacation Bible Schools) and summer camps are a great way to free up your time while giving your children something meaningful to do. • Create a memory book for the kids that include pictures of people and places that are important to them. • Ditch the guilt about moving your kids. Kids are resilient and they will be okay. multiplicity

• Be realistic about what you need to take with you. You don’t need heavy jackets, boots, hats, or gloves in Southern Florida. However, if you plan on visiting the Midwest during the winter months you’ll need to have something to keep you warm. • Learn as much as you can about where you are moving. Your realtor is a great source, but so are the internet and your friends. Social media is a great tool for gathering valuable opinions very quickly. • Get things going as soon as possible with the schools. There is so much paperwork! If you have children with special needs the paperwork increases exponentially. Get and keep copies of all the paperwork that is being sent to the new school district. • Try to get doctor and dental appointments out of the way before you move so you won’t be rushed in your new location. • Spend the time you have left making great memories with the people that are important to you and the kids. If you met me, you might be impressed by how organized I seem because I am always on top of things. However, when it came to this article, I missed the submission deadline. Surprise! I am not “as together” as I seem! (And that’s okay, too). What I do know for certain is that I will make it through this moving process. Whether or not I maintain my sanity…well that remains to be seen. Check on me in a couple of months and I’ll let you know how it went, but for now I am off to pack more boxes. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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what you’re talking about... When one twin is sick...how do you attempt to possibly prevent the other one from catching it?

Does anyone have twins who have ADHD and Anger? If so, how are some of the ways you deal with their issues?

I don’t try and prevent it. They are together all the time and share all the same toys. The other is bound to get sick. -~ Elizabeth H. Use On Guard essentail oils on both. Speeds up the healing process on the one who is sick and sometimes keeps the other from it. - Sheila C. It’s inevitable, so I didn’t waste too much energy trying to prevent it. - Erin S. They share everything so impossible to prevent it. by the time one shows symptoms the other onehas already been exposed. - Patricia S. Nothing to try to separate or keep them from sharing germs ... But I found that every night when one or both were sick, I would disinfect everything. That at least stopped it from going back and forth. - Amanda M.

I’ve heard a a strict routine works for ADHD, making sure they get enough sleep, and have activities daily besides TV. Also I would suggest looking into nutrition therapy, the studies are AMAZING on how replacing processed food with real food, superfoods, and fruits and veggies help all kinds of things, adhd included. - Tristan N. ADHD is a journey, not a quick fix. Meds, nutrition, behavior mods, etc play a piece in this. Find his passion and empower him to achieve knock down every barrier in his path. - Karoline O. Try practicing how to act appropriately. Role play situations and ask how one should respond. Reward every attempt to make the right choice. Don’t focus on things done wrong. We spend so much time telling our kids no that we don’t explain what is expected because we assume they know. - Janie K.

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I read (and ignored) several books and websites on sleep training because I was terrified that my preemies wouldn’t get enough to eat. I pushed against the suggestion to bottle feed because I wanted to at least try to exclusively breast feed and didn’t want to deal with nipple confusion. I demanded that my husband wake up with me every time I fed one of the babies during the night. It made for a tense household—but very well intentioned!

will i ever

i

sleep again?

by ashley hendricks

t starts out as a small whimper that I can easily ignore. Maybe she is just sighing in her sleep or maybe he is just moving around I think in my head. Seconds go by and I’m almost back to dreaming when it happens; a cry and a shriek followed immediately by another demanding sob. I look at the clock and realize I’ve slept for a total of 30 minutes— welcome to the first month of my life with twins! My twins were born early at 33 weeks and we spent a couple weeks in the NICU. Going back and forth to the hospital at all hours was challenging but there was some kind of semblance of order and routine to it. Having the babies home was another story! The first week I couldn’t seem to even manage an hour of sleep at a time. One baby would wake up and then immediately the other would join in. Add breastfeeding to that mix and it made for a sleepy, weepy, and mostly guilty new mom. I felt horrible for being so tired and not only feeling thankful the twins were home. My routine was driving me into severe agitation and the feedings seemed never ending. multiplicity

We are a little over three months into it and (thankfully) the routine has gotten smoother for all of us. It turns out that I was the problem—I was the one getting in the way of all of us actually having a decent, stream lined night time routine. There were several things that had to change— my husband and I settled into a schedule that had him staying up with the babies from midnight to four a.m. He fed them pumped breast milk from a bottle (they’ve never had a problem getting back to the breast). I took over at 4 am and while the whole day was sometimes daunting, I always felt a kind of relief in knowing that at midnight, I would be able to go into my bedroom, shut off all the lights, and sleep worry free for four whole hours. I also started to relax while the babies took their naps during the day. Very rarely did they sleep at the same time so when they did I made a snack or let myself zone out while they didn’t need my constant attention. It seems like such a small thing, but those moments of quiet really recharged me for the next round of changing, feeding, and crying. We are now a family that sleeps a whopping six hours a night! I know it has a lot to do with the twins getting bigger and being able to go longer between feedings, but I also think that our scheduling helped with the sleeping miracle. To all new parents of multiples, be encouraged because you will sleep again! Ashley found us through Twiniversity’s facebook page. Want to write for us? Contact us here to submit your story ideas for a future issue! the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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LARGE

a family’s survival guide to vacationing by sommer harkins

a

s a mother to five children, a simple trip to the grocery store requires strategic planning and timing. Not too early, not too late…just in time to prevent a massive meltdown, but not long enough to interrupt normal routines and activities. Parents know the routine, all for a “simple” trip to the grocery store so one can only imagine the consideration given to something as momentous as vacation planning. Don’t fear…this mom of many has a few tips and tricks to help families small and large survive your next vacation! A little planning goes a long way; especially when getting to your destination is half the battle! An exotic island vacation may seem like just the thing you need to feel rejuvenated and refreshed, but consider the siren screams of your little one, exhausted from hours of non-stop sitting in a confined space to get to your “fantasy island.” In our family, we typically choose to drive to our vacation destinations. This mode of vacationing seems to best suit our family once all things are considered such as ages of our children, their tolerance level, my endurance level, and distance of travel. When planning, I factor in the time it takes to get there and the number of stops it will take to keep everyone reasonably sane throughout the trip. Here’s where you can get a little creative:

Research fun places to stop on your way.

Many localities advertise fun local attractions right 16

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off major interstates to attract tourists. Who’s in the mood for a quick snack of local produce at an area farmer’s market? Or a viewing of discarded thing-a-ma-jigs recreated into interesting art for all to enjoy? Maybe you’re just in time for an annual festival celebrating the area’s food, music and festivities.

Explore the great outdoors.

Search out parks in the vicinity of your travel route, as this is a sure way to get kiddos nice and tired for the remainder of the trip. If you can’t find a park, use what you have! The grassy knolls of most rest areas offer a great place for children to burn off some steam. Be sure to pack an easily accessible bag of balls, bubbles, sidewalk chalk and jump ropes to use on these stops. You may even consider packing a small umbrella stroller for a brisk walk with your little one.

Feed the children-Not the animals.

Be sure to pack plenty of drinks and snacks for your trip. However, consider the logistics of a long trip vs. a normal car ride. Try to limit foods with large amounts of sugars and dyes, as these may lead to upset tummies on long car rides. Juice boxes and open containers may work ordinarily, but the use of sippy cups or water bottles may reduce spillage. The choice of savory snacks over sweet snacks may level out blood sugars to lessen the likelihood of food-induced

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


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the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


meltdowns. Consider crackers and produce over cookies and gummies, water instead of juice. Don’t forget a change of clothes in the front of the car in case of emergency, as this will keep you from having to search through nicely packed bags all while holding a child covered in vomit. Get the visual!

If they build it-we will come!

Search the internet for large chain restaurants with play areas such as ChickfilA and McDonalds. Many of these facilities offer different layouts unfamiliar to your crew. Sit back and relax as they enjoy “new to them” play places.

A little goes a long way.

Scout out area “dollar stores” for replacement travel toys. When boredom arises, introduce a special toy to enthuse your pint-size travel companions. Be sure to keep a few toys out of sight; time your gift-giving before another bout of “are we there yet?” erupts.

When all else fails.

Build a united front.

Are your accommodations what you anticipated? Is there enough space to unpack and store your belongings? Do you need another room with more space, or will a roll-away bed suffice? Will your pack ‘n play fit comfortably in the space, or will you need a hotel crib? Be sure to voice any concerns you may have immediately to ensure a smooth transition into relaxation.

Survey the lay of the land.

Walk around the property. Did you get what you paid for? Is the site clean and safe? Are the pools and amenities as described? This will keep you from any “surprises” once you’ve settled in with your larger than life family.

It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Your planning certainly included activities for your family but there may be other offerings of which you may not be aware. Contact your hotel concierge and inquire about

Don’t forget the riddles, rhymes and trivia of car games. Or, dust off those vocal chords for a good old-fashioned singalong, which may conjure up some infectious laughter. Your “fantasy island” may now have become a shorter trip to a great beach-front, familyfriendly resort or vacation rental house. But don’t sink your feet in the sand just yet. Now is the time to activate your game plan: 18

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local attractions and family fun events that may not have been previously advertised. Also, a call or visit to the local tourism agency may net you tons of “inside” information. Don’t forget to strike up a friendly conversation with the locals. They too will have “inside” information on activities that may be of interest to you and your family.

Look for more ways to save.

Don’t just assume that you’ve tapped the well when it comes to discounts. Many resort communities offer additional savings to resort guests. These may be found at restaurants, grocery stores, large retail chain stores or tourist souvenir shops. Be on the lookout for such deals. Every penny back into your pocket counts---so don’t dismiss even the smallest offer. Hopefully, some of these tips help you make it to your destination with sanity still in tact. Otherwise, I’ll admit to the assumption that my family and I are a bunch of weirdos and this stuff only works for us. Happy travels! Sommer Harkins is a wife and fulltime mother to five children. As a mom to many, she knows firsthand the challenges of motherhood for women, whether working in or outside of the home. In her pursuit toward “joyful” motherhood, coupled with her desire to help other women, Sommer founded Mom Enthusiastically, where she assists mothers in the area of “home management” with the hope of inspiring moms to revitalize homes.


also evidence that pomegranate extract can even boost the effective SPF of sunblock.

*According to Candice Betz,

the Director of W Austin’s AWAY Spa, lips are extremely susceptible to sunburn because they lack melanin, which can help protect skin from UV rays. Use a lip moisturizer with an SPF of 20 or higher at least 15 minutes before going outside.

photo courtesy of firewife photography

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sun safety by amanda nethero

Summer is in full swing and many of us will be spending these lazy days outside swimming, hiking, and soaking up the suns rays. The following are the top tips for protecting your skin this summer.

*According to Dr. Howard

Murad you should, “Always look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that contains UVA and UVB protection. For each application, apply one ounce of sunscreen to the entire body and face daily, and reapply when out in the sun for long periods of time. If you plan on being in water, apply water resistant sunscreen every 40 minutes for optimal protection.”

*The ears, calves, back, and

scalp are some of the highest risk areas where we forget to apply sunscreen. What many people don’t realize is that light reflects off surfaces, comes through building and

car windows and penetrates through clothing. To protect the scalp, apply sunscreen just as you would everywhere else. For your hair, look for hair products that contain a broad spectrum SPF, like a leave-in spray conditioner. Hats and head scarves are also a stylish and smart way to shield your head, face and ears from the sun.

*Dr. Murad also suggests that

you should “Eat Your Sunscreen”. Watermelon, pink grapefruit and broccoli are foods loaded with skin-protective antioxidants and also have a high water content. These types of foods help keep your skin’s barrier hydrated and more resistant to free-radical damage from the sun and daily pollution. Also, taking supplements that contain pomegranate extract provides powerful antioxidant protection against free radical damage, accounting for 80% of the signs of premature aging. There is multiplicity

*What about your eyes? Susan

Resnick, O.D. FAAO suggests looking for sunglasses with frames that wrap around the sides of the face and only wear those with lenses that block 100% of UV rays. Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors, but recognize that reflecting rays can still get to eyes from the sides, top and bottom of the glasses. For those who wear contact lenses, ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses offer the highest level of UV blocking available. For little ones, try wide-brimmed hats with a chin strap, and sunglasses with a strap around the back of their head to keep these on. Amanda Nethero is a native south suburbanite of Chicago who has the accent and White Sox apparel to prove it, who now lives in the sunshine state. Besides taking care of her 4-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.

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the handwashing challenge: you can do it with two!

by nicole esquibel

In response to several articles about children being kept in disposable diapers for longer to save on money, “Dirty Diaper Laundry” hosted a challenge to show that cloth diapering can be done for very little. The challenge was to use flats and to hand-wash these flats for one week. Flats are square pieces of cloth that can be folded in numerous ways and placed on a baby as a diaper with pins, a snappi, boingos, or even tied, and then a cover is placed over top to further prevent leaks.

a five gallon bucket, a lid, and a plunger, receiving blankets and some actual flats, diaper pins and some boingos, a snappi, a clothesline and clothespins, and a tightener.

For this year’s challenge, I decided that I should participate. I have twin boys that I have been cloth diapering for about six months and I will never go back to disposables. For the challenge, I made a camp style washer and purchased the following supplies:

I started off the week washing in my five gallon bucket, but it was very difficult and in order to wash all the diapers, I had to do two or more loads a day which was very exhausting. I decided to go ahead and use the tub which ended up being a lot faster

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Most of the challenge I decided to not even use a cover to see how well just a flat held everything in and they worked well around the house. When we went outside, I put a cover on them to make sure there were no leaks.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

and easier. For bad stains I used lemon juice and left them out in the sun the whole day, then washed them again to get the lemon out. After the challenge was over, I gained a real appreciation for my washing machine and am still using my line for diapers with stains. I spent less than $80 on everything for two babies and next year if they do it again, I plan on doing the challenge with three children. I have already started making covers for my little girl due in October and next year I shouldn’t have to spend anything. There are so many wonderful benefits to using cloth diapers and I hope others will be encouraged to give them a try and see if it’s a fit for their family like it is for mine.


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fashion finds

for less by talitha a. mcguinness

Summer is here and as moms, we are either chasing kids at the pool or on the beach, running kids to and from camps, story times, music lessons and the such, or entertaining our kids and their friends, or our husbands and their friends (it could go either way, but with very different wardrobes!). Here a few moms of multiples show us how to dress for the occasion with a little style, all for less than $100! *fashion photography provided by firewife photography

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the scoop... on kara: black, crochet overlay dress - TJ Maxx $39.99


the scoop... on sonya: beige/ gray striped, belted dress - TJ Maxx $29.99 on jodi: blue jewel, v-line top - Ross $16.99 on allison: white & silver sequined halter with black genie capri pants - Ross $15.99 & $19.99 23

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the scoop... on jennifer: purple blouse - Ross $13.99 on kara: multicolored floral top TJ Maxx $16.99 24

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the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


the scoop... on jodi: animal print top with black genie capri pants - Ross $15.99 & $19.99 on sonya: coral blouse with gray capri pants - TJ Maxx $29.99 & $16.99 on allison: cream floral, belted top with green, cuffed shorts - Ross $16.99 & $17.99 25

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the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


the scoop... on jennifer: lavender, belted halter dress Ross $39.99 on jodi: muticolor, belted maxi - Ross $26.99 on kara: chartreuse blouse with navy capri pants - TJ Maxx $14.99 & $24.99 26

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the scoop... Little Black Dresses for many occasions... all for under $30! from left to right Ross $24.99; TJ Maxx $29.99; Ross $17.99; TJ Maxx $39.99 27

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raising a

manny in charge

b

by frankie howley

ecoming a teenager is hard. Middle school. The competition. The need to fit in. Add to that the responsibility of being a big brother to twin sisters and you can imagine my surprise when my eldest son, swung open his bedroom door on a Wednesday evening and said, “Mom/ Dad, when I move out to go to college, I could probably get a job as a nanny, since I help with the twins.” With a smile, I told him that he wouldn’t want to be called a nanny. “That’s ok,” he said. “I could be called a Manny!” (He was referencing a quirky and lovable pre-teen boy named Manny on the popular television show, Modern Family). It was right then that I realized that there is no shame in asking for help. For months before the twins were born, I read that new parents of multiples must learn to accept a ‘helping’ hand whenever possible. I didn’t want to believe it but then it happened to me. The twins arrived, and my family and friends gradually returned to work and their own lives. Guilt ridden, I turned to my son, Zachary. I knew it would be tough teaching Zack, (who was an only child for nine years), how to care for his new newborn sisters so we started out small. First, he helped me prepare their bottles, and then came the change of diapers and until eventually he was helping with almost all the routine tasks.

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None of this happened overnight and there were plenty of ups and downs. While I appreciated anything that he did to help, what I didn’t realize was that Zachary was busy trying to find ways to entertain his sisters. Born an entertainer, Zachary used his acting skills to occupy the twins and to teach them that learning could be fun. He taught them to appreciate music, how to dance, and how to sing. Zachary had found his niche. “I enjoy helping them because they’re goofy, full of laughter, and fun,” he said. “I think it’s important to watch them because, they need someone to learn from and to look up to.” Through helping, Zachary has learned to value his own free time. Between attending school, drama, chorus, and preparing for upcoming plays; Zack agrees that even he needs a little time to get away. Though Zachary misses the girls when he’s gone, he admits that maintaining such a busy schedule can sometimes present challenges. “It’s hard to get sleep, “he said. “They tire me out, between all the running around and getting them to do things, like eat, sleep, and behave.” Now that the girls just turned three, Zachary is beginning to see that ‘life with twins’ does get better with time. Looking back, Zachary reflects on how his life has changed, since the first time he woke to the sound of TWO babies crying at 3 am, “When I was younger, and before the twins were born, my life was like a peaceful village,” he says. “Until a tornado destroyed the village and that tornado were the twins. But now it is getting easier to understand them both through their actions, and since they have learned to talk.”

says it all as he prepares his sisters for bed every night. “Go give Mama & Dada a hug and kiss,” he says. Then, (despite the long day and with a slight grin), he closes their door, and begins singing the beginning lines to the twins’ favorite lullaby, ‘Silent Night.’ ‘Write what you know and keep reading.’ This is the inspiring advice that Frankie Howley has carried with her from the very start of her writing career. And that is exactly what she has continued to do, since hearing the news of her expectant twins, in 2009. Now a contributing writer for Multiplicity, Frankie Howley hopes to help and inspire other multiple parents, with her passion for writing and to learn something new, along the way. Frankie Howley is the mother to her pre-teen, Zachary; and toddler, twin daughters, Jasmine and June, who live in St. Petersburg, FL. With a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from USF, St. Petersburg; Frankie is a staff writer for Twiniversity.com; a former staff writer/ editorial assistant for the St. Petersburg Times; and has written several freelance articles for both ParentGuide Magazine and CitiLife Magazine.

Since the twins were born, a lot has changed for our entire family. Yet Zachary has helped change what we stand for as a family. We all take turns ‘pitching in’ with the twins. We’ve learned patience, how to appreciate the free time that we do have together, and that a little encouragement can go a long way. “The most important thing I’ve taught them is probably to give me a high five, and a knuckle bomb,” said Zachary. “Because it shows encouragement and they can use that.” As his mother, I’m proud that Zachary has accepted the challenge of being both a helpful big brother and a role model for his baby sisters. His attitude multiplicity

big brother Zachary with Jasmine and June the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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the story of us:

why i will always keep a journal

t

hese are truly the happiest days of my life. I am blessed with two amazing children and I am lucky enough to be a full-time mom. While I will always love being with them, I think these are the years that I will cherish the most when I look back later on. This is because I get to spend so much time with them and I can be a part of virtually everything that they do. Best of all, they still want to be together with their Mommy as much as possible. I know all too well that nothing lasts forever; my children are growing up and every day they become a little more independent. All too soon, the day will come when they will be ready to leave my side and take charge of their own journey through life.

by helena eynon 30

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All of this is completely the way it should be, and I feel excited and amazed when I consider all the possibilities that could lie before them in the future. Life evolves, and as their lives change, mine will, too. But I hope that I never forget the details of their growing up, what they are like and all the things the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


I hope that if my children ever wonder, this journal may help them begin to understand some of my actions as a parent...They may even come to know me better as a result. It is our story.

all of the activities we have done and the people we have seen. I try to write about everything that goes on in our lives, including the challenges, the struggles and the tough times.

photo courtesy of firewife photography

we do together. It occurred to me some time ago that by writing things down, I could preserve my memories to read again in years to come. So this is why, for the first time in years, I began writing a journal. The diary that I am keeping now is not really about me; it is about my children and our family life. Each entry begins with an account of our day. I talk about my daughter’s progress at school and her social life; and of my son’s development, including milestones like his first steps. I mention what we had for dinner, sometimes with the recipe. Other items might include childhood illnesses and the way that I treated them. It might also include multiplicity

I would like our story to be there for my children when they are older. They may enjoy remembering forgotten aspects of their childhoods, and to recall what they did and what they enjoyed, their childhood friends and birthday parties. It may even help them to understand how and why certain things turned out the way that they did. After my father passed away, I had hundreds of questions that I still wish I could ask him. I hope that if my children ever wonder, this journal may help them begin to understand some of my actions as a parent, and how and why I reached some of the decisions that affected them. They may even come to know me better as a result. It is our story. The greatest flaw in my plan is undoubtedly the fact that I do not always find the time – and sometimes the motivation – to sit down and write. I hope that I never falter and give up. When I do write, I find it relaxing and I always feel better for it. Although this is not a private diary, I do find that writing things down is therapeutic and helps me to get matters into perspective. There are days when I do not write at all, and most of the time, I just make a short entry at the end of the day. But there are also days when I write a great deal more. Even when my resolve weakens, I still believe that it will all be worth it in the end. Every day makes for precious memories, as we watch our babies growing into the people they will become. So to any other mother out there who is considering writing a journal of her own, all I can say is this: just imagine how you will feel when you look back on it in 20 years’ time. helpful hints on pg. 37 the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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the buzz

twin tested... MOM approved!

the scoop on things worth giving

a try

aveeno smart essentials™ daily detoxifying scrub

I love camping as much as the next mom (okay, so maybe more than most of my mom friends!), but after a few days and nights outdoors, there was nothing better than coming home and discovering a nice, new sample of this delightful body scrub in my mailbox. I literally felt like I washed all the dirt, grime, sweat, and mosquito bite itchiness away after one long (splendidly hot!) shower in my own air conditioned, clean bathroom! Aveeno’s Daily Detoxifying Scrub is lightly and necessarily gritty, and smells heavenly. All of us moms deserve a little “me” time to unwind and relax, so why not treat ourselves to a new addition to our beauty routine, too? This scrub is a summer must-have, and is widely available for around $5 at Target, Walmart and even online at Drugstore.com. ~ talitha

revlon® color burst™ lip butter

I have to admit, I’m a lipstick all the time kind of girl, except when I’m at the beach or pool with my kiddos. However, I recently discovered Revlon’s new ColorBurst™ Lip Butter that is the perfect fit for a little color and when you’re just plain out of time. While it doesn’t contain SPF, so not for hours of laying out in the sun (seriously, we’re moms of multiples...who has the time?!?), with colors like Pink Truffle and Peach Parfait, they sound good enough to eat. No need to forego beauty for the sake of convenience. Pretty your pout with a new favorite lip product! ~ talitha

the game of life zapped

As a kid growing up, our favorite family game to play was The Game of Life. I always chose to go to college and prayed I'd land on a space that would allow me to have twins. I suppose my life isn't far off at all. Now if I can just end up in Millionaire Estates, that would just be the cherry on the pie! Well the Game of Life has been revamped and brought into the next generation. Now if you have an iPad in the house, you can download an app (free), unfold a new board and unpack your cars ($24.99), and have your iPad act as the "spinner". The Game of Life has also teamed up with America's Funniest Home Videos, so when you "spin" and land on the space where you graduate, it flashes to an AFV video of some hilarious graduation videos. This Zapped version of the classic favorite is one of the only updates on an older game that doesn't make me miss the old version. The Game of Life has simply been awesomely updated and will make your kids BEG for more family time. ~ natalie

swim nappies by bambinomio®

There is nothing like being the blame of having the pool shut down because of your child’s blowout (picture it running out of those horrible disposable swim diapers and you’re picturing me more than a time or two!). Most of us are living near some body of water whenever possible, so we want to help prevent 32

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the icky blowout from happening to you! They not only have the waterproof lining, but also have elastic around the legs, safely holding in anything you don’t wish to come out! Even better is that they are machine washable, so goodbye to wasting my money on swim diapers that have never worked! Visti Bambino Mio online to find a local retailer for scoring your own pair, or enter this issue’s giveaway! ~ talitha

big bubble bucket

My twins are forever fighting over the "good" outdoor toys. It really irks me to have to buy two of everything sometimes. I was beyond thrilled when I came across the Big Bubble Bucket ($12.99). Not only is it large enough for two....it's actually made for THREE! SCORE!!!! This "Bucket" has a wonderful shape that uniquely holds the bubble liquid in, and doesn't make it spill out when the kids knock it over. It never lost a drop after playing with it for a whole day with three very active seven year olds. We used the Blast O' Bubbles solution ($4.99), which created some of the largest bubbles my kids have ever made. There was plenty of solution for three weekends with lots of use of our Big Bubble Bucket. The bubble wands are VERY sturdy and even got run over by a few bikes (they were using them as road toys too). The Bucket was VERY easy to clean when the weekend had come to a close. I simply put some plastic wrap over the big opening and taped the wands to the side. When the next weekend came and it was time to break out the bucket, none of the solution had dried up and the wands were easily found! The Diaz Duo (and mom) give this bucket a rave review and would put it on the "musthave" list for any twin or triplet family! ~ natalie

sobe® lifewater®

For many of us it is unbelievably hot, and who couldn’t use something refreshing, that’s good for you and tastes great, too? With exotic names like Acai Raspberry, Kiwi Cherimoya, and Fuji Apple Pear, Sobe® LifeWater®, can make your taste buds tingle just talking about it! This line is a vitamin enhanced water beverage with antioxidants in both low and 0-calorie flavors, and no artificial sweeteners. One of my current favorites is the Pacific Coconut. When I’m under fire with one deadline after another, my kids are whining about being “bored” (though they have every toy and activity known to the 10 and under crowd!), I take a few sips and mentally escape to my happy place. And yes, it just happens to be a tropical island where the sun is warm, the ocean cool, and where fruity drinks abound...ah! Now, get to your nearest supermarket or convenience store and try them out for yourself. With so many flavors, I guarantee you’ll find YOU one to love! ~ talitha

Interested in a set of nappy swimsuits for your duo?

Click here to share your best back to school tips for a chance to win your very own reusable lifesavers! The drawing will be held on Friday, August 3rd and the winner will be notified via email. multiplicity

could be our

winner!

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Wait! What?

the birth, 104-day nicu stay & coming home of micro-preemies: by patricia agos

our journey begins

“I thought he was kidding. No, really, I thought he was kidding,” I repeated in the car as we left our first ultrasound. “You keep saying it as though it will change something,” my husband said. “But I thought he was kidding.” This went on for quite a while.

photo courtesy of firewife photography

My husband and I got married in June 2009 and began trying to get pregnant right away. We figured it may take a while considering I was 38. Nope! Our pregnancy was confirmed in July with spontaneous twins! The doctor pointed to the screen and said, “Everything looks good. Here’s the heartbeat.” Whew. “And see this other one over here?” he continued. “The other what?” I asked. “The other heartbeat,” he replied. “For what?” I asked in disbelief. “For the other baby.” I got that tingly feeling all over my body and stared at the screen. Needless to say, I was freaked out. My husband, on the other hand, literally jumped for joy and cried when we got the news. Jump to my week 20 ultrasound. All was going along just fine so I thought. I felt good and was starting to look pregnant. The tech said we multiplicity

were having two boys, and they looked great. A couple days later, I went in for my next routine visit and my doctor reiterated what the tech said; everything was fine. But then, the following exchange occurred: Doc: “So did they tell you about your cervix?” Me: “Um, no.” Doc: “Well, it’s shortened.” Me: “What do you mean, shortened?’ Basically, at that point, my cervix was supposed to be 3-4 centimeters long and I was at 1, maybe 1.5 centimeters, but they weren’t sure. My uterus was thin, as it would be if I was ready to give birth. My doc put me on bedrest, told me to put my feet up as much as possible and informed me that I would come in every other day for a pelvic exam. I’ve now had my share to last a lifetime! Oh, and no stairs. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but for us, it was. Before we were married, both my husband and I each owned condos located on the 3rd floor of vintage walk up buildings on opposite sides the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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of Chicago. We thought we would have time to put one of our places on the market, sell it and combine our households before we got pregnant. Not so much. Now, we had to find a new place to live that had no stairs. Fortunately, I had a friend who owned a vacant condo in an elevator building five minutes from my doc and hospital. Within two weeks of receiving our news, we moved to a new home, where we would stay until our little dudes arrived. Now, my new husband and I had two mortgages plus monthly rent, which seemed insignificant to the news that the doc gave me next. After consulting with his colleagues, he wasn’t completely sure I’d make it to 24 weeks. For any of you in a similar situation, you know that news comes with many heartwrenching decisions. We quickly learned that if the babies were born at 26 weeks, all hands would be on deck to save them, without question. However, if the babies were born before 26 weeks, the decision of whether or not to intervene would be

up to us. My husband and I did what seemed normal to us. We simply decided that the twins would come after 26 weeks, so we didn’t give the alternative much thought. We kept thinking positively and prayed a lot. I had to be extra careful and do all I could to keep the baby boys safe inside. I was worried that it might be something that I did or didn’t do to provoke their early arrival. So, of course I was nervous, feeling guilt and panicking a bit, but still trying to keep a positive attitude. Each day was a gift, and each week was a mile marker. I did make it to 24 weeks! Then 25, 26, 27 and then it was

After consulting with his colleagues, he wasn’t completely sure I’d make it to 24 weeks.

Christmas. I had made it to Christmas! But, the day after Christmas my water broke around 11pm; right after we put season 1 of “Arrested Development” into the DVD player and I took my first bite of a stack of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I thought when my water broke it was going to be this big GUSH! This was just a trickle. I couldn’t tell what was happening. I called my doc and he said to come in to the hospital, and if it WAS my water breaking, then I’d be in the hospital until the boys came. Oddly enough, that day I was bored, so I napped and packed my bags for the hospital...which I thought was WAY early. We grabbed my bags and headed to the hospital. We got there and sure enough, my water had broken. The staff felt it was only a slight puncture, so they admitted me to the ante-partum floor and thought I’d be there for a while. I was there for four days. Then, late on the fourth day, Mason (twin A) decided to kick himself out! Yep, he was breech and his right leg was out up to his little thigh.

*Mason & Evan at weeks old, on their long journey within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 36

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I was having lower back pain and didn’t realize they were contractions. (I missed all my birthing classes as they were scheduled for sometime in January.) After this discovery by my little future soccer player, they said, “it’s time.” I was sad and scared and began to cry because I knew it was early, possibly too early, but the nurses all assured me that all would be fine. My husband leaned over to me and said, “We did all we could. It’ll be okay.” It was organized chaos to get me to delivery and I had an emergency c-section, again having no idea what it would entail. At that point, I decided that ignorance IS bliss.... and the little dudes arrived. Mason Christopher was born at 2 lbs., 6 oz., and Evan Trace was 2 lbs. 9 oz. They each had their own team of physicians and nurses and were rushed to the NICU, where they would live for the first three months of their little lives. After five hours in recovery and the feeling finally came back in my legs, I was wheeled up to the NICU, lying flat on my hospital bed, to see my tiny little bundles. Each parent has their own emotions at the time they learn their precious baby or babies are micro-preemies and will spend an extended period of time in the NICU. My husband and I shared a similar emotion at this time which was oddly enough, elation. I felt so blessed that our boys arrived as healthy as possible; they were just tiny. Later that same day, I received my “Welcome to the NICU” packet or as we called it, our “Welcome to your new home” packet and the second phase of our journey began. Patricia is a mother to a very funny set of 2-year old twin boys. Her family lives in Chicago where she is a partner with KT Public Relations, specializing in commercial real estate. In her spare time, Patricia is an actor and voice over artist which is how she met her wonderful husband Chris, who is a TV/film actor and voice over artist. Patricia is a philanthropist and focuses her fundraising efforts on the American Heart Association. She is hosting her 2nd Annual Laughing Hearts Comedy Night in Chicago on May 23rd to benefit the AHA. multiplicity

helpful hints for writing your own story... #1 - This is your story written in your own

words; it does not need to be a literary masterpiece. There is no need to spend hours checking and editing. Simply write the words as they come into your head.

#2 - It can be a conscious effort to find

the time to write, and do not force yourself, as there will be days when you may not have the time or the inclination. But write whenever you can.

#3 - There may be difficult periods when

you feel the need to take a break from writing. You can always write about that episode from a retrospective point of view.

#4 - This is not a private diary, so it is

not the place to vent about other people, especially family members, parents or inlaws. Your children will never need to know that you and Grandma never really got on.

#5 - Only discuss your relationship in a

broad, narrative way, and never criticize your partner. However, the journal could be used to talk about difficult issues retrospectively, particularly decisions that you found difficult. Matters such as discipline, relocation, and even separation and divorce are all things that your children may wonder about when they are older. You do not need to write down all of the painful details, but you can describe what happened and the reasons behind the decisions that you made. Parents are people like everyone else and we all make mistakes.

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Great Dates

fun ideas for falling in love, again and again! by cara krenn

o

nce kids enter the picture (especially multiples!) it’s harder than ever to spend time alone with your partner. Your children are your priority; however it’s wonderfully restorative to indulge in some great dates with the one you love. The following are some fun ideas to help you rekindle your romance and escape for a while.

Inexpensive Stay-at-Home Fun

Don’t want to spend much or can’t leave your home? These dates are fun, frugal, and require no babysitter – just remember to put the kids to bed first. • At-Home Movie Night: Get ready to snuggle during a movie night, right in your own house. Pick up a flick at RedBox or via Netflix, make popcorn, grab your favorite blanket, and enjoy an evening relaxing on your couch. Bonus points for trading massages!

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• Be “Classy”: Try something new with your partner by taking a local class. From yoga to pottery making, from cooking to swing dancing, an instructive class is a fun way to do something creative --- together. • Time Machine: Recreate the first date you went on with your partner. This one requires a little advanced preparation and a touch of imagination. Don’t forget your camera!

photo courtesy of firewife photography

• Pick a Theme: In love with Paris? Always wanted to visit Rome? Crazy about New York? Pick a city you and your partner can “escape” to during a theme night. Plan on cooking (or ordering in) a specialty from your city of choice. Select a matching wine, and watch Midnight in Paris, La Dolce Vita, An Affair to Remember, or any cinematic classic that tugs at your heartstrings. • Dessert Night: Let your sweet tooth run wild and indulge in your favorite dessert. Bake a pie or cake with your partner or create extravagant ice cream sundaes.

Spend a Little and Get Out of the House If you’re up for spending a little on a babysitter and an activity, these daytime adventures are perfect!

• Brunch Buddies: Get dressed up and head out to your city’s hottest brunch spot. Order something fancy and toast with champagne. Best when followed by a leisurely stroll. multiplicity

• The Great Outdoors: Check Groupon, LivingSocial, or other discount websites for deals on outdoor adventures. Why not try kayaking, rock-climbing, surfing, or ice-skating? Looking for something even simpler? Search for a trail near you. A nice hike does wonders for the psyche and is great when accompanied by a romantic picnic with the one you love.

Treat Yourself! Escape the Day Away Step it up a notch and indulge with an all-day extravaganza or nighttime escapade.

• Spa Retreat: It’s about time you and your partner shed a little stress with a spa retreat. Book a couples’ massage, lounge in the sauna, or plan a day by the pool. Sometimes vegging out may be just what you need. • Tourist in Your Own Town: No matter where you live, there are probably plenty of local sites you just haven’t had time to visit. Make yourself “tourists” for a day and go to your museums, zoos, parks, or even book a guided tour – the sillier the activity, the better! • Rock Out: Head to a concert for a jolt of adult fun. Sing as loud as you can and hold hands like teenagers. • Overnighter: Is your anniversary coming up? Check into a romantic Bed & Breakfast where you can truly unwind and spend time together. It’s about time we all take a moment to nourish our relationships with our partners. Why? Because our lives may be crazy, but at least we have each other. Now I’ve got to take my own advice and get out and do some more fun things with my husband. Cheers to many great dates for you and yours!

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freezer cooking

101:

is your freezer

family-friendly? by christy eichelberger & kristi gonzalez

a

re you too busy to think straight when it comes to dinner prep each night? I know for myself and many of my friends the hours from 4-6 PM are anything but peaceful when you have children in the home - yet it is this exact time each day when millions of moms across the country are expected to put a healthy and tasty home-cooked meal together for their family. This often follows a day which has gone something like this: You’re a stay-at-home Mom of several children of varying ages. You’ve had a full day cleaning up messes, doing laundry, fixing broken items along the way, and of course the phone won’t stop ringing with marketing calls, while two kids are fighting. One child is a bit too quiet, which likely spells trouble! Suddenly the clock strikes 4:00 PM and you know the drill. You realize you haven’t even showered yet today and in an hour and a half your husband will be walking in the door and you have to find something creative to do with a frozen pound or two of chicken or ground beef! Sound familiar? Like the authors of this article, you may also be looking for a change in direction for your dinner hour. Regardless of how many children you have or their ages, we believe you’ll agree with us that all the stages of life a family goes through will be enhanced by less stressful meal preparations. It’s a great way to plan in advance, save money on

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groceries, and avoid the extra costs associated with take-out meals or dining out. Having meals in your freezer prepped and ready to heat will bring peace to your mealtime and remove the stress of the lastminute feeling that swoops the country just before dinner time when you are forced to ponder that miserable question of “what’s for dinner?”. Tell me this... if you could simply reach in and grab a prepared meal to serve for dinner that evening, would your meal preparation stress level be more tolerable? This is exactly what the authors of this article found to be true and we’d like to share the concept so you, too, can enjoy peace around the dinner hour!

The basic concept of Freezer Cooking 101:

1) Save time by cooking only 1 day, instead of 12. 2) Save money when you buy ingredients in bulk to assemble the meals. 3) Have way more fun cooking with friends than doing it by yourself!

leave with 12 meals for the freezer. Each of the 3 of you are in charge of 4 different recipes for the group. You make 3 each of those 4 recipes (this way everyone leaves with 12 meals total). You shop for your recipes, do the precooking of any meat ahead, then choose 1 of the member homes on “cooking” day and make the meals together. We use Ziploc freezer bags and Gladware reusable/ freezable pans with lids. When you are finished prepping and cooking, you swap meals and you each go home with 12 meals…ALL DIFFERENT! It’s truly wonderful! You then have 12 meals to use from the freezer throughout the month. Of course you can modify this method to do all the cooking yourself and freeze what you prep, but it isn’t nearly as fun and doesn’t save as much money as when you cook with a group. There is NO reason to get overwhelmed at the thought of getting started in simplifying your dinner time. Freezer cooking with friends is a snap!

4) Save frustration by always having a meal in the freezer to pull out when you have run out of ideas or time---or both! 5) Encourage generosity by being ready to give to others a prepared meal when they are sick, have a new baby, etc.

Here are the nuts and bolts:

You put together your group and set your number of meals… let’s say you have 3 people participating and you want to

snapshot of Christy’s group prepping on cooking day multiplicity

Keep in mind as you form a cooking group:

1) What time of day/week will your group cook? Look for people who desire the same timing. Stay-at-home moms may like weekdays, while kids are in school, some working moms may want to cook on a Saturday morning, etc. Make sure to pick a day and time to cook when you will be least distracted. Try to cook every 4-6 weeks, or whatever works best for your families. 2) Who will you cook with? How big is your family? If you have 2 kids, cooking with a family with 5 kids may not be a great fit. However, sometimes you can divide meals in half for smaller families cooking with larger families, or if they enjoy leftovers or entertaining guests with those larger meals, they may still be a great fit with a larger family cooking group. The main point is to find friends who are most like you in terms of stage of life and size of family. This will provide for years of cooking bliss! 3) What meals will you prepare? This is the part where you will get together and pick the recipes you want to get started with and divide them amongst yourselves. What foods do the families like to eat? Some will enjoy casseroles, others may prefer more meats and marinades for crockpot cooking or grilling out. Some will want veggies in everything, others with young or picky eaters may prefer not. Make sure you find “tried and true” recipes that are designed for the freezer. There are TONS of cookbooks and websites out there! You are welcome to join our Facebook Group and

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access nearly 50 Family Friendly Freezer recipes for FREE! We welcome our members to add their own great freezer friendly recipes to share with the group. 4) How many meals should you prep at a time? That is up to your group, but keep in mind that it’s nice to have 2-3 meals for each week for the specified amount of time you plan to have in between cooking. We recommend to do 12 meals for a 4-6 week increment. One key thing to remember is that you have to be able to AFFORD to buy the groceries to prep your 12 meals for the “cooking day” as well, so you want to cook with people on similar budgets for food, etc., and plan your quantity and timing accordingly. As a personal note, cooking with 3 or 4 seems to be a more efficient group size and more economical for the way you buy the ingredients in bulk, etc. After a recent crosscountry move and losing all my cooking partners, I recruited my husband to cook with me for about 6 months. While it was a bit more work to do just for our household, we were not willing to go without the convenience of a freezer filled with great meals! One weekend we prepped over 20 meals for our freezer and it was a fun way to spend time together, too! 5) Where will you cook? We recommend this be the most practical kitchen for the work at hand! If possible, choose the homes with the largest kitchens or at least plenty of counter or table space to spread out. We have typically chosen to rotate homes monthly so everyone 42

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recipe: chicken bruschetta gets a chance to host! 6) How do I shop and prepare for “cooking day”? Once you have planned your first cooking date, we recommend that you shop the sales for the meat that you will be using. It can be worth the time to travel to more than one grocery store if time and energy allows for it. If you find certain meats are on a great sale, you can consider making more of those recipes that month! The day before you cook, do your individual prep work. For example, we always come with all our hamburger browned and drained, chicken cooked if necessary, and any veggies cut. This will make assembly time go really fast! This also means you should plan a few hours in your schedule the day

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or evening before the group “cooking day” to ensure your prep is complete. 7) How does the actual cooking together part work? On “cooking day”, you can do it one of two ways: each person can prepare all their own recipes, or you can all do one recipe at a time, assembly line style. Each cook brings her own pans and freezer bags. The hostess for the month provides aluminum foil, salt, pepper, misc. forgotten spices, and a black marker and labels for clearly identifying meals and their cooking directions. Cleanup between meals is a snap with so many hands. So on your “cooking day”, you will have assembled your recipes into the pans or bags, labeled them and placed them in a cooler until you are ready to leave. (Food


Ingredients: • 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes, undrained • 1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil and 3 tsp. minced garlic, OR 3 Tbsp. Homemade Gourmet Garlic Basil seasoning • 1 pkg. Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken • 8 small boneless Chicken breast halves • 1 small bottle Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing, OR Zesty Italian (Split 1 bottle between 2 pans) Directions: Mix tomatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and basil in a bowl. Add stuffing mix, stir until moistened. NOTE: You will have enough stuffing mixture and Dressing to do 2 recipes of this, so plan accordingly. So, if making 2 pans, all you need for the 2nd pan is the chicken and cheese to top! Lay the chicken in the sprayed pan, cover with Italian dressing, the stuffing, then cheese. Freeze and bake after thawing at 350 degrees uncovered for 40 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear and cheese is golden brown. Be sure to place the Gladware pans onto a cookie sheet before baking. Company’s coming directions: Place 2 chicken breasts at a time in a freezer weight plastic bag. Pound with a meat mallet until chicken is flattened to about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with rest of chicken. Spread each chicken breast with several Tbsp. of stuffing mix. Roll up and put seam side down in a greased 9×13 pan. Repeat with all chicken. Drizzle 1/2 bottle of dressing over top of chicken. Top with remaining cheese.At this point cover with foil and freeze.

safety first!) The satisfaction of a full freezer after a few hours cooking with friends is PRICELESS! Trust us on this one. One of the first recipes we want to share is Chicken Bruschetta. We have to say, this one is great for company or just feeding a hungry bunch of teenagers. We’re confident you can do this! We have yet to find a failure at freezer cooking, but we have found it to be a lot of fun cooking with friends, helpful to our family budgets, and most of all, an amazing solution to the panic that often surrounded dinner time before we started Freezer Cooking for our families! Take some time to check out our other recipes online and start making a list of a few

friends who might want to join you on this journey! If you are blessed to be the mother of multiples, we know you’ll want

to spend more time enjoying them and dinner time --- and less time frenzied in the kitchen every afternoon!

the Eichelberger and Gonzalez families multiplicity

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Christy Eichelberger is a busy mother of 3 and the office manager of two businesses, one of which is Wellness Chiropractic Center. She and Kristi Gonzalez are close friends who cooked together for 4 years and graciously accepted the challenge to co-write this article. Kristi Gonzalez holds a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies and has 15 years of clinical medical experience. She also owns and operates A & K Healthy Living where she offers wellness and nutritional consulting for those seeking better health naturally for the past 13 years. She enjoys helping others achieve a balanced approach to their health in the most natural way possible. As a mother of 4, she realizes the importance of a safe and healthy home for her family. The only panic she feels now is when she hasn’t put her meals in the freezer!

recipe: cheeseburger & fries casserole

Ingredients: • 2 pounds lean ground beef, browned and drained • 1 can cream of mushroom OR cream of chicken soup • 1 can cheddar cheese soup • 1 can/frozen veggies of your choice (corn, beans, peas) • 1 20 oz. Package frozen Steak Fries or Tater Tots

Assembly day: Add beef and soups together and spread in a 9×13 sprayed pan. Top with can of veggies (drained) and arrange fries on top. Cover with foil. FREEZE. Cooking day: Thaw and put the pan on a cookie sheet. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until bubbly and fries are golden.

recipe: chicken tetrazzini

Ingredients: • 2-1/2 or 3 cups broken spaghetti • 3 -1/2 cups cooked chicken (cut up) (or Turkey) • 1 cup sour cream • 1 cup chicken broth • salt and pepper to taste • 1 can cream of mushroom or Chicken soup • 2 cups grated cheddar or co-jack cheese • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (optional) 44

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Assembly Day: This recipe can either be done in a freezer bag or a Gladware pan. Cook and drain spaghetti. Mix all Ingredients together. Put in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover and Freeze until ready to use. Can be frozen in a Ziploc bag, too. Rather than mix in a bowl, use the “Smoosh method”. (OFFICIAL SMOOSH METHOD: Simply put all the ingredients in the bag and gently “smoosh” them around until the ingredients are well mixed. Very simple and works great for many of our Gallon Freezer Bag meals.) Cooking day: Thaw completely and pour bag contents into casserole dish to bake or bake in Gladware pan from freezer. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, uncovered. You can also use a crock pot by leaving the contents frozen (this works best if you’ve frozen them in a bowl or shape that easily fits your crockpot.) Cook on low for 4-5 hours, as you are just re-warming (everything is already cooked!).

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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!

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ask the veterans

chocolate banana smoothie

*2 cups frozen sliced bananas (about 2 to 3 bananas) *2 tsp. raw cacao powder *2 T almond butter

twins beyond the twos... Q: Do you encourage your twins to have one-on-one time (i.e. overnights or longer) with extended family members? Every twin mom finds herself wondering what it would be like if she had more one-on-one time with each of them (some of us more than others!). Would you handle it well? Would the twins be able to be separated? While most of us would enjoy the time, many parents don’t or can’t for a host of reasons. Here’s what other twin moms had to say... Judit R. said, “They spend oneon-one time with us. This summer one will be at a day camp with a cousin for a week, and the other one will be with me during that time.” Kelly S. said, “Oh no! Mine can 46

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barely be in a separate room without one of them freaking out.” Bonnie W. said, “I think it is great for everyone! I love that I can let the boys do things that they aren’t allowed to do when they are both here (like sit on the counter and help me cook, etc.” Ashley R. said, “Nope. Mine are going to be 4 and the ONLY time they’ve ever been apart overnight was when my daughter (twin A) was in the hospital.” Here’s to finding time alone with your twins, no matter how you manage to do it!

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*1 cup coconut milk (canned) or almond milk *¼ to ½ cup ice cold water *¼ tsp. ground cinnamon *¼ cup ice cubes *½ tablespoon honey (optional) Instructions: Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth. For the water, add ¼ cup first and blend. If you prefer your smoothie thick then the ¼ cup should be fine. If you prefer it a little more smoother then add an additional ¼ cup and blend. Serve immediately and enjoy!! Recipe & photo compliments of Heather with Multiply Delicious. As a mom of twin girls who is passionate about cooking, Heather shares her ideas on many things related to mommies and kids!


my pelvic floor...

y

ain’t what it used to be! by randi stone

ou sneeze, you pee. You cough, you pee. Intercourse ain’t what it used to be. What gives? In short, your pelvic floor has been traumatized by pregnancy and/or childbirth.

The pelvic floor extends from your anus to your pubic bone and consists of a network of muscle fibers that are interconnected and woven together like a hammock. During pregnancy, your pelvic floor goes from carrying your uterus, which starts off smaller and lighter than a kiwi, to a uterus that is the size and weight of an oversized pumpkin. So, even if you didn’t have a vaginal birth, its been through a lot! multiplicity

The Kegel, named after Dr. Kegel, is the name of a pelvic floor exercise to strengthen muscles that attach to the pelvic bone and act as a hammock for the organs (urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum) located in the pelvis. Pregnancy, age and hormonal changes all weaken the pelvic floor, and even if you Kegel like crazy, you probably do them wrong, not enough, incorrect positionally, and maybe don’t exercise your pelvic floor at all. Studies show that women think they are doing Kegels when they are in fact just squeezing their inner thighs together or engaging their buttocks. I personally Kegeled throughout my the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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37-week pregnancy with twins, but realized during labor that I had only been working one quadrant of the network of muscles down under. Let’s face it, that’s a lousy time to figure out that you were inefficient all along! Whether you are expecting or have already had your kids, there is hope. Even if you don’t have any obvious issues with your pelvic floor, I highly advise that you take time out of your busy life and work out down under. A strong pelvic floor prevents incontinence, organ prolapse and provides more “feeling” during intercourse. Also, the pelvic floor muscles are connected via fascia -- connective tissue -- to the abdominal muscles, and there is often a co-contraction between the areas. Engaging the pelvic muscles helps strengthen the abdominals and vice versa. Although the direction most women get for strengthening the area is to try to stop the flow of urine, this only engages a small portion of the complex network of muscles. In order to access this region more effectively, try the following: • Short reps, control the release – Engage the pelvic floor and then slowly release. (Work up to 20 reps.) • Endurance – Engage the pelvic floor, hold for five and then release for five. Work up to holding for ten and releasing for ten. (Do 20 reps.) • Elevators – Engage the pelvic floor and try to lift it towards your belly button and beyond. You want to feel a quiver that is deep and distinct at the top of the imaginary elevator. Controlling the release, feel the “elevator” slowly go down to the first floor. (It may feel more like the “elevator” is crashing down initially. With practice, you will control the muscles more effectively.) (Work up to 20 reps) Try your Kegels in different positions so you activate different parts. Four suggestions are: • To feel the back: Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees bent slightly and tuck your pelvis. Do 3-5 reps. • To feel the front: Stand with your feet hip width apart, knees bent slightly and arch your lower back. Do 3-5 reps. 48

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• To feel the left: Stand with your feet hip width apart and lift your right hip up an out to the right side. Do 3-5 reps. • To feel the right: Stand with your feet hip width apart and lift your left hip up an out to the left side. Do 3-5 reps. You may also find that doing Kegels in different seated positions helps you access different parts of the pelvic floor. • Try sitting with your legs criss-crossed. • Try lying on your side with bent knees and Kegeling. Switch sides and do the other side. Notice if one side is harder or easier to feel than the other. Focus on the more challenging side. • Try doing Kegels on all fours. • If you are pregnant and plan to try for a vaginal birth, ask your doctor what position you will be in during labor. Practice Kegeling in this position so even if you have an epidural, you have muscle memory helping you use your muscles properly. (Remember, you actually want to relax your pelvic muscles during labor and use your abdominals to push.) A strong and supple pelvic floor is your goal. Now that you know how important it is to exercise your pelvic floor and how to do it correctly and efficiently, get started now. You can Kegel anytime and anywhere. No one will ever know! Randi Stone, founder of NYC Pilates, studied authentic Pilates in a prestigious independent study with Romana, one of Joseph Pilates’ protégés. She is certified in Power Pilates Mat, pre- and post-natal fitness, studied with Julie Tupler, passing her practical and written exams, and has studied The M.E.L.T. Method® (MELT) – a self-treatment technique that helps prevent pain, heal injury, and erase the negative effects of aging and active living. Randi looks at each individual’s body as a puzzle, trying to piece together the needs of the client based upon his/her strengths and weaknesses, body type and interests. Most recently, Randi co-founded Movin’ Mamas, a Pilatesbased mom and baby stroller class.

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d

o details make the (interior) design? Yes! Thanks to mass retailers like Target, West Elm and IKEA, good design is more and more accessible at a wide variety of price points. Yet inexpensive pieces often lack the detail of more expensive items. Even with the benefit of a generous budget, most people mix “high” and “low” pieces in their homes and want that transition to be seamless. So what’s a designsavvy, value-conscious MOM to do? Fortunately, adding a decorative trim can often be the perfect “five minute fix” for a less expensive piece. The “five minute fix” is my term for an easy, inexpensive design trick that makes your home look great and function better in the teensy amount of free time we busy MOMs have!

five-minute fix:

it’s all in the details! by traci zeller

multiplicity

My favorite decorative trim is a simple grosgrain ribbon used as a flat tape. Why? Flat tapes are easy for a beginner to apply! I often use grosgrain ribbon to trim lampshades, slipcovers and even drapery panels, Roman shades or duvet covers. See how the grosgrain ribbon on the bottom of this IKEA chair’s white slipcover makes the slipover look so much more polished? My workroom stitched this trim, but an enterprising MOM who doesn’t sew could use fabric glue. Measure carefully to determine the length and placement of the ribbon. I suggest applying fabric glue to the ribbon with a brush to avoid any discoloration from large blobs of glue. Adhere the ribbon to the desired surface, fold and glue the end of the ribbon for a clean edge, and you are done! Other fantastic trim options include Greek key flat tape and flat tape embellished with buttons. Button trim is interesting and almost whimsical without being too youthful. Greek key is a classic motif that can transition easily into a more elegant space. What a wonderful way (contd. on pg. 61)

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party pleasers

for twins (and their moms, too!)

by talitha a. mcguinness

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We all love to celebrate our little ones, but it can be oh so frustrating to plan the actual party, especially if and when they have different interests, are boy/girl twins, etc. We’ve found a few moms who know a thing or two about planning, preparation and making it all seem easy ( just how do they do it all?!?), so take note and begin your party planning now!

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monkeyin’ around While this type of party could go either way for boys or girls, this monkey party was all pink with pizzazz. The girls celebrated their 4th birthday at their local play gym (ironically enough, called A Barrel of Monkeys!), with family and friends and it’s obvious their mom paid lots of attention to details! The kids enjoyed playtime by climbing a rock wall, swinging from the monkey bars, and even a cute monkey craft, all while working up an appetite for lunch. While the parents dined on chicken, pasta and fruit salads, the kids enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cups of “pirate booty” (aka Annie’s Cheddar Rabbits), and other finger foods like cheese and chicken nuggets. And what monkey wouldn’t enjoy fruit on a fancy stick and cupcakes... Chocolate and Peanut Butter, Banana and Cream Cheese, and for the pickier pack, Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercream. What could be more perfect?!? From the frilly, monkey-topped cupcakes, to the pink hued pom poms, and the favors with a “thanks for swinging by” tag included, this mom gave her little monkeys a barrel full of memories! Special thanks to the vendors who made this party possible: Tissue Pom Poms – mom, Heather made using Martha’s Tissue Poms pack; Happy 4th Birthday Monkey Signs – mom, Heather made; Monkey and Flower Fondant Toppers – Clementines Cupcakes; Monkey Sugar Cookies – Delicious Dozen; Napkins, Cups, and Stripe Straws – Sweet Lulu; Food Sticks – mom, Heather made; Favor Tags – mom, Heather designed. multiplicity

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under

the big top A circus-themed party is yet another favorite that could go for both boys and girls, and especially if you have one of each. If you have even an ounce of creativity, you can make this theme a huge hit (it’s all in the details, ladies!). Celebrating lucky number 7 for two little girls and including games like Ball Toss (a ball tossed into a fish bowl with the hopes of winning a bag of goldfish crackers!), Duck Fishing, and Ring Toss (recycle and crate those wine bottles, ladies, and get your rings here!), to activities like face painting, photo opps and a clown necktie craft, there was literally something for everyone! Best of all, party favors were exchanged for tickets at the General Store and included items like tattoos and stickers, craft kits, bubble wands, and kites, each with varying ticket values. And who can resist a Strong Man, moustached, little brother! The kids dined under a tent filled with balloons, and had hotdogs, complete with all the typical circus treats: popcorn, cotton candy, doughnuts, clown cookies and cupcakes, and a beautiful “big top” cake. Though these kids were likely full of energy for the rest of the day, these birthday twins were in 7th heaven! To print your free circus party labels, click here! Special thanks to the vendors who made this party possible: Games - Party City and Amazon.com; Big Top cake - Nikki’s Custom Cakes; food & game labels, invitations and signs - mom, Talitha designed 52

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chugga-chugga

choo-choo! Every little boy loves trains at one point in his childhood and this mom went to some creative extremes to make her little guys’ day extra special! The party was aptly held at the local Trolley Museum, where the children were able to climb on a stationary trolley, play with trains, and take a trolley ride through the downtown city. The birthday boys even partied it up by wearing their striped overalls to match their conductor’s caps! Since the boys were only two, mom kept things simple with cupcakes and juice, but had more than enough creative juices to design the stationary, food labels and favor tags (which you can see in her etsy shop now!). Prior to the party, the parents recycled large diaper boxes, making them into wearable trains for each guest. They painted them red and attached ribbon so they could be worn over their shoulders. At the party, the children were each given stickers to design and decorate their individual trains. Party favors for the children included train whistles and personalized conductor’s caps. This party was one to remember, as it was just choo-choo fun! Special thanks to the vendors who made this party possible: stationary, labels and cubcake toppers - bloom events; photography - bloom events

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pirates

& princesses

If you have boy/girl twins, what could be cuter than a party celebrating each of them with pirates and princesses?!? Their mom kept things easy by having the invitations custom made (the back was a treasure map leading guests to the party site!), serving chicken nuggets and fruit for lunch, and having cupcakes with themed toppers. Best of all, the children got to enjoy playing on a pirate ship...argh, me mateys!

Each pirate took home eye patches and booty bags filled with chocolate coins. The little princesses added wands and tiaras to their dress-up repertoires. A little something for everyone equals a match made in twin heaven! Special thanks to the vendors who made this party possible: invitations - Carolina Consulting; photography - Firewife Photography

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it’s a

zoo

out there!

Another adorable party that can go either way for boys, girls, or one of each is a “zoo” themed celebration. With even the invitation including animals in pairs, just look at how this mom pulled out how creative wand and waved it! As the guests arrived at the party, they were led to the front door by animal feetprint made with sidewalk chalk. The playroom was set up with various inflatable zoo animals such as giraffe, lions, tigers, elephants, and several monkeys hanging from the ceiling. As this particular party was geared for 2 year olds, there wasn’t a craft, but snacks included cream cheese & jelly sandwiches cut into animal shapes, banana cookies for the “monkeys”, nutter butter (peanuts) for the “elephants”, and goldfish for the “penguins”. Favors included a colorful bag with crayons and a coloring book, all sorts of animal-themed toys, and best of all, a CD, Zoo Crew Party Mix for the kids to dance their energy away! Special thanks to Firewife Photography. multiplicity

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had enough “whine” with that cheese?

try some of these! by mary cressler

f

or many parents, summers can be one of the busiest times of the year -- traveling with kids, taking them to beaches, day camps, pools, parks, and picnics -- and at the end of the day you deserve a reward for your hard work. Parents need a reminder during the summer to take a step back, breathe, and enjoy the season. For those too busy to spend that extra time perusing the wine aisle, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of the flavor and enjoyment of your wine this summer.

The BBQ Wines

For grilled meats with big flavors such as burgers, ribs, and steaks, look for wines that also have big flavors. One of my favorite wines for grilled meats is Malbec because they not only offer great complimentary flavors for grilled meats, but are usually offered at great values, as well. Look for those from Mendoza, Argentina, like the Tomero Malbec for around $12. Another tried and true grilling favorite is California (red) Zinfandel. Rich, jammy, spicy, and also great to sip on in the evening once the sun sets and the cool breeze rolls in. Look for those produced by Seghesio or Ridge Vineyards for a real treat, or turn to Cline Cellars for affordable everyday valuepriced Zinfandels. For grilled fish, pork, chicken, and vegetables look for dry rosé wines. Though these wines are pink, 56

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you must not confuse them with White Zinfandel; they are a totally different experience. Dry rosés are usually fruity, dry, crisp, and pair well with a wide variety of foods. Some of my favorites are from the Provence region in southern France. Italian white wines are also among favorites to pair with light, grilled foods. Pinot Grigio is a good standard for salads, light appetizers and grilled chicken, but for something different and delicious try Orvieto from the Umbria region in central Italy. My favorite value-priced Orvieto is Barbarani “Vallesanta” Orvieto Classico for $10.

The Picnic Wines

Since giving birth to my twins I have become notorious for forgetting something important whenever I leave the house. I typically have so many things to remember to pack whenever we go anywhere, that packing a corkscrew is the last thing on my mind. Gone are the days where screwcap closure was synonymous with low quality wines. Nowadays, quality wine producers from all over the globe are turning to this alternative closure for even their best wines. In addition to being sealed in a screwcap, Pacific Rim Dry Riesling from Washington State has become a favorite in my household for the quality of flavors and the incredible value at around $8 per bottle. Plus, it is a bright and versatile wine that can pair with any number of foods and is refreshing enough to enjoy with outdoor activities. If you are going on a trip, whether it is just a day trip to have a picnic at the beach, or an overnight camping trip, wines with screwcap closures will become your best friend. Wine tip of the month: (For getting the most out of your wine during summer months) Serve your wine chilled. Yes, even your red wines. No matter what wines you are serving, the summer heat can heighten the taste of alcohol in any wine, especially in red wines, and that is no good when it is 90 degrees out, so it’s best to serve your wines slightly chilled. For red wines, I like to put them in the refrigerator or ice chest for about 20 minutes before serving. If it is too cold for you, then just let it warm up in the glass for a minute or so. If the wine is too warm, place an ice cube in the glass, swirl it around, and then get rid of the ice cube. It won’t dilute the wine as long as you don’t leave it in there too long.

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Keep it low. It is no surprise that alcohol can make you drowsy, especially if you are drinking in hot weather, and long gone are the days when you were able to take a nap in the middle of the day! My favorite low alcohol refresher is Vinho Verde. The actual words translate to “green wine” referring to it being “young”, and intended to be drunk young and fresh (no aging required). These wines will often have a light effervescence to them making them incredibly refreshing. With low alcohol at around 9%, they are perfect for daytime activities such as gardening, brunch, or sitting poolside. Look for Broadbent Vinho Verde with fresh lime flavors, available for around $9.

a sneak peak

of what’s in store for our next issues!

* Holidays with Multiples: Survive & keep the miracle alive. * Making Herstory: Changing the face of fetal surgery. * Lovable lunches (that are good for them, too!) Mary Cressler is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and proprietor of Vindulge Wine Education & Consulting – a wine consulting company focusing on enhancing the consumers wine experience through classes, seminars, events, and consulting. A frequent tasting panelist and judge for wine competitions, Mary also writes about wine on her blog, and also on a freelance basis. She currently resides in Connecticut with her husband, twin boys, and two Chihuahuas.

*and don’t miss out on our much-anticipated Toy/Gift Guide in November! Want to write for us? Read our guidelines and send in your stories!

wine tips for summer:

always serve chilled to keep the heat-induced alcohol taste at bay, and keep the alcohol content low to keep the stamina of chasing and enjoying the kids at an all-time high! multiplicity

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heading abroad

with my family of

m

5

by farah ritter

y whole life I have always loved to travel. When I met my husband, I knew we were a perfect match once I learned of his mutual desire to trot the globe. We married, moved, and started our family. Since my husband works for a global company, we knew that someday we wanted to travel abroad and live overseas for a few years. We had our son and decided that after a second child we would go for it and try to move to Europe. Well, as happens with many families of ‘surprise’ multiples, we didn’t have one baby….we were blessed with two babies, which threw a huge new spin on our ‘plans’. Our twins are pure joy and have made our family complete. However, two babies on top of already having one preschooler can make international travel more intimidating than it already is. The very idea of being outnumbered on a long flight- for instance- is just one of the precarious situations I am considering. There are two of us and there are three of them. Logistically I’m already at a disadvantage, add in their ages (the twins will be on the cusp of 2 years, and my oldest will be 3.5 years at the time of the move), and we have a recipe for a very, very interesting situation. As every parent knows, age two is a time of transition, (i.e. transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed). Now throw in an international move into a different culture

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the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


with another language (not to mention the change in climate coming from the Deep South), and it’s downright overwhelming! The best I can do however is to simply take this for what it is worth and embrace all of the change. Like so many of us with multiples, I have to plan, plan, and try to see into the future and deter any fires before they start. Multiple birth parents and multiples alike thrive on the schedule, so the idea of completely scrapping our daily plan is quite terrifying. We have never flown with our children and have decided not to take them on our initial recon trip to the Netherlands. We have about three days to do some major neighborhood/house hunting in addition to checking out the international schools for our oldest. Taking the kids on an 8 hour flight with international airport navigation just isn’t going to work this time. They will

to get our family of five ready for the road. How will it all come together? We have about four to five months to figure it all out and make this giant leap. Some call me crazy and others call me brave. My hope is that we have the experience of a lifetime, which might instill this future desire to travel in my children. I want them to experience all that life has to offer and I want them know that the world really is theirs for the taking. Farrah is mom to 20 month old twins Lincoln & Chase as well as their 3 year old brother Brody. Currently they’re all packing, planning and figuring out how to take a giant leap of faith together and move to the Netherlands for the next few years starting this October. You can follow their journey on her blog The Three Under, Facebook, and as @ Momofthreeunder on Twitter.

I want them to experience all that life has to offer and...know that the world really is theirs for the taking. experience a ‘test’ run on a two hour flight when we take them to their grandparents while we are away, but for the most part, the long overseas flight we’ll be taking in the near future together as a family will be a blind experience. So what can one do to prepare for such an adventure? First of all, we face the logistics and accept them. Do as much research as possibleexpect the worst things to happen- and plan for them. Everything needs to be considered when it comes to the day-to-day survival of the children. I need to have access to meals at the usual times, and snacks and naps still need to happen on schedule. By trying to keep things as similar as to what we are accustomed to doing, this might help the boys adjust to our new home. I’m scared, but not paralyzed, which I think is fairly easy to do if you think too much about this undertaking. I believe twins or multiples aren’t a hindrance or an obstacle in life. They’re an opportunity to double, triple or quadruple the experience! Our journey begins this October and until then, I’ll be packing, planning, reading and scheming multiplicity

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contd. from five-minute fix

to add simple pattern to a room. Adding trim to a plain piece may just be the easiest, least expensive way to take your interior design to the next level. Happy trimming! 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.

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Multiplicity Magazine - Summer 2012 Issue  

From preping for the holidays to tips on improving your childrens handwriting, this issue of Multiplicity will help make your days smoother...

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