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Summer 2014

the scoop on the

mommy makeover back to school special insert!


travel easily

with the twins!

did you know?

your kids can save you money boredom busters getting your kids outside


Be Happy. Be Healthy.

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is sound activated and plays 4 soothing sounds.


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on the road again: the ultimate guide for twins on the go! 6

What to know about Mid-Year Check Ups


Common Core and what you need to know


Compromising Vacation and how to make it work for everyone!


Lunchbox Inspiration from the city mouse and country mouse

13 Fruit Loops: Finding teaching


Book Review and how to encourage summer reading

16 Summer Sun and how to keep


The great debate: One Class or Two?

18 Traveling Tips for two in tow!


Shoot for the Stars: Sneaking in learning over the summer


Twins in College: How to handle their leaving


Planting the seeds of health


Boredom Busters: Outdoor activities to keep them busy


Appy Summer!

36 Summer Eating: Light and easy


Ask Joan: Building emotinal nest eggs with your twins

38 Be prepared with our Back to


Tips for going Back to School on a Budget


Five Minute Fix: Pattern Mixing!


Defying all odds and Overcoming Challenges as a single mom

moments in everyday life your family safe

22 Product Buzz 25 Myths around the Mommy Makeover

28 Play by the pool in style with this issue’s Fashion Finds

34 Tips for more easily Swimming with Twins

summertime fare

School special insert



cover cuties Soon to be 4 years old, Gia and Liv grace our cover this summer! The girls love school, dance class, swimming, beach days, crafting and playing dress-up, and of course, the world-famous movie, Frozen. They both want to be (in their words) “Doggy Doctors” when they grow up. Mom and dad call them future VeTWINarians! photos courtesy of Gia and Liv’s mom multiplicity


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


Even though it seems to get hot so fast, summer is always a wonderful breath of fresh air. A time when we can break a little from our schedule and enjoy longer days, lots of time outside, and trips full of new adventures, my family loves this time of year. Because kids aren’t in school, this is also the time of year when many families travel and are constantly “on the go”, entertaining and keeping the kids busy. We have put together several features on traveling with your twins, hoping to help make things as easy as possible! It wasn’t all that long ago that we too were lugging the play yards, swings and bouncers, and other necessities for travel with twins (and some of our Mom Squad are still in the throes of this!). If you fear venturing far from home with the littles, just know that it can be so rewarding to travel and explore new sights with them. There is always something for them, and a little compromise can go a long way to making a great vacation. Planning is always key!

insert helpful. From dealing with separation anxiety, whether or not to separate your twins, the common core, and purchasing school supplies, we’ve got you covered.

Publisher Natalie Diaz

As we do our own little midyear check-up, Twiniversity and Multiplicity are planning new and exciting things for you. Nat will soon be speaking at Social Media on the Sand in the Caribbean, we’ll be in Indianapolis, and we’ll be traveling back to the ABC Expo in September to meet new partners for next year. Want to share a story or photo? Email us any time!

Photographers Firewife Photography

Just like summer, childhood doesn’t last anywhere near long enough. Cherish the longer days, the stargazing, the sharing of dreams ahead, the memories made and lessons learned on new trips and adventures, and especially those quiet moments that seem to be even fewer and far between than even when they were tiny.

We also hope that you’ll find our Back to School special

*We’d also like to correct a misprint from our spring issue. To learn more or purchase Konfidence swim suits for your kids, visit them at

Natalie Diaz founder/publisher

Talitha A. McGuinness executive editor

Executive Editor / Creative Director Talitha A. McGuinness

Contributing Writers Karen Finchum Farrah Ritter Jessica Therival Michelle Leichty Nellie Harden Skye Van Zetten Stephanie Jackson Dr. Karen Horton Dr. Joan Friedman Traci Zeller Jeff Kendall Carolina Donkersloot Tamar Blazer Dr. Preeti Parikh Sandra Cassibry Deanna Burkett Sadia Rodriguez Sharon Knight Susan Rassette Twiniversity Content Mgr. Julie Burt Nichols Pinterest/Forum Manager Deanna Burkett Facebook Manager Jill Marcum Contact us: 141 Mulberry Street Apt. C-1 New York, NY 10013 917-442-2020 Multiplicity is published as a digital magazine four times per calendar year, with additional supplements as desired. Multiplicity cannot assume responsibility of statements made by advertisers. In addition, though hand-picked and carefully reviewed, Multiplicity cannot guarantee the accuracy of editorial pieces. No portion in whole or in part of this publication may be reproduced without express written consent from the publisher. Questions? Email



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

here’s to late night stories, wishing on a shooting star, endless days at the pool, ice cream eating, sea shell picking, running, laughing and splashing, hide and seeking, full on memory making.

happy summer!

mid-year check-up:

how to know your twins are on track by skye van zetten

Six months?!? How time flies in the absence of adequate sleep! By now, you and your twins have (hopefully) settled into something that resembles a routine, and had some time to bond with your beautiful children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends well-child visits a few days after newborns are discharged from the hospital, and at 1, 2, and 4 months of age prior to the mid-year check-up. On this schedule, your family physician now has a short, but valuable medical history on each baby. If you have questions or concerns about your twins’ development, the mid-year check-up is an excellent time to discuss these with your pediatrician.

what is corrected age?

If your twins were born earlier than 37 weeks, (according to Canadian hospital statistics, almost 60% of all twins are), you have likely heard your pediatrician mention their age “plus x-weeks corrected.” This correction is the time between delivery and the growth and development that continues to occur outside the uterus, up until full-term age (40 weeks). Accounting for the extra gestational time often explains delays in reaching developmental milestones. Although the babies are six months old, if they were born at 28 weeks into the pregnancy, the doctor will correct for those 12 weeks. In this case, developmental expectations for a three month old would be much more realistic.

weight gain --- is it enough or too much? Growth charts are a tool used to track an individual child’s weight and height, while percentiles are the wavy lines used to compare weight and height against the 6


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

average for infants of the same age. Because twins are typically smaller than the average singleton at birth, growth that plots along (or below) the lower percentiles can be very disconcerting for parents. Correcting for gestational age alone may still not be enough to compare twins with a singleton’s growth, as twin growth often doesn’t match singleton growth, even when matched with a singleton preemie. Trying to get more calories into a small child, or restrict calories in a large baby ultimately causes more long-term problems than either will immediately solve. On the growth chart, the 50th percentile is not the goal; it is merely the middle of the average. Normal growth occurs on both sides, even at extremes, of that middle line. “A child growing steadily at the 5th percentile is typically considered healthy growth,” says Adina Pearson, a Registered Dietitian and founder of Healthy Little Eaters in Walla Walla, Washington. “It’s when kids dive down in percentiles or shoot up drastically that we dietitians do a double-take and want to ensure that feeding is going well. Feeding that looks stressed, or where the caregiver feels pressured to get calories in can be both a sign that something is not right and a trigger for poor eating on the baby’s part.”

are my twins ready for solid food?

It’s common to advise parents to start introducing solid food between 4-6 months, but more important than photographing

baby’s first spoon feeding, each twin needs specific skills to be able to manage more than breast milk or formula. Your twins will let you know when they are ready to progress with eating. A baby is ready for solid food when he or she can: • hold head steady, • sit well (even supported) in an upright position, • follow the spoon with eyes, and opens mouth for spoon, • close lips over the spoon, • keep most of the food in mouth and swallow. Some babies accept first foods easily, and quickly progress to modified table foods, while others are more cautious and may not self-feed until their second or third year. If one or both of your twins doesn’t appear interested in being fed by spoon, don’t force it. Many babies prefer their own fingers over being fed by someone else with a spoon.

what if one twin is mastering skills before the other? Having two children with an age gap measured in minutes does not mean each child will reach developmental milestones at the same time. This will be especially apparent if your twins are different genders. Girls tend to develop fine motor skills earlier, while boys typically master gross motor skills first. You may find your daughter develops a good pincer grip before her brother, while your son may sit unassisted before his sister. Resist the urge to compare your twins multiplicity

to a singleton’s development, or even one twin’s progress to the other. When one twin is born with a developmental delay, the presented milestone charts can add another layer of worry. In fact, each child will set their own pace along their own unique developmental path. It is possible that early intervention, based on the child’s individual needs, will assist development of core strength and the coordination needed to master movement, eating, and communication. A variety of services are available to compliment their development, often free of charge.

don’t forget about you

While the mid-year check-up is an important look at how well your twins are growing and developing, your personal post-partum experience matters, too. Crucial to your children’s developmental success is your own mental and physical health. Responding to demands of two infants on little sleep while developing a close bond with each can easily overwhelm anyone. “It’s very easy to fall into the trap of tasking your way through your day and completely forgetting about your own needs,” says Jen Logan, a Registered Nurse at a busy hospital’s Mental Health Crisis Unit, mother of three-year-old twins plus one, and author of the informative blog Down Wit Dat. “There is no ‘Super-Mom’ award if you push yourself too far, but you can make yourself very sick, very fast. Instead, take some preventative “me” time. Set up your support system so that you can go --- contd. pg. 10

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compromising vacation plans: making the most for the whole family Once you’re a parent, you realize that compromise becomes your life. Once your family experiences twins (or more), the idea of compromise becomes even more of a reality. However, one of the great things about being a parent of multiple children, is that we are also master jugglers. When we emerge from the haze of the new baby daze, we’re ready to jump back into life and carry on with things that are important to us. For our family, like so many others, travel is a priority and we aren’t going to allow having kids stop us from going places and doing things that we love most. Our family of five moved to Europe nearly two years ago as U.S. expats. Travel has become the number one thing that we all do together often and have found that compromise is key whenever we’re planning a trip. By plane, train and car, we manage to do things that appeal to each one of us, even though that might seem intimidating or even next to impossible with multiple children. Truth is, it can be done, and as master jugglers we can do it very well if we just take the time to think outside of the norm. Three basic guidelines apply whenever we’re planning any kind of trip with the kids: budget, flexibility and limits.


It would be absolutely wonderful to throw any sense of a budget out of the equation when planning a family vacation. Unfortunately though, 8


by farrah ritter

for many people, that simply isn’t possible. Flights for four or more can eat a major piece of any budget, so for us, we typically go by car. Gas is expensive, but this way, I also know we can bring whatever we need. Also, if we’re going just a few hours away, getting there and back isn’t nearly so difficult. Our last successful vacation was only about an hour away! Compromising on the “where” doesn’t have to put an end to your fun. Think of how much more you can do! When it comes to accommodations, we’ve learned that hotels are not our best option. Five people puts us in a situation where we would need to book two rooms for the luxury of a reliable stand-by chain. Sure, I miss the ease with which a bellhop might be able to help carry all of our belongings up to our room, order room service, or have a ready made breakfast buffet without lifting a finger myself. But when compromising for the sake of the family, we’ve learned that using house or apartment rentals are usually the best bet. Rentals have plenty of room, come equipped with linens and kitchen items and we know we aren’t bothering anyone (or vice versa) in a tiny hotel room. We’ve stayed at family bed and breakfasts and full blown family ‘parks’. Less and less we find hotels appealing when we travel as a whole family. Our favorite house or apartment rental is House Trip and we’ve had more than a few great experiences with them.

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You can make any trip fun for everyone with a little extra planning. One of my dreams has always been to visit Rome. In that dream, I did not have twin three year olds and a five year old along with us, but they made it one of our most favorite vacations yet. We started out by deciding what the big things were that we had to see in just four days. Pacing yourself, keeping it relaxed and enjoyable while you remember that you as the parent set the tone for everyone is important. Be sure to choose a kid-friendly walking tour, a boat ride, or some way to rest, as an entire day of walking can be hard on everyone.

Set Limits

Before we set out for the day, we talk about what we all want to do. For example, back in the States, we visited Disney World for a weekend. The kids were even smaller then, and with the heat, we had to be realistic about what we could accomplish and our ‘must dos’ while there. There wasn’t a way we could see and do it all, so we didn’t even try. We hit the rides that were most important and only visited the Magic Kingdom. The boys didn’t know there were additional parks at that age, and we didn’t tell them. For a

vacation to be fun for the whole family, it is important to keep in mind that you know your kids best and that they can only do so much. Balance is the key. One of the priorities on my ‘must do while traveling’ list is eating local food. It isn’t realistic to expect small kids to sit perfectly and behave at a fancy restaurant, so we avoid that stress completely and don’t even attempt it. We search until we find a restaurant that we think we might be the most comfortable patronizing. I gauge the reaction of the hostess and check out the

Last summer, we spent one full day in Paris with the kids and I was thrilled that we could take the water taxi via hop-on/ hop-off points. In the peak of the summer travel season, a leisurely stroll through the City of Light wasn’t for us. However, we still had a very enjoyable time floating down the Seine while seeing everything that we wanted to see. Maybe you’re thinking about going somewhere that isn’t totally kid-centric. We have never been anywhere with the whole family where we couldn’t find something for the kids. We’ve been to zoos and aquariums in over six countries. One trip we discovered a nearby children’s museum and fit it into the schedule. It was only a couple of hours out of our schedule and it made them so happy. Who wouldn’t want to go to Rome for a children’s museum if it made everyone happy? multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


contd. from --- check-up

for a walk, grab a quick nap or a soak in the tub. Keep your family’s needs balanced. Your mind and your body have certainly earned it.” Discuss any concerns you have with your pediatrician, and don’t be shy about asking questions. While your doctor is knowledgeable about general infant development, you, the parent, are the expert on your own children. Skye Van Zetten is a mother of twins and licensed home daycare operator under the governing umbrella of the Ontario Ministry of Education in Canada. In the absence of clinical direction and professional help for her son’s extreme food refusal, Skye began her own research, leading to the creation of her award winning blog to share information related to selective eating. The Mealtime Hostage parentto-parent support group on facebook currently offers feeding support and guidance to hundreds of parents of selective eating children worldwide. Skye continues to follow research developments on Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

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contd. from --- vacation

the dr. is in:

5 facts on heading back to school Summer is in full swing, but soon it will be time to get ready for school. Here are some tips to ease the transition: 1. At least 1 week before school starts, go back to a bedtime routine to make sure your child is getting enough sleep. 2. Make sure to create a good work space environment with few distractions. TV shouldn’t be on during homework. 3. Help get them organized with a wall calendar, a designated place where they will know to find their completed homework, backpack and school supplies. Also, it is important to make sure all their summer reading/ homework is completed so they can start school on the right foot. 4. Talk to your child about their emotions about starting school. They maybe nervous, so reminding them of the positive aspects of school and the good memories from the year before is a good way to get them excited about going back to school. 5. Make sure their immunizations are all up to date. This could be key in fighting so many things with which they’ll come into contact throughout the year.

menu. If there’s a kids section on it, chances are they’re perfectly happy with kids. My three aren’t the most adventurous eaters, so while we might encourage them to try something new, as long as there’s a standby of pasta or chicken we’ll be alright. Additionally, one of our most unexpected costs while traveling is the constant clamoring for snacks and sweets. When in Rome, gelato was our go-to snack as we all enjoyed it, and could eat it on the go. I pack plenty of drinks and other favorites before we leave the house or apartment for the day, because food is one cost that adds up quickly. Packing our own lunch also saves a lot of money, and I know we can then splurge on dinner. Traveling around Europe is very much like traveling within the U.S. Hop in the car, drive a few hours, and boom! You’re someplace new. You still have the logistics to think about, the stuff to carry, and the people to make happy, but it can be done with a little planning. The window for traveling with children is so small; make that time count! My husband and I say to each other all of the time that life isn’t going to be like this forever. Hotels will always be there, but having little boys will not. We have been to eight countries with the kids, and to hear them talk about the Charles Bridge in Prague to a castle in Luxembourg is priceless. Farrah is mom to twin boys, as well as their 3 year old brother. Recently, they made the move to the Netherlands for the next few years. You can follow their journey on her blog The Three Under, Facebook, and as @ Momofthreeunder on Twitter.

Dr. Preeti Parikh is a Board-Certified Pediatrician with a special interest in preventive medicine, advocacy and patient education. She contributes to Multiplicity magazine, The Bump, and the book “What to Do When You Are Having Two”. Outside of work, Preeti enjoys free time with her husband and wonderful twin children. multiplicity the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


fruit loops::

finding teachable moments as part of everyday life

by sharon knight



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


s parents, we wear many different hats throughout our day: short-order cook, maid, chauffeur, referee, playmate, story-teller, and the list goes on. But perhaps one of our most important jobs is to be our children’s very first teacher. We help our babies learn to talk and walk, we teach them right from wrong, we instill rules of safety, and we guide them as they learn about the world around them and their role in it. I love teaching my children, watching their faces light up with excitement over their newfound knowledge. I have found however, as is the case in many aspects of raising multiples, traditional schoolroom-type settings can be challenging, if not downright impossible. Moments for oneon-one time are few and far between. My twins constantly compete for my attention and need perpetual supervision as they navigate their way into the “terrible twos.” I cannot sit down with one boy to focus on teaching him something without the other either becoming extremely jealous or finding a way to get into trouble. So I have had to find more creative approaches to ensuring that learning is a fun and engaging part of our days. One morning, my twins and their big brother were gathered around the kitchen table for breakfast when I had an idea. I reached for the box of Fruit Loops (not the healthiest of breakfast options, I know, but a valuable tool nonetheless), and I poured one big bowl. I began doling out the individual cereal pieces, one at a time, quizzing the boys as I handed them food. “What color is this?” A simple enough question, but at the time my twins only had a very rudimentary idea of colors. This meal quickly became their formal introduction. Of course they didn’t know the answer to my question, so I told them the answer as I handed them the piece. After a few rounds, and with the names of the various colors implanted in their brains, I then asked which color they wanted next, doling out the appropriate cereal bites on request. Suddenly we were filling our tummies, having fun, and learning something useful and new! There are teachable moments all around us; it just takes a little bit of creativity to find them. When we get down on the floor to play with their toy trains, we count how many engines and cars they multiplicity

have. When we sit and wait at a traffic light, we talk about the fact that red means “stop” and green means “go.” When we play with puzzles, we name the shapes and count how many sides and angles each one has. They are small steps, individually, but I can assure you, they all add up. Tonight at dinner, one of my 25-month-old twins correctly identified the triangle I had cut his sandwich into, without as much as a prompt. “Look, a triangle!” It was music to my ears. Now, I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed as a parent of multiples. You may be thinking that you don’t have the time or energy to come up with creative ways to teach your kids; your days and your brain are already too jam packed. Trust me, I understand exactly where you are coming from. There are days when I firmly believe “overwhelmed” should have been my middle name. So my advice to you is to start small. Sing the alphabet song to each baby while you change their diaper; count the steps aloud as you carry them upstairs. From the time they are very young, read to them and just talk to them. It doesn’t have to be anything special. Explain to them what you are doing throughout your day, even if it is something as mundane as loading the washing machine. Your voice is soothing to them, and they are absorbing your words, your tone and inflections, etc. It will pay off dividends down the road as they learn to talk and understand how our language works. When your multiples get a little older, they will undoubtedly enter the “why” phase, or as it has been in our household, “what’s that?” Of course the question becomes annoying by the 50th time you hear it, but try not to show your frustration. Remember their inquisitive minds are growing rapidly, and you can encourage the learning process simply by giving them honest and sincere answers (even if it’s the same answer as yesterday or even just from five minutes ago!). Better yet, when one of my twins asks me, “what’s that?” I make sure they are both within earshot to hear the answer. That way they are both getting the opportunity to learn. We all want to do our best for our kids, give them everything they need to succeed in life. Whatever lessons you teach your children, big or small, know that you are making a positive impact towards their future. And you can do this with something as simple as a bowl of Fruit Loops. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples




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unstoppable together a cord blood registry family story

My name is Karen Billingsley and my husband Justin and I are parents to 4 year old quadruplets, Emma, Logan, Zoe, and Krishtian. Life with the Billingsley Bunch is definitely chaotic. The kids are going to be 5 in May and start Kindergarten in the fall. We have come so far, but it has been a long road to get to where we are today. I had known since the age of 14 that I was going to have issues getting pregnant on my own. My husband and I knew we wanted children but we thought it might take time to start a family. Much to our surprise, after only 1 cycle of injectable hormones, we were pregnant….with quintuplets!!!!! We had 5 heartbeats. When our doctor started counting them out loud, my husband begged him to just stop counting. We knew it would be hard, but we also knew God had given us this amazing gift of a family on our first try at getting pregnant. Around 7 weeks, we saw 2 of the babies’ heartbeats start slowing. We feared that we

were losing them. At 9 weeks, we confirmed that we had in fact lost baby E, but baby D’s heart rate was back up and holding strong. We didn’t have time to process what had happened. We instead had to press on with the pregnancy and concentrate on our 4 babies. We made it to 31 weeks, and on May 18,, 2009 at 2:46pm – 2:50pm, we welcomed our 4 beautiful, healthy babies into the world. In birth order, Emma was 1lb. 10oz., Logan was 2lbs. 12oz., Zoe was 2lbs. 15oz., and Krishtian was 3lbs. 3oz. All 4 babies were admitted into the NICU where they would learn essential things, such as regulating their own temperature and how to suck, swallow, and breathe all at the same time. Our decision to bank with Cord Blood Registry (CBR) was really quite easy. We were concerned about what it would cost to bank for 4 babies. We knew that the babies were going to be premature and that they would have to fight for their lives. We also knew multiplicity

they were faced with lots of scary statistics. This is when the conversation about cord blood became very serious. We talked with my parents about it and their feelings were just as strong about banking as ours. My parents and grandparents all chipped in and paid our initial fees. CBR worked with us to make it as affordable as possible, as we knew all the amazing things that could be done with cord blood and all the things that might be available in the future. Choosing to bank their cord blood was reassurance that we had a back-up plan. From the delivery day to now has been a whirlwind. It has been such a blessing to raise our 4 miracles. It is so fun to watch them interact with each other; they each always have a friend. We also like to encourage all of the kids to be their own person, as they are unique and different. They share a special bond that even my husband and I don’t fully understand. They are strong on their own, but unstoppable together.

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one twin, two twin tan twin, burnt twin summer sun

by carolina donkersloot

Pink Lemonade. Fireflies. Playing in the sprinklers. Flying a Kite. Hot sand under my feet. The warm sun on my skin. Summer is here! Who doesn’t love summer? By now, we are all very conscious of protecting ourselves and our family from the sun when we are at the beach or go to the pool, but we don’t necessarily think about it when we go about our daily lives. Here are some easy tips to follow this summer to make sure your family is always protected while having some outdoor fun: • Make sunscreen part of your daily routine. Since they were babies, I always moisturize my kids’ skin after I bathe them. Even if being in the sun is not in the plans for the day, nobody leaves the house without sunscreen, I use SPF 15 Lubriderm and mix it with their regular moisturizer. I go to the park almost every morning with my 11 month old twins, and know that even this 1 hour a day could cause longterm damage if I don’t protect their skin. If your babies are less than 6 months old, they should 16


avoid the sun for the most part, however experts say that small amounts of sunscreen in areas like face and arms is acceptable as long as you are using one specially intended for kids. Quite possibly their best defense is to wear rash guard type shirts (especially the long-sleeved ones) to protect as best as possible. • Plan outdoor activities for earlier or later. Try to avoid the harmful rays between 10:30am – 3:30pm. Let your children play in the yard while you get some gardening done after breakfast, but have them come in by 10am for a snack, some indoor games and a movie after lunch. Go to the park after 4pm, as this will not only keep the little ones out of harm’s way from the sun, but will also tire them up before bedtime. Going to the pool? I actually prefer leaving this outing for the early afternoon hours, 1.) because it will be easier to get them out of the pool once they start to get cold as the sun sets, and 2.) again, they will get so tired that bedtime should be a breeze! • Make wearing hats fun! My 4 year old refused

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to wear a hat, until I found one with a shark bite on it, and now he loves it! Stick with bucket-style hats that have wide rims. Baseball caps don’t protect the neck and ears, which are areas that burn easily and are often neglected by sunscreen. If you can’t find a fun hat, buy a generic one and turn decorating it into an art project. You can give the hat an extra set of eyes, sew some ears on or simply tie dye it.

• Lather on the sunblock. Use SPF 40 or greater and remember to reapply frequently (like every 2-4 hours, depending on how sensitive your kids’ skin is to the sun), and especially after each time they get out of the water (the sunblock is only waterproof for so long!). I like to use Aveeno Baby for the face, as it comes in a stick which helps to avoid getting it in their eyes and Eucerin Kids Spray for the rest of the body.

• Find shade when you’re outside. Whether it’s a day at the zoo, or playing hide and seek in the yard, seek cover under the trees or shelters, especially at mid-day.

• Use sunglasses in addition to hats. The sun will reflect off the water and the sand, so protecting your little ones’ eyes is also important.

• Hydrate. Make sure your whole family is drinking plenty of water. When my kids actually stop playing to ask for water, they’re probably on the verge of dehydration. I have to make sure to approach them frequently with cold water to make sure they’re getting enough. Make it easy and accessible by purchasing their own water bottles (you can even let them personalize it!), and keep ice water available at all times.

• Cover up. Use long sleeve swimwear and rash guards with UV protection. Tight knit fabrics in dark colors are best for blocking harmful rays. • Use hair conditioner. There are some leave-in spray conditioners that include UV protection. Both the beach and the pool will dry your hair out, so make conditioner a priority. At the end of it all, embrace the summer. Be a child again. Cover your jeans with grass stains. Squint your eyes at the clear blue skies. Soak up those warm rays, but always do so safely.

Going to the beach? In addition to the recommendations above, you probably want to take some additional measures:

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planes, trains, & automobiles: traveling efficiently with two or more in tow by jessical therival

Summer is coming and it is time to hit the road. Don’t let having multiples keep you from traveling. The earlier you start traveling with them, the better chance of having seasoned travelers who are well-adjusted to life on the road. I took my girl/girl twins on an airplane by myself when they were 3 months old. We survived and it gave me the confidence to continue to fly, drive, and ride with them alone, and especially with a helper. Now at 7 years old, we are about to leave on a 3-week trip to Shanghai, China and Hoi An, Vietnam. I have figured out that regardless of your mode of transportation, whether it is a plane, train, or automobile, there are some elements of preparation and planning that are key. Scheduling For long car trips, if you have kids that sleep in the car, consider driving at night when they will sleep. For shorter car trips, try to consider rush hour or other traffic patterns when deciding on departure times. For air travel with infants, consider feeding and sleep schedules. As closely as you can match what you have set up at home, the easier it may be. If you have babies that have a solid afternoon nap, afternoon may not be the time to be hustling through the airport to make a 18

connection. If you have a layover or connection, take the amount of time you think you need to maneuver through the airport and double it. Give yourself enough time to exit the plane, hit the restroom for any diaper or outfit changes (yours or theirs!), for pumping or nursing, getting some food, and strolling to your gate. Many airports now have indoor small play areas for kids, which is a great opportunity for younger children to expend some energy while giving you a break. Logistics If you are flying with children under 2, and they will be lap children, know that you cannot have more than one lap child in a row due to the number of oxygen masks. So, two parents with two lap children cannot sit in the same row. My seating preference when mine were small was to go two and two with one parent/child sitting in front of the other. Security checkpoints now don’t require children under 12 to remove shoes, but for small children, it is still a good idea to spend time talking about and explaining walking through security before you get there. The crowds, the officers, the equipment, and quite possibly the long waits are all overwhelming enough. Talking it all through helps the children understand each step of the way.

car seats in the car seat bag. You can also consider renting any needed gear at your final destination. We have done this with swings, bouncers, strollers, and even larger toys. For older children that need a backless booster, there is a product called Bubble Bum that is an inflatable booster seat. This is what we will travel with for the flight to Asia. Packing Pack for the apocalypse. For babies and toddlers, this is extra clothes, extra diapers, extra pacifiers, extra formula, extra snacks. For older children, it still may mean extra clothes. When I say extra, I mean extra. This is not the time to run out. For long car trips, when our twins were about 2 to 4 years old, we invested in a $10 travel potty with a lid that was able to fit in the second row on the floor. Any potty emergency could be handled right there in the car (once we were safely stopped), without always having to find an exit with a bathroom. I always try to remember to pack a

pain relieving/fever reducing medication along with an ageappropriate tummy medicine. For air travel, consider two separate diaper bags in the event you and your travel partner are separated by more than a row or two. Activity wise, there are always electronics, but those are not a first choice for many and on long trips, any aged child can still get bored with screen time. Other options that are travel-friendly would be Color Wonder markers which only color on Color Wonder paper (mess free --- yay!), coloring books from a dollar store, fresh crayons, sticker books with removable stickers or sticker mosaics, puzzles (you can use a cookie sheet on their lap in the car), or even small toys from the dollar store. The key is that it is new. Wrapping them as a present can be fun for smaller kids and just adds to the surprise and excitement of the trip. Most importantly, space them out; don’t reveal them all at once. --- contd. pg. 21

To ease the burden, I am a big fan of gate-checking strollers. Once children don’t need a car seat on the plane, consider checking the car seats or boosters in a car seat bag. This does not count as luggage so there is no fee and it is possible that sometimes other bulky items, like jackets, beach towels, or pillows, ride along with the multiplicity

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Feeding No matter what your mode of transportation, I recommend dry snacks like goldfish, pretzels, dried fruit, etc. You want to pick food that if it ends up smashed into a million bits underneath your child, the damage to their clothing or the seat is minimal. Let’s just say there was an experience with M&Ms on an airplane, and a mother who did not realize that one of her twins was sitting on a pile of M&Ms, which may not melt in your hand, but definitely melt onto light pink pants! I also recommend not letting the kiddos see the whole snack stash at the beginning. Just like with the crafts and toys, maintain an air of mystery to keep the surprise element going as long as possible.

guidelines on breast milk so you are prepared. At last check, TSA was saying that women could transport breast milk in more than 3 ounce servings, but the total amount is unspecified and is still up to the discretion of the individual screener. You will want to keep it separate from your other liquids and inform the TSA agent that it is breast milk. The breast pump itself will count as a personal item unless the bag that contains it fits inside of another carry-on. Don’t forget if traveling to a foreign country, you should become familiar with their customs and breastfeeding culture so you are prepared. For formula feeders, I highly recommend pre-measuring formula into bottles so all you have to do is add water after security. If you have picky babies, like mine were, and they will only drink it warm, the flight attendants will usually be happy to give you hot water in a cup which you can place the bottle in to warm it up. If you are trying to keep it cold, pack empty Ziploc bags that you can fill with ice at a restaurant or concession kiosk inside the airport, again, after you’ve passed through security. Regardless of how, when, or even where you plan to travel with your twinnies, planning and a little research goes a long way to heading off mayhem and meltdowns, for both you and the kids. Safe travels!

Since there are two of them, (and this applies more for the older twins), plan to either purchase snacks in individually wrapped packages, or separate them yourself before leaving home. This could help when one likes a particular snack while the other prefers something else entirely, but also eliminates the unnecessary fighting that no parent wants to deal with while traveling. For my kids who are older, we have a pretty firm “water only” rule when traveling. It is just the least horrific to deal with when it spills. In the past, we had malfunctioning sippy cups and bottles of milk or juice and I feel like it made any spill that much more catastrophic. If you are breast-feeding and flying, check current airport regulations for security multiplicity

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the buzz

twin tested... MOM approved!

the scoop on things worth giving

a try

svan tot seat

This new concept to a product used for decades to make life easier is genius! Don’t have a ton of space for highchairs? Are the babies sitting up and ready to self-feed? Need something portable and lightweight for traveling? The Svan Tot Seat is a perfect fit for these needs. The fabric seat is made to fit over the back of most any chair and then folds up and between the child’s legs to clasp behind the chair. Children are safe and are able to be fed or self-feed with ease. The best part? It folds into a compact little carrying bag that fits perfectly into the diaper bag or your purse. Packing everyone in our vehicle for a vacation suddenly became a little easier not having to throw in the travel highchair, as let’s face can’t go on vacation for any length of time with nowhere for the little one to sit and eat! The seat is also easy to wash, as you can spot clean or simply throw it in the laundry with everything else. For its light weight and portability, space-saving abilities, and ease of cleaning, this product is a win for twin moms everywhere! ~ talitha

clevamama clevabath mat and kneeler

The perfect bath mat for secure sitters! This extra long mat covers the entire tub from end to drain with strong suction cups that keep it from floating. The soft padding is comfortable and the non-slip grip helps your little ones from sliding around. Every mat comes with a bonus kneeler pad to ease your tired knees! ~ julie

journey bee

This is a play yard like no other. When you are heading out for a playdate, picnic, a day at the beach, or even on vacation, the last thing you want to do is lug along a heavy pack and play to help keep the babies contained. This play yard weighs a little more than 10 pounds and has a carrying case with a handy shoulder/back strap for carrying hands-free (always a plus for a twin mom with never enough hands to go around!). When open, the JournyBee is sturdy and provides plenty of space to play or rest. When ready to break down and store, it folds completely into itself, more compact than any other on the market. We have thoroughly enjoyed using ours to help keep our little one contained at the beach when she’s had enough surf and sand, and it especially comes in handy when she’s ready for her nap. It rinses clean and we leave it out to air dry before getting it ready for bedtime at night. I cannot say enough of how much of a lifesaver (and spacesaver!) the JourneyBee truly is. ~ talitha 22


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dex dura bib

The only bib you’ll ever need! The Dex Dura Bib sports a waterproof front, a soft canvas backing, an extra large “catch-all” pocket, and secure snaps. The bib pocket unsnaps and wipes off easily for quick clean up anywhere. These bibs are long lasting, tough, and sport really cute animals and fun sayings like, “Let’s do lunch!” In small and large sizes. ~ julie

valco zee two

I can’t tell you enough how awesome this stroller is! There are so many perks for parents and kids that I’m not sure I can list them all, but here are the highlights: 1. Lightweight (26 lbs compared to my tandem at 36 lbs!) 2. Easy “snap out” fold out. 3. Adjustable handlebar that I ADORE as I am a tall mama! 4. I can’t rave enough about the twins both loving front facing at the same time. 5. Five point harness AND a safety bar to boot! 6. More than enough room for a growing child. 7. Extended canopy. Let me just take a second and pay ode to one of the most awesome features of this stroller. The canopy can extend nearly all the way to the safety bar for extra shade and protection! 8. Easy up and down reclining seat. 9. All terrain wheels. I love that the front wheels lock. We live in a very rustic area and we like to take the twins on walks after dinner to wind them down. Locking wheels are a must! 10. Compact. I drive an SUV with little storage space in the back. The Valco Zee Two fits PERFECTLY in that small space without me fearing I’ve broken it every time I “slam” the hatch to squeeze it in! ~ deanna

Ever wish you could afford a personal meal planning assistant to help you put lunches together? At, their motto is “We Plan. You Pack. They Eat.” Marvelous! The team can even customize the menus depending on any allergies or food sensitivities such as gluten-free, nut-free and vegetarian. Thinking this is too expensive or too good to be true? For a 3-month plan at only $18, you get weekly meal plans delivered to your inbox, complete with photos for each menu item. Take the guesswork out of what your kids will eat and enjoy making healthy lunches with little to no fuss at all! ~ talitha multiplicity

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the mommy makeover dispelling myths and providing truths

by dr. karen horton 24


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


ll mothers are interested in beauty, being healthy and getting back into shape following pregnancy. Moms of twins and higher-order multiples know firsthand that multiple birth pregnancies can transform our bodies significantly, but often not in ways that are welcome! Even for the most accepting and easygoing mothers, it can be frustrating when changes in our body accumulate with subsequent pregnancies and are magnified by a multiple-order gestation. Permanent changes that can occur after a multiple pregnancy include: • Breast volume loss, deflation, droop and sagging • Nipple deflation, sagging or enlargement • Loss of abdominal muscle tone with stretching apart and permanent separation of the rectus abdominis muscles, known as “rectus diastasis” • Accumulation of stubborn fat deposits in various areas that persist despite being physically active and achieving a healthy post-pregnancy weight • Stretch marks! • Elongation of the labia minora, particularly after vaginal deliveries • “Melasma”, also known as the “mask of pregnancy” - hyperpigmentation that persists even after hormonal fluctuations cease • Changes in skin texture and moisture levels Depressing? It certainly can be. I am a mother of twin girls myself and a Plastic Surgeon who specializes in post-baby body contouring surgery for women. I appreciate firsthand the changes that occur to a previously fit body after carrying a multiple pregnancy in your belly and nursing your twins for a year. It can be tough to get your body back while being a mom and coping with all the adventures and stresses of every day life! There is precious time to exercise and take care of yourself, while primarily caring for your children, managing the household, and/or working outside the home. So what can be done to counteract these changes and to permanently correct post-baby body and skin changes? While it is impossible to completely reverse gravity or undo every change, the good news is that both non-surgical options without scars and surgery are available.

non-surgical, in-office procedures include: • IPL (intense pulsed light) non-ablative laser to correct melasma and pigmentation changes • Medical-grade peels and skin care


• CoolSculpting non-surgical permanent fat reduction • Botox treatments to smooth out wrinkles and deep creases and dermal fillers to restore volume in the face and fill in facial lines For women who wish to go one step further and can plan for surgical downtime and recovery, Mommy Makeover surgical procedures can be an option. Tailored individually to mothers based on their anatomy, their personal goals for surgery and realistic available downtime, a Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures that can include:

breast augmentation - to restore breast

volume and fullness lost after breast feeding

breast lift - to raise nipples, decrease areola size and lift breasts to a perkier and more youthful position breast reduction - to alleviate pain in the back,

neck and shoulders from heavy, pendulous breasts tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) - to repair and tighten the rectus abdominis muscles back together in the midline and restore abdominal wall anatomy, removing excess skin, stretch marks and fat labiaplasty - to trim hanging labia minora tissue that can be uncomfortable with exercise or intercourse liposuction - to permanently remove excess stubborn deposits of fat that persist, despite a healthy diet and active lifestyle cool sculpting - non-surgical fat reduction that permanently reduces fat up to 25% with one treatment, without downtime or scars

myths about post-pregnancy rejuvenation options for moms of multiples:

• All moms are candidates for Mommy Makeovers. NOT true! The best candidates for Plastic Surgery are healthy, emotionally mature individuals who are as close to their ideal weight as possible and have stability in their life. • Cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, a tummy tuck or breast augmentation can be combined with a C-section. This is not only risky, but ridiculous. After childbirth, our job as mothers is to take care of our newborn babies, not to be a cosmetic patient! the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


natural results. Be sure to see an ABPS Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience in procedures you are considering. • Liposuction permanently removes excess fat from localized deposits, but is for body contouring, not for weight loss. If future weight gain occurs, fat will not return in strange places; rather, it may accumulate in the same genetically determined places. • Mommy Makeovers should be considered when timing is ideal and a mom has help in caring for her little ones for 3-6 weeks afterward.

• Rectus diastasis (shown above) can be corrected with physical therapy. If that were true, Plastic Surgeons would go out of business! It can be helpful in some instances to seek PT to help improve flexibility and strength after an injury or to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, but separation of the abdominal muscles is permanent and requires surgical correction in many cases. • Stretch marks can be prevented by applying oil to the belly skin during pregnancy. Unfortunately, stretch marks are in reality scars that form in the deep dermis layer of skin from rapid stretching. The epidermal layer remains intact overtop and the scar fades from pink to silvery white with time, but they are permanent and can only be removed by surgery. • My OB-GYN or a medi-spa can safely do my procedure. Nowadays, many specialties and even non-MDs advertise cosmetic procedures often without proper training, certification or consideration of patient safety, with the risk of disastrous complications. Ensure that you are getting the very best treatment by a specialist with the proper credentials. You and your amazing body are worth it!

truths about plastic surgery:

• Plastic Surgery is not for everyone. • An abdominoplasty will permanently repair rectus diastasis and remove excess skin, but may not remove every single stretch mark. • Breast augmentation is safe and can achieve 26


• Nonsurgical procedures such as CoolSculpting can be a good option for women who have localized collections of fat amenable to this cold-based treatment and cannot take time off for surgical recovery. • Cosmetic procedures cannot reverse every stigmata of pregnancy, such as some types of melasma and stretch marks. • Botox, fillers, peels and medical-grade skin care can allow our skin and faces to age naturally and treat/avoid many sun-and agerelated changes. We should all have a natural look rather than looking “plastic” or “done”! Multiple-order pregnancies produce changes in our bodies exaggerated in comparison with mothers of “singletons”. Plastic Surgery after pregnancy is not for everyone, nor should it be. While we all want to “put our best face forward”, we need to start by eating a healthy diet, being as physically active as is realistic, maintaining a positive outlook on life, and achieving a healthy weight prior to any post-pregnancy procedure. Mommy Makeover surgery may be a solution for some Moms, while others can benefit from non-invasive procedures in the office. You should be physically fit prior to seeking any type of post-baby rejuvenation procedure to ensure you achieve the best possible results and have a positive experience. Be a responsible patient and do your homework before considering any post-pregnancy rejuvenation procedure! Dr. Karen Horton is a proud mother of 3-year-old fraternal twin girls & a Board Certified San Francisco Plastic Surgeon. To learn more about changes that occur with multiple pregnancies, what procedures are available to help correct or reverse these changes, and Mommy Makeovers, visit Dr. Horton’s website.

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multiple order pregnancies produce changes in our bodies exaggerated in comparison with mothers of singletons. should you choose a rejuvination procedure, ensure that you are getting the very best treatment by a specialist with the proper credentials --- you and your amazing body are worth it!


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FASHION finds multiplicity

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all fashion photography courtesy of firewife photography

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so much fun!

swimming with

the twins tips for making things a little easier by deanna burkett


s summer approaches, parents do what they do every year. Stress. Sure the atmosphere is fun and full of energy, but the downside is most of that fun and energy is centered around or near water. Add twins to that and you have a recipe for potential disaster (or at least a few gray hairs). As a born and raised Floridian mother to two teenagers, one eighteen and one fifteen, I have had plenty of experience with children around the water. My older children took to the water like little ducks and never slowed down. My twins were no different. As soon as we got to the lake, they were like little tornadoes that took off in different directions. As my husband, our two older children, and I scrambled to gather them up, I was in a panic. Was this the way it was going to be ALL THE TIME? I quickly learned I was going to have to handle this like everything else with my twins... with very careful planning. I sat down and devised a plan that would enable me to (somewhat) keep my sanity and my twins safe around the water.

1. Invest in swimming lessons. ISR (Infant Self Rescue) is a fantastic route to go if you can swing it. This program teaches your child to swim 34


at infancy! As per the ISR website, “ISR’s core conviction is that the child is the most important part of a drowning prevention strategy and our 260,000 graduates and 800 documented survival stories are proof that children can save themselves.” It seems like an extravagance, but it would decrease your stress by large degrees.

2. Invest in a wagon with two seats and safety

straps. This is one of the smartest toys you will ever spend your money on. As you unload each child from the car, place them in the wagon and strap them in. This gives you peace of mind that one child is safe while you unload the other. It also makes it MUCH easier to move your child AWAY from the water (you know that screaming child that isn’t ready to leave the fun just yet?) and gather up your things when you are ready to go.

3. Scout out your area closely. For children

unable to swim yet, make sure the water is shallow (no higher than your calves or knees) at the shoreline. Check to make sure there isn’t anything with which your child could hurt themselves. If you are going to a pool, you will need to make sure there is a safe area for the children to play such as a kiddie pool or a shallow end.

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5. Don’t forget sunscreen. The waterproof wet or dry spray on sunscreen is what we use. 100% UV Ray protection. I always try to do this BEFORE I set them in the wagon to head down to the water. I repeat...don’t forget to use sunscreen. There is nothing more painful than hearing your child cry in the night because you forgot to be diligent with the sunscreen. Be sure to reapply often, too, especially when they come out of the water.

6. Take PLENTY of snacks and drinks with you. I know this

one seems obvious as well, but it bears mentioning. I find that when we’re by the water, their appetites increase two fold (as well as mine!).

7. Pay attention! I know the temptation is strong to sit

by the water’s edge and check your email via phone while your babies play happily not two feet from you, but it only takes a SECOND for tragedy to strike.

by deanna burkett

4. Find out which safety water gear works for you. Currently, we use the “Puddle Jumpers” (sold at Walmart, Target, etc.) and they work like a charm. I combine this with an inflatable ring and the two devices keep them from flopping forward, as well as sinking down. NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED THIS WAY. This simply makes it easier as you play with two or more children in the water. It is NOT meant to be a babysitter or a life saving device.

drowning know the signs?

We’ve all experienced that moment of panic when one of our children loses balance near the edge of the pool or flops over face first in the water. We quickly grab them up, pound them on the back, and feel that gust of relief as they begin sputtering and crying. The water is coming up so everything is going to be fine...right? Except, what if it’s not? What if your child seems perfectly fine, but later starts acting strange? Secondary drowning can happen after a near-drowning event, where a small amount of water remains in the lungs and causes damage slowly, over several hours or a few days.

8. I know this sounds crazy, but try not to hover. Let them

“The water may fill up some of the oxygen-rich pores of the lungs, which reduces the ability to oxygenate blood as it passes through.” (Kujawa, 2014)

9. Play with them!! Before you know it your babies/

The signs of secondary drowning are not crystal clear; they are subtle and very slow to appear. If your child has a near-drowning event, look for:

play and be children. A few splashes of the water here and there is no big deal. The main thing is that they learn to respect the dangers of the water, but not be afraid of it.

toddlers are going to be too absorbed by other children playing around them to really focus on mom and dad. Don’t miss out on those memories...jump in and have fun!

10. Take a helper. After all, two pair of eyes (and hands!) are always better than one! With summer here and everyone wanting to cool off, just be safe and enjoy your time with the little ones! Deanna Burkett is multi-tasking mama of two year old boy/girl twins and teens and a wife of 19 years to a very patient husband. On any given day, you can find her pinning her heart away at Twiniversity’s Pinterest page, working on school work while she earns her double degree of History and English at Ashford University, catering to her teenagers’ every beck and call, or chasing one or two naked babies around the house! Look for her on facebook, twitter or pinning away on pinterest! multiplicity

*Continued, uncontrollable coughing, usually many hours after the incident; *Shortness of breath or struggling to breathe; *chest pain; *extreme tiredness or lethargy; *strangeness in behavior; *pale face. If your child is showing any of these signs after having a near-drowning event, call your doctor immediately or take your child to the emergency room. Time is of the essence and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Do not put your child to bed for the night. Make sure they get seen by a medical professional to rule out secondary drowning.

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light + easy recipes for

summertime by karen finchum

I don’t know about your family, but mine craves light and refreshing meals in the summer months. I always try to prepare meals that help satisfy our appetites and keep us cool without creating more heat in the kitchen. I love to use avocado in a lot of my dishes, because they provide so many nutritional benefits and it is easy to “hide� them in recipes for the picky eater. We just returned from picking some strawberries at our local berry patch and made it home without eating the majority of them, so I decided to include a delicious strawberry dessert recipe, too! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family does, but always remember if there is an ingredient in any of the recipes you or your family may not like, just switch it for something else. That is what is great about cooking from scratch; you can make it your own!

avocado chicken salad

*2 cups cooked chicken *2 medium avocados, diced *fresh squeezed lime juice *1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion *1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro *2 T Miracle Whip Shred or cube chicken. Dice the avocados into medium-sized pieces; mix in about a tablespoon of the lime juice. Thinly slice the green onion and finely chop the cilantro. Mix in Miracle Whip and another tablespoon of lime juice to make the dressing. Put the chicken into a bowl large enough to hold all the salad ingredients. Add the sliced green onions and dressing and toss until all the chicken is coated. Add the avocado and any lime juice in the bottom of the bowl and gently combine with the chicken. Then add the chopped cilantro and gently mix into the salad, just until it is barely combined. {Serve immediately or chill} 36

*1 red bell pepper, cubed {seeds and stem discarded} *1 orange bell pepper, cubed {seeds and stem discarded} *2-3 cups fresh pineapple, cubed *1 sweet onion, cut in to chunks Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Store in the fridge until ready to use

california caprese salad *2 avocados (peel/pit/cube) *1 container of cherry tomatoes *2 containers of cherry size mozzarella balls *1 bottle of balsamic basil vinaigrette

Combine all ingredients being careful with the avocado. {Serve immediately or chill}

grilled hawaiian chicken kabobs

Marinade: *1/2 cup dark brown sugar *3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed in a garlic press *1-1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger *1 cup pineapple juice *2 T soy sauce Kebabs: *3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

Skewer the chicken, pineapple, peppers and onions alternately and place into a shallow pan or large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over top and toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes, turning every so often. Preheat your grill to mediummedium high and cook for 1215 minutes or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly and there is a good char on the vegetables. Serve with rice of your choice!

chocolate covered strawberry pie

*1 qt fresh strawberries, sliced *1 (8oz) package of cream cheese, room temperature *1 cup confectioners sugar *2 cups white chocolate chips *1 cup milk chocolate chips *1 cup heavy cream *1 tsp vanilla extract *1 chocolate pie crust Melt 3/4 cup of the white multiplicity

chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 second intervals until melted. Set aside. Beat the heavy cream, vanilla extract & 1/2 cup of the confectioners sugar with an electric mixer in a bowl until it becomes thick. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the other 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar, & the cup of melted white chocolate. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spread the cream into the chocolate pie crust. As you add the strawberries, it can tend to overflow, because you want it FULL of strawberries! Melt the remaining white chocolate in one bowl & melt the milk chocolate in another. Alternate drizzling the milk and white chocolate. {Serve chilled}

healthy fruit smoothies

*assorted fresh or frozen fruit *1 cup of coconut milk Add chosen fruit with 1 cup of coconut milk to blender and blend until smooth. May need to add more milk to get to desired consistency. Sip and enjoy a delicious and healthy snack. Consider placing fruit in quart size bags to freeze and feel good knowing you have plenty more stock waiting when you’re ready!

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special insert

a comprehensive mom’s guide to help get your kids excited and loaded with some great gear for heading back to school! Yes, it’s still summer and we’re all enjoying our relaxed schedules, no alarm clocks, and lazy days at the pool, but it’s never too soon to start planning for back to school. Say what? For most of us, it begins as early as next month and you’ll need an arsenal of stuff to send your kids off on a terrific first day. Whether it’s shopping for a new wardrobe or ordering new uniforms (did they really grow that much since last year?!?), purchasing supplies from that never-ending school supply list, or figuring out how you’re going to manage packing lunches every. single. day., this special insert will help you along the way! 38


special insert

everything in its place locker organizing & decor by luvyourlocker

Older kids will love these decorating and organizing options for keeping their lockers as they wish. From magnets and dry erase boards for special notes, to photo frames, wallpapers and magnetic cups for cell phones, pens and more, these accessories will be on every kid’s wish list for back to school! Retail: $3.00+

basic label kit by mabel’s labels

No more worrying that they’ll lose their school supplies with these labels! Waterproof and some of them being safe for even the washer and dryer, these labels are perfect for backpacks and lunchboxes, pencils, notebooks, jackets and shoes. Also perfect for twins who can’t seem to remember what belongs to who! Retail: $34.95

desk with hutch & chair by kidkraft

This adorable desk is perfect for growing kids who need their own study and work space. With a pinboard hutch, they can showcase artwork, spelling words or their favorite awards and certificates. Includes a drawer for organizing pencils and other supplies, and a hutch perfect for displaying small books and photos. Retail: $168.00+

wild fur you ipad mini cases by carolina pad

two section locker with bench by ecr4kids If your kids are like most, they will form a habit of coming home and dropping everything, right in the middle of the doorway. With this locker system, they’ll be able to store their jackets, backpacks and shoes where they’ll be ready and waiting for the next day. Retail: $176.00+

What better way to protect your little monster’s technology than with these cute and cuddly cases? Features a built-in stand and user is able to take photos and charge while still protected. One-eyed monster and panda available. Retail: $39.99

creative projects table by step2

If you’re a mom of smaller ones, this desk is the perfect work space for twins! They can each have their own side and stool, within reach of paper, books, crayons, and any other art supplies you’re willing to allow them to use. Complete with built-in trays and removable cup holders, this table is equipped to hold it all! Retail: $119.99 multiplicity

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school supplies backpacks by mad pax

There’s nothing boring about these reptilian backpacks that seem to be the new trend for grade school kids! From dinosaurs and scales, to bubbles and blocks, these packs make a big statement, no matter your age. Offered in two sizes, the half pack is perfectly built for the 4 and under crowd, holding an iPad and any necessary folders for school. Retail: $48.00+

eco school supplies by stubby pencil studio

This basic kit may not include everything ‘ on your list, but is easy on the earth and your wallet. Dual-tip markers have both thick and thin tips, colored pencils are eco-friendly, the watercolors are refillable, and the kit comes with glue sticks, scissors, a pencil sharpener and a ruler. A great starter kit for younger children! Retail: $35.00

washable glue sticks and triangular crayons by crayola

We all know that Crayola is usually our go-to source for back to school supplies, but they have some really cool products that many of us have likely never thought about. Keep little ones at their desks and off the floor with Crayola’s triangular crayons and Washable Glue Sticks. The Glue Sticks have a wider base so staying in place is never a problem! Retail: $1.49+

day planners by carolina pad

With these splashy planners and calendars, your kiddos will never have another excuse for forgetting a special date or homework projects. With such awesome patterns and how easy to stay organized, they’ll be the envy of the classroom! Retail: $9.99+

zoo packs by skip hop

These adorable packs are coined as little kid backpacks. With its small size and padded shoulder straps, these assorted backpacks are perfect for a day at preschool. Packs include a small zippered front pocket for snacks and small items like pencils and crayons, and an elastic side pocket perfect for sippee cups or water bottles. Variety includes a monkey, penguin, dog, bumblebee, among others. Retail: $20.00 40


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school supplies backpack charms by pin pals kids

This new collection of fun enamel alphabet pins created by kids for kids will help make learning fun. Each Pin Pal is a character whose hobbies, likes, and dislikes are described in a silly personality profile that comes on a trading card with every pin. Pin Pals will allow a kid’s imagination to run from A to Z, and everywhere in between. Retail: $5.00

sharpener & pre-school scissors by faber-castell

Who says school supplies have to be boring and plain? This fish design pencil sharpener and uniquely designed pair of scissors are anything but! With twin sharpening blades for big and small pencils, the sharpener is the perfect size for little hands. The scissors are spring loaded and have a special space for a name label. Retail: $3.99 & $7.99

explorer backpacks by l.l. bean

This pack holds all the essentials for school, a field trip or a Saturday at the park, and is made for kids age 6+. Generous main compartment features a large folder sleeve to keep books and binders from getting bent. Front stuff pocket holds an extra layer. Front organizer pocket has pencil slots and a key clip to keep important items in easy reach. Dual mesh water-bottle pockets. Retail: $39.95

books, books, galore! by scholastic

Inspire and encourage little and big readers alike by participating through your school with Scholastic’s many online offerings. Participate in the Book Clubs, select books on their reading level through the Book Wizard, or if you’re a bigger fan of technology, purchase ebooks through their newer software, Storia. With a book in their hand, they’ll never be under your feet!Retail: $3.99+

connector paint box by faber-castell

These aren’t your average watercolors! Remove paint pots and combine creatively, as a color circle, fantasy figures or shapes. The kit also includes a mixing tray, brush and space for a name label for helping your kiddos keep up with their supplies (you won’t want to lose this!). Comes in either 12 or 24 paint color kits. Retail: $14.99+ multiplicity

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by sandra cassibry

The very nature of states working together to create education reform sounds encouraging at least. One of the biggest pieces of controversy seems to be around how the Common Core came to be. Achieve, Inc., a Washington based “think tank� are accused of creating the initiatives without full state representation. A committee of professors, business leaders and politicians formed the standards based on research that the US was lagging behind in education. Parents were among the last to learn about the change and how it might affect their children. Now, there are at least 10 states that either never adopted the standards or are overturning them for their own state-

core: rotten or just a ruckus? 42


new concept for parents to learn about as children enter elementary school is the Common Core. It is implemented in many states for consistency in teaching the same fundamental standards and to be able to compare data across the country. The overall objective: to get all American kids on the same page by educating them to be college and career ready. Sounds good, right?

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special insert led standards (and the number is growing). Knowing that textbook companies such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill, technology companies such as Microsoft and Apple (there is a shift to more ebooks and apps that weren’t readily used in the last couple of years), and other companies stand to benefit from the sales of materials and training needed for teaching and implementing the Common Core adoption, many parents and state officials feel it is nothing more than a takeover by the federal government. And to be clear, it was the US Department of Education under Obama administration that incentivized the adoption by creating the Race to the Top grant. States that agreed to adopt the standards were eligible for a piece of the proverbial pie which would help offset many school system’s lack of money for coming school years. My boy/girl twins started the Common Core structure in Math in 2012-2013 school year (2nd grade), and Reading in the 2013-2014 school year (3rd grade). Since they are 2 different people, the Common Core affected them in different ways. Complex addition and subtraction were the main concepts in 2nd grade, and grades stayed the same throughout that school year. However, as we entered 3rd grade, it was a whole new ballgame. Math was instructed with a new way of thinking and as opposed to reserving certain skills for 4th and 5th grades,

3rd graders are now learning multiplication and division, fractions, about area and perimeter, etc. The Common Core’s website states, “Part of the problem with having different sets of state standards in mathematics is that different states cover different topics at different grade levels” meaning that many states may have taken a step backward by adopting the new standards, while others struggled to catch up. According to the new standards, teachers had to teach these elements differently, and it was a struggle for us to help with homework. My husband and I couldn’t teach them the way we learned years ago. Kids are being asked to perform the same old equations and word problems, but they’re being taught new ways of arriving at the old answers (and in some cases, credit is given for explaining how they arrived at the answer, even if that particular answer is in fact wrong). With the addition of more word problems on assignments, I am hoping once the SAT and ACT tests roll around, the twins will at least do well on their math assessments! As for Reading, my son and daughter both had different reactions to their school’s new testing structure. Their tests were multiple choice, with no writing required, which can be good and bad. The vocabulary was straightforward. Phonics were sometimes hard, and multiplicity

sometimes not. There weren’t many daily assignments to practice during the week, so at times we didn’t know what that section of test was going to be. Then there was a cold reading selection every test with questions on Fact and Opinion, Main Idea and Details, Generalization, Compare and Contrast, Sequence, Character, Setting, and Plot, etc. My daughter found it easy. Reading comprehension comes easily to her, so she conquered this fast. My son, on the other hand, had a problem with reading comprehension before Common Core, and this level of depth made it even more difficult. Due to how these standards are taught and presented during the school day, again, it was difficult to tutor him at home. The most notable changes with regard to literacy is the expectation that students be fluent in argumentative, explanatory and narrative writing. Instead of being able to write about personal experiences, there is more focus on being able to argue a point and provide facts to support the argument. There is also a notable shift toward more informational texts in order to increase students’ technical vocabulary. Another facet that many parents are witnessing as a result of applying Common Core’s standards is an overall loss of confidence in school work for their students. contd. --- pg. 52

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lunch a bunch lunchbox love by say please

Who doesn’t love a little “thinking-of-you” surprise note or “pick-me-up” on a not so great day? Lunchbox Love notes make it so easy to send little thoughts of inspiration with your kids, packed right into their lunchboxes. They even have them specific to “camp” and ones that are on the sillier side, as just jokes. Each note has a sweet thought and a trivia fact on the back so they can share with friends and seem like the whiz kid at the lunch table! Retail: $2.99

bistro bento box by laptop lunches

As a mom who packs lunches, I love the idea of Bento-style laptop lunch kits. They make planning the meals easy and help with proportions. The boxes are great for preventing squishing of sandwiches, salads, dips and veggies, fruits, you name it! They are completely food safe, microwave safe (containers, not lids), and dishwasher safe (all components, top rack only). Even cooler is that you can purchase other containers and depending on what you serve, you arrange them in a variety of ways. Retail: $23.99

silicone swirl pops by zovolo

What kid wouldn’t love for you to pack a homemade version of frozen yogurt or a healthy popsicle on warmer days at school? These swirl pops make it so easy! Create your favorite concoction, place the lid on and freeze (in an upright position). Place it in their lunchbox for a nice, cool treat! You can also get creative and store granola, carrot sticks and about a billion other healthy snacks needed for travel. Retail: $14.49

reusable napkins by ever sew clever Leave those throw-aways on the store shelf and pack these adorable reusables instead. When done, simply throw them in with a load of laundry and you’ve saved one more napkin from the landfill! Retail: $10.50 44


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soft sided lunchbox by land’s end

If you want to maximize space in your kid’s lunchbox, these babies can get the job done! Pack a bento-style box and a thermos, or a thermos and a few other containers and you’ve filled it to the brim. The great pros are the elastic drink holders on the sides and the front zip pocket for money, love notes, etc. These lunchboxes are also tested and proven to keep cold for 5 hours so food is safe for the morning wait. Retail: $19.00+

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lunch a bunch good lunchbox & flip & sip by sugar-booger

Picky eaters don’t like their food touching? With three compartments, these little boxes are perfect for keeping food separated, are easy to open by little fingers, and help eliminate all of those plastic bags. The Flip & Sip has a flip-top straw and a lid for preventing spills. The handles make it perfect for little hands, but are removable for bigger kids. Retail: $7.00 & $19.00

reusable bags by lunchskins

These trendy little snack and sandwich bags pack a lot of punch keeping your food contained and helping reduce your carbon footprint. Made out of food-safe fabric, the bags are dishwasher safe (yay!) and the company boasts saving over 500 million plastic bags from the landfill. Hurrah! Retail: $7.85+

ice pack and sweat cover by ukonserve

There’s nothing worse than packing a healthy lunch that needs to stay cold, only to find out your ice pack melted all over everything inside! Introducing the perfect solution...a non-toxic gel pack with its own sweatfree cover (made of recycled plastic bottles, to boot!) to prevent the mess. The cover is also machine washable to rid of any ickies from the day to day wear. No mess, no fuss! Retail: $9.95

little munchkin set by yummi pouch

If you ever pack applesauces, yogurts or other purees for your little ones, you’re going to love the ease of these reusable pouches! The set comes complete with six pouches, a pitcher for easy pouring, as well as labels and stickers for personalizing so your child always knows it’s “his”. This is a must for moms packing healthy and earth-friendly lunches each day! Retail: $25.00 multiplicity

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city mouse and country mouse do lunch! ideas for planning, organizing and packing everyday lunches

by natalie diaz & talitha a. mcguinness

city mouse (a.k.a. natalie)

When my twins first started kindergarten, their school participated in the New York City Board Of Education lunch program and I thought it was our only option. More than 90% of school participated in it and the only ones who opted out were kids with allergies. As the years progressed, I became disappointed with the program. I know they were supposed to be “balanced”, but the foods were all processed and made in such mass quantities that they had no taste, texture and sometimes even lacked color (I witnessed the green beans in a lovely shade of gray one time). When the twins entered third grade, I finally put my foot down, opted out of the program and started packing our own meals. I’m lucky that my kids don’t 46


have any real food allergies, but we are all on the ‘fluffier’ end of life. Growing up as a chubby kid wasn’t always fun, so I try my best to make sure that the kids eat lowER fat and more veggies. When I started packing lunches, my son would often say I wasn’t packing enough. He finally confessed that the lunch ladies were giving him second servings of lunch regularly. My son (already 5 feet and 120 lbs. at 9 years old) didn’t NEED the second serving. I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS HAPPENING and it then made so much more sense! He kept gaining, but I had him on a lower fat diet as his pediatrician recommended. His weight started to level off immediately after bringing his lunch from home. The first week they brought their own lunch, I started like a like a girl on fire. I packed homemade soups, meat, snacks and veggies!

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I gave the kids one rule. If they didn’t eat something, they had to leave it in the container that it came in so I would know what they did and didn’t like. They came home each day, never complained, but I noticed that most days, they would alternate not eating their lunches. It started making me nuts. I was spending so much time making them the World’s Most Perfect Lunch and they were rejecting it. At the time this was all happening, I visited a new mom in the hospital when the orderly came in and handed her the menu for the day. DING! The lightbulb went off. I was going to create a menu for the kids so that I was sure they would eat their lunch (also great to help with my weekly shopping list!). I created a weekly menu with a 1/2 sandwich a day, and they

special insert got to choose their toppings. Our house went organic this year, so our Peanut Butter was freshly ground, our meats were organic, as were our cheeses. They got to choose a veggie and either salsa or dip (which I create with plain Fage yogurt), and they had to choose at least two fruits a day. The kids ate a balanced lunch, always finished it, and felt like THEY were in control. Having the right containers for the job helps, too! We use LunchBots, which have been a LIFESAVER for us. They hold enough food and are durable beyond compare. They are TOTALLY worth the price, as we are using ours for over a year and they look brand new. The kids also take water with them. We use the Contigo, which I bought 2 bottles for $14 at BJ’s... worth every penny!

The first couple of years, it was a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” mentality, packing the same things all the time. Recently, I started putting more effort into the organizing and packing, hoping it would encourage them to try new things and not get bored of the same old stuff.

I’m already in the kitchen cooking dinner...less mess and no morning fuss is a win in my house!)

Let’s be clear: I’m no master chef and I certainly don’t have a ton of time on my hands with a business and house to run with four kids, but I make time for things that make my life easier and I love being inspired I, too had one of those light by sites like Momables and bulb moments. If the cafeteria 100 Days of Real Food. Things can plan lunches for an entire that you can bake or cook and month, why can’t I? Thankfuly, none of my kids suffer from food easily freeze for later include homemade muffins, pancakes, allergies, so creating a monthly waffles, and cookies, soups and menu where I could be certain even make-ahead smoothies. week by week that I had items I like that I can control the on hand, AND would force me to be more creative was genius. ingredients with which they’re made, and especially the I felt even better knowing I had amounts of sugar added. When control over what they were eating, as we had started cutting it comes to smoothies, we out processed and junk foods at freeze assorted favorite fruits in baggies, especially when it’s about this same time. My girls about to go bad. When they started eating much healthier want a smoothie, I can grab a because I was making time to bag of fruit and toss it in the bake and make meals ahead of time. This also made packing so blender with some coconut milk and pour it directly into their easy, as I was never having to thermos in the morning. guess what to throw in. (*tip: I pack lunches in the evening when contd. --- pg. 52

country mouse (a.k.a. talitha)

sample menu! Like Nat’s family, we are packers. Since my girls started school a couple of years ago, I have packed their lunches nearly every. single. day. It has never been whether or not we could afford for them to eat in the cafeteria, but rather that they wouldn’t eat what we paid for (and the food isn’t the best anyway), so why not pack what they will and save a little money, too? multiplicity

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book review by michelle leichty

Summer. Time for sunshine, beaches, pools, and books. Studies show the less ‘screen time’ children have (includes tablets, gaming, TV and computer), the better off kids are. But what’s a frazzled mom to do when the bickering and cries of boredom become overwhelming? Hand them books. Sure they’ll complain, but they’ll get over it, (especially if you bribe them with screen time after reading time). Here are some of my favorite authors. Parents and children are bound to find some favorite books and authors for summer reading from any, or all, of them. Infant - Preschool

Margaret Wise Brown, author of Good Night Moon and other classics, wrote simple books that even your littlest will enjoy. Full of color, and short on words, Brown’s books are perfect for short attention spans. Mo Willems writes hilarious books both children and their parents will enjoy. I particularly love Pigeon, the main character 48


of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and other enjoyable picture books. His Elephant & Piggie series is also funny, and heartwarming. Scaredy Squirrel is the hero of many of Melanie Watts’ books. Scaredy Squirrel is quite anxious, loves routine and hates new things. Until he tries them. For example, he didn’t think he could leave his tree, but when he accidentally does, he discovers all sorts of interesting things that change his life. Reading any one of Chris Van Allsburg’s books is like looking at an art book. His detailed pencil drawings deserve lots of attention. Most of his books are longer, perhaps best enjoyed over a few days of reading instead of all in one sitting. Elementary Author Jon Sciezka straddles the preschool - elementary line. He writes hilarious picture books both preschoolers and elementary students will enjoy. He also writes early chapter books and edits a series of books specifically for boys. The Boys Read series compiles short stories from various authors - one book is comedy, one is scary stories, etc. Beverly Cleary’s classics about Ramona, Beezus and other neighborhood kids are just as enjoyable today. Kids are

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kids, and the predicaments they get themselves in never really change, and are always quite amusing. Lois Lowry writes some very serious fiction for upper elementary school children, but also some very fun stories for younger children. Those who can’t quite read will enjoy listening to her books as an audio book. The Willoughbys and The Birthday Ball are two books our family especially enjoyed. Caroline Lawrence is another of my family’s favorite authors. She wrote the 17-volume Roman Mysteries series, which could keep your children occupied all summer. Her excellent new series, starring P.K. Pinkerton, is set in the American West during the Civil War. Both are full of action, adventure, mysteries and interesting characters. Of course, there are plenty of other great authors and series Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, to name just a few. Do you have a favorite author? Let me know! Michelle Leichty has read hundreds of books to her four children in the course of their homeschooling journey. So many people asked her to recommend books that she started blogging about her favorite children’s books at You can find out about her writing business at

encouraging summer reading

Many local libraries have summer reading programs starting as young as ages three or four. My children have always enjoyed signing up and earning the prizes offered at ours, but I also wanted to encourage them to expand their reading horizon beyond graphic novels or the latest Goddess Girls book. So I started our own family summer reading contest. Every year, right before school gets out, I look at our book shelves, scour blogs and catalogs, and come up with a list of books I’d like each of the children to read.

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cool new looks style for global citizens by tea collection

Tea Collection is a brand to be coveted for bringing worldwide cultures and modern design to children’s fashion. The result is beautiful pieces that are as durable as they are adorable. Sizes range from their baby collection up to size 12 for kids, and lucky for us, they have a line for Women, too! Retail: $14.95+

uniforms by land’s end

I put the list into a spreadsheet, with the title, author and if it’s at home or the library. Each child gets his or her own list, which they either keep in the family room, or on their bedroom dresser.

Uniforms required? Not a problem at Land’s End where you can create a “student profile” for your kids to make shopping even easier. From polos to chinos, jumpers to blazers, and even skorts and PE shorts, Land’s End has it all. An even bigger plus is Land’s End offers a School Reward program where schools can receive up to 3% cash back. Cool new clothes and a school fundraiser in one...score! Retail: $13.00+

As they get older, I include empty lines for library books they want to read - with my approval of course. My policy is no graphic novels allowed! This may sound time consuming, but it only takes me a couple of hours to put together four book lists. Because my children are close in age, some books find their way onto all four lists - cutting down time. You can set up your own contest with parameters tailored to your family. At the end of the summer, whoever has read the most books is named the winner of our summer reading contest. Their prize? A treat date with me to a place they choose (local bakery or ice cream shop). It’s summer - let’s start reading!

our favorite looks for girls & boys by crazy 8

Crazy8 makes clothing your little ones a breeze. With their “favorite looks” section, you can purchase complete outfits, from classy and sporty, to preppy and nautical, you can easily mix and match your way through to the shopping cart so that your little ones will be the head of fashion in their class! Retail: $9.99+ multiplicity

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one class or two? the question that confounds us

by susan rassette


wins, together in the womb, together through infancy, and together through toddlerhood. When is the right time to separate your twins? Preschool, kindergarten, first grade, or beyond? There are many pros and cons to both sides of the twin classroom separation debate. Really, it boils down to what works best for your individual set of twins. My twin girls’ first classroom experience was in preschool. It was a small preschool, with just one class per age, so I had no choice but to have them together in the same class. This worked out fine and while they sometimes stuck together, they also branched out and played/learned separately from each other, as well. Already at the end of preschool, it was apparent that my twins were on different academic levels. We made the decision pretty early on that we planned to separate our twins for kindergarten, mainly because we did not want their teacher to compare them academically. Thankfully, our school was accustomed to twin students, and my daughters were placed in two classrooms where the teachers did their planning together and followed exactly the same curriculum and assigned the same homework. 50


In the summer leading up to them entering kindergarten, they had started arguing quite a bit, so the bonus of separate classrooms was that the fighting pretty much stopped completely and they got along so much better when they had that allday separation at school. Even today, the further we move into summer (and too much togetherness), the more they start to argue. If your twins get along very well, this may not be an issue for you and keeping them in the same classroom would be fine. If you are struggling with the idea of separating your twins and one of the reasons you are thinking of keeping them together is for convenience (same teacher, same homework, etc.), I recommend requesting a meeting with the principal and simply ask about how the homework and curriculum work across all the kindergarten classes. Is it possible to place your twins strategically with teachers who plan together and follow basically the same plan? It really was not an issue at all for us in kindergarten or first grade, as the homework never varied much at all across their separate classrooms. One thing to consider when trying to determine one class or two with identical twins, is that it also may be hard for the teacher and other students in the class to successfully identify your twins. Will it be difficult for your identical twins to establish their own identities in this type of environment? My twins are fraternal, but they definitely look like sisters and there are people who struggle to determine who is who. I know they would not have liked being called the wrong name in a classroom environment. Another thing to consider is where your twins perform academically.

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special insert Mine are at different levels (one being quite advanced). This was somewhat apparent going into kindergarten, and got stronger each school year. In first grade, my twin A was spending time individually with the teacher working through second grade math. While her sister knew twin A was “good at math”, had they been in the same classroom, she would have seen her sister being pulled into special, advanced math activities, which would lend even more so to internal comparisons. However, if your twins are at similar academic levels, placement in the same classroom would probably work just fine. In second grade, my twin A worked even more in advanced subject areas, and actually tested and was accepted to attend a Magnet program in the fall. For the next 3 years, my twins will not only be in separate classrooms, but also in separate schools. We are very glad we separated them in kindergarten and beyond, as it helped to prepare all of us for this next educational step and decision we had to make to place them in two different schools. Will it be inconvenient for us? Absolutely, but twins are individuals and decisions need to be made based on what is best for each individual educationally, not what is most convenient for the parent. A lot of (non-twin) parents have children in different schools and/or classes and they manage to make it work just fine. Another area to consider is the social aspect. Are each of your twins outgoing, or does one of your twins depend a little too much on their sibling? This area is tricky, because on one hand, you may want to keep them together to help the more timid twin feel more comfortable at school. On the other hand, is this just holding that twin back and do they need to be separated from their twin in order to “come out of their shell”? My twins actually both flourished socially upon being separated and it truly is amazing how differently they act when not together.

up for what one of the twins missed out on. You just have to explain that there will always be differences in regard to teaching, activities, etc. Other downfalls to separate classrooms could mean different homework, different communications coming from two teachers, and volunteering in two classes versus just one. When there is a class party, you have to split your time across two classrooms. Your twins will develop separate friends, and that sometimes means one gets invited to a party and the other does not. All of these can be frustrating and overwhelming, but are just a few of the things with which you’ll deal with separation. Regardless of your decision, whether to separate or not is very personalized to your set of twins. Talk as parents, as a family, and engage other twin parents, teachers, and the principal to assist you in making the best decision possible for your unique situation. Susan is the mother of fraternal twin girls, age 7. She lives with her daughters and husband in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. Susan loves to cook, craft, and stay active with many fitness activities, and you can often find her pinning away on Pinterest. She also works full time from home for a large software company.

twins are individuals and decisions need to be made based on what is best for each individual educationally, not what is most convenient for the parent.

What are some of the downfalls of separation? One is that they will have different teachers and obviously, some teachers are better than others. You may end up having one twin who does a lot of extra, fun classroom stuff that the other twin does not get the opportunity to do. This is tough, and sometimes it requires you possibly doing a special learning activity at home to make multiplicity

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special insert contd. from --- core Parents across the country have bonded together in creating anti-Common Core groups due to their children constantly crying and frustrated at what is expected of them at school. My whole family had some level of frustration as each Friday’s test grades came and results were not pleasing. My son dropped a letter grade right off the bat, so he brought his Reading book home every day so that we could go over that week’s lessons. I also bought the Math book for me to learn the new way of teaching and for him to practice. With that said, it took me six months to crack the Common Core code. So if the students must adjust to all of this change, where does this leave the teachers? The teachers at our school were also agitated on the material the students were tested on. They didn’t like the test questions. The new reading books were not used as much since the story was not part of the week’s test. The National Education Association said, “The implementation has been completely botched. Seven of ten teachers believe that implementation of the standards is going poorly in their schools,” which is significant because the NEA initially endorsed the standards and helped develop them. In essence, it seems teachers more than ever are having to “teach to the test” (and I mean 52


the weekly and the main End of Grade tests), with little room for anything else. Of course, one of the main objectives with implementing the Common Core standards is to be able to compare data and the only way to do that is through assessments. A recent interview on NPR had this to say about the testing: “In Kentucky and New York, which gave Common Corealigned tests for the first time in 2012 and 2013 respectively, the percentage of students who met the “proficient” cutoff dropped by 25-30% points.” Because there are direct consequences of poor scores for students and teachers (i.e. failing a grade level, termination, etc.), the tests are widely unpopular for the time being. Teachers are largely asking for more time, not in implementing standards, but in holding students and teachers accountable for scores. In a big way, we were all guinea pigs. Like any new program, there seem to be lots of bugs. It’s hard to say if the Common Core is better or worse than the previous teaching system, but it is clear that education must improve in order to compete within our globally competitive economy. How will we know if the Common Core will work? Unfortunately, only time will tell. With that said, lots of patience is necessary for your students and your teachers as you start the next school year. I wish you much luck!

contd. from --- lunch (*tip: put the thermos in the freezer the night before to get it extra cold!) Some of my girls’ favorite lunches this year included items like leftover pastas, homemade pizza and waffles, muffins, and even tacos. We use a lunchbox with the elastic cup holder on the side to maximize space, and use a lot of inexpensive, divided containers like these to keep their food items separate. These come in handy when we pack things like muffins with yogurt and granola, carrot sticks with homemade Ranch dressing, tortilla chips with beef and fixings like shredded cheese, sour cream, etc. To save even more money, we use Squeez’ems for applesauce and yogurts, reusable napkins, and my kids drink a lot of water in Contigo’s reusable bottles. All in all, there aren’t many differences between us city and country mamas when it comes to wanting what’s best for our kids at lunch! Creating menus for their lunches helps us plan groceries, make time for baking, prepare things ahead of time, and save a little money along the way. I know at least for me, this process will also help create a natural assembly line and ease into adding a third and fourth lunchbox to pack when the time comes (we’re only one year from child #3 beginning kindergarten and child #4 requiring a packed snack for preschool each day!). Here’s to your lunch packing success, no matter the process you choose!

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learning fun my first mosaic by alex toys

Want to build fine motor skills with your little ones? Try these easy-to-peel triangle and square mosaic stickers to make a variety of pictures: bus, butterfly, city, dinosaur, fish. Hundreds of stickers included to make five mosaics using pre-printed picture boards. Be creative and have fun! Retail: $11.95

i can bead, lace, rip & trace by fundanoodle

Full of activities to help younger children develop fine motor skills needed for writing and other everyday activities, this kit also helps children build selfesteem and express their artistic side while improving concentration, finger and hand control, eye-hand coordination and muscle tone. Retail: $32.99

wipe clean early learning book by priddy books

This book is perfect for travel or at home when younger kids want to practice key concepts like writing letters and numbers, creating patterns, spelling, telling time, drawing and so much more. With the ability to erase each after activity, the practice is endless! Retail: $12.60

wooden spinny speller by stubby pencil

Who says all of today’s learning has to be digital? This adorable wooden toy (no batteries needed!) helps teach simple spelling, with three dozen possible words. The price certainly beats many of the other games out there, too! Retail: $9.99

national geographic for kids

When the kids want to get online for their learning, you can feel comfortable with their surfing the new Nat Geo for Kids site. From scientific facts about the solar system, countries around the world, weather and animals to even including videos and some current event info to engage young minds with what’s happening today, your kids will become budding scientists and conservationists in no time!

language complete sets by little pim

Want to expand your child’s language by introducing a second language? Little Pim is touted as the #1 language learning program for kids, offering sets in many languages including Spanish, Chinese, German, Hebrew and French, among others. Complete sets include videos, books, flash cards, posters, CDs and more for a thorough introduction to the language. Retail: $219.99 multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


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shoot for the stars!

how to have smart, sneaky fun over the summer by talitha a. mcguinness 54


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

special insert


o school’s been out for a while now and I’m betting you’ve heard your share of “I’m bored!” and “there’s nothing to do!”, and quite possibly even, “it’s too hot to play outside!”. If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to nip that in the bud really quickly, as there are a million and one things for the kids to do while on break (I’ve got a chore list a mile long that I could use some help with!). I know that the kids spend a lot of time each school year learning fantastic new skills and I really don’t like thinking that many of those are forgotten over the summer break. Of course, there are teachable moments everywhere, but sometimes my workdays are a little busier than others and I need the kids to be able to “learn” on their own. Here I offer a few easy and affordable tips and resources for helping your little ones have fun, while also refreshing and learning over the summer months.

*Summer Bridge Series - these workbooks are perfect refreshers for bridging each grade and cover most everything your kids learned at school. I encourage my kids to complete a page a day (it takes less than 15 minutes!), but some days they’d rather complete two and have a few days off during the week. The books also have exercises for the kids who want a challenge, and there are stickers to mark pages complete. The series ranges from bridging Pre-K to Kindergarten all the way up to bridging 7th to 8th grades. $9.95 *Sight Word Bingo - games are great for kids of all

ages, but especially for the little ones just learning new concepts like letters, sight words, numbers, etc. There are several great websites like ABCya! for online Bingo games, or you can always easily create your own. When they were little, my twins loved a fish bowl bingo game I created for them, as they got to take turns “fishing” for the words that were called out (I used a hard plastic straw with a string attached and a magnet at the end --each “fish” card had a paperclip attached to make “fishing” easy).

*Creative Writing - as kids get a little older (when

they’re working on forming simple sentences), you can encourage their writing skills by having them write letters to pen pals (mine write to twins their same age in NYC who they have never met, but multiplicity

love to learn about each other’s different lives). This turns out to be a lot of fun for them in learning about someone else’s small part of the world. Now that my girls are rising 4th graders (I must have blinked and they grew up on me!), they also journal quite a bit in the summer. It can be as simple as a diary-type entry as to how they feel or what they did in a given week, or it could be through a prompt that I give (i.e. “what do you want to be when you grow up?” or “we recently lost a did it make you feel?” or “who is your best friend and what makes them a great friend?”). These entries are great little insights into your child’s world and into their hearts that they may not necessarily openly share with you. It’s great to be able to read them apart from or sometimes with them and talk about their dreams and feelings. Let’s be girls are about to embark on the pre-teen ride of all of our lives and I know their may come a time when they try to shut mom and dad out. I will take advantage of these conversations for as long as I can! One last creative way to encourage writing over the summer is to give them a large empty container (think pretzel barrel like this), and encourage them to write a story and place prompts from around the house inside to help tell the story. Then they can read or act it out to the family or friends to show off their skills!

*Not Forgetting Math - while math isn’t one of my girls’ strongest subjects, it’s easy to incorporate math into everyday tasks (without them even realizing!). One of our summer bucket list items is to make foods from a different country and so there’s always measuring to do with the baking and cooking. My girls love Legos and do a lot of building structures, which is great for spatial development. For things like multiplication and division where they simply have to memorize the facts, my girls loved fortune teller games they could play, quizzing each other throughout. There are also really easy ways to incorporate graphing by allowing them to interview their siblings and/or friends on a subject area and then to create a graph illustrating the results (i.e. flavor of ice cream, favorite family movie, etc.). For younger ones, it’s easy enough to create patterns and number lines with sidewalk chalk, to sort big vs. little objects with outdoor play toys like balls, the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


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techno tots innotab 3S by vtech

Want a way to keep the little ones at bay? Totally kidding, but these little gadgets are perfect for the 3-6 year old crowd. With games to capture their interests on counting, learning letters, solving puzzles, making music and movies, and so much more, your kids will play for hours (and learn a lot, too!). With the newer wireless feature, you can even interact now more than ever with your smartphone, by sending encouraging messages to their tablet and tracking their progress as they go. Retail: $79.99

turbo twist by leapfrog

Encourage your kids to learn math at their own pace with this “smart” twist on an old toy. From addition and subtraction to multiplication and division, plus word problem tackling for more mental math, this toy helps your kids master basic math facts and beyond. Bonus --- you get your money’s worth, as your kids can use this from 1st through 8th grade! Internet-compatible, too. Retail: $83.00

surface by windows

From science fair projects to essays and homework assignments, having their own laptops keeps my girls from commandeering mine! The basic Surface came with Word, Powerpoint, Excel and all the necessities for school. On top of classwork, my girls use these for games, puzzles, music, and watching videos on Youtube (parent approved, of course!). It is lightweight and easy to transport and goes from tablet to laptop with the clickable keyboard. It has literally been the most used Christmas present we have ever given them! Retail: $299.99

kindle paperwhite by kindle

If you’re big on your kids reading, but don’t have a lot of space for your own library, the Kindle Paperwhite has won tons of reviews and wins hands-down against rivals like Nook. With no other distractions like the ability to watch movies and play games, your kids will enter imaginary worlds you never dreamed! Kindle offers the most seamless process for downloading library books, too. Retail: $119.00 56


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

leapreader by leapfrog

Kids can learn to read and write with this tool, superb for kids 4-8 years old. Touch pages or words to hear them read aloud, sound out words, and play games that build vocabulary and comprehension at every reading stage. Get stroke-bystroke guidance --- trace letters, numbers, words and more on special paper for mess-free writing. Retail: $39.99

special insert or to set up a water balloon toss and measure how far the balloon travelled. For practicing time, let the kids compete in a hula hoop contest to see how long before the first person goes out, who lasts longest, etc. You could also introduce a stop watch (and encourage some exercise) by letting them time each other doing different activities: jumping rope, running a pre-determined distance, standing on their heads, vollying a ball with their hands or legs, and anything else they can do.

*Science & How Things Work - all

kids have a natural curiosity and desire to learn. Introduce the concept of static electricity by using an inflated balloon and rubbing one’s head. Place the balloon near running water and watch it bend toward the balloon. Another of my kids’ favorite experiments is the ice cream in a bag (likely because you get something yummy to eat at the end!). You can find the recipe on pinterest and let the kids shake, shake, shake until the time is up and then, voila! They have ice cream to enjoy. Since twins love to learn about their twinship, teach them about fingerprinting. Give them the tools and supplies and let them fingerprint the family and then see how everyones’ prints differ. A great way to encourage the great outdoors is by handing them a magnifying glass and perhaps a jar (with small holes in the lid for air), so that they can catch insects and watch them climb, fly and move around. If

you live in the city, your kids aren’t naturally exposed to rock formations, winding trails that let the imagination wander, and rivers and streams teeming with life such as tadpoles, algae, water spiders, old man’s beard and so much more. Get out of town and make it a walk to remember. Bonus points if you have them bring along a notebook where they can keep or record and draw some of the things they saw along the way!

*History Buff - A fun way to

introduce a little history is to teach your kids about a family tree. Have them draw their own version and then to record each person in their own respective category (attaching photos for younger ones would be fun, too!). Visit local museums where history is re-enacted, or at the very least, where tour guides dress from a certain period and have displays so the children can learn about ways of life through videos, talks, or modules. You can also teach your kids about the history of the summer Olympics and start your own with neighborhood friends. With games like tug-ofwar, water balloon ring toss, the three-legged race and so many more, history will soon become their favorite subject of all! Regardless of how little time you have, there are so many ways to engage your children in learning activities with only a little bit of effort. Not up to it every day? Take turns with another mom by sharing in the learning. Just enjoy the time you have with them while on break and enjoy watching them take it all in! multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

photo courtesy of firewife photography

contd. from --- stars


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twins in college: how to prepare for their leaving the nest by stephanie jackson

Having your children leave for college is hard whether they’re your firstborn or not. It’s the time of year where parents are getting ready to send their children off into the “real world”, or at least a portion of it. Your children will be questioned of their future plans and goals as they move onto another chapter in their lives. Herein, lies a problem: the split between parents and children starts basically the minute after high school graduation. Your children will want to spend as much time as possible with the friends they graduated with before they leave. At the same time, the parents want to spend time with their children, want them to get a job, and want to help them get ready to move out. It will be easy to see communication break down before they leave because your children are being pulled in every direction without much give. To make things easier for both the parents and the children, you need to slow down and make your time together enjoyable. While your children want to spend time with family, as well, the idea of having spent so many years with classmates and then leaving them to make new friends is scary. Family will always be there. Many of these friendships took some investment if they started young, and are basically their security blanket. Unless a few are attending the same school, they will basically have to learn how to make new friends. Spending time with familiar people is to be expected. Be sure to respect your child’s time. This is their last real summer, so check to see if they’ve already made plans with friends before


special insert announcing plans you’ve made for them. Of course, you are the parents so what you say goes, but if you don’t want to have them angry for missing a party or a trip to the amusement park, check to see if they’re free. They are your children, but they are also adults who expect to be able to come and go as they please a little more freely than ever before. When it comes to shopping for dorm supplies, take your children with you so they can pick out what they want. Yes, as parents, you will be paying for most of it, but picking out colors and needed room supplies will make planning exciting (vs. filling out forms and choosing which classes they want to take). While it may be cheaper to buy the same things for your multiples, let them have a say in the purchases so they will be excited to use their new items. Yes, they are multiples, but now more than ever they will be able to really express themselves and how similar or different they truly are. Plus, it is perfect time for you to bond and talk comfortably about the upcoming year. To make the process of transition easier, treat your children like the adults they have become. If you continue to set rules and regulations, they will be more than happy to leave the nest as soon as orientation comes around. You’ve taken the last eighteen years to shape them into the adults you hope they’ll be. Take the time to step back and see how they handle responsibility and don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open. After all, there will be

many times when they can’t (or don’t) handle a situation well, and good old mom and dad will be the ones they choose to work it out with. All in all, as parents, you should transition from parents to friends, but not all at once. Your children may, and most likely will, still look at you as the provider and guardian: the one who makes their doctor’s appointments, or helps them move in and out, or supplies them with grocery money. Over the years, they will start to do these things themselves and will look towards parents as their confidants and sources of support. They will soon be old enough to drink or rent a car for trips, and then will come the day when they graduate, start their career, and possibly even get married. With the transition of your relationship, your children will become more open and comfortable with you. Be there for them to celebrate, to laugh or cry, to help them get up when they’ve been disappointed or knocked down. They need to know that you are always there as parent and friend. Also, don’t worry about your children making friends. As multiples, they have a builtin friend, and it would make things easier if they go to the same school, but college is used as a way to break out of comfort zones. Being in college will help them pursue even further their own interests and become comfortable with having friends that aren’t necessarily friends with the other. The separation will help multiplicity

them grow into becoming individuals who just so happen to be twins (or triplets/ quadruplets/etc). Finally, reassure your children that they can call or email you whenever they’d like. It even helps to set up a plan or a set time to get in contact with each other. This especially works if they are attending a school hundreds to thousands of miles away. At first, you (or your children) may end up calling once a week, and that could dwindle down to one call a month. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need you anymore; it just shows that they are comfortable in their new environment. Lastly, prepare yourselves for Fall Break when they are excited to come home, to eat home cooked meals, and to tell you everything. Yes, everything. All you have to do is listen to them (and they may even bring a new friend or two!). Enjoy the time you have with them on their visits home and everything else should fall into place. Stephanie Jackson, or Steph, is the youngest in a set of quadruplets. She and her sisters recently graduated from Hollins University. She is a self-described introverted extrovert. She has a sharp eye when it comes to clothes and fashion. She always makes it a point to put others before herself. In her free time, she likes to roller skate, juggle, eat cinnamon candies, and craft. You can connect with her on Twitter or visit her website to learn more.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


planting the many seeds of

good health 60


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

by nellie harden


ur often hurried lives have fooled us into forgetting about every teachable moment we have as parents with our children. One of the most impactful of these moments happens in the life center of the home: the kitchen. Three or more times a day we are teaching our children what they will perceive as “good food choices” in their childhood and possible adulthood years, whether they truly are or not. Will they know what real food is? Will they know the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini or have tasted the rainbow of colors our earth provides each day? The Choose My Plate diagram that the USDA now uses, instead of the pyramid, is a great visual as to what our plates should look like at every meal. Half of the plate should be filled with fresh fruits and vegetables that are lightly, if at all, cooked. The range is 7-13 servings a day for healthy children and adults. Anyone who is pregnant, nursing, ill, has some type of disease process, challenge, or works out a lot should be getting even more. Healthy whole grains and a good lean protein with a very small helping of dairy can comprise the rest of this meal. The challenge lies in that the portions we should be getting the most of, vegetables and fruit, we are typically getting the least of. A usual plate is mostly refined grains, sugars, large portions of meats that are many times accompanied with large amounts of dairy. I don’t even need to tell you the results of these habits. You see them all around us and possibly live them. You can see how sick our world is today. Many people are existing, but not thriving, and many adult diseases are now shared in the childhood category, as well. We have taken a large step away from our roots. Fruits and vegetables are what our bodies crave and need to function optimally. Even all of the “vitamins” that line the shelves of stores are lab created mimics of what naturally comes from fruits and vegetables. There is only a small handful of synthetically engineered vitamins and minerals today (about 40-50) opposed to the nearly 12,000 known so far in one apple. Scientists have synthetically made them, or something close enough to it, and mega-dosed it because if something is good for you, then a million times its normal concentration must be incredible, right? Not exactly! multiplicity

The bottom line is that we have to get families back to the table with plates full of fruits and vegetables. Keep it simple! The greatest rule of thumb you can follow is to eat as close to the earth as possible. The more steps taken to change that produce from when it is picked, the less nutrients you are going to be benefitting from. You also want to eat vine ripened! Just like in pregnancy, those last few weeks in the womb are so important to fully develop and when our fruits and vegetables are picked before they are fully ripened, you are getting significantly less nutrients from them. The stores are filled with things that have not “ripened”, but simply started their decay process in the 5-10 day average journey from farm to table. You might be asking, how do I do this and how do I afford this? Those were my questions when we committed to change the health of our family four years ago. One of the first things we did was start gardening. Growing our own fruits and vegetables gives us the control of what is put on the plants and also gives us the ability to eat them vine ripened. Soil gardening is not for everyone and has it challenges, but we also garden in a vertical soil-less garden system that can give us produce year round indoor and outdoor, and is easy even for the blackest of thumbs. Whether in soil or in a Tower Garden system, gardening is a great family activity that everyone benefits from. It is a massive cost savings, learning experience, and the health benefits of local, vine ripened, organic produce year-round is priceless. We are also teaching our children about the future of growing. In our world, the resources are precious and the Towers use 90% less water and 90% less land space than conventional gardening. Our children will live in a world of required forward thinkers and opening up the landscape of possibilities and solutions can start now. Even with growing our own organic produce on our patio or in our living room, it is still difficult to find the servings and variety each day to fill our family. Over two years ago, I was recommended by our doctor to look into a product called Juice Plus. Though I had never heard about it before, there were three things the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


that stood out from all of the dozens of other things I had seen out there. There was actual third party science and research from almost 30 Universities from around the world. It is NSF certified to give me comfort that what is on the label is actually in it and nothing else. However, what spoke loudest of all was the nutrition label, and not supplement label, that graces the back of the packaging. It is food. Vine ripened, concentrated food. I could add over 25 more fruits, vegetables, berries and whole grains from all colors of the nutritional rainbow to my child’s plate every day. It subsided the “mommy guilt” and abundantly grew our nutritional health. We were filling our nutritional gaps that we were inadvertently leaving wide open every day AND my kids beg for them! For the produce that you do buy at the store, there is a great guideline of the “Clean 15” and “Dirty Dozen”. The Clean 15 are things that have been found to either not be grown with many pesticides or that the skin is fairly impenetrable to the chemicals. The Dirty Dozen is a list that you should always try and find organic when possible. You can copy this right to your grocery list. I have seen firsthand the sad and sometimes devastating effects of what happens when children and adults do not understand what real food is and I have committed my life to educating and providing tools for families to start, or continue, turning things around. A Whole Food Revolution. We need to teach 62


our generation of children that true health is not only seen on the outside, but more so felt on the inside. Though clean eating is only one component of wellness, it is a very large one and sets the stage for all other pieces. Education is power and when our children harness the knowledge of what real food is and isn’t, they can make remarkable choices that will impact the rest of their lives. It is never too late to start turning your health around. Jim Rohn says it best, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Nellie Harden has been married for 13 years and is a mom of four little girls, who represent four corners of a square and bring different gifts, energy and challenges to their world. In addition to being a mom, she works with families through Juice Plus and Tower Garden to get whole foods back at the forefront of the meals and snacks and help growing and changing bodies thrive in our world today. She also enjoys writing about all of life’s adventures.

the clean 15...

* Avocados * Papayas * Sweet corn * Kiwi * Pineapples * Eggplant * Cabbage * Grapefruit * Asparagus * Sweet peas (frozen) * Cantaloupe (domestic) * Onions * Mangoes * Cauliflower * Sweet potatoes

the dirty dozen...

* Apples * Strawberries * Snap peas (imported) * Cucumbers * Peaches * Spinach * Sweet bell peppers * Celery * Grapes * Nectarines (imported) *Cherry tomatoes * Potatoes

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

are your kids

saving you

money? by jeffrey kendall

Having a child, and especially multiples, is expensive! And we all know that taxes are, too! So how can we, as parents of multiples, save more on the latter in order to spend more on the former…or even on ourselves? The good news is that this can be done, with just a little bit of extra work. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, taxpayer and a parent of twins plus a third, I understand the value of saving on taxes to use that money elsewhere. I work with my clients, not just to help plan for the future, but also by finding places to possibly save money, and use that savings to help fund their goals. With my personal tax advisor’s help, we hope to pass along some quick tips to other parents that could potentially save you thousands in taxes every year.

1. Get Organized

We all get our W-2 and 1099 statements, but there are other forms, receipts and “stuff” (yes, that’s a technical term) that you need for you, or your tax advisor, to complete your taxes. Some of that “stuff” may include: * Real estate tax statements. * A summary of healthcare and childcare costs. * Receipts to back up outgrown clothes or toys you donated to charity. * Any tax ID numbers for your childcare provider.

2. Mention Everything --Nothing is Too Big!

Did you make sure to take the deduction for the newborn? Of course, you did! But does your tax preparer know about the newborn? Just because your tax preparer actually prepares your taxes, doesn’t mean they know multiplicity

everything about your life. In the interview process, mention everything! If you think they already know, confirm it with them to be certain. “Life changes” are also included in this category. Anything major, or even semi-major, may turn out to be a tax deduction, right up until Baby New Year comes on midnight of December 31st. Some of these things may be, but of course are not limited to: * Having or adopting a baby (we mentioned this one). * Starting or losing a job. * Getting married, separated or divorced. * Putting a child in daycare, summer camp or college.

…Or Too Small

Everybody remembers the big things, but how can any of these relate to taxes? Well, you do pay your tax advisor good

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Myles, 21/2 tiny Heart Superhero™, awaiting his fourth surgery and rocking his scar! • attend sa 4e opération et montre fièrement sa cicatrice! • espera su 4ta cirugía y lleva su cicatriz con orgullo!



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money (which is may also be tax deductible) to help you along, but make it easier for them and bring up anything you think may be tax deductible. Here are two: * Child Tax Credit – every parent who has a dependent child under age 17 by the end of December 31st can claim the child tax credit of $1,000 per child, as long as their income is less than $75,000 ($110,000 if married filing jointly), with income phaseouts above those amounts. * Child and Dependent Care Credit – if you’re a working parent who relies on childcare, this credit can help with the expense if the child is under 13; it works out to be the lesser of $3,000 ($6,000 if more than one child), or the actual cost paid, with a maximum credit of $1,050 for one child and

$2,100 for more than one child. This deduction can refer to day camps and even specialized summer camps. Finally, here are a few more that everyone remembers, but just as just a friendly reminder… * Adoption Credit * Charitable Contributions * State Tax Deductions on 529 Plans – this one depends on the state in which you live, so be sure to ask your financial planner or tax advisor if you qualify. * The American Opportunity Credit

3. There’s Plenty of Time

Now is the best time to start preparing. We are only half-way through the year, so digging up the receipts from February won’t be so tough (and you’ll be more prepared!).

Please remember to consult your tax advisor for your exact circumstances and see which deductions and credits you are able to take. Karp Financial Strategies is not a tax advisor, but we are willing to work with your tax advisor to pursue your overall financial goals. Give us a call to discuss further. Jeffrey P Kendall, CFP® is Vice President of Karp Financial Strategies. Karp Financial Strategies specializes in helping clients to dream it, plan it, and then pursue it! The “it” is your financial and life goals. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. You can also connect with Jeff on facebook and twitter.

Myles, 21/2

tiny Heart Superhero™, awaiting his fourth surgery and rocking his scar!

take the guessing out of registering for your twins! Baby Gear Guide 2014

arriving in may! multiplicity

The Saving tiny Hearts Society’s mission is to raise money for grossly under-funded, lifesaving grass roots research of congenital heart defects (CHD's). CHD's are the #1 birth defect worldwide affecting over 1,000,000 babies every year! the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


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

Order your copy today!



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

you heard it here first... We all know that diapers are so expensive when you have twins or more. Here are some cost-saving tips from readers like you!

Cloth diapers can save you about $2,000 PER CHILD over the course of their diaper wearing years. The initial investment is about $500, but in the end it’s so cheap. - Jami S. Costco or Target when they have the $10 gift card when you buy 2. You can stack the cartwheel app and coupons to save money. - Melissa T. Amazon mom subscribe and save. So convenient! Meta T. With free shipping and the coupons, seems to be the best deal. - Helen R. multiplicity

Looking to travel abroad and need passports for the family? Here are some things to know!

If you’re getting them for the kids, be aware that both parents need to be present when you submit the application. - Laura L. We got ours at the post office and spent around $200, but got them in about 2 weeks. - Stacie C. Fill out the forms at the site, print them and take them in. - Katie C. If you are staying close, look into a passport card for the kids, as the cards are cheaper. - Karen H. You need to give them the actual birth certificates (to be returned). They will also want copies of the front and back of both parents’ drivers licenses. - Susan W. the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples



Over 1 million children have their stem cells saved and nearly half of them are with CBR. Every day, we’re driving stem cell medicine forward. Learn how CBR can provide a lifetime of medical options today and into the future.



*Blind survey, Gfk Market Measures for CBR, 07.12 | Ultimate use of newborn stem cells will be determined by the treating physician, who will consider if they are applicable for the condition and should come from the patient or a suitable donor (like an HLA-matched sibling). © 2014 Cbr Systems, Inc. All rights reserved · 0314 · MA02337.00


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples



busters: outdoor activities for kids & pets

by tamar blazer 70


With summer heating up and schools out, kids will be looking for activities to keep them busy, and parents will be looking for ways to keep their kids off the couch. If you find your kids and your pets spending too much time inside the house, you’ll want to be creative and inventive in getting them to get a move on! Whether you live in a bustling city or the suburbs, there are plenty of activities to keep your kids and your pets busy during the dog days of summer.

Wet ‘n Wild

Pools, beaches and lakes are always fun ways to keep cool during the hot summer months. Private pools are great places for kids and dogs to cool off and have some fun splashing around together. Bring some balls and diving sticks and have your kids and pup chase them into the water. While some beaches prohibit pets during summer months, others are designated as dog friendly. Consider bringing Fido to the beach to get some exercise. It’s a great way to get your kids to get some cardio in chasing the family pooch and a nice way for you to meet fellow dog owners. When everyone is tired out at the end of the jaunt, you can have a family picnic on the sand (and don’t forget to bring water for your four-legged friend!).

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“keeping everyone occupied and entertained doesn’t have to be expensive and doesn’t require you loading up the car and heading anywhere at all.” A few tips for your day at the pool, beach or lake: *Sunscreen! You can never have too much. Make sure to apply sunscreen to your kids and yourself at least 15 minutes before exposure to the sun to allow maximum absorption and protection. Remember to reapply sunscreen regularly throughout the day and immediately after swimming. Although some sunscreens claim to be waterproof or water resistant, you can never be too careful with your little ones’ delicate skin. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 for your children. *Hats, sunglasses and rash guards. These items are ideal for protecting your kids from the dangerous UV rays. Have a few extras in the beach bag when they’re ready to get out of the wet. *Baby powder. This is a great little secret to remove sand from little hands and toes. Just keep a travel size handy when you head off the beach. *Hydration. Have plenty of water on hand for everyone, including the fur babies. Many pet stores sell collapsible water/food bowls perfect for hydrating and feeding your pet on the go. *Towels. Be sure to bring extra towels to dry off the kids and the dog before getting back into the car. *Waste bags. Dog poop bags are great for picking up after your pet or for containing dirty diapers until you find the proper receptacle.

Home Sweet Home

Enjoying the summer weather and keeping everyone occupied and entertained doesn’t have to be expensive and doesn’t require you loading up the car and heading anywhere at all. Instead, enjoy the beauty of your own backyard. Your kids can play games with your dog like fetch or you can have them setup agility exercises that allow both to run around and get exercise. You can use simple items such as cones or markers to set up your own obstacle courses to navigate through. Use your backyard landscape or neighborhood park as a backdrop for an impromptu photo shoot. Dig through your closet for fun props and multiplicity

costumes to dress the kids and dog in and grab your camera for a fun few hours. Pop on some music and encourage your kids to use their imagination to create scenes while you capture it all on camera. You never know; some of the shots could be used later in the year for holiday cards. Want to play it more low key or perhaps engage your children in something more environmental or educational? Plant a small garden in your backyard or in pots for your patio. The experience will teach your children responsibility, as well as the reward for hard work and dedication. They can enjoy the fruits of their labor all summer long!

Barks and Parks

Parks and playgrounds are great recreational places for your kids and pets to run around. Many parks have playgrounds and jungle gyms, while others have outdoor picnic areas with public grills. After the kids work up an appetite, throw a few burgers and hot dogs on the grill for a favorite summer meal. More and more cities are installing dog parks to accommodate our four legged friends. Take your kids and your dogs to dog parks for a wildly entertaining experience for all. Bonus? Everyone will be tuckered out by the end of the day!

The Great Outdoors If you and your family love nature, consider taking the whole troop, and the dog, too, on a camping trip. Load up the car with a weekend’s worth of supplies, and head to a campsite for a bonding experience you won’t soon forget. Many campsites are located in areas conducive to hiking, and if you’re feeling really adventuresome, you can try your hand at fishing, canoeing and many other activities the great outdoors offers. A few tips: *Bug spray! Make sure you have plenty for each family member, as mosquito bites can dampen the mood. Also, remember to treat your dog with flea/tick prevention --- contd. pg. 72 the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


contd. from --outdoor medication before venturing out. *Sunscreen! Even though you might be shaded by the coverage of the trees, the sun can still slip through and burn exposed skin. *Bring proper tools. It’s always better to be prepared than to be stuck in the woods without proper utensils. Use the experience to unleash your inner boy scout --- bring your pocketknife and don’t forget a can opener.

Hit the Road

If you opt to take the whole family on a much needed vacation, consider taking along your pet. More hotels are pet-friendly and offer pet pampering services. It’s a win-win; you and the kids get to explore and enjoy, while Fido gets pampered and included in the trip. Coming back to that wagging tail at the end of the day makes it all worthwhile. Regardless of how you choose to spend your summer, there are plenty of inventive and creative ways to engage both your kids and your pets to maximize their learning experience while getting in some physical activity. You’ll create priceless memories that will be ingrained for a lifetime, while your couch cushions will be saved from permanent indentations. 72


appy summer! fun, educational apps for kids of all ages --and for mom and dad, too!

for the preschool and under crowd With Wallykazam! Letter and Word Magic your kids will play games and learn about the power of letters and words by touching, tapping, flicking and tilting to interact with Wally and his friends. This app will help kids develop phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, letter-sound associations and promote excitement about words and learning to read! $6.99 at With the Dr. Panda, Teach Me app, kids learn the basics of counting, shapes, and more through fun and short practice sessions. The games get progressively harder as their skill level increases. The app features 10 Educational Games with Puzzles, Numbers, Colors, Logic, Memory, and More! $2.99 at for those 5 and up Brain Quest Blast Off: Grade 2 presents kids with trivia questions on a number of areas that come straight out of grade-school curriculum. As kids answer questions, they work toward the eventual launching of their virtual rockets -- and thereby win the game. $2.99 at PopGeo is a fun way to learn where the U.S. states, state capitals, national parks, and major cities are located. The goal is to travel as far as possible by dragging the targets onto their correct destinations, which are marked with a pin on the map. Watch the mile counter go up each time you succeed. $0.99 at Even Monsters Get Sick has achieved the perfect balance of interactive elements and good old-fashioned storytelling. It comes loaded with interactive games and puzzles that kids will want to read and play again and again. The app will read the story aloud, or turn that feature off so budding readers can explore the text themselves. $1.99 at


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ask joan

emotional nest eggs and twin dividends Along with our parental responsibility to create financial stability for the well being of our twins, we also have to be developmentally prepared for the emotional needs of our twins as they grow and change. Sending our sons and daughters off to elementary school fills parents with mixed emotions. On the one hand, the longer school day affords many parents a few precious hours to finally find time for themselves – taking that exercise class, having coffee with a friend, doing errands much more efficiently, and just breathing a sigh of relief to have some alone time. On the other hand, our “big” school age kids are encountering new challenges and situations that require sound parental involvement and attentive focus. I remember taking my fraternal twin boys to their separate kindergarten classes. Both were very excited to meet their teachers, see their new classroom, and connect with new and old friends. I loved taking each one shopping individually to select his lunch box, buy school supplies, and choose a special treat to celebrate the beginning of the school year. I will always be grateful to David’s teacher who recognized that he needed intervention for some learning disabilities. My other son made a best friend on that first day

of school, and they remained close friends for many years. Their new beginning was also a transition for me. The boys were entering into a world that extended far beyond the comfortable confines of our home and family. How would they adapt? I was confident that they would be fine; however, I wondered how I would feel. I remember feeling “old” in the sense that my childbearing years were over. I actually was older, having given birth to my boys when I was 40, but the feelings extended beyond my chronological age. I wondered how and if my “mommy” role would change drastically. I took advantage of the extended school day to carve out alone time with Jonny and David. Jonny would drive home in the carpool with other children, and I would spend a few hours with David. Often our time together might be a trip to the market, a visit to a tutor, or an afterschool sports class. When it was Jonny’s turn, we would go to a gym class, an art class, or to our favorite doughnut shop. The separate time with each of my sons was a gift to all of us. The boys were not vying for attention. They talked about school, friends, and feelings. It is no easy feat for parents of multiplicity

twins to prepare their children to be on their own. Their unique twin connection seems to convince some moms and dads that they don’t need or want to be apart. However, as the years quickly pass and decisions about college, jobs, and relationships loom large, the issue of each twin’s willingness and/or capacity to be on his own comes into question. Take advantage of this new beginning to figure out how to carve out some one-onone time with each of your twins. You might be amazed to discover aspects of your children’s personalities that you missed or didn’t know existed. Investing in your “emotional” nest egg now will help insure healthier twin dividends later on. Dr. Joan A. Friedman is a psychotherapist who has devoted many years of her professional career to educating twins and their families about twins’ emotional needs. A twin herslef and having worked through her own twinship challenges and parented her fraternal twin sons, she is a definitive expert about twin development. She is the author of Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children. Her second book that is now available, The Same but Different, addresses the intricacies of adult twin relationships.

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trends will save you quite a bit! 5. Save your receipts! When you find all the items that you need, don’t be surprised if the next week everything is 50% cheaper. You can simply bring the original sales receipt to the store and they’ll credit you the money straightaway, without even needing to bring the items back to the store with you.

back to school

on a budget

It’s never too early to start thinking about shopping, even if your kids have a year to go before they even start attending their first day. Here are some tips to help you save a few bucks! 1. Make a list! Know how many pencils, notebooks, binders, crayons, etc. they need. Most schools will give you a list for supplies, but they don’t give you a list of clothing. Most schools will give you a list for school supplies, but they don’t give you a list of clothing. Think about your child’s wardrobe for the entire school year, not just now. Stock up on things like socks and underwear. If you live in a colder area, buy their winter coats now. Land’s End has a fantastic sale on winter coats every single summer, some with added discounts of 30% and free shipping --- score! 2. Get out of the officesupply stores! Sometimes 74


by natalie diaz

the best bargains are at your local grocery or big-box stores. Stock up now! It’s at this time of year that you can grab a box of crayons for as little as a penny. Don’t buy one box; get the maximum amount of boxes you can buy at that store. 3. Don’t do trendy! Sure, your son may want the new lunchbox with the latest action figure on it, but all his friends will have the same one. Sticking to more generic fashions and styles will save you money and let your kids’ items stand out (which is a blessing when they end up in the lost and found at school!). You can always customize a plain lunchbox with stickers or patches! 4. Stick with the basics. Even if your kids begged you for those fancy pens or selfsharpening pencils, stick with the basics. Getting pens that light up or markers that change colors will only distract your kid from the work at hand. Skipping out on all the gadgets and

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6. Dollars stores are your friend. Okay, we all know that items like markers and crayons are not your best option from the dollar store, unless they’re a brand name, of course. Loose leaf paper and composition notebooks are the same price, no matter where you go. However, items like rulers, scissors, pencil boxes and other supplies some schools require like paper towels, tissue and cleaning wipes are a steal. Shopping your local dollar store will help you save a lot of bucks at the register. 7. Go Green! It’s not too early to start thinking about packing those lunches, as well. Think of all the money you’ll save if you buy some good storage containers right now. The bento boxes are all the rage in kids’ lunches now and really allow your kid to have that great lunch time selection. Even the pickiest eaters will find an item they like in a homemade bento box. Water bottles are great to think about, as well. I’m not saying you have to go all in with the glass water bottle and the silicone sleeve, but there are some great options like Contigo that will make your kids happy and your wallets happy, too! Think of all the

money you’ll save on bottled water. 8. App it up. Before you head out to those stores, check to see if they have an app. Most apps for big stores give you additional discounts and savings. Also check out the app Retail Me Not, where it lists thousands of stores around the country and their local promotions and discounts. 9. Price match, much? Many stores offer price matching. Find out which ones of your local stores will honor prices of the others. Often stores within a 5 mile radius will price match. Even if they don’t advertise it, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Staples is one of the stores that has the best price matching policy. Regardless of whether you buy items in store or online, they will match the price. For full details go to 10. Textbooks online? Many schools around the country are now offering students the option of purchasing an electronic version of their textbooks. See if your school offers this option. It could save you thousands of dollars down the line. 11. Save a little; splurge a little. Sure, this entire article was about saving money, but sometimes you just need to splurge a little. Maybe there’s a leather jacket that your daughter has her eye on that you think she’d look great in. Maybe your son wants a new hockey jersey that will be both comfortable and stylish for him. Sure we want to save a lot of money, but sometimes there’s special parts that you remember from your own childhood and it wasn’t about your parents buying 45 boxes of crayons to save a lot of money. We all remember those little moments of our back to school experiences that stood out most. If you buy something new to help add to a memory, think about it, budget for it, and try to make it happen. multiplicity

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five minute fix: pattern mixing by traci zeller


s your neutral room falling flat? Fortunately, adding color and pattern is much easier than most people think! The key is to start with a patterned fabric you love, preferably one that includes three or more colors. I call this fabric the “bridge,” because it will bring together the rest of the colors and patterns in the space. For a truly effortless mix, choose a bridge fabric that includes any neutrals already in the space. Once you have your bridge fabric, look for fabrics in that color palette that are varied in both style and size. In love with a large scale floral? Try pairing it with a medium scale geometric. Do you already have a floral and a geometric? Consider adding a stripe or a plaid. Aim to include one large scale, one medium scale and one small scale pattern. 76


Here, I use my Bubbly fabric in Sweet Pea, Pop and Retro as the bridge in each of these photos. The Bubbly design is based on – you guessed it – a bubble painting originally done by my twin boys. With a medium scale abstract polka dot as the foundation, stripes and geometrics are a natural fit. It’s as easy as choosing which colors you want to emphasize! A green geometric rug pairs beautifully with my lavender Sparkler fabric. My Prep fabric, a simple ticking stripe, incorporates the bolder colors in each. Gingham would be a simple addition. What next? Remember that the eye needs a place to rest, so balance the patterns with solids and textures. Performance fabrics such as Sunbrella and Crypton now come in beautiful colors and are a very practical choice for nurseries and family rooms. Happy pattern mixing! Traci Zeller is an interior designer known for her clean, sophisticated mix of classic and modern pieces. As a busy wife and mother to active twin boys, she appreciates the need for spaces that are beautiful and functional. Traci also authors a blog, and her firm, Traci Zeller Designs, provides full service design, textiles, and e-decorating packages.

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photo courtesy of firewife photography

ask the veterans

twins beyond the twos... The twins are entering preschool and they seem to be struggling with seeing mom wave goodbye each day. How can you help them cope? It’s never easy leaving your kids for their first day of school, whether it’s your first child or your last. In order to help ease your twins into their first day, consider these tried and true tips from veteran moms and leave the guilt behind: *prepare yourself - they’re already nervous about the change without you showing that side, too. Be positive and they’ll eventually feel the same. *let them visit before the first day of school - be sure to take them by the school to see their class(es) and teacher(s) so that there will be some familiarity

when the time comes. *never sneak out of the room always say goodbye, even with the threat of the crocodile tears. Kids are never happy when they realize you left without saying “goodbye” and it makes teacher’s job more difficult, too. *expect a little regression - the twins may do surprisingly well the first couple of days and then seem like totally different children, kicking and screaming that they hate school and don’t want to go back. It’s completely natural and they’ll get the hang of it sooner than later! Good luck! multiplicity

Pregnancy is a beautiful part of life and should be full of wonder and love. Being pregnant with multiples doesn’t have to be scary, even if an unheard of diagnosis is involved. Have questions?

We can help! Answers for today. Hope for tomorrow.

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met a charming soldier in a bar. My response to his marriage proposal, 5 days after we met, was, “Only if you don’t want kids.” My parents meant well, but they were poorly equipped for parenthood. They’d grown up within the communal childrearing of Bangladeshi extended families. They did their best to raise me within a Western paradigm without family support, but my childhood was not a happy one. I was witness to adultery far too young. My mother’s insecurity and unmanaged mental illness didn’t help. I decided that the only way to break the pattern of poor parenting and emotional abuse would be to live my life solo.

overcoming life

challenges by sadia rodriguez

I’m proud and happy to be a single working soccer mom, but my path here wasn’t a straight one. As a young adult, I rejected any suggestion that I would ever marry and swore I would never have children. I never imagined I would end up in the U.S. My plan was to be a professor, throwing all my energy into teaching and research. I would be a vagabond of academia. traveling the world My first memories are of life with my parents in Scotland. After my first year of elementary school, my mother and I moved to England. A year later, the whole family moved to Bangladesh, an independent country surrounded on three sides by India. My parents had grown up there, but it was a foreign land to me. After a decade in Bangladesh, I headed off to college in California, fully intending to return to Europe once my education was complete. I’ve been in America since 1997. I became a U.S. citizen a year ago. breaking with the past My plans for solo intellectual pursuits crumbled when I 78


It was the charming soldier who convinced me to try my hand at parenting. Our whirlwind engagement was followed within weeks by a 13-month deployment. We were married 3 days after his return from Iraq. When my husband discovered that my antipathy toward motherhood was fear, rather than distaste for children, he insisted that I’d be a good mother. I tried in vain to explain that abused children too often turned into abusers themselves. In frustration, I went to a psychologist, hoping she could explain to him the degree of mental imbalance I brought to the party. That first meeting turned into a year of therapy. Putting into words all my hurts and fears, I vanquished my demons. I told my husband I was ready to have a child. Our identical twin daughters joined our family less than 9 months later. I was 26. tackling depression I hit rock bottom when I was 22, after an ex-boyfriend committed suicide. I prepared to follow in his footsteps but stopped at the thought of my sister. I couldn’t leave her with the sort of pain I was feeling. I sought help from the health services at my graduate school and was soon diagnosed with clinical depression. After a few tries, my psychiatrist found a prescription that helped. My mind now clear, I recognized that I had been depressed my entire life. Normal people didn’t spend every night gleefully fantasizing about suicide, or fixate on the most negative interpretation of every event. With the help of medication

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“The Same but Different presents a stunning, in-depth look at the lives of adult twins as they face the twin challenges of closeness and independence, love and resentment in their evolving relations with each other.” —Nancy L. Segal, PhD, author of Born Together—Reared Apart

Visit and search for “Multiplicity” for all print issues available.

“Not only is The Same but Different a mustread for adult twins, it is an invaluable resource for the parents of younger twins who want to start their same-age children on the road to a healthy relationship in the future.” —Lauren Apfel, PhD, blogger “Omnimom”

Rocky Pines Press • 192 pages • $15.95 • ISBN: 978-0-9893464-3-6



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contd. from --challenges and talk therapy, I became a normal person. I discovered that underneath the darkness, there was a funny, loving, entirely optimistic Sadia. I went off the medication to become pregnant and once I’d had a taste of what normal thinking looked like, I was able to maintain it without them for four years before a relapse of depression laid me low. I’m back on medication now. I’m okay with that. My 8-year-old daughters know that mommy needs medicine to help her brain be healthy. When they’re older, I’ll let them know that they may be genetically susceptible to depression. I wouldn’t want them to wait to seek help if they truly need it. dealing with divorce After three combat deployments, two tours in Korea, premature twins and 8 years of marriage, my husband suddenly left me. Our daughters were almost 6 years old and I knew I needed to hold it together for them.

My years of managing my depression had given me all the tools I needed to carry myself and my girls through divorce relatively unscathed.

fun new challenges every day. Work is a welcome vacation from the kids. The kids are a great break from work. I joke that I’m perpetually on vacation.

My experience with the past taught me that I couldn’t control anyone else’s reactions or emotions. I didn’t want my children to carry the scars I had from my father’s infidelity, so I did all I could to shed a positive light on their Daddy and his new wife. Their stepmother displayed genuine affection for our girls and did all she could to make them feel welcome.

thankful I don’t think I could have come to appreciate the joy I have in my life had I not walked a path of pain and loss to get here. Of course, I wish that my marriage had lasted the lifetime we had vowed it would. I wish my girls had never had to suffer the worry of having a father in combat or the destructive power of divorce. I wish that my relationship with my parents could be salvaged. I wish that my sister wasn’t still fighting her own demons.

single motherhood I love being a mother. I cherish the relationship I have with my daughters and their friends. I am honored that they share their insights and perspectives with me. I loved my husband, but didn’t love being a wife. Single motherhood isn’t always easy, but I enjoy the luxury of being able to focus my time and energy on my children and their peers. I’m fortunate to also truly enjoy my job, in an environment with

Despite all that, I have learned one core lesson from living in different cultures, from fighting mental illness, from surviving the loss of core relationships. The key to joy is to hold on to the positive and learn from the negative. It’s okay to take time to heal, but our kids need us to get back on our feet. They will learn from us how to handle what life throws their way.

chic design with multiples in mind!

full service. e-design. textiles. blog. 80


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Mama said there’d be days like this. Join moms of multiples all around the globe in supporting each other on the good AND the not-so-good days.

photography by firewife photography



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Multiplicity Summer 2014  

Summer 2014 issue covering traveling with twins, overcoming challenges, saving money with twins, boredom busters for summer, truths and myth...

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