Multiplicity Summer 2015

Page 1

summer 2015

party picks for twins raising

risk takers designing your kids’ bedroom how to make

summer learning fun! tips for

choosing the right OB 1

be cool for

back to school

taking risks, two at a time! 6

Get summer skin and hair with tips from Plum Hill


Design the Perfect Kid’s Bedroom


Technology 101: Time to Unplug


Capturing your Every Day: What to Wear

10 Tips for Saving Money with


How to Raise Risk-taking Twins

12 The Dr. is In - 5 Tips on Water


Product Buzz + Giveaway


Kid Tested, Mom Approved Meals from Pinterest


Embarking on a Brave New World


Party Picks for Twins & Trips


Five Minute Fix: Rock Your Coffee Table


Book Review


Special Delivery: When delivery doesn’t go as planned

Choosing the Right OB


Confessions of a Twin Dad

26 Tips for Camping with Twins


Gone Girl: Essentials for Moms on the Go


Appy Summer


12 Signs You’re a Twin Mom

Twins and More Safety


Sensory Processing Disorder: Signs it’s more than a thrill


Fashion Finds for summer near the sand & surf

18 Bug Bites & Bee Stings: When to call the doctor

21 What’s Going on in There? Twins in the Womb

22 Sanity Savers: How to travel with the kids this summer

24 It’s Okay to be Picky:

28 Be Back to School Cool

with Great Gear & Food for Thought

22 60

28 16

cover cuties Connor & Parker, 7 show us summer fun, creekside! Connor is a creative soul and loves the outdoors. He loves to explore and invent new things and would like to be scientist when he grows up. Parker loves cuddling up and watching a good movie. He loves building things and wants to be ninja when he grows up. Both boys adore their brothers, Tyler and Carter.


photos courtesy of Firewife Photography


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Summer means all kinds of things to people, but for many of us, it is simply being able to slow down and enjoy our families, our freedom and the lives we’re able to live because of those freedoms. As I write this, I am enjoying vacation at the beach with my family, which typically means chasing my little one around in the sand (and away from the ocean!), making sure the older ones don’t stray too far in the water, and ensuring we have an arsenal of food (since my kids seem to eat like an army when they’re out in the sun all day!). It’s times like these that I’m able to truly relax (well, as much as to be expected with four kids going separate directions!), take a deep breath, and enjoy the life I’ve been given. I don’t take for granted that I have 4 beautiful, healthy, intelligent children who I love and love me in return. Summer also means adventure and a time for things out of the ordinary. If you’re the type of parent who likes to take risks (or have twins who take them for you!), we’ve got some great advice for helping them hone those skills. For parents who travel more this time of year, we’ve got Natalie Diaz founder/publisher

you covered, too, with features on tips for keeping your sanity when traveling, how to explore the world with your twins in tow, and even a quick list of accessories every mom (or parent) on the go should consider when planning a lastminute outing. Of course, with the fun of summer also comes thinking ahead to the next school year. Our Back to School insert showcases great features on fighting morning meltdowns, how to make summer learning fun, things to know if you’re a parent of twins starting school for the first time, and even some of the coolest gear for starting school on the right foot. If you’re planning to spend a little time near the beach, check out our Fashion Finds, which bring together the trendiest outfits and accessories to keep you feeling fabulous and cool! Here’s to a lack of schedules, long days that are filled with water fights, make believe and snow cones, and end with lightning bugs, story time and star gazing. Happy summer! Talitha A. McGuinness executive editor

Publisher Natalie Diaz Editor / Creative Director Talitha A. McGuinness Contributing Writers Dr. Preeti Parikh Cara Krenn Minde Buckingham Kevin Zelenka Traci Zeller Barbara Miller Jennifer Parker Victoria Worch Lisa Katzenberger Jeanne Kissman Mikenzie Oldham Meghan Khaitan Isabelle Lee Bethany Austin Nicole Esquibel Rachel Bowman Kate Moncayo Alisha Kelly Farrah Ritter Kristen Cleary Tiffany Ertle Twiniversity Content Mgr. Julie Burt Nichols Community Mgr. Deanna Burkett Special Projects Mgr. Lauren Oak Twitter Content Mgr. Kimmy Brogan Contact us: 141 Mulberry St. 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



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time to slow down and enjoy the lazy, long days of summer.

don’t let them pass you by!

how to prevent the summer sun

from wreaking havoc on your skin and hair by jeanne kissman



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

Already counting down the days until summer fun in the sun? Right now is the perfect time to start planning some adult fun like camping trips to the river and all the outdoor music festivals you want to attend, or even hanging at the beach, the park or pool with your family. Just remember that it’s important to prepare your summertime skin and hair regimen. If you’re wondering how to keep your hair and skin healthy all summer, not to worry! Lifestyle expert Jeanne Kissman, founder of PlumHill pure body essentials, shares fantastic tips below on ways to keep your skin and hair in tip top shape this summer.


protect your lips. The summer sun can dry out and cause damage to delicate lip tissue. Be sure to use an all natural lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher when outside enjoying the heat.

*take a cold shower.

After a hot day in the sun, a hot shower will only enhance the effects of dry skin. Instead, take a cold shower to lower the temperature in your skin and reduce acne breakouts. Be sure to apply lotion as soon as you towel off to allow your skin to absorb the moisture.

*drink some red wine.

Treat yourself to a glass of red wine before spending time in the sun. Studies suggest that the flavonoids found in the skin of red grapes may reduce the sun’s ability to destroy skin cells. Not only does wine taste yummy, but it also has antiinflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Drink up and enjoy!

*use mineral makeup.

Sunscreen is your skin’s first line of defense against harmful UVA rays, but also use all natural mineral makeup for light coverage and an SPF protection of 30-50.


wear a wide-brimmed hat. Protect your skin and hair from the sun’s damaging rays by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. The hat will also protect your scalp and prevent sunburn.


exfoliate away the dry skin. Everyone wants to have soft, supple skin in the summer, so use a sugar or salt scrub to rub away unwanted dry skin. Homemade scrubs are inexpensive and can be made from sugar or salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and your favorite essential oils. Pay close attention to trouble spots like the knees and elbows.

*dine on melons.

Beautiful summer skin comes from within. Eat a lot of cantaloupe and watermelon, as they are filled with antioxidants and are predominantly made of water so will help hydrate the skin. You will inevitably enjoy radiant summer skin by eating a consistent healthy diet.


even out your skin tone. Our skin tone changes as we age and the more time we spend in the sun. Use fresh strawberries to freshen up your skin tone. Cut large strawberries in half, squeeze them to release the juices, and rub them in circular motions over your face. Leave on your face for 2 – 3 minutes, then rinse. Consistent use will brighten sun and age spots multiplicity

to give you a more even skin tone.


protect your hair before swimming. Wet hair will absorb fewer chemicals like chlorine than dry hair. Also keep hair braided or pinned up to prevent unruly tangles. Avoid a tight bun, as wet hair is susceptible to breakage when it is pulled too tight. While it’s time to gear up for exciting outdoor summer excursions, it is also important to prepare your hair and skin for all of the extra sun exposure. In addition to taking measures to protect against the sun, freshen up your skin with sweet and tropical scented body essentials like those from PlumHill! PlumHill is an allnatural skin care line that’ll take your skin from dry and chapped to fresh, glowing, and silky smooth! From bath and body products to gift sets and lip balms, PlumHill is the perfect choice for those wanting to bring a natural, paraben-free line of products into their skincare regimen. Jeanne Kissman is a skin care expert and the founder of Plum Hill Pure Body Essentials. Created to combat the effects of dry skin, you’ll find that Plum Hill nourishes your skin with very special ingredients such as sweet almond oil, shea butter, kukui nut oil, and pure cane sugar that are all natural, paraben-free, and never tested on animals. Available in 5 captivating scents at

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technology 101: teaching your kids to unplug

by bethany austin My oldest daughter has an addiction to technology. Tablets hold her imagination captive and she is held in a trance shutting the entire world out. She watches her favorite shows, plays games, and takes selfies. I should mention that she is only a toddler. At two years old, she is savvier with a Kindle than most middle-aged people. It’s a bad habit of hers that I struggle to break every day. Her twin sister is the exact opposite; loves books, is content cuddled up in my lap with a shape sorter, and willingly observes me reciting the alphabet. So it’s hard to know where I went wrong. When I think back to when my daughter began to love the tablet, it’s when I ran an errand and had my sister watch my girls. I’m a stay-at-home mom, but on rare occasions I leave my daughters with their aunts and grandmother. I had urged them to limit the television watching, but as we all know, twins are a lot of work and keeping them entertained and happy is a difficult feat for anyone to achieve, especially if you’re not used to having 8


twins. So my sister introduced my daughter to cartoons on her tablet. When I returned home, my sister acted as if it was a magical child-rearing tool. She was delighted and so was my daughter. And it was magic. My daughter, who needed so much of my attention and had no problem demanding it, was all of a sudden content to be on her own staring at the tiny, bright screen. Quickly I changed from no television to television is okay on the tablet. If she was cranky, here’s the tablet. Sick? Here’s the tablet. If I needed to cook or clean up, here’s the tablet. And if I needed a down moment where they weren’t fighting or climbing a tall piece of furniture, you guessed it --- here’s the tablet. I had become lax with my no technology rule. I was steadily succumbing to technology’s allure. However, if I am honest with myself, I can’t blame the occasions I left my daughters under someone else’s watch. Nor can I blame it on the overwhelming need to have them sit still once they became mobile. I have to acknowledge that the technology

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obsession began in the early days, and it was entirely my fault. I had heard about television being bad for children, so once they were born, I kept the television off. The articles I had read on the dangers of television’s effects on a developing young mind motivated me to forgo television in spite of how much I loved it. I overzealously restricted any TV around my newborns. I frowned at people even when I was at their house when they turned on the TV and quietly mentioned I don’t let my daughters watch television since I did not want to offend or dictate what someone does in their own home. This ban on television was working with only one complication: I was nursing. Without television, what was I supposed to do during those dreaded growth spurts?! Unable to cope with nursing for hours sans some form of entertainment, I turned to my tablet. It was my companion and personal assistant. I researched infant development milestones, breastfeeding advice, lived vicariously through others on social media, and watched movies. My babies’ first images of me were probably my face blocked by the tablet as they happily nursed. So, more than likely, their fascination with technology began with me. This leads me to my first tip: 1) Be a role model. Cliché, yes, but nevertheless true. If you’re stuck on your smart phone, tablet, or computer like it’s a lifeline

in a sea of twindom, then your children won’t understand why they’re not allowed to engage in such a fascinating activity. I began breaking my daughter’s habit by unplugging myself. I was already done with television watching, but my beloved tablet that connected me to the ease of pre-mom life was difficult to give up. I now restrict my use of technology to their naptime and bedtime, not an easy feat since they rarely sleep simultaneously. Other than those times, I hide my tablet under my bed. This begins my next tip. 2) Hide and distract. Once you’ve found a clever hiding place, your little one may be on the hunt for their longedfor electronic device. Distract at all cost, and redirect your child(ren)’s attention to more appropriate toys, games and activities. 3) Set times for use. That will depend on your schedule. Limit the allowed times to about 30 minutes. Give them a five minute warning or if they’re younger, make them aware that soon they’ll have to give up the device. I also wouldn’t recommend bright screens before bedtime. It really does keep them going. My terrible sleepers are even worse when they are exposed to the bright screens late at night. 4) If you aren’t already dealing with a tech addicted toddler, but you know it’s an unavoidable event due to its everyday presence, then try to at least delay their introduction to technology until they’re older. Experts state that children should not be exposed to technology because it affects their ability to learn. multiplicity

They say to hold off introducing technology until after the age of two. The fast-paced, exciting style of apps, shows, and video games gets the child used to the speed and entertainment factor, and when it’s time to learn the good, old-fashioned way, children are deterred. By inundating our children with the flashiness of technology, we’re setting a pathway for their preferences in how they learn. They’ll always opt for fast-paced, entertaining modes of education, which as we all know, isn’t the norm with learning the fundamentals in a typical school setting. While times may be changing to accommodate more technology within schools, kids still need to be able to be captivated by the words in books (with or without images to hold their attention). It’s no doubt we’ve made learning a challenge for our children simply by plugging them in. I’m not perfect; I wish I was because my children deserve the very best. Knowing all that I know about technology and its effect on learning development, I still sometimes slip. While I cook, the television is on in order to keep them from getting into too much in the kitchen and I can focus on not burning the house down. And when my babies are sick, yep, I’d do anything to see them a little less miserable. I believe by making the effort and limiting the technology, I am giving my children the ability of being able to learn from life and their future teachers, not from the television and computer. It’s small steps we can take in giving our children a leg up in learning.

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breaking the bank: how to save money with twins and more! In ev’ry job that must be done, There is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game. ~Mary Poppins Two weeks before my twin boys were born, and 2 days after my husband submitted his FMLA paperwork to his boss, she laid him off. Needless to say, we were on a budget, and a very tight one at that. Our family was about to go from 2 to 4. We needed to find ways of saving money, especially when we had multiple(s) mouths to feed. It started to become a game for me --and saving was a huge win! Here are some of my top tips for saving on items from diapers and formula, to meals, gear, clothes and toys, as well as how to even earn some money along the way. 1.) Samples & Coupons for Multiples Twiniversity, has thankfully compiled and published an extensive list of companies offering freebies, coupons and discounts for families with multiples. You can also sign up with your email for the rewards programs offered through the major diaper and formula companies and you should receive samples in the mail regularly and earn rewards for using their products. The rewards can be turned in for free toys and gift cards. Time-saving tip: Make several copies of 10


by alisha kelly your multiples’ birth certificates in advance, as many of these companies require them for proof of birth in order to fulfill your requests. 2.) Online Coupon & Savings Sites Here are a few of my favorite go-to coupon sites which have quick and easy search functions making the ‘coupon-clipping’ process much more efficient: * – Easy search function – site as the name implies, is mostly geared towards savings off retailers for online purchases. * – Lacks easy search functionality, but the category selection is helpful. Includes printable manufacturers coupons, online promotional codes, credit card holders savings offers, and a limited, but existing local category. * – Super easy website search functionality. The site is categorized by online coupons and grocer’s coupons, as well as separate categories for Free Shipping, and current online codes. Also has its own rewards program where you can earn rewards for buying products you already do, and for taking polls and surveys. * – One of my favorite sites, this site offers a compilation of current nationwide savings deals and offers. Updated regularly. Lists recipes, giveaway offers and blog entries on helpful money saving tips, too!

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3.) Kids Eat Free Thanks to a number of nationwide restaurant chains, dining out can actually be budgetfriendly for any family. For national restaurant chains, there are two websites that are comprehensive: and (search by city and state). Take advantage of these offers for ‘take-out’, especially since many are offered mid-week, and can actually be a time-saver for some families. Check your local restaurants’ “Kids Eat Free” offers after home sports team victories, too. 4.) Ebay Ah, e-bay! I can’t rave enough about this site! It’s literally been a saving grace for our family since the beginning. We’ve purchased brand name clothing and shoes like Children’s Place, Baby Gap and Gymboree, L.L. Bean, Stride Rite and Keen for more than 50% off the retail price. It has become our own way of buying one and getting one free! You may be asking, does it get any better? Yes, it does!! You can also make money by becoming a seller. I love watching our cash accumulate in our paypal account from our ebay sales. It’s truly become a fun game for me and my husband. The beauty of it is that you can do it from home, at your own pace! (Another super perk for a mama of multiples.) You’d be surprised what you can sell --- even broken old phones can sell for a decent amount of money. After a spring cleaning and listing about 20 items, we made over $300.00 in a month! Price things low, and don’t worry if they sell for only a couple of dollars, it adds up.

need at different stages of our twins’ lives --- at incredibly good prices. Sell your gently used items for cash, too! There’s nothing like getting something you really want or need at a fraction of the cost and being able to unload some of your no longer needed or used items at the same time. 6.) Facebook Moms Communities & Groups “It takes a Village to raise a child” (it just might mean that in our day, it might be a virtual one). Most regional twins and multiples moms clubs also host a private online facebook community. In addition to providing an online forum to ask questions and share, these online communities can be another money-making source. Moms sell and buy through these groups and even giveaway unused diapers, formula and more. In turn, you can always do the same. Knowing you are helping another mom of multiples is a great feeling. In need of something? Post ‘ISO’ (In Search Of) whatever it is and chances are, someone may have the items you’re looking for! 7.) FREE Museum, Attractions & Activities Passes Libraries aren’t just for books; in our community, our local library has free or substantially discounted passes to regional museums and attractions such as aquariums, zoos, museums, and parks. This wonderful benefit can get reserved quickly especially around school vacations, so it’s best to plan to reserve in advance. Look to your local library, too, for free puppet shows, story time, concerts, crafts and more! does not have comprehensive listing for all states, but may have yours, or a state and city where you may be traveling to --- definitely worth checking out. --- contd. pg. 13

Worried about the hassle of tracking and shipping? E-bay’s mobile app and collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service make it easy to list and ship out your items, all from home and at your own convenience. 5.) Regional Twin Moms Club Sales In addition to the tremendous support you receive from these groups with monthly meetings, social ‘moms nights out’, family events, and online support forums, most chapters have annual or bi-annual consignment sales. These sales offer sets and pairs of things us twin or multiples mamas multiplicity

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the dr. is in: tips on water safety


by dr. preeti parikh

It’s summer and how can we not get excited about being around water when it’s such a scorcher outside? At the same time, it is important to follow safety measures to make sure your children are safe. Since drowning is one of the leading causes of death, especially in children under the age of four, here are 5 tips to keep everyone safe and having fun around water. 1. Always supervise your children when they are in or around water. Teach them not to run to avoid unnecessary slips and falls. Even if they can swim, there should always be an adult figure with them to make sure nothing goes wrong. 2. Consider swimming lessons for your children, if after the age of one, they are developmentally ready. It is important to note that some may not be ready until age four. These lessons, regardless of age, are not to be considered as foolproof ways of drowning prevention. The safest method is to always watch your children. 12


3. Have a safety ring with a rope beside the pool at all times. You never know when it may come in handy to help pull someone out (though in a moment of panic, you’ll likely just jump in to save them!). 4. If you own a pool, install a fence around it. It should at least be 4 feet high and surround the entire pool, and should be locked to prevent children from wondering in without your knowledge. 5. Have your child wear a personal flotation device because there are jackets or other items specifically to help them float. Try to avoid floaties or water rings that may slip off while swimming. Dr. Preeti Parikh is a board-certified pediatrician, an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Pediatrics Department at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and an American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson. She holds degrees from Columbia University, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and has completed post graduate training at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She serves as the Chief Medical Editor of HealthiNation, a medical expert on, medical contributor to Multiplicity Magazine and has contributed to various other publications. Her goal is to empower both parents and children with the right knowledge and tools to achieve their optimal health. She enjoys her free time with her husband and twin children.

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contd. from --- break the bank 9.) Visitors Guides If you live near a major metropolitan area or tourist destination, chances are there is a Visitors Center, most all of which publish a Visitors Guide. These guides are geared toward the tourist and are filled with coupons and deals for everything from shopping, dining, tours and more. Why not play tourist in your own local area for a fun-filled and budget-friendly ‘daycation’ or ‘stay-cation’? You can find your state’s tourism site by visiting

it’s no


10.) Dollar Discount Stores I’ve been happily surprised with some great finds at our local dollar discount store --- everything is only $1! Here are some of my favorite finds: a.) Inflated Balloons – perfect for gifts, parties or just because --- and only $1! b.) Baby/child items including throw-away bibs, containers, utensils, Sippy cups and placemats --- all perfect for when you’re ‘on the go’ and traveling or when you’ve just forgotten something absolutely necessary (you can never have enough wipes!) on the way to the park or playdate. Of course, they have tons of snacks, too. c.) Holiday décor – Easter baskets, eggs, grass, Halloween trick or treat totes, Valentine’s, etc. Dollar stores have it all! Don’t want to serve candy for every holiday? They carry crafts and activities for a range of ages, too. d.) Crafts & Activites - Speaking of these, you can literally stock pile your art supplies for kids to finger paint, make magnets, create mosaics using stickers, put together puzzles, and so much more. For only $1 each, there’s no way you’ll hear “I’m bored” from your kids! e.) Greeting Cards - These can be expensive when all you need is a little note to say “I love you” or “Happy Birthday” or even “Thinking of You and Hope You Feel Better Soon!” multiplicity

You’re such a great support and we want to honor you! We love how much you help other moms, so thanks to our sponsor, MAM, we will be honoring you throughout the year with a trip to the spa.


MOM sponsored by

Congrats to our recent winners! michelle



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“t” is for the thrill of it

how to parent daredevil kids by talitha a. mcguinness

I will never forget the time I left my girls at a birthday party for the first time. They were 5 and in Kindergarten and I knew the family well enough to be comfortable leaving them at their home with a number of other rambunctious 5 year olds playing outside for 2 hours. I ran my errands and visited my grandmother in the hospital, but when I returned to pick them up, the mom was clearly dealing with subdued panic, as she explained that one of my girls climbed to the top of the recently built treehouse and decided to perch herself on top of the roof for the majority of the party. It was too high for any of the adults to dare climbing it, and it seemed that at least until it was cake and present time, my daughter was pleased with her view from the top. Of course, this was also the same daughter who was climbing out of (and back into) her crib before she was 18 months old, and could pull herself into a full on flip hanging from the _____ of her swingset before she was 3. She had also climbed the top of her own treehouse a number of times by this age, so the news was no shock to me. After hearing several of the moms talk about how afraid they were for her, and that even the 14


boys wouldn’t do what she did, it made me realize that maybe she was different; I had a thrill seeker on my hands. It still escapes me that I, a mother of four now, who is and always has been afraid of heights, water and flying (I apologize in advance for talking your ear off if you’re ever my neighbor on a plane!), gave birth to a little girl who seems to fear absolutely nothing. She has never met a stranger, seems completely confident in her decisions (even when I feel she made the wrong ones), and is always, ALWAYS, seemingly looking for trouble. Always on the go, with great physical energy, there’s got to be something to this. As the “T” type personality is still fairly new to the psychological scene, more research will be done over the next few years to discover how a range of kids falls into this category. However, most research agrees that kids who are thrill seekers have the following things in common: *exploratory *fearless *full of energy *always into things to see how they work, what they do, and how they might put them together

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differently to achieve another result *creative/innovative, even if their “inventions” or ideas don’t make sense to the outsider Type “T” kids are also thought to naturally fight structure, consistency and break rules. They often take risks in the face of or despite consequences, just for the excitement, thrill or stimulation of the experience or task at hand. Parenting the AtRisk Child states that “fearless children have a more difficult time learning moral lessons from punishment. Even if spanked, they remain fearless.” Researchers believe that in order to develop a conscience, fearless children must have an exceptionally strong love for their parents. Where a parent of twins might naturally enforce structure and more rules to keep the family balanced and everyone knowing what is expected of them, researchers caution parents on being more strict with these types of children. As natural-born rule breakers, these kids are independent thinkers who need their freedom to continue exploring ideas and experiences to find what works and what doesn’t. Set limits that they can work within to still explore and challenge, but do so safely and by your approval/guidelines. However, don’t confuse type “T” personalities with kids who are simply dangerous and attention-seeking. These types of kids aren’t trying to overcome a challenge or master a task, but rather destroy something endanger and destroy.

On a positive note, researchers feel that if parents can harness and encourage this type of personality in a positive way, these are the types of kids who will one day change the world. They liken historical, creative geniuses like Einstein and Margaret Mead as having many of these same personality traits. Dr. Edith Grotberg with the Institute for Mental Health Initiatives in D.C. said “The progress of any society depends on people who risk failure and rejection to try new things.” Since this type of child prefers movement and constant excitement and change, a vacation to the mountains to relax and read would only bore them. A few ways you can encourage your child’s thrill-seeking and adventurous personality is by keeping things exciting, and always being open to some new experiences or adventures. The following are a few examples you can try: *backpacking or hiking some well-known, challenging mountain trail *sleeping under the stars *snow or water skiing *rock climbing *whitewater rafting *parasailing or scuba diving *riding the newest, tallest roller coaster *surfing or boating *engaging in a fast-paced (and very risky) sport like football, soccer or lacrosse Jan Johnson’s article on parenting daredevil kids encourages parents to discuss news articles or even movies multiplicity

where main characters were impulsive. Using story lines helps to lessen the lecture and makes them think about actions and consequences. Other questions you can have your child think on include: *Am I able to do what I want to do? Do I have the skills? *What is my motive for doing this? To prove myself? *Will my actions or decisions endanger someone else? *If I fail, am I willing to accept responsibility and any consequences as a result? Johnson also recommends including type “T” personalities in decision making processes. Being able to talk out a scenario often allows them to visualize a better or safer scenario or path they could take. On that same note, she insists discussing “face-saving ways to say ‘no’” with your daredevil. As these types of kids are more likely to take a dare from friends, they need to be able to blame someone --- make it okay for them to blame you or your partner. Preparing them in advance helps them know how to act when faced with a dare that could forever impact their own or someone else’s lives. When all else fails, know that parenting a thrill seeker is really no different than parenting any other type of child. You have to set limits, yet give them the freedom to explore what they enjoy. If you’re open to new adventures and encouraging their personality, you may just experience a few new thrills of your own!

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FASHION FINDS summer near surf & sand

by talitha a. mcguinness 16


For most of us mamas of multiples, we have a few more curves than we did pre-twins. It doesn’t mean we have to sit on the beach in a t-shirt! There are suits for all shapes and sizes that fit and flatter. Consider a higher waisted bottom with either a tankini or a midkini top, as vintage suits are all the rage right now. Still not comfy showing off your body? Look to trendy swim dresses to give you shape and flatter where it matters most!

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Looking at a day to explore? Try a romper that’s trendy and super comfy. You can pair them with flats, flops or wedge sandals for added edge. Long dresses will keep you feeling light and airy on the hottest of days, and consider pairing a light jacket with a pair of trendy shorts and a floppy hat for added flair. Bangles like Isabelle Grace’s Lux Leather Bangles in Pearl go with just about anything. Nothing says summer like hats, bangles, sandals and a great pair of shades!


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bug bites & bee stings: when to call the doc Although most bug bites and stings are harmless, some can be dangerous. This is especially true if you are allergic to the bug’s venom, or if the bug is carrying a disease. In the United States, it’s common to experience a bite or sting from mosquitoes, fleas, spiders, bees, wasps and hornets, biting flies, mites, ticks, fire ants, and bedbugs. “Most bug bites and stings can be safely treated at home with topical medication, such as hydrocortisone cream or ointment, or an oral antihistamine to reduce the itch,” said board-certified dermatologist Margaret E. Parsons, MD, FAAD, associate clinical professor of dermatology, University of California, Davis. “Sometimes, however, a bug bite or sting could turn into something serious, particularly if you have been bitten or stung by many insects at the same time.” Dr. Parsons advises going to the emergency room immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms after a bug bite or sting: *Difficulty breathing *Sensation that your throat is swelling or closing 18


*Swollen lips, tongue or face *Chest pain *Racing heartbeat that lasts more than a few minutes *Dizziness *Vomiting *Headache *A red, donut-shaped or target-shaped rash that develops after a tick bite: This could be a sign of Lyme disease, which should be treated with antibiotics. *A fever with a red or black, spotty rash that spreads: This could be a sign of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a bacterial infection carried by ticks, which should be treated immediately. “Although most bug bites and stings do not turn into a severe or even fatal illness like Rocky Mountain spotted fever, it’s important to pay attention to your symptoms,” said Dr. Parsons. “If you feel tired all the time, you have a headache, fever or body aches, or you develop a rash after a bug bite, see a board-certified dermatologist immediately.” These tips are part of the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series, which offers videos demonstrating tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails.

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bugs and bees...


facts you never knew ‘til now!

there are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes mosquitoes can smell human breath --- our CO2 (as well as sweat, cholesterol and perfumes) is what helps them find us! bed bugs are experts at hiding. Their slim, flat bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces and stay there for long periods of time, even without a blood meal. Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel. fire ants build mounds in almost any type of soil, but they prefer open sunny areas such as pastures, parks, lawns, and fields. Their mounds can grow 18 to 24 inches in height if the soil conditions are right. the brown recluse and the black widow are the only two spiders in the US known to provide venomous bites to humans honey bees are fab flyers. They fly at a speed of around 25km per hour and beat their wings 200 times per second! not all bees can sting! Only females do the stinging, and usually only when threatened or provoked. the average person can safely tolerate 10 stings per pound of body weight! The average adult can withstand more than 1000 stings. 19


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twins in the womb a look at what’s going on in there by kate moncayo



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples’re pregnant! And what’s that? You’re expecting twins? Twice the blessings are heading your way! If you are like me, hearing that you’ve conceived 2 babies may bring on double the anxiety. My worries stemmed from the unknown. How was my body going to be able to carry 2 babies to full term? What would it feel like? And what type of symptoms was I in for? Although I knew no 2 pregnancies were the same, spending my nights curled up with Mr. Google and researching like crazy helped me feel more informed and made the unknown a little less scary. I myself am in my third trimester, expecting my first and second child this summer (boy/girl twins). Have some days been hard? Heck yes! But on the flip side, most of my journey has not been all that bad. Let me break down the trimesters for you, detailing what is happening in that womb of yours and more importantly, what it might feel like (if you’re curious because you’re not quite there yet).

First Trimester: No You’re Not Hung-over, You’re Pregnant!

The first trimester of my twin pregnancy was a strange time for me. After years of infertility, I was riddled with worry that something would go wrong. I had never been pregnant before, but knew the statistics on miscarriage, or in my, case would one of my twins vanish? My husband and I made the difficult decision to wait until 14 weeks to tell our friends and family. That meant struggling with my early pregnancy symptoms in secret.

What’s Going On In There?

Week 4: Implantation Week 5: The Embryonic Period Begins *Brain spinal cord, heart & other organs begin to develop Week 6: The Neural Tube Closes Week 7: Baby’s head develops *Baby’s head and face are rapidly forming Week 8: Baby’s Eyes are Visible. Arms and Legs are Growing Longer Week 9: Baby’s Toes are Forming Week 10: Baby’s Neck Begins to Develop Week 11: Babies Genitals Develop *Your baby is now officially a fetus! Week 12: Baby’s Fingernails Develop multiplicity

How It Feels

I felt great the first few weeks of my twin pregnancy until all of a sudden I didn’t. Weeks 6-12 brought intense nausea. No, I never physically got sick, but I definitely carried around a general queasy feeling all day. Food I once loved turned me off! The thought of runny eggs or an undercooked chicken breast sent me running for the hills. Then again, I was often starving! This feeling of teetering on a fine line between nausea and starvation felt like a hangover! More minor symptoms included nasal congestion, itchy skin and growing breasts.

Second Trimester: OK, This Is Not So Bad! What’s Going On In There?

Week 13: Urine Forms *Intestines have returned to his/her abdomen from umbilical cord Week 14: Gender Becomes Apparent *Your ultrasound tech may soon be able to determine the sex of your babies. (We found out early, at Week 14!) Week 15: Baby’s Skeleton Develops Bones Week 16: Baby Can Make Sucking Motions Week 17: Fat Accumulates Week 18: Baby Begins to Hear Week 19: Baby’s Uterus forms if She’s a Girl Week 20: Baby’s Movements Now Detectible Week 21: Baby Can Swallow Week 22: Baby’s Hair Becomes Visible and is coated with Lanugo, a Soft Body Hair Week 23: Fingertips and Footprints Form Week 24: Head Hair Grows thicker *Most doctors consider the babies viable if you were to go into labor (this is a HUGE milestone!) Week 25: Baby Responds to Your Voice Week 26: Baby’s Fingernails Develop and Lungs are Getting Stronger Week 27: Lungs and Nervous System Continue to Grow Stronger *Babies are now growing like weeds!

How It Feels

Most people refer to your second trimester as a great time in your pregnancy. I tend to agree! My energy was up and I finally looked visibly pregnant (not to mention I felt comfortable sharing my news with friends and family!). I did start to feel some new symptoms; back and pelvis pain, etc., but at this stage it was minor. --- contd. pg. 55 the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


save your sanity: tips for traveling with children this summer

by meghan khaitan

Summer travel should be fun, but traveling with young children can be stressful and put a damper on vacation bliss. Take control of the trip by planning for success. Whether you’re driving or flying, having a plan of action can help keep chaos to a minimum and increase the fun factor for everyone you encounter on your journey. Check out these practical travel tips: Let older kids help pack! This is a great way to get them psyched up for a trip and channel their excitement in ways that foster their own independence. Items like personalized luggage and checklists can make it fun and gives them ownership of pulling together their own things. Plan a few quick stops ahead of time so you have options to get a little fresh air, run around, or just goof off. Playgrounds or quirky roadside tourist attractions are always great. Even if you couldn’t care less about the “World’s Largest Cherry Pie,” your kids might like it. See a part of the country you wouldn’t have if you weren’t with your kids. 22


Relax when it comes to bathroom breaks. You’ll eventually get where you’re going. We have our kids visit the restroom at every stop even if they don’t think they need to, and thank them with, “Glad you tried . . . you never know!” Pack the necessities. Healthy snacks, wipes x 10!, garbage bags, air freshener, water, and towels (can be used as window shades, blankets or for emergency clean-up), are absolute musts when traveling with kids in the car. One other tip... always pack a change of clothes for each child in individual, easy to access clear plastic bags. You just never know when one will spill a drink, get sick or for the younger ones, have a blowout requiring a quick change! No road trip would be complete without this: If someone gets car sick, there’s no rewinding that smell and there’s nothing that divides siblings more! You can make it better fast with lots of wipes, water and air freshener (even homemade versions work). If you’re near a town, you can

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vacuum and clean up the damage at a gas station. Have them bring their own money. Let your kids earn a little of their own spending money for the trip before you are set to leave --- and let them decide how they want to spend it individually. No items should be too trivial, as we all enjoy a little play money every now and again. Plan ahead. You’ll need at least one good thing to pull out of your magic hat when things get rough (i.e. traffic that adds another couple of hours onto the roadtrip), so planning ahead will be on your side. Whether it’s a new app, a small reward, a new DVD, or a small chocolate bar, the only thing that matters is that you have something to dole out when it counts most. Think of the emergency fix that works best for each of your kids and pack it in your travel bag or purse so that it’s easily accessible! Stick to your schedule. Keep nap times and meal times sacred and schedule the trip around those times. It doesn’t matter how much money and time you’ve spent getting to your destination if your family isn’t able to enjoy it. Travel is often tough on kids and it’s hard to keep everyone equally happy. Split up if you’re able to and give everyone an opportunity to rest. No one likes standing in line for an hour in 90 degree weather to see Buzz Lightyear. No matter how far you’ve traveled or how much it costs to get there, keep in mind it’s a vacation and sometimes poolside R&R is the best bet. Make safety a priority! Always

keep recent photos of your kids with you. Make sure your kids ages 3 and older know your phone numbers and how to spell your last name, or at least use a pen to write it on the inside of their arm. Best case, they never have to use it, but should they get separated from you in a large crowd, having that number will help getting them back quickly. You should also consider affixing your name and contact information to a label on their car seats in case of an accident. If driving, remember to always buckle up --- with our 3 kids, we installed different colored MyBuckleMates for our kids’ buckles in the back seat so they can find them and buckle up quickly before we start the car and head out. Give them space. If you’re flying, purchase a seat for each child. Most airlines offer a discount for kids under 2. Get advance seating assignments before your flight to make boarding go more smoothly. It is often easier to keep young kids occupied and happy if they aren’t just shuffled from lap to lap and have their own dedicated space to occupy. If possible, request bulkhead seating to prevent toddlers from kicking the back of the seat of the passengers in front of you. This will keep your flight mates happy, too! If you have to switch planes, have an airport cart meet you at the gate and transport you to the new terminal. You’ll be happy to not have to juggle strollers, carryons and squirmy kids during your layover. Make a plan to get through airport security. Know what to expect and how you will navigate the security line. What multiplicity

goes in the bins? What about liquids? Which parent will attend to the children as each parent progresses through the security line? Be consistent and do it the same each time. Try a practice run at home so you don’t hold up the security line at the airport and so that your kids are familiar with what to expect when the time comes. Even seasoned travelers can have their hands full when traveling with kids, especially when you have two the same age and maybe other siblings, too! At times like these, parents wish they had an extra set of hands to juggle luggage, diaper bags, strollers and kids. However, maintain a positive attitude and accept the fact that there will be bumps along the road. Remember, it’s not always about the destination, but the journey to get there. Summer travel is a playground to make family memories, so keep things in perspective and by this time next summer, your travel challenges will make you chuckle! Meghan Khaitan is a family travel expert and the founder of MyBuckleMate. A must-have for carpools and road trips, MyBuckleMate keeps back seat buckles propped up and easy to reach so buckling up is always a snap! No more buckles flopping around, falling into seat pockets, or getting wedged under booster seats–buckles always stay where you can easily reach them. It is the perfect seat belt solution for kids in booster seats, those with special needs or motor planning difficulties, and adults with limited mobility and Arthritis.

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choosing the right OB:

when being picky is okay! I found out I was having twins at my first OB appointment. It was my first time being pregnant and my grandmother (who had severe dementia) kept saying things like “you know, twins run in the family.” My mother and I paid her no mind because, well most of the time, she was not lucid. During the ultrasound scan, the OB looked at us and said, “You are never going to believe this.” My grandmother said with an I told you so tone “its twins.” When the doctor asked “how did you know?”, my heart started racing. Being my first pregnancy, there were a lot of things for which I was not prepared. There were questions I didn’t know to ask and things I didn’t know I could do. Now that I just had baby number four and have experienced a twin birth, a water birth, and a C-section, I think I have a much better grasp on the topic. The first thing I think every mother-to-be should know is that you can change doctors. The obstetrician/gynecologist you’ve seen for years should, but may no longer suit you for the purpose of pregnancy, labor and delivery. 24


by nicole esquibel

If I would have known this, I would have changed when pregnant with my twins. The OB I had at that time started talking about a C-section very early in the pregnancy, which I knew I wanted to avoid if at all possible. I wanted this to be as natural an experience as possible. With my second pregnancy (singleton), I did change doctors. The first one I saw told me I had to stop breastfeeding my twins, who were 3 months old. I knew that there was no medical need for this comment, as I had already discussed it with my lactation consultant. Then they told me they would not do an ultrasound to see if I was having twins again until 20 weeks. I wanted to find out as soon as I could so that I was able to prepare. They also didn’t do the Doppler to check the heart rate until my third appointment, at which time I told them I was not coming back. The second thing I would tell mommies-to-be is to do your research and shop around. There are many options open to moms these days. Some things that I think are good to research and consider in your birth plan include doulas, midwives, water and natural births, c-sections, and even where you will deliver (at home, a birthing center, or the hospital). Other things of importance that you should ask

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during a pre-natal interview include the following: * High Risk Experience - do they have experience and are they comfortable taking you on as a potential high risk pregnancy? * Insurance - do they accept your insurance? This is a no-brainer, because deliveries are expensive, especially when delivering two! * Birthing Options - are they open to your birth plan? Will they allow you to move around, use a birthing ball, etc.? * Delivery Room Attendance - are they open to your family being there to welcome babies? * Breastfeeding & Circumcision - are they willing to support your decisions, one way or the other? * Banking Cord Blood - do they understand the benefits and will they support your decision to have this procedure take place immediately following delivery? * Encapsulation of Placenta - do they know the benefits and will they help and be supportive of this process after delivery? With my third pregnancy, I knew exactly how I wanted everything to go and was convinced of how it would all play out. I knew I wanted a midwife not an OB. I wanted everything to be as natural as possible. I wanted to stay home until delivery so that I could be more comfortable and relaxed. I went into active labor 3 times over the course of a week and stalled out every time when contractions got to be about 4 minutes apart. After giving up and going to the hospital, they realized I was 7 centimeters dilated, but the baby was transverse. They attempted to turn him, but being in active labor, he was not cooperating. They prepared me for a C-section. There were 5 different people talking at once and I couldn’t understand what any of them wanted. They gave me morphine in a spinal tap so I couldn’t feel from about my armpits down. I had nightmares for days afterwards about it being zombies fishing inside of me instead of doctors! I had to be helped to the bathroom and it hurt so bad I felt like I had failed. Know that not everything is for everyone. Not even every pregnancy is the same. Being informed on your options is extremely important when choosing the right OB, because after all, it is your choice! multiplicity

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tips for 10 camping with twins by mikenzie oldham Two toddlers and a dog….in a tent! We are either the smartest people ever or the craziest, but it has to be some of the most fun adventures we have ever experienced as a family of 4. There are wide open spaces for the boys to run and jump and fresh air to breathe, with plenty of giggles and smiles! We plan and prep for days all for a 1 or 2 night adventure, but in the end it is unbelievably worth it! In case you’re interested in a camping trip with your duo, I compiled a list of 10 helpful tips to make your camping trip a breeze. 1. Find a campground fairly close to home. Ideally, it should be within 15-45 minutes so if the kids have a meltdown or weather conditions turn bad, you can pack up and head home. 2. Pack in boxes! (I used diaper boxes to be exact, however, any containers work fine). This makes everything organized individually and easily accessible. Think of organizing in terms of Sprays/1st Aid, Toy Box, Camping Box, Dry Food Box, Diapers/ Toiletries. You’ll want to be sure to include the following items: *Sprays/1st Aid Box: sunscreen, bug spray, citronella candles (if you need those as 26


well!), Band-Aids, Neosporin, burn cream, cortisone cream, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol. Better safe than sorry, right? *Toy box: Pack a box of outdoor play toys such as water guns, frisbees, kites, bubbles, fishing poles, glow sticks and flash lights (these are a necessity for finding the bathroom late at night). When they start acting a little fussy, break out the box and everything is fun again. 4. Take iPads! I know I know... Camping is meant to be unplugged. But our boys are still 2 and while they LOVE the great outdoors, they also LOVE a little screen time. So we leave them packed up (fully charged) in the car. Then after our camping activities are done and we crawl into our tent, we pull out the iPads and let them watch something. They literally didn’t make it through about 30 min of a movie without passing out. But it was a perfect, no fuss, woke up refreshed kind of night. 5. If you’re tent camping, take air mattresses. I know it seems less outdoorsy, but trust me, you still have the full outdoor nature experience without killing your back and making the children grumpy because they slept on a rock. We blew up 2 air mattresses using the inflator that hooks into your cigarette lighter of your car and we pushed them together to make one big bed in the middle of

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a freedom that they don’t usually have by being able to wander away from us to play. They seemed to walk a little taller and smile a little brighter when we got home. My husband and I both noticed a change in them, like they had grown up overnight. They developed a new sense of self out there and we got to encourage and watch it.

our tent. We also took our chocolate lab’s bed, and he slept at our feet inside our tent. 6. Use the car. We have an SUV, so the back hatch works great. I had it filled with our cooler and boxes of food and I set up a changing station next to it. I had everything easily assessable in the car. One day in the heat of the day, we hopped in the car and cranked up the AC so the boys could take a little nap in their car seats to relax and cool down.

Camping with 2 year old twins and a dog probably sounds ridiculous, but it is absolutely the most fun thing we have ever done as a family and now we are completely addicted. Crossing over into that park, you immediately feel less stressed, less suffocated. We learned new things about each other individually and as a family. We played and laughed and de-stressed. None of us wanted to come home.

7. Take a fan or a space heater, but make sure to put it in a safe spot away from blankets. You could try elevating it to avoid fires or ask the camping gear guy at the store if he has other suggestions. At the time of year we like to go, it is hot during the day and cold at night. Both prove beneficial. 8. Remember the necessities and the rest will fall into place. Charcoal, lighter fluid, lighter, tent, sleeping bags, paper towels, etc...we usually have so much fun, we stay longer! Most campgrounds have a store on site which carries all these things if you do forget something important. 9. Try not to get the kids too far off their normal eating routine. Pack the cooler with containers of foods they are used to eating. Break that out around the campfire along with whatever you decide to grill. Unless they are older and more susceptible to trying new things, it will be better on their tummies and better on their sleep for the night. 10. Relax and enjoy your family in the great outdoors!

the boys exploring their finds and getting dad in on a water gun fight! I’m sure that just like us, you will probably overpack, but it seems it’s always easier to get somewhere and have extra than not enough when you have one or two upset toddlers in tow. For the most part, my boys absolutely love camping and the outdoors and it’s probably the calmest I’ve ever seen them. If you do forget something in that twin mom fog of yours, make it a fun adventure to make do without it or go on a hunt for it! On one trip, the boys met some little friends a few tents down and they got to discover multiplicity

Don’t let anything hold you back because you have twins. It may take extra hours to pack or three extra boxes of stuff, but the wonderful memories will last a lifetime to your two amazing little people. Mikenzie is a full-time twin mommy, a fulltime wife, a fulltime employee, a full-time maid, a full-time chef, and a full-time writer. Juggling life as a twin mommy in a kid-centric world, she survives all this with a steady intake of caffeine and wine. She has perfected the phraseʺ don’t hit your brotherʺ and her main expertise is cleaning mud out of someone’s ear, kissing ʺowy’s ʺ and finding 4 shoes. Check out all her boys’ shenanigans on her blog and follow her journey on facebook.

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special insert

must-have items for

Back to School

special insert 1. MADPAX BACKPACKS these will last for years to come!

2. planetbox lunchbox system 3. pediped shoes 4. personalized usb drives lost homework, no more!

5. better together note pouch

6. personalized pencil boxes 7. moving robot pencil sharpener

special insert 8. foogo leak-proof food jar 9. emily press labels

10. 4 pack of rainbow highlighters 11. bento lunchbox containers

12. Mr. Sketch scented markers

13. mark my time bookmark

14. land’s end backpacks come in smaller sizes for your itty bitty tots, too!

special insert 15. allerbling a life saver for kids with allergies!

16. contigo cups autoseal keeps liquids in!

17. silicone pencil case

18. land’s end lunchboxes with soft mesh side cup holders!

19. colorful mini journals 20. colorful tape dispensers

21. tocky alarm clock

22. graffiti neon lap desk

special insert morning meltdowns

+proven tips to nip them in the bud!

by rachel bowman

Those of us with twins get to experience them twice as loud and twice as dramatic. The hot tears, the flailing, the jumping up and down, the world seemingly crashing down around our tiny humans, all at the drop of a hat. It’s also trie that often times, one twin meltdown leads to or heightens the other twin’s meltdown. It’s a very delicate dance to keep the peace and avoid the land mines of toddler tantrums on a daily basis. We parents have to always be one step ahead and even still cannot predict when a meltdown will occur. Bedtime, the grocery store, church, the park, the dinner table, and play dates all have my “meltdown radar” on high alert. But nothing, nothing has my “meltdown radar” sounding more loudly than school mornings. My identical twin boys are now five. They have had their fair share of morning meltdowns. Let’s be clear...I’ve had my own, as well. Mornings are tough in this house. We have six people to get out of the house for preschool or work. We have had to learn to be on high alert for meltdown potential and have come up with some triggers that inevitably start a meltdown, and some proven ways to help you avoid them. Here are my top ten: 1) It’s breakfast. My brother has the red bowl. I want the red bowl. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Buy all the same color bowls, plates, cups, silverware. Clearly marking names on said items will also do the trick (most days). 2) I don’t want eggs and toast for breakfast. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Talk about what you want for breakfast the night before. Offer two options and two options only. 3) I want to match my brother. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Pick out clothes the night

special insert before. Be sure twins agree. Make sure you have matching items for them to wear. Consider sending them to a school requiring uniforms to help solve this problem. 3) I don’t want to match my brother. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Pick out clothes the night before. Be sure twins agree. Make sure you have different items for them to wear. Sending them to a school requiring uniforms might be the end of them (and more importantly, you). 4) My brother took my shirt. I wanted to wear that shirt today. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Pick out clothes the night before. Be sure twins agree. The wardrobe debate will go on for years and I cannot stress planning enough. Although they may change their minds by morning, at least you have the conversation as future ammunition. 5) I can’t find my shoes. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Pick them out the night before. Shoes are the worst to find in a hurry. Have them set out with clothing. If they wear the same or similar shoes, consider writing their names inside or attaching labels. 6) I found a toy to play with rather than put my clothes on. I got in trouble and it got taken away. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Hide ya cars, hide ya Legos, hide ya technology. Seriously people, hide all the toys until morning jobs are done. Playing is non-negotiable when chores go undone before

school. 7) I have share day today and forgot to tell you. I don’t know what to bring. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Donuts for the class it is. Everybody’s happy. 8) I don’t want to brush my teeth. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Remind your kids of hot fire dragon breath. Nobody likes it. 9) We are out of cheese sticks for lunch. Meltdown. Proven Fix: Buy all the cheese sticks on each shopping trip. Just do it. 10) It’s time to leave but I need to poop. So does the other twin. Meltdown. Of course. Nothing else could possibly make us any later, right? Okay, let’s be honest...I don’t have it all figured out. Meltdowns are going to happen. We have to do our ‘jobs’ of getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc. before we can play toys in the morning. Yet, after two years of this routine, my twins still look like a deer in the headlights within that morning routine on some days. I still have a hard time doing some mornings myself at thirty-three. I have one word for my kids and myself in the mornings: grace. We all need a little grace because we all have a hard time fully waking up on some mornings. We all need a little grace because their brains and big emotions have not caught up to their vocabulary just yet. And finally, we all need a little grace because all the things to do, in a hurry, on school mornings can be overwhelming

for such little people. It can be for me as a big person. When our “meltdown radar” begins to go off within a hurried morning, let’s get eye to eye and help them talk it out. Let’s try to diffuse the bomb before it goes off. Let’s give them and ourselves some grace on those bright and brisk school mornings and try to have a few moments of joy and laughter as a family before we part ways for the day. Let’s set the tone for our kids with a slower, quieter, more peaceful morning. We can do this by having as much prepped the night before as humanly possible, getting up earlier (sigh), eating breakfast together, or talking about what to look forward to in the day. Rushed mornings full of yelling, meltdowns, and dragging kids out the door will still happen, but fewer and farther in between if we make grace our morning goal. May the odds be ever in your favor, parents. Rachel is a mom to identical twin toddlers, a surprise baby fourteen months later, and now a sweet newborn. She is all sorts of tired, silly, and caffeinated all at once. Rachel is an infertility and IVF survivor, pastor’s wife, insurance agent, cupcake baker, chocolate lover and writer of words. Her blog is her motherhood therapy where she shares tales of chaos, lessons learned from many mistakes, and hopefully encourages you that you are not alone while you wait for bedtime. You can also find her on Facebook.

special insert

twins in school: individuals but undivided by isabelle lee

My twins started First Grade in a new school last September, and as I went through the enrollment process, I was faced for the first time with having to actively choose to keep them in the same class. I come from the UK where the general expectation is that elementary-aged twins will be kept together unless parents choose to separate them. However, I learned that in California it is the other way around. The expectation is that twins will be split up, unless the parents request to the contrary. I did exactly that, but I have to admit that my heart was in my mouth until I had confirmation that they would be kept together. The experience made me examine the reasons for keeping my twins in the same class for now, beyond just the gut reaction that it was too soon and they would be upset. The advantages for separating twins are often talked about: the promotion of independence, the reduction of competitiveness, the forging of independent friendship groups, etc. But for those parents who may be feeling pressured to separate their twins sooner than they would like, here are my six advantages for keeping young twins together.

1. Keeping it natural Yes, twins will eventually go their separate ways, be in different classes, different colleges, and eventually, lead entirely independent lives. This is the natural progression, and so it will happen in its own time without the need for its imposition before the twins themselves are ready for it. I don’t believe that keeping twins together makes the later separation all the harder. I think when they reach a certain stage in their development, they will choose to do things separately, in the same way children stop sucking their thumbs or give up their baby blanket. Separating twins when they really don’t want it will certainly have an immediate negative effect on their confidence and emotional wellbeing. A gradual transition is gentler, more natural and less traumatic. 2. Independence starts at home Starting school is not the first time I have considered the issue of twins’ independence. When you are a twin parent, you learn from the start that promoting self-identity for each twin is very important. You make sure that they each have their own toys, that they have a bit of individual “mommy” or “daddy”

special insert time on occasion, that they choose activities independently, and the list goes on. I am always on the look-out to make sure that just because one twin can do something, it doesn’t mean the other isn’t bothering to learn it. Working the different TV remotes is a good example --- my daughter always lets my son do it because it comes naturally to him. I have to remind her to do it herself sometimes, even if she finds it frustrating that it takes her longer. These are things that become so second-nature to twin parents, that I think those without twins don’t always realize that these are issues we are addressing on a daily basis. The classroom is not the only way they are learning independence. 3. It needn’t be extreme Having been a teacher, I know there are many opportunities to allow children to be independent from each other while still in the same class. In time, they can be in different groups for activities within the class, or sit at different tables, or be assigned different tasks. And they can also attend different afterschool activities. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. 4. Being a twin is a fact of life Twins are going to be twins for life, long after they are finished with school. Their experience of life is always going to be a twin one, i.e. they will always have shared experiences that go beyond that of just a ‘normal’ sibling. They share the same age and birthday, the same parents, the same childhood experiences, and often the same friends. This will carry on to a lesser extent throughout their lives. Twins have to forge out their own independence in the face of such similarities and shared experience, and it is something that can be done whether or not they are also sharing a class. There is an important value in

learning to be individuals while they are together, and not just when they are apart from each other. 5. Logistics Aside from the psychological and emotional aspects to this issue, there is also a logistical one. Schools are not set up for you to have two children in the same grade, but different classes, therefore every school event, parents’ conference, and field trip is going to involve clashes and difficulties, where you are supposed to be in two different places at once. There is also an advantage to the teacher knowing and understanding the dynamic between both children, as it leads to a greater understanding of them. There is continuity for the children and the parents, where they have the same set of rules and expectations from the teacher. If you’re lucky with your teacher, any ‘twin’ issues or co-dependence or competitiveness can be dealt with sensitively and effectively within the classroom. 6. Enjoy the advantages I think sometimes there is a feeling among the general population that twins should be separated at school because that is the experience that other children have. Singletons must face going to school alone, whereas twins are at an advantage because they have a ready-made friend and ally in their class. This is absolutely true; it is an advantage, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Yes, they may stick together a lot at the beginning, but my two have always made friends with others and played independently from each other once they feel settled in at a new place. Goodness knows there have been a lot of times when having twins has made life harder in the past (like no sleep for two years!), so I’m going to take the pros where I can get them! Eventually, they will grow up and lead separate lives, but in the meantime, they are creating precious shared memories that will last a lifetime. Isabelle Lee is a delighted but exhausted stay-at-home mom to seven-year-old twins; frequently bemused, often fascinated and perpetually behind schedule. Originally from the UK, she now lives with her husband and twins in California. You can follow her blog and connect with her on twitter at @perplexedparent.

from the mouths of babes

check out this video from twins Brooke & Brianna on twins in school!

special insert tips to make summer learning fun!

by minde buckingham

Parents play a very important role in educating their children. Nobody knows our children better than we do. We know the way that they think, and we understand why they excel and struggle in the things that they do. I could see from a very young age that our twins were very different. They hit their milestones around the same time, but physically and mentally, they are two individuals. One is social while the other tends to be a little shy. One of our daughters is athletic, while the other one prefers to engage more in the arts. One is right handed, and one is left handed. One is academically interested in book learning, while the other prefers to engage in creative thinking. While people are quick to remind them that they look alike, they are quick to acknowledge their differences. I consider this a good thing. I enjoy learning with them. I enjoy watching them each develop their own set of skills and talents, and I enjoy seeing them grow together as they discover who they are. School is out! I don’t know a single child that wants to spend their summer “learning”. Kids

deserve to be kids and they want to have fun. This is the great thing about being a parent. You can engage in activities with your kids that will not only provide fun entertainment, but stretch their minds and help them grow. We can identify where they are, what they have learned, and how we can help them continue to learn. Teaching and learning isn’t all about reading, writing, arithmetic, and/or history. It is about our children developing their minds, learning new talents, and engaging in things that will expand their abilities. It is like going on a field trip every day! Here are some ideas that will keep those little minds intrigued and engaged in trying and experiencing new things over the summer:

look for freebies

Let the internet be your friend. Search for free activities in your neighborhood and community, where you can engage in events with your multiples. Many movie theaters, zoos, science museums, stage productions, and recreation centers will hold free activities for school age children. If not free, it may only cost you $1 per child. Take advantage of these freebies, as they will keep your kids engaged and help to

special insert spike their interests. Many neighborhoods will also host events such as street fairs, Saturday markets, movies in the park, and even block parties. Our county also sponsors a summer safety fair where they bring in the life flight helicopters, fire trucks, police and canine units, etc., allowing our children to identify with safety and trust our local rescue squads. The firehouses will also offer free summer tours. Many County Fairs are also free. With no entrance fees, you can enjoy walking around to see the stage performances, races, and barn animals. The 4H auctions are also entertaining and free to watch. In many states, the fishing and gaming departments will have open season days where you can fish without a license. Also, take advantage of the history in your area. See the sights with your kids and educate them on the world around them. You would be amazed how much you can do in your own community for free during the summer. It takes some planning and organization, but it will save you a lot of money and help you keep your children actively involved in learning new things while they are having fun.

play car games

Are you planning on hitting the road this summer? We play a lot of car games in our family. Our children are still fairly young so the games we play include finding “yellow” cars, or playing the Alphabet game. A game we started

to play with them as young toddlers occurred every time we stopped at a red light. We would count as we watched the opposing traffic light turn yellow, and then tell the girls to blow. They would blow and our light would turn green. They are still young enough to think that they are magically turning the light green. All the while, they are learning to count. This game, along with hide n’ seek, taught our girls to count to 50 by age 4. Crossword puzzles for the older kids and one of our family favorites “Spot It” are also great interactive car games.

create a busy box

Every summer, I take a small box and let the twins decorate it, then I fill it with busy things. You can adjust this age appropriately. If our twins say the word “bored”, I simply tell them to find their busy box. This is all about creating. It is important to note that our busy box cost under $10 a box (Dollar Stores and sale tables are my friend). Inside you will find: Construction Paper and blank paper, color crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors, foam cut outs, popsicle sticks, felt, yarn, beads, pipe cleaners, colored pom-poms (which the girls call fuzzies), wiggly eyes, stickers, and play dough. You would be amazed how long this will entertain them and you will sit in awe at what they can create. Artistically, this is a great indoor summer activity for your multiples. Our girls love their busy boxes!

let them explore

These activities can happen

in your own backyard or on a camping trip. Explore the outdoors. Take them on a hike or walk. Let them put their toes in the cold creek waters, and smell the fresh trees. Teach them how to ride a bike or how to take pictures. Prepare a scavenger hunt for the kids and see if they can identify everything on the list. See who can create the funniest monster with everything from nature. Teach them about tadpoles, turtles, and frogs. Let them explore the world of worms, caterpillars, butterflies, and fireflies. Educate them on how to build a fire, and how to put one out. Sing campfire songs, roast marshmallows, and tell stories. Don’t be afraid to let your multiples get dirty. They will wash and it is in those imperfect moments that memories are created. Some of my greatest moments growing up came from the activities I spent with my family in the outdoors. My children are now building those same memories. What I didn’t realize until I was an adult is how many lessons I learned enjoying the outdoors. Summer is the perfect time to teach your kids about nature, science, and survival.

engage them with electronics

If you have Techy kids, use this to your advantage. Instead of video games all summer, engage them in on-line learning programs. There are many sites that provide continued learning for children free of charge. Toddlers and younger children can also benefit from educational sites and YouTube sites --- contd. pg. 39

special insert

school’s cool...

until you’re picked on

by talitha a. mcguinness

Every kid has his know, where they get laughed at for wearing something perhaps a younger child would wear, for getting emotional when picked last for the team, and maybe even because the boy seated beside them just decided he didn’t like little girls with blonde hair that day. School is totally cool, but it can be tough, too. What happens when your twin is being picked on, not by playmates and other students, but by their own twin? Gasp! Does that really happen? Unfortunately, you bet it does (at least in my home...and maybe we’re the weird ones). Now in the 4th grade, my girls should be long past this stage, but I’m guessing it is more similar to sibling rivalry than anything else. Of course, that certainly doesn’t excuse the behavior, nor does it make me feel like parent of the year when the teacher emails me (on more than one occasion) that my girls are “not treating each other kindly” when playing together on the playground. Looking from the outside in, perhaps the “together” part is the biggest problem.

special insert For example, one twin was coming home upset that the other was infringing on her playtime with “her” friends (for lack of a better term). She wanted her friends to herself since this is one of the only social times during their school day, and didn’t want to share their attention with her sister. However, it was her behavior in lashing out by kicking or saying hurtful things that didn’t fly with me. I explained that I could totally understand her feelings, but it was how she handled the situation that was unacceptable to her teacher and to us as her parents. We also talked with the other twin, explaining that maybe she needed to give her sister and her friends a little more space by playing with her own friends at recess. They each have their own friends and their own interests, so there’s no reason to interfere, unless they can agree to play nicely and get along in the group setting. No parent wants to hear from a teacher that there’s a problem on the playground with their child being picked on --- and by a sibling, no less! My husband and I have always encouraged our girls to do things separately whenever possible. They were in the same preschool class, but as soon as they started Kindergarten, they were entered into separate classes so that they each could learn their own strengths and weaknesses, and flourish independent of the other’s influence. Yes, they are identical so they already share

their birthday, allergies and obviously their looks, (and even their bedroom), and yes, they dressed alike for the first 6 years of their lives (until they came to us and decided they wanted to dress differently). As a non-twin, I can’t imagine spending every waking moment with someone who looks (or even doesn’t look) just like me. So what do you do to help them get along? Just keep encouraging their separation. They’re twins... they’re closer than many siblings and if they have more disagreeable days than not, that’s okay, too, (as long as there’s no violence added in the mix). Just make sure that whenever they disagree or aren’t getting along, that they’re at least respecting one another. There’s always a choice and a best way to handle a situation. They can walk away or they can choose to dish it out, too, but they have to understand that with every choice comes direct consequences. Parenting Tip #347 (learned over 10 years and 4 kids): be sure to tie those directly to the offense and make a statement so that you’re not constantly dishing out the same punishment (i.e. taking away TV time only works so many times before it’s lost its impact). After losing time at the skating rink or in after school activities with their friends, my girls typically choose to make the right choice. Good luck in helping your kids make the right respect each other and get along!

contd. from --summer learning like Mother Goose Club, etc. There are plenty of age appropriate online activities to spike our kids’ interests. A few trusted, free educational sites include Fun Brain, PBS Kids, Storyline Online, Nat Geo for Kids, Highlights Kids, and Star Fall. Most importantly, let your multiples have fun and be kids! It is summer … make sure they have free time to play in the park. Visit a new park every week and let them try their hand at things. They will never cross the monkey bars until you let them try. Take them to your neighborhood splash pads and pools. Have movie nights with popcorn, and plan a one-on-one date with your twins to get an ice cream. Everything you do, every activity you participate in, and every accomplishment you achieve teaches you something new. Experience is one of life’s greatest educational tools, so take full advantage of it. Enjoy the summer with your multiples and remember they grow up fast. Take lots of pictures, take lots of deep breaths, and savor the moments in between. Minden Buckingham lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband Mike and twin girls. She is a stay-home mom and enjoys running the daily carpools. Minde enjoys spending time with her family, trips to the coast, photography, and writing.

special insert

kindy confessions

from a mom of soon to be kindergartners by tiffany ertle

I have a confession, just saying and hearing the word Kindergarten gives me anxiety. It has since my fraternal twin boys were little toddlers. I cannot imagine sending the two precious beings I have meticulously cared for over the past six years out into the world on their own. Will they apply everything I have taught them: patience, kindness, respect and manners? Will they be able to do the things at school that they still ask me for help with at home from time to time? But on the other hand, there is a feeling of jubilation because I have successfully raised two children who are now going to move on to the next phase in their remarkable lives. There was a time when I sat alone with my newborn twins and thought, “how am I ever going to make it to the end of the day?” Then days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years. Now I am about to be the parent of Kindergartners. If you’re in the same boat as me, then you might understand how I am feeling and what I am thinking. What do I do now? Do I put them both in the same classroom or should I separate them? If I separate them, will that be a good thing or a bad thing? What if one twin is ready and one isn’t? If you’ve been sending your twins to daycare or preschool, then you are a step ahead of the parents like me

special insert who keep their kids home, because at least your child has already learned many of the basics that children need in Kindergarten. For those who’ve stayed home, they may not have had social interaction with lots of children; they may have only shared with their twin. They may not have ever had to raise their hand to ask a question. They also may not be up to speed with their letters, numbers and even learning how to sit still for increments of time. If you’re soon facing school for the first time with your duo, here are five easy steps to prepare you and your twins for Kindergarten.

1. Social Interaction - If your twins haven’t been around a lot of other children, take them to the park to play with other children. Look for playgroups in your area, and perhaps even storytime at the local library. Make friends with kids in your neighborhood who will be going to Kindergarten when they do. Helping them learn how to interact with other kids before they go to school will help prepare and hopefully reduce any anxiety they might have about a new group setting. It will also likely keep them from trouble when in a larger classroom setting.

2. Individual Time - If you plan

to put your twins in separate classrooms, or if your school has a policy to separate twins, start easing them into alone time now. This will ease the separation come school time so that it won’t be so hard. Have them play in separate rooms for an hour each day. Make play

dates for one twin to go to a friend’s house while the other stays home with you or goes to a different friend’s house. Lastly, have your partner take one twin on a day out, while you take the other.

3. Self Reliance

- Be sure your twins can do basic, everyday things without your help. Can they pull their pants up and down on their own for potty breaks without accidents? Are they able to properly wipe themselves clean? Can they wash their hands without help? Can they put their coat on and zip it up? Are they able to put their backpack on without help? Are they able to open their lunch boxes and all of the food keepers that will be inside? Practicing these types of things beforehand will make life for them much easier.

4. Following Direction - Sure,

your twins listen to you, but how well do they follow the direction of others? Watch how well they listen to other people in their lives like grandparents, siblings, your friends, and parents of their friends. Reinforce that at school they must listen to all adults and follow the directions they give. Practice having them raise their hand to ask questions.

5. Kindergarten Basics - Ensure

your child has the basic knowledge that they need for Kindergarten. Check stores like Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target and teacher stores for little workbooks to help your twins learn. A few key skills they should be introduced to prior to starting school include: *Cutting - Purchase child safety

scissors and have them practice. Make sure they are holding and cutting with them properly. *Fine Motor Skills - Lego and play dough are good for building finger and hand muscles and to help with dexterity. Offer them crayons, markers, and colored pencils and ask them to color inside the lines on all projects. *Letter Recognition & Beginning Sounds - Ensure they can identify each letter of the alphabet, both upper case and lower case, and tell you their sounds. *Number Recognition and Counting - They should be able to count to at least 20. Have them count things for you and tell you numbers you see. (“I have one banana, three crackers and four grapes.” “The sign says 25,” or “I see a 2 and a 5.”) Practice writing numbers. *Shapes and Colors - Have your child identify shapes and colors all day long. (My french toast is a triangle and my carrots are orange.) *Writing - Be sure your child knows how to write their first name at the very least. First and last name are a bonus. Practice writing all letters. Now that they are ready, give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve successfully raised two Kindergartners! Get your camera out on the first day of school and take a proper photo. You’ll want to remember this monumental day! Tiffany is a Florida mom of 6 year old fraternal twin boys. She is a photographer, writer and nature lover.

design the perfect bedroom

with your kids’ interests in mind

by barbara miller 42


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

Moving up a grade in school can mean the difference between feeling like a big kid or a little kid, a child or a tween, or even blossoming into a teenager. What better way to celebrate your child’s growth and achievement than to work together to create a room to help support them in their journey? What was fine for your first grader may suddenly become a “baby” room to your second grader. A fourth or fifth grader might need a desk where they didn’t before, and your teen, for obvious reasons, may need or desire more privacy. No matter what age your child is, their bedroom is their sanctuary. It’s a place for them to retreat when they are feeling overwhelmed --- an area of the house where they should have some sense of control, and a space that visually represents who they are. It’s important to remember your child needs that sense of ownership, so include them in planning the changes to their space and work together (when possible) to build that new desk or even paint the walls. Bonus --- create some fun memories while you create a beautiful new space.

time, since you were 3! I was thinking it might be fun for you to pick some things that would be just right for a 4th grader. What do you think?” And then here is the big secret – LISTEN! Respond only to what they say. Ask your child what they love about their room and what they really want to keep. Ask what they might want to change. Ask about all the activities that take place in their room, “Do you think in 4th grade you might need to start doing your homework in your room?” or “Is there enough space to play when your friends come over?” The discussion will be different for every space and every child.

I am not advocating for bright orange and purple walls or hovering space crafts. I’m saying you can come to a reasonable compromise with your child, and grow closer in the process by working as a team. If they want orange walls, maybe give

This is the time to set realistic expectations. If they are old enough, you could even make a budget together, but if they are younger, just tell them what you expect you’ll be able to do; “I think we can paint and add some shelves for your trophies and create a study space. You can help me choose the desk and a comfortable chair for you. What do you think about that?” Let’s be giving your child a voice in the process

Design Together

I begin every child’s design sitting on the floor of the space with the child. I find that it helps to equalize you and it detaches you from the furniture or the current arrangement of the space. I start out by discussing my thoughts. I might say to a child “Your room has been like this for a long

them! get on the floor with multiplicity

click here for 21 fool-proof colors for kids’ rooms

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them an accent wall or pick a less vibrant orange and pair it with a denim color and neutrals to tone it down. There is always a way to make something work!

Choose the Right Color

Children will often go right for the clearest, brightest version of the color they like best. Use that as a starting point, but keep in mind that color is magnified as it goes up on walls and the light reflects around the room. Don’t just use that first color. Take the idea of the color they select and use a softer, toned down version of the hue. Color has been scientifically proven to have psychological implications. If you have a teen that is fixated on gray for example, talk about the gloomy implications of certain tones and what color you could balance it with to make the room happier and more peaceful.

Allow Control

It is important for children to feel some sense of control over their own space, especially if they need to share a bedroom. Control does not mean your son is “king of the castle� and sets all the rules. Control might be as simple as placing a reading light on the wall by his bed that he can turn on and off independently. This allows him to control the dark if he has bad dreams or turn the light off for sleep without getting out of bed. A canopy over your 44


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

daughter’s bed can be a beautiful decorative focal point while also allowing privacy when it is needed. Sometimes kids just need to cry, or be quiet and as a parent, it’s alright to give them that space. I don’t recommend locks on kids’ doors; you don’t need to go that far, but a deep window seat or a reading corner can work wonders for a child who needs a place for retreat.

Let Their Spirit Shine

Let your child’s personality and interests be your guide in decorating their room. If you have a child that loves science, setting up an area with things he can build with or explore allows his natural curiosity to further his learning. If travel is their dream, help them visualize a life filled with wonderful adventures with a wall of the world. One thought on themes --they are tricky. I don’t usually design rooms that are heavily themed unless you are willing to redecorate every couple of years. Pick basics for your large items like walls, furniture and area rugs. You can add themed accents like pillows, a bedside lamp or small pieces of art. These smaller pieces are easy and relatively inexpensive to replace as they grow. If you can use your child’s talent in their room, it’s even better. I decorated a room for one family whose daughter loved street art. We graffitied an old dresser! We’d pulled that dresser from a thrift shop, so if she tired of it in a few years, it wasn’t a big deal and it made a huge contribution to the décor of her room.

Whatever décor you decide to use in your child’s room, as long as you remember that it is a room for and about her, you can’t go wrong. Have fun planning, shopping, painting and laughing --- create memories and a room that will be enjoyed for years to come! Barbara Miller is an award winning interior designer, a nationally known expert on child-centered design, and the founder and principal designer of YES Spaces, LLC. Through YES Spaces, Barbara creates chic living spaces for real families nationwide. She also provides online design and curated home furnishings. Barbara writes about design, family life and connecting with children with intention. She has been published in national and regional

parenting and design magazines and quoted as an expert in many publications including ASID ICON, Sherwin Williams Stir, BobVilla. com, multiple Associated Press articles, NW Kids, The Oregonian, the Portland Tribune and others. Barbara regularly blogs for thousands of parents at her award winning blog YES Spaces. Barbara produces DIY videos inspired by ideas in her book, Mess to YES: Spaces for Family Living. She created a pilot episode of her series Mess to YES Home Makeovers for the launch of The Design Network and is currently in production on three more. Also, connect with her on facebook and pinterest.

perfect for y

our creative


don’t restrict design to just the walls --- have fun with furniture, too! multiplicity

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capturing your every day:

what to wear Deciding what to wear in family photos can be just as challenging as finding the perfect photographer. These are photos you are going to hang on your walls and cherish for years to come. It can seem overwhelming when considering what to wear, but it doesn’t need to be. Use these tips to help you pick out the perfect wardrobe for you and your family.

coordinating colors not matching

Long gone are the days of everyone wearing a white shirt and matching. Instead, select a couple of complimentary colors and choose clothes that will fit in this color scheme.

look at your home decor

Do you like bright colors? Neutrals? Since you will be hanging these photos in your house you want to make sure the colors of your clothes go with the color scheme of your home.

don’t forget accessories by jennifer parker 48


Accessories not only add to your outfit, but they can be fun to use in photos. Have the man wear a tie for the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

the woman to hold (as if she’s lovingly pulling him around). Necklaces for the kids to play with or hats to hide behind are also good ideas and props that can make things interesting.

limit patterns

Personally, I enjoy having an outfit in the mix that has all the colors in it. However, not everyone in the photo should wear patterns, as it may distract the final image.
 The key to using patterns is that they work seamlessly to pull the whole photo together.

look for clothing collections

When shopping for clothes for my kids, I head to stores that typically have color coordinating collections. I can then purchase clothes for all the children from one store. I know their clothes will fit their personalities, but will coordinate with their siblings.

plan ahead

Once you book your session, start thinking of the clothes

right away. You may think certain clothes will fit your kids or that one dress is already clean and ready to go. If you wait until the day before, you may run into an issues with no time to spare. Having to change up your photo wardrobe last-minute isn’t likely to leave you as pleased with your photos when you had your heart set on something else.

say no to characters

Yes, your little one may love their Toy Story shirt, but you should skip it for the family photo session. Just like patterns, characters on shirts can be pretty distracting.

avoid all white or all black clothing

If you are wearing an all white shirt, then it is very easy to blow out parts of your shirt causing it to lose its detail. The same can be said with all black; it’s easy to have clipping on black clothing and the detail is lost.

details are your friend

I am a huge fan of a cotton fitted shirt. However, in photographs, I


like to add details like scarves or belts to add a little more to the image. Don’t shy away from things that will add to your outfit.

think classic

These photos will be hanging on your walls and treasured for years to come. By choosing simple, classic clothes, you will help give your images a timeless feel. Jennifer is the proud owner and sole photographer of Firewife Photography, a Charlotte based niche photography service focused on twin families. She strives to capture and preserve precious memories, creating treasured moments that span beyond space and time. She has worked for years with her local twin club and is a mom of 8 year old boy/girl twins and a 4 year old daughter. Jennifer is also the loving wife of a tireless firefighter, hence the company name. You can connect with her via her website or on facebook.

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how to raise

risk-taking twins

It’s a natural instinct for us parents to want to protect our kids. From birth, one of our top jobs is to keep them safe. We live in an era of litigation fear, scare-tactic news, and helicopter parenting that makes it harder to psychologically let go of our children. However, the time comes when all kids need to learn to take risks for their own good. According to Dr. Lynn Ponton of the University of California, San Francisco, “Engaging in some risky behavior is not only normal, but it’s necessary…It’s a tool to define, develop and consolidate identity. Healthy risk-taking is a big part of growth” (quote via NPR). Therefore, not allowing our kids to take risks actually does them a disservice. Healthy risk-taking earlier on can create more confident, assertive, and successful kids on down the road even before it’s time for them to leave the proverbial nest.

by cara krenn 50


So how do we raise kids that will take healthy risks? Here are a few tips: the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

*Teach them how to fail! Fear of failure is one of the top reasons kids (and adults) don’t take healthy risks. We become so worried that we’ll fail, that we sometimes don’t take enough leaps of faith. As parents, we should encourage more of the “when you fall off the bike, you get back up and try again” mentality. These are critical lessons that apply to both physical and mental risk-taking. According to research published by the American Psychological Association, “children may perform better in school and feel more confident about themselves if they are told that failure is a normal part of learning, rather than being pressured to succeed at all costs.” The important thing is teaching kids to view setbacks as learning opportunities. Emphasizing your kids’ progress toward new goals and when trying new things is more important than focusing on the success itself. *Resist the urge to helicopter parent. It’s easy to want to rush in and fix our kids’ problems as they come up. No one likes to see their child struggle. However, allowing children the distance and time to figure out their own problems (within reason, of course) can help them build their confidence, conflict resolution, and problem-solving skills. *Try something new together. From a young age, teach your twins that experiencing new things is fun. Enroll your toddlers in a gymnastics class, let preschoolers test their physical boundaries at the playground, and take older kids on a family camping trip. Kids that view new experiences as fun and exciting

will be more likely to take healthy risks on their own and over time. *Encourage time apart from their twin. Starting when your twins are young, it’s a good idea for them to gradually learn to spend time apart from their constant companion. That way, they can learn to take risks on their own without their twin “security blanket.” There’s a lot of convenience to always having your kids on the same soccer team, but as they get older, allow them to explore their own interests and provide input on new extracurricular activities. *Promote healthy risk-taking activities. These can include various sports, theater, dance, debate teams, etc. that can push your kids’ boundaries both physically and mentally, providing an adrenaline rush in a safe environment. Encourage your kids to try both physical risk-taking (trying out for their sports team of choice) and mental risk-taking (perhaps running for a seat in school government or moving up to an honors class). *Identify and understand each of your twins’ natural dispositions. Some kids are born daredevils and some are naturally more reserved. Be aware of their innate comfort levels when encouraging them to try new things. You may have a twin that requires a little more “hand-holding,” and that’s alright. Just continue to nurture and encourage within healthy limits and you’ll see your child or children flourish outside of their normal routines and comfort zones. *Talk about unhealthy risks. multiplicity

For younger kids, your conversations can focus on basic safety issues, like not running into the street, staying by your side during store outings, or never going into a pool without an adult. For older kids, you can discuss peer pressure, texting while driving, drinking and drug use, etc. Some parents have said to their older kids that they will always be “the bad guy” if their child(ren) need to use them as an excuse to not do something (i.e. stay overnight or stay in a situation where something is being done where they are uncomfortable). It’s always good to give your children an easy out. *Enlist your partner to help. If you’re too nervous to be the one spearheading teaching your twins to ride a bike without training wheels or even crazier – get behind the wheel of a car – ask your partner to assist with some of these “risky” milestones. *Model good behavior. Are you stuck in your own rut of the same routine day in and day out? It’s time you took a healthy risk of your own. Perhaps this is the year you finally start that new small business – or go zip-lining! Cara Krenn is mom to fraternal twin girls and a singleton boy. She is the author of the e-book Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Parenting Twins, a handy guidebook for new twin parents. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Read more at

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the buzz

twin tested... MOM approved!

the scoop on things to make life a little easier! customizable cookie cutters

These adorable cookie cutters are by Cookie Cutter Kingdom, where you can order from their already amazing selection, or have them customized depending on your party or event theme (think graduation, wedding or baby shower, etc.). From gardening to the beach, from cheerleaders to astronauts, they have the answer for your cookie needs!

use stroller connectors from prince lionheart to convert to a double! gb qbit

If you’re cramped for space, then look no further for a travel system for your duo. Yes, this is a single stroller, but you can convert it to a double with a stroller connector. It weighs less than 15lbs (less than the child you’ll be pushing in it!), comes with its own shoulder strap travel bag (because every twin mama needs both of her hands at all times!), and folds down into a cube that will fit behind any seat. It also pushes easily and turns like a dream (proving its durability on pavement, trails and loose gravel at the park). The Qbit even comes with adaptors to fit several infant seats. A unique find --- a must try!

double swim float for twins

Heading to the pool but wondering what to do with your little ones? Designed for babies 6 months to 3 years and up to 66 lbs., this float allows little ones to enjoy the water together and safely. It also comes with balls and a central splash area within the float.

car seat protectors by brolly sheets

If your twins have ever had an accident in their car seats, then you know the hassle of unhooking everything to get it clean (and then trying to figure out where all of those straps go back!). With Brolly’s car seat protectors, you can easily remove only the pad --- makes cleaning and replacing a cinch. They’re also great for highchairs and strollers, too! 52


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junkie by bubblebum

For parents who spend any amount of time in the car with little ones, you know what it’s like to have your kids lose things. Bubblebum’s newest product, Junkie, saves the day with cup holders, fold out trays for snacks or activities, a nice open space for holding books and technology, and even cooler, a retractable arm that can hold technology when viewing movies and videos. The Junkie can be strapped into the middle seat...just know that the sides are so flexible they easily pop off. It also comes with a bag, perfect for snacks, as one side is insulated. A great accessory for parents on the go!

annie b’s caramels

Who says the kids get all the good stuff? These caramels are sinfully delicious and a great indulgence. Made by hand and with real ingredients (they’re gluten free, too!), you won’t want to save these for special occasions --- every day can be special! You can order these to share as gifts or in bulk for yourself to last all year long. You won’t be able to stop at just one!

enter to win an evenflo feeding tilty™ tripleflo trainer cup - drawing held July 31st! Our friends at Evenflo make drinking easier and they are giving away two sets of two Tilty™ TripleFlo Trainer Cups that were designed by a mom just like you.

Featuring an adjustable valve that grows with your child, the Tilty™ TripleFlo Trainer Cup gives you the ability to adjust the amount of liquid your child receives with 3 different flow rates. The valve also has a “close-off” position designed for leak free, on-the-go use. With an internal angled wall, there’s no need for an extreme head tilt while drinking. The ergonomic design and handles create a comfortable and natural drinking experience, making the introduction to a cup easier. Retail Value: $4.99; Available at Walmart and Babies R Us

click here to enter to win! multiplicity

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kid-tested, mom approved meals...found on pinterest c ocol ate cashh ew mu ffins

Have picky eaters and need a few new food tricks in your bag? Give a few of these a try and see if the kiddos will agree how yummy (and simple) they are!

rainbow salad

sweet potato tots With only 3 ingredients that most have around their house, take this Sweet Potato Tots recipe from Momables and whip up a healthier version of a childhood favorite. The batch makes more than enough to freeze for later, too...lunch boxes, anyone? Pineapples, mandarins and grapes, oh my! A great way to talk about eating your colors is through this beautiful Rainbow Salad by Cooking Classy. With bananas, grapes, strawberries, 54


mandarins and more, there are bound to be several fruits your kiddos will love, and maybe a few new ones they’ll venture to try. You can also bring out the flavors even more by mixing up the honey/lime dressing for yourself...delicious!

7 layer dip Something easily prepared up to 3 days ahead (and healthy to

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boot!) are these 7 Layer Dip jars by Momables (who has really great lunchbox recipes!). With either homemade or Sabra guacamole, black beans, salsa, cheese, sour cream and a few other ingredients, these are perfect for a hot summer day (and the kids will love helping customize their own snack). Use tortilla chips, carrots or even large pretzel rods for dipping.

Need a gluten free option? The Flourless Chocolate Cashew Muffins from Always Order Dessert are more like a brownie than a muffin (but delicious just the same!). Using cashew butter and pure maple syrup (with no flour), and only a few more ingredients, these have the makings of everything healthy for you, that you just won’t believe how yummy they truly are! Cheers!

contd. from --- womb

a single pregnancy. I can’t imagine two in there.”

Below is a list of symptoms I experienced to give you a sense of what is possible. *Nasal congestion *Burning sensation in upper abdominal area from abs separating *Sciatic nerve pain *Restless and/or leg and foot cramps at night *Itchy belly

My friend was right. Each day in my third Trimester brings new challenges, but I don’t want to scare you! There are some good days with the bad. For instance, my son has dropped a bit and hasn’t been banging on my ribs in 3 days, (a total win in my book!).

Of course, while things start to stretch and move around, just know that it is all your body’s normal way of preparing you for delivery. However, if anything ever feels “not right” or more than what you think should be normal, go with your gut. Call your doctor or midwife; it’s their job to worry and help you get through the pregnancy as best as possible. They’re used to the calls of concern and can either set your mind at ease or shed light on why you might be feeling a certain way or experiencing something beyond the norm.

Third Trimester: Sh-t’s Starting to Get Real!

At the beginning of my Third Trimester, a good friend called to check on me. Our exchange went something like this…. Friend: “How are you feeling?” Me: “Oh, you know, my back aches, my hips are sore, and my son has decided to crawl up into my ribs and make a home there. Is it possible I have a broken rib from pregnancy?” Her response: “Oh yeah, I remember that stage well. It starts to get real, super quick at the end! And that was with

What’s Going On In There?

Week 28: Babies’ Eyes Open *Chances of survival outside the womb are now up to 90%! Week 29: Babies’ Bones Are Fully Developed Week 30: Babies are About the Size of Cucumbers! Week 31: Nervous System Development Continues Week 32: Babies Practice Breathing Week 33: Babies Detect Light Week 34: Babies’ Fingernails Grow Week 35: Rapid Weight Gain Begins --- up to ½ Pound Per Week! Week 36: Babies are Running Out of Room *At this point, your doctor should be monitoring you very often to make sure babies still have room to grow Week 37: Babies are considered full term Week 38: Babies Develop a Firm Grasp --- Can Grasp Fingers

How It Feels

I am currently in the third trimester of my twin pregnancy. As I mentioned above, my back aches, my hips are sore, and overall multiplicity

my symptoms from the first 2 trimesters are still there, simply more intense. On the plus side, I feel my little nuggets moving around in there more often and love my sizable baby bump. You may experience new symptoms or have some visit from earlier in the pregnancy. My nausea returned around week 28, especially while laying down. This added to my difficulty in getting comfortable at night and lack of sleep (yeah!). I also noticed that the few times I tried to treat myself to a small glass of wine, my nausea grew. One of the things I love most in the world is trying to kill me! The third trimester is all about trial and error. Each day brings new challenges, but it all seems worth it when I envision my precious twins being born at healthy birth weights. So, if you just recently saw those two embryos on the ultrasound screen and are terrified of the unknown, hang in there. A fairly uneventful and healthy twin pregnancy is possible! Kate Nissen Moncayo is an Infertility survivor currently expecting her first children via IVF (Boy/Girl Twins!). She is an advertising executive in the NY/CT area, trying to balance a multiple pregnancy and everyday life. As she anxiously awaits the arrival of her twins, she’s reading all the twin tips & tricks she can, and has found Multiplicity an extremely useful resource!

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embarking on a

brave new


traveling internationally with your twins and what they can learn from the experience by farrah ritter



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

For many parents of multiples, the idea of traveling with our kids is logistically intimidating. The funny thing when you think about traveling with twins internationally though, isn’t the usual standard of logistics issues --- but cost. With everything from airline tickets to hotels for the four? five? six? of you, the idea of going overseas can be overwhelming. With the headaches considered you might wonder, is it worth it? In so many ways it IS worth it --- and even in some surprising ways you might not expect. If your twins are of out of infancy and into the toddler/ preschool stage, they’ll learn more than you might think. From our personal experience, we began internationally traveling when my oldest was three and my twins had just turned two. Within the first month, we were feeling our way through Europe as a family, figuring out what worked and what didn’t, and saw what these opportunities could offer our kids. We made lots of mistakes and learned many (many) lessons, but overall, every trip was worth it in the end. In just under three years the boys have been to twelve countries in Europe. The concept is a bit lost on them as to what this actually means, and the idea that they’ve seen more in that time than I have in thirty-nine years never ceases to boggle my mind. Do they appreciate it? Do they learn anything from it? Well, they’re young. Does any four year old truly appreciate everything that you do for them --- or the struggle that you, multiple birth parent, have

every single day? No. But do they learn anything? Oh yeah. From simple geography to basics in politics, our twins are learning that the world is a big place and there are a lot of things that are different. I asked two family travel bloggers with twins what impact international travel has done for their families. Paige Totaro from All Over The Map told me: “My twins are fraternal, and as different as night and day. They even attended different elementary schools. When they were 12, we traveled around the world for one year, homeschooling along the way. I was surprised at how much it helped my children relate better to each other. When they only had each other to turn to in unfamiliar situations, it helped them realize how much they actually had in common. Travel brought my teenage twins together like nothing else had. “ Emma Day in the UK from South West Reviews had this to say: “My twins are only 3 years old, but in the last year they’ve been to Italy, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Menorca, as well as having traveled all over England. Before our trip, the twins only interacted with each other, yet abroad, they began showing an interest in playing with other children. This included children from all different nationalities and races, which of course is fantastic for raising non-judgemental children who treat all others equally.” multiplicity

Additionally, the idea of seeing history right in front of them is something that you cannot place a price tag upon. But what’s more, is that your children have the opportunity to learn and see you, the parent, outside of their natural element. If you go somewhere with a foreign language, you, mom or dad, have to find a way to communicate. It’s occasionally kind of cool for our kids to see that no, we don’t know everything and sometimes there are mysteries that even we don’t understand. Our multiples can take that experience and learn that you too are human and the world is a large place where not everything is predictable. Sometimes you have to roll with changes, adapt, or surprise. My kids see me as someone who does whatever I can to keep them safe, but that doesn’t mean mishaps aren’t a possibility. For our kids to see us also react, appreciate and favor places and people that aren’t a part of daily ‘normal’ life, it adds to the value. Also, if you’d like to

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11/2+ years ans • años





Island Resort

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Maximum donation: $10,000 • Don maximal: 10 000 $ • Donación máxima: $10.000

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!


P/N 203446 - 11/13

Farrah is an expat mom of twins + 1 and tries to jot it all down on her blog The Three Under. Her family moved to a small village in the Netherlands and they’re trying to survive this adventure without too many mishaps. Track her down on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as ‘Momofthreeunder’.


Island Resort

The best part of all this is that the biggest potential benefit of traveling internationally with my young boys is still to be seen. Who can say what influence this opportunity will have on their future and education? How will they see other people, respect other cultures, learn other languages and treasure historical places? Will they want to study abroad? Maybe they’ll want to volunteer in third world countries. Without having a fear of leaving ‘home’ they can go anywhere and what they can do for themselves and others is immeasurable. Twins and multiples even more so since being an individual in the big, big world is something that challenges their parents every day.


ans • años

11years /2+


If my children were two when we boarded the plane and could do it (blindly I might add), anyone can. Logistics will always be there. As parents of multiples we’re wellversed in planning, patience and delegation, so we’re already halfway there. We’ve been groomed during those dual late night feedings, coordinated nap times and efficient diaper bag stuffing. We know how to get stuff done, and how to rejoice in small successes. You might even think that the many international flights are at night just for us --- so our twins can travel

while they sleep! If the idea doesn’t scare you, you can do it. And try not to worry so much about the little things and see the big picture.


blow your kids’ minds, speak a foreign language. If you can learn, they will want to, as well. The ability to offer our children a new perspective is something that you can’t easily do unless you travel abroad. Seeing a cold and drafty castle where people once slept is a fantastic way to teach your twins appreciation for what they have at home. Conversations over different ways of life yesterday and today can impact even the youngest of minds. Throw in the teaching of new skills they learn through traveling, being in public, eating in restaurants, waiting in lines or visiting museums, and it’s a shame more families don’t have the ability to travel abroad.


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party picks

for twins & trips! by talitha a. mcguinness



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Dick & Jane party details by Giggles Galore


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tutus & bow ties party details by Holly Days



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a little party details by La Belle Fete multiplicity

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five minute fix: rock your coffee table

by traci zeller

In most homes, the living or family room is the most prominent (read: most often seen!) room in the home. The centerpiece of that room – both literally and figuratively – is usually the coffee table. So how can you transform that centerpiece from merely a handy drop zone for everything from remote controls to old magazines into a beautiful yet functional focal point that welcomes you every time you enter the room? Fortunately, like most of my five minute features, it’s much quicker and easier than you might think! In terms of functionality, I always look for coffee tables that can handle the three ‘fs’ --- you know, ‘feet, food, and fannies.’ In other words, seek out a piece 64


that’s beautiful, but not overly precious or delicate in terms of purchase price, construction and materials. Once the table is in place, mentally divide it in half (or in quadrants, if it’s large). I find it easier to give a table a balanced look if I think of it in zones. You’ll want to accessorize each section without filling it completely – it’s really important to leave a little empty space to avoid a cluttered look. Next, I often create a base layer with a tray that covers a lot or a little of the table (depending on how you want your zones organized). For some reason, things just look neater and more in place when they’re corralled on a tray. Just be sure to leave enough room to prop your feet or fanny! Now it’s time to layer in coffee table books. They’re called that for a reason, after all! Look for books that speak to your and your family’s interests. Are you a wine enthusiast? Find books with gorgeous photography of Napa or the Loire Valley. Love fashion? Gather books featuring the designs of Coco Chanel or Alexander McQueen. If your family loves to travel, this is a great spot for holding travel books on your favorite places (even if they’re only places you dream of one day exploring!). If you’re a pro at creating photo books of your trips, this would be a great place to showcase

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them and is within easy access whenever you feel the need for a trip down memory lane. One great designer tip for books is to remove the dust jackets. Not only will they look neater and less dog-eared, but if you can find books with spines that match your room’s color scheme, they’ll add even more style to the space. Once you’ve found and narrowed down just the right books, create stacks in one or more sections of your table, varying the height of each stack for a more relaxed effect. Next, bring in some decorative objects. While candles are a classic (and deliciously fragrant!) choice, I tend to look for objects with a sculptural quality and/or that speak to someone’s personality. It’s all the better it they happen to add height or functionality to the center of your room! I frequently add decorative bowls or boxes, which are also great for corralling those remote controls and other loose ends that tend to get tossed on the table from day to day. Even architectural elements such as painted finials or repurposed items like a gorgeous paperweight can

work. Anything goes here, as long as you find it beautiful and interesting to look at! Finish your coffee table off with something fresh. Cut flowers always add a special touch to any room, but they aren’t always in the budget. If you have a green thumb, try an orchid instead (which is great for adding height!), or a simple potted plant. Voilâ! Styling a coffee table that’s a beautiful and functional centerpiece for your living room is just that easy --- and you still have room for your food, feet or even a fanny or two! Traci Zeller is an interior designer known for her clean, sophisticated mix of classic and modern pieces. As a busy wife and mother to 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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book review by lisa katzenberger

Summer is full of outdoor fun, but when you’ve had enough of sunscreen and the pool, sweaty clothes, or sand in your shoes, it’s time to head inside and cool off with a great stack of books. Library reading programs are in full swing and offer fun incentives to encourage your eager little readers, so check out these books to keep those literacy skills fresh. Slip into summer reading easily with these new and summer-themed stories for all age groups. Board Books The popular character Llama Llama visits the beach in Llama Llama Sand and Sun, a touch and feel board book for curious fingers to experience. This interactive book is a great way to introduce your littlest readers to this lovable character. Picture Books In the beachy When a Dragon Moves In, a young boy builds a sand castle that is fit for a. . . dragon? It’s lots of fun until somebody suddenly 66


starts eating all the food and kicking sand at the sister. The boy insists he’s not causing the trouble --- it’s the dragon! So will the dragon be able to stay or will he be evicted? The Midnight Library will keep your kids craving books through the summer with this cute story about a girl who runs a library with night owl assistants. As a little girl, she has a lot to manage --- a band of squirrels playing music too loudly, a wolf crying so much at a sad story that his tears fall like rain, and a slow tortoise who can’t finish his story before closing time. What will she ever do? I Wish You More is a sweet book of wishes for a child and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site fame. It’s full of a subtle, simple, love messages (“I wish you more give than take”) that will pull at your heartstrings and let your little one know there’s more than one way to say “I love you”. Early Readers Keep your new readers cool with the coolest cat around by checking out Pete the Cat – Pete at the Beach. Pete chills out building a sand castle and

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collecting seashells, but the hot sun starts to heat him up. The ocean looks like a great spot for cooling down, but Pete’s scared! Will he overcome his fear to remain the coolest cat around? Poppy can help your emerging readers help kick off summer as they join her in her neighborhood’s annual summer kick-off party in Perfectly Poppy: Party Pooper. The party is full of treats, games, and more treats --- and parents who are too busy to pay attention to what the kids are eating. But when Poppy pushes the limit on what her belly can handle, she turns from fun-loving Poppy into a party pooper who is too lethargic to play any games. Chapter Books Ivy & Bean are best friends who are as different as night and day. In this popular chapter book series, follow them as they muddle their way through one funny adventure after another. In the summer read of Ivy and Bean Make the Rules, Bean is jealous when she’s too young to join her older sister, Nancy, at summer camp. So what are Ivy and Bean to do but create their very own camp --- Camp Flaming Arrow --- where they are the counselors! What mischief will they get into?

Owl Diaries #1: Eva’s Treetop Festival, is an adorable book in the new Scholastic Branches series, which is intended to engage the emerging reader. This book is filled with quirky, colorful illustrations, sparse text, and a quick and easy to follow storyline. Eva Wingdale takes on the organization of the school’s spring festival, but soon realizes she’s in over her head. Readers will have fun following the fastpaced story written in the form of Eva’s diary. Middle Grade The Cupcake Cousins, Willow and Delia, are psyched to spend a summer

vacation along Lake Michigan for their aunt’s wedding. What they’re not excited about are the too-fluffy, too-pink flower girl dresses they have to wear as part of it. As fourth graders, they think they are way too mature for such a job! They devise a plan to make the wedding cake as a way to get out of being flower girls, but there are more problems in the kitchen than they planned for. Complete with recipes, this is a sweet story with a touching twist on family vacations. Looking for something twin specific? Check out the fictional life of multiples in The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each


Other). This modern, funny book is about twelve-year-old fraternal twins, Claudia and Reese. Claudia starts out the story: “We are, unfortunately, twins. I am twelve years old. Reese is six.” Sound familiar? Yeah...thought so. They engage in a prank war, and tell their story through text messages, photos, and digital art to which kids will easily relate and follow along. Lisa Katzenberger is a mom to fouryear-old boy/ girl twins. She writes picture books, works part-time, is an Editorial Assistant for Literary Mama, and the Vice President of her local Moms of Multiples organization. Follow her on Twitter @FictionCity.

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special delivery

delivery stories that didn’t go as planned

Many things go through the minds of pregnant women as we anticipate the arrival of our little bundle (or bundles!) of joy. One thing that we spend a great deal of time thinking about, and planning for, is the delivery. We do research; we discuss options with our doctors/doulas/ midwives; we spend hours hashing out a “plan,” with the help of our partners, family and friends. We pack go-bags and take hospital tours. Some of us even draw up a detailed birth plan and give it to our healthcare professionals (I like to picture the doctors passing these around in the lounge and having a good chuckle). Of course, most deliveries go just fine, but what’s a mom to do when the best laid schemes of mice and [moms] go awry? No one wants to be the mother on the bridge, popping a kid out to the soothing sounds of a thousand car horns --- film at 11. Like many moms-to-be, I harbored a certain degree of anxiety about delivery. I had no idea 68


by kristen cleary

what to expect, except that I was pretty sure I’d have a C-section, since it was twins. My other reason for actually preferring a C-section is a condition I’ve had since I was a child, called vasovagal syncope (essentially, fainting spells). These episodes can be triggered by abdominal pain, so I was certain that I could not withstand labor and delivery without passing out. When I spoke to my doctor about my concerns at the start of my second trimester, she assured me that things would be fine, and that we had plenty of time to discuss options. Most of the first six months of the pregnancy were pretty uneventful. Other than mild queasiness here and there, I had no morning sickness. Then, on a road trip at 20 weeks, I ended up in the hospital with bleeding. Everything turned out to be fine, but it became clear that my cervix was shortening, so the doctors began monitoring me more closely. After that, things quieted down again, and I found

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

myself enjoying my pregnancy. A few short weeks later, a number of complications hit. Around 26 ½ weeks, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and concerns grew about my shortening cervix. The perinatologist decided to give me steroids to help the babies’ lungs grow more rapidly. He said, “I’m not saying you’re going to deliver in the next two weeks, but we need to be prepared.” Scary words. At the start of week 30, the doctors found that my cervix was virtually non-existent, and for obvious reasons, they ordered immediate bed rest. “But my movers are coming tomorrow!” I protested. “And final exams start next week!” My pleas fell on deaf ears, as they were adamant. I did move over the next two days, and had my shower the following Sunday. The day after the shower, the doctor called to tell me I had Cholestasis of Pregnancy, which likely meant an early delivery. The next day, I went for a non-stress test. Not only did it turn out that I was having small contractions, but my blood pressure was also high. I went immediately to the hospital. No go-bag, or mad dash. In the most anti-climactic way possible, I drove myself over, walked in and said, “I guess I’m supposed to go to Labor and Delivery?” We thought it would just be for a few days of bed rest, but fate changed all that the next morning. After serving me breakfast, the nurse left the room, only to run back in after five minutes and say,

“Don’t eat anything! If you have to deliver today, you need an empty stomach.” My response was borderline incoherent, like... “Wait, what? Today? But I haven’t even done the tour!” Too many complications had arisen. The diabetes, cholestasis and preeclampsia combined with anemia, and the presence of meconium in the amniotic sac of Twin A forced me to deliver that day, at 31 weeks and 4 days. I tried to be productive, emailing my department chair about arrangements for final exams (when he found out I was contacting him while in labor, he wrote back, “How are you even emailing at a time like this?!?”). And, that whole C-section plan? Nope. Delivered them both vaginally. The doctor said it would be best for them, and even though I had also not yet taken the birthing class, I said, “OK, I’ll give it a go.” My girls made their appearance fairly quickly after that, but like many twin births, it would be six weeks before I would finally be able to take them home. There were times over those weeks that I felt badly about missing out on some of those new parent experiences in the hospital. This is something many twin parents face, including Jodi Samela, who conceived her twins against all odds. She, too, had a relatively uneventful pregnancy until her 27th week when doctors became concerned about whether or not she would be able to carry her large babies multiplicity

to term. However, before measures could be taken, Jodi’s water broke and she was rushed to the hospital. Jodi’s delivery was traumatic. Her uterus ruptured during the crowning of Twin A, and an emergency C-section had to be performed. Jodi eloquently expresses the emotions shared by many parents of premature babies: “I couldn’t touch them. I barely saw them as they were whisked away. A baby’s first cry was never heard… a sound that all mothers crave to hear after childbirth, but one I never heard. The pain within my heart was unbearable.” Jodi’s twins had to be airlifted to a hospital with a better NICU, and the doctors told her that they would not likely survive. They advised her to say goodbye but, “Those words of “goodbye” were something I was not prepared to say and would not do...I couldn’t imagine that it would be the last time I saw my beautiful gifts.” For Jodi, it was not the last time. Even though her girls faced enormous obstacles after their abrupt entry into the world, they not only survived, they thrived. At fifteen, they are athletic and academically advanced, and have become the fulfillment of all their mother’s dreams. Of course, it’s not just the multiples that make a dramatic entrance into the world. Pamela Flynn learned an important lesson when her first child was born. --- contd. pg. 69

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


confessions of a twin dad

by kevin zelenka

I am a stay at home father of 2 year-old twin toddlers. They are both boys, are mischievous, show no fear, try my patience by the hour, and get into all the trouble that little boys are known to do. Do you want to know a secret? I’m ecstatic! Almost 5 years ago when my wife and I first started planning for children, we never really discussed if we wanted boys or girls, Then we started trying and found that although we didn’t have a problem becoming pregnant; staying that way and making it full-term was another story. At this point, picking which sex we preferred was the furthest from our minds. We just wanted to make it nine months and celebrate a healthy bouncing baby <insert sex here>. My wife has no idea that had I not been completely freaked out that we might not be able to conceive at all, I probably would have admitted to her that I wanted a son. Not that that there is anything wrong with girls. It may have even been alright to have one of each, “Daddy’s little girl” and all that, but I’m truly happy having only boys. Having been raised in a house with 3 younger brothers, it’s all I know. We never had a girl around, so I know nothing about picking out dresses, or doing hair. I’m clueless to what little girls like to play with, and as far as changing diapers and knowing which way to wipe? I’d need a manual, for sure. I don’t have to worry if one of my sons will be asked to the big dance or not, and when it’s time to have “The Talk”, I already know how it’s supposed to go. My wife gives me a “pouty face” whenever we pass a rack full of cute little girl clothes, which proves to me that it’s obviously cheaper having boys…lol. Right now my sons have a closet full of clothes they can BOTH wear. Things would be different if we had a boy and a girl. By different, I mean a LOT more expensive. 70


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

Being a stay-at-home father, my boys are learning firsthand that there is no difference in the sexes when it comes to responsibilities. From the moment they wake up, they see it doesn’t matter if you’re a Mommy or a Daddy; there are things around the house that just need to be done and someone has to do them. They see my wife and I take turns making them breakfast. They help me get their clothes together for the laundry. They go shopping with me at least once a week and have the routine down to a science, even saying good-bye to our favorite cashier in unison as we leave with our wares. After lunch, it is naptime and then afterwards, they’ll play in the living room while watching Dad get dinner ready. Someday, they’ll help me with all of those tasks, but for now, they are much more help watching Sesame Street while I do the hard part. For years little girls have been reminded that they can be everything that little boys can be…and it’s nice to know that by being a stay-at-home father, I’m promoting the idea that the reverse is true, too. Yep, little boys are what I have and I have to confess, I’m as happy as a father can be. Kevin Zelenka is a freelance writer and the stay-at-home father of fraternal twin toddlers. He enjoys spending time with his wife and sons, attending meet-ups with other dads, and an occasional round of golf. He can be found in the kitchen making lunch and mindlessly singing cartoon theme songs, or on his blog where he shares stories about the struggles and triumphs of raising twin boys.

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!

-Smart Phone & Wallet -Sunglasses or Hat and extra shirt

by victoria worch

For Playdates With Older Kids, think about grabbing your backpack and load up these extras: FOR THE KIDS -Sunscreen & beach blanket -Water bottles -Change of clothes with extra socks (Your items can remain the same). For those Mom’s Nights Out, grab that cute purse you love (that you never get to carry!):

gone girl: essential

gear for moms on the go

For me, the best impromptu trips have happened when I hit my breaking point and told everybody ‘That’s it; everyone in the car!’ Or that time I messaged my girlfriend down the street with “Mom’s Night Out, tonight? YES!” And of course, when I got that text from my husband with “Weekend getaway booked; organize the babysitter ;)” For those kind of moments, you need an easily remembered list of things to take. The key to knowing the right gear to take is immediately knowing the ONLY things you need. For those Playdates with Babies and Toddlers, you only need a mid-size cross strap bag with the following: FOR THE KIDS -Portable snacks (Apples, granola bars, etc.) -Sunscreen -Diapers and wipes in a zip lock bag -Extra bottles and/or sippy cups -Mini blanket, Pacifier and a few toys -Change of clothes: Shirt, pants, shorts, socks FOR YOU -Lip gloss -Water bottle & snack 72


ADD -Gum -Lip gloss or lip stick -Smart Phone & Wallet -Snacks/Dark chocolate (Hey you never know there might need a line at the restaurant) -Sunglasses & earrings, necklace, scarf, whatever you usually don’t wear that makes you feel like the amazing woman you are. Dress up! For that Weekend Getaway, grab the carry-on luggage. Unless you are going away for more than 2 nights, make it easy on yourself. Weekend getaways can be an overnight by yourself or a weekend with your partner. Pack only what you love such as: Your Favorite -seasonal clothing, shoes, socks & undergarments -novel or your Kindle, journal and pen -Champagne -earrings or necklace -Only need a tooth brush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, mascara and lip gloss, and birth control. Ladies, multiples are going to lead you down roads you never thought you would be on. They are going to challenge you. They are going to change you. And they are going to make you the kind of person who simplifies and takes only what she needs. On those days when all you want is to get gone, know you are not alone. We all have those days. Take a deep breath, count to three, let out a cry if you need to. Then look at your phone, let go of any guilt you feel and book that impromptu playdate, mom’s night out or weekend getaway. Look back at our list and pack only what you need.

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

contd. from --- delivery Make sure the doctor doesn’t leave to run an errand during your labor and delivery process! After assuring Pamela that she would not deliver for hours, her doctor left the hospital to go renew her driver’s license at the DMV. Things took an unlikely turn when the epidural caused Pamela’s entire body to go numb. She could no longer feel the contractions and the baby was stuck in the birth canal. His heart rate dropped, and they administered Pitocin in order to stimulate the labor while they prepped the OR. When the baby’s heart rate dropped again, they rushed her into surgery. Or at least they tried to --- one half of the room door would not open to allow them out, “and the doctor was forced to jump on top of me to get out of the room. It was a very frightening image to see a man I had never met before hovering over me telling me everything will be OK. My doctor showed up just in time to get Ryan out, and thank God he was alright.”

Even when the delivery seems to be going according to plan, life can throw us the proverbial curveball. Angela Miranda worked all the way up until the Friday before her scheduled Monday C-section. Her twins were 37 weeks, but the doctor felt that based on fetal measurements, they were fullterm. After a routine delivery, though, they found that the babies were much smaller than originally thought. This naturally earned both twins some time in the NICU and led Angela and her husband George to wonder if things could have gone differently if they had waited longer to deliver, or if the measurements had been more accurate. Angela expressed the same regret about missing out on those early new parent experiences and the unexpected that happened, saying, “Not only did we miss out on being able to have the babies in the room with me and having visitors come to see them, but we also had to leave the hospital without our children. [That] was very difficult.”

I knew exactly what Angela meant. During one of my long days at the NICU, a few days after I had been sent home, I took a break to go out by the elevators and grade final exams. My daughter Hayden was very ill at that time. In the time that I sat there, the elevator doors kept opening to spill forth beaming fathers, carrying car seats. A short time later, the same dads would emerge from the maternity ward, accompanied by Mom, a nurse, and their precious bundle in the car seat, all headed for home. Now, I’m not one to begrudge someone their good fortune, but it got to the point that I called my brother and said, “I swear, if I see one more balloon-festooned car seat go past me, I will pop every one of those balloons!” In the end, I had my moment to take my own precious bundles home, as did all of these moms. We are the lucky ones, and we know it. If nothing else, the haphazard natures of our various labor and delivery experiences at least prepared us for something else that will never go according to plan, especially when it comes to twins --- parenthood! Kristen Cleary is an English professor and writer, who is currently playing the full-time role of single mom to her six-monthold twin girls, as well as her nine-year-old mini schnauzer and seven-year-old Yorkie. She writes about the four-ring circus that is her life at


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


appy summer

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

keepy app Touted as the new way to preserve and share your life’s story with family and friends, Keepy allows you to save photos and videos of all of those precious firsts...first steps, the first smile, the first day of preschool, that first date, name it. You can also save the countless pieces of artwork without having to dedicate a new wall to it each week. It’s like the refrigerator door of your phone! Through your site, you can record either yourself or your children narrating the story behind each photo to give clarity to the memory. Then, simply share your site with family and friends so that they too can access the wonderful memories you’ve made either on their phone or the web. The really cool thing is that they too can leave voice video or text comments on each photo or video, allowing even more enrichment of the memory. This app is a great way to organize and share your family’s memories over the years. 74


for the preschool and under crowd Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games provides helpful voice narrating, bright graphics and sound effects to keep your children engaged and learning letters, spelling, math and more! The free version only offers 2 games, but through an in-app purchase, you can get 12 more. Games include skill builders like memory, addition and subtraction, puzzles, counting down, and the alphabet, etc. An award-winning app, the Alpha Tots app teaches the alphabet through action verbs and phonics (M is for Mowing). The app includes puzzles and games, plus a sing-along song built around the alphabet. Graphics are colorful and bright and the navigation is easy for event the youngest kids. There are also no in-app purchases and no third party ads popping up throughout the game play. for those 5 and up The popular reading program Bob’s Books finally made it to the digital screen. While it doesn’t offer the program in its entirety, it offers the basic concepts for teaching your children to become independent readers. The first app in the series features 12 scenes with 50 words, as well as phonic sounds and activities to practice their reading skills. If your kiddos run at the thought of learning about science, but are fans of the nasty things in life, they’ll love the Gross Science app. They can learn how to create snot, grow mold and even recreate the smell of stinky feet. These gross experiments are so cool they’ll create science fans for life! Who couldn’t use a little extra help counting and learning about money? With Peter Pig’s Money Counter, kids practice sorting and counting coins to earn money for their banks. They learn fun facts about US currency, learn how to recognize the coins based on value, and how to add them up. There are three difficulty levels to play as kids progress. For older elementary aged kids, Mystery Math Museum introduces math through the look and feel of a dark, brooding science and nature museum (but there’s nothing scary!). Basic skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division go through 50 and are customizable depending on your child’s level. Through the various games, they can rescue dragonflies, unlock secret doors, earn paintings for their gallery, and so much more!

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

what’s in your bag? every mom needs a great bag... this one just happens to be a Pacapod (perfect for everything for you and your little ones!).


- every mom needs a great pair of shades!

contigo water bottle - perfect for keeping hydrated at home or on the go!

ipad mini - great for waiting to pick up at camp or when at the pool or beach

sugar snap files - great for keeping little

things handy (i.e. nail file, gum, lipsticks, etc.)

bee silk bar natural bar lotion

to keep your hands silky smooth, all year long!

layers hand sanitizer - feel good about being clean! stress away

- This Young Living essential oil blend smells like a tropical drink and helps melt away your worries!

quest protein bar - moms need great snacks,

too! These have a great carb/fat/protein ratio to curb your appetite for hours.

ear hurt on which child. You likely don’t remember when each baby started clapping, crawling, walking or talking either.


signs you’re a mom of multiples

by julie mccaffrey

1. You use the word “singleton” far too much. From the moment you became pregnant with multiples, this word becomes part of your vocabulary even if you have never used it before. Something happens and you are no longer able to utter the singular word “baby”, but will always now use “singleton” instead. 2. You hate packs of three (and if you have triplets you hate packs of four). Packs of three mean you are either always going to be one short of whatever the item is or you will have two more than you need. And with multiples at home, we don’t need any more extras of anything lying around. 3. You have to answer ridiculous “multiple” questions everywhere you go. Yes, they are twins. No, they are not identical. Yes, I am sure because one is a boy and one is a girl. Yes, they were natural (aren’t all babies?). Yes, I delivered them. Yes, they run in my family. Yes, I have my hands full. No, I am not necessarily done now. Yes, really. 4. You have become a pro about filling out paperwork. You very quickly figured out the exact questions you can fill out that are the same for each child before making a copy and then filling out their individual info. You also know which spots you can leave blank when filling out papers without a copier around. 5. Your pediatrician is constantly getting different/wrong/mixed up answers. When your kids are sick, you can’t keep straight who started vomiting first, who had the higher fever or which 76


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

6. You are a pro at getting around town and plan your trips around who has the widest aisles, double shopping carts and fastest checkout lanes. Despite the fact that you have to travel everywhere with a double stroller and a giant bag full of supplies, you can strategically plan to get errands done and get back before naptime. And you know which Target stores have the carts that will fit three kids and can maneuver it around like a race-car (at least when you’re able to snag one before the mom of a “singleton” claims it!). 7. You are counting ALL the time. People in public places may think you are muttering to yourself, but you are just constantly counting your children to make sure everyone is accounted for. 8. You roll your eyes at the thought of a Mommy and me Class. There is no way you can take a swimming class, and trying to keep everyone engaged in a music class by yourself is a better workout than the gym. 9. You are always on the phone with your insurance company. Your insurance provider is always rejecting claims because they think they are duplicates and you always have to call and explain your kids have the same birthday because they are twins. You often have to convince your agent that you aren’t trying to fill a prescription too soon because it is for a different child. 10. You can do almost anything one handed, including change a diaper, change dirty clothes and make dinner. You always need your second hand to hold another baby

or distract another child from your task. One bicep may be larger than the other and one of your hips may be higher, but this permanent position only enhances your ability to complete tasks with one hand. 11. No one ever offers to car pool with you because they don’t have enough seats for your kids. Your kids can’t go with a friend for an impromptu playdate and no mom can casually offer to bring your kids home at the end of an activity, but you can somehow manage to be at two places at the same time so your kids don’t miss out on anything. 12. You take multitasking to a whole new level. You can kiss a boo-boo, brush someone’s hair and pack a school backpack like a pro, all at

the same time! Your friends marvel at how much you get done and still have the ability to hear everything that is happening in every room of your house. Multitasking is really a superpower, and as a twin mom, you’ve got it mastered! Julie McCaffrey is a mommy to 3 kids, including one set of twins. Julie owns BabyNav Baby Planners where she offers personalized consultation to new and expecting parents. She is a modern baby gear expert and loves to help moms and dads navigate everything from baby gear to preparing for multiples to getting back to work and getting the whole family on a routine. Follow her on Facebook or check her out at www.


Myles, 21/2

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

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! multiplicity

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Made in Michigan

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


we know they’re not always this angellic. we also know they don’t come with manuals.

let us be your guide.

Baby Gear Guide 2015 photo courtesy of firewife photography

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

available to subscribers in print and online now!

chic design with multiples in mind!

full service. e-design. textiles. blog. 78


the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

We think twins are pretty awesome

and we know you do, too! Let us know why your twins are super special and you could be selected to win a fun prize from our sponsor, Step2. All entries are reviewed and the winner is selected by the Mom Squad. Entries should be submitted by residents of the continental U.S. only.

Congrats to this quarter’s winners!

of the month

avery & benjamin

sponsored by


tucker & chloe

samantha & alexandra

the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples


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



the must-have magazine for all moms of multiples

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