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summer 2016

tips to encourage positive body image for girls

reignite the passion

& more!

summer imagination

30 fun ideas how to raise

superhero kids 1

school tools:

tips to head back www.multiplicitymag.com


emotions and outcomes around fetal syndrome diagnosis and support.

photo courtesy of drew photography & events


life’s a circus: learn to live it up! 6 9

Twins in the City: Tips for Getting Around With Twins The Dr. Is In: Tips on Staying Hydrated

10 It’s Twins! 8 Ways to

Announce Your Pregnancy

13 SPD + Summer: Tips for Avoiding Disaster

14 Tips for Eating Out with Twins 16 Dad Confessions 18 Lifting Up Our Girls: Encouraging Positive Body Image

20 Get Back on Track for School! 24 Twins in School: Tips for a Smooth Transition

26 Back to School Cool --- Tools

Water Wear

46 Are They Ready for a Pet? 49 Appy Summer 50 Let Them Do It: A Chore Chart 54 Party Twinspiration 60 How to Encourage New

Experiences Without Inciting Fear

64 Ward off Mosquitos Safely +

Naturally with Ntrinsiq Works

66 The Great Candy Run: The 68 Behavioral Challenges at Home and How to Work Through Them

Schools Play a Role

72 Family Friendly Meals 74 Tough Transitions:

Book Review Raising Superhero Kids Reigniting Your Passion? Here’s How to Get Started

42 Passing the Baton: When it’s Time to Let Them Do More


Sweetest Finish Ever!

70 3 Things I Would Tell My

Fashion Finds for Summer


for the Ages

for Heading Back

30 School Choice: How Charter 32 34 36 40

44 Beat the Heat with UnderCover

Pre-Kid Self


Moving to the Sippy

76 The Buzz for Summer 77 30 Fun Ideas for Summer

78 DIY Kid’s Art Center by YES Spaces

80 Preparing for When

One Must Stay Behind

cover cuties, audrey + charlotte, 2


These girls love to go for walks and run to the playground to get on the swings or go down the big kid slides. Audrey is the first born and may end up being a pilot or anything that will scare the crap out of mommy such as riding a motorcycle, skydiving, etc. She is a socialite and says hello to everyone. Charlotte is a little engineer. She was putting puzzle pieces together at 9 months old and will sit with whatever she is trying to do until she figures it out. She also loves to write/color and always has a smile on her face. photos courtesy of Amanda Paul Photography multiplicity


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After my girls’ year in school (we wrapped up our elementary career and are moving on to middle school!), I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready for a summer break! While we’ll certainly incorporate some educational components, we plan to have a summer of fun, complete with beach and camping trips, lots of pool time, art and sports camps, and even a special road trip to celebrate the end of summer. Hopefully, you have some fun planned for yourself and your family, too, and with that said, we have some great features on enjoying the summer, questions to ask on whether your kids are ready for a pet, or more importantly, if they’re ready to take on more responsibility. Have a child with ADHD and don’t know what to do? I share my personal experience and journey with helping one of my twins overcome and manage many of her difficulties and hope that it serves as a tool to help you get started should you need it. Leaving one behind? One twin mom shares her experience and a few tips for helping you prepare

should you need to leave one of your twins in the NICU when the other is released. If you think it’s hot outside, we’ve also got some great tips for heating things up in the bedroom. We know how hard it is for parents of multiples to have time alone, and especially when it comes to that, so here’s to our tips helping set the mood and make you understand how important your intimacy is. For those who like to really plan ahead, we’ve got some great information on how to transition and get ready for back to school (with some of the coolest products, too!). Not happy with your current school choice? We share some information on charter schools and how it may be the answer for your family. And while you’re getting in the spirit of heading back to school, we have a fun little DIY project that would come in handy for this summer’s crafts and even once school starts back. No matter where the summer takes you, soak up the sun and embrace the memories you’re making together!

Talitha A. McGuinness executive editor talitha@multiplicitymag.com

be sure to follow us on.. 4


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Editor / Creative Director Talitha A. McGuinness Contributing Writers Dr. Preeti Parikh Natasha D’Anna Michelle Somers Amy Houts Barbara Miller Julie McCaffrey Nellie Harden Christopher Stoll Cara Krenn Dr. Joan Friedman Angel Rodrigues Alyssa Keel Rick Meyer Payal Tello Kerry Bergeman Jessica Therivel Paula Yost Schupp Gwen O’Keefe Rachel Tabbouche Contact us: 4700 Hilton Lake Road Kannapolis, NC 28083 980.721.5799 www.multiplicitymag.com

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

when dips in the pool become baths, slushies become dinner, chasing fireflies is family fitness, and putting off dreamland for one more story, you know summer is here.

happy summer

twins in the city:

getting out and about with young ones in NYC

by amy houts 6


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“It only takes five adults to care for two babies,” my mother said of her one-year old twin greatgrandsons, Tobiah and Jake. My husband, Steve, and I were visiting New York City with our daughter, Emily and son-in-law, Nick. It was their idea. We never would have suggested a trip to NYC with babies. Nick is a big Chicago Cubs fan, so for his birthday, they wanted to attend a Cubs/New York Mets baseball game at Citi Field in Queens. They asked Steve and I (Grandma and Grandpa) to babysit while they attended the game. But we had so many questions. How would we get around with babies? And where should we take them? I knew we wouldn’t be attending Broadway plays or the ballet or concerts as we had on previous city visits. What would we do? How would we feed them? We asked friends, did a little research, talked and planned everything out, and as a result, had a wonderful trip and experience. Here’s how you can, too! TRAVELING IN THE CITY We brought umbrella strollers for the twins, which folded up for easy storage on the bus, in a restaurant, and the hotel. My daughter had considered buying a double umbrella stroller, but decided two separate strollers would be easier for us to maneuver and store, and she was right. We all took turns pushing. We either walked or took buses. Thankfully, we only got caught in the rain once early in our trip. KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS For lunch the first day, we ate at the Potbelly Sandwich Shop where we fed the boys in their strollers because they didn’t have any highchairs. Needless to say, before we went to dinner, we telephoned several of the restaurants. Some had only one highchair or none at all. So we

Googled “Kid-Friendly NYC Restaurants in Midtown,” and found an Italian restaurant with good reviews. Kids can only sit comfortably in a stroller for so long, and who knew something as simple as a high chair at a restaurant would be so hard to find? After arriving, we found out that every table was filled (on a Tuesday night) and we would have to wait for over an hour. Not wanting the boys to have a meltdown as we waited, we left. Next time we would make a reservation. Fortunately, we had passed HB Burger on our way to the Italian restaurant. They were able to seat us and had the required number of high chairs (plus the food was good). Although the boys had mostly grown out of baby food and bottles, my daughter and son-in-law brought both along to make meals simple and help ensure the boys had nutritious food to eat. They also ate from our plates, but their “comfort” foods helped ease the transition of being away from their routine and off their schedule. We also ordered delivery and takeout either near the hotel where Emily’s family was staying or my mom’s apartment, where Steve and I were staying. KID-FRIENDLY PLACES Anywhere you can push a stroller, even if it’s perceived as being quiet (like a museum) is a good place to take a baby. Toby and Jake loved the Metropolitan Museum, as there were so many things to see! We walked through Central Park near the zoo, but felt the cost to visit the zoo was prohibitive when the boys were this young ($18 for adults and $13 for children). We’ll reserve that for a future trip when perhaps they can have memories of what they did and saw. multiplicity

Something unusual I had never done, even though I lived in New York and visited many times, was ride the Aerial Tramway to Roosevelt Island. On the way there, it wasn’t crowded so we could stand near the window for spectacular views of the city. Emily, a shutterbug, shot several photos on her phone. Due to the number of bags needed for the boys, she didn’t pack her Nikon camera. Once there, we took a walk on a tree-lined pathway along the water and then rode the bus (for free) around the island. The boys enjoyed the ride, and on the island they were allowed to stay in their strollers while riding the bus. Back in Manhattan, we took the boys out of the strollers and folded them up as soon as we saw our bus arrive at the bus stop. Having extra people to hold babies and strollers helped. If you’re planning a trip and need some ideas on where to go, here’s a list of places we visited: OUTSIDE *Central Park: Spans 5th to 8th Ave and West 59th through 110th *Rockefeller Center: 47-50th Streets and Avenue of the Americas *Times Square: Between Broadway and 7th Ave and West 46th and West 47th Streets (best not on the weekend when the streets are too crowded to move) *St. Catherine’s Park: Corner of East 67th and 1st Ave (playground with baby swings, slides, etc.) *Aerial Tramway to Roosevelt Island and bus around island: Roosevelt Island Tramway Station (Manhattan Side) East 60th and 2nd Ave *Bryant Park: 6th Ave between West 40th and 42nd Streets INSIDE *Metropolitan Museum: 5th Ave

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between 80th and 84th, New York, NY *FAO Schwarz Toy Store: 767 5th Ave, New York, NY *Bed Bath & Beyond: Several locations. We went to the 1st Ave location near East 60th (with Buy Buy Baby to stock up on supplies) A FEW TIPS FOR THE TRIP Definitely have a plan for where you’re going to visit, how you’re going to get there, how long you’ll stay, etc. Keep your twins’ schedule in mind, especially if they still nap so that you can be sure you’re back at the hotel at that time. The better rested and adjusted they are, the better trip everyone will have.

Know enough about the places you’ll visit to know what you should pack along with you and what you can get when you get there (i.e. snacks, change of clothes, etc.). Know the transportation system --- will you be taking a taxi or van, the bus or the subway? This will determine the need for equipment you may need (i.e. car seats, strollers, carriers, depending on size, etc.). Since NYC has so much going on at all times, you shouldn’t need to worry too much about packing extra things to entertain them. Just take in the scenery and learn from everything around you.

HEADING HOME Traveling home didn’t go quite as smoothly. We were all tired. Arriving for our evening flight (which left La Guardia at 7 pm) 3 hours early allowed us to take our time in the busy NY airport and to eat dinner. Jake cried just a little before drifting off to sleep in Grandpa’s arms about

an hour after boarding the plane. Toby wasn’t very fussy, but fought sleep until the last half hour of the 2 ½ hour flight. In retrospect, an earlier flight may have better suited them and their regular routine. Despite the few kinks in the trip here and there, we all had wonderful memories of our first twins vacation to the Big Apple to carry us back to the Midwest. With a little research, planning and know-how, you can have an amazing city experience with your twins, too!

Amy is the author of over 60 books, numerous articles, and poetry. She loves the special connection and relationship of a parent and grandparent to a child. Having multiples in the family makes everything more fun! To connect with Amy, find her on facebook, linkedin and twitter. 8


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the dr. is in:

tips on staying hydrated this summer

It is summer and the time for outdoor fun, vacations and day and overnight camps are in full swing. Since they spend so much more time outside during this hot time of year, it is important to make sure your children stay hydrated and cool to prevent heat illnesses that can ruin even the most fun activity. Here are some easy tips to implement: 1) Schedule outdoor activity early in the morning or later in the afternoon/ evening to help avoid the heat. The sun is typically at its hottest during the hours of 1-4pm. Plan indoor activities and take a break during this time to avoid overexposure and heat exhaustion. 2) Schedule breaks every 10-15 minutes during any activity that lasts longer than an hour. This is particularly important for sports camps that require a lot of

by dr. preeti parikh

running and movement, as children will lose fluid through constant sweating. 3) Encourage athletes to drink four to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish fluids they are losing from sweating. Cold water or sports drinks that are low in sugar are both good options for hydration. 4) Wear a single layer of loose fitting clothing in light colors. Darker colors can absorb more solar radiation. 5) Allow time for children to acclimate to the weather. For young children, it could take up to 14 days for their body to get used to the heat and humidity. To ward off a medical emergency, you should know the signs of heat stroke. Symptoms include a fever greater than 104o F and/or brain symptoms such as confusion, combativeness, passing out and/or cardiac or heart failure. In any such case, dial 911 and keep the child cool by heading indoors or staying in the shade with a cold, wet towel to help regulate temperature. Source: Care of the Young Athlete Patient Education Handouts (Š2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)

Dr. Preeti Parikh is a board-certified pediatrician and serves as the Chief Medical Editor of HealthiNation, a medical expert on thebump.com, medical contributor to Multiplicity, and has contributed to various other publications. Her goal is to empower both parents and children with the right knowledge and tools to achieve their optimal health. She enjoys her free time with her husband and twin children. multiplicity the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples 9

8 your twin pregnancy! creative ways to announce

by julie mccaffrey 10


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photo courtesy of jane goodrich photography

hether you want a fun way to announce to your friends and family, a special way to tell your husband, or a way that will make the whole world know that you are expecting multiples, there are a lot of ideas to choose from. These 8 ways to announce your twin pregnancy will be sure to bring some creativity and personality to your announcement:

1. Claim your superpowers.

You don’t just make babies, you make two babies and this is your chance to tell the world! Have a t-shirt or sign made with sayings such as “Every Superhero needs a sidekick. I am getting two” or “I Grow Twins. What’s Your Superpower?” and grab your camera. You can make this really fun by adding bright colors and capes to your set, and maybe even create a simple backdrop of a city using paint and an old appliance box cut into a rectangle.

2. Shoes and more shoes.

Take a photo of you and your partner with two pairs of shoes in between you. This can be a subtle way to make the announcement, but you can make it personal by adding shoes that speak to your family such as tiny little running shoes if you are an active family. If you know the sex of your twins, this is also a great way to announce that at the same time. You can make the shoes little ballet flats and/or tiny loafers.

3. Schedule a photo shoot (but don’t tell your partner). Not only is it great to be able to surprise your partner with the news that you are expecting twins, but capturing it in a photo or on

video is even better. Tell your partner you want to do a photo shoot of just the two of you and bring along an ultrasound picture. Work out with your photographer before to take a picture with you holding it behind your back and then be ready to shoot as you show it to your partner. Capturing their expression will be something you can treasure for years to come.

4. Choose a phrase. “Double trouble arriving soon”, “Oh, Baby. Oh, Baby. What else can we say? We have two babies on the way!” and “Twice the Blessing, twice the fun. Two miracles instead of one” are all phrases that you can put on a sign or banner and make your own. Get creative with multiplicity

the colors, your outfits or the setting and have someone capture the moment so you can share with everyone.

5. Laugh at your sickness.

Feeling sick all day and not being able to stand the smell of anything is not normally something that is ever funny. However, laughing about it in your twin pregnancy announcement can be really fun for everyone else. Take one picture of you “getting sick” with the caption “We’re expecting...” and then take one of your partner “getting sick” with the caption “With Twins!”. This not only makes a great announcement to send out to your closes family and friends, but a fun, light way to share across social media, too.

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6. Get personal. Plan a photo shoot with

items that speak to your family. If you are adventurous, take a picture of you and your partner in sleeping bags with two little sleeping bags in between you. If you are big sports fans, wear your favorite jerseys holding two tiny versions. If you love to be on your bicycles, get on the seat and put two tricycles between the two of you. Think about the things you love and want to share with your babies, and incorporate them into the shoot!

7. Use older siblings! If you already have children, using them to announce your twin pregnancy can get super cute, super quick. Take a few pictures with different boards announcing your pregnancy and then get them to make a big surprised face for a picture with a board that says you are expecting twins. You can even give your child their “eviction notice” from their crib explaining that you need to make room for two. You can also just grab your camera and capture their expression as they are told they are going to get not just one, but two little siblings! 8. Give gifts. If you don’t want to get the

moment on film and just want to tell your partner or family, giving a gift is a great way to announce in private. You can give grandparents a bib or onesie that tells the story. You can frame an ultrasound picture and wrap it up as the ultimate gift to your partner. If it is around any holiday, you can make it more creative. You can have a custom ornament made for a Christmas tree, put a pacifier in an Easter egg or even put the news in a box of Valentine chocolates. Regardless of how you choose to announce, just revel in the joy of being a parent to twins! Julie 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, Twitter and Instagram, or check her out at www.babynavbabyplanners.com. 12


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summer + sensory processing disorder: keep it from spelling disaster

by the mom squad

Summer means a more flexible schedule or perhaps no schedule at all, inconsistent sleeping and feeding schedules, and lots of fun in the sun. While most children enjoy a day on the beach with all the fun things to explore, including the untamed surf, this type of scenario could spell disaster for a child with sensory processing disorder. The sand, heat and the breeze may irritate their sensitive skin; the crowds and the noise would upset them. For a child with sensitivities, the whole situation could simply overwhelm them. Here are a few tips for enjoying the summer with your sensitive little ones in mind.

sunscreen because they don’t like the way it feels, see if a sun shirt or protective clothing will work better instead. There are lots of ways to enjoy indoor activities in summer, too, or at least perhaps wait until it isn’t so bright and hot outside (i.e. early morning or late afternoon). If it’s cold water that irritates them, look for indoor waterparks where the temperature of the water and air is warmer. Tune into what you see they like and know that for now, those types of activities will work best for your family for everyone to have a great time.

keep to the schedule.

avoid or plan for surprises.

Children with sensitivities depend on structure and when they know what is expected or what will happen at a certain time, they are more likely to thrive in any environment, especially when it is new. This goes the same for their diet and rest. If there are certain foods that serve as triggers for your child, be sure to avoid them at all costs, even if everyone else is being a little more lax in what they eat. Also, be sure your children eat and rest at consistent times, as any hungry and tired child will meltdown given the proper circumstance.

know your child.

If your child or children panic at the thought of water or get upset easily by bright light, you should consider what activities might work best for them in summer. Perhaps a day at the waterpark or splashpad isn’t in your future. If they run from multiplicity

There can be many sensory triggers for your child and you likely know most or all of them. Sometimes, surprises can’t be avoided, so be sure to talk to your child about any transitions from one activity to another well enough in advance so that he or she is prepared. If a plan falls through, have a back-up plan and again, communicate that. In case of a meltdown, have a box or bag with special items that make your child feel good to help control the emotions in this type of situation. This might be earmuffs, a blanket or weighted vest, toys for fidgeting, etc. Summer shouldn’t cause anxiety for your sensitive child or for yourself. Just know your child’s specific sensory needs, have a plan and stick to their routine as much as possible, and you’ll both come out enjoying the time of year! the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


tips for eating out {without feeling like a circus show!}

by nellie harden


here are so many things we give up, put on hold, say goodbye and hello to when we bring children into this world. I think we can all agree that going out to dinner is one of the most basic acts we all took for granted before children. But what about after children? So many are afraid to take this leap because of what MIGHT happen. Let me just tell you… it will happen. There, now we can move on and navigate the waters of getting out there, being human and going out to your favorite place every once in a while when you need that escape or the fridge is empty, or most likely, both. When we brought home our first daughter 11 years ago, we went out to eat almost right away. I still remember the meal. It was chilly-cheese 14


fries and a chocolate milk shake at one of our Chicago favorites. Considering I now have a career in nutrition, that is completely appalling and embarrassing, but such is truth sometimes. I had my little one right there with us with all the noise and chaos surrounding her tiny pink covered car seat. I didn’t know many things as a new mom, but I did know that I never wanted her to subscribe to the “rest can only happen in my own bed when it is 100% quiet” mentality. Those times are great, too, but life is life and it is not always quiet. Another mentality that I was not allowing was the one where the children become accustomed to running the show. They will have decades of their lives, “in charge”, but first they have to know how

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to respect their parents, elders, communities, time, siblings and themselves. If they are in charge at age 1 going forward, how are they going to understand how to effectively lead later in life. Everyone must learn before they can teach. To be honest, we never went through the hesitation of taking kids out to eat, even as the twins were born two years later and our fourth daughter came 2 years after that. However, I have met a considerable amount of petrified parents that will not even consider the prospect. Here are some mental checklists to go through before you head out the door. • Poop happens - pack an extra set of clothes, wipes, diapers etc. and if you are out of that phase, accidents can still happen. An extra set of clothes

in the car is always a good idea. This goes for spitting up/reflux as well. • Screaming and Crying happens - bring things to entertain them. Toys, books, coloring, snacks, etc. all go a long way to keeping them happy. I would avoid, if possible, the electronics at the table. That can lead to manner issues down the road and thinking it is alright to dismiss themselves into the world of their electronics instead of being an active part of the family or group. In 11 years, we have only ever had to leave a restaurant once, and that was when the twins were about 5 months old. It happens. • Make it a family affair as they get older. It is a meal. Ask how they are doing, how their day was and get involved with them. This is not a date, this is a family meal. Save the 1:1 time for later or when you have a sitter. Talk about the food choices and what they want and can have. • You want to avoid the silent restaurants because I promise you will not be silent. Family friendly establishments with child menus are best. Not that you have to order off the kid menu, but it shows they are prepared when your little ones would prefer grilled cheese over chicken and broccoli. • Nutrition Corner - order a side salad with every kids meal. Even if it costs a bit more, it is worth the splurge because it sets them up for good practices going forward. If you HAVE to have french fries, order one order for the family and everyone gets a few. Same with dessert. Every person does not need their own Brownie Sunday. Share and eat

it together as a family. • Financial Corner - Sometimes you as the adult can get a “child’s portion”, which is plenty. Many times you can have the kids share an adult meal for cheaper than two kids meals. When you have so many kids, you learn to work the system to best fit your family and your wallet. Also, look around your area and see when kids eat free or search online or in your weekly newspaper, as some restaurants offer coupons. • Learning Corner - this is a terrific time to show and model to your children what proper behavior is in a restaurant. Not getting up and running around, not being loud and yelling after your sibling and not throwing things to model. It is a great time to work on manners and show respect for others, as well. When they get old enough you can have them order for themselves and they will eat up that trust from you and independence for themselves. My family and I have enjoyed so many, (possibly too many), meals out in the last decade, and I look forward to so many more. Going out to a meal will forever change after you have children, but it certainly does not need to stop. Enjoy this experience as a family and use it as a teaching moment. Nellie has been married for 14 years and is a mom of four little girls. In addition to being a homeschooling mama, she works with families, schools and corporations to inspire healthy living through good nutrition practices and growing whole foods. She also enjoys writing about all of life’s adventures on her blog. Catch up with her on facebook and twitter. multiplicity



Despite the possible dread of eating out with your crew because of the unknown behavior that may arise, cost is always a factor with multiples and larger families, too. Here is a list of national chains that offer reduced prices for kids or even “Kids Eat Free” days. Be sure to check your local mom and pop restaurants for deals and savings, too, as it’s always great to support local businesses! *Backyard Burgers *Bob Evans *Cici’s Pizza (3 & under) *Denny’s *Firehouse Subs *Golden Corral *IHOP *IKEA *Lone Star Steakhouse *Luby’s Cafeteria *Maggiano’s *Moe’s Southwest Grill *On the Border *Pizza Hut *Qdoba *Steak ‘n Shake *TGIFriday’s *Tony Roma’s *UNO Chicago Grill *Buffalo Wild Wings *Fuddrucker’s *McAlister’s Deli *Ryan’s Steakhouse *Which Wich Superior Sandwiches

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dad confessions

by christopher stoll 16


When I sat down to begin writing this article, I was full of whimsical little anecdotes about my experiences with my twins. I wanted to share some lighthearted exchanges about my successes, my failures, and the countless things I have learned over the last several years. However, that all changed yesterday morning. When I awoke yesterday and flipped on the news to begin my day, I expected the usual. I was counting on the weather, traffic, maybe some politics. What I wasn’t counting on was my heart to be broken, to be confronted with a parent’s worst nightmare. I am of course speaking of the horrible tragedy that took the life of a two year old child and left a family devastated. A child innocently playing in the surf, in a place that is the epitome of fun, happiness, and love, suddenly ripped from his family by the jaws of an alligator. Now, a day later and still reeling with what happened and how that dad tried to save his child, my thoughts have turned to something else. A singular thought has been running through my head...we can’t always be the dads we want to be. It is that simple, really. We are conditioned to protect the flock, to keep the wolves at bay, and sometimes we do just that. Unfortunately, as we see far too often, sometimes we just can’t. There are times that no matter how strong, how smart, how protective we are, we can’t do what needs to be done. This resonated with me for several reasons, one being that I am the oldest child raised for most of my life by a single mother, in a fairly rough neighborhood. I learned early that life wasn’t fair, that bad things happened, and I learned to protect my family. Another reason being that it is part of who I am; I defend women, the weak, the

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underdog. It just comes naturally to me. On several occasions I have stepped into a situation in which I felt I could make a difference. I am not stating this to seem heroic, or to shine a light on my good character; it is just something that seemed right in the moment. Trust me --- I am far from perfect; my flaws could fill another column. Now, even I will admit, that after some solid thinking, some of the situations I have involved myself in, I did not think things through in the moment. However, that is the point. Sometimes there is no thought process, just a reaction. When I stop to think of some the occupations I have held, there is a pattern...Bouncer, EMT, Bartender. Helping, serving people...it just fits me. All of this was put to the test when my daughter Grace turned 18 months old. I learned that she had a life altering genetic disorder, Neurofibromatosis. I had to quickly learn that everything I believed would make me a protector was now changed forever. My Gracie would be facing something that daddy could not beat up, could not chase away, and could not shelter her from. I could not ward off a tumor, could not change her appearance, nor could I fix a potential learning disorder, all of which are now very real possibilities in our lives. Yes, as a family we could get her the best care, love her, support her...but that was not enough

for me. I couldn’t get past the expectations that I had placed upon myself, and I fought with myself constantly, to convince myself that I could still be the father I wanted to be. The feeling of being helpless is like no other feeling in the world, and when it pertains to your heart & soul, it is spirit breaking. I have no shame in admitting, even 6 years later, that the thought of hopes & prayers being the best I could offer, haunts me. Something happened along the way though, I have learned that crying, that showing emotion, that admitting my fears, my worries & my weaknesses, are a strength. I am teaching my children that it’s ok to be honest, that admitting you can’t do something can be empowering. It’s ok to let my guard down, to let my wife see me cry, to show her that I worry, and that I care. Sharing my emotions has gone a long way in healing our family, making us stronger than ever. Our Grace is a healthy, smart, vivacious & beautiful girl, inside and out. As she puts her best effort forward, bringing her smile, her empathy & acceptance of everyone to our everyday life, I will try to match her step for step. I have to admit, there is another reason why the recent tragic story at Disney of the Graves family has hit me so

hard. You see, less than a month ago, I stood less than 100 yards from where the Graves family stood. My family vacationed at the neighboring resort, sharing the same beach, enjoying the same lagoon, doing remarkably similar things. These are things countless families do every day of every year that have always been taken for granted. I stood, as Matt Graves did, as a father --- a father who was basking in the amazing feeling of seeing smiles spread across the faces of his children, who didn’t have any reason to fear the unknown in that moment, who had every right to let his guard down and enjoy life. Unfortunately, as we often learn, life can change in an instant because there are always things out of our control. The unthinkable, the unexpected, can show up in a flash, taking on many different forms. My thoughts are with you Matt Graves, as a father, as a husband, as a man. This will not be easy; you will live with that moment, you will think it over, try to see what could have been different. While you are going through these periods of guilt and selfdoubt, as difficult as it may be, understand that many have stood where you stand. You are a great parent. You did no wrong. You tried your best to do what we do, and you were a dad.

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

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by cara krenn

lifting up our girls: encouraging positive body image 18


Let’s face it --- body image has always been a tough issue for girls, yet it’s gotten a bit tougher over the past decade or so. In today’s social media/ selfie world, where an image of “perfection” is just a click away, it now may be tougher than ever. How do we take the pressure off of our growing girls? By talking through body issues and development and making sure our daughters have positive role models and realistic standards for a whole range of healthy bodies. Many women struggle with body image themselves, so as mothers, this may not always be the easiest task. Below are some ideas for how you can foster a positive environment where your daughters can feel good about themselves --- no matter what their size or shape. Play down gender differentials from an early age. If you have girls, make it a priority not to say “girls don’t do x,y, or z,” or “that’s just for boys.” Use positive language to encourage girls, boost their self-esteem, and tell them that anything is possible so that they see their potential as limitless. Provide

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a wide range of toys and games for your daughters, and let your girls generate their own interests. Don’t talk negatively about your own body in front of your kids...ever! Kids learn body attitudes from parents --- whether to be ashamed and constantly unhappy or whether to be confident in their own skin. If you’re regularly talking about dieting, being fat, or excessively exercising, think about what message you’re sending your girls. Use positive words for bodies and food. Instead of using a word like “skinny” in a positive light and “fat” in a negative light, talk about bodies using power words, such as “strong,” “healthy,” “fit” or “athletic.” Rather than holding up one type of body as the perfect type, talk to your kids about how bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. Bodies change, bodies grow, and it’s our job to treat our bodies well. Instead of labeling foods as “good” or “bad,” try labeling foods as “sometimes foods” --- treats we can eat sometimes, or “always foods” --- nutrient dense foods that help fuel our bodies. Make compliments that aren’t about looks. It’s so easy to use a default compliment for girls such as “You look so pretty!” or “You look so cute!” However, try to pay compliments to your girls and others that emphasize actions instead of looks, such as “Great job riding your bike today,” “You are such a kind friend,” or “You really handled that situation well.” When meeting new girls, try asking what they like to do or

what they’re currently reading, instead of just saying “Your shirt is so cute” with a focus on how they look and/or what they are wearing. Help your daughters stay kids for as long as possible. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has been beyond irritated by the rise in “sexy” clothing for young girls. Resist buying clothing that makes kids look like teens or adults, or clothes that label children as “pretty” or “cute.” Looking for creative clothes that encourage science and exploration? Check out Princess Awesome for their “Secret Ninja Dress” or “Trains Busy Dress.” Talk about media/advertising messaging. Advertising often sets up unrealistic standards that girls internalize as normal. Girls are inundated daily by messages in magazines, television, and online. Talk to your daughters about the images they see and how they make them feel. Are these true representations of women? Try focusing on women that are famous for their defining characteristics and achievements, not for their looks. When possible, set social media limits for preteens and teens. Read a body image book together. For a fantastic list of body-positive books for children, check out A Mighty Girl. From What I Like About Me! (for little kids), A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself – Even on the Bad Days (for middle school kids), to 101 Ways to Help Your Daughter Love Her Body, make sure to find a book that matches your daughter’s life stage and read and talk it through together. It will make a huge impact on how she feels about herself. multiplicity

other resources

We love these additional resources that you can use as a tool to help either guide yourself in encouraging your daughters, or to allow them to explore when the need and time arises. *Dove’s Self Esteem Project, with a focus on empowering young girls to acknowledge and realize their full potential. Visit selfesteem.dove.us for more details and information. *PBS Parents includes articles to help you girls understand the importance of raising strong, independent women. *American Heritage Girls is a growing national program with a focus on social development, leadership, character development and life skill enhancement. *Girls on the Run is a newer national fitness program focused on positive development in girls ages eight to thirteen years old through running programs and workouts. The goal is to educate girls on their potential and to confidently pursue their dreams. *Girl Talk focuses on the middle school aged girl, but is led by high school girl mentors helping them celebrate the triumphs and deal with the trials during this transitional stage in life. The focus is placed on positive self-esteem building, character development and community involvement.

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get back on track

for the upcoming school year 20


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by the mom squad multiplicity

For obvious reasons, most kids go off their schedule in the summer time. They stay up later and they sleep in later and later as the summer goes on. It’s no surprise why it’s hard for them to get back into a routine. “Waking up earlier becomes quite difficult, almost akin to jet lag,” says Dr. Dennis Rosen.* the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


Any time there’s a break from school, especially a longer break like summer, it’s hard for everyone to get back into the routine come August. Everyone gets used to sleeping in, being more flexible with the family schedule, and after lazy days at the pool, family vacations, day trips to the amusement park, summer camps, and playing until dark with the neighborhood kids, who wants to go back to school? Here are a few tips to tuck away for when August rolls around and you need a little help getting everyone motivated to get back into the swing of things!

Go to bed earlier.

These might be fighting words in your house, but if your children have been staying up later, they’ll soon have to give that up for a more reasonable bedtime to be prepared and clear eyed for earlier school mornings. This will certainly depend on your child’s age, too, but make sure they’re able to get enough sleep with the adjustment. Kids from 6 to 13 should be getting between 9-11 hours of sleep, while teenagers between 14-17 require around 8-10 hours.* Have them start going to bed at least 30 minutes to 1 hour earlier 2 weeks before the first day of school, so that hopefully, they are much closer to a reasonable time come the first day.

Revisit that morning routine.

At least one to two weeks before school starts (depending on how resistent your children are and how long it takes them to adjust), start setting that alarm for earlier and earlier wake up times and having breakfast a little earlier, too. Try to have them start laying out clothes the night before and have everything in place (i.e. backpack, lunchbox, etc.). The 22


sooner you start practicing, the better their little bodies and minds will adjust come “go time”.

Start with a good breakfast.

While most kids steer toward cereals and carb-loaded types of foods in the morning, these foods aren’t the best when you’re body has fasted all night. Choosing healthier, fiber and protein filled foods will help give them the energy they need without the crash that often comes from sugary cereals and pastries. Look at having on hand items like pre-cooked turkey sausage, eggs that can easily be scrambled or poached, or even making overnight oats the night before where they can put in items they like best (i.e. chocolate chips, banana slices, blueberries, honey, etc.), let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, and then warm and enjoy.

Review what you learned.

Hopefully, there’s been some sort of educational component to your child’s summer, whether through tutoring, workbooks, or perhaps even online gaming, etc. If not, now might be a great time to start reviewing what they learned from last year to be able to hit the ground running. Much of the first few weeks of each school year is spent reviewing, so this could certainly go a long way in speeding up that process and moving on to newer concepts.

Make a list of goals.

This is great for any age, but for older children, they may want to list out their expectations for the year. Do they want to work harder in a particular subject area? Do they want to try out for chorus or band, or an after school club? Do they need to get in shape for something like

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the football or soccer team? Setting these goals will help them feel more accomplished knowing they succeeded at what they set out to do. If you have younger children, their list may look more like setting out to make new friends or mastering a concept they struggled with last year. Regardless of age, goal setting is a great skill to learn and practice.

Attend school events.

If your school plans any back to school events (i.e. Open House, spirit nights, play dates, etc.), take advantage of those events to help reaquaint your younger children with their school friends they may not have seen all summer. This is especially crucial if you have older kids who may be rising middle or high schoolers who may even be attending a new campus and be unfamiliar with their surroundings. The more they know about their new school, the more comfortable they’ll feel come the first day.

Plan one last fa mily hoorah.

Maybe it was a summer packed with all things fun or maybe you weren’t able to fit in as much as you would have liked. This is a great time to celebrate the end of another time of year and make a few last memories with the family by taking a weekend trip. Talk it over with your kids and let them help plan it so they’ll be excited to go. No one likes a change in their routine, so take things slowly and enjoy what little summer you have left! * http://www.huffingtonpost. com/2012/08/15/back-to-schoolsleep_n_1773950.html *sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/

Our Family Serving Your Family

Photo of Langtree Upper School


We are proudly serving students and their families in: Cabarrus County · Cabarrus Charter Academy (K-12) · Kannapolis Charter Academy (K-8) We take great pride in offering a variety of charter school options to families in North Carolina. Our network of schools spans seven states and serves more than 80,000 students. Each of those students is treated as an individual. Personal learning plans, meaningful parental involvement, highly qualified educators and beautiful campuses are standard in all of our schools. Here, your child is not just a number. Here your child becomes a member of our family.

Iredell County · Langtree Charter Academy (K-12) · Iredell Charter Academy (K-8) Union County · Union Preparatory Academy at Indian Trail (K-8) Wake County · Cardinal Charter Academy (K-8) · Cardinal Charter Academy East (Opening 2017) Gaston County · Montcross Charter Academy (Opening 2017)

Visit www.charterschoolsusa.com to learn about our schools. multiplicity

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twins in school:

tips for a smooth transition by dr. joan friedman

Getting back into the school routine after a more relaxed summer timetable can be challenging for both parents and kids. While many moms and dads look forward to having more structured time for their multiples, the school year demands that the whole family gets back into a more rigid schedule --- which has its pluses and minuses. If this school year is the time your multiples are beginning kindergarten, this is an even more exciting and memorable time, which requires a bit more focus and attention to precious emotional details that accompany this momentous developmental milestone. As many parents of multiples are well aware, different states and even different school districts have varying policies about the placement of multiples. Some have strict regulations about separating them and others will leave it up to the discretion of 24


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the family. So the first order of business is to find out in plenty of time what the school district’s policies are so that you can amply prepare yourself and your children --- especially if they have not had opportunities to be separated in the past. It’s important to understand that the separation anxiety that some twins might experience is not so much about missing their sibling; rather, it has much more to do with the fact that they are dependent upon one another to feel secure and safe because they spend so much time together. Having their “security blanket” wrested away without explanation or preparation will naturally be traumatic and scary. With these ideas in mind, I want to share some advice and suggestions to help enjoy and facilitate these back to school experiences.

Dress your multiples differently

If your multiples are in the same or separate classroom, it will be very helpful to dress them differently or have distinguishing characteristics that make each one clearly identifiable, especially with identical twins. Without this distinction, teachers and other children will have a very hard time deciphering who is who. At times, the default position is simply to refer to each child as “the twins”. Multiples want and need others to know their

names; after the novelty of the confusion has worn off, many multiples feel frustrated and annoyed that they are not recognized singularly. Help them select non-matching backpacks/lunch containers so that they feel special about their own belongings.

believe that twins do not want or need playdates because the twins have each other. They are concerned about having two children over and may not make an effort to get to know you. In the course of the relationship, you can make it clear that your twins would enjoy separate playdates because they are individuals, as well as twins.

Educate teachers about the multiples’ connection Watch out for the Many educators perceive the twin relationship with caretaking syndrome preconceived notions and perceptions that cloud their capacities to evaluate each multiple as an individual. My sons’ high school counselor always was annoyed with me when I followed up to make sure that Jonny and David were in different classes. She told me that since twins are supposed to be best friends, she did not understand my concerns about my wanting them to have separate experiences. Be vigilant about making sure that the teacher has understanding about your children’s different personalities and temperaments and be able to recognize each one by name.

Don’t introduce yourself as the parent of twins Introduce yourself as the mother of Jonny and David, for example --- not the twins. You might be surprised to learn some parents of singletons have issues with twins in general --- not specifically yours. They

It’s entirely probable that one twin may have an easier time adjusting to the new school environment. While it is important that they have empathy for one another, it does not mean that the twin who is adjusting more quickly is responsible for helping his sibling feel more comfortable. He or she may not want to be in a caretaking role now that he has the opportunity to experience being on his own. Parenting is an adult’s job, not one’s twin.

Be prepared for the comparisons + disparities

It is just a matter of time until one child comes home and begins to talk about how he has a friend at school, or how he has made a terrific project, or how great his teacher is, etc. This is a trying but important time for everyone to begin to adjust to a world where things are different, unequal, or unfair, so let them learn it in his or her own way.

Dr. Joan A. Friedman is a psychotherapist who has devoted years of her professional career to educating twins and their families about twins’ emotional needs. A twin herself and having worked through her own twinship challenges and parented her fraternal twin sons, she is a definitive expert about twin development. She is the author of Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children. Her second book that is now available, The Same but Different, addresses the intricacies of adult twin relationships. Connect with her on facebook and twitter. multiplicity

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back to school cool

tools to make going back a little less blah 26


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back to school stories help them rid of those first day nerves with stories from some of their favorite charcters!

color love pencil case keep everything in its place! 4-pack round ring binders

kidkraft study desk with chair

adhesive chalk board roll keep everyone organized!

let little ones feed their worries to their own little worry eater!

sadie robertson fashion folders

storage cubby with bench a place for everything! multiplicity

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decorative series notebooks by miliko post-it note cat dispenser

whiteboard erasers all purpose, all weather shoe in stride rite’s the phibian!

roll them up in style with this colored pencil case

pencil grip to help eager writers learn their way!

so cool! coloring academic planner

assorted backpacks for every style and purpose!



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“cool it� ice packs remove from freezer and pop in lunch sack to keep things cool!

send a little lunchbox love

durable, quality travel cups eco-friendly cloth napkins, set of 5 silicone cupcake molds --- perfect for separating snacks stainless insulated food jar by kids konserve

eggs travel in style with a boiled egg mold

reusable sandwich bags by spbang --- the new kid on the block

food containers for keeping everything in its place assorted lunchboxes for every need! multiplicity

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special feature...

school choice: how charter schools play a role Choosing the right school for your child is a very important decision. Fortunately, North Carolina residents now have many opportunities currently available. In addition to traditional public schools, private schools and home schooling, students can now also attend a public charter school. Although charter schools have been successfully educating students for more than 25 years, some still don’t know exactly what a public charter school is and why it is different from traditional district schools. Charter schools are public schools, which means there is no tuition to attend and the schools must teach the same standards as their traditional counterparts. Students from the entire state of North Carolina are able to enroll in the school and all charters must follow the same regulations as district schools for 30


equal opportunity admissions. The difference lies in the flexibility afforded charters in delivering instruction. Charters receive 100 percent of the state funding for students, but do not receive any facilities funding and only a portion of the local supplements. Charter schools are held to a higher accountability standard than district schools. If a charter school does not perform well or is financially unstable, it can be shut down. But as with any school, the educational success of students is highly dependent upon high quality providers. Charter schools are governed by a not-for-profit board which includes local community leaders. This board is ultimately responsible for the financial and academic health of the schools. The North Carolina Charter Education Foundation,

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which governs schools in Cabarrus and Iredell counties, has partnered with one such provider, Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), to manage its schools. The governing boards’ President is Barbra Bryan and Vice President is Talitha McGuinness. Beth Allen is Treasurer, Beth Compton is Secretary and Wayne Turner, Ivonne Reed and Jessica Rainstein are Directors. “When we partnered with CSUSA to manage our schools, we understood that they have an extensive and proven network of professionals and solid financial strength to give our start-up schools an advantage right from the beginning,” said Barbra Bryan, President of the North Carolina Charter Education Foundation, the governing body that is responsible for the schools.

“We know every student learns differently,” said Craig Paul, principal of Cabarrus Charter Academy. “We can’t just teach to a bell curve and hope some students don’t fall off the grid. We have to focus on each individual student to make sure every single one is reaching his or her highest potential.” This differentiated instruction is accomplished by focusing on data. Student growth is measured often and every student is aware of their progress at all times. By empowering students to actively monitor their growth, they own their success. They seek out ways to outperform their own goals and measure their accomplishments against those of their peers. Students see success at the CSUSA-managed charter schools partly due to the fact that anything less than mastery is unacceptable. “The goal of our educators is to ensure that students learn,” added Andrea Lopresti, founding principal at Iredell Charter Academy. “It does no one any good to fail a student. That is instead showing the failure by the teacher. Every student can learn and if the methods used didn’t allow that student to reach mastery of a subject, it only makes sense to try teaching in another way.” This unrelenting pursuit of excellence for students is a product of yet another differentiating factor that sets the schools managed by CSUSA apart – its quality of educators. Although the State of North Carolina requires only 50% of charter school teachers to be

CSUSA sets its schools apart by providing personal learning plans for students. In a cooperative effort, teachers, parents and students work together to develop reachable and stretch goals. These goals are revisited throughout the year to determine if changes need to be made to help each student gain a higher level of success. certified, CSUSA requires 100% of its teachers to be either certified or actively seeking certification. “We believe every student deserves the most qualified educator to bring them to the highest level,” said Erin Lanou, regional director of the Midwest region of CSUSA schools. However, regardless of how great the educators are, all principals acknowledge that some of the most important contributions made to their schools come from the parents. At every CSUSA-managed school, parents are expected to be actively involved in their child’s education. Typically, parents contribute 20-30 volunteer hours per year depending on how many children attend the school. Studies have shown that students perform better when parents are involved in their education. Parental involvement allows them to better understand their child’s school experience. CSUSA-managed schools embrace character education through the development of classroom communities. Responsive Classrooms and Developmental Designs are implemented in K-8 schools and Restorative Justice at the high school level. This approach focuses on the whole child and multiplicity

builds an academic, social and emotional component that fosters a strong school community. CSUSA believes that how students learn is just as important as what students learn. The connection between positive school climate and quality instruction leads to a higher academic achievement. It also produces responsible citizens who are committed to building stronger community ties inside and outside the classroom. Many of the students participate in community service projects such as charity walks, food and clothing drives. In addition, schools engage in academic competitions that enhance local business partnerships. Balance is an important part of the student experience at these schools and enrichment and extra-curricular activities are offered such as performing and visual arts, athletics, foreign languages, and technology. All schools offer a solid blended learning environment from day one. Classrooms are equipped with interactive white boards, tablets, document readers, TV production lab, laptops and computers to address 21st Century learning skills. To learn more about Charter Schools USA in North Carolina and perhaps in your own state, visit charterschoolsusa.com.

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FASHION FINDS for sun and shade

by talitha a. mcguinness 32


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

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

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book review by angel rodrigues

Sitting down and reading with my children is something that I not only look forward to, but also take some time researching before I begin turning that first page. Here are 12 suggested books that I have read with my children, sometimes as a one shot deal and others reaching chapter by chapter until the very last page was turned. I hope you enjoy this list as much as we did! Roald Dahl is known for many wonderful books, but I chose The BFG for its urgency. This summer, The BFG is coming to the movies and I am one of those people who love to read the book before I see the movie. My children love the story, the random illustrations in the book, and the idea that they are little beans to great big monsters. It’s a great adventure with an action-packed ending that you’ll all love. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is one exception to my rule of novel before book only because as a child I saw The Wizard of Oz every year and without fail. I wasn’t introduced to the book until I became an 34


adult. Then I learned there are 14 books in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum and each one is equally as good. Great characters like Ozma, Rinkitink, and Tik-Tok round out Dorothy’s adventures and The Emerald City. We started with The Wizard of Oz, but chapter by chapter we ended up reading through all 14 books at one point. I promise you --- it is all worth it. What great children’s book list is complete without The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? This book is seemingly so simple, yet so complicated. Each page offers something insightful and elegant about life and the journey each of us takes, while giving the basic simple lesson to children, and all of us, to be kind. Farm to table is more than just a modern concept for branding farmer’s markets, but it is how food was always served and should be sold. Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You A Pie by Edna Lewis shows fresh fruits, veggies, thoughtful nutrition and cooking as wonderfully driven themes in this book. This book teaches children about the importance of family dinners and even comes with recipes that you can try with your children. In The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Mary Lennox starts out as an unconventional hero with her bratty behavior and demanding

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spoiled tantrums, but as the story unfolds the reader is given insight into how she developed those personality traits. As the story unfolds and the main character is orphaned, the reader learns how she is changed by the world she lives in once she is forced to live with family she has never met. Mary Lennox is the type of character that sparks a lot of interesting conversations with your children because they might identify with her or they may know other children like her and in learning about Mary, your children will learn how to change and how to change perceptions. The Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott are a series of stories about these owls that center around Eva the owl and her friends. These are some really smart characters and well written stories. The messages are fantastic and they are attractive little books that entice children to read them on their own. Each one is a fun adventure of smartly written stories that bring Scholastic books and education into a fun atmosphere. James Dean offers the Pete the Cat series of books that my six year old loves to read and look at the pictures, but my eight year old twins love these books. My twins love to act out the stories and find him pretty groovy.

These books come with so many fun-filled adventures that you’ll wonder how little readers can keep up with them all. Gerald and Piggie by Mo Willems is another series loved by my twins. Thanks to Barnes and Noble, they even have the stuffed animal version of them so they can act them out while reading them. Gerald is the lovable simple elephant, and the sometimes explosive and sarcastic Piggie is just that --- a pig. Each character learns a lesson on kindness. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Not only does my daughter love the Ladybug Girl series by Jacky Davis, but so do my sons. Ladybug Girl goes on all kinds of imaginary adventures (with her trusty sidekick Bingo the bassett hound), that promote strong, independent, smart girls who do incredibly brave things. There are new books coming out all the time, and they make for a great read and re-read each time. The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J Sobol, makes for great detective stories if your child likes mysteries. Each story has a wonderful adventure, and offers thought-provoking

ideas that Brown works on to accomplish his goal --solving each mystery. These make for great reads to keep them guessing and using their noggins over the summer! Minecraft is still all the rage, so it’s no wonder that there’s a complete Minecraft Handbook collection. The collection, by Stephanie Milton & Paul Soares Jr., gives Minecrafters all that they need to survive and build great things in the game. They teach them how to create red stone inventions, which they need to make traps and contraptions. The handbooks also teach them hand-to-hand combat against mobs for great fun and learning. Whether they are a new or experienced player, these handbooks are a must-have. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty is based on the historical icon Rosie the Riveter, the story takes the point of view that Rosie Revere is the great, great-niece of Rosie the Riveter. Rosie is a great fan of making things and with her inventions and some confidence, is the greatest kid engineer there ever was. Do yourself and your children a favor --- go out and grab this book in soft or hardcover (not Kindle). The illustrations, combined with the story, is spectacular!

Multiples Illuminated is a firstof-its-kind collection of stories from writers and parents of multiples, as well as expert advice that is a must-have for all parents and grandparents of multiples. It dives deep into the world of raising multiples with beautiful stories and helpful advice. In it, you will find essays on infertility help and hope; finding out and coping with a multiples pregnancy; stories of labor and delivery; stories from the NICU; breastfeeding best practices for multiples; and surviving the infant and toddler stages. As a great guide for parenting in general, this anthology transcends parents of multiples and is a great read for everyone! The book launched on May 1, 2016, and is available on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, and various digital platforms.

Angel Rodrigues is mom to a 10 year old son, 8 year old twin boys, and her 6 year old daughter. She has been married to the best man on earth for over 17 years. She has a passion for writing, humanity, and the common good. You can follow along with her blog or find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. multiplicity

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how to raise

by alyssa keel

ne common worry among parents is whether or not their child will grow up to be an empathetic, kind, and helpful individual.

Having worked as a social worker for over ten years, I have been fortunate enough to work with many families, all of them unique. One common worry among parents is whether or not their child will grow up to be an empathetic, kind, and helpful individual. As parents and important adults for these children, there are many things that we can do now to help raise the type of adults we hope our kids will be. Teaching through modeling One of the most important things we need to remember as adults is that children learn best by watching us. The old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,� cannot and should not apply to parenting. Yes, we are human and will make mistakes, but if it is our intention to raise



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superheroes, we must be them ourselves. When our kids see us standing up for others, they will want to do the same. If we do not want our kids to steal, we should not be eating food from the grocery store before buying it. It may seem insignificant to you, but little eyes are always watching and we want to be the best possible example for our kids to learn from. Admitting when you have made a mistake As parents or adults raising children, and especially multiples, we will often be overwhelmed and exhausted, and we are going to make mistakes. It is natural and totally alright to do so, but it may not seem as natural to admit when you have done so. However, explaining to your

children that you did make a mistake is a powerful learning opportunity. All superheroes will struggle at some point, because with great power comes great responsibility. Pointing out that you did lose your temper, you did not follow through on a promise, or even made a poor choice when driving will allow your child to see you as vulnerable (which we all are at one point or another). Books and movies are often full of characters needing to make choices, and they may not always make the best one. Having a conversation with your child about choices and allowing them to understand that they are not expected to be perfect at all times will ease some anxiety your child may be feeling. Using characters will help your child to visualize these things outside of themselves. Teaching your child the value of an apology We all know that when an incident has occurred between kids, our first instinct is to force the children to apologize to each other and then go about their day. However, kids need to understand the purpose and value of an apology and the proper way to apologize. Often my son will throw me a quick “sorry” and then try to act as if everything is the same, but that has not solved anything. I make sure

that he looks directly at the person he is apologizing to, that he be specific as to why he is apologizing, and that he offers to make it right. As an adult, I know that an appropriate apology will not happen every time, but I also know that apologizing to someone does not undo the pain they have experienced. This is also an important lesson when raising superhero kids; saying sorry cannot replace an action, and there will be times that others cannot or will not accept an apology. When teaching this, children are given the opportunity to understand that their choices and actions can and will affect others, even sometimes unintentionally, and it is our responsibility as superheroes to consider this when we make choices. Admitting “I don’t know” Children are naturally inquisitive, and they will ask us questions that we will not have the answer to. Part of raising exceptional

children means learning together. When there is a question that you cannot answer, explore together. Consider your personal and family values when discussing things, but do not be afraid to confront them so that your child can learn and understand. News and social media bring up many things for kids that they would not normally be exposed to. Being willing to consider all sides to a situation without becoming oppositional will teach your child how to be respectful to other people and their beliefs. Teach empathy; be empathetic When raising kids to be empathetic, we also need to show empathy towards others and explain to our kids the difference between sympathy and empathy. It may be as simple as playing with the new kid in their class or more indepth as discussing why some people live on the street. When a child can empathize with someone else, they have the ability to further understand how they would feel in the same situation, and will be more inclined to stand up for others, make new friends, and make choices that will be considerate to other people. Ultimately, as parents, the most fundamental thing we can do to raise superhero kids is to be superhero parents. We must remind ourselves and our kids how awesome we really are.

Alyssa has worked as a social worker in both Canada and the U.S. for several years. Living in Toronto, she is mum to a rambunctious, curious, and loving three year-old boy and 18 month old identical twin girls. During her high risk mono-mono twin pregnancy, Alyssa began blogging, an extension of her love of writing. Alyssa loves taking photos and impromptu dance parties with her son. Follow Alyssa and her family’s adventures at adventureswithmultiples.com. multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples




the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples



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the low-down on the dirty tips for reigniting your passion

by the mom squad 40


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


Does it seem that it is not as easy to be romantic since the twins came along? Have you noticed a decline in your “alone” or one-on-one time? If you’re like many twin parents, you feel like ships passing in the night. You’re definitely not alone, as research shows that the average life for marriage in America is seven years --- and you can imagine the added toll taken when factoring in a set of twins or more.* If you’re tired of the routine in which you’ve fallen or see that your partner could use a little more attention, take note of these simple steps. First, figure out why the loss of heat. Are you overworked? Does your partner travel a lot? Have you gotten distracted by raising children? Do you make time for each other? Are you even interested in making time for each other? Figuring out these answers will help you know where to go next and whether there’s even a chance to reignite the passion in your relationship. Offer a sacrifice. Just like when you were courting, marriage requires that each partner maintain some level of sacrifice in order to make it work and make each continue to desire the other. Have you brought home flowers for her lately? Could you go see that movie he’s been dying to see, even though you have no interest whatsoever? Sometimes, it really is the little things that make for a happy life and marriage. When we’re each happy with the sacrifices (no matter how big or small), we are more apt to fall into

intimacy easily and naturally with each other. Take interest in each other. While some of us may still hold the same interests we once did pre-kids, chances are we’ve changed a bit. Take note in what your spouse likes to do. Schedule time to have lunch and talk about that book she’s reading. Is he an outdoors guy? Find a sitter or family member for the kids and schedule a day date with him exploring some local hiking or biking trails. You never know...it could just lead to some spontaneous sex in places you never imagined! Keep stress out of the bedroom. As parents, we all get stressed... from our jobs outside of the home, from our volunteer efforts at school, and from running the kids to infinity and beyond and all the demands of parenthood. All of these outside factors, commitments and obligations easily cause stress that we carry with us to bed. Couple them with two people trying to reconnect after any length of time and it’s easy to see why things don’t come so naturally. Just save them for the next day or another time when you’re not trying to be intimate with the one you love the most, or you could end up unnecessarily deflecting the stress onto them. Disregard expecations. No matter who claims the contrary, intimacy and sex is different after kids. That doesn’t mean it’s not good, and it certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be even better. You and your partner just have to communicate what you each want and how you make each other feel. Don’t compare your experience in the bedroom to multiplicity

what you think it should or could be. Take the time and make it what you want it to be. Get reaquainted with touch. Most of us have learned that passion often starts with simple touch, and there’s nothing any simpler than holding hands, kissing and cuddling, or even a good old back rub. If you think about it, each of these are also great ways to make sure that the stress stays out of the bedroom. If it leads to something more intimate, then score one for you and your partner! Learn each other’s hot buttons. What we each liked before we had kids may be different now (especially for us women). Things change...our focus level and attitude toward intimacy, our tiredness due to everything we do in a day, our bodies, etc. Now is a great time to learn what feels good again. When it comes to intimacy and good sex, there’s no rush. Take your time exploring each other’s bodies, what you each like and dislike and how wonderful it can feel again to let someone else have total control over your body and how you feel. Be spontaneous. Granted, this can often be hard with kids around, but sometimes surprising your partner with a little sex midday or first thing in the morning is enough to make you both want more later. While most men are eager whenever we women are ready, this one is on us to step it up and give it a try. Regardless of how you get there, communicate with your partner where you’d like to be intimately in your relationship. Then it’s just a matter of making the time and taking things slowly! *post-gazette.com

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passing the baton: when it’s time to let them do more by natasha d’anna

by kinan copen 42


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


Does it come natural for children to grab the baton and navigate responsibilities on their own one day? Or perhaps, are we as parents preparing to release the baton earlier than children are ready to handle it? Every parent faces this difficult transition during the growing years with their children and so I hope that many of you parents that are ready to pass the baton are on board to do so easily and with the confidence that your children are ready for the added responsibility. We all know that there aren’t any instructional guidelines for appropriate stages and ages of responsibility; however, research shows that children begin to give you clues as to when they’re ready to handle things on their own. Let’s think back to when they were able to take their first steps. You were there to navigate the fall, yet all along, they were ready after watching you model that step by step motion all around them. It is a sense of freedom in a positively reinforced way. Sometimes the question is are we prepared as parents to let go of some of the millions of chores and responsibilities that we tackle in the name of the family each day? Do you find yourself saying “it’s easier to do the job myself rather than the kids doing it”? The reality of having

multiples is that we actually may have double the dose of less responsibility or double the dose of a mess by letting them tackle tasks alone...it all depends on your little ones and their personalities. The only way to approach it is to ask yourself --- am I modeling the behaviors that I want my children to develop along with the confidence to learn new things and not be afraid to succeed or fail? Then ask yourself --- would I rather do it all myself and possibly become overwhelmed when things are piled high? If your answer is yes, you may be modeling the wrong behavior. Parents have this special opportunity of being the first teacher for a child. The behaviors that we manifest are usually modeled and taught, whether we are conscious of it or not. When a child is then sent off to school, there will be other behaviors and modeled responsibilities that they will learn. Wouldn’t it be grand if your child was prepared to handle most of the real world without you as soon as they entered preschool? At this very moment, I am personally trying to prepare my twins as much as possible to alleviate the job of the teachers. In addition, this year has thrown us a curve ball with the expected arrival of a new baby. I now find myself trying to figure out how to hand over the baton to the girls without too much pressure

attached to what is now expected of them. Deciding on what tasks are appropriate can be a challenge, but the benefit of raising your twins to be a team is that you will always win the work of two. When first deciding that your children are ready for responsibilities, introduce them to whatever task with a modeling method. Allow your children to get involved from preparation to clean up --absolutely no cutting corners. Explain to them why you may be separating their clothing in the wardrobe or putting toys in the toy chest and then step back to let them learn their own way (this may take a lot of practice, as they won’t always do it your way and how you like it done --- and that is okay, too!). The truth is that our children are currently growing up in an era of privilege. It has been popularly publicized that many children are learning the possibilities of passing, failing, winning and losing the hard way because they were not taught responsibility. Rather, they are given the award for participating, without understanding why you don’t always get recognized for participation in life. Sometimes, it is more about the lessons learned from losing. Passing the baton to allow them to fail at something teaches them that winning and losing is a great thing when done with self pride.

Natasha is a mom of twin girls, an educator, a self-published writer of a children’s book titled Twindollicious and a blogger, where she shares all things twin like and fashion for kids. She worked in the field of education for almost 10 years before fulfilling her dreams of having children of her own. It was then that she felt she could truly make a difference in a person’s life --- in this case, these two Twindollicious girls with great personalities. Connect with her on facebook and twitter. multiplicity

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tips to

beat the heat from... 44


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

Before you dive into the pool or swing the golf club, make sure you’re practicing proper sun safety for yourself and family. UnderCover WaterWear shares their top sun safety tips to help you have a safe and sunburn-free summer! *Avoid Peak UV Hours—the sun is at its peak between the hours of 10:00 am – 3:00 pm when damaging UV rays are at their highest. Limit sun exposure during this time frame. *Find or Make Shade—if you’re going to be outside with your kids, try and play in the shade as much as possible. Take an umbrella or canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade at all times, as they lack the tanning pigments known as melanin to protect their skin. *Use SPF 30+ Broad Spectrum Sunscreen—from summer to winter, always wear a sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that prevents sunburn and protects against skin damage (UVA and UVB rays). Many sunscreens only protect against sunburn. Reapply every 2 hours at minimum. Sunscreens should also be reapplied after swimming, toweling off, or sweating. *How Much Sunscreen to Apply—each person should be applying approximately 1 ounce of sunscreen prior to sun exposure (about the size of a shot glass full). If you’re planning on being in the sun for an extended amount of time, plan on using ¼ to ½ of an 8 ounce bottle. *Wear a Hat & Sunglasses—protect your skin and eyes from the sun’s damaging rays by wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, and a hat. Make sure your sunglasses provide UV protection. UV radiation is the leading cause of cataracts. Are you prone to melasma? One of the most common treatments for melasma is sun protection, so wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen to prevent them. *Wear Sunscreen When It’s Cloudy—up to 40% of the sun’s UV radiation reaches you on a completely cloudy day. This misperception often leads to the most serious sunburns because people spend all day outdoors with no protection from the sun. So slather on the sunscreen on cloudy days, too. *Sun Safety at School & Daycare—know your school/daycare policy on sunscreen. Some are not allowed to apply sunscreen or treat it like a medicine and need written approval from the parent. Apply to your child before they leave and send them with a hat and protective clothing. *Avoid Sunburns at All Costs—too many sunburns can lead to skin problems in adulthood, including skin cancer. Keep in mind that although tanned skin may look more appealing, tanned skin is actually sun damage, too. Rachel Tabbouche is the founder and CEO of UnderCover WaterWear, a swim and casual wear collection that provides women and girls with swimwear that is both sun protective and offers maximum coverage. It’s perfect for when you want to be active and look good, all while staying safe in the sun. Undercover Waterwear’s modest swimwear is worn on top of your own swim suit. All swimwear has UPF 50+—it protects your skin from the sun’s strong rays without having to apply sun-screen. UnderCover WaterWear is available in Girl’s, Women’s and Plus sizes. Made in the USA. multiplicity

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ready for a pet? 10 ways your kids can be responsible 46


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by jessica therivel

Mom, Dad...can we get a pet? I feel as parents, we all get this question sooner or later in just about every household. The good news is that pets can be an amazing addition to your family in the right situation and with the right pet. Researchers found when they studied children who owned pets that 40% of the kids would go to their pets if they were feeling bored, 32% would go to their pets when scared, 28% would go to their pets if there was a family argument, and 40% would go to their pets when feeling upset (McNicholas, 2002). Owning a pet is also a natural opportunity for your twins to gain some valuable life skills. The obvious primary skill is learning responsibility. What parents may not realize is that their twins can also learn trust, compassion, respect, selfesteem, patience, and loyalty while caring for a family pet. When choosing which type of pet is going to be right for your family, there are three main considerations. The first is to talk as a family about the amount of time you have to give to a pet. Different animals require different levels of care and commitment. For our family, after our dog died, we had to think hard about another pet. As a family, we travel quite a bit and we recognized that a new dog would require so much more time and attention when compared to our elderly dog. It didn’t seem right for our family to add a dog when we knew we were going to be gone so much of the time and we also were honest that we were not prepared to have a pet that needed multiple walks a day. Logically for us, it made more sense to make a switch and choose cats that would be alright with us going on trips away. We are able to have a neighbor come by every other day to check in on them. The second consideration is lifespan. A dog or cat can easily be a 10 to 15 year commitment, whereas a rabbit or hamster may be just a few years and a fish, (at least in our house!), may be only a few months. 47


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responsible in grooming care, they can still participate, whether it’s handing you the brushes or clippers or helping to keep their pet calm during grooming. 4. Managing any exercise or play needs required by your pet. This may mean walks, free play, or time being handled. It is obvious that dogs need walks, but may be less obvious to child pet owners that smaller, cage dwelling animals need time being handled to stay friendly and docile.

main areas of pet care where kids can have this opportunity.

The final consideration is cost. When looking at costs, make sure you look beyond the sticker price on the animal itself. When we were adding to our pet family, one of my twins brought up the idea of a gecko lizard. The geckos themselves are not at all expensive, but then we priced the tank, heater, and LIVE crickets, and then once I figured out they had a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, it was clear that a lizard was not the right pet for us! Once a pet has joined the household, it is time for your twins to take on the ageappropriate responsibilities of pet ownership. There are five 48


1. Feeding the family pet. To make this easy and simple, it might make sense to post somewhere the exact times to feed and what to feed your pet. It can be easiest to connect the pet’s eating time with a routine that already exists in the house. Morning food being given while you all eat breakfast, evening food being connected with dinner or teeth brushing. 2. Cleaning up after the family pet. This without a doubt is the least popular chore for any child, but is a key part of animal ownership and care. Kids need to understand that even though cleaning up after a pet may seem gross to them, this has to be done to keep their pet, their home, and their neighborhood healthy. Try to teach them without nagging and avoid the temptation to tie this chore to reward or punishments. 3. Grooming your pet. This may include brushing, nail trimming, or teeth brushing, among other things. For younger kids, who are too young to be fully

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5. Providing the family pet with comfort when the animal is scared or nervous. Kids are in a great position to physically and emotionally comfort their animals and see how their gentle touch and soft voice may help their dog stop shaking during a thunderstorm or their cat calm down after being startled. Of course as parents, we have a responsibility, as well. We need to be responsible and prepared to step in if our twins cannot or will not provide the animal with what it needs. When we agree for an animal to come into our home, we need to be ready to step up ourselves. Make sure that you don’t say yes to a pet you are unable to do that for or have fears or anxieties about. Finally, keep an open mind. Yes, of course, dogs and cats make awesome pets. There is still a whole expanded world of choices that can work out much better than you would think. Just ask us about our fancy rats, Willie Nelson and June Carter Cash…. Reference: McNicholas, J. (2002). Effect of pet ownership on immune functioning in children & nature of the relationship between children and pets. Department of Psychology. University of Warwick, Coventry.

appy summer

fun, educational apps for everyone in the family!

magic sleep app For parents struggling with getting a newborn to sleep, this app could literally be a dream come true. One of the first things that goes with a new baby is sleep and this app is hoping to reclaim that for new parents. MagicSleep recreates sounds from the womb that soothe and ease babies, but the sounds are also designed to help children and adults fall asleep faster and more deeply. Here’s to getting a little more rest for everyone!

for the preschool and under crowd Teach your kids to read with Montessori Crosswords. This app is great for teaching letter sounds. It also adds a cognitive component of mini-crossword puzzles, as well as consonant blends. This app is completely customizable and includes a special section for parents. Curious World offers learning in 8 different areas based on your child’s age, learning abilities and interests. Parents can also follow along and track their progress and learning. It also suggests fun, interactive offline activities to do with the family that reinforces things they’ve learned. for those 5 and up For a great app that spans the ages (Kindergarten through 12th grade), Aleks is an amazing app for science and math that learns from the user. It tailors the program to what they need most based on their learning levels. Usage can span from 15 minutes to 1 hour of play at any given time.

Holderness Family Video on Fire Safety multiplicity

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let them do it:

a chore chart for the ages 50


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

My husband and I are always discussing what our girls should and should not be doing at each stage of their life as far as chores are concerned. When I was growing up, my brother and sisters and I had very few, if any chores. My parents wanted us to focus on school and enjoy being kids. I remember helping with the lawn, trash and dishes and of course, we always had to clean up after ourselves, but nothing major, especially during the school year. My best friend, on the other hand, had to pick one day of the weekend and spend it cleaning. Her list was always twenty tasks long. She did everything, from bathrooms to wiping doorknobs to windows. It was exhausting! The little ones are two now and we all encourage them to do the same, as well as help putting toys away and trash in the trash can. It can be daunting trying to figure out what tasks to give which kid or if they can handle chores at all. I know many say kids should start pitching in as toddlers and I agree to an extent. Lylla can go and go, but Harper is exhausted by 6:30pm. By the time she gets home from school and sports, homework is complete, she has had dinner and then showered, she is done! There is no room for her and chores during the school week. We decided that on the weekends, they will help in all aspects of the household work and during the week, they can focus on school and sports (with the exception of laundry). They must always put their dirty clothes in the hamper and when I’m ready to fill up their baskets with clean clothes, they must bring it to me empty. If clean clothes are left in there from last time, they better hurry and put them away!

by kerry bergeman

On the weekends, along with the laundry and making their beds, Harper does the multiplicity

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My life is full of lists. I’ve found that making my girls lists not only helped them to read, but taught them to be accountable --- and it makes my life easier! I have a wet/dry board that has their daily to-do lists in order to get ready for school, and after school they have what we call their six things listed on the other side, which is a chalkboard. I also list anything we have going on for the day.

that the girls have to figure out. For some reason this is very exciting for them!

If you are still uncertain, here is a guide that the experts agree is suitable for each age range.

The afternoon list of their six things is as follows: 1. Wash hands 2. Backpack on chair 3. Folders placed on table for me to review 4. Lunchbox, water bottle and snack pack on counter 5. Shoes away 6. Jacket hung up

Honestly, figure out what works for each of your children. We had limited chores and yet all turned out to be responsible adults. It’s not worth the fight to get your child to empty the dishwasher if they just aren’t ready. Personally, I’d rather focus on manners, but that’s a story for another time.

We have been using this system since they started kindergarten and it makes life so much easier. Our mornings are pretty seamless and the afternoons start off on a good note, too. I believe this can be counted as chores, after all, the dictionary claims a chore is simply “a routine task”. Their morning board consists of several of the following: • Dressed • Breakfast • Brush/style hair • Brush teeth • Backpack In school they have “A” day and “B” day, which means they either have gym or not. They each picked a letter and when it’s their letter day, they are the first to get in and out of the car so we avoid that fight. At the very bottom of the board, I usually write a word

photo courtesy of http://www.sportsmomsurvivalguide.com/

dishes and Lylla empties the trashcans. They help with the dog and whatever major projects we have on board.

Kerry is the mastermind behind New2Two.com, a peek at life as a mother of fraternal AND identical twins! Her blog is about life with twins, dealing with infertility, raising awareness for bully prevention, and the challenges of having a daughter with a severe intolerance to dairy. She is the Brand Ambassador/Senior Spokesman of the Twingaroo twin carrier, the first and only ergonomic twin carrier that features a built in diaper bag. Connect with her on facebook, twitter, and instagram. 52


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What to do when they get here should be the last thing on your mind. From breastfeeding, sleep training, getting them on a schedule, and how to twin proof your marriage, Twiniversity classes have you covered. From the best-selling book What to Do When You’re Having Two, parents leave armed with information to help them thrive with their multiples. Expecting? Twiniversity Part I has everything you need to know BEFORE your bundles of joy arrive! Class highlights include doctor’s office tips, equipment you will need, how to find help, delivery day tips, dealing with a NICU stay, and much more! Babies already arrived? Part II covers “a day in the life of your twinnies”, from the moment they open their eyes until you close your eyes at night, and everything in between.

For more information or to sign up, visit twiniversity.com.

classes now available in New York City, Chicago, and online!

a little party “twinspiration� 54


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photos + party ideas courtesy of kristin conk photography

sugar + spice

little bird boy + girl party

photos + party ideas courtesy of hello naomi 56


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

photos + party ideas courtesy of hello naomi

boy + girl party


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photos + party ideas courtesy of twin mama loves

peter pan 58


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photos + party ideas courtesy of karas party ideas multiplicity

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encourage new experiences

without inciting fear

by payal tello 60


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The world of children seems to be divided among those who throw themselves into everything, those who are hesitant to stretch themselves, and those in the middle. If early childhood is all about preparing to leave the nest, the grade school years are all about leaving the nest and building skills, experiences and friendships, and the competencies and confidence that enable a child to meet challenges. *lucy daniels center

mindful of how our reactions can impact their frame of thinking. As parents and caregivers, we should take the time to explain to our children what “just happened,” what the outcomes could have been, and how it could have not only affected the child, but how it could also potentially affect us. If we don’t, we risk the possibility that our children will trust us less.

Any time we encounter something unknown, many emotions can come into play: excitement, fear, anxiety, thrill. The list could go on and on. But what if, at the time of the new experience, we had minimal life experience under our belts? When our children are experiencing something new for the first time, they often lack many of the “life lessons” or past experiences with which to compare that we as adults have. For example: We know that we need to look both ways before crossing a street and to wait for any vehicles in the way to pass. But for a child who is still learning about the concept of cars and traffic, this frame of thinking may not yet exist.

“Children need to know what they did wrong, otherwise, they are going to enter into the fight or flight mode, and they may not learn anything at all. Fear and trust are related. Where there is fear, there will be less trust. If adults want to create trust, then reducing fear is an important activity.” (healthpsychology.org)

Children are natural explorers. They are inherently curious creatures who are trying to learn how to navigate themselves in their new world --- our adult world. When it comes to situations that our children have yet not experienced, there are several ways that we could potentially handle the situation. No matter how we choose to parent, one of the most important things to keep in mind while teaching our littles about the ways (and rules) of life is how our messages are relayed to them.

Fear is defined by MerriamWebster as: to be afraid of (something or someone); to expect or worry about (something bad or unpleasant); to be afraid and worried. So when we think of our children, is this really something that we want to instillin them when they are still learning about the way the world around them works? Think about it: If you, as an adult, were in an unfamiliar situation and took the “wrong road” to try and get out of it, how would you feel if you were yelled at, hit/spanked, or punished without explanation? How much of a learning experience would that really be for you? Furthermore, if you were placed in that situation again, what is the likelihood of you actually knowing the “right” way to get out of that situation versus knowing “what not to do” because you are afraid of finding yourself dealing with the same previous negative outcome? (Mind you, again, that you have an ample amount of life experience and knowledge compared to a child.) When it comes to teaching and shaping our children’s learning experiences and how they deal with unfamiliar situations later in life, it is crucial to be multiplicity

Instead of using power and control over children when they are experiencing something new, we should try to use empathy and understanding. It is ok to explain to your child how you are feeling and the emotions their actions elicited, of course after removing them from any potential threat or harm. For example: When the girls and I were baking muffins one day, they helped me line the tins and pour the batter. After I took the first batch out of the oven, I explained to them that everything was hot and asked them not to touch anything. While I was going to get the bowl of batter so we could start the second batch, “N” tried to reach for the muffin tin. I screamed “NO, IT’S HOT!” and ran to move the tin out of her reach. (It was on the counter and she had moved her step stool over so she could put more liners in it.) Once she was safe, I opened

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up a dialogue with her and took advantage of the learning opportunity that was presented. “Mommy got really scared when you reached for that hot tin. It could have burned your hand and given you a boo-boo. It would have made me very sad if you were to get hurt or if anything were to happen to you. This is why it is very important to ask before touching anything in the kitchen. I want you to help, but I don’t want you to get hurt.” In this example, I did not use fear as a tactic to prevent this situation from reoccurring. (Not to say that it won’t, but learning is a process right?) My initial reaction to the situation to keep her from touching the hot muffin tin may have caused some fear, however, it provided her with some necessary knowledge about danger. “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger --- if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats.” (psychology today) To this degree, my reaction provided her with the chance to learn about what specifically caused my own fear and that what she did was not ideal. If in any new learning situation, your child(ren) become scared as a result of your reaction, don’t hesitate to apologize and console them (i.e. “I am sorry if I scared you, but when you tried to touch the muffin tin, you must not have known it was hot. I just got really scared that you were going to get hurt.”). Another great piece of advice is to model an open attitude 62


as parents. Ultimately, children learn most from our attitudes and examples. We should ask ourselves how often our children see us trying new things and exploring opportunities that may be completely new to us (and perhaps, even out of our comfort zones). Have your children witnessed you avoid social gatherings because you don’t like to network or make new friends, or have they seen you make the effort to attend, and be glad that you did? Have they grown up doing the same family activities over and over again, or do they get excited because you introduce them (and yourself) to new things from time to time? If you’re typically

[We need] to model an open attitude as parents. We should ask ourselves how often our children see us trying new things and exploring opportunities that may be completely new to us. an indoor person, planning a family camping trip or possibly a rafting or canooing trip down the river would be a great way to show how we can all step out of our comfort zones. It goes without saying that they will take these cues and model them. If we as parents blaze this path, our children will have a much easier road to travel. “If parents decide to provide a clearer model for their child in this way, they can assume that the fruits of their labors will ripen slowly, but ultimately they

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will make a difference in their child’s willingness to try new adventures.” (lucydanielscenter. org) Some children are naturally more hesitant to try new things, and in these instances, it is our job as parents to gently encourage them. As children get older, this is even more evident and our encouragement and modeling could go a long way in getting them to participate in a sport or join a club at school where their interests and talents really lie. However, if they are truly resistant, it might be best to not push and let the subject rest for a bit before bringing it up again. At the end of the day, if we portray ourselves as protectors and guides for our children, they are more likely to feel safe and secure while in our care. If we turn to using fear as a learning tactic, we are more likely to frighten our children and run the risk of them trusting us less, especially during some very crucial times in their lives. If you ever have a moment where you are unsure of how to handle a situation where your child(ren) may have done something “wrong” while exploring something new, put yourself in their shoes and think “If I didn’t know any better, what would be the best way for me to learn about the situation I am in now?” “Children will learn the lessons required to move into adulthood as long as we are there to offer our guidance.” (healthpsychology.org) Be gentle, but firm in your ongoing guidance and carry on, parents!

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warding off mosquitos

safely & naturally

by rick meyer, co-founder Ntrinsiq Works It’s the middle of summer. You and your kids have waited all year to be outside, appreciating nature and soaking up the sun. After all, spending lazy days playing poolside is the stuff of childhood memories. That, and the graduations, weddings, cookouts, picnics, festivals and vacations. This year it’s a little less carefree. Now, across the United States, what was a common nuisance is a fear-evoking concern. Mosquito bites. With good reason – from the CDC to health departments in nearly every state, people are taking precautions against mosquito bites because of the looming threat of Zika.

declared mosquitos the deadliest creatures in the world to humans, partly because of the vast array of diseases they spread.

What is Zika?

A little understood virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s a disease spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito causing fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. After being bitten by an infected mosquito, Zika’s usually mild symptoms last for several days to a week. And, because people usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and very rarely die of Zika, many don’t even realize they’ve been infected.

Zika and the nasty little Aedes mosquitos that carry it are dominating the news worldwide. In So why all the worry? It’s around fact, mid-May the Aedes mosquito concern for pregnant women was Time Magazine’s cover and women who are hoping to insect. Moreover, an article inside 64


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become pregnant. Scientists think that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly, as well as other severe fetal brain defects. And, recent reports place the threat far larger, linking Zika to an autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain and spinal cord in infected adults causing weakness, numbness and loss of balance and vision that can last six months. This doesn’t mean all people infected with Zika will experience these problems and for now, scientists think once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections. But, they do not know what the long lasting effects of infection will be. The widespread worry surrounding Zika also is due to the fact that its impact is

worldwide. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Local transmission has been reported in many countries, and the Zika virus is continuing to spread to new areas. Though all cases in the US are currently related to travel outside our borders or sexual contact with an infected person, as of June 1, all but 5 states have reported Zika infections.

If you’re thinking masking CO2 is important, you’re right. With the activities of summer and the fear of Zika growing stronger every day, disguising your CO2 emissions for mosquito bite avoidance is smart. And, you don’t have to slather yourself or your little ones with noxious, potentially toxic chemicals like DEET to do it. Many people are leery of DEET to ward off airborne predators…for a reason.

Why do mosquitos bite you? Of course, no one wants to contract Zika. So, logically this summer and through the warm fall months, you need to work on avoiding mosquitos, which starts with understanding why they bite.

DEET is a registered pesticide from the toluene chemical family, the organic solvent used in rubber and plastic cements and paint removers. DEET is absorbed through the skin and passes into the blood. The Medical Sciences Bulletin, published by Pharmaceutical Information Associates Ltd. reports, “Up to 56% of DEET applied topically penetrates intact human skin and 17% is absorbed into the bloodstream.” Blood concentrations of about 3 mg per liter have been reported several hours after DEET repellent was applied to skin in the 
prescribed fashion. DEET also is absorbed by the gut.

The way popcorn draws you in at the movie theatre, your “scent” draws mosquitos to bite you. And, boy can they smell--from a distance of up to 50 meters. It’s the carbon dioxide you secrete through your skin and sweat. The more carbon dioxide you emit, the tastier you are. And, guess who gives off more CO2? People who are physically larger, pregnant and active. So, for instance, if you and the kids are outside playing Frisbee, you are moving, panting and sweating…and attracting mosquitos. When people pant from exertion, the smell of carbon dioxide from heavy breathing and the lactic acid from sweat glands draws mosquitos even closer. Another interesting fact …pregnant women exhale 21% more carbon dioxide than nonpregnant women.

Bite avoidance is essential but doesn’t have to be harmful.

What’s wrong with DEET?

While none of the above sounds good, the most serious concern about DEET is its effects on the central nervous 
system. Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied lab animals’ 
performance of neurobehavioral tasks requiring muscle coordination. He found that lab animals exposed to the equivalent of average human doses of DEET performed far worse than untreated animals. Abou-Donia also found that combined exposure to DEET and permethrin, a mosquito multiplicity

spray ingredient, can lead to motor deficits and learning and memory dysfunction. And, of course, it is most harmful to babies and children. But, fortunately, there are natural alternatives without harsh chemicals that are effective and safe.

Use a natural repellent.

To safely mask our CO2 emissions without harsh chemicals, there’s the transdermal vitamin B1 Thiamin patch N’visib1e. Made by nutraceutical wellness company Ntrinsiq Works, the N’visib1e patch is a vitaminbased, nutritious, non-invasive mosquito/insect repellant free of harsh chemicals that becomes effective within 30 minutes of application and is safe for people of all ages. The brainchild of a former Marine deployed in Afghanistan and a product inventor, the patches provide optimal protection when using one to two every 12 hours, and after a week of wear, can last up to 36 hours. The N’visib1e patch is designed to throw mosquitos off your scent by masking the CO2 and lactic acid --- contd. pg. 71

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great candy run gives families

the sweetest finish ever! by michelle somers



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this kind of event gives people a glimpse of how sweet it is to hold your baby for the first time, when you were told it may never happen. Is there any better way to get 2,500+ kids moving than candy? It turns out, candy and the nostalgia of timeless memorabilia like the Candy Man and Candyland are great motivators for people of all ages. While it has been around for a while and has changed names a few times over the years, The Great Candy Run was created as a fun event to increase awareness and raise funds around fetal syndrome research. Now expanding to its third city in 2016 and its fourth in 2017, it is the largest fundraising and awareness event put on by the Fetal Health Foundation each year. In the three years since its rebranding, the Foundation has hosted more than 16,000 participants across the country! As a 5K that encourages walking, running, and even a competitive Stroller Division for those with little ones, the Great Candy Run is more than just candy. It offers fun for the whole family and provides a good balance between the sweet life and the importance of fitness. The finish line is surrounded by candy, refreshments, finisher medals, music, and so much more

to offer a great, memorable experience. There is truly something for everyone! Take one look around and you’ll see kids and parents coming through the finish line together, parents cheering on kids, and kids cheering on those parents that couldn’t quite keep up!

go undiagnosed and untreated. It comes when no parent is told that there is no hope for their unborn child, and when the rate of survival for any fetal syndrome diagnosis is no less than 100%. Finally, "the sweetest finish ever" comes when parents are able to realize their dreams of having a family by holding their precious babies in their arms. The Great Candy Run will be hosted in Denver, CO, Seattle, WA and Minneapolis, MN this year. It will add Atlantic Beach, FL next year. With the event in new markets, even more families across the country will get to learn about the many families that are affected and how the Foundation offers hope when there seems to be none.

Yet what families learn is that “the sweetest finish ever” goes so much deeper than the smiles and the laughter, the costumes and the candy. At the heart Families will make a difference in of this event, the Foundation so many lives and experience "the is providing hope and saving sweetest finish ever". babies' lives. With more than 200 babies dying each day due to complications surrounding a fetal syndrome, the Foundation aims to change that. The proceeds of these events directly benefit the Foundation's mission which supports research grants in improving treatment options for a number of those syndromes. "The sweetest finish ever" comes when fetal syndromes no longer

Michelle is Co-Founder of the Fetal Health Foundation® and its flagship event, The Great Candy Run® with her husband, Lonnie. Her inspiration for supporting families and research lies within her identical twin girls who are TTTS survivors. She also co-owns Hallucination Sports, timing and scoring running events around the country. multiplicity

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behavioral challenges at home ... and how to work through them

by talitha a. mcguinness 68


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As parents, we all know that every kid can be challenging, but we can also identify when it seems to be more than just a bad day. Granted, I’m no parenting expert, but I certainly have a few years under my belt as to things that didn’t work out so well for us. It was 2nd grade for us when a teacher felt that one of my twin girls, E, should be evaluated for ADHD. Of course, as this was the twin that could never sit still, sought a thrill at every turn (that would usually stop the hearts of most fellow moms), was very impulsive, and easily flitted from one activity to the next without finish, it came as little surprise. We made the appointment with our pediatrician and had all the proper paperwork filled out for her evaluation. The results were inconclusive, but the doctor wanted to remedy the situation by trying a low dosage of the least effective drug for ADHD on the market --- adderall. We left with the prescription and started her right away. Day time on the medicine proved fruitful. She seemed less fidgety and more focused. Nighttime was a whole different story. At around 3:00am, E would wake crying and peeling her clothes off that would quickly lead to her scratching and the panic rising to full screams. She was hallucinating; she felt like tiny spiders were crawling all over her body biting her. After the third night in a row, my husband and I decided the medicine wasn’t for her and that we’d have to try another route. We called the doctor and she agreed that maybe E’s diagnosis was too gray and there were other, lesser invasive options to helping her cope. We started to learn that perhaps medication would only mask the problem anyway, so why

not figure out how to help her manage the behavior? However, this was all new territory for us. Fortunately and somehow miraculously, E’s symptoms seemed to go away or at least lessen to the point that we could manage them a bit better. Years passed with nothing beyond normal kid behavior until she hit 5th grade. Boy, what a year. I can only assume some of it was normal development and age appropriate behavior and struggles, but she had such a hard time accomplishing anything. From something as simple as writing down her homework in her agenda so that she would be able to work on it when she got home to more complex and more serious issues of what seemed to be defiance, lying and irresponsibility. Thankfully, she had an amazingly understanding teacher, but I knew after our first conference that we had a lot of work to do. When I felt myself repeating instructions over and over, without any follow through from her, when I delivered direct consequences with little to no care from her, something had to give. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and I was certain she had no clue how to help me help her. Our first step was to get a little more guidance from our pediatrician. She made a referral for E to visit with a child psychologist for a couple of months. While I’m sure that E enjoyed the one-on-one attention, I didn’t see the visits as beneficial to helping E learn to overcome many of her daily struggles with focus, talking out

of turn, defiance and handling impulses. We ended the visits and are now trying things on our own. We definitely haven’t conquered this quest, but I know we’ve made some huge leaps in getting things under control on both her side and my own. Here are a few things that are working for us. Nutrition and exercise I’m into fitness and nutrition pretty avidly (like working out 4-5 times each week and eating cleanly 90% of the time). My family knows how important it is for me and for us as a family. Our health is one thing over which we have a lot of control and I want to be sure we are fueling and pushing our bodies to do what it can. In that regard, I watch what my kids eat and we stay away from things that are high in sugar (with the exception of fruits), as well as obvious suspects like red dye, sodas, fruit drinks and juices, etc. My kids play outside all of the time, we spend a lot of time camping, hiking, biking, tubing and playing at the beach and E has been involved in gymnastics for over five years now. I can tell that she thrives when she is active and busy. Rewards + Consequences After reading Dr. Russell Barkley’s Taking Charge of ADHD: The Complete Authoritative Guide for Parents, I had a much better understanding that a lot of what E deals with is beyond her control. This book also helped me come up with a few tactics for helping her assume responsibility, such as keeping things positive, setting deadlines and the home point system. E (and her siblings) has a chore chart where she must check multiplicity

off things she has done each day. At the end of the day, she receives either points to be used toward privileges like the use of technology, sleepovers, special outings, etc. or she is reversely fined for not having completed her chores. We have had a few bumps, but for the most part, this is working. The goal is at the end of 2-3 months to have the child familiar enough with the expectations that the actual chart and point system are no longer needed. Taking care of me In all of my research and after much heartbreaking realization, I have come to the conclusion that I was beating myself up for not being able to get through to E and for always taking it so personally. Parents need a time out, too. Having a child with behavioral challenges is very demanding and time consuming for parents and dealing with them when on empty is no good for either of you. You must find ways to recharge so that you are giving them and the situation a fresh, and impersonal perspective as often as possible. Another route I am trying is through an online parenting course called Triple P Parenting, using proven strategies for positive parenting. I am hopeful these strategies will help E and I get through some of the trickier situations, especially with middle school looming and all that comes with that stage in life. No matter the challenge, there are many options available that with a little homework and the support of your pediatrician, you will find one of at least a few solutions that works for you and your child.

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3 things I would tell my pre-kid self...

Remember the days when weekends were for sleeping in and there was no rushing from one party to the next, just to fit everything in throughout the day? Yeah, me neither. It seems like those days are but a distant memory. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been raising kids for over 11 years now and so much of life before kids is such a blur.

by talitha a. mcguinness

I vaguely remember parties with friends, dinners out and dancing on the weekends, and even that spontaneous trip somewhere not too far away, mainly because we had the money and nothing else to do. Why not? Even though it’s just a memory, I definitely remember that my evenings weren’t filled with shuttling kids from one activity to the next, preparing food for my tiny army and the desire to poke out my eyeballs

and how it could change everything I thought I knew! 70


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while trying to help with homework. No way. Those days were definitely not THAT! However, I do remember a time in my life when I wanted nothing more than to get married to the perfect man and become a mother (like since I was 4 years old). I had this beautiful dream of how I would be the perfect mother and would have perfect little children who always listened to me and their father. Yeah, I know...it was a bit lofty. Fast forward all those years, and here I am married for almost 15 years and 4 kids later. Is my marriage perfect? It’s close enough for me. Are my children perfect? Heck no, but aren’t we all a work in progress? Since reality showed me things a little differently, here are a few things I’d tell my pre-kid self:

Love your body and your self.

Remember what your body was like before kids? Yeah, I know we were like 10-15 years younger and age was doing us all kinds of favors, but I totally took for granted how thin I was. I never realized that after four kids, it might be difficult to lose all of that pregnancy and too-busy-to-eatright-and-workout weight that just, well, accumulated over a span of time. Had I known, I like to think I would have gotten in better shape before I started having kids. So to those of you who haven’t started a family or are thinking of starting your family, take heart...get into a fitness and eating healthy routine now and it won’t be so hard to love and take care of yourself once the babies start arriving.

You many not be the mother you had planned.

Before becoming a mother, I never would have dreamed I’d be raising adventurous kids and would be enjoying the adventures right alongside of them. On a good day, four kids is no piece of cake, but we manage to keep active with little trips to new places, busy with exploring new things, and pushing outside of our comfort zones (or at least mine!). Our kids have run 5Ks, play sports, have parasailed, have tried snow and water skiing, go camping, enjoy time on the lake paddleboarding, and get plenty of sun and free time at the beach and hike when we’re in the mountains (it’s great to live in a state where we have so many geographic options). In all my years growing up, I had never done many of these things, so I love being able to learn them as my kids are learning them and literally seeing the thrill and fun through their eyes.

There’s no such thing as a perfect mom.

I know we all had grand ideas of what we would be as a mom before the children arrived, but I’m sure most of us can put our big girl panties on and admit that things may not have turned out quite as we had planned. We don’t always have clean children in our always clean home, with a perfectly balanced home cooked meal spread on the table each night. We don’t get the laundry washed, folded and put away all in the same day, and we certainly don’t have husbands who come home at the end of each day doting on what a great job we did that day. Gone are the June Cleaver days, and that’s alright because there is no perfect mom. We just need to strive to be the best mom for our kids that we can with what we have at each given moment. Just like anything else in life, we will learn and grow as parents right along with our children. We will teach and lead them, explore and make millions of memories with them, but most importantly, we will cherish and love them.

contd. from --- ntrinsiq secreted in your breath and sweat. The B-1 Thiamin molecules on the patches are small enough to transmit into and through skin, and are then excreted out through the skin as unmetabolized gas which overwhelms the olfactory receptors of mosquitos, impairing their ability to locate their prey. It’s the masking of the CO2 emissions released through skin’s pores that makes humans virtually invisible to the insects that depend on our CO2 emissions to hunt. Field-tested for efficacy in Africa, the N’visib1e patch uses a green color changing ink that becomes yellow when the patch is actively delivering the B1. Plus, since it’s transdermal, the B1 does not pass through your gut, and is more effective than oral B1. Unlike insect repellant sprays and lotions that only protect at the skin sites they contact, the patches protect the wearer’s entire body. If you’re wondering what else you and your kids can do to be less appetizing, here are a few more back yard mosquito control tips: 1. Wear light-colored long sleeve tops and pants. 2. Use yellow outdoor light bulbs, which do not attract insects and can help reduce mosquito populations at night. 3. Use a fan when there is little wind since mosquitos are not strong flyers. 4. Plant mosquito repelling plants like lemon balm, catnip, basil and lemon geraniums around outdoor sitting areas.

Rick Myer, proud father of a 3-month-old girl and two-year-old boy, is an adhesives and coatings expert and machine specialist. His service in Afghanistan with the Marine Corp convinced him that there had to be a better way to protect against mosquito bites than dousing uniforms in chemical-laden repellents. It inspired the creation of the safe, natural and effective N’Visib1e patch. In recent years, Rick has manufactured more than 150 million patches and continues to Hopefully, these few tips help ease your transition into look for ways to transdermally improve the parenthood and you’ll give yourself the grace you need to quality of people’s lives by respecting their do the best you can! minds and bodies. multiplicity the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples 71

by the mom squad

family friendly meals... found on pinterest There’s no doubt about it...it’s hot out there! No one wants to be slaving in the kitchen when you could be enjoying family time outside on the back deck. Here are some easy, delicious and fairly healthy, too!) recipes to try this summer with your crew. Start your day off right with this new take on a summertime favorite...S’mores Overnight Oats. In this Quaker Oats recipe, load up your jar with oatmeal, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, a little milk (and perhaps some honey, too), and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to soften. Enjoy the next morning for breakfast with a graham cracker or two for the full effect! What kid (or adult) doesn’t love a smoothie to take the edge off after playing outside? Try fresh ingredients like strawberries, watermelon, lime and a little 72


maple syrup for taste in this yummy Strawberry-Watermelon smoothie from Eat Thrive Glow. For an easy and super quick fix for dinner, try Baker by Nature’s BLT pasta salad. Even if the kids might balk about the red onion or the romaine lettuce, they’ll love the fun bowtie pasta and everything else should be a win. This dish works well to make ahead and save yourself a little time in the evening, too! Who doesn’t love the BBQ flavor in summertime? While some BBQ recipes can sit heavy on a hot evening, using a wrap will keep things light for a change. With this recipe, you can certainly cook the chicken in a skillet, or save some time by using your crockpot. Tastes Better from Scratch’s Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wrap will make dinner a cinch and will have the family asking for seconds. With the notion of keeping

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s’mores overnight oats things light, give kebobs a try with Closet Cooking’s Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers. The jerk seasoning and freshness of the shrimp and fruit will make you long for the Caribbean. If the kids aren’t as adventurous as trying out shrimp, just use chicken for them instead. Feel free to also add veggies like red onion, zucchini and perhaps some bell peppers. Serve with a homemade fruit salsa on the side.

strawberry-watermelon smoothie

easy blt pasta salad

hawaiian bbq chicken wrap

shrimp + pineapple skewers


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special feature...

tough transitions: moving on to the sippy cup poli sippy cup founder Gwen O’Keefe helps parents and kids transition to the sippy cup Change isn’t easy. Just ask any parent who has been through transitions with their kids. One of the most difficult transitions is moving from breastfeeding and bottles to sippy cups. Gwen O’Keefe, mom and founder of Poli, home of the easy to clean, non-spill Poli Sippy Cup, is here with advice for getting you and your little one through that tough phase and onto something new. Many new and experienced parents alike are curious as to when the ideal time is to start their baby on a sippy cup or training cup. Some parents start their babies early on and others wait until their baby is moving from the bottle or breast at around one year old. Sippy cups can be a great way for your baby to transition from nursing or bottle-feeding to a regular cup. Using a sippy cup 74


can also improve hand-to-mouth coordination and development of motors skills. Here are a few tips to help you transition your baby to a sippy cup: When to Start Transitioning to a Sippy Cup The American Academy of Family Physicians encourages parents to introduce the sippy cup at six months of age in preparation for weaning from the bottle or breast at around 12 months. Go ahead and try your baby with a sippy at 6 months old, but keep in mind that they may not be ready for a couple more months. And just like with any new skill, it takes time, practice, and a lot of patience. How to Know When Baby is Ready The key to baby’s readiness is the development of a good strong fist grasp and the ability to easily move things from the

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hand to the mouth. Keep in mind that using a sippy cup requires much more than simply picking up an object and putting it into one’s mouth. It’s a good idea to let baby play with it and get used to holding it, not expecting them to fully drink from it for some time. Model the sippy cup for them so they can see how it’s done and can more easily understand the concept. What Sippy Cups Work Best All babies are different. Some take to the sippy cup immediately and have no issues with the spout and valve that prevent spilling, while others have a harder time with the sucking. You may want to invest in a couple types of cups for your baby to try out. Even consider trying a sippy cup that has a straw, as that type of skill can come in handy if you’re ever out and forget the

sippy cup. Important things to look for are sippy cups that are BPA, phthalate and lead-free, pieces that come apart for easy cleaning (so bacteria and mold cannot get trapped), a chewresistant spout, no small parts, and a lid for travel. Do Not Drink and Toddle Some parents allow their tots to constantly have a sippy cup within arm’s reach, anticipating dire thirst. However, constant access to a sippy cup containing juice, formula or breast milk can create a new set of problems, from filling up on liquids to issues with teeth. It’s best to offer the sippy cup throughout the day rather than allowing constant access. If your baby is very young and not speaking, teach them the sign language hand motion for “drink” and practice showing them the sippy cup equals a drink when they’re thirsty. What to Put in the Sippy Cup The best drink to put in your baby’s sippy cup is water. It’s also alright to offer breastmilk/ formula, but it’s a great idea

to start your baby with water when they’re young. Some parents use this opportunity to offer juice, but if you do opt for juice, make sure it’s watered down considerably (1 part juice to at least 3 parts water). Instead of store bought fruit juice, you can also make your own homemade flavored water using real fruit and water. Pick ripe fruits like peaches, mangos, and blueberries. Try one fruit at a time with the water to confirm your baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction to the fruit. To limit their sugar intake, you should also try to stick to 4 ounces of juice or less per day.

are BPA, phthalates and lead free. Aside from the health and safety benefits, parents won’t go crazy over losing parts because every piece is attached --- you can’t possibly lose any of them! The Poli Sippy Cup is available for $17.95 at http://usapoli.com. Gwen O’Keefe, founder of Poli, created the Poli Sippy Cup after many frustrations with sippy cups that weren’t easy-to-use or clean and without so many small parts to lose. Using her love of painting and teaching children, she included designs from nursery rhymes to make the sippy cups both fun and educational.

What makes the Poli Sippy Cup different from all the others is it has a valve that comes apart for fast and easy cleaning --and a brush is not needed for cleaning! It’s also dishwasher safe, making cleaning that much easier. The Poli Sippy Cup is also free of nooks and crannies that icky bacteria is notorious for hiding in and turning into mold. These cups


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the buzz...for summer

left to right: 4-in-1 stretchy car seat cover; decorate in style with grouchy goose throw pillows; keep the kids busy with alex’s giant art jar; with boochie, no 2 backyard games are the same; don’t forget goddess garden, your all natural sunscreen; keep beautiful, cool and dry with neck gaiter’s seamless headband; keep your face in place with this setting spray; fashion and function in one with olivia and joy’s wristlet clutch; silicone ice pop molds, perfect for freezing treats to enjoy on a hot, summer day; protect yourself from the sun’s rays with UnderCover WaterWear’s protective sun clothing for women and girls (plus sizes, too). 76


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IMAGINATION 30 Fun Things To Do in Summer! 1. Make squirt gun paintings 2. Create a fairy garden 3. Have a lemonade stand 4. Make ice cream in a bag 5. Create a shady book nook 6. Cool off with water balloon pinatas 7. Build a ropes course or bridge 8. Make giant bubbles for the backyard 9. Create a garden teepee 10. Enjoy a game of backyard Twister 11. Turn that shed into a liveable play space 12. Host a scavenger hunt 13. Teach the kids to play hopskotch 14. Make your own backyard movie screen 15. Have pool noodle car races 16. Host your own Summer Olympics 17. Enjoy dinner on rugs outside 18. Make push pops as a cool treat 19. Go fish! for toddlers with a kiddie pool 20. Get creative with tie-dye 21. Create a “bored” jar full of activities 22. Add lights to the trampoline for night fun 23. Play water balloon baseball 24. Enjoy s’mores in a waffle cone 25. Make unicorn poop 26. Make a bird feeder 27. Add paint to bubbles and make art 28. Create a city/roadway with sidewalk chalk 29. Enjoy nighttime backyard bowling 30. Host a game of “Duck, Duck, Splash!”



the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


by barbara miller

diy kid’s art center by...


perfect for summer! multiplicity

As a children’s design expert and a mom, I love to encourage imagination. I know that children need time to freely create in order to learn and process their new-found knowledge. This includes free play and all different kinds of art mediums. As the person who cleans up after my personal little Picasso’s, I want to contain their creative debris. The solution is to create a fun, inviting area where your children will want to spend time making their masterpieces that has been carefully crafted to stand up to art materials and is easy to clean up when they’re finished. When I happened upon a children’s classroom table with a laminated teal top at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, I knew it was the perfect starting

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

point for an art corner. You certainly have to have a little bit of room for a table like this, but keep in mind you can use these same ideas on any table and chair set that fits into your home’s decor. The Design Right now, bright colors are skewing off of primary for a bright, fun look. For example, teal instead of royal blue, apple red and key lime green, a bright green with a lot of yellow, make a great palette that will spark imagination. It’s just enough of a shift from primary colors to be surprising and anything that surprises us is fun, especially for children. I knew the table would be the centerpiece and it just called out for the center to hold supplies. I

didn’t want to cut into the table because if your children are very young and you are going to be controlling their access to art supplies, you don’t want to remove buckets and leave gaping holes in your piece. I opted for an art carousel. It has easy access for all the artist’s gathered around the table, but can easily be picked up and kept on a high closet shelf for times when you are not able to supervise. I headed to IKEA for inspiration and between the kitchen and the garden department, I found just what I needed. So we are going to cover two projects for under $52 each --- the art wall is separate, but it adds so much that I had to include it. Using the same color palette for both parts of the project is key to uniting your space.

7 small IKEA power coated metal planters (to surround the larger one) Screws to attach the pots to the lazy susan (or you can use my new favorite Loctite adhesive) Art Wall --- You Need 8-10 packages of 3X Heat cork rounds from IKEA Mod Podge Disposable foam 1″ brush Wood rounds All spray paints and chalk board paint listed above Metal tacks Buttons in your color palette Glue gun and glue Small nails The Process

Watch the video below to walk you through the order

of creating and putting everything together, and to answer any additional questions. The Outcome This art wall is grounded with a simple lock together laminate floor for easy clean up. I am displaying it to you in my studio but its real home is the new attic playroom of a family of 6! You can imagine it is getting lots of use and the kids love having a say in which masterpieces are displayed at any given time. It is important to keep the display rounds at a height where your grade school children can put up their own work, but out of the reach of infants and toddlers (mainly because of the tacks). Enjoy!

Art Table/Carousel --- You Need Any size and shape table that works for your home is best. IKEA Maruius stools --buy as many as you need to accommodate your artists. Adhesive painters tape for delicate surfaces Rustoleum Ultra Cover Lagoon Paint Rustoleum Ultra Cover Candy Apple Paint Rustoleum Ultra Cover Key Lime Paint Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint Adhesive chalkboard labels IKEA 14″ round lazy susan 1 medium size IKEA powder coated metal planter (for the middle) Barbara is the mom of 5 and a professional ASID interior designer. She uses her experience designing high end homes as inspiration for creating stylish, home decor projects you can do yourself on a budget. When she isn’t designing homes, remaking thrift shop finds or driving carpool, she can be found serving on the board of the Portland Children’s Museum, contributing pro-bono hours to local school design committees or supporting child-centered non-profits nationwide. Also, connect with her on facebook and pinterest. multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


preparing for

when one must stay behind

photo courtesy of firewife photography

by paula yost schupp



the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


ccording to the March of Dimes, more than 50% of twins and the majority of higher order multiple sets are born with low birth weight, weighing in at less than 5½ pounds at birth. Low birth weight and poor fetal growth are often the direct result of premature birth, which is common with multiple birth pregnancies. For those who are born before 32 weeks’ gestation, they are at increased risk of health problems throughout the newborn period and may require at least some care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital.


I am a NICU mom, but I’m not a twin mom. Being a twin mom creates a whole separate level of stress, as often a parent can be forced to take one child home and leave one child in the NICU. That is exactly what happened to Charlotte, North Carolina lawyer, Holly Norvell, on the birth of her twin daughters and she shares more on her experience. Holly said that one of the most important things she needed was childcare for the twin at home while she visited the twin in the NICU. Sometimes, she and her husband were able to work their schedules out so one could be with one child while the other went to the hospital. The Norvell grandparents were all out of state and while Grandma did visit in the beginning to help, she could only stay for a couple of weeks. Sometimes, babies come home from the NICU on heart monitors or on oxygen and parents feel uncomfortable leaving their preemies with just anyone. Nursing friends or

night nurse agencies can assist with these types of special needs. Holly also recommends making sure that the nursery is ready before you bring either of your children home. Often mothers with a child in the NICU did not have the opportunity to properly prepare their nursery because they were very sick during the weeks prior to the birth. Alternately, they may have had it easy and believed they had plenty of time, but the early birth was unexpected. You will feel better if your nursery looks the way you want it to look and engaging in the task of putting the nursery together will make you feel like you were able to do something helpful for your babies. Often, NICU moms feel that they are not very helpful to their babies. This is one thing you can do for your babies to help you feel better. Many mothers find similar comfort in making crafts for their NICU babies. A knitted cap or decorating a large wooden letter can be surprisingly comforting.

Last, Holly was able to create a Special Day out of her daughter’s homecomings. Twins often share everything. They share a birthday, clothes, guest lists, parties, the birthday song, and often grow up to share bedrooms and perhaps even college dormitories, too. Each year, on the NICU Homecoming Day, Holly takes her daughter out for their own Special Day. The girl gets to direct what she wants to do and that day is all about her. Her sibling gets the same Special Day on her NICU Homecoming Day. These days are literally “special” to the girls and are critical to Holly and her husband. Even though the NICU stay can vary on the period of time, for the NICU parent, any time feels like an eternity. Those days teach us a level of patience that we never forget. Those days fundamentally change who we are. For Holly, the two Special Days are not only special for her twins, they are special for her, as they commemorate her most lifechanging period.

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

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples


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

let us be your guide. Baby Gear Guide 2016

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

available to subscribers in print and online now! 82


the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

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

Order your copy today! multiplicity

the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples




the must-have magazine for all parents of multiples

Profile for Multiplicity Magazine

Multiplicity Summer 2016  

Things are heating up in this issue! From tips for reigniting your passion with your special someone, celebrating summer with 30 fun ideas f...

Multiplicity Summer 2016  

Things are heating up in this issue! From tips for reigniting your passion with your special someone, celebrating summer with 30 fun ideas f...


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