Another Wonderful Mini Session with Jenni Price

by Full House MOM on July 31, 2014

Look at these gorgeous faces!

09 010 024 030 032 033 034More amazing photos here.


Boys and Girls: The Differences You Don’t Know

by Full House MOM on July 9, 2014

tireswingYou already know they are different in so many ways, especially as you raise twins, triplets and more. Science has proven beyond a doubt, however, that boys and girls are VERY different!

While every child is on his own developmental trajectory, knowing about gender-specifics can help you sort out what is ‘hard-wired,’ what are family traits, and what is your child’s own unique approach to life.

Here are 5 ways boys and girls (and men and women) are REALLY DIFFERENT – and what to do about it:

1. NON-VERBALS: You may have heard that newborn girls prefer faces and newborn boys prefer moving objects. Girls continue to have the advantage through adolescence of being able to read facial expressions and picking up on non-verbal cues with more ease.

TAKEAWAY: If you want your son to interpret your meaning accurately, use concise and precise language, rather than crossed arms or a raised eyebrow. More about body language HERE.

2. CRYING: Boys and girls (and men and women) cry very differently. There is the cultural overlay of ‘boys don’t cry’ but biology also plays a role. Males tend to have larger tear ducts allowing the liquid to pool and eventually drain away rather than pushing out and falling down the cheeks.

TAKEAWAY: Recognize that emotions are still present even if there are no tears. Help him find words to describe his feelings. This may take lots more time than with your daughter. More about crying HERE.

3. HEARING: Boys tend to prefer lower, louder sounds. Boys hear a narrower range of sounds than girls. If you are a soft-spoken mom or teacher, he may actually not be hearing you. You already know kids tune out yelling early and often.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure to get his attention with a physical touch or gesture before you speak. More about hearing HERE.

4. TOUCH: Touch is bonding for both boys and girls. However, boys tend to prefer touch as a primary way to learn and connect. Boys crave wrestling, elaborate handshakes, and taking things apart. Boys tend to be more active learners, interacting with their surroundings in a bigger way than girls.

TAKEAWAY: Make sure to provide plenty of hands-on learning experiences. Make sure he gets lots of physical time every single day! More about touch HERE.

5. TASTE: Boys tend to prefer strong flavors. He loves the sweetest of the sweet and the sourest of the sour. Girls have a stronger ability to distinguish between flavors. And, just when so much else is changing for them – teen’s taste preferences change too.

TAKEAWAY: Help him develop his palate for a wide variety of flavors and recognize that he may just prefer bagels and cream cheese always. More about taste HERE.

Gender differences are fascinating. While every child is different and multi-faceted, when you observe them with gender in mind, you may be more understanding and patient – and don’t we all want more of that?!

Learn more about Gender Differences and how to Parent with Heart. Join Janet Allison, Founder of Boys Alive! and Carole Downing, Parenting Coach on July 26th in Portland. This 3-hour seminar will, as one dad said, “Get you fired up!” about parenting ALL of your children. Book your seat here.

Janet Allison is an Educator, Author, Family Coach and Founder of Boys Alive! She works with parents and teachers locally and nationally, interpreting gender differences and helping create action plans for positive change. She certifies Parent Coaches in Boys Alive! so they can spread the word, too! Contact Janet at




Spring ReSale Fast Approaching!

by Full House MOM on April 10, 2014

The Full House Moms Resale Event will be open to the public on Friday, May 2nd and Saturday, May 3rd!

Mark your calendars because this is a sale you don’t want to miss! You will find great deals on everything you need for babies and children, including baby gear, clothing, shoes, toys, feeding supplies and more!!

Location : Doubletree Lloyd Center (1000 NE Multnomah Street)

Dates of Public Sale: Friday, May 2, 9 AM to 6 PM
Saturday, May 3, 9 AM to 2 PM

Many items will be discounted at half price on Saturday. Admission is free and discounted parking is available. Credit cards are accepted.

100% of the proceeds benefit our non-profit organization and families of multiples. To learn more about our organization, please visit:

Find out more here. Hope to see you there!



Karlaina Brooke received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Baylor University. She completed an APA-approved clinical internship at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where she studied under two of the foremost psychologists in the field of sexual functioning, Sandra Leiblum, Ph.D. and Raymond Rosen, Ph.D. She is licensed to practice psychology in Oregon and Washington where she specializes in female and male sexual health, couples therapy, infertility and pregnancy loss, and postpartum depression and anxiety.

Last month, I had a great evening talking with FHM members about relationships—how important they are to us, how challenging it is to make time for them, and how fulfilling it is when the connection is secure. I wanted to summarize some key points for a blog post for those who weren’t able to attend.

Couples co-create the cycles (both the positive ones and negative) and stuck points that develop in their relationships, and both people can do a lot to repair the destructive patterns. If I have a complaint that I need to share with my partner, he is much better able to hear me, support me, and respond if I approach him in a way that is kind, clear, and without criticism or attack.

As a result, how the conversation goes is as much about how I approach him as it is about how he responds. I have a choice to either use a softened start-up to our conversation (“Hey, Honey, if you have a minute I’d like to talk with you about something I’m struggling with”) and own my own part of the issue (“I know that I could certainly be better about picking up after myself…”) or I can choose to come out in attack mode (“I can’t believe you did that again…”). Attacking or criticizing my partner encourages him to go on the defensive because it doesn’t feel safe for him to let his guard down or be vulnerable with me.

Sharing or asserting my needs in a kind, respectful way meets his needs for being treated fairly and enables him to hear and support me, which meets my needs. If you and your partner are stuck in an old pattern that you want to change, try to approach it in a way that identifies your needs, respects your partner, and enables them to move toward you so that you feel heard and you can solve it together. “I know we struggle with how to fit in enough family time on the weekends. It means so much to me to spend time together, and to see you playing with the kids or reading to them—it warms my heart so much. There’s nothing like the feeling I get from watching you spend quality time with the kids. So on the days that you get caught up at work late or spend a lot of time at the gym or on the computer, I just miss out on our time together or the joy of seeing you parent the kids—and seeing how much they love and adore you. I definitely don’t always strike a good balance between my work and our family time, and I hope we can talk about this more so that we’re both hitting a better balance.”

I also tried to stress in the talk that all of us have needs—needs for connection with others, the need to be liked and connected in relationships, and identity needs—roles that define us. Having those needs doesn’t make us “needy.” It’s not a weakness. It’s the human condition. Having insight into what those needs are (ie: I need to know that you see and value me; I need to spend time volunteering or helping others, I need to know that you love and need me, etc), being able to recognize when a need is not being met, and being able to share that with your partner are key life skills.

I think daily living is one part being able to meet our own needs, and one part asking others to help us satisfy those needs. Some days we can meet most of our needs, other days we really lean on our friends, partners, families. The combination of having positive self-soothing skills (knowing what works for you to self soothe and being able to do it), and the ability to identify an unmet need and reach out for soothing from another together keeps us healthy and thriving.

One more concept that we discussed a great deal was the goal of being able to hold onto one’s own reality or experience at the same time that you recognize that your partner is living a different reality at the same time. One person may feel criticized even if the other partner did not intend to criticize. One person can feel hurt even when the other was trying to be gentle. Rather than getting stuck in the all-too-familiar cycle: A: “You are doing X!” B: “No I’m not!” A: “Yes you are!”—try something different to slow down the moment. A: “I’m feeling really hurt, so I need a minute to respond.” B: “You’re feeling hurt? I didn’t mean to come across as harsh or hurtful. Let me try to say it again a different way.”

There’s so much to say about how good it feels to feel held and close to the one you love dearly and the person who knows you so well. And when that attachment feels threatened, either by a real or irrational threat, it can shake us to the core. Our loved ones don’t want us to feel lonely or fearful or hurt, so if we can approach them and let them know we’re struggling in a way that doesn’t feel accusing or hurtful, they will usually feel compelled to move toward us with reassurance and love, thus soothing our fears and reinforcing our attachment to one another.

At the risk of getting too long-winded, I want to share one more thought. Assume the best. When in doubt, if we are able to assume the best of our partners, it will help us to fill in blanks when we’re not sure of the other’s intention or at times when there are details or information missing. When our partners sees us assuming the best of them, they feel loved and cared for and they soften and put down their guard (if their defenses were up). It can slow down or prevent an argument, or reinforce a positive exchange. (e.g.” You’re really late tonight—you must have had a really long day/traffic must have been awful tonight/I bet you wish you were home hours ago.”) It can be hard to make ourselves vulnerable, even with those to whom we are the closest.

So I leave you with the hope and wish for each of you to know and practice the ways we can self-soothe when we need it, the ability and willingness to take the risk to share with our partner when we are struggling and need reassurance, and the vulnerability to let down our guard and let our partners in. There’s so much more to say (I didn’t even get a chance to talk about intimacy!), so I hope you and your partner will go on a journey together to talk about your relationship, read some good resources, and, if needed, spend a little time with a couples therapist. It’s worth the investment and the time and effort will pay back dividends.

{ 1 comment }

melanieheadshotMelanie Henstrom has 6 beautiful children (including twins), and a wonderful husband, William Henstrom. In 2009 she was selected to represent Oregon as the Young Mother of the Year. In her “free” time, she enjoys spending time with her family and practicing yoga. Four years ago, when her youngest went to school full-time, she got her certification to be a postpartum doula. She has more recently added her certification for infant massage instruction. Check out for her services.

Do you ever feel like there is not enough time in the day? What I would give to not be tired, or simply have two extra hours in the day? I remember the day my twins were born. I really didn’t know how I was going to do the basic things. At the time I had 5 children under the age of six.

The twin babies would have been enough to keep track of, but to have a 6, 4, and 2 year old potty training, with the twin babies was beyond overwhelming. So, out if necessity I came up with a few tricks that helped me survive.

Most people laugh at the first time saving trick. At night, after my husband and I gave the children a bath, we would put our young ones in the clean clothes they would wear the next day. It saved on laundry, and the cost of pajamas. On Saturday night it was a special treat to sleep in pajamas, because we certainly did not want to put them in church clothes.

The next trick I learned came as my children were old enough to do their own laundry. Each room had their own dirty clothes hamper. When it was full, the entire content went into the washing machine, then into the dryer, then back up to the room where it originated. The children knew when they arrived home from school and their clothes were on the floor, that they were expected to put them away. Consequently, I no longer have to sort or fold the piles of clothes, except my own. This literally saves me hours each week. I may not have had the whitest whites in town, but I certainly have more free time.

My favorite way to cook is with the crock pot. I don’t know how people do without one. There are so many great recipes that can be converted to the crock pot. I love having dinner simmering and ready whenever I need it. If you are not a crock pot cooker, may I suggest you give it a try. It is perfect for those nights that you are busy and it allows you to spend more time with your children when they get home from school.

When I had my twins, I had no idea there was such a thing as a doula. Oh, how I wish I had known. People often ask me what a postpartum doula does. My most simple answer is, “We are a Mom for the Mom”. Here is a more detailed list of what postpartum doulas do:

• Provide hands-on education on infant and mother care
• Create a nurturing, restful atmosphere in which parents may eat, shower and nap
• Shop for groceries and prepare meals
• Play with older children and offer suggestions for how to integrate the new baby into the family
• Spend time with the baby, allowing parents to cuddle and have quality time with older children or just be alone together
• Screen for hurdles such as breastfeeding challenges or postpartum mood disorders
• Make referrals to any local or informational resources that the parents might need
• Offer a listening, non-judgmental ear
• Assess and help with breastfeeding
• Prepare pump supplies or bottles for the next feeding or the next day

I have one regret: I did not learn infant massage when my children were young. There are huge benefits of infant massage. I will list just a few:

infantmassage• Infant-Parent bonding
• Relaxation
• Helps baby feel loved
• Promotes better sleep
• Boosts immune system
• Sensory stimulation
• Improves skin condition
• Improves blood circulation
• Helps digestion
• Caregivers report feeling more comfortable and confident in caring for their baby
• Parents learn to understand and respond to baby’s cues
• Parents learn techniques to comfort their baby

I hope some of these tips will help make it more joyous for you. I love instructing infant massage to new parents. If you are interested in learning more, you can go to my website: to see my pricing and my contact information. I hope to hear from you soon!

{ 1 comment }

March and April 2014 Events

by Full House MOM on March 10, 2014

Informal Playdates Hosted by the Social Committee

The social committee would like to encourage more member gatherings in 2014. To help get started, we are organizing some informal playdates. Be sure to watch BigTent for the next invite. Also, be sure to RSVP for the Spring Party on April 12th!

March Mom’s Night Out (MNO) Thursday Mar 13, 2014, 7–10 pm

Rock of Ages Sing-Along! Our host will provide margaritas, nachos, and music! Please bring a drink or snack to share :-)

Event Details & RSVP
What: March Mom’s Night Out (MNO)
Who: Full House MOMs & Dads
When: Thursday Mar 13, 2014, 7–10 pm
Where: The address will be sent out to the members that RSVP’d prior to the event.
RSVP: Check Big Tent for details

March Speaker Event: Resale Tips & Tricks Q&A

Our Speaker Event for March is going to be all about the resale. We will have a panel of top sellers and our resale team available to answer any of your questions and to share some fabulous ideas to make this your best sale ever.

Please make sure to mark your calendar and join us for a Q&A style meeting. Bring your favorite non-alcoholic beverage and snack and enjoy a half hour happy hour where you can meet and mingle with other fabulous parents and then enjoy our speaker presentation from 7:30 to 9:00 PM.

Event Details & RSVP
When: Thu Mar 20, 2014, 7:30-9 pm
Group: Full House MOMs & Dads
Where: The address will be sent out to the members that RSVP’d prior to the event.
RSVP: Check Big Tent for details

New and Expecting Parents’ Brunch Sat Mar 29, 2014, 10 am – noon

Bring your family and come join us for the new and expectant family brunch of on March 29th. Meet other families with due dates or multiples close to your little ones age/due date.

Due to space and budgetary restrictions we ask that you attend only two brunches – one while pregnant and one after giving birth.

The address will be sent out to the members that RSVP’d prior to the event.

Thank you! We look forward to seeing you there!

Event Details & RSVP
When: Sat Mar 29, 2014, 10 am – noon
Group: Full House MOMs & Dads Full House MOMs & Dads
Where: The address will be sent out to the members that RSVP’d prior to the event.
RSVP: Check Big Tent for details

Spring Party, Sat Apr 12, 2014

Join us for the first FHM social event of the year! There will be plenty for the entire family to enjoy.

Event Details & RSVP
What: Spring Party
Who: Full House MOMs & Dads
When: Saturday Apr 12, 2014 PST
Where: The address will be sent out to the members that RSVP’d prior to the event.
RSVP:  Check Big Tent for time and details

Spring Resale! Coming Soon! Wednesday Apr 30 – Sunday May 4, 2014

The Spring consignment sale is right around the corner and it is a great way to sell all of your used items that your children don’t use or fit into anymore. If you are new to this, just go to our FAQ info sheet under the file tab in Big Tent. To sign up for the sale as a consignor or volunteer, go to

Please let us know if you have questions at

Happy Tagging everyone!


No-Fail Organizing Tips for Every Room of Your House

by Full House MOM on February 18, 2014

In January, we were lucky enough to welcome MaryJo Monroe, professional organizer at reSPACEd as our guest speaker. Below are her (very helpful!) tips to stay organized. Thank you, MaryJo!


Sometimes you just need a few organizing tips to kick start your organizing project. I made a list below of many of the tips I tell my clients.


1. Store kitchen utensils and equipment near where they get used in the kitchen. For example, store your pots and pans near the stove. Store your plates near your cups and glasses, and store all of those over your silverware drawer to make dishing up easier.

2. Create “rules” for each drawer. For example, you might make a baking drawer with the rule that only items pertaining to baking — measuring cups, teaspoons, cupcake liners — can go in that drawer. In homes with small children, I like to designate one drawer the “sharps drawer” with the rule that all the sharp tools – cheese grater, pizza slicer, apple corer, etc. – go in that drawer. Parents can then put a childproof latch on that drawer to protect little fingers from playing with things that can cut them.

Living Room

1. Replace your coffee table with a storage ottoman for storing extra bedding, blankets, oversized toys or even holiday decorations. An elegant, lightweight tray can rest on top of the ottoman if a flat surface is needed for holding drinks.

2. Cut down on the number of knick-knacks you display. Multiple knick-knacks on every flat surface not only makes a room look cluttered, it also make you panic every time a small child comes to visit and makes dusting a nightmare.


1. Do yourself a favor and put your clothes away every night. I promise you that you will sleep better in a tidier room. If it is difficult to remember to put your clothes away, try setting an alarm on your phone every night at your bedtime with a message that flashes “remember to put your clothes away” to remind you.

2. If your nightstand tends to look cluttered, remove anything that doesn’t pertain directly to bedtime and sleep. Dirty dishes, toenail clippers and the mail don’t pertain to sleep.

Children’s Bedrooms

1. Kids’ toys multiply overnight like Gremlins in water (child of the ‘80s here). Have a garage sale this summer and let the children keep the money from the toys they sell. Better yet, have the kids pick out a new toy and tell them how much money they have to earn by selling their old toys to buy the new toy.

2. Limit the number of clothes that have to be stored in the closet on clothes hangers. Hangers are so hard for little hands to manage. Clothes folded and stored in bins work much better.

Home Office

1. Go through your filing cabinet. I know you would rather have many painful dental procedures then devote the three or four hours this will take, but it’s the only way to get a handle on your paper avalanche. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Figure out when your peak energy time is, eat a snack beforehand, crank up the music, set a timer for 20 minutes and see how fast you can get it done. Most of my clients report that it’s not that bad once they get into it; it’s just motivating themselves to start that is the challenge.

2. Only keep the bare minimum of office supplies on your desk or in your top desk drawer. I’m talking two pens, two pencils, the stapler, your reading glasses and maybe a pair of scissors and paperclips. Everything else can go in the bottom drawers or in a box in the closet.


1. You know all those beautiful bottles full of seldom-used product that are covered in dust on your bathroom counter? Toss them all. Doesn’t matter how expensive they were. They are destroying the clean and tranquil environment that your bathroom should be.

2. Put a clothes hamper in the corner for dirty clothes so family members will stop tossing them on the floor. If there is no room inside the bathroom, see if there is room right outside the bathroom door.


1. Divide your basement or garage into zones such as the camping zone, sports equipment zone, holiday decoration zone, etc. Make it a hard and fast rule, maybe even a COMMANDMENT that no other unrelated items are allowed into each zone.


1. Organization isn’t something that just happens (or doesn’t happen) in your house. It is directly related to the choices you and your family make. Do your choices make the home more organized or less organized? Remember that choosing to do nothing is still making a choice.

2. Make time to organize. Each night set a timer for 10 minutes and have each family member tackle a different room. Make it a beat-the-clock game. When everything gets put away by the time the timer goes off, everyone gets dessert or gets to watch their favorite TV show.

Have you found any tricks you love that work in certain rooms in your house? Let us all know by sharing in the comments below!

Image courtesy of Martha Stewart magazine.

Like this post? Get daily organizing tips and keep up with MaryJo’s crazy life as an organizer at FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.



Confessions of an Identical Twin Mother

by Full House MOM on November 5, 2013

by Eve Davis

“Are your twins identical?” When my twins were younger I was asked this question several times a week. After I answer in the affirmative and maybe after I get a few other questions, I almost always get the one I dread the most. “I’m sure you can always tell them apart right? After all you’re their mother!” I answer “Of course I can!” Well, I do have a confession I’m going to share with you. I’m am lying when I say that I never mix them up. The truth is, I get them mixed up quite often. Now that they are 13 years old it doesn’t happen often really, since they are sporting different hairstyles and even different hair colors, but when they were really young I called them by the wrong name constantly.

When we found out we were having twins and most probably identical twins, my husband and I worried about how we would be able to tell them apart. We listened intently at the tricks we were taught at the multiples class we took when I was pregnant and decided on using color coding with their clothing. Sarah was dressed in pink since her middle name was Rose and Samantha was dressed in purple unless it wasn’t available so sometimes it was whatever color matched the outfit in pink we bought! After they were born, and we were still in the hospital, we found ourselves constantly looking at their little wristbands to confirm who was “baby 1” and who was “baby 2.” When we were about to be discharged the nurse started to cut off the wristbands and my husband and I screamed “NO!” The nurse looked at us with an odd expression while we explained our concerns. She shook her head and just cut off their ankle bracelets making us promise we would cut off the wristbands before it cut off their circulation as they grew.
About a week later, my husband announced confidently that he could tell the babies apart because he had just spent the last four hours studying each of them intently and noting every little difference. I was already confident at that point but it was good hubby felt comfortable because those little wristbands were getting a little tight!

The first time though I admit I really mixed them up was when they were around 14 months old. I was giving them a bath together for the first time in the big bathtub. I called my husband in to watch them while I went to get something I realized I needed and while I was gone, they switched places in the tub! He didn’t think about telling me they had switched and I certainly never thought to ask. So I picked up who I thought was Sarah, put her in her pink pajamas and then did the same thing with “Samantha,” dressing her in her purple pajamas. I read them bedtime stories and put them in their “correct” cribs where they slept all night without a fuss. The next morning I did my normal routine of getting them dressed and them I would bring each baby downstairs to our live-in au pair. I said “here’s Samantha” while handing her one daughter. She gave me a bewildered look and then did a double take with the baby. In a quiet voice she said “no, this is Sarah!” Needless to say I felt like the worst mother in the world.

A couple of years later they were getting dressed when Samantha said she wanted to be “Sarah” today and wear pink, her sister agreed to the game and dressed in purple so she could be “Samantha.” We went off to a play date that afternoon and I informed every one of the “game.” I prided myself on being able to play their game with them and not get the mixed up girls “mixed up!” An interesting thing started happening later on, they didn’t just start using each other’s names but they started taking on some of each other’s personalities. Samantha took on more of Sarah’s happy go lucky attitude and Sarah become clingier with me like her sister usually was. I started really having a hard time knowing in my mind who my children were!

In the late afternoon I decided to make breakfast for dinner. Why not I though, my world was backwards anyway right? I knew Sarah normally doesn’t like eggs so I said to her “Since you are Samantha today you must like eggs so how many would you like?” She kind of curled her nose up and said, “Nope, I’m Sarah now.” Whew, I thought.

The other most memorable experience I’ll mention on this topic was when we were visiting their grandparents from out of town. We were eating lunch at a fast food restaurant with a play area and my mother in law was talking to them quite a bit but I wasn’t really listening to the conservation. When we were getting ready to leave, I asked Samantha to come with me to the bathroom. My mother-in-law said, “That’s Samantha?” “She told me she was Sarah.” I was about to laugh and say she had pulled a fast one on her when my daughter caught my eye and gave me a smile and a look that said “please play the game with me again.” I smiled and said “no I was mistaken you are right, that is Samantha.” In that moment I had a little bit closer bond to my daughter Samantha or… maybe it was my other daughter Sarah!

Eve Davis has been a Full House Mom’s member for 13 years, which coincidently is also the age of her twin girls Sarah and Samantha.


Daily Routines

by Full House MOM on October 5, 2013

Some of us like routine, some don’t. Others, like me, love the IDEA of a daily routine for my preschoolers but have a hard time sticking to one.

I found this blog post on Childhood 101 interesting if only because I like to see how other parents of multiple young children map out their days. Turns out our day is fairly similar to what the writer describes here, so maybe I’m better at routines than I thought!


Jenni Price Fundraiser Brings Smiles x2

by Full House MOM on August 26, 2013

Finding a photographer to capture your family in images that last a lifetime is no small task. First you want to find someone who has a style you like. Then you need to make sure their fees fit your budget. Another consideration might be whether they provide a disk of the photo shoot for you to print off photos yourself, or if they do the prints and sell them to you individually or as a package. Finally, finding a photographer your family enjoys spending time with – thus allowing him or her to get the best photos, may be the most important factor of all.

For our family, Jenni Price has been THAT photographer for 3+ years, and this summer she was also that photographer for many Full House MOMs families because she joined with our group to do a couple mini sessions as a fundraiser for our group.

Just try looking at these great photos and NOT smiling!

Finding a photographer you love is wonderful and worth every penny. The members of Full House MoMs want to thank Jenni for her support of our group. She loves photographing twins and triplets – and we love her, too!








Full House MoMs on LinkedIn Full House MoMs on Facebook Email Full House MoMs Full House MoMs RSS Feed