franklyStein editors blog

FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband and four children.

The other day I ran into an acquaintance who is about to have twins and just looking at her took me right back to the beginning.


When I found out I was having twins, I felt so blessed (when the shock wore off) and to this very day, I feel so lucky to be a mom of twins.


Here are just a few of the blessings involved in having twins:


  • You get two babies out of one pregnancy. Granted, it's not an easy pregnancy but it's defiantly better than going through a whole second pregnancy, labor and birth.
  • You get extra help when you get home from the hospital. My mom actually paid for a full time nanny to help me out for six months, but then again, I also had a 20 month old at the time. Friends were also extra helpful. They brought dinners for over two weeks and provided endless mental support.
  • People always stopped to talk to us when they saw the babies. We met a lot of nice people just pushing the stroller and heard a number of great twin stories. One waiter at a restaurant told us his mom had four sets of twins.
  • The babies learned pretty quickly how to sooth themselves. Sure, we spent a lot of dinners eating at the counter in the early days, each rocking a colicky infant in a sling, but by the time they were 3 months old, they were pretty laid back. There was no way I could give them both constant attention, so they learned to hang out and wait. I felt a little guilty, but they never seemed to mind.
  • They entertained each other. When they started to play, they had built in playmates. It didn't matter that they didn't like the same things — there were often pirates in the dollhouse and Polly Pockets on the pirate ship.
  • They kept me informed of each other's wayward behavior. When Lilly climbed out of her crib one day during nap, Adam started yelling "Lilly OUT, Lilly OUT!" I'm hoping this sustains into their high school years.TwinsBday
  • Party planning was simplified. Up until they were 10, I was able to convince them to have their birthday parties together. It was usually mayhem — but one crazy birthday party beats two parties any day. There was also just one Baptism party, one Confirmation party and hopefully there'll just be one graduation party.
  • When it came to studying for tests, I could quiz them together. When they got into middle school, they started quizzing each other. And if one forgot a book or homework, the other always had it. This perk, however, will come to an end next year when they go to separate high schools.
  • Their special twin relationship warms my heart. While it doesn't always seem like they like each other much at home, teachers are always telling us stories about how they look out for each other at school. It's so sweet.

Lilly and Adam haven't always felt so blessed to be twins. Sharing a birthday — or Confirmation — isn't always so great. And sometimes it's annoying always having to share your textbooks with a forgetful brother. But it's pretty special to have started life sharing the womb with someone. There's definitely something a little bit extra tying them together, and they know it even though they don't always feel it. It's also fun telling people they are twins — which isn't as obvious now that they aren't sharing a stroller.


For me, the only downside of having twins is that someday all too soon, they will both be grown and gone. Just like that.

To read more FranklyStein click here

2013 EasterWFranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 14, Lilly, 13, Adam, 13, and Jonah, 9.


Nothing stops a busy mom flying around town in her minivan faster than this.


I got this flat tire yesterday on the Baltimore Beltway while speeding home from work to pick up my oldest from school. I was late as usual and in the fast lane when it sounded like a helicopter landed on my roof. I knew it couldn't be good.

My minivan is older than my twins. It'll be 14 in June, and has nearly 140,000 miles on it. It's been a trusty kid transporter and all around good car from infancy into the teen years. I keep thinking it might die soon, but it still runs like a charm. The horn doesn't always work, the trunk periodically won't open, it has a weird leak that soaks the passenger seatbelts when it rains and then there was this little set back.

I eased over to the right lane and pulled off onto the side of the road. I was petrified to open the door as the cars whizzed passed, but it took just a quick glance back to see that it was a flat, not a helicopter on the roof. I had no illusions of actually getting out of the car to fix the flat — I had a brand new spring sweater on! So I did what any self-respecting mom would do. I called my husband for help. Luckily he was less than 10 minutes away, and he told me to hang tight and pray for a State Highway truck. So that's what I did.

A few minutes later, the truck pulled up behind me. I got out to greet the guys, and they asked if I wanted them to change the tire. There's no charge, they said. It's my tax dollars at work. Yippee!

The Highway Operations Technician, Franklin Harris, (he gave me his card) changed my tire in just over 5 minutes. — faster than it would have taken my husband to get the spare out from under the car (his words, not mine). It was pretty amazing. Here he is along with his helper, Matt Grollman. Don't they look a little bit like knights in neon armor?


The whole operation took just about as long as it took my oldest to walk the mile home from school.

And a busy mom was back in business.

To read more FranklyStein click here

2013 EasterWFranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 14, Lilly, 13, Adam, 13, and Jonah, 9.


Betsy Stroller 1WWe picked out our first jog stroller before Maggie was born. Back in those days, there wasn't much of a selection when it came to jog strollers. We ordered a Baby Jogger because it was the only one we had ever heard of.

I remember my first run with Mags like it was yesterday. It was spring and a little bit chilly, and I had to prop her head up with the car seat headrest. She was 3 months old, and that run made me feel like I had my freedom back. She seemed to like it too — she slept for the whole run.


Sunporch1This is our welcome matt just outside of our sun porch, which leads to our front door. It says "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." It should say, "Beware all who enter, the blessings are flowing out of control and you might trip over them."

Having a sun porch just outside your front door can be a serious detriment. It becomes a dumping ground — a mudroom of sorts. Mudrooms are great if they are off the back door, but not so nice in front. This is the first impression visitors get when they come to our home. One time a friend generously described the disaster of our entryway as a sure sign that kids live here. Yes, there is no mistaking that.

On the day I took this picture there was at least a path to Sunporch2the front door. Beyond that my son's lacrosse equipment is spewed all over the floor. There is also the hose to my husband's shop vac, a basketball, my daughter's swim bag, a bucket full of field hockey balls, a second swim bag, a pair of cleats, a couple of pairs of snow boots, an odd running shoe and a sweatshirt, blanket and football all dumped on the chair. In the corner is a trashcan filled with lacrosse sticks, a camp chair and a potato gun (don't ask).

Over the years, the stuff that's littered the porch has changed. When we first had kids, there were a half dozen strollers crammed in there. Then there were scooters, bikes and big bouncy balls. Now it's mostly shoes and sports equipment.

About twice a year, I clean out the sun porch and attempt to find a home for all the stuff that gets dumped there. Believe it or not, we do have a shed, a cellar and several large closets.

sunporch4I envision sitting out there on the wicker couch, now heaped with bike helmets, and relaxing with a cup of coffee and the paper. We may have actually done that a couple of times in years past, but not recently. These days we are too busy rushing out the door, grabbing a couple of camp chairs and whatever sport's item is in season.

Someday though, the blessings will have flown right out of the house. And then the mudroom will be a sun porch again. And I'll have plenty of time to sit out there and relax and remember these crazy days with a smile.

To read more FranklyStein click here

2013 EasterWFranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 14, Lilly, 13, Adam, 13, and Jonah, 9.


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