KATY MAGAZINE |MARCH 2019 By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy is a great place to raise a family. Some families are larger than others but then some families experience the love and chaos of life with multiples.
The Hartt Family
Photo by Lindsey Wilkins, PhotographHER
High School Sweethearts with Two Sets of Twins
Chris and Dorota Hartt were high school sweethearts at Taylor High School. While they took a break in their relationship, when they got back together they knew they would want a family. Chris has a lot of twins on his side. so they knew this was a possibility and would even talk about the idea of twins in high school. "The expectation was always there from the very beginning," says Dorota. Little did they know they would end up with two sets of twins!
Coordination, Communication, and Chaos
Life with Mason and Hunter (5-years-old) and Eva and Archer (3-years-old) takes a lot of coordination. "It’s about communication and google calendar, lots and lots of communication. My schedule is predominantly office life with tiny bit of travel," says Dorota, who works full time for ExxonMobile. Chris works from home so he gets the kids cared for in the morning before daycare. "It takes a village," says Dorota. "Grandparents also help in evenings by taking a set or bringing food."
Celebrating Their Uniqueness
The Hartt twins are all fraternal so that makes managing their uniqueness a little easier. "Since they are all fraternal, they are inherently unique. At daycare they are all in separate classes because there’s always one that dominates over the other," explains Dorota.
The Muesse Family
Chelsea Muesse and twins Camden and Cade.
Raising Twins without Dad
Katy Magazine covered the tragic death of Jordan Muesse, age 25, on January 30, 2018. Shortly after his death, his wife and childhood sweetheart Chelsea found out she was expecting twins. Born in September 2018, twins Camden and Cade are now 5-months-old and Chelsea is raising them without their father.
Jordan Muesse died in a tragic accident at work, where he was general manager and co-owner of Premier Offroad and Performance in Katy. Jordan used his artistic ability which surfaced early in life and applied it to designing trucks/car modifications/customizations, for which he won several awards.
The Twins are Doing Great
"I'm lucky to be very close with my family. My mom retired so she could care for the boy while I worked," says Chelsea who is an ultrasound tech. Jordan's family is also involved. "The boys are such a blessing. They take after Jordan a lot," says Chelsea. "He would be very proud of them. He was the type of guy who couldn't keep a secret and would be showing them off to everyone. They are going to their first car show this weekend. Their 'car family' is very supportive especially since my Dad and brother work their," says Chelsea.
The Carlyle Family
Boy and Girl Twins
Families who have to go through fertility to have their family are more likely to have multiples. "Though we knew it was a possibility, we were still a little shell shocked when we first found out that we were having twins," explains Cassandra. "The real excitement didn't start until our 16 week check up when we found out that we were having a boy and a girl." Cameron is 8-years-old and twins William and Olivia will be 5-years-old this month.
Planning for Twins
"Preparing for twins was a lot of fun," says Cassandra. "it was figuring out the logistics of having two of most things that became a challenge. Setting up the nursery to fit two cribs, purchasing a vehicle that would make having two car seats easily fit while having our oldest in a booster, and deciding if we could minimize the amount of "other baby essentials" to make room. Having both genders meant a lot of gender neutral items to minimize the amount of purchases and changes to the nursery décor." Finding support was important to the Carlyles. "I quickly joined Katy Area Parents of Multiples (KAPOM) and this is where I not only found support and got questions answered, but connected with my forever mom tribe."
Advice Good for All
Life with multiples can be a challenge but all families find their own challenges. "Breathe. It's going to be okay," says Cassandra. "Try your best to set a schedule/routine and stick to it. Some days are really hard but it does get easier as they get older and become more independent. Find your mom tribe. Lean on family/friends for support. Know that you will get through it, have patience and don't sweat the small stuff."
The Qualls Family
A Twin Has Twins
When Emily and Jason Qualls found out they were expecting twins they each had different reactions. "I cried," says Emily. "My husband laughed. My husband is a twin himself so the idea of two babies at once didn't scare him. I, however, was terrified! I felt like juggling two babies would be so hard and that I wouldn't get to cherish and savor each baby stage because I'd be so overwhelmed." Twins James and Ryan are 4-years-old while little sister Ella is 9-months-old. Reading books and finding support in local groups gave Emily peace of mind.
Having a Singleton Baby after Twins
Like some families with multiples, the Qualls have been blessed to experience both. "The thing that struck me the most was that by just having one baby, I was able to do those dreamy things you imagine when you are pregnant, like hold a sleeping baby while she naps," says Emily. "With the twins, I rarely got to enjoy that because the other baby would be waking soon and need me. Another way things are different is there is less stuff in my house. Baby gear for two is no joke. Swings, jumperoos, playmats, and toys took over our house for that first year."
A Twin Tradition
Juggling children of the same age it's tempting to do just the same thing with both. However, each child is different and unique. "My twins are quite opposite in their personality and disposition so we never really saw them as being the same" explains Emily. "We also started a tradition very early on whereby one parent would go on an outing with just one kid and it would be special one-on-one time together for that parent and son. Even just going grocery shopping together or to a park is a special treat for a kid who is used to sharing everything with his brother."
The Hemphill Family
Sticking to a Schedule
Joanna and David Hemphill weren't shocked to learn they were expecting triplets. "We had been through several rounds of infertility treatment and were excited to finally be pregnant," says Joanna, who decided to become a stay-at-home mom when they were little. "We knew they would be born premature and wanted to protect them as long as possible from getting sick." The benefit though of having babies in NICU is that the nurses keep the babies on a strict schedule. "We kept that same schedule at home," explains Joanna. "Now they are a little older and the schedule is much busier. My husband and I have to divide and conquer to keep up with the kids activities. Our lives seem more like the life of any parent with multiple children at this stage of life, busy!" Triplets Allison, Joseph, and Emily are now 8-years-old.
Ask for Help
"My advice to moms expecting multiples is ask for help," says Joanna. "We had a part time night nanny for a few months, our moms alternated staying at our house for a few months, a neighbor that watched the triplets one evening a weeks so we could sit down and eat dinner together, two young teen girls helped out for a few hours a week."
More Katy Families with Multiples
The Pawloski Family
Nicole and Murray Pawloski and children: Dylan (8-years-old,) Drake (5-years-old,) and twins Carter and Cameron (17-months-old,) who were born during Hurricane Harvey as their house flooded.
The Ramos Family
Jinneth and Richard Ramos and their triplets: Catalina, Valentina, and Estefania- 10-years-old.
The Hanzelka Family
Meagan and Johnny Hanzelka and their children: Jack (4-years-old,) and twins Jace and Jett (18-months-old.)
The Stillman Family
The Stillman Children: Ellie (4-years-old,) and twins Cameron and Spencer (2-years-old.)
The Hulse Family
The Hulse twins: Carter and Luke (1-years-old.)
The Ryan Family
The Ryan Children: Jacob (6-years-old) and twins Abigail and Aidan (4-years-old.)
The Lucero Family
Chris and Rebecca Lucero and twins Adam and Luke (2-years-old.)
The Seale Family
The Seale kids: Annabelle (8-years old,) and twins Jack and William (4-years-old.)
The Kopycinski Family
Derek and Rian Kopycinski and their twins, Hadley and Carter (2-years-old.)
The Nguyen Family
The Nguyen children: Twins Locke and Graham (5-years-old,) and Hayes (8-months-old.)
The Billips Family
The Billips Children: Helen (5-years-old,) Clark (3-years-old) and twins George and Mark (7-months-old.)
The Giles Family
Jordan and Afua Giles and children: Caden Giles (10-years-old,) and twins Isabella and Harrison (7-months-old.)
The Olguin Family
The Olguin children: Boston (10 years-old,) and twins Nixon and Finley (2-years-old.)