The Blended Tribe

Blended Family Guilt and How to Overcome it

Do you ever feel parent guilt by doing fun things without all the kids around to experience it? I know that we have experienced that guilt in the past. We usually don’t do much of anything if we can’t all do it together. We don’t want any of the kids to miss out on family fun or feel left out.
This year we decided to visit a local Christmas spot called the Cambria Christmas Market with just my two kids. We know 100% that my step-kids will be going to the Christmas Market with their mom, so we thought it would be safe to take the other two. If my two kids don’t go with me, then they won’t be going at all.
Going to the Market as a family of four got me thinking a lot about the guilt that we sometimes put on ourselves without having the entire blended family together to do fun things.

Here are some tips on surviving parent guilt in a blended family.

 

•Don’t let the kids rub it into one another. I told my kids that they didn’t need to talk about us going and having a good time without the other two. I know Cole could care less about going at all to this place, but Anabelle was a little taken back that we went without her when finding out. I don’t want any hurt feelings, so I made sure that my kids didn’t make a big deal about it.

•Don’t let the guilt get you down while you’re in the moment. Try to enjoy the activity or place that you are with the ones that are there with you. Be in the moment and enjoy it. Jon decided to keep his phone in his pocket and enjoy the experience, which made me put my phone away for most of it too(I had to take some pics though). We disconnected from the world, and that made the time together that much better. We even made the 14-year-old put her phone away at a certain point in the night 🙂

•Be realistic-In any family; you are not going to be able to do everything together. All families, blended, bio, adoptive, aren’t able to do every single thing together, why do we put that pressure on us as a stepfamily?

•Now this one is more for people in a situation like mine that have their stepkids 50/50 and then have my kids 95% of the time. I know this situation is different for every family. In general, if you have a semi-thriving blended family, then don’t plan BIG trips when you can’t all go. Some things are out of your control, and family/friends will plan with not thinking about your custody schedule. Don’t go on big family trips that are in your power without your entire family. Yes, some of your kids/stepkids might be a pain in your a$$, and you don’t want to waste your time or money taking them on vacation. These are kids we are talking about, and making them feel not included in your blended family will only do more harm than good.

 

We are all learning as we go in the process, trying not to mess the kids up any more than we might already have.  Keep doing the best that you can.  Try your hardest to just love your stepkids, love the crap out of your own kids, and know that God has you in the exact place with this family for a reason.

 

Our Happy Divorce

OUR HAPPY DIVORCE-I didn’t realize there could be such a thing as a happy divorce until I had the joy of reading this book written by once married Nikki DeBartolo and Benjamin Heldfond.

What I enjoy about this book is that it is not written from one person’s point of view. The book has chapters from both Nikki and Ben (divorced) along with their current spouses Chad and Nadia. It was refreshing being able to read from all points of view.

I have to say my favorite chapter of the book was at the end, and it was written by Asher (the son of Nikki and Ben). The life that these four adults have made for this one child is incredibly selfless, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for all four parents. The payoff is in the fruit of their son and how happy and well balanced he is. I love that Asher doesn’t look at himself as having two separate homes, he states in the book that “home is whichever one I’m currently at.” I love that he can feel this way and pray that my stepkids think this way as well.

I highly recommend reading this book. Nikki and Ben’s situation isn’t for everyone, but I sure wish it was. Unfortunately, all parties have to be on the same track. The track needs to be that the kids come first…ALWAYS, and that you put your petty crap behind you and move forward. This thinking is exactly what Nikki, Ben, Chad, and Nadia did and are continually doing, and they are living happier lives for it.

 

 

Click on the link to get your hands on a copy of Our Happy Divorce

You won’t regret reading this book!  Another amazing book about divorce and co-parenting is


 

 

 

 

 

We Got You.

 

 

Don’t worry!
We got your back!

I think the early teen years might be my fave so far. There is nothing easy about it, and it’s a challenge for sure.

Challenge accepted!

These kiddos need to know that we got their back no matter what. Our job is to guide our kids through the beginning years of their lives. When one of our kids are struggling, they need to know that we are there for them. We are going to guide through the good and the bad, and pray to GOD that we turn these teens into some pretty rad adults.

 

♥  The Blended Tribe

Click here to read about one of my biggest parent-fail so far.


 

Meal Planning->Saves Time & Money

With a family of 6, meal planning is a necessity. If we are lucky, the weekends are spent getting ready for a busy week ahead. I’ve found that planning out our meals ahead of time makes our weekday schedule a lot less hectic and we save a lot of money by doing this.

 

I’m not a big crockpot fan, so we aren’t able to just throw things in the crockpot and come home to a cooked meal.

I try to stick to a budget of $120 a week for grocery shopping. Yes, this requires looking at the store ads on Tuesday, and stocking up on sale items, along with coupon shopping ( I love a good sale, and I LOVE coupons….ask any of my kids).
Here’s how I go about this:

I have to look at our week ahead. This coming week is going to be busy so that means that I need to have meals prepared ahead of time and in the freezer ready to go.  We have to plan ahead or we are lost throughout the week, which will result in eating out.
Once I come up with the menu, I write it out on the menu board in the kitchen.

Here’s what our week ahead looks like.

Monday-Sweet Potato Tacos (prepare ahead)  I’m excited to try this recipe out.  Here is the link if you’re interested in trying it for yourself →Smitten Kitchen

Tuesday-Veggie rice bowls

Wednesday-Pasta Bake, bread & salad (make ahead & freeze)

Thursday-Enchiladas, rice & beans (make ahead & freeze)

Friday-Order pizza

Saturday-BBQ

Sunday-Soup & Grilled Cheese

The items I freeze I will cover in foil and write the baking temp and time just in case I’m not home to put it in.  This way if I have to ask a kid to throw it in the oven for me, it’s all written out and they know what to do.

 

This is one example of how we try to stay organized in our blended mess.  For all things frugal visit the Frugal Tribe Page

I would love to hear about some your ways of staying organized and planning ahead.

♥ The Blended Tribe

The Big Move

We bought our first house as a blended family! We moved a little over two months ago. I’ve been waiting to post about it because I needed a picture to post….lame, I know. It took us an entire month to get the time to take a mediocre picture in front of our house, and another month to get the time to post about it.

So, here it is.

Gracie, Ashton and I had lived in our old house together before Jon and his kids came into the picture. That had always subconsciously played into our homes dynamic.
The kids and I went through a lot in our old house. Our first time living on our own, finalizing a divorce, me going from full-time Mom to full-time working Mom, inviting a new family in our home, and sharing with them, getting remarried, this is just naming a handful of the significant life changes that happened there. The move was bittersweet for me. It was hard leaving all those memories behind and leaving the best neighbors EVER!!
Even though it was hard to leave our old place, I’m optimistic that this is a fresh start and move in the right direction for our blended tribe. It’s an even playing ground from here on out in this house. It’s not a big house by any means, but it’s perfect for us.  We are slowly but surely making this place home.  I’m excited for all the memories our family will share in this home.

→I have to throw a HUGE shoutout to our AMAZING realtor Kristin over at Hunstad Reality. She was extremely patient with us during this process. We took forever to find the right fit house for our tribe, and she knew what we wanted, and she made it happen! We had almost impossible demands on price and what we wanted, and she was patient with us the entire time. She gave us creative ideas along the way, and we are so grateful for her!

If you’re looking for a house on the central coast, you have to look her up!  Check her out here


 

KIDDOS A GO-GO

If you live on the Central Coast and have kids, then this is the site for you.  I’m constantly checking this site for events around us.

KIDDOSAGOGO

 

Enjoy!

♥ The Blended Tribe


 

THIS IS US.

Right here is our family, The Blended Tribe. He had two kids, and I had two kids. We turned our two separate families into one blended mess over three years ago now. There is a lot of love and a lot of heartaches that go into keeping a stepfamily together. There is a ridiculous amount of fights over kids and parenting styles. The longer we keep fighting to keep our family together, the better it seems to get.

Why am I telling you all this?!

First of all, I’m reintroducing our tribe to you all. It’s been a while since I’ve shared who we are.

We have the oldest, Cole (Jon’s kid) who just turned 14 and all of a sudden got a personality. This kid has been one of my biggest challenges to figure out. He’s a little quirky, but he has a good heart and is starting to figure out where he belongs in our family.

Then there is Gracie (my kid) who is three months younger than Cole, and you wouldn’t know it. She takes on the role of the oldest for sure. She has an attitude and a personality that I relate to because she’s my kid. She is 100% my child in every way.

AJ (my kid) is next! AJ is ten, and he’s your typical middle child. He went from being the baby to being a middle kid, and that was a hard adjustment for sure. This kid has a temper like no other. He is sick of putting up with the other kids crap, but then he has the biggest heart. He is a kind soul and has the best manners for a ten-year-old.

 

That brings us to the baby Miss Anabelle (Jon’s kid) who is nine. This one!!! She is loving, smart, and she is brave. She doesn’t have a lot of fear, which scares me a little for her. She is kind, but also gets pure joy out of torturing and annoying her older siblings.

The second reason is I want you all to know that this sh*t is hard! I try to keep things as positive as I can because I choose to do that. I can dwell on the negative, but that won’t get any of us anywhere. Raising kids is hard enough, helping raise stepkids in a blended family environment is a whole other level of hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Parenting other people’s kids makes parenting your own kids a walk in the park.

I’m here to listen and encourage you through it. You are going to have the shittiest of times, and then that will all go away when you have those fantastic moments together, these are the moments that make it all worth it.  The reason I started this blog was to help people by sharing my struggles and experiences.  I’m just trying to survive blended living.  I definitely don’t have it all figured out, and NEVER will.  All I know is that I’m a fighter and I want to encourage all of you to keep on fighting for your families!

♥  The Blended Tribe

To read more about us click HERE


 

Marriage is a Promise.

My parents are celebrating their 39th year of marriage today. They have been such a great example of what a marriage is expected to be. There has been struggling, laughs, happy moments, heartache, tears, and through it all, they are still going strong today.

Marriage is a promise to never give up on each other.

My parents made that promise 39 years ago, and they have kept it.  I tried to follow in their footsteps, but life didn’t go as planned, and that’s ok. So, here I am for the second time making the same promise and hopeful that this was the last time I will have to make that promise.


Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! We love you guys, and thank you for your continued support and love.

These pictures were taken by our amazing photographer DeeDee! Check her out HERE

 

 

♥  The Blended Tribe

 


 

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