The Blended Tribe


I make mistakes daily, but I’m a pretty decent Mom, and I know this. I’m certainly able to admit when and where I’ve made some mistakes along the way. Here is one of my biggest mistakes so far as a parent.

We made the mistake of giving kids cell phones at an early age. I believe my daughter was 9 (possibly eight, but I can’t remember for sure) when I handed her a phone. My ex and I were going through our divorce, and she didn’t feel like she could contact me when she was with her Dad so I thought a phone would solve all the problems. It has helped and been a benefit with her being in sports and needing rides and so on. It has also been a HUGE pain in the ASS!! These kids don’t think they can survive without a cell phone these days. It’s permanently attached to them, and I can’t tell you how annoyed I am by it. My daughter isn’t playing a lot of games on hers, she does text her friends and looks at Pinterest for ideas, and it’s all mostly innocent. When you have kids sitting with their face in a game, with headphones on while watching TV……it’s too much!!
My Stepson received a phone around the same time, so we have two 13-year-olds that have had cell phones for at least four years already.

My daughter is grounded a TON from her cell, I take it away all the time. My SS was grounded from his, and it was the best thing for him!! They can, and they will survive without it.

Most weekends that we have the kids, they don’t get their cell phones. They have to put those things in the drawer and forget about them! Do we have some pissed off teenagers… know it! I feel like we wouldn’t be doing our job right if we didn’t have pissed off teens in our house.

The point of this post is to encourage you parents our there to hold off on giving your kids a phone until it’s an absolute must. They don’t need the damn things! They will find a way to get in contact with you if they need to. I’m sure all their friends have a cell; they can borrow someone else’s. Your kids will survive without one, and you will survive without being able to get in contact with them all the freakin time, EVERYONE WILL LIVE!!

Don’t make the same mistake I did. If you’ve already given your kids a phone, remember that you control that thing and you have all the power to take it away or restrict use. Be the parent and good luck in raising kids in such an advanced technological world. It creates an entirely new level of problems in an already trying time of raising children.


♥ The Blended Tribe


Save Your Drama For Your Mama!

Anybody else guilty of saying that you are tired of the drama? I know I have said it before.  I’ve put an end to the emotional participation, and it was the best thing that I’ve done so far.  I challenge you to NOT participate!  No matter what is being said about you, no matter what is being done, DON’T PLAY the game!


♥ The Blended Tribe





I’ve been quiet this past week, partly because it was a hectic week and partly because it was a rough week for me. There is not one reason as to why it was a hard week for me, but unfortunately, there are a handful of reasons. I know we all have these days (in my case an entire week) that are sh*tty! Friday couldn’t get here fast enough, and now it has come and gone. This weekend has been nice though. We had a kid-free weekend, and it was great getting to spend some one-on-one time with Jon and do not much of anything. Just need this sometimes.

Heading into this next week, I’m doing a lot of praying for patience, and hoping that it will be a little smoother and less hectic than last. I’m declaring that this week will be different, and I believe that it will be. I think it’s important to put it out there and own it, so that’s what I’m doing! If there is anything you are struggling with this week, I encourage you to do the same ♥



Smile Direct Club

10/22/18→Update← We had to take the impressions again since my daughter laughed the entire time I took them the first time.  Hopefully, the second set we mailed in will work.  Fingers crossed.


Who’s heard of Smile Direct Club? I just wrote a post on co-raising kids when you don’t agree that you can read here. Well, braces are one thing that my ex and I don’t agree. My daughter has wanted them for a while now, and it’s a no go. Ok, so moving on. I found Smile Direct Club. You all might think I’m crazy, and I probably am, but we are going to give it a try because why not?! We ordered the impression kit last night, and I can’t wait to get it and see if my daughter will be able to use this system.

They send you a kit to take impressions, and you mail them back to the company along with pictures. They let you know if you are a candidate or not and then it’s like Invisalign through the mail. The cost is way less than going to the orthodontist, and you don’t have to take time out of your schedule to make those orthodontist trips during the week.

I did my research beforehand, and this is one of the top companies doing this right now.

I’m going to blog about the process along the way, and share results or lack of so stay tuned in for updates.
To read more about the company click here. I was also able to use ebates to purchase and got a discount code through ebates for the impression kit.


**This post includes affiliate links





Trying to raise kids when you have different parenting styles, discipline styles, completely different backgrounds and more differences than similarities is ridiculously hard. I feel like a big part of the time when you have kids with a person you are a little on the same track as far as parenting goes. What happens when you’re not though? Or what happens when your parenting style has changed since having to raise kids on your own and now raising kids in a larger, blended family?? What happens when one parent wants their kids to be in certain activities or sports, and the other parent doesn’t? This problem isn’t as hard when you have your kids the majority of the time, but when you share 50/50, this can be a battle. Here are a few things that I’m learning as I go:


⇒ If you’re religious at all, make sure that you take the time to pray about the situation. Make sure that you’re checking your heart and doing things with the right motive or intent. Also, make sure that you are taking the time to pray beforehand about receiving news well from your ex, and pray that you handle it with grace.

⇒ Don’t take things personally as a parent. It’s not our business to know what all is going on with schedules, behaviors, family issues, health issues in the other parent’s home. Sometimes(hopefully always) a “no” isn’t meant to be mean to the other parent. Just because one thing works out for one house, doesn’t necessarily mean that same thing is going to work out for the other house. The bottom line is, not everything is about you so don’t make it about you.

⇒ If it’s going to have an impact on the other parent’s schedule, then you always need to consult the other parent first. I’ve made this mistake in the past, and now looking back on it, it wasn’t cool, and I’ve since apologized to my ex about it (which is NEVER fun). I think we get so caught up into wanting the best and more for our kids that we don’t think about the bigger picture. Especially if they aren’t missing out on a lot of things, the bottom line is that the kids aren’t going to be able to do every little thing they want to do, and I think that even if that’s not fair, it’s part of being raised in a split family.


These are the few things I’ve learned so far. The kids always have to come first, but you also have to do what’s best for your family as a whole. Don’t feel bad about saying no if it doesn’t work for you, but make sure you’re doing what’s best for that child.


To read more about co-parenting from a different point of view, read this guest post by Lauren McKinley for more co-parenting insight.


♥ The Blended Tribe





The quicker we learn to give up control of what we don’t have control of anyways, the sooner we will be able to live life and be FREE.

♥ The Blended Tribe



Uganda Mission Trip

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This October my sister and brother-in-law will be taking a short-term mission trip to Uganda.  One of their primary missions while there is a medical outreach to help fight against Malaria in Uganda.  Please read more about it by clicking on this  LINK

There is a donate button on the website where you can help out if you feel led to do so.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers next month♥

Hello Fresh

We tried Hello Fresh for the first time.  I have to say it’s pretty amazing!  I received all the items I ordered in a cold box, each meal is separated into bags along with easy directions on how to cook them up.  We did a family plan for four(we only had two kids that night), and there was plenty of food for all and we had a good amount of leftovers, we probably could’ve fed our family of six comfortably, and to top it all off, our dinner was delicious!

With the kids back in school and all the extracurricular activities we have going on right now, having meals delivered straight to my house and not having to think about what to make for dinner or go to the store is a relief for me.

Click on this link HELLO FRESH or use the code BRILEE10 to get $40.00 off your first order.  Let me know if you try it out!




*This post may contain affiliate links

Blended Fam **Guest Post**

I truly believe that blended families are THE BEST KEPT SECRET. Yes, everyone knows about blended families and the blessings and horrors of step-parents and kids, right?! But the amount of work both physically and emotionally is astounding to me. And there’s really no way to describe it without living it. I’ve tried explaining it to my friends who are still “blissfully” in their first marriage. I try to describe being a newlywed, the pressures of having kids, jobs, dealing with ex’s and their families, and total strangers now family, not to mention someone is in a new home or everyone is in a new space along with which dishes to keep or get rid of and keeping emotional values for things in check and re-evaluated…. all bundled into one year and usually within 6 months. It’s really a hard concept to grasp.

How did you two meet and how long have you been married?

Our story begins in 1983…. for real…. 1983. My family had moved from northern Oklahoma to Southern Oklahoma my 7th-grade year of school. Andy and I were in the same church affiliation. In 1984 we ‘dated’ for about 2-3 weeks …and held hands once. Very scandalous, haha. I always knew he had a special place for me; I just didn’t know how much. Life went on after our ‘trist.’ We were always friends and just lived our lives.

Andy is 2 years older than me, and he just disappeared one day. I now know he had joined the Army. We went our separate ways living our very different lives. I remember about 10-12ish years ago when FB was becoming a thing, I found him there and asked how he was doing… he had just begun his divorce, but that was all the contact we had.

Fast forward, and I found myself divorced with four teenagers and zero help from my ex….like zero. I had been a stay at home mom and was working at providing for these kids and starting some sort of a career… I had no ‘warning shot’ from my ex…one day we were great, the next he was moving out. So it was a little like throwing a toddler into the deep end and saying “swim!”.

I had been single for about two years, and it had been my birthday and my son who is serving

a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints had sent the cutest picture saying Happy Birthday Mom on a wipe board. I had posted it on Instagram and FB. I had been on a TERRIBLE date the weekend before and I remember just being tired. You know we’ve all been there. So what do tired mommies do?! They get pizza and sit and scroll Instagram of course! Haha… I noticed Dru had liked my picture….but I had no idea who Dru was…he has always been Andy to me. I clicked on his profile and figured out it was him.

I messaged him on a whim and suggested we meet for dinner sometime (ensuring he was still single), we made a date for that Friday (it was Tuesday). We ended up texting for about four days till our date. We played ’20 questions’ to get to know one another again. He picked me up for a movie that Friday and we joke that we’re still on our first date. It all went VERY fast. That was April 21st and we married June 30th. So yea…. FAST. But we knew our foundation backgrounds and we knew we wanted the same things out of this life and decided we each felt the other was worth the work.

Our issues with blending a family can, on paper, really seem like humble bragging. But looking at it deeper, they are our own personal struggles.

How old are each of the children that you brought into the marriage?

My husband has two children, and I have 4. His ‘bookend’ mine. He has a 24-year-old, and then I have a 20, 19, 18, and 15-year-olds, and then his daughter is our caboose at 13 years old. They are great kids that are happy we found each other again. My stepson may have given me one of the best compliments when he told me the life we created in the last year is what he’s always wanted and hoped.

My husband had been single for eight years and had vowed never to be married again, and had not even been dating in those eight years. So his mindset was VERY independent and VERY single. His older son was already out of the house, and he had a daughter whom he shared physical custody with…so he wasn’t used to actual bodies around him all the time. He’s also an introvert, so the instant amount of people around…ALL the time was monumental for him.

I have full physical and legal custody of my children. Their dad literally doesn’t even talk to them (their choice because of his choices)… so they are with me 24/7. My husband’s ex used to have his daughter every weekend but has since moved 3 hours away, so she is with us almost all the time as well. So you can imagine the struggles of just everyday life from being the only person in the house to now sleeping with someone else every night and ALWAYS having multiple people in the house. Adjusting is an understatement of the year.

We just had our 1st anniversary on June 30th, so it’s been interesting to look back and see how we’ve stretched and grown. There’s been a lot of faking it till you make it. I wouldn’t say we were an instant family, but we functioned like one, which honestly helped. When it comes to parenting, we tend to stay in our own lane with our own kids. We’ve started going into each other’s territories very carefully always respecting what we’ve created thus far with our kids in our own ways. I do not call out my bonus daughter like I do my kids. That doesn’t work for her personality and the way my husband and his ex treat her, so I use a different approach with her and always VERY aware that I’m the odd man out when it really comes down to any choices and decisions. My husband is very respectful as well and will go through me first. My hope is that we don’t have to be so “careful”…but for now it works and is a step in adjusting to being our own kind of family.

Respect is the name of the ‘game.’ Even when we think our way is ‘right’… we each lived our lives successfully for 40 plus years, and no houses burnt down, and everyone was still alive so respecting each other is THE KEY. I always step back and look at the situation and ask how important my point REALLY is and what it might create. What sort of respect am I giving to receive it as well?

We have amazing children that have really helped this process. I must give kudos to all of them. They’ve all been aware of the struggles we have and have really worked at changing and adjusting to help us adjust and make this family work. I feel like they all want this as much as we do, for different but real reasons. But we’ve also been raising them in such a way that they already had our trust, and we were already working as a family that looks out for one another.

My kids (and myself) had been in therapy for a year after their dad left, this, in my opinion, should be a requirement for ALL children of divorce. They need someplace to figure things out WITHOUT our influence and junk. This helps them to work out their frustrations with the whole situation and not to let our stuff transfer to them. This includes the stuff that rises after re-marriage. I was shocked when things came up that I thought were a non-issue, therapy people… therapy! It can only help the blending process. If a therapist isn’t working for you… change them. You are not (or shouldn’t be) obligated to stay with them. I’ve met a terrible therapist and some that were great but just didn’t ‘speak’ to me. Do what works.

The kids each have their own struggles, but they are regular everyday struggles of growing up, nothing in the realm of some kids of divorce that I hear that rebel and are terrible to the incoming parent or their own parent. My children especially struggle with abandonment issues. They are older too, so Dru is more of a friend figure, except for my youngest… I believe she looks at him like a father, there was no need to parent them and Dru already had an older son, so he knew a little about letting go and letting them live.

We took a strengthening stepfamilies class after we had been married for about five months and it was great because we’d walk away with a better perspective to deal better…. AND realizing how good we had it. We also walked away with tools and realization of things like it’s ok to not like the bonus children all the time… I mean we don’t even like our own kids all the time, so it makes sense. Ha! The more education and direction you can get the better. There are professionals and people who have already done this ready to share and teach…thank goodness!!!

I will say this about parenting and blending a family. Multi-tasking emotions is a MUST. Deciding what sort of family I wanted was essential. So when things aren’t going necessarily the way I want or I would do or would ever think about…. I ask myself if my initial reaction is going to help my “dream” or hurt it. It has helped keep my tongue MANY MANY times. Because that’s what we’re all working towards, right? The ‘dream’ of having a healthy and happy family… I just had to decide what that could look like and just keep walking towards that hope.

Time is a beautiful enemy…that’s how I describe it. I’m not the most patient person in life. So this has been a huge stretch in letting time do what it does best… heal and create. It’s helped to heal a lot of wounds (is still helping) and is allowing us to create memories and bond little by little. Being thrown into what is meant to take decades is intense and confusing. But allowing time to be a friend and take a deep breath… priceless.

I want to note that I realize our story has minimal ex-involvement. Not like some of you that are in a constant battle of not only having to deal with the said ex but help these kids navigate two households and two ways of living and all the emotions that are involved with that dynamic. I tell my husband all the time that as angry as I get at my ex for choosing to not be in my kids’ lives, at least he’s inadvertently keeping his “junk” to himself and not making it harder for them. And my bonus daughter was VERY young when they divorced so she’s really not known life differently other than now having to share time, space, and money with us. She recognizes the benefit of having us here, so she’s been very good about the sharing…still hard but still doing it swimmingly.

Thank you for allowing me to share our story. I’m feeling even more grateful seeing our story on paper and seeing that we are getting it done.
I credit my husband and kids for sticking it out and looking for our ‘dream’ beside me. I credit my faith in a Heavenly Father that I know is watching over ALL of us and wants to see us succeed.

We still have a road ahead of us for sure… as I mentioned earlier, my oldest is serving a full-time mission for our church and hasn’t even met Dru yet! So we have that little nugget to experience coming soon (6 months!)… so we clearly have things to still figure out. I do believe though that we have the tools, love, and the desire to get it done.

Kudos to all those blended tribes out there… you’re doing better than you think you are…I’m SURE of it!!!

To read other guest blended family stories click HERE

Thanks for sharing Kim!! You have a beautiful family and an encouraging story! Keep up the good work and let me know when you start your blog!!

♥ The Blended Tribe

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