The Blended Tribe

Mother’s Day Countdown

Now that Easter is over….next up….MOTHER’S DAY! Oh, the joy of Mother’s Day as a Stepmom. I have two kids of my own, so Mother’s Day isn’t as difficult for me as it is for some Stepmama’s out there. I have faith that at some point on Mother’s Day my stepkids thought about me, and I’m good with that in itself.
I know that it’s hard for stepmoms out there that don’t have their own kids, and my heart goes out to you all ♥   You put your love, sweat, and tears into your stepkids and all you want is a little recognition. You’re expected to play mom, but not get any credit on a day that is all about mom because you didn’t give birth to them. Everything about that sucks!


I challenge you NOT to let Mother’s Day get you down this year!
Here are some ideas of how to avoid Mother’s Day gloom:

1) Focus on your Mom that day-Show your mama some love!

2) Plan a day of pampering yourself and show yourself a little love. Hey, you’re a stepmom, and you deserve to be pampered and treated special on Mother’s Day. Plan a spa day for yourself, go shopping for yourself, treat yourself. If nobody else is going to do it, then make it happen for yourself! You deserve it!

3) Do you have other stepmom friends? I think it would be fun to have a little stepmom gathering on this day and celebrate not being celebrated together:) Go to lunch together or drink a bottle (or two) of wine while supporting one another through this day. You’re not alone!

 

I think the most important thing is to plan it out. You know that this day is coming, and don’t expect anything. Plan for yourself and avoid any sadness or heartbreak that might be attached to this day for you. If you get down in the dumps, know that you are letting other people win and control your day. Don’t allow that to happen!

 

I would love to know some of your Mother’s Day traditions with your stepkids. Do you celebrate or not?

Track Meet

Cole and Gracie had the first track meet that they both participated in last week.  So naturally, we made them take an embarrassing picture together where they look like they get along 🙂

Parenting is the most fun when you get to torture your teens.

Happy Easter 2019!

I hope each one of you had a wonderful Easter weekend!

Guest Post: Meet The Norman Crew

 

How did you and your spouse meet and how long have you been married?

Back in 2013, in our “previous lives” I used to kick my husband’s tail in the gym. I was his personal trainer and bootcamp instructor in our small town! We always knew we were “cut from the same cloth” and that allowed us to be great friends. We were each married at the time, so he stepped into a “big brother” role for me, as he is eleven years older. We lost touch when my family moved away, and unfortunately had both separated from our spouses when we reconnected. He needed help finding a new place, and I had gotten my real estate license. I don’t think we have gone a day since that phone call without speaking. He is the best man I know, and I know MANY great men! We will be married 2 years next week!

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

We ended up with two brand new sets of twins when we got married, as Jay and I’s children are the same age. Our “bigs” are 13, the “twins” are 10, and my little guy, Cash is 6. He often feels jipped that he doesn’t have a counterpart!

Did you become an instant family?

Jay and I both had blinders on and EXPECTED them to be an instant family; we didn’t want to give them any other option except to love each other. We know now that that was misguided and had to take large steps back and allow everyone to heal at their own pace. I guess we realized a forced family was not what we were looking for, but instead a union that happened organically, one that was their choice. I felt an imaginary cloud clear around the first year mark, and each weekend that we have spent as the seven of us has gotten exponentially better.

What does discipline look like in your home?

I’m very strict, and my husband is sorta strict but more so kind, good, and patient. I hated the way he parented when we first married until I saw the results he got from our children and the way they thrived. Now I strive each day to parent more and more like him. I want to be just like him when I grow up 😉

Biggest blessing in having a blended family?

There are SO many! If I had to pick my favorite, I would say the relationship between our thirteen year olds, a boy and a girl. They are extremely close, and they love each other so much. The girl is mine, and her name is Lily. She is our blended family’s biggest fan, and I am confident that there were days when she was cheering for all of us when I was not. Also, when we are together it sounds like we are having a “kegger” at our place, they are so loud and crazy. They make our life wild and hilarious!

The biggest challenge in having a blended family?

Again, there are SO many! My husband and I have a grace and humility podcast, so the challenges in our family only add amazing content for each episode! So when the Lord told us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, we ACTUALLY do! After a few moments of course! Of course, I’m totally kidding, but in a way, this IS the dynamic of our trials! We USE them!

What does Co-parenting look like for you?

My ex-husband is one of my best friends. I’m afraid it makes others feel uncomfortable, but I pray our relationship becomes the norm, and not the rare case, very soon. We speak with each other nearly everyday and work together when we see a problem arise with one of our three children. Usually, however, our calls are sharing the funny thing one of our crazy kids did/said that day. I won’t answer for my husband, but I will share that he and his ex-wife are very much the adults they are needing to be to make the kids thrive.

Any tips you can give other blended families?

Our podcast revolves around a very key principal, “Drop the Rope,” and we feel it can be a game-changer for blended families. A tug-of-war can occur so quickly in each of our relationships, and simply dropping our end of the rope can squash it in an instant. It’s taken us years to figure out, but once we got a taste of the first victory by simply dropping it, we knew that is what we wanted for our family. We saw our children THRIVE, and that as parents is our ultimate goal!

Anything else you want us to know about your family?

We mess up all of the time and are still trying to figure so many things out!! We don’t ever want anyone to feel frustrated or alone in this, as we are right here with you! We want you to know we are here too, cheering you on!!

 

 

 

Thank you Norman Crew for sharing with us!  Go check out their podcast:  https://www.movingonpodcast.com/

 

Goodbye 2018!

Two thousand eighteen was a good year. Am I happy to see it go…..yes! My husband told me a couple of weeks back that this was one of his best years to date. I don’t know if this was one of my best years, but it wasn’t horrible, and I ‘m glad we survived it together.

I must say that I’m excited for 2019 and what it has to offer. I do have some personal goals that I want to work on this year. My big goal is that I take the time now that I’m settled in this blended living, to make time for other people. It has been about five years since my divorce, and I feel like since that time I have become so consumed in myself, my kids, and then surviving this new life that I’ve created. I finally feel like I can breathe, and now it’s time to be there more for my friends and family outside of my little home. I need to be better about remembering Birthdays and special events; these were all things that I was good at one time in my life. It’s time to get that back! This particular thing has been on my heart for the past few months, so I’m determined to make it happen this year.

I’m excited for 2019, and I adore the tribe of people that I have around me. I’m busy, so I may take a little longer to respond to your questions and comments, but I will respond. I am so grateful for all the kind words, and encouragement I get on this journey. I also can’t tell you how much I appreciate you trusting my advice and asking for it. It’s a continual learning experience for all of us, and I’m grateful that we have one another to bounce ideas off of and to support one another.

 

Merry Christmas!

 

Merry Christmas my friends! I hope your day is full of love and joy. I know the Holiday’s can be so hard after divorce. It’s been five years since my separation, and it still doesn’t feel “normal” to me.

We are focused now on creating a new normal, and with each year, it gets a little easier. This entire situation is a process, and it’s what you make of it. You can let the process take you down, or you can learn and grow from it! I choose every single day to learn from what life throws at me. That’s the only option I have. I’m too hard-headed to let people, things or my situation get to me! NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
Don’t let today get you down! If you’re alone, enjoy it! If you’re with a new family, enjoy it! If you have all your kids and stepkids, enjoy it! If it’s just you and your significant other, enjoy it! Reflect on what today is really about and be grateful for this moment however you might be spending it.

Merry Christmas!

With so much love,

The Blended Tribe 

 

photo credit: photography by DeeDee 

I’ll be posting more photo’s from her soon.  She’s an amazing Central Coast photographer who impressed me beyond belief with her skills, and she works so well with kids (she’s a mama of 3).   Check out her work here

Camping Lives On

We took this photo while starting our Thanksgiving vacation camping and in the rain. We look happy right?! The kids were inside the trailer watching a movie, and Jon and I were cozied up by the fire with a beer and a glass of wine. It was a good start. Little did I share what happened the next day. This was our first Thanksgiving camping, and all but two of our tribe was excited about it. I think from all the rain to the complaining to the 8-year-old rubbing a tortilla on her body (another story for another time), I had had my feel!! I told Jon that I was ready to sell our trailer and I don’t want to go camping again with these kids!! I was OVER IT! When you have kids complaining and acting out and then a rainy, muddy mess to add to the experience, it was a recipe for disaster, and I was questioning why we even make an effort to do this stuff. I lost my sh*t people! I had to take a moment and dig deep and center myself aka I prayed and asked God for help.

What started as a frustrating Holiday where I was ready to disown every child (not literally), turned into a cool bonding experience with our two older ones who complained about camping in the first place. We played cards with the two of them for a good portion of the day and night, and it was probably the most fun I’ve had with them in a long time. They are goofy and ridiculous and a lot of fun. It was nice to get that time with them, and I’m confident that by the end of the trip they had fun too.

It’s hard when you have four kids ranging from eight to thirteen; you don’t ever feel like you can make every single one of them happy at one given time. Most the time I don’t care, but sometimes this can wear me down. I guess it’s one of those things that I’m learning you have to assess the situation and focus in on which one or two need the attention or extra care the most at that moment.

So, we are keeping the trailer for now, and we will continue to camp, and we don’t care who likes it or not. We will continue to do it because you never know when you will get those much-needed bonding moments with the kids. We will continue to camp because I believe deep down that when they are older, these are the trips that they will remember and hopefully pass on and do with their children. We will continue to camp so that they can disconnect from their phones and video games to get outside and experience new things and nature.

It might kill us, but camping lives on in this blended tribe!

 

A Blended Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving we have all four kids!! We decided to take our Turkey on the road. We are celebrating our 2018 Thanksgiving camping!! The older two aren’t thrilled about it, but the younger two are excited….you can’t win them all, right?! We aren’t traveling far, but if this works out, I can see it as our new tradition. We have family coming out to celebrate with us, and we are looking forward to being together and trying something new. Did I mention it might rain 😉 It will be an adventure!

I know how hard the holidays can be within a blended family, and this Thanksgiving I’m truly blessed not to have to worry about an exchange or not having our kids. That’s not the case for all of you this year, and I know that. Keep your chin up, focus on the positive, create new traditions with you your spouse, friends or alone! Don’t sit around being sad over something you can’t control though! Please stay positive, every holiday won’t be this way, and know that I’m thinking about you!!

Hit me up on email brilee4@gmail.com or IG @ the_blended_tribe if you’re having a hard time. You’re not in this alone, and I will do my best to talk you through it!

Click on Holiday Blending to get more tips on surviving this time of year.

Gracie’s Smile

 

After a couple of failed attempts of trying to get the impressions on my own for The Smile Direct Club, we decided to take a drive to the closest office, which was in Santa Barbara. It was a cool experience from the 3D X-rays to leaving with a bag full of goodies. It’s a lot quicker to go into the office and get it done for you. We are now waiting to get the plan back and get her started!

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