The Blended Tribe

Merry Christmas!!

 

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We’ve had a great Christmas so far. The last four days have been full of festivities. We’ve celebrated a Birthday, went Christmas light browsing, a couple of game nights and stayed in our PJ’s all day on Saturday enjoying our gifts. We celebrated our Christmas with my side of the family on Saturday, and then last night we celebrated with my in-laws. We drop off two of the kids at eight this morning and drop the other two off at noon. Since we already did our Christmas, I felt that this morning would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the real reason for the season….JESUS!! Kids each have a new Bible sitting under the tree, we decorated with balloons and made a special cake in His honor. I figure they will be celebrating the rest of the day with presents, so let’s start this day off right with what matters most.  Merry Christmas everybody!! I will be posting lots of pics and a post later on today.  We are going to go wake up the kids…….

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Together Again

After being apart for five days, all the kids are back and up to the same old shenanigans. You never know what you’re going to get after they have been apart so many days. The first day back together can be a little nerve-racking. You don’t know what the past days have been like for the kids when they are with their other parents. You don’t know how much sleep they’ve gotten, how much activity they’ve had. Moods and emotions can be high during the adjustment period. When you get everybody back together, and all are in good spirits, it’s a relief.
Tonight was a good night. This picture is what dinner looks like at our house almost every night with all the kids.

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Lots of talk and craziness, all four kids trying to talk and get our attention all at the same time.

We try our best to eat at home and have dinner together every night. We feel it’s important to share this time each evening that we’re all together. It’s essential for us to take the time to catch up on the day and connect. The kids look forward to it, and so do we.

—>Love this. We need to buy new dining room chairs right now… instead of looking at it as a pain and expense, I need to appreciate the fact that they’ve been well used. I can’t wait to wear out the new chairs we get<—

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Let me make it clear that this house is nowhere near perfect, but when all four kids(two of them being pre-teens) are happy and in a good mood, it feels pretty darn close to perfect 🙂

 

Meet the Burd Family.

 

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How did you two meet and how long have you been married?
We met at church, and got to know each other better through a small group Bible Study that we both attended.

How long did you date before getting married?
We dated for almost three years before we were married.

How old are each of the children that you brought into the marriage?
When we were married, Kylie was 16, Macie was 14 (Tony’s), Jacob was 8, Korinne was 3 (Sarah’s).

Did you become an instant family?
Yes and no. The kids all knew each other pretty well, and it didn’t take us long to learn how to deal with every person’s personality quirks and such. At the same time, it was a big adjustment to pack six people into one house, especially having 4 kids sharing one bathroom!

What does discipline look like in your home?
We have both handled discipline equally, as immediately and informed as possible. We didn’t have any discipline issues with the two older girls, even through their teenage years. They were only with us every other week, and when we had them, they were very mild-mannered and calm.
With the younger two (Sarah’s), we had started dating when they were 5 years old and 9 months old, so they had pretty much accepted Tony as a father already. This made it much easier for both of us to handle the discipline for them.

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Biggest blessing in having a blended family?
The biggest blessing for us is being able to see how God can make something so amazingly beautiful out of a tragedy like divorce. After almost 10 years of marriage, we definitely feel more like a “real” family now than ever.
Also, it’s so neat to see how our kids have grown to truly appreciate each other as siblings, and as people. We live a state away from Kylie and Macie now, and when Jacob and Korinne are down visiting their dad during their vacations, they always try to find some way to see their sisters. Also, they regularly call and text each other, and usually when Jacob or Korinne need advice, they turn to either Kylie or Macie first. We love that.

The biggest challenge in having a blended family?
Dealing with all the other people in the kids’ lives that try to take on a parenting role, primarily grandparents and biological father and his wife. It seems to be a constant power struggle (especially with grandparents) to reiterate that WE are the parents, and they are not.
Also, there will always be an element of “stepparent” in our lives. There are times where we are reminded that we are not the biological parent of our spouse’s kids, and it’s almost always hurtful.

What does Coparenting look like for you?
It’s VERY different between the two of us. Tony’s ex-wife has always been an excellent coparent. She has the same moral values as we do, and she communicates well regarding the girls.
Sarah’s ex-husband is pretty much the opposite. He avoids all possible contact with her, and will not even communicate back about the children when she has initiated contact. His moral compass is nowhere near the same, to the point that he will not allow the kids to even attend church while they are in his house. He bad-mouths her and Tony, and all of her family, to the kids, as he has for years. Thankfully, we are now a state away and the children only see him on their school breaks (which they dread). When they are there for five weeks in the summer (which Jacob now refuses to stay that long), he will not allow the kids to contact anyone from Sarah’s family, even though they live close to him. It’s pretty much a nightmare.

Any tips you can give other blended families?
Rely on God, instead of people. People will always let you down to some extent, but God never will.
Have a thick skin. Don’t get offended easily. Kids are usually well-meaning, but feelings can easily get hurt unintentionally.

Anything else you want us to know about your family?
If it weren’t for God’s guidance, we wouldn’t be where we are today. He is the One who sustains and calms our chaos.

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Burd Fam-Thanks for sharing your amazing story with us!!  Your family gives all us blended families that are starting out HOPE. Very encouraging!
Much Love,
The Blended Tribe

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name??  Apparently, to my kid’s everything is in a name! When Jon and I decided to get married, I had to have the last name talk with my two kids. I told them that I would be taking Jon’s last name and it was a talk that ended in tears and confusion for them. They wanted to know why and they didn’t like the fact that I wouldn’t have the same last name as them anymore and if they could change their name too. Personally, I couldn’t wait to drop my ex-husband’s name, but when I witnessed my kids response to changing it, it broke my heart.
Jon and I went to get our marriage license, and at that point, I was still on the fence about what I should do. Together, we made the decision right then to hyphenate my name for the time being. The kids were so happy to know that I had both names of the two different families that lived in our house.
Where I’m at now:
I’m glad that I was able to make the kids happy with my decision of hyphenating, but my God it’s been a pain in the butt! It’s ended up being a little confusing. My work email and name has to stay as it was because I didn’t technically change my name. At work, I go by the old last name, but in the world, I try to go by my new last name. It’s hard to keep up with that sometimes though. As soon as I get the chance, I’m going to make the change and drop the hyphen. I will for sure talk with the kids again before I do it, but I know that they are at a better and stronger place now to handle it differently.
I will let you know how this goes……

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Holiday Blending

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Tis the season to be jolly right?!? Not for all families! The Holiday’s can be extremely tough on blended families.

Here are some tips to get you through the Holidays:

1) Plan ahead. You know when you do and don’t have your kids. Make sure that you plan the month out and be organized and prepared.

2) Be flexible. Although you need to plan out your month according to your parenting agreement, some things just aren’t going to be at your scheduled time with the kids; this goes both ways. Try to be as flexible as possible with the kid’s other parents without messing up your schedule. Everyone has important activities that they want to do during the Holidays so keep an open mind to that.

3) Have a good attitude. Stay positive and don’t let drama get you down or ruin your mood. Focus on your family and the true meaning of Christmas.

4) Make new traditions. It’s fun to make new traditions that your blended family will come to know and appreciate. Get creative and even if some of the kids “act” like they aren’t into it, they will probably be the first ones asking to do it the next year. At least that’s what usually happens around here. Along with making new traditions make sure you respect any existing traditions that are important to the kids or your spouse.

5) Be sensitive. Realize that the kids have a lot of non-stop activity going on during this time of year. Parent’s trying to cram traditions and activities in half the time with their kids. The kids might be a little worn down and overstimulated. Try to have extra patience and understanding during this time.

 

Blended Family

 

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No Fishing Zone

 

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Fishing for information out of your kids about the other parent or what happened at the other parent’s house while they were with them is a big NO-NO!  It makes things uncomfortable for the kids, and honestly, it does YOU no good.  I”m not saying I haven’t learned this the hard way but I did figure out very early on that I don’t need to know EVERYTHING that happens when my kids aren’t with me.  It’s something that I had to come to terms with and as a mother, that’s not easy, but I now know that I’m better off for it.  All of our kids know that they can come and talk to us about ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.  We are always here for them, and we will be as honest and straightforward with them as much as allowed.

A long time back, I decided that I don’t want or need to know and let me tell you, it felt so good. I know people that will social media stalk and hound their kids for any information about the other parent. If you are one of these people…..STOP right now!! Naturally, you want to make sure your children are safe and being well-cared. Keep an open and well-communicated relationship with your children and trust me, they will tell you when things aren’t right all on their own. When they do tell you things, you then have to come up with a neutral response or try to listen without forcing your opinions in on the matter. Also, please never show emails or texts between you and your ex to your children. There’s no need to put kids in the middle of grown-up situations. Their not ready to be dealing with these things and kids these days already have so much drama on their plates, they don’t need their parents/step-parents adding to that.

Encouraging Podcast!

I listened to an excellent podcast yesterday by Jimmy Evans with MarriageToday. I highly recommend checking this one out. He gives encouraging advice for blended families and married couples. Name of the podcast. The name of the podcast is called The Dynamics of Blending. You can click HERE to take you right to the podcast. ENJOY!!

 

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Surgery + Lice = NO FUN!!

Things have been crazy around my house.  My hubby went in for knee surgery a couple of days ago, and all went well with that.  He had his meniscus repaired.

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I get the kids home from school that day to discover my daughter has LICE!!!  FREAK OUT MOM MOMENT!!   First lice experience.  I never had it growing up, and none of the kids had gotten it until now.  Here’s a photo of what I pulled out of my daughter’s hair. I about died. I talk to about seven different people right away to get advice on what to do. I get about seven different answers. Go to the drugstore and try Nix first. Even though I heard mixed opinions on the Nix, it killed the lice. The next morning she still had a ton nits in her hair that I had to pick out one by one. The next day we soaked her hair in apple cider vinegar and picked out more nits. I found that the ACV did help loosen up the nits and made it a little easier to get them out. That night, I used a mixture of coconut oil with tea tree oil and had her sleep with that on all night. This morning, I had her wash her hair, and when I sat to pick out the nits, I found that she had a lot fewer nits to pick out this morning. On top of nitpicking and cutting a couple of inches off her hair, I’ve had to wash all the bedding, and blankets, curtains, rugs, EVERYTHING in our house. I’ve bagged all stuff animals and hats. Getting rid of these nasty things have not been fun, and we’re not over it yet. Our Pediatrician has called in a prescription to try as well, and we are waiting for it to get here. Hoping to try that out tonight. I’ll update with what ended up working the best for her. I’m thinking the coconut oil, and tea tree oil is the winner so far.

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How to deal with lice in a blended family. You have to make sure you tell all parents about what’s going on. If some of your kids aren’t with you, see if they can stay at the other parents’ house or try to keep the kids and treat them until all lice are gone.  We were very blessed in the fact that my stepkids mom was able to keep them for us while we’ve been dealing with this mess.  This entire situation is not fun but preventing it from spreading and nipping it in the butt as quickly as possible is essential.

 

We’re on the mend.

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I’m exhausted and ready for a vacation……a mom can dream right?!

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***UPDATE—The lice situation was no joke! I used Nix, the medication prescribed by the doctor what seemed to work the best was coconut oil with tea tree oil…..this is stuff I always have on hand. It took a good week for all the nits to be out. I’m still checking her hair every morning before school just to be on the safe side. It looks like we’re in the clear though.

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