The Blended Tribe

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:


Blender VB Tournament

So proud of these girls. They took first in the tournament today. Jon and I got to spend the entire day with our oldest. It’s always such a great experience when we get to spend one-on-one time with a kid. Today was a good day, and we are so proud of this girl ♥

Blended Family: From a Husband’s Point of View

**DISCLAIMER** The statements in this post are solely my opinions and are not of or directed at the character of any individual(s).  They are simply my perceptions of my own experiences as a parent/stepparent in a blended family and are in no way, shape or form associated with any past or present grievances with any person(s) involved in our family dynamic- either directly or indirectly. If you happen to be reading this and take offense to it, understand that it is about me, not you, and is intended to help other men in the same situation feel like they are not alone.


We all know that divorce is a bummer.  It tears at the fabric of family, destroys our perceptions of love and commitment, wounds our children and depletes our resources.


Fortunately, there is life after divorce.  In my case, I remarried and took on two more children than I had before. Life is not without its challenges, but at the end of the day, I feel whole.  I love being a family man, so my situation suits me.


When we first “blended”, I had it in my head that we were going to immediately gel- no delays, and no hiccups.  What a sucker I was.   While our life is mostly great, and our kids truly love each other, we are a far cry from the Brady Bunch. Let me break down a couple of the speed bumps I’ve experienced:

  1. My kids and I are intruders. In a nuclear family, children are raised from birth with a set of routines and customs that are formed by the combined efforts of the birth parents.  In our case, my wife has her kids 90%+, which means they are with us more than my kids at 50%.  Additionally, WE moved into the house THEY already occupied.  THEY now share rooms that were once their own.  WE have introduced routines and customs that are foreign, and seldom welcome. It often seems like half the kids feel like their home has been infiltrated, and the other half feels like they are visitors as opposed to residents.
  2. I am not Dad. I may provide a significant portion of the household income.  I may cook meals, coach teams, help with homework, teach life lessons…… you get it.  I may even raise my wife’s kids 300 days out of the year. Heck, I love them enough that I would sacrifice my life for theirs without blinking.  At the end of the day, nothing I can ever do will actually make me their Dad.  What do I mean? Well, first of all, when they went through the divorce, Mom became the one and only safe haven and authority figure the kids had.  Also, every new routine or custom I introduce only serves as a reminder that I am in no way, shape, or form one of the parents they were born with.
  3. Parents are protective. I’d wager my wife and I aren’t the only parents who get a little protective and defensive when it comes to step-parent criticism or discipline.  Some families are on the same page and take on very conventional roles, while others- like us- struggle with the way our spouses treat our kids and raise their own.
  4. Out of home parents can sometimes suck. Let’s face it, we were all hoping for the perfect situation where we get remarried, blend families and create a brand-new (and upgraded) life for ourselves, our kids and our step-kids.  Then comes the ah-s**t! moment, when we realize that there are people out there who aren’t happy for you and don’t want to see your vision come to fruition.  This topic could take up a post of its own (you know what I mean) so I’ll just move on.  


Over the last two years, I’ve learned some valuable lessons from all of this.  The first is that God is looking out for my wife and kids, too.  He’s not going to let me screw this up too bad for them so long I lean on Him to get through it.  Secondly, the sooner I come to terms with reality, the faster I will adjust to it, and my kids will follow suit.


The next thing is that I need to humble myself every day and stay flexible.  I have a new wife, two new kids, and two kids that have a life equally spent outside of our home. I have to respect that we are all navigating these waters together and while my wife and I are co-captains, the kids also need roles that make them feel significant and a part of the process.


As our church pastor puts it, spouses need to try and hear one another with loving ears and speak to one another with loving words.  What my wife thinks is best for my kids and what I think is best for hers can be really hurtful if shared and heard the wrong way. I used to think couples counseling was the launching pad for divorce.  But this time around, it is a Godsend.  Having a professional translate for us while we are still learning to speak each other’s languages has been pretty significant.


Allowing myself to get worked up over the behavior, attitude, involvement (or lack thereof) etc. of the out of home parents only drives a wedge between me and my wife, and puts our kids in the middle of situations they already don’t understand.  Don’t waste time trying to change things out of your control.  Focus on your own home, be above reproach with your custody agreement, and remember that your kids love those people too.


Last but not least, the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to count my blessings.  I have a smokin’-hot, intelligent and talented wife who loves and supports me, four healthy children who love and laugh at me, a fulfilling career that helps to support us all, and family experiences that are piling up every day. All of that makes every humbling, frustrating and challenging moment worth the effort.






Love you, babe!  Thanks for sharing ♥

Nacho Kids

nacho kids

I stumbled upon the stepfamily FB group page call nachokids a couple of days ago. It’s a step parenting style of not parenting your stepkids; you’re more of a friend than a parent to them.
I went and checked out their website after joining the Facebook group, and I think it’s worth checking out. I’m not sure this style of stepparenting would work for us, but it’s fascinating to see how well it works for everybody on there.

Here’s the link to the website:

I’m curious as to your thoughts about this blended family style?? Would/Does it work for you?


Blended & Blessed 2018

→This is such a cool event!!  You can host a small group or order it for your personal viewing.  This event is live-streamed.  Check with your church to see if they are hosting this event.  

Blended and blessed event

2018 Blended & Blessed Livestream: Keys to Stepfamily Success

· Hosted by FamilyLife Blended
The link below will take you to the registration page to find out more information ↓


Blended& Blessed® is a one-day live event and livestream for stepfamily couples, single parents, dating couples with kids, and those who care about blended families.

Join thousands of sites around the globe as we unpack key successes that are crucial to healthy stepfamily marriages. With some of today’s most trusted and respected experts, Blended &
Blessed will challenge, inspire, and encourage you. Over 13,000 people from 22 countries experienced the 2017 event, and we’re coming back with new speakers and more crucial help for 2018.

You can sign up today to host the Blended & Blessed livestream in your church or your community or find a location near you to attend. You can even host an event in your home with your small group or friends, bringing together couples for one incredible day of teaching, music, and humor!
Special guests include:

Ron Deal
Dr. Rick Rigsby
Michele Cushatt
Bill Butterworth
Steve & Misty Arterburn
Andy & Heather Hetchler

If you are part of a stepfamily, or know someone who is, this is a can’t-miss opportunity!
Get more information:

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