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The Middle Story-by Nicole

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So many lessons in life and love led to the creation of this blog first published March 2012. 

It began the year I was co-parenting with my ex-husband while in different states, several years after our divorce. We had settled down near each other in the beginning, and although the children lived with me, he saw them regularly.  At the time we wrote this blog, he was in St. Louis where he was stationed for work for the year, and we lived in a small beach town north of Boston.He looked forward to seeing his sons, but his visits were irregular due to his work commitment. His entries and mine, both reflect life from our own perspectives at the time, obviously very different. 

Back home, I was in a difficult relationship, attempting to blend with a new baby added into the equation-- proving difficult. Painful emotional and physical experiences bring forth the need for growth, maturity and moving on, but that took a long time to do. 


The complexities and challenges at the time were significant…

How can you be a parent from afar? You can't - by Pat

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By Pat
Trying to be a parent, I mean the discipline part, from here is ridiculous. Even the thought of having a meaningful conversation about brotherly love (or lack thereof) and expect something to come out of it with an 11 year old is ludicrous. So having a talk with my oldest tonight about fighting with his brothers went a little as expected. Except the craziest thing happened, we were actually having a back and forth discussion. Grunts, meh's and i-don't-knows barely came up, which is the standard communication style preferred by my preteen and I usually imagine a neanderthal type creature on the other end of the phone in place of my smart beautiful child. And so we discussed how to deal with a 6 year old brother. Which as we all know is impossible, you can't reason or expect to convince this creature with a logical thought out resolution. No, he's a self made grenade who can pull the pin out at any time and who ever is near him gets the shrapnel, we can just hop…

NPR report on Blended Families

A great listen for Blended families!

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/09/133625798/More-Blended-Families-Try-To-Shake-Step-Title


NPR report on step vs. blended families today and the keys to having a successful blended family.
Guest speaker from Step Mom Magazine.

Best all,

Nicole

Best Pre Christmas trip ever!!

By Pat
I was originally planning to come home in january since i left near thanksgiving to head back out to st louis. That plan kept feeling worse and worse until it was obvious i had to see my boys before christmas. And they had to see me! What a great wknd we had up in nh, from the second i got there, just being able to test ryans blood sugar made me feel like a dad again. When i bought the tkt i just kept getting more excited until i finally crept in bed with ryan, he was out cold but woke up enought to give me a great smile and a kiss. Then all three jumping on me to wake me up at 7 in the morning, felt wonderful to be home, even if i wasn't home. We just spent the day making huge snowmen in the back of gaga and pepieres house, then taking some time inside just to get dry enough to go back outside! We all stayed close to each other all day, sometimes too close, lots of snowballs with these boys. Special moments with all, my fav being able to crack up owen and keep him in stich…

The Blended Trip

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By Nicole



I took a leap of faith, spent a bunch of money, and took 5 kids on a blended family trip from Boston to Miami with my partner. Together we had a two year old daughter who I was raising with my three sons. We also brought my partner's son, who we parented every other weekend when he visited from his mother's house where he lived the rest of the time.  The trip was my idea, and including his son was important to me. Just just like any other experience in life, there were lessons learned. I wanted to do something fun with the kids, and escape the cool New England air for awhile. Constantly striving to keep the peace with my partner and make our blended family work, I had a false sense of optimism things might improve. But, if you can't get along at home, changing the environment doesn't necessarily improve things, even if you are in beautiful Miami air.

Flying out of Boston on a delayed flight with a two-year old who couldn't sit longer then 3 minutes (plus…

5 Ways to Less Daily Chaos

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By Nicole

In a large or blended family, things will feel chaotic sometimes--it's inevitable! But there are a few simple steps you can take each day to limit the chaos.

1. Get rid of what you don't use. Donate, donate, donate.  Keep a bag of clothes that don't fit, stuff you aren't using, toys the kids no longer play with and when it's full, pass it along. Find a spot for everything, if it doesn't have a spot, then get rid of it.


2. Chores
Whether you do a chore chart or keep it casual, have the kids help out with daily basics. Unless you have a housekeper, there is so much to be done everyday to keep the household running smoothly. Have everyone participate in things like cleanup, laundry, yard work. Not only does participating build teamwork in the family, but it also builds valuable skills for life!


3. Have all household members responsible for their own stuff.  It's easy for an adult to pick up a pair of dirty socks in the living room and put it in the h…

Becoming Comfortable, Being Different

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By: Nicole




Being Comfortable, Being a Different Type of Family

So many people prefer to live in drama because it’s comfortable. It’s like someone staying in a bad marriage or relationship – it’s actually easier to stay because they know what to expect every day, versus leaving and not knowing what to expect. Ellen DeGeneres
I recently re-watched the Emmy-Award-Winning Ellen DeGeneres in her 2010 HBO special at the Beacon Theatre in NY. This special is hilarious, and also thought provoking in our (meaning society’s) attitudes towards others. At the time of the special, Ellen had only been ‘out’ for a few years and was truly a pioneer for the gay and lesbian community and their supporters. I have always admired Ellen for so many reasons. Mostly, I love her uniqueness and the way she gives off such a strong sense of being comfortable with herself. Right down to being the voice of Dory, my favorite Nemo character, I think Ellen is really fabulous. The character Dory has an overwhelming number…

Sneaky Wednesday

By Pat,
So by the time we get back to the hotel I can't even stand being in the same car as the boys, only back a week and they are driving me nuts. Fighting, pushing each others limits, pushing my limits, and I can't stand them. They have gotten me cranky and I don't want to listen to them for a second. All normal kid stuff but rubbing me the wrong way. Then we get in the room and they are still going at it, I get fed up and pulled out the pool card, that's it, we're not going! Of course we still were, but it at least got their attention. I just needed a few minutes to settle myself down and then off to the pool. Once we got inside it was complete relaxation, they just needed space to get their energy out, and I had a big glass of wine, i'm sure it was just coincidence. The boys ran around, splashed, we stayed up late and even watched a little show at 9:45 on a tuesday, how, because it's sneaky wednesday tomorrow.