Lucky Seven Family

Category Archives: Tuesday Tips

Tuesday Tip – Love and Hate

Breathe deeply to quiet the noise…

inhale

Tuesday Tip: Flexibility

We have different agreements with ex-es regarding scheduling time with our kids.  Okay, one of us actually has an “agreement” while the other has an order.  Because my ex- and I schedule everything month-by-month to allow for maximum  flexibility with work travel and evening events, as well as weekend needs, I usually have the leeway to accommodate Russell’s more strict schedule with his children.

Working to maximize our time together, this translates into my schedule being somewhat dictated by his custody agreement.

This irritates me.  Why should I have to always be the one making concessions?  Anger…

Then, something shakes me.  Maybe it’s a slap across the face.  I remember it could be so much worse.  Flexibility is good!

We could be in a situation where both of us had court-ordered custody agreements and ex-es hell bent on making life as difficult as possible for our blended family.  Many of you know what this is like; you know how it feels every day.

So, on the days that I get frustrated, I remind myself that flexibility is good.  I say a quiet thank you to my ex for wanting what is best for our children.

Blending a family isn’t easy.  Focusing on what is good is not always easy either – make it a habit.  Make it your goal.

 

 

Tuesday Tip – “BE the adult!”

Step-parent

Step-child

Key word – “parent”

Please, please remember that as the step-parent, you are the one with “parent” in your name.  You are not the child.  No matter how difficult it may be, remember to always be the adult in the relationship!

You are not the child, don’t act like one in the step-parent, step-child relationship!

“BE the adult!”

Tuesday Tips – Birthdays

It’s birthday season for Lucky Seven Family.  I won’t make any more comment about the timing except that summer and early fall were clearly popular times…

We do not always have Russell’s kids on their birthday weekends and we are not always all together on birthday weekends either.  Regardless, we always make time to celebrate each child’s birthday with our blended family.  Whether it be two weeks early or a month late, every child gets birthday cake (or cupcakes!) and gifts within our blended family.

These celebrations bring our blended family closer and let each child know they are special!

birthday cake image 2

 

Making your snowskiing trip the best ever!

A snow skiing trip with lots of kids, or even one child, can cause even the most patient parent to have frazzled nerves!   There’s the equipment to carry, the lost glove, a pole six feet up the mountain after a fall.  Shoving their cute little feet into their snow boots, those cute little toes being cold, not being able to get the boots to click into the bindings.  All of this can be stressful for the parents and exhausting for the little ones.  But, WAIT!  We have 6 years of experience taking kiddos from 4 years old to 15 years old on ski trips!  We started skiing with our blended family when they were 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 years old.  Now, they are 9, 10, 13, 14, and 15 years old and skiing/snowboarding on their own.  On our recent trip, the two boys ( 13 and 14 years old) woke up one morning, got their ski clothes on and headed out to the slopes without a word from either parent!

So here are a few tips for making your ski trips enjoyable!

1.  Change your expectations of a perfect trip.  Don’t feel like you have to be on the slopes from 9am until 4pm with only a break for a quick lunch.  Take frequent breaks to warm up, drink hot chocolate (with marshmallows!), and let the little ones rest!

2.  Eat a big breakfast with lots of proteins before hitting the slopes!

3.  Split up – give the kids a chance to spend time with each parent.  Gauge which kids are ready to progress from the magic carpet to the greens and let them “pizza” or “french fry” down the slopes.  Take some time for yourselves as well.  Letting one parent get an “adult” run in is a good way to make sure everyone enjoys the trip.

4.  Duct tape! I’ve made the suggestion before — with lots of hats, helmets, gloves, boots, poles, skis (you get my point!), colored or patterned duct tape can be a lifesaver!  Let each child choose their color or pattern and label all of their gear.  The kids being able to help identify their own equipment increases their self-confidence by allowing them greater responsibility.

5.  If your kids don’t know how to ski or snowboard, put them in lessons! (or adult friends – that aren’t emotionally attached to your children – can also be successful).  There is something about trying to teach your own child how to ski that is really, really difficult for most parents.

6.  Brightly colored and/or patterned jackets or helmets make it much easier to find your little guys or gals on the slopes.  Don’t buy everyone black, navy or gray – they will blend in with all the other munchkins on the slopes!

7.  CHOCOLATE!! The first time LuckySevenFamily went skiing together, a couple of hours into the trip, we were riding up on one of lifts and Russell pulled a chocolate bar out of his ski jacket.  A few bites of chocolate gives the kids a little fat and sugar boost that wards off the fussiness that comes with hunger.  Don’t underestimate the calories burned in the cold.  A little chocolate treat can be a great pick me up for the little ones AND the parents too!

photo 1

Tuesday Tips – StepKids

love quote 2 feb 2015

Love your stepchildren just the same as your own children!

Tuesday Tip: Dealing with Different Age Children

As our LuckySevenFamily kids have gotten older, spanning between 8 -14 years old, the things we can do with all of them together has changed.  We experienced this during the past weekend when we decided to go to a movie (given we are experiencing frigid cold weather in New England this year we needed to find something indoors!).  It used to be that all the kids were young enough we could see a “kids” movie and everyone would be satisfied.  Well, no longer!  Now, the older three kids (12-14 years old) aren’t into the type of subjects that the younger two girls can watch.

In this type of circumstance, we’ve learned that it pays to separate; each parent spending time with one set of kids gives us time to bond and also gives the kids some more individualized time with each of us as well.

Tuesday Tips: Pets

Connections between modern, blended families can be difficult to maintain; step-siblings living together only part-time leads to potential for disconnect.  How can their parents make sure that there are consistent connections for the children?

For LuckySevenFamily, one of our consistent connections is our dog, Shredder.  Shredder is an adopted chocolate lab (or at least almost chocolate lab!).  We got Shredder about 18 months into our relationship.  The first bonding moment for all of the kids regarding Shredder was naming him.  His “real” name is “Cocoa Shredder” because the kids couldn’t decide between a “chocolate” name and something more “cool”.  So we agreed to both!

Shredder spends part of his time in Vermont and part in Massachusetts.  If I’m traveling for work he typically stays in Vermont.  If Russell has to be away, Shredder is in Massachusetts.  When Shredder is in VT, my kids ask when he will be coming to our MA home and vice versa with Russell’s kids!  When we are all together on the weekend, Shredder gets attention from all 5 kids!

Let me be clear that I don’t suggest a dog or any pet for all families – please, please be considerate of whether your family really has the time to devote to an animal – this is not a decision to take without significant consideration!  However, if you can devote the love and attention that an animal requires, this is one way to add a bond between your blended family.

shredder

 

Laugh!

Today’s Tuesday Tip will be a light one! The tip is – LAUGH!

Tonight at dinner we were practicing our foreign languages.  Alexander was saying “Moi Bien”, I was teaching Elaina “Tres Bon”.  The kids got into a discussion about Elaina’s decision to take French in 6th grade instead of Spanish like all of the other Lucky Seven Family kids.  The topic quickly turned to their “names” in the respective languages.  Alexander’s name in Spanish class is “Nacho” even though it really should be Alejandro.  So Elaina started joking with him about the choice of his name.  Out of the blue, he says “Oh, well I’m going to call you “Croissant” from now on.  We got a great laugh out of that one.

When all else fails in a crazy, busy, fun family — find reasons to LAUGH!!

Forgive Yourself!

Monday was a holiday for both my kids and me.  We planned our day the weekend prior; sifting through “things to do in Boston” websites looking for something that both kids found interesting and exciting.  We landed on a new indoor ropes course near our home and then lunch together and a trip to the bookstore.  The ropes course was a nerve-wracking experience for this mom that is scared of heights (and the fear seems to be getting worse with age!).  When I first got up to the platform my palms were sweaty as I hugged the pole for dear life and considered turning around.  My kids’ faces were that of true disappointment when I told them I couldn’t do it.  The little voice inside of me told me I’d regret not even trying and my kids’ support (they both crossed back over to do the obstacle with me) helped me to take the first step.  I did it!

Later that day, having checked the ballet school’s website and convincing myself my daughter still had ballet lessons despite the holiday, she got dressed, we wrapped her hair into a bun and we raced off to get her to ballet in time.  When we pulled up to the studio, my daughter asked me if I was sure the studio was open.  I assured her I had checked the website and yes, it was open.  She asked if I would just wait for her to check (trust your intuition is the lesson here!).  Sure enough, out comes running my daughter from the studio; she describes the studio as “definitely closed” as she gives me the details — the rooms are dark and all the doors are closed!  Immediately I consider how I could have potentially dropped her off, drove away and left her with no way to contact me!

So, what does this have to do with a Tuesday Tip??  The tip is FORGIVE YOURSELF!

I could definitely be upset with myself for messing up the schedule, not being organized enough to actually have the schedule we received from the studio at the beginning of the year (no idea where that is!!), and for potentially (but luckily not!) leaving my daughter alone at a deserted dance studio for 2 1/2 hours!  But, I’m not going to perseverate on this mistake – everyone makes them! This one ended with no major negative outcomes.

My tip today is to try to be nice to yourself and forgive yourself for small things (and even large things!).  I spent a wonderful day with my kids – that is what I’m going to remember!