Lucky Seven Family

More Travel Tips! Realistic Expectations

The entire Lucky Seven Family is excited for our trip to Europe! Our packing lists are complete and we are furiously reading our travel books!

We are going to be together for 2 weeks — together, together! On the plane (6+ hours!), in hotels, on the train and in a packed mini-van.  In our “normal” lives, at any one time we don’t spend more than about 3 days together, mostly weekends.  The kids are fantastic together but it will be an adjustment for them to be in tight quarters (European hotels are not known for their size!) for this period of time.

In anticipation of everyone needing some time apart, Russell and I are already planning some separate trips with various “kid combos”.  We will spend some time with our own children and other times we will split up based on interests (the one I’m most excited about? shopping with the girls!!).

Setting realistic expectations for the trip and for our family will allow us “permission” to do what we know is best for Lucky Seven Family.  Sometimes our vision of the perfect blended family leads to unrealistic expectations – we will allow ourselves to do what works for our family and savor every moment of the journey!

Sticking with the TRAVEL theme this week!!

Hoping our children learn from our travels… taking chances is important!!



We have a great trip for LuckySevenFamily planned this summer!  Getting so excited for the trip!

To engage our kids in the planning, we’ve given each of them a destination city to investigate and make a list of places they’d like to go in that city.  For example, a cafe, a chocolatier, a museum, or some other tourist attraction.  Recently, I worked on this with our youngest.  We used YouTube and found lots of cool videos about her city!  She enjoyed watching the videos more than reading websites and it definitely kept her engaged longer!

Can’t wait for a great trip!!

Lead by Example

Last weekend, on a cold and raw New England spring day, Russell and I were driving with my two children to my daughter, Elaina’s, lacrosse game.  My blonde, blue-eyed girl is the talkative one; the one that can’t keep secrets (for which I’m grateful!).  As we are driving down the interstate, she starts to recount a story about when we were in Santa Barbara recently with the entire clan (Lucky Seven Family – Russell and his 3 kids, me and my 2 kids).  She is very detailed in her story-telling; chattering away from the backseat about our recent spring break trip to sunny, relaxing Santa Barbara.  She starts to tell us about a conversation she had with her step-sister, Alida (Russell’s oldest daughter).  “We were talking about how Alida “sighs” at everything”, she says.  The “sigh” – everyone in Lucky Seven Family chuckles at her trademark mechanism for signifying to anyone who is nearby her disdain for the current situation or often, request made of her.  Elaina continues telling the story:  yeah, and Alida said, “what’s funny about Nerissa (me, her stepmom), getting frustrated with me for sighing is that she does it too!”

Silence – my mouth may have fallen open…

Wait a second…Pause please… while I recover from the gut-punch!!

Reality sets in…over the last week I’ve really been thinking about how we as parents and step-parents are teaching every day.  Our children and step-children are modeling our behavior; they are our mirrors.  They are acutely aware of us whether we realize it or not.

My lesson learned is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.  Exhibit the behavior I want to see in my children and step-children.  Praise them for accomplishments and effort.  Praise them for helping without being asked.  Don’t focus on the negative behavior only.  Ignore some of the sighs and be aware of my own.

Blending a family comes with challenges, but also many opportunities to learn about yourself and your loved ones.  Try every day to see your blended family as an opportunity to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

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Splitting Up

Didn’t mean to alarm you with the title of today’s Tuesday Tip!

I certainly don’t mean splitting up for forever; what I’m referring to is splitting up for the good of the blended family children and also for the sanity of blended family parents.  Spending time together as a blended family is important and helps build ever-lasting bonds; however, there are times that kids need a break from one another.  When we travel together or when we spend our weekends together, Russell and I will often split up and each take 2 or 3 of the kids to do different activities depending on their interests.  Sometimes we split up by biological kids, sometimes by girls or boys, sometimes by older and younger.   We also try to mix up the grouping of which parent with which group of kids so we both get experiences with all of them.  I might take the younger girls to the pool while Russell and the older kids play basketball.  Russell might take the boys to play golf and I make take the girls on a shopping spree.  By doing this, we give our family increased exposure to activities they enjoy and everyone gains by having more, focused time with one another.

All together time is important too; kids have to learn to compromise and make trade-offs.  By using the technique of splitting up you are helping to balance their need for individuality and attention while still building your family’s ever-growing love and respect for one another.

Lead by Example

I’m working on a post about this…

lead by example

Happy Mother’s Day

I am a LUCKY mom and stepmom!! Also LUCKY to have had a wonderful mother, if only for a short time.

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Always remember:

“Stress has the same root as strength”

— George Chrousos, MD


The entire clan and Grandma Sandy at Disneyland!  We always seem to find a way to make it work… this trip included my kids flying with me to LA, meeting up with Russell, his kids, Grandma Sandy for a day at Disneyland and California Adventureland, me traveling to San Diego for work, and Russell taking my kids with him for a couple of days to Santa Barbara.. swimming, biking, and the beach.  Finished with me joining them again in Santa Barbara for a day! Wow – what a Spring Break!!

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Happy National Siblings Day!

These lucky kids will have so many sibling memories!