Lucky Seven Family

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Apologies and Forgiveness

We are not perfect beings… everyone makes mistakes.  It is how we deal with those mistakes that matter.  It is also how we forgive one another that helps us survive.

Happy New Year – It is almost 2018!!

So much to write about 2017! I started a new job and have not been posting as much as I’d like this year;  I’ll do a summary and share some of blended family learnings…

Here is MY 2017 top ten list of learnings about living in a blended family (yes, it has taken me +9 years to actually learn all of these!)

  1.  Choose your battles 
  2.  Lower your expectations (of the “perfect” blended family)
  3.  Focus on being GRATEFUL
  4.  Things change as the kids grow up – adjust
  5.  Make NEW traditions (see #4)
  6.  Don’t forget to focus on your marriage
  7.  Celebrate the small accomplishments and the large ones too
  8.  Build traditions that can continue for decades
  9.  Don’t force it
  10.  Recognize (and focus on!) the positive in every member of your blended family
  11. BONUS — take family photos!! (over the years you will appreciate how much everyone has grown!)



It’s Christmas Eve and I am enjoying a quiet evening alone.  Yes, alone.  It sounds sad and lonesome but don’t worry about me! I’m not sad or lonesome… I am GRATEFUL!  I’ve spent the weekend in Vermont with my husband and his children; celebrating his BIRTHDAY.  We spent the day making Christmas cookies, sausage cheese balls (a Gatlin family favorite, inspired by many childhood breakfasts), and had a scrumptious meal and cherry cake to finish off the day of festivities.

My children are with their dad and his girlfriend.  My son called me to tell me he loved me.  My daughter called me to say the same.  I am GRATEFUL for an ex-husband and his girlfriend that love my children and care for them deeply.  Importantly, I am GRATEFUL that we are able to share our children’s lives in a loving and kind way without petty bickering or hateful interactions.

Tomorrow is Christmas and I will be surrounded by my family; enjoying breakfast, opening presents in front of the fire, snuggling with our pups, laughing and smiling.  Tomorrow I will be GRATEFUL for the wonderful life I have.

Tonight, I opened a GRATITUDE JAR that I started in early 2017.  We weren’t great about writing notes but there are a few that make me laugh and smile.  Here are the things LUCKYSEVENFAMILY was GRATEFUL for in 2017 (at least the ones that someone wrote down!  There are SO many more things we are GRATEFUL for every day).



I am grateful for LuckySevenFamily and all the complexity and richness of life it brings to all of us!

I am thankful for the sunshine, for my children’s laughter, for my husband’s hugs, and for great meals together


Time with my kids!

Elaina helping take care of me when I was sick

Alex:  he is tall, Mom:  that she is nice and spoils me, Russell:  he is funny and hopefully will convince mom to get ice cream

Mom:  grateful for your supporting my lavish lifestyle, Russell:  grateful for you helping me with projects, Elaina:  grateful for you to be annoying

Happy Holidays from LUCKYSEVENFAMILY!  Enjoy and be GRATEFUL!

Gap Year

I’ve been in Japan this week; honored to be invited to speak at the Japan Society of Inherited Metabolic Disorders (JSIMD).  While I was away, I talked to my daughter as many times as possible.  Let me first explain my daughter – she is a bundle of excited energy and passion – always.  She has been since joined this beautiful world.  Spunky, enthusiastic, curious…

So during one of our calls she proposed a “gap year”.  I clarified that she meant between high school and college.  She smiled at me over the Facetime connection and said “no! before high school; you are at the PEAK of your travel mom and I should join you”.

I love this child’s spirit – I have a very difficult time putting into words the love and respect I have for her… what 13 year old wants to jump on a plane to Tokyo? wants to travel to Bora Bora (much less has photos of the place on her phone!)?

Cultivation- that is my goal with my daughter.  I want to provide her every opportunity to hop on a plane and see the world; wherever she can go – whatever I can do to have her join me I will.

Not totally sure about a full gap year between middle and high school but her proposal IS an interesting one (again, what kid would think of such a thing?!)

Explore the world – see as much as you can my beautiful girl… Love, Mim




Shredder was one of the first things we did as a blended family… OUR dog — all seven of us.  His name represents all the kids’ input — Cocoa Shredder.  Cocoa from the “little” girls, representing his chocolate color, and Shredder, a surfing/snowboarding reference from the “big” kids.  He shares both homes; spending time in Massachusetts and Vermont.  He has vacationed with us at the Outer Banks (#OBX) multiple times, although he’s terrified of the water!  On our most recent trip to OBX, we did family photos and I am SO glad we included Shredder!

We learned this past week that our sweet boy has a sarcoma.  He’s been having urinary accidents and I took him in for a complete workup.  Although he’s had little “lumps and bumps” on his body forever (representing fatty deposits that are normal); the veterinarian found a new and more concerning lump on his lower abdomen/groin.  He’s also lost about 6 pounds in 6 months – having recognized he seemed more skinny recently, I think there was some denial on my part that it meant something daunting could be facing OUR Shredder.

With our (fantastic!) veterinarian and her staff, together as #LuckySevenFamily we’ll figure out our next steps and the best path forward for OUR Shredder.  Since coming to live with us after what we think was a pretty tough life, he’s been spoiled in many ways! And as we work through his later days, we’ll continue to give him everything he needs and wants.


Happy Easter!!

It’s a gorgeous day in Massachusetts.  I have so much to be thankful for…

I woke up to my daughter taking her new puppy out at 7:30am; this puppy has definitely changed her sleeping habits.  Like a typical teenager, she used to be the kid that had to be dragged unwillingly from bed every morning; excuses galore as to why she shouldn’t have to wake up.  Now, she bounces out of bed after setting her own alarm clock – wow! what a difference a puppy makes!  It was clearly a big decision to decide we should add a puppy to our crazy, fun, blended lives but as a parent, I’ve found that the joy is seeing your children happy is one of the very best feelings I’ve ever enjoyed in life.

As the kids continue to grow and mature, they don’t always want to participate in traditions.  For example, last night, my 16yo son politely nodded off participating in dyeing Easter eggs with us.  Bitter sweet times…

My daughter, however, was a willing participant and we spent an hour together designing.  Although she’s grown out of the actual hunting of Easter eggs, it was a tradition I hope we can maintain as she gets older.  These seemingly “little” things that tie us together.  These things that make us smile.

Happy Easter everyone!  Enjoy every minute! Gratitude!




We recently traveled for 2 weeks in France and Italy with Lucky Seven Family.  This was the longest we had all spent together on any vacation given our creative way of living in two cities (Burlington, VT and Reading, MA).

I’ll be writing about our adventures over the next few weeks/months as we had so many great experiences and learnings!

Here’s a sneak peek of our dinner at Giarrosti Fiorentino in Rome, Italy – a favorite restaurant of mine that I enjoyed sharing with Lucky Seven Family!

cropped Giarrosti family photo

Our first stop… Paris!

paris quote

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!


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!!

Disneyland 2016 v2