Holidays and traditions are tricky family territory, made trickier still if you’re a part of a blended stepfamily. We’ll share how we build new traditions together, preserve the old, and celebrate holidays.

What My Daughter’s Birthday Party Taught Me About Mistakes

Lottie birthday party is in two weeks. You likely already know that; unless you're reading this from the frozen tundra of Antarctica or the secluded Savannah of southern Africa, because she's probably told you herself. The baggers at our grocery store know. The receptionist at the dentist's office does, too. Turning nine is a big [...]

By | 2017-09-01T09:48:45+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Coparenting, Divorce, Holidays and Traditions, Our Bunch|

The Back to School Tradition Our Kids Love

It's not often the children agree on something lately. From age 8 and 3/4 to 16, their interests range from Taylor Swift's latest single to the reproductive habits of protozoa to anything-that-doesn't-involve-my-parents; it can be hard to plan activities that everyone enjoys. Even still, we have one late summer family tradition that the kids clamor [...]

By | 2017-08-25T16:18:31+00:00 August 25th, 2017|Blended Family Tips, Holidays and Traditions, Our Life Together|

How We Survive Summer With Six Kids (in 5 Easy Steps)

It's coming. The children are gleefully counting down the days and parents everywhere are white-knuckle bracing for the same. Summer is almost here. With six children in our busy household, summers are epic. Epic for the children in that they involve long lazy afternoons at the lake, firefly chasing in the evenings and endless dripping popsicles. Epic [...]

Why We Celebrate a Family-Versary (and Why You Should Too)

"I can't find my shirt," Lottie yells from upstairs. "Don't leave me!" "I have the books!" shouts Amy as she rushes out the door to join most of the others, already strapped in the car and ready to roll. It's our family-versary and excitement is high. Our family-versary is simply the anniversary of the day [...]

Dreams and Schemes: Why I Abolished Resolutions

My me-first attitude took a long time to develop. I once tried to make a list of all the recommendations I'd read about how to do everything -- maintain a car, start a 401(k), nurture a relationship, pick a preschool -- so that I could be sure not to muck up my life.  Fifteen minutes [...]

By | 2016-12-29T10:32:56+00:00 December 29th, 2016|Blended Family Tips, Holidays and Traditions, Our Life Together|

Remembering Christmas: Finding Magic in the Holidays

Christmas adds a special layer of crazy to our already busy days.  'Tis the season to be on the road at rush hour and driving through for dinner.  We are perpetually late to a kid activity that requires outfits we don't own and a gift for an exchange no one wants to do. Last night, [...]

By | 2016-12-19T21:47:51+00:00 December 16th, 2016|Holidays and Traditions, Our Life Together|

How To to Build Stepfamily Traditions

Traditions tell a family's stories. They are often associated with warm, happy memories of home, and repeated for generations.  Time spent together observing traditions helps to create a family culture. Blended families often struggle with traditions. They can be dangerous minefields - everyone in the family already has them, they're linked to separate pasts, and loaded [...]

I Still Miss My Ex’s Mother

I miss my ex-mother-in-law.  Every day, but especially around Thanksgiving. For most of my adult life, I spent Thanksgiving with Billy's family.  We started dating in college.  My family lived too far away to travel home often, so the first Thanksgiving we spent together was at Billy's childhood home.  My first Chapman Thanksgiving is clear in [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:26:55+00:00 November 16th, 2016|Divorce, Holidays and Traditions|

How To Survive the Holidays & Save Your Sanity

I've fixed the holidays for you.  You're welcome.  Read on.  Perhaps fixed is a touch overstating things, but the plan below will make you feel better - I promise. It involves half-assing and wine. Step One: Figure out the schedule early “What?” you say. “We have a schedule. It’s already defined in our agreement.” Of [...]

Christmas Traditions: The Sibling Tree

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Last night, after two days of insistent urging, we drew names for the Sibling Tree.  The Sibling Tree is a favorite tradition in our house (borrowed and adapted from a dear friend), and eagerly anticipated.  It works a bit like a Secret Santa gift exchange.  Each child puts his or [...]

By | 2016-12-15T17:43:04+00:00 October 3rd, 2016|Blended Family Tips, Holidays and Traditions, Our Life Together|