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Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Wow Strong You stand is What Makes You!"

"People will hate you, rate you, shake

you and break you. But how strong 

you stand  is what makes you." 


Ever feel bothered by people judging you? Ever feel like you want to reach out and say, "Walk in my shoes for just a day!" 

Just remember to stand tall, stay true to yourself and don't ever let anyone's hate get inside your beautiful heart.

Nicole Olivier

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

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

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 hope time goes by real quick and no one gets seriously hurt, including parents! So, in my attempt to convince my oldest to 'be the better person', Ha, we didn't get far in the agreement of the application of new skills to achieve this. It's just a matter of time before the grenade drops and people jump for cover. The best I could tell him was, next time it happens, get out of the room as soon as you can. We agreed to try the logic part again when he's 7, and all grown up! As for the fighting part, strict loss of privileges will have to do. That gets felt even from out here. Pat

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Do Blended Families really Blend?

By Nicole

To Blend: To combine or mix so that the constituent parts are indistinguishable from one another:

I know, sounds crazy coming from me, but based on the definition of blending, can families really blend? Or, do we simply learn (or not learn) to co-exist?

Maybe blended families should be named co-existing families.

To Co-exist: To exist together, at the same time, or in the same place, To live in peace with another or others despite differences.

Co-existing Family makes much more sense to me. I mean, please tell me what family out there sees each member as indistinguishable from one another?

Thoughts anyone?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

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 stiches for at least 20 minutes. I didn't want that to end, but off to bed, then a drive home and flight out. Can't wait to see those smiles already...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Blended Family Vacation, no... BLENDED FAMILY TRIP

By Nicole

So we took a leap of faith, spent a bunch of money, and took 5 kids on a blended family trip to Miami. I'm calling it this because now that I'm home, I feel like I need a vacation! My goals for the trip were to have fun, bond with each family member and to relax.

Flying out of Boston on a delayed flight with a 2 year old who can't sit longer then 3 minutes (plus 4 other kids) proved to be a rough start.  Following several other stressful events, by day 3,  I needed a break (to say the least!).
I emailed my Mom.
"It's only day 3, What should I do?  I asked her."
"Slow down," she said.

So I got out to see a little Flamenco Dancing at the hotel bar. My husband stayed in the room with the remainder of a merlot bottle, 5 kids and a couple bags of popcorn watching Phantom Menace.

With a strawberry daiquiri in hand, which tasted delicious in the beautiful warm evening air, I enjoyed some dancing and great conversation with a wonderful couple from St.Louis. As empty nesters, they gave me some great insights on several topics. One topic was about having independent, adult children and how they are now able to vacation as a couple, without the worry of leaving children behind at home.

This got me thinking about the place we're in now, parenting children ages 2-13 in a blended family, and what that really means. Giving each child what he or she really needs can certainly be difficult for weekend, when we have all of our children together, but for a week long vacation, it proved to be pretty tough! I thought about writing a post called The Blended Family Vacation Disaster, but the optimist in me just wouldn't allow it. Instead I'll take the advice I gave my kids tonight when I put my son and step son to bed:

We had some rough moments on our family trip, no doubt about it! But we had some really fun times too. I hope we can remember those fun times for a very long time. In regards to the tough moments, all we can do is learn from them, realizing what each of us might do differently next time so we can learn and grow from our mistakes.

As for the children, I hope they keep their good memories and cherish them.

Lovin the pool under the FL sun!

As for my new friends from St.Louis, and their friends from Cincinnati, they got to enjoy what I hope was a fun night out in South Beach the next night. Maybe someday, I can join them...
Tonight, I'm fine with being home, despite the cold New England weather.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

5 Reasons Why I think Single Parents are Amazing!!

By: Nicole

One minute of venting: This week I felt like a single mom. (Before anyone rips into me for saying this, I KNOW that I don't really have a clue what's it's like for a woman raising her kids truly on her own, but this is the closest I've ever come. My experiences of long periods alone with the kids makes me feel totally empathetic toward single parents--I think it must be really hard.) Even when my husband and ex-husband aren't physically present, I always have their emotional and financial support, not to mention neither is away permanently, thank God! But, it was a tough week...

Since I think single moms (and dads) are truly amazing, I thought I'd take a minute and write down some major benefits of co-parenting, and why I'm grateful to not to be doing this parenting job alone.
Co-parenting is whoever you are sharing the duties of parenting with. For me, it extends to my husband, my ex-husband and to some degree my step son's mother and her husband.

A Tribute to Single Parents-5 Amazing things they do

1. It's physically exhausting being the only parent on duty for several days at a time! Laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc., etc.,--God bless you, it's never ending work!

2. You're THE adult role model in the house. When my son asks me how to play football, I'm so relieved I don't have to try to explain it! Also, A second parent around gives you a chance to re-group emotionally. (I'm such a wonderful mother after a 30 minute break!) Kids are always watching how we react to situations and how we handle stress. They are always learning from us.
(Link to 5 things to do when you're the only parent on duty and the kids are driving you nuts!:

3. It's expensive. Wow, there are so many things to pay for! I can't even imagine doing this alone.

4. It's hard to find the time for yourself to do things you enjoy and to develop adult relationships. How a single parent makes time for intimacy with a partner must be such a challenge.

5. Co-parenting gives variety to a child's life. Children gain additional perspectives on life, learn different skills and have different experiences with more than one parent. If you're on your own then you have to seek out relatives and friends for this variety which can't be easy at all.

Check this out: From the perspective of a single Dad (now my husband) on bachelorhood to family life

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Please leave your constructive comments below--Thanks for reading!!

#singleparents, #singledad, #singlemom, #coparenting

Sunday, December 1, 2013

5 Ways to Less Daily Chaos

By Nicole Olivier

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 hamper. But, if you do it, then it doesn't remind family members to take off dirty socks and automatically put them in the hamper. A 2 year old can take her shoes when asked and put them in her room (it builds receptive language, following directions and her self esteem for accomplishing something successfully). Children can take their own piles of clothes to their rooms. Older children can put it away and younger children can do it with help. My younger kids have fun learning how to sort, learning colors and counting this way.

4. Make sure everyone is getting plenty of exercise. 

Ever seen a puppy who hasn't been exercised? Kids can act like this too! Bottled up energy leads to running in the house and other annoying activities. Just like we adults need exercise, so do the kids. Keep them active and get outside!

5. Model Calm.

If you are quick to explode and loose your temper, then you are modeling that behavior to you kids. Children watch everything you do including how you handle difficult situations. Model calm, when possible, although not always easy. Remember, although life may be in a state of disorder around you, you don't need to 'feel' chaos inside of you. Even when life is busy, or when things aren't going as planned, you can still choose to be calm.

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#charity, #chores, #exerciseforkids, #stayingcalminchaos

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cyber Monday Deals!!

By: Nicole

As an affiliate of, Melissa & Doug and, I'm regularly given deal offers.
Here are Cyber Monday codes below:

FREE Ship $9.99 and over! Use code: FREESHIP999!
Valid 11/28 - 12/4/13

FREE Gift with Purchase WHILE SUPPLIES LAST Holiday Cookies Wooden Play Food Set ($14.99 value!) no code needed

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CYBER CHAOS! Uncork These Crazy Tasty Deals. Get $7 Pinot Noir and More at! Use promo code