• family picture, blended family, six kids

    National Step Family Day 2019

    Today is National Step Family Day! If you know DJ and me, you know that neither of us are proponents of divorce, despite the fact that we are both divorced. Being part of a step-family can be challenging, both as the parent and the child. Despite that more than 50% of US families these days are re-married, it can be very isolating if you’re one of the few in your circle of friends who is living this out. For those of you who are living this blended family life, we are right there with you. ❤️ Did you know it takes an average of four years for a bond to…

  • adoption

    The Reality of Step-Parent Adoption

    We have waited for this day for years. Literally, years. Now that the day has come, it feels somewhat anti-climactic. At the end of June, we were able to finalize the legal process of step-parent adoption. We are now officially the Stones, Party of Eight. While I’m obviously happy (and relieved) to be at the end of this legal journey, there have been all sorts of emotions during this process. In our case, there is still a biological father. This wasn’t an instance where the biological parent had died. In our case, the biological parent is still alive – just absent. I’m not going to go into all the legal…

  • Take Time to Listen

    Those of you who know me personally know that I’m an introvert. I enjoy being social with small groups, but I find large crowds very draining. You can imagine how I feel when we have six boisterous children around the house. The volume level increases by several orders of magnitude when everyone is home. I sometimes have to escape to my bedroom…and more often than not, am sitting on my phone. It’s so easy to get engrossed in our electronic devices, but I wanted to share a little today about putting down the phone and taking the time to listen to your kiddos. I’ll admit, I’m on my phone too…

  • Blended Families Are Messy

    I’m sure that you get this question multiple times a day: “How are you?” It’s often preceded by “Good morning,” or “Hello!” I know I say that to most of my coworkers when I pass them in the hallway. More often than not, you probably receive back a standard response of “Good morning; how are you?” Note: your question was answered with…a question. As of late, my response has been “I’m hanging in there.” Now, I give a bit more honest and detailed responses to my closer friends than I do the random coworker walking down the hallway. However, even then, I wonder if they even believe some of the…

  • You Got This

    Three little words, said when passing by me as I struggled to breathe, struggled to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and wanted to quit.  “You got this.” I seriously almost burst into tears. My friend had no idea, but I needed to hear those words. I’m sure you’ve had those moments too. Moments when you feel that nothing is going right and nothing you do is right. Moments when you feel overwhelmed by the mountains being thrown in your path. Moments when you aren’t sure how you’re going to make it through to the next day. Moments when everything seems to be spiraling out of control. …

  • Attack of the Space Invaders!!

    We just finished up one week of spring break and are starting down the road of spring break number two, and I am ready for a vacation! I mean, I’m ready for a vacation from this vacation. Do you ever feel like that? I think much of it for me is largely because I’m an introvert. Being around a lot of people is draining for me, and I need my personal space to be able to recharge. The first few days of spring break #1 were especially challenging. We were all adjusting to having everyone here or an extended period, and I think we were all wearing on each other’s…

  • Holiday Happenings

    Phew… It’s time to let out a big sigh of relief. The holidays are over! Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE Christmas, and we celebrate the birth of Jesus. But as a blended family, this time of year is just extra crazy! Now that we are a little bit past the crazy, I have had time to breathe and process a bit. So, here’s a recap of our Holiday Happenings.  We celebrate Christmas no less than 6 times each year. And that’s just family celebrations!! Add in work celebrations and church activities, and you can see that we really do love to celebrate Christmas!! One thing that I think works…

  • Taking Back My Identity

    For several years, my identity was single mom, working mom, strong mom, fit mom. These were things that I felt defined me; they were who I was. I worked full time, exercised regularly with a personal trainer at the gym, worked my Beachbody coaching business, parented two children (with the help of my village) and life was good. Then, I got remarried, and the world I knew was turned upside down and inside out. I had no idea that I would go through an identity crisis after getting married. I mean, getting married was a great change! Why was I struggling? I now had new labels: stepmom, wife, partner, teammate.…

  • The Importance of Self Care

    Today was a good day. The fact that it’s noteworthy means that there’s been a lot going on. Life has been difficult lately. Blending families isn’t always a bed of roses, so to speak. The challenges that we face aren’t things that most of our friends can even relate to, unless they’re also part of a stepfamily. It is easy to fall into negative self-talk and other destructive habits. That’s why self care is so important.  Find an activity you love and make the time for it.  This morning, I went for my first run in ages. Running helps me to clear my mind. Running hills helps me change my…

  • Welcome to Fall Y’all!

    Oh, Fall, glorious fall! I love this season with its cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and the promise of holidays off of work. This is the time of year when our schedules get even busier, but we do our best to spend quality time with our family. We have been working hard on our bakery, deciding what to offer for the Fall and brainstorming ideas for Christmas. Can you believe Christmas is in 8 WEEKS! Eek!  Last year, we went to Sky Top Orchard for the first time. It’s a beautiful drive up into the mountains of NC, so we get to see lovely scenery along the way. We made this…