Category Archives: Blended Family

I am Butter Pecan. You are Chocolate Chip? Or, Still Surprising Me After Eight Years Married.

Eight years ago today we were married. I woke up next to you on our wedding morning and you surprised me. You excitedly asked me, “Do you know what today is?” I thought, “Of Course!” It’s the day we will marry. It’s the day when you and I will become husband and wife. It’s the day when we will officially become a family.” But,  you were thinking of something else. You told me that the KISS/Aerosmith concert tickets went on sale that morning. Yes, you surprised me. And you made me laugh.

You surprised me later that day, before we were getting ready to walk down the aisle. When one is marrying a man who already has two young girls, and the bride has a young son of her own, the wedding isn’t just for the bride and groom, it is for everyone. It was a ceremony so we could formalize this thing called “blending a family.”

The room where we all waited before ceremony started, was filled with commotion. My parents, your parents, the kids, the photographer, the bridal coordinator. When I thought my head would explode with all the excitement, you surprised me again. You told everyone that you wanted us to be alone. The room cleared,  and it was just you and me, and the kids. You took charge of the room and took control of the moment. And me, the micro-managing control freak that I am, was happy, relieved to have you in charge. And then, you gathered us together, and we held hands in a small, family circle. You led us in a prayer together and asked God to bless us, bless our marriage and bless our family. That could have been our wedding right there, in that moment– I felt it was that special.

During the ceremony you surprised me again. We did not write our own vows, so I did not expect it when, in the middle of our ceremony, you asked for some time to speak to our guests, the small group of friends and family who joined us that day. I didn’t know it was coming, but you told them our proposal story. You told them how you proposed to me that night in New York in a carriage in Central Park. And then you read to them, as you had read to me, the poem you wrote, inspired by St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. I didn’t know you would do that during our wedding ceremony, and so, predictably, I wept. Predictably, you had your handkerchief ready to wipe my tears.

Later, I think we both surprised the kids when we asked them to join us in front of the altar,  and we gave them silver medallions that were in the shape of family circled in an embrace. I think we surprised our kids when I made promises to Olivia and Erica to care for them and support them, and when you promised the same for Nico.

That day, was filled with surprises, and laughter and love. But it was only the beginning. Last night, when we took the kids out for ice cream, you asked me if I could guess your favorite ice cream. I am embarrassed to say that I could not, even though you knew what I flavor I would order, before I even ordered it. I guess I was surprised you knew that I was Butter Pecan, but I was even more surprised to learn that you were not Pistachio, nor Coconut Pineapple, but Chocolate Chip. I like that I am still learning things about you. It makes our life together a little unexpected, even if it only is ice cream.

I know you joked that you wanted to start your own blog to write about the things your wife doesn’t know about you, but I hope that blog won’t have too many posts, because I think I do know you–at least the important things about you. Like the way you care for our family, how much you love us, the strength of your character, your goodness. Beyond these things, I hope we will still find new things in each other. I think it will keep things interesting. I look forward to many more years of love, laughter and surprise.

Happy Anniversary.

 

You might also like, Happy Un-Anniversary to Me.

Summer Strategizing

We had a beautiful weekend here in Southern California, but instead of spending it outdoors, I spent a lot of it indoors, with this:

What is it? Well just a snapshot of how I have to plan our summer.  For many,  summer is about long, lazy days filled with sun, swimming, and NO SCHOOL. But for others, like myself, summer also means endless weeks  that need to be filled with summer camps, summer school or childcare.  With four kids and three separate households, this is no easy feat.  To make matters worse, my summer strategizing has become increasingly complicated since my kids have grown older and they no longer want to spend the day crafting key chains and swimming. My teens would rather do something targeting their special interest, like sleeping, video gaming, sleeping, watching TV and sleeping.  With the exception of 6 year-old Diego, this is the first summer when I will not be sending them to day camp, while Juan and I are at work.

After a lot planning, scheduling my  summer in weekly increments, and coordinating with the other parents (Nico’s Dad and Olivia and Erica’s Mom) , we have decided that the older kids will take a summer school class or two and then spend the rest of their time at home. Now, my vision of “kids at home” is probably vastly different from what they think they will be doing.  I plan on giving them a list of chores, including dinner preparations, requiring them to work on their summer homework packets and reading lists, and then when this is done, they’ll have some time to “chill.” I am sure this will go exactly as I am planning.

One thing I do know for sure, is that even though my summer planning requires a lot of coordination, this year is a bit simplified because I will have all three older kids going to one location. ONE LOCATION! This is huge.  With one high schooler, two junior highers and a first grader,  the regular school year means we have three different schools and three different drop offs and pick ups.  This summer the older kids’ classes are at ONE campus. Yeah, this should be easy, right? Well, it is easier knowing that I will have one stop, but that would be too simple.  It turns out that the classes for the kids are all at different times.  One of them even the has a 2 hour break in the middle, and the others are done at different times.  And unfortunately, the campus isn’t close enough to our house to make it easy for everyone to come and go according to their varied schedule.  I spent a lot of  time this weekend considering  routes to school, planning how I could rearrange my work schedule options and strategizing about schedules and transportation. Bikes? Buses? Walking? Carpool? And what about those weeks when the kids are in the other parent’s house? Yeeesh. It’s enough to make me wish for year-round school or at least the good old days when they were content with making key chains and crafting lanyards.  Maybe an afternoon of sleeping,  video games, sleeping, TV and lazing around the house isn’t so bad after all?