Positively Paula

A New Way Superheroes are Helping Kids in Blended Families

Thursday, September 12, 2013

There is no doubt in my mind that our house will be buzzing soon about the new superhero movie, Thor: The Dark World which is scheduled to be released on November 8.  I don't know if I can take another sci-fi, superhero, slash 'em up or beat 'em up movie! I'm the only female in my home now with my husband, our three sons, and two male dogs.  Chick flicks are far and few between around here, unless my oldest stepdaughter agrees to go with her 'ole stepmom to the movies.  But, there is one superhero-themed story that I do recommend for stepfamilies with children ages 4-9.

I've had the pleasure of reading a new book, Heroes, Villains, and Vincent written by Trenton Payne and illustrated by Shahab Shamshirsaz.  Trenton's book is beautifully illustrated, eye-catching, and will certainly keep kids' attention.  The main character in Heroes, Villains, and Vincent is asked to choose sides by his mom and dad.  He is torn between becoming a superhero like his mom and stepdad or a super villain like his dad and stepmom.  I don't want to spoil the ending, but I do want to let you know that Vincent's letter to his mother, father, and stepparents made yours truly, as a mom and stepmom, pause to think as well.  I wish every parent in a stepfamily could see Vincent's letter.
It's clear that the author's heart is into supporting children who are going through transition in their blended families.  Trenton Payne started a small publishing house that celebrates positive parenting through its books. Kudos to Trenton and Shabab for creating a thought-provoking book that can be a valuable tool for parents and stepparents alike.  
If only I could have had this book ten years ago!  It certainly would have been a great reprieve from the superhero syndrome I am facing on family movie nights with all of the guys in our house.  Then again, I do enjoy escaping to spend some girl time with our oldest daughter.  It's surely a blessing that I never thought would have happened.

Note:  I did not receive any payment for endorsing this book.  I think it's important to let blended family members know about helpful and valuable resources to help them on their remarriage and stepfamily journey.

Support Stepfamily Research: Be a Volunteer

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Stepmoms!  Are you interested in helping the field of research related to stepfamily relationships?  If so, you can be a research volunteer by answering a survey out of Texas Woman's University, for a study called "The Effects of Stepmother-Stepchild Relationship, Age Differences, and Gender Differences on the Quality of Stepchild and Biological Child's Relationship." 
Your response will lead to a better understanding of the stepmother's role and its impact on stepsiblings' relationships.  If you are or know a stepmother with at least one biological child and one stepchild - 6 to 18 years old - you are invited to check out the research website.  The Survey Password is:  family
Thanks for contributing to this very important body of research.
 *** 9/12/13:  This survey is now closed.

10 Tips to Make Your Remarriage Last 10 Years

Sunday, April 07, 2013
This week my husband and I celebrated our 10th "legal" wedding anniversary.  I say "legal" because we got married first legally in his Army chaplain's office in April, and then had a religious ceremony and reception with family and friends the following June in the form of a destination wedding. I'd like to inspire other people who have gotten remarried, but haven't been married for a decade yet.  For the next ten days, I am going to share my top ten tips to make it to the Big Ten.

My tip #10 to make it to your Big Ten Anniversary:  
Try to let little things go, especially the household things.  I grew up in a household where cleanliness was king. So, not surprisingly, I have carried that same behavior into my adult life.  When I was divorced with two kids, I kept my house immaculate, and I was really proud of it. And, in hindsight, feeling like I had total control over something felt really good.

The problem is that I carried my standards of cleanliness and neatness right into my new blended family household with my new husband, who had been a widower with three kids, with their own standards of housekeeping set way before I walked in.  Oh, and throw in to this mix, two dogs, mine a 5 lb., very vocal, male Miniature Pincher, and my husband's 100+ lb., male Golden Retriever.

And, now ten years later, I can fully admit, I must have dragged in that 'ole need to control.  What was I thinking?  2 adults + 2 full-time careers, 1 being an active duty Army officer in time of war + 5 kids between the ages of 5 and 16 + 2 dogs DOES NOT EQUAL control.

If I had to do it all over again, and thank goodness I don't, I would not pay as much attention to the crumbs on the counter, the fruit punch stains on the white couch in the basement, or the makeup on the carpet. I've grown over the past ten years, and I am still working on my self-growth every day.  I've come a long way on this remarriage journey.  I'll be the first to tell you I still feel more at peace when my kitchen counter is wiped clean, but now when it isn't, my emotional response doesn't have to be a 10 on a scale of 10.  It is more like a 5.  I'm hoping on my 20th anniversary, I can have it down to a 1. 

A Fresh Start for 2013: A Gift from Four Stepmom Experts

Monday, December 24, 2012
Ready for a show that can change your perspective about your stepfamily life? You can start 2013 with a fresh mindset! Tune in to the "One Gift" free podcast below and hear expert advice from not just one, but four of the top stepmom experts featured on The Stepmom's Toolbox holiday show.

This show features Claudette Chenevert, The Stepmom Coach; Mary T. Kelly of Married With Baggage; Barb Goldberg of The Evil Stepmother Speaks; and me.  We truly wish you a wonderful holiday season. And, I really think the 45 minutes invested in listening to this free call could change your stepfamily life! Happy New Year to you and yours!

Listen to internet radio with Stepmoms Toolbox on Blog Talk Radio

A Heartfelt Holiday Gift for Stepmoms: Our Best Stepfamily Advice

Monday, December 03, 2012
Last year I shared my best holiday tips for stepfamilies on the Stepmom's Toolbox Show, "Our Most Touching and Horrendous Holiday Stories!" along with Claudette Chenevert, The Stepmom Coach; Mary Kelly-Williams of Married with Baggage; and Barb Goldberg of The Evil Stepmother Speaks.  This year the four of us are getting together again on December 20 to provide you our best pieces of advice to help you through this holiday season with your blended family. We want this to be our gift to the stepmom community.
Each of us experts in stepfamily living wants to share a gift with you; i.e., we want to share our top recommendations for solving some of your holiday woes that may be occurring in your blended family. Personally speaking, I can tell you that the holidays were very different and often difficult after I got remarried. 
My husband and I thought we were ready for all of the blended family challenges that could come up during the holidays, but I realize even more today that I hadn't prepared as much as I wish I had. Something that seems so simple, such as when and how to open the holiday gifts as a family became an emotional stress point for me.  If I only knew then what I know now! 
We at The Stepmom's Toolbox on BlogTalkRadio.com hope we can make your holiday go a little more smoothly.  Our show, "The One Gift" will air on December 20. May you and your blended families enjoy a wonderful, stress-free, holiday season!
And, here is last year's holiday show, "Our Most Touching and Horrendous Holiday Stories," in case you missed it:

Listen to internet radio with Stepmoms Toolbox on Blog Talk Radio

Scary Money Matters With Stepchildren on Stepmoms Toolbox

Tuesday, October 02, 2012
I just visited Salem, MA, home of the infamous witch hunts and saw some really haunted happenings this Halloween season.  Speaking of scary things, are you horrified if your kids talk about money the way your ex does? When your child is the middleman who hands you money from your ex, does it make you bristle? Are you prepared to discover what money monsters are in your closet? If so, check out my interview with Renee Canali, Mindset Coach and David Neagle Certified Coach/Miracle of Money Mentor. It is about money from a stepchild's point of view.  In this interview, you will hear about the money legacy you are giving your children in your remarriage.

Problems related to money and finances is a leading cause of divorce in both first and second marriages. It's wise to seek the advice of professional financial advisors and estate planners before getting remarried and during the early stages of our remarriage. But, I hope you realize it's never too late. I encourage you to take a close look at the financial and money problems in your relationship and your blended family no matter how many years you have been remarried. 

Listen to my free podcast with Renee Canali to help get you started. Try a fresh approach. A lot of our money and financial problems start with ourselves and with our own mindsets. If you are having money problems in your remarriage and stepfamily, what have you got to lose?
Listen to internet radio with Stepmoms Toolbox on Blog Talk Radio

I know first hand that it isn't always easy or fun to open up about such difficult money conversations, but try to face your fears head on.  The only thing scarier is to not deal with the unspoken problems and their roots. To help make it easier and to add a little fun to your talks about money in your remarriage and with your blended family members, I personally recommend using Syble Solomon's Money Habitudes cards to help you tackle the serious business of talking about money in your life.

And, I invite you to share in the comment section below any other tools and methods that you use to help start the tough money conversations you have in your relationships.  Let's all get the conversations flowing!

Wanted: Your Stepchildren. (Just Kidding!) How Else Can We Help?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Since creating Remarriage LLC six years ago, I've had a passion for helping people who are on the remarriage journey. So whether you have been divorced or widowed and are thinking about marrying again, are planning a second wedding, or are trying your hardest to have a successful stepfamily, this website is for you. You are the reason RemarriageWorks exists. To serve you best, we need your input. If you like our website, please take a minute to fill out our two question survey.

We simply want to know what topics you would like to see more of. And, what type of learning environment you prefer.  That's it.  It costs nothing to take the quick survey, and we won't send you a thing after you fill it out. We truly want to provide you the information you want in the way you want to see it. Thanks and best wishes to you and yours! 

Celebrate National Stepfamily Day on September 16!

Friday, September 14, 2012
Don't forget to celebrate National Stepfamily Day on Sunday, September 16! This holiday was created by Christy Borgeld in Michigan in 1997.  It was entered into the Congressional Record on September 13, 2000, when Rep. Debbie Stabenow recognized this day to "celebrate the importance of stepfamilies throughout our nation." Christy also founded the National Stepfamily Day Foundation, a great source of support for blended families.

If you are looking for some ways to celebrate this weekend, The National Stepfamily Day Foundation produced a video, "Ways to Celebrate National Stepfamily Day" three years ago. And, it also produced "101 Things to Do on National Stepfamily Day."  You don't have to do anything complicated or fancy.  I hope remarried couples just pause a moment and give themselves a pat on the back and hug to celebrate their hard work and dedication to raising healthy and happy blended families. 

I want to personally thank Christy Borgeld for her hard work and dedication to helping step- and blended families over the years. Kudos to her for being the first person to reach out to many government officials at both the Federal and State levels to garner their support for National Stepfamily Day.  She has sought an official Presidential Proclamation of National Stepfamily Day, and I hope that all of us together can help bring it to fruition.  

This year we decided to feature an article, "Top 5 Reasons Why U.S. Presidents Have Neglected to Make National Stepfamily Day an Official Holiday." It's a little tongue-in-cheek.  But, seriously, we at RemarriageWorks would like to know...why do you think they haven't?

Unfortunately, my blended family will be scattered all around the East Coast this National Stepfamily Day, and we won't be able to celebrate together. All of our kids will be in my thoughts. And, you can bet I'll be patting my husband on the back and giving him a hug for all of his hard work, love, and dedication in helping us try to build a happy, healthy, and successful stepfamily.  Happy National Stepfamily Day to all!

The Grand Prix: Stepfamily Life in the Fast Lane

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Blended families can always use some unique and thrilling activities to help them bond. If you are looking for a fun-filled family event this Labor Day weekend, consider going to the Grand Prix of Baltimore. I'll be there with my family, and I hope you can join us. I'm honored to have been selected as one of the race's "Social GPs" by Andretti Sports Marketing, so here's the scoop on some exciting activities blended families - and all families - can enjoy. 

The Grand Prix of Baltimore runs from August 31 to September 2.  It features three days of 180 mph excitement through the streets of Baltimore. As a Social GP, I've been paired with driver Ed Carpenter, #20.  We'll be sharing our special upcoming RemarriageWorks interview with Ed, a devoted family man who happens to be a stepson himself. Ed's stepfather is the Indy Racing League founder, Tony George.

Featuring activities for the entire family to enjoy throughout the weekend, the Grand Prix offers speed zones located around the venue, with interactive games and activities for adults and kids of all ages. And, be sure to check out the Dr. Pepper Ten Go-Cart Track located near the Car Corrals in Lot B. Some other notable things going on this Labor Day weekend include:

- Ferrari Festivities. Tonight, 8/29, in Little Italy.  The team, cars, and drivers will be making a few laps around Little Italy from 6-9 p.m., and then parking at the bocce courts for a meet and greet. 
- Family Fun Fair. August 31 - September 2. Daily, starting at 9 a.m.  Near the intersection of Pratt and Light Streets, the fair features family friendly rides and attractions that will be free-of-charge with daily admission into the Grand Prix. Food, entertainers, live music, and more!
-  National Aquarium.  August 27 - September 3. Special Grand Prix deal! Visit Baltimore's spectacular Aquarium for seven days for the price of one. Plus, you can get accelerated entry to the Aquarium by presenting your valid Grand Prix entry along with your Aquarium ticket.
-  IndyCar Fan Village. August 31 - September 2. Check out this Fan Village schedule for appearances.
And, if that's not enough, our family is especially excited about seeing driver Charlie Kimball race. Charlie Kimball (@racewithinsulin) is the first person with Type 1 Diabetes to race in the IndyCar Series and to qualify for the Indianapolis 500, finishing 13th out of 33. Charlie's blood sugar level is constantly monitored electronically during the race. If he has an emergency, a crew member is trained to give him a shot of insulin while Charlie remains in the race car. As some of you may know, my son has had Type 1 Diabetes since he was 9. It's pretty inspiring to read about Charlie and his great accomplishments

I'm looking forward to seeing you at the Grand Prix where we'll be cheering for Ed (@ecrindy @edcarpenter20) and Charlie (@racewithinsulin) .  Check out Grand Prix of Baltimore for tickets and race schedule highlights, and I hope to see you and your family!  If you can't make it, follow me @RemarriageWorks for live Twitter updates! And, enjoy a virtual lap of Baltimore.

Congratulations to Dr. William Petit on His Remarriage!

Friday, August 10, 2012
Congratulations to Dr. William Petit, Jr. who got remarried to Christine Paluf this past weekend in Connecticut. You may remember the tragedy Dr. William Petit, Jr. faced when he lost his wife and children in a horrifying home invasion in 2007. 

What makes this event extraordinarily special is that they had the blessing of his late wife's family. A blessing written by the father of Dr. Petit's late wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, was read aloud before the wedding meal, according to the article, "Dr. William Petit Remarries Five Years After Family Tragedy," in People.  

And, according to the article, Jennifer's sister said, "Our family needed this to help us heal." We send all of them our sincerest and best wishes.  May William and Christine enjoy years of happiness together! 

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