Carol Shwanda chronicles her blended family's lives and experiences offering hope, guidance, wisdom, inspiration and humor to anyone who is in or about to enter into a blended family.
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Must Reads for Today’s Successful Blended Families
BLENDED FAMILY MEMBERS
Paul is my hottie, hunky husband. Not only is that good alliteration, it is also so true. Paul is very handsome. He is an engineer and a Virgo, so he is very neat, ordered and organized. He makes lots of lists. Our house is a well-oiled machine because of him. Paul is always inventing things that make our lives easier, like the automatic watering system he designed for all of our house plants. He is a natural athlete and loves water sports like surfing and sailing. As one of seven children himself, he is very family oriented and cherishes his big family. One summer he bought all the kids wetsuits and taught them how to surf. I loved watching him in the ocean with the children, looking over them like a lion with his cubs. Very protective. He turned our carport into a game room filled with a ping table and a pool table. That is how he likes to unwind when he gets home from work, challenging one of the kids to a match. He’s creative and artistic and designed and built our house. He’s the quintessential family man– loyal, true, loving, nurturing and paternal. As a husband, he is romantic, thoughtful, nurturing and a great provider. Paul definitely puts his family first.
Sam is our oldest boy, Paul’s son from his first marriage. Like most teenage boys, Sam loves video games and anime, but he is also an accomplished musician. At nine he announced he wanted to learn to play the Celtic fiddle and immediately started serenading his family with Irish melodies and songs. He performed before our wedding while the guests were arriving and again at the reception. Sam also plays the banjo and the mandolin. He is very polite and chivalrous. He has a dry wit and a persecptive observation of the world around him. Whenever I am sick he takes care of me and he almost always does whatever I ask him to do. He is in the Navy, stationed in San Antonio, Texas working in computer security.
Sophia is our oldest girl, my daughter from my first marriage. She is serene and very studious with a voracious love of learning. Her interests run the gamut from science and literature to politics and current events. She just completed her first year of college at Lewis and Clark in Portland, Oregon where she is double majoring in international affairs and political science, with a minor in Spanish. She is also very artistic and enjoys arts and crafts, pottery making and decorating her room. A highly sensitive person, she has great empathy and compassion for those around her. As a result, she won the humanitarian award when she graduated from 8th grade.
Mark is the classic middle child in many ways. Like his father, Paul, Mark is a very loving, thoughtful and considerate person. He is also very easy going and well liked by his teachers and peers. A real looker too. The girls are already chasing after him. A budding musician, he plays the acoustic and electric guitar with the complete opposite musical tastes of his brother Sam. He favors heavy metal and the likes of ACDC and Metallica. He too, performed at our wedding and brought down the house. He composes his own songs and formed a band with his best friend, Neal. A growing boy, he must have a hollow leg because he eats us out of house and home. He graduated from high school this year and plans to move to San Francisco to attend City College.
Eva, my youngest daughter, is the peace maker in the family. Her teachers have always told me everyone wants to be her friend because she is so sweet and kind. Her zest for life is infectious and it spills over to everyone she meets. I don’t think she is ever bored because she makes up games everywhere she goes. On a recent walk to the store she spied a stray lemon on the sidewalk and kicked it like a soccer ball all the way to our destination. Eva is extremely creative with a special flair for fashion design and interior decorating. She is also a gifted artist and writer and, dare I say it, an exotic beauty. We call her our Spanish Rose since she has the Mediterranean good looks of her Spanish father and paternal grandmother. She is our world traveler, who spent a month in Spain last summer and is traveling to France and Spain this summer. She will graduate from high school a year early and hopes to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country.
Cheryl is our baby, Paul’s daughter, and the proverbial spunky, pesky little sister. She is small but mighty, so get out of her way. She’s a real showman and can belt out a tune the likes of Judy Garland. She played the piano and sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at our wedding and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. She was only eight years. Aside from her singing and musical talents, she is also a terrific actress and a budding chef. Her culinary pursuits have been inspired by her sophisticated palate. In restaurants she never orders off the kiddie menu. No chicken nuggets or mac ‘n cheese for her, she’ll have the steak tartar and the seaweed salad thank you very much. I’m sure she will be a success in life no matter what she decides to do.