Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posts tagged ‘Modern Family’
Posted: February 25th, 2014
My fam 2014

Clockwise, from bottom left: Andrew and Devin Parker, Chris Parker, Matthew Parker, Kim Parker, Nick Carmosino, Kelly Eckert, Mo Parker (with daughter Mia on her lap) and Ryan Eckert. Missing: Howie Eckert.

I have a lot of friends who are closing in on merging blended families together. Discussions with them remind me of some painful times when my husband and I tried to merge everyone together into one family 11 years ago. There were times when we didn’t all get along. But look at us now.

No experts had any great advice at that time. Some people advised that we would all get along eventually. Books and Intenet articles taught me next to nothing. I did discover one tidbit of info: An article advised that your kids would be respectful of their boyfriend or girlfriend’s family. They should be equally tolerant and respectful of stepfamily members. Good advice and something everyone can identify with — and solid recommendations for the future with in-laws. I’m no expert, but after 11 years of marriage, here are some other things that work:

1. Remember that every person is an individual with an opinion. When it comes to kids — you have rocked their worlds. No matter how old they are — you have changed everything for them. But on the flip side, those kids will have their own lives when the high school years start, and you will be relegated to a low priority. It’s a good thing — they grow up, and it doesn’t hurt to remind your kids of that. A lot of eyes opened around here when we asked if a concerned kid would prefer that Mom or Dad be all alone while they went off to school. Parents are adults and they deserve to be happy.  smiley-face

2. Find some common ground. Things like Krispy Kreme donuts, no-bakesRascal Flatts and Pop Tarts can bring a family together. This might sound ridiculous, but any common ground is good ground.

3. There will be times you don’t get along. Let it go. If you try too hard, you will make it worse. Believe me. We have some very strong personalities in this crew. We had months where someone didn’t speak to someone else. It might have been years. In the end, every one of the six kids has lived with us. We still have disagreements, but we can respect one another’s opinions.

4. Get help. Go see a professional counselor — if for nothing else than to vent to someone who is totally objective. I vented to family and friends with credentials. You’ll feel better, and you might realize that you are making more of something than you should. There are times that kids say hurtful things that cut deep. Really deep. But get over it. They are kids — even when they are adults!  On the other hand, don’t force your kids to go to a counselor — they might see that as punishment. You might start a convo with a school counselor or teacher or family member or someone that you and your child mutually respect. You may need to work toward professional counseling, but kids need to know you want to help them — and a few sessions with a counselor can help just about anyone. No one should be miserable. Remind your kids of that.

5. Remind your kids that you love them no matter what. Start conversations with that, and end conversations with it. And share your feelings. If you feel neglected or hurt, share it one-on-one — sometimes when family members get busy, they aren’t necessarily ignoring you — they’re just strapped for time.

6. There are no perfect families. As the kids got older and shared some of the “behind the scenes” of families we thought were perfect, we all realized our imperfections aren’t so bad. “Modern Family’s” Gloria says it best: “Family may not be the same people you started with. It’s all the people you end up with.”

Finally — focus on the good stuff. Always. It will bring you all together. Although the bad stuff has brought us together in unity a few times. And it makes you cherish the good.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: January 15th, 2013

sally fieldI didn’t watch the Golden Globes because I was watching “Downton Abbey,” but I did catch up on the styles this morning. It appears that plunging necklines stole the show for everyone from 66-year-old Oscar nominee Sally Field (for her role as Mary Todd Lincoln) to the kids – Selena Gomez, 20, and ”Modern Family” actress Sarah Hyland, 22.

Some people wore it very well. Click right here for a link to all the styles on Huffington Post. Sally Field, the former “Flying Nun,” was one of the women who got kudos from fashion reviewers.flyingnun

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one. 

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 25th, 2012

It’s the time of year middle schoolers are faced with the challenge of choosing a high school. It’s an emotional time for kids — be understanding. Here are five things to consider:

Private versus public — Private schools cost more than $6,000 a year for tuition. That’s $24,000 for four years, and that does not include any of the activities, uniforms or fees. Loan opportunities exist for private schools, but if college is in the future, more loans will follow. Have a frank family discussion about how this impacts your family. Children need to know we love them and support them, but financial reality must be part of the equation. Consider all the what ifs. Here’s a link for how to review schools http://www.wikihow.com/Choose-the-Right-High-School.

Big versus small. In our community, McDowell High School has more than 500 students per grade level. All of our kids went there, and the size was never an issue. Our kids were involved in dozens of activities, camps, baseball, soccer, volleyball and more where they interacted with other kids from the region — they knew a lot of kids. Here’s a link that discusses private schools, charter schools and home schooling. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-choose-a-private-high-school.html

Be the voice of reason. Guide, but don’t push. For example, some kids naturally lean toward vocational education, but others don’t. Similarly, some kids want to be at the top of the class striving to be the best in honors classes and the works, but others don’t want the stress. Athletes might want to make a school decision based solely on sports. But if your athlete gets hurt, will the school decision still be the right fit? Don’t get stuck on maintaining a family tradition just because it’s a tradition. Every kid is different, and schools do change from generation to generation. Here’s a link that helps you analyze 33 different aspects of high schools. http://www.chooseyourfuture.org/choosing-a-high-school

Location. Getting to and from the school can be a deal breaker for parents and students. After-school and weekend activities mean plenty of return trips to the school for the fun stuff. Be realistic about how much time it takes to make the trip and if the school is on an accessible city bus route.

It’s an emotional decision. Listen to your youngsters. The high schools they choose will impact future decisions. My daughter attended a large high school and decided that she wanted an even bigger school for college. The boys were the opposite. They thrived in a small college environment — every kid is different.

Finally, keep in mind, these are kids — they will change their minds, and they need us to understand. I have one kid who attended a large public school and a small private school — all in four years. We all make decisions and change our minds. You have to do what works for you and your family.

Pam Parker, mother of three and stepmother of three — all over age 20 — is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 16th, 2012

Time to get charged up for spring. If you are looking for some bright fashions, here are a few:

Dresses that illuminate like the dresses worn by the bride, bridesmaids and little Lily on “Modern Family.”

CuteCircuit, a fashion tech company, launched a collection of dresses and tops embedded with LED lights. The clothes recharge via USB, and some items have controllers that allow wearers to pick the color and pattern of their lights.

Designer-artist team Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz, have dressed Katy Perry in bright lights. LED lights are also charging up shoes, and they’re not just for kids anymore.

If you want to make a splash at your next party, try LED LiteRays, created by photographer Carl VanderSchuit, who also invented popular LiteCubes, lighted faux ice cubes used to illuminate drinks from the inside out. They start at $7.99 and are available at: http://litecubes.com

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: April 5th, 2012

Last night’s episode of Modern Family was a rerun, but I laughed just as hard as the first time. One of the subplots focused on Little Lily’s obsession with dropping the f-bomb. This episode created a lot of Internet buzz when it first aired. It offers a stinging reminder that kids repeat what they hear. And they do it more frequently if adults laugh. My kids never heard that word growing up, but they did come up with some embarrassing shouts that included:

  • “Awww dammit, Howie.” My daughter was barely old enough to walk when she chastised my oldest son, Howie, if he made her mad. I know exactly where she heard that one.
  • “You wear your mother’s bras,” said by my son to a neighborhood boy. Where on Earth did he hear that one? Not from me.
  • One child — old enough to drive — let loose a stream of obscenities — some were words I had never used in my life. In school. After the car was towed out of the school parking lot. I feared I would be getting a call from the administration because no one curses quietly. No call, and I was the one who had to pay the cursed fine.

The language gets more colorful as they age.  I’ve learned words from all six kids that I never heard before. We all need to be careful what we say, and what kids hear. There are no bleeps in real life.

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: March 25th, 2012

OK, it’s not really a tightrope; it’s a slackliner. Click on Slackliner student to see passersby stop in their tracks to watch this Gannon University wrestler enjoy his exercise.

Slacklining — Wikipedia defines as an exercise in balance that uses 1-inch nylon webbing like a tension wire, and this GU student uses trees much like Phil did in a Modern Family episode.  Click here to see Phil.

Congratulations to new Erie Times-News photographer Andy Colwell who caught Sam the Slackliner student on video. Slacklining is different from tightrope walking in that the line is not  taut.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 22nd, 2011

After watching the premiere of ABC’s “Modern Family” last night, I have to say I love this show. I’ve always loved the show. It is the first show, I think, that gives a somewhat accurate portrayal of blended families. As a member of a blended family, I can vouch for the funny moments, the tender moments and the irritating moments.
On last night’s double episode of “Modern Family,” I was fascinated with little Lily, the adopted child of two male partners. Last year, Lily never spoke, smiled or even showed emotions. This year, she made up for it, much like a few of the kids in our family. For a laugh, even if you aren’t in a blended family, take a look.
It always makes me smile.

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