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everyone I'm Eric this is my wife Julie and we are the blended life and today we

have a special surprise for you yeah we are excited to announce our

first ever featured blended family so our first featured blended family is

the Brock family from Northern California and they're a pretty unique

family actually yeah they're they call themselves a dual City blended family

they're doin life in two cities and two homes and it's this really unique

situation and also fun fact they're newlyweds guys

when we first met we were both living the single parent life and for anyone

who has led that life or even a small season you know that it can be probably

one of the most challenging things that you could ever face in your adult life

and we were sort of in a rhythm when we met we were both you know running a

household and raising kids alone so I'm not sure that either of us were really

definitely looking for a relationship but we both had dating apps so we

definitely were window shopping for sure so when the app we had matched us I

remember being really captivated by Matt's profile and for those of you who

may be watching who have had experiences of dating apps I mean probably 80 or 90

percent or more of the time you're just like no no no no you're swiping right

babe on everybody oh no she meant laughter that no yeah I was right so I

got the right spot and I wouldn't have matched us I remember thinking wow this

guy you could see his personality shine through he had a big heart I could tell

he really loved his children he was obviously a die-hard Giants fan and

I don't know something just drew me to him so like any good woman does he had

put his Instagram handle on his dating profile and so I totally insta stalked

stalker yeah and that was it like he had written

a post about his daughter Avery and for a woman crush Wednesday and oh my gosh

it nearly brought me to tears it was so sweet and having girls myself I thought

oh like I just I wanted to meet him but I wasn't gonna tell him that so I had

sent him a inbox message that just said you know you touched the life of a

stranger today I just wanted to let you know really had no expectations I just

kind of felt led to send so after she slid into my DMS if you

know what I'm saying I got the message I can remember opening it and kind of

being like that's odd but it was extremely sweet out of nowhere

and certainly intriguing to me so I responded back with something unkind

just told her how much I appreciated the kind words and you know that I write

from my heart whenever I feel led and it's nice to know have a little

affirmation that you know those words reach people sometimes we chatted for a

couple days and then I dared her to drive from Fresno to Sacramento and meet

me at TopGolf because she had pretended to be really

into golf when we were talking and I was like we're gonna check on that and we

still never been golfing after three years but that's okay

we didn't topple off a few times but she came at me a top golf and I was I mean I

was captivated she she certainly was drop-dead gorgeous when she came walking

on the stairs I was like okay all right like after having met a few people

online those people don't look like they do in their pictures she didn't either

but it was on the good side she was actually way more attractive than she

was

I even wrote in my wedding vows thank you for not catfishing me that's how

important it was

Ashley I'm so proud that today I've become your husband I love you I love

that it never worked out with others so that I might have the chance to find you

I love that you pretended to love golf in the hopes that perhaps I would be

even more excited about meeting you which was impossible I love that you

weren't afraid to take a risk and that you drove three hours to come meet a

stranger had top golf I love that when you came walking down those stairs that

night you absolutely took my breath away I loved that you didn't catfished me and

you know it felt familiar like spending that first night with her at top golf

like getting to know each other laughing talking it felt like I had known her all

my life I know it sounds cheesy but it's true

and I told her you know it's it almost I didn't tell her this right away cuz it

have been super creepy but I eventually told her that that first night it felt

like my soul recognized hers like that there was something so incredibly warm

and comforting and familiar about her that it made it really easy to share so

this section was super fun for me to listen to because total stalker status

yeah and I just feel like with access to the Internet and social media really you

have to stalk there's like stalking is the responsible thing to do that could

be one of our teams that could be one of our next shirts like professional

stalker stalker responsible stalker irresponsible

stalker yeah oh my gosh that was so good you guys the next question we have is

when did you decide it was the right time to live

together yes a very different one for everyone let's see what they have to say

I really think it was just a natural progression of things we have a unique

situation the fact that we were living in two different cities he was in

Sacramento I was in Fresno so for over a year we spent time kind of taking the

kids on weekends when they were out of school spending time together you know

our time together was super limited with the kids I think we introduced the kids

probably after four or five months of dating and that was a big kicker for us

we knew that was gonna be like a major break if the kids didn't get along it

didn't feel right like we probably just would've stayed friends and you know

kept in each other's lives but we definitely were

check

the living together part it really was just logistical max lease was up the

garbage truck is money right

it really did wind up being a not to downplay but like a matter of

convenience like we we knew that we were about at that stage where we wanted to

cohabitate they were officially yeah you were you were coming up to to take a new

job and it just made sense it was a more

it was a more convenient location because I work in Folsom it was a more

convenient location for you driving to Roseville like it just kind of worked

and because we knew that meant we would be spending more time together I had

only ever lived in like this 2-bedroom townhome and it was kind of like a

bachelor pad it was what I needed for myself and the kids at the time but you

know it was time to close that chapter and open a new one and we were opening

it together so it was a very organic maybe that's a better way of saying it

than convenient it was more organic and it just made sense it was like okay it's

a lease together it's kind of like a you know we were like making more of a

commitment sort of taken that next step and like she said we were spending time

on the weekends together anyway and spending the night at one another's

homes so it just kind of made sense that we would have a place we could call our

own there as well as you know the home that we are maintaining in Clovis as

well so but we had already talked about that

you know forecasting long-term we were going to need to maintain homes in both

cities we very much knew about our coherence on

the other side wouldn't want the children to stay in their respective

schools so we had kind of just you know made up our minds that that was going to

be our life if this was the path that he chose together that we were committed to

being between cities and having adult household and

we were just running on a little bit faith and that wouldn't work out yeah

and the kids were excited you know it was something exciting and new I think

it offered them a glimpse of you know stability it was something that was our

home over there they already viewed the home and Clovis is kind of their home

when they were here so there's just a very natural organic transition so what

I love about Matt and Ashley is that they're just super honest you know

living together for them was a matter of convenience and we can relate to that

you're so even if you're not far apart it's just easier to do like at some

point in time it starts making sense you like look we're spending so much time

together always in the same you know under the same roof right yeah the kids

have already met each other like this is starting to feel it make sense like a

good thing but I love that it just wasn't like all romantic and it wasn't

all rose-colored glasses would you I mean it was part of that right it

wasn't a homework movie it was like this is inconvenient we need to switch it up

and make it convenient I like that yeah and then I loved that they stay

acknowledged that the kids meeting each other was a make-or-break moment and I

have like a it's kind of a double-edged sword because even if it wasn't a great

first meeting do you quit at that point you know and they and they said that

they were still gonna stay close they were still gonna stay friends even if it

didn't work out for the whole family right so you know at least they weren't

gonna just throw it away but they were considering the entire

family and all the kids as a whole as their make-or-break because kids can

make or break a marriage and to follow up with that the fourth question we're

going to talk they're going to answer for us right now is

how long did you date before deciding it was time to get married that's a very

very also very different frame yeah for everyone every situation some people you

know may date for ten years and never get married

some people might date for you know a month or two and get married so it can

be you know whatever fits your lifestyle I guess yeah yeah and then we asked them

you know did you incorporate any fun or interesting parts into your ceremony

to signify that you are blending a family not just joining together a

husband and wife but that you are entering the kids into this family too

and you guys just watch this I think from moment one I had always told Ashley

I had literally zero desire to ever get married again I think most of that was

based on a place of fear and insecurity as I had already been married and my

mind failed at manage and so I wasn't gonna put myself in that position again

I think deep down I knew I'm a dreamer of a but you know I hope I love romance

and love and I hoped that there would be an opportunity where someone would

change my mind on that I didn't know that it would be her when we first met

but as things progressed I could totally see that that was a possibility and so

you know we we dated for

with about two years and then we were going on a cruise we crashed our brother

and sister-in-laws first anniversary cruise they wanted us to come with them

I decided to crash it even more by asked him if I could propose on the cruise

they were totally in love with the idea very gracious so I ended up proposing on

that cruise and then we got married a year later after that November of just

this patches of 2019

and I think what was paramount to us what sort of led me

down that path more and more was how much I wanted to show my commitment to

Ashley with the kids you know we live in a day and age where marriage isn't

necessarily taken the same way it's not necessarily viewed as a serious of a

matter of people are so willing to get a divorce these days but that's not the

story I wanted my kids to be told that's not the picture I wanted to paint

but this wasn't serious enough that I was walking into her I wanted to show

them that's absolutely that when you want something you go for

it you commit to it also pay and you don't leave any question marks or doors

open and so I think as we progress more and more in the relationship that's just

more of the direction it took again it was fairly organic it just kind of was

like you know were we've been dating two years now I know I just don't wanna be

with this woman

and I was agree I would say that I was

either

and that just comes from a place of shame

you know the kids like us in society their families I think struggled a

little bit with you know mom's boyfriend or dad's girlfriend and it just didn't

feel as significant as it could if we were officially married and I think the

kids were most excited about being you know step-siblings and and being

highlighted in the wedding yeah that was sort of because they had really been our

biggest supporters and our biggest cheerleaders all along I think you know

those of you out there living the blended family life there are definitely

hurdles that you have to jump sometimes it's with your friends sometimes it's

with your own family some people are super onboard and

unconditionally supportive and some people are more of a slow burn they have

to come around you know when you get divorced your family grieves with you

you know it's a process for all members of the family and so you know we're

feeling as the door for say is like shame and fear you know they kind of go

through a similar experience on the outside looking in and so our

wedding the ceremony was very very important

really wanted the focus to be on and on Isis intimate so he incorporated

a family Sam ceremony the children necklaces there was dog

tags that said we are family with our wedding date on them so they had

something tangible as a keepsake and then we also said age-appropriate vows

to end and we choreographed a special dance the

kids were super excited about

be able to include a clip of that for you guys to enjoy

that's a lot of fun you guys nice dance moves and it was neat how you guys were

able to also incorporate so much you know just fun stuff into your wedding

yeah I love the sand that's so symbolic right of blending families and then the

dancing is such an expression of love and joy and happiness well that kind of

speaks to your heart anyways right yeah I'm partial to the dancing but then also

you know the dog tags what a great idea because it is important I think to give

and meaningful to give kids something tangible that's theirs to keep and take

home you know the sand goes in the house and that's everyone's the dance is great

but you can't touch it and you're not doing it all the time so to have

something that kids can take home with them and keep and look at means a lot to

kids I think and so that was a really special thing I just say the Brock

family set the bar with all of the things in the ceremony I love how they

use the sand though because that's that's kind of where our logo came from

you know the sand dropping in and all the different pieces and you know a lot

of people and blended families la blended families now are doing that in

their weddings and I just I love the symbol as symbolization rises I don't

make up words this time I get to make up the words this time our sounds sounds

but before you know they shared with us their wedding stuff I want to go back to

what Matt and Ashley expressed in the very beginning of the section when they

were discussing how they didn't have a desire to get married again and I really

resonated with that me too you know I know I keep doing it but seriously I

think that that is something that we all kind of can really relate to is you know

after divorce and with kids and your single parent you know I think

it's really hard to ever imagine you're gonna do it again yeah I didn't think I

ever would really I mean I guess when you like are really truthful to yourself

and you dig deep down inside like yeah maybe here probably but yeah you know

it's sometimes it just happens a little bit sooner than you would expect it to

true and I think your faith creeps up like once you're done being angry and

you're done being hurt and you're over the pain you know God created us for

marriage he didn't create us to do life alone right and so I think that we're

just we're born needing connection and so I think that that ultimately

overtakes our indignance and our hurt but I really appreciate it that they

share that I totally relate to it I'm sure you guys do too

the fourth thing we asked them was what discussions did they have before they

got married so let's listen in to what they have to say about that

I think our discussions before marriage were mainly focused around logistics due

to the two cities I think that was a huge thing for both of us to wrap our

mind around and our families to wrap their mind around of how they're like

what are you doing it's not easy but it's worth it we just we just had a

completely different review which was this is an opportunity this is an

opportunity not only for us but for our children we don't know of any other

blended family households but I'm positive that they're out there for sure

but we thought what a great opportunity for our children to be able to

experience both cities and have their family close by and still feel stable in

their environments but I you know it's more of like a privilege and an

opportunity than anything in our mind so the logistical piece was just I mean

we're both trying to work full-time and then have income and where we can work

where we gonna live house you know where the kids gonna go to school all of that

stuff had to be worked out and I think it was super overwhelming at first and

so we just had to really just take small little bytes at a time and tell and

we're still working on it we're still dialing you know it

and but we're in a really good place and the kids are in really good place a nice

important that I think the the you know the logistical piece for me was just

hard because I didn't have the vision she she got the vision before I did that

like how we can make this work to me I just felt like how can I be a husband

and a participant in this life when some days I'm not around my god I have to be

in you know Sacramento and you're in Clovis and you know and I think it just

makes communication and paramount it makes taking opportunities like the

times we do get to stay connected to stay you know actively pursuing one

another so that we keep that part strong so that when there's distance between us

it has a feel

and then just really making sure that the kids feel at home at both places

making that a priority making sure that they feel stable and not like they don't

have a home they do they have to I think the kids have grown

pretty excited about it like they get to experience two different cities that

they otherwise wouldn't you know or over a different City for each of them and so

as we've gotten married and blended our family officially our

conversations definitely have gone away from logistics although we're still

dialing that in and we're focused now I'm just creating a safe happy fun

stable environment for the kids to come to and I think the probably the greatest

challenge in that is just you know you you're two different people from two

different backgrounds two different upbringings two different parenting

styles you know you're fighting off you know your preconceived notions from

having been in a marriage previously and seeing other parents and all those

things so there's a lot to sift through but I think if you keep the

conversations very focused on what's present and what's relevant it helps you

you know sit through a little bit easier and stay a little bit long times but I

think our greatest conversation now is just really about maintaining a

respective role in one another's children's lives right we both have two

biological children age and two bonus children each and so you know it's about

me making sure that my presence is known and felt as you know a dad figure in the

house but never imposing myself as a dad because ultimately I'm not you know I

mean like I respect the other fathers in the picture I understand how valuable

they are in their daughter's lives and you know it's a it's a matter of just

maintaining that for myself and I know she tries very hard on her side as well

you know to just be somebody that Evan and Avery can look up to and appreciate

and value in their lives but she never in any way shape or form tries to step

over her role as a stepmother into mother and so I think that's kind of the

the biggest thing that we try to maintain top of mind and focused on that

yeah and I feel like my new role as a stepmom I've never been a stepmom before

this is new for me I've never missed that bad yeah and so I just my

conviction is that my place is a bit outside of the circle so him

a vanity of reason mom are inside the circle doing the decision-making and the

lion's share of the parenting and and I am there as you know a huge support

system on this side to make sure that that's successful as a candy

so this was an interesting section to listen to because gosh it was just so

chock-full of so much good stuff but logistics are huge I think that's a lot

of people's beginning conversations when they're gonna get married or habitate

like what does that look like right you know are we moving in together into his

house into her house are we getting a place of our own somewhere else they

happen to have two homes right and living between the two but at some point

in time you start realizing like hey we're spending a lot of time together

you're spending a lot of time under the same roof I know like this should be a

thing now right but the logistics of it you know and I love how they have the

outlook that blended life is an opportunity and was an opportunity and a

privilege for their kids I think just having that outlook and mindset will set

them up for a very positive strong life together because you're looking at

everything as a blessing instead of looking at everything is difficult and

hard and the struggle and I think we can get so in on the struggle that we forget

to look at the opportunity there glass is half-full good job you guys yeah and

they're newlyweds so still honeymoon phase and hopefully it stays like that

it sounds like it sounds like the way that they're setting up their

relationship and their family in their marriage is to stay in love you know and

they're constantly putting their family first and the kids at the forefront of

their thoughts and how it's all coming together and you guys are doing an

awesome job keep it up yeah my favorite thing that

matt said actually I'm gonna I wrote it down I was so impressed was that him and

Ashley have decided you know or he feels like that they actively are going to

pursue one another they're actively pursuing one another especially because

they have dual homes and jobs apart and things like that but I think that that

is something that not just blended family marriages but all marriages get

lost and that like you're married in it you know you're married you have the

other person their kids have got you everywhere works got you everywhere and

you could be relationship kinda gets lost right so I think also what that is

for stay alert yeah for them to already acknowledge that and have that as one of

their goals to actively pursue one another in their marriage I think has

just inspired me so thanks you guys for sharing that with us and the last thing

we asked them about here is what is a wisdom like what is a pearl of wisdom

that you can give all of our blended families that you've learned because

we're all learning from each other yes flashlight people and all that yeah

won't the neat thing too is you can always pick up wisdom it doesn't matter

your age your history anything wisdoms an ever growing thing yeah so

let's learn what they have to say about that and this one is simple to say and

hard to execute sometimes but really it's the present becomes

and how fun these years where the kids are little and growing up they go by so

fast and we're just so extra blessed to have each other and just to maintain

that focus on one another and making quality time yeah I think recognizing

and owning the fact that we were both capable and succeeding at parenting on

our own and that we chose to add somebody into the mix because it made

sense and it fit they're always going to be people on the outside looking in who

are gonna judge you if they're gonna have opinions they're gonna have

feedback that you did not ask for I would encourage you to just stay focused

right here to stay focused on your partnership to stay focused on is this

something that we can do long term you know we spoke about the challenge of our

joint city living right we dual city living you know that conversation sort

of I think where it peaked for us was I remember telling Ashley like yeah this

is gonna be hard like it's gonna be a challenge but it's a challenge for a

short season of our life what I know is that when my children are grown and have

moved on into their adult lives I'm still gonna want my best friend with me

and so I wasn't willing to forfeit that opportunity that I may never meet

another best friend like her you know I wasn't willing to give up on that

opportunity to live the next six years of struggle you know

for what I knew would be a lifetime of happiness on the other side and so I am

so excited about life you know as we move forward and we get to be

grandparents someday and all of that but I would say keep your vision focused on

what makes sense for you it's so easy to get distracted with all the minutiae and

all the unsolicited opinions and feedback out there but just do what

feels right in here don't get wrapped up in the past failures don't get scared of

what a future might look like if you can get that vision on board with your best

friend for how you're gonna succeed at this and and where you're gonna go with

it and that direction makes sense for the both of you and it looks like your

arrows are pointed in the same direction then hold hands and run and and stay

focused on this first and a few if you're taking care of this then those

relationships with the stepchildren are gonna be natural and and easy to easy to

handle so we're here we'll be around for questions I'm sure if anybody ever wants

to ask us something if you're considering a dual city

scenario we can certainly are special I don't know man I can certainly tell you

you know what the pitfalls might be what to look out for but ultimately we want

to be here for encouragement we know how paramount encouragement is we love Eric

and Julie for what they're doing we think this this blog they've created and

this sort of lifestyle of sharing with other people who are going through the

same journey is so so so helpful and so comforting and so necessary as we all

you know do babble during this season of life so you know god bless all of you

and anything we can answer let us know so I really like how they tout being

present and showing up for the family and just being there for one another

quite a bit you know yeah I love that they brought up consistency I know

that's one of my favorite words I think that everyone needs it for feeling safe

and secure and that they can be they know what to count on it's super

important and it's awesome that they recognize that so early on right off the

bat yeah absolutely yeah so thanks Brock family for being part of our actually

being our very first yea featured blended family yeah we really appreciate

the time they put into this their honesty it takes a lot to open up your

lives to everyone and they actually open up their lives more than just this video

you guys they answered 12 questions that you can have access to on our website

I'll put a link in the description down below yeah and then you saw five five of

those questions answered on this video so to learn more about the Brock family

there's so much more to know about them they're so unique and they are so honest

go check it out you can find their blog entry under the

blog that's what it's called on our website and you'll see a featured

blended family section there go find them

link below subscribe and comment and they will actually check this video so

if you comment below they'll actually talk back with you and give that rocks

family a thumbs up because I think they deserve it they're doing an awesome job

and I think we're all learning from them too so thank you guys

yeah and find them on Instagram their handles on the website on their page the

page that we're talking about as well on the blog and ask questions on there to

like that article that we posted about them

and get to know them they're a great great family so thank you guys and we'll

see you on our next podcast this Thursday

The Description of Blended Life Brock Featured Blended Family Of The Month