It’s unforgivable that I haven’t blogged in ages. First my computer died. Then the Red River Ex came to town. Puppy classes began. Basketball and dancing lessons ended. And so life goes when you’ve got a mix of five kids and a couple of dogs.So here I am typing on a brand new computer, the queasiness in my stomach from riding The Fireball at the Ex has subsided and I’m looking forward to a weekend of camping.Next week my youngest son graduates from junior high, my eldest has finished his first year of university and the three girls will complete Grades 1, 2 and 6. Lots to celebrate. Perhaps not of equal significance but nonetheless cause for celebration is the fact that my puppy is finally going poop-y outside, mostly. She still thinks the girls’ room is a litter box and is now barred from going in there, but otherwise has gotten the hang of going outside. It’s such a relief to not be constantly crawling around on all fours scoping out the source of the poo smell wafting in the air. Things are looking up.Hubby and I are coming up to five months of marriage and things are almost as good as ever once again. I remember before getting married feeling prepared to tackle the challenge ahead and confidant it would be a smooth transition. Wrong. I guess there are some things in life where it doesn’t matter how much your head prepares, your emotions will take their own sweet time arriving where your head wants them to be.I recently read that when remarriages fail it’s rarely because of the couple falling out of love and usually because of external issues and pressures facing the marriage. This encourages me because external issues can always be fixed; heart issues not so much. I think back to my first marriage and see how the break-up was the result of growing apart and falling out of love. Not much you can do about that. I mean, at one level I believe love is a choice, but I also believe people change, grow apart and fall out of romantic love. Now, with my second marriage, I feel I’ve married someone I can love and laugh with for the rest of my life, but requires one hell of a commitment to not letting the external issues get the best of us. So, with pen in hand, the other day Hubby and I listed all our issues and are figuring out ways to overcome them.For starters, we’ve decided to narrow the gap between our two sets of kids by becoming more like a united couple raising kids instead of running parallel households. This means I need to get off the sidelines more often and onto the field in parenting his kids with him. Up until now I've been cautious about getting too much in the girls’ faces and have strived to give them space and time alone with their dad. However, we’re starting to realize that my hesitation and fear of crossing any boundaries with the girls has caused too much division is ultimately not conducive towards our end goal of creating a blended family. Boundaries are probably one of the biggest issues facing stepfamilies and I've realized the rule books are more just guidelines and every unique family needs to establish unique boundaries. Whatever the case, I think my time has come as a stepmom to roll up my sleeves and get more in the game.Another area where we’ve covered some ground is our understanding and acceptance of each other’s ‘Sunday afternoon moments,’ you know, the ways you like to spend your downtime. For me, I’m happiest sitting outside with a good book and an hour of quietness. He, on the other hand, is an 18-hour fireball of commotion and on a typical Sunday afternoon is simultaneously painting the living room, building a patio, talking on his cell phone, coordinating the drop-off of 18 tonnes of gravel and refereeing a fight between his two youngest girls. Bridging this gap calls for some compromise, a bit of acceptance and when all else fails a trip to the nearest hot yoga studio.One by one, as we resolve our issues, we're creating room to breathe more life and love into our marriage. And as a bonus, the air we're breathing no longer smells of dog poop!