Archives For Family

By Eric on July 5, 2013 6

As Kelsey said last week, we recently spent a week in the Okoboji area. This is our 10th summer as a couple, and we’ve spent time there together every year. It’s an awesome in-state getaway for us and we’re truly blessed to have a place to stay when we are there.

Maybe we’re just naive and the only ones who never thought of this before, but for vacation we’ve started to plan not only the week we are away from home, but the week before we leave and the week after we get back. Now that we’re responsible for more than ourselves on vacation (Rooney packs more than the two of us combined), we’ve tried to really think through our time off and how to get the most out of it.

Vacation

Confession: Last year we learned that vacation with a newborn is not really a vacation. It was more like a tornado picked us and all our baby junk up and set us down four hours away in a familiar/enjoyable location, except we still had to be rookie parents who had no idea what happened to vacation as we knew it.

It wasn’t that we didn’t love being parents, it was that for eight years prior, Okoboji had been our place of escape, adventure, relaxation and bliss. Last year, it all changed with a newborn. I was frustrated not being able to relax the way that we had in the past. This year was completely different for a number of reasons that I will get to in a moment. Another important thing we changed this year from last year was our own mental thinking, taking a family approach to the vacation vs. the selfish agenda we’ve always had in the past. (Rooney is not the only one who has grown a lot in the past year.)

A few weeks before we left, we came to the realization that we should think about vacation in three stages: pre-party, party, and the hangover…

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By Eric on June 14, 2013 12

We’ve gotten a few questions about the biking gear we’ve been sporting on our family bike rides, so here’s the rundown. If you are just tuning in, you might also want to read up on how long Kelsey waited to purchase her bike (homegirl has patience!).

Our Biking Gear

You could probably get by with less, and the biking gear you choose for your family totally depends on your needs, your wants and the level of safety you wish to exercise (pun intended). Some links below are affiliate links.

family bike ride

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By Kelsey on June 13, 2013 3

Most of these (all except the last one) were a complete accident that we recreated family photos on nearly the exact same day one year apart! Thanks to Timehop, I receive an email each day with my social media activity from the same day a year ago. It’s been really cool to be reminded of what we were doing last year (my last day of maternity leave, our first meal out as a family, etc.). It’s been really great to remind myself that I have made lots of progess in the past year!

It shocks me to see how much Rooney has changed in just 365 days. Especially that last one! Her hand is in her mouth in both photos, but she’s grown so much! And her hair is getting so long!

family photo nap2 time capsule family photo threewall2 one year apart family photo wall2MS walk family photo

 

By Kelsey on May 10, 2013 1

Alternate title: Making Me Very Happy :)

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Going for walks with these two always helps to clear my mind. Roo and I get home after work, Eric meets us in the garage with the stroller and off we go! Rooney is happiest in the stroller, and Eric and I use this time to catch up on the day and give each other undivided attention. Rooney points out all the fire hydrants and puppies, and I can’t help but notice the most beautiful clouds in the sky, the handsome guy next to me and the loveliness of a (mostly) quiet neighborhood.

When we arrive back at 505, the only thing that entices Roo out of her stroller is the lure of her high chair, on the deck, where we share dinner.

Oh, spring! Thank you for your wonderousness. Don’t tell autumn I said this, but you might be winning me over.

 

By Eric on April 2, 2013 2

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It’s said that when you are married, two become one. We’ve always taken this pretty seriously, trying to love each other for who we are and recognizing that one of our greatest strengths as a married couple is that we are better together. Parenting has been a learning process for us both, but we’ve done it together.

To be honest, I’m not sure how anyone ever goes at this parenting thing alone. We’ve all heard the staggering statistics of broken homes and the effects that it has on the kids. And for me personally, growing up with divorced parents since I was 2 had its challenges. (For the circumstances, I had an amazing childhood.)

We’ve made it a year (13 months today!) with the addition of a little human being in our lives, and it’s been a lot of fun (most of the time) to study our daughter and understand her needs, wants and desires. One of those desires, and a great asset that she brings to the family already, is that she strives to keep us together.

Keeping the Family Together

When all three of us are home, Rooney wants us all to be in the same room. This started when she learned to crawl. If all three of us are in her bedroom and I leave to go get something from the kitchen, she takes notice and sounds the alarm. With a subtle whimper she’ll start vigorously crawling to the hallway where she can see both mom and dad, and she’ll just sit there, in perfect view of us both, until we are together again.

If we are hanging out in the living room and Rooney is playing independently, and one of us takes out our iPhone to catch up on the all-important social media, Rooney acts as police. She crawls right over to take away our phone so that our family time is of the highest quality. (OK, maybe she just wants to play with our iPhone, but it’s a great reminder to us to put them away. Although, this makes it tough when we just want to snap a photo of her!)

At first I thought these things were cute, but now I think it’s a great reminder of how families are meant to be together, not apart. It’s helped shape our family time, and we are very intentional about doing things together rather than apart. It will be very interesting to see how this shapes the dynamics of our family as we not only grow older, but possibly grow in number, too.

It amazes me how smart babies are. How simple their minds work, and how complicated we make things sometimes. Our daughter intuitively knows that it’s better when our family is together. She doesn’t like it when daddy has to leave for work in the morning. She gets sad. And then I get sad. But soon we get distracted and go on with our day, only to come back together in the evening for more family play time. And our time apart helps us make the most of the time we have together.

How do you make the most of family time?