With three children, Eric and Vanessa McGuire keep busy.
The kids, Tucker, 8, Cailin, 7, and Elenor, 4, enjoy family board games, jumping on the trampoline together, movie and pizza night and the occasional Royals game. Pretty soon, Vanessa says they will be busy with baseball, soccer games and practices, along with Boy Scouts and gymnastics.
“So that counts as family time sometimes,” she laughs. “I’m finishing my master’s (degree), so there’s some nights it’s just dad and the kids, too.”
The couple have been together for 14 years. Eric works for the Air National Guard at Rosecrans, and Vanessa works at Boehringer Ingelheim.
“Ellie” sometimes ends up doing more than the average 4-year-old because the rest of the family can do it, so they just go for it, Vanessa says.
“But I don’t feel like we’ve ever been real restricted on what we can and can’t do because of having three kids or kids of varying ages,” she says. “We talked about white water rafting in Colorado. Haven’t decided for sure.”
But sometimes it’s hard to find things to do locally.
Vanessa says there are lots of great parks, places to ride bikes or go for walks and Fun Run. But on the weekends, the family heads to places like the Henry Doorly Zoo or Great Wolf Lodge. Last year, while Eric was deployed, mom and the kids went to the indoor waterpark.
“The kids loved that,” she says. “We are planning to go when school gets out (this year).”
As far as activities and vacations go, the McGuires went to Disneyland last year and are going to Colorado this year.
“The only tips … are to plan ahead a little and see what restrictions are on the activities,” she says. “If all the kids were eligible, great. If not, then we would conquer and divide. Eric would take the older two on one roller coaster they could ride, and I would take Ellie on something she could ride. But our kids are close enough in age they are mostly able to do all the same stuff.”
But the one constant in their busy schedules is quality time together.
“The one thing we do every single night is eat dinner together as a family at the dining room table,” Vanessa says.
Of course, she says there are random exceptions, like going out to eat together or the occasional movie night when they eat pizza together as a family in the living room while watching a movie.
“But 99 percent of the time, we are together at the table eating, talking about our day,” she says.