Strollin to the River

This post sponsored by Target.

When my wife was pregnant with our first, I felt ready. I had read some books, my wife and I had discussed at length what we wanted our parenting style to be, we had registered for all the must haves at Target Baby and we had our house all set up. Well, mostly set up.

The day finally came. We had a beautiful healthy baby boy. Surrounded by nurses, doctors, family & friends at the hospital I have never felt so proud in my whole life. We were able to go home after a few days and thankfully our parents, who lived 12 states away, were able to stay with us for several more days. I hit the ground running and felt very comfortable being a dad.

Then it happened. One afternoon our parents said goodbye and left to return home. It was just the two of us and this tiny little baby. I had a mini panic attack. What if something went wrong? What if we couldn’t get our baby to eat? What if we couldn’t get our baby to stop crying? I didn’t realize how much the nursing staff at the hospital and our parents had been a mental safety net to me. I suddenly didn’t feel ready to be a dad at all.

I leaned on my wife for support and she leaned back on me. Slowly the first few hours alone with our newborn turned into a day and then the days turned into weeks. I don’t remember exactly when it happened but somewhere along the way I no longer felt nervous to be alone. I felt confident being a dad and I felt confident watching my son. Eventually, I even felt confident without my wife being around.

Fast forward five and a half years, I am now a stay-at-home dad to 4 kids. People look to me as if I’m some sort of parenting expert. I’m not sure if I’m ready to crown myself an expert but I have definitely grown as a parent since those first few days. I no longer stress out about being alone with the kids. In fact, in the craziness of today I find myself cherishing the moments we get to spend alone together.

One of my favorite things to do with the kids is head over to a local park near the river and walk the nature trails, play on the playground and watch the boats go up and down as the sun is setting. This has become sweet time for us to unwind, laugh, look for wildlife and enjoy some tranquility.

Of course, I have a whole lot more gear to haul around now with 4 kids than I did in my earlier days. But Target’s got us covered from the water bottles to the stroller and everything in between, so all I have to worry about is spending time building memories with my kids. 

 With 4 kids, we look like quite the site when we come rolling up.

The first stop is always the playground. The tire swing is a crowd favorite.

Apparently the best way to enjoy a tire swing is by throwing your head back and screaming!

Next we head off down the board walk to see what we can spot in the woods. 

Usually we see song birds but if we’re lucky we’ll spot a squirrel or even some bats.     

The boardwalk takes us to the river where we can watch the setting sun.

We head over to the bank to get a closer view.

We can watch the boats go up and down the river. Sometimes we see sailboats, sometimes fishing boats but there is always something going on.

We usually finish up on the swings before we head home.

Five and a half years ago, the thought of taking 4 kids to the park for the evening by myself would have seemed overwhelming and daunting. But now I don’t even think twice about it. In fact, it’s actually an enjoyable time with the kids where we can connect, have a few laughs and maybe even learn something along the way. I look forward to what the next five and a half years have in store for us!

Stroller: Baby Trend Sit N Stand

Baby Carrier: Ergobaby Four Position 360

Water Bottles: CamelBak Eddy Kids

Boys’ Shirts: Striped Muscle Tank

Boys’ Shorts: Poplin Cargo Short

Girl’s Dress: Chambray Pintuck Dress

Baby’s Shorts: Striped Fashion Short

Baby’s Shirt: Polo Shirt

Dad’s Shorts: Cargo Short – Merona™

7 thoughts on “Strollin to the River”

  1. Wonderful Mike. I like how you included your family in your new beginning. I had another couple tell me they cried the day their mother in law left after helping them settle in with their new addition. I enjoy reading your stories.

  2. What a beautiful post! Great photos and I enjoyed being part of your lovely walk ! Cute clothes too…I love Target!

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