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7 Cooks in the Kitchen: Recipe Optional.

I don’t know what it was that made me always want a large family. It was just a fact in my mind that was always there. When CJ and I met, that idea was not a space of common ground we agreed on. He wanted just one child. About a year and a half after that conversation, twins Blake and Mikah arrived three weeks prior to their due date, catapulting our couple-ship into an instant family of four. After that, CJ waved the white flag of surrender, giving into my dreams of having a large family. The universe had spoken and over the next 10 years, we would add Phoenix, Thayden and Boston to our nest. Each of them, added their own unique seasoning to our familial soup.


CJ and I‘s personality couldn’t be any more different. He is analytical, thrives in logic, runs on efficiency, and manifests in the physical. Grounded and strong, he is the rock. Stability is his jam.


Everything in my world runs on creative fantasy, the intangible mysteries of life, unbridled dreams without rules, and constant transformation through reinvention. I am fire, you never know what you were going to get. I jokingly call myself the Mad Hatter because of all the hats I have worn and continue to put on. Constant change is where I thrive. I call it transformative others call it exhausting. Oh, and I love storytelling… If you haven’t seen that by now.


This blend of temperament genetics has created an innovative, passionate, and diverse brood of children. The melting pot of logic and fantasy can be seen pulsing through each of them in varying degrees.


This concept of being a melting pot of flavors is great until it’s not! It was evident that we had reached a new phase of collaboration right about the time we really started to give life to 7 Wandering Backpacks.


Here’s how it followed,


Team: Dream and Run With it: Shai and Blake.


Team Logic and Sustainability: CJ, Mikah, and Thayden.


Phoenix: Playing probably the hardest role of all as mediator and keeper of the peace. (She’s totally the middle child.)


Boston: Well, currently he's just along for the ride.


7 distinct individuals with 7 different perspectives, equaling

7 different ideas about everything!


When they were little people would say, “You have 5 kids! How do you do it?” Looking back, it was a walk in the park then. I was just a leader, I would just come up with cool ideas that seemed fun and magical to get them to do what was needed. Most of the time it was chaos, but it worked and life was filled with laughter. If you ask the kids though, they might say it was hard because there wasn’t much structure. Remember, I am everywhere all the time. I feel that it has made them well-rounded!


Parenthood is much more challenging now. Those nice well rounded souls that saw things my way, all have ideas of their own now. None of which, are shy about sharing. Don’t get me wrong, confident voices are great, but there are a lot of cooks in our kitchen!


Here’s how it normally goes. Phoenix or I come up with some crazy half put together plan that will take place in some far off place. How do we get there? Doesn’t matter, because what we are going to do and how we are going to help will be epic. Blake jumps in for support and adds to the concept. All three of us voicing ideas that seem to come flying out of nowhere. Excitement has nourished a conceptual monster that now has legs, arms, a whole body and wings. It is running at full speed just about to take off when “the mediator” steps back in. She literally jumps ship!


Phoenix’s analytical side takes the stage and now starts putting in structure and rules. “Now, you have to think about this or consider that.” Usually at first I stare at her with the face that distinctly says Dream Stomper. I will say this though, she’s absolutely right 100% of the time.


Next the structure team is arrives. CJ on finances, Mikah on logistics, and Thayden on schedules. Boston usually makes his voice known here, informing all of us that he doesn’t actually want to go anywhere. It’s true he is a homebody, but once we are in the thick of it, he always loves the adventure he’s been offered.


The scene has been set can you see it? All these creative, driven, passionate, and logical minds meeting together with a common goal!  It’s like magic right?


I’m going to be real honest right here. All these roles are played each time a new idea arises. Only, I promise you the “magical” situation happens only when the stars align. That is the beauty in it. It can be disheveled, unbridled and messy. All the flavors are thrown into the pot, but at the end of the day the soup is one of passion and love.


We have one common goal and that’s to be the best humans that we can be in this lifetime. We want to experience our adventures together, and we want to share those experiences while sharing our stories to inspire you, our friend and reader.


We want you to know that whether you are a family of one or a family of 20. Each person has a role and a distinct flavor of their own. One that is vital to the family soup. Putting it together, blending, simmering, becoming nourishing and love. The real magic is how the lives that partake in what you have created are touched. They will be forever changed and nourished. Equally, everyone involved in the “cooking” experience will experienced untapped growth as well.


You have goals, dreams, and the passion to touch lives. Start now no matter how you are situated. One little act at a  time until you are making “soup” to serve to the lives you want to touch.


Welcome to the kitchen we’re glad you’re here!


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