Families Doing Fabulous Things

Families Doing Fabulous Things!

There are LOTS of families creating Uncommon Childhoods for their children. On this page you can read about Families Doing Fabulous Things and be inspired to live your dreams! Do you know a family doing something fabulous, are YOU doing something fabulous? E-mail us and nominate them (or yourself)!

Girls On The Way: Two Girls (and their mom) walk The Camino for Charity!

Written by Jennifer Miller on May 31st, 2013 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things

I am a big fan of doing adventurous things as a family and encouraging kids to step out and do big things, hard things!

A friend sent me a link to the website of Trish Herr and her daughters, who at the time were walking the Camino de Santiago (500 miles from France into Spain) for charity. To say I was “wowed” is an understatement. But when I learned that this walk is really just the tip of the iceberg for these girls, I had to talk to them.

The girls agreed to an interview!

I’m delighted to introduce you to the Girls On The Way! Click to read more…


Letters to Zerky: A book review

Written by Jennifer Miller on May 25th, 2012 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things, Lifestyle, Travel

It’s taken me rather a long time to review this book. Mr Raney sent it to me months ago and I confess that I let it languish too long in the cottage, packed it along from Alberta to Iceland to the Ukraine and back again, reading snips as I could. I hope he’d approve of his book about travels traveling so much with me.

Letters To Zerky is full of beautiful ghosts, from a lovely young wife with her delightful little son, to ghosts of countries and lives long since passed. This adventure happened before I was born, when my parents were young and traveling. That a story can reach across generations to find a home in the hands and heart of another mother in another traveling family and that the song it sings is one that I recognize is a tribute to the power of the story and the grace of it’s telling.

If you like a good travel story, pick up this book, you’ll find not one, but many. So many of the places they visited are places we’ve stood with our children and I found kinship in that. If you like a good love story, you’ll find no better one than this, the story of the true love of a family for one another and the world they walked through. It will make you smile, it will make you laugh, and if you’ve any heart at all the tears will stream down your face at the end. I promise you that.

I’m finally writing this in the back of my father’s car as he drives us to the airport to depart for Thailand; the beginning of a thirty hour journey to the other side of the planet. My parents would get on with Bill Raney. They raised me much as he would have raised little Zerky and out of gratefulness I’m doing the same for my kids. I reread the passage between pages 372 & 380 about their time in Thailand, during the Vietnam war, and wondered how much Bangkok must have changed since then. In a couple of days I’ll drag my children out into the oppressive heat that is waiting for us and we’ll visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. I’ll take my kids’ picture in front of the same statue as that of Zerky on page 375 and I’ll lay a flower there for the Raneys.

I read a lot. I don’t recommend much. If you’re a traveler, or a parent, or a lover of adventure, or were alive during the sixties, or if you’ve got any wonder left in you for the beauty of family and the beauty of humanity on this planet, get a copy of this book and read it.

Thank you Mr. Raney, for the gift and for the excellent investment you’ve made in your lifetime.


Winterdance: A Family of Iditarod Dreamers!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Mar 5th, 2012 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things

Hank Debruin & Tanya McCready have been married for 17 years and started their husky family before starting their child family.

They now have four children, Logan, 12, Dustyn, 10, Michaela, 6, and Jessica, 4 years old. They live in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada, in a stunning wilderness area full of lakes and ridges and hills which sits on the doorstep of Algonquin Park and their life revolves around dogs!

We first profiled them in Dec. 2010, just before Hank ran the Yukon Quest race, in Canada in early 2011. Right now, as this interview is republished, Hank is out on the trail running the Iditarod! You can follow the race and his progress at the official race site.

Click to read more…


Meet Winterdance: A Family of Iditarod Dreamers!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Mar 5th, 2012 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things

Hank Debruin & Tanya McCready have been married for 17 years and started their husky family before starting their child family.

They now have four children, Logan, 12, Dustyn, 10, Michaela, 6, and Jessica, 4 years old. They live in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada, in a stunning wilderness area full of lakes and ridges and hills which sits on the doorstep of Algonquin Park and their life revolves around dogs!

We first profiled them in Dec. 2010, just before Hank ran the Yukon Quest race, in Canada in early 2011. Right now, as this interview is republished, Hank is out on the trail running the Iditarod! You can follow the race and his progress at the official race site.

Click to read more…


Families Doing Fabulous Things: Meet the Amazing “Going Anyway” Family!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Feb 9th, 2012 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things

Every now and then I run across another family that just blows my socks off. I hear their story and I’m left standing in awe, thinking, “WOW! Now THEY are amazing people!!” And I come away inspired. The Palmer Family of Going Anyway is one such family. Chris and Jill and their amazing five kids are on an open-ended world tour in spite of the unusual circumstances and added difficulty of traveling with a child with special needs. When they first contacted us about the logistics of traveling with kids I was inspired by their spunk and I continue to cheer from the sidelines as I watch the amazing ride they’re on as a family.

Jill has agreed to write for Uncommon Childhood on the topic of out-side-the-box parenting with a differently abled child. I’m so excited to have her on board and to learn from her beautiful example. Without further ado, I’d like to present the fabulous family behind Going Anyway:

Click to read more…


Meet The Bode’s Well Crew!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Sep 1st, 2011 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things

Angela & Jason and their son Bode make up the team behind the site Bode’s Well.

This intrepid little family is off an an open ended adventure pursuing health, education and the life of their dreams!

We caught up with them and asked them to tell us a little bit about their life on the road.
Click to read more…


Vogel Boys Denied Their World Record: Help Make Sure They Get It!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Aug 1st, 2011 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things, Travel

Imagine what it would be like to enter university as a freshman, full of hope, your sights set on your long term goal: Graduation and a degree in “doing hard things.” You’ve researched your field of study, you know what it’s going to take, and you know it’s not going to be easy. But, you know that in the end it will be worth the sacrifice and the uphill climb.

You dive in with enthusiasm and you work hard. You document your progress. You follow the prescribed course of study. You play by the rules that the controlling institution (your university) sets.You do everything “right,” and exceed every measurement, and everyone knows it.

Graduation day arrives!

You finish strong! Your friends, your family and all of those you’ve met along the way jump up and down and cheer as you walk across that stage. There’s not a dry eye in the place, you’ve done something amazing, something bigger than you thought possible, what’s more, you’re the first person in your family to do it.

But wait… where’s your diploma?

What?

The administration regrets to inform you that they won’t be issuing your diploma.

Why?

It’s not that you didn’t do the work, or didn’t pass the tests, or didn’t follow the rules. It’s not that you didn’t achieve greatness, they agree that you deserve it and you did everything they asked.

No, it’s just that somewhere in your third year of study they changed the rules, decided that because you were under eighteen they couldn’t reward your hard work, couldn’t acknowledge your accomplishment, and wouldn’t honor their end of the deal, even though you put in the time and the money and the work and honored your end.

Sure, you still did the work, you own the information and the accomplishment; nothing can change that. The diploma is just a piece of paper, but it matters to you, doesn’t it? It’s that piece of paper that represents your accomplishment to the rest of the world. Of course it matters.

Can you imagine the disappointment? Yours personally? That of your family and friends? That of everyone who supported you?

David & Daryl Vogel can.

These boys are friends of ours. They’re 13 years old and they just spent three years, a quarter (more or less) of their young lives, cycling from Alaska to Argentina. They were chasing a Guinness World Record for “Youngest people to cycle the Americas.”

They spent a year planning it, and three years pounding the pedals, up and down every hill. They followed their pre-approved route, logged their progress daily, dotted every i, crossed every t. They did it.

Their accomplishment is not disputed.

The Guinness people recognize that they did it, did it according to the rules, and met the prerequisite qualifications for the record. But somewhere along the way, they decided, without telling the Vogel boys, to discontinue the category of “youngest” to accomplish something.

Why? Because some parents are crazy enough to let pre-teens take off sailing around the world alone, or tackle some other similarly life threatening undertaking.

It’s probably a good choice, to remove that category, but is it fair to pull the rug out from under persons who are already underway in their own record attempts? Especially when the folks at Guinness have pre-approved the route and the attempt? Especially when, in this case, the minors in question were accompanied by and protected by their parents for every single inch of the trip? No, it’s not.

This post is part of a campaign to put pressure on the folks at GWR to honor their half of the bargain, to present the certificates to the Vogel boys, and to award them the World Record they were promised.

If we, as adults, or institutions made of adults, make a habit of changing the rules mid-stream we prove ourselves liars to the next generation.

If adults are liars and the rules are subject to change without notice, what incentive do young people have to play by the rules, rise above the challenges and do hard things?

  • I have had the privilege of sitting around campfires with the Vogels, and watching their boys sword fight with mine.

  • I have the benefit of knowing these kids first hand and, more importantly, knowing their parents first hand.
  • I know that this record chase was done fairly, safely, faithfully and was enthusiastically the dream and the effort of the boys themselves.

Won’t you join me in calling on GWR to play by their own rules and honor the accomplishment of these inspiring young men?

Visit their website and encourage the boys as they challenge their denial

 

Here’s what Nancy (the boys’ Mom) asks that we do:

  1. Blog about it - anybody who has a blog or knows anybody who has a blog, please do a quick write-up about this issue and it’s unfairness. I think we should be grandfathered in and then they should close the category. We understand the record the boys broke no longer exists; we would be happy with some sort of official recognition from Guinness – maybe a certificate stating that they met all the requirements as laid out in the guidelines they gave us?  I would be happy to talk with bloggers, but most likely will not consent to interviews with the boys.
  2. Social media is powerful. When I got a letter from the director of Guinness World Records this morning he mentioned all the heat on Twitter, so I know it’s working. They have a facebook page (search Guinness World Records) and their Twitter account is @GWRnews Flood them with messages about this.
  3. Contact the press – if you have a good, trustworthy source. This is one of those stories that could easily go haywire and I don’t want it twisted every which way. If you know someone in radio/TV/newspaper/magazine media, please contact them. But – don’t just throw it out there for all the kooks to pick up.

 


Dreamers & Doers: Meet the Mussler Family

Written by Jennifer Miller on May 19th, 2011 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things

Sometimes, the most fabulous things that happen in life, in a family, happen beneath the surface. They aren’t loud, or showy or obvious in any way; and yet, they’re earth shaking.

Justin & Heidi Mussler and their kids eagerly hosted us for a lovely day in Jamaica Plain a couple of weeks ago. They took us to a street festival and we marched in a parade. It was perfect in every way, even the spring downpour that sent us all running for their house and a board game and to sample the chocolate they’d made after watching our chocolate podcast.

On the outside, they look like the average family, two kids, two parents with two jobs and a delightfully funky flat in a charming section of Boston.

But on the inside? There’s a revolution going on. They’re the force behind The Great Family Escape and they’re quietly revolutionizing their world. Click to read more…


One Way To Change The World: Give Every Day!

Written by Jennifer Miller on Apr 28th, 2011 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things, Travel

A friend introduced me to Stephanie, in the virtual world, some time ago. I instantly loved her heart as a Mom, her zest for life and her passion to make the world a better place through the influence of her little family.

Then, when I found out what their “next big thing” was, we became instant friends.

Imagine renting your house, walking away from everything you’ve known to live in a camper and travel the continental USA for a year… with two toddlers, and a mission!

Tim & Stephanie Shaeffer and their girls, aged two and four, are the one family dynamo known as “Give Every Day” and they’re on a mission to do just that as they move across the country. Click to read more…


An International Family On An International Tour: Meet the Hudson Family

Written by Jennifer Miller on Apr 14th, 2011 | Filed under: Families Doing Fabulous Things, Travel

Not long ago we encountered the Hudson Family, Michael, Nadine, Desmond (10) and Lenny (8), when they left a comment on one of our posts. Their international family is on an open ended world tour that currently has them in Mexico. We’d love to introduce them to you! Click to read more…



2 Responses to “Families Doing Fabulous Things”

  1. Dear fabulous families
    We might not be as fabulous as others, but we have travelled with our children overland (mostly) from Europe to Asia and back, have lived in very rural China for nearly three years and are now entering Central America with our camper. We homeschool on the road, which is not always easy when you come from Switzerland, a country that frowns upon homeschoolers and gives zero support to them. But we manage and we learn and we love the world with all the good and the bad.
    And our website is full of tips about travelling with children and more (in English and German)… we would feel honoured to be one of your fabulous families….
    And we thank you for sharing your experiences exspecially about schooling on the road.
    All the best from the Mexican border.
    Nadine and family

  2. Hi Nadine,
    We’d LOVE to feature your family and I’ll be in touch soon! Your adventure sounds FABULOUS and I’d love to know more! I’ll be taking a look at your website soon!

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