Hi there! I am Robyn Fink. Kiwi Crate has asked me to invite you to take a little peek into our lives here in Detroit during this busy holiday season. So without further ado, here we are …
I am an unschooling momma to a wild, little five-year-old boy named Augustine, and wife to my best friend Jake.
Our son, Augustine, is a hard-core punk through and through. He loves nothing more than loud, grungy punk music (you know, Black Flag and Dead Kennedys). When Augustine grows up, he wants to be in a punk band, and work in a clock shop in his spare time. That may seem like a strange dream for a five-year-old, but once you dive into the mind and soul of this little guy of mine, you will see things that you have never seen before. He rides in the car with one eye closed sometimes, “because it makes all the car lights blend together.” He constantly asks us to read him books backward, and stops 15 times to tell us “the pictures my mind sees when you say those words.” He takes apart everything. He is always doodling, making mud pies, or drawing on his full-size school chalkboard in the backyard.
Together, Jake and I are full-time photographers here in Detroit, Michigan. We have always loved to travel, but for quite some time, Jake had a second job (to pay for pesky things like insurance). After getting laid off late last year, we discussed how we wanted the rest of our lives to go, and how we wanted Augustine to grow up. We just kept coming back to the fact that we wanted Augustine to see the world. We want him to spend nights by a fire under the stars, and his days exploring new places. So, Jake decided to just never go back to a 9-5 job. We are booking photography jobs in every state and country that we possibly can, as well as planning out years of fun, adventure, hard work, and serious family time.
We spend just about every single weekend photographing weddings, so our weekdays together are a very special time for us. It is so important to us that we help Augustine embrace every interest he has in his little curious mind. So, ensuring that we are prepared to do projects, bake, and play are on the top of our weekly prep list. Most Mondays, especially during the holidays, we are so tired from a long, busy weekend that we barely want to make a bowl of cereal, much less make “rainbow pancakes, build a robot, and do some painting.” And yes, all those things have been requested at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning. 🙂
For the longest time, we just made it work. I grabbed a very large cup of coffee, threw on my slippers, and rolled out the box of project materials. I would smell the toast burning while helping to find the best robot making box. I ate a quick lunch. Then, I cleaned up, made dinner, edited some photos, answered some emails, and did it all over again the next day. But not anymore, now I have Kiwi Crate.
This right here, on a sleepy Monday morning (10 days before Christmas) is my favorite part about having a Kiwi Crate subscription. Having a box of already prepared materials and instructions that Augustine can follow and complete (pretty much) all by himself is a huge life saver for us. I don’t even have to run around grabbing extra materials. They literally provide everything. From drop cloths, to keep the project from getting all over my floors, to tiny containers of glue, markers, and kid-sized scissors! We even keep a box of leftover materials from different crates around, just in case Augustine gets the creative bug and wants to make something new.
It is very important to us to keep a simple, slow living life, and to make sure that every day Augustine wakes up in a treasured, secure, and warm home. But, because we are a traveling family, home is where and how we decide to make it. Most days we are in Detroit, with our fat cat, on our quiet street. But, sometimes we are in a new place. For example, for the last month, we have been in Seattle, Washington, sleeping on an air mattress in an apartment with our dear brother and sister-in-law (who, I should mention, are the ones who purchase Kiwi Crate each year).
While in Seattle, we got invited to a football dinner party (we don’t watch football). We knew it would be a strange night for Augustine, so we took a Kiwi Crate with us! When the game was turned on, we snuggled in by the fire, grabbed that green Kiwi Crate, and made a really rad arcade game with the cutest little homemade yarn monster ever. Our time was still spent with family and friends, but Augustine’s hands were busy making. At one point, he said, “haha I keep forgetting that we are in Seattle!” And that my friends, is because, in that new place, he felt just as treasured, secure and warm as he would at home. And most of the credit to those warm feelings goes to that little green box that he knows and loves so much. With that green box by his side, he can be home, no matter what house he may be in.
Keeping a slow, simple lifestyle while being intentionally creative and fun can be really tough during the holidays. But there are three things that have really helped us keep this goal:
- We choose a few special nights to really make sure that we are soaking in the time together. Christmas Eve is one of our favorite nights of the year. We just make some popcorn, snuggle in at grandma’s house, and watch a Christmas movie together. Then, after Augustine goes to sleep, Momma and Daddy enjoy a bottle of wine and wrap gifts for family members. Family time is so very important, but it is also really sweet to have that time, just for the two of us, to soak in a little romantic Christmas spirit.
- We keep Christmas simple. In our home, the only gifts we get each other are the gifts we place in each other’s stockings. Our little holiday tradition is to all go to the store together and go our separate ways. We secretly pick out a couple items that we know will bring each person joy. On Christmas morning, we pull our stockings down and enjoy some time together (just the three of us), before heading to grandma’s house for lunch.
- We keep an advent calendar with little packages of treats and a story to read each day. Having prepared packages of treats and prepped plans for little projects to do really helps me provide creative time for Augustine when I am feeling really overwhelmed with my “to-do list.”
We are going on four years of Kiwi Crate projects. It just keeps getting better and better. As far as I’m concerned, Kiwi Crate will be part of our lives forever. A couple of our little green Kiwi Crate boxes are even headed to Guatemala with us in a couple months! So, thanks Kiwi for the years of fun, we cannot wait to keep this fun going.
- The Most Important Thing: Hot Cocoa for Breakfast
- The Most Important Thing: Cookies for Firemen
- The Most Important Thing: Siblings Creating Together
- The Most Important Thing: Hands-On Family Time