It’s a Wonderful Life!

So I just finished a quick write-up about our family and it really got me to thinking about how much we’ve evolved and how every small step we’ve taken has led us to the exact spot we’ve always wanted to be. We are living our dream life and having a blast. I can’t believe how simplifying and channeling our desires has led to a life of freedom and excitement and enthusiasm and total FUN! We just left FIBArk and it was there that I realized just how profound an impact this lifestyle is having on us all. We are together every day. We are each others best friend, we rely on each other for everything, no outside friends, no outside influences. We support each other, cheer for each other, encourage each other, coach each other, look out for each other, laugh at and with each other and have fun together. We don’t take ourselves too seriously either. Fun is what we are all about, it’s what our whole lives have been about. It’s just that kayaking takes fun to a whole other level. In all seriousness, being together in the water, whether it be surfing, rafting, body boarding, SUP’ing, floating, tubing or whatever, is FUN!

It’s also enriching and power building, both physically and emotionally. It’s a true fact that many of our kids are emotionally tougher than me. I know, I know, you all are saying, “Susie you are an emotional rock, how can this be?” While I catch the sarcasm dripping from your words, I can’t deny it any longer. These kids of ours handle defeat better, they handle stress better, they handle fear better, they handle social situations better, peer pressure better, in short, they handle life better than I ever have. They are such strong, confident, and faith-filled young adults that I’m nothing short of awe struck. They have mastered the skills that so many of us adults struggle with on a daily basis. They are able to take punches and bounce back. Kayaking forces you to control your mind, to manage your fear, if you let it get a hold of you, you will eventually crumble.

Just one example: this weekend Dally got royally worked in the really manky sketchy hole, he struggled just to get out of it, let alone throw any tricks, though he did manage to pull off a loop. On his 3rd and final ride he went for a Space Godzilla, didn’t get any pop, rolled into the meat and was window shaded 3 or 4 times — I know how I was feeling watching him, I can’t imagine what Dally was thinking. Finally, he pulled his skirt — very rare — and swam. Something wasn’t right, I could tell. Come to find out, he cracked his boat, and got slammed in the face by a large piece of wood as he was upside down. After a few minutes he proclaimed, “That was so fun.” WHAT? I’m shaken and concerned that his 10 year old psyche might be shaken and he’s thinking it was the best ride of his life! This is the same kid that hit a rock with his face on Foxton (river near Denver), ended up with 7 stitches and was begging for us to take them out so he could get back in the water! Here I am, 37 years old, hit a rock while surfing, had 6 stitches and was hoping they’d stay in for life so I wouldn’t have to get back in … my confidence was shaken, he was emboldened. Lessons, from an 8 year old — buck up, mom.

I’m driving away from Salida, CO after an epic weekend at FIBArk 2012, in as much awe as I’ve ever been of ALL of my kids. Seriously, the tables are turning, they are beginning to take the lead and we are ready to relinquish some control. They are mapping out the next stops, first Missoula, MT, then Cascade, ID, then to wherever else their hearts desire. Let the learning never end, let the adventure never cease and let the fun be ever flowing!!!

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23 Comments

  • I’m learning from you how closely kayaking mimics life. Fear will take you out in life if you let it as well. I might have to get my family into kayaking to some degree. It seems like it is an adventure and a strength builder, mentally at least. I really enjoy your videos and your blog.

  • What an incredible family. You bring a smile to my face every time I see you. I just wish we’d see you more often via YouTube. Please post more frequent videos.

  • Does this mean I need to start harassing the kiddoes for some Kellogg time?! JK! Miss you all like crazy but can see, hear, feel it’s all for the bestest most amazing experience/s. Paddle On 😀
    Let me know if you need any checkin in/help with the house 😉

  • You and your family are so uplifting. Living in an RV? Traveling the country? If you guys can do it, so can anyone with their couple kids. One pressing question, please don’t take it the wrong way, but I’ve been dying to ask since I saw you first in April. How do you financially make it work?

  • Your kids are so beautiful and so athletic. I watched a bunch of your videos and is there anything they can’t do? What a fun family. It’s nice to see people who enjoy being together as a family. Love you all, you’re my new Youtube favs.

  • I love your family! We just started kayaking and we were googling kids kayaking and found all your videos of your totally awesome kids. You guys rock!

  • What an inspirational family. I agree with everyone, but am curious as to how you afford it? This isn’t exactly a lifestyle everyone can engage in, regardless of how much they want it, it is?

    • Hey Stef! Thank you for your kind words. and yes, I think this is a lifestyle everyone can do if they are so inclined. If we can do it with 11 (almost 12) kids, surely your average sized family can as well. Financially, it’s actually easier, to live in an RV than it is a home. Dan continues to work his job on the road (though hopefully soon that will no longer be the case … if people like my book!!) ha ha. The hardest part is the logistics, so if it’s something you want, you can make it work!! 🙂

  • I can’t imagine living in an RV with 13 people, but your family makes it work and you are blessed for it. I suppose when you have 11 amazing kids it’s easy or it’s easy because you raised 11 super amazing kids. You Kellogg’s make me want to live my life over again – no lie.

  • Life should be all about having fun. It took me about 25 years to realize this fact, but none-the-less I did realize it and much tot he chagrin of my parents. I spent a fortune on college (awesome that your kids aren’t falling for the college BS) became a vet and 5 years into my practice, quit and traveled. I now am a ski bum and a raft bum, definitely want to learn to kayak. Any suggestions for an all around great learning boat for a chick like me who is 5;5″ and 122 lbs? Thanks!

  • Your family is so awesome, I wish I was a part of it. My moms birthday is on Wednesday and I am buying her your book. I bet she’ll love it and learn to be cool.

  • Your family is amazing. I can’t believe how awesome every single one of you are and how beautiful you are. Who is the oldest boy? He’s really super cute and your mom looks like she isn’t older that 25. My mom would never live in an RV so i could travel and do anything and my dad is all about work. Be thankful, you have it all.

  • It’s a wonderful life when you set out to make it so. do instead oYour entire family makes people smile and encourages us all to go out and do instead of just be. I want to kayak, I want my son to kayak and gain the philosophy that you have and not htat of society. Work, work, work and no play makes you a robot.

  • My 7yr old son and I have been watching your kayaking videos. Just got him a Fun1 for finishing grade 1. Still looking for small kids gear, paddle, nose plug and helmet are top of the list. Not much selection up here in Canada, if you could recommend anything it would be great. Keep the videos coming! Thanks.

    • I know quite a few paddlers in Canada … where abouts are you, I would love to help you find some gear to get you started!! 🙂

  • Hey Kellogg family. Been watching your videos and am super eager to start kayaking with my kids. Any suggestions you can give regarding, gear, like kayaks, paddles, etc would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Your family is amazing, I just can’t believe how fantastic you are. Keep up the amazing videos and blogs, I can’t get enough!

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