Let us introduce you to a beautiful family that we have come to adore and love: Nana, Andy, and Frances. They live life to the fullest and enjoy the simple pleasure of just being in the moment with one another. Below, we learn more about where they love traveling to and tips on traveling with a kiddo, what it's like to be in a biracial relationship, their hopes and dreams for their daughter, and what they can't possibly live without. We are grateful that they are a part of our community.
Can you tell us a little a bit about your family, where you live and what you do?
We live with our daughter Frances in San Francisco. We’ve been here almost three years now and really love it. Andy is a web developer with a small creative studio, and I’m an RN also pursuing an NP degree in Pysch.
You guys refer to yourselves as “the simple couple.” I love this paragraph from your website:
“We believe that life is way more simple than we make it out to be. We get too caught up in the little things, worries about the minute fears that more often than not, don't even materialize. Instead of trying to get somewhere or achieve something, realize that this single, simple moment right here is all life is. Live it, love it; it's that simple.”
So how do you live simply and live in the moment? If you're future-tripping (having an irrational fear about the future), how do you come back to the moment and detach from the illusion and fear of the unknown?
That’s the great question isn’t it? It’s easy to contemplate simplicity over a quiet cup of coffee in the morning, but it’s harder to touch that essence when you’re late for work with a baby screaming in the backseat. But that’s the beautiful thing, each moment is a fresh opportunity to be present.
Miss Frankie Louise. She is so adorable. If you could describe her in one word, what would it be and why?
Andy’s immediate response was “chill” and mine was “fierce,” lol. So not entirely sure where that leaves us. Maybe it’s like Uma Thurman, feisty but with a confident calmness. Speaking of Uma, her father Bob is a Buddhist scholar and a much better reference for the question of simplicity.
What is your dream for her? What kind of world do you want to see her live in?
Our dream for Frances is that she can learn to be present, to appreciate the beauty of each moment. And hope she can live in a world that values creativity, love, and freedom.
So I’m from Montana and currently live in Maine. Both states are as white as they come. I’m curious to know what it is like to be in a multiethnic relationship and raise a multiethnic child? Is that even the right term to use? Multiethnic?
I’m not entirely sure what the correct term is myself, but we typically use biracial when referring to our relationship. But to the greater question, race continues to play a large role in society today. Andy and I have been lucky in that we haven’t ran into too many challenges as a biracial couple. Our families have been supportive and we’ve live in fairly liberal communities that didn’t think twice about us. That said, as an African American, I still feel the tinge of racism when I walk into a nice store and find an extra set of eyes tracking me.
Is it something that you are reminded of every day? Worry about? Have to defend? Or do you find that we live in a world now or you live in a community now that fully accepts your choice to be with one another?
I wouldn’t say we have had any overt challenges with our relationship in today's society. And we haven’t ever had to defend our relationship. It seems like we’re at a place today where people don't question that decision, or at least not to our face. But that might be more symptomatic of the arbitrary hypocrisy of race in America today than praise of our progressiveness. A black man can marry your daughter, but heaven forbid he kneel during the national anthem.
I love that you guys are both passionate about travelling and seeing the world. You have been all over the place. Paris, Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam. And you just recently went on a trip (with Frankie!) to Spain! How was that? It’s a little different travelling with a toddler, right? Any tips/tricks that you would like to share on travelling with a kiddo?
Traveling with an infant is challenging no doubt. But it also helps slow you down a bit. Rather than running from site to site, we’re more intentional about planning a thing or two for each day.
You also have to be pretty open to changing plans. You’re sometimes at the mercy of your little one, so a nice sit down dinner might need to turn into a jamon bocadillo and a walk in the park. If you go with the flow, it’ll all work out!
Of all of the places that you have been, what has been your favorite spot and why?
Our favorite is always Paris. We went there on our honeymoon and have been in love since. There’s just something so regal and majestic about the buildings, the language, the cafes, the parks. We just love it!
I have a feeling you guys are already manifesting your next adventure. What’s the next dream destination for you and your family?
We’ve been dreaming of a trip back to Ghana, where I was born and raised until I moved to the US at 15. That’s been on the bucket list for a while, so hopefully we can make it work someday soon.
Ok, date night. Do you like to keep it casual? Or do you go all out? What does a lovely date night look like for you?
Traditionally, we’ve been a more casual couple. More a movie in the theaters and dinner across the street, but these days we’re getting a babysitter maybe once a month, so try to do up a bit more. Last date night was a musical and our favorite little french restaurant that’s open late.
Nana, do you have a mom uniform? Favorite piece in your closet today?
My favorite piece right now would be just a pair of shorts with a grey t-shirt. Allows me to move freely and play with Frankie and not worry about any spills or stains.
We are big fans of moving the body for mental and physical health. We love to see you taking time for yourself and exercising. What’s your favorite form of exercise at the moment?
Due to some back complications from delivery, I try to focus on strength training and core exercises. It is easy to do at home and not worry about going to the gym.
If you had to impart a single nugget of wisdom for expectant mothers/fathers what would it be?
Andy is more of a realist, so he’d say something along the lines of “it’s the most challenging thing you’ll ever do.” Which is probably fair, but parenting is also liberating. You now have this being that you love unconditionally, but it’s also wrecking your life. So you’re forced to step back and question all those selfish impulses that usually rule the day. When you’re awake with a crying baby at 3am, make yourself a cup of tea, rock your baby and just enjoy the calmness.
What was the best advice you ever received about being a mom? A dad?
The best advice we received about being new parents was “babies are resilient.” haha. We repeat that to ourselves whenever Frankie trips or bumps her head while trying to walk. But also, to soak everything in because they grow up so fast!
When your child is grown up and out of your house, how will your Saturday morning look?
I would like to say wake up at 10, make breakfast and read the newspaper. But it’ll probably be wake up at 6, make some coffee and go for a jog.
Your photos on instagram are absolutely beautiful - you both like to take photos right? Do you have any tips for capturing family moments? Special time of day? Gear you love? Tips/tricks?
Andy and I both like photography. My only advice is to take too many photos. We probably get sucked into this too, but with instagram and social media there’s this drive to make everything look perfect or a work of art. Life is messy and the photos that capture that are what’s going to hold the most value when you’re 90.
Do you like to cook? Mostly order take out? What are you craving and eating at the moment?
I do like to cook, doing the dishes not so much. So it’s been a lot of take out since we had Frances. At the moment we are addicted to The Halal Guys.
We are coming up on the holiday season. How do you celebrate? Any special family traditions?
We usually fly back home to celebrate with family. Holidays for us involve yummy food, fun socks, fireplace going, and lots of family cuddles.
What are you most excited about right now?
I would say we are excited about Frankie taking her first independent steps. She’s taken eleven steps on her own so far and we are ready and waiting for the day she starts running around.
What can’t you live without?
Andy says “my wife and daughter.” Aww! Haha.. I think he’s trying to get some brownie points. I guess for me it would be my husband and daughter too.
Sweet potato fries for me and Blue Bottle coffee for Andy
Both Andy and I wish we could have the power of flight. The ability to just fly anywhere sounds amazing.
Final Question: I (Meghan) am a hawk and Liz is a mountain goat. What’s your spirit animal?
Andy says his spirit animal is a dog. I would say mine is an elephant because it is a calm animal yet very strong and can withstand many things. I did take an online quiz about my spirit animal and the result was a butterfly. So who knows, half butterfly / half elephant?