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VillageQ Community: Finding Joy in Moments

Let’s give a big VillageQ welcome to Chris. He is a dad, a husband, a son, a teacher, and an avid blogger. I have read Our Family Matters and really enjoy the dialogue and introspection it brings. This interview was particularly interesting because it showed me more of Chris as a father and spouse. I hope everyone enjoys reading as much as I did. 

To participate in our series, please email clare@villageq.com for more information. 


Name: Christopher Drajem

Age: 46

Hometown: Seattle, WA

Social media handles: @cdrajem (Twitter), Our Family Matters (Blog)

Number and ages of kids: Isabella (11) & Jordan (9)

Number (and type) of pets: Dog named Moe (Isabella’s pet, although it seems her dads care for the dog more than Isabella)

Day job: High school English teacher

Relationship status: Married to Patrick Sexton since 2001

Favorite children’s book: And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, & Henry Cole

Favorite flavor of ice cream: Salted caramel

How did you create your family?

Patrick and I adopted both kids through the Washington State foster care system. We were fortunate enough to work with a fantastic agency in Seattle called Amara. We consider our extended circle of friends in Seattle part of our family, and rely on them for support, encouragement, and laughter. Our collective biological families are very important as well, and include Jordan’s birth dad (with whom we have frequent visits), Isabella’s birth mom (who she has contact with through letters), and our respective parents, siblings, and cousins (who we try to visit twice a year on the east coast).

How do you balance work and home life?

Being a high school teacher is both a blessing and a curse. I am home with the kids during breaks, and over the summer me and the kids have a great time at Camp Christopher. The school year gets tough because we are all so busy, and bus and activity schedules can get crazy. Patrick works full-time at the University of Washington, and has been able to get the kids off to school in the morning. For the last two years, we were able to afford to have me work a part-time schedule, which allows me to be home for the kids in the afternoon. Whatever we do, we always sit down together for dinner.

How do you keep the love alive?

Even though we live on the opposite side of the country from our extended families, we are fortunate in that my parents come to visit us often. They encourage us to get away for a few days when they are here, and kick us out of the house to go to dinner or see a play. We also have done weekend babysitting swaps with another family for the past 5 years. These opportunities to take a break from the daily demands of parenting and reconnect are vital to keeping us thriving as a couple. On a more regular basis, we have frequent at-home date nights. Usually on a Saturday, we feed the kids early, set them up with a movie, and then turn on some music, have a cocktail, and share a special meal. It saves on babysitting costs and our meal is a fraction of the cost that we would spend if we went out. Plus we both love to cook, especially for one another.

As a parent, when was the last time you patted yourself on the back?

This is going to sound strange, but just last week Isabella engaged us in a discussion of what inappropriate words it might be okay for her to use around us. Hell, crap, and damn were at the top of her list. For the past few years, we have had a rule in place that whenever anyone in the house uses an inappropriate word, they have to pay a quarter into a common jar. The reason we both felt so proud about this moment was that Isabella had obviously given this some thought, and she was taking responsibility for sitting us down, approaching us calmly and seriously, and engaging us in a mature and thoughtful way. We were thrilled she was having this conversation, and proud that she felt comfortable enough to bring this up on her own.

Describe your favorite family moment.

Last Christmas we were visiting family on the east coast and spent about a week in Buffalo where I was born and raised. One frigid, snowy day we went sledding in one of the city parks, a place I had been to often as a kid myself. It was so cold there was barely anyone else there. The kids were ecstatic, and I was was so excited to share this experience from my own childhood, and to just laugh and have fun as a family. I think we often get wrapped up in the day-to-day business of life with homework, activities, and play dates that we don’t take enough time to just enjoy each others company and laugh. That aspect has stayed with me, and now I make more of an effort to work those moments in.

PHOTO: left to right, Christopher Drajem, Isabella, Patrick Sexton, Jordan  photo by Jenny Sampson

Left to right: Christopher Drajem, Isabella, Patrick Sexton, Jordan
Photo by Jenny Sampson

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your family with us. BTW, loving the re-design on your blog.

  2. Deborah Goldstein says:

    Loved reading about your lovely family!

    So, were any of those words cleared for usage? Or are they just gateway words that you decided to nip in the bud?

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