James Van Der Beek is speaking out about the changes in his family since relocating to Texas.
Moving from Los Angeles to Austin with wife Kimberly and their children has been a “centering” experience for the family, according to the actor, 45, who is partnering with Libby’s Vegetables to assist hunger relief group Meals on Wheels America.
“I know it’s been extremely centering for me, and I feel like it’s been grounding and a different sort of education that we couldn’t have offered them in a classroom,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.
One of the most noticeable differences has been the transition from a crowded city to the peace and quiet of nature. ..
“Just things we’re all aware of, like what phase the moon is in because we come out and look at it,” Van Der Beek says. “I feel like we have a connection with these natural cycles that are taking on.”
“Rain in Los Angeles made me think, ‘Ah, man, I’m going to be 20 minutes late because it’s raining.’ It’s a godsend here “He goes on to say that his six children, including daughters Gwendolyn, 4, Emilia, 6, Annabel, 8, and Olivia, 12, and sons Joshua, 10, and Jeremiah, 12 months, enjoy dancing in the rain.
“They are bouncing around. They sing, ‘rain, rain, come today,’ and run outside in it because we need it “He explains, mentioning the recent drought. “It’s just connected us to the natural life cycles all around us, not just to nature.”
Food has also brought the family together, whether it’s testing out the green bean casserole recipe that people may like on Instagram to help trigger donations to Meals on Wheels, or understanding why it’s so crucial to follow instructions in the first place…
“One of the things we lost entirely after going out to Texas was any kind of food delivery service,” the Varsity Blues actor reveals. “So we began cooking a lot more, and the kids are really enjoying it.”
The Dawson’s Creek star like how cooking “calms our nervous system and teaches kids some form of impulse control.”
“It’s amazing when you realize that ingredients aren’t just something you put everything into; you actually have to measure, and there’s a reason for that,” he explains. “We’re having a great time.”
He also claims that the family has built a stronger bond with food as a result of their awareness of how to prepare it and where it comes from.
“In our house, eating is seen as medicine to get through the day, the building blocks of recovery.
But it also has a strong social component “he claims “When you’re cooking together, you’re sharing recipes, you’re laughing, you’re in the kitchen, you’re coming together, and it’s kind like nourishment for the soul.”
The family just celebrated Jeremiah’s first birthday, which marked a turning point for them all.
“I mean, it may sound strange, but when he arrived, we honestly just thought, ‘Oh my god, how did we exist without him?’” he explains.
“Which is absurd considering we already have five children. But, considering everything that had happened before him, the fact that he was a boy was extremely healing for us.
And he provides a beautiful anchor for the family.”
Van Der Beek says Jeremiah has been a “wonderful” last piece to his family, noting that his “girls all dote on him” and that he’s delighted his “kid has a sibling.”
“Everything in Texas is bigger. He’s by far the largest baby we’ve ever created, by a long way “he says, laughing. “He’s been a true blessing.
Whatever he costs in sleep — and continues to cost in sleep — he is just well worth it.”