Dana Flacco manages home team of little Ravens

With three children ages 3 and under, life in the Flacco household is far from quiet.

Earlier this summer, Dana Flacco — wife of superstar Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco — sat in the playroom of their Reisterstown home, holding their youngest son, Francis, on her lap as Stephen, then 2, and Daniel, 1, zipped back and forth between the sunroom and kitchen.

"Our whole house is a playroom," Dana jokes. "I tried to decorate, but what's the point? They're just going to ruin it."

This calm, laid-back attitude, combined with her sense of humor and love for her family, is how Dana stays balanced, despite the excitement that comes with young children and being married to an NFL Super Bowl-champion quarterback.

Flacco StepsWDana Flacco with Francis, Daniel and Stephen. "We go with the flow and just hope no one loses an eye," she says.

Joe has nothing but admiration for the manager of his home team.

"Dana is a great wife, which set the foundation for our family before we even had kids," he says. "And now, as the mother of three young sons, she wakes up every day with an enthusiasm and a conscious effort to make the boys smile no matter what may have happened the day before or what she may have to deal with that day."

Click next below to read more about the Flacco family and see more adorable pictures!

Building a team of little Ravens

As a child, Dana ran track and played softball, soccer and field hockey. In 1999, she became a cheerleader at Audubon High School — the same southern New Jersey high school that Joe attended. The pair started dating their senior year, graduating together in 2003.

While Joe attended University of Pittsburgh and then University of Delaware, Dana attended Widener University in Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in allied health. At Widener, Dana received her radiology technologist certificate through a two-year program at Cooper University Hospital in New Jersey. She stayed at the hospital after college, working full time.

Dana and Joe married in 2011 — three years after Joe signed with the Ravens. Dana stopped working at the hospital about two months before Stephen was born in 2012 to focus full time on being a mom.

Both Dana and Joe grew up in large families. Dana is one of four children while Joe is one of six. Early on, the couple knew they wanted multiple children close in age, Dana says. Stephen is 15 months older than Daniel, and Daniel is 16 months older than Francis, who was born in January.

"We couldn't imagine not having all of our siblings growing up," she says. "(We know) it's going to be crazy in the beginning, but wonderful when they grow up and play together."

 Just like Dad

Despite their young age, Dana says she can already see the boys' personalities developing.Flacco FootballWDaniel, 1, may grow up to play football but there's no pressure from Mom and Dad.

Stephen, named after Joe's father, is a "typical first born" and is just like Joe, Dana says.

"They are two peas in a pod," she says. "So many times when Stephen does something, (Joe's) mom and dad say, 'Joe did the exact same thing at your age.'"

For example, Stephen is particular about where guests sit at the dining room table. Dad's chair is only for Dad, and Mom's is only for Mom. Joe was the same way, Dana says.

Stephen also "thinks he's the boss" and that he knows what's best for Daniel, Dana says.

Daniel, named after Dana's father, doesn't seem to mind. As younger siblings often do, Daniel copies his brother's actions.

At snack time, Dana handed Stephen a packet of Annie's fruit snacks. Then, Daniel wanted one, too. Stephen took one of the snacks out of the packet and laughed as he placed it over his eye. Less than a second later, Daniel did the same.

But when it comes to toys, they each have their favorites. This summer, Francis consistently reached for the stuffed monkey hanging over his activity mat. Stephen loved to play with toy cars, while Daniel preferred balls — evident by the basement filled with everything from soccer balls to footballs.

Flacco LaughWStephen, the oldest, is just like Dad."Daniel is never without a ball," Dana says. "He loves balls and throwing."

It's still too early to tell if any of the Flacco boys will play football, but Dana says when the time comes, it will be up to the boys to decide.

"Joe didn't play football until seventh grade," she says. "We definitely don't want to force them."

Home and away

Flacco Cover imageWDana Flacco and kids in their Reisterstown home.The Flaccos split life between Maryland and southern New Jersey. Aside from the Ravens' organized practices and minicamp in June, they spend most of the summer with family in New Jersey.

"That's more home for us," Dana says.

There, Joe and Dana live near their parents, who still live in the Audubon homes their children grew up in.

While Joe comes back to Maryland in late July for training camp, Dana and the boys usually don't return until August. Then the family stays in Maryland "hopefully until February," Dana says, hinting at the Ravens' potential playoff success.

In Maryland, Dana spends most of her days with the boys. Stephen attends preschool a few half-days each week. Other days, they go to nearby parks or have play dates with Decker Pitta, son of Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta and his wife, Mataya. The families are close friends and often get together during football season, she says.

While she loves staying home with the boys, Dana also appreciates having a few hours a week to herself. A sitter watches the boys once a week so Dana can run errands or just get a pedicure. The sitter also watches them during Ravens home games so Dana can attend with family members.

"I do like to be able to sit down and watch the game," she says with a smile.

Stephen sometimes will watch away games on TV with Dana. She tries to point Joe out on the screen, but given Stephen's age, it's tough for him to stay focused on an entire game, she says. Plus, most games occur during naptime, and all three still nap. "We don't want to ruin their schedules," she says.

When Joe is home, the boys are "all over him," she says. Every Monday during football season, the Flaccos have a "family day," where all five get out of the house together and visit local parks or Port Discovery, Dana says.

Dana and Joe also carve out time for each other. Every other week, they go out to dinner in downtown Baltimore or join the Pittas at the movies. Dana and Joe spend time together in the off-season, as well, working out at the gym.

Possible team expansion

Flacco KissWThe Flacco boys shower their baby brother with kisses.Parenting three boys has its share of challenges, especially when they don't follow directions and start "screaming out of nowhere," Dana says.

But Joe credits his wife for handling it all in stride.

"With me being gone so much during the season, she does it all on her own and doesn't receive much appreciation for it," he says. "She is tough and resilient. I have complete confidence that my sons are being raised well, and I'm so proud of her."

Dana says the most rewarding part of being a mom is when the boys show her, Joe and each other affection. They love to hug and kiss each other — especially Francis, she explains.

As for the future, Dana says she could easily see their family of five becoming a family of six.
"They haven't driven me insane yet, so we're open to more," she says.

But no matter how many kids they have, her greatest hope is that they will be happy.

"What else could anybody want for their children?" she asks.

By Allison Eatough, photos by Dunks Photography

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