Niki Taylor: My Kids Make Me Happier Than I Ever Imagined

05/01/2013 at 02:00 PM ET

Niki Taylor March of Dimes Alexander Tamargo/Getty

Although Niki Taylor‘s 4-year-old daughter Ciel is a fast and fearless tomboy, she loves being a gentle big sister┬áto her little brother Rex Harrison, 17 months.

“Ciel is a princess tornado!” Taylor, 38, told PEOPLE Saturday after she launched March of Dimes’ March for Babies at Miami’s Tropical Park.

“But she loves her brother. They play together every morning, and she helps him learn how to do new things. Now he is switching to solid food.”

The Nashville-based mother-of-four — twin sons Jake and Hunter, 18, live with their grandparents in Fort Lauderdale where they have childhood friends and jobs — is enjoying every minute of watching her babies grow.

“I love Rex at this age and am so glad he is home so I can enjoy everything about him,” says the Having It All host. “We have playdates at indoor parks like The Monkey’s Treehouse [and] then Ciel joins us at the zoo after school.”

More recently, they stopped off at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens to take in all the flowers in full bloom. “Ciel loves to pick the flowers, and Rex is fascinated by the colors,” Taylor says.

Having planned a full schedule for the summer — which includes school for Ciel and swim lessons for both children — the former supermodel is already looking ahead to the fall, when she will begin training for a triathlon.

“I can’t sit still. I have to be super busy,” Taylor says. “I figured I can run and bike pretty well, but I need to learn how to swim rapidly. I am going to work on that and am excited about adding the triathlon dimension to my life.”

While Taylor is busy pounding pavement, her husband, former race car driver Burney Lamar, 32, will happily fill in on the home front.

“Burney is an amazing dad who cooks, takes care of the house and does everything with the kids,” she says. “Ciel has him wrapped around her finger.”

Married for seven years, Taylor and Lamar plan to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary in 2016 by taking a much anticipated trip to Europe.

“Burney has never been there, and the kids will be old enough to keep busy while we are away,” she says. “When we met, neither of us believed we would ever marry anyone. But over the years, we have built a genuine relationship filled with love and respect. And the children have only made it stronger.”

Niki Taylor March of Dimes
Bob Soto Photography for the March of Dimes

– Linda Marx

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Showing 31 comments

shidley on

She seems so down to earth and normal…. even at that race appearance, she looks so natural and fresh faced. Glad to see her happy and with a supportive family. They sound like a close group.

Guest on

Burney Lamar = proof that nice guys don’t always finish last! So glad for the two of them to find true love.

Wendy on

I like her even more now!

Anonymous on

17 month old just starting to eat solid foods????

Denise on

I love Niki Taylor !!!!

I hope to meet her one day too.

w on

sounds like such weird reporting…. baby at 17month just having solid foods? and 18 year old twins happily living away from Mom?!

steph on

is that her husband? He does not look 32.

sjsakv on

To the person questioning her twins living apart from her at 18…um 18 is a legal adult. I was happily living away from home at 18 serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. We don’t all need to be taken care of by our parents at 18 years old.

Tara on

I always liked Niki but find it really bizarre that her oldest sons live with their grandparents? I dont get why- not that its my business, but my son is almost 15 and seriously cant imagine my son going off for college in a few years, much less living far away from me. Id be be a bit crushed missing him.

Alissa on

No, that’s not her husband. And the twins are 18, so it isn’t much different from them going off to college, that just went to South Florida instead to work and hang out. As for the baby eating solids at 17 months, I don’t have a clue. It seems in the last 10 years since I had my youngest child, everything in the mothering world has gone crazy. I can only guess what she meant by that.

Jamie Ladd on

Love that she loves The Monkey’s Treehouse!

Torgster on

What does she mean when she says she is so glad Rex “is home”? Weird.

Hollywoodista on

@ok,
Many, many 18 year olds happily live away from their parents. It’s not a bad thing at all.

kh in sj on

I thought the same thing!!

Anonymous on

“so glad he is home” instead of living far away with relatives….

or whatever?

too many kids.

JMCVH on

doesn’t it look like the 2 of them together share one tiny arm? just a funny angle but it is making me chuckle.

dsfg on

No, that isn’t her husband. Her husband looks way younger and hotter.
Many people nowadays exclusively breast feed until their kids are 17 months.
I think it’s great the 18-year-olds are living with their grandparents. It’s a good bonding experience and hopefully they are helping their grandparents out with yard work, house work, etc.

jay on

I took the “im so glad he is home” line as meaning her two sons live in FL and Ciel is in school so she is happy Rex is home with her. And I also remember saying she breastfeeds so the “solid food” remark also didn’t strike me as weird.

Katie on

Maybe she means home and not in school like Ciel is? Hmm I find it a bit odd her twins are living with their grandparents. I could never be away from my kids at 18 before college.

Anyway, she is lovely and I wish her all the best. Wonder if they’ll have more babies?

Michele on

That isn’t her husband

Anonymous on

I don’t find it weird the 18 year old twins don’t live with her. I moved out of my moms house at 18 to go to college and have been out in my own ever since.

Moms these days need to cut the cord sooner than later. You are doing your child a great disservice by doing everything for them until YOU are ready for them to leave. Independence is not a bad thing, it helps make them a productive adult in society.

Jen on

Nope, don’t get the twins with the grandparents, either. Does not pass the smell test. If they were “going to college” there, that would be one thing, but the article says, they are living with their grandparents. Something is wrong that they are not with their mother.

Someone's Mommy on

Odd article and some of the funniest comments in a while. The “one tiny arm” comment has me chuckling :)

Anonymous on

Jen (and others)- It explains right in the article why they are living with their grandparents: They have jobs and childhood friends in that town. Also, how does living with their grandparents equal not going to college?

Last I checked, you can live with relatives and attend college at the same time. Living on campus is not a requirement!

As for the solid food thing, maybe she means he’s switched from baby food (which some people don’t consider to techinically be “solid”) to table food (i.e. “adult” food)?

Anonymous on

One other thing, why is it “wrong” for 18 year olds to not be with their mother at 18 unless they’re attending college? Not everyone wants to go to college, and some people go directly from High School to a job (which appears to be the case with Niki’s boys).

Anonymous on

Jen don’t be such a judgmental bitch. Perhaps the boys – gasp!- told mom not to divulge too much of their personal lives to the tabloids. Maybe they don’t want the whole world to know where they are attending and for what.

But yes jump to conclusions an think the utmost worst case scenario…..

AR on

The twins live with grandparenst in F.L.? Why? Their father Matt Martinez lives also in F.L. Why are they not with him? Is Burney fed up with the boys so mom had to send them away? Happy family? Do not think so.

Jane on

Interesting…I have seen her nanny at Monkey’s Treehouse with her daughter…

sagequinn on

If people had actually taken the time to read the article, you would see where it says the twins are living with their grandparents because they miss their childhood friends, etc. Perhaps they spent a lot of time there growing up before Niki remarried, and it’s like a second home for them. I think it makes perfect sense. Still with family but away from home. As for the rest, people are nitpicking over nothing.

Lp on

The twins living with grandparents is not weird at all. Remember they lived in Fl until their mother remarried. Their father is in Fl. I am sure they missed life as they knew it very much and wanted too be back ASAP.

CrimsonNClover on

Yeah, I agree the twins being away for “work” (and friends) at 18 IS weird. Almost as if they were sent away so the new family could be alone.

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