March 27, 2013 06:00 PM

Erin Patrice O’Brien

In the course of a year, Jake Owen went from being one of country music’s hottest bachelors to popping the question, getting hitched on the beach and welcoming daughter Olive Pearl to the world.

It’s no wonder that when the musician — who first met wife Lacey on the set his “Eight Second Ride” video in 2009 and fell for her during the “Barefoot Bluejean Night” shoot two years later — is enjoying some precious home time, he likes to live life nice and slow.

Owen loves bath time, and carrying Pearl around with him as he putters around the secluded house in the woods west of Nashville that the couple bought last year.

“My favorite time is the morning. Lacey nurses her and all three of us just lie there in bed together. It’s like being in our own little cocoon — it’s hard to leave that comfort zone,” says Owen, 31, currently on the road with Jason Aldean‘s Night Train tour.

“I’m building a bus with a built-in baby bunk so they’ll be able to come out with me.”

The new ride will also have a kegerator: “Daddy works hard and needs his beer!” he says with a laugh. But late-night parties are a thing of the past for Owen.

“I was given such a great gift. It’s a miracle that never stops amazing me and reminding me to give thanks, every day,” he says. “Having a wife and daughter gives me a lot more purpose. I was much more selfish before, but now I think about what kind of role model I’ll be. I just want to be a better man.”

For more from the interview and additional photos, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE Country, on newsstands Friday.

— Kay West

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