Ryan Gosling is "head over heels for his girls," a source tells PEOPLE of the actor's love for his daughters

By Mia McNiece
February 01, 2017 12:05 PM

Ryan Gosling may be having the biggest year in his career thanks to his staring role in the musical La La Land, but these days the actor is loving his low-key life off camera with his girlfriend of five years Eva Mendes and their two daughters Esmeralda Amada, 2, and Amada Lee, 9 months.

“Ryan is an incredible dad and is head over heels for his girls. He’s always been like a kid at heart, so he’s a fun dad with lots of energy,” an insider tells PEOPLE.

The Oscar nominee, 36, and Mendes, 42 — who met making 2012’s The Place Beyond the Pineshave now become a happy family of four and, according to an insider, are on the same page when it comes to raising their daughters.

“Their focus is on giving their girls a normal upbringing,” says another source.

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Credit: Dara Kushner/INF

One of the ways they are trying to do this is by living a life out of the spotlight.

“Ryan and Eva are incredibly private, but at home, they’re just like any normal family,” says the insider. “They don’t like the L.A. lifestyle and love to get out of town where they have more freedom to be out and about without all the attention.”

The couple still live in their modest two-bedroom L.A. house that was once Gosling’s bachelor pad and don’t have a nanny, according to the second source. Instead, they rely on Mendes’ family when they need an extra hand.

And although the very private star, rarely speaks out about Mendes, he made an exception at the Golden Globes on Jan. 8 when he sang her praises while accepting his best actor award.

“While I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer,” he said. “Sweetheart, thank you.”

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Although it’s gearing up to be a very busy month for Gosling as he heads to the Oscars with La La Land, which scored a record-tying 14 nominations, he’s also savoring his role at home as a family man.

“You can tell that both Ryan and Eva just want to spend as much time as possible with their daughters,” says the Gosling source.

For more on Ryan Gosling’s life as a dad, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.