Tag Archives: life

Life with 6 Kids

She’s been part of our lives for over eight months now. That’s unreal.

Life with 6 Kids

How does that even happen? Wow.

The older I get, the more amazed I become about the passage of time. It just FLIES by. I try to impart that bit of knowledge into my kids, but like all other young people, they don’t get it quite yet. But they will. One day they will.

So how am I faring with six kids some may ask?

Whenever I am out shopping, I get myriad of looks while herding my little brood in and out of stores. I can see their lips moving as they count—one,… two,…three, four. And their eyes widen…five, six. Sometimes I mentally count with them. It never hurts to double check and make sure that I don’t have any stragglers. 🙂

Then the comments come rolling in.

You’ve got your hands full.

My, you must be busy with all these kids.

Only one boy, huh?!

Life with 6 kids

And they smile. But I can see it in their eyes, hear it in their tone, and see it on their face. Amazement. Curiosity. Surprise. They are interested. Not for their own experience really, but to perhaps vicariously live —just for a moment—as the parent of a large family.

So what’s it really like? I mean, reeeally like to have half a dozen kids??

Life with 6 Kids

Settle in while I give you the low down on lots of littles, the honest truth. I promise.

Life with 6 Kids….So, What’s it Really Like?

Continual noise

Yes, let’s start with the noise. You are struck with the cacophony of what sounds like wild Indians during the settling of the old west before your foot ever crosses the threshold. The rooms echo with the sounds of childish babble and laughter fills the halls. And thudding. There is lots of thudding and thumping interspersed with the pitter-patter of little feet as they chase each other up and down the length of the home. A baby crying to be nursed and the long sobbing wail of one who cannot find her blanket. It all intermingles into one raucous clamor with minimal moments of silence. Long periods of silence almost never happen and if they do, always investigate. Silence during waking hours is not your friend. Nap time and bed time quiet are different story. They are truly golden moments after especially loud days and evenings. But then again, what am I saying? Nap time and bed time are treasured on any given day.

Mess

Frankly, it’s everywhere. We have eight people living in 1900 sq ft of living space. I try to remind myself that even if we were all adults, neatness would be an ongoing task and everyday battle. Obviously the entire household is not comprised of grown-ups, thus the clutter can seem even more overwhelming. The kids help out every day and have assigned daily chores, but I’ve come to realize that if I maintain a spotless house, I’m ignoring the lives of the little people in it. And babies don’t keep.

In other words, the mess reigns most days.

Food

Food?? I’m not overly familiar with it, it disappears so quickly. I am loving shopping at Costco more and more these days. Bulk buying is your BFF when you have a large family. Meals and snacks are devoured at a steady rate and you are left there staring at a pile of dirty dishes and trails of crumbs around the kitchen chairs. I’m not kidding. You blink and it’s gone. So dig in while you can. It’s the motto we live by.

Life with 6 Kids

Money

It disappears.

Adult conversation

It only happens between 8pm and 6am. Any other conversations attempted are interspersed with multiple offspring reprimands and boo-boo kissing. And let me tell ya, this makes some discussions with a spouse difficult and wearisome to follow. Many a tale has ended with these words, “Forget it. I’ll tell you later.” Followed by an understanding peck on the cheek.

It’s a season of life, only a season. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves. (between 8pm and 6am, of course)

No “me-time”

Your every waking moment is about others. Feeding, changing, teaching, bathing, cleaning, correcting….the list seems endless. Showers and bathroom breaks are your treasured reprieves. And even they are few and far between.

Life with 6 Kids

By now most of you are thinking,” I knew it.  I just knew it. These are exactly some of the reasons why I would never want a large family.”

Well, now I’d like to tell you otherwise.

But you just said…. And you just listed….Yes, yes, I know. I know what I just said and what I just listed. Mothering half a dozen kids is rough. I often fall into bed dog tired at the end of the day, both mentally and physically. It can be a struggle. And the kids win, most days.

I said that I would be honest here, and I have been. But I also would be remiss if I didn’t tell you this.

Some noises are nice. Like the noise of an infant laughing for the first time. Or the giggles of the entire family as you all watch the antics of a two year old. Or the happy chatter as you gather around the table for a meal or a game of cards. Or the sound of music as songs are being rehearsed or piano lessons are being practiced. You see, the absence of noise would actually be the saddest sound. And while nap time and bed time truly are golden moments, Hubs and I often find ourselves halfway wishing we could get the kids up again after a half hour of quiet. We just plain miss them.

Food, well, it’s meant to be eaten. And many memories are made when families gather to share meals together. Nothing warms my heart more than to see all of their sweet, young faces seated around our kitchen table. It’s during moments like those that I feel supremely blessed, my heart full. And when you realize how fortunate you really are, what’s a pile of dirty dishes or two? Instead you feel incredibly grateful as you sweep up that trail of crumbs. Again. For the seventeenth time that day.

Life with 6 Kids

Money. I didn’t say much about this earlier and I won’t say much about it here either. We have more possessions, riches if you will, than most people in the world. Do we have a huge house? Drive fancy cars? No and no. Material things don’t bring happiness and neither does a fat bank account. At the end of the day, what we obtain here on this earth is of little consequence, but the lives that we impact are everything. Besides, as my dad has always said in regards to wealth, “You can’t take it with you.”  End of story. 😉

Adult conversation is on the rise. How’s that? Well, babies and children have this unusual habit of growing up and I’m finding this to be true in our home as well. Bunny and Fuzz love to chat about their day, about their likes and dislikes. You name it and they’ll talk about it. I often find myself gazing into their faces while the sound of their voices fade to the background, completely mesmerized. These beautiful, young girls are my daughters. And I shake my head in disbelief as the topics of politics, world history and religion are frequently discussed at the dinner table. However, there are still days after evening devotions and family time are past and we prepare to leave the table that I come back to reality when my oldest daughter asks me a question. “Can I go play outside, Mom?”  Inwardly I smile as I nod my head. Yes, adult conversations may be on the rise, but we are not there yet. And I’m fine with that. Let them be kids.

And then there is the illusive “me time”. Now I will not deny that having a moment of quietness and solitude can at times be refreshing, especially on particularly overwhelming mom days. We all need the ability to unwind and/or recharge. But if every thought and deed is inward focused, then I need to reevaluate my purpose. Since when is life supposed to be about me? Has our generation become so narcissistic that the thought of serving and living for others seems mundane, boring and a drudgery? Sure, I do a lot of the same things over and over every day. And so does everyone. That’s life. I would much rather spend my time in the daily trenches of life with other people—people I love—instead of by myself. I love nothing better than continually shouldering with my husband, working as one as we raise our children. We’re in this together. Plus, he knows me inside and out. He gives me chocolate and a quick escape to a quiet place when I need it.

So what’s it like raising a large family you ask?

It’s messy and it’s beautiful. Consuming and yet worthwhile. Stressful and also satisfying. Wearisome and energizing. Full of tears and full of laughter. It takes and it gives.

And gives and gives and gives. <3

Life with 6 Kids

                               Thank you so much for reading.

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The Daily Dilemma {31 Days of Life. Contained.}

Life Contained 2014 button

This post is part of a series called 31 Days of Life. Contained. Want to catch up on the entire series? Click here. Want to stay connected and not miss another post? Follow me on facebook.

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the daily dilemma

Managing the schedules of seven people can sometimes be overwhelming. My Mom Binder has been a huge help, however, there are times when I just need a daily reminder staring me in the face.

I needed that reminder for my kids to wear pink on Tuesday. For Fuzz to bring in paper towel tubes on Wednesday. For Bunny’s science and social studies tests on Thursday. For working in the church nursery on Sunday night.

creating a command center

Trying to keep it all straight makes my brain hurt and I inevitably forget something. Sometimes that one little thing can be huge. Yikes.

A family command center helps contain all of our scheduling needs and organize my reminders for me.

I’ve had this bulletin board almost since we were first married. I go through spurts of hating its cluttered presence in my home and removing it-to loving the organized feeling it brings me when I walk by. It is definitely a love/hate relationship.

organizing a family command center

I pulled it back out a month or so ago to help us stay on top of school schedules. This was the main culprit coming back to bite me every week.

With a family our size—perhaps any size family—a command center was an absolute must. This is a landing zone for flyers, school tickets, forms to return, church special events, etc.

Obviously from the photos, my command center is not perfect, but it does the job. For now I just have the bulletin board leaning against the wall until I’m finished with painting and trim in the kitchen. My push-pins are stored in the top drawer of the dresser.

family command center organization

Like I said it’s not perfect, but this board is saving my sanity. For this, I can look past any and all minor flaws.

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tip 21

How about you? Do you have an area to remind you and your kids about specific details and events? Use a command center in your home? Consider the benefits of possibly instituting one in your home. As you have seen with my current one, it doesn’t always have to be pinterest-worthy. Perfection is not the goal—organization is.

Thanks for reading.

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Blog Again, Blog Again, Jiggity-Jig (+ a Christmas series)

I’m back. 🙂

Whew. It has been quite the few months since I’ve been on here.

And I spent it living out of a suitcase. Literally.

I packed for my kids to spend a week in WV visiting my family, packed for a couples retreat, packed for my husband to fly up north to his brother’s wedding, for the fam for vacation, for a whirlwind weekend to WV for my grandmother’s 90th birthday, packed for my daughter for junior camp, for my kids to go to WV {again}, for Hubs and I to take the teens to camp, packed for Hubs and I {again} to fly to Jamaica on a missions trip with our teenagers, packed for weekend ladies retreat and my very favorite {and most recent} packing- for our newest addition’s arrival: Baby #5.

{one day old}

(Unfortunately living away from both sides of the family, this meant packing for our entire family of six + the new baby. Somewhat daunting trying to have the proper attire packed and ready to go- for a time/day that we knew not. Talk about packing blindly. Ha!)

I think that I can now be considered a professional packer. (Adding that to my resume.)

Life is settling down…ahem, somewhat. (Does it ever really?!) Life with five kiddos is totally awesome- and totally a crazy house. Add about 25 more kids to that mix that we “adopted” this past January when my husband became the youth pastor in conjunction with his role as the music pastor at our church. Yup. Busy, busy times.

{one week old}

However now that I’m finally getting sleep again, I am determined to  get back into blogging. 🙂

I really need more things to do. (Ha!)

{one month old}

(Actually my “new” thing that I’ve added to my life just this past week is photographed in the above picture. Cloth diapers. Why not add blogging back to the mix? I’d hate to be bored. And by the way, just look how big she’s already getting. Wow.)

No. It’s because I enjoy connecting with you. It’s a little slice of “me time”, a chance for me to talk with adult people throughout the day, albeit through my keyboard. (I’ll take what I can get. 😉 )

My blogging presence will not be perfect. Some weeks may have more posts than others. But this does not surprise you, I’m sure.

Several of my blogging friends have graciously allowed me to jump in with their holiday series. It was the perfect time for me to ease my “virtual toes” back into the blogging waters, so to speak. And here I am late to the party. So typical.

Please take the time to check out their different posts for some Christmas inspiration. You will love each of their posts- they are some super creative women. I’ve included a little “teaser” picture from each post just to pique your curiosity. You won’t be able to not click over. 🙂

 

The Frugal Homemaker shared an absolutely gorgeous wreath made with real tree clippings. Using nature in your decor is beautiful and adds a new texture to your display. Best of all, it doesn’t always have to be expensive. It could even be free. You could use some clippings off of a garland or even off of some pine trees near your home. I usually tromp around in the tiny little woods behind our house, looking for pine branches and pine cones. I think that I may look for some sticks as well this year. 🙂 Anyways, find out how Christina made her wreath for free. Brilliant.

Christmas Grapevine & Evergreen wreath (made with free tree cuttings!)

{Christmas Grapevine & Evergreen Wreath}

SlipCoveredGrey made a breathtaking piece of Christmas art. I loved it. Loved everything about it. It was so simple, yet so elegant. I have got to find some huge pictures for great prices at thrift stores. Our home could use some statement pieces for our walls and so could my husband’s office walls. I’m a woman on a mission now. Look out! That huge, out-dated framed picture is totally mine. 🙂

{Christmas Mirror Art}

Another favorite blogger (whom I was thrilled to finally meet in person this past summer), Brown Sugar Toast, shared a festive ornament yesterday. It was simple and easy. This is totally necessary in my world lately. I’d love to try these with the kiddos. Maybe. Knowing my munchkins, anything involving glitter could definitely go south in a hurry. Ha! Whether I attempt doing it with my girls or alone, a Pottery Barn inspired craft never disappoints in my book.

{Monogram Glitter Ornament}

Today PenniesnGrace is sharing more Christmas inspiration at her blog. Her holiday wall decor is right down my alley. Rustic. Pottery Barnish. Free. Frugal is certainly the key word in all of these crafts. I’m all in. Ok. I’m jotting down covertly looking through other people’s trash along with scouring local thrift stores. And just so you know, scissors would be my best friend for this craft as well. 😉

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{Wooden Joy To The World Sign}

Tomorrow I will be sharing another Christmas inspiration here. So excited about it. So again, please take a moment to check out these great ideas and come back tomorrow for one more frugal idea for your holiday celebrations.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Friday Funnies: Hidden Beauty

As adults, sometimes we forget to look for ways to enjoy life.  To beautify our world.  Children are great reminders that little things can make a huge impact.

For instance, hub’s office looks just like…well, an office.  We have been attempting to make it warm and inviting looking while still maintaining a semblance of professionalism.

Our children, however, have other plans.

In their eyes (and on their level), his desk was evidently lacking some pizazz.   The girls decided to give dear ol’ dad a hand with decor.

Remember, art is a very thorough process.  Let’s not forget the top of underneath Daddy’s desk.  😉

Well, it certainly looks inviting now.

Every space deserves to look beautiful, right?

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Have a great weekend.