Are They All Yours?
This is the most popular one, asked whenever we go out in public all together. I used to have to bring all the kids everywhere when they were all younger, but now that I can leave a big kid in charge, I can take just a few to run errands and I don't get asked this question. When we are all together, we laugh when we get asked, and just say "Yup!" and keep moving. Of course they're all mine if I'm grocery shopping - who in their right mind would pick up extra kids to take to the grocery store?
Are You Going to Try for More (or Another Girl)?
Considering we only *tried* for one (Eamon) and the rest were little happy surprises, I never know how to answer this question. If you're trying to use NFP for most of your marriage to postpone the next pregnancy...and then you end up with seven kids...I think it proves how very little control we have over this area of our lives. And thank God for that! If we had been NFP rockstars since the beginning, we wouldn't have the family we have! We always wanted a large family, but thought we knew the best spacing, and it turns out we were completely wrong. I wish I had just leaned into it more instead of white-knuckling through it. So no, we're not going to try for another baby in the foreseeable future. But that never means we won't have another baby. And you get what you get, and you don't get upset in the gender game. I honestly looooove raising boys, but Maggie will want a sister until she's old and gray.
You Don't Work, Do You?
People seem genuinely confused when they know we have seven kids and I have a full time job. I respond with "Of course I work, I have seven kids!" How else are we supposed to provide for them? I would love to stay home, but it's not in the cards for us. And I really have come to peace with that after years of struggling with it. I truly believe God knows I need to work, and God sends us lots of babies, so it's all in His hands.
Wait. Are You Pregnant?
It's not a baby bump. It's a mummy tummy. I'll have it for life. Nuff said.
How Do You Find Time to Run?
I have a secret machine that gives me an extra hour each day. Ha! I think the real answer here is two-fold. First, I am a great scheduler (thanks Google calendar) and will figure out each day where I can make time for a workout. I'm dedicated to making it happen for my mental and physical health. Some people say they have no time to exercise, but maybe they use their free time to paint or read a book or scroll Facebook. We all have free time in our day and we just need to use it wisely on what makes us happy in our vocation, and if that's reading, that's great! Second, I have a supportive husband who works great hours and we encourage each other to get the time we need. We plan our weekend runs in between the million kid activities, and plan date nights any chance we can. Planning and a supportive spouse are key for me.
What's Your Grocery Bill Like?
HUGE! I meal plan each week and then either grocery shop on weekends after dropping off my son at work, or shop online through Walmart Grocery and pick it up some day after work. We spend around $250-$300 each week on groceries, and the kids get free lunch at school, so they just take snacks (one fruit and one other item) with them each day. We pretty much ALWAYS cook and eat at home. Not only is the price restrictive from bringing all 9 of us to a restaurant, but the logistics of it is hard too - we need so much space, the baby is fussy, etc. I use our shared google calendar to enter the meals of the day, so if it's Phil or I that gets home first, we both know what to start cooking. If I have time the night before, I prep a meal for the next day to help that witching hour go smoothly. We usually have nice big meals on the weekend, and weeknight meals are fast and easy. Weekend breakfasts are also bigger and better. We save money by making our own coffee and lunches for work (a big pot of soup each week feeds us for lunches) and buying things in bulk rather than individual sizes. Nothing too crazy, because I want the kids to eat well, as they are all growing and working out all the time.
How Do You Keep the House Clean?
You obviously haven't been to my house if you're asking me this question ;) No, it's usually clean, but there's always something to pick up and put in the right spot. We clean every weekend (everyone has their own chore chart) and pick up/do dishes/do laundry every day. One area that I can never seem to keep control over is the mudroom. Kids have their own box for their shoes and hook for their coats, but all of the backpacks and sports bags just do not fit on the shelves in there, and so they are always overflowing to the kitchen benches and floor. It drives me crazy and I need to figure out a new system for bags in our limited space.
Well, that makes seven! Linking up with Kelly and wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! Let me know if you have any other questions on big family living in the comments. I do get asked about sleep training for little ones, discipline methods we use, and how we afford Catholic school, but those aren't as often. I know I always ask the parents of large families how they handle cars and college, because that's the next big steps in our lives, so there may be some things of more interest to you. I did write this post about caring for a big family, but I'm no expert, just some girl looking at her life, asking it to be easy :)