A Question From a Blog Friend

Our lunch date with Honeybee last Friday

Honeybee took this picture of us. She loves to use my camera!

A few weeks ago a friend I met through my blog called me and asked, “How do you do it all?” People ask me that all the time and I’ll admit that on many days I “do it all”, but I don’t feel I do it very well. She said that she reads blogs and everybody seems to have it all together with happy, productive, well-adjusted families. But let’s be honest, most of us don’t share the wrinkly, untidy, and unpleasant things of life on our blogs. There are two reasons for this, one is that frankly, we bloggers don’t want to look bad. Second, as I’ve mentioned before, I am very careful not to write anything that would be embarrassing to one of my children. I don’t write about the unkind things that are said, the chores that aren’t done, the dinners that are served too late making all of the little kids grumpy, because this is my family and they are more important than my blog.

My friend asked if I would post a few questions and ask other bloggers and readers to answer them honestly, so I thought I would start with her first ones:

What are some of the things you have chosen NOT to do as a large family?

What are some of the thing you have chosen to do as a large family?

In our phone conversation we talked about the sacrifices involved in choosing to add children to our families and how that changes things from the life we once had to the life we are now living. We both know the blessings, but what changes, sacrifices, or adjustments have you made to accommodate having a larger number of children?

I would love to hear what you all have to say. You can comment here or send me an email at Thankfulmom@gmail.com. Honest responses – “real” answers would be appreciated. You can even tell me to share it anonymously. I’ll post responses in a future blog post and I’ll join you in answering.

Thank you everyone. I’ll have another question from my friend soon.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. KT
    November 22, 2008

    Our family is half the size of yours, but we dont eat in ‘real’ restaurants, because of the cost, and because the ET kids are such picky eaters they will just waste the food.
    We find losts of free outings!
    We play board games and things like madlibs together.
    We prepack food for trips out, to save $$.
    Sometimes I selfishly feel sad that I cant buy a new outfit I see for one child, but we cant efford it for all the kids, so we mainly do garage sales and hand me downs. But the kids could care less, they seem to have more clothes then they need. And Meya LOVES thrift shopping with me 🙂
    Its hard to find time to snuggle with just one child at a time, because the others get very jealous.

  2. Laurel
    November 23, 2008

    We have an extra-large family (13 children) …

    We DO NOT allow the children to play sports all year long. We stick to baseball and track in the spring. (High school kids can also choose a fall sport, if they can provide their own transportation.)

    We DO NOT take the whole family out for fast food, unless we are traveling. If we are going to pay to go out, we take the family to a sit-down restaurant so that we can enjoy extended time together. (Sometimes the 15+ crowd chips in on their dinners, so that we can go out as a family.)

    We DO NOT watch television.

    We DO NOT have any video games (handheld or on the t.v.) We allow very limited educational computer games.

    We DO NOT take many airplane trips as a family … but we LOVE extended road trips. (We’ve been to 35 states already.)

    We DO NOT (hardly ever) stay in hotels with the family (we’d have to rent 3 rooms). We LOVE our tent trailer that sleeps 9, and we add a little tent when the whole family is along.

    We DO NOT go to Disneyland. But, we LOVE to go to Southern California and play on the beaches.

    We DO NOT have big family birthday parties. We enjoy celebrating as a family, with the occasional friend or two joining us.

    We DO NOT celebrate Christmas with a lot of presents. We LOVE to celebrate with a focus on time together (games, movies, fellowship w/friends, etc…)

    We LOVE to go camping.

    We LOVE to go on Family Mission Trips. (We’ve taken all the kids to Los Angeles and New Orleans.)

    We LOVE to play board games and card games.

    We LOVE our annual trip to Family Camp for Thanksgiving.

    We LOVE our annual trip to a friend’s cabin on Coeur d’Alene Lake. We LOVE to waterski.

    We LOVE to take day trips to … the park, the beach, the lake, the zoo, etc….

    So, while we may not do the same things that smaller families do (Disneyland, airplane trips, hotels, restaurants, snow skiing, …) we do not feel that our kids are missing out at all. We have a LOT of FUN with our extra-large family.

    Laurel 🙂

  3. SupermomE11
    November 23, 2008

    I answered this on my blog. 🙂



  4. Pajama Mama
    November 23, 2008

    Our family isn’t “extra-large” yet. But I LOVE reading all about what life is like for large families who love God. Thanks for the question-and answers!


  5. Signe
    November 23, 2008

    I posted more detailed commnents on my blog.

    We do a lot of things together. We do things in bulk. We try to keep things simple. We do get lots of comments when we are all out together. We do lots of loud, rowdy meals around our large table.

    We don’t travel as much. We don’t eat out as often. We limit activites that involve only one of us.

  6. Sandee
    November 24, 2008

    My family is not as big as yours…four kids, but only one parents..so ratio wise, perhaps. 🙂

    I have chosen not to have my kids in organized sports, beyond sports offered at school. So no extra soccer practice, football, ballet, karate. I would love to have that for them, but with just one me and then multiply it all by four, and the cost…can’t do it.

    Restuarants… it is a rare treat now..and getting less and less frequent.

    Birthday parties..we are moving away from the big, tons of kid parties…going to others, as well as having them ourselves. They can have that one best friend over, and can go to their party, but that is it.

    Handmade gifts for Christmas this year….except for one Santa gift each.

    Simpler activities…hiking or the beach, vs amusement parks, movies at home, vs theatre, game night…

    Planned meals….finally arrived at that one, took me long enough! But it works….and is so much more sane than me getting off work at 5 and thinking, hmmm, what should we have for dinner…

    Out of the home invitiations….limit them. Hardly ANY including my kids and I pick and choose mine very sparsely.

    These are the years for us, family and at home and nature…not trying to get full of life kids to behave at someone else’s table and have they share their true feelings over what is served. 🙂 Trying to teach those manners…but easier to do at home.


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