I enjoyed reading the responses many of you sent to my first question that was posed by a blog friend who is adjusting to her recently enlarged family. I have a new question from her, but first I need to answer Question #1.
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?
1. We don’t leave much to chance. We have a large family calendar on the refrigerator that keeps track of the family events. I send emails to my five oldest to keep them apprised of upcoming events. We have family meetings approximately once a month when we lay out the schedule for upcoming events, plan fun activities, and talk about whatever is on our minds.
2. We make family dinner a priority. Most nights you will find anywhere from ten to fourteen of us around the dinner table. I try hard to make meals that everyone enjoys and have dinner on the table by 6:00. I am not always successful, but I do my best. We light candles, pray a blessing, pass food, and try to have conversation. It is improving now that Little Man is getting older and not screaming through dinner each night. We also recently moved Eby to the other end of the table because Russ and I were spending our entire meal cutting food, cleaning up spilled drinks, and generally feeling scattered. Now Russ has Little Man on one side of him. I sit to Russ’ left with Boo to my left. Eby sits between Sweet Pea and Mimi, when they are here, so the workload is spread out a bit.
3. We don’t travel much, but when we do it is by car. We try to go to Whidbey Island for a week each summer and we have a family reunion at Russ’ parents each July. We often make the trip to Seattle for medical appointments and use the opportunity to visit family and friends. Several years ago we took an American History trip which we prepared for in our homeschool studies. We drove to Washington D.C. and then up the East Coast visiting friends along the way. We especially loved our visits to Cape Cod (even though it was freezing cold), Ithaca, NY (where we used to live), and Maine (where we enjoyed visiting old friends).
4. We take pleasure in the small things of life: candles on the table, garden flowers on the kitchen island in spring and summer, homegrown tomatoes, colorful Fiestaware plates that delight the children, chocolate chip cookies, white lights on the front porch all winter, fleece blankets in a basket in the living room, flannel sheets, music while we cook and clean, crockpot dinners, and family photos decorating our walls.
5. We rely heavily on hand-me-downs and buy very few clothes for the kids. The oldest four like to buy clothes for themselves, but we have been abundantly blessed with hand-me-downs for all of the other children. I am amazed at the wonderful clothing we are given and very happy to only be filling in the gaps of my kids’ wardrobes.
6. We love to read aloud and are great lovers of books. My Mother instilled a love for literature in me when I was a young child and never complained about the huge stacks of books I hauled home from the library each week. I have always enjoyed reading to my children and rarely put the little ones down for “Quiet Hour” without reading a Bible story and at least one other book. Currently, Russ is reading Caddie Woodlawn to them at bedtime, and soon we’ll begin reading The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle during dinner clean up.
7. We homeschool our children. I could write many, many posts about homeschooling and why we have decided to do it, but for now, I’ll just say it is part of the fabric of our family and the way we have lived our life since Sweet Pea was four years old. It is not easy and there have been times when I have not been confident that I could continue, but my older children exhort me to press on and give the younger children all that they were given. Their confidence in homeschooling and the joy they have in their own experience is the greatest encouragement I could receive.
8. We pray with and for our children. For many years we had family worship as part of our school day and we loved it, but somehow that has slipped away and as I am typing this I am wondering how it happened. We pray with our children at meal times, as they have needs, at bedtime, when we depart on trips, and many other times. I pray for them throughout the day, especially for the older ones who have exams or important things on their minds.
9. We love to celebrate holidays, birthdays, the beginning of the school year, the end of the school year, and best of all, the Lord’s Day each Sunday when we worship, eat, relax, and enjoy our favorite day of the week.
10. We “Cover it with love”. With the number of people we have in our family, we are bound to fail, say unkind things, and generally be the sinners we are. We do our best to keep “short accounts”, to seek forgiveness, grant forgiveness, and generally let love cover over our failings.
Here is Large Family Questions #3:
What is your system for cleaning your home?
I look forward to sharing your answers. Please email them to me at email@example.com or put them in the comments of this post and I’ll share them in a post at the end of the week. Thank you everyone!
Encourage one another.
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