Large Family Question #3

Here is Little Man in one of his favorite places, on my back. I tried an Ergo carrier when we first got home with him at nearly five months old, but he didn’t love it. At that time he preferred the New Native sling, which I enjoyed wearing. Now he says, “Back, back, want back” and follows me around pleading until I put him in the Ergo. I hated to buy one after he had turned two, but my friend, Heidi, gave me hers. Thank you, Heidi!

It has been fun for me to ask these questions and receive so many great responses. The third question my friend asked me was a great one:

What has made the biggest difference in creating a warm, peaceful environment in a busy household?

I am very interested to hear what you all have to say. If you have considered responding to one of the questions, but thought you didn’t have a large enough family or old enough family to give advice, or you are naturally shy, or you hate to comment – but love to read, jump in! Even a small suggestion can benefit another mother’s life more than we can imagine.

In family news, Sweet Pea had a six hour final for anatomy today – three hours written and three hours lab. Mimi is having a final poetry project bound. Noah is discussing existentialism and enjoying the Christmas cookies he made at a party last night. Samuel is working on a paper about international adoption. Rusty is organizing a photo shoot for AHOPE Store products. Ladybug is at her writing class – which she loves. Honeybee read a (very short) book to me today! Dimples and Boo are loving cutting paper snowflakes. Eby just took me outside on the front porch to see the sunset which was very beautiful. When I asked him who made the sunset he said, “Um, Moses?” Little Man is sleeping, which is why I can sit here and type this.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving an answer to the question – hint, hint.

Eby’s sunset


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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. Les
    December 8, 2008

    I’d love to hear the honest thoughts of moms from big families about this.
    Are there some people who are cut out to have a lot of kids and some who aren’t?
    I have three children, five year old twins who are bio and a two year old we adopted from China this summer. I love kids, especially those who need families. I’m worried though that I’m wouldn’t do well with a large family. I have trouble letting go of order and control and also am an introvert in the sense that groups drain me. I tend to need alone time to recharge, which I have less of as more kids come. My husband struggles even more than I do with the noise, activity and chaos.

  2. Laurel
    December 8, 2008

    I jumped on to answer your large family question, but first I think I’ll respond to Les’ questions (above). Then I’ll write a 2nd comment for the question of the day. 🙂

    Les … I am the mother of 13 children (10 bio. and 3 adopted from Ghana this year). When my husband and I got married, we knew we wanted a “large family”. But, we thought a “large family” meant 6 kids. We had no idea that the Lord would give us 13 (so far).

    I do not believe that all families are called to have a dozen or more children. However, I do believe that the Lord is grieved by the amount of Christian families that choose to limit their family size.

    With 3 children under 6 years old, your life might be overwhelming right now. While now may not be the time to enlarge your family, that does NOT mean that things might not change later on.

    I just heard of a woman from our church who decided years ago that she would complete her family before she was 30 years old. Where would such a hard and fast “rule” come from? Not the Lord. I had my 10th bio. child the day before I turned 40. We thought we were “done”. But, at 45 the Lord started stirring my heart towards adoption.

    I am 46, my husband is 48 … we do not know whether the Lord is done enlarging our family (either bio. or through adoption). While my peers are celebrating their “empty-nests”, I am so glad that I have MANY years of homemaking and homeschooling left (I have 2 children in 1st grade this year).

    And, if it is your personality that you are worried about. Maybe it is children that the Lord wants to use to refine you. If you don’t want to give up order and control … maybe the Lord wants to give you a large family so that you allow HIM to be in control. My husband and I are “naturally” very orderly and controlling people. The Lord has definitely used our children to teach us flexibility. We must loosen our control, in order to give the Lord ALL of the control.


    Laurel 🙂

  3. Anonymous
    December 8, 2008

    Eby’s comment about the sunset cracked me up!


  4. Laurel
    December 8, 2008

    ” … a warm and peaceful environment in a busy household?”

    The first thing that comes to mind is that I have to give up my perfectionist tendencies in my housekeeping. Many people are so busy trying to keep things “spotless”, that they don’t make time to enjoy their families and friends. I would rather invite friends over to a cluttered house, than to try to wait until it is “clean enough”. Our house is not dirty … but it can get cluttered with the lives of 11-15 people (depending on who exactly is living at home at the moment). Friends know that they are ALWAYS welcome. If they stop by in the middle of homeschooling, I’ll invite them in, give the children “recess”, make a path to the living room (through the cars or legos), move a pile of clean clothes off of the couch, make a pot of tea … and sit for a visit.

    In addition to always having a variety of teas and mochas on hand for company, if I’m given even just a little notice, I’ll whip up something to eat. I love to fellowship over freshly baked apple pie or cookies.

    And, for my family, a warm and peaceful environment means to make time to relax together, by playing card games, board games, or select family-friendly movies. It also means to have a completely open door policy for their friends. I LOVE all of the teens and young adults that know they can stop by any time … and often stop by right at dinner time.

    One night, we had 3 young adult men stop by shortly before dinner. It happened to be a night that I knew we wouldn’t have many left overs. I whispered to my husband that we were going to go out to eat. Then, I told the assembled young adults, teens, and children to enjoy the meal and that Papa and I would be back in awhile. As we drove away, I was sooo… blessed to have an open home (even if it meant not eating the meal that I had planned to eat with my children).

    A “warm environment”, to me, means friends and family … always welcome.

    Peaceful??? At our house it certainly doesn’t mean quiet. But … we really do have a peaceful house. Poor attitudes are taken care of immediately, so that our relationships are warm, peaceful, and healthy.

    mama of 13 (ages 6-24)

  5. small world
    December 9, 2008

    The way I create a warm and peaceful environment is to get up before the littlest ones do. This includes our 1,5,6, and 9 year old. My older kids (14 and 15 year old)that are still home schooling can sit with me in front of the fire and do Bible. Our 17, 20, and 22 year old are finished with home school. After Bible there is usually enough time to read to the two older kids for a half hour or so. Right now we are reading a Christmas book. It does not seem to matter how old my children are, they love to be read to. After the little ones finish their school I bring them up to my bed to snuggle and read while the older kids work independently. After lunch we have about a two hour quiet time. It is the time when the little ones take a rest(mom tries to as well) and the older kids work on school independently. After they are done they are allowed to listen to old time radio, Odyssey, or play games. Before my husband comes home it is a rule that ALL chores must be done so Daddy comes home to a clean and organized home. Another fire is usually started right before he gets there and the candles are lit. There is no TV in our house and movies are only allowed on the weekends. This allows us to visit with the kids and each other most nights and helps everyone feel closer and keeps things on track. The last thing before bed is we meet in the living room for Bible study, talk time, and prayer. This is how we end our day.Many times we will use this as a time to make corrections or work out any family issues. Depending on who is coming into the family and who is moving on we have to be flexible with our schedule. We just adopted two girls from Ethiopia last month so we are once again finding a new norm. But even with the changes that come with the adoption things are running fairly smoothly since we have a system in place. I think keeping our home organized, maintaining a good schedule, and remaining extremely flexible daily has helped create a warm and peaceful home.
    Mom of 9(ages 1-22)

  6. small world
    December 9, 2008

    I almost called you today. We have had a couple of little loop-dee-loos(if you know what I mean) with E. Overall she is doing great! It is so hard for these kids to lose their world and try to adjust to ours. I will try to call you soon. Hope all is well with your beautiful bunch! Love, Theresa

  7. MLB
    December 9, 2008

    No big family here but I know the secret to a warm, peaceful household…………………..

    SLEEP! 🙂

  8. Sandee
    December 9, 2008

    warm and peaceful household:

    first, for me, as momma, it means that my heart is full of Jesus’ love…if I do not take the time to get up before them and let my heart be filled with His love, I have nothing to pour out…and am not feeling warm or peaceful. and if momma isn’t warm and peaceful, then….well you know..

    second is letting go of my agenda. Whether it is what I want to do at this moment, or plan etc…and be willing to let life interrupt my plans. I find so much of the counter-peace and anything but warm issues arise when I do not give time to what ever is happening at the moment. (aka ignoring an issue because I am cooking dinner.) So turn the burner off. Get down to eye level and talk out and hug.

    lots of hugs

    lots of talking

    turning off the “entertainment”…tv, computer, new toy this or that.

    Reading together….

    Sharing a verse and then seeing how it applies…our lastest is Col 4: something…about letting our conversations be filled with grace and seasoned with salt. We are doing a lot of talk about Grace and Salt… and it is changing some of our anti-peace, anti-warm behavior.

    Schedule in less…I find with the lines are smudgy and the hard and fast plans less…life can flow at a more peaceful and warm rate…

    Now, I only have 3, adding nunber 4 in Feb…but as a single momma, that feels big!

  9. SupermomE11
    December 9, 2008
  10. Stacey
    December 10, 2008

    I read this on my friend’s blog and I thought it was great. They had 7 kids and just adopted a sibling group of 4. So they are adjusting once more to new family dynamics. She said:

    So I noticed that the seven little ones have been starting to fight about who gets to sit on my lap and I’ve seen them starting to compete for my attention. We try really hard to control the competition in our house and focus on individual strengths- not who’s better than who at what. (I detest sibling rivalry). One of my biggest worries with a family this size was how we are going to make sure that everyone gets enough one on one time. I honestly feel like I could sit on the floor all day and do nothing but hug and it still wouldn’t be enough. Just so many needs to be met right now that it could almost drain me. So today we came up with a little plan that I think it going to be a huge help. We started it tonight and it was so much fun! Each child drew a number so we knew the order. Bed time around here is at 7:00. (Early I know, but they have to get up at 6:20 a.m and they are tired if not.) Yet we decided that a little extra time wouldn’t hurt. So, each night a different child will get to stay up 30 minutes extra to have special mommy daddy time. Tonight it was Jayla’s turn. We played a game of her choice for the first 15 minutes and then after that we just sat on the couch and hugged and talked about her day. She shared about her first day of school, without being interrupted, and we asked her about her favorite things to eat and how she was feeling. I even asked her if she could take a vacation anywhere in the world where it would be- and she said “Walmart”. LOL Easy to please! Then we prayed with her, hugged her some more, told her how proud we are of her and finally tucked her into bed (with her other sisters already snoozing away). We plan to do this with all of them- just a little extra time during the week to make sure we are truly connecting. In my dream world I would have hours and hours to just stare into every one of my children’s eyes and know every single thought they were having, and every single detail of their day. But since that is not possible with the way God designed our family we are just doing the best we can to make sure nobody is left behind, and that everyone knows how loved they are.

  11. blessedfamily
    December 12, 2008

    Your friend has a great plan! I’ll have to remember that.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy