I’m Very Glad To Be My Children’s Mama

January 10th, 2008
Categories: Large Families

My biggest fan club, the only folks on earth who never question the size of our family and the people who know me best are my 39 children. Our family is spread out from ages 5 to 34, I’ve obviously never had all of my children live with me at any one time and I’ve had the benefit of being in my fourth decade now of parenting. Starting in the early seventies with an only child until she was 14 in 1987, now twenty years later, I’ve watched most of my children grow up. I’m home now with my last batch of darlings, ages 5-18. I’ve explained our numbers many times. When one adopts Hispanic sibling groups, one’s family rapidly increases. I am absolutely… [more]

Feeding Everyone

January 7th, 2008
Categories: Large Families

I don’t know why the numbers still surprise me. If 40 or so family members show up for dinner, it’s going to take 180 bean and cheese enchiladas to fill everyone up. I stood in front of my huge black skillet, frying corn tortillas while other kids grated several pounds of cheese and heated beans, someone else rolling them all up to then douse with enchilada sauce and cook in the oven. I’ve had all but one of my sixteen grandkids here in the house over the last several days, some spending the night, and some staying a few days. When I knew in my heart I could manage of family of 39 children, I didn’t exactly factor in the amount of grandchildren. I… [more]

Celebrating Christmas Quietly

December 19th, 2007
Categories: Large Families

I am radically changing our expectations for Christmas. With the strong emotional support of my older children we are greatly reducing the “presents” aspect. I wrote a post here explaining it better, but the bottom line is my intention of reducing anxiety and the ridiculous commercialistic expectations. In reality, it’d take a bucket load of presents to produce the capped teeth, artificially white smiles of delight that one sees on TV when Christmas is portrayed. And even if I could afford to heap expensive presents on children, what message would I be sending? That ‘things’ make one happy? I greatly prefer simplicity, a more austere lifestyle. My mom, now 77, has often remarked on the fact that I’ve always lived beneath my means. Not being… [more]

Leadership in a Large Family

December 2nd, 2007

I’m often in the middle of several books, depending on my mood or the events surrounding me. I might prefer a true crime page turner or a garden book. I read less about adoption now, maybe I reached my saturation level but I think I’m finding more help and motivation as I read leadership, coaching and management books. With a large family such as ours, I’ve found that a mom needs to be a coach and a manager, a leader and a person of influence. I always feel as if I have many irons in the fire, and I need to manage my time so as best to meet everyone’s very individual and unique needs. After 34 years of parenting, much of it now is automatic but… [more]

Celebrating Birthdays in a Large family

December 1st, 2007

Several folks have asked me about our birthday situation. Even with 39 children, there’s still me and my parents who live with us, plus 16 grandchildren and seven in-laws, it can mount up. I hope I never see another sheet cake as long as I live, for so long we’d bake one and slap some candles on it until we all felt we’d barf if I ever served another one. Vanessa, my 17 year old, liked to add an ice cream layer but we weren’t fooling anyone – it was still a sheet cake. Lately kids have requested ice cream cones instead or Krispy Kreme donuts because it is genetically impossible to ever tire of them. But cakes aside, even the presents could get tossed out the… [more]

Taking Some Time For Me: Good Advice For Mothers

November 29th, 2007

Usually fueled by my passion to get things done, I run around the house after the kids have gone to school. With five more grandchildren – oops, now 6 of them – living here, my house takes a beating. I can deal with that and I get a sense of accomplishment plowing through my chores and starting dinner early since I cook from scratch. But today, first thing in the morning I had to deal with a grown up child of mine, 31, and her two year old son. I absolutely lost my patience in a huge way as she’s let a pile of circumstances force her into immobility. Like a slug, she’s dug herself a financial pit and isn’t doing… [more]

A Thanksgiving Celebration

November 24th, 2007

I realize that I’ve already over-covered the Holidays Are Hell Syndrome in the adoption of older children. Now I’m coming at it from an advanced perspective. Eventually this syndrome can fade from memory. Now after many, many years, with the successful navigation of family dinners and other holiday expectations exceeded, my grown children are happy participants, paving the way for the younger children to finally follow suit. I’ve proved for so many years that I, unlike the birth parents from which they were removed, will not drink alcohol nor use drugs and mess up a celebration. Conversely I’ll cook my brains out, maintain law and order, and provide yet another happy experience to remember fondly. One of my newest sons, coming up on his three year… [more]

So What If I Have 39 Children?

September 6th, 2007

If I had gone to Haiti and opened an orphanage for 39 children I’m certain that I would receive a great deal of financial support and accolades. If one chooses to adopt that many children, one is viewed as odd. There must be something wrong with this person. No sane person would choose to devote their life to traumatized children. Let’s investigate this person. I’m just about tired of that reaction to my family. Just because others cannot imagine having to do this, to live like this 24-7, doesn’t mean that it is a life not worth living. If I had to scrapbook, get my nails done, or match my clothes correctly everyday, I’d be angry and frustrated over my inabilities to do so. Yet I’d be… [more]

Growing Our Own Security

September 2nd, 2007

We’re down to only two refrigerators and three freezers now. My kids get nervous if I get down to just two gallons of milk in the house, coming from a deprived background they nervously fear the imminent return of empty cupboards so I over do. We have a walk-in pantry, lined with shelves and I keep it at least 90% full at all times, I try and stay ahead of five nights of dinners for 25 folks. We live too far out from the grocery store and it seems like such a time sucker to me to wander its aisles, I try and go just once a week if possible. I’ve lived nearly 15 years in our present house and we’ve steadily planted fruit trees, bushes… [more]

Parenting A Large Family

September 1st, 2007

“Since the time I was sent to elementary school, my feet have marched to the beat of a different drummer than Everybody Else’s. The difference caused me much grief as a child; much success as an adult.” As usual, this is not an original thought of mine but I read it today in this book, nodding my head in absolute agreement. I think I know what other girls thought about as they talked about it as well. I never dreamed about getting married and having kids even though I eventually did both, and more than once each. I dreamed about damming up the creek at the bottom of my back yard from third through fifth grade, it was constantly on my mind. I loved that creek and… [more]