Wednesday, February 11

Questions about having a large family

"How do you do it?"

We just do it. Whatever needs to be done next, well, that's what you do! And there are more hands for doing it!

"How do you keep your house clean?
Do you have help?"

Hwaahahaha! Oh, ha hahaha ha! Hee hee, ha, ha....

First off, I don't have a house cleaner (though I did for a brief stint while expecting Ella Catherine). And so I don't have a perfectly tidy house ninety percent of the time, any of the time, unless it is late at night and everyone else is sleeping. I'm good with that. This is a home, not a model house. There are supposed to be block towers and socks and baby dolls about and bare feet running and voices singing. It makes our home alive!

From the time they can walk, the kiddos help in some sort of way with chores. A two year old can hand silverware from the dishwasher or wipe at the cabinets with a damp washcloth. Eight year olds can stir a pot of soup or bake a cake for dessert with supervision. Working together as a family is actually enjoyable! Who woulda thought?

"You must have a lot of support to be able to have a big family."

Yes and no. For one reason or another, we don't have regular support from extended family. Some of them live far away and some of them have their own busy lives. What we do have, however, are awesome friends and church family and a homeschooling community for which I am very, very thankful. People often ask how I manage to educate our kiddos at home but the truth is I don't know that I could parent so fully without the support of the home education community.

Isn't it expensive to have a large family?

If you've been reading Cultivating Home for any length of time, you know that I am pretty frugal. I also hold strong opinions about what constitutes a necessary expense and what constitutes wise spending. By having a garden, cooking delicious home cooked meals, shopping second hand, sewing and such we actually have very few big expenses related to our children or ourselves. We strive to be debt free, owing only on our home and a bit left on our van.

What about vacations?

Well, besides all the perks of being self-employed.... I'm trying to think what those would be and am coming up short... one not so happy fact is that my husband is the business. He can only vacation when his office is closed. Which is on federal holidays.
So we take lots of Family Days! We love, love, love family days. Family Days are cheaper than a big vacation would be, come more often, and did I mention that we love them? Take for instance our zoo trip this past weekend. The zoo admissions for Jan/Feb are half price, the temperature was 50 (warm for us!), and the total cost for our family of seven - $6! We added in a quick stop to a thrift store and dinner ala a Wegman's picnic. It was a great day.
Some family days we visit Sean's grandparents, go swimming in the East Canada Creek, hang out at camp, butcher chickens, take a weekend trip someplace pretty, browse antique mills, stay home and go for walks, sled, cook a big meal together, have a bonfire... The possibilities are endless!


Pam said...

I loved that you called it "camp" when you referred to a family day one August. It reminded me of my grandmother's "camp" in New England, now in other hands. We would go up for a weekend, play in the brook, hear the squeak of the screen door, and lay awake at night listening to the adults talk downstairs, or cheat at contract rummy. Good memories!

goddessof4 said...

You are inspiring!!!! It can be done!! We have 4 kids and are trying to "save" or should I say not over spend!!!!! I have been buying clothes on sale when they are a great price,etc.I love to see that it is possible with a large family!!!! Sara

amy said...

Oh Hannah, this is exactly what we do, and we all love it. A day trip to the mountains, a waterfall, or wherever else we think of...and it is always so wonderful!

amy said...

Not to mention, I find being gone for a long vacation is always too tiresome. Children get grumpy, and everyone gets homesick. We long for beds and peace and relaxing. One, maybe two days, really is enough for everyone! We have to take a week trip next week because my step-mom passed away, so we have to attend her service. We have to go to CA... and then we will visit family and friends, which will be nice, but that length of time away is definitely not something ANY of us are looking forward to!

Anonymous said...

LOVE the Beatrix Potter books!
I found these kind at a thrift store and bought them for my youngest~she loves Beatrix Potter.
We too, love short vacations~keep 'em short and sweet!

Lynne said...

Hannah~ We love the Zoo too! Did you know you can get a family pass for $55? All year long! Plus they have relationships with other zoos that you can use the same pass to see for free. For us it has been totally worthwhile. 2 trips more than paid for it....