Our Large Family

Our Large Family Homeschool Mom Blog

FROM WENDY:

Who are we and what is our large family all about?

We are Jamin and Wendy. We are two former elementary school teachers turned small-business owner (online piano lessons) and homeschooler. We are more famously known for having six children in seven years, four curly-haired girls with the two most awesome brothers. Yes, that means I’ve been pregnant for basically forever. And no, our house is never quiet. I like to think of it as managed chaos; dramatic concerts, nerf gun wars, and toddler tornadoes are the norm.

We bring two very different personalities to the table. Jamin is a musician and business owner, and has been dubbed The Fixer Papa. He’s most often the mastermind behind the streamlined systems that help lower our chaos. He’s also known to daily remark on how much he likes all these kids that live in our house, and to attempt to cram into each week as many memory-creating adventures as the schedule will allow.

I am a teacher at heart, and my favorite thing is teaching kids of all ages to read and write. Homeschooling is my current #1 hobby, but I can also often be found trying to squeeze in an extra half hour to chalk-paint a free Craigslist dresser, or make a diy burlap wreath in twenty five-minute sessions while the kids play on the trampoline every afternoon. I love making our home a beautiful place, and cultivating peace and connectedness in our surroundings and in our relationships.

What are we doing here? There are so many people with so many great ideas and advice on how to successfully raise happy families. “Pray together, read bedtime stories, homeschool, use essential oils, eat family dinner regularly…” Don’t get me wrong, these are some really great things and we do a lot of them. But we aren’t here to tell you how it’s done. Mostly because we don’t know. In fact, we’re pretty sure there are plenty of things we’re not doing right.

But we are on a journey to be our best, to make our home and family life reflective of our core values, and to help our kids become the best versions of themselves. We recognize that that is not going to look the same for our family as it does for the one down the street. And we’re good with that. Our desire is to find and invest in the adventures that make us, us. Whether it’s the rhythms and relationships that make up our day to day moments, or the momentous events that are looked forward to with excitement, we hope to be able to look back fondly on the wild adventure that was parenting without regrets.

We feel crazy blessed to be on this journey. So much of any of our current “successes” are really the result of great wisdom others have shared with us, either in person or online. We’re super grateful for all that has been available to us, and we would be so thrilled to encourage you and your family in your own adventure.

JAMIN RESPONDS: Aw!  You’re adorable! I like you a lot. I think that hoping to look back without regrets is too ambitious.  I can’t think of any period of my life where that is true, but I certainly hope to limit them.  Also, “successes” shouldn’t be in quotes.  We’ve done some things right.  I totally agree on the blessed and grateful part.

FROM JAMIN:

tldr: Have kids or do drugs. We have a ton. Of kids. Not drugs

We have a large family. We got 6 kids. Cuz. That’s why. Cuz. Cuz we liked the first 5, but finances get tight at some point so we gotta draw an arbitrary line somewhere. Maybe we’ll adopt some more down the line. Kids are the best. But that’s a separate topic for a separate post. No, you know what? Let’s do it now. Let’s get into it! If you’re not married, you’re missing out on the second best (and potentially worst) thing in life. And the best (potentially worst) thing in life is kids. Not like the funnest thing. The funnest things are sex and drugs. But kids are the most fulfilling. That’s not my opinion, that’s Darwin talking, baby.

Virtually nothing in my life that I thought mattered actually mattered when I had kids. And all that other stuff that’s important and innovative? That was almost entirely built because of the deepest urge to procreate. So you can get create a following, invent the next big thing, make a fortune, but if you’re not using it to put babies on earth, mother nature says you’re doing it wrong. Religious/moral convictions aside, kids are the only game in town. Sure, kids are expensive. Sure, they’re inconvenient. Sure, life is a lot simpler without them. But when you have them and love (the dedicated act, not the feeling) them, you realize nothing else mattered. It’s like that first time you did ecstasy…and if you haven’t done E, you gotta try it! (Don’t do drugs, kids. They’re bad and will ruin your life.) I’ve never actually done any drugs, but I hear the way it makes the rest of life melt away is amazing.

So if you got another hustle going on, great. Keep at it. If you enjoy it and don’t want kids, cool. Don’t have them. Your (and their) life is better off that way. But if you change your mind, give in, and finally have them, just know you’ll regret it every single day of your life.  Your laundry will pile up as a giant monument to your inadequacy and you’ll question yourself constantly as they drain your bank account like bitter baby mama, and those kids will fundamentally erode your self-perception on a deeper level than you ever knew possible, leaving only a shell of the person you thought you were and replacing the core of your being and beliefs with an unrecognizable contradiction of everything you used to stand for…just like every other truly important decision in life will do.

(By the way, not having kids because “we can’t afford them yet” or “we’re not ready yet” is BS! You’ll find the money. You’ll find the time. You’ll learn. Have kids when you both really want to have kids…but this really is a separate topic for a separate post.)

Everywhere we go, my wife and I constantly get the same questions and the same comments, like, “You know how that happens, right!?” or “You sure have your hands full,” or “Are you Catholic or Mormon?” and the dozen other comments you thought of when you saw our family picture. That’s fine. That’s fair. When I’m introduced to an extremely tall person I have a hard time not saying, “Man, you’re tall,” or “How’s the weather up there?” So whatever. My life is weird and apparently compelling to a lot, if not a majority, of people.

And we don’t do it the “right” way. We don’t parent the right way. Just ask our parents. Or friends. Or kids in 20 years! We don’t interact with each other the right way. We don’t have the right balance of life and work, or reward and punishment, or spending and saving, or anything. We also don’t believe there is a right way. There are almost definitely wrong ways (don’t shake your babies…I’ve seen billboards about that!?! Are there really people shaking babies!?! I’m definitely in favor of keeping those people’s genes from carrying on, but there’s got to be a way to take care of that before the fact…?), but labels are for soup cans, and labeling one way “the” right way is a waste.

What we can do is try out a bunch of stuff, minimize the damage we do to each other and our kids, and keep the stuff that seems to give us the biggest return for the investment. Oh – and encourage and inspire others. Wendy says I’m supposed to say “encourage and inspire others.” I guess that’s why we’re here: to make you feel normal, and like you’ve got a good shot at this life thing. Or at least we can be a severe warning to you of what life can be like if you live it like us!  So we’re bloggers now. I guess. Or vloggers?  We’re I-own-a-computer-and-made-a-place-to-dump-my-thoughts-ers.

Plus, we have gotten a lot of help from the other bloggers out there who have shared their stories and helped us feel like our struggles are surmountable. This might be a cool way to give back to the large family community and also give my wife, a stay-at-home mom, a creative outlet where more than just our children can appreciate and use the systems we have made and stolen.

But Googling large family vloggers makes me angry. These are horrible human beings! I mean, I’m a bad human being and I’m way better than these people! These YouTubers whore out the spectacle of their children for attention like Arrested Development’s Bluth Boyfights, but they’re not even getting any fortunes in most cases! Just attention!

Sorry about wasting your childhood, sweetie, but daddy was trying to earn the 100k subscriber award from YouTube. I’m sorry your best and worst moments were displayed to the world without your consent, and I prioritized editing compelling video of your life over living a good life with you, but a healthy relationship just wasn’t going to be as click-bait-y.” These family experiences are supposed to be sacred! “Kid’s first crush!” “Kid’s broken nose!” “Kid’s embarrassing fail!” Just the thumbnails drive me cRaZy!

I would recommend they get a real job, but this useless scum is not hire-able by any employer, since they’ll provide no marketable value to anyone except their own kids, who have no choice but to put up with their lack of self-control.  I guarantee when they put their media together, they edit out the parts that would actually embarrass them, but include anything of their kids that they think will get clicks.  I hope the kids tag me in ten years on their Go-Fund-Me page to raise the money for their lawsuits against the parents, because deterring more of the same is one of the noblest causes I can think of.

It has to be that one of these day care workers (“parent” seems too charitable a term for these childhood-wreckers) have a kid run up to them, as all mammals are want to do with a serious injury, and instead of heartbreak (the normal human reaction, prompting love, attention and care), the adults just see clicks and ‘likes’ just like a cartoon banker’s dollar signs in their eyes. The only punishment these people administer is not loving discipline for the future health of the child, but verbal abuse when a kid wipes away the blood from their own wounds before mommy has a chance to take a decent picture for her Instagram feed. You people suck! If there was a god your children would have been given to someone farther up the ladder of humanity, like the Uni-bomber or Bill Cosby or a sock puppet. So whenever this blog find its voice or whenever this thing ends, I just want to have avoided being that!

And hopefully we’ll include some helpful tips and jolly anecdotes. Enjoy 🙂

WENDY RESPONDS: Wow, I wonder how Jamin feels about large family vloggers, lol. I do agree wholeheartedly that kids are the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done in life. My current gig as mom is hands-down my favorite. And yes, “encourage and inspire” is what we hope to do…or at least what I hope to do. Maybe you’re just hoping to get a laugh 😉 Either way, I’m happy to be in this thing with you :).

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