Life With Nine Kids

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Winning a Pie Contest and Meeting Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar (Why I really do love them)

 When we arrived at the Patriot Day Rally we had a few things to get in order: pie drop off, bounce house for kids, find some food. After we got our food I was happy the table seating was taken up because I instead parked us in the grass next to where the Duggar family was signing autographs and meeting people. There was a huge line to meet them. Some of their older kids noticed us as I started spreading out blankets for kids to sit on and as Ricky and I opened chips and drinks for little kids. I often feel like a busy and satisfied mother hen tending to my chicks as I'm: wiping faces, making sure they have the food they will actually eat, helping them with this and that, patting them on the heads, kissing their cheek and laughing at them... or telling them to be good/quiet down... or to STOP fighting.

 The line to meet the Duggar family got longer and longer. I had not planned on waiting in line. I went up close to take some photos of them talking to other people. I just wanted to observe. As more of the event unfolded the Duggar clan soon took the stage leaving the line of people on hold. Their kids sang, played violins, played piano, they talked. 

 I knew our little kids were going to grow bored so we headed off to the playground after a while. Jim Bob and Michelle were telling their life story together which included the motivation behind having a large family, but I already knew some of those things. I wanted to make sure my kids didn't get burnt out and bored so I could listen in later and be there for the winning pie announcement. Sebastian is at this really frustrating (for us all) 3-4 year old screaming/angry stage. He's very independent and having trouble expressing himself and controlling his anger so I try to keep him busy and unruffled.

 We played on the playground and then played closer to the event. We played duck-duck goose, red light green light and ran round like crazies. Sebastian screamed over something, I was worried about him having a meltdown but he was okay. 
Charlotte's unbaked cherry-raspberry pie

 When it was time for door prize announcements we moved in closer. 
my unbaked apple star pie

 Yay pie contest was up first!! Third place was a peanut butter pie, second place they announced was Charlotte! To which I jumped up and down and started yelling, "This is my 16 year daughter!! She won 2nd!!" I'm sure she was thrilled at my yelling. Hahaha. Then they announced my name for 1st place. I jumped up hollering and acting like I was at a pie rodeo. I grabbed Charlotte by the arm and pulled her up to the front of the podium with me. All the while I'm yelling, "Mother-daughter won, mother-daughter won!!" at the top of my excited lungs.

                                                                  I dorked out. Totally.

And not only did they say I won but they said that my pie was exceptional. I'm so happy!

 The lady handing us our ribbons questioned me with a smile, "Wait, did you say you're mother and daughter?" I proudly did not hesitate to confirm that fact once again. When we got back to our seats in the grass some other people asked if we were mother and daughter too. It was fun. Several people thought it was so neat! We thought it was pretty great to win together. Charlotte worked so hard on her pie!

 After we collected our other prizes/ gift certificates I realized I dorked out and Charlotte was sweet and reassured me that it was okay. She's so cute :)  Aunt Sharon had met us at the rally so she got to see. She was so glad she came and didn't miss it!

 It was dark and the little kids were bored, unfortunately the other fun things closed down. We didn't get to the mechanical bull ride or rock wall climb in time. It was a bummer. We walked around the back of the stage area and ended up at the end of the line to meet the Duggar family. I stepped in line and looked at my husband lovingly and asked if we should wait after all. Charlotte was all for waiting in line and so were Sage and Ethan. Ricky said sure but we both had the obvious worry about the younger kids. He took them for a walk to see some emergency vehicles on display. I strapped Everett into the Ergo baby carrier to nurse and he thankfully fell asleep. When Ricky came back Sebastian and Penelope sat in the double stroller and looked bored but tired. It wasn't long until they started fighting, crying or doing both. It was 8pm and dark. I thought the fireworks might start and that would be the perfect line waiting activity, but we found out they didn't start until 9pm. Somehow we entertained the kids, it was touch and go for a little bit but then things were fine. There were jumbo post cards with the Duggar family on them that we could get signed. The kids met about five of the Duggar kids, they were super friendly. They talked and answered questions if you instigated the conversation. I thanked them for being so nice to sign autographs and be at the event, they said they loved it.

 As I approached Jim Bob and Michelle I gushed with a big smile and they returned it. 

 They were just as fantastically refreshed and happy looking as they were at the beginning of the event. There is nothing wrong with the picture above, but I'm telling you they look better than this. Charlotte had mentioned earlier how much younger they looked in person, and it's so, so true! They look great and younger! They beam with happiness and gratitude for their happy and content lives. They glow with love for each other. That's what first attracted me to them so many years ago. As I gushed and told them we wanted a big family and now have seven kids they were super happy for us. I totally thought they probably hear that all the time and would be like 'oh yes that's so nice dear now run along'. But it wasn't like that at all, they were interested in our kids and us! I thanked them for being an inspiration to us and that having lots of kids was something we already wanted to do but were afraid to plunge into. I said, "People think you are crazy when you have a lot of kids." Jim Bob laughed, "Well it is a little crazy." :) I laughed back, "Okay, it's actually a lot crazy, but so wonderful! They said they had to get a picture with our family which really made me happy. I wasn't going to ask but they jumped right up and joined our kids in line for a picture. I was so happy they wanted too! 

 As I introduced Ricky to both of them Jim Bob shook hands with Ricky and quipped, "There's the good guy." I can totally see Jim Bob in politics (as he has been) he's very personable and very charismatic. Jim Bob took the time to ask how old Everett was as he slept in the Ergo even though Everett had his face hidden. Michelle commented on my Ergo baby carrier. (Moms bond over Ergos!)  She said, "Aren't Ergos the best carriers, we have a few of those."

 Nicest people I've ever met. They had met hundreds of people over the past 4-5 hours and they were that nice to us. I feel like they actually looked at the people they talked to and met.
 I don't care that they believe in somethings I do and somethings I don't. I don't care they are "extreme." I'm fascinated by them and always have been. We didn't have a big family because Jim Bob & Michelle did, but it has sure made me feel better about it at times. Made me feel less alone I guess. When they look at each other I see how Ricky and I look at each other. When I hear them talk about children it's how we feel about our children. It was wonderful meeting such wonderful happy people. I'm amazed they have so many children and I'm inspired by them in various ways.

 Sometime in late 2004 or early 2005, before people knew who they were,  I caught a TLC documentary on TV called 14 kids and pregnant again. Ricky and I had four kids and wanted another couple of kids at least. So this show was a must see for me. I thought four kids was busy...I couldn't wait to see how a household of 14 ran! This show was my first TV encounter with the Duggar family and it covered lots of things I wanted to know:
Why do they only have one closet?
How much do they spend on groceries?
How much laundry do they do every day? And who does it?
How can they support such a large family?
How does each child feel about being a member of such a large family?
What do they do for fun?
Where does everybody sleep?
Do the kids ever get in fights?
How are conflicts settled?
How do you home school so many different ages?

 I recorded the show and watched it with Ricky and we found it interesting. It was the first time that I truly believed we could have more kids and be okay. Soon I heard about them on morning shows and in follow up shows on TLC. I remember telling my husband after we had Penelope, baby number five, that I had heard 'that family with the 14 kids are up to 16 kids now.' They soon became a household name in our own home. I enjoyed hearing about their new additions. I recorded their documentary style TLC shows to show our kids how their big family ran as I struggled to find our own groove and routine. As the laundry and chores at my house piled up I felt like if they could do it so could I. We were also new to homeschooling at that time. The Duggars were the first family with more than five children that I remember being exposed to. They inspired me and helped me see that we could do what we wanted to do, which was have more kids because it was what we believed in and it was the path we felt truly lead to. Their birth control beliefs struck me as especially interesting because we hold our own unique and in some ways similar beliefs as well. It didn't matter to us that they are extreme in their lifestyle. They are who they are and I enjoy the pieces that I connect with, which is really what we should do with all people. Their love and commitment for their family, their beliefs, their home and each other was and still is full of familiar and happy inspiration for me. I feel like people think they need to be exactly like each other in order to respect, embrace or admire one another. The best thing I learned in my young adult years was that this notion is totally wrong and dangerous. The saddest thing I discovered is that people love to hate each other. It's all over in our society. When I really opened my eyes to it I saw it everywhere. We all expect our children not to bully each other but our society shows adult bullying and the berating of people all of the time. It's in the news, in our own lives, in celebrity news, on TV and movies. Hate because some one is too fat or thin, too ugly or too beautiful, too outspoken, gay, because of political or religious beliefs. Hate just because. Read the comments at the bottom of news stories and opinion pieces, the hate is thick. Hate is the default emotion of 'I don't agree.' The biggest change I made over the years was to make doubly sure I didn't hate on others for who they are and that I didn't teach hate to my children. I was already teaching that to my kids but I had to make sure I was living that way. I now try hard to find the good in people, because it's there.  When I started doing that I felt more free because of it. Learning how to do that in a society of bullying and self righteousness takes realization, acceptance, self discovery and at times effort.

In a world where we aren't rallying against abusers and rapists or rioting in the streets over hungry and abused children in our very OWN country, heck in our very own communities,  I hold a lot of sadness and disappointment in people who take the time to criticize the Duggar family.

Related topics:
In Defense of the Duggars  

The Anti-bully Bullies 

The Top 10 Most Bullied Internet Celebrities People just being people, except hateful people band together and decided when people apparently aren't allowed to just be themselves.

Cyber-bullying cripples even celebrities  

Cyber / Bullying Statistics 


Sarah said...

Hey, new reader, found your blog through the big family directory thingy. I am the youngest of nine kids. I have none of my own so far, (22, still in college) but want a lot of kids (probably about 6). That's obviously what drew me to this blog. Anyway, as a "survivor" of a big family, it's definitely possible to do. My siblings and I are still very close, they're honestly my best friends. It's not all peaches and creams, there was sibling rivalries, and PLENTY of "you love her more than you love me!" when we were kids. But, obviously I adored my childhood or I wouldn't want a big family myself. So, hang in there through the rough phases. I, too, am a big fan of the Duggars. Not only because of their big brood, but they do seem like the friendliest people. Also, those pies both look delicious! Love the stars in the crust!

Anonymous said...

I have just watched an episode of "19 kids and counting" on youtube( the only way to watch it here in Italy)and thought let´s see if there are any news on your blog. Maybe you remember me, the nineteen years old girl, who dreams of becoming a midwife and having a big family, I wrote to you once.
Now I found out that you not only have the same interests than me and share my love for vintage but you also like the Duggars! That might sound crazy, but sometimes I think you´re kind of my older me :)

Love, Sara

Anonymous said...

i have fan page and i have tab on the fan page of duggar fans meeting the duggars in person i would like to your permisson to use your picture of meeting the duggars~brittani

Mom of a bunch of great kids... said...

Hi Brittani,
Sorry for the delayed response! Thanks for asking, sure you can. Leave the link to your site here please, and provide a link back to my site from your site (near my photo) if you can.


Mom of a bunch of great kids... said...

Hi Sara!
That's so cool you like vintage things too! I keep meaning to start a vintage blog to share my love for various collections I have. How neat we have so much in common. I enjoy hearing from you!

Shauna :)

brittani said...

thanks shauna the blog name is duggar fan forever blog