Life With Nine Kids

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baby Eight... memories and thoughts about our growing family

A New Baby is Coming!
As Everett moved from babyhood to toddler-hood we felt more and more like babies were really and truly ending for us. We felt this way with Sebastian too though...But...  -and there is always a "but" when you use natural family planning- we welcome this new baby into our hearts and home and we feel blessed and thankful for him or her. Having many, many, many children to us is just a part of our life and we embrace each baby as a gift and blessing.

The kids are completely excited and we are ready for another newborn. (We just don't think about the money, new car seats, bigger cars, teething, toddler hood meltdowns, temper tantrums, homeschooling, braces, and sleepless nights! ; ) We live in a bubble of bliss… New baby? No problem. We’ll fit the kiddo in somewhere. This is the basic attitude of big families. A lot can be solved with more bunk beds, faith, and love. Many don’t understand it, but those with big families I know seem too. 

Finding Out 
 I was afraid I'd have the morning sickness and fatigue I had with Everett.  I didn't end up that miserable thank goodness, but I was extremely whiny about the morning sickness for a little while because I just flat out gave into it. At that time I also had homeschool and toddler burn out and I just didn't feel like dealing with the added unhappiness of morning sickness. Ricky's positive and loving attitude helped so much. I didn't want to tell anyone about the baby right away because I didn't want to seem unexcited just because I didn't feel good. The news started coming out the week of Christmas but there's a lot of people that still don't know.

One night I was exhausted and ready to fall asleep. I crawled into bed and let myself sink into comfortableness. I tried to let the calm wash over me. Then I blurted out loudly, "How can this happen!? How does this happen to us??" Ricky smiled at me and scooped me up with both of his arms like a baby and said, "Well, when a mommy and daddy love each other very, very much..." I laughed at his sweetness and sense of humor. The look in his eyes was so seriously loving and wise. He effortlessly accepts our life together and the craziness it brings. I absolutely love being married to him. I love how much he loves babies. With his hand to my belly he told me that I need to hurry up and 'get fatter' so he has a baby-belly to rub. If I am nervous or have doubts -I just about ALWAYS do the first three months- about having another baby or what the future could bring he always knows what to say. I want to always remember the sincerity and love in his eyes for me and our babies/kids. He has so much faith and trust. It always helps me get through the hectic morning sickness days. The look in his eyes gives me the warmest feeling. Our life will get richer with laughter and happiness even if we get poorer in our finances and deafer from children yelling, running, playing and climbing up the walls. Whatever love and happiness and hardship and stress we will have in the months and years to come we will continue do what we've always done. I always feel like we don't know what we are getting ourselves into, but it's always okay. 

We are glad to have broken the fall baby streak! We have a lot of birthdays in the fall months:  two August children, two in September and one in October. The youngest kids ask constantly about this spring/summer and the baby. Everyone in the house seems to be talking about this June. Even at the dentist's office yesterday Sebastian asks me, "Mom how long until June again?" This baby has already stolen our hearts and brought meaning and joy to all of our lives. I feel like having a party when the baby is born, the kids can make and hang decorations, balloons, party poppers and a cake. I'll let them wrap some clothes, cloth diapers and baby blankets up. It will keep them busy. I think I'll have a tub of supplies ready for them for them and they can do it the day -or the week- the baby is born. Something fun they can do and plan all on their own.

Family is the essence that helps define our identity
Over the past five months I have reflected on and realized what a huge family we have created and how layers upon layers of family have started because of us. We get caught up with life, work, money and chores but don't always stop to think about what we have created as the result of our calling to have a giant family. I got to thinking about siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents...I got to thinking about when I was growing up and how I thought I had a big family (my parents are each one of four children and my dad remarried and had 5 children total (I'm the oldest of the five). Growing up I did have a big family, the biggest of anyone I knew. We had: big holidays, big picnics, big family turnouts at school plays/sports, big weddings, big Easter egg hunts, packed BBQ's. I grew up with a nice large group of brothers and sisters; someone to always love, annoy, and play with. I grew up with a handful of cousins, too. My entire extended family even likes loves to vacation together.

This realization did make me really sad though because I live 1500 miles away from most of these people, including every one of my siblings and parents. I wish we were shuffling our eight kids to family gatherings taking up lots of space and sharing good times, hard times, and love with everyone.  My sadness was filled with joy too though because even though I'm far away and wish I had my large family near us, our kids still have each other. They are growing up with a large family foundation, siblings and playmates. We do have family here too (his and mine) and that is special and wonderful in many ways but we still live a couple or few hours away from them and miss seeing them. When I think about all this I can't help but to imagine what our family will bloom into when our kids have kids, and their kids have kids. We have created a potentially monster size family that will grow into generations of love, morals and togetherness --if we did our job correctly.

The way we followed our hearts and beliefs as we were lead to have eight children is still somewhat surreal to us since we live in a society that thinks it's weird. However the enormous amount of congrats and support we receive is amazing, and from what I hear from other large families pretty unheard of. The majority of people we know care about us, believe in us, and respect us. It's truly a blessing and it means SO, so much to me. I hear from or read about other big families and so many of them have terrible stories to tell about strangers being disapproving, or even their own family members saying rude things to them about having a large family! I feel elated and blessed that I can say we have never had to go through that. Even so, each time we announce another pregnancy we do so semi-nervously. We feel happy and in love and excited in our home...and then sometimes we feel awkward and nervous about what other people think. Of course we shrug it off, of course it only ultimately matters how WE feel. If we are doing a great job and if our kids are happy and are raised in an awesome loving home... that is truly what matters. It's still sometimes weird to be the "weird ones" that have never heard of birth control or the ones that don’t know what "causes that." :)  So I wanted to write and remember how much I appreciate the support and congrats we ALWAYS get. This is our baby; it doesn't matter if a pregnancy is the first or the third to a couple -or the 15th- Our baby is OURS and we love him or her and that baby is already a part of everything we do and love.

On Thanksgiving Day the kids wrote things they were thankful for on our chalkboard. 
Before going to bed I saw our stick family selves with the words Big Family above it, complete with a belly on me and Sebastian holding a sword, and it filled me with a lot of joy.  During this time I was coming out of morning sickness, we were having a hard time with the flu and Everett was a very demanding and cranky toddler. It is inspiring to me that the kids were excited and full of gratitude during even some tough times.

Layla made this picture around the new year and I just love it. I couldn't believe it when she showed it to me. She worked very hard on it and there's a lot of love in it. I love how her sisters and her all have hearts and flowers on them. She wrote 'love' on her shirt and I'm touching her Dad's arm. She dates pictures herself which is wonderful. This is a family treasure I'll hang up on my wall and never take down.

We add personalized family ornaments to our tree every few years or so. This year we had to upgrade to a Christmas decoration that sits on a shelf in order to get all our names together.

Ricky gave this to me for Christmas in honor of our new baby. It says "Baby's first Christmas." I have a Santa Claus collection and every year I get a new Santa or two from family members. I teared up at how sweet and thoughtful it was! How memorable and meaningful this is!

My Grandma Wanda and Aunt Sharon brought a Christmas stocking over for the new baby on Christmas right along with the other kids'. It's not shown but it had a taped name card on it that said "New Little Baby."

 My dad sent me this email after I emailed him that I was sick, my voice was gone, and that I had a Pre-Christmas surprise --I am pregnant.
1)  Love You
2) Being sick sucks!
3) Being sick with still having Mom duties sucks even more.
4) This is the first time I have been TOTALLY surprised about your new gift from God.
5) Eight’s enough (unless its not)
6) Nine would be a baseball team
7) Ten would be TWO basketball teams
8) Eleven would be a football team
9) I am excited---- YOU having another baby seems to be the only way we get anymore grand kids
10) Get better and have a MERRRY MERRRY Christmas
11) Love YOU

A friend just sent me her copy of the newest Duggar book to read and it's the perfect timing! I'm very thankful! It's inspiring for me to read and enjoy the Duggar family after going through a lot of stress and being really cranky with the kids lately. I had just talked to Ricky about how over the past few months I started a really bad habit of taking my stress out on the older kids, grumbling at them, and being over critical of how they do things. I expressed to him the fears I had that they would grow up and be that way if I did not change. I have changed this habit dramatically over the past couple weeks and told them I was wrong to act that way and I'm sorry. Reading about the Duggars makes me feel more grounded, inspired, organized, motivated, and more thoughtful in general. We have always focused on and aspired to raise a family full of love, compassion and respect for each other as they do.

This is what I mean new little baby -you are already a person that we love. Welcome to our lives little baby, we’re so glad you’ve come to us!


Crafty P said...

this is so encouraging to me right now ;) congratulations to your beautiful family!

Brac and Zoe's Mama said...

I just stumbled upon your blog through a search. Love what I'm reading. ;)
While my family isn't quiet as large as yours we are expecting #4 in June. Congrats on your new little one as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy for you and your family! Wish you all the best! By the way, I'm going to be a midwife and I love to hear this kind of news!

Anonymous said...

I forgot to write my name ;) I'm Sara from Italy

Anonymous said...

congratulations to you and your family shauna! i am due just a month after you, in july, with baby #4! you are an inspiration to me and i love keeping up with your family. we hope to have at least 6 little ones. here is my blog:

Anonymous said...

Mary Alice said...

I'm happy to get caught up with your family news, Shauna. Although I know you needed to leave FB and other distractions I've missed seeing photos and knowing how everyone is doing. I've missed seeing all of you (since Charlotte's wonderful birthday party). I think Bella and I need a road trip sometime soon for a real visit and to see how everyone (including you) have grown.

Thanks for the update. I'm going to remind myself to check your blog more often!

Arkay said...

I know that when I hear you are having another baby, I feel joy-because I know you respect and love your children, and you honor your responsibility of raising a family very seriously. You are thoughtful and committed parents. Of course we rejoice for you!