I can NOT believe I am over halfway through this pregnancy!! My first trimester seemed to drag on f-o-r-e-v-e-r, but now…oh I just love second trimester! I feel great, sleep better, and I don’t look quite bad. But I will tell you how I do look: pregnant. I tend to show very early now…I feel like I need maternity clothes the day after I pee on the stick! I’m past the point of when you see me, you think, “does she need to lose a few, or….” There’s no question now that there’s a baby in this belly! I am feeling a lot more movement now too, which is always super fun and special, no matter how many times you’ve felt it before.
And with this belly…come the questions. Oh, the questions and the comments. I have Facebooked (is that a legit word yet?) about them. We get stopped by everyone – people at the grocery store, restaurants, or at the park. If we go out as a family, you can literally see older people pointing their fingers and counting the heads of our little ones. Some people are polite and fun about it. Other people are not, like the gentleman at the health food store who asked us, in front of the children, if we ever felt like committing suicide. Or the guy at Kroger who asked me if we were on welfare. Or the lady at Arby’s who poked fun at what their names must be and made a comment about our finances. Yup, it really happens. All the time.
Don’t get me wrong. We do try to respond in grace, and I do believe that most of the time, we do! I would be lying, though, if I said we haven’t had our moments. It is beyond me, though, the freedom that people feel to make comments about us without any foreknowledge of our situation. You know? That people feel the “right,” if you will, to approach you with very personal questions! Very personal! I think people are skeptical when I say we get these comments, but I assure you: we get them very frequently.
So, I figured why not post some of that information? Clearly, people want to know, because I’m tired of being asked. So here goes!
Are these all your children?
No….I tote neighbor kids around just for fun! We always say something simple, like “yes, they are,” and smile. That is usually met with a “wow/whoa/holy cow!” “Better you than me!” “Wow, you’re brave!” “Bless your hearts!” Now that I am pregnant with #7, we seem to get asked this even more often than before.
Don’t you know what causes that?
Ahem. Yes, we do, and is it our fault that we’re really good at it? *innocent shrug*
Are you going to have anymore?
How should I know? I can’t predict the future. However, God is already there. He knows the numbers. I do not, and that is ok.
Do you homeschool?
You would probably be surprised how often this question follows the first. Must come with the territory! And it is always met with an enthusiastic, “yes, we do!”
How old are they?
14, 7, 7, 5, 3, 20 months, and due in October. There are 3 boys and 3 girls, and we will not know the sex of this baby until he/she makes the grand entrance. Everyone is rooting for their tiebreaker!
What does your husband do for a living?
Yes, I get asked that too. He is a software engineer for a small software company in Tennessee – as if it matters, because it doesn’t.
How do you do it? or How do you afford it?
It really kind of bothers me how frequently we get asked this question. In a way, the answer is easy. I can tell you that where God guides, He provides. He has created each one of these lives, and He continues to provide for them, through us, in amazing ways. Does it mean sacrifice? Sure. There are lots of details. I would like to do a more detailed post in the future. For now, some basics:
Our van is 14 years old and has 235k miles on it. It is getting rusty, but we hope it lasts to at least 300k!!
I shop consignment sales for children’s clothing and toys (think massive yard sales) and store sizes ahead of time in a tote system we have for up to 2 years ahead of the current size. I also find good maternity clothes at these sales. I rarely, if ever, shop in season. I also tell very gracious grandparents if we need particular clothing items!
Speaking of shopping…I am very cheap, er, I mean, frugal. I am guilty of never buying things for myself, but I don’t feel badly about that at all! I shop clearance all year round, just looking for amazing, rare deals. I once scored a decent lot of toddler shorts from a nice department store for less than $1 a pair! I have found new, nice dress pants for the husband for $1.50. You never know what you might find on a clearance rack.
We try to only eat out if we have a gift card, good coupon, or there is a “kids eat free” night that is worth it for us (some of them are not, because there is a limit of one free child per adult – not great at this point).
I buy most of our homeschool materials used or discounted. There are large, used book sales and also discounts offered at homeschool conventions. I also find a surprising amount of paper and things at the $1 store! Homeschooling does not need to be expensive. That is a terrible myth.
We do not have the luxury of vacationing very often…or really, at all. We haven’t been anywhere since….well, I guess since the twins were about 18 months old. I guess that’s been a while, huh!? But again, it is ok! There is a time. We are working on something for this year, since the timing is good with pregnancy and other children, but it doesn’t always work out other times for many reasons. If we are able to do something, you can believe that we’ll be taking a lot of our own food and stuff like that! We do other things throughout the year though, like free parks, museums, aquariums, zoos, and small day trips. Those times are just as memorable and fun!
Since we homeschool, we stay home. That sounds insignificant, I know – but it makes a huge difference! If I am out, I spend money. Whether it be on gas, a snack if we need it and didn’t bring it, or shopping when I didn’t plan to, or what have you – staying home saves money.
I hope you enjoyed reading some of these. There are many more, but these are the first few that came to mind. It doesn’t bother me that people notice us, if you are wondering. Of course, no one likes to hear rude comments, no matter what the comments are about! But we love the opportunity to share that we embrace having a larger family, and that it brings us joy to do so. We do more than “survive.” Hopefully, it gives people some hope for themselves or someone they know. Who knows, right?