Preparing To Be A Large Family

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We are a large family by the world's standards, but a small family compared to some. My husband and I have five children ages 11, 8, 5, 2 and 1. Since I'm a nurse and stay-at-home mom, we're believing God for the right special needs adoptive placement as well.  The Lord has opened our hearts over the years and now we want a big family. In recent years we've been making lifestyle choices based on the family size that is on our hearts. We're aware that the biggest cost of having children is the giving of ourselves.  Here are some of the growing family concepts that I'm working on instilling in our home now. Prayerfully this will help our family flow as we add more children to our dynamics.

Leave a cushion of time when going out. Our church service starts at 10:00 a.m., and it takes us 30 minutes to get there. Our goal is to leave at 9:00 a.m. If a lost shoe or sudden diaper change holds up our departure we still have time to get out the door without the rushed feeling. And yes, the rushed feeling still comes upon us at times.

The siblings help one another. We're training our children to help their brothers and sister. An older child helps a younger child put on shoes. I ask older children to fix a sippy cup for a younger child. Our 11 year old will often put the 2 year old down for his nap. Many times a young child curls up in the lap of an older one with a story and a request to snuggle. I like to pair a younger child with an older child for chore time. This trains the older sibling how to teach and lead with love, and it trains the younger child how to receive instruction.

I save clothing. I just pulled a large trash bag down from our attic. It was full of barely worn shoes and clothing for our 2-year old son. The clothing and shoes have been saved from our now 8 & 11 year old sons. It's wonderful to see clothing put to good use over several children. Of course there are some items that after a few rounds need to be re-purposed into sewing material or cleaning rags.

We're planning a family closet. We don't have a family closet completed as of yet. But we are working on it. A family closet is a central location where we'd have the bulk of our family clothing organized by size/gender. This is a project that I'd like to have completed before the next baby. My husband has started buying shelving and is thinking out our plans.

Just say NO to debt. We drive used vehicles that my husband can complete the repairs. When we purchase a “new” used vehicle we try to buy one that is larger than our current needs. For instance when our van died last Summer we bought a gently used 12 passenger van so we had room to grow. We don't use credit cards or take out personal loans. The Lord has provided us with many of the desires of our heart.  We've also learned several ways to cope financially when we homeschool.

Build a family library – At homeschool meetings, the thrift store or websites like half.com, I am always on the look out for great library building books. I desire living books; treasures that come alive when we read them, and whet our children's appetite for great literature. It's delightful to have shelves abounding with gems for the children to discover, and we truly enjoy our read aloud time.

Collect great family games. Family game time is very important in our house. We play a variety of wholesome games. If you don't have a big game collection already, start by picking up one game at a time. It may take a few years, but soon enough you'll have a sizable collection. You can read more here about how we make a frugal home full of learning.

Life is a family effort. We all work together. People often ask me how I manage “doing it all” with five children, two of which are toddlers. I remind questioners that I don't do it all myself. Everything we do is as a family. Whether it's a fun activity or once-a-month-grocery-shopping--we do it together. This is a great aspect of keeping our kid's hearts as well.

Cultivate encouraging conversation. I build up having a growing family with our children through encouraging conversation. We want to show them that family is a good thing. When we are on a trip or outing and a stranger says the classic “boy, your hands are full,” or “are they all yours,” I know my children are listening to my reply. I remind people that children are a blessing and that they are God's idea. I verbally strengthen our children that we are salt and light. People are drawn to the light in us, which is Jesus, and we must radiate God's love to those He sends our way.

Save the good toys. We go through our toys and donate often. There are some toys that we hold onto. The timeless ones that every child seems to adore. For our family those toys have been Legos, Mega Blocks, train table and trains, and Little People.

Enjoy your home. My goal in this busy world where everyone is running from thing-to-thing {and believe me we find ourselves in those seasons too} is to stay home as much as possible. I want to actually live in our house and be happy at home, not just use it as a crashing pad. There is safety, peace and rest in the family home.

How are you preparing to be a large family? If you already fall into the large family category do you have any advice for a wanna-be like me?