Hi Little One.

My husband is 1 of 2 children. I am 1 of 4 children. And we both always grew up with other people living with our families in our home for stretches of time. It was a neat experience to learn how to live with “strangers” and navigate life in the same home together.

                When my husband and I got married, he wanted maybe 2-3 kids. I wanted like…. 23 kids. (Which is why I feel like 7 kids is a VERY reasonable compromise.)

                We are currently 5 kids in and it is extremely tiring, emotionally and physically. And also brings us the most intense joy we could every experience on this earth. To see our children learn a new concept, like tying their shoes, learning to read, riding their bike, discovering a new passion- it just brings about emotions that can only be described as almost euphoric. When we take the time to pause and and just bask in the greatness of the experiences of our family, the joy is overwhelming and the gratefulness is abounding.

 

                To be able to watch their personalities and character develop is extraordinary. To parent and nurture them in the unique ways their soul desires and needs is a blessing and a beautiful process. Their funny little sayings and desire to do good, their intense energy and crazy imagination truly puts us in awe. There are 5 of these little people running around. 5! That’s a lot of little hearts to steer in the right direction. That’s a lot of little feet to cloth with socks and shoes. That’s a lot of little mouths to feed. A lot of little boo boo’s to make better. A lot of tears to wipe. And a lot of heads to pray over as we got to sleep each night. And I love it.

 

                Its funny though because whenever my husband and I meet someone who came from a very large family (let’s say 6 or more siblings), we are very intrigued into their experiences growing up. And for some odd reason, all the people my husband meet say that they did not enjoy having a large family and they will choose to only have 1-2 children because of it.

                And yet, EVERY person I meet who came from a large family just RAVES about how wonderful it was and how wonderful it is. They talk about how much love and grace was expressed. They talk about how much fun they had. They talk about the unique relationships they have with each of their siblings. The memories they made and DO make. The inside jokes that were formed. The adventures they had. Often times, most of the siblings all live within the same state still and do monthly (or weekly) family gatherings. Some that I know, continue to live intergenrationally (which is actually something my husband and I would like to do as well when our children are grown.) All I tend to hear is what an incredible upbringing they had BECAUSE of being from a large family.

                When you really look back into history, it is mostly been since the invention of birth control that family size has been limited. And not to say anyone is bad or wrong for not having a large family, because I am not one to judge. I just know the desires on my heart are to be fruitful and multiple (and if it were up to me, I would continue having babies into menopause) but I have a partner in this life and we are a team, so that type of decision needs to be made together.

                I use these examples and testimonies from other people to my advantage and trust their words and heart in the matter because we are only just beginning our journey as a large family. There are 7 of us total right now. And our oldest child is freshly 8 years old. So, it still feels but the first step in this whole parenting gig. We are not seasoned in this process or our current roles in life. We have learned much in these past 8 years but I am so glad there is not a cap on how much we can learn and grow.

                We are continually watching video series on parenting and hosting small groups to become better parents and better families. We read books and talk about things we can change and ways to modify the process as the kids get older. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn new parenting tips and techniques and ultimately how to shape and grow the hearts of our children to love the Lord. How to mold them into respectful, responsible and loving human beings that live for Jesus.

                I don’t just think of the craziness we have now. That of babies and toddlers and so much mess and loudness. It’s all there and I can find the lovely in it all. But I also think of a few years from now and then I think of the teenage years. And I think of their adulthood and Christmas gatherings with all the grandkids. And then… then, I  think of eternity. And when I go beyond the craziness of RIGHT NOW with a big family and see the bigger picture, everything I’m doing RIGHT NOW makes a difference. It is has an impact on the future. It changes my attitude and my decisions now because I know there is so much more beyond right now as well. It helps me stay present in the moment, because what I’m doing today can affect my tomorrow.

                I had such the great opportunity to hear from the lovely gals of Hi Little One and hear a bit about their story of love and family. And I gotta tell ya, it was so neat to hear them talk about their mom. And the love they have for their large family of 8 siblings and how much they cherished their childhood together and stick close together in adulthood. I feel that is so rare nowadays. But they talked so sweetly about their mom. About how strict she was and about how much love she showered on them. And I couldn’t help but think that I hope my daughters one day think of me and talk of me with such esteem. That the decisions I made in raising them are viewed in the tangible way I loved them.

                The fact of it is, big or small, family is a blessing. Whether far apart or down the street, the love that extends between family members is extraordinary and unconditional if we but mirror the love we get from our Savior. There is SO MUCH love to go around. And the incredible relationships that exist between siblings is just inspiring. To see the gifts and talents each one brings to the table. And when joined together, the force they can create.

                I love hearing other peoples’ stories. Of how they were raised. What they loved about it. Their relationship with their parents. Their relationships with their siblings. What they want to replicate in their own children and families. What is YOUR story?

 

 All photos from  Melissa LeeAnn Photography

 

 

                Hi Little One is such a fun shop that makes custom t-shirts for your family. Whether it be a family gathering, a day out at the ballpark or a baby announcement, they have such creative ways to express your life story. Another really cool thing about them is that they give 10% back of all profits to organizations that support and are dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer. They truly live out their mission to show love and support and to lift families up in unity with purpose.