February 7, 2009

NY Times take on Large Families

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 2:48 pm

And the magnifying glass on large families continues. This time a New York Times article which features interviews with me and my blogging-mate here at Mega-Moms, Kim/kmomof12.

The article also features a picture of my family. And, I have to say, it’s kinda irritating that after 45 minutes of picture shooting and literally dozens of pictures taken, they chose the one that shows the torn wallpaper in our living room (courtesy of my severely autistic son, Raif–not the fact I have a large family) and some religious pictures in the back. I really feel this was an attempt to portray the dirt-poor, religious-fanatic, white-trash that have large families. Though, I should note, Jim and I worried about that wallpaper, and even considered some quick fix before they came. But, the bottom line is we are who we are. We’re not ashamed of it, and if the world wants to think that of us, fine. Thankfully, the people who really matter don’t jump to such quick conclusions and judge us on who we are, not if we have a *gasp* religious picture on the wall.

I have to just shake my head at the “freak show” comments. Granted, even though a lot of the large family shows do have that element, there are some really good portrayals too. The “Kids by the Dozen” series was a prime example of how you can focus on the hardships and the positive. Anyhow, although the article tried to sound neutral, I don’t believe it was very positive.

Kmom did an awesome job speaking for the large-family community. Even though I talked to the reporter for a half an hour, they didn’t use a lot of what I said. But I could kinda see that since the reporter I talked to really wanted to focus on the “nasty comments” and such, and I wanted to talk about other more positive stuff. She was actually on the phone with me, reading the message board on LOK, laughing at the comments other large-family moms were making. *sigh*

The article had a lot of good stuff, and I think Meagan Francis did a nice job defending LFs as well. Though, there was enough to irk me, particularly this: “But as families have shrunk, and parents helicopter over broods tinier yet more precious, a vanload of children has taken on more of a freak show factor.”

Smaller families are more precious. It’s really sad to see it articulated, and even sadder to realize that for most of the world, that’s how they truly feel. Oddly enough, most large families I know are very open to the idea that families of all size should be cherished. A large family isn’t for everyone, just like a small family is not where everyone want to be.

Either way, my kids had a blast at the photoshoot, even Raif–though at the end he had more than enough and walked up to the woman and said, “goodbye” and gestured to the door! I’m going to write more about that now at the Special Needs blog if any of you are interested.

Oh, and the photographer did some kind of fish-lense thing, I presume to get my house into the shot. Jim looks way tall, and he’s not. And our scale is off. But…oh well.

Here’s the link: And Baby Makes How Many?

Oh, and if anyone is interested to read how my autistic son did at the shoot, you can check out my post at the Lots of Kids and Special Needs blog: HERE.


February 6, 2009

Only children more likely to have large families?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 1:32 pm

Good Morning America did an interesting story on the idea that children from one-child families are more likely to want large families. I am not sure how accurate that is. I think as with most things, you find a few people who did have that thinking, and suddenly someone calls it a “trend”. Either way, our own blogger msjennbug was featured in the online clip. Be sure to check it out here. (Doesn’t Jenn and her family look great?)

Only children with big families

February 2, 2009

What’s that sound?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — kmomof12 @ 3:05 am

Oh yeah, it’s the sound of that mega family in the corner…sucking all the resources out of the government and earth. Or so a good portion of society would have you think. With the birth of the octuplets a few days ago the rhetoric has increased. It’s very often that one assumes a family with more then the average kids is being supported by government assistance. Being one and knowing quite a few mega families myself I can say it’s highly unlikely. Even if they were getting WIC or such it’s barely putting a dent into their support. I mean just how far do people think 4 gallons of milk a month go for a family of 14? (btw…the answer is 2 or 3 days) Besides looking around the WIC office I can assure you…it’s not overtaken with large families. It’s the young, most likely single, moms that fill the place. Not that I begrudge them help. But you don’t see anyone tearing them down for using all the government resources like you do the mega families. The fact of the matter is that EVERYONE in this country, unless they are a hermit…uses government services…they are protected by the police and military, they can visit libraries, go to school, use hospitals…all of which receive government funding.

The over population/save the earth people are all over us. We’re the scrouge of earth. All those little anklebiters are sucking up all the good earth’s air and water. The fact of the matter is that mega families are an efficient unit. Our needs don’t grow expotentially to our family size. It costs us the same to heat our house as anyone with a similiar house…no matter how many live in it. Actually it might be cheaper with all this extra body heat. lol A lightbulb lights a portion of the room whether no one is in it or 100 people are in it. While we have more kids we tend to buy less or the same products then the “average” family. We tend to utilitize our things longer (hand me downs). We tend to make our dollars go further by shopping 2nd hand. When we travel we’re getting the most for our gas mileage as our cars tend to be full when being used. We buy things in bulk as packaged products aren’t enough for our family, using less packaging. And all these habits are passed onto the kids so they are more efficient adults.

What I want to know is why aren’t these people who are touting to put severe limits on an extremely personal thing going after the true culprits in this carbon footprint scam…..Industry! The below graph shows the breakdown of what/who contributes toward greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

So why isn’t everyone yelling and screaming to make factories more energy efficient and less polluting. Why isn’t anyone smashing the auto industry for suppressing extremely efficient running vehicles? Why isn’t there more talk about building up the public transportation infrastructure? Why aren’t there incentives for everyone…industry and residential to utilize renewable energy like solar and wind power. Why can’t it be more affordable? I’d be jumping at the chance if it didn’t cost more then my whole house to implement.

I’m guessing it’s just easier to point their finger and blame one segment of the population.

January 11, 2009

Whew! We made it through…

Filed under: Uncategorized — msjennbug @ 7:29 am

The holiday season always brings about a whirlwind of non-stop activity for us. A family event here (and there, and over there), Sunday School party here (and there, and over there), friends getting together…. and friends out of school wanting to come over, or have some of us over.

Going, going, going.  Could easily drown in the to-dos if we’re not careful.  In the middle of it all, we try to take time to bless others around us – even if we only have a short moment to stop in and visit.

Our favorite short stop is secretly gifting a friend with pieces of the nativity. I learned about it from Vyckie Bennett.  We chose a family to bless and pray for them each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. During those weeks we find a way to sneak a package onto their porch. We get out the pieces of our nativity as we give them theirs. There are devotionals, Bible verses, hymns and coloring pages that go with it, too.  The last piece is the baby Jesus. He usually gets delivered with cookies and caroling. This year it was a Christmas party hosted, and attended, by mutual friends. (Which killed three birds with one stone, btw! Genius idea…lol)

My mom made a visit out this year, too. We always love to have Mom out. She was here to help decorate the tree – a big deal at our house. We don’t just toss on this season’s ornaments. We pull out the memories of Christmases past and relive some of them as we hang them up. She was also here for the girls’ piano recital. Also a big deal! It was the first EVER for two of our daughters – and Memmie was there for it!

Christmas came and went all to quickly. I didn’t want to take the tree and decorations down. But, they had to come down. I was sad when it all went back into the boxes. Also a big to-do, by the way. See, you cannot just toss memories of Christmases past into a box and call it done. You have to sort them out by whose they are and count to be sure they are all off the tree!

Now we’re into  a new year. With promises of changes that need to be made, improvements where improvements are needed and the start of new things we think we need to add to our lives.

I reel at the thought that it is the year 2009.  This year, our eldest child will be 14. We will celebrate our 18th year of marriage.  I am not sure how the years slipped by so quickly. I don’t know how to slow the passing of time down so I can breathe in the moments more deeply. But, that’s one of the main things I want to do this year… stop and take mental pictures and breathe in the moments of life as they fly past. I think that can be done even in the midst of the non-stop whirlwind, I’m sure going to TRY it anyway. I challenge you to do the same.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2009

Mega Wishes for 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 7:00 pm

2009 was a hard year for many. Particularly so for mega-families. Those with 8 or more kids usually struggle in one way or another to juggling the finances to feed, clothe, and house their family. With a bad economy, unemployment, rising foods costs, and foreclosures abound, it’s been an almost impossible, and quite scary, endeavor. As we go into the new year, we hope that 2009 will bring much better things, safety and security, and that the struggles of the year past will be relieved, or at least greatly diminished.

From all of us at the Mega-Moms blog and, we wish you and your family all the best in the 12 months to come!

December 29, 2008

Handling Toddlers at the Big Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 11:43 pm

I was recently interviewed for an article on how you handle toddlers when attending sports and other public activities for your older children. Of course, mega-moms usually have to juggle this kind of stuff more often, since having a group of teens and preschoolers (as well as all the middles) is pretty common.

Kids, Indoor Sports and Toddlers

Of course, not all of my hints ended up in the article, but most of the good ones did. One thing I did want to clarify which I think got lost in the article but really is a good tip. Happy Meal toys are usually pretty cheap, and they don’t really have that good of lasting power. In my house, at least, they end up broken and/or getting tossed out. Instead, keep them in a bag in the car for trips…or for sports events. If they get lost or broken, it’s no big deal. Also, as stated in the article, you can find some of those old pixelated video games at the dollar store. Having a few of those on hand can be a lifesaver.

I do have to laugh at the “potty” tip. Thing is, this is almost a given with my kids. It seems that *everywhere* we go, they suddenly need to go to the bathroom. My dad used to say we were “checking out the plumbing.” Like it or not, it really does give the kids something to do and helps keep them settled a while long.

I admit to using the MP3 player. In fact, I deliberately had my daughter download a few small cartoons and movies so the kids can watch them when we are out too. This has been a lifesaver. Another thing is that a few years back, the Gameboy Advanced came out with a few “video” cartridges. They featured cartoons like Spongebob and Jimmy Neutron. I often make sure to take them when we go to functions so the kids can literally “watch t.v.” when they get antsy at the arena.

What are YOUR tips on keeping toddlers occupied at the big game?

December 3, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 12:43 pm

Okay, I realize I mentioned Brangelina a lot, but then again, they have been in the media spotlight a lot, talking about their large family. I mean, truly, living my very small and (oftentimes) insignifigant life, there is truly nothing I can relate to in Hollywood or the world of the rich and famous. So, when I see Brad and Angie talking about their kids and life, I do get one of those “hey, they’re just like me” moments.

Recently, I was reading an article that was quoting from a television interview Brad gave a couple days ago. In fact, I’ve read several write-ups on that interview, and in each one it was emphasized that Brad said, “having six kids isn’t as easy as you think.” I got a big giggle, and my first thought was…”um, I don’t think anyone thinks it’s easy.” Of course, there were a lot of people ripping on him for that. Thing is, when I sought out and watched the interview from the Today Show, Brad actually made the comment tongue-and-cheek. He knows full well it’s hard, knows the world knows it’s hard, but was showing that despite it all, he loves is and “feels rich.” For a guy who makes millions of dollars a movie, to say his family is what makes him feel rich, is pretty impressive.

And other thing that make Brad just like me (and like pretty much any large family that may not be done), the interviewer followed up the comment with, “people think you’re crazy for wanting more.”

I wonder if Brad and Angie ges asked if they “own a t.v.” or “know what causes that”.

November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 12:33 pm

From our family to yours…

November 25, 2008

$34 million to raise a big family??

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofkids @ 1:17 pm

Yeah, I’m a sucker for those teasers lines. You know, the ones that pop up in the sidebar of articles. The ones that have absolutely nothing to do with the real world. Escapism, yes. So, when there was a teaser who was the Forbes Top 5 “power couples”, I had to click on it. The top honor went to Jay-Z and Beyonce, whom I embarrassingly have to admit I didn’t know were a couple, and I’m not really sure who the male is in that pairing.

Anyway, I am reading the article and get to the bottom line where they recount the other 4 couple. It was the last line that got me going…

…couples in the Top 5, which is rounded out by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith ($85 million), David and Victoria Beckham ($58 million), Tim McGraw and Faith Hill ($35 million), and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ($34 million), the latter of whom will need every penny to raise their family of six kids.

I added the emphasis to that statement, but all I can say is…

What is up with THAT?

Really, I know this must have been said tongue and cheek, that “ha ha” poke that Angelina and Brad always get. But, still, it is just so absurd that the world perpetually thinks that you need to have a fortune to raise a large family. Then, that got me thinking. If I had $34 million to blow, how much of that *would* be spent on raising a family.

A few years ago, we featured a great article on Lotsofkids, which took a realistic look on the cost of raising children. In that article, it was stated that the general consensus is that it takes $190,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18. Granted, that number also seems a bit excessive–and the LOK article then goes on to refut that–but I figure since we’re talking big money here, that amount is as good as any. So, for my family of 8 kids…$190,000 x 8 = $1,520,000.

What about schooling? According to this article, despite common misconceptions, most students attend college for around $9,000 a year. Though, they admit on the high-end it could be around $36,000. Again, we’re playing with big money here, so let’s use the higher number. $144,000 per kid ($36,000 x 4 years) x 8 = $1,152,000.

Well, we’re up to $2,672,000. Of course, life is not only about being raised and filling your brain with knowledge. We can throw in a summer home, and some cars, and a bunch of gadgets and luxuries. Another $2 million should cover that.

Grand total=$4,672,000 — A little over 7% of Brad and Angie’s worth. And they have 2 less kids than I do. So technically–no, they won’t need every penny to raise those kids. Even if they have a far more oppulent lifestyle than I would have dream give my kid, I can’t imagine they would spent more than double that amount–so even at $10 million, they are still under the bar.

Honestly, if someone dropped $4,672,000 in my lap right now, I could think of a lot I would do with it, aside from raising my kids. Like building a few schools in Africa. Funding a foundation to help large families. Donating to a myriad of charities. Yes, I would also use some to make my family’s lives more comfortable. But, even in our current struggles, we aren’t doing that bad, and aside from adding a lot more “stuff”, I can’t see us dramatically changing the way we live.

Again, I realize the comment in the article wasn’t meant to be taken at face value, but looking at the numbers, even in the realm of the rich and famous, it remains a pretty ridiculous statement. One of my favorite sayings is that “kids don’t cost money, lifestyles do.” Even in this case, the kids STILL don’t cost that much, even if you have a very big lifestyle.


Oh, and on a totally unrelated side-note, is it not just too cool to hear that it takes Brad and Angie a half an hour to get their 6 kids ready and into the car? Money doesn’t change things like that, does it?

November 21, 2008

Family-sized Packaging

Filed under: Uncategorized — msjennbug @ 2:12 am

I was giggling over this earlier today.

“Family Size” on a label… whose family?

It certainly isn’t made for my family of 10. The average American family size is 3.2 (as per 2006 Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program’s data), so it wouldn’t seem to be made for the average family either. I doubt it’s made for any “family”, really.

It’s made to sell. Average families buy it, perhaps believing the need the larger package. Or maybe hoping it will last longer. But, studies show that you will consume more, if it is packaged in a larger portions. So, that may be counter productive.

Larger families buy it in hopes it will stretch enough to cover everyone. What about mega families? They probably buy two and hope it will stretch enough to cover everyone! 🙂 I wonder if we fall prey to the same trap of consuming more of it, because it’s in a larger package?

When dealing with food, that’s probably less likely. Food can only stretch so far. But, a “family size” shampoo bottle… the consumption of it isn’t all at once. I wonder, if I had a small bottle of shampoo if I would use less in hopes that it would stretch and be enough for everyone instead of using my normal amount.


I think I’d like to have the option to buy in bulk, when necessary, without their opinion of who it is for on it. Cracks me up that they call that bag of Doritos “family size”. It has about enough chips for DH, DD1, DD2 and myself to have about four with none left over ;)….. course, how many chips do we really need?

Yes, rambling thoughts from a very harried mama.

What’s your opinion on the “family size” labels?

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