I am excited to begin this series of “tidbits of me”. I hope you find it interesting in hearing a little about my story and what has made me…me. A huge part of who I am is where I came from. I have a big family. I am one child out of nine.
I have five brothers and three sisters to be exact. This is not a blended family or made up of step siblings. We aren’t Mormon and we aren’t Catholic. (Those are answers to a lot of questions I get when I mention my siblings to new people.) We are just the good old fashion family of nine children from the same two parents. Who, by God’s grace, are still married today.
Hearing it that simply and plainly makes me feel like one incredibly blessed girl.
I am the second oldest. My older brother is 32 (sorry Nathan for spitting that out there ;)), and my youngest brother just turned 16 last month. We are all two years apart, and alternate turning even and odd numbers every other year. This was the year we all turned even numbers (32, 30, 28, 26, 24, 22, 20, 18, and 16). Knowing this trick has really helped me keep everyone’s ages in check!
Growing up in such a large family was a lot of fun. There was always some kind of commotion and excitement going on. There was never a dull moment. I have fond memories of being at the ballpark all day on Saturdays as we had baseball and softball games literally back to back or overlapping. We went to them all too. It was embedded in us to support one another and go to each other’s events. All our extended family lives in Ohio, so it was just us around and we hung on to that. It is still like that today, and I feel so blessed to have that kind of family behind me.
We were all homeschooled at one point or another. I was homeschooled first grade through fifth. I have dyslexia, so it was hard for me to learn to read. My mom pulled me out of first grade to give me the attention I needed to learn to read. She had to teach me to read by memorization and then went back and taught the phonetic way. This began our family down the homeschool road.
I loved being homeschooled. We did LOTS of fun activities and outings. This of course, has played a large role in us venturing down the homeschooling our kids road. One of my favorite memories of being homeschooled is of my mom. One day we were driving home and there was a freshly killed raccoon along the road. It was obviously dead, but not squished. We had been studying native American culture and had just seen a private talk about their heritage and ways of skinning. My mom pulled the van (which lets be honest was a 15 passenger van) over and scooped that thing up and brought it home. She read up more on the process and showed us all how to skin a raccoon. No joke. She did it, and the “fur” hung on our wall for several years after. My mom is awesome, and I often think she should be the writer of this blog other than me. So many of my creativeness or boldness in doing different things with my kids stems from her.
A few things that pop to my mind when I think back to my childhood are these memories:
*Being in seventh grade, it was not “cool” to get picked up in what looked like a “church” bus. I remember crying when my mom told us she was pregnant with my youngest sibling, Gus. Her steady reaction was “Erica, ok. If you had to get rid of someone, who would it be?” I didn’t have an answer. So, from there on, although it was embarrassing at times to get “counted” by your head at stop lights or when you walked into a restaurant, I think my complaining was less. I loved every one of my siblings.
*Every family meal, that we were all sitting around the table, would have about five different conversations going on at once, and every one was a part of them all (at the same time). It was loud, and I would say I am still loud to this day.
*My siblings and I tried to build a tree house out in the backyard, and the “danger” of our invention led my dad to making us a HUGE gorgeous tree house that we played in like every day. I even tried to swing a zip line from it across the yard. That was a complete failed attempt. I’m pretty sure my handle bars shot into the air and almost landed on me when I fell straight to the ground.
*Playing outside for hours on end with my siblings is the stem of so many of my memories. We played hide and seek, made dirt paths in the back yard for our bikes, and even tried digging tunnels across the yard to “hide” in.
*I always shared a room with one of my sisters, and I remember talking way after the door was shut and “good-nights” from our parents were said at night. We also had lots of “girly” fights over the bathroom, which ultimately had my parents take the bathroom door off the hinges for a time. We couldn’t bang on the door and yell, if there was no door. There is nothing like having to shower in your bathing suit. Lesson learned.
I could go on and on with memories and things that we did as kids, but I know that would easily lead to a book. We were blessed to grow up close-knit with parents who were devoted to us, and wanted to give us everything that any other kid (from a smaller family) might have.
My dad ran (and still does) his own landscape design company and his hours were flexible. I remember him coming home for lunch, and how often is that the case in any family to have lunches with your dad everyday? We were blessed.
As we have grown up, we are starting to slowly spread out across the country, and that is hard. I remember a few years ago processing with Matt that we were so lucky to all be living in the same town and how it was going to get harder to have everyone together for birthdays and holidays. We are now there as two of my sisters live in different states. Insert: Tear, tear…lump in my throat here.
Are you too from a big family? I’d love to hear what your take away is from living and growing up with so many under the same roof.
Thank you so much for reading a little bit about me. Next Monday I will open up a little bit more with information about my Formative Years in becoming an adult, but until then I have some other fun posts planned for this week!
Update: Click on the following link to be directly taken to the next post in this series.