Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Day in the Life of...

We are Nine and Counting…
We live in rural North Carolina.  My husband and I have nine children, with our tenth scheduled to appear in March.  With a family that size, we certainly do get some interesting questions from folks.  I’ll try and answer some of those here, as well as give you a tiny look inside my life.
I have one brother.  That’s it.  My husband has two brothers.  That’s it.
Neither of us started our marriage with the goal of having a large family.  We had one son, and then a daughter.  The “perfect” family, right?  Then I really wanted another.  Once he got a little older, I thought we needed one more, but hubby wasn’t on board…yet.  Then he thought we needed one more baby.  After that, the rest is history – we decided to stop trying to control our family size, and leave it in the hands of God, who supplies our needs, anyway.
My husband had been a diesel mechanic for 27 years.  He’s a Lead mechanic now, but we certainly don’t have a large income.
I am an independent Travel Planner, specializing in Disney trips of all sorts, but certainly not limited.  
Disney is my passion – we are all true Disney fans.

Cruising is another passion – my husband and I LOVE cruising. When pregnancy or a nursling doesn’t prohibit it, we try to take at least two a year.  But again, not a lot of money in what I do at home.  I just enjoy planning dream vacations for families, and make enough to pay for my own vacations.

We built a very large house 4 years ago At the time we had seven children.  We had lived in a three-bedroom singlewide mobile home up until we built the house.  It always makes me laugh when someone with two children wants a bigger house because there isn’t enough room.  Ha.
We are Christians, not Catholic or Mormon.  We have been together for 24 years, married for 21 years – they are all ours.  No, I do not run a daycare.  No we are not crazy.  Yes, we do know what “causes” that.
Folks can sure ask some nosy questions, but I guess we do pique curiosity, LOL
I home school our children.  My oldest son is in his second year of Bible College in Indiana.  My oldest daughter is such a great homemaker that she can run my house in my absence and probably do a better job.  She graduates this year. :(
One last thing before I tell you about my day – I’m a couponer.  Not just someone who clips a coupon here and there, and sticks it somewhere, planning to use it.  

My friends call me the coupon queen. I know many ladies who have this title, and I don’t use it.  But, my pantries are so well stocked that if I don’t feel like going grocery shopping for a month, I don’t.  We get fresh milk, and I can make bread if we need it (though I DO buy bread), so we’re good.  When we have a grocery store that doubles or triples coupons, look out.  I’ll be there, with my coupon boxes (yes, plural), and I’ll be there a lot.  During a triples event, I average a 90% savings.  During regular doubles, 85%.  I never spend more than I save, no matter what.  My best trip ever? $1,514 in groceries and I was paid $163.  Long story, but true.  I get everything that’s free and lots of things that are nearly free – the things I can’t use, SOMEONE can.
I am considered strange by my friends and family, because of our eating habits.  We don’t eat fast food.  We rarely eat out at all.  We don’t eat foods from a box, can or other packages.  We only use real butter, lard, or coconut oil.  I make our ketchup, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, jam, desserts, kraut, applesauce, soups, and a host of other things.  We peel and cook real potatoes, from the ground.  We do have a garden, and I can and freeze from that.  I buy local, grass-fed meats, and eggs from free-range chickens.  And like I said, we drink fresh milk, so I make our own sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, eggnog, etc.  I do let the children have occasional treats, if I have a coupon, and if there are no forbidden ingredients (MSG & High Fructose Corn Syrup being the two absolutes), which is why I buy Malt-o-Meal cereal, and how I found them on Facebook.
So, my day starts early, and goes late.  I’m up at 5, making breakfast for the husband, who has this insane love of running – so he’s out jogging, while I’m making coffee…I get him fed, pack his lunch, and he’s out the door at 6:30.  I have my quiet time until 7:30, because no child is allowed downstairs before that time.  
The children are to be dressed, groomed and downstairs by 8:30, when they have breakfast.  After breakfast, the older children have chores, the younger have school.  Late morning is snack time, and then the older children get started on their school, as well.  The older children rarely need my help, but the younger, of course, do.  I enlist the help of my oldest daughter for reading lessons.  And everyone takes turns entertaining a toddler.
When it’s lunchtime, we eat.  The toddlers then go down for a nap, and the older children can work on projects (daughter enjoys sewing, scrapbooking, reading, drawing and writing, sons enjoy drawing, building, painting, woodworking).  When the little ones awake, everyone wants a snack.  After that, if weather permits, everyone goes outside to play and get some fresh air.  Basketball, football, swings, seesaw, go-carts, leaf piles, etc., depending upon the time of year.  During the summer, it’s gardening time for me, as well.  Late afternoon, back inside, there’s schoolwork to finish and chores to be completed.  I start dinner, if it isn’t in a crockpot already.  Husband comes in late evening, so we sometimes eat without him.  Then there’s dessert – a staple in our home.  Everyone expects it, but it must be earned.  Chores must be done, behavior must have been good, and Bible verses, memorized from today’s reading, must be recited at dinner.  The rest of the evening, we play board games or have Wii tournaments, until bedtime, which is staggered.  That’s pretty much my day, in a tiny nutshell.  Not much excitement, thankfully, but lot’s of lap time, hugs and kisses. 


  1. It's funny what you said about not being Catholic or Mormon, because that is what people always ask me when they find out we have 9 kids! It just so happens that we are Mormon, though! Can't wait to get to know you better, Mary-Belle!

  2. Hi Mary-Belle, I just had to say hello because we have alot in common. My husband and I live in NC, have been married 20 years, have 9 children with 1 on the way, and had one son born into the arms of Jesus as well! We also love Disney but have never been on a cruise. Just wanted to say "blessings to you and your precious family." I saw your blog on Mega-family blogs :o)