Farm and Family, Musings

10 Reasons Growing Up in a Big Family Wins

My family has 6 kids. The dynamics of things are kind of different when you have this many people living under one roof. Dishes are mountainous. Laundry is unending. Privacy can be illusive. Ziplocks are a hot commodity, and I’m still not sure why. But even with things that could be perceived as hardships or inconveniences, life in a big family is pretty awesome. I found a Buzzfeed post the other night (don’t judge me) listing 23 things you get used to when you live in an above average family. Since a lot of my facebook friends are from large families, this sparked quite a hilarious conversation (primarily about food and socks). Since everyone seem to be challenging people lately, my mom challenged me to write a blog post of the 10 best things about living in a large family. The list was not allowed to be sarcastic, but could be humorous. Easy. Without further ado, roughly in order, but not really, my 10 favorite things about living in a large family:mylifeessgood

10. You have several personal book, movie, tv and music reviewers. I cannot tell you how many times one of my sisters (and even Adam every now and then) has sent me a link to a new song or artist. We compare Pandora stations. We send each other youtube videos. The number of books that have been thrown at me by my siblings isn’t too great yet, since I’m the oldest and self proclaimed family librarian, but there have been a few. For instance, Claire read The Hunger Games before either Meg or I did. Usually I’m the one who reads or watches something first, but I’m predicting that this will change once we are all grown up.

9. You have a built in study group. For most of my life, Meg and I have been at about the same skill level in most things. I understand some things better than she does, and she understands some things better than I do. We all bounce ideas for writing assignments off each other. Two heads are better than one, right? How much better would three or four head be?

8. You have a higher chance of being fashionable. This isn’t always true. At all. But I have noticed, at least in families with many girls, that the likelihood of someone having a built in fashion sense is fairly high. Some people have a friend with taste, I have a sister. Well, actually, I have three, each with their own sense of style. If I want to know what looks good on me, I ask Meg. If I want to find an epic t-shirt or other quirky-cool item, I ask Claire. If I want to just have fun, I’ll let Hannah dress me (If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed this).

7. You have a brute squad. “I’m on the brute squad.” “You are the brute squad!” Have you seen the new version of Yours, Mine, and Ours? There is a scene near the end where two of the boys are being harassed by some bullies at school, and one by one their siblings intervene. “That’s just ignorant.” “And you know how you get rid of ignorance?” “Butt-whoopin’.” Not that I condone violence or anything…

6. You learn how to fight fair. Come on, you know it’s true. Fighting happens even in the most peaceful homes. But this is simply part of life. You will, at some point, disagree with someone, probably get emotionally involved, and have to resolve the situation. I’m not saying fighting is a good thing, but since it happens throughout life, I’m figuring you may as well learn how to do it well. Getting involved with speech and debate is also very helpful, and actually made us fight less, and more efficiently. Siblings don’t always resolve their issues. There are plenty of estranged and strained relationships, but I would speculate that the majority of people with siblings have good relationships with them.

5. You learn how to live in a group setting. Obvious right? But after spending some time at camp, I realise how important of a thing this is. Once when we were discussing what to have for dinner, spaghetti was suggested. I stated that everyone hates spaghetti, and so other ideas were brought up. Mom brought spaghetti up again, and said she liked it. Then, one by one, every single member of my family betrayed me. “Everyone else likes spaghetti. Annie just hates it so much that she fills to room with her hatred.” I’m pretty sure we ended up having spaghetti that night. (for the record, I don’t hate spaghetti, I just don’t like to have it more than, say, once a month, and rarely choose it if there are other options.)

4. You have different perspectives on life events. You may have best friends that you grew up with, but even they probably weren’t there for everything. A brother or sister, even if they are older or younger, you probably share many of the same memories.

3. You develop a family lexicon and innumerable inside jokes. If we pull up to a drive-thru and someone shouts “Get out your coffeemakers!” don’t be surprised. In fact, if we say just about anything, and start to giggle or nod, just assume it is part of our family culture, smile, and carry on with your life. You can probably ask about it if you really want to know, but we may or may not even remember how the trend or saying got started. It’s just what we do.

2. You get to see kids grow up, without having to raise them yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I do want some littles of my own one day, but not yet. Having a toddler in the house, but being able to leave and not have to worry about him is just about the coolest thing ever (sorry Mom). You get to know humans in progress, and learn from them, and watch them be hilarious, but they are still your peers on some level, or at least they will be eventually.

1. You learn how to entertain.  When I was about 9 years old we lived in Middle-of-Nowhere KY, 30 minutes from a gas station. At this point there were only 3 of us, but we were still homeschooled and still fairly secluded. We had tv, but not cable, and PBS kids cut out in the middle of the afternoon. We had internet, but it was dial-up (I still got hooked on gaming… Very slow gaming.) I couldn’t read at this point either. This left us with essentially one option for occupying our free time (which, in all honesty, was most of  the time). We played, and we played hard. But this wasn’t just building mud villages and becoming dirt people. We learned how to not only entertain ourselves when there is nothing else to do, but also how to be generally entertaining. In life, if you can make people laugh and keep their attention, it doesn’t matter what you aim to do, people will notice you. And when people notice you, sometimes they give you a job, and sometimes you make relationships.

Well, there you have it. These don’t apply to all families. I know some families where the opposite of many of these points is true. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Having a big family is hard. We fight hard, we play hard, we love hard (“I love you SO HARD!”). And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Change of Plans

As I have mentioned a lot lately, I am very busy. And, what that unfortunately means is, I need to cut some things down. I’m not staying up as late looking at Pinterest or watching Youtube videos, and now, I am not staying up late to work on my blog. Honestly, I’ve tried! I start to fall asleep at the keyboard! Mom says I’m on a grown-up’s schedule now. The scary thing is, I’m getting used to it. I actually tried to sleep in yesterday, the one day this week I’m not working, but I couldn’t sleep past 9.

Enough prevaricating about the bush. I’m cutting my blogging. *runs in circles screaming* NO! No. Not completely! I’m just cutting it back a bit for the sake of quality and sanity. Starting next week I will go back to posting every Wednesday. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been posting twice a week for very long. It’s only been seven weeks, but I think it served it’s purpose. I have been writing much more than I was before I gave myself a deadline. I think that is a key to getting things done sometimes. Giving yourself a good hard deadline and sticking to it.

I was discouraged about quitting. It seems like I’ve done that more this year than ever. I hate that. I don’t quit! But, in looking back, I noticed something encouraging. I have been posting every week since July 2nd, and either every Tuesday or Wednesday since July 23rd.

So, I’m not quitting, I’m just changing plans and reprioritizing.

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Dora Walworth Money

I just got done searching our computer for a set of documents I thought had been lost forever. I nearly cried when I began finding the pieces of the story I thought had been lost in cyberspace.

I was seeking the stories from my Great Grandmother. A couple of years ago I wrote a speech about her for debate class and  learned things about her I hadn’t ever heard before.

The summer after I wrote about her, Grandmama died. Just as I was making her famous fried pies for the county fair and I was about to send a picture to here via Oma’s cell phone.

I was reminded of this at our first debate class of the semester a couple of days ago. It was sickening to think all those stories and words of wisdom were lost forever.

So here you are; Her own words, in her own words.

Words of wisdom:

Family – Family is important, stick together, love each other.  I feel like my family did this when I was 16.

Friends – To have a friend you have to be a friend.  Friends are important.  They help you grow as a person, and give you opportunities to share.

Church – Church is important in a person’s life.  If you don’t have God in your life, you are just lost. Your church is your spiritual family.  I went to church when I was 16, but I didn’t become a christian until after I was married.

Marriage – Don’t get married too young like I did.  Marriage is for life.  Divorce was not in my vocabulary.  You need to get yourself right with God to have a good marriage.

Having Children – It’s good to have children because that’s how God meant it.  When you have children and they accept Christ they will teach their children about Christ and it will keep going.

Money – You need money to live, but don’t spend all your time trying to get rich.  You need to spend time with your family.  People are  more important than money.

Housekeeping – You need to keep your house clean, but don’t let it be an obsession.  On the wall in my kitchen is a plaque that says, “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.”

Work – Everybody needs to work.  It’s good for you to work.  Paul says, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.”  I worked all my life, in my home, in the fields with my husband, and later on at a sheet factory.

Cooking and Cleaning – I love to cook.  It’s important to learn to and to teach your children how to cook.  Cook and carry it to sick and shut-in friends, and to those who have lost a loved one.  It can be a ministry to the Lord.
Cleaning is important to keep you healthy and having a clean place to live helps you feel better.

What would be the most important thing you would tell yourself?  You’ve got to love the man you marry and get into church and stay there.  Leave drugs, tobacco and alcohol alone.  Associate with godly people.

A glimpse Great Grandmama Money’s life

At sixteen,I lived with my mother, older brother and two sisters.  I was the youngest, but I had to work like the rest of the family. My daddy died when I was six years old so my brother who was nine years older than me farmed.  He was a “share crop” farmer.  We didn’t have a car or mules to take us to visit or to town, so we walked.   We didn’t go for groceries from a big grocery store.  We had a garden and we canned our food.  We had to buy our flour, sugar, and lard.   We bought lard because it was cheaper.  We also bought coffee.  We bought the coffee beans and roasted them in the oven.  Then we had to grind them in the coffee grinder.

I had to cook breakfast sometimes.  I had two sisters and we each had a week to cook.    We had to get up early about 4 o’clock a.m..   We had to eat, do the dishes and be ready to go to the field.     My older sister, Lucille, didn’t like to cook so she made beds.      Ruth, my next to the oldest sister,  and I did the milking.    We did all the chores before we left the house.    We had our dinner cooking while we cleaned up the breakfast dishes.

Your Uncle Buddy went ahead of all of us girls.   He wanted to be the first in the field.     Lucille didn’t like to walk through the high cotton.    It was warm and there were caterpillars on the plants.    They didn’t bite, but she couldn’t stand for them to crawl on her.

I had several friends that lived on our road and some that I went to school with.   If we visited, we had to walk, and we enjoyed going down to the creek and river.  It was so quiet, walking.  We looked for berries and plants.   It was fun watching the animals and birds run and play.    Some of my friends had a horse and they came by.    I had never ridden a horse, so we all wanted to ride.   There was no saddle on the horse.    This horse was so tall we had to help each other on.   It was a very gentle horse or it would have run away.   I got on the horse and he started to walk.   I almost fell off.   I decided I couldn’t be a Cowboy.   I have not tried that any more.   But it was a lot of fun watching the others getting on the horse.

When I was 16, we didn’t have a way to go to church regularly.    When we had revival, we went  with some with our neighbors.    We went to church regularly when we lived in Kinsey, AL and I was younger.    I always liked Sunday School .    Most all the kids I went to school with were there also.     We went but I didn’t accept Christ until later.

When I was growing up, Mama let me go with my sisters on their dates.    I didn’t call myself having a date,  I just went along with the others.    I went to school at Haleburg and had friends.    Some of the boys tried to go with us.     We had neighbors on our road.    One Sunday, four of the boys came down to meet the girls who lived down the road below them.     One of my sisters, Lucille, wanted to go with the one named Frank.   But when the boys came in, we didn’t have a living room so we sat on the porch or in the bed room in chairs.    So all of us got a chair and talked together.   Finally, Frank got up and came over to talk with me.    So we talked until it was late.    All the other boys left but he said he wouldn’t leave until I said I would date him.      I thought that I would get rid of him if I said yes.   I didn’t believe he would come back.

But Frank came back and kept coming back.    He didn’t notice the other girls.    So he became my boyfriend.   We didn’t go out but he came to the house.   When Frank asked me to marry him, I didn’t tell him right off.    I didn’t want him to ask Mama.   I knew what her answer would be.   So I had to tell someone.   I told my sister Ruth.   I knew I could tell her anything and she would not tell.   She and I were picking cotton near the house.    No one else was there.    I told her I had something to tell her but she must promise she wouldn’t tell anyone.    I told her Frank had asked me to marry him.   I told her I didn’t tell him yes or no.     She asked me if I loved him.    I said with all my heart.     I said I never knew I could love anyone more than Mama.   This was a different kind of love.    She and I planned how we could elope, I was only sixteen.

I didn’t have a dress but I did have shoes.    Mama had made a dress for Ruth and she was hemming it.    Ruth said, “Dora, you wear the dress.”      I said Mama will wonder why you don’t wear your new dress.    So when we walked out the door with me wearing Ruth’s new dress, Mama said, “Ruth, I thought that you would wear the new dress.”     Ruth said, “I’m letting Dora wear it first.”     So we went to get married and we didn’t wait around to discuss the dress.

We let our folks know we were married the next day.    (After the marriage ceremony, they went back to their respective homes as if nothing had happened.)   The next day, Monday, Frank’s brother came up and told us to come down to their house.     We lived in their home with them six months and then we moved into our Honeymoon Cottage, a little log house.

(After Sixteen)

In thirteen months and one day, we had our first son, Frankie.   Two and a half years later we had our  daughter, Patricia.    Then twenty two months after Patricia, our youngest child, Roger, was born.   This was our family.  The kids were a lot of fun, watching them grow.    Housekeeping was easy since we had only three rooms and very little furniture.  We didn’t have any money.  We lived on our  farm.   We had to wait until we harvested our peanuts and cotton.    Then we could go to town and buy our clothes.

I got a job working away from home when  Roger was in the second grade and my Mother  came to live with us.  Frank worked the farm and I worked at night at the sheet factory.   Pat kept the house and she would cook.   If she didn’t cook enough, sometimes there would be food left from supper.   I would have liked to be home more.

As for being married, I could not have gotten a better helpmeet.  Our children did get to go to church.  Frank and I prayed that each one would accept Christ.  Frank and I accepted Christ together at Haleburg Baptist Church.

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Add New Post

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s really weird. I love that button. I know it must not seem like it from time to time when I abandon my blog for weeks on end. I love getting to start from scratch. A blank field, a keyboard and an idea.

2012 was the shortest year I’ve ever experienced. How could we fit so much in just 366 days? Ah! It must have been that one extra day! I’ve always thought it was neat how leap year coincides with the Olympics and the presidential election.

On February 2nd Joshua David was born.  10 lbs 4oz of boy. He spent a week in the NICU for an unidentified infection. Not only was this our first C-section, it was our first experience in NICU. That week was the longest 7 days of the year, and yet, it feels like a blur. No fanfare. No applause.

In June Meg, Claire and I went to NeKaMo Camp. I went for both weeks, working on my CILT. While it is sad for my years as a camper to be over, I really do feel like it is time. Looking around, I saw girls that had been Challengers my first year were now Explorers. My baby sister was in her last year as a Challenger and my even babier sister was a first year Challenger! I am so looking forward to being a counselor next year, I’m already collecting ideas!  My first year of CILT was the first time I had been away from home for more than a week and I got really homesick. I was thankful to get to go home for the weekend. This year I had so much to do it didn’t feel like more than a few days. I didn’t go home for the weekend, so I only got to see my family during check in for Meg and Claire. Even then I only had a few minutes because I had to go with Rufus and Raven on a nature hike.

The day I remember the best is the very last day. After the excitement of graduations was over. We were on staff. Part of the mysterious club of grown-ups with bird names. We were Ginger, Snow, Raven, Sparrow and Pigeon. We got up early that morning and went to the Staff Bible Study. This mystical thing that our counselors get up crazy early for. It was a cool, misty, early summer morning. The five of us walked to the dining hall and sat at our table; Cabin 12.  Other counselors and staff came in and sat around us, just like it was a normal day. Like we belonged there. I felt like a babe among giants. There was Robin, Ducky, Rikki, Tweety, Grackle, everyone was there. Tross spoke in a tone of voice I had rarely heard before. Like she was talking to adults, not a camp of girls.

After the meeting was over, we started working on CILT Guard. Nearly all the past CILTs, now joined by the 5 of us, came together for the biggest Color Guard I’ve ever seen. Sparrow and Raven were part of an amazing Rifle Guard. It’s really hard to explain the feeling, other than a small fish in a big pond. Or maybe a small Pigeon in a big sky. No fanfare. No applause.

On July 25th I turned 18 years old. Every so often he tells me about right after I was born, usually when he wants me to look him in the eye or when I already am, we’re easily distracted like that. He held me in his arms 18 years ago and said “Hi. Your name is Annie. I’m your Daddy and I love you.” and I looked him in the eye. No fanfare. No applause.

October was a big month. My baby cousin PB was born just a few days after Meg’s birthday. Like Josh he spent some time in the NICU. Shortly after that my Great-Grand-Father died. We drove down to South-East Alabama for the funeral. It was good to get to see Oma and all the relatives, except for the reason. We got to go down to Panama City Beach while we were down there, something we haven’t gotten to do in a few years. It was raining, so we didn’t get to swim. I had never seen the beach in the rain before. It is so unlike anything I can describe. Such a lonely, roaring peace. There was no one in sight. The ice cold rain poured steadily. The surf was balmy. The constant roar of white caps. The gentle patter of the raindrops on the sand. Peace in the midst of such an emotional trip. Once we got done on the beach, we were soaking wet, and some of us were in regular clothes. We went over to a Walgreen’s and changed clothes, some of us into real clothes, some into our dry swim suits. On the trip back we home stopped for ice cream at Peach Park. No fanfare. No applause.

Who would be surprised that November was a big month. In the flurry of political hype, it’s good to remember a few things. These are real people. Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, just like He did for mine, and hopefully for yours. This is all going to burn. No matter who wins what and who is in what office. Jesus Christ is Lord of all. That means all kings, all rulers, all presidents, all offices. Everything. And in the end, that is all that matters. I voted for the first time. No fanfare. No applause.

This was PB’s and Josh’s first Christmas. We are SO blessed to have these precious boys with us, especially after their bumpy starts.DSCF8674 No fanfare. No applause.

Forget New Years Resolutions. Add New Post. No fanfare. No applause.

Farm and Family, Pictures

Truly Grateful

11 Thankful for ChristmasDSCF8480

12 Thankful for Hannahisms

13 Thankful for meteor showers that aren’t at 2amDSCF8543

The sky was as clear as you could ever ask for, there was no moon, and it wasn’t bitterly cold. We got to see more shooting stars in those few hours of the Geminid Meteor Shower than I have ever seen in my life. Adam, Claire Meg and I laid in the orchard in sleeping bags and basically on each other for a few hours. With some of the stars you could point and everyone else would have time to look at it, were with other ones you either saw it or you didn’t. I can’t wait for next years shower!

14 Thankful that God is in control no matter what crazies doDSCF8608

15 Thankful for Mom and Dad getting married 22 years ago

16 Thankful for finding the movie Elf

17 Thankful for getting a haircut that didn’t make me cry and looks really cute

18 Thankful for great, spontaneous  friends and awesome movies!

On Tuesday Meg, Claire and I went to go see the Hobbit with some awesome friends the Flowers (as I will call them) to celebrate SFlower’s birthday. The movie was amazing. Without giving too much away; It was a good bit less dark than the other Lord of The Rings movies. I really loved how they portrayed Smeagol especially. I won’t say anymore because I think you should go see it yourself, I really want to see it again in fact. When the movie was over I leaned over and said “Anyone have a time machine?” I can NOT wait for the next movie!

19 Thankful for cute little kids

20 Thankful for first snows coming earlier than St. Valentines day!DSCF8615

21 Thankful for fun at the White Elephant party with Mom’s Family

22 Thankful for artDSCF8630

23 Thankful for my silly family, long drives are never uneventful

24 Thankful for getting to cuddle brand new cousin PB for the first time!

25 Thankful for Jesus Christ coming as a baby to grow up and save the worldDSCF8604

26 Thankful for our neighbor letting Bunny hang out with his herd, complete with bulls, for a month or so. She wanted nothing more. 😉 lol

27 Thankful for Aunt D, Uncle B and the cousins EB, MB and PB, and Oma and Opa

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