This post will be the easiest post to write because I don't have to write it! My dear friend Lara volunteered her brood as one of our Spotlight families! Lara and I met during undergrad at KU (Rock Chalk Jayhawk!) where we received our degrees in English Education. Both of us shed our college coed personas to become mothers and wives. I absolutely love checking her blog to see all the fun things she is doing with her girls! Now that two of her daughters have performed in the Nutcracker, I'm secretly (not-so-secretly) living through her! I'm just a tad bit jealous of her experience. Rather than ramble on about how much I admire her, I will let Lara share her family with you all! Here's the Copeland family!(as told by Lara)
Immediate family: Matt, Lara, and our daughters Kenli (6), Keira (5), Kaelyn (4), Makenzie (2.5), and Karys 9 months.
Extended family includes Alexandra Squyres (Lara's sister), Fran (Davidson) Squyres (Lara's mom), Sharyl Coffey (Matt's mom), Jerry Coffey (Matt's stepfather), John Copeland and Nancy Copeland (Matt's brother & sister-in-law),
Todd Coffey (Matt's stepbrother) and Chelsea Coffey (Matt's stepsister).
What makes us unique: Matt came from your average four person family. My parents divorced when I was four and my mom raised my sister and me, while my maternal grandmother stepped in as almost a second parent. Matt nor I ever planned on having many children, let alone 5 within 5.5 years. We've had to learn a lot about raising a larger than average family--which is hard when you come from an average size family (Matt's father passed away in 1999. When his mother remarried in 2006, he became part of a blended family).
How we make it work: Be flexible, willing to learn and willing to forgive. With such a young family, we're still learning how we make it work! We've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but we reevaluate, communicate, and continue to improve how we operate. Over the years we've learned we can't buy things like our parents did. We can't go out to eat or take vacations on a whim like some smaller families can. What we can do is show our children that we have a strong marriage and provide them with a foundation for love. We can teach them that the most important things in life aren't things--it's people. Yes our girls share rooms, clothes, toys and bathrooms--that's just part of being in a big family. But they also always have somebody to color with, tell secrets to, or hug. There's a simplicity that comes with living in a big family, but there's also noise and chaos--but rest assured it's mostly controlled. One tip I can give to anybody who is embarking on raising lots of little people-- if you can keep up on laundry and dishes, the rest of the house work will fall in to place. And if you can keep your kids on a somewhat flexible schedule, everybody will be a bit more flexible as well.