Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A Big 'ol House Full!

By: L.A. Kohl
Dec. 30, 2004
(Published in the Wed., Jan. 5th edition of the Bullseye, Vol. 1, No. 11)

Many of you must think that with seven kids, my husband and I, we must have a house full. Oh, but if you could of seen our home a couple of days after Christmas!

My husband Nate grew up in a family of six children, who now all have families of their own and are scattered across Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota. When all of us want to get together, it amounts to 35 people...21 of which are “children” (if my nieces and nephew in college will forgive me for calling them that!) For the past several years, we have all met at a hotel for a couple days in order to celebrate Christmas together, as we have kind of out-grown a home setting.

This year we decided to try meeting in a home...our home. In the midst of it, someone pulled out a Bullseye and noticed my article, and several began suggesting that I should write my next article about having all of them in my home (and on my porch) so here goes!

What do you do with almost 40 people (some cousins from Columbia drove out to join us) in your house? Well, you don’t get much privacy for awhile, but you enjoy lots of interacting. You eat lots of food, and by the time everyone makes it through the “serving line," eats, sits and visits, and then cleans it up – it’s about time to eat again!

With so many people, we could put together a 500 piece puzzle in a few hours. With so much help, we ended up with two or three months worth of firewood stockpiled. And with firewood gathering came “he-man” demonstrations, as the guys lifted and moved a 16 ft. flatbed trailer by hand, then proceeded to load it with 8 to 12 ft. long logs. With the nice weather, the kids were able to spend most of their time outside – they wrote and produced a movie with a couple of camcorders while they were out there.

You can’t help but do LOTS of laughing, about such things as “hot pots” (you really should ask my husband sometime about his ingenious hot water toilet) and hillbilly Jacuzzis (feel free to donate your heated cattle tank to Nate’s cousin, I won’t do that to her!)

You don’t get much rest, especially when a cat fight (A.K.A. – a weird coffee pot) and a screaming three year old join forces at about 6:30 AM...after you’ve been up past midnight trying to get kids settled in their places. You don’t have much pride left either, after people see your illusive cobwebs and eat your scorched ham and beans.

But given the choice, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again. My children got to know some of their cousins better in those two days then they have in the past ten years. We all got to have more “visits” with each other, and even do some work together. Work may sound unappealing, but there is something bonding and almost fun about working alongside someone you rarely get to spend time with, whether you are doing dishes or lifting a log.

Having a “full house” is most definitely a lot of work, but I’d highly recommend it to anyone who ever has the opportunity.

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