We are a growing family with 14 children. In today’s society, this is obviously an immense number of children. However, it really isn’t as difficult as you would think.
So, to start off, we have 14 children with ages spanning from 9 months to 25 years old. Our three oldest have sprouted wings and moved out, with our two oldest girls getting married and one gifting us soon with our second grandson!
We used to live in a stick-built home on two acres (here’s a post my daughter made about us back then) but are now currently building our new home (while living in it unfinished) after living in a fifth wheel for over a year. No joke!
We decided to sell our home of 20 years in Oregon and purchase some land in Idaho to build a new home. For the average family, this would be totally normal and acceptable. But, for us, it would prove to be a huge obstacle.
Mainly, we needed somewhere to live while building our new home. The ‘average’ family would just rent a place while they build. However, this is where the obstacle laid.
No one would rent to us!!
Whenever they would talk to us about our situation, IF they could get past our two dogs and a cat (we downsized our animals considerably to help with moving), the conversations always ended once they found out we had 11 children (plus we were expecting!) living at home with us.
So we needed to get creative.
First, we fixed up our home (new paint, flooring, etc.) as a family. Our children did most of the remodeling and cleaning under the guidance of my husband.
Then, we packed up half of our stuff (sold or got rid of the other half) and moved it into storage. This included stuff that we normally can’t live without; canners, jars, Ed’s tools, extra toys, our bows, books (that was hard), even my car! The only things left in our home was our absolute basic necessities and some staging furniture. That was it.
However, the hard work paid off! We received a full price offer 6 days after we listed. Lucky for us the new owners allowed us to stay for 30 days to help us with the logistics of moving.
So, how did we get creative?? We didn’t have a place to go and no one would rent to us.
We decided to move into a fifth wheel while we looked for the land we wanted to call home. We basically went from 2,167 sq ft. to just over 400 sq. ft.
As odd as it may sound, this opened up a lot of doors for us. We decided that while the snow was up in Idaho we would head south and play in the sunshine for the winter. With my husband’s business up and running in Oregon and the majority of his work being online this new lifestyle became possible for us.
We are now able to take the children to National Park’s (hello Junior Ranger program!!), teach them about our nations history by showing them the real sites (not just through a textbook), and even keep our weekly piano lessons (a.k.a. keyboard lessons) by converting over to an internet lesson with our same piano teacher of 10+ years.
I will admit that it did take some adjusting. The Partner System has been essential to our sanity as well as keeping up with our daily routines (very tough at first) but the rewards have been immense.
My children have been able to see so many National Parks and Monuments, as well as family and friends that they would otherwise not been able to see. It will hard to not do this every winter, to be honest.
Due to all this new freedom, we’ve been thinking about building our home in the summer and then traveling in the winter every year! It’s hard to beat all the sunshine and learning that we’ve been doing!
We’ll see though. Time will tell. For now, we are just having fun exploring, building our new home, and getting to know each other better. <3