Featured Blogger: Michelle of The Active Family

The featured blogger this week is Michelle of The Active Family. Michelle is the proud MoM of almost 4 year old twin girls Cat and Bug as well as 10 year old TK, 9 year old Rooster, 5 year old Boo and 22 month old Baby.

You have a big family (6 kiddos), how do you juggle everything?

I get asked that a lot and I usually just say that you would handle it, too, if you had to! You know that saying God doesn’t give us more than we can handle… Sometimes I live by that! 😉
There are little tricks I’ve learned that some people find interesting- I don’t really match socks, I just have a big basket that I toss them all into. If a pair comes out of the load together, they get rolled up and put into the basket but singles go in as well (I do about 3 loads of laundry every day- or I get behind and then have to do 6!). Anyway, the sock basket drives my husband bonkers but it has really saved me time and frustration.

I make one dinner- if you don’t want to eat it, that’s your choice but you are not having anything else (you can usually have fruit anytime here so most of the time they eat a banana before bed).
I expect everyone to clean their own bedroom once a week (it’s been on Saturdays but sports are doing a number on us right now so the day may move). My husband will help if he’s home (and he expects more than me from them). I try to encourage the roommates (we have 2 per room right now) to work together. And leave me out of it! LOL- just kidding.

I read aloud to everyone every night and I treasure that time- tonight I got to read a truck board book to Gavin, then the girls picture books (they each get to pick one, tonight it was Fancy Nancy and The Bag I’m Taking To Grandma’s), then a chapter book for the big boys (right now 39 Clues). Ben sometimes gets another picture book, too (and listens to the girls’ books if he wants). Middle child 🙂 He says he is “medium size”.

Were your twins a surprise? How did the older kids take the news?

Yes- I was just supposed to be meeting a midwife! She talked me into an ultrasound (I was 13 weeks) and as soon as she stuck the wand on my belly, I saw them. I was in shock. My poor husband was at the airport picking up my cousins! I called him, he was driving, and I asked him if he was sitting down! One of our sons once said “I only wanted one baby” a couple of weeks after we found out it was twins, which sounded so sad (he was 4). But that was it- seriously! The boys have always loved them and been proud of them. I think they like the way it made us extra-special, if that makes sense. And having our only girls be our twins helps, I think. We really don’t have jealousy issues… now where’s some wood I can knock on…

What is your biggest challenge as a parent?

I struggle with disciplining in the heat of the moment- if one of my kids does something unusual and grossly out of line, I can calmly talk to them, etc. But when it’s a repeated behavior (like hitting a sibling or grabbing something from someone else without asking) I need to have a predetermined consequence in my head or I will over-react. As my oldest boys get bigger it is getting harder to come up with consequences. It’s also hard to take away certain things, like playing the Wii, when it affects my other children.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Healthy pregnancies and healthy babies! I worked hard for some of that- I was on modified bed rest with the twins but held them in for 40 weeks! They weighed 9lbs5oz and 8lbs15oz 🙂 No, I did not have gestational diabetes. I tracked my protein intake when I read how important that is in twin pregnancies. All of my babies were big (biggest was Trent at 9lbs10oz) and I had great pregnancies. I tried to let my body be my guide. I lost all the weight each time, after I finished breast-feeding.

If my husband was here, he would tell me to put my Master’s Degree. So can I have two?

What are your favorite activities to do as a family?

We love to play in the snow together but moving to Northern California has put a bit of a damper on that. Our kids start snowboarding early (Nate was 2!) so we enjoy that as well. We like to travel, especially to the ocean or Lake Tahoe. We play lots of games- Yahtzee, Uno, Stratego, MasterMind, Clue, Frog Juice, Go Fish, you name it. We walk to the park a LOT. (Especially since we got a huge and energetic lab puppy.) And every Friday night is pizza and movie night. No joke- I don’t even eat the pizza much anymore after 5 years of having it every Friday night! But the kids LOVE this tradition. Sometimes we make our own pizza, sometimes we buy take-and-bake, occasionally we order the good stuff. Now that the boys are bigger we usually do two movies and put the 3 little ones to bed after the first one.

You’ve talked about Project Play, can you tell everyone in the community what this is about?

Project Playtime is a mission-based small business. Our focus is on providing families with fun physical activities to do together. My husband is a personal trainer with a specialization in children’s fitness. I have a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and we used to own a preschool together. He has a real knack for involving kids and adults of all ages in fun, playful activities that get your body moving. He has really inspired me to exercise regularly both with and without my kids (I discovered that if I work out two-three times a week my chronic headaches disappear! It’s really amazing how important regular exercise is- the kind where you are a little out of breath and sweaty. I think many women don’t push themselves hard enough physically and having a personal trainer show you what to do a few times and encourage you to work hard can really make a difference in how you feel. It’s kind of amazing because emotionally we sure can push ourselves to the max! Anyway, that’s off the topic. See, I’m having a conversation with myself here! Hope that doesn’t make it into the interview!).

We have a blog ) where we post ideas, recipes, photos, and local information. Of course, that’s free. We also do local family fitness classes that are really affordable ($100 for the entire family for 6 weeks- having 6 kids, we like to price per family not per child). John is looking to expand into preschools, which is really exciting.

What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?

Do your kids really, truly eat vegetables every day? How old are your kids when you stop brushing their teeth and trimming their nails? Silly things like that 🙂 I’d also love to hear how other moms make friends when kids keep you so busy. Real friends that you call on the phone not just Facebook!

Be sure to leave your answer to Michelle’s question in the comment section and then head over to The Active Family to leave some bloggy love!
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9 comments

  1. Wow, we have a lot in common, the birth order is a bit different as our twin girls are the babies, but we have four older sons…which gives us six! We also do pizza and movies on Fridays and, sadly, I have a big old sock basket hiding behind my armchair in the living room! Fun meeting you!

  2. Hello! I enjoyed reading your interview. I can't imagine a house with six kids, my twins keep me hectic enough. Impressive on your twins gestation and birth weights! I wish I knew more about food and health when I was pregnant as I do now being a mom! Even though I didn't do too badly with my identical girls.

    As for your questions…. My girls do eat LOTS of veg, even if not everyday. I'm a huge hommade smoothie fan, and recently started adding a big handful of raw spinach to the girls smoothies. I'm going to try grated carrot too! Although peas and carrots are their favorite veg.

    Toothbrushing…. My girls are 3yrs3mo. I usually let them brush their own teeth now and I "check" when they are done. I do NOT use flouride and am not planning on switching.

    As for friends…. Playdates are for mommies too! But then again I only have two of the same age, not 6 so truthfully, I don't have any tips except to join your local mothers of multiples OR other mom group that has active MNOs and make time to go out for yourself!

  3. I am going to start following your blog! Loved this post! Thanks!! I can not imagine 6 kids! We only have the twin girls at the moment and they keep me busy as it is! Your children are beautiful!!

    My girls do not eat veggies every day. I put them on their plate but sometimes they eat them and other times not. They love salad though so I usually put a little on their plate every night. They used to LOVE veggies but not so much any more. I hope it is a phase. They LOVE any fruit though so they eat probably 7 servings of fruit a day.

    We still brush their teeth first then they finish up. We are bad about forgetting in the morning though 🙁

    Amanda: If you check on the posts….be careful with raw spinach in smoothies! We knew a person who did this and her child actually got really sick from e-coli (remember the outbreak in spinach awhile back?) Love the idea of veggies in smoothies though…I think I will do that!

  4. Lisa @ Two Bears Farm

    Your kids are so cute!

    Yes, my kids eat veggies every single day. I do a lot of things to 'fun' them up, but they like most veggies.

    Still clipping nails and brushing teeth here. My dentist says we have to brush their teeth until they are 7!! Seems crazy to me!

  5. Love your post, can't wait to check out your site.

    I offer veggies and fruit every day to my 3 girls – sometimes 2 of them eat it, sometimes not. Those are my good veggie eaters. One of my twins (soon to be 3) will not touch any veggie and will only eat bananas – since birth. It's been really frustrating. We try to sneak it in, we give them the veggie/fruit juice and try to compensate with vitamins. Anything that works.

    As for brushing teeth, my girls will be 7, 3 and 3 in June. They brush first, I "check" when they are done. I do the majority of the teeth cleaning though. Our dentist said check until 7 too.

    As for meeting friends, it's hard. I work during the day, my husband is home with the kids. I don't meet parents or have play dates because Sat/Sun we do our running around, visiting family, shopping, family time, etc. It is rough – I miss my friends and making new ones.

  6. I love the first picture in this post!! And yes, my daughters really truly eat vegetables every day, although it took us a few years to get to this point. Some tricks: buy a variety and let them pick. I have one daughter who loves asparagus, two who will only eat carrots and the fourth will eat whatever you give her. I've also figured out that my daughters will not notice if I put shredded carrots or shredded zucchini in the spaghetti sauce and acorn squash in mac and cheese.

  7. So good to see another big family featured on here. Our family was featured at the beginning of Nov after the birth of our 2nd set of twins. It was a wonderful experience meeting the other moms on here!! As far as friends go, we have many within our church family. We also homeschool and have a ton of friends through those activities. We do pretty much everything together as a family so this provides them field trips and fun opportunities to be around all of their friends and me a chance to get out and have fun with the other moms, most of which are large family also. I also workout and run everyday. I signed up with a running club and am running my 1st 5K this summer, so that has given me lots of opportuntities to meet other likeminded moms that have a passion for fitness and love to run. I made lifetime at Weight Watchers and also still attend meetings monthly. It's fun seeing those girls on a regular basis and keeping up with them. Church, homeschool loop and running are our main sources of social life. My oldest 6 children, ages 13-5, run with me so they have lots of friends in that circle also.

    As for veggies, all of our crew eat them by the pounds. We juice with a Breville, which they LOVE. When they get to make their own juice it's a ton of fun to drink their concoction. And we also cut out all potato chips and junk food and switched to raw veggies with low fat or fat free dressing along with boiled egg whites as lunch sides to their sandwiches. They love it. I just set out large bowls of cut up broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, celery, cauliflower, etc and they can choose. Not all like broccoli and not all like cauliflower but when given the variety they can choose. Without dressing most of them won't touch it. We also do our own homemade dressing or use the dry ranch mixed in with sour cream. It works and they love helping make it all.

    So fun gettting to know your family! Love that you do family fitness! I so wish we had something like that here for a reasonable price that involves the entire family for classes. I'll be an avid blog follower of your's!

  8. Great to read about another large family which we are now reffered to as! My kids eat veggies everyday as long as they have something to dip them in (hummus, ranch ect). I love the sock pile idea that would save me some serious time! I think I better go do some laundry now…

  9. MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs)

    Our girls are 27 months old, and they do eat veggies every day…usually two at lunch at one at supper. They eat fruit at every meal. I know they're still young and I can limit their outside influences, but they don't know they have other options! HA! It's funny to take them to the grocery store…we'll be walking through the produce section, and they'll be calling out, "I love spinach!" "I love onions!" 🙂 🙂

    I have made a few great friends since the girls were born, through my Mothers of Multiples group. I don't mean to "focus" just on moms with multiples, but that group is all I can fit into our schedule. One mom lives just a couple of streets over, and we walk together (with our kiddos) as often as we can. Otherwise we meet for coffee a couple of times a month, after our kiddos are in bed. Again, I know our girls are young, but they're in bed by 7:30, so there's plenty of time from then until the coffee shop closes!

    I really enjoyed your interview!

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