The last time I interviewed you (2009) I believe you were in the middle of a cross country move, what has been happening since then?
In 2009 we moved from Georgia to Arizona to Virginia. My husband deployed and after several difficult months in Virginia, I made the tough decision to move back to Georgia. We made the move without any of our furniture and spent the spring and summer in our old house in Georgia before setting off on another cross-country move. In late 2010, I loaded up an RV and drove to Washington with my six children, dog, and cat. We spent 7 weeks traveling the country, stopping in 22 states along the way and taking time to see everything along the way. It was an amazing adventure! A few weeks after we arrived in Washington, my husband returned from Iraq. Late last year we moved again, this time from Washington to Arizona. Military life for us means there is never a dull moment!
You are expecting Baby Seven any day now, what are your tips for juggling a new baby, two sets of twins and two singletons?
Baby Seven still hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m looking forward to enjoying a singleton after two sets of twins. In my mind, it should be much easier to juggle one baby with six older siblings than it was to juggle 2 babies with 4 siblings that were also close in age. We have a 4 year gap between the youngest twins and this new baby, so it should be a lot of fun. I’m a pretty laid back mom and usually follow the baby’s cues when it comes to nursing and sleeping, which makes things less stressful for me. I’ve also learned that it is important to get out of the house, even if it’s just to take a walk around the block or go to the playground. Getting out is good for my sanity and my kids love it, plus it wears them out a bit.
You are a former doula, what are some of your best tips for expectant mothers?
Finding a supportive care provider is really important, no matter what type of birth you desire. You should feel that your care provider takes the time to get to know you and understands your concerns and your goals. I also believe that nutrition is an often overlooked part of pregnancy, especially for moms of multiples. Protein intake has been shown to play an important role in pregnancy outcomes, so it’s a subject that should be discussed with every expectant mother. Dr. Barbara Luke’s book, “When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads”, has great information about increasing protein intake during a multiple pregnancy.
You’re a military Momma that has experienced several deployments, how do you do it? What tips do you have for other military families?
We have survived one long deployment and quite a few TDY assignments, ranging from a few weeks in length to many months. It doesn’t really get easier, but you learn new ways of coping with the frequent separations. I think it is toughest on the military children and it’s hard for young kids to understand why a parent is gone. One of the toughest moments in our family was when my husband returned after a 21 month absence and our youngest twins (barely 2 years old at the time) did not know him or remember him. We do a lot of little things to stay connected when he is away, such as watching videos of him, creating a life-sized “Flat Daddy”, making small “Daddy” dolls with his photo on them, and sending care packages. It has also been very hard on the children when we move, but we try to make it a fun experience. We always turn it into a road trip and try to see and do as much as we can while we’re traveling. We try to make the best of each place that we live and enjoy our time there, even if it is limited. My oldest son just turned 10 last month and has lived in 7 different states and traveled to 46 states. It’s not easy and it certainly gets to be very stressful at times, but we try to have fun!
What questions do you have for the other families in the community?
Does anyone have any tips for staying organized in tiny spaces? We are living in a small house at the moment and I find it challenging to create storage space. We have a tiny pantry and 8 people to feed, so I end up storing extra food in our laundry room (which is also far too small) and trying to make it work. We have just started moving the children into bunk and loft beds to free up more floor space in their cramped bedrooms, but I’m still trying to figure out where to store clothes, toys, and homeschooling books that don’t really have a home. I need organizing help and storage ideas from other big families!
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