This week we are joined by the Jacobson family who are originally from the USA but currently residing in Naples, Italy, due to Ted’s position with the U.S Air Force. Ted and wife Beverly have seven children. Let’s see what Beverly has to say about living life the large family way!
Introduce us to your family (names and ages & tell us a bit about yourselves):
Ted & Beverly Jacobson, married for 16 years. We graduated from college in 1997, Ted from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in history/Russian studies and Beverly from Cedarville University with a degree in secondary English education. We have lived in Texas, Idaho, Ohio, Maryland, Nevada, back to Ohio, and now in Italy. We were married for just over three years when our firstborn arrived; I was teaching English at the local high school for the first part of the pregnancy, then quit when summer arrived so I could be a stay-at-home mother. Our children are:
Charis Noelle, 10/18/2000
Tobin Michael, 4/13/2002
Arden Daniel, 10/18/2003
Kenna Joelle, 2/27/2007 (born during a Stateside deployment)
Lucan Thaniel, 3/27/2009
Zaden Ezekiel, 8/24/2011 (born while Daddy was ¼ of the way into a year-long tour in Afghanistan)
Seanin Gabriel, 8/14/2013
Do you consider your family to be large? If not, what do you think is the magic number which turns an average sized family into a large one?
Now I would say yes, our family is large, if only because we fill EVERY seat in our Suburban and it’s rather tight for road trips! I don’t think there is a magic number. When I “only” had three children, families with 4, 5 or 6 seemed large. Honestly, though, I maybe should take back that first statement–when I am in our family room doing school work and there are 5-6 of our kids in that one room, I sometimes sit back and feel amazed…it doesn’t FEEL like there are “a lot” of kids in the room. Maybe it’s because they are all so unique and I know them all so well; being with a group of kids in a play setting, for example, can feel much more overwhelming than being around my family.
Did you ever think you would have a large family?
Nope! If you had asked Ted or me at the beginning of our marriage how many kids we were going to have, we would have said 2, maybe 3. God had other plans, though! And boy, are we glad!
What is your best moneysaving tip?
Thrift stores! Don’t be afraid to wear used clothing. We hardly spend any money on clothes.
What is your best tip for organisation?
Schedule, schedule, schedule. But don’t be a slave to the schedule–the framework should serve you, not make YOU a slave to IT. Making a schedule saves time so you don’t have to daily think through those everyday decisions–you just do it at the regular time and move on, whether it’s exercise, chores, schoolwork, whatever.
What is your favourite recipe?
Oh, my. We love to cook and eat around here! As we head into winter, I’m particularly fond of soups, especially ones I can put in the crock pot(s) and have ready for dinner without any effort during the busy time in the afternoon.
Do you cook the same meal for everyone or cater for different tastes?
Oh, goodness, I don’t cook different meals!! I do offer options to younger ones, depending…the 2yo may not be able to handle carrot sticks, but loves peppers; or instead of leftover casserole that he and the 4yo didn’t eat the night before, I make them a sandwich while the older ones get heated leftovers. Everyone gets their own breakfast, so I guess that’s as close as we come to “catering” to different tastes. I cook a breakfast maybe 2-4 times a week, but I know not everyone will eat it; some don’t like eggs scrambled, some don’t like them fried, some like sausage with potatoes but not with eggs; whatever. Get your own food!
What is the best thing about having a large family?
Fun, fun, fun! Dinner together is an absolute blast as we talk and laugh our way through the meal! There is never a dull moment, and everyone always has someone to talk/play with. It gives us all great opportunities to learn how to grow in grace, patience, unconditional love, forgiveness, and so on…qualities that took longer for me to develop since I only had one younger sibling, whom I chose not to spend much time with because he was a “pest” so much of our growing up years. By the time we really started to get along, I was finishing high school and moving on to college. I love that our kids are building super close relationships with their siblings, and I believe the skills of communication and problem-solving will benefit them for their whole lives.
And what is the most difficult?
Making time for everyone. The more kids you have, the bigger the age range and the more challenging to find activities that appeal to the whole crowd. And as parents, when we’re home it feels like someone is always wanting/needing us.
If you could offer one piece of advice to parents, what would it be?
Try not to take yourselves too seriously. Recognize that children are resilient; you will not ruin them for life (assuming you truly do love and care for them–obviously abuse and neglect are a completely different matter). Do your best and trust that God’s grace will cover the gaps. Guilt is a tool of the devil, and too many parents who desperately want to be wonderful at this job get overwhelmed by unnecessary guilt. Don’t be paralyzed by the “should’ve/could’ve” mentality. As my mother-in-law says, “Don’t should on yourself!”
Don’t you have a television?
Bwahahaha! Why yes, yes we do. But we aren’t couch potato zombies. We enjoy a scant few programs as a family (two, actually) and two shows as a couple, and other than that, we make our own entertainment, thankyouverymuch.
Do you know what causes it?
Why yes, don’t you?!
And finally, will you have any more children?!
God willing, yes…not sure if that will be biologically or by adoption, but knowing God’s heart for children, I assume that at some point we will welcome another child. For now, we’re relishing our 7th little blessing and soaking up all the cuddles and smiles a 3-month-old can give us!
Please do leave a hello and welcome message for the Jacobson family in the comments below. You can also catch up with them at Beverly’s blog over at Joy in the Journey.