We have had the pleasure of getting to know this week’s Large Family of the Week over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet met in person, given that they’re all the way from Colorado, USA and we’re in Kent, UK, but maybe one year!
Please say hello to the Jeubs and their 16 children!
Introduce us to your family (names and ages & tell us a bit about yourselves):
Wendy: We married in 1991 as somewhat of a blended family. I was a teenage mom and Chris adopted my two children. We started having children and were tempted to stop after our first son (#5, Isaiah) but we felt God telling us to keep having children. We have have been having children fairly consistently since, every two years, with one set of twins. We love the active and fun life of a large family and are very glad we flowed with our original conviction to have children.
Chris: It’s a given that we love children. Wendy and I are madly in love with each other, too. As our family has grown we have been led to believe more and more in love as the necessary dynamic in our family that must prevail over all else. We see love similarly to the bible’s take on love: it is the Greatest Commandment. We can’t miss the mark of love in life. For people who look to Wendy and me for encouragement or advice, we have defaulted to a message on love, which is the central theme of our book “Love in the House.”
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?
(Chris took this one.) This is a funny question. I will often be out and about running errands, and I will see a family of, say, four kids. And I think, “Wow, that’s a big family!” Then I’ll bring my brood of at least a dozen into Walmart or something and think nothing of it. When they’re your own kids and your home is your own, the perspective changes.
Wendy and I recall 7 as a magical time for us. We had four daughter then three sons. We named our seventh child Noah, and we joked at the time that it meant “no-ah more Jeubs.” We met the most negativity at 3-6 kids, but something broke at 7. People began to respect our convictions more than criticize them, and that made things much nicer for welcoming the next children. Today, we can’t imagine life without any of these little blessings.
Did you ever think you would have a large family?
(Wendy took this one.) When I met Chris and we went out on our first date, he said he wanted 10 kids. I thought he was crazy! But he sure was cute. So we kept dating and falling in love with each other, and the idea of having a large family wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.
What is your best moneysaving tip?
(Wendy) I love frugality. I think it is a way of life, always looking out for the best deals. My cookbooks have a ton of suggestions for mothers who are trying to pinch pennies, but I would say this is my best suggestion: “shop in your own house FIRST.” Much too often we get caught up in running to the store for this meal or that, when we have plenty at home in our cupboards or freezers. That’s how I will typically think early in the day in anticipation for dinner: what’s available already. Only then will I consider running to the store for items.
What is your best tip for organisation?
(Chris) We’ve been getting into the idea of simplicity lately, and there is a whole community of people who get into it. Simplicity has been a real blessing to our family, and “de-cluttering” is one of their ideas, probably their best tip. We’ve been going through typical clutter areas and re-organizing them to better fit our big family. For example, we replaced our dishes last month and spent a little bit of money on one standard set of plates and cups to replace our mishmash mess of assorted dishes. It has made everything run smoother (washing dishes, setting the table, etc.).
Do you cook the same meal for everyone or cater for different tastes?
(Wendy) One of my most annoying responses to picky eating is, “I’m not a short-order cook.” When I’m making a big dinner, the kids do not have a lot of choices. However, breakfasts and lunches are a little more flexible, especially for the teenagers. Throwing together a sandwich or omelette of their liking is how we roll most days. Dinner is usually where we sit together as a family and enjoy the meal together.
And finally, will you have any more children?!
(Wendy) I know this sounds crazy to people, but I would love to have another child. My biological clock is getting to its final hour, so who knows. But as I look back on each and every one of my children, I’m so grateful for how they are blessing the world with their presence. Seriously, I’m not the only one who enjoys my children. As they grow they move into life as the blessing they were promised to be, and there is really nothing more rewarding in my life. I would love to welcome another child into the love of our family.
Please leave a warm hello for the Jeub family in the comments below, then head on over to their blog at www.jeubfamily.com.