This is Karen and my sister(Becca was in town for the weekend visiting a friend). Isn't Karen teeny? And you would never know she has 10 kids ranging in age from 33(I think) down to 9. We've known Karen since I was in the fifth grade. Her 5th child and I, Katherine, were best friends in WA all growing up and we practically lived at each other's homes. They have since moved here to Utah and every once and awhile, I'll bring my family over there and spend time with her family. Karen is one of my favorite people. I love talking with her. I'm sure part of that has to do with the fact that we're on number 4 and so Karen can easily relate to and understand all that is going on in our very busy lives right now and she is so loving and wise that I'm always excited to take in whatever she says. And she's one of those people who always make you feel like you're the best mother, friend, wife etc. so you always go away from her feeling very good about yourself :). Her family is one of the neatest families you'll ever meet. 10 kids, 2 loving and adoring parents who love everyone they meet. You can't help but love them back.
Speaking of having ten kids, several people have asked me during this pregnancy if this will be our last(I'm not sure if they're asking because they think it should be our last or if they're truly curious). My answer is always the same, I sure hope not. I'm only 26 years old and to have my last baby at that age would be such a sad thing for me. We don't know how many children we want to have exactly, but if Scott and I are both healthy(physically, emotionally and mentally) and can provide a good loving home for them, I'm also not going to say, 'no more kids' just because we have more than most of the people in the world choose to have.
When I was talking to Karen I asked her if raising the tenth was much different than raising the first or second. Her response: Her parenting has gotten a lot more relaxed, in a good way, and that it is infinitely easier to raise ten then to raise one or two. Why? Because when you have a few little children, that's when it's hard and it's all on you. A very demanding job. But when the young ones get older they help their younger siblings. She said the later children learned how to do so many things just from watching their older siblings do it: they read their scriptures every day because that's what their siblings do, they brush their teeth every day, read, do homework, chores etc. because that's what their siblings do. Now I'm not writing all this because I necessarily want to have ten children(like I said before, I don't know how many), or because I'm trying to convince anyone to do the same, but as a young mother with several young children, hearing that information made me smile and was encouraging.
As a side note, I do not like these pictures of me. I don't think I'll ever like a picture of me where I'm standing next to Karen(especially when I'm 31 weeks pregnant) because compared to her, I look like a mammoth. Huge! And my face is already beginning to spread(it always does that when I'm nearing the end of pregnancy). Lovely. Oh well. Just do yourself a favor and don't click on the photos to enlarge them