Our childhood was a simple one. Our elementary school was two blocks away. We walked there. Alone.
Sometimes we would walk home for lunch, and then go back to school for the rest of our day.
Again, alone. Without fear of being kidnapped or offered candy by the strange man in a white van with no windows.
When we would get to the corner of our block we could tell you exactly what our mom baked for afternoon snack. If there was no smell, it was graham cracker sandwich day. Our least favorite. We would eat snack, do homework, and go outside and play while our mom finished up dinner.
Dad would walk in the door around 7, and we would all sit down and eat the dinner that my mom made from scratch. Our meals would last almost 2 hours. Not that we were sitting there shoving our faces the whole time, we just always liked sitting and talking about our days. Even when we were only in grade and middle school. Sometimes
all of the time there would be friends there. They loved our mother’s cooking and that family atmosphere that many of them didn’t get to experience.
We grew up in black and white. Our father was Ward Cleaver. Our mother, June.
Our childhood was not one based around yearly trips to Disney World or the new fancy video games. It was based around being at home with our siblings. We grew insanely close to one another. Even after we would punch each other in the mouth, we always made up and laughed.
One of the things instilled in us from the get-go was the importance of home. It didn’t have to be pretty, but it had to be cozy. Somewhere where people could walk in, grab a glass of tea, and sit down and feel welcomed. We were taught how to cook and bake as soon as we could stand eye level with our mother’s massive kitchen island. On most occasions we would sit on (yes, ON) the kitchen table and talk to her while she made dinner. We probably asked a lot of, “why are you doing that?” … “what’s THAT for?!” She was patient and taught us anyway. Just as my dad’s mom taught her in their early years of marriage. She would occasionally let us paint with her, or make fun crafts. Mostly around the holidays.
Our parents marriage would end as we entered our teenage years, but our importance of family and home would stay at our very core. These things would define who we would become as mothers and as wives.
Danielle serves as the oldest of the 7 of us. When she was 15 years old she met a kid at church camp. They ended up marrying one another 5 years later. Despite her promises, she moved back to our hometown to raise their three children. Currently running an in-home daycare, raising a husband, driving the ‘extracurricular activities’ taxi, and serving at church… well, she definitely values a well orchestrated schedule. Danielle is in her own world about 95% of the time. You either move at her speed or you’re left in the dark. The remaining 6 of us had to learn how to interpret her fast talking. It sounds like she’s speaking in tongues most of the time. Especially when she is frustrated about something. We also serve as her tact buddies. More often than not she says something that she didn’t think through all that well. While it is honest it shoots through the recipient like a politically incorrect bullet set to murder their self esteem. She means well, but it’s good to have a sister or a brother there to smack her shoulder and say, “What Danielle MEANT to say is _________________.” Pretend she is the President and we’re her Press Secretaries. Danielle’s niche is motherhood. She’s hands on, involved, and her kids are the most well-rounded individuals to walk the face of the earth.
Samantha is number two in line. A little over 4 years ago she met a college football player who was student teaching in the school that she taught in. She had a giant crush on him and tried to hide it, but really … when your face turns bright red everytime he walks into your classroom you’re kind of giving it away. They met for coffee multiple times as “friends,” and as soon as he graduated college he proposed. As a 2nd grade teacher, wife, mom of two, and fitness-loving-weirdo Samantha keeps herself busy to say the least!
Hilary is my parents’ one true “whoopsie daisy.” (Did you just say whoopsie daisy? Name that movie!) Following Samantha by only a short 13 months, she keeps things interesting. She has known her husband since they were kids and went to grade school together. Hilary would move away from our hometown, but return and end up marrying the boy from grade school. They have two feral children (raised by a Great Dane named Cash) who give her a run for her money but are always good for a few laughs. If you are looking for her she is working in a dentist’s office, diagnosing our teeth ailments through text messages, wrangling two kids and a small horse, all the while whipping up amazing creations in the kitchen.
Kelsea is the 4th and last girl, but the middle child of the 7. She met a boy when she was about 14 at church camp and married him 8 years later. (Deja vu?) They are currently living the nomad life. Her husband is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps … Ahh. Those dress blues. Kelsea has had to learn how to be alone for long periods of time and be alright. She lets her freak flag fly and is unashamed. Seemingly always preparing for or recovering from a move and raising her daughter and son, she is learning to make any place a home.
Our goal with this blog is to share our reality. To inspire those around us and bring them back to home. Our children may remember the trips to Disney World, they may remember the Christmas they received the XBOX, but they will be forever changed by the security of home.
Let’s take this journey together, as we all strive to reach (our own versions of) domestic bliss!