So all of you know by now that we are expecting baby #4.
By some standards, we have crossed the line into 'large family' territory because we have more than the average 2.5 kids and will no longer be able to fit the whole family in a plain ol' passenger car.
But you have to understand... I read a lot of blogs. Blogs with families ranging from 5 kids to 12 kids. And we spent two years living next door to / renting from / hanging out with a family with 7.
So in my mind, when you start counting kids, I don't see us as that big. It's 'just' Dale, Alan, Tyler, and the New Girl. At the same time....even though the number seems small, I often find myself with a large family mindset when it comes to our little crew. Does that make any sense?
It is in the approach I have to things like assembly line sandwiches, having olders help youngers, or for that matter, even dividing them up in my head into 'olders and youngers'!
So here we are, with 'only' 4 kids. Are we done yet? We get asked that a lot, especially with a girl coming after 3 boys. Kind of like "you're getting a girl, so you're done now, right?" Truthfully? We don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. Our standard answer is "one baby at a time." Unless, of course, there were twins in our future. ;)
It's kind of funny, this mixture of seeing ourselves as small while still thinking big. I had my first encounter with "are they all yours" recently. I was sitting outside a hotel lobby with my three boys plus one extra, so 4 boys under 8 running around. A smiling lady walked by - I don't know if she noticed the pregnant belly or not, with Tyler in my lap - and said, "Tell me they're not all yours!"
I was so surprised to find myself wishing I could say, yes, they are all mine! I claimed my 3 and explained 1 was a nephew, and she made some nice comment in return as she walked by. And I was left pondering my funny reaction. I always thought I would feel sheepish upon hearing that question. Instead I wanted to claim a handful of kids!
Again, with only 3 and 1 on the way, we must have 'that look' about us. The boys and I were in the shoe store today. Along with what we had come for, I couldn't help buying a pair of tiny pink shoes for the baby. As Alan placed them on the counter he told the ladies behind it they were for his sister. After they oohed and ahhed and congratulated, one lady looked at me and, stumbling over the wording, asked "So, are you going to be ...just... letting God decide, or is this... all? What I mean is....?" She didn't seem rude in the least, so I helped her out. "Do you mean are we done?" And I gave her our standard "one baby at a time" answer.
She went on to explain she has been helping a family of 12 children that has come in the store for years. She was very complimentary of them and didn't seem taken aback in the least by their dozen. She sacked up our shoe purchases and, handing the bag to Alan, told him to be sure and bring that baby sister in to see her soon!
I had to laugh. I mean really? It's the shoe store. I don't know you, lady! But I left with a light feeling in my step. While most family and friends have been completely on-board and excited about baby #4, I have been curious what we look like to outsiders. I'm sure we get our fair share of head-shakes and raised eyebrows (and I can't imagine what it would be like with 5, or 7, or mercy! 12!), but it was refreshing to know that with 2 afoot, 1 on the hip and 1 in the belly there are those out there that are able to smile and enjoy these blessings God has given our family!