When I was growing up, long before The Brady Bunch became a thing, I read a book called Cheaper By The Dozen and began what turned out to be a longstanding fascination with big families.
And I mean really big.
Back the 1980s, I well remember an afternoon at the office when all work on our audit team ground to a halt as we listened in utter fascination to a co-worker named Dan O'Keefe describe his big family life. Dan's widower father had married a widowed woman and instantly created a blended family of 21 kids. My mind reeled with the delightful insanity of that kind of chaos, and we eagerly peppered him with questions about how a family even operates at that level.
Dan's answers, as I recall, involved a whole lot of chili and spaghetti dinners and color-coded toothbrushes. And get this - the family bought two houses, one across the street from the other, in order to give everyone a place to sleep.
I admire the creativity that big-family parents bring to the table.
So it's been with great delight and growing curiosity that I've watched as my friend, Tami, and her husband, Tyler, have been building a big family for themselves. With this summer's arrival of little Ivie, they are up to nine kids; the oldest clocks in at thirteen years old.
Certainly, big families are not for everyone. But Tami and Tyler simply love raising kids and enjoy every minute of their big family life, handling the challenges with considerable grace and good humor. Always eager to learn more about big family life from the pros, I asked Tami to share her story with us.
Here is our lightly edited conversation, along with a handful of photos of the delightful Banner brood.
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Please introduce us to your family and tell us a little something about what makes each person unique.