Guest Post: Vicki, of Horses, Dirt & Motherhood, on the Essentials of a Big Family

vicki lead
photo credit: “I am so…” via photopin (license)

Vicki’s life has a definite smell soundtrack.

guest post“Horses, new babies and my husband!” she said with a laugh in a comment last year, when I took on the A to Z writing challenge. It was the post for B, about breakfast – and the glorious smells that lift our lives.

Vicki lifts plenty of spirits in her blog, Horses, Dirt & Motherhood.

She’s a kind, sharing soul with nine kids and a yard full of animals. A mom of nine! My mom tells me I used to wish for nine kids so I could field and entire baseball team. They might even give the actual Colorado Rockies a run for their money.

Vicki’s here today with an awesome post about fielding those nine kids.

Please enjoy her post here, then check out Horses, Dirt & Motherhood. Check out her rambles on homeschooling and The Bible. Other books, too. You’ll learn what exactly a psycho gardener is, too. Please give Vicki a warm CD welcome.

It doesn’t seem unusual or odd to me, it just is. Other than the 15 passenger van. That I know is just odd.

8 Things You Must Do When You Have 9 Kids

I had a hard time thinking about this post and doing this post for Coach Eli. What do I write about when I don’t know how to explain it?? It doesn’t seem unusual or odd to me, it just is. Other than the 15 passenger van. That I know is just odd.

Here is how I got my beloved 15 passenger van. (Which, by the way, is not a requirement, however, how else are you going to haul your nine kids, their friends and their gear?? Don’t forget all the car seats you need to have nowadays. If you can find something a little cooler looking or sportier that can do that, then by all means!)

I told my darling Hubby, who likes trucks and sweet looking cars, that I wanted a passenger van. He could not grasp that thought. He wanted a cool looking Chevy Suburban. Yea they are nice looking, but I really wanted a passenger van. We argued and discussed. He just could not seem to wrap his head around his wife WANTING something so uncool, so plain.

He decided we needed to go to the Auto Show. We sat in lots of great cars and some amazingly cool trucks. Finally, just as I was about done and wanted to go home, there, in the far back corner behind a really cool truck, was my prize! A 12 passenger Dodge van!!! I dragged him over to my find, where he stood looking at it with THAT look. The one that says, “You cannot be serious??”

It was perfect. Vinyl seats that could be wiped off. A rubber mat for a floor that could just be hosed off. A little too practical I guess. We finally compromised. We could get cloth seats and carpet.

The first van we had was a 12 passenger Ford, which I found I absolutely loved. Much better than the Dodge van I thought, and later, when I actually had one to drive, I realized that was very true. I did not like driving the Dodge van- the gas gauge didn’t work right, and I tend to run my vehicle til they are just about dry and then fill up. I ran that van out of gas once too many times. The Hubby didn’t want me to really break it, so, finally a 15 passenger Ford van was in my possession!

Once you have that big vehicle, you had better love it, because you will be spending a LOT of time with it!

I was in LOVE!

Now, keep in mind, if I want to go grocery shopping, I do have to keep that last seat out, so I really have an 11 passenger van. But the boys can put the seat in or out as needed pretty easily so it’s not a real problem.

That is my number 1.

Once you have that big vehicle, you had better love it because:

2. You will be spending a LOT of time with it!

You will need to cart everyone around in that vehicle. When you have that many kids, they have friends who like to hang out with your kids.

You will need to fill that vehicle with stuff, stuff that others need moved because they know you have a big vehicle.

3. You will need to fill that vehicle with stuff

Stuff from the grocery store, stuff from sales. Your kids’ stuff. Stuff that others need moved because they know you have a big vehicle.

4. Vacations will happen with that vehicle

No flying for you. Not unless you are independently wealthy. But you will not likely be independently wealthy because you have 9 kids. So, driving it is. Everywhere you want to go. It is a good thing you have a big vehicle because, they need a lot of stuff when you go on vacation. Every single corner will be packed with something. Shoes, pillows, blankets.  Stuff.. The kids don’t need much leg room, well most of them, so all that floor space will be filled with stuff. You could not fly if you wanted to- there isn’t enough room on a plane for all the stuff you need.

Throw the kids on top of the pile, and off you go!

5. Be sure to count FACES

Not just heads. Look at the faces to make sure you have each one and the right ones. And, yes, I know that didn’t always work out so well for me.

6. Check to make sure each one has shoes as well

At least the walkers and up. The baby, well, the baby’s shoes probably are off already anyways so don’t worry about that one. A matched pair is optional at this point!

Hopefully, someone already tattled on that one who thought he could get away with going somewhere without pants!!  If you don’t have a “tattler”, (highly unlikely, but in the off chance that you don’t) check to make sure each one, especially the boys, have pants on.

You will not even go to the bathroom with fewer than five kids for at least the first 10 years.

7. Get used to traveling with an “Entourage”!

Anytime you go somewhere with more than 3 it is considered an entourage in my book!  And generally, you will not go ANYWHERE with fewer than five. Not even the bathroom for at least the first 10 years.

8. Once you get all that food home from the grocery store, you will have to prepare it

And prepare it so that it lasts for more than one meal preferably!!  Now they call them “planned-overs”. Sorry, leftovers are still leftovers. And using them to the last crumb is eaten is a good idea! Feeding all those people takes a lot of food. No chicken nuggets for each and every meal either. Those are expensive! Eat whatever I have made you to eat. No exceptions. You must try one bite and if you don’t like it, there is the bread and butter. No special orders. Sorry, I am not a short order cook ready for your every beck and call.

“You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” I have heard that phrase so many times, but I cannot recall where it came from! Yes, my kids repeat it all the time.

Having  nine kids is always interesting and always a challenge. I wouldn’t have it any other way!!



family quote


  1. ksbeth says:

    i love this and have begun following her. ‘count faces’ is brilliant advice for any size family.

    1. vicki says:

      Thanks so much!! Counting faces is a must!!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        it helps for us to count shin guards, jerseys and cleats, too.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      ‘count faces’ is the kind of advice you can get only from a mom who’s earned her medals in the trenches, beth.

  2. So nice to me Vicki here today and we actually just upgraded to a larger truck, but definitely not a 15 seater as we are only a family of, but still slowly getting used to owning a larger vehicle and loving it, as well 😉

    1. vicki says:

      You definitely have to get used to a larger vehicle, don’t you!! Thanks for reading!

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’d fill a 15-seater with 13 seats worth of soccer gear, laundry and snacks (or boxes from snacks, more accurately.)

      2. vicki says:

        Empty boxes where snacks had been! I cannot believe how often I reach for a snack and find the empty box!!! And no, they can’t ever seem to walk themselves out of the van after a road trip!!

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’ve let Grace down the past two soccer practices because there are no snacks – she’s requested maple cookies.

      4. vicki says:

        Ooooo… love those!!!

      5. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s a reminder of me to get to the store! Thanks, V.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Where would you park such a big vehicle on that island, JH?

      1. You’d be surprised LOL!! 😉

  3. vicki says:

    Reblogged this on HORSES DIRT AND MOTHERHOOD and commented:
    WHOOHOOO!!! a Guest post on Coach Daddy’s blog today!! ALL the cool kids get to do that!! Eli has been an awesome encouragement to me in my blogging journey- Thanks so much Eli!! Many Blessings to you!!
    Let me know what you think!

  4. Kisma says:

    Vicki, this is awesome. I ran a day care out of my home for 10 years and the “counting faces” and passenger van where my favorite!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wish I knew this tip when I first started coaching soccer, with the littles.

  5. vicki says:

    Thanks so much!! Day care prepares you for such things doesn’t it??

  6. Wow! I can’t even imagine. Having only one kid, I love my minivan. We’ve had as much as 3 people and 3 kayaks, plus all our stuff, in/on it. Great post!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked this – with one kid and a bouncy seat, silly saucer, diaper bag, playpen … well it got crowded.

      By kid two, you realize you don’t need all that stuff.

  7. stomperdad says:

    That’s incredible. I struggle to feed 9 on Thanksgiving. Nevermind feeding 9 every day! We just went from a Carolla to a RAV4. Big size difference but it ain’t no 15 passenger van. That’s a soccker team with 5 subs and a coach!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      This issue has become leg room for my three – they’re not getting any shorter.

  8. Rorybore says:

    I will show my normal Honda minivan more love from now on. It feels like a boat to drive, I cannot imagine a 15 seat passenger. Even with only 3 we are usually packed to the gills too. Not pantless episodes yet. Once someone did not have underwear though. Can’t even.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Underwear is tough to check for, Rore.

      1. Rorybore says:

        I swear it – fingers crossed: It. Was. Not. Me. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        suuuure it wasn’t.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.