Wednesday, April 30, 2014


     Like I said, my family is different from other families in a lot of ways. First, because we're a big family. The sheer number of bodies can sometimes be overwhelming when we go places. Second, the ages of The Clan children range between 19 and 3, and we're all about sixteen months apart. And we also homeschool. Over the past few years, homeschooling - especially in large families - has gotten to be of less of an eye-opener, but I think our method of homeschooling is unusual, and sometimes really funny. There are lots of other ways we stand out as a family and as individuals. Some are big, and some are pretty small, and a lot of them reflect the weird way we think and the things we find funny and entertaining.

     For instance, we don't get around to family pictures as often as most people I know. That means Mom has to grab at odd opportunities to get us all together and have a picture taken. Like the time when we were all crammed into the front window of a borrowed camper while Grandma took a few pictures. Or the time we were all perched up in a tree in the front yard. Or all set up on the couch, stacked on top and around each other. I've learned that it's very challenging to get that many faces into one picture.

     We also love to go camping as a family, especially along the North Shore of Lake Superior. There are lots of great state parks there, and we like to go at least three times a year. When we camp, we try and enjoy the full experience – including tenting out, cooking our own food, making our own snack foods for on the trail, and hiking all sorts of places. Taking that many people out into the woods and feeding them for three or four days takes a lot of planning and co-ordination. On such trips, the person in charge of making the food has a very important role.
That's the one, way down there on the end. The one with the big spatula.
     We also garden, and later this year when we start planting, there may be a post or two on that subject. The food we grow in that garden is canned, by my Mom mainly, but the rest of us all pitch in. Like a lot of things we do, it's a group effort. 

     My Dad is really interested in barefoot running, and has since gotten all of us involved in running and minimal shoes – or even no shoes at all. Several of us have taught ourselves to play instruments, we keep bees, and all Clan children are shamefully ignorant of the art of baseball.

     On a smaller scale, there are some other things we do that could be considered unusual or different. Because there are 13 kids, we have seasonal birthday parties and group the birthdays together for winter, spring, and fall parties. Mom bakes and decorates all the cakes, including putting in the candles.
One for each year. Blowing them all out in one breath is an annual challenge.

     We like swords, sticks, and things to bash each other with.

     We like balls, boxes, and other things to smash, climb on or into, or throw around.
Kids in a box. Good fun.

     We live out of town, with a big yard and plenty of space to run around – or even run wild.
A boy and his cat. They bagged a rabbit!

     All of this is what I intend for this blog to address. We see things differently from pretty nearly everyone else I know. Truly, we are too hick to be square.

     And it's actually pretty fun.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mornings with the Clan

     My Mom is nearly as bad as I am in the mornings. We wake up gradually over a period of hours. This morning she started filling her thermos and said: "This morning is brought to you by Frank's Hot Sauce and black coffee." 

     We are so thankful for all our sponsors. A big shout of thanks to Frank's hot sauce and black coffee for all they've done to make this morning something to be enjoyed. And our theme song for today is Clara Dawson by Jimmi & the Band of Souls.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Introduction to The Clan

     This is the blog of a member of The Clan. With thirteen kids (and no twins!), we're already an unusual family, but we're actually even weirder than we seem at first glance. A lot of people ask my mom how she manages taking care of such a big family, and she's got her own blog where she talks about all that stuff. But this is my blog, and I'm not going to talk about that. Much. I might put in a few things, but mostly I'm going to blog about the funny, off-the-wall, different, and just plain weird things we do. As one of the kids, I've got a unique perspective of my family, which hopefully will help me share all the fun and excitement of being part of The Clan.

     The first thing we do when we go visiting as a family is pass around the introductions. With two parents and thirteen kids, that's a lot of names to remember! Do your best. There will be a quiz.

The Clan:

Two parents, thirteen kids. Eight boys, five girls.

  • Mom and Dad My mom is the most amazing mom I've ever met – she's probably my best role model, she's an amazing cook (despite what I might say in later posts), and she's done an amazing job of raising this many kids to be fairly normal people with good attitudes. My dad is a computer programmer, a barefoot runner, a beekeeper, a carpenter, and another good example for me. We even have beards that are relatively similar. 

  1. David – my oldest brother. He's in college, he's kind of a nerd and is obsessed with the letter V, red, black, LEGO's, and strange hats.
  2. Eli – 18 years old this May. He's really outgoing – as in: out the door and into the car and down the road. He's going to have a very unique life experience if his mother doesn't kill him.
  3. Noodle – Me. I'm 16 and the oldest girl. I'm a writer, reader, crocheter, and a general help around the house. I'm a big sister, and sometimes a big pain in the neck, but I'm the one writing this blog, so that makes everything OK.
  4. Skinny – The Boy With the Rag On His Head. He likes video game music, plastic swords, being tough, and spending hours a day using a 3-D modeling program on his computer.
  5. M – She's really giggly, has curly-hair which goes poof when there's even a smidgen of humidity in the air, and is interested in activities for short periods of time. Can I say: "Easily distracted"?
  6. Jo – She likes lots of things, but most of all she likes to beat people. She's a vicious game player. Seriously, watch out.
  7. Tubby – He's 10 years old. Generally he's a happy sort of guy who rides bikes through mud puddles, asks to play with squirt guns in April (which is crazy up here in Minnesota!), and would probably like to water-ski or sky-dive. Maybe. He's the oldest of the three Melonheads.
  8. Cob – The second Melonhead. It is very difficult to get a normal picture of him, since he likes to watch the camera out of the corner of his eyes, but I do my best. Cob and his next brother, Pete, have recently started writing songs. So far I've attended two of their concerts, and I predict there will be more to come.
  9. Pete – The last Melonhead, Pete is no quitter. He's in a two-person band with Cob and he is a very dangerous sword fighter. He and Cob have already choreographed a combat scene and had it photographed.
  10. Fuzz – She's 7. She's sandwiched between two sets of boys, so she's a big tomboy. But although my brothers will hate me for saying this, she can sometimes coax some of them to play dolls with her. Or have tea parties. Sometimes both.
  11. Fro – Fro is 6. He isn't like anyone else I know, but he likes everyone I know. He likes to talk, too. Just ask him.
  12. Nah – He is Mom's littlest boy. He is going to someday learn to play the guitar like Stevie Ray Vaughn. Someday. And Mom can come to his concerts.
  13. Becca – Her Royal Highness Princess Becca, Keeper of the Birthday Cards, Holder of the Personal Items, Party-Crasher Extraordinaire, Herald of the Throne, Fifth Daughter of The Clan, Companion to the Nah, Revealer of All Secrets, Speaker of the House, and The Stinkpot. And if you don't believe me, ask her. She'll tell you.

And that's us!