Sunday, May 03, 2009

Book Review and Giveaway!!!

Confession: I hate to fly. Airplanes freak me out. If it was possible to rack up "Nervous Flyer Miles", I'd have a ton. The entire flight I sit there worried the engine will fail and the plane will crash and my children will be left without a mother, even though in my head I know that is ridiculous. I never let it stop me from flying, and you'd never know I was afraid by looking at me, I just don't enjoy it. I know, what a loser!


So I brought a book along this time around that I'd been wanting to read, and was able to finish it between the two flights. It helped keep my mind off my seemingly-impending-doom because, quite honestly, it was wonderful!!!





A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family was written by my friend Mary Ostyn. She's an amazing mom to many, including six adopted children from Korea and Ethiopia. (Incidentally Mary played a key role in our decision to adopt, and I am determined to meet her in real life at some point!) This book was full of wisdom, practical tips, and fabulous insights into larger-than-average family life. If you have a big family, are considering having a big family, or can't understand why anyone would ever have a big family, you'll love this book. Really.


I gleaned so much from it, and I can't wait to go back through and re-read some stuff.

I love what Mary writes:

But the decision to grow your family consists of much more than adding up noise and groceries and laundry, and gauging your tolerance of each. You also have to factor in the multiplication of hugs, the many more funny sayings, and the additional joy of witnessing each child succeed at each new phase of life. I think most parents would agree that a single lisped "I love you" at the right moment can easily outbalance a bathtub full of laundry.

Isn't that so true?! I know it has been for us. The book covers everything from discipline to affordable vacations to finances to sibling relationships. Utterly inspiring, challenging and encouraging!

So here's the good news for you: Mary sent me an extra copy, and I'm giving it away! Just leave a comment sharing why you have or want to have a large family, OR, what you've always wondered about big families. If you want an extra entry, leave a seperate comment about your strangest in-flight experience. Then on Friday, I'll randomly choose a winner. K?

44 comments:

Shonni said...

We always wanted a larege family...because we really love children! My days are funnier, overflowing with hugs, love, laughs, and yes all the other goodies. My older children have become my friends and my youngers one my joy. Yes, it is hard...but worth it all!

Shonni said...

Two days of flying and sitting in airports trying to get our new daughter home from Africa...she was a mess!!!! A lady at one of the many airports we waited at looked at my crying 15 month old daughter and said "I sure hope I don't have to sit close to you." With out thinking I said..."I promise, if we are close to you, I will ask them to move you." I think I meant us, but I was so flustered that it came out wrong...LOL.

Paige said...

I have always been amazed by large families. What is your secret? How do you have enough energy and patience?

Angela said...

I think being the youngest of 3 kids, and the only girl, made me wish I'd had a sister. I've always wanted four kids... and now that I have them, I think we could make room for more (although my dh isn't quite there) :) I'm always inspired by large families! Yours included!

Angela said...

Oh, i don't know... puking on the plane on the way to the conference right after jenn puked on the plane right next to me probably tops my weirdest plane adventures! :) Now I know WHY they put puke sacs in the seat pouches! strange that we have both flown a lot... and both Never puked in a baggie before...and both did.

Jeannett Gibson said...

(Don't count me in the contest for this...)

...but define "big". I know that with #2 and 3 on the way, people automatically ASSUME we are done...and the fact that we aren't sends them into some kind of panic attack. "But three is already a TON of kids!"

curlyjo said...

When we got married I said, "2 kids, max!" Hubs said "4 sounds about right." When #3 came along I thought.."3 is good; a nice compromise."

Ha!

Who would have guessed that I would be the one to pray and pray that God would change my husbands heart about adoption.

So when #4 came home we were all winners. Me - cause I prayed. Hubs - because he got his 4. God - cause this adoption stuff is his heart. AND the kids because they can get away with all kinds of naughtiness while I'm trying to chase down a 2 year old.

curlyjo said...

Don't have a good plane story, really. But I did get stuck in an elevator once while pregant. The fire department to come get me out thru the escape hatch - I barely fit. Yeah - I know that has nothing to do with airplanes BUT those little airplane pottys remind me of being trapped in an elevator.

Does that count?

JaneeNoel said...

I didn't want to have a big family until I had my daughter and realized how wonderful being a mommy was. I was one of two and always felt like I missed out a little, especially when I was around my friends who had lots of siblings. So I want a big family for two reasons- because I love parenting and want my kids to have the childhood I missed out on.

And I've been reading about Mary's book everywhere in blogland and would LOVE a copy!!

Joanie said...

I have always thought four sounded good. We are done at two, unless God's desire is for us to have more. We'll know because my husband will bring the topic up, which he currently goes out of his way to avoid. Not really, but I have grieved not having more, because, quite honestly, I got addicted to seeing first smiles after Marissa smiled at me in the midst of her painful colic. So brave.


I love big families! I met parents of six the other day at Michael's while my little one through a tantrum. I loved hearing their stories and the patience in their voices!

Joanie said...

Oops, "threw" a tantrum, that is.

My flight story isn't strange, but it is memorable. I was 4 months pregnant with my firstborn on a flight to Boston. For reasons I can't remember, my husband and I were in separate rows. I got to sit in between a very large man and a very small man who fidgeted a lot. Thanks, guys. The flight went into overtime as they circled in line for a spot on the runway. We lost our spot in line due to sitting on the tarmac in Pheonix for two hours. In the summer. While we waited for the crew to fix the plane, then shift change. Oh, my aching back!

And yet, I still actually love to fly!

excitedtobeafamily said...

For us I think four kids will be our "large" family but I really love kids and I love watching all the relationships form between siblings and parents. There is so much love and fun to go around. I grew up with 4 of us and I want that closeness and busyness for my own children. I really would love to have 6 children but my husband is holding strong for 4. You never know!

Ryane said...

We love large families! We have always wanted lots of kiddos (hubby is the youngest of 6). After years of secondary infertility we are now growing our family through adoption.

cdziuba said...

Although I have 4 kids, I am intrigued by people with large families, and would lvoe to win.

SDR said...

During our last travel experience, our flight home was cancelled and we spent about 6 extra hours in the airport. At one point Lidya (approx. 12 mos at the time) was occupying herself by looking out the window at the planes. A woman looked at me and said, in a disgusted tone, "she just licked the window" and I replied "she survived 5 months in an Ethiopian orphanage, I think she'll be ok."

Jennifer said...

I'd love to have a large family to experience the blessings that God calls children! We're been married for one year and planning to start our family in the next year. I'd like to give birth to two and adopt at least 2 more. My husband wants two, maybe more. We'll see! I've been hearing so much about Owlhaven's book and can't wait to read it!

Jennifer said...

I haven't flown much, but on my first flight, I was delighted to get cranberry juice for free. I drank some and left the rest on my tray table. I fell asleep and when I woke up with my eyes still closed, I was very surprised to stick my fingers in my juice! I wasn't expecting something cold and wet right there!

liane66 said...

My next door neighbor has 5 kids and I only have 2. I've always wonder how she does it.
Thanks for the giveaway!
Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

Josie M said...

My mother has 5 brothers and sisters, and family gatherings growing up were so much fun! There were always cousins to play with, aunts to help, an uncle to teach you how to fish, or a younger sibling/cousin/random friend to "teach" something to. I have always wanted that lovely commotion in my life. We have 3 kids so far, and it's still a little bit like that for us. I would love to be like my grandmother someday, watching my children grow up into fabulous people who raise their own fabulous children. Large families are great!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, probably on our way home from Ethiopia with our two boys we were adopting. Our oldest son, James, was suddenly very upset to be leaving Ethiopia. Or maybe he was also just afraid of flying too, I don't know...Anyway, he started softly singing this children's African hymn. Very sweet, except he kept escalating the sound louder and louder to the point of basically shouting. I felt really cool as everyone on the plane was staring at me. We eventually both started crying and I held him until he fell asleep. Then he was fine :)
The second strangest flight was when I was pregnant with my first child and had severe morning sickness. It's really awesome puking in their little barf bags from morning sickness. I'll never forget that flight :)
Sorry this is so long!
Molly McArton, mom to 6, ages 6 and under :)
Mcartons@comcast.net

Rebecca said...

I don't necessarily consider our family large but I guess in the eyes of most it is. I am a mom to 5 soon to be 6, all under the age of 7. We are in the process of our 3rd adoption. Three of our adopted children have special health needs, CP, CL/P, HIV.

Did we start out wanting a large family? NO, but God continues to call our family to care for orphans around the world and we are happy to follow.

I would love to have this book. I would love to hear good Christian advice from families who have BTDT.

Rebecca
www.kyfamilyforfaith.blogspot.com

Amy Andrews said...

I've got 4 already but there's something about all the activity (and built-in playmates!) that I like about large families. My youngest is in my least favorite stage (1yr to 2 1/2 yrs...because they're into everything!) but I can imagine that once they all get 3 and above, it'll be loads of fun.

Amy Andrews said...

As a missionary kid, I've spent a significant portion of my life on planes. One of the most memorable (and unfortunate) experiences happened on our way to Africa. My sister was sleeping next to me when the meal was served. We always looked forward to the meals as it seemed to break up the monotony of the flight so I didn't want her to miss out. So, I made sure the flight attendant left a meal on her tray, along with tomato juice (we always ordered tomato juice -- I don't know why). Anyway, when my sister woke up, she got startled by all that was in front of her and knocked the tray and the tomato juice right into her lap. And if I remember correctly, it was right at the beginning of our trip. Major bummer.

Thankfulmom said...

We have eleven children now, which I think constitutes a large family. The reason we have so many children is that God is writing the story of our lives and He is bringing glory to Himself by blessing us with children. This is the most incredible journey of our lives and I am glad God chose it for us. Parenting is the hardest and best work we have ever done!

Lisa

Alison T said...

Hi Brianna,
I love reading about your sweet family. We adopted our son through AAI also. So, big family? We're headed that way with baby #5 due in August. It's not really something we set out to do--in fact I remember the conversations about two being just fine. But, we both come from lots of siblings--5 for my husband and 6 for me. We count our brothers and sisters as our dearest friends. While it's a bit of craziness now, we can always look 20 or more years down the road and picture what fun it will be to have those people around the Christmas table. Much more fun than just a couple of us! :)

andy gibson said...

Did you put the fear of flying in smaller text in fear that your resident aerospace friend would make fun of you for it? :)

Heather said...

I have always wanted a large family. Thus far, we have been blessed with two wonderful daughters through adoption and we are excited to see how God will grow our family in the future. This book sounds like a great read!

Danni said...

So -I never really imagined myself with a large family - but here we are with 4 "homegrown" and in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. I asked my husband once why he wanted more kids - he said "Each child is such a blessing, such a life changer, how could we say no to more." In the midst of the craziness and hectic pace...I love watching them grown and discover and learn who they were destined to be, to watch the Creators handiwork displayed in my own home, in my own backyard!

Mandy said...

I want to have a large family because I want my kids to grow up remembering a happy, noisy home with a lot of love. We have only one baby now, but I'm praying that God will bless us with many more, possibly through adoption. The days are evil - what an awesome thing for believers to raise a lot of children to love God!

PS: I've been stalking your blog for about 2 years! Sure have loved reading about your family. hee hee!

Tamara said...

Glad to see you back! Take-off's freak me out, I feel like at any moment they are going to pull back too far, stall and we will be too close to the ground to recover.

I have been flying since I was a baby and I was never afraid till I spent a summer with my dad in Georgia and he put me in flying lessons. The stalls were the WORST thing in the world. I quit. And to this day I am traumatized. Yea, I always mentally tally up how much my life insurance will pay for if I am gone, I think I need to add more, 250k will go pretty fast trying to find a nanny, cook, housekeeper, personal accountant etc!!

wendy said...

Oh how I would love to win this book! I am a mom to 8 kids (all adopted) and love it. I have "known" Mary for years and think she is awesome.

The worst flight of my life was flying home from Ethiopia with our 3 new kids. It was EXHAUSTING! I didn't even feel like a human being at the end of it.

adventures north said...

I will share with you a story in hopes of winning the book.

When we flew home with our baby from Ethiopia in 06, we sat next to a woman who asked us about his name. When we told her his name, she told us that it means "to send or sending." She went on to say that it does not mean literally sent from God because God doesn't make mothers and children suffer but that God does prepare hearts, and that whoever named this child did so to send him to the hearts that had been prepared to raise him.

That was our third child, and we'll soon have a fourth. Why should a preset number determine whether or not a heart is prepared to love and nurture a child forever? And so our family grows.

So do I get two entries for that?

graceling said...

Why do I want a large family? Well, why not? When you take out the fear that most people have, there is nothing but excitement, fun, and love. I don't need to worry about how I will send them all to college (my God will supply all my needs), or if I can love them "enough" (His grace is sufficient for me), or any of those other concerns. So take away all those "fears" and you are left with the knowledge that children are a blessing- a gift. God will make our family just the right size, and I am open to that being a "bigger than average" size, if that's His will.

graceling said...

Strangest in-flight experience: using the bathrooms on Ethiopian Airlines.

Enough said.

Claudia said...

I hardly ever fly so i don't have any truly interesting stories. When I was on the plane ride home from Ethiopia with my newly adopted children I was sitting iwth my then 5 year old son. He was crying, continually, I tried everything I could to calm him down but to no avail so I finally just ignored it. He was upset about leaving Ethiopia, upset that he was confined to a plane, upset that he couldn't communicate his needs with me - I don't know. I had several Ethiopian adults, men and women, came over to ask me why he was crying, some tried to talk to my son - he refused to acknowledge them. The woman in front of me turned around and asked me why I didn't just give him whatever it was he wanted. I told her I couldn't because I didn't have it.

Kristen said...

why do i want a large family? children are a blessing from the Lord, and there are so many children in need of families.

Kristen said...

my strangest in-flight experience... well i HATE flying. i don't care if it's supposed to be safer than driving. um, hello, you are hanging miles up in the air! how is that supposed to be okay? sudden drops? bird through the windshield? my strangest experience is probably all the horrible things i imagined happening while i was flying.

the next time i fly, a drink (the 21 and older kind) will definitely be on the menu. i've never had alcohol on a plane, and i'm thinking to myself right now, "why the heck not? it would be so much better for every one if i did!"

Claudia said...

I grew up in a large adoptive family. I am the 2nd of 10. Interestingly the racial ratio in my family is exactly the same as Mary's. We "kids" are about 10 years older than Mary's clan. (My mom's name is even Mary)

I am an adoptive parent myself. I don't have a large family unless you consider that because I am a single parentl then the child to adult ratio is 3:1. If I ever marry I will definitely have more children. I love big families.

I am a follower of Mary's blog and would love to read her book.

Steve and Jenn said...

I need to read this book! I am a mommy to 3 now, but continue to pray for more, when ever, where ever, how ever God should bring them into our family. Growing up most of my "best" friends were adopted (I can now look back, and say "Hey, God how did you find all those friends for me and bring them here?!")
Any way, I would love to learn some adaptations to living with a large family.

Steve and Jenn said...

My flight story is: we were in Africa (Mozambique) during the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks. So trying to get back to the US was a nightmare! But at least I didn't lose my passport this time in the escalator like I did one time in Germany! I don't think I have the best of luck internationally, but it's not gonna stop me! :)

Angela H said...

I would love a copy of this book! My husband and I are in the process of growing our family and we are feeling called to have a large family as well. We are learning more about a sibling set of three children from the foster care system (one of whom is a teenage boy) and we are feeling like these are our kids! It's exciting. Why have a large family? Why not?! (-:

Angela H said...

My flight story is rather strange. When my brother and I were kids (he was in middle school, I was in high school), we were taking a trip to visit family across country by ourselves. Our parents put us on the plane and waited until the airport screen said we took off before making the drive all the way across the island back home. It turns out that there was a MAJOR delay that nobody told them about and we were stuck on the runway for eleven hours trapped on the plane. The flight attendants refused to let us use the phone to call our parents to let them know what was going on. Everyone was barred from making calls or getting off the plane. They started giving the adults free drinks, which was a terrible idea. One guy got so incredibly drunk that he started "tampering with the smoke detectors", threatening to rush the cockpit to talk with the pilots and was getting really out there with his behavior. He had to get dragged off the plane by federal agents while his wife stayed on the plane refusing to go with him! The airline still refused to let us make calls or have someone relay a message to our parents!! Neither my parents or our family we were visiting had any idea any of this was going on! Neither airport had the update and nobody knew what was going on. Finally a bunch of passengers surrounded me and gave me a cell phone so I could secretly call my parents. They had just assumed we had landed when we called. I had to inform them that we hadn't even taken off yet. It was insane and it took forever to finally take off and then make the cross-country flight. We didn't get there until later the next day and we lost so much time. Needless to say, we never took that airline again. It turns out, years later, we found out that a bunch of passengers sued the airline over that incident! I couldn't blame them honestly!

darci said...

I hope I'm not too late. :) well...as far back as i can remember, I wanted a 'big' family, of course back then (hischool age) six kids was big to me! I've since realized my dreams were small, lol!:) I've always loved the idea of a busy, full house--full of lot's of laughter and fun and activity, siblings who always have a best friend in the room, kids piled in bunk beds, and on our bed in the morning. darci mom to three, waiting for #4 and #5 and then who knows what God has?? blessings, darci

darci said...

hmm, now i have to come up with a flight story..i really want that extra entry. ok, this should be easy being married to a pilot, but my mind is BLANK! well, it wasn't really strange, but my worst flight experience was coming back from a 4 week camping trip on the oregon coast, 6 months pregnant, and sicker than a dog..leaning forward with my head in a puke bag the ENTIRE trip, and having at least 4 'well meaning' people tap me on the shoulder to tell me what absolutely would work for me. sigh..it was horrible. but always worth it in the end as far as babies go. :)

 

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