Mom of Eight
An Interview with Hannah & Karlee
I first met Karlee through her husband (then just a friend), Garrett. Garrett and I went to high school together and he was probably most girls' heart throb. As a talented singer and all-around nice guy (why are there so few of these in high school?), everyone knew that whoever he ended up with was a lucky lady. Enter Karlee. After getting to know Karlee, you'll know that it was Garrett who ended up the lucky one ;) We can't wait to share this mama's story and how she is so beautifully raising seven-soon to be, eight children.
Hey! Thanks for taking a second to chat with us. Tell us a little about who you are.
My name is Karlee. I’ve been married 10 years this summer to my high school sweetheart. We have seven kids, with number eight on the way. I get the pleasure of staying home with them and while this has been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done (being a mom is harder than it looked when I played house as a kid), I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am also passionate about empowering women with the confidence to study the Bible on their own and to grow in their love and knowledge of Christ.
You've got a pretty big tribe. Tell us about who is in your family.
My tribe is made up of my husband - Garrett, and my small army of children - Eden, Cooper, Ella, Garrison, Nora, Bennett, Pierce, and baby boy.
What are the cliff notes on your love story with Garrett? How did you guys meet/fall in love/get married/happily ever after?
Garrett and I met in middle school when his parents started attending the church I went to. It was love at first sight…for him. I always thought he was great but since he was younger, not for me. Fast forward to my senior year of high school our friendship grew deeper and I caught the love bug. We dated through college, were engaged, and then married after I had graduated. Life has been crazy and hard and beautiful and I hope that he is the one by my side forever because he is my best half.
Did you and Garrett always know you wanted to have a big family?
We did! But to be honest, we thought four children would be our max, but God had different plans! We found out we were expecting our first about fourish months into our marriage. We both have loved having children and are thankful for each one God has given us!
What's Garrett like as a dad? What are some things you admire and appreciate about him?
He’s great! He is definitely the fun parent and the kids know it. But I’m okay with that. Over the years as his job has changed he has willingly said “no” to hobbies that he has always loved - singing gigs, photography, etc… just so he could be with us more because he loves us so well. He is the first to admit he is not perfect but he also strives to put our family first. Our kids may never know it but he sacrifices long and hard for them and spends a lot of time praying for them and he loves them fiercely!!!
What are some of the things you love about having a full house?
The constant noise and companionship! Our kids have built in best friends (and we have to remind them of that sometimes). And all the endless opportunities to share grace and offer forgiveness.
What are some of the things that are hard?
When everyone gets sick. It’s the pits. This was a pretty “sick” winter and with seven little germ sharing bodies in the house it can take an eternity to get the illness to leave our house.
We assume that some ordinary life things get a bit more complicated with lots of kids! Tell us about going to the grocery store - how do you feed your family? Prepare meals?
Meal planning saves my life! And just keeping meals simple. I usually go to the store (well, use the Walmart pick up app) once a week and go to Costco about once a month and I try to stay away from Target because it just sucks me in! A lot of our fresh produce is what is on sale. We are now navigating the world of food sensitivities…thankfully it’s not an allergy! Things that generally fill my cart are: eggs, cheeses, fresh fruits, fresh veggies, toilet paper, almond milk, easy snacks, and La Croix (for me…I’m addicted).
What are some things you do for self-care? How do you get the "me time" and make sure you're loving on yourself so you can be the best mom/wife/friend, etc.?
My “me time” looks different day to day BUT it generally involves some quiet time in the Word. I also go to the gym a few times a week because it makes me feel good. It’s not necessarily “me time” but date nights recharge me and the occasional (I wish it happened more often) time with just my favorite gal pals (no kids allowed!) is so needed. Side note: sometimes "me time" is just folding laundry uninterrupted while watching The Office or mopping the floors, it can change from day to day but sometimes a clean house or folded laundry is all I need.
After having many kids and managing it all so beautifully, what are some of your words of wisdom for moms?
Let go of your expectations of what you think motherhood looks like. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Apologize often. But don’t apologize for the way you raise your family (haters are always going to hate).
So...Cheers, Mama! is all about celebrating the mama life. What are ways that you celebrate being a mom?
By receiving all the hugs, kisses, and snuggles I can get from the ones who love me unconditionally!