Where It All Began!

I was unsure where to begin our journey and someone made the recommendation that I should begin with how we became a family of 8! I thought about it and this made perfect sense… so catch up with our lives now…

Why Read My Blog??

Adventures of My Family of 8 is a blog filled with not only day-to-day adventures but family friendly product reviews and giveaways. I try to stay up-to-date any upcoming family movies and pride myself on letting you know about any recalls I hear about. What makes my blog a bit different than others is that I tell you about every product from the moment we open the box until my review; how the product withstood our family, etc. I am also a very visual person, so I include many true photos in almost every post.

The Story of Us!

The story begins with the meeting of two souls. Hubby and I met many, many years ago through a friend.  This friend and I were going to see a movie with Hubby, his daughter and nephew. You know, I do not even think he said hello to me when we met. He had this vibe of, I don’t care who you are, and I want nothing to do with you. We spoke all of three words to each other and that was that. I was okay with never seeing him again, since between you and me, I really thought he was a conceited arse of a man. Ha, ha, ha…

A couple years later I went to a bar with some friends. While hanging out I noticed this man staring at me, nonstop. He looked familiar but I could not place it. I was enthralled by his look though… I could tell that he worked out a lot and man, I really wanted to just touch his pecks and biceps to feel how strong he was… so, of course, I smiled back a couple times and finally asked a friend who he was… When she told me, I was SHOCKED! Me being the upfront person I am, I walked right up to him and asked him why he was staring at me. He said, “Because I think you are beautiful!” I just about fell over… did he not remember who I was? Did he not remember our meeting a few years before? Turns out he knew exactly who I was and did not remember being rude.

Anyways, I spoke to him for a few minutes, I am sure I said some smart comments to him, and left him alone. The more I went out the more I ran into him. Since we hung out in the same circle it was inevitable, I guess. Before I knew it, he was showing up at Sunday BBQ’s at my house. (They were opened parties and anyone could come.) He would drink and tell these off the wall stories. I would just watch him, again fantasizing about his amazing chest and arms… As time went on, our friends started noticing his attraction to me and forbad us to date. They seemed to think he was a “player” and did not want to see me get hurt. Let me just say, this did not stop him from constantly asking me out, showing up where he knew I was, and texting me all the time. Talk about “stalker!” HA…

November of 2004 my friend and I threw a HUGE birthday party for ourselves. Hubby was there of course and there turned out to be some major drama… I ended up outside to get some air and was followed by Hubby. He let me vent to him about what was happening, then he said the sweetest things to me. Stuff about how beautiful I was, how much I would light up any room upon entering, how my smile made his day, etc., To say I was swept away was an understatement. About a week later I asked HIM out to the movies and we saw the movie “Gothica.” It was a snowing night and Hubby slipped on the ice while walking to the car. We both laughed so hard, I thought I was going to be sick. We started dating monogamously soon after and just fell in love. What can I say, the man made me laugh.

Brain and Shauna pool 2 jamaica Brian & Shauna at Bar Jamaica David's Homecoming 037

The Next Steps –

Soon after we became a “couple” we started planning our lives together…We knew we wanted to get married, buy a home, start having children, and since Hubby had a really good job as a construction manager, we knew that we could afford my leaving my job to be a stay at home wife and mother. Little by little things began falling in place. We sold our town house in Maryland and bought a beautiful home on five acre in a little spa town called Berkeley Springs, WV. It was right on the Maryland & West Virginia border so Hubby could stay with his job in Maryland and we could see all of our old friends while beginning our lives in our new home. Our beautiful wedding came next, then the birth of our son, Little Man. Life was great. We were still madly in love and we LOVED being parents together. The only thing that was tough was Hubby’s commute. He would leave by six am and would not be home till seven or eight. It was especially hard on me since I was a first time mother, alone, miles away from family and friends. Hubby soon asked for a transfer to a job site closer to us. Side note- if we knew then, what a mistake that was, we definitely would not have made that decision. We thought this was a great idea; he would be closer to home and our family.

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Our wedding

Little Man is born

Little Man is born

The Beginning of Our Troubles

Unfortunately, soon after his transfer the housing market dropped. The company he was working for closed the doors of their West Virginia branch and Hubby was out of a job. We scrambled to keep our lives together. Of course this is also the time our interest only loan on our home was going to raise our mortgage an extra $1000 a month. We knew we could not afford it so we put our beautiful home on the market and hoped it would sell. Hubby searched and searched for a new job. New home construction was halted nationwide and the pickings were miniscule. Thankfully, he was soon offered a job about 2 hours away in Virginia. Though he didn’t want to be that far from home, we had no choice. He accepted the job and went to work early Monday mornings and would not return till late Friday nights. Again, this was rough on me, but I knew we had to make it work. We kept our fingers crossed that our house would sell soon and we could go on with our lives. A couple months later, we announced our pregnancy with our second baby and little by little life was becoming routine for us. UNTIL the housing market dropped further and this new company laid off half of their employees and Hubby (being one of their newest employees) ended up being one of those people. Now we were really done. Our son was soon to be two, I was about six months pregnant and we had no clue what to do. Hubby searched and searched or a job and there was just NOTHING out there. As time went on, we went further into debt and knew we had to do something. We went over our finances and came to the realization we had gone through our savings and really had nothing left. Over the next TWO weeks, we packed up our belongings and made the move cross-country to Texas so that Hubby could work in his family’s business.

The Move to Texas-

Trip to Texas

Our trip to Texas

In September of 2008 we made the cross-country move to Texas. We moved into a small little apartment and Hubby worked as a tow truck driver. He worked 24 hour shifts and my pregnant butt stayed home to raise our son. In December we were graced with the birth of our beautiful daughter, Little Miss.

Little Miss is born

Welcome Little Miss

Hubby continued to work his shifts for the family business and every penny went to our bills and children. In April we had a long conversation with his parents and we decided that when my mother in law and nephew moved to Texas from Maryland in July (another long story) that we would find a home to live in together. This played very heavy on my heart. I had never lived with a “mother” (another long story) and I was worried about how things would play out. I knew that I loved Hubby’s mom and that she was an amazing woman, but how would we do LIVING together? Hubby and I took it upon ourselves to find a place big enough, but within our budget, that we would not step on each other. We found a great home that would meet our needs. There was a master bedroom on the first floor for my in-laws, and three large bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large living space upstairs for our part of the family. Enough room for us all to live on our own, yet together.

Adjusting to Life –

The adjustment from life in a family of four, to life in a family of seven had its setbacks. I had only cooked for that many people on holidays and had no idea how expensive this was going to be.  HOW WE MADE IT WORK –

Groceries – We decided that Hubby and I would pay for all the food groceries in the house and the in-laws would purchase all the paper/cleaning products. This made it easier on me since I was the one who did the grocery shopping that I knew what we had, what we needed, and so that we did not have doubles of things.

Meals – We decided that everyone would be responsible to prepare their own breakfasts and lunches but I would cook dinner every night for ALL of us. My MIL had a stroke a while back and her hands are not what they used to, so cooking is not so easy for her! PLUS – It was very important to Hubby and me that we continued our sit down dinners on a nightly basis. This was a time for us all to relax and talk about our days. So, every day I bring the kids downstairs and my wonderful mother-in-law keeps an eye on them. She plays with them and keeps them out of my hair while I cook. We enjoy our dinners and after dinner, either my nephew or one of my in-laws clean up the dishes and kitchen.

Responsibilities – Hubby, the kids, and I are responsible for everything upstairs. It is kind of like our own apartment, but without a kitchen! We all take part in trying to keep the first floor common areas tidy. Hubby and I try to stay on top of picking up the kid’s toys; meanwhile, everyone cleans up after themselves in the kitchen.

Help – the best thing about being in a house together is the amount of hands on deck. I am always available to help my mother-in-law if she needs it. Plus there is almost always someone available to help with the kids.

The birth of Baby Miss –

In August of 2010 we were blessed with another daughter. She has been an easy baby for the most part… Since the day she was born our lives just became complete and I couldn’t imagine any other life. I know that we never planned to live in a home with my In-Laws, but it was very nice having extra help.

Baby Miss is born

Welcome Baby Miss

Our life today 
Hubby’s family-run home improvement company has taken off. He is busy pretty much four to six days a week. It is really awesome that we can set his schedule as we like, so that he is around for important school events and days that I need help.

The kids are amazing… I love, love, love having three kids. I didn’t have any siblings close to my age, so it is so much fun to watch their relationships grow.


Our family in 2012


Our family in 2013

Unfortunately, Mother-in-law’s balance from her stroke has gotten much worse, to the point that she cannot really walk on her own. She has to rely on a walker or her scooter. At the same time, Father-in-law’s health is really bad. Back in 2012 he was diagnosed with blood cancer and we are saddened to say that it is incurable. He is fighting for his life, each and every day and it kills all of us to watch. I am super-thankful that we made the decision to live as a multi-generational family as it guarantees that someone is always home to help.

How we survive today –

Well, like I said, Hubby’s business has taken off and that helps a lot. At the same time, I work pretty much every single day on this blog. Yes, there are some posts that I get paid for and others that I receive product for. Either way, I hope that you know that all of my posts are honest and my true opinion. I will never write something false just to get paid. On the same note, some links are affiliate links, meaning when you click them, I get paid.

All in all, Adventuresof8.com has been a very big lifesaver for us. My kids love checking the mail each day and I love knowing that I am pulling my weight.

Our life tomorrow –

Where will tomorrow take us? I really don’t know. I can’t imagine where our road will lead us, but I know that no matter where we go or what we do, we will survive, as a family, loving and supporting each other.

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