Growing up my sister, Monica, and I had a favorite cousin, Julie. Since it was the Eighties, we did lots of awesome stuff like collect Garbage Pail Kids, shop for Guess Jeans (that was more Monica and Julie’s thing), and eat at Bobby McGees, a restaurant in Southern California where the wait staff dressed up as famous people. I always hoped we’d get the heavy-set waiter who dressed like Babe Ruth, but the girls far preferred the moody waiter in the James Dean garb, a preference which baffled me then but makes much more sense now.

At the time, when we were kids giggling over milkshakes and cheeseburgers, it would have been impossible to imagine that one day we would be parents to ten kids of our own. But twenty plus years later that is exactly what we are!

Unfortunately, since Julie and her husband, Ryan, have lived in Oregon ever since all of this baby making began, we haven’t found the opportunity to get all of the kids together at once. Luckily, Julie and her brood were in Southern California recently, so we all met up at Monica’s house.

Within minutes of getting together Julie’s kids (Hailey, 11, a girl friend of Hailey’s, 10, Zach, 9, Jake, 7, Ryan, 5, and Tyler, almost two) were playing in the backyard with Monica’s kids (Spencer, 6, Danny, 4, and Michaela, almost 2). They instantly acted like they’d been best of friends for life.

This left Lil’ Miss Annie, who doesn’t often find herself around so many kids, highly confused. I took her into the backyard to play with the rest, but she did not know how to react – in fact she looked like she had been dropped in a war zone. As balls soared through the air and kids screamed at the top of their lungs, Annie freaked and sprinted toward the house. I half expected her to fall to her knees and raise her hands in the air à la Willem Dafoe in “Platoon.”

For the next couple hours Annie stood at the window and stared out at the other kids as if trying to psyche herself up to go back out there again. It was a sad sight. But, energized after eating her first ever Popsicle, Annie found the gumption to stomp outside and join in the fun with her cousins. I was so proud of her – it couldn’t have been easy for her to hang with kids who were used to having so many kids around all the time.

Soon it was time for Julie and her kids to leave, so we snapped a photo to commemorate the occasion. Unfortunately, by this time the babies were in meltdown mode and the older boys were exhausted from running about. No one is getting a Pulitzer for this:


Baby meltdown brought to you by “Too Much Sun” and “Sugar.”

It was incredible to see our kids playing together just as Monica, Julie, and I did back in the day. But whereas it used to be just the three of us, now there are three times as many!

Here’s hoping we can get them together in the future – and capture a photo where Annie doesn’t look like Freddy Krueger is in the room with her.