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Full House

Full House

My home has never been fuller than it has been this summer. In June, two of my daughters, Kerri and Amie, and their six children combined, plus one of Jessie’s, came for a visit. Yes, all at the same time!

I encouraged them to stay here rather than waste money on a hotel. There was a total of eleven people – seven of them adult size – under the roof of a one thousand, forty-five square foot house.

I could have benefited from triple decker bunk beds, more square footage, and less sand, but that wasn’t an option. Instead, we pulled out the sofa bed, doubled up in the beds and the one blow up mattress on the floor, with the big ones with the little ones, and everyone slept peacefully.

Meal time was another magic trick. With the youngest being eight and the oldest eighteen, they could prepare their own plates as long as everyone didn’t end up in the kitchen at the same time. By the time the first shift finished eating, the second shift was ready to sit down. I won’t say it worked smoothly, but no one starved.

Getting everyone bathed after our daily trips to the beach took some imagination with one full bath and one half bath between eleven people – all girls except for H. What can you do with a half bath but use the toilet and brush your teeth?

A day at the beach!

Luckily, we had the option of an outside shower in the back yard. That’s all though, a basic shower. No enclosure. No fancy soap holder. No towel rack. We made do and held up a towel for the little girls and washed sand off bodies and out of hair while the big girls stood in line outside the bathroom door for their turns. No one went to bed dirty, but there was still sand in the sheets. It goes with living so close to the gulf.

Beach Day!


I had a few weeks rest after that crew left and then in July, my daughter, Jessie, and her husband and four children came for a visit, at the same time Andrew was home for a few days.

The oldest turned eight while they were here. She wanted to make her own cake and we let her! Yum-yum! Happy Birthday Cadence! The youngest is ten months and not walking yet.

Happy Birthday Cadence!

Sleeping arrangements were easier this time. Davey and Jessie got the Philadelphia room with Pierson in the Pack and Play. Andrew slept on the sofa and gave his room up to Cadence and Ethan with Sydney sleeping on her fold-out cot next to them.

We never made it to the beach with this crew so sandy bodies didn’t pose a shower issue. We did the Armament Museum, Big Kahunas, the Science Center, and fed turtles at the park.

Playing Star Wars Monopoly

Feeding the turtles

There were only three less people in this bunch and I found that small people can be tucked away much easier than adult size, but they do need more supervision and attention. Especially, during the second Big Kahuna trip of the summer. Good thing H and I bought ourselves season passes!

After they left, Andrew was here for a couple more days before leaving to work a band camp for two weeks. There was no line at the bathroom door, meals were eaten sitting down at the table, and the sofa was not used for sleeping purposes.

Although it has been a hectic summer, this is what I learned.

  1. Teenage girls are not that hard to talk to and they gladly help out with younger siblings and cousins – well, not always gladly, but they did it.
  2. When Jessie is fifty and I’m almost dead, we’ll visit!
  3. Andrew now eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and mustard on his hot dog – two things I’ve never seen him eat before.

Andrew feeding Pierson at Big Kahunas

My daughter, Terri, and her family won’t be visiting this summer. After reading about this circus, she may decide it was worth it!


About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

6 responses »

  1. The youngest was actually 7 during the first visit! She hadn’t turned 8 yet. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds exhausting to me but it also sounds like you got a lot of help!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like huge (if exhausting) fun.

    Liked by 1 person


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