Back to Reality

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We are married!!

Our wedding day was perfect. Well, as perfect as a wedding day can be. There was some crazy (including Josiah throwing up in the middle of the dance floor during the reception!), but everything came together beautifully and was a lovely representation of both of us and our family. I will share more about the wedding at a later time when we have pictures and video to share.

Our Honeymoon was also perfect. It was short and it was simple, but it was just the time we needed to focus on just each other, celebrate our love and how far we have come, laugh, dream, connect, and of course….talk about the kids. We tried not to, but I think it is just impossible! I will also share more about that in the days to come.

Today, I share about our oh so short journey back to reality.

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Look, this is us re-entering reality. Turn back!  

 We knew some of the kids had gotten sick while we were gone. It was inevitable-I had had it and Josiah had it the day of the wedding. I checked in with my mom during our drive back to reality and found out that she had just finished cleaning up two cases of throw up and that four were currently sick. We had planned to come home after all the kids were in bed Tuesday night so we could ease back in and have one more evening of just the two of us. Little did we know, our two oldest were waiting up by the window in their room for us to drive up and they came running out as soon as we arrived. They were excited, and bouncing and they had decorated the house with signs hung with electrical tape. They wanted to show us everything they had done while we were gone so it was a while before we sent them back to bed. My poor momma was spent and coming down with what the kids had so they left about the same time.



Through the night we were up quite a few times with sickos and our first morning waking up together in the same room in our home….we were accompanied by three other little bodies. Hellooooooo reality! David had to go to work that Wednesday morning and I had to take M, M, J and C to their other dad’s so we were up and out and in different directions. When I got home, I began the process of snapping the rest of the kids and the house back to reality. They were also in vacation mode and that just wouldn’t work to keep this big family moving forward efficiently. Our day was filled with chores and unpacking and laundry. Don’t worry, I let them have fun too!

Friday was the first day of all 7 kids home with me while David went to work and then an evening to spend together as a family. We had a full morning of celebrating national donut day! I had secretly planned to take them all for donuts, but M, M, J and C were dropped off with a box of donut holes for their breakfast. Everyone had a few pre-donuts to prepare the palette and we jumped in the van for the surprise. First stop-Dunkin! Dunkin was offering a free donut with every beverage so I got two coffees and two donuts and headed to David’s workplace! We surprised him image11and spent a little time with him. There was an outdoor eating area that the building surrounded and windows were everywhere. As people above walked the glass lined corridors they looked down on us and stopped walking. Some of them waved for others to join them and pointed out the huge family below. I asked David if they were his coworkers as we smiled and waved and he said “Nope!” Felt a little like being in a fish bowl, but it was cool to see the smiles we brought to faces just by existing. David informed me later that word had spread to his office and there was a buzz about his big family visiting. The next stop was Little Blessings Bakery because we can’t be near it and not pop in! It is a part of our story too, and we love the current owner! Then it was on to Love Bugs because they were offering a free donut for every person! I failed in my attempt to not eat another donut just because it was free. I don’t regret it. We almost made it through our outing before the gremlin sides of my darling children began to try to come out. That means it was time to load up and get out of there! image8 (2)

That evening we fulfilled a promise we had made Saturday as the reception was wrapping up: we had a dance party to the playlist from the wedding! By the time it was over, half the house hold was coughing up a lung and not many of us slept well as a result. It was fun but we decided no more dance parties until everyone is well of this ick!


Saturday. One week. We had been married one week and that deserved a celebration! Fun! Festivities! Yes, we knew just the thing-we spent the entire day in the garage going through the rest of the boxes, clearing a path to the things we need access to, filling a dumpster bag with things that had just accumulated over the years when my aunt and uncle lived here, and putting the final nail in the storage unit coffin (if that is not as funny as I think it is and gets lost in translation, I mean we filled that sucker to the brim!).

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That goes back 20 feet my friends

By the end of the day we were exhausted, sore, and ready to just sit down; but we promptly realized we were missing a few things we needed to make dinner happen. I was off to the store and David was on “distract the kids so they don’t realize they are hungry” duty until I returned! As we sat around the table later we reflected on the fact that we were finally all moved in! Whether we are here 2 more months or 6 more months, we will be as comfortable as we can be and thankful every day for an in-between place to stay.


Sunday we kept the bedroom door locked as long as possible and then dragged ourselves out of bed. I am proud to say that our first Sunday walking into church as a blended family of 9, we were on time! We even had a homemade French toast breakfast, looked presentable, and were mostly smiling. Church was… eventful. There was an epic hunt through the building for David’s missing laptop cord. We are unable to work on the video caught of the wedding without it. It was found! But the herd forgot acceptable church behavior before we did. And many are still sending me props for catching Charlotte’s puke in my hands in the sanctuary and saving the church floor. I made another save in the foyer and tried for a third time in the kitchen, but I was bested that time. My knight in shining armor found us about that time and he took over the kitchen cleanup while I tackled the kid clean up (complete with some amazing church family members who came to our aid). David called all the kids to assemble and announced that we had thoroughly defiled the church for this week and it was time to go. After church we finally got over to the new house to check the progress. Trusses had been delivered! Wood for load bearing walls had been delivered! It looked like it was going to be a big week! Hoping to see big changes despite the rainy, dreary week we are having. After seeing the house we went to pick up our first ever online grocery order…y’all…we got a week’s work of groceries in less than 10 minutes and never got out of the van! Heck, two of our kids slept through it! Cue “A whole new world” music.

So we are married! And life has resumed. We are elated and we are tired. It is crazy to me how what we have can feel so fresh and new while simultaneously feeling like we have been a family forever and this was meant to be. We are a family-we are blended and in some ways, still becoming blended. Part of that will be a lifelong process. One thing is for sure: Life here is still most definitely best described as beautiful chaos!

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Ashley Karaffa

Ashley is mother to a blended family of 10 and appreciating the beautiful chaos of it all. She enjoys creating systems - because how can you survive a family with 8 kids without systems - and spending time celebrating her family.


  1. Barbara O'Connell on June 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Love reading your blogs!

  2. The Honeymooners – Becoming Blended on June 29, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    […] The next day, our last day, we packed up and checked out of the place we stayed. We went to breakfast and then spent some time at the Colonial Quarter. After that we drove to The Fountain of Youth and wandered around for the afternoon. Despite our plans to dress nice again for dinner, the rain persuaded us to just sport the sweaty, rained on look we had. We ate an early dinner at Cellar 6, said goodbye to St. Augustine, and began the trek back home. I blogged about what awaited us when we arrived a few weeks ago and that can be found here: Back To Reality […]

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