Summary provided by mango_fandango
The Shupes (Large Families on Purpose)
Parents: Erika, Bob
Children: Karen, aged 17
Melanie, aged 15 nearly 16
Brandon, aged 12
Anna-Marie, aged 9
Riley, aged 8
Tyler, aged 6
Spencer, aged 5
Lacey and Lilly, aged 4
Erika is the oldest of four siblings. Her younger brother, Leif, co-runs the family business Cleaner Guys (damage restoration) with Bob Shupe. She also has two much younger sisters, Heidi and Tina. Erika and Leif are quite a bit older than their sisters- when Erika was an 18-year-old college freshman, Leif was 15 ½, the sisters were 6 and 3. Heidi also has a blog, Team Schween, which Erika occasionally links to.
Erika has two posts about their family story. I’ll summarise it here.
http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/07/family-planning-surrendering-control-to_09.html (Part One)
http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/07/family-planning-surrendering-control-to_12.html (Part Two)
Bob and Erika met in the summer of 1996 where they were both working at a Christian camp. They courted and were married in May 1997. A year and three months later, they gave birth to first daughter Karen. Erika states in “Part One” that Karen’s birth was difficult and gave her nightmares for a year. Nonetheless, four months after Karen is born, she becomes pregnant with second daughter Melanie.
Erika does admit that her faith in God was not that strong at this point, and subsequently she was on the pill for three years. This explains the for-a-fundie large gap between Melanie and Brandon. After Brandon’s birth, she went back on the pill (in her words, she “chickened out of the faith plan temporarily”; for the full reasoning you should check the blog post). Until now, the family had been living in a two-bedroom apartment. Eventually they were able to move to their current location in Mount Vernon, WA. They had fourth child, Anna Marie, three years after Brandon. They determined to stay off the pill, and so fifth child Riley was born exactly a year and a day after Anna Marie.
By this time, Erika was tired from the back-to-back pregnancies and desired to lose a little baby weight. She actually went back on the pill for a while, and sixth child Tyler was born two years after Riley.
It was at this point that Erika truly placed all faith in God… resulting in seventh child Spencer’s birth a mere ten-and-a-half months after Tyler. You read that right, I assure you. A quote from Erika: “I clearly remember praying one day, "Lord! I just want to be hormonally and physically normal for a while!" And He very quietly and lovingly said, "This is the new normal...so you need to adjust." I thought, "Oh. Okay - time for a new plan, then..." How to do life being pregnant, and do it well - on purpose.” Then, only eleven months after delivering Spencer, Erika gave birth to twin girls Lacey and Lilly.
Since then, Erika has conceived three times, but miscarried at 4 weeks, 11 weeks and 9 weeks respectively. With the last two, she publicly posted on the blog, before having to add that the Lord had taken her foetuses to be with Him.
THE BLOG/SHUPE BELIEFS
Erika began the “Large Families on Purpose” blog back in January 2011, when twins Lacey and Lilly were two months old. Her primary areas include organisation (to a shockingly anal-retentive extent), homeschooling and parenting. She claims over and over again that their house is a mere 1100 sq ft, but numerous FJers have disputed this.
Her organisational skills are on a par with Steve and Teri Maxwell. Indeed, she hawks Managers Of Their Homes, Managers Of Their Schools and Managers Of Their Chores. Erika has 47-plus posts on organisation. Highlights include squashing their five girls and four boys into tiny bedrooms, naturally gender-separated. Anna Marie sleeps on a trundle bed. Erika also uses a Maxwellian-inspired schedule, including one during summer. She gets up at 5am and reads the Bible for thirty minutes, before showering and preparing for her day. Here is her latest school schedule: largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2014/08/fall-schedule-2014-for-nine-children.html and latest summer schedule: largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2015/06/summer-schedule-2015-for-nine-children.html . Every child goes to bed at 9pm. She also mentions Maxwellian Green Smoothies on the blog.
Like many fundie SAHMs, Erika homeschools. Unfortunately, as many FJers have noticed, her grammar and spelling skills are poor. Highlights include “Merry Jane”, “strait”, “rout” (meaning route) and others. She justifies this by claiming she has a BA in Early Childhood Education. She also states that she had to unlearn a lot of what she’d learnt in her degree in order to become a better homeschooler.
Unlike the Maxwells and Duggars, the Shupes actually attend a physical church- Spring Creek Bible Church in Bellingham, WA. Family beliefs include below-knee skirts for girls. Contrary to many fundie moms, Erika has short hair, which she justifies in a blog post. Her girls have been photographed wearing tank tops several times, despite Erika’s claims that (the older girls at least) would not be allowed to wear them in public. Erika has a whole series on modesty, the main point of which is that wearing pants draws a man’s eyes to a woman’s crotch.
We know very little about the Shupe children aside from their names, genders and ages. Karen is apparently interested in gardening and cosmetology. (Erika states that Karen wishes to ‘pursue’ cosmetology, before shooting down this idea by saying that this will only be the case until marriage). Melanie is a good artist. Anna Marie likes baking. The twins have not yet understood the “separate identities” thing and do pretty much everything together and refer to themselves as “we/us” (info gleaned from the family Christmas letter, posted on Facebook.) The boys all like playing with typical boys’ toys e.g. Transformers, Lego etc.
Last fall, the Shupes acquired 7-year-old Shih Tzu Mocha. Owing to serious separation anxiety issues, Erika dumped him after a short period. They then acquired puppy Muffin a couple of days after Christmas 2014. He was also dumped, after Erika claimed that the breeder lied about him, saying that he was feisty and aggressive, and was projected to weigh 18 lbs, rather than the 8-9 lbs she’d originally thought. (Erika did not realise that Shih Tzus are typically between 4-16lbs). Finally, dog #3, Happy, arrived, who has outlasted both his predecessors combined. Happy appears to be the entire responsibility of Karen and Melanie, and is often pictured being held by one of them.
Erika also famously broke contact with Bob’s parents (referenced in an old thread in the LFoP archives). viewtopic.php?f=207&t=16752
FJers have speculated on oldest son Brandon. Anna Marie, three years his junior, is his height, as is Riley. Other FJers have also speculated that he looks skinny and ill.
I know that I have only scratched the surface of Erika Shupe and her particular brand of crazy. To truly understand them (if indeed you can), check out the blog. Some highlights:
http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/04/organizing-home-more-tips-for.html (Part Two of house organisation, includes the kids' cells (ahem, bedrooms))
http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2012/09/happy-halloween.html (why Halloween is EBIL)
http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2012/10/siblings-sharing-bedrooms-you-have-how.html (The reasoning behind the kids' cells, ahem bedrooms)
http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2012/08/organized-sports-and-individual-hobbies.html (Why organised sports are EBIL)
http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/02/large-family-organization-scheduling.html (Erika even schedules BABIES y'all)
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13 hours ago, FreeTheScapegoats said:
First time poster: I was wondering if one of the reasons why Lauren falls so easily into projecting her grief unto her unborn daughter is that, for her, most of the parenting memories are still abstract concepts. She’s never woken up in the middle of the night to feed her own kid, ditto with changing diapers, playing with them or homeschooling. I could be wrong, I’ve never been pregnant, but maybe there’s a bit of that into play. The only difference for her right now between Asa and her daughter (other than pregnancy stages and baby kicks) is that there are things she’ll never do with one kid and things she’ll do with another. Obviously it doesn’t excuse everything she’s done and I’m still worried about all the guilt her daughter will feel once she rationalizes that “Asa died so [she] could be born”.
While I'm not fundie, being a mother was my greatest dream. My happiness when I knew I was pregnant was absolute. I knew it was only a bunch of cells, but still imagined it was a full formed baby and talked to him. Etc. So in pregnancy terms, I was like a fundie woman (wow!!!). But even in this case, I knew I wasn't a mother yet. There was no baby I could touch and see. And considering how Erin, Whitney, Michelle, Anna... have showed their grief and have talked about their miscarriages, they didn't saw their babies in utero like they see their born kids. Lauren is different and taking things to another level, too much even for a fundie.
Kelton looks awful because his ridiculous grin. But if he had a relaxed expression, he would look normal.
I see the same "problem" with John Webster. That forced smile. But at least he is not Joker-scaring like Kelton!
Willow is a very pretty baby. I like all babies but I find her particulary sweet-looking.
I was too dumb for Abeka math and Saxon math. Math took the bulk of the day and was miserable.
At age 10, my mom gave up, so math became some program where I watched an exercise video and exercised while repeating basic math tables.
At ages 11 - somethingteen, math was an instruction video followed by my dad working with me to finish the accompanying book problems for hours at night. Algebra and geometry. I hated math. I felt bad for hating it, too, with all the effort my dad was putting in.
In most of my teen years, math was me doing the numbers for my grandparents' business for $0.00.
I did pass the required college math courses, but barely and by taking only math and no other classes at the same time.
I never used any of the math that gave me trouble...
I think Lauren sees herself as sort of an authority on pregnancy loss now and she's trying to make her loss and her grief "mean something" by speaking about loss and "being an encouragement" for other women who have experienced loss. Which is often something I would really support, people who have experienced that type of loss and grief first hand are oftentimes uniquely equipt to help others.
The problem is that Lauren doesn't seem to have processed her loss enough to use it in a way to help others, her posts often seem disingenuous and almost have an undertone of *see me* *see my loss* as opposed to *I see you, I see your loss* She also seems to lack the critical thinking skills needed to see her loss through the lens of the loss of another person, as has been discussed in her mind she is *just as "qualified"* to provide support as Joy or Michelle who had to deliver the children they lost or Erin Payne who experienced multiple miscarriages. She doesn't seem to differentiate much between her singular very early term loss and a nearly full term loss. She believes that she walked the same path and lived the same experience.
I don't think she has a malicious intent I also don't think that she was speaking to Joy in particular. I think she views this as almost a "calling" from God to use her loss as an encouragement. Because she's so desperate to make sense of it. In her mind she did everything right so why else would God do this?
1 hour ago, Pleiades_06 said:
New livestream up. Couldn’t watch the whole thing, but a few things stood out:
1) A viewer asked how homeschooling is going and Tom said great, to which Judah said no, it’s awful. Tom quickly explained Judah thinks that but actually Judah is doing great and learning a lot.
3) He is very defensive when talking about the dog and Hannah. The dog had hernia, which is better, but fell down the stairs. Hannah is screaming in the background. At one point he says she’s in bed and the kids tell him no-she’s on the chair.
4) He ignores the kids comments during dinner, like Sophia telling him soup has spilled. He’s very, very focused on the camera.
6) At 31 minutes he talks about not being able to remember all the kids’ ages, to which Solomon says he does. Solomon then recites every correct age. Tom then says he can’t use the “Dad excuse “ anymore, whatever that means
7) At 32 minutes he’s talking about how much his kids know and mentions how nobody learns what the “England flag” is in public school, to which Asher replies, yes, they do. Am I sensing schooling rebellion from Judah and Asher?
Other notes: Eden tries desperately to get his attention, and they are all not matching.5
Thank you for the recap.
1) Yesterday I decided to check out Judah's channel and on his community page, he apologized for not being able to do as many videos because school is taking up a lot of time.
Andrea used to work with the kids having trouble with certain subjects and work out a plan of attack to help them through it. Still used ACE but she tried different approached to how that kid studies. Judah was the main one I remember she did that will so I hope Grandma Kitty can either (a)work out how to make ACE work best with each kid or (b) convince Tom other curricula should be incorporated (wishful thinking probably)
3) That is so heartbreaking how little he gives a f*** about the dog. The poor thing is suffering and Tom cannot say that he can not afford vet care or humane end of life for Knuckles.
4) His 'youtube people' continue to stroke the ego and bringing the coins so they are very valuable commodities. Who else tells him he's doing an amazing job and he's such a great father instead of him leaving the camera alone for a while and actually being one.
6) Dad excuse = Tom has to be present in his kids lives now. Not just breed and show up for events. He now has to actually do Dad stuff and get to know his kids.
Those kids are going to be even ore bible bashed now by the sounds of things.