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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3 hours ago, 47of74 said:
I remember seeing a Taco Bell in Spain last winter and wondering how many locals ate there. Spanish cuisine and Mexican cuisine are two different things.
And I think Taco Bell is more in the Tex-Mex style?
40 minutes ago, AuntCloud said:
Mother of girl dragons here. When Cloudlet #2 was in elementary school, she and her friend came up with a lovely game called “so you think you can burp”. And no, they do not come litter box trained.
As a little one, my daughter thought her greatest achievement was being able to burp on command. She still thinks it's great at the age of 36. She's the one who taught her brothers how to do it. She can burp the alphabet in English and Spanish.
I will say she was easier to housebreak than her brothers...but all that shit about girls being "clean and neat"...oh that's a FUCK NO for this one. She's a walking, talking disaster area. She still is not "domestic" (she comes by that honestly), doesn't cook, doesn't give a shit. Only difference is she showered more regularly than her brothers. Good thing she's cute!
All three of mine are "unique" individuals, cursed with many of my personality traits.
I've been watching all the live updates, because I'm clearly a massive hypocrite who will absolutely tell other people that it's healthy and worth it to walk away and then just anxiously check in all the time herself. I feel like I refresh youtube every so often with the expectation or hope that I've fever-dreamt this whole situation, and that I'll click on the channel and only find the homeschool videos and such. I don't know why I care so much.
I wish I didn't.
But, for anybody who's interested in being updated but doesn't want to watch the videos: Andrea's on her way home now with Tom. They should arrive in a few hours. The baby was a little boy, they've called him Cyrus Grant Mills. The children down to Eden know what's going on and those younger than her have been told but don't quite understand.
Really, it's just a matter of time. I hope that they make good pace, and that Andrea can hold on for long enough to make it back to her home and her family and friends (who have, as predicted, rallied around the children and the house, and have made preparations to ensure Andrea's comfort and as much ease as possible). @16strong is right, Andrea is well loved, and will be fondly remembered by a lot of people who will also rally around her husband and children. They're going to be okay. This is awful, but they're going to be okay eventually.
What a comfort it must be to Tom and their children to believe that this is not the end. My heart, yet again, goes out to them.
Tom has been live streaming a lot in the last few hours. They are now on a plane en route to home. At first I was a bit horrified at her being filmed in the state she is in but upon reflection I do think it will bring her kids some peace in the coming days/months/years to have gotten to 'experience' some of these final moments with their mom even though they are so far away. In seeing the state Andrea is in and that her meds are only keeping her pain free for about 15 minutes at a time I do not believe she will have much more time left. I hope she can make it home and have enough time to get her goodbyes in with her kids and other loved ones.