My big blended family

Whenever I tell people that I have four brothers and four sisters, they nearly always assume that my mother gave birth to nine children. Actually, the reason my family is so big is because it is a blended family. Both my parents were married twice before they met and married each other. My mother had four children from her first marriage and my dad had two children from his first marriage; one from his second marriage and then he and my mother had me and my twin sister together, which makes nine of us in total.


Me with my four brothers and four sisters on my wedding day - "My big blended family"


I love being part of such a lovely big family. However, being part of a blended family makes for some confusing and complicated moments at times.


Me as a child with my brothers and sisters back in 1985


1) Trying to draw your family tree

French lessons at school spring to mind – trying to fit my family tree across a double page in my exercise book. Once siblings get married and nieces and nephews get added, it gets harder still. I once drew it out for my mother-in-law to help her get to grips with who was who in my family. I did it on A3 paper, kept my writing fairly small and had to use highlighters to colour code who were the children (me and my siblings), grandchildren (my nieces and nephews) and great-grandchildren (my great-nieces and great-nephews). If you draw my husband’s family tree from his parents downwards and include spouses there are six people on it. On mine there are 87.


Jessica looking at my family tree diagram


2) Having one of my brothers marrying one of my sisters

My mum’s oldest son is married to my dad’s oldest daughter. They were both grown-up when my parents married and were married to other people before they got together when I was at university. It took me quite a while to get my head round the fact that my brother was marrying my sister because of course whilst they are both related to me, they’re not related to each other.


3) Trying to work out family relationships in an extended blended family

One of my school friends was my half-brother’s half-niece. He’s my half-brother from my dad’s second marriage – his mum had a daughter from a previous marriage who then had a daughter herself. It took a long time for me to understand that I wasn’t related at all to my school friend even though she was related to my brother.


Me with my four brothers and four sisters at my wedding


Despite it being quite a bit more complicated, it’s great being part of a blended family. We all get on quite well on the whole. Every so often, we manage to get all nine of us together for a family photo although it usually only happens at weddings or funerals. Some of my siblings I see more often than others but I usually try and do the rounds in the run-up to Christmas and make sure I see all of them if I can. Thankfully they all live within 30 mins drive of my mum which makes it just about do-able in a weekend.


The List

39 thoughts on “My big blended family

  1. What an amazing family! How interesting, all those different relationships, and having a twin too (when I was little I always wanted a twin sister hehe)
    I have a brother and mum and stepdad decided to not have any children and my stepdad didn’t have any, but we think of him as our dad and he is in every other sense of the word. I am really close to my brother but I wonder what it would have been like if there had been more of us!
    You must have to start your Christmas shopping in February with 87 people!! =D
    Boo has two half brothers, from my husband first marriage, but as they live abroad and don’t get over the visit here often (they will meet Boo for the first time when they come to stay in February!!) I don’t think the relationship is going to be the same as it would if they lived closer and they could see each other regularly, I do hope they develop some relationship though after all they are brothers and sister.

    1. Lol, fortunately I don’t have to buy Christmas presents for 87 people! I just focus on my mum, my twin and her children these days. I hope Boo will enjoy spending time with her brothers when they visit in February 🙂

  2. What a fab family – mustve been a little confusing growing up getting your head around the fact that people related to your siblings weren’t related to you. How lucky to have such a big blended family 🙂

    1. It’s lovely and now that I’ve got my head around it all it isn’t confusing at all! 🙂

  3. Interesting to read about it from an adult perspective. I’ve gave up explaining who are family. The kids just talk about there nieces and nephews, if they are related or not. I still have years to go but love to know how weddings were handled.
    Sound like your parents did a really good job of making everyone feel part of the family if you still see everyone.

    1. Yes, I can imagine sometimes that’s just easier! My wedding was a big one – we invited my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and booked a function room at our local university which could cater for such a large number at a reasonable cost per head.

  4. What an interesting read and what a huge family!! I think family is so very important and it’s clear that you all muck in and support each other, and clearly the love is there too! I have a big extended family – my father is one of four, my mother one of seven – whereas my husband has little contact with the few cousins he has. With so many of you your parents must’ve been really smart to manage the relationships between you all, ensure that everyone was treated equally, felt loved and grew as a happy family. Lovely read xx

  5. What a wonderful huge family to have – even if it does take all those highlighters to explain! And we think we have fun with our family – H’s Dad is one of 6, his Mum is one of 10 and my Mum was one of 5 so between us we have a lot of aunts and uncles and even more cousins. We gave up explaining to the newest generations how we all fit together and everyone my generation and up is just Auntie and Uncle!!

    1. Thanks Carie – what a lovely big family you have too and yes sometimes it is just easier to make everyone auntie and uncle! 🙂

  6. I get confused about it all because we are a blended family too. It was really strange got me because I was brought with just my mum and dad but my hubby grew up in a blended family. So he helps me figure it all out. I love reading about your family and how you were a surpise baby 🙂

    1. Thanks Nikki. Your family sounds similar to my hubby’s – he took some time to get to grips with it too 🙂

  7. Gosh that’s a lot of family. I have a tiddly family tree on my side so am always fascinated by bigger families. That pic with the family tree is too cute xx

  8. Blimey, what a family! That you all get on, and manage to spend time together that you enjoy is lovely. You look lovely in your wedding dress, too xxx #ThePrompt

  9. Wow. what an incredible family to have, as it sounds like it has blended so successfully. Complicated though 🙂 My family is pretty straightforward really! Thanks so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

  10. Wow that does sound complicated! A pretty amazing family to be part of though. I’m one of four and now that my brothers all have partners our gatherings are big enough. Yours must be seriously good fun! X

  11. I come from a blended family too, although there are only 5 of us in total.

    I love being part of a big family. Your family tree does sound really interesting 🙂

    #thelist x

  12. Oh my I’m crossed eyes thinking about your family tree. The thing about big families though is there’s always someone there for each other! Thanks for sharing with #tgankfulthursday

    1. Lol, it does take some getting your head around! Love being part of a big family though. Lovely to link up again 🙂

  13. Hi Louise!

    It sounds like you do a great job working through life’s challenges. It also sounds like we have a few things in common, including having a child with health issues. I have certainly learned a lot through our journey and have just started writing about it on my blog. You can read it under “Sam’s story” or “Changed by a Child.”

  14. What an amazing family! My Dad is the youngest of 6 and my Nan is nearly 92 with 6 (4 living) children, 17 grandchildren, 28 (27 living) great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild, so 49 of us living, another on the way plus husbands/wives/partners so I can sort of relate!xx #TheList

  15. What a great blended family, I’m pretty sure I followed it all! 🙂 it must’ve been great having so many siblings growing up! My husband has no real aunties or uncles so he calls some of his dads cousins auntie/uncle but some of them cousins cause of their age! I sometimes get a headache trying to work it out!

    1. Thank you – it is a little complicated! Extended families can sometimes take some getting your head around 🙂

  16. Awesome post!! You look gorgeous and how lovely to get everyone together. My best mate’s family is a bit like this and in fact my own step-daughter already has 3 brothers and a sister. It can be complicated for sure, but it looks like you’ve all made the best of it 🙂

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx

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