Mom With 14 Kids, One on the Way, Honored
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- With her 14 children in tow and pregnant with her 15th, Michelle Duggar waddled into Arkansas' Capitol on Wednesday to accept the state's Young Mother award.
"We're going from diapers right up to driver's ed," she said with a smile.
Duggar, 37, who home schools her children and is helping to build a new home from the ground up, started having her babies when she was 21, four years after she married former state Rep. Jim Bob Duggar.
"We're letting the Lord give us the gifts that he wants to give us and I'm open to more gifts," she said. "I'll take them one at a time or two at a time."
The offspring include two sets of twins, and the parents have stuck to the letter "J" when it comes picking names. There is Joshua, 16; Jana and John-David, 14; Jill, 12; Jessa, 11; Jinger, 10; Joseph, 9; Josiah, 7; Joy-Anna, 6; Jeremiah and Jedidiah, 5; Jason, 3; James, 2 and Justin, 1.
The new baby is due in two months and is most likely a boy. They plan to name him Jackson.
That child won't know the sometimes-crowded life his siblings now have in their small home with two bathrooms in Springdale.
"There's usually a pretty good line in front of each one of them," Jim Bob Duggar said.
For the past two years the family has been building their own home in Tontitown, just seven miles from where they now live in northwest Arkansas.
"Our house is like a giant Cracker Barrel," Michelle Duggar said. "It's got this huge porch it goes on forever. We may get lost in the middle of it all."
The 7,000-square-foot family project will have 10 bathrooms, master and guest bedrooms, a laundry room with four washers and eight dryers and two dormitory-style bedrooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. Those rooms will have bunk beds, Jim Bob Duggar said, easily added for any new children.
"We've done the work from the foundation up," he said. "We're building it debt- free. We're doing it as we can afford it."
There will be two closets on either side of the laundry, one with boys clothes and one with things for the girls. The children put on whatever clothing fits.
This weekend, Duggar, a real estate businessman, plans to put up the siding and windows with some of his sons. They hope to move in this summer.
Wednesday, the brood drove down from Springdale in the family bus to watch mom receive her award from Gov. Mike Huckabee. The girls and their mother dressed in matching red and blue plaid jumpers. The boys each wore the same navy blue suit with a red bow tie, their hair neatly combed to the side.
When the family approached Huckabee, the governor bent down to shake each child's hand, repeating the names they shyly whispered to him.
"You guys are amazing. You really are," Huckabee told the family.
The clan is very close. During their father's failed U.S. Senate bid, six of the Duggars sang the official campaign theme song: "Won't You Please Vote For My Daddy."
The couple married when Jim Bob was 19 and Michelle was 17 and had no children for the first four years they were together.
"We were using birth-control pills," Jim Bob Duggar said. "Then we ended up giving this area of our life to God."
Duggar said the family stopped the birth control when it came to their understanding that the pills could cause a woman to miscarry.
"I've always left it up to her and she's always wanted more children," Jim Bob Duggar said. "I knew she was a mother of the year all along, but she really deserves wife of the year."