KATY MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2018
by Natalie Cook Clark
Family is everything. They know the very best of who we are and have seen us at our worst. From birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and funerals, your family is there through it all.
Every family is special with a strength unique just to them. For some families in Katy, that strength is found in numbers. These "Big" Katy families show a community how they make it work with juggling schedules and budgets all while staying flexible and never losing sight of their love for each other.
The Leggins Family
Shantania (holding picture of Kayden Leggins), Kendrick Leggins Sr., Karsyn, Kennedy, Kendrick (KJ.)
Shantania and Kendrick Leggins are high school sweethearts originally from New Orleans. After fleeing their home during Hurricane Katrina they found their way to Katy. "It didn’t take us long to decide that this would be a permanent move," said Shantania. "When we moved to Katy we had two kids, what I called my perfect pair - a boy and a girl. Our family was complete or, so we thought. Thirteen years later, we are now parents of five and wouldn’t change it for the world." The Leggins have a senior and a freshman at Seven Lakes High School, and a fourth grader at Kilpatrick Elementary. The Leggins also count and honor their second son who watches over their family as an angel. Kayden was born in 2011 after a normal pregnancy and delivery. The morning after he went home to join his family his mother found him in what looked like a deep sleep. Sadly they lost him to SIDS and to this day honor his memory. They moved on to have a beautiful angel baby.
“I didn’t plan any of them, we wanted kids but they had to come at the perfect time," says Shantania. Both Kendrick and Shantania are from five sibling families. While they loved the idea of having a large family neither of them saw that in their future. "We had our perfect one of each pair and I had this idea in my head that having kids after 30 was a no-no for me. Isn’t it funny how we make plans and God laughs?" Four of their children were born after 30 for Shantania.
Managing it all
"Sometimes I don’t feel like I am managing it at all," says Shantania, who says that following a schedule is the key to wrangling their busy lives. "Not only do we have many kids, each one is at a different stage in life. When the older two were in elementary school together and the little one at the time was home, it was busy, but it was still calmer then what the last few years have been in terms of schedules." Times change and Shantania believes that her kids are much more active and busier than she was at their age. Despite their crazy schedules the Leggins eat most of our meals at home together as family. "It’s non negotiable!" Stresses Shantania.
Everyone is involved in making their family work. "Once they hit junior high they are responsible for their laundry and fixing their lunch. "We love sports, so we’ve always seen our family as a team and everybody plays a role. We constantly remind them that if you don’t play your part, no matter how big or small that impacts the team winning."
"There's nothing wrong with asking for help and don't make such a big deal about everything." "It’s totally okay to let the kids figure some stuff out on their own. I don’t have to have the answer for everything because I really don’t have the answer for everything," says Shantania. "And have fun! Some of the best lessons learned and best memories made are the ones I have gotten on this journey of Motherhood."
The Parsons Family
The Parsons: Karter 3, Khloe 6, Kaden 11, Kolton 12, Kaleb 16, Becky and Kevin
Becky and Kevin Parsons met through a mutual friend. Becky always wanted a big family so after they were married and expecting their first child they relocated to Katy knowing it would be a great city to raise their growing family. "Of course I had no idea we'd end up responsible for five lives, and we haven't ruled out number six," says Kevin.