Twelve and Counting

Kateri Schwandt, 40, is beaming with joy. She is pregnant with her thirteenth child and due in May. With twelve boys already in the family, she and her husband Jay are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their newborn to discover the surprise of whether the baby will be a boy or a girl. 

The Schwandt family, of Rockford, Michigan, is split on what they want the gender to be.

“Curiosity gets me and I’d like to find out, but she (Kateri) loves the surprise and when the moment comes, it’s fun for us having not found out,” said Jay Schwandt, who says that both he and his wife are big proponents of having a big family. “We are never really surprised though, and it’s been a boy every time!”

Kateri is actually hoping the baby is a boy thanks to all the experience she’s had with Tyler (22), Zach (19), Drew (17), Brandon (15), Tommy (13), Vinny (11), Calvin (9), Gabe (8), Wesley (6), Charlie (4), Luke (2) and Tucker (16 months.) She also says that having a girl would mean having to make some drastic changes in the house.

Despite that, Jay says, “I would sure like to have a girl. I have experienced all of the boy stuff and I think it would be neat to parent from the other side of the gender spectrum for once.”

Jay says that their sons are split 50-50 as to whether they want a sister or brother. Jay had just one sibling growing up, but Kateri is the 13th of 14 children, seven boys and seven girls.

How does such a big family handle the day to day challenges? Jay says that the boys work and play together and enjoy being part of a big family.

“The older boys help out a bunch with the younger ones, and everyone just loves being around together,” said Jay. “We love family dinner when everyone is here, going out to eat all together, and playing football or kickball in the yard with everyone.”

Jay is the president of Global Land Solutions, LLC, in Grand Rapids, which does surveying and mapping. 

The Schwandts look forward to become a family of 15 in 2015. The thing they enjoy most according to Jay, “Just being all together.”

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