For All You Love: My Big Fat Crazy Family

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson’s “For All You Love” campaign. J&J is also planning to donate $25K this Mother’s Day to Save the Children, and I’m happy to take part in it. 

We just celebrated Mother’s Day, and luckily I was able to celebrate with my sisters and mom – and all of the kids – this past weekend. To say it was not relaxing is a bit of an understatement, but we Allen (my maiden name) women really don’t do “relaxing” well…we are used to chaos and craziness. And while I complain about it a lot, to be honest, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Don’t get me wrong…I would LOVE nothing more than to give “relaxing” the good old college try; it’s just that I am not sure I’d be any good at it sans craziness.

So where do I get the need to be surrounded by family and craziness from? My mom, I’m sure. It’s her fault that I want to be surrounded by the crazy all the time. To be surrounded by siblings and their kids and extended family and friends and the chaos. And I’m not exaggerating; put me and my four siblings and all of our kids in one room and you’ve got close to 30 people. And that’s not even including all of the extended friends and family that we consider immediate family!

J&JMy mom grew up with 8 brothers and sisters, countless cousins, and when she says “family” she isn’t just referring to her parents and siblings. When she says family, she means extended family, as well as close friends of the family. It’s the same thing I mean when I say family. Family isn’t just the people that live in your house, it’s the people you choose to keep close to you in your life. Some family we are stuck with (in other words, we don’t get to choose ’em), but there are others that we can choose. And while we may not be related by blood, they are certainly not less family in my great-big-extended family’s eyes.

I have 4 siblings. I have friends I’ve known since we were kids (or since my siblings were kids) that are considered family. And now that many of them are married with families of their own, when we say family, we ain’t kidding. A simple family get together can easily consist of 50+ people.


This tree full of kids is everything to me. My kids, their cousins, and their friends are all included. And this is their family. And this? Is what life is all about.

I love that my kids are growing up with their cousins that they call their best friends. That they are growing up with the kids of my friends that I’ve known since I was a kid that they call their cousins. To me? There is nothing more important.

And because both of Jason’s parents have passed, I’ve always felt like my kids were going to be getting the short end of the stick by only having one set of grandparents. But that’s not exactly the case. My sister’s in-laws are called “Grandpa Don and Grandma Sharon”…the same thing that my sister’s kids call them.

My brother’s in-laws are also called Papa and Grandma…even though my kids are no way related to them. A friend that my sisters and I grew up with is their Auntie, but not by blood. Recently, I was trying to explain the difference between “real” family and friends we love so much that we just call them family. I told my kids that their “Grandma” Dena wasn’t really their “real” grandma and that “Auntie” Winter wasn’t really their “real” auntie. They were heartbroken. Because to them, they really are grandma and auntie. And as long as grandma and auntie are okay with that, so am I.

So why am I telling you this? Because Johnson & Johnson is doing something amazing in the name of love. J&J’s For All You Love campaign celebrates the importance of putting the needs of others first and all the ways people care for the ones they love. Love is the most powerful thing on the planet.  And to me, FAMILY IS LOVE.

J&J is recognizing their commitment to the health and well-being of moms and kids worldwide for Mother’s Day this year. They are planning to donate $25K this Mother’s Day to Save the Children®: Awesome, right? And I am so glad to help spread the word!

So tell me…what do you consider love? Because it’s different, though not wrong or less important, to every single one of us.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson’s “For All You Love” campaign. I received compensation to blog about this, but if you have been reading me for longer than a minute, you know that family is everything to me and I would have written this post for free. On the upside, J&J is also planning to donate $25K this Mother’s Day to Save the Children, and I’m happy to take part in it. Share this post if you are too!


  1. Love it and ditto! I know exactly what you mean!
  2. My kids have several aunties... grandmas... grandpas... and extra family members who are truly not blood related and because they're older they know that. But these are people who have been part of our lives for as long as we can remember and they always will be. They're special in so many ways to all of us. Jackie recently posted..Letters to my kids – AndrewMy Profile


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