When Jeni first met her husband Ray, she was adamant she never wanted to have children.
“Ray wanted at least four kids. I thought that was crazy. Like, who has that many children?” Jeni told Mamamia.
Now, over three decades later, Jeni, 50, and Ray, 51, are the proud parents of 16 children.
The Bonell family, from Queensland’s Toowoomba, is made up of nine boys and seven girls – Jesse, 29, Brooke, 28, Claire, 25, Natalie, 24, Karl, 22, Samuel, 20, Cameron, 19, Sabrina, 18, Tim, 16, Brandon, 14, Eve, 13, Nate, 11, Rachel, 10, Eric, 9, Damian, 7 and Katelyn, 4.
And the brood just keeps on growing – two of the couple’s children have got married and Jeni and Ray are now grandparents to two grandchildren.
“I agreed to have one, maybe two kids, but it was actually me who asked for number three because I loved being a mum so much,” Jeni explained.
“We just opened up our hearts and the number of blessings has continued to rise. We also lost seven babies and that certainly changes your attitude towards accepting every baby. They are a gift – each and every one of them.”
So what exactly is like in a family of 18? And how on earth do you keep up with all the extra grocery shopping and laundry that comes with having so many kids?
We spoke to Jeni to find out everything you need to know about raising an extra large family.
What's the weekly shop like?
With 11 of the Bonell kids still living at home, weekly meals and grocery shopping isn’t exactly an easy task.