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Polaroid Stories: Sleepless in Seattle

If you're not following this family on Instagram then you're really missing out. Lucky for y'all we got sit down and pick the brain of the freshest gang you'll ever see. Meet the SMiths. Below they tell us a little about their life and what it's like living in a big city with a big crew.

TYPICAL: Just curious, how many rolls of toilet paper do you go through a day?

The Family: Uhhh, at least one. We 'bout that Costco life. 

TYPICAL: In what way does art and culture influence the way you function as a family? 

The Family: In every way. Art and culture influences how we pick out our housewares, to how we stack our books on the mantle, to how we dress our kids, to what we talk about, to what we watch (NBA basketball and Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown") to what we consume, to where we live. We genuinely believe creativity and culture are two of the most human components that exist, and therefore, we make it a priority for them to be highlighted, present and encouraged in the life of our family. 

With that said, with five children it's a challenge for sure. We are often trying to find ways to simplify and decorate within the chaos that comes from life with young children. We've also been encouraging our kids to create things rather than always consuming technology. This is easier said than done when today's culture is centered around devices. But we've seen some progress. And this doesn't mean we don't believe technology can inspire creativity or itself be a creative tool. We do. For example, Astaire uses it for style tips for the kids (she has an eye for fashion), and we both use it to take photos and share ideas. And recently the kids have been using it for drawing tips.

TYPICAL: If there is one thing you feel Seattle is NOT ready for what would it be and why?

The Family: Us. (Laughs) Seriously though, the city of Seattle doesn't accommodate well to families, let alone big families. We are an anomaly in Seattle and we've found it difficult to find spaces and places in the city that cater to families or that even welcomes them. For example, clothing stores that would normally have kids sections, simply don't. Or the YMCA, which normally has child care so we can get a workout in, doesn't offer it. Small things for sure, but when you're a family of seven, it matters.

TYPICAL: List each family member's super power.

The Family: 

Sam- Astaire said Super Dad. I'll take it. 

Astaire- Deal Finder. She calls herself Thrif Curry, and she saves us a lot of money. 

Maddox- Mad Charmer. Maddox's smile, eyes, and sensitivity to others are so dang charming. 

Malaki- He said "I know what my super power is; being annoying." That was first thing that popped into Astaire's head too. Malaki has an incredible power to pest everyone, but he's also our funniest family member. 

Alexiah- Problem Solver. Xiah is often figuring out ways to help with baby and Ariyah when we are tapped out, and even sometimes when we aren't. 

Ariyah- Mother Hen. Ariyah loves to help in the kitchen, play "family," nurture others, and organize things. 

Addis- Nursing. She's a big baby and loves to eat.

TYPICAL: What are your vulnerabilities?

The Family: We have our own personal vulnerabilities, and then we have family vulnerabilities. Our family one is figuring out how to be parents to five kids in the middle of some really big life transitions. In the past 6 months we've been through immigration, moved to a new city, the kids have attended new schools, we've had a new baby, and we are living in an entirely new culture. We get tired, frustrated, irritable, and our margin is very narrow. There's many moments where we wish we were back in the spaces that are familiar to us. But we know that for this time, we are to be here, and the longer we are in the grind the better the adjustments. We are playing the long game, realizing that it takes time to learn new rhythms, to be known by a people, and to belong to a place.

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