"It's crazy." That's how Bridget Barrus described a Saturday night dinner for 10 at her Boise home before I experienced it for myself.
Except it wasn't all that crazy. Sure, it was busy, but this wasn't anarchy by any means.
Bronx, 12, set the table. Ben, 15, sliced veggies for the salad. Brialee, 16, rolled dough for the four pizzas. Bauer, 4, taste-tested the pineapple that his dad, Ben, had carved up. Boden, 12, set out pitchers of beverages.
All this happened simultaneously and with little friction. Bridget was like the conductor in the middle of an orchestra pit, a stirring spoon in hand instead of maestro baton.
You might think such a large family would be exhausting. But it's clear Bridget and Ben, an accountant, are energized by a home so full of energy and life. This despite the 5:30 a.m. alarms and post-midnight bedtimes, volleyball coaching and music teaching.
The couple, who met at Boise State, became foster parents in 2006. They've cared for 65 foster children since and adopted three. Not to mention the 26 exchange students they've hosted.
"We just felt we've been really blessed and we wanted to give back," Bridget said. "I lay in bed and think about children who have nowhere to call home."
Bridget, who also works full time from home for an exchange-student agency, makes sure to fit in certain things to keep her grounded amid all the activity: daily prayer and scripture reading with her husband (they're LDS), date night, a monthly get-together with her best friend and "mommy and me" time with each child for one-on-one interaction.
She has a favorite quote: "If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart."
Joe Jaszewski: 377-6218