How does a real life family of eight (with six kids 8 and younger) make it work?

By Jennifer Frey
Updated July 18, 2008 08:45 AM
Credit: Matthew Mahon

When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt finally settle into their French Riviera chateau, their family will have sky-rocketed from four kids to six – all under age seven. If juggling celebrity and diaper-changes was hectic before, it’s about to become even crazier.

Like the Jolie-Pitts, Jennifer and Michael Hammond’s family jumped from four kids to six with the birth of their twins, Anne and Evelyn, in December 2006.

Before, the Arkansas couple were asleep by 9 p.m. Now, they’re lucky to be in bed before 1 a.m. “The twins take a lot of energy and attention, so it isn’t until they’re asleep that we can do the dishes, pay the bills and get the house ready for the next day,” says Michael, 38, a graduate student at the University of Arkansas.

The first year is the hardest, warns Jennifer, 35. Her twins breastfed every three hours, and when they slept, one of the others would awake. Sleep was so elusive, that a blindfolded Michael fell sound asleep en route to a surprise Father’s Day dinner.

Nineteen months and some 8,825 dirty diapers later, they’ve settled into a routine. After dinner, Anne typically sits on Jennifer’s lap, Evelyn by her side, while Jack, who turns 7 on Friday, is at a baseball game, and Elizabeth, 8, and Natalie, 3, pretend to save Rebekah, 4, from their giant stuffed dog, Golden.

Young Elizabeth advises Maddox, who turns 7 next month: “The babies may stink up the house a little, and they might make some noise. It may be hard, but being the oldest of six can be fun.”

For more on the Hammonds and the expansion of the Jolie-Pitt family, pick up a copy of PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands Friday