cason family

We are family: Christi and Dave Cason have 16 children...and hope for another

Getting two kids out of bed, dressed, fed and out the door can be a challenge for any family, so imagine what it’s like living with 16 children.

You’ve heard of the Duggars, but in Lake Elsinore, California, the Casons and their 16 children struggle to find a home with enough space.

Plus, with nine of the children in four different schools, and four aged five and under, the best way to describe their lives is organised chaos.

A new National Geographic Channel documentary, Megafamilies, follows Christi and Dave Cason as they move their 16 children from a cramped three-bedroom, one-bathroom duplex, to a smart 5-bedroom home with a three car garage, garden, and lots of space.

But imagine packing up and moving all your furniture and belongings after 12 years, while your younger children are busy playing in boxes, removing items, and generally getting in the way.

Mum Christi, 41, who takes care of the tight morning schedule, three to seven loads of laundry per day, and numerous cleaning and childcare duties, is delighted to move no matter what.

Scroll down for a gallery of other 'Megafamilies'
cason family
Chowing down: Pity the one left to do the dishes

"Dave and I getting a home is very emotional for both of us. It has been a long time coming and we were beginning to wonder if it would ever happen," she said.

The couple spent many years saving up, and two whole years of searching, before finding their perfect house.

Dave, 44, a telecoms engineer, added: "We have waited so long. It feels so good to be able to put my family in a house that is big enough."

The Megafamily consists of 16 children aged 23 to one: Jessica, 23, Chad, 21, Dalton, 19, Austin, 18, Bailey, 16, Gage, 14, Kaylee, 13, Harper, 11, Emma, 10, Rebekah, nine, Trevor, eight, Walker, six, Morgan, five, Laura, four, Sawyer, three and Nathaniel, one.

The weekly grocery shop needs to be strategically planned, as the Casons get through two shopping trolley loads, including 22 gallons of milk and eight loaves of bread a week.

Thankfully, Christi, a stay-at-home mum, is a wonder at making a budget stretch.

"When our budget is really tight like it is, it comes down to the important things. You pay the bills, car payments, you make sure your husband has gas money to get to work, and you have food," she said.

But, in spite of the organised chaos, the couple plans to make use of their extra house space by trying for baby number 17.

Christi said: "I am definitely seeing a number 17 in our future. I hope we can make that happen."

Megafamilies also features a polygamous family from north east India, where 161 relatives live under one very large roof.

Ziona Chana, 67, lives with his 39 wives, 32 sons, 19 daughters, 12 daughters-in-law, 26 grandsons, 28 granddaughters, three granddaughters-in-law, and one cousin. Just feeding that many people is an exercise an exercise in efficiency and co-operation.

Meanwhile in Carrickmacross, Ireland, it's time to meet the Maher family. All 13 of them make it look easy as they show that teamwork and a generous sense of humor are half the battle to keeping the family machine well-oiled.

Megafamilies airs on National Geographic Channel at 11pm on Tuesday July 10.

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  • Ziona Chana and his family of 161

    Ziona Chana, 67, in northeast India, who, with his polygamous family of more than 160 all living under one roof,

  • The Maher Family

    From left to right: Cilian Maher, Paul Maher, Edel Maher, Sadhbh Maher, Eoin Maher, Ciar Maher, Darragh Maher, Cathal Maher, Conor Maher, Odhran Maher, Oesin Maher, Fionn Maher, Aisling Maher Paul and Edel Maher

  • Christi and Dave Cason with 15 of their 16 children

  • The Cason clan in full