Great eight

Ashley Blue

Darrin Phegley leans in to kiss his wife, Rhonda, before heading back to work. Rhonda is sitting with her oldest daughter, McKenna; baby Dawson is in the foreground.

Scotlyn Phegley, 2, comes out of the bathroom, pants around her ankles, wet. The big sisters come to the rescue and get some fresh clothes while the other little girls are at school in the dining room with their mom, Rhonda. Does 'giraffe' have a hard G or a soft G? Rhonda helps Brooklyn with grammar with her left hand while breastfeeding Dawson with her right.

"It may be one of those days, guys, everyone needs to keep their attitude in check," Rhonda Phegley of Henderson says after her eight children climb into their 15-passenger van.
Dawson, Scotlyn, Emalyn, Brooklyn, Gabriel, Justis, Malayna and McKenna.

"We're a big family." Rhonda and her husband, Darrin, have eight children between the ages of 8 months and 16 years. Six of them are home schooled.  

"We didn't plan to have eight kids. We didn't plan in any direction," Darrin says. "McKenna was the only one we planned. From then on they just came, and we didn't stop it."

Despite working three jobs, Darrin spends more time with the children than do most fathers. Rhonda home schools the children, cooks, cleans and is family activity director in the evening.

Everyone has a job to do. The two oldest, McKenna and her sister, Malayna, 13, pick up a lot of the slack around the house. "Malayna does the hair and I find the shoes," McKenna, 16, says. They get the "little girls," Scotlyn, 2, Emalyn, 5, and Brooklyn, 6, dressed and ready to go every morning. They also help with their youngest brother, Dawson.

The glue that keeps the family together is their faith. The Phegleys have instilled Christian principles into their children.

"It's a God thing. I get up every day knowing that the list of things I have to do cannot get done by me. My whole existence is a prayer request," Rhonda says. "I wish I had been raised like this."

Though she won't ever allow her teenagers to date, Rhonda wants all of her children's relationships to be like the one she has with Darrin — along with lots of grandchildren.

"The best things are that there is more love, more joy, there is just more of all the good things. All of the good things about a family being together and laughing, there is just more of that," Rhonda says.

McKenna Phegley, 16, the oldest of eight siblings, tells her mother what needs to be done before the other children come inside for the night. Being one of the oldest, McKenna holds a lot of responsibilty in the household and helps her mom make sure things run smoothly.

Scotlyn Phegley, 2, grabs her drink from the counter while her sister Malayna, 13, fixes herself a drink.

The Phegley children watch a movie to wind down before bedtime. McKenna Phegley, 16, leans in to keep her sister, Scotlyn, 2, from playing with the baby monitor. "There is always someone that needs you," Rhonda Phegley, their mother, says. "Someone that wants to sit in your lap, tell you about their day or needs a hug."

Brooklyn Phegley, 6, shares a bedroom with her two younger sisters, Emalyn, 5, and Scotlyn, 2. "Little girls are upstairs and so are the boys," says McKenna Phegley, 16, and the oldest child of eight. "They all share a bathroom. Me and Malayna are the only ones downstairs."

The Phegleys sit against the wall at Rudy-Rowland Funeral home during a visitation for a family friend. "People look at us and say, 'Wow, that looks awful.' But we live the opposite of what we appear to them," Rhonda, the children's mother, says.

Malayna Phegley, 13, leans forward to try and understand why her sister, Scotlyn, 2, has her pants around her knees. "Wet," Scotlyn repeats several times, which is all Malayna needs to hear.

Scotlyn Phegely, 2, gets some help from her older brother, Justis, 11, in the upstairs bathroom that the two children share with three more of their siblings.

Maylan Phegley stands behind her sister Scotlyn Phegley while fixing her hair as part of the childrens morning routine. Typically, the older girls get up and get ready first so that they can help the younger girls get out of bed and prepared for the day.

McKenna Phegley, 16, talks to her baby brother, Dawson, while sweeping the kitchen after breakfast. In the other room, McKenna's mother, Rhonda Phegley, helps her other children get started with their home school lessons for the day.

Rhonda and Darrin Phegley hold hands while praying before all 10 members of the family share a meal at Cancun Mexican Restaurant in Henderson. "My children are the overflow of what my wife and I have," Darrin says.

The Phegleys sit at their dining room table and pray before dinner. Faith plays a huge role in the Phegleys' life. "Our desire for Christ is more than anything else. We try to live our lives based on biblical principles and faith," father Darrin Phegley says.

Malayna Phegley, 13, plays with her younger sister, Scotlyn, 2, before bedtime. "Little girls are like chainsaws," Rhonda Phegley, their mother, says. "They give it all they got right before they run out of gas."