Big Families: Abundant in Love… and Illness


Get your own “Literary Classics” handwashing awareness posters free for print here.

We have had so much illness come through our house these last couple of years. The kiddos missed lots of school. We started to feel like freaks by the amount of events we could not attend. For a time, life was bleak.

House projects went unfinished. We spent thousands of dollars on cleaning supplies, doctor visits and medicine. We forgot what it was like to be and feel healthy on a holiday or weekend… or ever.

We scrutinized our nutrition, cleaning routines and doubled down on our children’s hygiene habits.

We still got sick a lot.



Ever notice how NO ONE seems to come down with illness at the same time? It takes an average of 1.5 to 2 weeks for it to travel through our whole family. Unless you all have food poisoning. Then it seems to be instantaneous!

One of my theories as to why we were sick so often was having 3 children in a school environment; one being a Kindergartner. Germs just seem to love them!

Recently, I came across The BIG LoVE Study led by the University of Utah School of Medicine. It is a very interesting read for anyone growing a family.

Using modern diagnostics, they studied 26 families (106 members; 3 births occurred during study) in a Utah community over a period of one year. Family sizes ranged from those with 0 to 6 children. Families of our size (5 children) had viral illnesses 65% of the year, families with 4 children were ill 58% of the year, and families with 6 children were ill 87% of the year!

In contrast, families with 0 children were only ill 7% of the year, whereas, those with only 1 child were sick 35% of the year. 

This study suggests that by adding a second child you stand to be ill 56% of the year.

Children under 5 were found to be infected with respiratory illness 50% of the year. “When infected, they were 1.5 times more likely to have symptoms, including severe symptoms like wheezing and fever.”

Therefore, if you have little ones in the house you are going to be sick a lot more often, especially when you have 4 or more children. I know, not very earth-shattering news!

For those parents with a larger family that have had a lot of illness lately it is heartening to know you are not alone

It appears that they plan on studying larger and more diverse populations. I look forward to more research involving a larger demographic. You can read more about The BIG LoVE study at the links below:

Viruses Thrive In Big Families, In Sickness and In HealthUniversity of Utah Health Care. Web. 4 Aug. 2015.

Byington CL, Ampofo K, Stockmann C, Adler FR, Herbener A, Miller T, Sheng X, Blaschke AJ, Crisp R, Pavia AT. “Community Surveillance of Respiratory Viruses Among Families in the Utah Better Identification of Germs-Longitudinal Viral Epidemiology (BIG-LoVE) Study.” Clinical Infectious Diseases 15 Oct. 2015 61(8): 1217-24. Web. 4 Aug. 2015.


Literary Classics Handwashing Awareness Campaign posters free for print in JPG or PDF

Finding Balance While Raising Five Children

Rainbow garden inspired by Lois Ehlert's book "Planting A Rainbow"

“We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.” –Thomas Merton


I don’t have it right now. Which is the reason for not posting in almost 2 years.

We have five wonderful, kind, loving, smart, active, independent children. They are ages 11, 9, 7, 5 and 1. I enjoy being a parent. I enjoy motherhood like nothing else.

We recently started homeschooling again… unexpectedly. 

I am excited and scared. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. I have been gathering all my curriculum resources.

Relational aggression and bullying are very serious social issues in school environments. Being bullied is an awful experience. It is made much worse when a school counselor exhibits unabashed hubristic bias and states they do not believe your children. Even more disturbing, they openly discount your parental observations and concerns during your first and only meeting with the school principal. The child or children are left feeling powerless, as are their parents.

This has been our very real and recent experience. Name-calling and face smacking were dismissed as just part of a game, only my child was not a willing participant and these were not one-off occurrences. Relational aggression occurred in class but moreso, in the halls. They did not see it happen, therefore, they did not believe our children.

I appreciate the tough jobs these roles entail. Relational aggression is hard to spot. It is a far better educational atmosphere to “catch kids doing good” than to actively try and “catch kids doing bad”. We all have blind spots. We all are flawed.

However, when a school counselor is so invested in their own personal narrative that they are willing to lie (yes we were lied to) and overlook a child’s suffering then parents must actively advocate for their child. Sometimes, this means walking away from an otherwise ideal educational setting. We have never felt so alone. This has been an emotionally devastating experience. When we go into something, we commit ourselves, we go ALL IN. We have never felt so disposable.

With relief, optimism and trepidation… here we are.

The last two years have been a journey in tears, joy, anger, optimism, fear, humility, hope and prayera lot of prayer. I am sure there are many other words I could use but I think I will stop while I am ahead.

I have some posts lined up for this blog I think many of you will find interesting, introspective, perhaps even entertaining. Maybe, you will be able to use my life experiences to your benefit.

If you enjoy the subjects of mothering, breastfeeding, gardening, cooking, sewing, crafting, house projects, and just the curve balls of life, then make sure to drop by over these upcoming weeks. I will do my best to keep it interesting!

Thanks for joining me.


Resources for help with Relational Aggression/Bullying:

Kidpower Bullying Prevention

Stop Bullying

The Ophelia Project What is Relational Aggression?

Relational Aggression and Boys

What Parents Can Do When Bullying is Downplayed at School

What Does Bullying Look Like?

5 Do’s and Don’ts of Helping Kids Handle Bullying