The Learning Channel (TLC) filmed our family in 2006 for the miniseries Kids by the Dozen. We were one of three families who met the criterion of having at least a dozen natural-born children at home. Debuted on January 29, 2007, our story of how we live on a small income, throw a birthday party for our 13 children and 150+ guests, and get by day-by-day unfolded on television. Over 50 hours of filming was captured, and all of that was whittled down to 44 minutes of a program. Much of what ended up on the editing floor, as well as more explanation of the events of the show, are explained in our book Love in the House (pictured to the right).
The “Kids by the Dozen” series did very well, so well that TLC expanded the program and pulling in more families that aired in the fall. We were invited back to take a camping trip to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota with one of the other families, the Heppners, that was involved in the original shows, but were were later cut from the plans (too expensive of a project). Still, we are grateful for being part of such a popular and wholesome television series!
The other three families featured on the series are listed below with the descriptions written by TLC. Links to their family sites are included:
- The Arndt Family (Debuted January 15, 2007)
Meet the Arndt family of Millstadt, Illinois: Rick and Cathy Arndt, and 14 kids. Find out how the Arndts feed, clothe, educate and keep the peace in a family of 16.
- The Heppner Family (Debuted January 22, 2007)
Spud and Miriam Heppner are the parents of 16 children, 9 still living at home! Getting everyone together for a weekend at the lake is easier said than done, but to the Heppners, family comes first.
- The Jeub Family (Debuted January 29, 2007)
Chris and Wendy are the parents of 13 children. This year they are celebrating a mega birthday for everyone- all on the same day. See how this family lives, plays and gives back- all on a tight budget.
Our big event in the show was The Jeub Birthday Bash (or, as some like to call it, the “Jeubilee”). One of our large-family creative ideas is to throw one big birthday party once a year for all the kids. Last year was our largest party with 190 friends and relatives at our home. Some incredible videos were captured of this huge party…
- Tug o’ War
- Aunt Becky (who has one child) giving her opinion of her brother (who has 13)
- Wendy letting the cameras know of how the party was going
- The producer, Tracy, interviewing Tabitha (with Hannah asleep in the background)
Our experience was a tremendous one. The Learning Channel we believe is capturing both the joys and the realistic frustrations of large family living through this television series. We often don’t have time to think about why we have 13 kids. But with cameras following you around for eight days, we were forced to reflect on not only why we have this large family, but also why we have made our parenting choices over the years.
The cameras picked up quite a bit about faith, love, hardships and joys of parenting such a crew. Believe it or not, I can’t imagine viewers not identifying with us in many ways, with or without many kids. Our experiences as a large family are not much different than most families; we just have a lot of children. Our prayer is that viewers are blessed.
We posted quite a bit on our blog on our experiences with TLC. Here are the list of posts: