This, That, and A Few Other Things

Good Times

This, That, and A Few Other Things

No Comments 13 December 2014

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*I had this blog post written up and almost ready to post before Eliot had her little accident this week.  Look for a new post soon to tell all about what happened to our baby girl last Monday night!*

As I reported to you last month on the blog post titled, “No Pressure,” the kids were excited for a nursery rhyme lesson that they were doing at school.  They each chose a nursery rhyme and were supposed to dress up as the character in the nursery rhyme and present the tale to their classmates and parents.  One of our little blessings in particular had some distinct plans for her costume and nothing less would do.  Well, as you can see from the pictures, she got her wish…and I think we’re all the better for things going her way!  Fortunately, Ryan was the only one who had such a strong opinion as to how her costume would be so we just made the easy decision to buy her the costume online.  She was thrilled when the costume arrived and what a cutie she was wearing it!

Casey did an awesome job with the other costumes and had the kids looking super cute…as usual!
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The Jones Taxi Service

Good Times

The Jones Taxi Service

6 Comments 04 November 2014

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As  you can see from the pics above – it has begun.  We knew this day would come, but the good Lord only knows why we chose to do it now.  Yeah, that’s right – it was a choice we made, not something we were forced into.  Sure, our arms were twisted a little, but we could have easily put this off.  It just felt like now was the time.  And besides, we only know how to do things one way – all or nothing!  So yes, with the beginning of kindergarten also came the beginning of something else – extracurricular activities…to the power of 5+1!

You all probably already know about the +1, Eliot McKenna, the lead dog in this pack of wild animals has been keeping us busy with her activities for the past 5 or 6 years.  She started out as the internationally known soccer superstar then moved on to cheerleading when the soccer fire burned low.  Cheerleading squads in Texas are crazy y’all, and thankfully Eliot figured that out pretty quickly as well and packed up the pom-poms and busted out her dancing shoes.  She also gave gymnastics a go at the same time.  She was an awesome little dancer, but again the pace was too slow for her liking so that got the boot while gymnastics continued.  Alas, the gymnastics gave way to Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and that is where she is currently.  And dance is back in the mix, but this time it’s hip-hop.  Tired yet??  She’s been doing jiu-jitsu (which according to Wikipedia is a martial art, combat sport, and a self defense system that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting…yes, I had to look it up!) for about 6 months now and so far has not shown any signs of throwing in the towel.  I love that she is learning this skill, especially the self defense part, and I really hope she sticks with it (even though I miss watching her on the soccer field)!

So when it came time for the kids to decide their activity of choice, we gave them a few options – soccer, gymnastics, or dance.  Jack chose dance right away.  No, no he didn’t.  I would 100% support him if he did (after a few good cries), but I’m completely making that up.  We actually started Jack in soccer a year ago because there were several boys on his street that were putting a team together.  And actually we had the girls in dance in the spring, but we didn’t really give them a choice on that one and oh yeah, we didn’t have kindergarten to deal with at the same time so the craziness factor was about a 2 on a scale of 1 to brain lobotomy.  Now that school has started and we gave them choices and we have three separate activities among the 5 plus Eliot’s 2 we’re edging pretty close to that hole drilled in the head thing…

Ok, so for real this time.  Jack stayed with soccer and we’ve got two new little internationally known soccer superstars to add to the roster – Lila and Ryan.  Love it!  Jack’s team was already established so putting the girls on his team was not an option which means we’ve got two soccer practices every week and two games.  The soccer gods were smiling on us though because the two teams practice at the same time, same day, and right next to each other on the same field…score one for the parental unit!  And for a bonus, the soccer field is next to a playground so while Jack, Lila, and Ryan are getting their soccer on, the two B’s are happily swinging, monkey barring, and sliding the hour away.  Both teams are doing great and the kids are having a lot of fun though it’s not without the usual drama that comes with kids and sports…I really wish the cameras were here to catch all of this!

Brooklyn chose gymnastics and she loves it!  It’s more of a tumbling class to get them used to flipping and twisting and twirling.  She really loves it…it’s Brooklyn, she loves just about everything and she gets to wear a pink leotard so yeah, she really, really loves it!  Britton, fittingly, has chosen to take after her hero, Eliot McKenna, and is doing jui-jitsu.  That’s right, Little Mighty is learning how to turn her hands and feet into lethal weapons…it’s super cute for now, but something tells me we may regret this someday….

So it’s official – we run a taxi service out of our house every weekday from 4:00-7:00, Saturday mornings from 9:00-1:00, and sometimes on Sundays.  It’s nuts and definitely adds another layer of crazy to our lives, but it’s our kind of nuts – active, creative, enriching, family fun kind of nuts…bring it on!

God Bless…

Ethan

No Pressure

Good Times

No Pressure

5 Comments 20 October 2014

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I mentioned in the last post that having 5 kids in kindergarten has added a new layer of crazy to our world.  Well….here’s a good example of what I was talking about.  The kindergarten teachers sent out an email last week about a new project coming up for our little scholars (first thought:  yay!  5 projects to do…so completely what we were hoping for!).  The kids are learning about rhyming words and being introduced to poetry through the use of nursery rhymes.  To make it memorable and fun (of course – fun – this is kindergarten – everything must be fun!) the kids are all going to pick out a nursery rhyme that they will present to the class on a tri-fold presentation board (which is thankfully being done at school and not at home!).  And here’s where the fun comes in – the kids are going to dress up like one of the characters in the nursery rhyme!  We get to figure out the what and the how of 5 nursery rhyme costumes….yay us!  So yeah…there’s that.

But here’s where the story gets funny.  Ryan picked “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as her nursery rhyme.  Easy enough right?  Dress her in black, sew or pin some stars to her and we’re good.  Right?  Well, Ryan had other ideas.  She told Casey that she wanted a star costume – she wants to be a star.  Not several stars on a black shirt; a single star with her arms and legs as the points of the star.  Casey just kind of gave her the ol’ non-committal “uh-huh” that parents know so well and sent Ryan back to play.  But Ryan didn’t go back to play – she went to the drawing board to draw a picture.  She drew the picture you see above.  Yes, that’s Ryan on the pedestal with her star costume being sewn by her maid-servant, aka Casey Ann.  No pressure, mama…you got this!  Umm, yeah…….

The other kids haven’t yet provided us with vignettes of their costumes, but I’m sure they’ll get to it soon.  Here is what they’ll be dressing up as:  Brooklyn is doing Baa Baa Black Sheep; Britton and Lila are both Jill from Jack ‘n’ Jill; and Jack is Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.  Look out fun, here we come!

God bless……….Ethan

*Just to be clear and hopefully keep people from getting the wrong impression – we love the kids’ kindergarten teachers and know the kids will love this project.  Yes, it’s a bit much for us to do 5 costumes, but that’s the way it goes when you have quints – it’s what we signed up for when we told the doctors we would absolutely not consider reducing the pregnancy when we learned Casey had 5 little miracles growing inside of her.  It would be absurd for the teachers to change their lesson plans or projects for us and even if they did that, we would not accept the change because it would deprive our 5 from having the fun learning experiences that the other kids in their class would enjoy.  So, not complaining (well, maybe a little),  just sharing some of the challenges we face in a hopefully fun way.  Hope you enjoy!

Transition……….To Change

Good Times

Transition……….To Change

10 Comments 29 September 2014

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We’re no strangers to change around here – when you get the news that you’ll be welcoming quintuplets into your world, change becomes as familiar to you as your own face in the mirror.  We went from 1 kid to 6 and shortly after that we went from privileged to tightly packed when we downsized our house as our family nearly tripled in size…and we went from a fairly anonymous existence to a very public one along the way.  We changed cars, family budgets, and long term plans.  Our bank accounts changed quite a bit and so did our priorities.  Perspective, passions, pursuits, and pleasures, both simple and complex – no stone was left unturned in the last several years.  So yeah, change?  We got this.

Not surprisingly, the ongoing theme of our recent history did not alter course over the summer and heading into fall.  In May we decided to put our house on the market to take advantage of the sizzling Austin economy.  Favor was on our side and the home sold in three weeks!  We closed and moved in late July into a rental in our same neighborhood.  The move went well – we even got a break from the Texas summer heat on moving day when a cloudy, unseasonably cool day rolled into town.  Five or six weeks later we were 100% settled into the new home, a temporary one – it’s a rental so yeah, we’re already signed up for more big changes ahead…more on that later.

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Just as we got ourselves settled into the home, the biggest change we’ve faced in a long time, one that we’ve anticipated for years came on August 25th at 7:45 am – KINDERGARTEN!!!!!  Yes, it finally arrived, the big day we’ve been waiting for……and waiting for…………aaaaaannnnnddd waiting for for what seemed like foooooorrrreeeevvvvveeeeeeeerrrrrrrr!!!!!  I’m guessing you can tell by that last statement that no, we are not homeschooling.  (And yes, that’s a question we get a lot because I guess people for some reason equate large families with homeschooling.  Thanks Duggars?  Mormons?  Who gets the thanks for that utterly insane perception???  God bless those who can do the homeschooling thing and do it well.  It’s not us, not in our DNA.)  Back to the subject – so yeah, kindergarten is here and it’s going very, very well.  And of course we cannot forget about our superstar 5th grader, Eliot McKenna – she’s doing awesome in school as well, loves her teachers, taking on some tougher course work and responsibilities (it’s a big jump from how fourth grade was), and is all and all being the usual rock star that she always is.

So here’s the lowdown on the kinder program.  I believe it is recommended that you split up your multiples when they hit the classroom so that they can develop their individuality.  Uh-huh.  That’s all fine and good for you parents of twins, triplets, and quads slackers, but we’ve got 5 and you’re nuts if you think we’re going to have the bandwidth to deal with 5 different teachers (plus Eliot’s 3 teachers), 5 sets of school projects, 5 classrooms full of 20+ potential inviters and invitees to birthday parties, 100+ classmates and their drama, and all the other madness that would come with that.  Five different sets of emails and friendly “volunteer donation” reminders from 5 different homeroom moms……..seriously, no one is strong enough to handle that! ;)  But we didn’t want to put them all in one class and Texas has a law that allows the parents of multiples to decide how their children are placed in their classrooms so we decided to go with a 3/2 split.  How did you decide who to put together you ask?  Of course you asked that – if not out loud, you definitely thought it in your head as soon as you read that last sentence.  Yeah, we get that question a lot.  Well, we tried to think of how the pairings would work out best and well, we failed, but that’s a good thing.  The kids all do pretty great with each other and when they’re not being pretty great they’re being pretty awful – there’s really no in-between.  But they treat each other pretty great and pretty awful at a pretty even rate.  In other words, they don’t really have any alliances.  The two who are best friends today will be best friends with another one of their siblings tomorrow.  The three that are filing down their toothbrushes to make shanks so they can settle things once and for all with each other will all be best friends tomorrow and the next day they’ll be in the love/hate cycle with another one or two of the kids.  This phenomenon is known as the circle of siblinghood, I believe.  Kind of like the circle of life but without the death and killing and eating of each other kind of stuff…..so far.

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The 3/2 split is working out pretty well.  We’ve got Lila and Jack together in one class and Brooklyn, Britton, and Ryan in the other class and their classrooms are right next to each other’s.  In fact, their classrooms connect with a little hallway at the back of the rooms where the cubbies for their backpacks are.  It’s funny to watch them wave at each other from across the hall when they’re hanging up their stuff at the start of the day.  Actually, the one thing we thought would be good with the split was for Lila and Ryan to be separated.  Those two are as competitive as the ladies on ‘The Bachelor’ and we thought it would be good for them to have some other kids to try and dominate for awhile.  (I overheard this from Lila to Ryan just today – “You always think you’re better than me!!!”  Oh boy…..)

Like I said, kindergarten is going great.  All of the kids love their teachers (and we love them too – they both rock!) and are excited to go to school every day!  And…and…AND!!!!!  Not one of them has been in a lick of trouble in the first four weeks!!!  Not even Britton!!!!  OOOOOOOHHHHH YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!

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As for me and Casey, well, we’re in transition.  For me, it’s pretty much all good except that I have to get up so dang early now to get them all off to school.  While I’m getting myself ready for the work day, Casey pretty much handles getting the kids ready for school, fed, water bottles filled up, backpacks packed, lunches handled, and of course hugged and kissed on their way out the door.  I drive all 6 to a neighborhood right near the school and walk them in just like I’ve always done with Eliot and then Eliot stays with me and helps get the littles dropped off at their class.  After that, I walk Eliot down to her class….I love it and I’m really going to miss it when she doesn’t let me walk with her anymore which is probably coming really soon…uggggg!!  I’m usually home working when the chaos gets home from school (Casey picks them up) so I still get to enjoy a little bit of family madness while my work day is winding down, but the quiet days are pretty nice!

For Casey, it’s a little more of a mixed bag as she’s working on reclaiming a little piece of what she once knew as a life while she works on keeping these kids on track.  She’s catching up on some organization projects, digging into some new meal plans for healthier eating around here, getting back into a workout routine, and preparing for when the kids get back home and turn the house upside down again.  Contrary to what you might think and what I generally accuse her of doing, she is not laying around eating bon-bons and her life has not gotten any easier since the school year began – my girl’s a worker, a tireless worker!  Getting into a rhythm with all of these changes has been a bit of a challenge and we’re still working out some kinks, but she’s getting there and feeling better about things every day.

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To sum it all up, this family is currently in a period of transition…to change.  And we’re used to that change thing.  It’s just a different kind of change this time around and it’s bigger than our typical every day kind.  Change.  That’s what we do around here and we’ve been doing a whole heckuva lot of it lately.  It’s been a new kind of crazy in an otherwise crazy life, but we’re handling it well I think.  At least I hope so because 2014/2015 promises to be a whirlwind of a time for us!  Oh yeah, that other big change I said we’re signed up for?  We’re planning on hopefully, maybe early next year, starting construction on a new home……oh my, oh my….good, busy, crazy, stressful, blessed times ahead!!!!

Until we chat again…God bless!!

Catching Up

Good Times

Catching Up

6 Comments 22 September 2014

Mother's Day 2014

Mother’s Day 2014

It’s been awhile since I updated this blog on a regular basis and much has happened in our lives since that time.  So I’m thinking the first order of business should be to give you a little refresher course in what it means to live life with 5+1.  As you can imagine, life is at is always has been – filled with headaches and heartaches as Casey and I do our best to keep our sanity in the midst of the madness of raising six young’ns to NOT be psychopathic imbeciles bent on the destruction of society.  Somedays we wonder if there is any hope for them or us!  The saving grace of this is the fact that due only to the grace of the Lord above, we ended up with 6 fiery, funny, fun-loving, pretty sweet, somewhat polite, fairly well-behaved little angels-in-training….at least so far.

The next soccer superstar of the family??

The next soccer superstar of the family??

In the personality department, not much has changed.  Eliot is still the leader of this eclectic band and has taken on much more of a motherly role with the 5.  There are lots of big hugs and kisses goodnight, one-on-one playtime sessions, teaching moments and words of wisdom, and group activities that are headed up by the “sistriarch” of the family and we love it!  She has also assigned herself the title and responsibilities of the Special Assistant to the Director of Discipline and asserts herself quite frequently when she sees any of the 5 getting out of line (which can lead to some interesting challenges, but it’s really great to see some of the fruits of our labors with her in her younger years starting to shine through).  And the kids, of course, still think Eliot hung the moon and the stars which is a-ok with us!

I had 5 dates to the Daddy/Daughter Dance!

I had 5 dates to the Daddy/Daughter Dance!

As for the Fab Five – read back through the blogs I did on their individual personalities back in the summer of 2012 and you’ll know our kids as they are today.  Brooklyn – sweet as can be, bunny-loving princess who seems to stroll through life in her own little world, stopping to smell every flower along the way.  Britton – firecracker with the passion of a newly-frocked priest at a Southern Baptist tent revival!  The girl has anger issues – she knows it, the other kids know it, we’re praying and working hard on her everyday, but she has shown great improvement.  And good Lord, she has the funniest, happiest disposition when she’s not stomping that foot of hers and declaring the end of humanity with her cries!!

Britton's napping position...love it!

Britton’s napping position…love it!

*Side note – funny thing about Britt – she has started taking naps again, something she started to do entirely on her own.  Sometime around mid-afternoon she’ll simply disappear, only to be found later in her bed, on her belly, butt up in the air with her blanket gripped in her tiny hands down between her legs, sawing logs and drooling on her pillow (it’s hilarious!) and we’ve found that she does much better with her attitude on days that she gets a full nap.*

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This May Eliot was baptized and has chosen to live her life for Christ!

Jack-Jack – still happy with a sensitive side…sometimes and without warning, an extremely sensitive side!  He’s been playing soccer for a year now and seems to really enjoy it though he’s not quite caught on to the fact that you’re supposed to actually try and take the ball from the other kids and not just dance around the scrum (my formerly aggressive soccer-playing self has had a lot of practice on my patience…a whole lot!).  Generally Jack is busy just being awesome at doing his thing and not letting the girls get to him too much with the constant issue of them being well, girls… :)  Lila – gregarious, curious, mischievous, and often hilarious.  Yep, nothing has changed with her!  And Ryan – what more can I say – the girl is a superstar at everything she does.  She’s still our little lion ready to take on any challenge thrown her way!

The girls had their first dance recital in May...so cute!

The girls had their first dance recital in May…so cute!

As I said before, life is as it always has been – challenging (but in a mostly fun and rewarding way), hectic, ever-evolving, demanding, imperfect, and yeah, fun, rewarding, and full of laughter.  And believe it or not, Casey and I still love each other, work pretty dang well together, don’t argue too much, and constantly look for little moments to get away from the crazies and enjoy some peace while we reconnect.   Sometimes we actually succeed and find those little moments and it’s usually pretty awesome when we do.  It’s pretty cool to know that after 21 years of being together (married for 15) that when we do get away, we still have fun together, still have surprises for each other at times, and still get excited about living life together and facing the challenges of life…together.

Keep tuning in to the blog from time to time ‘cuz I promise more is coming.  I’ve got plenty to talk about these days – transitions and new beginnings seem to be our lives’ theme and I’ll be doing my best to keep you all up to date.  Until then…….God bless!

Ethan

I’m Back! (I think…)

Good Times

I’m Back! (I think…)

7 Comments 14 September 2014

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Here we go again…I think. Maybe. I had a crazy thought the other day and this is my first attempt at following through on it. I’m going to start blogging again. Maybe.

I’d like to write again – I truly miss it. I miss the interaction with our friends and the faithful followers of our family’s story. I miss the therapy the blog has provided me so many times over the years – being able to unpack my emotions and struggles as I work through the words of another post is worth more than a month of sessions on the therapist’s couch! And I miss the memory book the blog provides of our many adventures over the years. Sharing the adventure with friends and family was the reason we started the blog in the first place and someday, sharing the adventure with our kids in reminiscent times will be more valuable than we could ever imagine.

But the reason I stopped blogging in the first place is that I simply had no more time to devote to it. The kids got more mobile and with that, life got more hands on for me, more on the go, more involved, and more tiring…way more tiring. Piggyback rides and bike riding lessons and wrestling with daddy and the constant instructing (Get your feet off the table! Flush the toilet! Don’t hit your sister! Stop pulling Lilly’s tail! No, you cannot put Play-Doh in the toilet and act like a sea monster is coming to get you!) – that stuff wears a man down!

But I miss it. And I know I’ll miss it more years from now when I want to go back through the timeline of our times with the wanna-be diva and her five little followers. So I’m going to try. The posts might be a little shorter and they might have fewer pictures (thank you, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for picking up my slack on the pics), but I’m moving it up on the priority list and hoping for the best. And I also hope you’ll follow along. Talk to you soon….I hope. :)

 

God bless,

Ethan

The Jones Fam

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