Ryan Elizabeth

The Fab Five

Ryan Elizabeth

6 Comments 13 August 2012

Among her afore-blogged-about sisters and brother, Ryan Elizabeth – or as she’ll likely be known someday:  Ryan Elizabeth, Superstar _________ (fill in the blank) – is without a doubt the overachiever of the bunch!  She was the first to crawl (a wounded soldier crawl, but effective mobility nonetheless), the first to walk, the first to run, the first to talk, and the first to hit just about every major baby milestone you can think of.  But that’s just the stuff of “achiever” status – she was the first to do lots of stuff, so what?  It’s not like she was trying to be the first; she just happened to be the first.  Rrrriiiiiggghhhtt?!  Uh, well, Ryan didn’t sit back and watch the parade go by once she marked each milestone off of the list. No, no, no…that is simply not Ryan’s style.

Here’s how a typical scene plays out around our house these days…

Casey:  “Ok, guys, who wants to color a picture for Grandma’s birthday?”  All 5:  “Me!  Me!  I do, I do, I do!!!!”  Casey passes out coloring sheets and five different-colored crayons to each.  Five minutes later, 2 of the 5 are done.  10 minutes in, everyone is done, all proudly displaying what appears to be basically the same picture:  several scribble marks randomly placed across the page, 2-3 colors have been used. Except for Ryan’s.  Not only has she used all of the colors she was given, she is asking for more.  And not only are the colors not randomly scattered, they are placed exactly within the lines or within the bounds of where Ryan’s imagination has placed them.  And not only is she not finished, she is just getting started and will likely not be finished for another couple of hours…little girl is focused!

Here’s another from The Fab Five’s earlier days…

Me:  “Hey Jack, can you show me your new walking skills?  Walk over here buddy…you can do it!”  Ryan:  sitting across the room, drops the Rubik’s Cube, hops to her feet, and sprints – Usain Bolt-style – across the room, and jumps 5 feet in the air, completes a double somersault with a twist, and lands in my arms saying, “Look at how I can walk, Daddy!”  In the meantime, Jack is slowly plodding his way across the couple of feet between us,  first falling backwards because Ryan elbowed him in the chest as she flew past him, then falls forward onto his face as the tailwind from Ryan’s sprint hits him in the back, propelling him into the carpet before him.  Ryan basks in the glow of her decisive victory; Jack muddles on the carpet for awhile, spits up a little, and asks for milk…

Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a little…maybe.  And please don’t take this to mean that we feel that the other four are somehow inferior to Ryan in any way.  Read the blog posts I have done on each of the kids and I believe you’ll see that we celebrate our kids’ individuality and unique mix of God-given talents.  In Ryan’s case, the girl was definitely born with a keen intellect, a good dose of physical dexterity, and a strong competitive spirit, its force of will matched only by her desire to please!

There was a time, actually, that I thought I had Ryan pegged as our most challenging one.  Remember when we used to call her Ryan the Lion?  She came by that name honestly with her frequent and ferocious roars of discontent!  It sometimes seemed that nothing could please her and that she was more than ready to let you know about it!!  I distinctly remember a time when, in a fit of frustration, I prayed – please, God, don’t let her be as challenging as Eliot was when she was Ryan’s age – we can’t handle it with everything else going on!  (If you haven’t heard me mention this before, Eliot was more than a handful in her toddler years – screaming fits, willful challenges to our guidance, and loads of sassy attitude were an everyday occurrence in our home!)

But in spite of the all-too-frequent tantrums and tirades that came to define her, Ryan was always quick with a smile and long on laughter. And while the roar turned into a world class whine accompanied by frequent demands to serve her royal highness – our dining table was where the battle lines were oftentimes drawn up:  “Mama, give me milk!”  “I want yogurt, Mama!”  “More grapes! More grapes! More grapes!” –   these days, Ryan has mellowed out a bit (and so has Eliot, thank God!).  As quickly as the little diva within her emerged (and thankfully before the little diva drove Mama to drinking), Ryan’s better angels won out and her eagerness to please has come to dominate her personality.  We haven’t called her The Lion in I don’t remember how long, though she can still light it up from time to time when she has been wronged!

These days, she is more often referred to as Ry-ry and these days, this is the Ry-ry that we know – a giggly goofball who loves to run and dance and play; a blond beauty with an iridescent smile and a sparkle in her eyes that seems to sparkle more than most; a budding brainiac who knows her abc’s, can spell her name, and memorizes books so that she can “read” them back to us; and a storyteller who will do just about anything to get a laugh out of her sisters and brother when we tell bedtime stories.  The Lion lies in slumber; R-ry is wide awake and ready to take on the world!!

I am about to wrap this up, but before I do I have to say a bit more about that sparkle in Ryan’s eyes.  There is something about the eyes of a child – don’t you love how they sparkle and shine?  All kids have it and it is as infectious as laughter!

Consider this…

It has often been said that the eyes are “a window to a person’s soul” and I know that there is truth to this.  But I would like to take it a step further.  Do you think it is possible that when you look into the eyes of a child who has been loved and who knows love, that you just might be looking into the eyes of Heaven?

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”  Then followed that with this, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Wow!  Clearly he had not spent time with Ryan during her Lion days or with Britton on any of her every-days when he made these statements!!  Kidding, kidding…of course, I’m kidding.  My kids are pure as the driven snow…………

Look, we all know kids are fun and goofy and innocent and super-cute and all that.  But we also all know that they can be the complete opposite of all of that!  So what did he see?  What was it about the children around him that caused Christ to utter such things?

Maybe I’m alone in this, but am I going too far to think that the reason Christ said this, the reason that he was so emphatic and enthusiastic about the purity and faith of a child is that when he looked into their eyes, into that child’s soul, he saw himself staring back at him?  Is it too much to think that in the eyes of a child, he saw the very essence of love, joy, and peace…of hope and of faith?  I don’t think so.  Because that is exactly what I see when I look into the eyes of my kids.

Look into your child’s eyes today and tell me you do not see the same thing.  Not when they are throwing fits and being crazy, of course – that’s when I’m pretty sure there is nothing but the Devil in those eyes!!  But when they are looking to you to play with them, to love on them, to show them something new, to teach them, or just to be with them, can you see anything less than God’s goodness shining through?

God’s goodness in the eyes of a child…and therein lies the sparkle…

God bless,




“LLIIIIIIIILLLLAAAAA!!!” (aka: Lila Addison)

The Fab Five

“LLIIIIIIIILLLLAAAAA!!!” (aka: Lila Addison)

8 Comments 19 June 2012

Unexpectedly to me as I sit here, intent on writing a blog update about Lila, the words are just not coming.  With her curly blond hair, crystal blue eyes, and powerhouse of a personality, you would think that any description of Lila Addison would practically write itself.  But as I sit here and stare at my blank computer screen, all I can think is, “how do I begin to adequately describe who this little girl is and what she means to this family?”  There are so many different words and descriptions that pop into my head – curious and adventurous (otherwise knows as mischievous); ornery, stubborn, and willful (or you could say sure of herself and of her convictions); sweet as cotton candy (and at times sour as spoiled lemons); loving, caring, and kind (but sometimes really mean) – but each of them seem to only just peer past the opening pages of the novel that is Lila Addison.

It wouldn’t be exactly true if I said that we always knew Lila’s spirit was doused with an extra dose of indomitability, but it didn’t take long to figure it out…or rather, it didn’t take long for her to let us know.  As  soon as Lila learned to crawl, we knew we were in for a ride!  As parents all know, you constantly look to put your eyes on your kids whenever you are out in public.  Parents of multiples (or multiple kids), you know that you are constantly doing the count, making sure you have all of your kids accounted for.  When you have five and they’re all newly mobile, you do the count no matter where you are – home, back yard, bedtime, bath time, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even for snacks!  I can’t tell you how many times the count went like this, “1…2…3…4…………..where’s Lila?”  Which was almost followed up a few moments later by this, “Lllliiiiiiiillllaaaaaaa!!!  What did you do??!”

With her adventurous spirit, among the five Lila has been the first to do lots of things, but Lila’s firsts have generally not been of the baby-book-documentation variety!  She was the first to figure out how to take off her DOC Band and then she taught Jack how to do it.  She was the first to figure out how to take off her diaper at night and then refused our constant appeals to her to keep it on…and then she taught Ryan and Jack how to do it.  Once we figured out how to make it impossible for her to take her diaper off, she was the first to figure out how to reach into her diaper, pull out the contents, and throw them on the floor…and then she taught Britton that trick (and then Ryan mastered it!).

She was the first to pull her sister’s hair, the first to push and hit her brother, and the first to take a bite out of Britton.   She was also the first to figure out how to blame much of her destructive behavior on her sisters and brother…

No doubt, Lila is as sweet as sweet can be, but it is also quite clear that mischief is her middle name!  I wrote this about her back in November of 2010 when the babies were still babies, just 21 months along (and too young to be pulling such shenanigans!):

Just the other day I watched her steal a snack from Britton when Britton wasn’t looking.  When Little B discovered the missing treat and voiced her protest, I told Lila to give it back (she had not eaten it yet).  She immediately shoved the whole thing in her mouth and looked at me with puffed out cheeks and her bright, blue, innocent eyes which were clearly saying to me, “too late, sucker!!”


But life with Lila is not all mischief and mayhem.  She is, as stated before, as sweet as sweet gets!  She has a thing for grandpas and will immediately gravitate to one (not necessarily her own) whenever a grandpa is in close proximity (we were at a party once and Lila spent the entire time cuddled up on our friend’s grandpa’s lap…she had never met him before that day!).  Her real grandpa, Grandpa Bill, calls her his little buddy because of her constant companionship with him whenever he is around.

She also has a thing for ballerinas – she LOVES them!  Every day when she wakes up, the first thing on Lila’s mind is ballet – she goes straight to the costume bin to pull out the purple ballerina outfit she got for Christmas and put it on…every single day!!  And speaking of Christmas, she is also incredibly fixated on holidays, all of them!  Christmas, Easter, birthdays, Fourth of July, Father’s Day, Flag Day, Arbor Day, Columbus Day…doesn’t matter, Lila loves it, and when it comes to holidays, little girl loves to decorate!  She’ll first ask, “What holiday is coming up?” and then follow that up with, “When are we going to decorate?”

And then there is Lila’s curiosity which of course goes right along with the aforementioned mischief and mayhem.  Here’s an example of how Lila’s got-to-know mind works – we are planning a vacation to the Texas coast for later this summer and every day Lila has something new to ask about it.  “Will we play in the sand when we go to the beach?”  “Will we go underwater when we go to the beach?”  “Will we fly kites when we go to the beach?”  “Daddy, are you and Jack going to wear shorts when we go to the beach?”  “And the girls are going to wear our swimsuits?”  “Will we see fish when we go to the beach, Mommy?”  “Is the water going to be blue at the beach?”  “Will we build sand castles when we go to the beach?”  “Are there birds at the beach?” “And do the birds eat the fish?”  “Do we eat the fish, too, Daddy?”  New questions have been asked (and the questions asked on previous days get asked again) every day since we announced our beach-going plans!!

Let’s  just say that if curiosity really did kill the cat, I hope that its lethal capabilities are only effectual with felines!  Lila, Lila, Lila…

It is one of the great joys of life to me to witness how God can pack so much personality into such a tiny package as he has done with all of our kids.  Eliot is our happy-go-lucky, wild child; Brooklyn is our pink bunny loving, delicate flower of a princess; Britton is the fireball, as fascinating to us when she expresses her joy as she is when she is filled with anger; Jack is Mr. Happy, a giggle-box who just likes to have fun; Ryan, well…we’ll get to her with the next blog post…

But unlike the others who seem to overflow with their preassigned parcel of personality traits and who are relatively easy to define, Lila is different, a bit more complex, and more difficult to characterize.  She is a veritable variety show of moods and attitudes; a super-sized sampling of sugar and spice and of some things not really so nice.  She is a plethora of  pigtails and tutus, a bounty of ballerina twirls, daring adventure, and sometimes epic fails.  She is our Lila Bear and to know her is to know love…(and also to know some things quite other…) :)

God bless,




Jack William

The Fab Five

Jack William

14 Comments 16 May 2012

When it came time to pick names for the Fab Five we found it to be much easier than we had expected.  We simply wrote down all of the names that we even remotely liked then went through making various combinations with the names on the list until we settled on those we liked best.  After a few name-choosing sessions, we had it all figured out and had settled on the names we loved.  In hindsight we reasoned that it was probably so easy because we needed so many names and we got to choose all of our favorites.  Piece of cake!

Except for when it came to name the boy.

There was a lot of pressure in this call – knowing that we only had one boy in the mix and knowing that there was almost ZERO chance of bringing another baby boy into the world in our future, we knew we had one chance to get it right.  And so it was a really, really tough decision…at least we made it that way.  He was our only boy and we wanted him to have a strong boy name.  But not overly strong.  But it couldn’t be feminine at all, no way, not our style.  But it had to have a nice ring to it.  And it had to work with “William” because that is a family name and it was a must that the full name included it.  And it also had to sound good with Jones and it had to work when you said the first, middle, and last together at the same time.  But it couldn’t be too trendy or…….did I mention it had to be a strong name?

Set that aside for a moment and rewind with me back to March 2004.  Casey and I are in our doctor’s office for a regularly scheduled sonogram, but this time it was the big one – we were going to find out the sex of our first baby.  And as you of course know the results, it was a girl.  In a few short months she was introduced to the world, our little world at the time, as Eliot McKenna (we had a hard time deciding on her name as well) and I experienced firsthand the very real feelings of love at first sight! Casey of course already had a nearly-nine month relationship with Little Miss E by the time we first met her and so the maternal love was already deeply connected by that time.  But for me, a head over heels heart explosion detonated the instant I looked into her eyes!!

I don’t have a sister, just one older brother, and was generally pretty shy around girls growing up until I got to know them.  I didn’t really know a whole lot about the mysterious ways of the opposite sex by the time Eliot was born.  I think Casey would even admit to you that in spite of her steady influence over the prior 10+ years, I was pretty clueless in all things girl/woman/X-chromosomed.  But when Eliot was born, something inside me clicked and I can honestly tell you I never once feared her “girl-ness”.  I feel like I always knew just how to love her, how to interact with her, and how to teach, discipline, and nurture this crazy little force of estrogen that had invaded our world and I still feel like I have a pretty good handle on things with her today.  (I know, I know…check back with me when she hits the teen years, has a real crush on a young punk, I mean boy, wants to study abroad, blah, blah, blah…I’ll probably be a complete wreck in those situations, but we’re dealing with the present here people!!)

Alright, fast forward back to Jack…that’s who this blog post is supposed to be about, right?  Well it is and there is a point of telling you all of this about Eliot and the names.  The point is to illustrate for you a contrast:  whereas raising Eliot and the rest of the girls has come as natural to me as breathing, raising Jack has been as challenging as it was picking out his name.  At times, it has been as confounding as you would think it would have been for me to raise 5 girls.  And as natural as it has felt for me to raise Eliot and her four followers, raising Jack has been every bit as UN-natural.

“Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.” John Wayne

I don’t know what I expected out of my boy when he was born…well that’s not true – I know exactly what I expected.  He was supposed to be tough…and strong…and adventurous…and a little crazy like his oldest sister.  He was supposed to be born with John Wayne’s swagger, Michael Jordan’s killer instinct, and Clint Eastwood’s ability to roll his own cigarettes while handling a six-shooter.  A bit much?

Ok, ok…given the fact that I am 36 years old and I still don’t possess the characteristics of the aforementioned American heroes, maybe my expectations were a little high.  So how about this – he was supposed to be born with a hint of their character traits and a strong desire to gain what he was lacking.  Still no good?

I must admit, Jack has fallen far short of these otherworldly expectations, and that is of course a good thing and obviously in line with reality, thank the Lord.  He has been laid back (some of the time), happy (much of the time), and sensitive (way more of the time than I would like).  He’s been funny, whiny, goofy, rough and tumble, shy, gregarious, and loving.  We have called him Big Bad Jack, Happy Jack, and Mr. Giggles, but most often we call him Jack-Jack or Jack Jones…there’s something about Jack-Jack that works for him.  Though lately we have been calling him Jack the Playa now that he has taken to calling his sisters “his girls”.  We have been delighting in (and slightly troubled with) his now frequent, smooth-talking seductions such as,  “Where my girls at??” and “It’s bedtime…just me, my stuffed hippo, and my girls. Out!”  Not sure if he’s been watching hip-hop videos or what, but I don’t think we should let this new language of his go on much longer…

The thing is, it is not easy to define Jack.  He is a mixed bag – emotionally arrested one moment, boyish charm oozing out of him the next; cluelessly rough and tumble with the girls today, helplessly prickly and sensitive tomorrow; happy-go-lucky this morning, as smooth as day old, cheap coffee this afternoon.

What gives??  Boys are supposed to be the easy ones to raise!  Everyone always shakes their heads when they hear about all those girls in my life, but no one…NO ONE…ever…EVER…warned me about any difficulties in raising a boy!  Quite the contrary as a matter of fact.  Aside from the “warnings” that come with toothy-grinned laughter about the usual “boys will be boys” behavior, everyone either directly states or implicitly remarks that boys are not just easier, but EASY to raise.   No one……again: NO ONE…warned me that there would be days when you swear your son is going through menopause or that there would be times when you would rather deal with a rabid jackal than deal with your son’s intractable disposition!

With six kids under the age of eight running around our home we know very well that every child’s temperament is uniquely their own, but surely we are not the first and only family to experience first hand the trauma of a male child’s first few years of life.  Surely someone else out there and more likely many more people out there have experienced similar difficulties with their bouncing baby boys.  Tell me we are not alone in this!!!

Hold on a minute…I think I need to dial it back just a little.  It seems I have maybe laid it on a little thick.  No, Jack hasn’t been that tough to manage.  He has his moments and he has his moods and he is way more touchy about things than we would like, but then again he is only three years old.  For the most part, he is a happy-go-lucky, silly, funny, little boy with a charming smile, a classic little boy giggle, and a loving and happy constitution.  He is an awesome little man who in no way compares in temperament to a rabid jackel…most of the time.  He is my son and I love everything about him!

Can you see how conflicted I am here?!!?

So why the angst and the anxiety about his behavior?  Why do I get so twisted up when Jack rips off an ear-piercing scream at the prospect of putting down his pink (yes, pink!) stuffed puppy so he can come eat lunch with the family?  Why the frustration in watching him fall to a heap in a fit of tears when one of the girls bumps into him??  Surely this is normal behavior for a boy of his age and surely this is a thing that will pass soon enough.

So again, what gives?

Ok, I’ll admit it.  I’ve given this a lot of thought and I am fairly certain I know the answer.  I have come to the conclusion that the biggest challenge I have faced in raising Jack, the one thing that I can undeniably blame for my frustration and relative agony is this:  me.

Yeah, I think that’s it.  No, I don’t just think it, I KNOW that’s it.  In fact, I alluded to it about half way up this page – you know, the whole thing about John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and handling a gun and all that.  That was kind of a giveaway, don’t you think?  I admit it, I am the problem here.  Jack is awesome; I am so not awesome that I hereby renounce any and all claims I have once made, continue to make, or may make in the future about my level of awesomeness being above the level of awesomeness assigned to dead fish.  Not cool, Ethan Jones, not cool at all…

“Experience is a brutal teacher, but you learn. My God, do you learn.” C.S. Lewis

Alright, dramatics aside, I will cautiously and hesitantly maintain that there is at least a tiny bit of justification I can muster for my total not awesomeness.  Like I said, I’ve given this a lot of thought so there is a possibility, however remote, that my justification may actually hold water so stop rolling your eyes, bare with me a minute, and keep reading.

So here is how I see it.  I have heard that life is tough, unfair, and sometimes unbearable for girls and women; I’ve read it, discussed it, witnessed it, fought it, and taken various stands against it.  I believe it to be true just as I believe the earth revolves around the sun.  And just as I cannot feel the earth move on its orbital path, I cannot feel it when little girls are mistreated and women are disrespected in the workplace or classroom.  I cannot feel the undoubtedly gut-wrenching frustration girls and women feel when trying to live up to impossible ideals put forth by magazine covers that depict impossibly thin models,  or by “child advocates” who criticize working moms for not staying home to raise their kids, and by political elites who claim that career stay-at-home moms have “never worked a day in their lives”.  But the fact that I don’t feel these injustices doesn’t mean they aren’t real and for girls and women in today’s world, I believe them when they say that this life is hard, sometimes impossibly so.

But when it comes to men and boys and the life that they face, I know it’s real – life is hard for boys and men, sometimes impossibly so.  I know this because I’ve lived it; I’ve faced the challenges and the struggles and the unfairness, and the impossibly high standards that boys and men face in today’s world.  I have faced them and succeeded at times, but much more often I have faced them and failed.  Too many times than I care to count I have failed to live up to the standards of boys and men as set forth by:  1) society at large 2) Hollywood 3) preachers 4) magazine covers/articles 5) the ‘ol boys club 6) women 7) other boys and men 8) teachers 9) coaches 10) bosses…….I could keep going if you like………..

So there it is, my excuse.  My excuse for being frustrated with the capricious nature of my son’s interactions with life is simply that I know intimately well how tough life is going to be for him and I want him to be ready.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that life is at least equally if not more challenging for girls and women and I want no less for my girls what I want for Jack – success, happiness, balance, fulfillment, joy…and I’ll work no less for their success as I do for Jack’s.  But when it comes to Jack and boys and men, I know the unrelenting pressures of life; I feel them everyday, I’ve lived them for 36 years, and those experiences make me acutely aware of all that life is going to exact from him.

And so I micro-analyze everything about him and about his readiness.  I want him to overcome.  I want him to be prepared; I want him to be well equipped; I want him to be able to handle life at its toughest;  I want him to live up to the impossibly high standards set for him by others in spite of my understanding that those standards will be impossible for him to achieve…

And that right there is exactly where I have gone wrong…

Jack is not John Wayne.  He is not Michael Jordan or Clint Eastwood and he never will be.  He’s just Jack and he is just a boy.  And although he was fearfully and wonderfully made, knitted together in Casey’s womb by his perfect and loving father, he is not perfect.  And just like his dad, he never will be perfect and he never will live up to the standards set for him by others.  In fact, if Jack tries to live up to any standards other than those set for him by the same perfect and loving creator who made him, he will fail.  This isn’t something I’ve been told or read about and it isn’t something I believe; it is something that I know because I have lived it.  I’ve faced the challenges and the struggles and the unfairness, and the impossibly high standards that boys and men face in today’s world…and I failed to meet them.  And it wasn’t until I stopped trying to live up to those impossibly high standards and began to live for the standards set forth for me by Christ that I experienced real success, real triumph, real joy, and real fulfillment.

So Jack, consider this my letter of apology to you.  I’ve fallen for the world’s traps so many times before so I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t and for that I am sorry. God has a design for you, a plan, and a mission for your life and it is my job to help you find your way, to guide you, if needed, over and through the obstacles that will cross your path, to help you become the man that He designed you to be, and to get out of your way when the time is right.  This is the one and only standard that I hope you live up to – the standard set forth specifically, intentionally, and willfully by God the Father.  Follow the path that He has laid out for you and your success, happiness, fulfillment, balance, joy, and peace are guaranteed………I know this, I’ve lived it.

God bless,



Britton Grace

The Fab Five

Britton Grace

11 Comments 20 March 2012


noun 1. Anatomy . a hollow, pumplike organ of blood circulation, composed mainly of rhythmically contractile smooth muscle, located in the chest between the lungs and slightly to the left and consisting of four chambers

I couldn’t find a direct answer, but by my best estimate, Britton Grace, born the smallest of the Fab Five at 2 pounds, 2 ounces, had a heart that weighed less than 11 thousandths of an ounce when she made her entrance into this world.  11 THOUSANDTHS of an ounce!!  That’s 0.011 for those who need the numbers to better visualize what I’m talking about here.  And for comparison, the best answer I could find for the weight of an acorn is 0.102 ounces.  In other words, if I am even remotely close on my estimates, Britton’s heart at the time she was born weighed nearly 10 times less than an acorn.

Go outside and look under the nearest oak tree and you are sure to find plenty of acorns.  Pick one up and feel for yourself.  Toss it in the air a few times and again, feel it.  What is it that you feel other than…nothing.  Beyond the smooth outer shell, there is nothing more to feel because it weighs practically nothing.  And yet one of the most powerful organs in the human body and one of the most important organs responsible for Britton’s survival on a moment-by-moment basis was a mere David to the acorn’s Goliath.


noun 2. the center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion

The estimate that I found for the weight of the heart was that this mighty little organ makes up a miniscule 0.5% of a human’s weight.   And though it is tiny, it plays quite a role in maintaining our vital functions everyday.  But the heart’s job is actually pretty simple – it is a pump.  It collects, divides, and then distributes blood…all day, everyday, this is all that is expected of our hearts.  By contrast, the brain is bigger, heavier, and is involved with every tiny little fragment of our beings.  Nothing happens in our bodies without the brain first telling it what to do, when to do it, and how it would like it done.  If it weren’t for the brain, the heart would not know how much blood to collect, how to separate the blood, and how much to distribute…in short, the heart wouldn’t even know it was a heart unless the brain told it to be a heart!  And yet somehow, in spite of all that we know about the brain’s role in making us who we are,  it is the heart that has come to be defined as “the center of the total personality.”

What can be said about Britton Grace that hasn’t already been said?  She is nothing if not a lightening rod for commentary.  In the NICU she was Britton Bright Eyes because she never, ever, ever wanted to close her little eyes and go to sleep.  She was also known, even at her super-tiny size and super-fragile age to be a bit fussy and high maintenance.  She didn’t eat much because when she did, she usually threw it all back up and subsequently had to stay in the NICU about a month longer than her sisters and brother.  And when she finally got home we soon learned how mighty this itty-bitty baby promised to be…she is a Texas personality in a Rhode Island body, a teapot with a tempest’s temerity…a Goliath in a David body!

To say that raising Britton has been a challenge would be to say that China has a lot of people, that the pyramids in Egypt are old, or that Republicans and Democrats in Congress have intimacy issues.  The girl packs a punch in her diminutive frame and when she is upset you know it…and so do the neighbors!  Irrational?  Yes!  Quick-tempered?  Yes again!  Feisty?  Yep!  Theatrically expressive when angry?  Yes!  At times completely and totally blinded by her rage?  Uh…yes.  I have often commented that Britton seems to have been born with a tormented spirit because she can at times be so inexplicably angry that we are at a complete loss for understanding.

But then she flips a switch inside somewhere and she is suddenly unbelievably cheerful…loving…super sweet…and an absolute joy!  She has always been the best cuddler of the bunch, has always given the best, head-on-your-shoulder, squeeze-you-tight-and -don’t-let-go hugs, and she has a smile that can brighten the hardest heart on a cold, dark day.  No matter what it is – whether it is her favorite color (yellow), her favorite Wizard of Oz character (Scarecrow because he is yellow), her favorite stuffed animal (first, Bingo the dog then Simba the lion (because he is yellow)), or her displeasure with the cap she was wearing in her infant photos hanging on the walls (it wasn’t yellow), the cup/plate she is given (not yellow), or the hairband chosen for her to wear (you guessed it – not yellow) – she is all in, 100%, with everything she has.

Put simply, she is all heart…


synonyms: firmness, fortitude, grit, guts, hardihood, intestinal fortitude, mettle, moral fiber, nerve, pluck, resolution

God chose to put inside each of us a mighty little organ which, though it is trivial in size, plays a mighty role in the story of you and us.  And isn’t that how God works?  He is the one who gave us the story of David and Goliath.  He is the one who noticed Zacheus, “the wee little man,” and made him part of his story.  He is the one who gave us an infant for a savior…

Knowing all of this, why are we surprised when God wraps powerful persistence, personality, and perseverance into pint-sized packages?

And so, Casey and I take Britton’s more challenging temperamental attributes with a prayer and a smile.  We smile because we know that God works mightily through the itty-bitty’s of the world.  And we pray because…well, because she’s crazy and we need all the help we can get!!!! :)

God bless,



Brooklyn Faith

The Fab Five

Brooklyn Faith

5 Comments 08 March 2012

She is without a doubt the sweetest little thing I have ever known and I seriously, seriously doubt that there will ever be a time in my life in which that statement will not be true…at least I hope not!  Brooklyn Faith is as girlie-girlie-girl as you can get and you could tell it from the day she was born.  From her big, beautiful, brown eyes, her long lashes, and her dainty smile to her super-sweet little cry, her giddiness over new outfits, and her ever present princess tiaras, Brooklyn is a princess through and through!  She loves pink and nothing else will do!  She dresses up as a princess and would not give a thought to doing otherwise.  She drinks out of a pink princess cup, eats off of a pink princess plate, throws major fits when she doesn’t get to wear her pink princess jammies, and really cares nothing about anything other than pink princesses!

She is Brooklyn Faith, aka:  Big B, Sweet Baby B, and somewhat surprisingly, our Goofy Gal.  Brooklyn is a silly heart and her goofiness is as heartwarming as is her big, beautiful smile!  While the other kids spend their days laughing, wrestling, and playing with each other, Big B spends a good deal of her time off in her own little world…somewhere bright and sunny and full of bunnies hopping through fields of flowers.  Yes, she is a bit of a space cadet with her head in the stars and her feet nowhere near the grounds of reality…something tells me she will be the object of no small amount of goodhearted, loving laughter and the cause of many, many confounded shakes of the head.

She is as easy going as a spring breeze, as warm as a summer sunset, as gentle as an autumn leaf falling to the ground, and as striking as fresh-fallen snow on the Aspens of Colorado.  She is all of that and more…as long as you don’t cross her!  As I am sure you know from every kid’s steady diet of Disney princess movies, a good princess is a strong princess, ready to fight for her love, to the death if necessary.  And when Brooklyn has been wronged, when the object of her love has been besmirched, Brooklyn will rise up and strike you down with the fury of a thousand bolts of lightning!  (Seriously, the girl will scratch, kick, and punch if you violate her space…we’re working on it…)

Truth be told, it is hard to say what kind of future is in store for us as Brooklyn continues to amble along on her life’s path.  Of course, we don’t really know what is in store for us with any of the kids, but with Brooklyn, it just seems a little bit more…….unclear.  She moves at a slower pace than the others, in all her ways, and her frequent flights to her own little world will definitely be a challenge when it comes time for the realities of kindergarten and beyond.  And I can only imagine the heartbreak that will befall our little butterfly when a rude and rowdy boy or a mercilessly mean little girl says something to offend the princess’s sensibilities.  Jeez, I can only imagine the heartbreak that will ensue when her bunny stuffty gets roughed up a bit or when she breaks her first fingernail or when a flower she has picked to wear in her hair wilts and dies without saying goodbye…forget about all of the truly difficult things that will come her way!!

As are all little girls, Brooklyn Faith is definitely a special little thing.  She is everything a little girl could possibly be – sugar and spice and everything nice…(except when you cross her!!  If you do that, you had better have said your prayers that day!)  Yes, it seems that God had an overabundance of love in his heart the day he knit Brooklyn together in her mother’s womb……….and we are all the richer for it!!!

God bless,


Happy Birthday to The Fab Five!!

The Fab Five

Happy Birthday to The Fab Five!!

25 Comments 17 January 2011

Wow, has it really been two years since The Quint Invasion began its all out assault on our once quiet little family??  YES, it most definitely has!  And while some of the times seem like they just happened for us yesterday, most of it seems like it was ages ago.  We’ve packed more activity and change and joy and struggle into these last two years than anyone would ever guess possible, but somehow we’ve found ourselves happier, healthier, and hopefully a wee bit wiser at the end of this 24 month journey than when we began…

So happy birthday to The Fab Five!!  Happy 2nd anniversary of quint sisterhood to Eliot McKenna and happy 2 years of survival and memory making to Casey Ann and me!!  It has been surreal almost all of the time, stressful much of the time, joyful and memorable every last second of the time……………..and here’s to many more years ahead filled with much more of the same!!!!  We love you Brooklyn, Britton, Jack, Lila, Ryan, and of course Eliot!!

Happy Birthday, Brooklyn Faith!!  First born of The Fab Five, the sweetest of the bunch (not an easy title to hold with this crew!!), and a much needed dose of calm amidst the storms that roll through our home on a regular basis!

Happy Birthday, Britton Grace!!  Call her Baby B, Itty-Bitty, Little B, Little Mighty, or Britt-Britt, but don’t call her a wallflower!  Second born, first to let you know it doesn’t matter!!

Happy Birthday, Jack William!!  In the middle while in utero, born in the middle, and likely consigned to a life of being in the middle of all of these crazy girls, but still keeping his cool!  Yep, he’s still “Laid Back Jack”…most of the time….!! :)

Happy Birthday, Lila Addison!!  Our Eliot clone in appearance and in deed, mischievous and adventurous, the fourth born is usually the first in line for any new adventure, though Lila is often the one to form her own line leading to the adventure she prefers to embark upon!!

Happy Birthday, Ryan Elizabeth!!  Ryan the Lion is now simply “Ry-Ry”…last born, but star of the show; quick to smile and quick to cry…always a joy!!

Happy 2 Years of Quint Sisterhood, Eliot McKenna!!  A little unsure of things at first, now she’s a pro!!  Her star continues to shine just as bright even with five little understudies vying for the spotlight!!

Thank you to Ella Bella Photography for continuing to provide our family with incredible pictures to help us tell the story of life as a Jones!!

**Due to our filming commitments with TLC, we unfortunately cannot share pictures or other details of the holiday season, the Quints’ birthday party, or any other events that have happened along with filming new episodes of “Quints By Surprise”.  It is sooooo hard for us not to be able to share more, but once the new episodes hit the air, we will definitely post pictures of all of the activities involved!!**

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