Tag archive for "Eliot"

It’s Showtime!!

Good Times

It’s Showtime!!

64 Comments 11 December 2009

IMG_3689Alright, so here it is…the big one, the announcement – that thing I referred to as GINORMOUS about three weeks ago.  The long-awaited, much-anticipated, breathtaking…ok, wait a minute…I’m taking this a bit too far.  Actually, it’s not that big of a deal to about 99.9% of the world, but it certainly is to our little pack of crazies here in the Jones house!

Judging by the many, many comments we have received from lots of different people over the last year-plus, you may have already guessed what the big announcement is – we are going to be on TV…again. But this time, it’s not the nightly news that will narrate our story.  Rather, it is a local production company behind the cameras and this time we will be taking this tour nationwide! Unfortunately, I cannot be too forthcoming with the details yet, but I’ll tell you all I can (I can’t even say what network is carrying it!).

The production guys (I can’t mention their name, either)  found out about us from the Statesman article that hit the papers about a week before the babies were born.  They tracked us down through the website, met with me in the hospital cafeteria to explain their background and vision for the show, interviewed us in Casey’s post-partem room, and accompanied us to the NICU the first time Casey held one of the babies.  They have followed us on date nights and they went with us to the park; they were at the babies’ dedication to the church, they joined us at the Thanksgiving table, and they were in the operating room last week as Casey had her surgery.  And they have been with us at all points in between.

So they put together a little clip which was sent out to several networks in June and while many expressed interest, only one committed.  And after nearly six months of negotiations between the producers and the network, the deal has finally been inked!  There will be one show, at least, I guess technically it is called a pilot.  It will be one hour, though they are currently discussing turning it into a two hour show (which would be really, really awesome) and it will air some time in the spring (yes, I know a more precise date, but I cannot say what that date is)!  If the show does well (hint, hint – tell everyone you ever thought of knowing to watch it!!), we will do a second or third show and if those do well, there is a possibility that the network will commit to a series.  Again, that would be really, really awesome!


We have made it no secret that we believe it is our responsibility as Christians to share our story with as many people as care to listen.  We told you about our attempts to get “A Baby Story” to do a show on the birth.  And we have made our lives as public as possible in pursuit of our goal of “letting our light shine” for all to see the power of Christ in the world today.  So while this announcement we are making today may not come as much of a surprise, I imagine that it is being met with some level of disappointment and disagreement by some folks out there who are not pleased by our decision to do a TV show.  How can you exploit these babies?  Is the money and recognition really worth it?  How can you betray their privacy?  Aren’t you taking this a bit far?  Etcetera, etcetera…we have actually heard much of this already.  So allow me to address this briefly…

This is a decision that we made prayerfully and after much discussion with our family and other Christian friends and mentors.  If we had ever received a hint that this was not the direction we should go, we would have stopped everything immediately.  We never received that hint.  It is our intent to continue along with this process in this exact same way and we ask for your prayers along these same lines.  As each new opportunity and challenge presents itself, we will need the clarity that only our faith can provide as to how to proceed and we believe the prayers of our friends and family will be critical to receiving that clarity.

Obviously, if we felt as though this were some sort of exploitation of our babies, we would not be doing this.  The babies and Eliot are not asked to do anything other than what other kids and babies do – the only difference being that there is a camera capturing their activities.  Believe me, we do not withhold bottles from them to create ratings-grabbing drama!  And the money?  Well, it has not come and likely will not come unless it goes to a series which is not highly likely.  The income we will earn from the pilot is insignificant to say the least.  In other words, the money, if it comes it will help, but it has never been part of our discussions with the producers and is not at all why we are doing this.

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It boils down to this – we believe that this is a blessing that we have been given.  And as most blessings tend to be accompanied by much responsibility, this one is no different…we happen to know a thing or two about that whole blessing/responsibility combo!  We are taking it one step at a time and doing everything we can along the way to allow God’s hand to do the heavy lifting through this experience!  Let me put it to you in another way…

I found out back in August that the JonesLife site had received 45,000 unique visitors since its launch less than one year prior. 45,000 people from all over the world chose to log onto our little website and check in on the tales of our family’s population boom…45,000 people!!  What they got when they logged in was not just a few cute pictures and some funny stories about baby poop.  No, we believe they got plenty of pictures and poop stories, but that they also got much more than that – a story of faith and of love and of a family holding onto both as they encounter the greatest challenge they have ever faced.  And I believe this is why our site has grown as it has.  We started the website and went public with our story to allow God’s light to shine through this experience in the hopes that his work in our lives would impact others in a positive way.  We never imagined that 10,000 let alone 45,000 people would be touched by this…and that is what we get for underestimating the Big Man!

The company producing the show for our family averages 1.2 million viewers on the shows they produce.  I’m sorry to keep repeating myself, but here I go again…1.2 MILLION people!!  It is mind-boggling to think that by the time the Fab Five reaches their second birthday it is wholly possible that their story will have impacted over 1,000,000 lives.  And what those 1,000,000+ people will get when they tune in is that same story of faith and of love that has defined our lives and promises to define yours as well if you allow it to do so.

When you look at it in this light, we did not see how we could say anything other than this…It’s Showtime!!


Eliot’s First Week of Kinder, The First Walk, Boot Camp Update and Other Random Notes

5 Comments 30 August 2009

I just wanted to give a quick little update on all of the happenings of last week since, as we have become accustomed, everything has changed about our days and once again we have a “new normal.”

Eliot Begins Kindergarten…The biggest change this week involves the little princess, Eliot McKenna, who started Kindergarten on Monday, which, with this being our first experience with having a child in public school, apparently changes just about everything in the rest of a family’s life! Here are the highlights:

– Eliot LOVES just about everything to do with going to big girl school…except getting out of bed at “night”! She is not used to getting out of bed before the sun comes up and on the first day of school as we were preparing her breakfast and getting her ready to go, she asked, “why are we doing morning stuff at night?!” Hilarious!
– Talk about loving the whole experience: as she crossed the street with the help of a crossing guard for the first time, she exclaimed, “That was totally awesome!”
– She loves PE, but is really looking forward to going to the library, which didn’t happen last week for some reason. Hopefully this week she’ll get to go!
– She is also not a fan of the 30 count rule at the swingset…each kid on the swings has to count to 30, then let the next kid go after that. Obviously, that is not a popular rule!
– She is all about riding her Razor (scooter) to and from school every day like all of the other big kids…too cute!
– On Tuesday, before she discovered the Razor phenomenon, she wore her new tennis shoes which, according to her, make her run really, really fast. I’m not kidding when I tell you that little girl sprinted the entire way to and from school that day to show how fast she was!!

The First Walk…We finally took our first walk today with the whole gang, something we’ve been looking forward to for quite awhile now. Casey, Eliot, and I used to take pretty regular walks around the neighborhood, but have had to put those on hold since Casey went on bedrest nearly a year ago. For whatever reason, we decided today was finally the day to get the babies out on the road for a little stroll. I don’t know if it was the heat or the newness of being in a stroller or if that little demon that shows up in our house from time to time to torment us, but the babies did not enjoy the experience one bit! You’ll notice in the picture above that four out of five are very eagerly expressing their displeasure with this whole walk idea! There was at least one baby crying…no, check that…screaming is a better word for it…the entire time we were out there and usually it was two or three that were…uh, yeah, SCREAMING!! Regardless of that, I’m glad we got them out there and knocked another first off of the list…maybe we’ll wait for cooler weather before we try that one again!

Boot Camp Update…I am very happy to report that we have logged significant victories in the battle for house control! The babies are just no match for the classical music, the soft, cuddly sleep sacks, the warm, frothy goodness of a bottle of formula, many talented baby-helpers, and two very determined parents!! For much of the month of August, we have managed to get them all down no later than 9:30, with at least two of the babies (one of them is always Britton, Baby Bright Eyes) getting up in the middle of the night for a little snack bottle. But for the last three days it’s been closer to 8:30 with only Britton getting up. It may be too early to stake this claim, but, what the heck, VICTORY IS SWEET!!!

And finally, a couple of random notes. Britton is the first to be able to sit up without any help…see the picture! She’s awesome…doesn’t even do the baby-forward-lean to do it! We now feed them all cereal two times a day, mixed with green beans for dinner…hmmm, yummy! Jack and Ryan are not fans of the cereal, but Lila loves it and the two B’s, Brooklyn and Britton are pretty ok with it all. Actually, Ryan the Lion pretty much screams her entire way through her bowl of cereal!! Ryan seems to have all of the necessary skills for doing a real crawl, but hasn’t figured out how to coordinate it all just yet. She’s soooooo close!! Last note: I begin school again tomorrow so say your prayers that I’ll somehow remember how to juggle this madness once again!!!

God Bless,


Happy Birthday, Eliot McKenna!!

2 Comments 14 July 2009

Eliot turned 5 years old today…we can’t believe our baby girl is all grown up now!!! Well, I guess “all grown up” is a relative term – I guess grown ups don’t put on singing shows for their parents while wearing a princess night grown and singing to “A Whole New World” from Aladdin like Eliot did last night. And I guess most grown ups don’t request pumpkin pie for their birthday treat or pout for half an hour because one of their party balloons floated away while unpacking the car. And I would have to say most grown ups do not spend their evenings drawing pictures of their family, complete with rainbows, sunshines, smiley faces, and Daddy’s spikey hair.

But she’s definitely not the tiny six pounder who came into our lives five years ago today and instantly turned our lives upside down for the first of many times to come! She’s not the little one-year-old that I used to call “Two-Toofers” because of the two front bottom teeth that she flashed with every smile. She’s also not the toddler who used to run around the house on her tiptoes, used to use my stomach as a trampoline, once spread diaper rash cream all over her face and her stuffed tigers face because they had a rash, and each night at bedtime was never satisfied with just one book. And she’s not the four-going-on-thirteen-year-old who developed a taste for independence early on in life and made sure everyone around her respected that freedom. Nope, as all who have kids know, the changes come fast in the first years and with them new joys and an almost equal amount of headaches – headaches that only appear when you forget to laugh first! We’ve loved every minute of it, Little Miss Sunshine, and can’t wait to see what the next chapter in our lives brings!!

Happy Birthday, Eliot! We love you!

God Bless,

The Fab Five

8 Comments 11 April 2009

Hey everybody! We’re alive and well, just a little sleepy! All is going very well with the rapid transformation of our lives and assimilation of four (and eventually five) babies into our little world. Our theme of the week is “control them or they’ll control you…”!! Kidding…a little. Seriously, it’s all about the schedule these days. Keep them on schedule, get them as much formula as you can get down them in 30 minutes and life is good. Do not follow the schedule, let them slack on the bottle and you can be certain your life will be very chaotic for the next several hours! Side note, why don’t they make baby bottles squeezable?? Is that wrong?

Here are a few pics of daily life in the Jones house. We can’t seem to feed Jack enough formula lately so he decided to take a bite out of Brooklyn’s head!! That’s Ryan with Eliot in her bed – she has been taking one of the babies down to her bed before night time while we read to her. The picture of Eliot by herself is at her school’s Spring Fling where she sang western songs with her class and played lots of games. Nana has been down a few times to pull some overnight shifts for us…thank you!! Only thing missing from these pictures is Baby Bright Eyes Britton…come home soon, baby girl!!

I actually don’t think Britton is ever coming home. It’s really surprising to us that she is taking this long and I think it’s time to crank up the prayer machine! She’s doing ok, but it is believed that she has acid reflux which is making it very uncomfortable to eat. Actually, the nurses and doctors have told us that if we didn’t have four other babies, Britton would be home by now. Apparently they think throwing a high maintenance baby in the mix with four others would be a bit difficult. Got to give the NICU staff credit for thinking about that…once again, they are AWESOME!! Please pray that Britton conquers the bottle and battles back the reflux so she can come home soon!

Because of the reflux, she takes about half a bottle then throws in the towel…great if you’re on a diet, awful if you’re a three month old baby! She has been on Prevacid for about a week now and it has helped some, but not enough so they are doubling her dosage as of yesterday and increasing the calorie count of the formula she is getting. She was on 22 calorie formula, now she’ll be on the 24 calorie. Amazing that 2 little calories per ounce could make a difference!

The four at home are doing fantastic! They are all eating very well, sleeping very well, and growing very well!! So well, in fact, that we are in the process of moving them from a three hour feed schedule to a four hour feed schedule…yeah!! That simple move will free up four hours per day…can you believe that?? It doesn’t help a ton with the sleep, but it is very helpful, nonetheless.

The volunteer help continues to be incredible as well! The only reason I get to write this blog right now is thanks to volunteer help. Everyone who has pitched in has been great and we are starting to get a few regulars that are really learning the system well and helping out a ton. The nights are still pretty rough as the overnight help is hard to come by, however. We have hired a night nanny to help us out two nights a week starting in two weeks. Hopefully by doing that, it will take a little pressure off of our moms and the others who have been helping out with nights and we’ll all survive the next couple of months!!

So far, Miss Eliot appears to be handling everything with ease though we have seen our share of clinginess from her. We are keeping a close eye on her state of mind and making every effort to keep life relatively normal for her as we move through this process – she makes it very clear when she feels she hasn’t gotten enough of the focus! She got to go to an Easter egg hunt this morning with Casey and later went with me as I did a couple of things for a project I’m running. We are also enlisting her help whenever we can with the babies and she really seems to love doing that…as long as it doesn’t involve poop, she’s in!

I know I sound like a broken record here, but we continue to feel amazingly blessed with everything that is happening right now! Life is busy, hectic, and very challenging at the moment, to be sure, but there are about a million different ways that it could be much, much more difficult. God is good and he is carrying us through to a better day…one with a little bit more sleep… :)

God Bless,

The Fab Five

The Baby Feeding Factory

11 Comments 03 April 2009

These pictures aren’t our best work, but it was the best we could pull together for the purpose of this blog. We promise to do better this week! I had to include the picture of Eliot because it was just too cute. That was her first soccer game and needless to say, she was not happy! The weather played a nasty trick on us and blew in a good 30 mph wind and temperatures in the 40’s. The game was called early because none of the kids wanted to play!

We’re trying to come up with new names for our home. Since the purpose and activity level of this house has changed pretty dramatically lately, “home” just doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Here is what we’ve come up with so far:
– The Baby Feeding Factory
– Babyville or Baby Town
– The Baby Place – Where Serious Suckers Get Their Fill
– The Poopin’ Shack

I don’t think Casey will go for the last one, but I think it has a nice ring to it… ;-)

Our days start no later than 7:30 am because that is when the first feeding begins. Since they aren’t stable enough to be set up in a boppy to be fed and we often only have one person available for feeds, they get fed one at a time. To get all four taken care of, it takes about two hours. The babies are on a three hour schedule so after the feed is done, there is an hour break before the next feed begins. This schedule continues around the clock…every day…seven days a week. Is it possible that they’ve only been home a week and a half??

The schedule has also been really hectic because of all of the doctor visits we’ve had to get them to. Each of the babies has had three different appointments since their discharge which ended up being a total of six trips because of their different discharge dates (Jack goes by himself, the three girls all go together). Today, however, was a unique experience because we got an actual house call from their eye doctor! Pretty cool, right? Actually, much thanks go to Jeannie, one of the NICU Superstars, who arranged it all with the doctor and came out ahead of him to dilate their pupils and assist with the appointment.

Right now, we’re just trying to hang on and catch as many zzzz’s as possible. The schedule is definitely more packed than we would like, but we know it will not be this nuts for too long. The volunteers have been great and have been a huge help. Thanks to them, we have been able to have a little bit of breathing room. We’ve been able to go to Eliot’s first soccer game, I’m able to write this blog, and Casey has been able to shower almost daily (kidding, Baby, but you know I love it when you’re a little funky!). Despite all of the help we have received, we are looking for a night nanny for a couple of nights a week to help with the long nights. We’re hoping that combining that with help from grandparents and the volunteers, we ought to be able to survive until they get off of the three hour feeding schedule.

Though the days, and especially nights, have been long we are having a good time with it all and couldn’t be happier with the way they are all doing! As has been the case from the day this adventure began, life is crazy, but life is good!!

God Bless,

Good Times

Eliot’s “Slipper Party” and a Night Out With My Lady

3 Comments 24 February 2009

My birthday was last Saturday and we just put the wraps on one of the best birthday weekends I’ve ever had! It started out on Friday night with Eliot’s “Slipper Party” which was a slumber party that we threw for her to celebrate her big sister status. Somehow, “slumber” got translated into 4-year-old speak as “slipper” – it was actually a pretty cute and fitting name so we let it stick.

We had multiple motives for throwing the party. The first was to thank all of the families who helped out so much with Eliot’s care while Casey was pregnant and I was going crazy trying to juggle everything. The second motive was to reward Eliot for being so easy-going with all of the schedule changes and uncertainty that each day brought her as we shuffled her from house to house in order to give Casey the rest she needed and me the time I needed to keep my head in the game. We figured a night off for all of the parents and a night of giggles, movies, cookies, and cream would just about do the trick!!

Eliot had five little girls come over for the evening with four of them staying the night. We got them off to a quick start with a pizza party followed up by freshly baked cookies, ice cream sundaes, and a movie on the big screen! After they were good and sugared up, I worked as much energy out of them with lots of wrestling on the couch, games of tag and hide-n-seek, and lots and lots and LOTS of giggles…it was GREAT FUN!!! When it was time to settle down for the night, we put them all in sleeping bags in the gameroom and left them alone with Cinderella for the remainder of the evening. Believe it or not, the girls actually got some sleep, though probably not as much as they are used to on a normal night.

In the morning, the girls got in a good round of cartoons, Lucky Charms, and playing house before their parents came to get their tired little angels. There was no rest for the weary Joneses, however, as we had to run out the door to get Eliot to a princess party thrown for one of her friends’ birthdays. She had a blast, of course, dressing up like a princess and playing with all of the other little girls!

After a trip to the NICU and a little bit of rest time, Casey and I got to go out on our first real date in who knows how long. Casey’s mom and brother came to town (Uncle Kyle’s first visit to see the babies!) and they entertained Eliot for the night while Casey and I did some shopping and fine dining at The Domain in Austin. What a night we had! Good wine, good food, and good conversation about what was, what is, and what’s to come in this oh so boring life of ours!!! This was without a doubt one of my best birthday’s ever!

God Bless,

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