Tag archive for "fab five"

The Jones Taxi Service

Good Times

The Jones Taxi Service

7 Comments 04 November 2014


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…


I’m Back! (I think…)

Good Times

I’m Back! (I think…)

7 Comments 14 September 2014


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,





15 Comments 12 November 2012

Your descendants shall gather your fruits. – Virgil

To use my dad’s words, my Grandpa Jones, my dad’s dad, is “passing away” and by the time you read this, his time with us in this life will most likely have come to an end.  He isn’t sick, he doesn’t have a disease, he isn’t suffering any more so than anyone else would who is spending their final days confined to a bed after spending 80+ years in full pursuit of a joyous life.  There is no specific cause that we are aware of, but his body is ever-so-slowly shutting itself off – he is too weak to eat, too weak to talk, can hardly open his eyes, his blood pressure is dropping, and his body is turning cold, starting at the feet and working its way up.  Having made the decision to refuse a feeding tube some time ago, the hospice nurses are simply doing what they can to make my grandpa comfortable and to help him be at ease as he seems to be resisting his mind’s instincts for self-preservation and by sheer will, I believe, is forcing his body to let go.  Grandpa is not battling to stay alive; he is tearing himself away from this life and delicately tipping his toes into the next, encouraged no doubt by the sound of his life’s love’s tender voice calling him home…

My grandpa’s biography is the type of biography we won’t be reading much more of in the obituaries of our times ahead.  His life, as I said, is passing away and along with it, so is his breed.  His life’s story represents a history of 20th century middle America, a history that was once the family portrait of a country on the rise, but that now, though it is still with us, hanging on to the fringes of a modern society, seems more like a relic of a time long forgotten.

Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. – Shannon L. Alder

Born at the start of the Great Depression; raised in Centerville, Iowa, small town America that had its population peak in the early 1900’s. Son of a coal miner living in a coal mining town, a town which never regained its pulse once the country it helped support for so long found a new vein for its energy needs.  Raised by a man who believed that indoor plumbing was for women and children – men’s place was outdoors, no matter the temperature or the depth of the snow on the ground.

Got his first job working on the railroads when he was 18, married at the age of 19, went to work in the factories for Alcoa at age 20, and bought his first home at the age of 31.  The marriage lasted 44 years (cancer brought it to an early end), the job at Alcoa lasted 38, and that home was the only home he ever knew until fading health forced a move to an assisted care facility nearly 50 years later.

Maybe not. But maybe that’s how the world changes, Isaiah. One father, one child, at a time. – Barbara Samuel>The Sleeping Night

I was born in Iowa, but as the saying goes, I got to Texas as fast as I could.  I was 4 years old when we moved to Texas and so my memories of Grandpas and Grandmas and aunts, uncles, and cousins were shaped by holiday and summer trips back home, RV visits from both sets of grandparents, and occasional connections at points in between when campouts, fishing trips, and other adventures brought our now separate families together again and again.  My memories of Grandpa Jones were also crafted in the bleachers, on the sidelines, and under the Friday night lights of my youth – he and Grandma were there at soccer games, baseball tournaments, football games, and at whatever other activities my brother and I were engaged in.

But my best thoughts of Grandpa come from when we were up there – our summer trips to Iowa.  For a couple of rambunctious little boys who loved adventure, there was no greater joy for me and my brother than running around in “the back forty,” RV trips to granny’s farm to chase the cows (which got us in deep trouble with Grandpa!), fishing on the banks of the Mississippi River, and ending our days on the front porch swing, sucking down as many red, blue, and purple Flavor Ice Pops as my mom would allow.

My grandpa and I were separated by at least 900 miles for most of my life, but I never felt the distance between us.  I never felt it, that is, until much later in life when college took me further south and the start of a career in homebuilding and my own efforts at starting a family took the time that was at one time reserved for my Iowa family.

The songs of our ancestors are also the songs of our children 
- Philip Carr-Gomm

My grandpa loved Christ since before anyone can remember and he carried Christ’s joy with him wherever he went and in doing whatever it was he was doing.  He shared this joy with anyone who would listen and oftentimes when I wanted to do anything but listen…every Sunday morning, the silence was broken early in the day by Grandpa walking through the house, singing in his booming baritone, “Oooohhh, it’s nice to get up in the morning, but it’s nicer to stay in bed…!”  Didn’t matter that he was tone deaf (literally), the man loved to sing…just be careful not to sit next to him in church when the hymns are being sung!  He loved the old time gospels, he loved his church, he loved his family…he loved and he loved and he loved and when he was happiest, he was on that porch swing taking it all in before proclaiming with loving pride that, “This is nniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiicccee!!!!”

The mass of men worry themselves into nameless graves while here and there a great unselfish soul forgets himself into immortality. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take a moment to consider this life I just described.  Do you see the same things I see?  Railroad and factory worker, son of a coal miner…hard work, grit, determination.  Kept a job for 38 years, a home for nearly 50, and a marriage for 44…loyal, principled.  Didn’t allow the miles between us to stand against him being involved in the lives of his kids and grandkids…caring, engaged, committed.  Christ follower…faithful, joyful, loving.

My dad likes to quote my grandpa as always saying, “Don’t tell me what you are going to do, show me.  Talk is cheap, actions speak louder.”  This is, I think, the enduring part of the legacy he leaves behind – Grandpa showed us a lot in his generation.  Work hard and love fully.  Keep your commitments.  Work through your problems, don’t run from them.  Commit to a cause and stand behind those commitments.  Be faithful in Christ, faithful in marriage, faithful in love of your kids and family, and faithful in the way you live every part of your life.  Live a life of significance, live a life that matters in the generation you have been given.

These aren’t just words, these aren’t empty platitudes he would use to lecture us with – my grandpa lived this life…he showed us.  He showed us how to live, he showed us how to love.  He showed us how to work and commit, to persevere and to stand strong.  He showed us what it meant to follow Christ, how to love your wife, how to care for your family.  He showed us what it means to live a life that matters, to live a life of significance.  The picture of the way he lived his life is not just a fading photograph of a time gone by; the principles upon which he chose to stand – those aren’t just relics of a lost way of living.  He showed us that generations, his and yours and mine………generations matter.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. – Isaac Newton

And this is, I believe, what I am trying to say most of all about my grandpa; rather, this is, I believe, what his life is telling me – generations matter, principles matter, choices matter.  His generation and the way he chose to live it mattered to his kids, matters to me…it will matter to my kids and it will matter to theirs.  So it is also with you – your generation matters and what you choose to do today with your life matters to the generations that follow behind.

And the question for me is the same as it is for everyone, I think – what will I choose to do with the generation I have been given?  What will I stand for and what will my generation tell the next…about love and life and faith and family and hard work and loyalty and commitment and care and joy…?

My grandpa lived a life of significance, he lived a life that mattered.  My grandpa did well with the generation he was given.  My life’s prayer is that I can honor his generation with the one that I have been given………………

God bless,


*When I began writing this post, my grandpa had not yet passed away; before I finished it, he completed his journey home.  Rest in peace, Carl Jones – you have fought the good fight, you have finished the course, you have kept the faith:  February 2, 1930-November 10, 2012.


These Days

Good Times

These Days

35 Comments 23 September 2012

As of this moment, not the one in which you are reading these words, but the one in which I am typing the words into my computer, it has been nearly 313 days since our family was last in front of the cameras filming a new episode of “Quints by Surprise.”  I know that it probably seems like it has been forever since we’ve been on your TV screen, but really, can you believe it has been nearly a year??  We miss filming the show – we miss the crew and we miss the energy that percolates through the atmosphere on filming days.  We miss having a soundtrack playing in the background of our lives and we miss being a front row spectator to the creative process that transforms our daily routines, challenges, victories, and frustrations into something that is at times fun, funny, and faith-filled, heartwarming, uplifting, and hopefully, always very, very real about the very real ups and downs of life with quints plus one…

When we last filmed, Eliot was keeping us all busy with another soccer season and getting settled in to her new school year (2nd grade) as her super-infatuation with all things Taylor Swift was beginning to overtake her life (that’s her in the picture below, head on my shoulder, Taylor’ed out – before the concert was over!).  This time last year, Eliot was ready to rock it in her vampire costume for Halloween, the seeds were being planted for a cheerleading future when she got to hang out on the field with the Baylor Bear Cheerleaders, and she was wearing the “missing my two front teeth” look with pride and warming up to sing about it at Christmas time!

The Fab Five, meanwhile, had Casey and me neck deep in potty training (and life training!) – the grip of the terrible two’s clinched oh so tightly around our lives!  When they weren’t scheming new ways to keep us on our toes, they were enthusiastically taking on every new experience we could think to throw their way – learning how to ride their bikes and how to dance ballet like Eliot, getting their first real taste of football season in Texas and what it means to be a Baylor Bear football fan, and preparing for the ultimate experience of their 2-1/2 year old lives – dressing up as the Wizard of Oz characters for Halloween!

It should now go without saying (though I’ll say it anyway) – the show has been a positive force in our lives and hopefully in yours, too.  It has helped us to create and of course document amazing memories for our family; it has opened our world up to interactions with people all over the world – some who check in just to say they love the show and appreciate our family, others who are looking for advice or encouragement, and still others who simply want to share their story, their struggle, and their joy, and  want to thank us for inspiring them in some small way to keep smiling and to keep the faith.  Judging by these messages and the many others we have received through Facebook and Twitter, the show has had a positive impact on the lives of many others outside of our little clan…truly an answer to our prayers!

Also judging by the many, many messages we get on the subject, I can tell you that there are many out there wondering the same thing you may be – will the show ever be back??!  Well, the honest answer is that we don’t know for sure, that we hope that it does, and that with each day that passes without a call from TLC, the prospects of the show returning grow weaker and weaker.  There are times when it absolutely kills us to not have the cameras around, to know that what we are experiencing at that moment with the kids is not being captured for the show.  The quints’ 3rd birthday party, our attempts at teaching them how to swim, our first family trip to the beach, funny little games the kids make up, Eliot’s development as the best big sister on the planet – Facebook and Twitter are great, but we would really love to share these experiences with you in living color!!

But the choice is not ours to make…it’s not in our hands.  And those whose job it is to make decisions such as these aren’t committing and they aren’t saying exactly why.  Nonetheless, no matter what happens with the show, we are incredibly grateful to have had this experience and we are incredibly grateful to all of you who have watched and followed along with our little adventures…

So since you won’t be seeing us on your TV screens anytime soon, I thought I would fill you in on what defines “these days” for the Jones family…

These days, those “cheer” seeds that were planted at the Baylor football game a year ago have produced a Four Points Pop Warner Mighty Mite Viper Cheerleader!  Eliot’s soccer days are behind her and it’s nothing but pom-poms and high kicks for now…she loves the cheering, hates the Texas heat she has to endure while she’s cheering on her team!  Eliot has also just started her new school year (she’s a 3rd grader!) and in spite of some struggles getting to know all of the new faces in her class, she is completely in love with her new teacher and is off to another great start!  And how about this – only in our family does a cheerleader have her very own cheer section…

These days, we are still struggling to get all five 100% potty trained…grrr!!!  We made a huge push a year ago to get this done and we had pretty good and pretty immediate success, getting all five completely trained has proven to be really, really difficult…and frustrating!  We’re trying to be very, very patient and not push them too hard, but oh my gosh we are tired of cleaning up pee off the floor!!!!

These days, The Wizard of Oz is still one of the faves in our home, but it has serious competition from Peppa Pig, Max & Ruby, and The Fresh Beat Band.

These days, Eliot is still a superstar big sister – both in our eyes as parents and in the quints’ eyes as adoring little super fans!  Eliot loves to take the kids into her room, one at a time, to have special little play dates with each of them which they all absolutely love.  She has also started to join me at bedtime so that she can read to them, help tuck them in, and give them a giggle before she bolts downstairs.  And her maternal instincts have kicked in – she’ll often jump in to help settle disputes, soothe hurt feelings, and correct the kids when they are going astray…Eliot, the caretaker – who would have ever guessed?!

These just-ending summer days, the kids got more than their fill of sun, sand, swimming pools, ice cream treats, trips to the zoo, sprinkler fun in the backyard, kite flying, and all of the other summertime fun you can think of!  The 5 got their first trip to the beach when we made the trek with both sets of grandparents to the Texas coast…they loved it, they wore us out, and now they wear us out everyday asking when we can go back!!

These days we have finally managed to get the whole family to church and Sunday school on a regular basis…hallelujah!!  The quints love going to church and get excited every week to get to see Miss Kelly and Miss Allie who shower them with good love every week!  Eliot thinks the youth pastor, Todd, is as cool as they come and Casey and I are just plain happy to be back to the church we love so much.  We really can’t say enough good things about the warm, loving, and Christ-focused environment that greets us every time we get the opportunity to be on the Riverbend campus…God has been so good to us through our church home!

These days, there is nothing better for me than to watch Eliot and Jack play together…it is endlessly fun to watch these two go at it!  Jack will come out of nowhere to tackle his big sister, catching her completely off guard!  But you know our little spark plug isn’t going to let him get away with it so the chase is on!  They laugh and giggle and tackle and  chase and poke and punch and then do it all again…it’s awesome and it is totally unique to these two!  None of the girls gets after Eliot the way Jack does and though I know Eliot loves it, I really think part of her doesn’t know exactly how to handle this rambunctious little brat that won’t give up, won’t stop messing with her, and won’t stop giggling is curly little head off when he does is coming after her…so so so cute!

These very recent days, The Fab Five have started attending a “Mom’s Day Out” program two days a week…YAY FOR CASEY!!!!!  The program is held at a local gym, 3F Fitness, and the kids learn tumbling and stretching as well as their abc’s and 1-2-3’s…and I’m sure you guessed this part – they LOVE it!!  Thank you so much to the owners, William and Haley, for putting this program together and inviting our family to join!

These days, sleep is much less difficult to come by though we had to go through fire to reclaim the blissful treasure that comes with a full night’s sleep!  Earlier in the year, the quints put us through every trial you could imagine – Britton waking up at all hours of the night in a screaming fit, Lila waking up at 5:00 or 6:00 am day after day after day, Jack waking up everyone in the room at 3:00 am to tell them all that he has to go potty, Ryan waking up at 5 am so she could wake Lila up who would then make sure Britton, Brooklyn, and Jack got the memo that it was 5:00 am and time to torment mommy and daddy….it was BRUTAL!!!

And because sleep is more consistently available now, these days, life has become almost routine in our usual chaotic sort of way.  Casey’s and my morning workouts have become pretty regular and the kids usually don’t get up until about 6:30 which is a godsend to us…though we long for the days that it will be 7:00 or 7:30.  And since we got rid of nap time, bedtime has become much more consistent (and much less intensely chaotic and stressful!) – the kids are in bed, lights out by 7:30 every night and they’re usually all fast asleep by 8:00.

These days, we still have a handful of committed, loving, and totally awesome volunteers who have been with us from the beginning and who continue to provide loving care to our little ones, giving Casey and I much needed breaks from the perpetual craziness that defines our life.  To our volunteers, past and present:  thank you, thank you, thank you….THANK YOU!!!!


To answer the question we get quite often – no, these days are not any easier than the days that have gone before…though we’re hoping that the 5’s 5th year of life will bring some relief to our weary souls!  I’ll repeat:  no, it hasn’t gotten any easier; rather, the challenges have changed.  Gone are the sleepless nights, hello mega-attitude and meltdowns from 5 hyper-sensitive little beings trying to find their place in the world.  Gone is the endless parade of dirty diapers, hello pee accidents by the handful and the joys of taking 5 tots to the bathroom 5 times when we dare venture out of the house.  Gone are the days of bottle feeding and burping, hello knocked over milk cups, protests over what has been provided for a meal, food thrown across the table, and ginormous messes left at the dinner table…and the dinner floor…and the dinner clothes…and the dinner hands and faces…and so on and so forth.  No, things are definitely not easier by any barometer we can measure by…just different.

But as I write these words, I am reminded that in many ways life these days is no different than those that are past.  We are blessed, abundantly so, and that is no different than before; we are challenged, abundantly so, and that is no different than before.  It has been said that to whom much is given, much is expected.  Well, to put it simply:  we have been given much!  This is something that has not changed and will not change – life with quints plus one is a rare and awesome blessing in every sense of the word.  And no doubt, we will continue to be given much as we face the challenges of raising these 6 to be 6 happy, healthy, respectful, caring, well-adjusted, and God-loving tweens, teens, and beyond.  Let the blessings flow down!!

God bless,




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,




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