Tag archive for "special events"

The Riverbend Diaper Drive

Giving Thanks

The Riverbend Diaper Drive

6 Comments 09 February 2010

The Jones 8 and our little entourage made our way back to Riverbend Church yesterday to kick off the diaper drive they are hosting for us this month.  Man, it was great to be back!  We are really looking forward to the day when we can make more regular Sunday morning appearances, but yesterday made it clear that we are not quite ready for that!  It took four adult helpers (thank you, Stevie, Michelle, Tricia, and Avery!) to help get The Fab Five primped, prepped, stuffed, and buffed for their big appearance on stage!  Imagine getting five babies bottled, changed, dressed, fed breakfast, calmed, and buckled into their car seats in a little less than an hour and then you can imagine why it took so much help…and oh yeah, me, Casey, and Eliot still had to manage to get ready at the same time..aaaaagggghhhh!!  In spite of the chaos, the event went great – Riverbend is always so good to us!  We skipped their morning naps, but the babies did not seem to notice (no meltdowns and no crying on stage!) and Eliot played the role of Superstar Big Sis better than ever!

The Entourage and The Fab Five

Britton Plays Peek-A-Boo While Ryan Blows Kisses

Britton Plays Peek-A-Boo While Ryan Blows Kisses

We are so grateful to Riverbend Church and the generosity of the congregation for making this happen for us!!  We are proud to be associated with a church home that puts its faith into action all across Austin and around the world.  Here are some of the other outreach programs Riverbend and its members did during 2009……

  • 10,000 meals served to the homeless and poor across Austin by Riverbenders, with a goal to more than double that 2010.
  • 3,000 underprivileged children received Christmas gifts that might not otherwise have, thanks to the generosity of Riverbend’s congregation.
  • Over 450 volunteers serve all across Austin in September.  Riverbend’s 30/30 project (30 service projects in 30 days) touched the lives of thousands of Austinites.
  • 8 trips to Reynosa Mexico by Riverbenders, helping our neighbors across the border who struggle with no running water or electricity.
  • Teams of Riverbend volunteers provide meals, school supplies and encouragement to families, students and teachers in some of Austin’s most challenging public schools.
  • Exploratory service and outreach trips to Guatemala, El Salvador, Uganda and Rwanda, as the Missions team researches a possible 3rd world serving opportunity where our people can use their time, talent and treasure to make a difference in this world.

Riverbend’s motto is this:  We exist to allow others to experience God’s love and grace, both on our campus and off our campus, reaching out especially to those who are bruised, battered, broken, and bored, and are looking for help and searching for something more.  We have been members of this church for seven years now and it has been so awesome to join this church community in living out its commitment to Christ’s principles.  I never would have guessed that we would have a need to experience first-hand, but now I cannot imagine how we could have gotten along without it!

For more information on the diaper drive, click here:  Riverbend Diaper Drive.

Getting Primped Backstage

The Fab Five

Five Healthy Babies and The Fab Five’s First Park Trip…oh yeah!!

5 Comments 29 October 2009

Here’s a quick update on the Fab Five from their nine month visit to the pedi last week…

- Brooklyn Faith:  16 pounds, 4 ounces, 30%; 27 inches, 75%
- Britton Grace:  13 pounds, 8 ounces, 3%; 24 inches, 3%…I told you she was tiny!!
- Jack William:  19 pounds, 8 ounces, 45%; 27 inches, 25%, and oh yeah, 90th percentile for head circumference…he still has some balancing out to do!
- Lila Addison:  16 pounds, 8 ounces, 45%; 26 inches, 25%
- Ryan Elizabeth:  16 pounds, 9 ounces, 45%; 26.5 inches, 50%

All of the babies are as healthy as can be and are developing as well as most full term, 9-month-olds.  The only developmental skill they were lacking was in the ability to pick things up with their fingers, every other milestone was checked off the list!  Thank you all for your prayers that helped to make this a reality!!!

The picture above is a sneak peek of the photos we got from our photo session yesterday at Mayfield Park, close to downtown Austin.  The babies had a great time at the park while completely ignoring the utter chaos swirling around them as we tried to get the perfect picture of the less than blissful moment!  Between me, Casey, Eliot, the photographer and a friend of hers, and our go-to helper, Tricia, I think we managed to make it happen.  Everyone was completely wiped out after an hour and a half of whooping, squeaking, jumping jacks, songs, smiles, and any other trick we could think of to get five 9 month-olds to look at the nice lady with the camera, but it was FUN, and you guessed it, CRAZY!!!

God Bless,
Ethan
www.JonesLife.net

The Fab Five

Baby Dedication…Pics and More!

2 Comments 19 August 2009

Wow, the baby dedication was AWESOME!! We had a great time finally getting our whole clan out in public and introducing them to the Riverbend family! The babies were out of the house for about four hours and did absolutely wonderfully! No fussiness, no blowouts or blow-ups, no spit-ups on their beautiful outfits, and no drama…excellent! All five of them even took a little nap between the two services! My lady was looking AMAZING as the pictures can attest and Eliot, aside from hiding behind me the entire time we were on stage during the second service, was a perfect little angel! It was a great day with lots and lots of family, loads of friends, and tons of well wishers and good vibes from our church family!!
I also have to mention that the entire weekend was made so amazing by several of our baby helpers who pitched in extra time to allow us to take Eliot to Fiesta Texas and also to take much of the burden of entertaining family off of our shoulders. We had several folks who helped out with the babies while we were out of town, one fine lady named Farrah, aka Rah-Rah!, who rallied up several of her friends to cover the whole day on Saturday, and two tireless helpers, Renee and Pam, who cooked a Saturday night dinner and a late Sunday brunch for our entire family!! Additionally, Riverbend went out of their way to put together a slide show for the services and sing a special song – “Let Them Be Little” – as the slideshow played. I’m trying to find some good video to upload so I’ll let you know if I’m able to do that. Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a special day!!
You can also follow this link to see some pictures from Grandpa’s camera:
God Bless,
Ethan
Ok, I decided after I posted this that I needed to add a few more details about the trip to San Antonio. So we walked every square inch of the Riverwalk, literally, and did our fair share of sweating. We actually did a pretty horrible job of doing the Riverwalk thing…we walked from one end to the other and decided it was time to eat after we were way too far from the good restaurants to walk back. Then we decided to go grab the car and drive around and find a restaurant. After driving around awhile and not finding any restaurants we parked again and walked a whole lot more before realizing we were exactly where we had started – on the Riverwalk, a long way from good restaurants…long walk, decent food, bad margaritas (we sent them back – who has ever heard of doing that on the Riverwalk?!), but still a great night!
Six Flags Fiesta Texas was totally awesome! That place is really, really cool! We did all of the rides that Eliot was allowed to do, saw a couple of shows, played some games (she won the Supergirl cape she’s wearing in her tough-girl pose above), then hit the water park to cool off. Excuse me, did I say Eliot? I meant, Little Miss Fearless! There was not an ounce of fear in her body as we hit the roller coasters – flips, turns, twists, and loops – she loved it all! I swear, if you’ve never experienced Six Flags in that way, do yourself a favor – go out and grab the first five-year-old that you can find, hit the park with no agenda, and put the little one in charge of the day’s activities…you’ll have the time of your life!! At least, that is, until the little one has a meltdown because she is over-tired, over-stimulated, and a little over-heated, which for Eliot hit around 6 pm. After about a ten minute nap, she was ready to go again so we left the park, hit the restaurant for some refueling, then stopped by the ice cream shop before heading back to the hotel for the night. Good, good, good times!!!

Good Times

Baby Dedication This Sunday…(after our mini-vacation to Six Flags)!!!

2 Comments 13 August 2009

Alright, the original three are headed south again for another mini-vacation. Casey, Little Miss Sunshine, and I are headed to San Antonio in about one hour to begin our trip!! We are headed to the Riverwalk tonight for some good mexican food, a couple margaritas, and a good amount of sweating in the August heat. Tomorrow, Six Flags Fiesta Texas is the destination for some roller-coaster riding, water parking, and more sweating in that danged ol’ August heat!!! We come back Saturday to a house full of babies, volunteers, and grandmas and grandpas (and hopefully escape that crazy Texas heat)!! Thank you to Tricia and the Harrison family along with all of the incredible “helpers” (that’s what Eliot calls the baby volunteers) who are making this trip possible!!!!

And then the big event, the moment we’ve been waiting for since it was scheduled in early June – the babies’ dedication to the church happens this Sunday! I cannot begin to express how excited we are about this day!! Not only will it be our first real venture out into public with the entire family, it will be the Fab Five’s first appearance at Riverbend Church which has been such a strong supporter of our family during this incredible time. We will all be up onstage for both services, 9:45 and 11:15, along with our superstar volunteer, Tricia Harrison, to introduce the family. The service will also include a couple of cool little extras prepared by the Riverbend staff…very exciting!!!!!

I feel a little bit out of place (in other words, a little girly) commenting on this next aspect of the day, but I have to mention what the babies will be wearing for the big show. A high school friend of Granda Bill’s, Beth Lewallen, made dresses for the girls and a suit for Jack out of Casey’s wedding dress…seriously, that is really cool!! The dresses are absolutely adoreable, Jack will be looking totally dapper, and I am pumped because I no longer have to lug that silly dress around every time we move!! Ok, really, what a great idea! On top of that, she included a monogrammed handkerchief for all of the babies – and one for Eliot, too – to be worn in their own weddings…like 40 years from now! And then on top of that she also made a pillow out of the gown’s bodice to be used to by the ring bearers in each of their weddings…which will all happen at least a year or two after I am dead and gone!! Huge, GINORMOUS thank yous to Beth for doing this for us!!!!!

So come on out for a wonderful, happy time in celebration of these five little miracles as we dedicate them to the care of the church and as we dedicate ourselves to raising them up in a Christian home! We loved the experience of doing this for Eliot when she was a baby and really value the symbolism and importance that this event will hold in our lives as a family!!

God Bless,
Ethan
http://www.joneslife.net/

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,
Ethan

Eliot

A Rockin’ Valentine’s

2 Comments 16 February 2009

As has become our annual tradition on Valentine’s day, Eliot and I went to Build-A-Bear to find the perfect bear to add to her collection. I started this tradition for her first Valentine’s and we’ve been every year since. In years past, it’s been a lot of fun for me to watch her take it all in and try to get her to understand what was happening. Every year she did better than the last, but she never quite got the concept which made for some fun times. This time was cool because it was the first year that she really knew the program and fully understood what she was there to do. The result was one very fluffy panda bear named Spots and one very happy little girl!
As you can see from the pictures, I decided to add a little adventure to our annual Valentine’s tradition. Once the Build-A-Bear mission was complete, off we went to The Main Event where they have an incredible indoor rock climbing facility. Eliot had tried to do climb one of these walls about 18 months ago at one of our church events, but she was way too small. I really don’t think she was officially big enough to do this one either, but the staff didn’t check her and we didn’t offer it up. As you can probably also tell by the pictures, what she lacked in size, she made up for in attitude…there was no fear in her as she attacked these 30′ walls!!
On the first couple of tries, she got stuck after she got about 1/3 of the way up on the vertical walls so I moved her over to one of the angled walls. She quickly scrambled her way to the top and rang the bell! After that, there was no stopping her. She handled about five of the different walls, including two that were vertical and one that had a pitch change about half way up. She went for an hour non-stop – I had to drag her off the wall when our time was up!!
To understate it just a bit – I was one proud daddy! Not so much with how well she did, but with the spirit she carried as she took on this new challenge. I didn’t tell her anything about what we had in store for the day so she knew nothing about the rock climbing walls until we got there. When she saw the walls and realized what we were there to do, she was all in. She didn’t get frustrated when she got stuck and she even ignored my attempts to coax her over to some of the easier walls. She simply said, “I just have to try, Daddy. As long as you try, you can do it, right?” Though not 100% accurate in her statement, I was bursting when she echoed back to me one of the many lessons Casey and I have tried to teach her from the day she was born!
I’ve always been a little cynical about the most pernicious of the Hallmark holidays, but I’ve got to say I am now a full fledge convert to the ways of the Valentine. To put it simply, Valentine’s ROCKS!!!
God Bless,
Ethan

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