High school sweethearts Ethan and Casey Jones had a picture-perfect life: They married right after college, built their dream home and had a beautiful daughter named Eliot.
Then, they decided to have one more child using the same fertility treatment they used to conceive Eliot. But, the second time around, the results were a little different. Instead of one baby, they conceived five: Brooklyn, Ryan, Jack, Britton and Lila. Now, the quintuplets are almost 2 years old.
Casey says she never imagined how much her life would change when her family of three grew to a family of eight. "Our life is just so crazy busy from the minute I open my eyes in the morning till the time I go to bed at night," she says. "It's unbelievable."
They're also coming to terms with the fact that raising six children isn't cheap. "We're like a balloon that's blown up, and you can see the side walls of the balloon just stretching and stretching, and you know at any moment it's just going to pop," Ethan says.
After the Jones quints were born, it wasn't long before a TV production company came calling. The Joneses met with the producers, hit it off, and TLC's reality series Quints by Surprise was born.
Ethan says the family enjoys having the camera crew in the house. "It's been great fun from the beginning," he says. "We always felt like the worst thing that could happen is we have great home videos for the first years."
Right now, Casey and Ethan say they aren't worried about following in the footsteps of America's most famous parents of multiples, Jon and Kate Gosselin, who divorced after filming five seasons of TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8.
"We feel like each family is really different, and we don't know their family or really anything about them," Casey says. "We just know the relationship we have and how our family works, and so we've decided to always be very open and honest with each other and keep our relationship strong. That's the most important thing."
Although the quints take up a lot of time and attention, Eliot thinks her brother and sisters are "cool." Casey, on the other hand, says one of her biggest challenges is giving all the children enough attention.
"The most important thing is Ethan and I and our relationship, making sure we get out and have our date nights and our time together," Casey says. "Then, it's being able to get out just with the three of us again, Ethan, Eliot and I. We were a team first, and so we'll always remember that. So we plan special playdates for Eliot.
Casey also credits helpful family and friends who watch the quints when she, Ethan and Eliot want to spend quality time together.
When the quints were first born, 75 volunteers helped the Joneses 24 hours a day, seven days a week. "Our church put together a care calendar for us and did background checks on people that were interested in helping us out," Casey says. "It was people from our church and the Austin, [Texas], community."
Casey and Ethan now have about 10 people who help change diapers and keep an eye on the active toddlers throughout the week. "They're like family to us now," Casey says.
With six children, do the Joneses think they'll have more children?
"Jack's lonely," Ethan says with a smile. "He needs a brother. Me and Jack need all the help we can get!"