Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Budding Artist or Troublemaker?

WARNING: This post is rated GP (for gratuitous poop) and may not be suitable for all audiences.

Rustin is not always the best napper. At least 1 or 2 days a week, I can hear him playing in his crib instead of sleeping. This particular day, I heard him driving his cars on the wall and singing songs to himself, but it didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary. It was about 2:45 pm when I finally went to get him out of his crib. I was expecting a visit from the people working on the HEB commercial at 3:00 pm. When I opened the door, this is what I found:

Rustin, his clothes, the crib, the walls, everything within striking distance, was covered in POOP! Rustin was still fully clothed, so apparently he just reached into his diaper to get to it. I was horrified---especially since I knew the commercial people would be there in less than 15 minutes!

I quickly took Rustin out of his crib and ran him down to my shower. I stripped him down and hosed him off. He had obviously been playing in the poop for quite some time, as it was caked and dried all over his fingers.

Once I got Rustin cleaned up, I started on the crib and room.

Toy cars + Poop + White walls = Big Mess!

No surface left untouched

Rustin looks quite pleased with his "artwork".

If Riley or Kaiya had done this when they were the same age, I am pretty sure I would have cried, or yelled, or both during the entire clean-up process. With Rustin, my first thought was "Oh, no! I think I am going to be sick! This is so DISGUSTING!!!", but my SECOND thought was, "This is going to make a great post for the blog!" So, I really have to thank all of you loyal blog readers for motivating me to write---you helped me get through a messy situation tear-free and with a smile on my face (well as much of a smile as you can have when you are plugging your nose).

Thankfully, the commercial people called to say they were running late, and I managed to get it all cleaned and disinfected by the time they arrived! Fortunately, Rustin has not done this again since, but I wouldn't be surprised if he or one of the others decided to paint with poop again in the future.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Having Quintuplets is Hard....Saving Money at HEB, That's Easy!

A few weeks ago a local talent agency sent out a casting call for families of young (still in diapers) multiples in the Austin area. The casting call was for an HEB commercial. (HEB is a big Texas grocery store). Several people forwarded us the email and we decided to audition. The audition was in a hotel in downtown Austin. We filled out a questionnaire on our shopping habits and then we were ushered into a room where we answered a bunch of questions on camera. The kids would not sit still (the fact that they sat still during the entire KVUE interview a couple of months ago was a complete fluke!). Ryder even knocked over one of the tables. I answered the questions honestly, including telling them that I actually bought my diapers at Costco, not HEB, because they were cheaper. After that audition, we weren't sure what to expect, so we really excited when they chose to use us!

Making a commercial was a completely new experience for us. When we did the documentary for TLC, it involved 2-4 people following us around while we went about our normal routine. A commercial shoot is an entirely different story. I had no idea how much work and man-power goes into making a 30-second commercial. It was fascinating to watch the whole process.

After we were selected, the location manager came over to take pictures of our house and determine if it would work for the shoot. In the next few days, teams of 9-12 people, including the director, producer, art director, and advertising executives came over to look around and plan things out.

The day before the shoot, the art director and his crew came over to fix up the rooms they would be using. I tried to take some before and after pictures, although the day of the shoot they added even more, so these pics are incomplete:

Living Room: Before

Living Room: After

Living Room: After (different angle), The quints were so excited to see the rocking horses and were sad when they took them away!

Kitchen: Before

Kitchen: After (the day of the shoot, they added a lot more to the window treatments)

Front Playroom: Before

Front Playroom: After (the day of the shoot, they switched the dresser and the changing table and added a few more things)

I thought this was hilarious----they even brought in a pile of junk mail.

They also added some other kid's artwork (or perhaps they did it?) to our refrigerator. I guess my kitchen wasn't cluttered enough, because they brought in a lot of stuff for the counters too.

They brought in plants for our front yard. It turns out there are places you can rent plants from for these kinds of things....who knew??

The day of the shoot there were 40-50 people at our house throughout the day. The production company came the night before to set up orange cones up and down the street so they would have places to park. They had to get permission from the city to bring in all their trucks, and a few days earlier they went door-to-door getting signatures from all of our neighbors.

Our Front Yard

More Front Yard

One of the Equipment trucks.

The stretch of vehicles down the street (including a mobile home) that were brought in.

The vehicles up the street from our house

Even our garage was taken over.

Huge lights and cameras

One of the cameras

More lights.

There were four basic "scenes" that they shot that first day: playing with the kids in the family room, feeding everybody lunch, Jayson bringing in groceries and playing with the kids in the front playroom. It was pretty much like how I picture a movie set---the director would call "Action", we would do what they asked or say some lines, the director would call "Cut" and we would do it all again. The whole time we were filming, some advertising executives from HEB were in our upstairs family room watching the whole thing on a little monitor. Every once in a while, the "runner" from upstairs would come down and say things like, "She sounds too grumpy, have her say it again" or "The Huggies box needs to be moved a little to the right"

I am never going to look at a movie or commercial the same way again. I realized that everything and I mean EVERYTHING in a movie/commercial is there on purpose and for a reason. When they did the scene of Jayson bringing in the groceries, they were concerned about every little detail, from the pile of junk mail to the half full sippy cup and toy on the counter (it was hard for my OCD mind to realize that they actually put the sippy cup and toy there on purpose---I kept wanting to go clean them up!)

One of the crew took this picture with his cell phone during the shooting

Setting up for the "bring the groceries in" scene

The front playroom--the day of the shoot was rainy, dark and gloomy, but thanks to the gigantic lights, from inside it looked like a sunny day.

Ryder and Rustin playing with the toys they set up. On one of the "research" visits, they asked me what toys the kids liked to play with. I told them that they loved Duplos and MegaBlocks, so they brought in these MegaBlocks that were more aesthetically pleasing (the ones we own are bold colors) for the kids to play with on camera.

Kyndall, Kassidy, Ryder, Kaydence and Rustin and take a break after a long day of filming.

The Quints check out the equipment

Rustin with Brayden King, the director

Ryder and Rustin with John Christian (the producer). Everyone was so nice and friendly. John was especially great with the kids.

I think the kids favorite part of the day was "helping" the clean-up crew roll up all the floor mats.

A few days later we went to an HEB in Kyle, Texas to film the grocery store scene for the commercial. They had three carts filled with groceries and lined up. Riley and Kaiya pushed one cart, Jayson pushed the middle cart and I pushed the one in the front. The scene involved Jayson getting a box of diapers to put in the cart and all of us walking off. Compared to how much of a production there was at our house, I was surprised at how inconspicuous the filming was at the grocery store. I doubt that most of the shoppers even knew that something was going on.

The diaper aisle where we were filming.

One of the cameras.

The commercial started airing this past Wednesday and I have heard reports from several people who have seen it, however WE haven't see it yet! They promised to send us a copy, but it probably won't be for a week or two. In the mean time, we keep recording random shows and watching all the commercials in the hopes that we will find ours :-)
UPDATE: We finally saw the commercial! The kids were so excited to see themeselves on TV, as soon as it would finish, they would say "Do it again, do it again!" We have probably watched it close to 100 times now :-) For those of you in the Austin/San Antonio area, it seems to be playing frequently and has been on during the Tues night Americal Idol. For everyone else, I am hoping that HEB will post the commercial on their website. In the mean time, I have asked permission to post it on YouTube, but I haven't heard back yet.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering---HEB really did lower their prices on Huggies (as they claim in the commercial) and it is now cheaper to buy them at HEB than it is to buy them at Costco! (less than 20 cents/diaper for the size 4 plus you can use coupons at HEB to make it even less expensive).


Monday, March 15, 2010

Preview of Coming Attractions

I apologize for being "missing in action" from the blog lately----I have no lack of things to post about, but I have been so crazy busy that I haven't had a chance! I hope to get caught up in the next few days and resume posting again. In the mean time, here are some pictures to give you some hints about what we've been up to.....kind of a "preview of coming attractions" :-)