But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children's children . . . Psalm 103:17

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ear infection only

Not unexpectedly, shortly after I posted last, Gracie's virus led to a bacterial ear infection and new fever. We started her on antibiotics immediately under the advice of a doc here. (We sincerely thank God we are so close to a medical center with such excellent physicians and medications available!) She was truly miserable while we waited for the drugs to kick in, but now she's a LOT better. This morning she skipped off happily to their Monday playdate with a wave and "Bye-bye, Mom! See you later!" I don't think the other kids even bothered to say goodbye. They just yelled, "Hi!" and "Walter!!!" As Gracie told me the other night, "I love Karen's house. I play toys with Walter."

Seth is acting virtually unaffected by this cold. As with most colds thus far, he and David seem to be the least affected of any of the kids. David has always been the "healthiest" quint. He never needed to be on a ventilator, whereas all the others spent at least a few hours on it (Marcie and Will) or even months (Grace and Seth, as you well know!). I wonder if Seth's 5.5 months in the NICU helped strengthen his immune system? I hope and pray so!

Here's some pictures Karen took of Gracie "modeling" her pink pajamas while she was staying with them while Gavin and were still in Australia. How darling and bold of my sweet little Gracie to ham it up like this for the camera! Clearly she really does love Karen AND her house!

Little goof!


Can prayer be modeled? Gracie is clearly trying. At least she's got the outward appearance of it down! She and Marcie love to hold hands or fold their own hands and "pray" with little low mumbles and loud AMEN's!



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gracie better; new pictures

These pictures of Gracie, David, Isaac and Marmi visiting local puppies and Guinea pigs were taken while we were still in Australia. She is doing better now, I think, although more clingy than ever before in her little life. Will is also more clingy than normal. Seth, while he has the cold, is still holding his own, careening happily and wildly through life. He climbed up a ladder onto our roof today while Gavin was up there pressure-washing our solar water-heating panels. Gavin heard his cheery "Hi, Daddy!" and looked up to see him climbing off the ladder onto the roof. What a surprise that was! We really need the Lord to guard these children, as I've said before. Thank God Seth scaled and descended (with Gavin's help) without incident. Will also got halfway up before a passing friend brought him to Gavin's attention. :}

Gracie walked up to me last night and said, "Mommy, I say one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!" She can count to ten now, sing "Farmer in the Dell," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Jesus Loves Me," and more songs, including motions for some. Will can sing quite a few songs, too. All the kids are talking more and more each day. It's so much fun, and I think the frustration levels have gone down as a result. It's soooooooo nice to understand each other!

Marcie told me the other day that she was drawing a rainbow and "A,B,C,D's" with her marker. It was too cute.  :)

Thanks for praying, and please keep it up for Seth, especially, as I don't think his cold symptoms have peaked yet.

Love and gratitude,
Carrie


Seth visited Geography class one day we were gone. He's so loyal to PNG, waving their flag. :)
Will welcoming us back:















David

We got to take Isaac on a date tonight to see A Play About a Dragon

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sickness update c

Thanks for praying for Grace. She was shockingly better this morning, although she hasn't had as good an afternoon. All the kids but Seth and Marcie are pretty miserable. I think Will has yet another earache. :( I'll probably be making a trip to the Clinic tomorrow. Thanks for continuing to pray!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Prayer request for Gracie

It's 1:30 a.m. and all is not well with poor little Gracie. This afternoon after her nap she was terribly clinging, but then she was really happy after supper and at bedtime. Just now she was coughing terribly, so I went in to check on her. She was wide awake (with Marcie sleeping next to her, incidentally, having climbed into her crib after we left the room). Grace of course wanted to be held, and she was breathing so fast! Her little heart was racing, too. I took her oxygen saturation reading with the fingertip pulse oximeter and she was only satting an average of 90%. I gave her breathing treatments (Seth's) and her sats got worse, not better, so then I switched fingers. I think I might have been using the wrong finger (the index) because the middle finger got a much better reading - it jumped from the high 80's to 93%, which is perfectly "acceptable" for a kid with a nasty cold living at 5,000 ft altitude. Anyway, please pray for our tiny little girl! I'll update ASAP. She was happy to go back to bed. Her siblings are all doing fine, although Will has had a fever and sore throat and occasional cough. As always, we sure appreciate prayer that Seth NOT get this, or that if he does it doesn't attack his vulnerable lungs as badly as it has Gracie's! The docs can almost always still hear stiffness (from the scarring) in his upper left lung. He needs to grow new, healthy lung tissue, but he still remains so small like Grace. It's hard not to get discouraged by his lack of weight gain. :(

A few pics of Grace from last week, the last day we were gone: Having breakfast with David and visiting with Marmi. She did great; such a happy girl!








Sunday, February 15, 2015

Two post scripts to yesterday's post

I didn't mention some other dear friends - he's a close colleague of Gavin's - we've visited in the hospital because the wife said they are very private. He wasn't in any sort of shape to get a photo with anyway. :( Doing heaps better now, though, thank God!

Also, it wasn't until I got in bed last night that I realized I didn't post a picture of Marcie! Facebookers can look on my timeline for one. I can't open FB right now to download the photo for some reason . . .

Love,
Carrie

Separated but not suffering (much)

Hi all,

Well, Gavin and I are in Cairns, Australia again, this time for Gavin's esophageal dilation. [Some of you will remember that in October we were actually medevaced from our mission center in PNG due to a piece of meat getting stuck way down in Gavin's esophagus. The only way to dislodge it was to put him under general anesthesia and put a scope down to push it through.] The gastroenterologist found a stricture, or area of tissue partially obstructing his food canal, and dilated it as much as he could. This should just be a one-time thing, hopefully. Who knows what caused the stricture. We're just glad it's gone and food will stop getting stuck down there!

It's been great to get a break away together as a couple again and to visit our dear friends the Penningtons, Byls and Leedahls. Jon Leedahl is our pilot friend who lost his leg following a motorbike accident also in October. They had taken care of our kids a for few days while we where in Australia last time, and we were back only two days when Jon was hit by a drunk driver. Gavin and I spent the night at the Clinic with Jon and his wife Adie, so the last time we saw them he was mangled and she was in shock (but "Amazing Adie" nonetheless). It's SO GOOD to see them looking so healthy and at peace in the Lord's hands! Please pray that Jon's stump will heal up really well and soon, God willing, so he can get fitted for his prosthetic leg. It's been fun for me to get to watch some of the dressing changes of his wound. Fascinating! Jon and Adie are such great sports. We love them and our other Cairns "family" too! What a blessing. :) You can follow the Leedahls' blog at www.theleedahls.com






Meanwhile, the kids are back in Ukarumpa and I miss them!! HUGE thanks to all our friends who have been foster parents/siblings once again: the Weavers, Careys, Stewarts, McEvoys, Raubes and, of course, the other Joneses (a.k.a. Marmi and Papa)! Our kids could not be in better hands in our absence!




Some pics that have helped tide me over and yet make me hanker after the precious munchkins even more (sorry, none of Seth!):


Isaac and Papa both love The Far Side and laughed so loudly they woke Marmi up!

David and Gracie puddle-stomping. It's rainy season!

David and Gracie playing in the sink - they love water!

Will loves the swings




Will saying, "I'm making a snake!" He would also say, when appropriate, "I'm making a ball!" He's actually making Valentine lollipop sugar cookies. :)


David reading with his temporary big sis. Little sis Gracie saw the cover of this book, pointed to the puppy's tear and said, "Oh no! Sorry, doggie!"

Visiting "Aunt" Betsy who is housebound with a badly sprained ankle. Betsy is the Primary School Librarian, so of course she would read them a book! Thanks, Betsy!! And thank you, Karen, for taking them there!


Putting Little People through the chute! Betsy is my ladies' Bible study leader, so it's fun for me to see them socializing. :)
Doesn't David look like such a big boy in this picture?

Will on our High School's mini Ferris wheel with friend/babysitter Jadia
Gracie's turn with "big sis" Amanda!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

LONG post: descriptions and stories of the kids

Gavin wanted me to title these two pictures "Slow down, Daddy!" but I think it looks like they are asking him to speed up! They always ask to go faster in the car, but that's hard to do on these rutted, small dirt roads with pedestrians around every corner. And no, the car isn't even moving in this picture. Gavin had parked it down by the horse paddocks. The kids love standing on the bull bar.



The kids are changing so fast. Will is a RIOT. He is the funniest kid ever, I think. Happiness just overwhelms him sometimes - usually when we're somewhere he thinks is really fun outside of the house - so he has to squeal and race around with an enormous dimpled grin until he can run off some of his joy. Yesterday he decided the other kids needed to tone it down a bit, so he yelled, "Be quiet, guys! You're too loud!" (Will is almost invariably the loudest quint.) When he kindly shared some food with a hungry sibling a couple of days ago and I praised him for it, he said, "Give me a hug!" like he was thinking, "you know you want to . . . " He's very free with his very sloppy kisses. As my girl friend says, they're worth it!

Will SHOVELS food into his mouth. The others ask for spoons, but Will is always so hungry he can't be bothered. He finishes a large amount of food in no time flat and asks for more . . . continuously, until we give it to him. He's very persistent and loud, thankfully saying please and thank you as well. Eventually we'll have to insist on a spoon, at least before we start traveling to visit friends and supporters next furlough! But he'll be nearly 5 by then. 

Gracie talks incredibly fluently, which is so cute in her tiny, insistent voice. She's got quite a strong, outspoken will right now and takes on any sibling with vigor in a disagreement over toys, food, book. "No, it's MY _______!" When in a combative mood she even yells, "NO THANK YOU!!!" when someone tries to give her something she doesn't want. I think she missed the point of my coaching her to be more polite in those moments. :o} She fights for her turf, tough little cookie! It feels like she and Marcie have changed places. Yesterday she asked to watch "Guppy Guppies" which is Bubble Guppies, a new DVD Marmi and Papa brought us. The kids adore it and ask for it multiple times a day. Gracie kept asking, and I didn't answer her because I was debating yes or no. Finally she said, "Carrie! I need to watch the Guppy Guppies!" Apparently she thought "Mommy" wasn't getting her the answer she wanted, so she pulled out my first name.

Marcie charms and "mothers" nearly constantly with a very winsome smile and perfect intonation imitation of me. (Not that I always have a winsome smile in my parenting.) My personal favorite Marcie-ism right now is her, "Oh, SANK you! [thank you], [Mommy/Daddy/Gracie/David/whoever]!" She can say her th's (as in bath), but that "Oh, sank you ______!" is SO cute and so frequent, like she's surprised and highly pleased every time we give her something, even if it's just her plate of food, drink or toy. She and Gracie continue to be best of friends, chit-chatting and discussing and loving each other the vast majority of the time. It's SO cute to overhear them! Especially because Gracie bosses and Marcie mothers. "Okay? Alright? Oh, sank you, Gracie!"

David is our quiet thinker and problem-solver, very orderly and [generally] the gentlest of the quints. He tends to be the most serious, but Isaac can get him to make really funny faces. David also does goofy things like lie down on the floor and put a clear storage box on top of himself and say, "Mommy, look!" He also tells us to "Come get me!" which means he wants to wrestle and be tickled, and he just lies on the floor until we can break away from whatever we're doing to oblige him. He never fails to tell me if he doesn't want me to sing, dance, jiggle my leg while holding him, whatever. "Mommy, no dance! Mommy, no singing! Mommy, don't!" He wants to be held, but in HIS way, not mine. He's very particular, and he likes to put things "back." Thank goodness we have at least one cleaner-upper!! :) He just wandered by asking, "Where Isaac go?" (to school). All the kids LOVE Isaac. He's super fun and loving, a HUGE help. David loves Isaac's new magnet-driven car and repeatedly asks Isaac to "Make it go!" and yells "Awesome!!" over and over again when it does go. He also yells "Awesome" when Isaac plays his racing games on the Wii. The other night he saw me grating cheese in the kitchen and told me, "Mommy, leave that alone. [with a little waving put-it-down hand motion.] Hold on the lap!" 

Seth is sweet Seth still, animal and book lover, goofy and affectionate, but he can win a fight with David because he is STUBBORN. Will can beat anyone, though, when it comes to who gets what toy or book or food, thanks to his sheer strength and size. However, once he's won he's much more likely to obey us and give back whatever he's taken, especially if he sees that he's made his sibling cry. Seth, on the other hand, tenaciously clings to whatever he's "rightfully stolen." Seth is also our wanderer. We've found him way down the road from where we are (thinking he was playing in a friends' room with the other kids), over at the basketball court across the road from our house, and other places he's not supposed to be. He just heads off, happy and oblivious. The funny thing is that we'll be getting the kids ready for bed, assuming Seth is playing quietly in a bedroom, as he frequently does, and the phone will ring . . . Thankfully that's only happened a couple of times, and only when someone has left the gate open. (The gate is toddler-proofed.) The times Seth escaped under our fence he scraped his tummy and came crying back to the house, waiting at the gate for me to come comfort him. So that's a relief. 

Speaking of relief, we found David on the roof of our SUV yesterday! Thank God Gavin was able to get him down without incident. So please pray for continued safety of the quints. We physically cannot keep an eye on all of them all the time, so we need guardian angels in spades!

Isaac had a really fun birthday party - 2 weeks after his actual birthday, but at least it was worth the wait. He's also started piano lessons with Marmi and is doing a great job! I'm glad we waited until he was a bit older. It's easier on this ol' mom, I'll say that! I remember my poor parents trying to get me to practice as a recalcitrant 7-year-old. . .
Isaac's Nerf and water-war party. Isaac is the kid in the red shirt, middle of the crowd. His Mega Thunderbow is partially hiding his face, but that was no doubt intentional.








Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones

Gavin, Carrie, Isaac, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, & Grace Jones