This is the blog for Gavin and Carrie Jones and family. We live in Papua New Guinea and are working to see lives transformed by the living Word of God through Bible translation. Gavin is a helicopter pilot. Carrie, who has her degree in Public Health, is the lab supervisor and one of five lab techs at our busy rural clinic. Our son, Isaac, was born in 2004 and our quintuplets, Will, David, Marcie, Seth, and Grace, were born in 2012.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. The you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:3-6

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another video: Sibling love pats

When Seth was watching this video with me just now, he started clapping at the part when the camera turned to him patting the red exercise ball. He obviously thought his performance was superior to that of the girls! :)

Lots of pictures and a video from Sunday

David and Grace

Note how David is standing on the base to be able to better access the toys on top.

David and Grace bonding over a bottle together. Yes, that's milk near Gracie's eye.

Marcie fell asleep on the swing with her Grandpadad.

Isaac sneaking up on Will in the his sink bath!

Happiness is a red Solo cup. (True happiness is a red Solo cup full of Solo, our favorite Aussie/PNG soda!)

The girls after church on Sunday. I could NOT get a good picture!
Marcie on the left, Gracie on the right.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Welcome home, Isaac, and happy birthday to Daddy!

I was so glad to have Isaac home again after two weeks in Oregon, I burst into happy tears when I saw him coming down the hall in the airport. The babies were all in the car and absolutely lit up with smiles of glee when they saw their big brother. He had them all laughing immediately, even squealing. They very clearly remembered him, and they were happier to see him than they had been to see Gavin and me when we were reunited after our CA trip! We can tell who is the favorite family member. :)

Isaac, Aunt Jonelle and cousin Mari

Isaac at his day camp. This was one of his favorite activities: the rope swing and trampoline raft.
Isaac returned Saturday, and it's Gavin's birthday today! What a big year it's been for him, and I'm so proud of the father, husband, friend, worker and man that he is.

These pictures below are actually from another birthday party on Saturday, but we'll pretend it was to celebrate Gavin. We had a pizza and pie party tonight for Gavin once all the babies were in bed. They weren't in a celebratory mood. :} We could hardly get them into bed fast enough, poor tired tots. 

Back to the photos below: Gracie is in green and Marcie is in purple. I had to use my phone to take the pictures, so they're not the best. Sorry! The boys were also there, but I didn't even get photos of them. It was a little hectic. Two sets of toddler twins and other young kids added to the fun. 

The babies were absolutely fascinated with the balloons.
Gracie's eyes match her dress.

Sam pointed out that it looks like the weight of the flowers on their headbands are pulling their little heads down.
They're mirror images almost!

Goofing around on the porch under Grandpadad's watchful eye. Left to right: Gracie, Will, and Seth.

Marcie is a MESS after supper! Time for a bath.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I wish I could be a fly on the wall of the nursery

It's bedtime around here. The girls were just talking and giggling and squealing together. I could only peek in enough to see Marcie was standing up, but I could sure hear Grace's little laughter and sweet, soft little "ba-ba-ba-ba" punctuated by her laughing squeals. Of course, as soon as Marcie realized I was peeking in and didn't come all the way in to deliver her from sure and certain sleep, she had to start complaining. :} Grace is letting her take charge of that. Frequently when one stops complaining the other one(s) will start up as if they were just waiting for the first one to drop the baton, so we'll see if Gracie picks up the refrain when Marcie quits. (Update: both fell asleep without any more fussing, thankfully!)

Other quint news tidbits:

Marcie continues to charmingly barrel head-first through life, letting nothing (including siblings) stand in her way. She still falls a lot, but today when I saw her fall out of the corner of my eye I just ignored her. When she saw that I wasn't watching, she picked herself up and kept going, no fussing at all. :) EVERY time she sees me, she needs me to hold her and she lays her head on my shoulder. Then she'll go off and play again; it's so cute to be so loved! She's definitely a momma's girl.

The lower kitchen drawer (a "safe zone") is the babies' favorite place to find new "toys." This is Marcie - who tends to do the splits while standing - and Will in the doorway, obliging me with a huge smile. Marcie was too busy just then.

David is standing for prolonged periods of time and cruising back and forth across the furniture. He's also getting into everything possible (see below) and is mad about the cabinet locks that have thwarted his playing in the trash can.  He is very, very attached to a plastic noise-maker stick. As Aunt Deb says, "Have stick, will travel." It's so funny to watch him crawl around with it. He's more of a daddy's boy.

We sanitized David's hands after this little exploration.

Will started pulling to standing in his crib. (He's been pulling to standing for a while now, but the pack 'n' play is a little trickier because of its mesh sides) I find it so cute to go in and see Marcie, David or Will standing up and just waiting for us to come get them.

Will is definitely the most excited about/by his siblings. He just adores having them around! His sweet dimpled smile takes over his whole face when he sees another baby coming out to join him, or when I bring him out from his bed to where the others are playing. He seems to be more a momma's boy than daddy's boy at the moment, but that could change tomorrow.

Exuberant, communicative Will
Seth continues to be the sweetest, happiest baby alive, I think. It's amazing to see how bonded he is with me and how much he loves people in general when I think back to those months he spent in a plexiglass box with a tube down his throat. For 2.5 months no one could hold him, and sometimes we couldn't even touch him without his oxygen saturations plummeting because it was so stressful to him. Clearly that traumatic time in his life hasn't harmed his precious personality, praise God!

Seth is sweet while asleep too, but then I guess all babies are!

It's not that the other babies aren't sweet, too, it's just that they tend to be more focused or driven, more busy to get to their desired goals, more demanding to receive attention. Seth just sits there, plays with what he can reach - and his reach is ever-increasing!, and loves everyone around him. As soon as he catches anyone's gaze he breaks into the most winning baby-toothed smile! It makes you feel like a million dollars.

Gracie is a daddy's girl and is the sweetest little babbler and arm-flapper when relating to people. The flapping arms mean "Pick me up!" The babbling is very happy and utterly darling. She's very busy, and as soon as she finds a new toy the other kids tend to rush her to take it away. Poor little thing! I gave her the spoon from my coffee mug today (always highly prized) and she had to fight to keep it and kept losing the fight. But the other babies would lose interest quickly and drop it in front of her again, so she'd pick it up and keep playing with it. She only fusses a little bit when she is stolen from, whereas Will and Marcie yell in frustration! David bears the theft of his toys remarkably well, as did Seth until a few days ago. He had finally had it with Marcie stealing his toys, so when she robbed him and sat down right in front of him with her back to him so he couldn't reach the toy, he YELLED and grabbed her and shook her. It was hilarious! I intervened on that one. :)

Sweet little Gracie

I'm being hit by waves of sleep, so I'll close this very long post.

Love and gratitude,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

P.S. regarding Isaac - meant to put this in the post earlier!

Isaac is currently in Oregon with his cousins and aunts and uncles, having a wonderful time at day camp. He has had people say to him, "Wow, you're the one with five brothers and sisters?! You must be glad to get a break from all those babies!" to which he's been replying, "No, I miss them! I don't want to get away from the babies!"

He's been so precious on the phone, asking if the babies are awake, and trying to visit with Will via Skype last night. We treasure him and his love for his siblings. Thanks to all of you who have made him feel special and have been praying for him in particular during this new chapter in his life.

I miss you so much, Big Brother Isaac, my original baby! :) - Love, Mom

Random pictures, some older

Forgive me if I've already posted some of these!

Marcie and Grace today at Lynnette's - it's fun to get out of our house for a while!



Seth again (I can't decide which picture is cuter!)

Their 4th of July outfits from my former prof and advisor who came to play for a day. Thanks, Lori!!
Seth, Marcie, David, Gracie, Will (left to right)

David on left, Will in front, Seth on the right. He has to wear a onesie (thanks for this one, Judith!) all the time to cover his g-button, otherwise the other babies grab it and pull. It's so hot we leave the others in diapers only most of the time.

Seth fell asleep jumping again. We have a misting system and fans on the porch, thankfully.

Pretty Miss Grace. Marcie matched but was asleep. Again, thanks to Lynnette for outfits!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I can't wait until . . . .

It's an all-too-common phrase from my (Gavin's) lips.  I can't wait till the babies ALL can hold their own bottles.  I can't wait till they stop screaming for everything they want/need and start using words.  I can't wait until Seth stops throwing up.  I can't wait until he can eat on his own.  I can't wait until I can go back to PNG and get back to "my normal life."  I can't wait . . . .  So it goes.

I was convicted recently (another way of saying the Holy Spirit spoke to me in His wisdom) that my "I can't waits" are not something that bring honor to God.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  They do not come from an attitude he has called me to have.  I see it now as a way of saying, "God, this plan you've come up for me now, in the present . . . well, I don't like it.  I've got a plan for myself that I see in the future that I basically want now."

Often, if I'm very honest with myself, that IS exactly how I feel.  I'm not that happy in the now, in the present situation He has given me.  But that's just it.  HE, the Great I Am, the Lord of the universe, the one who loves me and has chosen me to live forever with Him in Heaven after this breath of life on earth is over-- yes, He is the one who has given me the present.  I am to live in it with joy and thanksgiving.  This God who "holds everything together by the power of His word"(Hebrews 1:3) has called me to "rejoice in the Lord always." (Philippians 4:4) The New Living Translation phrases the same verse in an even more challenging way: "Always be full of joy in the Lord."

 Rejoicing in the Lord most definitely includes praising and thanking Him for what His omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent hands have given me.  My daily portion comes from the One who formed me in the womb and who has made every cell in me since.  I can rest and trust Him to not just number my days but direct the activities and occurrences of each one that passes.

Where lies the biggest challenge for me is having the "mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:16b)  Truly to accept with joy God's purpose and intentions for my life by faith.  To be able to say to God, as Christ did in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

As I again read the verse from 1 Corinthians, it says "we have the mind of Christ."  It is in the present, a state of being as the Holy Spirit lives in and through us.  Even so, there stands my sinful, worldly nature that incessantly seeks to make more of myself  than of God, of my wife, of my children-- of all others.  It continues to seek to wedge itself in between my Biblical understanding of how God should reign by His Spirit in my life and the actual words, actions, and thoughts that are my life's fruit.

Pride-- the source of every other sin-- seeks to make ME great and God small, even nonexistent.  Pride tells me that my plans are so much better than what God might come up with.  What a ridiculous and preposterous thing to say or think, yet how often do I live with just that exact posture?

God's plans for me in the present, in the NOW, in the future, are good and for His glory, not mine.  That's how it should be.  That is not at all to say that I will be happy about each one of those plans.  I really am struggling with having joy in the midst of a houseful of quintuplets.   It is not infrequently that I ask God, "Why did you choose me for this?"  It is an ok question, if asked with Mary's humility.  All too often I phrase it with Sarah's untrusting attitude.

I wonder how long it took for the disciples to be able to leave the Sanhedrin honestly "rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name." (Acts 5:41)  It is my prayer
that I can have such an attitude.  That can only come from the Holy Spirit as I trust in Him and in His strength.

Don't get me wrong.  I absolutely love my children.  They are beautiful, priceless gifts from God and I thank Him for them every day.  Yet my pride gets in the way.  Lord, work in and through me for your glory.


And now for the obligatory photo.

The quints in their natural habitat, all with looks on their faces that pretty accurately reflect their individual personalities.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's 9:15 Saturday morning

. . . and three of the five are crying because they "feed" off of each other emotionally and behaviorally, and Gracie decided that although she's exhausted a nap is not on her list of priorities. So Marcie is standing in her crib doing protest duty as well, and Seth is rolling around with his eyes closed, managing an occasional "word" or two on the subject. Things are quieting down quickly, thank God.

David and Will are either snoozing away or playing contentedly in their cribs. They are much the better sleepers.

So this is what I caught David doing this morning:

He did end up falling, but I was right there to catch him. So much for my grand plan to push the play house/garden up against the table to try to minimize gratuitous pulling down of the other toys! David is nothing if not determined.

Marcie is a charming but "brutish" little girl, plowing through everything in her path, taking anything she wants, flashing a three-toothed grin whenever she's noticed, and definitely not as cautious as David when planning and executing her moves. She falls a LOT. So if I had seen her doing this I would have had to run for her and not the camera! [We keep the camera right on the counter so we can catch moments as they happen for this reason.]

Ah, silence in the nursery. It's 9:23.

As an aside, we were given everything in this picture. Isn't the Lord GOOD to provide abundantly all the toys we could ever "need" and more?! And another box arrived this week; we're saving it to take on a Peterson family trip to Arkansas so the kids can enjoy new (to them) toys during their 5 days there. Thank you, Trevillian Family! I loved the enclosed colored picture, too. :)

I have to smile wryly when I look at our toys and think of the sticks and stones and seed pods and bush knives the kids in the villages of PNG play with. Toys there get filthy and broken almost immediately, but a bush knife is forever. 

Okay, I have to qualify that last statement so you don't think I'm being mean. They do indeed let their small children play with large knives (much to the chagrin of our clinic staff) because they will use them for the rest of their lives in various tasks required for living in their environment. It's mostly subsistence farming there. Also, the kids make really cool jungle toys out of the seed pods and sticks - mini "cars" are a common construction. I remember Isaac asking a Papua New Guinean kid to make him one, he thought they were so cool!  

We sure are looking forward to returning to PNG, so deeply appreciate prayer that Seth's eating would take off. His gag reflex seems to be so mental. When he's distracted by something else he does so much better opening his mouth and swallowing. 

I'll sign off for now. Love and gratitude!

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's 8:00 Friday morning

. . . and already Marcie has found and consumed all but the exoskeleton of a small beetle, Marcie and Will have broken into a K-cup and spread coffee grounds (thankfully decaf) all over their mouths, bodies and the floor, Marcie slipped on her own drool and hit the wood, and Seth vomited, then pooped in the bath and all over his towel.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Various pictures from today and yesterday


Grace's best Aussie impression

I caught David on the dishwasher!

Will was busy under the table "cleaning up" for Marcie, eating the pieces of food she'd dropped.
He happily also found a red spoon.

Seth doing his therapy (a.k.a. "playing")

And clearly he enjoys at least this variety of therapy!
David "helping" Daddy install cupboard kiddie locks (And no, he was in no danger from the drill bit even if it looks like his fingers are close to it in this picture. Gavin is very careful!)

Monday, July 15, 2013

So many cute pictures!

This is much less a "blog" and much more a photo journal now. Hope you don't mind. :)

Gavin and Gracie got back safely from CA, praise God, so all my little babies are back under one roof.

Seth had a wonderful pulmonology appointment today. The current low pressure system moving through our area has not thrown him for the loop the last one did, so that's a huge praise. He's also just over 19 pounds now and gaining well, another praise. Thanks for praying!

Seth was adorable at his appointment, showing off for the doctor and nurse and telling us all sorts of stories with great animation and plenty of chuckles thrown in. He also LOVES going to stores and riding in the cart like a big boy, and I love taking him and showing him off! It's fun when people have no idea I have four more his age at home. It's nice to just be a normal mommy once in a while (but still have all the other babies - don't get me wrong! I couldn't do without a single one!).


Grace again, still in California (see next two pictures too)

This picture is hilarious. It's fuzzy and Will is screaming because Seth is daring to touch him, but the whole point of the picture was so show off the boys' camouflage Crocs from our friends the Smiths, now in PNG. They gave them to us when the babies were still utero and I was terrified of the reality of quints. So these cute Crocs remind me of God's promise to be faithful during this whole journey. I didn't realize how much FUN it would be, too! This was at church. Matching outfits from Aunt Bev, cousin Julie and Chloe. Thank you!!!

My shopping buddy, Seth!

Seth loving the view at the doctor's today
(He scratched his face before I cut his fingernails today.)

Happy Seth! The nurse gave him her pen to distract him while she took his pulse-ox.

Gavin measuring Gracie on the cabin wall this morning before they left for the airport. This is another Camp Sierra tradition, like baths in the outside sink. (He had to add Seth's measurement after we were already gone because we forgot to do it while we were there. Oops.)

Without his passenger

David's new pasttime

David pushing Marcie. As I said on FB: She did the steering, he provided the brute strength. :)

More pictures from our big outing on Saturday

Posing with the Golden Cowboy statue. David looks very interested; Marcie and Seth look scared (in Sam's lap)

We did this in honor of Isaac, since he knows about Dreamworks's Shrek and Fiona
Marcie is with Sam, David is with Chloe, and Seth and Will are in the stroller. Seth was tired!!

The whole CA and TX gang, left to right: Me, Chloe with Marcie, Seth in front, Sam with David, my mom, Julie and her mom Aunt Bev, Will in front of them 
What?! The golden cowboy's cheek is pliable and surprisingly warm! Leave it to David to mess with the scary "statue"
Will is also on my lap, and apparently Marcie decided the cowboy wasn't so scary after all - she's touching his sleeve.

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

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

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