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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Update Wednesday night, February 27th

Hi again everyone,

Thanks for praying for Gina and family. Please keep doing so. The funeral was beautiful but so, so sad. What a darling little boy! What a loving family, too. The little girls were sobbing; it was just heartbreaking. So please continue to remember them all as the Lord brings them to mind.

Now regarding our little boy: Seth had a good appointment with the gastroenterologist. She also suspects a milk protein allergy or intolerance, and when I looked online it does seem that he has all of the symptoms of the intolerance, anyway. He doesn't have a rash or any skin outbreak of any sort, but all the other symptoms of the allergy. I sure hope he outgrows it! In the meantime, he is going to be on a prescription elemental (amino acid) formula rather than any formula available from the store. It should be delivered tomorrow. He's also on an increased dose of Prevacid, another drug that helps the stomach be more elastic, and a third drug to help empty out his stomach sooner. Kinda crazy.

A hugely encouraging thing is how well he is overcoming his oral aversion. He actually sucked from and enjoyed his bottle yesterday, and today he was anticipating the baby food when it approached his mouth, opening his mouth, biting down and mouthing around. Hooray!

Jen is gone, but my cousin Jana is here now. It's such fun to see her! I love all these people coming to help with the babies and visit us. :)

Will is working the toys on his exersaucer with both hands at the same time now. He has deep dimples when he gives us his slow, big smile. He drinks 10 ounces at a sitting, no problem. His max was 14 oz, but then he threw it back up again. Oops! We limit him now. :) He weights 3 pounds more than the other boys! He's 15 ' 4 whereas David and Seth are 12 ' 5 each. David is screaming with laughter and delight much of the time, grabbing his toes, sucking his thumb, jumping whenever possible. Gracie is quick to flash her grin and talk/squeal at anyone who looks at her. She LOVES kicking up a storm in her bouncy chair to make the toys bounce rapidly around. She thinks that's just the best entertainment and is completely enraptured. Marcie is our easy-going charmer with an instant grin and delighted little head dip. Today she spent quite a while squealing with glee at her mobile in the swing. What social kiddos! Seth would prefer to be held all the time, but is also really good at playing with his toys and is holding his head up better and better. He seems to need a lot more sleep than the other kids. We're having to separate them all during nap times. David has Isaac's bed, Will has Sam's, Grace has ours, Marcie is in the nursery, and Seth has the living room. Whew! Our house in Ukarumpa has only 3 bedrooms and is 960 sq ft!! Something's gotta change when we get back there. (Speaking of which, the healthcare professionals are saying the prognosis for Seth is excellent! Thank you, Lord!!)

Now for the most recent adorable photos:

Grandpadad and his grandsons (David, Will, Seth, Isaac, left-to-right)

The jailbirds and their warden (David, Will, Seth, l-r)

Will's attempt at being Queen Amidala (that's David with my dad in the background)

One of Seth's therapy sessions

They all fit in a regular sized pack 'n' play
Left to right: David, Grace, Will, Marcie, Seth

Photo shoot for a British Christian women's magazine

Gracie

All the kids are starting to "hold" their own bottles.
(This bottle was inserted into a ducky specially designed as an aid for that purpose.)

So cute of Seth! I love the smile, and I love how Marcie is touching Will's head. 

David slept through this impromptu gathering of quints. Left to right: Seth, Marcie, Gracie, and Will lying down.
Grace is yawning.

Grace and Seth in the bath. You can see the extra pound-and-a-bit that Seth has on her. She is 11 lb 5 oz

Marcie and Chloe, who Gavin and I want to clone, she's so stinkin' cute!! Marcie is approaching 12 lbs in weight. 

David enjoying the fresh air on the porch a couple of days ago. Jumping is always his favorite activity!

David helping Grandpadad on the computer.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Desperate call for prayer for a friend

This isn't directly about us, but it is about the Jones quints. One of our beloved volunteers shockingly and suddenly lost her toddler son Jack in a tragic accident. I am asking for fervent, faithful prayer for Gina and her family from those of you who are believers in Christ Jesus. This news has me reeling, and I never even met Jack; I cannot begin to imagine the depth and breadth of the pain of this precious family, including Jack's young siblings. Please pray they will be drawn closely and eternally into the Father's everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27: "The Eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.")

Part of the devotional I read tonight follows:
I turn with dismay from church services that are treated like radio talk shows where everything sounds like chipper, frisky, high-spirited chatter designed to make people feel lighthearted and playful and bouncy. I look at those services and say to myself: Don't you know that people are sitting out there who are dying of cancer, whose marriage [or life] is a living hell, whose children have broken their hearts [or died suddenly], who are barely making it financially, who have just lost their job [or their child], who are lonely and frightened and misunderstood and depressed [and angry and rocked to the core by grief]? And you are going to try to create an atmosphere of bouncy, chipper, frisky, light-hearted, playful worship?
And, of course, there will be those who hear me say that and say: O, so you think what those people need is a morose, gloomy, sullen, dark, heavy atmosphere of solemnity?
No. What they need is to see and feel indomitable joy in Jesus in the midst of suffering and sorrow. "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." They need to taste that these church people are not playing games here. They are not using religion as a platform for the same-old, hyped-up self-help that the world offers every day. They need the greatness and the grandeur of God over their heads like galaxies of hope. They need the unfathomable crucified and risen Christ embracing them in love with blood all over his face and hands. And they need the thousand-mile-deep rock of God's word under their feet.

John Piper, http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/sorrowful-yet-always-rejoicing [bracketed words mine]

The thousand-mile-deep rock of God's word says all the days of Jack's life were written in God's book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). We do not know why his days were so few, but we do know from Scripture that God's purposes are never thwarted, that He IS love, and that He is more than able to redeem this agony for eternal good in the lives of Gina's family and many others. 

To God be the glory for Jack's life,
Carrie


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Seth is not doing so hot

Hi again everyone,

Thanks for continuing to check the blog, for praying and caring. Seth needs prayer still as he has had a bad night and day with lots of vomiting with mucus, weight loss (now just 1 oz above his discharge weight 3 weeks ago, having lost a couple of ounces in the last few days), and "crackles" in his lungs, which means water on the lungs. He doesn't seem to be sick, but the other babies (and Mom and Grandma) have had a touch of something gastrointestinal, so I hope and pray that's the only problem with the vomiting and weight loss. However, we're obviously concerned that Seth's lungs are getting worse rather than better. We have an appointment with the GI doc tomorrow, and I will call the pulmonologist in the morning, too.
I'm glad Seth came home fat! This was at his well baby check-up

This is so representative of our lives now, I had to include it: I am at one appointment with David and Grace and on the phone with another medical office about an upcoming appointment with Seth!

On a happier note, a British Christian women's magazine is sending a photographer to our place tomorrow to get photos for a "spread" they are doing on us. A free-lancer wrote the article from my point of view, and, well, let's just say it's very nice but not exactly what I would have written or how. I think I corrected the major inaccuracies; however, I couldn't rewrite the whole thing in my own voice, of course, and she is a good writer. This is her career, after all. :) She is a lovely woman and I very much enjoyed the interview!

A very sober but adorable Marcie and Will
The babies are SO much fun, more than ever! Sometimes I feel like I can't get enough of each one, so I put them all together on the couch and just talk and play with them. It's a total blast to get them smiling and laughing and talking back. David is the most squealingly happy, but Marcie and Grace aren't far behind, and Seth and Will have such sweet big smiles and coos and laughs too. They ALL love the interaction and conversation, even though David is the most quick to engage others with his talking and giggling. It just takes the others a tiny bit longer to attract attention since they are quieter.

Seth looks like a deer caught in the headlights. Marcie is licking Will's head. ;) Grace is just darling!

Marcie's having fun! The others smiled too, but I was never able to catch all three at the same time. 

David continues to roll over and be the most active of the babies. His very favorite things are jumping in someone's arms on their lap or being "flown" around the room on his daddy's hand. He just squeals and shrieks with delight! But when he's tired, watch out! He melts down FAST and needs his swaddle (still!) and to be put in bed, sometimes with his pacifier and sometimes without if he's just too tired to suck. He's our cutest baby boy. :)


David is helping hold his own bottle while Jen holds him

Today Will was ultra intent on rolling the clear cylinder (with interesting toy inside) on his exersaucer . Then he got obsessed with one of the upright wiggly toys on his Super Seat (the green and orange "Bumbo-like" baby seat by Summer with the toy/feeding ring inserted around it), trying to pull the toy off so he could get it in his mouth. It was adorable to watch him get frustrated! Poor guy. :) He's our handsomest baby boy and still the one who is most sensitive and easily heartbroken. He's a huge teddy bear who loves to cuddle as much as possible but also loves to stand or sit straight up while being held and watch what's happening around him. (A LOT is always happening around our babies!)

Will intently at work trying to disassemble his toy ring


Gracie had a rough week but seems to have emerged on the sunny side of the street, sitting and playing and laughing and talking and watching EVERYONE do EVERYTHING, then easily going down for a nap when she's worn out. Whew, glad that fussy stage ended! She would cry inconsolably off and on for hours, sometimes! For the first time I thought, "Okay, not ALL my babies are easy babies!" Now she's all delight again, adorable in her helmet with her little upturned nose inherited from Gavin's siblings and her huge gummy wide-mouthed smiles. She's our cutest little girl with what seems to be a super fun impish personality (Kelly, she really is YOUR baby!).

Gracie is the farthest from the camera, but this is how she spends a lot of her happy time. 
David is on the right, bald Marcie is on the left. I was bald until I was 2 years old!

David and Seth are enjoying the Baby Einstein classical music toy. They love the ball and rings especially. 
For part of the time they were holding hands - so cute!

Marcie is very interactive, but also the most calm and content when left to her own devices. She will lie on the floor for an hour or more just playing with the dangling toys above her or watching us walk around her. She's very quick to flash us a smile when she manages to catch our eye! She is ridiculously easy. She sleeps, eats, plays, sleeps, eats, then sleeps some more. She's easily scared, though, if she feels like she's falling, so she's got some additional sensitivity compared to the other babies. She is our most beautiful little girl with a sweet personality.
This is what you can do when two are hungry at once, in this case Marcie and Will. 
I love how Marcie has to hold Jen's hand!

Guess which one just woke up and which one is getting ready to go down for his nap? ;)

Seth is just the most beautiful baby boy in the world! I could fall into his big blue eyes. He has the most hair, and it's distinctly strawberry-blond like his mama's. :) He is so sweet even when distressed; he takes the vomiting, dry-heaving episodes so patiently. He'll awaken out of a sound sleep with a loud cry which means he's got lots of bubbles in his tummy that need to be vented, so we have to be ready to jump up to do that ASAP. He loves his baths, he has a darling crooked smile, he's doing great with tasting foods and breast milk, and he's saying "ma" and "ga" which I hear from the speech therapist is a good thing (consonants with vowels). He loves nothing more than to be played with in our arms or held up on our chests, looking over our shoulders to the wide world around him. Everything is very interesting to him! He also enjoys playing with dangling toys and is very good at it. :) At our well baby check-up a couple of days ago Jen managed to get him laughing hard. Adorable!

Seth with cute little rabbit ears - although again he looks more like a deer caught in the headlights!

I love each of these babies equally. I can't imagine living without a single one of them. I can't imagine raising them without all the amazing help we are getting right now! It's impossible to truly enjoy all the magical moments when I am overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, so I am eternally grateful to God for His provision of so many wonderful people to help in so many, many ways and to pray!

"Goodbye!" - Will and David


Love to you all,
Carrie

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Update on Seth and more pictures, Thursday

Hi everyone!

We had a well-baby checkup for Seth today. He is finally gaining weight, for which we thank God, but because he had been losing for a couple of weeks he's still just 100 grams (about 3 oz) above his discharge weight. His caloric intake has been increased again, and a huge praise is that he's tolerating it well! Please pray that continues. 

Another huge praise is how well he did with the speech therapist today, learning to tolerate things and tastes in his mouth. And yesterday he spent a good 20 minutes experimenting with the bottle and breast milk. He doesn't automatically throw up anymore! He tried pureed bananas today and really liked them!

Here are a few random, fun pictures and notes on the other babies.

Love and gratitude, 
Carrie

It takes a village! Our day at the Botanic Gardens. That's my bro-in-law Calvin who was carrying a baby in the front pack and pushing three others. Samantha has Marcie, and my mom and dad are enjoying some good conversation.


Will, David and Marcie are smiling for the docent at the Botanic Gardens

Three pairs of "eyes" on Gracie
Could David be any cuter? I love the froggy outfit plus helmet frogs. He is rolling over now! He did it five times in a row today - makes tummy time a lot more difficult as he just gets out of it!
I'm pretty impressed at his "athleticism" to be rolling over at 3.5 months adjusted age. :)

Gracie chillin' in her cool new shades from the Weaver kids. Thanks Tyrell, Addison, Katie and Abby for sending these along with your mom! Isaac loves them too! 

Poor David missed out on this photo shoot as he was sleeping.
Jen is holding Marcie and Will, Deb is holding Gracie and Seth. 

This is such a sweet picture of sleepy Seth. :) Thanks to Tyler for sending Jen (close friend from PNG) to us. It's wonderful to get to spend time with her again, not to mention she's a HUGE help! 

Cute picture of Marcie! And Will, with his puppy dog eyes. He drank 14 ounces in one go tonight! No wonder he's over 15 pounds! Today the kids went out in twos as Gracie was sleeping. Some days there aren't any times when all five are awake, and today was too gorgeous to miss!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pulmonology appointment

Hi all,

I incorrectly said we had a gastroenterology appointment today; it was pulmonology instead. The report was fine; not great (keeping the meds and oxygen level the same), but definitely WAY better than we ever thought humanly possible at this point!

Seth's lungs sound clear but still "stiff" with scar tissue, and as a result he still tends to breathe faster and shallower rather than slowly and deeply. He "head bobs" visibly when he's worked up about something - exciting or upsetting. But the specialist did comment on how healthy he looks, just as pretty much everyone has since the beginning. He said to give it a year or so and he'll be fine, so that was encouraging. He said even his patients who are still on the ventilator at Seth's age are running around and fine by 18 months to 2 years of age, so we're grateful for Seth's already vent-free life and the hope of returning to PNG before too terribly long! Thanks to so many of you who have prayed us through this; thanks for continuing to do so.

Another huge continued need for prayer is his needing to learn to eat by mouth and not gag and vomit; also that his reflux will continue to improve. He's been tolerating the breast milk way better than he had previously in the hospital, so I am very encouraged! He's not at all able to take anything by bottle anymore, though, so that's a huge regression. The therapist is coming to work with him starting Thursday. She warns us she won't be his favorite person, but also said he'll do just fine. We sure hope and pray so!

Love to you all, with overwhelming gratitude for Seth's life and happiness,
Carrie

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

And more random pics

Hey, it's the best way to blog; each picture is worth a thousand words but takes you much less time to enjoy! :o)

Gracie ("The eyes have it!")


Can you tell which baby was Laurie's favorite? She took the Gracie bath photo too. (In fact, she took all of these photos!) Again, thanks to Cecil and Lou's Threads for the adorable outfit! See previous post for more pics.

Our secret weapon for happy photo shoots: Big Brother Isaac, who never fails to get a laugh from at least a couple of the babies and ALWAYS from David! He's our laughingest baby by far, although Marcie and Grace are fairly merry, and Will and Seth have sweet smiles and chortles too. They just don't give them out quite as frequently.

Marcie loved her first experience with cereal! And her second, today.
We're just experimenting; nothing serious yet.

This gives you a closer few of David's helmet. I don't think he was quite so keen on the cereal, and Will was terrified of the spoon! He's a lion with a lamb's heart. :)

How cute is Marcie?! Thanks again, Laurie, for your visit and huge help and for loving all the babies, not just Grace. ;)

Botanic Gardens and another group photo shoot

All loaded up for the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens! That's Sam in the doorway; I'm the lucky driver - talk about PRECIOUS cargo!!! You can believe I was praying for safety and good wits about me. :)
Seth and Will are behind Marcie, Gracie and David in the front there. You can see David's new head-shaping helmet. If you look closely you might be able to read "PNG or bust" and "Welcome to the Zoo" with five little frogs (the quints). "Isaac" the monkey is on the side away from the camera.  Gracie's helmet just has her name and some owl eyes on it, but she wasn't wearing it just then. (We have to give their heads regular breaks until they adjust to the helmet.)

Not the best picture, but you get to see my beloved parents and at least some of the adorable kids loaded up and on their way! Will is in front, then David, Grace (note the owl eyes on her helmet in this shot), Marcie and finally poor Seth, hidden in the back since we need the basket back there to hold his oxygen tank. 

How CUTE are these outfits!?? Thanks to Cecil and Lou's Threads of Tyler, TX!! The smocking has little prince frogs cross-stiched into it. There are lots of gorgeous little details, including the bric-a-brac on the girls' sleeves. Left to right: Seth, Gracie, Will, Marcie and David
These three were so happy sitting there, they got their own photo shoot. David and Seth had had it with pictures!
David and Gracie are having a little chat


What could be cuter than baby legs and feet? (Answer: baby bottoms, but don't anticipate a future picture of those!)


Sunday, February 17, 2013

And LOTS more!

I am SO bad about blogging nowadays! Too much baby fun to be had! ;) We took them all to the Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens yesterday for my sister's birthday, which was quite the adventure and lots of fun, but that will have to be a post for another time. I need a nap! :)

Love to you all!
Carrie

Grace is small but mighty! In cry and in charm and in resistance to sleep. :)

Laurie was my babysitter when I was a baby! She came from Chicago to work for 9 days. THANK YOU!!
She also took most of these photos

Seth is almost always very happy! He's vomiting less, back on breast milk, but still hasn't gained weight, so thank you for praying. We'll let you know when we know more after our GI appointment tomorrow.

Marcie is the sweetest baby!

Seth having a great time after his bath. He was off his oxygen for 15 minutes and still satting in the high 90's!! Praise God; it's amazing to see how far he's come!!

Clearly Seth isn't losing too much weight :)

Sam MOVED from Michigan to live with us and be a much-needed third adult in our family! WE LOVE HER!!!
 Here we are at the quints' well-baby check-up. Dr. Hunke is wonderful! - as is all his staff!

Will, David, Marcie, Grace - Seth's appointment is this coming week

Grandpadad with Seth and David

Aunt Pam with David, her homeboy

Lynee, Laurie's sister and much-valued volunteer, with Seth

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day early with our own four-leaf clover! Grace at top, Will at 3 o'clock, David at 6 o'clock, and then Marcie. Seth was asleep and missed out.

Will, David, Grace and Marcie appear to be surprised at yet ANOTHER photo being taken of them!

Will and David are clearly yacking about something

This is the funniest picture of David!

Gracie's big eyes

Seth appears worried - maybe he misses his mate to the left there?

And now the circle is complete! Seth cranes his neck, he hates to miss anything! Marcie is the same.

Small but mighty Grace is yelling "Goodbye for now!"

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

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