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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pictures Saturday June 29th

Hi everyone!

We've got some fussy babies around here, LOTS of teething going on, and some serious separation anxiety setting in. Even Gracie and Seth, our easiest, are starting to try to claim their share of Mom and others (which is good - we want them to assert themselves and not be forgotten in the shuffle!). It's flattering but not ultra-fun to be so desperately wanted. Of course, they still manage to be super cute and do funny things. Still, if you would please pray for happier, less pained babies, we'd appreciate it!

Last night Gavin and I nearly stepped on a copperhead snake (a baby one) right after our friend Ryan said, "Look out for copperheads around here!" Thank God we saw before we stepped. :}

In other news, Will pulled up on a bouncy seat yesterday all by himself! Yay, Will! So now he, David and Marcie can all pull up. Seth is so stable sitting he can really reach the toys in front of and around him. Not that he doesn't still occasionally topple over. He's still mostly tolerating his "bolus" feeds (more volume at once instead of small volumes continuously), and his oxygen saturation this morning was 99%! Praise God he hasn't needed any supplemental oxygen in nearly a week. We pray that continues!

Thanks for praying with us and for us - we need it and feel it! Thanks also to all you who serve us in so many ways, and a belated huge thank you to "Anonymous" for your gift(s) to our organization account. We are SO blessed!

Love in Christ,
Carrie

Marcie and Will (Will LOVES hanging upside down!)
The babies like to feel each other's faces.

A better picture of Will's face

Gracie's turn to see Marcie upside down!

It's hard to see in this picture, but Will got into the cedar mulch and was trying to eat it. There are small pieces all around his mouth. Then we dug a stone out of David's mouth. They are SO busy!! We came inside after that.

I went to Dallas Baptist University, as did my siblings, and my dad teaches there as an adjunct. Five new little Patriots!

Seth, Marcie, David, Isaac, Gracie, Will. Thank you for the shirts, DBU!

The whole crew. I can't believe our family has 8 people in it now!

And another one. It's really hard to get everyone looking at the camera at the same time!

David. The light on his chest is from the open window. 



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Best Grandpa story ever!!

Sent by one of my parents' best and "oldest" friends:


"A Timely Review of a Good Story about Grampa Neal"

At the time, Neal and Jane (“a single couple,” as we used to jokingly refer to couples without kids) were living next door to us at Lomalinda (LML) in the Miller’s home.  I had managed to get several half gallons of Crem Helado ice cream safely from Bogota to LML without melting and had them stored in our upright freezer.  As usual, it was a blistering hot day and, for some reason that I don’t remember, Jane was gone from LML. 

I told Neal about the ice cream in our freezer and told him I’d like to treat him to a big dish of ice cream.  However, I said, I’m only going to open the freezer door once, so he could choose his favorite flavor (vanilla, chocolate or strawberry) and tell me just how many scoops of ice cream he would like to have.  “Don’t hesitate,” I told him, “tell me how many scoops you’d REALLY like to have.”

Neal immediately told me his flavor would be chocolate.  But it took a little urging to get him to confess how much ice cream he’d like.  I told him I knew he was a big guy (then about 235 pounds of muscle) and I expected he might enjoy a fair amount of ice cream, and that it was OK to tell me what he really wanted.  Finally, he said it: “Five scoops.” 

I couldn’t help but smile as I dished them up – five big scoops of ice cream.  And I’m smiling now, having just read about the chocolate yogurt supplied by Neal to his grandchildren.  I can picture the look on his face as he decided not to wait any longer to bring them into the world of chocolate.  There is also something familiar about the number “five” and I can’t help but wonder if, sometime back, a smiling Heavenly Father was having a conversation with Neal much like mine, but not about scoops of ice cream.  “How many would you REALLY like,” God might have asked. 

- Frank Morgan (or "Morgbomb")


Our five delightful "scoops" in one "bowl": Seth, Marcie, David, Gracie, Will

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

So many cute babies!

My dad brought chocolate frozen yogurt home from Costco and the babies went after it like addicts! Will kept intercepting Gracie's spoonfuls of yogurt and finally grabbed the whole cup to drink straight out of. We couldn't get the yogurt into them fast enough! It was really hilarious. We dumped them all in the pool afterwards because they were such a mess. Will, as my dad said, wanted to bring along "the chalice of remembrance" (the empty yogurt cup). It's been a much-coveted toy ever since. Who knew a clear plastic cup could be the source of so much joy?

Gracie's turn with the mirror!

David goes EVERYWHERE now. He's into cabinets and drawers and Isaac's room (which I mostly baby-proofed today because Isaac likes having David in there with him). He and Marcie were feeling each other's faces and staring nose-to-nose today. Yesterday he bit her on the cheek. Today Gracie got it. He doesn't know how to give a real kiss yet!

Will and Seth at church yesterday. They just fell asleep on the rug.
Seth, praise God, hasn't need oxygen in 2 1/2 days!! Thank you for praying! I was also able to successfully feed him 3 oz. at once via the feeding tube instead of having to feed tiny amounts continuously, and he kept it down!

David, Will and Seth on the way home from church (note the cute coordinated plaid short outfits!).

Marcie Jane has a personality to match that smile, and also to match her SCREAM and squeals of frustration - demanding to be held or given a toy of her choice or left alone, as she feels the situation requires. (And no, we can't cater to her every whim as there are four other babies and a 9-year-old with needs and wants too!)

This is blurry but cute: Gracie, Will, Seth, Marcie, David

David standing over Seth, both playing with the same toy. David was laughing hysterically at Seth, like it was a big joke that he could stand up and peer over at his "little" brother (a minute younger but more than two pounds heavier!).

Marcie sleeping in the backyard this afternoon after the pool wore her out

Marcie, again

Seth (he loves the pool!)

Will is also a big fan of the water

Gracie and her impish, darling, sweet smile. She is saying a lot for herself these days - and loudly!

Sweet Grace again

I love Gracie's look of concentration when playing in this, her favorite toy station.

(No pool pictures of David - he was taking a nap.)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pictures Sunday the 23rd of June

In the pool, left to right: Gracie, Marcie, Seth in back, Will in front, David on the right
There's a little built-in fountain that Will likes. Thanks, Don and Sandy (and grandkids)! This is perfect!

David crawls and climbs everywhere! This is under our kitchen table
Poor Seth. David is trying to dunk him.

And again . . . the table


Marcie LOVES the mailbox on the Fisher Price garden! She puts things in and takes them out. Here Aunt Tracy is kindly playing along. :)

Will on extra van bench on the back porch

Gracie: Seat belts are always a favorite item to suck on

An oldie but goodie of David


Our famous nanny!

Hi everyone,

Samantha is back from Mexico, hooray! She told us that she was recognized and considered a bit of a celebrity thanks to Mary, a missionary there, reading and translating our blog to share with the women of the indigenous group with which she works. (Hi ladies/sisters in Christ!) Crazy, our blog being translated into a local language, something about which we are passionate to see happen with God's Word. We are deeply honored by Mary's efforts and touched at the ladies caring so much, and of course realize the translation of Scripture is infinitely more important. However, God has created our babies and saved their lives, so we hope He gets all the glory in these blog updates too! :)
The following pictures are from a blog post I started last month and didn't finish. I think I probably already posted the pictures, but don't have the time or energy to find out. Anyway, we participated in a Cystic Fibrosis (CF) walk at the Six Flags park near us in honor of Teddy on his and Samantha's wedding date. It was a very special time, and I think it's so kind that God caused the dates to coincide like that. What a fitting memorial for Teddy and substitute "celebration" (of Teddy's life and their love) for Sam. Of course, her greatest comfort is the knowledge that he is with his Savior in Heaven, and we'll get to meet/see him again someday! I'll enjoy getting to know the perfected CF-free Teddy in Eternity. As much as I know none of us are perfect here on earth, I'll say this for Teddy: He sure picked a winner in Samantha. :) 

Marcie in the back, Gracie in front, wearing their Cystic Fibrosis purple.
(Once again, thanks to Jan and Diana for the darling head bows! They were a HIT with onlookers!)
It was very moving to see the little kids who have CF. They are totally perfect in every way save an inherited genetic mutation that harms their lungs/digestive tracts (disease manifestation depends very much on the type and severity). Having had Seth be so sick with lung disease, not to mention digestion issues requiring a feeding tube, made me feel more for those kiddos and their parents, family and friends than I'm sure I would have before. In fact, a number of people thought Seth has CF because we had his oxygen and feeding pump both hooked up the whole time still. 
Seth's shirt says "Hail to Teddy" on it with the purple CF ribbon

Marcie in Aunt Sam's hand





Sam and Seth

Friday, June 21, 2013

I've graduated!

From the care of a psychiatrist, that is. :) I had such bad postpartum depression/OCD after Isaac's birth that I've been carefully followed during this whole quint journey. THANK and PRAISE THE LORD, it's been over 10 months since they were born and no postpartum issues besides the odd bad day or stressful week! I know it's completely due to God's grace in answering the prayers of so very many, and also providing all the people and help we've needed to stay sane, get sleep, get out, and everything else so vitally important to healthy mental balance. Our marriage has been blessed and protected too, as has Isaac and our relationship with him.

 I don't want to think of this as "Okay, we're out of the woods now," because I know we can't let our guard down in any of these areas, but I sure feel like we're off the deepest, darkest path in the densest part of the woods. However, "even darkness is as light to You," as David says in Psalm 139, and the scary, sad, upsetting days were still full of blessing and grace for each moment. I am watching Seth laugh at Lynée playing peekaboo with him as I type this, and I remember trying hard to let go of him when we knew we could lose him at any time. It was AWFUL seeing him in that plexiglass "box" with a tube down his throat, looking gorgeous and perfect the whole time he was shuddering and shaking with the effects of the oscillator, heavily addicted to pain and anti-anxiety meds. I still can't read the blog posts from back then. I praise God continuously for His mercy over Seth's little life and ours. Even though he is needing oxygen part-time again, I remember how his hospital treatment and recovery seemed to be two steps forward, one step back (and sometimes vice versa!) and see how very, very far he's come! And he's such a sweetheart through it all. :) He's a perpetual grinner when he catches our eyes, and his little chuckle almost always accompanies it.

Marcie pulled herself up on the plastic play house for the first time yesterday! And Will started soldier-crawling today. Seth comes SO close to rolling back to front and has started clapping his fat little hands with glee. (He loves being clapped for when he eats well, which he's doing more and more regularly!) David is climbing out of his seat at the table and out of the bathtub and kiddie pool, and has discovered that electronics can be unplugged from the wall. So far he's unplugged the baby scale and the oxygen concentrator. Grace LOVES to get the attention of her siblings with her laughing, babbling (ba-ba-ba-ba), and HUGE grins. Nothing makes her happier than interacting with the other babies. They laugh or screech at each other. Will, too, screeches to get the kids' attention. He screams at the top of his lungs when he feels overwhelmed or frustrated. He doesn't handle the chaos as well as the other babies do. :}

Will and the mirror



David (no, we're not Cardinal's fans; pretend this says Rangers on it)

Remember the picture of the kids watching Baby Einstein while on their tummies? Now it's crawling position!
Grace, Seth and Will

Love and gratitude, all glory to God!
Carrie
" . . . that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith." (Philippians 3:9, the verse that's been going through my head all day yesterday and today.) 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We won! (kind of)

We won a consolation prize in the James Avery contest! Our picture came in 8th, but the company ended up awarding more prizes than initially planned. We won a $500 gift card, very consoling indeed!

Thank you all for voting! What fun this was, and what fun it will be to spend the gift card in the store!!!! :)

Love,
Carrie

The winning shot (or rather, 7th runner up)


Things are starting to fall apart . . . 

The hint of hysteria in the my face is probably fairly normal



Seth still low-satting

After only two hours off this afternoon I had to put him back on oxygen because he was only satting 91%. Please pray he heals completely and can tolerate environmental changes better. I know it's something that will come in time as he grows new lung tissue. He weighed 18 lb 14 oz this morning! He's still the second biggest. Will is well over 20 lbs.

I've got to go to bed. Sam is at a Bible dedication/celebration in Mexico, so it's a little busier than normal right now. :)

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Marcie was quite taken by her own beautiful reflection in the plastic mirror. She kept laughing at herself; adorable!
(Please note, Larry Jones, that Marcie DOES have hair. It's just very light. And sparse.)

Mini-update

Seth did fine for 4 hours off oxygen this morning. I'll take him off for four hours this afternoon and hope and pray he does okay!

Also, he just had his occupational therapy reassessment and passed with flying colors, functioning right at his adjusted age. In other words, he picks up and waves and bangs toys appropriately, including banging two toys together, and he sits really well. He was so cute during the assessment. It was obvious he loved being the center of attention; he just kept grinning and making noises of delight at all of us.

On our way to visit the McIntoshes: "Can we go yet?"

Seth: a step back


The pulmonologist warned us that weather changes throw some of his kids for a loop; apparently Seth is one of those kids! Three nights ago I hooked him up to the monitor at bedtime and saw he was hovering around 89-90% blood oxygen saturation, well below his usual 95-100%. The other monitor read the same, and the inhaler didn't help. I hooked him up to oxygen at the lowest flow rate per minute, but within a few minutes Gavin had to get up and turn up the the machine to deliver 1/8th of a liter of oxygen per minute. The following morning (Monday), Seth's saturations were down in the low- to mid-80%'s. The weather had turned overnight from hot and dry to very wet and blustery. The sun came out again in the afternoon, but another thunderstorm came through early yesterday morning. Seth was still not satting great last night (91%), so he remained on oxygen. The doctor's office says to keep trying to wean him and give him the rescue inhaler and that this is very normal. If he isn't able to back down off of the oxygen at all by tomorrow afternoon I am supposed to call them for a chest x-ray to be sure he isn't fighting some sort of illness. He sure isn't acting like he's fighting anything. He's feisty and sweet and fun, playing like crazy! His eating isn't as great as it was, but he did eat a decent portion of his arrowroot cookie on his own yesterday. :)

On a MUCH happier note, Seth technically "failed" to re-qualify for physical therapy because he's come so far and is "only" a month behind where he should be, hooray! He's functioning on a six-month-old level with sitting skills and floor skills. In order to be at the 7-month level (for his adjusted age) he's got to learn to roll back to front (which he has an aversion to because of the g-button) and get up in crawling position on his own. So that's what we're working on, and I'm thankful Lynée is here every day to focus on helping him!

Thanks for continuing to pray for Seth and for all the other babies, who are thriving, praise God! We are unfathomably blessed.

Love and gratitude,
Carrie
Seth in the jumper with Aunt Pam babysitting. David is sitting in front of Pam. Marcie is trying to climb onto a toy.
Marcie in her Daddy's hand under the tree outside

Taken this morning: David, Will, Marcie, Gracie, Seth

Notice Will is looking at the fan as per normal. :)

David, Will (looking at his daddy this time), and Marcie, looking at her Cheerios. :)



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

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

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