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, December 28, 2014

Christmas and Homesickness

Hi all,

I've been working on this blog post for over a week and just haven't known how to finish it. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that Christmas makes me miss "home," my family of birth. Also lots of other things (and people!) in the U.S., although I am still immeasurably grateful to be here in PNG with six healthy, happy kids! I treasure my friends who have become family here, and I will soon receive family in the form of my "in-loves," Gavin's parents! They arrive mid-January - woo-hoo!! That will be such a nice boost and huge blessing! If you think of it, please pray for their transition.

As I wrote my mom-in-love today, I wish I could say our Christmas Day was magical, but honestly it was mostly just hard. Life just isn't "easy" with five two-year-olds, so it was more of a gut-it-out kind of day. I really missed the magic of Christmas, including the Christmas Eve carol service that didn't start until 9 p.m., so we had to miss it (no babysitters!). I was just super homesick for the first time since arriving back here. Thankfully, it was just Christmas Day and the day after (which was Christmas Day back in the US) that were hard for me. The 23rd and 24th were great days with friends! So having two hard days out of the whole season of really good days is nothing to complain about. I know each year will be different, and, Lord willing, the magic of Christmas Day itself will return at some point before too much longer. Gavin often talks of how eager he is for the kids to get older, and I keep thinking I want them to be small as long as possible, but some nights we fall into bed and I realize, "We NEED these kids to grow up!" It's just so constant and exhausting at these younger ages. However, it's certainly a very good, rich, blessing-filled life at the same time, and they are SO cute! Sometimes in life lots of blessings equal lots of work [I know anyone who's ever taken care of children can say a hearty, "true, true!" to that statement!].

Speaking of the kids being cute: Gracie speaks in all full sentences now. "It's my turn to swing!" "Daddy, I need you to help me with my pants!" "Mommy, look at me!" It's always so startling to hear a full sentence come from that tiny body. Last night Gracie told me I was a "good girl, Mommy!" for helping her find a toy behind Will's bed. She also says about thunder "They're talking in the clouds!" and when I said it was time to go to bed last night she said, "No, first I want to play with the cars!" She is SO verbal! She has a running commentary about her life. "I got the blanket." "I put the binkie nigh-night" [We make them leave their pacifiers in the crib.] "I need help to open this." "I need to wear the pretty clothes. This is Marcie's clothes." She tells the other kids to "move back!" when they are in her way, but she also says "thank you" without being prompted, "bless you" when someone sneezes, and used to say "excuse me," but I haven't heard her say that in a while. Marcie is also very verbal and strings plenty of words together to communicate. Will is definitely stringing words and concepts together. Seth and David still mostly just talk in short sentences. Seth's current favorite thing to say is, "No! My turn!" He is definitely the most mischievous right now. There is nothing lacking in his energy level, even if all his ribs show and his hips look hollow.  Since his last check-up he's only netted a gain of 2 oz despite an initial jump of a full pound. So weight for height, he's actually skinnier now that he was at his appointment in November when he was only in the 5th percentile for weight. So please keep praying as you think of it, please. I have been convicted of my lack of perseverance in prayer. I think, "Problem solved!" and move on, but this is one issue we're going to need to continue keeping an eye on in prayerful anticipation of God's work in Seth's life. He's been SO healthy, it's awesome, so we praise God for that.

The other day I told Will that God made him big and strong, and that it was his job to take care of and protect the littler kids. He grinned his dimpled grin and went around the room gentling touching each of the other kids' blond heads in turn, as if blessing them. He loves being told that God made him big and strong, and he tries to repeat the words. David continues to be a little engineering genius, Marcie takes care of everyone and everything she sees that needs doing (in a sweet, motherly way - she loves to wipe noses), and Seth tackles life and challenges head-on with a heart of bursting affection for his sisters. Will and David are the big wrestlers now. They laugh so hard at each other! The girls and Seth keep their hug games to themselves. It's adorable!

They all say "keput" instead of "ketchup," and four of the five would drink the stuff if they could (David especially). Seth is not such a fan.

I can hear the boys playing in the huge water puddle below our study window. That will be fun to clean up . . .

I'll attach some pictures (such as they are - sorry, we didn't get many good ones) and get off for now. The kids need me to work on lunch!

Love and gratitude,
Carrie for all

Isaac opening his stocking. Yes, Pringles and Fanta are big deal and great stocking stuffer on the mission field! :)
Gracie putting the shoes on her Anna doll
Isaac showing Will the finer points of his new Tonka firetruck (Marcie in the background)

David was obsessed with this truck. As you can see, he takes it very seriously. It's still the one he looks for. He knows it's his!

Happy mayhem! Our little friend Annika sent a card wishing us a Merry and Messy Christmas, and she was right on! Seth loved this little puppy book he got. He read it for days!

This was my brother's favorite book as a kid: Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things that Go. As soon as Will unwrapped it he temporarily forgot all about the cars and trucks and trains he had to play with, and he's been enamored with the book ever since! In this picture he just finished saying "Yellow truck!"

The kids goofing off with their floaties yesterday (we went to a nearby pool - fun! Pictures to follow.) I couldn't get Seth to stand still long enough to take a decent picture of him:

Marcie (taken through a dirty camera lens yet again)
Gracie (seriously, isn't she so cute?! She's the only one who would really pose for me)

David doing a great Queen Amidala impression

Will grinning because I took his floatie off

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

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

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