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

Friday, January 31, 2014

photos from yesterday and today (1/31/14)

Marcie reading with Mommy
Marcie's cute new clothes from Len and Mickey!

David and Marcie reading with Ypie

David with the pony. I took this immediately after I finished the last blog post in which I noted that it was really hard to get photos of David because he's always on the go!

Box wars! David is crushing his big brother Will

Will fought back (he very much believes in survival of the fittest, i.e. himself). David was cracking up with laughter, although you can't see it in this photo


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gracie and her books, Seth and his slide, Will and his balloons, plus little bits of news



Grace received books from a lovely woman whose name I cannot remember as the package was inadvertently discarded before I wrote down the name and address! Please forgive me; I hope you are a blog reader since this is your "thank you." :) Grace continues to be the biggest reader; her favorite spot is on the hearth next to the books, or sitting in someone's lap being read to. She loves the books the NICU (UTSW/St. Paul's) gave the babies. Those seem to be a favorite among all the babies. They all seem to love reading, although David has more need for movement and doesn't sit down to flip through books much.





Seth is kind of obsessed with the slide and wants everyone to see him go down and applaud him. He is SO proud of himself and beams at us when he reaches the bottom.


Seth is walking with one foot (the left) pointing outward instead of straight, so we're restarting therapy to work on strengthening exercises and walking independently.

All of us but Gavin have colds. Seth and Will have bacterial tonsillitis, poor boys! Seth is amazingly perky nonetheless; Will shows his misery more. :( He's had a much higher fever, whereas Seth's has been very low-grade. [I wrote this a day or two ago; both boys are better now.]

The kids had their 18 month check-up today (even though they're not quite 18 months yet and are only 15 months adjusted age). If head circumference is an accurate predictor of future height, Gracie might be two inches taller than Marcie. Hard to imagine right now! She's still a pound-and-a-half below Marcie in weight. She hasn't even hit 18 pounds yet, but the doctor says she looks good. :) It was funny when he asked if she could identify body parts yet. We said we didn't know, so asked her where her eyes were. She immediately pointed to them. Then she pointed to her tiny nose on command, and when we asked her to point to her mouth she laughed and pointed at mine instead. David did the same thing, pointing at Gavin's nose instead of his own. (Gavin's nose is much more of a nose than David's is thus far!) The kids showed off some of their language skills in the office. They were very excited by the dogs on the walls and barked quite a bit. David said "goggie" half the time instead of doggie, which was cute!

The girls wore their new Valentine's outfits from Lynnette. Grace was so taken with the hearts on her skirt that she didn't look at the camera for this picture:

Our cute little neighbor boy asked me today how we know which baby is which, because "there's so much of them!" He was surprised that Isaac knew who Marcie was vs. Gracie (which Isaac did not know for many, many months!). It's such fun to have "twin" girls in our quint set. Today at the doctor's office another parent saw just the girls and said that our twins were beautiful. If only they knew . . .

I took Will shopping a couple of days ago. It was fun to have just one baby along and watch him take in the big wide world of Target and Tom Thumb. Wow, I had forgotten how much work even ONE baby is when you are out and about! My hat is off to all you moms who can only ever shop with one or more kiddos in tow. I normally plan my trips around our helper schedule, so I am spoiled.

Will LOVED the balloons left over from Isaac's party! He plowed into them over and over again, taking them around the living room with him. The other kids were pretty thrilled too, although Seth seemed a bit overwhelmed, he was so tired. (The party was a ton of fun! Lots of friends, balloons, Nerf guns, and running around outside - what could be better?!)

Did I already post these pictures?:
David on the slide. It's hard to get pictures of him, he's SO busy!
"Obi-Will-Kenobi"
He LOVED having the blanket on him like this and kept trying to arrange it just so!
Forgive me if these pics are repeats. I'm pretty sure you don't mind. ;) Love and gratitude to all!
Carrie

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Keeping Up With The Joneses - January 2014 Newsletter

This is our latest newsletter with information regarding our ministry with Wycliffe and our hopes and plans for the near future.

If you are having trouble viewing it, click here to download the PDF file.      

Friday, January 24, 2014

Marcie's hug addiction



Grace tolerated it; Will would have nothing to do with it!

This week's happenings

Megan built a couple of forts for the kiddos (here with Gracie)
Gracie in front of the fort

Marcie (Seth and fort behind her)


The whole gang (minus David) enjoying the fort



Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Courtney and Aunt Katie brought a petting zoo to us! There were four dogs in the house at one point. Crazy fun! Will, Marcie, David and Seth with Parker the dog. Grace is visible in the background.

Marcie, Gracie, Will, David, Seth (barely visible) with Parker and Paxton the dogs


Isaac turned 10!! I am so proud of my big boy! Here he's posing with a foam dart gun he bought using gift cards.
Isaac's party is tomorrow, but we had fun celebrating with family on his actual birthday. (My mom realized she was wearing the exact same sweater for his 10th birthday dinner that she wore in the delivery room the day he was born!)

As always, Grandpadad came to visit daily. His boys demand instant attention! David's making a funny face; oh well!

Monday, January 20, 2014

An Unfair Share of Hair

Really, Will is abundantly blessed with long locks. Especially as compared to some . . . David and Grace don't have much more than Gavin does, whereas Will has already had one haircut and desperately needs another! I was bald until I was two years old, though. My poor children! Marcie and Seth are definitely ready for a trim of their light, fine hair.
His hair flies in the air, even!
Thanks, Uncle Larry, for taking all these photos!
(Yet another picture from yesterday because he's so cute in this one!)
In my natural state: there's not much point to putting on real clothes until I'm ready to go out for the day. The babies ruin anything I am wearing! :) Sorry, dear Millers, that you were welcomed by a crew largely still in PJs! Babies left to right: Gracie, Will (of course!), Marcie in back and Seth in front, David chewing on a ball.


Marcie very intent on her play inside following outside playtime. Thanks, Judy and Jennifer, for "hosting" that!



Marcie has really been enjoying staying in the bath a loooooong time each night. She likes to be on her own, away from the other babies. She will take "projects," books, toys, any activity and sit with it for a long time by herself. She hates it when the other kids come along and mess up what she's been working on. One task is removing and replacing lids on jars.

A few more swing pictures

Marcie (love the floating hair!)

David

Seth

Gracie
Poor Will, I don't have a picture of him in the swing from yesterday. :}

Will in a dress (plus some more pictures) :)

What else is a mom to do when her small son gets into poison ivy, necessitating a quick stripping of pants and shoes? The only spare outfit in the diaper bag was a dress of the girls'.

A front view of Will's "skirt" with Marcie in the background

Gracie patting the goats (or "doggies" as Seth called them)

Left to right: Grace, Seth, Marcie

Will

David likes wearing the sand pail on his head as a hat. :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Video of Seth saying doggie

Chocolate faces

Thanks to Aunt Valarie, we got chocolate croissants! David looks like he has half an Italian moustachio 
In our quest to fatten Seth up we discovered he has a passion for Snickers. Don't worry, he gets healthy meals too. :)
He's too skinny for his height - 4th percentile for weight vs. 54th percentile for height. Prayers for weight gain are always appreciated! He certainly seems plenty perky, but he's got a ways to go to flesh out those bones. 

A couple of zoo pictures

Sorry, I thought I had more! They are on my dad's phone - coming later!

It was so different this time with the kids walking/running (all but Seth, still - he's still not ready to brave the hard ground more than a couple of steps!). My mom said, "We'd take them out of the stroller and they'd go in five different directions!" :) Thankfully we had both grandparents and Uncle Kenneth and Aunt Courtney.  It was essential to have that 1-on-1 ratio!

Will loved the tunnel in the mole rat part of the zoo. He kept crawling through it on his own, screaming the whole way. It really reverberated! The scream would gradually fade from one end of the tunnel while it increased in volume from the other end. Uncle Kenneth went through with the kids. They loved it!

Marcie is still in love with the mole rats, but Gracie was equally interested, as was Seth. It's so cute to hear their little voices talking about the mole rats and see their little fingers pointing!

The funnest part was definitely visiting the goats in the petting zoo. First off, Seth kept calling them "doggies." Gracie patted them with such force she broke up a large group that was quietly resting in the sun. (As I said to my mom, I know how the poor goats feel.) One goat gently nudged Grace off her feet to avoid being cornered - it was truly amazing how gentle those goats were! Will laughed and squealed and petted them, but his favorite was running through the large, deep puddle of goat urine. Yuck. Marcie and David were obsessed with the salt lick, especially the smaller pieces. They carried them around for a little while. Surprisingly, they did not try to actually lick them! Thankfully the kids didn't try to eat the droppings either. Still, when we walked in the door at home we could smell the barnyard on those kids! Straight into the bath they went. :)

Front to back: Will, David, Seth, Marcie and Gracie with the giraffes.
The kids saw the stroller out on the porch today, and Will and Grace started saying "bye-bye!" and climbing into it. 

Marcie, David, Gracie, Seth and Will with elephants in the far background, left. We saw some closer up. Seth was especially entranced. I don't think he called them doggies, though!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sufficient Grace

Dear all,

Wow, it's been a challenging few days in a several different ways!

First of all, I realized sometime last week that I am not as patient as I thought I was. I hate hearing myself be so snappish and feeling so aggravated with all these little toddlers or with my poor hubby in the midst of all the chaos. I wish I could be as good-humored and unruffled as I know I should be. They are just babies and most times they can't be expected to (for example) stay out of the toilet if they see it open and inviting! :} I just about lost it today when they were all ready for the zoo in cute matching outfits and I found them in our bathroom with wads of sopping wet toilet paper in their fists and in and around the toilet, and even my body lotion in the toilet! So much for my perfectly laid plans to get them out the door in a somewhat ordered and cute manner. Instead, toilet paper and my toiletries still littered the bathroom floor when we left, Marcie's shirt needed to be changed, and Gavin and I had to wash all those little hands and arms. I felt like such a failure! I know, it's no big deal, and normally I would mostly agree, but today I didn't do so great. I need help; I need prayer, and I need to remember that God's grace is sufficient for me, that His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I am very, very weak. Good thing God's power and grace is infinite! :)

Along those lines, I was less gracious than I should have been in a previous post when I mentioned specific religions. I can't back down regarding the truth of the Holy Bible, but I wish I hadn't come across so antagonistic to certain groups in particular. Please forgive me!

Also, in planning our trip back to PNG (now aiming for mid-June!), the flight has loomed like our own personal Goliath. I just read Matthew 14 about Jesus coming to His disciples in the midst of the storm, Peter walking on water to him but then focusing on the wind and waves instead of on Jesus, and about how Jesus had to reach out and save him, take him back to the boat, and calm the storm. I feel like the whole transition to PNG - in particular the flights and time change adjustments - is a threatening storm. Please pray we keep our eyes on Jesus, trust Him to tell us when to get out of the boat (the "boat" being life here in the US), trust Him to carry us through, and that He would even cause the "winds" to die down so these new waters aren't nearly as rough as we're tempted to fear. (Gavin pointed out that we are planning something no one has ever done before: move year-and-a-half-old quintuplets to the other side of the world, including at least one 14-hour flight! And yes, we are praying/planning for three more adults. We realize there is NO WAY we can do this by ourselves!)

I am soooooooooooo tired tonight, even after many nights of great sleep in a row. I feel like I need a nap every day in order to not drag big-time by 8 p.m.! We had a great day at the zoo (and pictures to follow), but I need to head to bed because it's an earlier morning than usual tomorrow.

The kids sure were cute and endearing today, though. ;)

Love to all,
Carrie

Beautiful Marcie in new Christmas gift clothes
Beautiful Grace strutting her stuff before church on Sunday. I love matching the girls especially. :)
It was SO much fun to pick out these outfits for them - thank you Thauts!

David dumps books, pacifiers, toys, chewable vitamins, anything in the laundry. He also threw a block into the diaper pail.

Grandpadad with his people, as he calls them. Will, Marcie, David, Seth, Gracie. Beautiful weather!!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Marcie looking for Gracie's shoe

This is so cute! The backstory: Gracie didn't want Will or Marcie to climb on the hearth with her, so she tried in vain to push them off. She couldn't help laughing, though, when Marcie started laughing at her. Pay closer attention when it gets to the part where Marcie is biting Gracie's legging. Just then she looks down and notices Gracie has only a sock on, no shoe. "Uh-oh!" All play must come to a halt while Marcie searches for the shoe, even under the cushion on the floor!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Seth's health and our first step to PNG!

Seth's pulmonology appointment on Monday was excellent! His doctor was very pleased at Seth's progress (it's been three months since his last visit, I think), including his having weathered two colds without any problem and successfully discontinued all oral medications. He appears to no longer needs his "rescue" inhaler as his lungs don't seem to close up and need to be re-opened. In April, if Seth is continuing to thrive, the pulmonologist will take him off his anti-inflammatory inhaler. That will be the last! We PRAY that Seth truly no longer needs/will need these medications and that he can thrive in Papua New Guinea as well as he has here the past few months. His lungs will continue to grow in the coming months, and we continue to pray he makes it through the winter without any problems. 

In addition, Seth has gained five ounces in the past few days! He hasn't been tube fed at all for a week-and-a-half, so that makes his weight gain extra exciting! He eats SO well, often better than the other kids. He also drinks really well, something I cannot take for granted, especially since I met a lady whose son is two years old and still can't drink even though he eats food. She was giving him a drink through his tube in the waiting room at the pulmonologist - and he had been born past 30 weeks gestationally, plus he was a single baby! We are so awed and humbled by what the Lord has chosen to do in our situation, through absolutely no merit or action of our own. As the pulmonologist said, for us to have had quintuplets prior to 28 weeks gestational age (i.e. 3 months early) and for not one to have any lasting health issues or require medication (besides Seth's remaining inhaler and Nexium), it's just astonishing, humanly speaking. I know other quints have been as healthy or much healthier than ours, but they were born later than ours. I was hoping and praying to carry our babies a lot longer, and God's answer to that request was "no." He had other plans for us and our kids; hard plans, but GOOD plans. He saved Seth's life, but He would have been good even if He had said "no" to that request. Goodness is His very character. God was good during Gavin's battle with leukemia as a kid, during my miscarriage and ectopic rupture, during my years of infertility, during every other trial and grief that has filtered through His fingers into our lives, and He WILL be good for the rest of our lives and for all eternity.  All the glory for the blessings He has showered on us is His alone, including the blessings that at the time were a "severe mercy," (e.g. the peace that passes understanding that I felt when we were driving to the hospital in late October, thinking we would be saying goodbye to Seth that day). We can never say thank you enough to those of you who have prayed for us, especially for Seth! 

To those of you who don't know the God of the Universe as your Father, the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and your Lord, and the Holy Spirit as your Comforter, Counselor and Seal of salvation: I can't not tell you that God's goodness demands a response. Non-responsiveness is equivalent to a "no" answer. We are studying Matthew 13 in Bible Study Fellowship right now, and I have been struck more than ever by the decision Jesus requires.  He does't mince words when he gives this warning, not once but twice in that chapter (which means it's REALLY important!): Accept Him as Savior and Lord and become part of the Kingdom of Heaven and live forever. Or ignore/reject Him,  refuse to allow Jesus Christ to be the Lord/Ruler of our lives, deny that we need a Savior (or insist that we can somehow save ourselves or find an alternate way to God, or just choose a false god), and be cast away into outer darkness, a fiery furnace where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Horrible, terrible, awful, horrendous thought, the idea of eternal torment! But God's warning and His loving promise are both crystal-clear: All of us have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and the penalty for sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 6:23) He loves us so much He sent His Son to deliver us from our sin. It's the only way we can approach the infinitely perfect and holy God, and each of us has to make the decision: believe Him and be saved, reject or ignore Him and be destroyed. Those who know the truth can't keep silent if we love those around us who are lost and heading for hell. It would be like running away from a wildfire but not warning loved ones living in its path! Please accept this "letter" as proof of the love I have for those of you precious people who follow our blog! I feel like we've been on an amazing journey together, and I'd love for that journey to continue - I think it's fixin' to get even more interesting when we head back overseas! ;) 

As for my authority regarding the truth about Heaven and Hell, of course it's the Bible, the most accurate and singularly reliable Book of all time. It's truly miraculous, if you look at the number of the most reliable ancient manuscripts of books of the Bible and how they agree with one another! Read Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell if you are interested or need more proof. [By the way, the "new revelations" of certain religions or sects proclaim a Jesus who is only "a" son of God, and their bibles or holy books are not the true Word of God but a "new translation."] This is why Gavin and I are passionate about the work of Bible translation in Papua New Guinea and around the world. The True Word brings LIFE everlasting! We can hardly wait to rejoin our colleagues in PNG and contribute in some small way to God's Kingdom advancing there.

A blurry but kind of fun photo of us at the passport office in Grand Prairie. My brave parents helped corral kids until they could be "sighted," photographed, and all the paperwork could be completed and signed. The kids ended up in the lobby during the wait, running around, playing on the janitor's cart any chance they got (fleeting, at best), and trying to escape out the door. It was chaotic! 

Indoor play when it's cold outside!

Loving their slide! (Thanks, Penningtons!)
Grace (with Seth on the stairs)

Marcie and Seth on top; Gracie is climbing the slide behind Marcie

Seth is king of the mountain

All the kids love to read, but Grace is the most into it right now. She perches on the hearth and turns pages like a big girl. 



How pathetic does Will look? (We were taking his passport photo.)

Will wedges himself under the couch at times
Sometimes we HAVE to go outside, no matter how cold! Seth is my little tiger, as his jacket says. :)



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

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

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