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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Video of kids dancing and Will "reading"

This is funny at the end when Will says "kaikai!" ("food" in Pidgin) and pretends to eat the food on the pages of his book. You can also hear him saying "Mynana!" which is how the kids say banana.

Increasingly amazing big boy

I can't forget Isaac, especially since this very evening I was telling Gavin what an incredible help he's been with the toddlers. He's like a 3rd parent, and he really steps up when Dad isn't around to help me out. He's so willing and happy to jump in and do what needs to be done, especially if it involves caring for or entertaining the babies. He's super loving (yet firm) and he makes so many things fun for them! Even taking off their clothes so they can get their diaper changed and their jammies on becomes a laughing "battle." No wonder David wouldn't let Isaac leave the church nursery on Sunday, and when we were gone to our Aviation Department Christmas party Will would only stop crying when Isaac was holding him! [The poor babysitters, I feel so sorry for them!]

Besides being Big Brother Extraordinaire, he's also a sweet, thoughtful, bright, creative, imaginative and all-around delightful oldest son. He loves his Savior, Heavenly Father, and is sensitive to the Holy Spirit working in him. I really enjoy reading to him in the evenings before his bedtime and hearing what he's got to say about God's Word, his life, and his day. He is funny and clever, and his insights into God's character and/or Scripture and its application to his life bless me!

He's doing well in school, loves his friends and his teacher, and still misses Peter and Megan. There are lots of blessings about being a missionary kid - for one, his friend group here is huge, with lots of families living right near us - but there are definite sacrifices as well, and Peter and Megan are his two biggest.

Today a very large group of kids met on the playing field outside our house and played a massive version of tag, kind of like sardines and capture-the-flag mixed together. I forget what it's called - "Aunt Nelly" or something. It's the latest thing here and he LOVES it!

Isaac eats voraciously. He keeps reminding me that he's going through a growth spurt, and judging by how small his clothes are getting I'd say he's right! He also reads voraciously, and one of his favorite things is to sit down with a bowl of cereal or cheesy tortilla and read while he chows down. He's also a very gifted and prolific (at least for 4th grade) writer. He writes just for the fun of it, and his loooong stories and essays are great! Some of the words he uses are really surprising for his age, as are some of the phrases and ways of expressing himself. I'll have to see if he'll let me post some of his writing.

Anyway, that's our boy and we're nuts about him! His favorite things, besides food, reading, writing, and playing games with friends, are Nerf guns (still!), Star Wars, Calvin and Hobbes, and Foxtrot comics. (Sorry, Peter; we accidentally packed some of your books!) Of all the candy in the US, he most misses Nerds and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups - but I can make a pretty good knock-off version of chocolate-covered peanut butter balls, thank goodness!

To God be the glory for each of our kids, for all He has done in our lives - stretching into eternity with Him, and most of all for Who He is!

Love,
Carrie

Psalm 115:1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Okay, this is kind of funny. I thought this was a picture of him reading, but no, he's playing on the iPad. Oh well, he's a normal kid! :) 



Increasingly amazing tots (at least WE think so)

We figure genetically David must be the result of Medefind genes (Gavin's mom's side). Otherwise we'd be saying, "Where did this kid come from?!" He is almost scarily neat and clean, with a sense of things needing to be put in their right place. He cleans up without being told to, even after building a long train and dumping the entire box of tracks to find just what he needs. When he's done, back it ALL goes into the right box, along with anything else that's "messy" on his floor. When we asked him to clean some dead flower petals off the floor he cleaned up EVERYTHING on the floor. It is very surprising to us, two not-quite-so-neat-nicks who would really appreciate the extra help as he grows up! He throws all trash over the kitchen gate since he knows that's where we throw out the majority of our trash (and we can't keep a trash can accessible to the kids). He'll clean up anything we ask him to and he knows where most everything goes. - although today he put the dirty socks with the shoes rather than in the laundry pile. Pretty close, David! :)

These Duplo blocks were ALL over Seth's room. Not anymore! Not only did David put them all in the box to which they belonged, he also set up a lovely little train scene in front. When he left the room and spotted some more blocks in the hallway he had to go back and put them in the green bucket too. Far be it from him to leave something untidied! (I think of "Aunt" Deb Martin a lot, too. She used to call our kids home-wreckers, they were so destructive of her cleanup work! David clearly broke that mold!)
Will, on the other hand, thinks in order to find the best book one really must empty the bookshelves of all the books and sit on the pile to make his selection. Hence the mess in the book-reading video I just posted. Will has an incredibly sweet, friendly spirit, however, saying "hi," "bye" or "apinun" (good afternoon) and now even "morning!" to just about everyone who passes. He's so winsome! Especially with his dimples and grin. And he's biting a LOT less, praise God! He loves to give kisses now instead (even when they're not wanted sometimes by Seth in particular). He makes a smiling tongue click instead of a lip smack, so it both looks and sounds particularly cute.

Gracie is small, sweet and spunky. She loves her blankies, her stuffed animals, cuddling and dancing and can really push back when she is imposed upon by her larger siblings. She still has that tiny little voice with its adorable inflections, but she says so many words and sentences so clearly now! When she sees her "Aunt" Sarah or "Aunt" Kelly, she leans out to them or walks up to them with arms outstretched and whimpers until they pick her up. She's a little love.

Marcie, our charming, engaging "little mother," sometimes has ideas for what the other kids should be doing or wearing that are contrary to the kids' ideas for themselves. Gracie usually tolerates it remarkably well, even with a grin. David tends to laugh at her, but the other boys usually yell "no!" and push her away. Just now she decided that Gracie's pacifier/"binky" needed to go "nigh-night" and ran it back to the crib, in keeping with our rule that they not have pacifiers outside of their cribs. The funny thing is, Marcie kept her OWN pacifier. She also relented when Gracie started fussing and brought back Gracie's pacifier. So I'd say she's a pretty typical mother. I'm tempted to let them have their pacifiers today when they're not feeling well. ;)

Seth is definitely getting a mind of his own. If he sees kids coming to the kitchen gate when I'm preparing what he thinks is his milk, he doesn't hesitate to shove them away and tell them no! He's a little fighter and he tackles any challenges he can spot. I think he's trying to take up parcour*, finding the most creative way from point A to point B. He frequently ends up in a very tenuous, desperate situation, needing Gavin or Isaac or me to come rescue him! Anything the other kids do, he has to do too. He surprises us with how well he does them, too! (This from the kid who was in physical therapy due to flat feet. He still has a natural, normal clumsiness that aggravates him and us sometimes!) He continues to be our biggest reader and animal-lover. He also loves people still but is becoming more clingy, usually preferring his own family. We are honored. :) He especially asks about Gracie throughout the day if she's not around at the moment. Usually she's still in bed as Seth is our early riser. It's precious how much he adores her!
  1. *Parcour: the activity or sport of moving rapidly through an area, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing.

Doesn't Seth seem to being saying, "What??!" in this photo, as though turning one's bowl upside down over one's head instead of eating the requested cereal inside is a perfectly normal option?

Marcie just kissed Gracie's binky "nigh-night" while the binky was still in Gracie's mouth. Gracie shrieked to prevent her from actually taking the binky nigh-night.

I'd better run and change Will's diaper. The kids have diarrhea. Yuck. :( Thanks for your prayers!

Love and gratitude,
Carrie (finally finishing a post I started late this morning!)

The messy reality: On the same day David dazzled us with his clean-up skills in Seth's room, he came into the kitchen, rummaged through the cupboards, found the [expensive] powdered coffee creamer and dumped it all over. Maybe he was trying to clean it up with his hands - you can see the finger smears. I could have screamed. (But aren't the footprints on the top-righthand-side cute?!)


Play dough!

We knew it was only a matter of time before they were ready to play with rather than eat the play dough. Finally that day arrived last week. It's a huge hit with Marcie in particular. I think partly because it allows her to feel like a little mother making things with her hands and a mini rolling pin and cookie cutters. Those are her favorite implements.

Thankfully, Aunt Debbie M. has a great recipe for homemade play dough and was daring enough to try it with our kids! :)








Video of the kids' tickle game

Be forewarned that videos in our house usually include children getting hurt or hurting each other or otherwise crying. It's the sad reality (I've watched Jon and Katie Plus 8 back in their early days when their kids were two, too!). Helps you know how to pray, right?! ;)

In this video Seth was very tired, so when he had a minor trip onto a soft rug he nonetheless couldn't cope.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Video of Seth and Will reading

3 a.m. illnesses and other exciting happenings

We're excited that Seth is eating like a trencherman, as evidenced by this picture! Thank you for praying; we praise God for what He's done! Seth has gained about a pound since I first posted a couple weeks ago. Turns out he LOVES chicken on the bone! All the kids do. Too bad it's not cheap like rice and beans. ;) 
The kids after church last Sunday. I love how Marcie (with Aunt Natalie's beautiful handmade headband) is checking on Seth. Always the little mother, that Marcie. She and Gracie were sitting together on the couch today reading books (and wearing the same dress as in this picture, incidentally - they are VERY insistent on wearing "pretty clothes" every day now). Gracie started humming/singing, and Marcie started imitating her, tone for tone. That made Gracie laugh, so she kept singing and Marcie kept mimicking her, which made both of them laugh and was very sweet to watch. I missed the photo op, however, because I was changing Will's diaper. 

Speaking of which, Will was the "exciting" 3 a.m. illness (and 10 p.m., and 10:30 p.m., and 11:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. and finally 6 a.m. illness). That poor child kept throwing up even when there was nothing left to throw up. It reminded me of poor Gavin's experience during our medevac last month due to the piece of meat stuck in his esophagus. :( Miserable. So please pray no one else gets it, especially since Gavin is now gone until tomorrow late afternoon/evening. He's flying Bible translators around, so that's exciting for him! I'm always happy when he can do what he loves. I just hope and pray I don't have a night like last night. Too "exciting" (and exhausting) for my taste! :)

My beautiful sister and her beautiful son
A new baby is so exciting! (and exhausting)



Yet another group picture thanks to Aunt Debbie, with most of the kids'  clothes thanks to the Starlings!

Marcie, Will, Gracie. These kids have definitely learned how to pose, haven't they??
Will was obviously feeling fine when this picture was taken. 

Gracie wearing her traveling harness/backpack. The kids are really into them again right now.
She's wearing it again as I type this, sitting on my lap.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Grateful for books and quiet (relatively)

Will isn't so quiet while reading because he loves doing sound effects and "reading" aloud. He has the world's scariest "MOOOOOOO!!!!!" for cows. He does it LOUD and deep in his throat, including during church last Sunday, enough that we could easily hear him (he was in the nursery) and had to keep back our giggles.

Marcie tried to read "Marcie's book" to Gracie tonight. Gracie didn't want to sit and be read to, even though Marcie pursued her with the book, trying to tempt her.

The kids seem to really have taken off in their group play. They make up games that they all play together, laughing hysterically and not squabbling nearly as much as before. One game involves somersaulting into Marcie's crib and landing on their backs. Another involves falling down as dramatically as possible, all in a row, and catching themselves at the last moment with their hands. They're very good at it! David started that one. They also love to dance together and wrestle and play follow-the-leader through obstacle courses usually built by their brother and involving couch cushions. They go round and round and round, laughing all the way. Another favorite activity is climbing through the holes in the wide elastic mesh of our couch seat (it's got that instead of plywood so that the bottom seat has more "give" and is more comfy). The mesh moves enough so they can wriggle through, and they all think it's hilarious. They also used to love climbing onto the changing table, but two nights ago it fell over almost on top of them (I was right there and could grab it), so they've learned their lesson - I hope. It's lightweight enough not to pose any real danger, but it scared them! A good scare is a good thing now and then. :)

Sweet Seth fingers



You can see Will's lips making the "choo-choo" sound!


Loving age 2!

David is an incredible train-builder. He did this this morning before I went in to get him up (yes, he can climb out of his crib). His longest train to date was 22 cars. I think that's pretty amazing for a just-two-year-old. Of course, I think all my kids are amazing in their own unique ways. :)

Marcie loves to put on other people's shoes, in this case Sarah's boots.
Marcie loves this chair at Aunt Debbie's house


More great group shots by Aunt Debbie! Thanks for the CUTE clothes, Aunt Carlene!


David's happy face
Sweet siblings! (Most of the time.) Will is biting a lot less!



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Glamorous Gracie

Gracie saw this dress in her closet and was bound and determined to wear it that day. Marcie was convinced I must have another one somewhere just like it (since so many of their outfits match), but alas, this was a used item from someone and there's just the one! Gracie was enchanted by her own appearance and kept reaching down to touch her skirt and admire it. She was shyly and happily self-conscious when anyone else was around because she knew she looked gorgeous and thought surely everyone else would notice too. Soooooooo cute! You can totally tell by the pictures that she's loving her glamorous self, all 19 precious pounds!





"Flower child" Gracie. Marcie refused to pose in this outfit. I waited too long to get the camera out.

The girls enjoying a book together


My new nephew came early!

My precious, gorgeous little nephew Foster arrived almost a month early, but at 6 lb 14 oz he was no regular preemie! He was more than three of our quints' birth weights combined and is perfectly healthy, praise God. My baby sister has a baby - how crazy that seems to me! She seems like such a natural mommy, like she's always been one. I am so proud of her it almost hurts.

 I want to reach through the camera and cuddle and kiss this little guy! Times like this make it VERY hard to be on the other side of the world, although there are a ton of blessings here, too. But none of them are named Foster, and none of them are this tiny and perfect. I love to just gaze on him. :)



(Okay, seriously: She JUST gave birth the day before. Could she be any more beautiful!?? I was so swollen afterwards!)

Update on Seth; lots of pictures!

I thought I would be really good about blogging when I got to PNG since there isn't much to do at night here. I was clearly wrong. By the time night rolls around, I am all out of energy to sit and think and post (which is why at most I usually just put up pictures). And this time I wanted to write about Seth's appointment last Thursday with our pediatrician as I promised last week. So at long last, here it is:

She used the adjusted age to compare his height to other kids on the USA growth chart and he's 10th percentile. That's still in the range of normal, although he's dropped from above the 50th. And while he IS very skinny at only 5th percentile for weight (adjusted for prematurity), he has gained a little over two pounds since we arrived in PNG back in June, which is normal weight gain in a five-month period. The pediatrician DOES want him to continue gaining, of course, so we're continuing to add fat to a nutritious diet, and thankfully he's started to like chocolate milk! We add MILO (a Nestlé product I also grew up with in Colombia, South America - yummy!) to his milk along with a little whipping cream and he actually really loves it, so that's a praise! He's also definitely improved appetite-wise since I last posted, so THANK YOU for praying!! We can see good steps in the right direction.

The pediatrician also assessed his development and gave a good report. She particularly commented on his fine motor skills. He also understands and follows directions well.

He is so active, it's no wonder he's so skinny. Tonight instead of reading he wanted to dance and turn circles on the living room rug. He thought he was really funny, and apparently pretty talented too since he gave himself a big "yay!!" cheer.

Cute aside: Tonight in the shower Will asked me to turn the "rain on." :)

Okay, time for pictures:

Helping Daddy


Like father like son . . . except for the hair. ;) This is in Gavin's workshop, which, by the way, is flooding now that it's rainy season. The structure of our lower story is a bit compromised - not a cheap or easy repair, which is a bit discouraging.
David's cute face
David being cute again - his hair was sticking up and he has yogurt all over!


Gracie, Marcie, Will on a bench loving on each other
Hugs are fun!




Seth roaring at his lion finger puppets
Seth loves puppies of all kinds, even toy ones.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The cuteness is getting cuter!

With the kids able to talk and express themselves so much more specifically now, I am amazed on a daily basis how much they know and how aware they are of what's up around them.

For example: David stopped me before I went through the kitchen gate with a gentle, "No, no, no, no, Mommy." and shutting the gate in front of me. "Outside?" (Like, "Don't you want to stay outside with me instead of going in the kitchen AGAIN??")

David also went trotting down to the girls' room when I had gotten him up from his nap. He could hear Gracie fussing to be gotten up too, and he reached up, opened the door, went in, and said, "Outside?" again, like "Are you ready to get up and go outside of this room now?"

David comes and finds me with a yell of "Mommy!" and tells me if someone has gotten an "owie."

Marcie remembers things for DAYS. Gavin showed her his blisters a few days ago and she still talks about "Daddy's two owies."

The boys call the motorcycle "Daddy car." They love to watch All About Motorcycles, All About Trucks, and the like.

Seth calls the cat and the dog "kitty" and "puppy" and will ask them to go outside with him, holding the door for them. "Kitty outside?" He'll also say, "No, don't!" and other things like that to the boys who are trying to push him around.

Gracie was eating a small bowl of raisins last night when the cat came up to try to partake with her. Gracie yelled, "Knock it off!" in her little high voice and kept yelling it every time the cat would come back. It was so cute because she said it so deliberately and articulately, but passionately. (She also walked around the house saying, "Marcie, knock it off!" when she was trying to find her, I guess.) Grace is our most articulate speaker.

Marcie says tons of words, but sometimes changes the consonants. Example: "potty" becomes "polly" and "bottom" becomes "bollom." (Can you tell we've been potty training?) "Blanket" is "ban-kek."

Will also has a big vocabulary but misses some of the parts of words. His favorite word currently is "truck," for which he says "kuck" using a lot of back-of-the-throat effort. It's very guttural. :)

Seth calls binkies (pacifiers) "minkies" for some reason.

The kids are only getting their pacifiers in their cribs now (we're serious this time!) because our stash is running dangerously low, plus I think it inhibits their speech and makes Seth work harder to breath through his nose if he has any congestion at all. I will try any and every way I can to slow down his high caloric usage from his chronic lung disease. :)

Will loves to say hello to Papua New Guineans. The afternoon greeting is "apinun," pronounced "ah-pee-noon." Will also loves to say "amen!" at the end of our prayers (and at the beginning, and several times in the middle, for that matter). His amen is pronounced very formally: "Ah-men." So he mixes up the two words - apinun and amen - and says to all the Papua New Guineans we pass in the Store or on the road, "Ah-men-noon!" He really yells it and waves, too. So cute!

What's even cuter is that David thinks Bill Cosby and his family (the Huxtables) on The Cosby Show are Papua New Guineans, so he very devotedly says "apinun!" to them every few seconds. (Does he expect them to answer back?)

David loves to line up cars in a row, stack cars on top of each other VERY meticulously, organize cars into his John Deere tractor compartment carrier, and will try to bite a hunk of flesh out of Will if he comes trundling along to steal and destroy. I sympathize with these kids. There are the organized, A-type ones whose work and plans are waylaid by the random, distractable and destructive ones, or by siblings who just think it looks like fun and try to organize/play their own way with the same objects. Will is the only one who doesn't really focus on a project for a long period. The other four will play very happily and creatively for a long time if left alone. Will always thinks whatever anyone else is playing with or organizing must be the best, so he needs to get in the middle of it too. However, Will loves to sit and read books. He "reads" out loud, which is adorable. Seth will sit and read for ages, but he just names the various things he sees on a page. He doesn't do a "narrative" like Will, sounding like real reading.

Marcie and Gracie potty trained for a day or two before I realized they just aren't ready yet. They had a lot of fun doing it together while it lasted, though. What was super cute was Marcie's "mothering" of Gracie during the process, including using a high-pitched, super sweet voice and crouching down to visually check for any "production" by Gracie.

The girls still refuse to go to bed without the other. They are such good friends!

I'd better get off now and go feed the kids. I have an appointment with the pediatrician on Thursday morning so she can assess Seth, so I'll update soon. In the meantime, his appetite and eating is still on the disappointing side, but I am reminded that this is the least of the battles we've watched Seth fight, and that I am commanded not to worry! :) Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." It really helps to start with the thanksgiving because it helps me remember all we've been through with Seth and how loving and merciful God has been!!

Thanks for your kind comments by blog and email. They were encouraging! (Jonathan James, if you can figure out a way to get Blue Bell Homemade Ice Cream and Krispy Kreme here, I will bless you!!)

Gratefully,
Carrie

Gavin with Will and David on his bike. I'm in the far background.

One of our best friends and his sweet daughter with Marcie on the daughter's bike.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Two-year-old stats

The quints were due this time two years ago, so for fun and out of curiosity I weighed and measured them (standing up) and graphed them on the World Health Organization's child growth charts. I definitely need to make an appointment for Seth with our pediatrician as he has really fallen off the curve, which of course grieves and concerns me. He is borderline "stunted" for unadjusted age (5th percentile at 27 months), but 13th percentile for adjusted age (24 months) and I'm not sure which one to use in assessing stuntedness. I just know from looking at him that he is getting farther behind David height-wise, and he just looks skinnier than he has before. He is in the 5th percentile for weight, but happily has gained half a pound since I last weighed him! He still looks like a child we would be concerned for back when I used to go out with the mobile child health clinics in the villages near us.

A big part of my concern is that the pulmonologist in the US said if Seth didn't gain weight faster he would start falling off the height curve, which is exactly what has happened (from 50th+ percentile at hospital discharge to 27th percentile at 18 months to 13th/5th percentile at 2 years - that's a big drop!). Most importantly, the pulmonologist warned that lack of growth would also affect Seth's lung health. Thank God he's weathered colds well ever since that first nasty one (and we had 2+ months of no colds at all - bliss!), but we want his lungs to keep growing and healing. Please keep praying for Seth.

For those who like all the details:

Will is a BIG boy at almost 31 pounds and just over 35 inches tall
David is fairly normal at 24.2 pounds (a bit skinny, but in the average range) and just over 34 inches
Seth is 23 pounds and just about 33 inches tall
Marcie is also 23 pounds and 32.75 inches tall (low average but perfectly proportional)
Gracie is not yet 20 pounds (at 2 years old!!!). She's 19.8 pounds and only just over 32 inches tall. She is tiny but perfect!

We are doing everything dietary-wise to fatten Seth up, trying every suggestion (just about) that people have made, so for those who are tempted to write and give advice, I already use peanut butter, real butter, eggs, cream, other high fat and high nutrient food items; he hates Boost, Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast, he won't drink milk with cream or extra powder added to it. If you want to suggest it, I can pretty much guarantee we've done it. If you want to write and tell me how your kid was the same and then really took off and is now a line-backer, I'd love those stories. ;)

Grateful for your love and care and prayers for our kids and us,
Carrie

Adorable single and group pictures from last week

Gracie



Kaitlyn reading Will's favorite book - he calls it the "choo-choo" book (Thomas the Tank Engine)

Five beautiful kids on a beautiful day

Eating their snack on the ledge. They wanted to sit up there all together. Their shoes are so mismatched! We got out a bag of new/used ones and they had a great time picking out which ones they wanted to wear. Seth chose girl boots. :)

I love this picture: Gracie, David, Seth, Will and Marcie

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

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

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