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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Momma and the girls

I couldn't choose - there are too many cute facial expressions!





Photos I somehow missed before

Could Seth's grin be any bigger!? Marmi and Papa had this picture on their camera from a couple weeks ago when Seth was still on oxygen but still got to ride a pony to his great delight. 

Will looks JUST LIKE Isaac in this photo. I had to do a double-take. I think part of it is the sunlight making his hair look more blond, as Isaac's was. The profile is Isaac's, too, including the grin. (Marcie and David are raiding Marmi's closet in the background. I was not present when this photo was taken. Marmi is a VERY good sport!)

David's excitement in this photo is priceless. Gracie and Will are very happy too.
They love their friend Kaitlyn, who was leading them in the hokey-pokey, and this was the "yay!" at the end.

David during his puppet show last week

Monday, April 27, 2015

Apologies and a sigh of relief

It's terrible that it's been so long since I updated the blog. We had some really busy, stressful days last week simply because we have five two-and-a-half-year-olds, and they are all acting their age, requiring lots of full-on parenting, and I was just too tired to do anything after their bedtime (except cry. I was pretty good at that one night.).

Seth's most recent "cold" never turned into anything remarkable, and none of the other kids got it. SO GRATEFUL!!!!

Thanks for praying. The kids are super fun and cute (this IS my favorite age!), albeit lots of work. We enjoy them greatly yet greatly enjoy putting them in bed and being done for the day. :) We do need prayer for wisdom, stamina, love and patience, as always.

Tonight Will and Marcie spontaneously told each other, "I love you!'

Will walked into the room, saw David and said, "Hey, big guy! What are you doing?"

They really are super fun. Seth is talking tons more now too.

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

P.S. Seth's climbed up the growth chart, height-wise, (10th to 19th percentile) although he's fallen further down the chart weight-wise (5th to 3rd percentile). We're going to try a medication he used to be on to help his little appetite. I think he's just so busy he can't be bothered to eat unless he's really, really hungry. Thanks to all you who pray for him!

We attempted to get Mommy/Quint photos. Not super successful, but still pretty cute.  Left to right: David, Gracie, Marcie, Will, Seth. Gracie refused to sit on my lap. She wanted to be a big girl.


David "sawing" wood with another piece of wood
still sawing . . . 


David loves this motorcycle. He only gets to play with it once a week, on Mondays. It's special!



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Last week's pony rides and yet another cold(!!!)

Jadia and Victoria introduce David to a new friend
David was so ecstatic and brave to ride with Victoria! (He was staying with her family during our recent illness.)

Tiny Gracie just got her oxygen tubing off before heading out the door for pony rides. Marmi helps out!

A bittersweet picture: the cannula makes me sad, but I'm SO glad Seth got to leave the house and have such a great time! He had a huge grin on his face most of the time, but Karen wasn't able to catch it on camera. Papa helped Seth stay on.

Seth and Papa again



Marmi with Marcie and Papa with Seth. You can see Papa carrying the oxygen concentrator over his shoulder. It's such a nifty, light-weight thing when only a little bit of oxygen is needed and Seth can breathe through his nose. Otherwise, we have to use the heavy-duty continuous flow oxygen from the clinic that comes in the clunky tanks. 
Which brings me to yet another item for fervent prayer: Seth has yet another cold. No, he hasn't been to daycare or nursery or exposed to others who are sick (that we know of). It just happens. I feel my throat getting a bit scratchy, too, and so many people have said they are just going from cold to cold to cold this time of year. I was soooooooooo hoping this last virus was the end of it for us. Lord willing, this will be just a minor one and Seth will sail through (Gracie too!) without needing oxygen. It all depends on the part of the anatomy the virus tends to attack. [You know how some colds are the stuffy-head kind only while others are deep chest cough colds? Seth and Grace do not do well with the latter kind.]

Thanks for praying!

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Yesterday's fun at Debbie's house


The Hokey-Pokey is a huge hit with the quints, especially the "yay!" at the end. Kaitlyn is a great leader.
I love the huge camera around David's neck. Gavin says he seems to always have some sort of accoutrement!

David and Seth putting on a puppet show


Will asks Debbie to take his picture and show him.
He must realize he's pretty cute stuff. :)
Is Mommy Marcie on the phone?
Marcie and baby again

Thanks for praying for Gavin's trip


It went really well, quite a bit shorter than planned. That made me (and Gavin, and the guys he was flying/hiking with) very happy! One village had been nearly wiped out by flooding recently, so instead of the 300 or so people expected, there were only 10 people there. The rest had moved away to find work and food. The gardens had been virtually all destroyed by landslides. So sad. :( The government is supposed to be flying in rice and other food supplies, so we hope and pray that happens soon or already has happened.

The other two areas were more populated and the guys were able to get some good language data. Sleeping in a bush house with a fire pit in the middle and no ventilation whatsoever was definitely not Gavin's favorite, but he had a good attitude and survived. He was also served taro, a tuber/root with a very strange flavor, which he had to choke down. We think it's pretty gross stuff. I guess it's good the Lord hasn't asked us to be translators out in the bush!!

Twin mommies with twin babies






Monday, April 13, 2015

Please pray for my trip.

Over the next three days, I will be flying three guys from a mission called "Finisterre Vision" to a couple language areas in PNG that are pretty much unknown.  The men are new to the country and are looking for a place where Bible translation, literacy, and Gospel teaching are not happening so that they can start doing just that.  I will be taking them to various villages where we will spend time with the people and discovering what we can about their spiritual, language, and educational status and needs.  Since so little is known about these areas and people, there is much unknown, such as where to land? Which village is key?  Where will we stay, etc?  Please pray that the light of Christ shows through our words and actions and that the people to whom we are relating would get an understanding of the purpose of our trip, and above all, God's purpose for them.

Thank you!

Gavin

A picture worth many words of praise!

PRAISE GOD: No oxygen tubing! Both have been off oxygen since Sunday morning (our time). I love Isaac's photo-bomb in the background! Gracie's giving me her cold shoulder because she didn't want me to take a picture. :)


This is what we found tonight. Marcie climbed out of her crib into Gracie's toddler bed. (Grace is the only one in a bed so far. She was ready!) 

Yesterday I asked Marcie who she loved more: Gracie or Mommy. With her darling grin she said, "Gacie!" Gracie is her absolute favorite, hands-down. Marcie had to repeatedly hug and kiss her before bed last night. "I haf'a kiss Gacie. I haf'a hug Gacie. I haf'a kiss Gacie 'gain." (Translation: I have to kiss/hug Gracie again.) Gracie just giggled.

Often when Marcie gets something she'll say she needs to get one for "Gacie" too: a diaper, a dress, a cup, a bowl, a snack, a toy, a pacifier, a blanket, whatever!

Gracie DID object to Marcie suctioning her with a bulb syringe when her nose was so plugged. Marcie offered several times . . . 




Saturday, April 11, 2015

No news means good news (and Mom is too sick to blog)

Yesterday was a bad day for me, health wise. It hurt to move and do even the simplest tasks. I just felt SICK. I went to bed ASAP instead of writing an update. Feeling so miserable gave me so much more empathy for my formerly miserable kiddos! However, they were all doing better yesterday and Will came home very happily.

Today was an even better day for everyone. Gavin got to do a really cool series of helicopter shuttles, moving three new families (including 7 toddlers!) into their village location; Gracie has been off oxygen nearly all day; Gracie, Seth and David rode on a pony (Will and Marcie were too nervous, which shocks me!) - pictures will follow at some point; and this evening Seth was running around playing in the yard for a few hours off oxygen. He was SO happy and excited! What a joy to see our kids coming back to normal. Isaac continues to be his happy, helpful self, running and fetching for me and holding needy babies. He's such a loving big brother.

Oh, and I'm a LOT better, too! :) I know Gavin is very excited about that. However, my arms are still really weak and achy, so I'm not lifting babies or hanging laundry. They have to come sit on my lap once I'm seated. Because competition for Mom's time/lap is pretty fierce and Mom isn't up to much, I'm not planning on getting David until Sunday or Monday. I MISS HIM! Here are some cute photos of him with the kitty where he's living. [He cried when his "older brother," a Senior, went to school on Friday. :) He just LOVES them so much!]




He not only brings the kitty food . . . 
. . . he hand-feeds the kitty!

He also gives the kitty books to read




Thursday, April 9, 2015

We've turned the corner!!

We've been blessed with an easier afternoon with happier, healthier kids. This morning was scary because Gracie was working harder to breathe and was obviously very uncomfortable, whimpering a lot. It turned out that she has a ear infection, so the antibiotics for that should also wipe out any potential secondary bacterial infection in the lungs, Lord willing! She was so much better this afternoon, although that seems too fast for the antibiotics to have done their job yet. Tonight she was off oxygen again for hours, running around the house and even jumping and grinning a bit. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! She's definitely still sick, though, and we put her on a little bit of oxygen for sleeping since everyone's saturations tend to drop while they sleep, so we still greatly appreciate prayer.

Seth is a lot better, too, as is his thrush. He's way down on his oxygen needs and still satting in the mid-90's on the lowest setting of his concentrator. Praise God! (And I do not say that flippantly: There is nothing like illness to make us grateful for good health.)

I have had a worse day today, so I would appreciate continued prayers that I will get better as well. Gavin has been a trooper, and it would be really nice if he could go back to work tomorrow and fly on Saturday. We'll see.

Will is also doing fine now. His fever broke yesterday afternoon, so he should be able to come home tomorrow morning. He talked to me on the phone tonight and I could hear him tell Debbie, "That's Mommy in there!" as he pointed to the phone. So cute!

David, meanwhile, is potty-training at his temporary home! Gracie also did #2 in the potty today all on her own initiative. She just told me she needed to use the potty, and she sat down and did it! I was shocked.

Lord willing, we'll all be back together by tomorrow. I sure hope and pray no further strains of virus afflict any of us.

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Newest development

Not surprisingly, Seth has thrush in/on his mouth, throat, tonsils, lips from all the steroids he’s been on (inhaled, injected, oral). He’s hungry from the prednisone but it hurts him to eat. He did finally eat some banana bread and drank milk and chocolate milk. The doc started him on nystatin tonight for the thrush.

Seth and Marmi on Sunday. Doesn't he look miserable?!
Today is the worst one yet as far as oxygen requirements, but the kids seem to be feeling a little bit less miserable. Seth was actually grinning and playing with us a little bit today. He’s still on a liter of oxygen or so. Gracie needed oxygen all day, but only half a liter. The doctor said there is fluid on both their lungs, but that they are "headed in the right direction."

Seth today, chowing down before the thrush hit. Gracie is the miserable-looking one in this photo.

Will's fever went up to 104 today, but it responded well to Panadol/Tylenol. His "temporary mom" wrote me this description which made me chuckle: 

"Just wanted to let you know Will has REALLY perked up now.  I had a kids dvd on and he kept a running commentary of all the things that happened as he watched.  Then we read a book and he exclaimed over each page and he's still talking!  Yay!!!!  This is the best I've seen him  -- I know the Panadol is working but prayerfully, maybe he's turned the corner and the fever will stay away -- we'll see, but so glad to see him acting much better!!" 

Will is by far our chattiest child. He's the wannabe organizer, encourager and narrator of all the kids do and see. Sample conversation: "Okay, Day-ded, it's time to go outside! You wanna come? Open the door. Alright! Where you going, Day-ded? You going jump on the trampoline? Isaac's jumping on the trampoline, Mom! Okay, Day-ded! I'm coming! Yeah, let's get up on the trampoline! Good job, Day-ded! You did it! Hi, Marcie! You wanna jump on the trampoline, too? Okay! Come up, Marcie. You did it! Good job, Marcie!" etc., etc., etc. It pretty much never ends. A couple of days ago he stole a baby doll from Marcie and she screamed, "That's MY baby!" He gave it back to her immediately, saying, "Here you go!" to which she replied, "Oh, sank you!" And peace was restored. Thank God they are growing in this area of sharing. They will tell me that their siblings need to give them a turn or share the ______ (fill in the blank).

Will at the community Easter egg hunt on Saturday
I can't see Will because I doubt he'd tolerate me leaving him again, plus most importantly I CANNOT take his new illness back home with me to Gracie and Seth! It will be great to see him again, but I'm so grateful he's in such good hands in the meantime.

I got to see David today. His "temporary mom" brought him to Bible study. He’s got a nasty sounding cough deep in his chest and a disgusting nose, but he was perky and playful and very, very busy and chatty. He didn’t just sit in my lap. He had some exploring to do, plus loved playing with his five-year-old friend Tobin. (It was SO cute to hear them chatting away together!) He was fine separating from me again since my friend Kelly took him back his temporary home. He always loves a ride in her car. I knew I couldn’t take him home with me yet. It's still all we can do to keep up with the three we have, and we're still needing help! 

Marcie is sweet, sassy, snotty (literally), strong-willed, smart and only slightly miserable when she first wakes up. She makes me laugh even when the other two are zombied out just watching TV and clutching their sippy cups. That girl always has antics going on. Like putting stickers all over the dog's face and collar. 



This is a long road. I think of moms who have kids with chronic conditions and my heart just goes out to them. There will be DAYS left of this, which seems plenty long enough! Thank God, the Clinic and Aviation here have a goodly supply of oxygen so there shouldn’t be any emergency trips to our port city to refill the big tanks. In the US we’d be in the hospital because of the kids' temporary oxygen requirements, but here we can have home visits from docs and nurses who know us personally and love our kids. Plus we don’t get exposed to nasty antibiotic resistant hospital bugs. Therefore, as strange as it seems, Ukarumpa is actually a great place to be as our kiddos (prayerfully) outgrow their lung issues. Our pediatrician is still very hopeful that will happen before too much longer (a year or two?). Considering the rate at which they are growing, it may be a while. Gracie finally creeped up above 20 pounds but is now no doubt below. Smaller than the average one-year-old! Seth was only 23 pounds when we weighed him last week. Sigh . . . And they are both such good eaters now! (when not sick) They just don't put on weight. Seth did discover a love for soft-serve homemade strawberry ice cream, so that's at least one more arrow in my arsenal of fattening foods. :)

Gratefully in Christ,
Carrie for all of us


Some happy pictures from early last week: "Uncle" James's mom brought the kids hats from Australia! They love them. One of the first things they wanted to do the next morning was put them on again. I love how they were checking each other's hat out (below)

Gracie, Seth, Marcie (They can say "koala" and "kangaroo" REALLY well!)
Gracie ("What??!")
Sethers (that's what the other quints call him)





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Will, Grace and Seth all sick

Hi friends,

Will is not on oxygen, but he has come down with a new infection. He has a 102 fever, no appetite, and is very lethargic and just wants to be held all the time. It's too early to tell whether what he's got is bacterial or viral, and the doctor said another infection on top of what Seth and Gracie already have could land them on a medivac to Australia. Therefore, Will is being isolated at Debbie's house, a HUGE provision from God. He loves Debbie's house and everyone in it, so he's in good hands. It's sad not to be able to focus on him, but it's all I can do - with help - to take care of the two kids on oxygen plus Marcie, who's still sick and clingy. David is living with his Monday playdate friends/family and is happy as a clam. I'm attaching some pictures of him. He's by far the healthiest of all the kids and we sure want to see him stay that way!

Right now Seth and Grace need oxygen but not hospitalization. They are getting WONDERFUL care from our docs and nursing staff here. Thankfully, they are tolerating the liquid steroids we got today (a Godsend!) so should no longer need the painful Dexamethasone shots. These kinds of steroids work best when taken orally anyway, so it's great they can swallow it and keep it down. None of the other kids is on any medication (other than Tylenol/Motrin) or oxygen yet.

Grace was off oxygen the vast majority of today and is on just the tiniest bit right now, the lowest the canister's flow will go, although when it's turned off altogether her oxygen saturations drop into the 70%'s!

Seth is still needing a liter of oxygen per minute to keep his saturations in the 90%'s. Off oxygen he continues to dip into the 70%'s. He'll be on steroids for a while yet to combat the lung inflammation due to his pneumonia.

Even though Gavin and I are fighting this infection as well, we are VERY blessed, surrounded by loving and knowledgable helpers. A nurse friend was here for a couple of hours today. Marmi and Papa stop by and help out a couple of times each day and are always on call. Lots of our friends in the community have continued to help us in various ways and feed us delicious food! My appetite is definitely not hindered yet by this cold. ;)

Our pediatrician has said a couple of times that this is "a miserable bug" for a great many people in our community. It seems like it's not just one bug, either, but a few different ones circulating. Please keep praying for healing in God's perfect time and for no further concurrent infections.

I had to laugh: the nurse asked the pediatrician in exasperation: "Why do we have such nasty viruses in PNG?!" Her Easter weekend was VERY busy, poor lady. God bless these servants! We love you, Clinic Staff and Ukarumpa community!

Grateful to all of you who are praying and encouraging us,
Carrie

Painting with water

No, this isn't Isaac. This is David's "foster brother" who is GREAT with kids. David and Seth especially just LOVE him!




Sunday, April 5, 2015

Beef Enchiladas and other blessings

Hi all,

Thank you so much for your kind words via email, this blog, and FB! Also all those who have called and offered to help here at Ukarumpa. We LOVE our community, locally and worldwide! We are so blessed. Which brings me to the subject of this post: I have been craving beef enchiladas in the worst way since Thursday night. Last night I was practically drooling for my mom's beef enchiladas from Colombia days. And guess what God sent this morning via my friend Chris? . . . a pan of beef enchiladas! With homemade tortillas made by her sweet daughter. :)

Other friends are refilling oxygen bottles, bringing meals, and coming to help or taking babies to their houses. Our washing machine broke down, so we're also sending out laundry and borrowing people's machines. With nasty vomit-laden clothes and blankets, that is a HUGE ministry!

As far as an update, I wish I had a better one to give. Not much has changed. Grace and Seth are both still on oxygen. Seth's oxygen saturations dipped into the high-60%'s in the middle of the night when his tank was empty (we switched him back to the concentrator), and this morning off oxygen he was only in the 70%'s. That's the sickest he's been, oxygen-wise, since he was last in the hospital. The crud is in both his lungs now, with noises/fluid throughout. Gracie's lungs sound clear, but she's tight and wheezy.

The pediatrician says this will take a while to resolve in Seth. He'll need Dexamethasone for several days, oxygen too. Lord willing Gracie will get through this faster, although she seems to be a couple of days behind Seth in this illness. Realistically, she could get worse before she gets better. We SO appreciate your prayers!

Better run. Love and gratitude,
Carrie

Ice cream on Tuesday when all were healthier:


Seth and Grace both pretty sick.

Seth was not doing too well this afternoon, so we took him to the clinic and he’s now on oxygen and steroids due to pneumonia in his left lung.  We had to mash the pills up and mix them with liquid, which he promptly threw up twice.  So we had to call the nurse in to give it to him with a shot instead.  He seems to have improved some in the last few hours, so we’re thankful for that.  Once we finally got Seth more or less sorted out, we started noticing that Gracie was also lethargic and breathing fast and shallow.  We had the nurse come back to the house and she’s still here looking after Grace, who’s also on steroids and oxygen now with some noticeable improvement.  Please keep praying for them and for us.  We’re tired and worn out and there’s not an end in sight right now.  

We are so incredibly thankful for our capable, servant-minded clinic staff who have attended to our kids and us on Easter Sunday.  

It's been a hard day, but in no way changes the fact that God is good.  All the time.

HE IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Gavin

Seth worse; reinfection?

We so appreciate your prayers for Seth. He's needing continuous oxygen now, but it's not a problem to keep the cannula on him because he just sleeps all day long. He is obviously one sick boy, but judging from how sick the others have been and are, it's no surprise.

Gavin and I wonder if we've all been double-infected with two strains of respiratory virus. Our house help came to work Monday with a cough. I was hoping it was the one the kids already had, but looking back I realize that's impossible since she hadn't been here since the Wednesday before. So I think she brought yet another cold into our house (there's a lot of colds going around now). Poor five little munchkins! Gavin and I are getting symptoms, too, and we pray that the symptoms stay at bay so we can care for this miserable little lot. We sure appreciate your prayers for our stamina and patience and love, too! We heard a great Easter sermon (streamed from our Meeting House here) about how EVERYTHING in the Christian faith is based on the fact that Christ is RISEN. It helps to have that infinitely grander, eternal perspective. We know that God is sovereign, and for some reason this was the Easter He ordained for us to have. He is with us, He is in us, He is for us, because Christ is risen indeed.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Seth back on oxygen

Sadly, this cold has been pretty brutal on our kids, Seth especially - unlike recent colds, when he seemed to do better than most of them. He's on some oxygen right now because his blood oxygenation level dipped down into the low- to mid-80%'s. He's also had a very distressing dry cough for three days now. It obviously hurts him to cough because he cries and says "Owie!" Some of his coughing fits result in him throwing up. That's happened at least a couple of times each day since Thursday (today is Saturday our time, actually Sunday at 12:46 a.m.). I'm up because of another one of his coughing/crying fits. He's been immunized against whooping cough/pertussis, and he doesn't have the "whooping" desperate intake of air after he coughs, so it looks like this is just another viral cold.

Huge praises:
(1) We have a quiet portable oxygen concentrator we just hooked up for the first time
(2) Seth is tolerating the cannula
(3) Gavin and I are staying well
(4) Will, who was the first one with this cold, is almost completely over it. It's been about 8 days for him.
(5) Seth's lungs are "moving air well" and sound clear, although he is breathing fast.
(6) There are grandparents just up the road. :)

Prayer requests:
(1) That Seth's coughing fits would cease so he can rest well and be pain-free
(2) That he'll get all the oxygen he needs for a deep, healing sleep
(3) That Gavin and I continue to stay healthy and sane, and that the other kids get over this quickly
(4) That Seth won't have to be on oxygen tomorrow night. Last night he was fine, thankfully. We hope and pray he will be back to that level again tomorrow night. Today during the day he was in the "okay" range of oxygenation, but not great. He was at about 90% whenever I checked him. He's normally mid-90's when he's healthy.

Okay, gotta go sleep while I can!

Love and gratitude,
Carrie

P.S. Isaac has a cough but is not slowed down at all by it. :)


Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Fridays

On Fridays the kids have their playdate at "Debbie's house," so Friday is always a happy day for us all. :)










These pictures are from last week because the kids were too sick with a bad cold to go today. Still, it's a Good Friday because no matter how difficult and frustrating it can be around here (today was not an easy day!), it's also the day Christ gave up His life for us nearly 2000 years ago. That makes our worst days only a dot* in comparison with the eternity of joy ahead of us, free from the sin and shame and punishment that Jesus took for us.

The kids love to talk about "Jesus falling down on the cross," [having seen a picture of his falling on the road under the weight of the cross]. They say "He was sad," but end with a huge grin and exclamation of "Jesus came alive again!"

We had to take Marcie out of the service last week at church because she couldn't stop exclaiming over the wooden cross that was placed up front. She was just a little too excited and loud and distracting. :)

Earlier this week Gracie took two small pieces of wood and made her own cross and brought it to show Gavin and me. I didn't know two-and-a-half-year-olds could be quite so obsessed with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ! I'm glad they care so deeply already. We're definitely seeing answers to all the prayers for their spiritual as well as physical health!

Speaking of physical health, the kids really are miserable. A lot of people here have had this bug, and it's particularly harsh. We'd appreciate prayers as always for Seth's lungs to stay clear. Thank you!!

Gratefully,
Carrie



*Of course, having an eternal perspective doesn't mean it's not and terribly challenging and sad sometimes for us here on earth. We haven't had much sorrow in our lives yet, but we know plenty of people who are grieving and cling to the promise of everything ultimately working together "for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)


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

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

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