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, July 27, 2014

Christmas in July?

When a friend announced that our community church service this morning was going to be "Christmas in July," I was confused until an Aussie friend explained that they do that sometimes Down Under, since July is the coldest month of the year, the time when the traditional carols most apply. Christmas is actually the hottest summer month for this side of the world. So I gamely picked out semi-Christmassy outfits. It was fun to wear a red sweater - I won't be able to in December! Because the kids were so cutely coordinated we got another photo. They are just about 2 years old, or 21 months adjusted age. (Sorry! I'm going to keep adjusting until they are 2 years old adjusted age, or November 3rd of this year! I'm just following what the developmental specialists do!)

David, Gracie, Seth, Marcie and Will, July 27th, 2014

Our sermon today pointed out that every time we remember our salvation in Christ, we "celebrate" Christmas, the baby born in the manger. He came to live a perfect life, die and rise again so that we can be made right with God for all eternity.

The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia summarizes the gospel message this way:
The central truth of the gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for men through the gift of His son to the world. He suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in His triumph to all who will accept it. The gospel is good news because it is a gift of God, not something that must be earned by penance or by self-improvement (Jn 3:16Rom 5:8–11II Cor 5:14–19Tit 2:11–14).3
Some more pictures from the past week:
Marcie loves to pose for the camera. This was where she had decided to take her nap, so she brought her two most fluffy blankets and laid down. Typical Marcie, it's also the hub of the house, at the entrance to the kitchen, where she wouldn't have to miss any action while "napping." Mommy didn't succumb to her charm and actually let her nap here, of course. 

It's so cute how the babies like to cover themselves with blankets. (Marcie still)

Marcie again


Grace and Will

Marcie and Will


Marcie's arms in the air (previous photo) remind me that Gracie loves to raise and even sometimes wave her arms during praise music or hymns. She didn't learn it from watching us because Gavin and I don't usually do so. Our Praise Baby CD and the hymns or worship music at church both elicit this darling and touching response from our littlest girl. Music moves her greatly.

David with Amanda. David is getting very good at hugging his siblings with this same huge grin, and he also goes on pacifier hunts around the house so he can hand them out to any baby missing one.

Marcie under the "parachute" at the Weavers'. It's been sweet to see Marcie taking double-portions of a snack so she can give half to Gracie. The girls really love each other. They laugh and talk a lot in the mornings before we get them out of their cribs, and they play little games and laugh so cutely together. Tonight the game was "grab Marcie's feet," which both Gracie (the grabber) and Marcie found hilarious. The boys, however, focused on wrestling. (Poor Seth wasn't much in the mood as he's had bad diarrhea and terrible diaper rash as a result.)

Will and Seth. Will's grin is just priceless in this photo! Seth's expression is pretty darn cute, too. Will continues to be the alpha male of the quints and a princeling of this community, but Seth is probably the prince of even more hearts with his loving cuddles and winsome smile. Will is busier than Seth and much less easy to hold and cuddle. ;) David kind of keeps to himself and takes his play so seriously our cleaning lady jokes that he has a lot of work to focus on and accomplish each day. His impish grin and dancing, running feet still bring plenty of admirers! Each child is so different but equally precious and immensely enjoyable. This is my favorite age, but I've said that every month so far!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More recent photos

Muddy Sunday last week. Will with Seth behind.
Will LIKES being muddy!

The babies love the dog. That's Gracie on the right. I dunno where Marcie was at that moment - probably in someone's arms!

David's favorite pastime is stacking plates or cups. He loves to organize and reorganize. I can trust him, too, because he's super careful and meticulous and methodical! (Deb, I blame you.)

Marcie with crazy hair

David LOVES to ride his little vehicles.

Isaac and Kassia - she's such a good sport, sword-fighting like a guy!

My gorgeous view this morning as I hung laundry.

Gracie had to wear her head bow around her neck like a necktie. That was the only way she wanted to wear it, and when I tried to take it off she protested. So this is how she went to church. It looks pretty good, doesn't it!? (Despite her mouthful of cheese. A truly cheesy grin, ha, ha!)

Mild colds, only - please keep praying!

So far the kids are holding their own. David and Will have actually had this cold the worst. Seth seems fine, and we pray that continues. They should be past the worst of it! Our gratitude is truly overflowing. To know that every little cold at this altitude will NOT land Seth or Gracie on oxygen is a blessing!!

I'm sorry I've been so bad about blogging recently. I mean to every night, and every night it gets too late or there is too much else to do. Cleaning up last night took literally 3.5 hours - from 7:30 until 11:00! I never sat down at all, save to read a couple of books to David. I did organize the Tupperware cabinet, however, which wasn't absolutely necessary, but it was driving Gavin crazy that nothing seemed to have a lid. :)

Isaac "hides" from the babies under his blanket. They love the game!

I found Seth and Will in the dryer one day when I was here by myself and distracted by folding clothes.

Isaac pushing the kids around the living room. It's a heavy, hard job, but they all seem to enjoy it - even Isaac!

Five happy kiddos. David's nose is scratched from trying to take his four-wheeler down the front porch steps and hitting the cement. Ouch.

Friday morning. The girl to the left is a sweetheart who lives here at Ukarumpa and comes to help me most days just because she loves babies. She's a great cook/baker, too, even though she's only 11!

Isaac with Seth and Gracie

A nicer picture of Isaac

David built this LEGO creation. Seth was very admiring.

We'll see you later, Dr. Burgess

Dr. Burgess on the far right; the CEO of UT Southwestern (of which St. Paul's is a part) in the middle; Aziza, the NICU manager, to the far left. The babies left to right are: Will, Gracie, Marcie, David and Seth
My dad's emails comprise most of this blog post because I don't think I can improve on his words. I have never loved a doctor like I've loved Dr. Burgess. He was/is such a beautiful man. His death is a shock, but I am eternally grateful that he is in the presence of the Savior, worshiping Him and receiving his reward for faithfulness on earth. He blessed everyone I know who knew him. He told me, when I asked how he was enjoying his work at a different hospital, that he missed working at St. Paul's because "these people are like my family." [St. Paul's was able to staff their NICU using faculty, so Dr. Burgess's medical group was no longer needed there. I'm so glad God placed him there for the quints' birth and early months!]

Dr. B was always so comforting, even when he had to be the one to deliver the news that Seth probably had a surfactant deficiency disease and wouldn't live. See http://gavincarrie.blogspot.com/2012/10/seth-surfactant-deficiency-mutation.html

Dr. Burgess always seemed so taken with and awed by Seth when he would see him after discharge. Precious!

Email written by my dad to loved ones and family:

Dear ones,

Dr. Burgess was the lead doctor at St. Paul's Hospital NICU where my daughter Carrie and Gavin Jones went to give birth to their quints. He carefully explained to us that it was important that Carrie's babies not be born before 28 weeks, if at all possible, to enable them to develop as much as possible prior to birth and avoid many of the complications associated with preemies. His  and his staff set up a code 5 procedure as to how they would deal with the babies when they started coming. His team practiced in preparation for that day of delivery. Over 50 medical people were involved in this procedure. To our disappointment the babies started coming at 27 1/2 weeks, but Dr. Burgess and his medical team were ready.

We knew the quints health and life would be touch and go because of their low birth weight, especially for the first few weeks. Seth, the third boy born, was the one with the most compromised lung development issues. His little lungs were damaged by the very process needed to save his life. Both Seth and the tiniest baby Grace needed continual respiratory support.

Four of the five quints continued to improve during their weeks at St. Paul's but Seth was up and down and our hearts were often heavy as we visited with the hospital and talked with Dr. Burgess and his loving staff. It was made very clear to us by Dr. Burgess and his staff that Seth's life hung by a thread. Many nights we learned that Dr. Burgess spent the entire night at the hospital instead of going home and his special mission seemed to be to save Seth's life.

Eventually, Seth's needs required more intensive care than St. Paul's could offer and Seth was transferred to Children's Hospital. Dr. Burgess continued to check in on Seth at Children's hospital and offer his expertise to their staff as well. [Dr. Burgess also checked on Marcie when she was at Children's getting a port catheter because her veins couldn't hold an IV. The nurse was ASTONISHED that he cared so much! She asked if I thought St. Paul's would be a nice place to work. She said she'd love to have Dr. B as her lead doctor.]  At Children's hospital, after much prayer and specialize care, Seth slowly began to get better. With great joy, after spending 5 months in the NICU's of both hospitals, Seth was able to come home. Serious colds during Seth's first 2 years of life required that he be hospitalized several times. Thankfully, he recovered each time. Eventually, he and brothers and sisters traveled to Papua New Guinea as his folks returned to resume their lives as missionaries. Seth's father, Gavin Jones, is a helicopter pilot and his mother, Carrie Jones, is an epidemiologist, training Papua New Guineanians in basic sanitation and teaching health care to health promoters in this developing country. [NOT doing this right now! :}]

A week after Easter this past year,  the Jones's family were invited to a special event, at St. Paul's, a NICU  homecoming. The quints, now healthy toddlers, were all over the place, enjoying the decorations and greeting those that saved their lives from St. Paul's NICU. We were very pleased that busy Dr. Burgess was able to be there. He seemed especially happy to see all the little lives he had impacted. He asked for Seth and Seth gladly went to his arms and laid his head on Dr. Burgess shoulder. As we all looked on Dr. Burgess started to cry and kept saying while holding Seth: "Seth, I thought we were going to lose you." Those of us observing this interaction couldn't help but cry as well. A great doctor with a great heart that ministered to a fragile little preemie and saved Seth's life.

With shock and great sadness we learned of Dr. Burgess's passing. I'm saddened for the babies that still need his care and for the families that will miss a dedicated, caring doctor. Yet, I'm so thankful for Dr. Burgess. Thankful that this man, with his big heart, chose to work with preemies and was there for our fragile Seth. I'm also thankful to God for placing Dr. Burgess and his staff in our lives. You can visit the Jones and follow the quints on their blog: gavincarrie.blogspot.com as they continue to share their adventures in Papua New Guinea.

One thankful Grandfather,

Neal Peterson

Gavin made this plaque expressing our gratitude to the NICU.

From another email, regarding the funeral:

"A rather sad, overcast day! We went to the funeral of Dr. Burgess. [The sermon] was right on and honoring to our Lord, inviting folks to know him.

"After the service we walked down to the reception room to greet Dr. Burgess's wife. Since folks were kinda milling around it was difficult to figure out who was whom. In any event we eventually found her and mentioned how Dr. Burgess saved the quints life. She remembers taking him Mexican food on one of the nights he spent caring for the quints since he was hungry for that!"

Carrie, again: My mom said that Dr. Burgess's wife said working with the quints gave Dr. B great joy. I'm so glad our kids got to be at least one of the highlights of his career! :)

Dr. Burgess was assigned specifically to Baby A (Will), the only baby who stayed in the delivery room with me, so I got to watch him work, seeing his intense concentration - he was really sweating! - as my little guy's limbs flailed around. Dr. B had to ask the nurse or nurse practitioner to hold him tighter as Will was not cooperating with the umbilical cord IV Dr. B was trying to insert. :) It did this mother's heart good to see such a fighting spirit in both baby and doctor!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sick with colds again!

I tried to deny it all day Monday, but by yesterday (Tuesday our time), I had to concede that our kids have another cold. :( I am hoping and praying this one is not a bad chest cold. I know many, many, many of you will pray with us. We especially ask that, Lord willing, Seth and Grace will NOT have to go on oxygen to weather this one!

This is cold and flu season, very misty/rainy and chilly much of the time. We survived winter in the U.S. and then arrived in winter in the Southern Hemisphere. But as you know, it was a late spring cold that landed Seth in the hospital in CA, and his previous hospitalization had been in early fall (Sept.), so it doesn't matter too much what the season is! Nasty bugs can hit any time of year, but God is sovereign over them all.

As I type, Will is hacking with a croupy-type cough. I had to rush him to the sink because he was coughing so much I thought he would vomit. It turned out to be just dry heaves. The others haven't been coughing nearly so much, but all have heavy runny noses. [Poor David tried to drive his 4-wheeler down the metal steps of our front porch, hit the cement at the bottom, got a grazed goose egg on his forehead, a cut lip, a partially blackened eye, and a bloody nose, so I have to be very careful when wiping his sore, scabbed upper lip!]

My sinus infection is much better, thanks to those who have prayed. I am still on antibiotics for it.

On a totally different note, Gavin is starting his third week of being back to work full-time! He has gone on a few flights each week. He loves getting out around the country and meeting people. Today he enjoyed getting to know Titus of the Guhu-Samani language group (population approx. 17,000) one of the Papua New Guinean translators currently finishing up the Old Testament and looking forward to starting a multi-language project with other Papua New Guineans. After an extended, near-deadly illness, it seems appropriate that Titus is working on the book of Job right now. Gavin and James (the Kodiak airplane pilot) were returning Titus to his village, then headed on to Port Moresby to pick up the son of Pioneer Bible translators who are preparing to celebrate the dedication of the completed New Testament for their language group. How cool is that for a day's work?! (Not as cute as my day's work, though!)

A huge prayer request is that Gavin's Papua New Guinea recurrency in the Long Ranger will take place on Saturday as planned and that he will remember his training and pass with flying colors (pun intended).

School starts a week from tomorrow. I know Isaac will enjoy it, even if he doesn't relish the homework. I will miss my many school-age helpers when the break is over! It benefits us that there isn't much to do around here, so the quints have been a sort of diversion from boredom for several young people. ;)

Love and gratitude - I'll keep you posted on these prayer requests!

P.S. Thanks for continuing to pray for Murmps (Gavin's grandma who has terminal cancer) and for Marmi (Gavin's mom) and others who are saying goodbye to her. We love you, Murmpsy!

 Photos from Karen Weaver, once again, of the Monday morning play date:





Group photo attempt - funny!

The most successful group photo. Not a particularly smiley group, but oh well! :) They were VERY happy, trust me!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The boys in the morning

Just a glimpse into life around here. This is such a cute age (I know I say that every age, but it's true!).

The boys each have a room to themselves. The girls sleep together. The girls are definitely the better sleepers, so it works out really well. Plus, it will be especially cute when the girls have their matching twin comforters and rug and pink curtains. ;) They are such good friends! They all are, really. We are blessed, blessed, blessed.

The boys' best yet wrestling match!

I love Little Frankenstein's appearance! You'll know what I mean when you see him . . . 

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

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