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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Feast and Famine

Sorry I'm sooooooooo late about posting something! We've been happily busy. We took a quick weekend trip to the port city of Lae (about 3 hours away) over my birthday this past weekend, and I'm busy getting ready for Thanksgiving with Gavin's parents and some close friends who are like family over here.

The kids are so big and talkative and funny and stressful (sometimes - let's be honest!). Life around here is always hoppin'! We have MUCH to be grateful for, including food, when many of our neighbors in the villages outside of our local valley don't have anything except greens to eat. The greens grew quickly after the rains started up again (although it's been awhile since we had a good rain - please keep praying!), but the root crops take a long time to mature. There is a 4-5 month period yet during which the subsistence farmers have to just wait and try not to starve. We need wisdom as we share the abundance the Lord has given us. If we do this in the wrong way we'll cause more trouble than we'll helped alleviate. We can't stand the thought of kids being hungry, so we're trying to work through our PNG friends who actually live in the harder-hit villages to identify families who most need supplementary rice and oil. We really appreciate your prayers for discernment and God's direction over who gets what and how much, etc. We can never feed all the people who really need it, so this is a matter of "It will make a difference to THAT family."

I taught an introductory statistics class to the health board from the villages that are being hard hit by this famine. They wanted to learn how to collect appropriate statistics of how many unemployed families need government food aid in each village. Unfortunately, there is no encouraging word on any forthcoming government supplies in our area.
On that heavy note, here are some cute pictures:

4th of July dresses that fit now - I didn't realize how tall the girls were getting!
THANK YOU, Mickey! (Len is now with the Lord.)

The girls LOVE to go on shopping trips with me. I love taking them!

Marcie diapering her favorite doll with diapers from the kids' NICU days!
Marcie continues to be the "little mommy" and a great cook's helper

Yes, these tiny diapers fit on our tiny preemies! We even had to fold them over to make them fit okay on all but Will.

From the motorcycle conversation video time

Will, David, Marcie (I don't know where Seth or Gracie were at the time. Gavin took these.)

At Isaac's school's Friday family picnic. We go every Friday to eat with him, and the little kids really look forward to and love going! David asks every day if it's the day we go to Isaac's school to eat.

The whole family. It's hard to catch us all together these days!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fun conversation on the motorbike

These kids are pretty cute, especially now that they talk so much:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Video of fun with big bro

Seth was asleep already. He was very tired that day, so sadly he missed out on this fun episode. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Playgroup pictures and random fun, plus PRAISE for rain!

Hi all! Sorry for the delay in posting this week. It’s been a busy (good) one. I’m loving my Clinic job, getting a break from home and interacting with/helping adults. If I didn’t have ladies that come clean my house and help with the kids this would be pretty impossible, but I am blessed to have these lovely women of God move quietly and lovingly through my home. The kids consider them family - just not quite as close as Mom and Dad and Isaac. ;)

And we’ve had RAIN this week!! I think it’s been about 2.5 inches so far. Our rain tanks are almost completely full! It’s rained off and on, mostly drizzle or light rain, since Friday night. It’s great rain for the gardens because it soaks in well, it doesn’t overwhelm the soil and run-off or cause landslides (a constant problem here during rainy season). So we’re still not out of the drought, but we’re heading in the right direction. Lord willing, we’ll keep heading in that direction. The gardens need a lot more rain and several months before they really recover. The garden food is pretty much gone now, judging by several reports, but at least the soil is workable again. Before it was like concrete! Everyone is re-planting now and praying the rains continue.

Another blessing has been the cloudiness of the days, so the rain isn’t immediately counteracted by the drying, strong equatorial sun. There are actually mud puddles! Will and David begged me to stop the car so they could play in them, so we did. :) It was our way of thanking God for His provision and celebrating that answer to the prayers of millions of people! Thank you to those who prayed!

Gracie's contagious grin. I love her freckles!! She is such a HAPPY little girl who just loves everybody.

In quint “news,” the girls play Mommy and Baby Puppy all day long, every day. They alternate who is the mommy and who is the baby. When Gracie’s the baby, Marcie keeps saying, “Isn’t she cute?!"
David on the climbing tree at playgroup. He's our adventure-boy who gets a little nervous sometimes mid-adventure. :)
The boys are into tussling (wrestling, hand-fighting). Seth less so than Will or David. He doesn’t like being roughed up, but he loves to run up to the fray, get in a quick whack, and run away before the other boys can catch him. It’s hilarious to watch, truly. The funniest part is the instananeous resolution sometimes, when before you know it they are best friends again and working on a project together, building each other up each step of the way. “Good job, Bubby!"
On the see-saw at playgroup. Seth loves group/cooperative play. Marcie looks on, waiting for her turn.
Marcie's turn (she looks a little nervous) with Will in the background blowing on his "whistle." Thankfully it's not really a whistle and is completely soundless - our favorite kind of toy. ;)
Will climbing the stump, "whistle" in hand still

At the bounce house the high schoolers put up as a fundraiser. We don't get group discounts - bummer. ;)
Handsome David showing off his handsome tie and cheesy grin after church on Sunday

David looking slightly less goofy (although the tie is far to short, really!)
Beautiful Seth

If you jumped when you saw this, rest assured my reaction upon seeing Gavin's cleanly shaven face for the first time in four years was every bit as dramatic. I literally started, had to take a moment, then could face him again. I'm sorry, but I LOVE Gavin's beard. However, it's "No Shave November," and the pilots here are doing it together as a team-building exercise (why they need to build their team, I'm not sure). They all had to start clean-shaven. Thankfully Gavin's beard grows really quickly, whereas the wives who are used to clean-shaven men have another 3+ weeks to endure stubble and scruff! This is our great friend James, our Ukarumpa brother and uncle to the kids.
[Gavin painted that picture of Half Dome in the background, by the way. He's from the Yosemite area.]

Friday, October 23, 2015

Happy Birthday

My friend Susan (the same one who took the quints' 3-year-old photo portraits) took these group pictures for me as a gift for my dad, whose birthday it is today. Sadly, Isaac was in school and Gavin was at work and so they missed out again. I did it on the spur of the moment when the kids were amenable to wearing coordinating/matching outfits (thanks JJ and CJ and Mickey(?) or whoever it was who sent me the girls' outfits). This was at Monday morning playgroup this week. They are so silly!

It's harder to smile for the camera when your mom is with you in the photo. I was the one making them smile. :)
All of us are healthy and happy. Gavin has been flying a lot. The kids are talking a LOT. It's so funny to hear their conversations. (I can't reproduce one for you, unfortunately, because I usually don't have time to take notes.)

Isaac is also doing great, and we are so proud of the young man he's become! He asked me this week why ANYONE would resent their mom having another baby. (He was watching Veggie Tales with the kids, and one of the letters Bob and Larry were reading was from a kid who didn't want their new sibling.) He was genuinely baffled, even though he acknowledged it means having to share your parents' attention. Apparently he thinks his brothers and sisters are well worth it!

My big announcement this week is that after four years of being a stay-at-home mom I returned to work very part time this week. I was SO ready to get out of the house and re-enter an office/medical environment. So now I am working at our clinic as a receptionist, which in addition to usual receptionist duties also includes preparing and filing charts and doing whatever else needs to be done. Our few nurses are extremely overworked, poor ladies. (While I'm officially an epidemiologist, I really don't feel ready or willing to re-enter that world right now. It's too consuming and involves lots of out-of-office time. People always come to my door when I work in health outreach and education. It's unavoidable, no matter how much I try to set boundaries.)  

I'm finding my new job actually increases my productivity at home (since, as I said, I'm only very part-time) as well as my enjoyment of the kids. They go to daycare regularly now and love it and are staying healthy, praise God! The PNG ladies who run the Daycare are beautiful, kind, loving women. One of them was Isaac's babysitter the whole time he was little. She even potty-trained him for us in just a couple of weeks at Daycare! I wish she'd do the same for these kids . . .  ;)

Love and gratitude!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy, happy home (usually)

When I was little bitty my mom used to sing a song that went, “With Carrie in the family, happy, happy home!” (repeated multiple times to a really cute tune). I used to sing it to Isaac and I’ve done so a few times with the quints (who love their names in songs, of course). Looking at these pictures of the bright side of life just makes me grateful and happy. We have super-stressful, insane moments, of course, and there are times we feel like we’re going to lose it, but I think on the whole we are enjoying age 3 more than any other age, and it is gradually getting easier.

Gavin in (unstaffed) church nursery with the kids:

Climbing trees - not really. Gavin just put them up there and took the pictures.
David and his silly smile

Will drew on himself with a marker, lest you wonder what those green marks are on his thigh. :)
Will and Marcie

Me reading to the kids last night (Wow! A timely picture for the first time in a long time!)

Tonight David saw a photo of the quints lined up as babies on the swing in my parents’ backyard and he said, “Mom, those are your kids! There’s Sethers, Will, Gracie, and Marcie and Sethers!” I prompted him to say who else, and he realized he’d forgotten himself, so he did the whole list again, with “David” this time too. (For some reason Seth got mentioned twice both times through.) Then Isaac said from his bedroom, “Those aren’t ALL of Mom’s kids!” David then remembered Isaac, the original Mommy’s kid and the only one for 8.5 years! :)

Isaac and friends frying giant June bugs to eat. They taste like really fatty, nasty bacon with a too-crunchy outside. I can’t stand them.

Will looking sweet and docile. Looks are deceiving: although he certainly can be VERY sweet, he usually isn’t docile. He loves, loves, loves to be kissed and told that he is LOVED. He always repeats back, “I love you” with his dimpled full-face grin. Thanks to those of you who prayed for his illness. It took a LONG time, but I think he’s finally completely over it! We’re so thankful that it didn’t affect the other kids nearly so much, if at all. Gracie and Gavin were the only ones truly sick as well.

And finally, our happy, happy home (the grass is much drier now than it appears in this photo):

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

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