Baby Update

The latest on the baby is that everything is still going well. I am in my 31st week (8th month) and have gained 15 pounds. Doc says that is healthy. Baby is kicking and moving all the time - she's probably about 15 inches long and 3 pounds at this point. She can turn her head from side to side, follow light with her eyes, and even has dreams now.
From now on I go to the doctor every two weeks instead of every month. My last day of work is December 23rd...and then I'm a full-time homemaker! Crazy, huh?
I praise God that I'm feeling better than ever right now. I'm not tired, not sore anymore, not unbearably huge, and I sleep remarkably well (as long as the tums are on the nightstand!). Thanks to everybody who has been praying for me and Israel - it is really working!

P.S. We are JUST about finished with the nursery! Stay tuned for photos soon!


Scott & Ala'a

If you guys want to read a great, encouraging, moving story - read on.
It's about a soldier named Scott (a friend of a friend) who brought something more from Iraq than just pictures of his comrades and desert sand.

Click here for the written story.
While you're there, click video to see the edited video version than ran on TV last night.

Click here
for a slideshow of Scott & Ala'a, complete with unedited raw video of their adventure.

One Year of Malachi

Of all the things to be thankful for, our neices and nephews are right up there on the top of the list. What a way to celebrate Thanksgiving, then, than to simultaneously celebrate Malachi's first birthday!
Turn your back for two seconds and they've grown more than you can imagine.
Happy Birthday, Malachi. Your auntie and uncle love you so much.



When I think about and remember how
There was no way out and You rescued me
There's no reason why You loved me then
And You love me now
'Least no reason I can see

You had always been my closest friend
Even though I'd never defended that
I was so far away, as far as ever I could stray
But You were there to bring me back

We could ne'er repay, but from my heart I'd like to say
That I thank You

There's so much to learn about how to turn
All Your words of life that burn in me
Into a living fountain flowing deep, and flowing clean
So that all can come and drink

But I know You're right there, willing to prepare
This open heart of mine to carry on
To the place where I can be Your servant
Be Your friend
One that You can depend on

We could ne'er repay, but from my heart I'd like to say
That I thank You


Birthing Classes

Tonight JP and I went to our first childbirth preparation class. Those of you who know JP can just imagine how thrilled he was/is about that! Sitting still for 2.5 hours is hard enough when he's doing something he enjoys...much less doing something like watching videos of (generally unattractive) women giving birth in 1986. (Note: I think they use unattractive women in those videos on purpose, to keep our "weaker brethren" from stumbling if you know what I mean!) :)
The one good thing that came out of the night was that JP changed his mind about wanting me to do an all-natural childbirth. After watching that women go through labor without pain meds, I think he realized it's not so much about being weak as it is about being miserable when you could very well be happy and enjoying yourself through a majority of labor.
We have three more sessions. I think he'll make it through. In the meantime, I like the fact that he's required to play with my hair, massage my back and caress me as "practice" throughout the night. :)


Nephew #3

It is my extreme pleasure to announce that my brother Micah and his lovely wife Missy will be having another BOY in April!
They just had the ultrasound today - Zachary Aaron Harpel is due April 24th!!!!!!

If he's anything like his big brother Malachi - look out world! You're about to experience a cuteness overload!


It got me

The stomach bug that has been going around my family finally got me today. I have been in bed all day, with exception of trips to and from the bathroom.
It's terrible. I woudln't wish it on anybody.


Micah Snags the Big One

My brother, Micah, got this big ole' 9-point buck with a bow and arrow this weekend! He was so excited - we all were! Micah has not had the best of luck in hunting this season...he'll sit in his stand perfectly quiet all day and not see one deer, only to hear that someone else saw multiple deer from the same stand the very next day.
This time he hadn't even made it to his stand. He was walking there when he spotted this beauty.
Congrats Micah! Just don't make me eat any of it!


I just got back from a quick weekend trip to Texas. My long-time friend Nicole and I went down to visit our long-time friend Bethany who moved down there a while back. Nicole is also pregnant, so it was kind of a "last chance" effort to get to see Bethany's life before ours change so drastically!
We had a lot of fun - it was a very fast trip, but not overly scheduled, so we were able to enjoy each other's company. We got to sample some real Texas Mexican cuisine (yum!) and did a lot of shopping. Our only qualm was that we were hoping for sandal weather, but it was only mid-sixties during our stay.
I forgot my camera, so I'm waiting for Bethany to send me some of the pictures she took. Pressure's on, Bethy! :)


Solong Suzuki

Last night we sold our Suzuki Intruder. Blame it on the pregnancy hormones - I tried to be strong but started bawling when the guy rode away on it.
This is the bike I gave JP as a wedding gift. We had many a romantic ride on that bike, many a fun time. But with the baby coming (and given JP's accident) we knew it was time to let it go for a season.
JP joked that never before in the history of man has the husband had to be the strong, sane one when giving up a bike. :)
Goodbye, dear Suzuki. We'll ride again, someday!

Latest Pics of the Cutie Pies

Malachi - 11 and a half months! He'll be one on Thanksgiving day!
Beautiful Ava - nearly 6 months old! Check out those eyes!
Elijah - getting smiley at 2 months! Them are kissin' cheeks!

It's going around

Seems the stomach flu is going around the Harpel household. I was home from work yesterday caring for JP, who was convinced he was going to die. Turns out my brother, his wife & child, my mom and my dad are all dealing with stomach viruses.
The good news is the bug leaves as quickly as it comes. The bad news is...its misery while you're enduring it.
Please pray for my family and for the rest of us...that we wouldn't catch it.
I'll also pray for any of you out there who may be dealing with it!


Faith Hill Ticked Off

Did anybody else see this on the Country Music Awards last night?
Faith Hill thought she was a shoe-in for female vocalist of the year. I guess it caught her off guard when the spotlight turned on Carrie Underwood.
Watch Faith's reaction - she's on the left.



While I'm on the subject, I'd like to put in my two cents and encourage you all to vote "NO" for the transporation amendment.

Here is the actual amendment:

"Sec. 12. Beginning with the fiscal year starting July 1, 2007, 63.75 percent of the revenue from a tax imposed by the state on the sale of a new or used motor vehicle must be apportioned for transportation purposes described in section 13, then the revenue apportioned for transportation purposes must be increased by ten percent for each subsequent fiscal year through June 30, 2011, and then the revenue must be apportioned 100 percent for transportation purposes after June 30, 2011.

Sec. 13. The revenue apportioned in section 12 must be allocated for the following transportation purposes: not more than 60 percent must be deposited in the highway user tax distribution fund, and not less than 40 percent must be deposited in a fund dedicated solely to public transit assistance as defined by law."

At first glance it sounds good: 100% of auto sales taxes goes to transportation.
But if you read closely you'll see: Section 13 says NO MORE THAN 60 percent must go to roads/highways...and NO LESS THAN 40 percent must go to public transit.
So potentially, 0% could go to roads and 100% could go to buses, light rail, etc. It's misleading. Plus take into consideration that if 100% of these funds go to transportation, taxes are going to increase in other areas where these funds are currently helping out.

My two cents worth.


Get Out The Vote!!!

I hope all of you are planning to get out and vote tomorrow!!!

If you WEREN'T planning on it - please reconsider. Being able to vote is part of what being an American is all about. It is a right that our ancestors died for. It is so, so, so important - especially among the people of God.
If you think our nation is screwed up and you don't vote, you are partially responsible. Vote your values!

If you click on the WCCO link on the right sidebar, you can find a voter's guide link that will help you out a lot. You can enter your address and get a sample ballot of just exactly who will be on your ballot. From there you can research the candidates based on information they provided themselves to the website. The voter's guide will also tell you where your particular polling place is. Polls are open in Minnesota from 7am to 8pm tomorrow. If you're not registered, don't let it stop you! Just show up with a photo ID and one other sort of address verification...like a bank statement or a utility bill.





Obstetricians call for debate on ethics of euthanasia for very sick babies
by Sarah Boseley, health editor
Monday November 6, 2006
The Guardian

Doctors involved in childbirth are calling for an open discussion about the ethics of euthanasia for the sickest of newborn babies. The option to end the suffering of a severely damaged newborn baby - who might have been aborted if the parents had known earlier the extent of its disabilities and potential suffering - should be discussed, says the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in its evidence to an inquiry by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which examines ethical issues raised by new developments.

The college says the Nuffield's working group should "think more radically about non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best-interests test and active euthanasia as they are means of widening the management options available to the sickest of newborns".
The inquiry is looking into "the ethics of prolonging life in foetuses and the newborn". Euthanasia was not originally on the agenda, because of its illegality. But the RCOG submission has persuaded the inquiry to broaden its investigation, although any recommendation favouring euthanasia for newborns is highly unlikely before a change in the law.

The college ethics committee tells the inquiry it feels euthanasia "has to be covered and debated for completion and consistency's sake ... if life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome." It points out that a pregnant woman who discovers at 28 weeks that her baby has a serious abnormality can have an abortion. Parents of a baby born at 24 weeks with the same abnormality have no such option.

There are enormous social, emotional and financial costs involved in caring for a profoundly disabled baby, the submission adds. If a mother really understood the "real, life-long costs" of caring for such a child and understood the slim chance of being fully recompensed by the state, "perhaps she might feel differently about aggressive resuscitation and treatment of her premature baby. Perhaps her doctors might as well," says the submission.

Euthanasia for very severely disabled newborn babies suffering from specified conditions is permitted in the Netherlands. Some suspect that "mercy killing" probably occurs in the UK. But medical advances which have enabled very premature babies to be kept alive at only 24 weeks gestation - little more than half the expected time in the womb - have led to a presumption that every technological intervention will be used to keep the baby going at all costs. In the case of Charlotte Wyatt, the parents vigorously opposed the doctors' wish to be allowed not to revive her through the courts. The child, now three, survived, although severely disabled and now in care.

The UK Disabled People's Council yesterday rejected discussion of euthanasia for newborn babies. "It is not for medical professionals or indeed anyone else like families to determine whether someone else's quality of life will be good simply on the grounds of impairment or health condition," said its parliamentary worker, Simone Aspis.


I am saddened beyond words at the thought of this.
Imagine; your baby is born with a birth defect you didn't know about. It is severe and will cost you time, money and energy. Had you known your baby would have been this sick, you would have aborted it. What an inconvenience. What a pain in the neck. I don't want to deal with this. Just let the baby die.

Or you could be like the father of this man, Rick Hoyt:

Rick's doctors said he would be a vegetable the rest of his life. They told his parents to put him in an institution. But his parents saw something in Rick - he followed them with his eyes. He laughed a jokes.
Now at the age of 43, Rick can communicate through a computer. He went to school, has his own apartment, works a job. And together - with the support of his amazing father - He has participated in 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. Their best time in the Boston Marathon was only 35 minutes short of the current record - for someone NOT pushing a wheelchair.
Rick would have been a candidate for Euthanasia. Watch this video and tell me if that ever would have been a good idea.


We've Moved

Glad you found us! :)


Before I go to bed tonight, I am going to be officially switching Pipes' Dreams to The Charlebog.
Please write this new address down!!!!


Tomorrow morning when you wake up, that will be our new site. http://pipesdreams.blospot.com will no longer work!!!
I hope you'll keep reading! And to those of you who have links to this blog on your blogs, I would love it if you would update your templates to reflect the change as well!



Borat - DO NOT GO SEE IT!!!

Last night, JP and I took a friend and my brother to a free advanced screening of the new film "Borat." We were excited about going - Borat is an offensive character played by comedian Sacha Cohen, but he's pretty darn funny. However, we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into and I would recommend that NOBODY GO SEE THIS MOVIE.
We were expecting the movie to be offensive and cross a few lines, but there were a couple scenes - two in particular - that were so crude, so gross, so vulgar, that it ruined the entire movie. And one of the scenes was sooooooo long. I had to keep my eyes closed through it and have JP tell me when it was okay to open them.
There is also quite a bit of Jew bashing in the movie.
I was so disappointed, and I know of quite a few people who have been excited to see this movie...so I just wanted to give you all a head's up. If anything, wait till it comes out on DVD so you can fast-forward through the crude spots.


The Patriotic Side of Sears

I checked this out and it is true:

"I assume you have all seen the reports about how Sears is treating its reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up...Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution.
I suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.
Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military!"

Deer Opener

Saturday is firearms deer hunting opener in the state.
Here's a little something to make you hunting types drool:

This lady - Deb Luzinski - took down this 24-point buck with a bow and arrow last week. It could be the biggest non-typical deer ever killed by a female bowhunter in Minnesota. That's one big buck for such a little girl.
Luzinski's a member of a group that helps control the deer population. She says she was just looking for a doe when she came across this monster.


Baby Update - AND - Please Pray

I had my 7 month checkup today and everything checked out just fine! I gained another 4 pounds last month...which puts me at 14 total so far. The doc said that as long as I keep on track with this (and don't have any crazy abnormal swelling or anything like that) I should end up right around the average 25 pound mark when all is said and done.
I was also tested for gestational diabetes today and praise the Lord, it came back negative. Baby Rae is around 2 pounds now, and she is very active.
That is the praise report!

Here is the prayer request:
Last month, my doctor was unable to make my appointment due to a family emergency. Today I found out why: he and his wife lost their 9 week old baby girl to SIDS.
They have six children: One biological son and 5 adopted kids. This was their most recent adoption. Dr. Spencer (who is a Christian and works in a Christian clinic) had been giving free care to the baby's biological mother during her pregnancy because she was a minor and from out of state, had no insurance, had other kids, etc. Toward the end of the pregnancy she asked him if he and his wife would just adopt her baby, and they agreed. They got to be there for baby Magdalene's birth, Dr. Spencer cut the cord and everything. They took her home when she was just 12 hours old.
I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. To go from kissing your sweet newborn goodnight...to her being gone the next morning...would simply be unbearable. A miscarriage would be hard enough, but this is a baby they held and kissed and cared for 9 weeks.
Obviously they took it pretty hard. Dr. Spencer said it was the worst day of his life - and that he wouldn't wish it on Hitler. At the same time, he was very strong in his faith...praising God that his little girl didn't have to struggle through this world. She got to go straight to Jesus.
His wife took it even harder. Her brother was murdered 20 years ago, and with this recent loss she became quite angry with God. Her heart has since softened and she is just thankful that they got to be the ones to care for Magdalene while she was here. Dr. Spencer's sister is an atheist, and he said he's been able to have some really great conversations with her about the Lord as a result of this tragedy.
"Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning." The pain we experience during this breath of a life is nothing compared to the eternity Dr. Spencer and his family get to spend with Magdalene.
Please keep the entire Spencer family in your prayers. Their remaining 5 kids range in age from 2 years to about 12 years, so this is bound to be hard for them to deal with and understand. And thank God for the hope we have as believers. Losing a child is something you think you'd never get through - and without God, you probably wouldn't. But Jesus offers a hope that is to beautiful to be described.

Still Here

Pipes' Dreams was experiencing some technical diffculties today. I finally figured it out and we are back up and running. Thanks to all of you who checked today and cared enough to wonder what happened to the blog. :)
We have not moved to TheCharleblog yet. I intend to make the switch this weekend - probably Saturday afternoon. Stay tuned!
Remember - the new blog address will be http://thecharleblog.blogspot.com. Write it down so that when the change happens you know where to go!