Honest Blog Award

My dear friend Bethany awarded me with the "Honest Blog Award." Much like she said, I'm not sure I'm always 100% honest on this blog. No need to weigh all of you down with the nitty-gritty details of everyday life. 2008 has been a hard year, though you couldn't tell it by reading the blog. Still, we've had a lot of blessings, and I choose to focus on those and "cast all my cares upon Him."
Anyhow, along with the award I'm supposed to post 10 honest things about myself. Oh Lordy -- here we go...
1.) I belong to a facebook group called "I judge you when you use poor grammar" for a reason. I'm a grammar nut, even though I don't always hold myself to the same standard. And yes, all of you fellow bloggers, I am editing your blogs as I read. ;)
2.) Sometimes I will go most (if not all) of the day without brushing my teeth. I'm the type of person who doesn't like to brush until after I eat breakfast (It makes your food taste funny!). But if I get busy with the kids, skip breakfast, etc. I will put it on the back burner until about 6:00 pm when JP is going to come home. Then I'll do it so that he'll kiss me.
3.) My house is almost always dirty and/or messy.
4.) I have a serious listening problem. My actions and expressions will give you every indication that I am listening to what you are saying, but my mind will completely shut off. If I do "hear" what you're saying, I'll have a hard time retaining it. I have to purposefully focus on each word you say if I want to ingest it. This drives JP crazy.
5.) I also have serious texture issues. I cannot eat things like seafood (shrimp especially), mushrooms, water chestnuts, and anything else with an unusual texture.
6.) I hate shopping, especially for clothing and groceries. I almost always leave frustrated. I think the clothing part is because I can never find anything I like that I can afford, and the grocery part is because I can't cook and can't create any good ideas.
7.) If I am not instantly good at something, I give up. With the exception of parenting and being a wife, since I have no choice. :)
8.) I have a hard time admitting when I'm wrong and apologizing.
9.) I am NOT a feminist and have a LOT of issues with feminist thought. I think it is probably one of the leading causes of divorce today. I wish women would get back to submitting to, honoring, and serving their husbands with him as the leader.
10.) I'm embarrassed to put all of this out there! :)

I'm not going to tag anybody else. I'll spare you the pain of scrutinizing yourself!!!!!

3 Months

Ruby Ann turned 3 months old on the 29th. She is such a sweet blessing to our home. She's always smiling and content, only crying when she needs to go to bed. She has learned how to suck her thumb and can roll from her tummy to her back. She is very smiley and gets very excited when you talk to her, kicking her feet and cooing. She's a big girl, too. I don't have a current weight on her, but she is already wearing 6 month clothing.
We love you, Ruby!

Anna Malia Harpel

I am the happy new aunt of a beautiful baby girl. Anna Malia Harpel was born on the 29th. 6 pounds, 15 ounces, 19 inches long. She is so tiny and sweet!
Missy wasn't due until January 6th, but was induced so that Micah could be home for the birth. Everything went very smoothly and quickly. Micah has to go back to Georgia for more training on the 6th, so they only have a few precious days to enjoy together. Please keep their whole family in your prayers!
Here is the little sweetie...


The Craziest 2.5 Months of my Life

I'm finally doing it -- I'm sitting down and attempting to recount all that has happened in the Charlebois household in the last month or so. I have no idea how long it will take.
In the last 2.5 months we have had a baby, moved to a new home, gone on a 2-week roadtrip, come down with the stomach flu, recovered, and had one Christmas celebration. I guess I'll just update you on the last month since our move.
We moved to our new home in Dayton, MN (not Ohio...sorry for the confusion to some) the weekend of November 21st. We LOVE the new place. It's a 3-bed/2-bath farmhouse nestled on 7 acres, about a mile behind the new Super Target in Maple Grove. It's close enough into the city that we have access to every convenience, yet far enough out that it feels like the country. The neighbors have horses that graze along our property lines every afternoon, and snowmobiles are racing by all the time. In addition to having a 2-car garage, it also has a 20 x 40 heated workshop for JP to work his business out of. The house was built in 1918, but has been almost completely remodeled. One of our favorite features is the heated tile floors in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. A BIG thanks to everyone who showed up to help us move that day -- we certainly could not have done it without you.
About a week after we moved in, we re-packed our bags and left on a two-week road trip. My brother, Micah, was graduating from basic training at Fort Benning, GA, so we drove down with his 8-month pregnant wife and two sons to watch the ceremonies. There were 4 kids under the age of three in one van -- and they did GREAT!
The trip got off to a rough start. JP came down with the 24-hour stomach bug the morning we hit the road. He spent the whole first day in the back of the truck as Missy and I juggled driving and caring for the kids. For some reason we thought it would also be a good idea to leave at 4:30 in the morning, thinking the kids would fall right back to sleep in the car. Zachary did fall asleep; Malachi took a while, but finally slept; Rae, however, never did fall asleep. You can imagine how tired she was later in the day. They were all exhausted by nap time.
**Note: notice in the pictures, JP built a lofted bed in the back of our 1983 Chevy Sportvan. The luggage went underneath, and the top was padded for comfort. It also had hinges on it so we could access our luggage from inside the van. The truck ran great -- it was such a blessing. We had plenty of room for 4 car seats, 4 adults, all our luggage, and room to lay down.***

The second day went a whole lot better. JP was feeling better and was able to resume bearing much of the load. We decided from that point on to take our time and only drive 5-6 hours a day for the sake of the kids and our sanity.
On day three we stopped in Chattanooga, TN for lunch. We decided to drive up Lookout Mountain and see what we could see. We visited Point Park, the site of the Civil War battle for Chattanooga. The view from Point Park was amazing -- maybe one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen. From the top of the mountain you could see 7 different states and the snow-capped Smoky Mountains in the distance.

By day three, we made it to Georgia. We had one full day to rest and get the kids adjusted to the new time zone. Then the big reunion day arrived! We first saw Micah at his "Turning Blue" ceremony. That's when he officially became an infantryman. The reunion between Micah and his family was so sweet, it was hard to hold off the tears. They hadn't seen him in 4 months! The boys both went right up to him with big hugs and kisses.
The next day, Micah officially graduated and became a free man for a few weeks. The ceremony was pretty cool. Because of Micah's high performance during basic training, he got to be part of a demonstration at the beginning of the ceremony. He rode out in a tank, then they all ran out, threw smoke grenades, and came creeping out through the smoke with their weapons...it was pretty cool and the boys (especially Malachi) LOVED it. Micah had mailed his boys official army fatigues, just like his, which they wore to the graduation. They were a hit -- complete strangers were coming up to take their pictures.
Micah is on the far right

The next day, we left Georgia (with Micah!) for Memphis, TN to visit Me-Maw (my mom's mom) and the rest of our aunts, uncles, and cousins in that area. This was also the first time we were able to introduce Ruby to her namesake, and Me-Maw and Ruby were nearly inseperable. We had a great visit, surrounded by all the southern hospitality and cooking you could imagine.
The next and final stop on our way home was in Geneseo, Illinois to visit our Uncle Hank and Aunt Gail. The visit was short, but very sweet. It was wonderful to see them. For those of you who don't know, my uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about a year and a half ago. He is a miracle -- he's already lived six months longer than the doctors said he would, and the cancer is actually shrinking. It was absolutely wonderful to see him looking and feeling so well. We had dinner with them, then they followed us back to our hotel to watch the kids swim (their favorite hotel activity).
Throughout the trip, Malachi and Zach struggled with a stomach bug, but by the end of the trip Zach had it in full swing. The poor little guy had the squirts most of the ride home, which made traveling hard for him AND for Missy. Rae didn't catch the bug until after we got home, and was pretty miserable for the time she did have it. Yesterday was probably the first full day of health for our whole family, and it feels good to be well!
This is all I have energy to post tonight. Later I will post pictures and stories from our Charlebois family Christmas celebration. Thanks for your patience! :) It's good to be back.


Long Time...

Hi, remember me? :)
I apologize that I have not posted in a very, very long time! We have had a LOT going on the past couple of weeks, and honestly I can't even give you a full update right now. We moved to Dayton a couple weeks ago, only to pack up and leave on a two-week road trip. Right now I am sitting in a hotel room in Columbus, Georgia. Today I watched my brother Micah graduate from basic training at Fort Benning. It was wonderful!
Tomorrow we drive to Memphis, TN to see my grandma (Me-Maw), aunts and uncles on my mom's side. Me-Maw is Ruby's namesake. It will be very special to introduce them. From there we plan to travel to Illinois to visit my dad's brother, Uncle Hank, and his wife Gail. Then we'll be home just in time for the holidays.
It's a lot to take in, but we're doing great. I'll post stories and pictures when we get back home (I hope!).


8 HOURS!!!

Last night, little Ruby slept through the night for the first time! She slept from just before 11:00 pm until 7:00 am -- 8 full hours! Thank you Baby Wise! I woke up at 6:45 and nearly freaked out. I haven't slept through the night since I was 8 months pregnant. I felt so rested and energized today! I'm so proud of my baby girl (6 weeks old today) and I'm looking forward to more nights of longer rest.

In other news, Israel is TRULY potty training now. I know I've said I was going to start a number of times before, but this time we're really doing it! She kind of just started doing it herself, so I went along with it! As long as I remind her, we can go all day with no accidents, but she still doesn't tell me when she has to go. Moms out there, I'll take any input you can send my way!
Here's a picture of her helping daddy in her "big girl undies." That's a common sight these days.


One Month

Ruby Ann is already one month old! She is so precious and sweet tempered. She's starting to focus in on our faces more and gives us sweet smiles from time to time.
Thank you Jesus for our precious girls!


How to Carve a Pumpkin

First scoop...
Then trace...


REALLY carve...

And finally, enjoy!

A Weekend in Autumn

We spent a wonderful fall weekend out at JP's dad & step-mom's place. We've been out there a lot as JP helps them rebuild their deck. This weekend we took advantage of Saturday's weather and went to Fall Harvest Orchard in Montrose, MN. It was more of a petting farm trip than an orchard. There were goats, pigs, chickens, cows...and the girls had tons of fun playing with them.
Feeding the Goats

The corn pool

JP the goat whisperer

"Punkin patch!"

On Sunday Margie threw herself a Dora the Explorer themed birthday party for the girls. They loved wearing the party hats and received Dora balloons and goody bags.

We also put the girls in their costumes for a photo shoot. Ava is a mouse, but you can't really tell because she wouldn't put her hood up! Rae is a ladybug and Ruby is our sweet pea.


VeggieTales Live

On Saturday night, Margie & I packed up Rae, Ruby, and Ava and made the long treck from Clearwater to Lakeville for VeggieTales Live! Israel loves VeggieTales, especially Junior Asparagus. She had a blast singing and dancing to all of the silly songs. Ava, on the other hand, was a little scared of the loud music, flashing lights, and giant vegetables, so her mom came to pick her up early.
Here are some pictures of Rae busting her moves!


Funny Story of the Week

On Sunday afternoon, I decided to give the girls a bath. Normally I put Rae in the tub and wash Ruby in the sink, but I decided to do them both in the tub together this time. Things were going great...until Ruby pooped in the tub (sorry if this is too gross for the average reader). The poop started spreading all through the water as I frantically tried to get both of their slippery, naked bodies rinsed with clean water and out of the tub.
I got Rae out first, and she started running around the house yelling "I'm nakey! I'm nakey!" I hurried to get Ruby out and into a clean diaper so I could get a diaper on Rae as well. THEN, as if on cue, Caleb (the dog) puked on the living room floor. Israel, in all her curiosity, went to check it out and ended up stepping in it, slipping, and falling down. With Ruby all cleaned up, I then proceeded to wipe away Rae's tears, clean the puke off of her, and get her dried off and into some clothes.
During the entire fiasco, my phone was ringing over and over and over again. I had 15 missed calls from JP and numerous voicemails wondering why on earth I wasn't answering the phone. One voicemail said, "It's me, JP. Just calling to let you know that I'm dying. I wanted to say goodbye, but you're not answering your phone. So the last time you'll ever hear my voice is on a voicemail." (how dramatic)
Anyhow, it was a fun day. :) Here's to life with two!


Handyman Hunk

JP was on WCCO 4 News at 6:00 pm tonight! 
The story was about winterizing foreclosed homes. JP has been doing some work for my former boss at WCCO, and when he heard that JP does winterizations, he asked if JP would be willing to be a part of the story.