Quick Update

I don't have a ton of time, but wanted to post a couple quick updates.
A lot of people have been asking me how potty training is going.
Well, see...that's the thing. :) I haven't really started yet. We bought the potty chair and sat on it a few times to get used to it; we even ran around bare-bottomed a few times. But I kind of think she's still a little too young. I think I'd be training myself on when to take her to the potty chair than training her when to tell me she needs to go. 
I think I'm going to wait until 17 or 18 months. I've seen it successfully done at that age. My ultimate goal is to have her trained by the time Ruby comes. 
Speaking of Ruby, I had a doctor's appointment yesterday that went very well. Everything is still fine and dandy. I'm measuring a little small for how far along I am, but it's nothing my doctor is concerned about. 
Rae's cousin, Ava, turned two last week. Those two girls are getting to be such great friends and playmates. They're almost the same size -- people ask if they are twins all the time. Lisa (JP's sister) is still on bed rest until these twins arrive! Her appointments have been going well, and they were even able to see each of the babies breathing on their own in her ultrasound this week, which is great news. That means their lungs are developing quickly, in the event of them showing up earlier than expected. 
Next weekend we're going on our first annual family camping trip with the Harpel side. I can't believe how much I'm looking forward to this trip. It is sure to be a hoot with Malachi, Elijah, and Rae all running around and exploring things, with Zachary close behind and poor Naomi wishing she could crawl after them. Stay tuned for plenty of pictures and stories from that trip. 
That's all I have time for. Here are some pictures. Hope you're having a blessed day! 

Rocking out to daddy's music recordings.
Playing with Ava on her birthday.
All smiles!


Pray for the Chapmans

From JustJared.com:

The five-year-old daughter of contemporary Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was killed last night by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the Chapman family’s Williamson County home in Tennessee.

Maria, Chapman's youngest of six children, was playing in the driveway when she was struck by a Toyota Land Cruiser. Several members of the Chapman family witnessed the accident.

A statement on Chapman's website says, "Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there.”

I cannot imagine what this family must be going through right now. Especially the 17-year-old brother who was driving the SUV.
The Chapmans have three adopted children from China. Maria was the youngest. They also have three biological children. I know of couples who have received help for their adoptions through Shaohanna's Hope, a financial assistance program the Chapman's set up. They are an extraordinary couple.
KTIS plays Stephen Curtis Chapman's newest release "Cinderella" on the radio all the time. Even though I've always found it pretty corny, I've cried almost every time I've heard it when I think about Israel. The lyrics have a whole new meaning now:

"So I will dance with Cinderella, while she is here in my arms.
Cuz I know something the prince never knew.
I will dance with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song.
Cuz all too soon the clock will strike midnight,
And she'll be gone."

Stephen & his wife, Mary Beth, also co-wrote a song titled "Maria" for his 1992 album "The Great Adventure." You can read the lyrics here.

Please keep this family in your prayers, and every family who has lost or is losing a child.


21 Weeks

Our baby girl, Ruby, is 21 weeks old this week. It's hard to imagine, but that's how old the world's tiny preemie was when she was born back in 2007...and survived. Her name is Amillia Taylor.

Doctors say Amillia is the first baby known to have survived after a gestation of fewer than 23 weeks. She was just 9 1/2 inches long and weighed less than 10 ounces when she was delivered by Caesarean section.
21 weeks is also how old baby Samuel Armas was when a photographer snapped this picture of him grasping a doctor's finger from in the womb.
Life is an amazing thing. I'm barely showing, yet the tiny life inside of me could potentially survive if something terrible happened and she had to be born today. That's too much for my mind to grasp. She has everything she needs -- it's all just tiny and underdeveloped.
People, THIS IS A HUMAN! My heart breaks for the mother who aborted her 21-week-old baby and then saw the pictures of baby Amillia, and it rages with fury over the person who can look at baby Samuel grasping to his doctor's finger and say "that is not a baby -- it is an option."
I'm crying now. These babies could be future doctors who hold the cure for cancer or the solution to poverty and hunger. They could be civil rights leaders, musicians, teachers, world-changers. If we abort them, we'll never know.
I love my Ruby, and ALL the babies.



Last night we threw a surprise 30th birthday party for my sister, Amber. She had NO idea and was totally shocked! We drove into her driveway, honking the horn like crazy & blaring Kool & The Gang "Ceeeeeelebrate good times, come on!" with the windows down. Amber said at fist she thought it was some neighborhood kids leaving for a prom of some sort...then she looked out her window and saw it was us!
Amber had originally been planning to go to a demolition derby with her husband Pete (nice decoy, Pete. Sorry you had to miss it.). After giving her time to change out of of her jeans, we blindfolded her and took her to dinner at the Chianti Grill in Falcon Heights. Little did she know there were around 20 other women there waiting for her to arrive! The restaurant gave us a private room and specialized menus that said "Happy Birthday Amber" at the top.
After the yummy dinner, we headed over to our friend Tina's house for dessert, a slideshow and good times hanging out. Amber was SO blessed and SO surprised! I can't believe we pulled it off!
Thanks to everybody who came, participated, pitched in, organized, and PARTIED with us last night!!!!!!!!!


Polls Closed: The results are in...

...And it's another GIRL! :)

Introducing, Ruby Ann Charlebois

On her tummy:

head shot:

sucking her thumb:
yawning (kind of hard to tell):

We are so blessed and EXCITED!
Ruby is my grandmother's name, and Ann is both JP's mom's & step-mom's middle names. Put them together, and we have our little "Jewel of Grace."


15 Months

Israel had her 15-month checkup today, and besides getting two more shots, everything went well. She is 50% for both height and weight (30.5 inches, 23 lbs) and according to Dr. Spencer...ready to potty train. Ahhh!!! So we are heading to Target today to get a potty chair. I think I will chart her potty patterns this week, and then start with the training next week. Keep us in your prayers! :)
Here are some very cute pictures of Israel playing with bubbles in the kitchen sink. Bubbles are her new favorite thing and she could play in them for hours.


Boy or Girl?

We have our ultrasound scheduled for this coming Wednesday, May 7th, at which time we "hope" to be able to find out the gender of little baby Pinto!
Any guesses? Take the poll on the right side of the page! :)