Helping Out a Friend

Hi everyone,

A friend of ours is competing in an online school talent contest as an artist. Please check out this video of her drawing a sketch of Anne Hathaway. The video will be partially judged on the total views it gets.
Please login to your YouTube account if you have one so that the view will count.

Thanks for your support. Enjoy!


Full Term

Today I had my 36-week OB checkup. I am officially "full term" -- just one month left till sweet Ruby makes her grand appearance! I've gained 19 pounds, and I'm blaming the state fair for every pound over 20 that I end up gaining. :) Everything is still going well. I can't believe what an easy pregnancy this has been.
Rae also had her 18-month checkup today. She is 27 pounds, which is 80th percentile for weight, and 33 inches long, which is 95th percentile for height. Where she gets her height is a mystery! She continues to amaze us every day with how verbal she is. She speaks (in my opinion) extremely well for her age. She is also excited for Ruby to come. She has started caring for her baby dolls in ways such as feeding them bottles, burping them, and laying them down to go to sleep. She comes up to my tummy just to say hi to Ruby and give her a kiss. She is going to be a wonderful big sister, and (I believe) a big help to mom.
I will be going back to the doctor every week now until the baby comes, so stay tuned for more updates.
And here -- for your viewing pleasure -- is a new picture of the twins, Vincent and Florence. This is my favorite picture of them so far! Aren't they cute?


He comes bearing gifts!

JP came home from work today with this gorgeous bouquet of flowers for me. It wasn't one of those pre-arranged bouquets you can buy just about anywhere. He personally selected each flower with me in mind and had the flower shop lady arrange them for me. I think he did a beautiful job.
In addition to the flowers, he also brought CHOCOLATE (my man knows what I like) and a stuffed koala bear for Rae. He's a good man! :)

Three Years

"I, Audra, according to the Word and will of God, submit myself to you, JP, as the church submits to Jesus. Today, I covenant with God and with you to be your wife, to be your helper, suited to you in everything. I will follow you as you follow the Lord, respecting you, bringing honor to you, and loving you. By God's word and by His Spirit, I vow to live by faith and pursue holiness, to minister grace and peace to our home, to comfort and encourage you, giving preference to your needs above my own, as unto the Lord."

Happy Anniversary, my love. Thank you with all my heart for three beautiful years of love, leadership, provision, and friendship. You are an amazing husband and father, and I will love you forever!


Micah and Missy's Blog

Missy has started a blog to keep family and friends updated on their new adventures in the U.S. Army. The address is http://mandmharpel.blogspot.com. Check it out!


Goodbye, Micah

This morning, I went with Missy to Fort Snelling to see Micah take his oath and enlist in the U.S. Army. Minutes later, he was on his way to Fort Benning, GA.
Emotions couldn't be any more mixed. We are so proud of him, yet so sad to see him go. The good news is that we found out that he'll be home for Christmas for about a week! That makes a huge difference, especially for Missy & the boys.
According to Micah & Missy...
"Basic training lasts about three months. He will graduate with the MOS11B, which means 'Infantryman.' We will fly down to see him graduate at this time. This will be sometime in November.
"Since Micah's goal is to become '18X,' Special Forces, he continues at Fort Benning to Airborne School. This 3-4 week course consists of parachuting out of airplanes.
"After passing Airborne school, Micah moves to Fort Bragg, NC where he starts his training and selection process for the Special Forces. For one month he will be in Special Forces Prep Course.
"After passing the Special Forces Prep Course, and after about 6 months TOTAL time of him being in training, he will be able to come home on a one-month leave; hopefully around February 12th. Once home, he will gather up our things, and us, and we move down to Fort Bragg, NC. Micah then continues Special Forces training, which can take up to two years. It is unsure exactly where we will be during those two years of training, but we will be together in the same home, and for that I (Missy) and thankful!"
Here are some specific prayer requests Micah and Missy have for all of you:
  • For Micah's body to recover quickly from one day to the next
  • For favor from his commanders
  • For Micah & Missy to both stay spiritually strong
  • That he would pass all his training
  • That he would not worry about his family back at home
  • That his time away from the family would be no more than 6 months
  • For Godly friends/fellowship
  • That their marriage would stay strong
  • For frequent communication opportunities
  • That the boys would do well during this transitional time
  • That Micah and the boys' relationship would stay strong
  • For baby #3 to stay healthy
  • That Micah would be able to come home for the birth of baby #3
Please do keep them, and all of these things, in your prayers!

Last night, we had one final farewell dinner together as a family. Here are some pictures of that as well as from today. They wouldn't allow pictures during the actually swearing in ceremony, but I was able to get some of the final goodbyes between Micah, Missy and the boys.

We love you, Micah, and we are so proud of you!!!!!!


Micah's Going Away Party

There are only two days left until my brother, Micah, leaves for 6 months of basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia. On Sunday, my sister hosted a going away party for him at her home. It was a great time for people to come by, say their goodbyes, and spend time with Micah before he leaves.
Every day gets a little more emotional. This is the first time anybody in our family has ever moved out of state. But we're so proud of him.
Thanks to all of you who made it to the party. I know Micah and Missy really appreciate all of the support, love and prayers around them.


Camping at Gooseberry

We got home late last night from a FABULOUS camping trip to Gooseberry Falls State Park with my brother and his family. The weather was perfect (70's during the day and 50's at night), our site was great, and the time spent with Micah and his crew was priceless.
We headed out Monday in the late afternoon. We met up with Micah & Missy in Duluth for dinner at Grandma's (a mandatory stop in Duluth, in my opinion). The kids had fun watching the boats go under the bridge, playing with flowers, and riding the motorcycle & horse while we waited to be seated.

We didn't get to our campsites until after dark, so it was a late night for both kiddos and parents alike. Thankfully, our family woke up to a nice, quiet morning. But poor Micah and Missy woke up to the sound of backhoes and earth movers at 7:00 am! Apparently there was construction happening on a bike trail right next to their site. The noise continued ALL DAY LONG and into supper time every day. Unfortunately, the whole campground was pretty packed and there was no good opportunity for them to switch to another site. Micah and Missy made the best of it and enjoyed their trip nonetheless.
Later that day we took the kids to the falls, and they absolutely LOVED it! We spent most of the afternoon splashing in the water. After their naps we took them to Lake Superior for more splashing and rock throwing.
Tuesday night was really cool -- JP and I were sitting around our camp fire enjoying the coolness of the evening when I noticed a shooting star. Then, maybe 20 seconds later, I saw another one! Turns out the Perseids Meteor Shower is just getting started, and it will peak on the morning of August 12th. I ended up seeing 13 meteors in a span of maybe 45 minutes, and JP saw some others that I didn't catch. It was amazing.
Wednesday we took the kids back to the falls for more splashing, but midway through our picnic lunch it started sprinkling. It was no big deal, and we continued to eat and play in the water until Micah and Missy realized they didn't have a rain fly on their tent! We raced back to the camp site to find their sleeping bags were soaked. We had to make a trip to the Two Harbors laundromat to dry them out.
Our family had to come home Wednesday night. We would have loved to stay another couple days. The time we spent with Micah, Missy, Malachi and Zach was absolutely precious, as well as the time we spent together as a family. It was one of the most relaxing camping trips we've ever taken.



Sorry it has been so long since the last post! The last couple of weeks have been busy. On Saturday we attended the third out of six weddings scheduled five weeks in a row. 'Tis the season, I suppose. I don't have pictures from any of them, so I won't elaborate much other than to say they've all been very lovely and it is great to be a part of them! The only difficult part is figuring out a practical rotation for the three maternity dresses I have in my possession (only one of which is mine, the other two are borrowed).
Speaking of maternity, I am 32 weeks along this week and all is going well. Ruby's due date is September 24th. I'm getting big, but not overly uncomfortable. Rae LOVES babies and I know she is going to be excited to have Ruby around.
We are going camping today through Thursday with my brother Micah and his family. For those of you who don't know, my brother has joined the Army Special Forces and is leaving for training on the 14th. He'll be gone for 6 months (his prego wife and two sons will stay here), then he'll come back, get his family and move them all down to N. Carolina in February. We are looking forward to a very special camping trip with them. We'll be at Gooseberry Falls State Park.
Stay tuned for pictures when we get home!