Here we go 'round

This is a cute video of Ruby's new favorite thing to do when we go outside. She would do this all day long if I let her.
Ruby is 11 months old now! She is standing on her own and it won't be long until she walks. She's already taken one small step. What a joy she is to us.


Love Rejoices in the Truth

"Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth."
- I Cor 13:6
Today my husband had a good word about this verse from the Bible's "love chapter." It encouraged me, so I thought I'd share it.

To J.P. and I (and I would assume all parents), it is very important that our children always feel free to be honest with us. We've witnessed and experienced the sad situation where children grow up lying to their parents, living double lives, and ultimately being spiritually separated from them, all because they feared telling their parents the truth. We want to create an environment where our children can be honest without fear, because they trust us and our reactions.
The secret lies here in this verse: "Love...rejoices with the truth." It's easy to rejoice with the truth when the truth is positive. But what about when the truth is negative?
So often when Rae does something wrong, I can see the struggle on her little face as to whether she should tell me or not. If she tells me the truth, I'm going to be upset. If she lies, she suffers the guilt and separation that it brings. When she chooses the lie, I usually know shes lying anyhow and she gets a consequence. But when she chooses the truth, she sees my disappointment, plus she still gets a consequence. It's a tough choice for a two year old!
If I, as a parent, can train myself to REJOICE when Rae chooses the truth, and relay that joy to her for choosing the truth, she is going to learn that honesty brings relief, joy, and a bond between Rae and Mommy. She still has to face the consequences for her actions, but she doesn't have to face my disappointment with her, because it won't be there. I'll be rejoicing that my daughter chooses to be honest with me.
My heart would break if my children were so afraid of facing my disappointment that they built a wall of lies between us. From now on, no matter what they've done, I'm going to try to always rejoice when my children tell the truth. Couple that with prayer, and I have a fresh hope that this will foster an environment where they always feel free to be honest with us even well into their adult lives.


4 Year Anniversary: Blooper Reel

In celebration of our 4-year anniversary, I'd like to share photos from the Charlebois Wedding Blooper Reel. Thanks for making our day fun and...er...interesting! ;)

Look at JP wishing he could be done with photos and play with Jono...

P.S. I love my hubby!


Tie Dye and Party Hard

Today, we celebrated "Papa" Charlebois' 85th birthday with an all-family get together. Papa is one of the SWEETEST men I have ever known, and his love and pride for his family is evident every time you see him.
It was wonderful to see everybody at the party. Papa's family includes one beautiful wife, 6 kids (plus 4 kids-in-law), 8 grandkids (plus 6 married-ins/significant others), and 14 great-grandkids. It gets crowded, but the more the merrier!
We love you, Papa, and we're so proud to be a part of your legacy!

As a fun weekend project, I picked up a tie dye kit at Michael's and we had a lot of fun creating tie dyed t-shirts with Rae and Ava. Everybody tried a different technique, and we came out with some really fun designs. Being the nerds we are, we all wore our "matching" tie dyed shirts to Papa's party. Now Papa wants one, too...so I guess we'll be heading back to Michael's this week!

I didn't get a picture of my shirts because I was behind the camera all day!


X Games at Home

We've been watching a lot of X Games at our house this week, and now there is a new event to add to the list: Extreme Bed Diving.
We were all playing on our queen bed tonight, and Ruby kept on getting too close to the edge for comfort. We decided to put some pillows down and allow her to crawl off the edge, hoping it would put the "fear of the edge" in her and she'd keep away from them.
Only one problem: she LOVED it! She laughed and snorted and wanted right back up to do it over and over again. Now it is a new favorite game. I guess we'll be keeping an EXTRA close eye when we play on the bed these days.

Fruits of our Labor

We have been harvesting cucumbers, lettuce and sugar snap peas from our makeshift garden. Israel loves going out to check for the fruits of our labor every day. No tomatoes yet, and the corn is looking a little weak, but we haven't given up hope yet!

Cousin Week

We have been enjoying a fabulous week of time spent with cousins. Micah, Missy & co. arrived in MN for Missy's brother's wedding on Wednesday. We were at my parents' house waiting for them when they pulled in, and the fun hasn't stopped since.
They came bearing gifts, including these jewels which Rae so dramatically displays
So great to see this face again!
The next day, my side of the family (minus Amber, Pete & kids) came out to our place for burgers and a bonfire.
I was thankful that the boys haven't changed too much!
Anna is a tiny little peanut! So sweet!
JP & Micah "chop" the firewood...
...and Malachi & Zach haul it to the fire pit.
JP brought some old cabinets from a job site to burn, but it turns out they make a better fort when you add a cardboard roof.Micah & Missy
We had only limited time to spend with Micah as he had to report back to the base on Monday morning. We were able to see him again for a brunch on Sunday before he had to catch his flight. Missy and the kids stayed in MN, though, and will be here through the 11th.

On Friday we had some more friends come out to our place for a bonfire. The fire was short-lived, however, when we came up with the brilliant idea to play a game of guys vs. girls kickball. The women had a 8-month pregnant teammate, and the men had a teammate recovering from knee surgery 3 days before. Once the sun set, JP brought out the flood lights. When the rain started, we kept playing. When the 3-year-old got smacked in the head with a kickball, the pregnant lady's body gave out, and the rain really started coming down...we finally called it a game. :)

Cousin week continued with a play date at my sister's house on Monday morning, followed by an impromptu dinner at JP's sister's house that night. Hats off to Lisa for preparing a delicious dinner for 10 on only 1/2 day's notice (those of you who know Lisa know she doesn't normally cook, much less for 10).
Handsome Vincent
These girls are so preciousFlorie and Ruby are proving to be partners in crime. They will be the ones to keep us on our toes as the years go by! And finally, we had one more play date at my parent's house today, just for good measure. If you think it sounds exhausting...well, it is! But we're willing to do it in order to squeeze every minutes of fun we can out of Malachi, Zach and Anna.
Me & AnnaAll 8 Harpel grandkids (Ruthie is thrilled)...lol.