More Pictures from William O'Brien

Our planned camping trip to William O'Brien State Park with my family didn't turn out as we had hoped. We opted out Friday night because of the severe storms that were coming through. Normally, I would be game for tent camping in a storm (sounds exciting to me), even with the kids. BUT we have two kids and three dogs...in one tent...in a storm...and it just didn't sounds like a solid plan.

So we decided to make a day trip on Saturday. But on Saturday morning, JP woke up sick, coughing up green stuff and experiencing pain in his lungs when he breathed. (JP has severe acute asthma, so it's very easy for him to develop bronchitis or pneumonia.)

On Sunday the girls and I did finally make it to the park for a day trip, and JP stayed home on the couch. We didn't get to spend nearly as much time playing with the cousins as we had hoped, but we had a great time nonetheless.

Playing at the banks of the St. Croix River
Splashing in the fountain on a hot day
Ruthie (my sister's youngest)
The infamous sliding rock. A favorite since my childhood.


I plan on using my birthday money to buy some sort of photo editing software, so I can keep playing around with this new hobby I'm loving so much. Just about every photographer, amateur, or forum I've contacted has suggested Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, so I downloaded the 30-day free trial. There is so much to learn about the program, but already I'm excited.

Here are just a couple before and afters from our day trip to William O'Brien State Park this weekend.

Not Me! Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Happy "Not Me" Monday! I pulled a couple of stupid ones this week, and I'm blaming them on pregnancy brain.

You can check out more Not Me! stories at MckMama's blog.

This week I took the girls to meet some old high school friends at the beach who I hadn't seen in a long, long time. Upon arriving, I did NOT look down and notice that I had left the house in two different flip-flops. One black, one rainbow. Not me!

There's also no way that I forgot to put a pull-up on my daughter before bed on Friday night (my birthday), only to be awoken by a soaking wet, sobbing, embarrassed 3-year-old. And if that had happened, bless her little heart, I would have taken the time to clean up her bed, get the sheets in the wash, etc. and NOT just move her to the bottom bunk to deal with the aftermath in the morning.

Anybody else have any stories they'd rather not share?



My phone has been ringing, dinging, buzzing, and alerting off the hook today with birthday calls, texts, facebook alerts and emails -- WHEW! It has been overwhelming! I made the decision early in the day to respond to each and every one of them and now my fingers are sore from all of the typing and texting. :)

So thanks to all of you who wished me a happy 28th birthday. I would feel old except my husband just hit 30. As long as my age starts with a "2" I can still consider myself "in my 20's" and feel just fine about that.

We spent the day taking it easy at home. We had planned to leave for a camping trip with my family today, but the forecast told of thunderstorms, hail, tornado warnings, heat, and humidity pretty much all weekend. So we opted to stay home with a possible day trip on Saturday, weather permitting.

My brave parents and my sister's family decided to head up anyhow. From what we've heard, my parents did get their tent set up before the storms hit and are toughing it out. My sister and her family spent two hours at a McDonald's play land as the rains came down and the floods came up before deciding to head back home for the night.

Since I didn't need to spend my day packing and preparing, we set up a slip-and-slide I found at Wal-Mart for $5 and had a blast watching the girls play with it. That was the best $5 I've spent all summer. The girls didn't quite grasp the concept of running and sliding, so JP started pulling them down with a dog leash. (I was trying to post a video of this, but it wasn't working.) After dinner we took the girls to Dairy Queen. The storms never hit us here in Princeton.

All in all, it was a sweet day spent with my beautiful family, and I'm so blessed to spend my years with them.

Here are the "priceless" $5 slip-and-slide photos. :)



Father's Day 2010

We had a full couple of days running around attempting to spend time with all of our dads this Fathers' Day weekend.

The fun began on Friday. Having been unsuccessful in finding a time for us all to get together with Bompa (JP's step-dad, Larry), the girls and I decided to load into the car and make the drive down to visit him at work. We had no idea that it would end up taking us an hour and a half to get there due to traffic! By the time we got there, the girls were so sick of being in the car, so happy to get out, and so hungry. This only proves how much we love you, Bompa! :)

As you can see, Ruby wasn't really interested in having her picture taken after all of that!

On Saturday we went to Gammy & Grampies house (JP's dad & step-mom) to celebrate with them and with the grandfathers on that side of the family (Papa & Great). The day started out cool and cloudy, but by the time the girls woke up from their naps the sun had come out and we were able to spend some time splashing in the lake with the cousins. Gammy rounded out the evening with a delicious steak, chicken & swordfish dinner.

Can you see them past the curls?
My favorite photo of the day once again includes Florie.
Vinnie & PapaAva playing "school" with Papa & Nana

We spent Sunday morning together at home as a family. We did make a family trip to Wal-Mart where JP bought Rae a tee-ball set, albeit somewhat begrudgingly! He's not a big baseball fan and tried to talk her into a new soccer ball instead, but she really wanted tee-ball.

JP is a little peculiar in that he bats and plays hockey left-handed, even though he's right handed. We were both surprised when the natural stance Rae (also right-handed) chose was as a lefty! We are going to try to teach her to bat both ways.

I don't want to be left out of the lefty club, so I'm going to mention here that I shoot pool left-handed. See, I'm cool too. :)

Sunday night we drove down to my parents house for Father's Day dinner. I didn't get many pictures of that, but it was fun as always. The kids even graduated from high chairs and booster seats to the new "kiddie table" my mom got, which they thought was pretty cool.

Here are all of the kids crowding around Grandpa (my dad) as he opened his gifts.

As gifts for all of the dads, the girls and I made little photo magnets of all of the little ones. Ok, let's be honest -- I made them and didn't let the girls touch them and risk messing them up! My intentions were good.

We love all of our dads so much. Being parents ourselves now -- and observing all JP does to provide for us physically, emotionally and spiritually -- really brings all that our dads did for us full circle. Dads are irreplaceable. We love you Bompa, Grampies, Papa, Great, and Grandpa!

And of course, #1 dad -- JP! :)

Not Me! Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Happy "Not Me" Monday! You can read more funny stories at MckMama's blog.

Last night when I went to get food for our big dogs (Caleb & Sadie), I did NOT find maggot-looking creatures living in their food. I have no idea how long they have been in there or how many times I have fed them to my dogs before noticing them. YUCK, YUCK, YUCK!!!!

The night before Father's Day, I did NOT frustratingly proclaim to JP (in my deliriously tired state) that I didn't care if it was Father's Day or not, I was not going to get up with his puppy in the morning again. Then, upon hearing the puppy's whines around 7:00 am -- and JP snoring peacefully -- I did not feel guilty and do it anyhow. Not me -- I'm a girl who sticks to her guns.

The other day, Ruby and I did NOT consume an entire foil of Old Dutch potato chips dipped in Top the Tater...in one sitting. Yesterday my lunch did NOT consist of a sundae cone and frozen fruit bar. Today my lunch did not consist of a bowl of frosted flakes cereal. I am healthier than that.

(I feel better getting that off of my chest.)

And finally, I did NOT enter my 3rd trimester this week. Oh wait, YES I DID!! WOO HOO!


JP's birthday

Yesterday, some of JP's family came out to our place for dinner and to celebrate the big 3-0. It was a sweet time of hanging out with his parents and grandparents. A highlight of the day was showing Papa the "Charles of the Woods" sign for the first time.Look at these three men. Three generations of Charlebois -- notice any resemblance? (ha ha!)I also grabbed this cute picture of Nana, who is notorious for closing her eyes in photos.The girls were excited it was Daddy's birthday, but even more excited about the balloons Granny & Great brought and the angel food cake with strawberries! What a fun day!


Happy 30th Birthday

To the handsome, charming, funny, dedicated, hard-working, faithful, loud, and loving father of my children -- my husband, JP.
I love you so, so much. (Did I mention handsome? Hubba hubba hubby!)



Just to prove to you all that I am not over-exaggerating, here is a map that shows the detour Princeton suggests to get to our house.

The little orange block is the normal intersection we would take, turning off of 29 onto 95 East.

The green line is the detour. You can click on it to see it larger.

So you understand my frustration, right?

Fortunately, I think I figured out an alternate route yesterday that is going to work better for us. Since, you know, we have to live with this until mid-November (if everything stays on schedule).



"Not Me!" Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

It's another "Not Me" Monday. What haven't you been up to this week?

Me? Funny you should ask.

This week I did NOT go off on a facebook rant against roundabouts after construction began at THE major intersection leading to my house. This project does NOT cut off my house from the only civilization I thought I once had out here. No, I think a roundabout is a brilliant idea for such highly populated areas as Princeton, MN (population 4,000), and I am more than happy to take the ridiculous detour that only adds about an extra 10 minutes to my already insane commute.

Since JP was gone 4-wheeling for the weekend with the puppy, I decided to bring the girls and the big dogs down to the cities and stay at my folks for a night. Being the good doggy mama that I am, I did NOT leave the dogs kenneled up in the car all weekend long, excepting occasional potty breaks and time to stretch a little. I mean, who leaves their dogs in the car in North Minneapolis for two days? Not Me. (I should note: the weather was cool, so the car was not hot.)

I did NOT bump up my OB appointment by a week in hopes that my doctor will see that I'm just fine now and release me from this Level 1 bed rest a week early. I am a patient woman, and I have no problem "taking it easy" in my house, which is slowly becoming messier and messier as I continue to skip my productive cleaning time to rest while the girls rest. *sigh*

And finally, after taking into consideration all of your comments and thoughts about the new blog layout, I did NOT decide that even though a number of you don't like it, I'm keeping it because I like it. :)

Don't take it personally. I was just tired of the green. Maybe my life has gotten chaotic enough now that I just need the peaceful feeling of the baby blue to soothe me. Or maybe I'm just too lazy to keep messing around with it for now. Ha!



New Look

Blogger bombarded me with a whole bunch of new layout options today, and I went with one of them. I thought the neon green was starting to feel a little harsh.

What do you think? BE HONEST. Better or worse? Suggestions?


ER Adventure

Last night (Sunday) I took myself into the ER due to some light spotting I was having. I ended up being there until 2 in the morning.

Here's what happened.

Around 10:00 pm, I went to the bathroom and noticed the spotting. I wasn't too concerned about it, but decided to hop on the computer and see what all the pregnancy websites had to say about spotting at 26 weeks.

Every single one of them said to "call your doctor right away." So I did. The on-call doctor I spoke with told me it could be nothing, but that it was probably worth going to the hospital and getting checked out. Her concerns were that the placenta may be detaching, I could have an infection, or my cervix could be opening too early.

JP stayed home with the sleeping girls and I drove up to the Princeton hospital. When I got there, the nurse hooked me up to some monitors where we found a strong, healthy heartbeat from Rosie AND, we found that I was actually having small contractions! I couldn't feel them at first, but after a while I started to feel the tightening. It wasn't painful, just noticeable.

The doctor called for an ultrasound to make sure the placenta was ok. The ultrasound tech was very friendly, and we got to chatting about her job. I asked her about the 3- and 4-D ultrasounds and she started pushing buttons. Before I knew it, I was staring my little Rosie straight in her sweet face.

I couldn't believe it, and started tearing up right away. Isn't she beautiful? Look at her beautiful lips and cute button nose. Here's another picture that's a little harder to distinguish:

She's squished over on the left side in this one. JP and I both agree that she looks like Rae in the first one and Ruby in the second one. So, even though we are looking right at her, we still can't really tell what she looks like. :)

The ultrasound went terrific and my placenta and everything else looked great. The baby measured as weighing a little over 2 pounds right now.

The ultrasound tech also noted that my bladder was full, which was good for the ultrasound. But the nurse thought that could also be the reason the machine was showing contractions (she said sometimes that can make the machine more sensitive to them?). So she asked me to use the restroom and see if that would make them stop. When I did, I noticed more spotting, AND the contractions didn't stop afterwards.

Since the placenta looked good, the doctor called for a test that shows whether your body is going into pre-term labor. We did that test and it came back negative (thank the Lord!).

Finally the doctor had the nurse check my cervix to make sure I wasn't dilating. She said the inside of the cervix (the part by the baby's head that opens when one is in labor) was still closed, but that the outside was open slightly, forming sort of a funnel shape. Neither she nor the doctor seemed too concerned about this since everything else looked fine.

Finally, around 2:00 am, the doctor said I could go home. He thinks I simply "over did it" that day (which I had -- cleaning the house, lifting heavy things, etc.) and sent me with orders to take it easy and get plenty of rest (Level 1 bed rest). I went to bed around 2:20 am still feeling contractions, but they weren't even enough to keep me awake and were gone when I woke up.

Today I'm feeling fine, though tired. I'm very thankful for the wake-up call to stop pushing my body too far, and I'm taking the doctors advice to heart. I'm also thankful for how healthy Rosie is and that God has the timing for her tiny little life all planned out ahead of time.

Here's to 14 more weeks!


Nieces and Nephews

Before I had kids of my own, I used to blog a lot about my adorable nieces and nephews. It's been a while, but I'm so proud of them and so in love with each and every one of them. So this is a post in honor of those kids who aren't MY kids, but I love like my own kids. :)

I'll start with my sister Amber's kids.

Elijah: almost 4 years old. Thoughtful, smart, generous, plays well with girls, but is definitely all boy! Elijah has these big puppy dog eyes that always make me want to scoop him up and snuggle him.
Naomi: Two-and-a-half years old. Sweet, kind, sweet, helpful, sweet, compassionate and sweet. Naomi is a precious princess in every respect. She loves anything girly, especially barrettes and pretty dresses. I adore Naomi.Ruthie: One year old. Smiley and happy, as long as mommy is holding her! She loves her mama, and never wants to leave her side. When she smiles, her whole face lights up and you can't help but smile back. She's also talking a lot for how little she seems.
Amber & Pete are expecting another girl in July -- poor Elijah will be so outnumbered.

Thinking of my brother Micah's kids is always bittersweet for me now that they live so far away. With every picture we receive, I tear up thinking of how big they are all getting.

Malachi: 4-and-a-half. Just like his daddy, Malachi is genuinely one of the nicest boys you will ever meet. He cares about doing right and loving Jesus, and is a great big brother. We miss his smile and laugh so much! This is him with his first fish.Zachary: 3 years old. Zach comes across as the mellow one of the two brothers, but don't let his big chocolate eyes deceive you! His mind is full of adventure and creativity. He remains one of the cutest boys I think I'll ever know.Anna: 1-and-a-half. Anna left MN when she was so small that I feel like we are missing out on everything. I feel so sad that she doesn't know and remember us like the big boys do. Every time we have seen her, she's been shy, although when I watch videos and see photos of her at home, I can tell that she holds her own among those boys just fine! I love this photo of her and Micah -- the little princess he always dreamed of having!Micah and Missy are expecting another boy, Jeremiah, in August.

And finally, JP's sister Lisa's children.

Ava: 4 years old. Rae's best buddy, creative, artistic, caring, and beautiful. I love the way she pronounces her "R's" as "W's" (eg: Rae Rae sounds like "Wae Wae"). Ava is a great friend because she is thoughtful about other people's feelings and goes out of her way to care for others.Vincent: almost 2 years old. Cool, calm, mellow, cuddly and oh so handsome. To me, Vinnie is like a manly little man with a sensitive side. He seems happy just to sit back and soak life in.
Florence: almost 2 years old (Vinnie's twin). What Florie lacks in size, she makes up for in spunk and personality! The last I heard (correct me if I'm wrong, Lisa), although Florie will be 2 in July, she is still not legally big enough to sit in a forward facing car seat! But she is a firecracker, brave, energetic, and cute as a button.
And of course, you know these two darlings.

It's a joy and privilege to share the experience of raising children with our siblings, and sheer bliss for the cousins to have each other as the best of friends. Each smile makes our days brighter.

We love you, Elijah, Naomi, Ruthie, Malachi, Zach, Anna, Ava, Vinnie, Florie, and the little buns in the oven too!