Killing Time

Hi there. :)

I don't really have much to say right now; I'm just killing time. I put the kids to bed and need to run out to the store in a minute (JP is home, don't freak out), but I always like to wait a few minutes before I leave to make sure they are asleep and not goofing off.

I had a wonderful and much needed dinner out with my mom, my sister, my future sister-in-law Becky and her mom on Monday. My brother Joe & Becky are planning a September wedding, so our "girls night out" focused on the wedding plans and ideas Becky has pulled together so far. Let me just say -- it is going to be absolutely beautiful. They booked this place. Uh. Mae. Zing. Watch the video, it's gorgeous. I wish I had known about this place when we got married. Drat!

I'm very bummed because my parents' church is hosting a big 30-year anniversary conference in March that we won't be able to attend. It's sure to be a big reunion of all of the people whose lives have been touched by the U of M campus ministry God put on my parents' heart 30 years ago. They rented out a resort in Wisconsin with a water park and everything.

I've been car-less all week. JP's van overheated just as he was leaving for work on Tuesday morning, so he had to transfer all of his tools into my van for the week until he could get time to work on it. He's in the shop right now; he says it's the radiator. He's such a good man to not get discouraged when stuff like this happens. When I met him, all he knew about working on cars was how to change the oil and fix a flat. Now he does all of the car repairs himself, which saves us so much money. He works so hard to provide for us.

I, in exchange, get to have a good attitude about not having a car and being stranded at home. It hasn't been so bad, although we do need groceries. But I hate grocery shopping, so this is working out!

Tomorrow Malachi, Zach and Anna (our nephews and niece) are coming over to hang out here while Missy attends her grandpa's funeral. I feel sorry for her; the pain of losing Papa is still so fresh, it's easy to relate; and I know she wishes Micah was here to go through this with her. He is on a month-long "mock deployment" right now, the last big test before he earns his green beret at the end of February. They have no contact until the "deployment" is over.

Speaking of Micah, could I be any prouder of my big brother? In a month, he'll be a full-blown Special Forces soldier.

I've stopped eating food after 9:00 pm in an effort to shed some more of this post-pregnancy weight. So far I haven't seen much of a difference. I've been doing it for a couple of weeks now. I remember this technique working really well after Ruby was born. God forbid I should actually have to work out to get back into shape.

Here's a couple funny quotes from Rae this week:

"Mom, Ruby doesn't know much things, so can I just tell her what to do?"

and my favorite (said to me while I was folding laundry):
"When I get bigger, I'll do everything and you can do nothing. You can just take a big, long break while I do all my things!"

Think I can get her to sign on the dotted line??!!?? :) hahaha

I'm loving American Idol again this season. I was hesitant about it with the new judges, but the J-Lo/Steven Tyler combo is cracking me up. I do wish S.T. would stop screaming every opportunity he gets, however. I don't know what it is about that show -- we originally started watching just for the bloopers, but then you get sucked in by the people with great stories, great voices, etc.

Well, for not having much to say, I sure filled a page. I should have ended on a deeper note than American Idol. Oh well. I'm off to the store. 'Night!


I am not an introvert

JP has this thing he loves to tease me about.

When we were first dating and I was in college, I took a communications course in which we studied the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. For those of you who aren't familiar, it's basically a personality type indicator. You can read more about it here.

When we were studying the section on Introversion or Extraversion, my professor explained it this way (roughly):

Introversion is when you draw your energy from within (eg: ideas, being alone, reflection, etc).
Extraversion is when you draw your energy from the outside world (eg: involvement, being with others, talking things out, etc).

It is possible to be a shy extrovert or an outgoing introvert. That part of the personality varies; what matters is from where you draw your energy.

I had never heard of an "outgoing introvert" before, but I liked the sound of it. I don't know, maybe I thought being an introvert meant you were "deeper," maybe even wiser, whereas extraverts were "shallow" and dependent.

So I dubbed myself Audra, the outgoing introvert: I'm outgoing and like to be social, but I draw my energy from being alone, reflecting and contemplating the depths of life. (I know, so poetic, right?)

JP just laughed at me when I told him. He asserted I was 100% extravert and was crazy to think otherwise.

I held my ground on this for a long time, and would even point out things to him to defend my stance. Things like, "See, I've been going and going with all of these social activities and I'm drained. I need to be home or alone to gain back my energy." He would laugh and say, "That doesn't make you an introvert. It just makes you tired and in need of rest."

Maybe he had a point, but I still wanted to be an introvert for some reason.

Fast forward 6+ years. I am a stay-at-home mother of three. I L-O-V-E my job and my life! I'm doing exactly what I always wanted to do since I was in middle school -- be a wife and mom. But one thing is very clear: I am not an introvert.

There! I said it!

It probably became clear to me about 2-3 months after quitting my job and staying home full time. We stay-at-home-moms have a lot of time alone. But not really alone. I constantly have three little bodies attached to my hip. I don't have a moment's privacy while they're awake, not even to change clothes or use the restroom (I can't remember the last time I even attempted to close the bathroom door -- it's pointless).

But even with constant companions, I get to feeling very alone. Alone, because I have very little adult interaction these days. After I get to see or hang out with another adult (it could be a girlfriend, a member of my family, whoever), I find myself counting down the days until the next time I get to be with another adult.

"Ok, today's event is over that means five more days until we go to grandma's house! I just have to make it through five days of Buzz Lightyear and horsey rides, then I can have another face-to-face conversation with an adult."

Pathetic, right? Pathetic extraversion. I need "social." Without it, I become edgy, impatient, crabby, and depressed. *sigh* ...so shallow.

And yet, I don't think I am alone. Because although we are mothers, we are also still women. And women need to feel like women every once in a while. You know, put on some heels and eat a warm dinner without stopping to get play dough out of the carpet.

Honestly, I'm not really pushy or naggy about getting out, but after a couple months of very little social interaction I start getting antsy not to get away from my kids mind you, but to just have an afternoon where I can put on an outfit that I normally wouldn't wear for fear of getting spit up all over it, or drink a full cup of coffee in one sitting without having to put it down and warm it up 4 times because I had to avert World War 3 over a Polly Pocket.

If I could do those things with my kids around, that would be even better! My children bring me immense joy, but it is very, very draining to have six big, blue, beautiful eyes that you just can't say no to, always looking to you to be their source for...everything. Their 24/7 source for entertainment, nourishment, comfort, health, companionship, and any other need you could possibly think of. What an exhausting, beautiful honor.

Anyhow...what was my point? Oh yes, extraversion. JP wins. Today, I am needing to "draw some energy" from the outside world. I've had enough alone time. And it's T-minus 3 days until I get to have a dinner out with my mom and my sisters. ;)

Thanks for listening to the ramblings of a Minnesotan extrovert mom with cabin fever.

Belated Christmas

Last weekend we finally had our belated Christmas celebrating with JP's Dad's side of the family. It had been postponed due to Papa's passing.

The big event of the weekend was a long-anticipated "Happy Birthday Jesus Tea Party."

The kids had received invitations for the tea party weeks ahead of time and were very excited about it. Gammy & Grampies did a great job with it, too. There were party favors and activities that all centered around being the "King's kids," and at the end all of the girls got matching princess tutus.

Poor Vinnie, can you blame him for not wanting to be in this picture?

Rosie in her tutu.

After the party the dads took the kids sledding.

Fun for all ages! (Uncle Scottie, our brother-in-law)

That night we exchanged gifts, and the kids all received matching aprons, lovingly made by one of Jim & Margie's neighbors. (Rae's hair has never been crazier than in this picture)

After the kids went to bed, the adults feasted on a delicious fondue dinner of chicken, steak & shrimp. We also tried out a new game we had heard about, telepictionary (also known as "eat poop you cat."). If you've never heard of it, look it up. It was tons of fun.


Johnye Rose -- 4 months

Today little Rosie had her 4-month checkup. She's grown to 15 pounds, 5 ounces (84%) and 25 1/2" long (90%).

When we got home, we celebrated with a photo shoot. :)

She is more fun every day. She giggles, is ticklish, squeals a lot and is very interactive. Her smile can change my mood in one single moment.

Her new favorite thing is to be gently tossed up into the air and caught. She lights up every time she sees one of us, and especially loves interacting with JP.

What would our lives be without her? We love you, Johnye Rose!



The last couple of weeks have been sad ones for the Charlebois family. JP's paternal grandfather and our beloved family patriarch, "Papa," passed away on Tuesday.

Last week, we got a call that Papa wasn't doing well. He had been in and out of hospitals lately and had finally taken a turn for the worst. The doctors told the family 24-28 hours. We hurried to his side that night.

Our time with him was bittersweet. We sat with him, held his hands, told him how much we loved him and how proud we are to be a part of his family. We told him how proud we are to carry the Charlebois name, and that we plan to name our firstborn son after him. JP recounted some of his fondest memories of times they spent together, including when Papa taught him how to crack a whip and fillet a fish.

Rae painted a picture for Papa and the Aunts hung it on his wall where he could see it. Rae also sang a few songs to Papa, and he smiled and told her how beautiful it was. We brought Rosie in to him, his youngest great-grandbaby, and he held her tiny hand in his. At one point, Papa even sat up in bed (even though he was in no condition to do so) and JP joked with him, "Are you trying to go to the store for a beer, Papa?" Papa smiled and somehow managed to reply, "Rum and Coke!"

Papa & his bride of 62 years, holding Rosie

Papa was an amazing man, fully devoted to the Lord, his family, and especially his loving bride of 62 years, Nana. Both of my grandfathers died when I was young, and we lived so far away from them that my memories of them are dim at best. So when I married into a family with such a wonderful patriarch, it was easy to take him as my own grandpa. He always treated each and every one of us as his most prized and cherished possessions, because to him, his family was the most beautiful thing he had ever laid eyes on.

He ALWAYS had time to play with his great-grandkids. Look at the smile on Ava's face!
It's hard to imagine what life will be like without Papa. My heart aches to think of a family gathering without him. He always brought his biggest smile and best jokes. But we are so thankful for the hope of eternal life, and that Papa is home with his Savior, free from pain and the suffering of this world.

We love you, Papa, and we'll see you again.


Eleven in Cousin Heaven

As I mentioned in the last post, my brother Micah and his family have been in town for the holidays. Last week, my sister Amber and sister-in-law Missy loaded up their combined EIGHT children made the trek out to our house for a massive cousin play date! It was the first time all 11 cousins had been together since Christmas 2009.

Enjoy the pictures!

The 8 "big" cousins at lunch time!

Beautiful Anna Malia (Micah's third child -- she turned 2 on the 29th!)
Anna & Missy getting to know Rosie
The boys -- Zach, Malachi & Elijah
Rosie & Chloe -- just happy being together!
Moving outside for some fun in the snow
Naomi was shoveling

Missy & Malachi
Amber & Ruthie
Malachi, Ruby & Zach

Christmas 2010

Merry Belated Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

I don't have much time, but I wanted to get this post up today. I have to make it quick!

We had a wonderful Christmas with our families, with more celebrations yet to come. We spent Christmas Eve at G & Bompa's house. G bought all of the girls matching jingle bell head bands. Here are Rae & Ava modeling theirs.

After a yummy brunch, the kids helped decorate the tree, then tore into their gifts. (Actually, they were all very good at taking turns opening.) Rae was very excited to receive not one, not two, but THREE sets of moon dough, a product she's been asking to get for months!

Ruby's favorite was Polly Pockets!

After our celebration over there, we went to my parents' house and stayed the night. It was fun to stay up playing games after the kids went down. My brother Nate got the game "Bang!" and we all learned how to play -- it's a fun game if you've never tried it!

On Christmas Day the whole family came over, which adds up to TEN adults (NOT including Joe's finace Becky and Nate's girlfriend Jenny who both couldn't make it), ELEVEN children under the age of FIVE, and FIVE dogs!!! It was beautiful chaos!

Mom & Dad with their 8 oldest grandkids (while the 3 babies slept)

It was especially wonderful to have my brother Micah and his family here with us again this Christmas. Besides a very quick visit from Missy & baby Jeremiah in August, we hadn't seen any of them since Christmas 2009. It was absolutely awesome for the cousins to be all together and play all day.

Is it time to open presents yet?

Rosie's First Christmas!

After opening gifts, some of the bigger kids went outside to play on the enormous snow piles in my parents' back yard. They played for over two hours without even thinking of the cold.

The hills were so high, they could easily get into the tree. (Malachi pictured)

That's a lot of snow!

Rae got an art easel! (That's what was in the big box)

Ruby got a doll that talks!

We have yet to celebrate with JP's dad's side of the family. We were supposed to get together with them this weekend, but sadly JP's grandpa ("Papa") is nearing the end of this life on earth and will soon be with Jesus. Please pray for the whole Charlebois family as we say goodbye to Papa, who we all love so dearly. I don't know how people who don't have the hope of Jesus & eternal life get through times like these. It's such a comfort to know that the place where he's going is so much better than what he's going through here.