Rosie's First Steps

Of course, Rosie chose the one night I slipped away for a Norwex party to take her FIRST STEPS at only 10 months old! I was sad to miss it, but thankful JP got to see it (he missed the other girls' first steps). She had taken one step before, but never three in a row.

Thankfully, JP handed Rae the iPhone to record...lol!


Operation: Clean My House - UPDATE

Here are a few more before and after photos as "Operation: Clean My House" continues. It really is very hard for me to post these photos. I'm far too prideful to easiliy admit to the way my house looks on a normal day. But I FEEL SO FREE having this clutter and dust out of my way, I just want to tell the word!

Mail Center before
Mail Center After

Bedroom 1 Before
Bedroom 1 After (the ugly thing along the left wall is a desk we need to assemble)

Bedroom 2 Before
Bedroom 2 After

Grandma Dellas

This week, our family lost a very special and beloved matriarch. JP's maternal grandma, Della Mae Bowar, went to be with Jesus and the love of her life, Chip. (Those of you who have been reading the blog for a while may remember the letters I used to post that Chip wrote to his family during his time in the military.)

Grandma Dellas meeting newborn Rosie

Click here for a link to her obit.

Grandma Dellas, as we called her, was one of the dearest women you'll ever meet. She carried herself with such class and grace, and she was extremely witty. Even after suffering congestive heart failure, she found a way to smile and crack jokes.

JP and I had a chance to visit her in the hospital shortly after her heart failure, and I took the girls to see her once while she was in hospice care. We treasure those special moments with her.

I'm continually amazed and blessed to be a part of a family with so many living grandparents. It's hard to see them go, but I'm so thankful to have married into the legacy these dear grandparents are leaving behind.

Rest in peace, Gram, and we'll see you again.


Quotes from Rae + Rosie Cuteness

Rae has been on a roll again lately. Again, apologies to those of you who have heard these already from my facebook posts.

Rae: "Mom, your outfit is swanky!"
Me: "Do you even know what that means?"
Rae: "It's Spanish for 'nice outfit.'"


Rae: "Dad, can we watch a show before bed?"
Dad: "I don't know, it's already past your bed time. We'll have to ask Mom."
Rae: "Dad, who runs the show around here? You, or mom!?"


Me to Rae: "If you could meet anyone who ever lived, who would it be?"
Rae: "Ava."
Me: "No, I mean someone you've never met before, like Jesus or Laura Ingalls."
Rae: "Moooom! I've already MET Jesus! We know each other!"
Me: "Amen, Sista!"


And here is your Rosie fix for the night. :)


I just finished editing photos from this shoot today. Makena is turning 2 on the 30th. Most of the shots I got were blurs of her running past the camera! She was so fast and always moving! But we did catch a few super sweet photos.

Operation: Clean My House

I do not claim to be a very good housekeeper.

In fact, when JP first went to talk to my dad about marrying me, my dad warned him.

"She won't clean," he said. "She doesn't know how."

When JP first told me this, I was quite offended. Of course I knew how to clean! I had been doing chores my whole life! Vacuuming, dusting, mopping, laundry, dishes, bathrooms, you name it, we had to do it all!

It didn't take me too long (maybe 2 years?) to figure out that I really wasn't that good at keeping my house clean and tidy. Our house is full of clutter, and while I do enough cleaning for it not to be gross, don't look too closely or you may notice the cobweb in the corner or the dust all over the bookshelf.

Now, I'm on a mission to deep clean and de-clutter every room of my house. Each available day I have, I'll pick one room and tackle it. Starting with the kitchen.

This is the kitchen before (sorry, it's a little dark, I didn't edit it at all). Don't judge.

And this is the kitchen after. Ta da!

Ah, that feels better! I can breathe again! I've also done the downstairs living area since this post, but didn't get pictures. That area is even harder to keep un-cluttered because it's where JP dumps all his junk.

Next up is the master bedroom (it's REALLY bad, but at least it's hidden), followed by the upstairs living area, then the bathrooms, the kids' rooms, and the laundry room.

Now if only I could believe that it could really last....


Name Update

Thanks for all of your input on choosing a name! I'm serious, I really appreciate the input people have been giving. And although there is still one day left on the poll, I have made my decision on a name.

But guess what -- I'm not going to tell you yet! BWAHAHAHA! I know, evil, right? I'm working with a friend to design a logo, and when I have it, I'll do a big fancy reveal.

I will tell you this: it's none of the names mentioned here OR in any of the comments. It's something JP and I came up with together in one of our conversations. I like it. JP loves it. You might hate it. That's okay with me. :)

Here is a peek at another shoot I had this week.

That's Sam (or did you pick up on that already?).

This is his big sister, Alison, and her pony, Diamond.

Alison is only six years old and races ponies competitively. She is Rae and Ruby's new superstar. They came with me to the photo shoot and were enraptured with Alison and Diamond. They even got their own pony rides.


On the home front:

We are all doing well. We are enjoying the summer and doing our best to be outside as much as possible.

Rosie is so big, and she's cruising around the house, walking along the furniture, and getting into everything. She has definitely entered the "clingy" stage where she wants to be with Mommy all the time. She whines when I leave the room or hand her to someone else, but for the most part, she is a happy baby. We've started calling her "Ducky" or "Ducka-ducka" because one of the babbling sounds she makes sounds like "ducka-ducka."

My brother Micah and his family are in town for a few weeks before they are stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY. We got to spend all day with them on Tuesday, and tomorrow (Sunday) we're heading to Taylor's Falls with my side of the family.

I'm loving my new van! I think my favorite feature so far is the remote operated dual sliding doors. It's amazing. No more struggling to get the doors closed with a baby in one arm and groceries in the other!

Ok, baby's crying. Gotta run.


Poll: I Need a Name

I've been thinking about making some business cards to give my photography "clients" (I don't even like calling them that because it sounds so professional), and possibly incorporating. I'm starting to get more paying clients, and they've been referring me to others. I feel like maybe it's time to make things a bit more official.

But I have just one problem -- I can't figure out a good name to call my "business." I'm now turning to you, my faithful and hopefully honest readers, for help.

I've set up a poll on the left side of this page with some name options. Below, I'm going to explain the pros and cons I see to each name. Considering these, please vote on your favorite. If none of them seem great to you, please say so and tell me why in the comments! I need you to be honest here, people!

I'M ALSO OPEN TO SUGGESTIONS, so if you have a good idea for a name, please leave it in the comments section or click "email me" on the left and send it to me in an email!

Here are the options I've been considering, in no particular order

OPTION ONE -- Audra Charlebois Photography

I know, stunning, right? All kidding aside, this is a very common and straight forward name for a photography business. I know several photographers who simply use their name, and it works very well.

My only hang-up is that my name is sort of complicated. "Audra" often gets confused with "Audrey" or "Andrea," and NOBODY can pronounce or correctly spell my last name.

Nevertheless, I like my name. I think it sounds pretty; I just wonder if it would be too complicated.

OPTION TWO -- Audra C. Photography

Whoa! We're switching it up a bit now! :)

A good solution to my complicated last name is just to abbreviate it. I like this and also like the way it sounds when you speak it; but alas, I stole the idea from a photography friend and hero of mine. The fabulous Jacki Vaughan has a business called Jacki V. Photography. Jacki goes to my in-laws church; we are friends and have many mutual friends. "Audra C. Photography" seems a little copycat to me, even though I like it.

OPTION THREE -- Tentmaker Photography

Where did that one come from, and what does it have to do with photography?

Glad you asked! In the New Testament, the apostle Paul had two gigs. His first/main gig was his call to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. This was his ministry and his life. However, Paul also had a side gig. He was a tent maker. He used this job to supplement his income and help provide the funds he needed to facilitate his higher calling (gig #1).

As a wife and mother, this is the way I feel about Photography. My main gig, or ministry, is to my family -- my husband and three daughters. They come first on my list of responsibilities. Photography would come only after those responsibilities have been met.

I like this name because it's a reminder to me of where my heart and focus will always be, even though I love photography. It's also a conversation starter with clients, and a way to open the door to talking about Jesus.

The down side to this name is that it doesn't sound very...photography-ish?

OPTION FOUR -- Fake It Photography

This isn't really an option. It's an inside joke, and those who understand it will laugh along with me! :)

Please weigh in, both in the poll and in the comments section! I'll keep the poll open for a week. And again, please be HONEST!