Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

I'm thankful for

These guys!  My two irresistibly wonderful and beautiful children, and my nieces Courtney and Marissa and nephew Owen.  These five little Chalupa’s are amazing!

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Charlie & Owen, playing with the push buggy

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Owen and Charlie, doing manly things

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Hugs, whether you like it or not!

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Courtney, Carter and the Pony Princess

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Marissa and Charlie, tearing up someone else’s creations to make their own … then abandon!

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Now THAT’s a Thanksgiving belly to be proud of!!!

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Carter, Cousin Tristan (from Colorado) and Courtney, now (11/27/2010) …

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… and the same three itty bitty’s (Courtney, Tristan and Carter) 5 years ago (Courtney 3 months, Tristan 5 months and Carter 4 months)

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A chairful of CRAZY!

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Owen (11 months), Carter (5), Charlie (13 months), Courtney (5) and Marissa (19 months), the cutest Chalupa babies you’ll ever meet!  Love y’all!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Mission accomplished!

Charlie has been trying to get on the wicker chair in the office forever, and this evening, he was finally victorious!

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Big boy in the big chair

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“This is so cool!”

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” … now … how do I get down …”
Note the Chalupa tongue, indicating concentration

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Two cute Chalupa's

What could be cuter than these goobers?!!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Charlie's first steps

Big Man’s on the move!  Look out!

Here comes trouble!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Our crazy, cute kids

Just a couple of very random pictures I couldn’t help but sharing.  You gotta love these two yahoo’s!

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Madi and Carter J got Charlie bathtub crayons for his birthday.  It appears that someone has broken into them and left an incriminating message on the tub!  Incriminating, but adorable!

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Fashionable: Ravioli hair and bread-mouth (yuck, yuck, yuck!)

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Carter got dressed all by herself: “I’m looking fashionable!”  Her black and gray plaid dress pants, Hello Kitty glitter shirt, scarf, new hat and wand, cause “that makes me gorgeous.”  Even without the wand, she’s gorgeous .. and unique!

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Debauchery in the backseat.  Cruising home from groceries, we stopped at a red light, and these two are all giggles.  Carter was tickling Charlie in his “sweet spot” under his chins, sending him into fits of laughter! 

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Shopping, just us girls

Carter’s had a really great few weeks in kindergarten.  She’s figured out the up’s and down’s, the right’s and wrong’s, and she’s making great progress.  As a reward for her hard work (and, really, just a reason to go!), she and I took off early Friday afternoon and headed to Minnesota for a GIRL’s ONLY (like our boys would even want to come!) weekend of fun!

We hit the outlet mall in Medford, Minnesota, getting some great Christmas gifts for Courtney and Charlie, then continued on to Bloomington.  We perused Ikea and had dinner at Chevy’s, our favorite restaurant in Minnesota.  Carter beat me at the Dot Game while we waited for our meals.  After that, it was hotel and swimming, what she’d been looking forward to most for days! 

Saturday, up bright and early, we had a breakfast of Queens: bacon, fruit and OJ, then were off to the Mall of America.  It’s easy to get into the holiday spirit when Minnesota dumps 5 INCHES of snow on you in a short, short period of time!  We stepped outside into piles of the white stuff, which made Carter and I both “ohhh!” and “awww!”  It really was great!  At the mall, she and I made a deal: 30 minutes of shopping for me (at H & M), one circle around the ride-rides area for her riding whatever she wanted.  Then a break, with Tollhouse cookies and juice, then 30 minutes of shopping for me (at the Lush cosmetics store) and one more circle around the ride-rides area for her.  It worked wonderfully!  No fits or pouting, just fun, fun, fun!  We hit the road around 2:00, leaving plenty of time for weather-related slowness (and a stop at the Bloomington Target, which is way better than ours!).  We rolled into Ankeny at 6:30’ish, just in time to make it to see the “MegaMind” movie at the theater.  Great ending to a great weekend!

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Carter and Tinkerbell (on a sign) at the Medford outlet mall

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Full bellies and happy hearts … now, let’s go SWIM!

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The Balloon Race at the Mall.  “Wheeeeeee!” she giggled!

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“I love my horsey!”

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Bumper cars, kids only.  I was worried she’d melt down when someone smacked into her, but she couldn’t have had more fun!

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Playing in eye shadow samples at the Macy’s makeup counter!

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Santa has arrived!

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Carter won enough game tickets to get a little plastic lizard (she’s named Popcorn) and this really great skull ring :)  She’s vowed to never take either the ring or ride bracelet off until we return to the Mall!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Yep, birthdays pretty much ROCK!

This past weekend was my BIRTHDAY weekend.  Some folks get a day; I celebrate in chunks of time!

Friday, I was told to “be at Andy and Rory’s at 6pm,” to “wear casual clothes” and that I “needed no money.”  I was whisked away by Andy and Rory to the Blue Moon piano bar in West Des Moines where we met Janine and Kelsey.  We laughed, ate and drank, sang along, and had a blast!  I count my blessings for my circle of friends!  They are awesome!

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Me and Roray Brown (how good does he look after his first 4 weeks of Farrell’s?!)

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The most awesome, wonderful women in the world: Kelsey, Janine and I

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It was old.  I am late.  Take me home.

Saturday I got to sleep in (thanks, Charlie!) and go the annual craft show.  Andy, Carter and Charlie “had to go to Target,” and came home to surprise me with beautiful flowers Carter picked out and the coolest gift: the two remaining Harry Potter DVD’s I didn’t have.  With the moving coming up (November 19th, not that I’m counting or anything!!), I can get all current!  We wrapped up my birthday weekend with Mexican food, cause it’s delicious!

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Happy birthday, Me!  Isn’t this the greatest gift in the world?!

Monday I arrived to our classroom plastered with birthday pretties!  Marla, my associate, decorated the door and my desk, so throughout the day I was greeted with kind birthday wishes from coworkers and random kids.  One of my very favorite kiddo’s also brought me a birthday surprise: Twizzlers, Blow Pops, a lolly and Dr. Pepper.  That’s the quickest and most certifiable way to earn an A!  Good job (and THANK YOU, since I know you may read this.  It was very sweet!).  My lunch shift, C Lunch’ers, ordered Jimmy John’s to celebrate.  One of my co-teachers voted that, in honor of my birthday, we should celebrate all month long with Jimmy John’s.  That would be super-cool! 

Pictures to come … I’m too lazy to go find my camera to upload :) 

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Jumping Charlie

Who needs a trampoline when the couch is this fun?!!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Carter, the rockstar

… maybe she’ll be the next super-famous, ultra-cute red-headed rock star!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Watch at Dance Week, 2010

Carter’s come a long way since her first year of dance.  She’s not graceful and elegant, by any means, but she’s improving and having fun, and it makes her happy.  That’s all I could ask for!

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Yep, that’s our Carter: being a total ham while the other girls are strutting like Madonnda!  Gotta love the beat of her own adorable drum!

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She’s not mad and she’s not in trouble.  The direction was “to put on your angry face,” and that she’s got down!  It’s the start of her hip hop routine.

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“Freeze” is a hip hop move.  She supports herself on her arms and head and kicks her feet up into the air.  It looks hard, but she’s pretty good!

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My long, tall, sally!  What a beautiful ballerina!