Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Boogy, Boogy!

Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
Boo Who?
Don’t cry!  It’s just Halloween at the Chalupa house!

2850-10.25.11 018.JPG

Carter’s scary punkin!

2851-10.25.11 020.JPG

Who gave HIM the gut-scooper?!!

2852-10.25.11 024.JPG

My punky’s and their punkins

2854-10.25.11 072.JPG

Night Eyes at the Blank Park Zoo – fun!

2855-10.25.11 073.JPG

My punkies in the punkin patch

2856-10.25.11 074.JPG

That’s us!

2857-10.25.11 078.JPG

Trick or Treat night, and the Puppy and the Kitty are ready to rock!

2858-10.25.11 079.JPG

The Puppy thought he’d just eat the Reese’s, wrapper and all!

2859-10.25.11 080.JPG

We trick or treated with a Princess (Addy) and her Rock Star brother Abe (complete with a rockstar goatee!), our super-fun neighbors

Halloween Loot for a great night out!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Final Soccer match of 2011

So ends Carter’s first soccer season, one I think we will deem as a success.  On her final match, she got to play some defense (which she hated, but tried it anyway), and she rocked her favorite position of goalie. 

2861-10.25.11 007a.JPG

She even got a bright, shiny trophy for an awesome season!

Carter playing, and Charlie “watching,” the Cobras play

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Viva Las Vegas!

Elvis totally had the right idea with “Viva Las Vegas!”

Andy was scheduled to attend the IBM Information on Demand conference this week.  It’s been chaos around here lately, so I decided to tag along!  Carter and Charlie stayed with their amazing Godfathers Andy and Rory, and Andy and I hopped a plane to Vegas!

Monday, while Andy worked, I walked the strip from one end to the other.  I checked out the “Miracle Mile” shopping mall, had breakfast at Sammy Hager’s restaurant (rockin’ eggs with jalapenos!), saw the sights from the Stratosphere and had a late lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.  I returned to our hotel (Penthouse upgrade at the Mandalay Bay!), took a relaxing bubble bath, then met Andy for the evening.  Together, we ventured back down to the Stratosphere and rode the “Insanity” ride (think Tilt-A-Whirl, but on pods that are mechanically moved 982 feet above the Las Vegas strip!).  We hit the Hard Rock for a late dinner, then headed “home” to the Penthouse (wow, that sounds important!), after visiting the Gold and Silver Pawn shop, home of Pawn Stars.  No, the Old Man and Chumley were not there.

Tuesday, my main goal was to RELAX, and I was pretty successful!  I slept in, then headed to the CSI: Las Vegas Experience, where I became a CSI (complete with vest!) and did a little crime solving (I thought I was being thorough, but I ended up having to return to my crime scene twice because I missed things!  Surprised?!).  I spent $20 at an MGM slot machine (bust!) and got to see the MGM lion, then headed back to the Mandalay Bay.  I had lunch at the Border Grill, the most amazing restaurant in the hotel and checked out the shark reef (which Carter would have loved).  Then I headed to the beach (yes, there was a BEACH at the hotel!) for an afternoon of sun and a good book.  I headed back to our Penthouse room to change for dinner (wild mushroom penne and a glass of wine!), then hit the casino.  At one point, my $20 became $75.25, but ultimately it all became zero. 

Wednesday, way too early, I said goodbye to Andy and Las Vegas and boarded a plane to Denver.  Due to eight inches of snow there (snow for my birthday?!), we were delayed, but not too badly.  I was in Des Moines by 3:00, and in the hugging arms of two estatic red-heads by 4:00.

It was a wonderfully relaxing and much-needed vacation.  I had a great time just strolling around, seeing the sights and being a Vegas bum.  Carter and Charlie had a great time with Andy and Rory, and Andy came home a wealth of knowledge and loaded with IBM swag!  Good times for all!

2841-10.24.11 059.JPG

The Vegas Strip = awesome!

2840-10.24.11 048.JPG

Our home away from home, the Mandalay Bay

2839-10.24.11 030.JPG

From the base of the Stratosphere, looking WAY up!

2842-10.24.11 065.JPG

On the tram-ride back to the Stratosphere, we passed “The World’s Largest Gift Shop,” which has “Bonanza’s Naughty Town,” which sells “Naughty Stuff.”  Specific!  Ha ha!

2843-10.24.11 073.JPG\

Andy and I atop the Stratosphere, before our Insanity ride … survivors??!

2844-10.24.11 082.JPG

The strip at night, glowing with beauty!  I love this place!

2847-10.25.11 046.JPG

Pawn Stars!  Yeah buddy!

2848-10.25.11 048.JPG

My CSI: Las Vegas Experience crime scene.  What details do YOU see?

2849-10.25.11 050.JPG

That’s what you SHOULD have noticed (don’t worry – I missed it, too!)

2845-10.25.11 057.JPG


Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Happy 2nd birthday, Charlie!

Today, Charlie turns two.  My sweet little baby is no longer a baby.  He’s growing up to be the sweetest but goofiest toddler you’ll ever meet, with a feisty temper that backs up every red-head stereotype you’ve ever heard.  Charlie, I love that you’re beginning to really love to read (just like your sister), that you are a rough and tumble boy (just like your Daddy), and that you are the best snuggler and smoocher around (just like you Mama!).  In two short years, you have made our family complete, and I am so very thankful to be your mama.  Year two was absolutely wonderful, and Year Three will, no doubt, hold adventures, mysteries, tears and smiles that will never leave my heart.  Happy 2nd birthday, Little Bear!  We love you, always and forever!

Dude being awesome and cuddly on his birthday morning!

2805-10.16.11 006.JPG

Our morning started with banana muffins (“Nummy!” Charlie yelled!) and a Sissy kiss!  Happy Birthday, Buddy!

2806-10.16.11 010.JPG

Charlie’s birthday candle with Carter’s Scrabble letters 🙂

2807-10.16.11 018.JPG

Bring on the Chuck E Cheese celebration!

2808-10.16.11 022.JPG

(I love Madi in the back – always up for fun!)

2809-10.16.11 026.JPG

Daddy proves that you’re never too old for fun!

2810-10.16.11 027.JPG

Cars, cars, cars!  Charlie loved this jeep-car-thing and the little fire truck

2811-10.16.11 028.JPG

Vroom!  Vroom!

2812-10.16.11 029.JPG

Stephanie, Isaac and Carter and the bubble popper ….

2813-10.16.11 030.JPG

Best. Game. Ever.

2814-10.16.11 031a.JPG

Andy and the birthday crown

2815-10.16.11 039.JPG

These guys could be serious trouble! Ian, Brody and Charlie attempt the bucket game (or plot to take over the world, who knows?!)

2829-10.16.11 121.JPG  2830-10.16.11 126.JPG

Rory and Andy got to play, too!

2816-10.16.11 042.JPG

Carter attempted to play skee-ball while Charlie successfully stole her balls!

2817-10.16.11 049.JPG

This gorilla rampage game was crazy, but it was fun!  It shook your hands super-hard, and watching Madi, and then Carter, try to hold on was hilarious!

2818-10.16.11 060.JPG


2819-10.16.11 066.JPG

Charlie meets Chuck E.  It went surprisingly well, but he was NOT wearing that birthday crown!

2820-10.16.11 072.JPG

So Daddy wore it!

2821-10.16.11 077.JPG

Blowing out the candles with a little help from his main man, Daddy

2822-10.16.11 083.JPG

Awkward family photo: Who looks more terrified, Andy or Charlie?!

2823-10.16.11 084.JPG

3/7 of the Pals with Chuck E. Cheese

2824-10.16.11 093.JPG

The birthday party crew: Isaac, Carter J, Molly & Brody, Carter Kay, Charlie and Madi (and Ian was NOT going anywhere near that mouse!)

2825-10.16.11 096.JPG

My absolute favorite, world’s most adorable, endlessly wonderful little boy!  Love ya, Buddy!

2826-10.16.11 107.JPG  2827-10.16.11 111.JPG

The Ticket Blaster!  Charlie got to go into this whirlwind tube thing, but he refused to keep his goggles on (liability, you know?!), so Carter did him a solid and went in (which she was DYING to do!).  She was so excited, and as you can image, was like a little bundle of energy flying all over that tunnel after tickets!  She finally managed a good strategy!

Carter in the Ticket Blaster, sooooooo very excited!

Happy Birthday, Meatball!  We love you silly, we love you sad, we love you, sick, and we love you sticky!  We love ya, Buddy!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Our soccer sensation!

Okay, so “sensation” may be pushing it, but she’s having fun, participating and not giving up!  Those are all the things we’d hoped to accomplish this soccer season, AND she’s loving it! 

2836-9.17.11 002.JPG

She loves goalie, and she’s pretty good!

2837-9.17.11 015.JPG

She does NOT love defense.  That’s her, pink sleeves, chasing down the ball.  Enjoy the shot – there are very few of them!

2838-9.17.11 026.JPG

It’s a gorgeous day for soccer!  Go COBRAS!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Carter, the next Joe Perry?!

(in case you don’t know, Joe Perry is the lead guitarist for Aerosmith, and Andy’s personal hero!)

Carter busted out Charlie’s Elmo guitar and one mean guitar solo!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Random Acts of Cuteness

2835-10.9.11 - FinkGersdof Engagement 001.JPG

My favorite little guy in the world, officially loving piggy back rides!


AHHH!  I lost Carter in the foam pit at Triad!


AHHHHHH!  And I lost Charlie, too!

Look out!  Crazy kids at Triad!


Carter and her 1st grade class, participating in the Start Somewhere Iowa Walk (or whatever it was called).  She’s the butterfly on the left!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Punkin Patch with the Punkin Heads

My favorite part of fall is the Center Grove Orchard with our family!  Carter loves taking the hay rack out to the back part of the orchard to pick apples.  Andy loves the tasty treats we always pick up at the general store.  Charlie loves the jumping pillow and pedal tractors.  And me?  I love their ear-to-ear smiles and giggles, and all the fun we have!

With Andy working a lot of Sundays this month and next, the three of us hit the orchard together. 

2799-9.17.11 065.JPG

Charlie was a little weary of the corn at first, but then he was a crazy man!  He was rolling and wiggling all over!

2800-9.17.11 068.JPG

It’s raining corn!

2801-9.17.11 083.JPG

Corny cuties!

2802-9.17.11 087.JPG

Recipe for disaster?!  These two cheesers got on the side of the hay, all ready to double-jump into the corn!

2803-9.17.11 132.JPG

An apple a day <3

2804-9.25.11 008.JPG

We LOVE Center Grove!

We had so much fun that we had to take Daddy this weekend!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Random Acts of Cuteness

These two are too cute!

2796-9.17.11 139.JPG

Donning our Halloween jammies, our little Skeleton (he’s all skin and bones, ahh cha cha!) and our spooky kitty share a smooch!

2797-9.25.11 015.JPG

Bunch of cheesers!

2798-10.2.11 002.JPG

The cutest dirty laundry ever! 
(that MUG is so very sweet!)