Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Chalupa's at the Fair

Andy and I took the kids back to the fair this evening, for a leisurely stroll, old traditions, and lots of eating!
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Carter and the Baby Goat!
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Charlie and the Joey!
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HEY!  There’s a turtle on the “run”!
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Best State Fair tradition ever <3
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Charlie dancing to an 80’s band
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Winners of my heart (awwww … barf!)!
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State Fair Bar (basically, a Cocoa Puffs Rice Krispie): DELICIOUS!
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Saving the day, one bedroom light at a time 😉

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Kindergarten: Ready or Not!

While I was at Open House for my 8th graders, Andy attended Parent’s Night for Charlie.  When I got home at 8:30pm, THIS was on the table:
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He’s ready.  He’s excited.  He will be awesome.
His mom?  She’s gonna be a mess!!!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

My Boys

While we birthday partied, Andy went to Wisconsin for a PGA event (lucky dog!).  He was greatly missed around here!
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Around 3am, Charlie crawled in.  He usually comes to my side, but skipped me, went to Daddy’s side, and snuggled right in!  We missed you, Daddy!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Happy 10th Birthday, Baby Girl!

Double Digits.
Years of Age.
She’s 10.  Just like that!
I always promised I wouldn’t get all emotional and sad over her growing up, because I am having such an amazingly wonderful time enjoying the girl she is today.  But 10.  It hardly seems possible!
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My painting princess at Bulldog Ceramics, painting her Mario canvas and loving life!
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Let’s DO THIS!  Let’s get crafty!
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Charlie and I did our own thing, painting together.
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It didn’t take him long to get frustrated and quit!  Turkey!
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Carter and her BFF’s, Rachel & Amelia
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Serious birthday wish contemplation, and her tasty reward!
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Pokemon from Rachel & jewelry from Amelia!  They both know her so well!
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Part of Mommy, Daddy, and Charlie’s gift, wrapped in an AuGraten potato box (which she thought was her gift!): A Pretty Pony shirt, which she loved!
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Ohhh la la, ladies!
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Pizza, sodas, and ice cream sundaes!  Being 10 rules!
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Saturday morning, after a long night of fun and giggles, no one wanted to get up!
AUGUST 19th, 2015:
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The real deal: A decade of Carter!  It’s been a wild ride, but I’ve loved every second!!!
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I started work days at school, so we celebrated as we could!  Gifts at 6:30am!
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MORE Lego’s!  The Elves set!  She was in builder’s heaven!
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We had celebratory donuts for breakfast (her S’mores donut was nearly as big as she is!), then Carter and I went to the Maker’s Faire at the Science Center after school, where she constructed and built her own music box!  Then it was home for Fazoli’s spaghetti and cupcakes!
… and the Family Celebration!
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Boys and their Toys!
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Cousinly love!
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What great and thoughtful gifts!  We love you, Family!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Iowa State Fair Fun!

A new first (but not a tradition in the making!):
The Grand Parade
It was interesting (and a tad boring!), but we won’t be visiting again anytime soon!
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Waiting at the steps of the capital!  Cool!

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Showing our respect

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Hoola-hooping Chalupa’s!
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This guy … I don’t know … but it was interesting!
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We wrapped it up with shakes from Zombie Burger.  Some of us were impressed … Carter was not!
Friday we headed to the Fair.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day (other than when we returned to the cars, and someone had dented Kelsey’s bumper!)
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Varied Industries Building with THIS ONE!
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Herky & Cy: We didn’t play favorites!
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The kids hanging with Office Mitchell.  Let’s hope it’s the ONLY time!
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The Little’s in the dog house!  HA!
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COOKIE SELFIE!  Delicious!
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Grand Concourse: Let’s eat!
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Sweetcorn fried corndog, with bacon ketchup!  YES, please!
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His majesty, Mr. Dan Wardell!
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Our winners!
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Charlie’s Captain America shirt on the Captain America sculpture!
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Cutie alert on the BIG SLIDE!
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<3 BIG SLIDE 2015!
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Enjoying our sweet treats
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Wild animals and pesky pests!
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And … we’re done!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

THAT's Why It's So Quiet!

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He’s down for the count!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

"Old Grammy"

So, apparently, my kids have never played Old Maid.
How is this possible?!
They are now obsessed with it!  And they’re getting pretty darn good at it!

They both devised strategies to try and get the other to choose the Old Maid.  I thought he’d never fool her, but Charlie’s anti-strategy worked out perfectly!  Charlie, you’re AWESOME!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

From the Outdoors to the Infield!

After getting off the Des Moines River float, we headed home, cleaned up, and headed downtown to meet Uncle Corey and Owen for an ICubs game!
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Ready for the game!
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Go Cubs, go!
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Charlie was mildly interested in the game, but SUPER-INTERESTED in putting on a show for everyone around him!  At the top of the 4th inning, we got snacks (Carter got a chocolate malt, Charlie got ice cream, and we grabbed cookies to share with Owen).  Charlie was all about the goofy show!  So much, in fact, the lady behind him was completely taken with him!  She gave him her blue “Barefoot” visor, which only amped up his show!
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Principal Park with an ICubs lead of 3 – 0!
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Make that 4 – 0!  Owen was up and in full-on FAN MODE!  “GO CUBBIES!” he yelled! 
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Chalupa Cubs fans are the BEST fans!
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Wrapping up with a great fireworks show over Des Moines …
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… and out OUT Cubs fan!

Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

The Simple Life

After zoo camp, we headed home to pack up our camp gear.  The Bumsted’s arrived, then we were off to Boone to camp and float and enjoy the simple life!
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Carter and I pitched our own tent, nicely, if I do say so myself!  But, ultimately, no need, as Kelsey and I were both a little freaked out over the total isolation at Seven Oaks!  The three of us piled in their big tent.  Safety in numbers when encountering a serial killer, you know?!!
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Casa Bumsted and Casa Chalupa for the evening!  Perfection!
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The Littles were nothing short of amazing all trip!  They are awesome at self-guided, imaginative play, and they really pulled through when we needed leaf kindling for the fire!  Nora, you are awesome!
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These knuckleheads had to have their shot at building the world’s biggest fire!  I love their big ideas and grand gestures (but, per usual, it was a little overboard – I know you’re shocked! – and Kelsey revamped a bit!)!
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We have fire (after 35 minutes of trial and error and numerous trips for more leaves later!).  They were captivated!
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Big’s CHEER to a great time: Soda, campfire junkfood, and best friends!  Does it GET ANY BETTER?!?
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Camp fire delicacy!
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Charlie needed another dog!
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Marshmallow time!  Nom nom nom!
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“If they’re not burnt, you’re not doing it right!” Carter declared!
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My GOD!  Look at those dirty feet!  And that happy smile!  Worth it for sure!
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Successful campfire with the awesomest people I know!
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Game time!  “Shut the Box” and “Rory’s Story Cubes”!
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Total crazies in the tent!  I think, between us both, Kelsey and I slept maybe a combined 3 hours?!  It was just so desolate and isolated out there! 
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Up and at ’em Friday morning!  The awesome’ness was kick-started by Charlie peeing on the fire embers, creating smoke!  We all thought it was AWESOME!!!
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Later camp site!  We packed up our gear and left nature as it was.  We did leave with a fun little souvenir: Grant getting stung by a Yellow Jacket (and, they were all pretty luck to not get stung more, as they covered the nest opening with a walnut!  Come on, guys!  Don’t poke the bees!)!
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Checked in at Seven Oaks, coolers loaded into the bus!  Let’s DO THIS!
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Grant, Carter, Collin, and Kelsey, ready to float!
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Me and the Little’s, ready to rock!
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Seven tubes, two coolers, the Bumsted’s and Chalupa’s and a 7.5 mile stretch of the Des Moines River.  Heaven!  Let’s get on the river, guys!
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Under the Kate Shelley’s High Bridge, with a train sighting!  The Kate Shelley bridge it the tallest in the WORLD, at 195 feet!  Awesome!
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Kelsey had a cooler-tube and Nora, and I teethered myself to the other cooler-tube and this guy.  I’m lucky like that!  Look at this happy little smile!
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Sandbar lunch break! 
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We explored a bit, splashed around, and found shell treasures!
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Me and the crew!  Seriously!  What did I do to be so fortunately lucky to have the guys in my world?!
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My little people!  Love these two to the moon and back!
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Andy, Kelly, Carter & Charlie

Zoo Camp: Day 4

Because the girls were so great this week, we said GO FOR IT!  Whatever you want to do, today’s the day!
And they stepped up!
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All smiles on the carousel
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It just wouldn’t be a GO BIG day without the budgies.  Again.  Third time’s a charm!
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A sparkly bird tattoo!  Makayla got a “test tattoo” of glue and sparkle, to be sure there were no allergies.  Next zoo trip, she gets a bird, too!  Aunt Kelly will be sure of this!
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Spotted: Charlie and Owen having a great time!
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Another camel ride, because it’s awesome!
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I just LOVE this smile!  She’s been such a great “babysitter” and role model all week!  She is growing up before our eyes this summer!
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Nom nom nom with the giraffe!
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Awww!  Baby goat <3