This is becoming our extended-family tradition!  Last year, Kelsey and the boys and Carter and I stayed over night at the Wasserbahn to play.  We had such a great time, that this year, we brought little Nora, and the Anderson’s!

We met up and got settled in our room (#106), only to be moved upstairs to the opposite side of the hotel (rooms #215 and #217).  Boo moving 3 adults, 5 kids and Baby Nora!  But we did, and got settled again.  We threw on swimmies and hit the pool.  Carter Kay was, again, hesitant of the big “dumpy bucket,” but she kept less of an eye on it this year.  After about an hour, I finally conned her into going up onto the platform to play with hoses, right where the slide is.  I couldn’t hear the dump bucket bell, and it spilled over while we were playing.  Luckily, we were protected on the platform by the roof (score!).  Madi tried to get Carter to go down the slide, but she wasn’t having it.  So after numerous requests from Madi, I finally just tossed her down.  She was all legs, trying to get ahold of something to keep her from going down (Whatever!  It was a tiny little yellow slide!  Wussy!), but when she got down, she giggled and immediately came running back up for turn after turn!  Aversion therapy, works every time!  We all also took turns in the big pool, jumping lilly pads.  That was my favorite part last year, and it was a blast again.  Carter and I giggled and jumped and splashed in the water.  It was great!

We had pizza, Cheeto’s and applesauce for dinner.  And we finished up with rice krispy bars.

Then we went to play games in the game room.  Grant continues to be a big ol’ skee ball cheater, which makes me laugh!  We took our winning tickets and everyone got a tasty treat.

After games, we headed back to our rooms to share gifts.  What a great group of pals we have!  The kids received some wonderful gifts – apparently Mom-Santa’s didn’t get the memo that not everyone was good this year :) 

Sleeping arrangements were agreed upon: Carter Kay wanted to sleep with Madi (who she adores!), which left Carter J with Janine in one room (a room full of crazies!).  Collin ran the risk of rolling out of bed, so he slept with Kelsey.  That left Grant asking to sleep with me.  I think everyone was finally asleep, after Grant’s “spoonEEEEE” giggles and a fit of laughter between Madi and Carter Kay, around 10:45pm.  At 3:37am, Grant sat straight up next to me, hit me with his arm and said, “That was FUN!”  He giggled, plopped back down and fell fast asleep!  I can only imagine what part of the day he was dreaming about!

Wonderful extended-family tradition!  We’re looking forward to next year’s initiation of Charlie to the pool, and Nora and Charlie to the overnight!  Love you guys!!!

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Me and my home-girl, waiting on “the friends” to arrive

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That’s our sugar-and-sweet, rag-tag crew!
Collin, Grant (both 3 1/2) and Nora (4 months) Bumsted
Carter Kay (4)
Madi (7) and Carter Jay (4) Anderson

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Our feeble attempt at a “piggy pile”!

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Carter J … getting a drink?!!

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Grant: “I’m an alligator!”

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Carter Kay, Carter J and Grant, undoubtedly up to no good!

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Madi, Carter Kay and Carter J on the water park playground thingy

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Madi and Carter J, the goofiest and sweetest of the goofy-sweets!

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A very brave Collin decided to take to the lilly pads.  What made him decided to get on these, with my supervise (which is sometimes known to be suspect!), I’ll never know.  I guess he’s got a spidey-sense about me!

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Trouble x3: Grant, Carter Kay and Madi, waiting for lilly pads

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Grant, being a skee ball cheater

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The crew opening gifts

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Carter x2 helping Madi open her friendship bracelet kit
FYI: I better be getting a bracelet!

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At 9:45pm, while getting ready for bed, Carter J decides he needs a slice of pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and helps himself!

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Besties: Madi and Carter
Carter adores this girl!!!

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Me and my “spoonEEEEEEEE” Grant, who I was sure didn’t have sleeping in his plans for the night!

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Collin and Kelsey, snuggling up for bed

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Carter’s vacation “break-fist” of champions: fruit, orange juice and bacon!

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The girls chanting: “I see London, I see France …”

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Flying Carter, mid bed-jumping!

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Collin, Grant, Carter J, Carter Kay and Madi, gearing up for MORE bed-jumping

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(you know, it’s really amazing she doesn’t bite her tongue more often!)

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Boys will be boys!


We finally got home for Christmas.  The weather, however, got the last laugh along highway 218, about 2 miles away from the farm.  The roads were fine the entire drive, but we hit an icy patch going about 65mph and spun out.  We started in the left lane, fishtailed into the right, spun, hit the median ditch and spun in the ditch.  When we stopped, I looked back to see Charlie contently eyeing me, and Carter said, “Wow!  That spooked me out!”  Out of nowhere, a state trooper came to help us out and the kind woman who watched it all from behind us also stopped.  It’s nice to see that some people still stop and take care!  The truck is fine, we’re all fine … and it makes for one heck of a story!

We spent Saturday with the Chalupa’s.  Holy gifts!  We decided to only give gifts to the kids (Carter and Courtney are 4, Marissa 8 months, Charlie is 2 1/2 months, and Baby Chalupa will debut in a couple weeks … or so we thought!), so you’d think there would have been less goodies.  Wrong!  The girls and I brought gifts in from under the tree in the kitchen, and they kept coming and coming, until the living room was either packed with a Chalupa or something with a bow!  The girls had a wonderful time sharing gifts and doling out presents to one another.  With Baby Chalupa coming soon, and Charlie here, we also took the infamous “Who Loves Baby?” pictures for their books. 

We had big family dinner.  Charlie was upset; I think he was overwhelmed by the number of Chalupa’s (or Chalupa relatives) in one house!  He cried himself to sleep for the night, but not after snuggling with his aunts.  Carter and Courtney were two wound up little goofballs.  I think my favorite quote of the night was Aunt Monika to Carter:  “Carter, let’s go have a talk.”  They went back into the laundry room away from everyone, and I overheard, “Now, Carter … we do not talk about butt cracks at the table.”  Classic Carter!

Sunday we headed to Brighton for Christmas with Grandma and Poppy, who, in true Grandma and Poppy-style, spoiled the kiddos!  Carter loves her little spinner tops (so does the cat!).  We didn’t get to stay as long as we’d wanted (again, thanks weather!), but that just means we get to come home again in a couple weeks for the weekend 🙂

The big Christmas present of the weekend was the surprise we all got Sunday morning.  Andy had gotten up to go to the bathroom and check on Charlie and Duane and Linda’s, at 3:45am.  He said he heard Corey and Amber talking downstairs, but couldn’t make out what they were saying, then he saw them leave.  Amber was really excited about Sunday breakfast at the Casino, so the only reason they’d be leaving that early was baby-related.  She texted me about bringing something they forgot.  When I questioned why they left so early, she only replied with “No time,” and we didn’t hear anything else. 

Apparently, Amber’s water broke in the early morning.  They headed to the hospital in Iowa City.  They examined her, and said her water had broken, but she wasn’t dilated to the point of admitting her, so they headed to Des Moines to their hospital.  We got messages later Sunday saying that Owen Ross Chalupa had made his Christmas debut at 1:13pm.  He weighed in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces, 19.25 inches long.  We haven’t gotten to officially meet him yet, but his pictures are adorable!  Owen and Amber are both doing well.  Welcome, Little Owen!  We can’t wait to meet you! 

Merry Christmas!  So very much to be thankful for and to enjoy! 

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Our beautiful, clean, smelling-good, and dressed-up holiday kiddos. 

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That’s us!

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Santa’s little helpers
(can you believe that these two are only a month apart in age?!  Courtney’s extra short and Carter’s extra tall, but both are super-sweet!)

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Filled to the brim with Chalupa’s and bows!

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Carter, part monkey.  Only Carter  could monkey her toes into gifts!  Cheeser!

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What’s in the bag, Charlie?  Uncle Kevin holds the bag while Courtney and Carter help (or get in Charlie’s space!)

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Take note: Carter’s got the sweet smile, and Courtney’s got the ornery smile! 

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The girls help Grandma open their gift (I know, we said no gifts!): a family collage, to tide Grandma and Grandpa over until our Stalzer family photos in May

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Aunt Amber (with Owen, who was excited to come into the world the following day!), Charlie and Uncle Corey

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Grandma and Granpa with all the grandbabies: Courtney (4), Charlie (2 1/2 months), Marissa (8 months) and Carter (4)

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Uncle Kevin and Aunt Katie with the crazies

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Uncle Brian and Aunt Anna with the crew

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Carter: “Will work for Blankies” 
Courtney and Anna made the kids fleece blankies for Christmas, and Carter loves hers!  Grandma also got her a pink blankie hugged by a bear.  That thing has been lugged all over the house (and she insisted we pack it for the Wasserbahn this week!)

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CRAZIES!  This was moments before Carter was told no butt crack jokes at the table! 
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Sunday with Grandma and Poppy, Charlie got all festive with Grandma!

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One more for the “Who Loves Baby?” book: Carter and Charlie with Grandma and Poppy

Christmas fun!