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!