Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Last night was absolutely wonderful celebrating with our little family of three! Dinner was great, decorating the gingerbread house was super fun and super messy, and opening presents was AWESOME! Steve spoiled me rotten this year and got me a CD, a watch, earrings, a GREEN purse (I've wanted one for a very, very long time!) AND... drum roll please.... a bean necklace from TIFFANY and CO!!!! WOW, WOW, WOW!!!

I'm finishing up my s-l-o-w shift at work and Steve will pick me up and we'll go to the 4:30 Christmas Eve service at our church. Afterwards, we'll head over to Steve's parents for dinner and to celebrate with them! So, so, so excited for them to open their presents!! I love the anticipation and excitement... and watching Amaya get excited! What will she be like when she's older?!?

We'll try to get some pictures posted this weekend, but for now... we hope everyone has a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS celebrating our Lord and Savior!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let the Celebrations Begin!!

The last few weeks have been busy with preparations for Christmas: shopping, wrapping, decorating, mailing Christmas cards, baking, and FINALLY celebrating! Amaya has been an AWESOME reminder to appreciate this busy time of the year. She has such wide-eyed wonder and excitement about Christmas. Every time she sees the Christmas tree, she says, "Ooh, WOW!" Every time we point out the Christmas lights on the houses or the snow, she says "Cool Mama! Every thing is so new and exciting for her, it's been a joy to experience this holiday season celebrating Jesus' birth through her eyes.

Tomorrow, the three of us will be celebrating our very own Christmas. First, I'll be making cinnamon rolls in the morning for Steve to bring to work. After Steve comes home from work, we'll have Fortuna Ring (a very special and favorite of all three of us) and tomato and fresh mozzarella salad for dinner. We'll plan on decorating a gingerbread house - a first for all of us! And then.... PRESENTS! I'm so excited I can hardly wait!

Friday, December 18, 2009


This is what happens when you leave Amaya unsupervised for 2 minutes with lots of stickers.

It took me about 45 minutes to scrub the floor to get all the sticker residue off. Grrr... Our sticker stash is now hidden behind locked doors!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert

This is what I look like after I DEVOUR my Grandma Gustafson's Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert! Thanks Grandma! It was DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

A week ago today, we had the most awesome blizzard! It was so awesome that there was NO way Steve was going to be able to get me to work by 6am. My father-in-law to the rescue! He picked me up in his big pick up truck and he made plowing through snow look like a piece of cake! We had 3 nurses unable to make in on the outpatient side, 6 nurses on the surgery side, and 2 surgeons! But everyone will cancel, right? Most of my light patients cancelled, but all of our outpatients came and most of the surgery patients came (they stayed in town overnight so they wouldn't miss their appointment!)

Steve wasn't even able to go to work. After getting the driveway cleared, he dropped Amaya off at my parents and headed to work only to find that the parking lot was a disaster! He got stuck and saw many others stuck, so he turned around and picked up Amaya and headed home.

After Bible Study on Thursday, Amaya REALLY wanted to play in the snow. I bundled her up in her 3 dollar snowsuit that Steve's mom and I found at a garage sale and ventured outside in the cold. The cold didn't bother Amaya one bit, me on the other hand...

We had quite a bit of drifting. This is located in the backyard by our deck and kitchen window. Amaya had quite a time trying to get up the "mountain!"

Really wanting to run, but kept falling down.

Another view of the drifting.

"Fall down again!"

Again... the drifting...

Wanting to go for a walk.

I don't know the exact amount of snow we received that day, but it was almost a foot! It'll definitely be a white Christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Decorating for Christmas

Amaya was a big help this year getting our Christmas Tree and the house decorated. We first started getting the banister decorated since we didn't have our tree yet. Amaya was a little afraid of the greenery because it was "prick-y" (prickly).

Then we had to dig out the raffia, berries, and pinecones.

A few days later, on the 4th of December, we went to Jim Whiting's Nursery and picked out our tree. Grandma and Grandpa Gustafson watched Amaya since it was so cold out while we got our tree. It's not as perfect as the tree Steve picked out last year, but it comes pretty close.

Amaya was pretty excited when we got out the ornaments and lights. "Ooh, mama. Lights!" (And for the record, we only broke one ornament this year with Amaya helping.) After awhile, Amaya was helping a little too much... so Daddy had to distract her while I finished getting the lights up!

While Amaya and I were at Hobby Lobby earlier in the week, we finally found a tree topper that I liked. My mom has a glass star tree topper that I'm hoping one day I can find, but until then, I like this one - so does Amaya!

Amaya putting the star on the tree! Afterwards, she said, "Wow, Daddy!"

Helping me put ornaments on the tree. And you should be proud to know that I resisted moving them after she put them on the tree.

More, "Wow, Mama!" "Pretty!"

Checking out the tree the next day!

Finally, all done!

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving Part 2

Let the Thanksgiving celebration continue - only this time with Steve's parents, Paul and Debbie and their kids from Colorado. We don't get to see them very often, so this was a special treat!

We attended the annual Festival of Trees at the Mayo Civic Center. Steve and I have gone the day after Thanksgiving for a couple of years now and always enjoy the music, snacks, and the incredible trees! Each tree has a different theme and while there were some repeats this year, it was still fun to look at them and get ideas. Even more fun was to watch the kid's reactions to the trees. We heard a lot of "wow", "ooh pretty," and "look, mama!"

Amaya, Emily, and Brian (I love how Amaya and Brian are checking each other out!)

Amaya and Grandma listening to the music. Every hour, a different group of musicians played or sang.

My favorite tree and inspiration for our tree this year. This is called "Nordic Reflections."


After the Festival of the Trees, everyone headed to our house for supper. We enjoyed reconnecting and catching up and the kids enjoyed playing.

Grandpa and Grandma Horning and the grandkids.

Thanksgiving Part 1

I know, I know... there's less than 2 weeks until Christmas, and I'm just now posting pictures of Thanksgiving...

We celebrated Thanksgiving Day with my parents, Mike and Arwen, and the kids. I always look forward to a day of family, good food, and games. My mom outdid herself, as she usually does year after year. Here are a few pictures from the day.

Annika reads to the kiddos:

Steve watching football:

Mike and Lydia working on a puzzle:

An intense game of Blokus:

Amaya and Annika enjoying various desserts - apple pie, pumpkin ice cream dessert, and ice cream.

Amaya and Miles playing with Poppa's trains:

Playing Pictionary:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cooper and Tess

I'm so excited because Cooper and Tess are coming over to play tonight (their mommy and daddy are coming over too!) Mommy is cleaning a little, so I thought maybe I'd post the pictures that Mommy and Daddy took the last time they came over.

Little Baby Tess is so adorable! I liked giving her hugs and kisses!

Mommy and Daddy caught Cooper and me in the closet.

Reading books and hanging out.

I can't wait for them to come over and play!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Our Girlie Girl

One of the things I love most about having a girl is being able to dress her up and now that her hair is getting longer - being able to put it in ponytails, barrettes, etc. I haven't quite decided what to do about her hair... I've never really been a big fan of bangs myself so I'm hesitant to cut her hair. Growing out bangs has been a painful experience for me (and my mom!) So, for now... we'll plan on growing out her hair and put it up when she lets us. The ponytails stay in pretty good, but the barrettes don't, so we'll see...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I knew December was going to be a busy month full of shopping, baking, and celebrating, so there were a few projects I wanted to get done around the house before the craziness began. We're planning on buying Amaya a play kitchen for her birthday in January, but that means we need to get rid of her changing table and get a larger bookcase for all her books. This also means, that I needed to once again go through her closet and put the clothes she's outgrown and the clothes she can't wear far, far away from her closet to make room for her toys. I'm a little obsessed with my label maker, but it makes it so much easier to clean up when everything is organized.

Both my sister and sister-in-law have been very generous and have loaned us their girl's clothes, so I packed everything away (all the way up to 5T clothes!) and have it stored in our basement level in a closet. This now leaves me plenty of room for the clothes she currently fits in and will start wearing soon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Celebrating Uncle Mike's Birthday

Have I ever mentioned how much I love birthdays?!? I've only had one birthday so far, but already I'm looking forward to my second and it's right around the corner! We had a great time celebrating my Uncle Mike's birthday and even learned how to play a new game: TWISTER!

Twister is so much fun - even my mommy, Aunt Arwen, Uncle Mike and Grandma played! Here we are reviewing the rules:

Ben and Annika were the best Twister players EVER!

Miles and I tried playing, but it was a little hard since we don't know the difference between left and right.

My Uncle Mike, Miles, and me.

CAKE! Mommy bought trick candles for Uncle Mike's cake, but they didn't work very well.

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE CAKE?!?

Grandma and Annika.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Amaya's First Pumpkin Bread

Ever since Amaya was little, she's been my little shadow - not wanting to be very far from Mama. While I've enjoyed having her right by my side, sometimes it's a little difficult getting anything done. She's always been interested in the laundry, so she helps me sort and put the clothes in the washer and dryer. She tries to fold the clothes, but I end up re-doing everything. Lately, she's been wanting to help me cook. She loves stirring and pouring things into bowls. We're working on cracking eggs open too - it's a little messy, but she's getting better (and she has a great time!) I was trying to get some pumpkin bread made before she woke up, but that plan didn't quite work out. So... here's Amaya's first batch of pumpkin bread - very yummy. Someday we'll get Grandma Gustafson's recipe made, but since there was a national shortage of pumpkin, we had to settle for a box mix.

And of course, she needed a little taste of the batter:

Happily stirring away:

Birthday Celebrations with Grandpa

We had three birthdays in our family in the month of November and today I'll post our pictures from our time celebrating with Grandpa Horning. Amaya has quickly learned that when it's someones birthday, they get cake, ice cream, and presents!

Amaya loves helping me do anything and everything. So, here she's "helping" Grandma make whipped cream:

And licking off the spoons:

Grandpa Horning with a piece of the most delicious pumpkin pie!

Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Struckmann:

Grandma and Amaya:

Helping Grandpa open presents:

Taking a "nap" with Grandma:

Hope you had a great birthday, Grandpa. We enjoyed celebrating with you!