Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Project List

I'm in the middle of enjoying a 9 day stretch off from work. Because I'm only part-time, I ended up working three days at the beginning of the pay-period and two days at the very tail end, leaving me with 9 glorious days off (without using any PTO)!

With the long stretch of days off, I'm attempting to get some long overdue projects done or at least started (although I'm suspecting some of them are going to take me throughout the summer.) This list is mainly for my purposes only - to keep track of everything and to cross them out when done.

1. Copy all of my recipes from magazines and newspapers on recipe cards and organize in my recipe binder. (almost done!)

2. Get pictures of our nieces and nephews and Amaya developed and hung up in the fireplace room and living room.

3. Organize kitchen cabinets (Ruth Ann put away all of our kitchen stuff when we first moved in - thank you, thank you! And now I need to move a few things around to make the things that we use everyday accessible and those things that I don't use very often (waffle maker, blender, etc) a little further away.

4. Clean! Unfortunately with working and taking care of Steve and Amaya - I'm not superwoman and I'll admit, I just can't keep up. Our house stays relatively neat, but I tend to ignore Steve's bathroom downstairs a little too much. Ugh...

5. Read, read, read... I'd like to return all the books I've borrowed - the good and the bad news is that this is a VERY long term project.

6. Check out books from the library on potty training and educate myself on the topic - I'm thinking in the next month or two, we'll give it a whirl - maybe when we come back from South Dakota in August.

7. Finish the three puzzles Mom loaned me.

8. Organize my cross-stitch floss for a new project.

9. Work on making birthday and anniversary cards for July and August.

10. Sewing! Last night I performed hand surgery on Elmo - he's already had major facial reconstruction and I'm proud to report that his hand surgery went well! I also fixed one of Amaya's pajamas - she managed to make the tiny holes near her toes really big! We've also had a case of the disappearing buttons on MOST of Steve's shorts. I need to get those taken care of PRONTO!

11. Take 18 month pictures of Amaya and send to loved ones. (I'm not willing to put Amaya through anymore trauma with the scary photographer at JCPenney and I'm also not willing to take out a loan to get pictures taken at Olive Juice. I think I can do just as good of a job!)

12. Catch up on e-mails that are LOOONG overdue - sorry Shirley!

13. Menu planning for the next three months! I hate making out a grocery list because it always seems like I'm re-inventing the wheel every week. So, if I make 12 weeks out of menus, make a permanent copy of the grocery list, we can just grab the list and go!

14. START AMAYA'S BABY BOOK! (I know, I know... I'm a horrible mother! She's nearing 18 months old and I haven't even started!)

15. Figure out what to do with our fourth bedroom. Right now, it's our dump and store room for all the toys Amaya has outgrown and storage for our luggage, dining room table leaf, etc. I've thought about making it into a play room, but isn't that what her bedroom is for? Steve and I have to share a bedroom, so why should Amaya get TWO rooms to play in? I thought about turning it into a scrapbooking, hobby room, but because of number 14 - that wouldn't be very practical because I haven't had time to scrapbook and I already have a nice place set up in the basement. So, we're leaning toward making it a guest bedroom. This is a little bit more of an expensive project because we don't have a bed or furniture, but at least I could get it painted and get curtains up.

16. Weed through Amaya's clothes again and figure out what fits and doesn't fit. Come on 18-24 month clothes! I'm getting tired of her 12-18 month stuff already.

17. Learn how to dump the pictures from the camera and how to charge the camera battery. Simple, I know... but when you have an awesome husband who likes to do this for you, why learn?

18. Finally memorize my cell phone number and learn how to use my cell phone. Again, very simple, but I just don't use it that much, but I suppose if I'm ever in a bind, it may be helpful to know.

Whew... and these are in addition to today's "To-Do List":

1. Empty dishwasher
2. Fold laundry
3. Change sheets on our beds
4. Clean upstairs
5. Finish thank you cards
6. Fill out Amaya's Developmental form for Mayo
7. Check e-mail
8. Blog
9. Shred bills
10. Update white board
11. Call Carol
12. Play with playdough with Amaya
13. Go outside with Amaya (if the weather cooperates)
14. Read stories
15. Go to Kohl's for new shoes for me.

Ugh... guess I better get cracking - at least I can cross off number 8!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Steve!

When you allow God to write and orchestrate your love story, amazing things are bound to happen. I waited - for what seems like forever - for Steve. I couldn't have chosen a more suited husband than Steve. He was well worth the wait!

I could list a hundred attributes and characteristics that I admire in Steve, but I'll save that for him. But, one of the first things I noticed about Steve was that he was really easy to talk to and he had a great sense of humor - albeit a little strange at times. He continues to make me laugh and "makes anything fun." I'm very thankful for the laughter that he brings to our home and to our families.

Today I celebrate Steve - for who he is and for who he wants to become. Every day I thank God for giving me Steve. Happy Birthday - I love you!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Crazy Week!

We have an exceptionally crazy week this week, but it will be packed full of a lot of fun!

My aunt and uncle are visiting today and tomorrow from Enid, Oklahoma. We haven't seen them in over two years! We're planning on catching up with them tonight at Lydia's T-Ball game and then going over to my parents for dessert. We're not sure what tomorrow will bring - shopping anyone?

Steve's sister and family are also visiting from Longmont, Colorado and will be here all week. We're planning on going to some of the Rochesterfest activities this week and also celebrate Steve's birthday together.

Steve's birthday is on Thursday and we'll be getting together with his parents, grandparents, sister and family. I've already done a test run of his birthday cake. Because I hadn't made it before, I wanted his co-workers to be my guinea pigs (they don't seem to mind either). I made it last week for them and it was gone in 20 minutes! I guess it was a hit! I'll tweak it a little - Steve wants more caramel, less nuts - so it should be really yummy!

On Saturday, we're planning on going to one of Ben's baseball games in Bloomington. We haven't been to one of his games yet, so we're excited to watch him play. He's mostly been playing third base and pitching. Can't wait to cheer him on.

So... that's our week! Pictures to follow....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Mommy has been busy working, so I'm going to write today's post about some of my favorite people in the whole wide world - DADDIES!

My daddy is the greatest daddy ever, even if he gets frustrated with me when I don't eat when I'm supposed to or whine and complain. My daddy lets me eats puffs in the morning when I don't want to eat anything else. My daddy makes me giggle and laugh so hard when he makes silly faces, tickles me, or makes funny sounds! My daddy takes me on special trips- like to Ostrander. My daddy always checks on me if I wake up at night crying and comforts me. My daddy pulls me in my bike trailer and we go really fast! My daddy throws me up in the air and sometimes I laugh so hard I get the hiccups. My daddy lets me watch Elmo on Youtube as much as I want. My daddy loves me a lot and I love my daddy!

My Grandpa Horning, is my daddy's daddy. He used to take my daddy for rides in his big semi-truck. (I wish he still had the truck so I could go for a ride, but daddy says we like having him here all the time and not on the road!) I like to play peek-a-boo with Grandpa and he makes funny faces at me when I'm supposed to be eating my dinner. Daddy and I like to go visit him when he has open houses. One time, Grandpa took me downstairs at one of the houses to see a doggie! That was fun! Last summer Grandpa took me on my very first boat ride too - he drives REALLY fast! My grandpa loves me a lot and I love my grandpa.

My Grandpa Gustafson, (I call him "Poppa") is my mommy's daddy. He and my grandma play with me when my mommy has to go to work. He takes me on wagon rides and points out doggies and kitties to me. Poppa lets me be outside as much as I want to. We also like to play ball together. Poppa likes to read me books - especially, "Kitty Up!" Sometimes I cry when Poppa leaves the room, but he always comes back. My grandpa loves me a lot and I love my grandpa.

My GREAT-grandpa Struckmann is my daddy's, mommy's daddy. We get to see him almost every week when we go to his house for dinner. He smiles at me and likes to watch me play. He asks me how old I am, but I can't tell him yet - I only know the number 2 and I'm not that old yet. My great-grandpa loves me and I love my great-grandpa.

Thank you Daddy, Grandpa Horning, Grandpa Gustafson, and Great-Grandpa Struckmann for loving me and playing with me. I love you all very much! Happy Father's Day!


Friday, June 19, 2009

Two Special Anniversaries

Today I'm celebrating two very special anniversaries: the day that I accepted Christ and 9 years working at Mayo.

Never in my wildest imagination, would I have ever believed that I would still be working at Mayo after 9 years. My ultimate plan was to get married right after college, work as a nurse until I had a baby, and then stay home full time. Obviously, my plan wasn't God's plan and I KNOW that HIS plan is MUCH BETTER! I'm very thankful for my job - especially with the unstable economy. Mayo hasn't even mentioned the word "lay-offs" and our nurse manager has been awesome at thinking of creative things to do to keep us busy. Fortunately, our department has picked up significantly - a much needed answer to prayer!

June 19th, 1986 ... I remember asking my dad to come into my room after dinner. We sat on my bed and I asked him if I was going to go to heaven when I died. I was shocked when my dad said, "No." When I asked, "Why not?", he told me that I had to ask God for forgiveness for all the bad things I had done and ask Jesus into my heart. We prayed together and I asked Jesus into my heart. I've been so blessed to be raised in a Christian home, and sometimes I think I take that for granted. I've had my ups and downs walking with Jesus, but what I know for sure - He will never leave me or forsake me. And His plans are far better than I could ever imagine!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Carol!

Thanks for being a great big sister. Love you!

Poor Baby...

Last evening, Amaya came down with a fever and became really clingy. She didn't want to play at all, she just wanted to be held. I tried giving her a bath, but she cried through the whole thing which is VERY unusual for her. Then when she was on the changing table, crying of course, I could see two new teeth sprouting way in the BACK! We've been watching and waiting for the two bottom ones to fill in, and were very surprised that she was getting teeth back there! No wonder she's not feeling very good. Today we're going to snuggle, read books, and watch Baby Einstein all day. It's cloudy outside, so it's a perfect day just to stay at home.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Another addiction... facebook. Where else can you have hundreds of friends, connections, and keep in touch with friends and family so easily?

I joined facebook about a year ago and while the newness has worn off, I still check my friends and family's status updates, updated pictures, blogs, etc. on a regular basis. I've been able to reconnect with friends from elementary school, junior high, high school, college, church, relatives, etc. Instead of feeling so overwhelmed with returning letters, e-mails, phone calls, I can write a simple wall post or catch someone online just to say hi.

I haven't gotten involved with taking quizzes about "Which Strawberry Shortcake character are you?" etc. or the games (although I hear Mafia Wars is highly addictive!) I also haven't updated pictures on facebook because we post quite a few on our blog. So if you haven't joined facebook, join now! Steve and I will be your first friend!

Steve has joined Twitter and I'm not sure if he'll get me hooked to that, but who knows?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Addicted to Books

I have a confession to make. I'M ADDICTED TO BOOKS!

Yesterday, Amaya and I went to Savers to look for books for the three of us. What I like about buying books at Savers (or any thrift store or garage sale) is that it's kind of like a treasure hunt - you just never know what you're going to find. At Savers, most of the kids books are between 49 cents and 99 cents, so it's really cheap! Plus, if you buy 4 books, you get one FREE! So at the end of our trip I ended up buying Amaya 25 books and me 2 books. (I couldn't find anything for Steve.)

I was talking to another lady by the kids books and she was stocking up for when her grandkids come over to visit. She said that her grandkids only like to watch movies or play videogames and aren't really into books. She was hoping that if she had a variety of books, she could get them interested in something other than TV.

My mom always told me that if I had a book to read, I would never be bored. Now my problem is I have too many books and not enough time to read! Amaya likes being read to, so I'm hoping that we can continue to encourage her to be addicted to books.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another year older....

Why is it that when we're teenagers, we do everything possible to look OLDER and then when we ARE older, we do everything possible to look YOUNGER?

With anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cream in hand, I'm going to celebrate my gray hairs and another year full of God's blessings! Seriously, turning 30 wasn't traumatic and I survived, so 31 should be great!

I've had a great day so far... Amaya and I slept in until 7:45am (beats the 4:15 when I have to work)... the scale budged 2 pounds in my favor... my parent's treated me to breakfast at Panera... Amaya and I bought books at Savers... and Steve will be home any minute for lunch. Tonight we're going out to eat with Steve's parents and grandparents to celebrate Steve's mom's birthday (June 6th) and mine. On Sunday, we'll celebrate Steve's birthday and my birthday with my parents and Mike, Arwen, Ben, Annika, Lydia, and Miles.

Let the celebration continue! Thanks for all the birthday greetings!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Introducing .... HOPE!

After waiting, for what seems like FOREVER, we'd like to introduce our newest niece, Hope Ann Springer. She is absolutely precious and such a good baby! We were able to get a few smiles out of her and she definitely has the Springer dimples.

We left Rochester around 4pm and made a stop for dinner and another stop for Amaya to run around. Surprisingly enough, Amaya DIDN'T fall asleep at all on the way down. Around 8:30pm or so, she was getting a little tired but for whatever reason, she caught a second wind and stayed awake until we arrived in Pender around 10:30pm. Unfortunately, Hope had just fallen asleep, so we could only admire her. Amaya was a little unsure of Joshua, Jordan, and Hannah at first, but she slowly warmed up.

Saturday afternoon we were able to go swimming, although the water in the pool was a little too cold for Steve, Amaya, and me. We took Amaya over to the baby pool and as we suspected, she LOVED it. Hope even got her swimsuit on and dipped her toes in!

We're just about to get Amaya in the baby pool.

Hannah in the big pool. She's an awesome swimmer. She can go off the slide and go off the diving board by herself!

Amaya met a few other babies in the pool - even one named "Maya".

We had several opportunities for "photo shoots".

Amaya's first time holding Hope. I was very nervous about Amaya holding her, but she did really well once I propped Hope up on pillows.

Amaya wasn't satisfied just holding Hope - she had to give her kisses too!

Hannah, Amaya, and Hope. All of the grandchildren have used this bassinet in one form or another.

Steve, Amaya, and Hope.

Other than swimming, we played quite a few games: Clue, Life, and Outburst, and watched a couple movies. On Saturday night, the boys drove to Sioux City to go to the Star Trek movie. When they came back, Jordan said, "That was the best movie ever!" (Steve would have to agree after now seeing it twice!) Since Carol, Steve, and I share the month of June for our birthdays, we exchanged gifts and had ice cream, too.

Amaya enjoyed spending quite a bit of time playing in Hannah's room. Hannah has all sorts of kitchen dishes, food, babies, etc. to play with. On Sunday morning, it was terribly quiet in Hannah's room and I found Amaya getting into ....

Hannah's beads and glitter glue!! How much fun!

Amaya and Hannah

Hope - snoozing away in the swing. Look at those eyelashes and cheeks! Too cute! There's nothing like holding a baby and I'm glad that we got to hold her as much as we wanted to.

Hope, me, Steve, and Amaya

The Springer Family - Jordan, Hannah, Dan, Joshua, Hope, and Carol.

We can't wait to see you again in July!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Nebraska Trip - Take Two

Our bags are packed (mostly) and we're counting down the hours until we get to see my sister and family! And we FINALLY get to meet our niece, Hope! We planned a trip in April, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we weren't able to go.

Hope is already 11 weeks old and I'm sure changing by the day. We're anxious to see how Amaya reacts to a real live baby! We're also excited to spend time with Joshua, Jordan, and Hannah. The weather is supposed to be cooler this weekend, but hopefully it'll be warm enough to go swimming. If the weather doesn't cooperate, we'll just have to play games all weekend!

So for now, both Steve and I are trying hard to focus on work... 6 hours left?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The ZOO!

On Sunday, we headed to the Minnesota Zoo. We recently renewed our membership, so we'll try to get up there more often to make it worth the money. They added a new "Africa Exhibit" including Zebras, Ostriches, and Giraffes. As part of the new exhibit, for 5 dollars you could buy 2 Rye-Crisp Crackers and feed the Giraffes. The line was pretty long and we didn't know if Amaya would be scared or not, but after she saw the giraffe and was fascinated by him, we had to do it. Unfortunately, as we approached the beginning of the line, the giraffe was full! We received a refund and thought we would try to come back before the bird show. We were in luck! The second time we came back, both giraffes were eating so we had a pretty good chance to feed one of them.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The instructions we were given was to break the cracker in two and hold it up high. I thought I was going to have to put the cracker in his mouth, but instead he surprised me by sticking out his tongue and grabbing the cracker! His tongue was very rough - I suppose to eat the leaves, etc. It was a very cool experience though and I recommended it to everyone who visits. When else can you be that up close and personal with a giraffe?

Amaya really enjoyed watching the moose, so much in fact, that when we left, she cried and cried. She also enjoyed the prairie dogs, the otters, and any exhibit that had water - especially Discovery Bay. We're disappointed that they no longer have the dolphin show as that was one of my favorites. Steve likes the tiger exhibit, but for the last few times we haven't been able to see them. Maybe next time.

We ran out of time to visit the farm animals, so we'll have to do that next time too. We pretty much let Amaya go where she wanted to go and spend as much time as she wanted at whatever exhibit interested her. Unfortunately, the zoo was busier than we had ever seen it, so we're hoping the next time we go it won't be as crowded. Overall though, it was a great day.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lanesboro Trip

On Saturday, we packed up the car with our bikes and equipment to head to Lanesboro. There is a bike trail that follows along the Root River and it's absolutely beautiful - both the drive there and the bike trail.

We got a rather late start because we slept in a little and I wanted to make a new recipe for Blueberry Waffles and Blueberry Syrup. (It was well worth the late start!) We arrived in Lanesboro (after a long wait in construction!) around noon, so we decided to eat our lunch at Sylvan Park in downtown Lanesboro. The park has a great playground, gazebo, campsites, and a large pond with fountains in it. Every time Amaya saw the water, she signed the word "bath" and said, "Ba? Ba?"

In these two pictures, Amaya is playing on the gazebo. We were very surprised that she kept her hat on for so long. I put in on her before we left the house and she LOVED wearing it!

After lunch, Steve set up the bikes while Amaya and I played at the playground. When Steve was ready, Amaya was pretty excited to get into her bike trailer. We loaded her up with plenty of toys and water to keep her occupied.

What we enjoyed most about biking in Lanesboro is the scenery. We followed the Root River, so there were several bridges that we crossed and were able to see others canoeing and rafting. We were limited by time, so we biked just a little past Whalen (approximately 4 1/2 miles). We got Amaya out to go down by the river and play a little before heading back.

Can you tell Amaya was having a great time?

There is a resort right in Whalen that someday Steve and I would love to stay at sometime - maybe our 5th wedding anniversary?!? (Although it might be a little cold to bike in April!)

This picture was taken by one of the last bridges that we crossed going over the Root River. This was our last stretch back to Lanesboro.

I guess we wore Amaya out...