Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Gatzke Family!

Christmas is by far my favorite time of the year. What's not to love about celebrating our Savior's birth, spending time with family, playing in the snow, and decorating cookies? And this season, we are especially thankful for all of the Lord's blessings in 2010.

Steve is currently in his last year of graduate school and will be receiving a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Bethel University in May of 2011. What an accomplishment! High school was a struggle for Steve and to see him excel in his undergraduate work and now in a master's program is very rewarding for him and I couldn't be more proud of his hard work and determination. One of his requirements for school is to complete 700 hours in the counseling field through an internship. Monday through Friday mornings, he spends his time leading group therapy, family therapy, and individual therapy for sex offenders. His confrontational style of therapy has been an asset to the program and it's clearly evident that there is a great need for counselors like Steve to help this particular group of people. Steve has a heart to serve others and his career change from IT to Counseling has been a blessing.

While Steve's been juggling school and his internship, he's also had some significant set-backs in regards to his health. Over the past year, he has been hospitalized 5 times and has had 2 major surgeries related to his Crohn's Disease. And unfortunately, he will need to have surgery again in the spring to reassess his colon and intestine. We're hopeful that with this next surgery and the medications, that his Crohn's Disease would be controlled again. His strength and stamina isn't what it used to be, but every day he shows great improvement.

Steve wasn't the only one with medical problems this year. I also ended up having surgery in June (3 weeks after Steve's first surgery) to remove a tumor on my parotid gland. Once again we praise God that the tumor was benign, that my recovery wasn't long, and that we live less than 5 miles from one of the greatest medical facilities - the Mayo Clinic.

In the midst of the stress of Steve's ongoing health issues, I was experiencing a significant amount of stress at work. The economy had affected the Dermatology department quite a bit and while no one was ever laid off, there was still uncertainly about whether or not we could sustain all of our staff in the outpatient area. Mid-July, I applied for a part-time position in the Allergy Department, and on September 16th I began my new position (one day after Steve was hospitalized again, this time for severe dehydration). Changing jobs wasn't something that Steve and I were anticipating this year, but it has been an absolute gift from God. And I have no doubt in my mind that this is where God wanted me all along. The staff welcomed me with open arms and now I'm considered one of the "sisters." The work itself is very challenging and rewarding. Each day is so different from the next and I look forward to develop my nursing practice here for many years.

Amaya has been our constant source of joy through all our challenges this year! She is nearly 3 years old - and is growing up before our very eyes! Amaya is a very tender and empathetic little girl. I think our experiences in the hospital have molded her to be even more loving, caring, and sensitive to the needs of others. I admire her ability to "go with the flow." While I was trekking back and forth to the hospital visiting Steve, she never complained about having to go to Grandpa and Grandma Gustafson's house. While she missed her Daddy tremendously, she adapted very well and we praise God for flexibility. We also praise God that she has a very special relationship with both sets of her grandparents who live in town.

Amaya is also very active and loves to bounce, dance, twirl, and run! This past year she has participated in both gymnastics and swimming lessons. We'll continue the swimming lessons this upcoming year and for her birthday, we've enrolled her in an 8 week dance class. She is especially enjoying our 40 inches of snow with her new sled and shovel!

Amaya also started preschool at our church this past in the fall! She attends class on Fridays for 2 1/2 hours. It's amazing how quickly she picks up new songs and Bible verses. Amaya has recently shocked us with learning to recite the entire Pledge of Allegiance! She knows her ABCs and recognizes about half of the letters and numbers. She's already showing an interest in reading. Often times, she'll grab one of her hundreds of books and "read" to me!

While our year wasn't exactly what we anticipated, we praise God for our circumstances. We've learned to rely and depend on the members of the Body of Christ. Our asking for help, gave another person an opportunity to serve. We are thankful for the many people that reached out to us to encourage, love, and support us. We are thankful for our parents who literally carried us through these months of uncertainly. We are thankful for a God who doesn't promise us an easy life, but promises never to leave and never to forsake us. We are thankful for a God who promises to comfort - promises to provide - promises to unconditionally love us. When we were weak - God was strong. When we didn't understand - God knew the plan. We have learned to set our hopes on heaven - to hold firmly to His promise of eternal life - to trust that He is faithful. Whatever our future holds, there are no surprises for Him. And it is because of this, that we look forward to 2011 - with hope and a future walking side by side with our Lord!

Merry Christmas,
Steve, Jan and Amaya.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's Saturday!!

Day # 20 - Oye... not sure where to begin and I'm not sure I have the time to share all that I am thankful for today.... Here it is in a nutshell....

- I'm thankful that I had some one-on-one time playing a game with Steve while Amaya was napping - cheap and fun entertainment!

- I'm thankful that my classes to receive my certification in spirometry is completed! Even more thankful that I got a 100% on my practical and written exam! Whoo-hoo!!

- I'm thankful for Jenny's courage in sharing her testimony and being an example of a godly woman despite difficult circumstances.

- I'm thankful for my brother who celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday! Mike - you are awesome!

- I'm thankful that after over a year of inconsistent potty training - with the exception of nights - Amaya is DONE!

- I'm thankful that I was able to sleep in past 8 this morning!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Amaya's Creativity

Day # 16 - Today I'm thankful for Amaya's creativity. She loves doing any type of art projects, but especially enjoys painting and coloring. Maybe we have a future artist on our hands... I can't wait to see how God works in her life! For now, I enjoy every picture she colors or paints and every art project she creates. God's given us a very creative girl, and for that - I'm thankful.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Day # 15 - For whatever reason, yesterday when Amaya went down for her nap... I felt like I needed one too. So today, I'm thankful for naps. Even though we slept in a little over the weekend, I still didn't quite feel rested. But after a wonderful nap - I was ready to go! I'm also thankful for our Tempurpedic bed and pillows ... like sleeping on a cloud....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Home

Day #14 - Today I'm cleaning... and I really don't enjoy cleaning. Organizing is more my speed. But... today I'm thankful that I have a home to clean. I'm thankful that there is a roof over our heads. I'm thankful that we have dirty dishes because that means that we have plenty of food to eat. I'm thankful that we have dirty laundry because that means that we have plenty of clothes to wear. I'm thankful for our two bathrooms because that means we have indoor plumbing. So, while I'm scrubbing kitchen floors and toilets, I'm reminded to be thankful.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Day #13 - Yesterday Amaya had her first quarter conferences at preschool and she has done very well considering she's one of the youngest in her class. She excels at sitting still while listening to short stories, songs, and poems, works and sits without disturbing others, demonstrates positive listening skills, and is able to share her teacher's attention. From what her teacher says, she loves art projects and writing/coloring and spends most of the free time doing these activities. Amaya needs to work on speaking up more and participating in "Circle Time" (she takes after her shy mom!) and picking up her toys. Even though she's just under the age of 3, she's picking up a lot of concepts... recognizing shapes, numbers, and letters, drawing circles, learning the Pledge of Allegiance, learning Bible Verses, and learning new songs with actions. So... today I'm thankful for Kingdom Kids Preschool and her teachers Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Kime who give of their time and talents to teach our little girl!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Day Off

Day # 12 - I've been looking forward to today for quite some time now. During orientation in allergy, I've been working primarily Monday-Friday 8-noon, but today we have Amaya's conferences for preschool and I asked for the day off. I was looking forward to sleeping in a little, but my internal alarm clock and Amaya's internal alarm clock went off at 6:45am... so much for sleeping in. Oh, well... My favorite part of the morning so far was snuggling with Amaya in bed. She likes to hear stories about when she was a little baby and likes to read books in bed. So, we snuggled, talked, and read stories until about 8am before having breakfast. I'm so thankful for these special times with Amaya because I know they won't last forever. It's raining quite a bit today, so I'm not sure if we'll venture out of the house this morning, but at least I get to spend some one-on-one time with my little girl and for that - I'm thankful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering, Honoring, and Thanking Our Veterans

Day # 11 - Happy Veteran's Day! We personally want to thank all veterans for their service to our country. It is because of you that we can enjoy our freedom and security. Thank you for the sacrifices you made in order to protect and serve our country. Thank you Dad and Lowell!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

Day #10 - Amaya isn't the only one that my mom tends to spoil.... she's spoils Steve and me as well! We typically go over to my parents house every Sunday to spend time with them and my brother's family, but because we had a very special birthday to celebrate, we didn't go over. My mom had made some pumpkin bars on Sunday and both Steve and I were hoping that there would be a few left over. On Monday, when I picked up Amaya, my mom had a container full of pumpkin bars for us! YUMMY!! It's the simple things I'm thankful for... my mom's pumpkin bars... Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Amaya's Grandparents

Day #9 - Today I'm thankful for my parents for graciously caring for Amaya for the past 2 1/2 years while Steve and I work. I hope I never take their generosity for granted. It's a huge relief off of our shoulders knowing that she is in loving care of her grandparents. They spoil her rotten, but isn't that their job? For the past couple of days, Amaya has been wanting to go to House of Bounce and my parents willingly took her today. She jumped and bounced for over 2 hours! (And took an awesome nap this afternoon - almost 3 hours!) When I asked her about her morning, she said, "It was the most fun ever!" Thank you Mom and Dad for taking such wonderful care of Amaya - you truly are the best!

I'm also thankful for my mother-in-law and my father-in-law. Every Tuesday night, they've been coming over to our house to watch Biggest Loser with us. My mother-in-law has been working tirelessly getting ready to accompany the production of "The Sound of Music" at a local private school and didn't even get home and have supper until 7pm (the start of Biggest Loser). When Steve told Amaya that Grandma and Grandpa weren't coming over she laid down on the floor and cried and cried. Steve was going to bring Amaya over to their house so she could see them, but Grandma and Grandpa decided to come over to our house instead. She was absolutely ecstatic to see them and couldn't stop hugging and kissing Grandma! Both of them give 100% of their time, love, and devotion to this little girl and it's obvious she soaks up the attention! Thank you so much for bringing so much joy to Amaya! It meant the world to her to see you!

Amaya is blessed to have such a close relationship with her grandparents and for that - I'm thankful.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Job in Allergy

Day #8 - Some say that "variety is the spice of life." And I'd be one of the first to agree. Today I am most thankful for my job in allergy. This morning, I did two skin tests to environmental agents, one skin test to 60 different foods, a breathing test to diagnosis asthma, an injection of a VERY expensive medication to control asthma, and an olfactory (smell) test. Every day is so different and we never quite know what's going to walk through our door. Tomorrow I'll be administering flu vaccines to patient's who are either egg allergic or have had a previous reaction to a flu vaccine, more breathing tests, and testing a patient to five different bee venoms. It's absolutely fascinating and there is so much to learn, but that's what makes it so exciting and rewarding. There is so much variety that I can't imagine ever getting bored! I love meeting new people and most of our patients have incredible life stories. I have an amazing group of skilled nurses to work beside and for that I am thankful. I can still work part-time and carrying benefits and for that I am thankful. My supervisor is flexible and understanding when I ask for a day off to attend Amaya's conferences - in fact, she encourages it! This job is an absolute answer to prayer and a huge blessing in my life and for that - I am thankful!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Extra shift, laundry, and Lowell

Day #6 - Already I missed a day! I knew it was bound to happen because of an already crazy schedule... Anyway, yesterday I was very thankful for another shift in the Flu Clinic. I'm thankful that God continues to provide opportunities for me to pick up extra shifts and add to our income. I was dreading another day giving shots only because my last experience was absolute chaos, confusion and frustration. Much to my relief, I felt much more comfortable with the charting, billing, and handling restless, crying, screaming, kids dreading a shot. I received quite a few compliments from parents about being quick and painless with the administration of the vaccine, so I was feeling pretty good by the end of the day. We ended up giving over 1800 shots in less than 8 hours! I have one more shift in December and for that I'm thankful.

I was also very thankful to come home and find that my dear, sweet husband washed, dried, and folded our week's worth of laundry! He volunteered to take over laundry duties a couple of weeks ago, so I've enjoyed not having to deal with the mountain of laundry every week. Thank you over and over again!

Day #7 - Today we are celebrating my father-in-law's birthday and I am so thankful for him! He is a wonderful Dad to Steve, a wonderful father-in-law to me, and an even more wonderful Grandpa to Amaya. Steve found an amazing card that accurately reflects the characteristics that we value so much in him... And so... since I'm not as eloquent as Hallmark... I'll close with what the card says:

"When I think about a man who has a deep and quiet soul - who works for what his family needs, take pleasure in his role... When I think about a man who's had big challenges to face, I think about my dad, about his dignity and grace. When I think about a man who in his daily life reveals so much strength and tenderness and depth in what he feels... When I think about a man who always gives the best he can, I think about my dad, my lifelong hero. A good man. You've given so much of yourself so often, without expecting anything in return. You're the best father anyone could ever have, and you're loved more than words can say."

And so, I'm thankful for Lowell who warmly welcomed me into his family and who considers me his daughter. Thank you for the man that you are!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shopping with my Mom

Day #5 - Today I'm thankful to have some one-on-one time with my mom. After my dad picked me up from work, we picked up my mom and Amaya and met Steve at Panera for lunch. After lunch, Mom and I went to "The Country Life" store in Plainview for their annual Christmas Open House. Mom and I have gone every year for quite some time now and usually find a few things. I picked up a couple ornaments and some berries and popcorn garland, but there wasn't really anything that I had to have. I love getting decorating ideas from my mom because she has such great taste. I only wish I had the bank account to go along with her style. I also enjoyed spending time talking with my mom without being interrupted by that sweet daughter of mine. Every day I'm thankful for my mom, but today I'm especially thankful for our special time together.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bible Study

Day #4 - Amaya and I just got home from Bible Study, so today I'm thankful for the group of women that I meet with weekly at our church. It's a diverse group of women ranging from college age to mid-sixties and I enjoy listening to the different perspectives. Even from all different walks of life, we carry a common thread - our relationship with Christ. My heart aches for the struggles some of these women have gone through and my heart aches for the struggles yet to come. But the Lord willingly carries our burdens and gives us rest and for this reason alone, we find comfort and peace. I'm thankful for our leader who was obedient to God's calling to teach and who faithfully prepares for each lesson and prays for us. And I'm so thankful for each woman for their vulnerability, honesty, understanding, and encouragement. It's refreshing to be able to meet with a group of women whose hearts aren't guarded and are open to God's purpose and plan. Already this group of women has been such a blessing in my life and for that I'm thankful.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Day #3 - Amaya Hope... After the birth of 9 nieces and nephews on both sides of the family... we wondered when it would be our time... When would we be able to bring our little bundle of joy home? In God's perfect timing, we welcomed this little piece of heaven into our family on January 20th, 2008.

Her smile alone lights up a room and fills our hearts with such joy. Even on days when she doesn't get her way, refuses to put on her socks and coat, doesn't get enough candy corn, doesn't eat her supper, refuses to lay still to get her jammies on, or whines for no reason, she stills fills our hearts with so much laughter. I love her sweet voice - she sings all the time! I love listening to her talk to her stuffed animals. I love that she's full of energy and jumps all the time! I love that she's almost always willing to give me a hug or a kiss - even if it is on the run. I love it when she asks me to "rest for a little bit" while she's trying to go to sleep.

Amaya motivates me to be a better person... to be a better mom... a better wife... a better daughter... a better sister... a better friend. She is a precious gift from God and I'm so thankful God blessed us with her.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Day #2 - I am thankful for my husband of almost 6 years! Steve is my long-awaited answer to prayers. For as long as I can remember... from those boy-crazy years between kindergarten (yes, kindergarten) all the way through college and beyond... I wanted to be married. Both my sister and brother got married shortly after college and I expected the same for me. But it didn't happen. I had my hopes set pretty high in college only to find my heart shattered in smithereens. I couldn't stand for my heart to be broken or trampled on again, so I prayed that God would spare me the pain and keep all guys away from me UNLESS I was going to marry him. And so the search for Mr. Right continued. As a new nurse, I thought maybe I'd marry a doctor. Maybe I'd meet someone at church. Maybe one of my old flames from college would come to their senses and realize that they were wrong. Or maybe... on a quiet night shift at work, my friend would sign me up on an internet dating website ( and for only $19.95 I would finally meet the man of my dreams. After countless prayers and petitions, I met Steve 3 months later (and $59.85 plus tax poorer), and the rest is happily ever after!

Steve is my answered prayer. Steve is my rock, my comfort, my laughter, my joy. God knew that I needed him just as much as he needed me. Looking back, God knew that I just needed to have a little patience and He would be faithful in picking out the best person for me. I'm so glad I waited for him!

What I admire most about Steve is his heart. God knew that there was so much more in store for Steve than the four walls of his cubicle at Pemstar. God knew that there were people in this world who needed to be touched by Steve. I see evidence in that every day when Steve comes home from his internship. Steve genuinely cares for and helps those that others would turn their back against and ridicule. Amaya and I just read the Bible story about the sick man left on the road and how several others had seen him and instead of helping him said, "He's not my neighbor. I won't help him." Steve is like that last man... he saw the sick man... picked him up... took care of his wounds... carried him toward help. And this is why I married Steve... because of his heart. And this is why I am so thankful to be able to be called his wife.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Since Amaya was born, each holiday/occasion has become more and more special. This year, I'm not sure who was more excited - me or Amaya. I enjoyed trick-or-treating as a kid and getting loads of candy, but not nearly as much as I enjoy getting Amaya dressed up and watching her trick-or-treat.

On Saturday, we spent the afternoon at the Medford Outlet Mall looking at winter boots for Amaya and not only did we find a great deal on boots, but we ended up finding some cute Halloween cookies at the Harry and David Store.

Since we had a late lunch, we decided to carve the pumpkin before we ate supper. For whatever reason, we haven't carved a pumpkin together as a family, so this year was especially fun. Here is Amaya posing next to our pumpkin.

Steve diving into the pumpkin!

Amaya checking out the inside.

Steve left the kitchen as soon as I started taking out the "pumpkin guts" and Amaya was pretty grossed out too! She certainly wasn't going to help me take the seeds out for fear of getting messy. Guess from now that's going to be my job.

I drew on the face and Steve began carving again.

Me and Amaya waiting for Steve to finish up.

The end result! Isn't it cute?

After Amaya's nap on Sunday afternoon, we ate an early supper and got Amaya dressed up ready to trick-or-treat at all her grandparent's houses. This year, she was a fairy - and the cutest fairy I've ever seen (not that I'm biased!)

Here she is getting ready to ring Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Struckmann's doorbell!

Next stop... Grandma and Grandpa Horning's!

Some of their friends even had a special goodie bag for Amaya too!

Grandma and Grandpa gave Amaya a HUGE bag of Reese's Pieces!!

Next stop... Grandma and Grandpa Gustafson's house!

We met up with Mike, Arwen, Ben, Annika, Lydia, and Miles and trick-or-treated with them.
Amaya was a little scared of Mike and Ben's mask... and I'll have to admit I was too!

Steve wins "Husband of the Year" award for taking Amaya trick-or-treating during the tail end of the Vikings game.

It was pretty cold out, but Amaya didn't complain at all. We only went to the houses on my parent's block, but she still got quite a bit of loot.

Think she'll share?

She did! And very willingly too! The rest of the night, she helped me pass out candy at my parent's house! A great night and a lot of fun!

Thankfulness Challenge

One of my "blogger friends" has challenged me to blog for the next 30 days about what I'm thankful for during the month of November. I'm up for the challenge, but a little unsure if I can hit all 30 days, but I'll try....

Day #1 - I'm thankful for my salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ. I accepted Christ when I was 8 years old and what a journey it's been walking with the Lord. Sometimes I've walked ahead of Him when I think I know what I'm doing only to realize that He has a different plan. Sometimes I've walked behind Him when I have no clue what He's doing and question and doubt and worry. Sometimes I've gotten impatient and have drifted off course. Sometimes He's carried and comforted me. Sometimes I rejoice while we're walking and other times I mope and complain. But the one thing I know for sure is that He is faithful and has always been right by my side. It's during those peaks and valleys though that I've matured in my faith and come to know God and depend on Him. This past year hasn't been the easiest one and God certainly didn't promise us an easy life. However despite the challenging year, it doesn't mean that it hasn't been filled with His blessings. We are constantly reminded of His provision, of His love for us, and His comfort. And so, we press on with hope of a great future and of a life everlasting and for this, I am thankful.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Star Student

Each week in preschool, one child is chosen to be the "Star Student" and this past Friday was Amaya's day to shine as the Star Student! We worked diligently on a poster to capture some of her "favorites" - favorite food, favorite books, favorite things to do in school etc. I wrote out her answers and put the pictures on, but other than that, she created this masterpiece on her own. I had a difficult time "letting go" and wanting it to be "perfect", but in her eyes... it is perfect and that's all that matters! To celebrate, we bought some pencils the night before to hand out to her classmates. Her teacher ended up giving her a great big star sticker and she wore it with pride! AND - she also learned her first Bible verse by memory! Here a few pictures my dad took before taking her to preschool.

With her poster...

Congratulations to our favorite Star Student!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Night Off...

The past few days I haven't been feeling very well.... tired all the time... weakness... muscle aches... low grade fever... sore throat. I've been able to manage to go to work drugged up on tylenol and ibuprofen and finally, last night I felt great! So great that I was excited to get back to Bible Study after having a week off from MEA. Amaya and I were eating supper (Steve had grad school) and I told her we were going to Bible Study tonight... here's our conversation...

Me: "Amaya, after supper we're going to go to Bible Study."

Amaya: "No!"

Me: "Don't you want to play with your friends?"

Amaya: "I want to play with you!"

Me: "How about we play tomorrow?"

Amaya: "I haven't played with you in forever! I want a night off!"

Me: (suppressing laughter) "Okay, sweetie... we'll play tonight."

Amaya: "We can study the Bible at home too!"

And so... we took a "night off" just to play and I'm glad we did! (And we studied the Bible a little bit too!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sekapp's Apple Orchard

Welcome to Sekapp's Apple Orchard! We haven't come here together as a family, but maybe I came here as I kiddo, I just can't quite remember. Anyway,this year we put this on our list of things to do every fall because it was a lot of fun and we got to sample some mighty tasty apples!

Amaya tried several different kinds, but overall Honeycrisp is still her favorite!

Pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins!

They had a small hay bale maze. Nothing quite as exciting as the corn maze at Tweite's Pumpkin Patch, but it was still fun.

Nearing the end!

Gorgeous Apples... next year we may pick our own!

Another great shot of Steve and Amaya.

We ended up getting 10 pounds of Honeycrisp apples and we've enjoyed each and every one!

How to Make a Leaf Pile

1. Rake the leaves in a big pile.

2. Put more leaves on top of the pile.

3. Throw some leaves up in the air to make the pile soft and fluffly.

4. Test it Out! Get running start and jump in the pile!

5. Bury yourself in the leaves!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another Trip to the Zoo

We were spoiled during the month of October with gorgeous warm weather and as were nearing the end of the month, I know that the cold isn't very far away. We took advantage of the warmer temps two weeks ago and made another trip up to the zoo. Our trips to the zoo are never the same even though we're up there several times a year. In years past, we've visited primarily in the spring and summer, so it was fun to go during the fall to see the changing colors of the trees and the zoo decorated for Halloween.

On this trip, the wolves were particularly exciting. While we were approaching the wolf exhibit, we heard lots of howling and barking. All four of the wolves were "playing" and howling up a storm! This was one of our favorite things of the day.

My new favorite picture of Steve and Amaya.

The zoo is constantly renovating and updating with new exhibits. Both of them are located on the Tropics trail... the alligators:

And the Colombus Monkey. The monkey was another one of our favorite exhibits and they drew in quite a crowd.

We can't go to the zoo anymore without Amaya wanting to sit on the baby tiger.

I've always thought that the Minnesota Zoo was beautiful... but on a day like this one... it was spectacular....

One of Amaya's favorite things to do is walk on the "blocks" with a little help from Daddy.

This next picture is a little unusual... we had just played at the playground and Amaya got quite a bit of sand in her sandals. Amaya can't stand having sand or rocks in her shoes and she really can't stand having sock fuzzies in between her toes. So... she's thoroughly checking each and every toe for sand. There are so many quirky little things about her, so I had to capture this on camera so when she's older we'll remember these things.

The tapirs haven't really ever been on our "Must See" List, but this time....

...the mama had a baby!

The leopards always impress us, and this time was no different. At first, we couldn't find them so we moved on, but as we turned the corner, we saw one jump from a branch and got a close up view!

We're hoping to get up there at least one more time before the snow comes and Amaya really wants all her grandmas and grandpas to come!