Monday, March 29, 2010

Celebrating Lydia's Birthday

On March 8th, we celebrated Lydia's 7th birthday!  Unbelievable how quickly time flies. Lydia is growing up into such a fun girl and she is absolutely AWESOME playing with Amaya.

Once again, it was another American Girl theme as they had released the Girl of the Year - Lanie, in January. We gave her the second book in the Lanie series because.....

Lydia got LANIE from Grandma and Grandpa Gustafson!! She's super cute too! I can't wait until Amaya is old enough to start collecting all the American Girl things. Unfortunately, I may need more restraint than Amaya....

While Lydia was opening up presents, Amaya and Miles tried sharing... sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. Here they are beginning to put a  puzzle together - happily... for now...

Look at all that loot!

Arwen made her Grandma's recipe for apple crisp - absolutely yummy!

The Gustafson family.... Annika, Lydia, Miles, Ben, Arwen, and Mike. Happy Birthday Lydia!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dyeing Easter Eggs

Ahh... we still have the lingering smell of vinegar in our household after dyeing Easter Eggs yesterday. Brings back a lot of fun childhood memories...

Amaya was very excited to dye Easter Eggs, although she didn't understand the word, "dye" so I explained to her that we would be "painting" the Easter Eggs. That she completely understood and was THRILLED to get out the "paint."

Amaya added the vinegar and put in the dye tablets.

I told Amaya to GENTLY put the egg in the colored water... she pretty much launched them in the cups on the first try, but that's what the newspaper is for, right? This picture shows her gently placing the egg in the dye... much better!

Amaya thought it was taking a looong time for the eggs to get "painted" and was anxious to decorate them with stickers.

You can never have too many stickers!

A picture of Amaya waiting patiently for the second batch of eggs to dry.

Amaya posing proudly with her decorated eggs.

The finished result! Pretty, huh? Not too bad for her first time dyeing eggs!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Another Julia Child?

I think we may have another Julia Child or Martha Stewart on our hands. Any time I'm cooking or baking in the kitchen, Amaya wants to climb up on the countertop and "help." On Monday, we had my parents come over for dinner - just because - no special reason, but Amaya thought it was someone's birthday since we were making a cake and had candles on the table.

The dessert we made is called, "Strawberry Yogurt Cake." Very easy, very kid friendly, and very good! If anyone wants the recipe, just shoot us an e-mail and I'd be more than happy to pass it on.

Amaya is helping me put the strawberries on.

Amaya frosting the cake. Yes, I let her frost most of it with the exception of the sides of the cake. I've given up my desire for perfection and have allowed Amaya full reign of her creativity.

The finished product!! Beautiful, don't you think?!? Amaya decorated the top with strawberries too - with just a little help from me rearranging them...

Now that her gymnastics class is over, maybe I need to sign her up for a cooking class.....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amaya's First Hair Cut

Back in Steve's "long hair days," he had these BEAUTIFUL long curls. Simply beautiful - but completely wasted on a guy. We hope that Amaya will take after Steve and have beautiful long curls, but as of last week, her hair was just a long bunch of wispy snarls. We were both a little hesitant to get her hair cut because we didn't want to lose the curls that she did have, but it was getting too hard to manage and it needed to be done.

We took Amaya to Pam at Hair's What We Do, to clean up her mess of waves, curls, and snarls. (Pam has been doing my mom's hair since forever, cuts Arwen, Annika, and Lydia's hair and did my hair for our wedding - she's amazing!) Amaya was "SO EXCITED" to get her haircut, although she really had no clue what was going to happen.

Pam couldn't remember the last time she had done a "First Haircut" and had to dig through her "bibs" to find one for Amaya. Even though it wasn't a girlie "bib" Amaya still liked the cars!

Amaya was pretty stoic throughout the whole thing. She was a little surprised when Pam would squirt her hair with water, but overall did great. We weren't sure if she was enjoying herself at all, but a week later, she talks about how much fun it was to get her hair cut, so I guess she liked it!

All done and as cute as ever! I think she looks older, don't you?

A shot of the back - there's still a few little curls, right?!?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hide and Seek

Lately, Hide and Seek has been Amaya's FAVORITE thing to do!! Her best hiding spots are underneath her crib and behind one of our chairs in the living room.

She's even learned how to close her eyes and count. She can count to 11, but sometimes when she's in a hurry, she'll count... "1 - 2 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10!"

"Here I am! You found me!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Amaya Visits Me at Work

While I'm working on a teaching guideline for nurses at work, I hear, "See Mama! See Mama! Where's Mama?" Soon I hear the little pitter pats of her feet galloping down the hallway in her pink jelly/croc shoes. It's my little girl coming to visit me at work!

I love when Steve and Amaya come and visit me. It breaks up the day and makes me look forward to come home even more! And of course, I LOVE showing her off! One of my friends made Toffee Brownies and Cupcakes with white frosting and green sprinkles and brought them to work, so she gave Amaya a cupcake and a DORA sticker!! (By the way... how did I miss that it was St. Patrick's Day today?) Amaya's eyes got REALLY big when she saw the cupcake! I wonder how much she'll eat at lunch today knowing that she's got a cupcake to eat for dessert!

Anyway, back to the grind...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My littlest cousin, Hope turns ONE today!!! Happy Birthday Hope! I'm SOOO EXCITED for your birthday, but I wish I could see you open presents and eat cake! Have an awesome day! I love you and miss you so much!!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Valentine's Day!

Amaya was VERY excited to make Valentines for her great-grandparents, grandparents, and of course, Daddy! Here a a few pictures of her working on her masterpieces! I even got a little creative too!

This year, for Valentine's Day, we gave Amaya a shopping cart. She loves going grocery shopping and since she got a kitchen for her birthday, we thought this would be the perfect gift.

Do you think she likes it?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celebrating Great-Grandma's Birthday

Yup... I'm a month behind... but better late than never, right?

On February 11th, Amaya's Great-Grandma turned 91!! She's quite an amazing woman. Still drives, still grocery shops, still lives at home, still goes to church, still goes to quilting, still goes to Bible Study, still makes dinner for us weekly - the list goes on and on.

Here's a picture of her cake - "Happy 91st Birthday Wife, Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma"

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Great-Grandma!

It's been fun watching Amaya develop a special relationship with Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa. She's very fortunate to be so close to not only her grandparents, but great-grandparents too.

Happy Birthday Great-Grandma! Looking forward to celebrate a lot more with you!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My 2000 Piece Puzzle

Most of my free time the last part of January and most of February was spent completing this puzzle... all 2000 pieces of it. Unfortunately, as I was nearing the end, I realized that one piece was missing. All that work and one piece missing... Grr.... Steve's parents thought I was up for the challenge and gave this to me for Christmas and I honestly didn't think that I'd be able to finish it. A little perseverance, a few tears, and some help from Ruth Ann - it's DONE! It's beautiful isn't it?!?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Quiet Time!!

Steve had to go up to the cities today to work on a group project and two of his classmates REALLY wanted Steve to bring Amaya along. So... here I sit... the house is quiet... I have 5 uninterrupted hours to myself... my "to do list" is a mile long... and what do I do? Get on the computer... Okay, Okay.. I'm getting off... the quicker I get my work done, the sooner I can play!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Amaya's First Visit to the Dentist

When I was in fourth grade, I had a traumatic experience with my dentist. One of my friends had told me that she had gone to my dentist and said he was really mean. With that in the back of my head and the fact that the dental hygienst was a little rough, I started crying. The dentist came in and started yelling at me and forced my mouth open and I bit him - HARD! My mom heard the commotion and came in to rescue me and shortly thereafter we switched dentists. To this day, I still cringe and get a knot in my stomach whenever I have to get a regular cleaning.

Amaya has had some greyish black stains on her teeth, so we thought we'd better get her in to see the dentist. We've hyped the dentist up quite a bit by reading several books to her and explaining what was going to happen. (I certainly didn't want her to develop a fear of the dentist just because I had a bad experience).

She was very excited that there were plenty of toys and books in the waiting room and LEGOS! When her name was called, she went back and crawled up in the dentist chair, got a bib and fancy protective glasses on. I was getting my teeth cleaned the same time Amaya, but got to watch one of the hygiensts scrape off what's commonly called, "black line stains." Amaya was such a TROOPER!! She happily let 3 different people scrape her teeth, polish them, and examine them. The black line stains aren't anything to be concerned about - it's generally caused by something in her diet, but she doesn't drink juice or eat an excessive amount of food with iron in them, so we're still a little mystified by what caused it. They were able to get off all the stains, so our little girl is back to her beautiful pearly white smile!

At the end of her visit, she got a princess toothbrush, three stickers, and a "jump-a-lope" (jump rope). We asked her if she like the dentist and she said, "Yup! Fun!" Let's hope that continues...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

He's Home! He's Home!

As I posted on facebook - the birds are singing, the sun is shining, Amaya is happy, and STEVE IS HOME! Couldn't get much better this morning!

We got settled at home a little after 5pm last night after getting discharge instructions and picking up prescriptions. Mom made us Amish meatballs, so we had a yummy supper all ready for us. (THANK YOU!! LOVED THEM!!)

Amaya and I have major laundry and major grocery shopping to do, so that will give Steve a chance to rest a little.

Thank you again to everyone who has been praying. We've felt your prayers this past weekend. Also, please pray for continued healing for Steve.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Another Amaya Funny

Last night when I tucked Amaya in bed, I asked her what the first thing she wanted to do when Daddy comes home. She said, "Cut my toenails!" Where does she come up with these things? When I talked to Steve before I went to bed, he had told her a few days ago that he was going to cut her toenails, but why she remembers that - go figure.

We had a great time visiting Steve last night. He was in great spirits and had quite a few visitors and phone calls last night. His doctors have usually been rounding around 10:30am, so we should know more later this morning.