Thursday, August 23, 2012

Office Angels

Growing up, I have fond memories of working beside my mom in the church office.  So when an opportunity came up at our church several months ago to be an "Office Angel"  I volunteered right away! An Office Angel helps out in the church office, stuffing envelopes, putting bulletins together, and making postcards. Amaya and I are heading over to church this afternoon and I think we're going to be making postcards. There won't be whole lot for Amaya to do since we use an industrial paper cutter, but she's still excited. Her favorite thing to do is putting the bulletins together. We have a race to see who can get the biggest stack of bulletins and she always wins!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

18 Weeks

Nothing too exciting to report this week.... the baby is now about 6 inches long, weighs about 8 ounces and about the size of a large mango. On our weekly trips to the grocery store, we've been showing Amaya how big the baby is and she's learned a lot about each different kind of fruit.

We're just so excited to find out the gender. I'm ready for Steve to start painting the room... anxious to start decorating... thrilled to go shopping... start picking out names... Glad we only have to wait a little less than a week...

Boating on Lake Pepin

One of the things on Amaya's "To Do" List for the summer, was to ride on Grandma and Grandpa Horning's new boat. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to soak up some sun, have the wind whip through our hair, and spend some time together. It was a beautiful day on Lake Pepin in Lake City - a little on the hot side - but gorgeous nevertheless.

We arrived in Lake City around lunchtime, so we enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Chickadee Cottage!

Our little movie star...



We were all massively impressed with the new boat - lots of room, comfortable, and it was a very smooth ride. And I'm always surprised at how quickly Steve and his dad can get the boat in the water - they make an awesome team!

Steve and his dad checking out all the features.

Grandma and Amaya

Enjoying her own seat in the back of the boat.

We were out in the water for about an hour... the heat was getting a little intense, so I was glad with Steve's mom suggested we turn around and head back. Steve's dad tested the boat's speed and got us back to the dock in no time. I think we hit 44 mph.... it doesn't seem very fast... but I hung on pretty tight while trying to get a few snapshots of Amaya.


 After getting back to dry land, I guzzled a couple bottles of water and we headed off to Dairy Queen for a little ice cream! A great way to end a wonderful day on the lake!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Independence Day

We packed a lot into our schedule on the 4th of July, but it was an awesome day! First, Amaya and I met my mom and cousin, Sonja at Panera for breakfast to celebrate her birthday. Panera is one of Amaya's favorite restaurants, although she wanted Mac n Cheese for breakfast! Silly girl...She settled on a gigantic cinnamon roll and while it was good - my mom's are still far superior!

After breakfast, Steve, Amaya, and I took a little road trip to Lark Toys in Wabasha. Amaya rode the carousel several times, bought a toy Volkswagen car, and had Superman ice cream!

When we got home, we headed over to Steve's grandparents house for supper along with his parents. We hadn't been over there in quite some time, so it was nice to spend some time with them. After a delicious dinner, Steve's parents had to go home and pack for their trip to Colorado. We were planning on walking down the street to Jefferson School to watch the fireworks, so we spent the remainder of the evening with Steve's grandparents. Steve and I played a couple games of pool - no contest there - Steve beat me massively. Then we helped Grandma put together a puzzle and made quite a bit of progress.

A few minutes before the fireworks began, we walked down the street and found a great spot on the boulevard to watch the fireworks. It's a great spot to get a good view and even better, we didn't have to fight any crowds. This was Amaya's first year seeing the fireworks and she was very excited! Last year, we had just started our vacation to Michigan and we watched the fireworks from our hotel window in Green Bay, WI.

 We oohed and aahed over the fireworks and I think by far, this was one of the best shows. Amaya was a little scared about the first couple of loud bangs, but quickly began oohing and aahing.


 Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Yesterday marked 17 weeks along in my pregnancy! The baby is now the size of a sweet potato - measuring 5 1/2 inches and weighs about 5 ounces. And what's even more exciting is that I started feeling the baby move!! I felt a few occasional twinges... but at night when I'm laying down... I really noticed the flips and kicks. With Amaya, she was much more active at night when I was trying to fall asleep. And later in my pregnancy with her, she'd kick so hard it would wake me up at night! So... here we go again!

I've been feeling much better and not quite as exhausted. The heartburn is still horrible... I may have to start taking some Pepcid since I'm at the maximum dose with TUMS. One of my co-workers told me to take a swig of baking soda mixed with a little bit of water, but I just couldn't do it because it tasted so bad - I'd rather have the heartburn.

My clothes are definitely at their max even though I've gained less than a pound. I've bought a few maternity clothes, but I'm very hesitant to buy too much. And with fall approaching, I'm hoping I can hang on a little more with the few summer maternity clothes I've bought. I needed to buy maternity scrubs online and I hope they come in the mail soon and I hope they work! One would think that in this medical community, that one of the scrub stores would carry maternity scrubs, but no one has them in their stores! At least I can find maternity scrubs online. With Amaya, I couldn't find them anywhere, so I bought a size bigger and Mom had to alter them a little.

Our appointment for our anatomy ultrasound is in a little less than 2 weeks. I can hardly wait to see the baby again and we hope to find out what we're having. I'd like to start planning the nursery and buy some clothes if we need to and try to figure out a name... We're up for any suggestions, so send them our way!!

Eye Issues

Since late spring, I was having quite a bit of difficulty with my eyes. My left eye was pretty irritated and my contacts were beginning to be very uncomfortable. I procrastinated making an appointment, because I knew they would tell me that I wear my contacts too much and I would need to wear my glasses until my eyes healed.  I was due to have my yearly eye exam in June, so I was finally made an appointment.

Fortunately, there was no infection - just irritated - but they were unable to do a complete exam and dilate my eyes because of Baby Gatzke. And sure enough... I received my "sentence"... NO contacts for 6 WEEKS! For anyone that knows me well... I only wear my glasses when I'm sick. I thought maybe I could get away with a week or two without contacts... NOT 6 WEEKS!

Anyway... I survived... and even managed to find some super fashionable sunglasses (NOT) to wear over my glasses because I wasn't going to fork over a hundred dollars for prescription sunglasses. I returned last week for another check-up. My eye doctor still didn't want to do a full eye exam with Baby Gatzke on board, so he gave me the clearance to go back to my contacts although with a different type of contact solution and more complicated cleaning process. But the best news - I don't have to return for 2 years! My terrible vision has reached a plateau and my prescriptions over the last 3-4 years haven't changed and unless I have more problems - I'm in the clear!

I have more appreciation for my contacts now and instead of wearing my contacts from morning until bedtime - which sometimes can be 15 hours or more - I'm taking them out as soon as I get home from work! I don't want to have to go through that again!

Steve's 40th Birthday - June 25th

Steve's 40th Birthday came and went without a whole lot of excitement... but with a lot of fun! Steve will always be a kid at heart and it's a little hard for me to believe that he's forty.


We celebrated with my parents and brother and his family with presents first and cinnamon rolls for his cake!

 Since my parents had just been out west - they found a lot of cool western books for Steve and also an antique ammunition box.


My brother Mike has quite the sense of humor and since he's experienced 40 himself, he put together a little "Survival Kit" for Steve as he enters the next decade.

A bottle of energy pills....

... wrist supports....

... soothing oatmeal bath treatment...

 ... and Chest Rub... (my thoughts exactly, Miss Amaya!)

 Steve's special request for his "birthday cake" was my mom's cinnamon rolls! I think he may have started a trend because there are several members of our family that want these instead of cake for their birthday!

Happy 40th Birthday Steve! Love you!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mystery Cave

In nearly every one of my blog posts about our day trips this summer, I've mentioned how HOT it has been - and I typically like the heat - just 80 degree heat - not high 90s! Anyway, Steve suggested that since Amaya enjoyed Niagara Cave so much, we should check out Mystery Cave in Forestville State Park. 

We took the "scenic route" to Mystery Cave because one of the major roads leading to the cave was closed forcing GPS to take us in a round-a-bout way to get there on gravel roads. I don't think I've ever been to Forestville State Park before, but I'd like to go back to either camp or hike or both!

Since Amaya is now an "experienced spelunker" she brought her own flashlight with her to "lead the tour."

We were a little disappointed because we were in a much larger tour group than we were when we visited Niagara Cave. However, this tour was led by a park ranger who was quite knowledgeable about the State Park's history and the cave.

Mystery Cave is completely handicapped and stroller accessible, so our exploring was a little less challenging than Niagara Cave. We were still impressed with the formations.



This stalagmite and stalactite are about 50 years from becoming a column... maybe we'll go back when we're in our eighties to see if they've connected.

Our picture doesn't really do this lake any justice... it's called Turquoise Lake.

Overall, we enjoyed our time... but I think the next cave we "explore" will need to be a little more rustic. 

Miniature Golfing

One of the things I have enjoyed most about this summer is our relaxed and carefree schedule. I think our family is in for a shock when fall arrives and activities start up again. It's challenging to protect our schedule from becoming so overwhelming busy, but it's a high priority for Steve and myself to build margin in our lives. 

This summer, it's been difficult to be outside with the stifling heat, but on this gorgeous day, we invited Steve's parents to go miniature golfing with us. Little did we know, this was Lowell's first time miniature golfing - and he did a great job too!

 Amaya's technique has improved since last year too. She still gets a little frustrated and "helps" the ball into the hole, when she can't hit it right in, but she's getting there.



 A meeting of the minds... discussing the best way to angle the ball...

It was a difficult hole...

 I couldn't resist getting a picture of some flowers... this girl LOVES flowers!

 And I love my in-laws too! Thanks for the wonderful evening!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Choir Audition

Earlier this summer, there was a notice in our church bulletin asking for volunteers to audition for the church choir. On a typical service, we have a worship band with 4-5 singers, piano, guitars, drums, etc. But every quarter, both Steve and myself look forward to hearing the entire choir perform!

Growing up, I was in the children's choir and youth choir, and in college, I joined the Gospel Choir. And I played the violin for 4 years, so music has been a big part of my life. I love to sing - in the car, in the shower, cleaning, wherever and whenever. The problem is... I absolutely hate singing in front of anyone - with the exception of Amaya only because she thinks I'm the best singer in the world! :-) I've missed being a part of a choir and I felt God nudging my heart to audition.

My audition was on Wednesday evening, I was absolutely, positively TERRIFIED!! We have two music leaders and I would be auditioning in front of both of them. I was warned that I would have to do a little sight reading and some rhythm skills... but somehow that just made my anxiety level rise through the roof.

When I first got there, I was shown 20 different popular worship songs and was told to pick one to sing. Really? I have to pick a song on the spot? Which one would be the best for my voice? Which one did I know the best? I couldn't decide, so they picked, "Mighty to Save." - a song that I'm very familiar with and absolutely love.

First, Becky warmed me with with various scales to get a feel for my vocal range. She said, "You're definitely a soprano." Then she played four random notes together on the piano and I had to sing back each one. This was a little more challenging because the notes were so off the wall and at this point I was sweating profusely. And then... the sight reading... grrrr... I haven't looked at a sheet of music in over 14 years... I could find middle C... but oh boy... This was definitely NOT FUN! Finally, my performance of "Mighty to Save." I pretended I was in the car and belted out my best and was able to relax somewhat. I thought the worst was over, until the other worship leader, Don, took his crack at my vocal skills (or lack thereof). Now the rhythm part! I showed him I could clap and dance and sing at the same time and he was a little surprised and laughed pretty hard. When Becky and I had talked on the phone before the audition she said, "We need to make sure you can clap on 2 and 4 and move back and forth a little while singing." So... I showed Don my stuff! He meant a different kind of rhythm - singing difficult measures with rests in the middle, etc. Oh, well... at least he got a great laugh!

Finally, the audition was over. They told me earlier that they would call me the next day to let me know if I made the cut, so I was a little disappointed I'd have to wait. But as soon as I finished with the rhythm portion, Don said, "We don't need to call you tomorrow, we both agreed that you're in." To say I was little shocked would be an understatement. I know the level of talent that's within Christ Community, I'm just so excited to be a part of it!

Guess all that singing in the shower has paid off!!