Sunday, January 27, 2008

We love our Prophet!

We just heard the news that President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away about an hour ago. Sunday, January 27, 2008 at age 97. What a dear prophet he was. By far, he is the prophet I can remember the most about, and who I have learned the most from. What an amazing, amazing man. I will always remember his sweet demeanor, his deep love for the saints, his sense of humor, his "matter of fact" attitude, his amazing strength, and his example. Although he was 84 when he was called as prophet, he has always seemed so young, has traveled so much, and given an estimated 2,000 talks around the world! I know I got chills each time he would come to the pulpit. Especially, recently, when he said he didn't know why the Lord kept sparing his life and that "my life belongs to the church". What an example of how we should all live our lives.

As I mentioned, he has been around my whole life. He has been in the First Presidency since the year I was born (having been a member of the 12 apostles for 20 years prior to that), and he has been Prophet since I was about 14 years old. I have a hard time thinking I'll ever forget him...or even "move on", although I love President Monson (assuming he'll become the next prophet), and he has been around forever too. He has always seemed so young to me, but he turns 81 this year. I guess life keeps going.

I know President Hinckley is probably so happy he is having a reunion with his sweetheart, and so relieved that he didn't have to have a long, drawn-out illness. He lived such an amazing life, and I love him so much. I am so grateful for his big push to build more temples. Because of him, the Spokane, WA "small" temple was built, which is where Andrew and I were sealed for eternity. It was so neat to hear him speak at the dedication. The temple is actually off the "Opportunity" exit in the Spokane Valley, and I remember him saying, "what a perfect place for a temple...there are great 'opportunities" to be had here". There were only 47 temples when he became Prophet, and now there are 124 working temples, with 12 more under construction. It has been amazing to visit all the newly restored church history sites, as we have lived in the NE, most of which were restored under his direction.

One last thought, I will never forget teaching my first two children, Cooper and Gunner about our Prophet, and hearing Cooper pray for President Hinckley.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gunner hits the TERRIFIC (and terrible) 2's!!!!!!

Although this is a little late, I wanted to do a "tribute to Gunner" post. He turned 2 on December 29th. We were still in the Northwest visiting family. He got his first Happy Birthday song at the Gatten Reunion with all the December and January birthdays. Then, on his birthday, we went to Chuck E. Cheese with Grandpa and Grandma Larson and the Waite's (Andrew's sister's family). We had a "Cars" (the disney movie) themed table cloth and party hats. Artie made yummy lemon cupcakes, and Gunner had a blast!

From us he got a Mega Mack Playtown, and lots of the "Cars" hot wheels. He also got spoiled by grandparents and family. Cooper got him some Spiderman action figures.

Gunner is such a sweet boy (most of the time!). Everyone asks if he is always smiling. The answer is, he smiles all but about 1 hour of the day. He gets his daily fit in...usually around 10am...or when we have to leave somewhere where he is having fun. He definately does his best ot get his way when he wants to. :) He is such a talker, and makes it hard to say "no" to him because he almost always says please, thank-you, and your welcome. Here are a few more fun facts about Gunner at age 2!

* STATS: 30 lbs. 36 inches (98th percentile for height, and 50th for weight at 20 months)
* NICKNAMES: Cookie Monster, Gunner-face, mucker, Gunn-bunn, the Gunner, Mr. Moo, Buzz Lightyear, My Little Doggy
* BEST FRIENDS: Daddy, Mommy, COOPER, Ella, his nursery pals, and pretty much anyone that will play with him.
* FAVORITE TOYS: Cars, balls, bats, "guys" (little action figures), pirates, trains, light sabers, board games, the Leapster, Leap Frog letter magnets, empty water bottles to use for bowling.
* FAVORITE FOODS: cookies, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cheese, eggs, pancakes, noodles, tacos, cinnamon and sugar bagels, juice, chocolate milk. bananas, fruit snacks, popcorn, marshmallows, salad, chips
* FAVORITE TV SHOWS: Tak and the Power of JuJu, The Wiggles, Spongebob, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Scooby Doo Where are You?, The Backyardigans
* FAVORITE MOVIES: Cars!!!!, The Mousekateers, Leap Frog Letter Factory, Everyone's Hero
* FAVORITE BOOKS: Cars books, Dr. Seuss books, Dinosaur Pop-up book, Let's Make Noise at the Ballpark, Little People flap books
* FAVORITE SONGS: ABC's, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Twinkle Twinkle, Do as I'm Doing, Ring Around the Rosies, I Am a Child of God, All the Letters From A to Z
* FAVORITE THINGS TO DO: Play with his brother Cooper, play "fight" and "boxin'" with Dad and Cooper, watch Dad and Cooper play video games and pretend he's playing, cheer at baseball games, eat, go for walks, read books, say prayers, color, pretend he's a dog, dance, play board games, fight priates. When he wakes up in the morning he immediately is asking for eggs and bagels. He also loves to ORGANIZE! He is always lining his toys up and knocking them down...and will play by himself for a while. He always has something in each hand...or more. Loves nursery. Has to have his hat on before we walk out the door, but doesn't always keep it on. Loves making "baskets", hitting "home-runs!", bowling "strikes", and soccer.

Gunner, we love you SOOOOOOOO much! You always make us laugh, especially when you blow on mom's tummy to say hi to the baby! You are Cooper's best friend. He loves you so much too. Thanks for being such a fun boy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2007 Christmas Memories!

Well, we're finally back in St. Louis (welcomed by a flood in our house I might add! Good thing we're renting!). We spent 3 weeks visiting family in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. Andrew was with us for 2 of the weeks. It was TONS of fun, and we miss everyone already! Here are some of the highlights of our trip:

*GATTEN FAMILY REUNION 12/23-12/29: 7 of 8 of my siblings, and their families (my brother Spike is on a mission in Brazil) gathered at a Resort in Hope, Idaho. There were 32 of us in 4, 2-bedroom condos, which made for craziness and lots of fun! The men cut down Christmas trees for each room, and we painted ornaments and strung popcorn and cranberries to decorate them. We spent our time swimming, working out (including my first attempt at yoga dance!), playing raquetball and late-night wallyball (so fun!). We went sledding (Cooper loved the jump), skiing, watched movies, did crafts, played games, and ate a ton! We also celebrated December and January birthdays (which included Andrew's 30th and Gunner's 2nd). Family Home Evening and Christmas Eve were so spiritual and fun. It was especially fun for me to watch the boys interact with all their cousins and become even better friends.

The whole "Gatten Gang"

All the cousins (and there's 3 more on the way!)

Oldest (right) to Youngest (left) of the Gatten parents and kids (except Spike, the youngest, on a mission). I love my brothers and sisters!

The married siblings and their spouses

*COOPER'S FIRST TIME SKIING!: Cooper was so anxious to ski! He got a private lesson from his Uncle Dusty. He just took off! It was so fun. I skiied with him and his cousin Noah the 2nd half the day, and it was so much fun! The conversations on the chair-lift were priceless.
Cooper: "Mom, you pretend to be Santa Clause, and I'll pretend to be a kid."
Mom: "Ok kid, what do you want for Christmas?"
Cooper: "A snowboard, because I already have these skiis (pointing down to the rentals)"
Too bad it was already Christmas Eve! He did a total of 2 trips down the little bunny hill and 9 trips down the big bunny hill. He was zooming past teenagers and adults who were learning saying, "I'm so fast like a snowmobile!" His other favorite was jumping on his skiis so he could "go faster". The only time he cried the whole day was when the guy told him the chair-lift was closing. So fun! I am excited to live closer to skiing someday and have a ski partner. It melted my heart! That night, when we were talking about opening presents the next morning, he said, "And then, after we open our presents, we can go skiing again?!" So fun! Pictures will have to come later since I didn't have my own camera up there.

*CHRISTMAS MORNING: My brother took his family home for Christmas morning at their own house, so we had the condo to ourselves. It was so fun. Cooper loved putting cookies out for Santa and talking about him coming down the chimney. They both had so much fun Christmas morning! Cooper's favorites...his Cranium Carnival Clubhouse and Spiderman blow-up punching bag from Santa, his pinball game from Nana and Papa, his Wii game from Gma and Gpa, and his "Life Saver" (light saber). Gunner's favorites were Santa's leftover cookies (the first thing he ran to), his McQueen tent and pillow from Santa, his play piggy-bank and light saber from us, and his "Scooby-Doo Where Are You? cars" from Cooper.

*GUNNER'S 2ND BIRTHDAY PARTY!: Yes, he is now officially 2, although the fits started a couple months ago! We celebrated at Chuck E. Cheese with Gpa and Gma Larson and the Waite family (Andrew's sister). He loved his "Cars" party and playing all the games with cousins. He also loved the "bite" out of the cupcake after he blew out his candles (a family tradition). He has also started to create some mischeif with his best friend/cousin, Ella. They spilled a can of paint in my mom's basement, and Gunner broke a big glass bowl in my parents room! He also loves to boss people around and wrestle (which girls aren't that into, but he hasn't learned that yet). He is such a cutie though, and we'll post more about him later.

*FUN WITH THE WAITE'S AND GMA AND GPA: Our week in Spokane was filled with fun thanks to Andrew's parents and sister, Artie's family. Cooper loved going to his "friend's house". We went bowling, ate out, went to a movie, and more! Cooper also visited his cousin, Tate, at preschool and loved it!. It was a busy, fun week. We also got to be there for our nephew Tyler's baptism!

*OUR BELATED ANNIVERSARY: Part of my Christmas present from Andrew was an overnight to a jacuzzi suite in Coeurd'Alene, while his parents watched our kids. It was so fun to finally celebrate our 7th anniversary that was actually in July while Andrew was at officer's training. We went to dinner, a movie, relaxed!, and went to lunch the next day. What fun!

*EATING!: Between reunion meals together, junk food, neighbor treats, Hudson's Hamburgers, Cafe Chulo, PF Changs, Thrifty Scotts, Taco Time, Toro Viejo, Pau Pau's Kitchen, Gma's Ham and Prime Rib dinner's, etc. etc, we were NEVER HUNGRY!

*READING "TWILIGHT": Yes, I finally did 2 days. Thanks everyone for the suggestion, and for watching my kids while I read! :) Now I'll have to neglect my family and read the next 2. :)

*SISTERS: Thanks Brynne for coloring and cutting my hair (I went dark!), and for the company. I love my sisters and sister-in-laws, and can't wait to live closer to them. Mikin, thanks for bringing your kiddos over to play too!