Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm A Sucker for Soccer

Lucky for us, in little ol' Warrensburg, some dedicated individuals (like Rich and Jenifer Reed) decided to start the United Soccer Club of Central Missouri... and, more specifically a team our boys could play on. The U-7 "Thunder"! With Coach Rich as the head coach, I was more than happy to help out and be the assistant coach. We practiced twice a week, and then our games on are Saturdays in the Kansas City area.

The Fall season went great, with the kids improving SO MUCH. Cooper had a blast! We actually took 2nd in our division! So, they bumped us up a bracket for this Spring Season. And... Coach Rich got deployed for 6 months (bless him and his family!). SO.... I have now agreed to step in as head coach this Spring. Me, my growing belly, and the very talented 14-year-old Megan Reed will tackle 10 kids (yes, we added 2 to the roster). Wish us luck! Practices started this week, and at 18-weeks pregnant, I can still beat them in sprints... but not for long! ;)

I really love these kids, and love coaching more than I thought I would. Cooper is Mr. Competitive, and it is fun to see him play his little heart out. I actually enjoy playing around with them too!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Christmas VaCaTiOn

Catching up on CHRISTMAS 2009

Gunner had a fun preschool party, complete with a visit from Santa! Gunner loves Mrs. Bodine, and has some great friends in his preschool... including 6 other kids from church. At each party they get a new holiday bean-bag to take home, and they do the "bean-bag boogie". Cooper was already on Christmas break, and got to join the party too.

Cooper did great in his Kindergarten Holiday Program. It was perfect. The 4 classes wore their jammies and sang 6 songs. Cooper is a great little performer. The best part was he went straight from basketball, so he had his bball shoes on with his jammies. :)

We all had fun getting in to the holiday spirit. The boys loved doing their Lego advent calendar, that we got from the Sinemas along with an amazing Christmas quilt. From Dusty, Angie & Gage, we got to get a surprise out of the "12-days of Christmas" pocket each day. The boys LOVED them, and I loved that most of them were activities to keep them busy for a minute! I also pre-wrapped some books for each day of December, so we got to open and read a new book each day. We sang a Christmas song, and read a scripture each night in December. For our neighbors, we made gingersnaps, caramels, and sugar cookies. You can tell how eager Beckett was to get in to the cookie dough balls! Mr. Intuitive used the dishwasher as a step. He also stole the sprinkles and took them in the living room.

Santa was very nice to the boys this year, and they worked hard to earn a good Christmas (at least the few days prior!). :) They each got just what they wanted. Cooper got Heelys and a Darda racetrack. Gunner got a scooter, tech deck ramp and a skateboard carrying case. Beckett loved his little indoor basketball hoop.

Christmas morning was magical, except that Dad had to WORK! Technically, it was Christmas Eve, but we celebrated a day early so we could catch a flight on Christmas Day to visit family. Because he was taking the next few weeks off, he had to work a half-day Christmas Eve. We ended up opening all the non-Santa presents on our Christmas Eve. We also had a ham dinner and yummy orange rolls. And, then the next morning, we got to get up early and see what Santa brought before he left. We also gave them temple blocks for their rooms, and had an extra temple block... we had them guess who it was for, and ended up telling them it was for the baby in mom's tummy! They were so excited. Cooper shouted "please be a girl, please be a girl!" It was so cute. Here are the boys with their loot from Mom and Dad and each other.

Beckett's favorite part of Christmas was all the CANDY and chocolate!

So, we left to the airport hotel on Christmas Eve (our Christmas Day) to stay the night, since our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:30 am the next morning. About the time we left, a huge ice/snow storm started! It took us 3 hours (instead of 1:15) to get to the airport! Then all the restaurants were closed for Christmas Eve, but we finally found a Wendy's drive-through open after about an hour driving around. Even our antenna had about an inch of ice on it! We woke up at 4am the next morning, and found out our 5am shuttle driver got stuck on his way in to work. So, the hotel, LUCKILY, got us one of 2 SUV cabs that were running. The crazy taxi driver plowed his way through the snow drifts to get us to the airport. He was psycho... passing people on the right, etc. There were cars off the road everywhere. But, we made it! Most airlines cancelled flights that morning, but ours was "on-time". We boarded and were ready to leave (a little late), and they informed us the snowplow was stuck on the runway. After 2 hours waiting on the plane, we finally took off. BUT, we missed our connection in Denver, and instead of flying out at 10am, we were on a plane at 9PM! I was SO DONE after 2 hours in the customer service line. Luckily, our friends, the Bentleys, came and got us at the airport, and we were able to spend some time at their house (hopefully not crashing their Christmas!). The kids had a blast, and loved getting to see their friends! We made it on our flight, and to Spokane just after midnight.... after 23 hours travel time! We were tired, I was sick (puked in the airport as soon as we landed), but we were so grateful to make it safely - all things considered! What a way to spend Christmas Day!

The next morning, we took off to Hope, ID for the Gatten Family Reunion! All NINE of us Gatten kids, and our families, were able to make it! Spike was fresh off his mission. We had 4 condos at Pend Orielle Shores Resort. It is right on the lake. We had SO MUCH FUN! Swimming, racquetball, wally ball, running, aerobics, cards, movies, sledding, skiing, basketball, ping-pong, EATING, visiting, duck hunting, crafting, and so much more! It was so fun. We were roommates with my sister Mikin's family, the Mortons. They have kids the same ages as ours, and it was so fun!

Here we are skiing at Schweitzer Mountain. I took Cooper and Gunner. Thanks to help from Uncle Dusty, Gunner had a blast once he finally got his skis on! Cooper had only been once before, and caught back on quick too! Gunner skied most of the day until he fell asleep at about 3pm. His last time down the hill, he didn't fall down once! Cooper didn't quit until they kicked them off the run when it was closing... he kept wanting to go "one more time". He was skiing through the trees, and going over jumps, and riding the chairlift with his cousin, Noah (they are at the top pole on the chairlift in this picture). I can't believe how awesome my 6-year-old is, and so independent! Neither of them complained about being cold, and it was just so fun! I can't wait to move by the mountains and have some ski buddies!
Gunner, Cooper, River, Wyatt

Pictured by row below:
Mom, Gunner, Cooper & Gunner, Uncle Spike, Wyatt, Uncle AJ, Uncle Tim
Hayliann, Uncle Tom, River, Wyatt, Uncle Tyler, Cooper & Noah getting off the chairlift
Alyssa & Sophia on chairlift, Sophia, Noah & Aunt Mikin
Sally, Gunner asleep in lodge, Ella

Gunner celebrated his 4th birthday on December 29th. After dinner that night, we had a "Rock 'n Roll Party". We divided into "bands" and came up with lip-syncs to some of Gunner's favorite songs. The blue frosting made perfect lipstick for the girls! Everyone REALLY got into it! It was tons of fun, and Andrew's band, "Beef Stew" won the competition singing "I'm Just a Kid". Gunner actually got sick on his birthday, and went in and out of wanting to participate, but he was the reason to celebrate, and everyone had fun!
Love in the middle of the above picture, Cooper is holding baby Gage (Dusty & Angie's baby). He was so cute and cuddly, and we loved meeting/spending more time with him!

A few miles up the road is the Elementary School, which had a perfect hill for SLEDDING! Papa had brought sleds, and bought everyone a new snow-ball maker (Andrew is demonstrating below)! The snow was perfect for forming the perfect snowballs, and after sledding we had a fun snow-fight. Papa didn't use the snowball makers though, he used a shovel!

Across the top all the kids who sledded:
Beckett, Gunner, Ella, Emma, Mylee, Cooper, Sophia, Ryder, Wyatt, Noah, River, Kiah, Alyssa
I love the picture in the middle above of Gunner, Ella and Sally. These three are all within a few weeks old of each other. They have a lot of fun together, and are so excited to go to preschool together next year!

We had a lot of fun crafting! We made hair bows, flowers, jewelry, etc. Papa even gets involved helping the boys make zipper-pulls and necklaces made out of all sorts of cool stuff... like bear claws, turkey talons, antlers, etc.
Another highlight of the reunion was our NEW YEARS PARTY! Brynne was our party planner, and we did a Gatten Olympics. We divided into 4 countries. We had to "act" like we were from that country the whole night while we participated in different team and individual games. We also each come up with "cheers" for our countries. During a break, Andrew busted out some Snoop Dogg for everyone too. Andrew was the best for the boys at limbo... who new he had this hidden talent?! Cooper was the kid from his team for the "Poofy Puff" contest (fitting as many marshmallows in your mouth as possible). Uncle Brett won. Cooper ran to the bathroom to spit out after 8, and I said, "Are you ok?" He said, "Ya, but I lost." I, of course, told him it was fine, but think it's so cute how competitive he is, and how he felt like he let his team down. :) Cooper was so fun at the party and got to stay up until midnight. The little ones were asleep in the condos. Then, to end the night, the POLAR BEAR PLUNGE! Yes, many of my crazy siblings/nieces/nephews jumped in the freezing cold lake off the snowy dock! Uncle Brett even stayed in for about 5 minutes! And then, made snow angels with his daughter, Nikell!
Above/bottom left - The Polar Bear Plunge Participants:
Uncle Tom, Uncle Brett, Uncle AJ, Uncle Dusty
Nikell, Hayliann, Mylee, Uncle Jon, Uncle Tim, Aunt Brynne
Sophia, Wyatt

After the reunion, we spent the next week of our vacation in Spokane, WA at Andrew's parent's house. His sister, Artie's, family, the Waites, live close too, and we saw them everyday too! After a busy week at the reunion, it was fun to relax a little. Barbara is such a good cook, and we had a turkey dinner, prime rib, apple pie, chocolate cake, and lots of other yummy food! Cooper loved lighting fires in the stove. We also got to spend a day at the children's museum downtown with Grandma and Aunt Artie. We saw Alvin & the Chipmunks Squekuel, ate lunch and played at the mall, created things with Grandpa in the garage, listened to Tanner play his guitar, played cards with Erynn, and just had fun. Andrew and I also got to go on lots of dates thanks to their willingness to babysit!

Gunner got to celebrate his birthday again with the other side of the family at Chuck E. Cheese!

The boys: Gunner, Tyler, Beckett, Tate, Cooper

Overall, we had a great Christmas Vacation! It's hard to believe that we'll live close to all these families next Christmas!