Monday, July 19, 2010

Introducing * Jersey Jane Larson *

Our sweet baby GIRL arrived!

July 17, 2010
12:59 a.m.
7 pounds 14 ounces
19.5 inches

The following morning her 3 "BIG BROTHERS" came to meet her! I loved hearing their footsteps running down the hospital hall. They were all so cute with her. It was a priceless moment as they each kissed her, and rubbed her head, and begged to hold her! They also brought our favorite donuts and a gallon of milk. We shared the extras with the nurses to get on their good side. :)

Beckett (26 mos) was so excited to meet "baby". We didnt' decide her name until the day I was induced, so he is still getting used to calling her "Jersey". He walked around the hospital room pointing and saying, "baby sleep in there", "baby's toes", "baby's eyes", "baby cute". Although Beckett is a little 2-year-old, he all the sudden is really big and grown-up next to his baby sister!
This is the way Beckett touched her the first few times... making sure she was real. :) He has gotten more and more brave (making us more and more protective). :) He loves his baby sister and is always kissing her.

Gunner (4 1/2) just kept saying, "Isn't she just SO cute?!" He randomly says, "I need to give her a hug and a kiss!"

Cooper (6 1/2) has been all about holding her. He would sit on my bed in the hospital room holding her for almost and hour! And still gets his daily fix. He knows how to "shake" her and give her her binky to get her to stop crying (I keep telling him to use the word "bounce" - cause "shake" is NOT a word to use about a baby!) :). He also LOVES it when her eyes are open, and makes sure we all know when she is awake. He calls her an "angel". He also says, "Jersey isn't adorable - she is SUPER, SUPER, SUPER, SUPER adorable."

We made sure to get a bow on her head asap! :) During delivery they joked about me putting a flower bigger than her head on before the rest of her body was delivered. :)

Sweet little feet- and all those hospital bands! She has a couple crooked toes like her big brothers all did. She is ours for sure!

The little onsie and bow we put on her to get her hospital pictures taken. Wish I would have gotten a picture of the ruffles across her bum too. :)

Dad loves his baby girl, and has to fight off his boys for time holding her. They came to visit 3 times the first day in the hospital (morning, before "Dispicable Me" movie, after movie for dinner). They brought me yummy treats, popcorn, soda and a movie, so we could have a "girls night" watching "When in Rome". Then they skipped out of church early, after the sacrament, the next morning to see her again (Cooper's idea). :)

Her first bath in the hospital. Dad went with her just an hour or so after she was born to take pictures. All the nurses said they loved listening to him talk to her in his "sweet voice". They said they love dads like him, and can tell he is a great dad. I had to agree!

Had to get pink on her toes! All the nurses loved it. :)

We loved our visitors! Nothing brightens a hospital day like great friends.

The Bells (Jaime, Clif, Zander, Emberlyn, Shayden)
Brought a cute doll, balloon, and chocolate!

Jayne and Kennedy Crook
Not only are the Crooks our great friends, but he also gave me my epidural right when I wanted it, and all the nurses were sure to tell us how much they love Shaun too!

The Johansens (Kimberly, Craig, Haven & Emmett)
Thanks for the pink polish!

**Birth Story and pictures to come soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I know I have been the world's worst blogger... I vow to do better... WAIT! Is it possible to have 4 kids and still blog?!? We shall see starting.... TOMORROW!

As you all know, we've had a busy summer of traveling, visitors, moving out of base housing, etc. We are now staying in TLF (temporary living facilities) on the Air Force Base. It is a furnished 3-bedroom duplex, and actually hasn't been too bad, except not having my own bed for the end of pregnancy, and the uncomfortable couch and chairs.

And did I mention it is HOT! Like 110* heat index with the humidity. I am always sweating! AND, the A/C has been out for a few weeks in the parent/child room at the gym... making my 45 min elliptical rides VERY sweaty. You'd think that would save me from the weight gain?? Well - it hasn't, but I do "feel" a lot better at the end of a pregnancy than I ever have. And, my OB says she thinks I'm retaining a lot of fluids from the heat. And, hopefully, starting exercise again post-baby won't be starting from ground zero again....

We've been swimming, playing, cleaning, sewing... and getting ready for this baby girl who comes... TOMORROW!

Yes, I am getting induced TOMORROW, July 16th, at 6 am. Name? NO! Dilated and ready? Yes, dilated to 2cm and "soft and thin". Hopefully things will go smoothly.

We are all a little more nervous this time around for the delivery. When people as if I'm ready for 4 kids, I say YES! Because having 4 kids means she arrived safely! Not sure if it's because I've had 3 pretty uneventful deliveries, and I feel like it's my "turn" to have something go wrong.... or if Heavenly Father's trying to teach me another lesson about faith... or if it's because just 2 short years ago (almost exactly) our dear friends lost their sweet baby girl during delivery... or, if I am just unnecessarily worrying. Either way - my OB offered me a sleeping pill for tonight because, "I seemed a little more reserved and nervous". I turned it down. I think a priesthood blessing will be the best sleeping drug I can get.

My boys are SOOOOO excited! Their excitement is contagious too - and we are all anxious to meet our little girl!

Andrew gets a week off for "paternity" leave. Thank you Air Force!

Then, my mom will come and help out while Andrew works his final week.

Then, it's off to Coeur d'Alene, ID! Yes, we're moving with a 2-week-old. But, we do get to see lots of family and friends on the way, and we LOVE an adventure. :)

We will post pictures of this baby girl asap!

ps... if any of you in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area have been putting off your dental work until Andrew returns to the area ;) You can call now for an appointment starting in August!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This one is for the books--

To start off, this is Andrew blogging the text for the first time since my poor performance when Beckett was born. Crazy to think that next week that will be 2 years ago. Anyway back to the story.

So as many of you know, since I don't really keep it a secret, I played college baseball, and was roommates, with Jason Bay. Jason Bay, is an All Star outfielder who recently signed a mega deal with the New York Mets in the off season. I have brain washed Cooper into thinking that he is the greatest player of all time.

A little background. In 2003, when Cassie and I moved to Cleveland for dental school, Jason Bay was involved in a BLOCKBUSTER trade (okay, maybe not blockbuster) to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh is only about 2 hours from Cleveland, so we went to go watch him play. He had about 3 games under his belt when we showed up and got his attention at batting practice. He was so surprised to hear his name from the crowd that he looked up. It is funny, as we talked, a bunch of kids came up to get his autograph and said, "What is your name". Oh what little did they know. Anyway we got his phone number and he said any time that we wanted tickets to a game to call and he would hook us up. The 2003 season came and went, and the 2004 season came. Bay was always more than willing to supply us with tickets throughout the season, and they were good ones. I felt bad, we went to Pittsburgh a lot. Bay busted onto the MLB scene with a wonderful Rookie season where he won the Rookie of the Year award. During that season, there was a picture with the players day where Cooper, about 8 months old at the time got his picture with Bay.

2004 season ended, and in came the 2005 season. After a couple of attempts to contact Bay I was unsuccessful. I did not want to continue to bother him anymore. We were able to get him to sign the picture that he got with Cooper that season, but that was the last contact that we had with him for awhile.

We made several attempts since that day to track Bay down at batting practice at various games since, but never really been able to do it. Of course playing for the Red Sox - didn't make it easier - as his name got even bigger. Cooper has the picture with Bay above his bed and he always said that "I know that I met him, BUT I JUST DON'T REMEMBER THAT. I want to meet him again." What kid doesn't want to meet their favorite baseball player? Little did he know how nearly impossible that is. We went to several games that Bay played in. A few more in Pittsburgh, then when they played Cleveland. When we moved to St Louis, we went when he came to play there, and now that we are near Kansas City, we went when he was in town here. Never any success.

Well, we are getting short on time with MLB being so readily accessible to us as we prepare to move back up to Coeur d'Alene, ID. And in all actuality had only one more chance to meet him. As soon as the 2010 season schedule was released we looked to see when the Mets were going to be in St. Louis. Not only was it while we still lived in Missouri, but it was a weekend. St Louis is still our Temple district so we made a plan. April 16-17: We would leave early Friday and try to get his autograph before the game, if not go to the game and then try and get it after the game. Stay downtown St Louis. Go to the Temple early Saturday, then do some fun things in St Louis and go home that evening (It is only 3 hours from where we live). Just by dumb luck, our friend from church who has access to a certain number of Cardinal game tickets had tickets for that game, AND COULD NOT GO. So, free tickets, and they were AWESOME SEATS. Right behind the Cardinal dugout. It promised to be a good weekend.

April 16th-
We depart Whiteman AFB, MO at about 9:30. Just as we planned. We arrived in St Louis at about 12:30. We needed to outfit Cooper for the weekend with Mets gear since we are only new Met fans and we don't have any gear. We found him a hat and a shirt -- 1st success. From going to enough games we learned where most of the opposing teams stay when they come to St Louis. There is literally a nice hotel right across the street. The players are taken over to the stadium by golf cart. The plan was to wait outside the hotel and try to get his attention. We got there at about 3:00 -- 4 hours before game time. We waited, got kicked off the hotel grounds for loitering, snuck back on to the grounds, watched plenty of players go to the stadium, but no Bay. BP (batting practice) started at 5:00, and that was the second place that we would attempt to get his autograph. Well, it was raining, and when it is raining teams do not normally do BP outside. But Cooper was determined and he said he wanted to stand by the dugout to try and get his autograph. Stood by the dugout for 2 hours, no Bay. We did get other autographs, most notably Jose Reyes (Mets SS), but no Bay. When we finally saw Bay it was time for the national anthem, and they escorted us to our seats.

4 hours of trying for poor Coop, and no luck. We did get a helpful hint on where players go out of to go back to the hotel, so we would stick that in our back pocket for after the game. It was a good game. Cardinals won, which made Gunner happy (that is his favorite team, and Albert Pujols is his favorite player). Well, it was fireworks night, which Cooper loves, and get this, he choose to wait for Bay outside the door instead of fireworks. So Cassie and Cooper went to wait for Bay, while Gunner, Beckett and I watched fireworks. Fireworks ended, we went to find Mom and Coop, they were patiently waiting, but no Bay. There were many autograph hounds out, and as Cassie does, she learned that most of the big names take the golf cart back, but some of the not as well known leave through that door. After about 1hr and 15 min of waiting, and watching many players leave, but no Bay, I decided to start watching the golf cart. Finally I see Bay coming on the golf cart. The cart stops at the light, and the conversation is as follows:


"Lars? What are you doing here"

"Were here to watch you"

"That's right, you live out this way"

"Yeah" -- about then the light changes

"Are you coming tomorrow?"

"We weren't planning on it" -- I am trying to talk to Bay, while the cart is moving and also get Cooper's attention. Bay sort of waves me over to the hotel, so I (carrying sleeping Gunner) run over to the hotel. By the time I get there he is nowhere to be seen, but I did see Jeff Francour, who he was riding with and asked him where Bay went. He pointed to the door he went into. I ran over that way, but Bay was long gone. Cassie, Cooper and Beckett show up, I tell them the situation. Cassie sees Jose Reyes and runs him down and asks if he will give Bay a message. With his Spanglish he says he will, and acts like he is putting my number into his phone.

We walked to our hotel, feeling defeated, tired, licking our wounds and thinking that we will probably never get a chance to get Bay's autograph really ever again. We were hoping for a phone call, but didn't put much stock in to that happening, and it didn't.

April 17th --

The plan for today was simple. We were going to the Temple, then to eat, then to the zoo or Grant's farm (or another of St Louis' many options), then heading home. I had to speak in church the next morning, and it is not that I didn't have the talk already prepared, it was just that I needed to finalize it. Okay, I really hadn't started formally writing the talk.

So after a late night, we were up early getting ready to go to the temple. We have some friends that are doing their dental residency at Scott AFB, and we were going to trade kids and sessions with them. So the boys began playing at the park at 8:00 am. By the time we both did our sessions, which it was great to get to the Temple, they had played at the park for 4.5 hours. It was a beautiful day, to say the least. After saying our goodbye's to our friends, we headed to one of our favorite sandwich shops in the Lou, and after talking to the boys we decided that we would go to the zoo. We tossed around the idea of the game because it was an afternoon game and the kids received ticket vouchers the night before to be redeemed at another Cardinals game after April 16th, but we were thinking that after the long day at the ball park the night before we should go somewhere where we know that we would have fun.

As we prepare to get out of our car at the sandwich shop Cassie notices that she is missing her phone and wallet. When we took our friends kids we went to a new park and Cassie drove their car. Well, she had left her phone and wallet in their car after we got back to meet them at the Temple, and after saying our goodbyes, just forgot that she left it in there. As we tossed around the best way to go about getting these items back, long story short we decide that Cassie would take Cooper, Gunner and me to the ball park where we would redeem our free ticket vouchers, and Beckett and Cassie would drive out to Scott AFB to get her phone and wallet.

We arrived at Busch Stadium at the peak of stadium traffic. It was a mad house. The plan for the day was to get free tickets, let the boys play around at the kid friendly areas of the ball park. The game would get over about 6:30pm, we would then station Cassie at the perfect spot to spot Bay on the golf cart, she would then call me and let me know that he was no his way, then Cooper and Gunner and I, who were strategically placed near the door Bay went into the night earlier, would rush Bay when he got to the hotel, we would get the autograph, and we would have succeded at our goal, and by the 8:00 pm, at the latest, we would be headed back home. Cassie would drive, I would prepare my talk, and in bed by midnight -- MISSION COMPLETE!

Actually day 2 at the ball park started out a little bit more like day 1. Coop, Gunn and I pick a ticket line to get in. There are about 20 lines all of them about 20 people deep at least. From the air the place must have looked like an ant hill. Luckily for us we got in the line with the idiot that was buying tickets to multiple games, and not the game that we were all waiting to get in to. As the minutes past, so did the likelihood that we were going to get into that stadium for any reasonable amount of money, and if I wasn't going to get to sit and watch the game I really didn't want to buy scalper tickets. After a 45 minute wait, we get to the front of the line where we learn that they are not redeeming the free vouchers to that game. I showed the lady my military ID and asked if there were any complimentary military standing room only (SRO) tickets still available. They usually give one free per ID, and I thought I would buy the cheapest other tickets if they had any. She told me to hold on a second, comes back about 3 minutes later with a stack of tickets and says, "How many do you need?" -- Music to my ears.

So 5 free tickets later we were in to sold out Busch Stadium. We immediately went to the kid play area. It was a MAD HOUSE. There were so many people there, but the boys were having fun, and about the 3rd inning Cassie and Beckett showed up and we messed around a little more, until it got to be about the 8th inning, and people started to leave, and then our SRO quickly turned into outfield box seats.

It was a good game if you are a baseball fan. 0 - 0, plenty of scoring opportunities that clutch pitching came through. Before we know it, it was the 12th inning 0 - 0, the time was now about 7:00pm, but our plan could still work, it would be just a LITTLE bit later. In about the 14th inning Beckett found a nearly finished cup of beer a couple rows behind us. Unfortunately, it was NEARLY finished, and Beck did his best to polish it off. He looks at Cassie after the crowd yells at him to stop and says, "YUCKY MOMMA" followed by a second attempt to down the beer. Beckett has officially tasted more alcohol than I have. He is such a mucker.

After that incident, and as the 15th inning came to a close we asked if Cooper wanted to leave. As he clenched his little fist next to his chin, and started shaking that same fist he said, "I am getting Jason Bay's autograph." So we go back to the kids play area, we wanted to get something to drink but by this time, but no luck, the concession stands were closed.

About the middle of the 16th inning I text Cassie that I need to get going so that I could get that talk written and get home. She text back that Cooper said that we could go, but we would be leaving without him. A little frustrated I continued to watch a great game. Cooper got a ball thrown to him from an outfielder, bonus. Still 0 - 0, the Cardinals had all kinds of scoring opportunities, that were be squandered. Pujols would get intentionally walked to load the bases, only to bring up the Cardinals pitchers that due to the double switch, and lack of players on the bench, were now batting 4th in the line up, eventually striking out to retire the side. As well as field-players putting their toe on the rubber for the first time since age 14.

At in the 17th, 0 - 0, I decided to officially attempt to weasel my way out of my talk the next day. I texted the Bishop and one of his counselors the following text "So I am literally sitting in St Louis at the Cardinal game in the 17th inning -- you want to cover for me tomorrow? BTW I am not kidding" All I can say is that we have a GREAT BISHOP. Without question he texts back "I got you covered, but you owe me".

At this point we are committed till the game is over. Top 19 the Mets manufacture a run, only to be matched in the bottom of the 19th as Pujols and Lopez nut up against K-Rod. Top 20 Mets manufacture another run, and the Cardinals fail to score in the bot 20, and the Mets win 2 - 1.

Here is my thinking: 7 hours of baseball. Our kids, although did amazing considering, all had their moments, and Beckett was DONE! Bay went 0 - 7 with a HBP. I was thinking -- let's just go home. That is not what Cooper was thinking, and his SELFLESS mother was not thinking that either. I told Cassie that I would take the other boys to the car, and she could try and get Bay's autograph by herself. Using her persuasion, she helped me see the light and we put THE PLAN into action.

Gunner, Cooper and I got to our "tree stand" and Cassie and Beckett got to their "tree stand" and Jason Bay season was open. About 30 minutes after the game the first players started returning. It was mainly the pitchers, and other not so known names. Cassie would get autographs of those that passed her, and text me when players would drive by in the golf cart. Cooper and Gunner, bless their hearts, fell asleep on my lap. Players like Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo passed right by us. At about 1hr and 15 minutes or 11:45 pm Cooper and Gunner woke up. Freezing and tired both finally broke into tears. The golf cart returned with David Wright, and Jeff Francour, and then the golf cart shut down for the night. I called Cassie and she said that she thought another cart was still at the stadium, so we decided to wait a few more minutes. Cooper was bawling saying his head hurt, and he was cold. Gunner said his legs were sore and he wanted to go home. I asked Cooper, "Bud, are you done? Do you want to go?" He cried out "YES :(". I called Cassie. She said that a few of the managers for the Mets just came out and said that there was no one left in the club house. I told her that our boys had it, and I could hear Beckett crying in the background. We were dumbfounded. We knew there was no way that Bay made it passed us, but where did he go?

As I started to head back to meet up with Cassie I turned the corner, and guess who I saw walking the opposite direction? JASON BAY!!! Cooper, still crying, immediately stopped as I said, "Coop, there he is. Here is the ball and the pen. Go get it!" At this point Bay recognized me, and said, "Were you guys waiting for me? I feel so bad I took so long!"

What an experience! We did not have to deal with any other people because it was midnight. Jason Bay was so nice to pose for pictures with Cooper, and sign a ball and hat. He was so nice to talk to, and apologetic. He said the night before he wanted to yell out his number, but thought twice about that as he didn't want just anybody to overhear and get his number. And that he wanted to wait for us to get to the hotel, but that he had to get inside because people just mob them. The whole time I am thinking that we are imposing, and we were, but he didn't make us feel like that. He gave me his cell number, and programmed mine in his cell, so we wouldn't have to "go through this again" if we were ever at another game. (btw - I'm sure we'll find a way to be at another game someday - seems how Cooper's already been to about 80 MLB games, and our quest to visit all the parks continues). Cassie told Bay how sorry we were for bugging him, that we didn't want to seem like wierdo stalkers from his past, but that we were there for Cooper. He assured us he was "so glad we did", that it was "good to see us", that "I remember Coop". We talked about our families, and where life is taking us. Introduced him to our other kids (who weren't very social). And then, we thanked him and said good bye. As we took a few steps down the road Bay yells out, "See you Coop." Cooper turned and waved. Just imagine that if you were a 6 year old. What a neat experience.

Needless to say it was a successful weekend, and Bay is still Cooper's and My favorite player without question. I am sure Gunner, as he doesn't miss a thing, observed what lengths we went through for Cooper to get his favorite players autograph, and can not wait until it is his turn to get his favorite players autograph. It is Albert Pujols by the way. Sorry Gunner, we may not get that chance. As Cassie's Dad texted us during that game, "Making history". That about sums up what we did that weekend. It is definitely one for the books.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pregnancy Update

Officially 27 weeks. Pictures taken at 26.5 weeks.

So this time I'd thought I'd include all the pictures we took, since it's impossible to pick one that I look good in! (It doesn't exist! :) ) This way you can get all the angles. :) Even the "getting the shirt straight" picture Andrew made sure to take.
Hard to believe I still have to get bigger, but I'm blaming the 4th pregnancy as the reason for the early growth - right?!?! 12 weeks to go!!! (getting induced a week early because of the move). After looking at the calendar, we realized we have NO free Saturdays before baby comes. Hopefully this makes the time fly by - rather than be overly exhausting.

5/1 - Mom to Women's Conference BYU with Adrienne
5/8 - Visit from Nana and Papa Gatten!
5/15 - Nana and Papa fly home
5/22 - Andrew scout campout
5/29 - Sinema Family (Andrew's sister) in town for a visit!
6/5 - Baby Shower
6/12 - Milwaukee and Minnesota trip with Gpa and Gma Larson (Mall of America, 2 more baseball stadiums, Wisconsin Dells)
6/19 - Garage Sale
6/26 - Gatten Girls trip - Nauvoo!
7/3 - 4th of July festivities
7/8-7/10 - move out of our house - and our 10th anniversary - move into furnished, 3-bedroom temporary housing on-base.
7/16 - INDUCED! Andrew's 10 days of paternity leave begin.
7/24 - Nana comes to help during Andrew's last week of work
7/30 - Start our MOVE!

Didn't even mention all the soccer and baseball games mixed in! I'm so excited for everything the summer has in store for us.

Oh - and forgot to mention our niece, Erynn, coming to visit from 6/17-7/4 to help with the boys and play!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter and Spring Break: B R E A K D O W N

Our classic front yard picture - the week before Easter, after church (wish I would have retightened my dress and redone the boys hair), after trying to use the timer (until a gracious car pulled over to take one for us). Don't I have 4 handsome boys?!?!

I LOVE springtime. We're really trying to soak it in, because we know it doesn't last long here in the Midwest (and then the heat and humidity kicks in!). I love the colors, the buds on trees, the birds chirping, the runs and walks and parks and playtime in the yard, the freckles starting to spot my kids' faces, and that they are requesting their shorter/summer haircuts. It starts each year with the Family Home Evening lessons on Spring "miracles", and the blessing of our Savior, Jesus Christ. How truly blessed we are - and nothing beats seeing your little ones gain testimonies, and learn to love Jesus. At fast and testimony meeting, Cooper was drawing - but listening - and turned to me after a testimony was born, and said, "Mom, everything is just TRUE!" It melted my heart, and I am so grateful for the Spirit, which touches even the smallest of hearts, bearing witness of the truth.

Spring Break started off our season... tried to make it fun.

a. Kansas City Zoo - I'm convinced Beckett is the perfect age to take to the zoo. He got SO excited at every animal... and I love that Cooper wanted to practice his photography so I could be in a picture with my boy. The only thing that was horrible... was when he threw his hat on the ground at the opposite side of the zoo... and I had to RUN it down... in the nick of time for the sea lion show. Can you saw sweaty pregnant woman?!

b. My 3 zoo boys! The best dates.

c. Visiting the gorilla... see how Beckett can't even take his eyes off the animals for a picture?!

d. St. Patrick's Day - tried to be a good mom and do the whole green breakfast... magical green milk. As you can see one boy loved it...

e. and one boy didn't. :)

f. Osage Beach mini trip - one of my closest friends' (Jaime Bell's) sister, Kimberly, had her wedding reception in Osage Beach. I took the 3 boys (while dad went to the BYU basketball playoff game in Oklahoma City), and we took a mini trip. It's a fun, touristy, area in the Lake of the Ozarks. We spent the day at "Miner Mike's and Buster's". It is a SUPER fun place with a few indoor rides (here the boys are on the covered wagon ferris wheel), TONS of fun arcade games, and an amazing indoor "maze" (glorified playground with ball pits and slides galore).

g. The Bell side of the family at the wedding reception. What a fun time with amazing friends, great food, and fun memories. The boys loved seeing grandma Coni (who used to live here), and Beckett loved the chocolate he kept getting from the ladies each time he would visit the kitchen.

h. Dad's day off during Spring Break - we had fun feeding ducks at Lion's Lake... ready to hit the park with our nerf guns... but, ended up pit-stopping at the UCM college baseball game (where each boy came home with a baseball, and we got to see a grand slam!).

i. Beckett liked sharing the old bread with the ducks. :)

j. Coloring eggs. Lots of fun with the magic crayon.

k. a little too much fun for Dad.

l. Gunner's Easter Party at preschool. They made these great bunny hats. Gunner is sitting by Nora, who is our cute little carpool partner.

m. Beckett loved getting to take part in the egg-hunt part of the party.

n. Gunner, after the hunt, before the famous "bean-bag boogie" with the Easter-themed bean bag to add to his collection.
o. Cooper (age 6) in his Easter best.

p. I just love these 3!!!

q. Beckett (22 mos.)

r. Boys!

s. Gunner (age 4)

t. Easter Egg Hunt at the fairgrounds. The way the boys' ages fall - they would have all 3 been in different areas for hunting... so, we let Gunner move up, and Dad went with Beckett. Here they are taking off to the eggs.... and poor Gunner soon realized he was a little behind. I managed to calm one of his famous (and thankfully less-often) emotional breakdowns, in time to get his eggs. Fun times!

u. Austin Reed, Cooper and Gunner getting ready to hunt!

v. Beckett showing me his loot. He is always such a happy boy and so excited about everything. Each egg brings a big squeal, a "wow!" or an "oh yeah!". I love it!

w. Fun to get pics off friends' cameras! I love my boys! Not necessarily seeing myself pregnant. ;)

x. Gunner excited... with his buddies Zander, Austin, Cooper. Love his smile when his eyes light up.

y. Goof!

z. TOO much candy!

* Everywhere we go we get told what a cutie he is. That is the good thing about pictures... they help remind me that he IS cute... despite his too early terrible two tendencies. :)

We also enjoyed a fun egg-hunt at the state-park with the Bells and Browns, where (at Cooper's request) the eggs were actually hidden instead of just laying on the ground. And lots of yummy food and family time with General Conference too!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Larson GIRL?!?!!!!!!!

Bring on the PINK! We are so incredibly surprised, and excited, to have a little GIRL joining our family. I guess the poll was right! And, all our boys who guessed right too.

Isn't she adorable?! :)
We took Cooper out of school, and let Gunner come to the ultrasound too. It was Thursday, March 4th, and I was 19 weeks 6 days. I could hardly sleep the night before. I get really nervous for everything to be ok health-wise too. Thanks to the Bells for watching Beckett!

Cooper was getting bored with all the measurements and wanted to know NOW if it was a girl! He's been stuck on a girl since he found out we were pregnant... the first thing he said was "Be a girl!" She jumped ahead for him. When she told us she was a girl, I cried. She checked again for us too. Then during the mid-ultrasound bathroom and sticker break, I told Andrew I needed her to double-check. He said, "she already did!". But, when we came in, I made her check again. She said, "You are safe to shop momma! She is showing us everything she needs to." Cooper told her I've already bought girl stuff and I always give it away as presents. :) And then, one more time at the very end of the ultrasound, she quadruple checked. ;)
Cooper loved picking out body parts... and said at one point, "Look, she's showing us her muscles!" I said, she better have muscles to put up with 3 older brothers. Gunner assured us he could beat her up. Great. We told them they need to beat up the boys trying to kiss her instead! Cooper also loved it when she would "wave" to us. :)
When she went to give me the photos at the end, Cooper intercepted them, and flipped through them the whole way to the car. It was too cute.
Because I was wrong in thinking it was a boy, the boys got to choose our lunch destination... Wendys! When Andrew and Beckett arrived, Cooper grabbed a picture and ran over to Beckett saying, "Look Beckett, it's a girl! We're going to have a baby sister!"

The girl at the register said, you have 3 boys?! I said, "yep, but I'm having a girl... pointing to my belly." She made my day by saying I don't look far enough along to know what I'm having. If only those nice comments out-weighed the "wow, you're big" comments. :)

I am still in shock. I keep thinking about all the shopping, and instead of being overly-excited... I'm more overwhelmed at this point! And nervous we'll go broke. :) I kept saying "I can't believe it!" over and over, and finally Cooper said, "Believe it!" I really am so excited - thrilled. I really didn't think it was possible, but we feel so blessed to be having a daughter. Even more excited and relieved to know everything is healthy too!

Here I was at 19 weeks 5 days. I definitely have "popped" out sooner this time!
This pregnancy has been tolerable. A few highlights:
  • LOVE Zofran and Phenegran. Took them everyday until 19-weeks. Now I just have to use them occasionally. The nausea is NO FUN! The worst by far was the night I woke up puking in my sleep, and inhaled it into my lungs. I could not stop coughing!
  • Heartburn pretty much from day 1. Thanks to Zantac for making things tolerable.
  • Have been able to exercise (if I time it right with breakfast and zofran). Still able to run 5-miles, and have been doing more elliptical too.
  • Had a nice break-out of zits!
  • Love Fiber-One bars, peanut butter, fruit, cereal.
  • No real "in-between" stage... just got big fast!
  • Nights were the worst... dinner then I'm done!
  • Feeling a lot better now! More energy too.
  • Have a funny pain in my mid-back/left side. Hope it's a muscle and not a kidney stone they think it may be? Hope to find out more at my apt. Tuesday.
  • Just got over a horrible cold, which lasted a few weeks... it's the worst when you can't take good drugs!
  • Love when my boys give me hugs and kisses, and then say, "I want to hug and kiss the baby too!"
  • Love hearing Gunner suggest names like Cookie, and coo-coo, and booger. He also talks about how she likes pizza crust?
  • Cooper has been really concerned about making sure the baby doesn't die. He prays for that each night. And even asked the ultrasound tech if she's not going to die for sure now. He's also into the whole anatomy of the baby being born. Fun stuff to explain as a mom!

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!