John David Pate-3years old

James Daniel Pate-3years old

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Family Christmas!

The boys aren't very happy here because they are locked in their seats. We battled them for about 30 min. and finally just had to put them up so they'd stop eating wrapping paper and bows. They watched the show from afar and did pretty good, even though they'd prefer to be down on the ground crawling through the mounds of paper trash and boxes.

Great reaction Daddy...the girls loved surprising Daddy with a new watch.

Here is James pushing John David on the truck walker...they both started laughing which obviously made all of us laugh too. I think it is funny that James is the one pushing John David. James is much smaller but has much more gusto than John David.

Daddy and Papa put together Jenna's train station she received the night before from Mamaw and Papa. Jenna LOVES trains and was thrilled to finally "drive" her trains!

Jenna making Jesus a birthday cake (with playdough of course) and then singing Happy Birthday to him.

Daddy and Claire playing wii together. Not sure who is happiest about Santa leaving a wii for Claire....Daddy or Claire???

Make-overs with Claire...She has over 20 shades of eyeshadow!

Claire's favorite candy is Reese's so Santa left a REALLY BIG Reese Bar in her stocking.

Jenna helping Mommy clean the kitchen (for the thrid time that day)

So our family Christmas was perfect. It had just the right combination of love and joy, chaos and crankiness! Our favorite foods were pumpkin pie and p-nut clusters. Our favorite activities were playing the wii, Ellie's arts and crafts, Jenna's train and baby, and even the boys got some "boy-ish" toys to enjoy banging around.

My oh my how life has drastically changed for us in a year. We are having a blast with our kids right now, trying to savor the sweet moments and not take the bitter ones so seriously. Raising a family of five small children is definitely tiresome, but it is also a privelage and honor. I live each day grateful for the opportunity God has given Rob and I to raise this exceptional family.

Christmas with Nana!

Another hammer...these guys love to bang stuff...

SO MUCH EFFORT to get a picture like this. But cute when it works out!

Claire opening her "hot cake" boots...

Thank you Nana for a great Christmas.

Jenna LOVED her Baby Alive!

We think James has an obsession with spoons. This kid is happiest when he has a spoon in his hand.

Ellie making dessert. She asked me for a bowl, cool whip, cinnamon and bananas...I couldn't figure out where she got the idea until I saw her looking in her recipe book. She seriously LOVES to be in the kitchen...keeps her busy for hours!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas with Mamaw and Papa!

Ellie was so proud to put on her chef hat and "cook" something up...

Jenna had a beautiful smile here when she opened her gift from Nanny and Papaw Pate.

Claire opening her IPOD from Mamaw and Papa..she had NO CLUE and it was great to watch her reaction...

Daddy opening a huge box of 176 diapers...never seen a guy so excited to receive diapers...

John David laughing at his mailbox toy.

Mommy excited to just be holding two healthy, loving precious baby gift I have ever received at Christmas!

Ellie wanted to eat these pj pants. She is obsessed with sweets (wonder where she gets that obsession from?!?!) and was so excited when she opened her new jam jams!

Claire getting ready to help James open his presents.

Ellie and Jenna having their "Christmas Feast" at Mamaw's Ellie puts it.."NO YUCKY DIPS...just the BREAD and SWEETS Mommy"

Rob holding his sons. I love this picture because they look just like him. I also like how the boys both have their heads tilted the same direction..

Our family had a very memorable and special Christmas with Mamaw and Papa, uncle Phillip, Aunt Katy, cousin Sam, Nanny and Papaw. I am mostly thankful for the loving memories I will have to cherish forever.

Silly Faces...figured it would be easier to get everyone looking at the camera if we encouraged them to stick out their tounges and make silly faces...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I thought this picture was funny because they are both sitting the same way. I was singing Jingle Bells with "Bye Bye"...Bye Bye Bye, Bye Bye Bye, Bye Bye Bye Bye Bye, oh what fun it is to wave, BYE BYE BYE BYE BYE! I know, it sounds ridiculous, but James was trying to waving bye bye so I continued to sing it over and over and then finally they both stopped babbling and fussing and just froze in this position.

Ventured out to do a little shopping yesterday with Claire, Jenna and the boys. Ellie was at a friend's house. We made it to three stores in three hours. Don't laugh when I tell you the stores were in the same shopping area..actually all right in a row. It was complete chaos and totally memorable. The girls shopped for their daddy. Jenna earned a bag of Swedish fish for praise worthy behavior and Claire earned a trip to Ci Ci's Pizza for being so exceptional as well. The boys earned a package of Ritz crackers and were happy as expected.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Thankful for this one...

I had to post this picture because boy does this sum up my evenings....or rather nights. By 11:00pm I am usually wiped out. I love how "passed out" all three of us look.

One last thought before I go. When I get to the point of total exhaustion and think of all that I have completed in a days time, I wouldn't change it for the world. I know that the life season we are living right now will all too soon pass and I will only be left with memories. So I want to remember the details of my chaotic days and exhausting afternoons because I know these days will pass and I will look back and think "how in the world did I do it!"

Remember to keep those sweet children that lost their momma last week in that awful car accident in your daily prayers. There names are Cross and India. My friend's name is Brooke Taylor, and her sister who died was Mandy. Thank you for remembering this precious family. They have an amazing faith and live so boldly for Christ. I know that they are turning to HIM for compassion and love right now as they endure this tragedy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Special memories...

Galleria on Friday night (the last weekend before Christmas)...I know what you are thinking...that is crazy! Yes, maybe so, but we had a fabulous time. Probably because the only thing we planned to do was "ride the reindeer". There were no gifts to buy or time to keep...nope, we just enjoyed strolling through the galleria looking at the Christmas lights and decorations, listening to the excitement of two giggly little girls who got hair "up-do's" and rode the carousel three times. And of course what is a trip to Galleria without have a Cindy's Cinnamon roll..YUM! They had a blast and we so incredibly well behaved. The boys rode the reindeer as well, however, John David was more interested in the plastic spoon he had to chew on and James had a death grip on my arm and wouldn't let go..he seemed a little freaked out by the whole moving up and down, spinning around, lights and music! On the way home, we stopped at Jason's Deli (our family's favorite eat out spot) and devoured a well-rounded healhty delicious meal. Favorite part...FREE ALL YOU CAN EAT ICE CREAM...! Thanks Daddy for the fun night..special memories made.

Claire and her amazing teacher, Lori Lancaster posing at the Christmas party. The theme was "Whoo-ville" and the kids had a super, fantastic time. And a picture of Mommy with Claire at her party.

After I spent an hour at Claire's party, I rushed over to Ellie's party hoping to catch the end of her festivities, however, everything was over by the time I arrived and they were beginning their "work" for the day. Ellie was still happy that Mommy came though. She said, "It's okay cause no mommies could come and we still had brownies!" ha ha ha... I of course felt like I deserved "world's worst mom" award:( But she was thrilled to show me her baked goodies and treats they worked so hard at preparing the day prior. Montessori learning by the way is purely amazing for those of you who wonder about it. Ellie attends Bruno's Montessori school in Oak Mountain and I must say, I don't think there is a need in her attending Kindergarten next year because she has already completed the state's Kindergarten curriculum in the first half of this year at Bruno's. Seriously, the girl knows more math at 4yrs old than Claire did in first grade! Well see though...

Mommy and girls decorating cookies after school one day this past week. Reason I mention this as being "special" is because I am usually so drained from the long days of being a teacher and all that goes into the week of school this time of year, I never feel that I ever have time to enjoy the fun crafts and cooking with my girls during the week prior to Christmas. I am truly grateful for this time I have had off from teaching this year. I have tried to incorporate some type of Christmas fun each afternoon when the girls get home from school. Thus far we have mostly cooked, decorated, painted ornaments, created picture frames and of course the infamous...sticker art!!

Jenna had her first "play date" with a friend. Ella Mayfield joined us for a play day and boy did these girls have a grand time. They destroyed the upstairs and did it with such love and joy. I was so proud of how well they played together. They had grocery store set up, daycare set up, baby dolls, dress up, puzzles, doll house with all the accesories and even the brother's laundry all re-organized and placed according to their preference all within about 20 minutes time. After I settled the boys (fed and changed them), it was time to decorate cookies, eat waffles and fruit, color and paint, clean up the kitchen and then tackel the upstiars. Ella must have a pretty phenomenal mom, becasue when I asked for the girls to "clean up" they did so without any problems..I WAS SHOCKED! Wonderful memories made and so thankful God has a sweet friend like Ella for Jenna to spend special time with.

Last but not least..just two precious pictures of those adorable little miracles we recieved last year at this time. Wow, to think of how far these little guys have come.