John David Pate-3years old

James Daniel Pate-3years old

Sunday, November 29, 2009

War Eagle..anyway!

So for all the Auburn Fans out there, the Pates say "WAR EAGLE...ANYWAY!"...The first 10 min. of that game made us happier than any other 10 min. of the season. Seriously, what fun it was to jump up and down and shout as our team obviously handed Alabama Crimson Tide a little piece of humble pie. Boy I sure would have loved seeing the look on some of those hard core "Bammer guys" as Auburn shoved it down their throats at the take off of the game. Sure Alabama had the better team, but nobody can argue with the fact that they almost lost their "dream season" to us ole Auburn folks!

We don't get extremely bend out of shape over this game...maybe a little bent out of shape but not like some crazy people. Sure we wish Auburn would have won, but the game of life is so much more important that the game of football. We were proud that our guys came out emotional and pumped up ready to play. We were proud of the hard fought game our guys played and still think that if we'd had a few more minutes, maybe we could have pulled some miraculous play out of our back pockets and walked away the winning team. Nonetheless, we had a terrific time with our closest friends and our kids played outside for 5 hours. Oh yea, and we splurged on some fabulous food. Thanks Mullinax Family for hosting the grand shindig Saturday.

Here are some pics from the day.

Daddy with James. Notice any similarities between these two handsome men...*HINT* (foreheads!)

Rob with two of his great friends, Matt and Christopher.

Jenna and Nathan (they look so much like each other and ACT just like each other..hahahah! Typical "thirds" in their families:)

Aunt Jill snuggling with James

Kate and Claire

The kids threw rocks and acorns into the leaves at the neighborhood dog for about an hour...too cute. From left to right, Ellie, Jacob, Kate and Claire.

Me and my precious little man, John David.

Atlanta Half Marathon...

Great experience..
Rob and I were fortunate enough to participate in the annual Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day. We were among 8,500 runners early Thanksgiving morning. While most others were sleeping in and preparing the feasts of the day, we were bustling through downtown Atlanta, Georgia making our way through the Marta train and to the starting line. The race was well-planned and seemed like a great crowd pleaser. Among the many spectators that journeyed out on a frigid morning to cheer us on, I mostly enjoyed the "Pilgrim" that ran along side us at mile 8!

Rob developed a blister on his heel at mile 7 and was in quiet a bit of pain by mile 10..he was also cramping at that point (how the heck he does that in the freezing cold, I will never understand!)..anyway, he still managed to finish under 2 hrs with walking the last two miles...

I was totally jamming to my IPOD and praying along the way and before I knew it, I was approaching mile 11 at about an hour and a half...the competitive bug stung me and I took off thinking, "I would LOVE to make it to that finish line before 1hr 50, so I popped a few pieces of gum and cranked up the rap music and before I even realized it, I had crossed that finish line at 1 hr 42 min. I was pumped!! I was 30th overall in my division of 635 females ages 30-34. Not too bad for an old gal that has been around the block a few times...Out of the 8,500 total runners I crossed over as runner being 800 out of 8,000 wasn't too bad after all.

The experience was awesome. We ate at the Buckhead Diner the night before. Pre-game race meal was Chicken Parmigiana, Greek island pasta salad, smoked white cheddar grits and p-nut M&M's and coffee!

I am proud of us participating in something that takes dedication, discipline and determination. I love my husband for running with me, encouraging me and supporting me through it all.

And, our weekend would not have even been possible if it weren't for some special people who helped us out with our FIVE kids...Aunt Jill, Aunt Aimee and Uncle Christopher, Nikki, Taylor, Mamaw and Nana...did you count how many people we had to officially use to take care of our FIVE kids for 24 hours...And to top it all off, my mother in law (Mamaw) took care of the boys (very demanding) while preparing an enormous Thanksgiving Feast that fed our entire family (about 25 people!) She is definitely ONE OF A KIND! So thank you so much my sweet best friends and mom and mother in law for supporting us and helping with taking care of our kids.

Next on the calendar is the MERCEDES MARATHON in February. I am considering running the full...but have not committed yet. Not sure if my body can with stand all the training.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and "half-marathon!"

Tomorrow morning will be emotional for many days are. But tomorrow is a day of "thanksgiving" and praise for the blessings in which God undeservedly gives us. Rob and I will begin our Thanksgiving Day in Atlanta running a half marathon together. (Crazy to think that this time last year I was hospital bed bound and couldn't walk a hallway without falling out)...This will be our second half marathon running together. I am trying to convince him to run the full Mercedes with me in February but I don't think he is too keen on it....but I am still nudging him:)

After we run our race, we will journey on back to B'ham to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at Mamaw and Papa's house. We will gather with the Pate Family as well as our Mississippi family "THE Smiths"...they are a hoot for sure! The day will not pass too quickly without me recounting the hours in which this time last year I was lying in a hospital bed at Brookwood, hooked up to fetal monitors with the sound of horses galloping in the background (the heart beats of our boys), along with some delicious applesauce and graham crackers:) I remember feeling a sadness and loneliness of not being wtih my family last year enjoying a Thanksgiving Feast but more so, I recall feeling an unimaginably gratefulness to be at that particular point in our pregnancy with a hopeful future. There never seemed to be a "safe" place in the pregnancy but being at 28 weeks and monitored in the hospital seemed "safer" than not!

I am so thankful for the life in which God has richly blessed me with. I owe Him and only HIM all the glory of the beautiful family he has loaned Rob and I. I will again say my prayers to HIM all day as I do every day, but will be "thanking" Him especially more tomorrow for our family, health and miraculous blessings HE poured on us this time last year.

What an amazing year it has been. Happy Thanksgiving to all my dear friends and family. May you all feel love and gratitude to our mighty Creator and thank Him for what is seen and unseen...all the blessings He has given throughout the year.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One year ago tonight...



I had my suitcase packed...preparing to check in to Brookwood Hospital Monday morning the week of Thanksgiving. We had been praying since July 15th for our precious miracles of life to grow healthy and survive up to the 28th week of my pregnancy. Thanksgiving Day marked the "28th week"...each Thursday was a doctor's appointment and "another week" in counting. I told a friend tonight as we were reflecting on this time one year ago, that even up to the night before I was due to arrive at the hospital for constant monitoring, I vividly remember lying in my bed thinking, "Dear God please shield these babies from danger inside of my womb" ...I remember waking up at least four to five times a night to "check for movement"...

My heart ached so badly this night one year ago for many reason. I had to leave the comforts of my own home not knowing how long I'd be gone. I had to leave my three girls who depended on me for so much each day. I had to leave my husband (my bestfriend in the entire world), to live in a hospital in hopes that we could grow these babies until the 32nd week of pregnancy. Oh I was so scared, worried, and saddened. I will probably always re-play the memories of this night each year it comes to pass. I remember the last story on the sofa with the girls thinking, "Life from now on will be different"... I remember writing the girls notes and leaving them on their bed side tables and bathroom sinks so at night they'd have a reminder of how much mommy loves them. I remember the gray jogging suit I was wearing, the scent of my cucumber melon lotion, the roly poly sandwich Rob and I shared on our way to the hospital. I look back now, and I am still in complete awe of the miraculous journey God led us through in 2008.

Tonight was much different than one year ago...

Claire started a Bible study with some of her close friends, so as we arrived home from that, I walked into pandemonium...babies fussing, toddlers running and screaming, even a big kid complaining about studying for her science test, a HUGE pile of laundry needing to be folded and put away, a kitchen without much to prepare for supper and a husband (a great one) watching some NFL football...I panned the scenes and thought, "God thank you so much for this life you have blessed me with, I do not deserve, I am forever grateful"

I think of last year, my dear friends I taught with at Oak Mt. Intermediate school, would ask me what to pray for...I always asked for everyone to pray for "safe, growing babies" and for me to be sitting in a hospital bed on Thanksgiving Day eating applesauce and listening to two heart beats on fetal monitors. Did you guys know that God answered all of your year ago! Thank you from the bottom of my soul for the prayers you continually lifted for me and our year ago!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Play TIME!

I am so blessed that each day I am able to watch these little guys grow, explore and become the little people they are... Here are some recent videos of the boys..enjoy!

If you listen really closely, you can hear James Daniel say "da da" after I say it. This is the newest "trick" we have taught them. They are starting to mimic us. It is really precious. Of course usually after I turn on the camera they stop, but I will post more later when I catch them doing it better.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11 months old...are you kiddine me?!?!

James Daniel with his top LEFT tooth shining through. The right one is on its way in also! And the next pic is John David with his top two pearly whites!

James Daniel breaking free from "lunchtime"...I seriously turned my head for one second! Can't contain him...little monkey!

James has also found a way to OPEN MY SHOWER DOOR AND CRAWL INSIDE to enjoy water play...

SO will somebody please tell me where the last 11 months have gone? I am astounded that these boys are approaching 1 year. In a few weeks we will gather to celebrate James and John David's FIRST BIRTHDAY! What a celebration to be a part of. I am grateful beyond words.

I realize I have not been keeping up with this blog as frequently as I'd like to, but honestly I am zapped by 11 pm and that is usually when I have the chance to update. Right this minute I am trying to upload some recent pics, keep John David out of my Peace Lily plant and from yanking cords out of outlets behind end tables as well as keep James from standing up against the FLAT WALLS in the hallway and slamming his face on the hardwood floors for the zillionth time, all the while making phone calls, laundry, picking up floors, feeding boys, and being ready to leave in 15 min to pick up Ellie from school. Did I mention that I have to keep moving away from John David because he is infatuated with LICKING MY LEGS...I know gross ugh! He loves my cucumber melon lotion and the boy is purely a GARBAGE GUT! Daddy calls him FATS now! I constantly rake stuff out of his mouth daily. Oh yea, I am sure of one thing, James Danile will be a swimmer or drummer one.. His feet are in constant motion and banging two objects together is hi passion!!!

Whoever said staying home would be easier than going to work..yea right! The only easier part of "staying home" is the lesser amount of effort you put into YOURSELF! I don't shower and dress nicely for my days anymore. NOPE..just gym clothes and lots of body splash...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day!

I didn't even know there was such a thing...preemie awareness day...heck yea! I am all about raising awareness of something that is so dear to my heart. Those of you who have followed our story for a while know all the miraculous details of how our boys "survived" to be born. I have spoken honestly and freely about my feelings of being chosen to carry out another one of our great God's miracles.

When we first realized that the only chance of having these boys would be through early delivery (and when I mean early I am not talking a couple of weeks). Doctors were certain that "if" the boys survived long enough in my womb, they would be taken no later than 32 weeks. It was almost like a "death of a dream" when I realized that the best case scenario for us would be PREMATURE BABIES...No mother ever dreams of having a preemie baby. I mean seriously, have you ever heard of a mom say, "I am so excited I have the opportunity to deliver 10 weeks early"...But you know what, I am thankful that I was chosen to be a preemie mom, not by my design but GOD's alone. He truly had more involved in the delivery of our boys than Dana's wishes. I have to remember how many people were touched by our story and how many people grew closer to God simply because of the prayer we begged to have from all we knew.

My heart crumbled at the thought of having teeny tiny preemie babies with a multitude of problems and worries. I had already had three healthy, full term babies and now I was going to be faced with the overwhelming fear of either death or extreme prematurity. God was my ROCK and my strength through it all, but the Internet was my resource of knowledge. So I became "knowledgeable" about prematurity and prayed ALL THE TIME!

I will never forget:
LEAVING THE HOSPITAL WITH MY HUSBAND (WHO WAS COMPLETELY AMAZING BY THE WAY)AND LEAVING OUR BOYS BEHIND...felt like my heart was shattered into bits as I walked out the door.

There is just a wealth of emotions that a mommy endures through an experience of the NICU with a preemie baby. I still think often of those moms out there who are currently living that "NICU LIFE" and pray for their strength daily.

God definitely chooses his preemie moms and if you are one reading this blog today, I want to tell you to be proud and thankful for being the chosen one. God intends for you to be a support and lift the burden and heartache of another mom who is walking in your same shoes.

I will never forget Amy Crawford Shaver (her little boy was born at 28 wks), she emailed me when I was in the hospital weeks before having James and John David and she told me her story and my heart felt peace. God sent her to me.
I will never forget Missy Gurley (the Gurley Girl Mono Twins), who had the same mono twins as we did. Her story brought peace to my heart. God sent her to me.
I will never forget Misty Basinger (her twin boys born at 30 wks) randomly found her through a multiples group in B'ham. Her story brought peace to my heart. God sent her to me.
I will never forget Mika Cornwell Shelfer (her first son born at 27 wks, her daughter born at 26 weeks) we actually grew up together and her story is so amazing. Her faith in God challenged mine and I thank her so much for it. God sent her to me.

There were others along the way that encouraged me and supported me through it all and I have a feeling, that is how God intends for it to happen. He doesn't give you the storm without seeing you through to the rainbow.

I remember thinking I had to be the only person in the world with a heart that ached as so..But then I started reaching out to others who had walked in my shoes (somewhat) and met other mommies of preemie babies present and past and it was such a comfort! I was grateful for the moms I met in the NICU while our boys were there as well as moms I had met prior to our NICU stay.

Our NICU experience was designed by God and I am grateful for it. I appreciate the nurses and doctors that took care of our boys more than any string of words I put together could ever express.

I am thrilled to say today, that my precious preemie boys are thriving well and healthy as can be. A pure miracle is what I call it! And yes, for those of you who question the power of a miracle...IT ACTUALLY DOES HAPPEN...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

John David Pate

So now it is John Daivd's update turn... Where shall I start..My sweet John David. He appears at times to be very laid back (like his daddy) takes alot to upset him , not to mention he also has a switch that can be flipped and if it ever is, boy watch out! John David is known around here as the "bigger one"...definitely the more patient one of the two. In the womb however, John David was the "busy" one..always on the move and getting himself in trouble tangling cords with his brother. I can vividly remember one of my ultrasounds when Ms. Leisa the technician said, "Well look at that, Baby B (John David) is literally sitting on Baby A's head...yep you got it, boy parts were floating across James' forehead.

John David has tendencies to put EVERYTHING in his mouth. The boy is always in trouble trying to eat the coals out of the fireplace, the leaves of my peace lily plant, pieces of cardboard from the girls' kitchen toys,and whatever else he gets his hands on! So far he has digested a miniature band aid and a tiny piece of cardboard.

John David is NOT a picky eater. He eats anything we give him. Fruits, veggies, meats, the more variety the better for him. He loves to go to the same spot in my kitchen (by the window under the table) and destroy the leaves of my Peace Lily plant. He is infatuated with the fireplace, enjoys clanging the chain link curtain. John David laughs easily...doesn't take much to get him giggling. He has just figured out that he likes standing up holding on to something (like the couch) but can't pull himself up to standing position yet, so he fusses until someone (usually me or Claire) helps him. He was first to cut the first tooth (the right one of course). We assume he will be the right handed dominate kid. Since brother is showing signs of being the "lefty" we assume John David will be the "righty".

He is a joy to nurture and love each day and I am honored to be his mommy.

Here is video of John David playing "bonk" with Daddy. This was their first game to "learn" to play and interact with us...go figure, Daddy teaches them to "head butt"...

The boy is obsessed with the fireplace..

Saturday, November 7, 2009

James Daniel Pate!

I decided to dedicate a post to each boy INDIVIDUALLY, since after all they are not the same baby...but individually different. I can already sense that it will be important as the years to come, for us to recognize these boys as different people and not constantly compare them as being the same. They do look identical but have already shown us in many ways of being completely different. James Daniel has been tagged as the "smaller one", and the "busier one", and will probably soon be referred to as the "entertaining one"...He is a great baby and has won over my heart for sure. Here's to James Daniel:

James has a quick temper, a rather short fuse. He reminds me of Ellie, he seems to either be really happy or really NOT. When James is hungry or needs to be changed, he communicates his desires rather abrasively. There isn't much lag time with James. He prefers immediate gratification.

He was the "first" to be born, and seems to be the "first" to eat, drink, play, sleep...whatever the task may be. He was labeled "baby A" in the womb. On ultrasounds, James always seemed to be the calmer baby. He was nestled down at the bottom of the womb without much room to move about...boy is he making up for lost time now. This crazy baby is crawling everywhere. He doesn't crawl to specifically get something, no, he more or less crawls around to "explore" his surroundings. I swear his little mind is already working overtime trying to "figure it all out". I presume he will be much like his mommy. BUSY and STRONG..determined, loving and emotional..and of course slightly hyper (but in a good way).

James loves his blueberry muffins, cotton candy yogurt, applesauce with vanilla yogurt, cinnamon roll oatmeal and of course "mommy's ice-cream cones"... James crawls very well and as a matter of fact, he crawls over objects, under objects, around objects and basically over anything in his way, he reminds me of a bulldozer..just levels whatever is in his way (even his brother at times). He adores bath time...loves playing in the water...he sucks the washcloth, puts his face under the running water, bangs his metal spoon against the bathtub and laughs as he does it.

James is constantly kicking his feet (shuffling them like he is running somewhere) I jokingly say he is going to be my triathlete one day. Maybe he will run marathons with his mommy:) He likes to sleep on his belly cuddled in his blanket. He is going to be a lefty. He eats with his left hand, grasps objects and shakes rattles with his left hand and believe it or not, he is cutting the "left" teeth. Little buddy is a snaggle tooth..the left top and left bottom teeth are coming in at the same time. Brother has the right ones. I have researched mirror image twins and I do believe we have ourselves a set of mirror image twins.

James Daniel Pate is one of a kind. I am honored to be his mommy. I savor the days I am able to love him and nurse him, teach him and share moments with him. He is my precious son and I pray God would use his life to bring Glory and Honor to HIM!

Here are some recent videos of James.

James Daniel saying "mama"...Of course he is not referring to me as mama, but he is babbling Mamamamamam alot. Sometimes I will catch him saying it when I am feeding him or when he is hungry so maybe he is making reference to me as "mama" but for now, we enjoy hearing their sweet voices babble... *remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page and turn the music on the blog off so you can hear the video)

James Daniel laughing at Mommy saying "bonk"..we play a game called bonk. Basically Daddy has taught him how to "bonk heads" (or rather bang foreheads together)

James Daniel crawling up and down the hall way.