Sunday, December 28, 2008

Turkey dinner anyone?

There is actually a flock of wild turkeys that live around my parents house. They are huge and really funny when they fly. (I didn't know they turkeys flew I guess). They look like they are crashing when they fly up into a tree. Camden really likes animals, but can't quite figure out how to classify these strange looking things. Birds to him are little. He keeps meowing at them.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A dream come true

We have been commenting that for the 13 years Andrew has come to Milton-Freewater at Christmas time he has always wanted lots of snow. We have had a little some times, but like in Portland, nothing like this year. The sledding up in the wheat field has been great. The pictures are fun:

Camden is a boy after his mothers heart, cold is not good. He doesn't like his gloves on, immediately pulls them off, then screams. Sledding hasn't been a long or very fun activity for him. We gave it a good try.
Except for Camden everyone has had a great time. We keep telling our kids that they need to enjoy and remember this-

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How God decorates for Christmas

I thought this tree was so pretty:

These sunflowers look pretty funny too:

Merry White Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A good dad makes his kids birthday cake

I already wrote about Hudson's birthday, but since I'm stuck here in the snow I have time to do more! (aren't you happy!) I'm down at my Dad's office answering phones (I'm quite the receptionist) so I uploaded a couple more pictures. Because of the snow there was no school last Tuesday on Hudson's birthday which turned out great because our whole family was able to go to JJ Jump together which is exactly what Hudson wanted to do for his birthday. The only glitch in his day was he planned on bringing Transformer cupcakes to school on his birthday, which of course didn't happen. I did have a couple of tutoring students come that afternoon, so during that time Daddy came to the rescue and made Hudson a Transformer cake. It was great. Here it is:

I'm not sure the picture does it justice... It was so funny- he stuck one of Hudson's transformers in it, then part of a transformer package, then tried to make flames (?) out of a green frosting tube and chocolate chips. It was really funny. The great thing was that Hudson LOVED it. Andrew and I just laughed as Hudson talked about how great it was. And what is more funny is he wasn't impressed AT ALL with the fish cake that I made for his party. Here is what it looked like:

What Hudson will remember is that his dad made him a transformer cake. My kids are so blessed to have such a great dad! (cake decorating skills are not required to be a good dad :) )

And just for fun here is a picture of the kids at JJ Jump. What a fun birthday!

This may make you tired.

My parents roof is flat, super cool when it is nice weather because they have a deck up there that has an amazing view. The quantity of snow we have in M-F right now however made us a touch nervous with the roof though. Fortunately Tennille and I married well because our industrious husbands went up there and took care of it. We are even more fortunate because Nathan captured the whole thing on video and made this movie. It is only one minute long, be warned you might be motivated to go out and scoop snow. Or you might be more motivated to go get a cup of hot chocolate and sit by the fire. Whatever sounds good to you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Boys Birthday Party

Our family is currently in Eastern Oregon, snowed in, and so I'll take this opportunity to catch up on some blog posts. This is when we had Hudson and Camden's birthday party. We did a combined fish party, complete with a fishing game and a fish race with real fish!

Come on little fish, get to the end!

Careful how close you get!

Gramma Arlene did the fishing game, and the kids LOVED it!

Squirt bottles and fish...what could be better!

The boys each had their own cake.

And then one big Happy Birthday cake.

Thanks to everyone who helped the boys celebrate their 2nd and 5th birthdays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Dear Hudson~

F-I-V-E! as in, a handful! When I had you I didn't know if I knew what to do with a boy, so God gave me a little person that to quote your grandma is "all boy."

Hudson you have so many different sides. You are completely boy in everything you do, and are also so sweet. You are affectionate and very quick to tell us how much you love us. Two different times today I have gotten tears in my eyes because you have said in a sweet sincere little voice, "thanks for all the presents mom, this was the best day ever." The first time you said this was only at 9:30 this morning, but it had already been the best day ever. You are also really tough, willing to wrestle almost to the death and your tackle can take me down. You have almost endless energy that finally runs out at bedtime where most nights you fall asleep with a book on your head. Your curious about everything and love to try out new things, but you also have times, often when it is not even new, that you decide your going to be shy and timid.

This fall you started going to preschool and you have loved it. (except for the 7 minute drive there, more on that in a minute) You don't really tell me much about it, when I ask who you play with you say, "everyone." When I ask what you do you say, "lots of stuff." When I ask who your friends are you say, "all the boys, and almost all the girls, just not the one who cries." (note to girls in the future who want to date you: don't be too emotional.) After your sister who shares in great detail every event of her whole day, this lack of information left me with a little apprehension when it came to conference time (preschool conferences do seem funny). I couldn't have been more pleased with you after the conference though. You do a good job on all your "work" in school and have lots of friends (turns out your everyone" description was right) and aside from occasionally talking too much (genetic problem) your behavior is great.

The thing that makes you crazy, and has since this summer, is riding in the car. We must have traveled too much this summer, because you have not tolerance for car rides. Some mornings you don't even want to go to school because you can't handle the thought of being in the car for so long. Sitting still that long is evidently just cruel and unusual torture for you. We're hoping that you grow out of this soon, specifically by Saturday when we are driving to Milton-Freewater. Because then we have to drive back home on Tuesday, then to Salem on Wednesday, then back to M-F on Thursday and then back home I don't know when. I can't imagine what we have done to make you not like to travel...

I love when you pray because you start every sentence with "I just bless..." even if it is not a person. Each night at dinner you pray, "I just bless that we'll have a great day." It is so darn cute there is no way I'm correcting it.

Today has been a great day for our family. It was a snow day so although you didn't get to bring the transformer cupcakes to school that you had been planning, our whole family went to JJ Jump together and then out to lunch. It was a perfect day for you. We had a birthday party for you and Camden on Saturday night, and after talking about your birthday party for the last 11 months, I think you loved it.

We had a fish party, complete with a fish race. Planning a party for you is tricky because you have been thinking and planning your birthday party for the last 11 months. One week this summer I started a blog post, that I never finished with all the comments you made over a one week period of time about your birthday. Since I never finished the post, here is what I wrote down:
5/29-Reminds me that he is going to have his birthday party at the Helm's house (where Andrew's tennis team had their end of the year party-in an outdoor pool) and he is inviting all the boys on the Barlow tennis team.

6/1-"I'm going to have my birthday party at the church retreat and invite all the kids from there."

6/3-"Mom, I'm going to have a dinosaur birthday because dinosaurs are my favorite animal."

6/4-Spends 45 minutes circling almost everything in an Oriental Trading catalog that he wants to use for this birthday party.

6/4- Has me write a list of all the people he is inviting to his birthday, then tapes it to the tree in our front yard.

6/5- "For my next birthday after the next Pirate birthday I'm going to have my birthday at the zoo. Because the zoo is WARM THERE" (he says really excitedly). (I just said "okay," didn't want to burst his bubble by telling him it was rarely warm at the Portland Zoo, especially in the middle of December.)

6/5- (at WinCo) "I want to buy these chips for my birthday!"

6/5- "What I want for my birthday is Legos with lots of guys and a skateboard, and that's all. Plus some other stuff I'll tell you later."

6/5- "I'm going to use the baseball bat for my pinata-ia, and I'm going first because it is my birthday."

6/6- "At my party I'm going to have one pinata-ia for... how old's Ainsley? (seven) yeah, one for 7 year-olders, and one for 4 year-olders and one for Seth and one for Colin, and one for me and mine is first."

6/6- "At my birthday I'm the only one who can run, nobody else."

6/6- "We're going to hide the treasure under my bed and then at my party I'll know where it is and I'll get there first."

Hopefully your party lived up to your expectations.

5 years ago tonight when I had just had you I could have never guessed how much I would love you and how wonderful it would be to have a little boy. You have exceeded all my expectations.

Happy 5th birthday Hudson. I love you.

(you can start planning your 6th birthday party now.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who says my life isn't a party?

We play party games around here all day long. Mad Gab to be specific. Have you played this game before? You repeat some random words over and over until you and your teammates figure out an actual phrase that sounds like the random words. For example (actually off a cereal box) "Folk is Son's Cool" say it over and over until you figure out it says, "Focus on School."

Living with Camden right now is like a non-stop game of Mad Gab. He tells you something and you need to either do what he is telling you, or if it is just a comment, he wants you to repeat it back to him. And he KNOWS if you really understand what he said and are repeating it correctly or if your faking it by saying some random words that sound about right. This morning it took me all of breakfast before I finally let him down out of his high chair so he could show me what he was saying because all I could get was, "A icky house is on a flying flea." No matter how many times I said it I couldn't figure it out.

Can you figure it out? The flying is what threw me off- Turns out it was, "A Mickey mouse on the Christmas Tree."

Party games at the Pate house 24/7.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In case you thought I was kidding, here is more proof.

You think I'm exaggerating when I have told you over and over how much Camden likes balls right? All we got him for his birthday was balls and hoops. (as if there aren't already enough in this house)So he opened his presents and played for a bit, then we sat down at the table to sing to him and have cupcakes.

You know what happened don't you.

He was good with the song and even blowing out the candle. But he couldn't be bothered with eating his cupcake, just licked a little frosting and then was "ALLDONEALLDONEALLDONE" because he wanted to get down and play with his new balls and hoop more.

Maybe we should do the cake before the presents at his birthday party this Saturday.

He is also cracking me up because he likes to bring me paper and a pen and tells me to draw "ba-ket-ball" and then "fut-ball" then "hoop" over and over, in that order. Just seeing my pathetic drawings on paper make him happy. This is one funny kid.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Good Consumer

We interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast of random kid stories for this thought provoking video. I promise I'll get back to happy little kid stories next time.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The way to a (little) man's heart

Food of course.

Even as young as almost five. I have two examples.

I came home from the store last week and Hudson started rummaging through the bags and found a bag of chex mix (I usually don't buy that, but it was on sale and my parents were coming) Hudson saw it, let out a audible gasp, and ran over and hugged my leg for a good solid minute. He then looked up and said, "your the best mommy ever."

I was cooking the other day and Hudson was completely engrossed playing with tinker toys. The kind of play where kids mumble to themselves and the roof could come crashing down around them but they are so involved they would never notice. Evidently some smells can take them out of this play trance because all of a sudden as I had meatballs frying on the stove Hudson suddenly stops and looks up. He says, "that smells soooooooo good." I said, "yes it does." Then he says in a breathy voice, "mom, I just love you so much."

So all I have to do to qualify for mother of the year in Hudson's eyes is feed him well.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Camden

Dear Camden,

I just put you to bed as a one year old for the last time. I can't believe my baby is two. I have to write a birthday post to you when your in bed, because heaven only knows the chaos that would ensue if I tried to sit down and write at the computer when you are awake.

Speaking of bed, when we put you to bed we sing Jesus Loves Me. Most of the time it is really cute because you are learning to sing along, rather than just sing "ball, ball, ball" over and over with the song. But sometimes if you don't want to go to bed, as we are heading there you start yelling, "NO JESUS, NO JESUS" over and over. We're hoping there is not long term theological implications for you because of this.

Back when you were turning one, we thought we knew you. But this year, from one to two, we have really gotten to know you. As you are learning to talk, we are learning more and more about what is going on in that little head of yours. You talk SO MUCH. Way more than your siblings did at this age, which considering how much they talk now is enough to make us wonder if we are going to have to do something like have a timer at dinner to give everyone an allotment of talking time. This is one very chatty household. (and I know I have pointed it out before, but genetically you and your siblings are pretty much pre-destined to talk quite a bit.) Just this last month you have started telling us what to do, today in the car you told me, "too hot mommy, turn off." And when we sit down to eat dinner you are quick to tell us, "Cut it daddy, cut it daddy" over and over until it is done to your satisfaction.

You can count to thirteen all by yourself and you really surprised us a couple of months ago when you started joining in with Ainsley and Hudson saying the books of the old testament as they were memorizing them. The best part is when I was having you repeat them and we got to Ecclesiastes and unlike all the rest where you just repeated the word to the best of your ability, you paused and then said, "no." Not going to try that one. Your favorite to say is Ruth, or "Rooff" as you say it.

Your ultimate way of showing affection is giving a high-five. Although you call it "high-pife" and you have to hit someones hand about ten times in a row when they leave our house. You are sweet and cuddly and so friendly to other people. You are always willing to be held and cuddled by just about anyone. I wasn't even shocked this weekend when you willingly just hopped up on Santa's lap and didn't even blink an eye that we were putting on on the lap of a strangly dressed man that you had never seen before.

It is amazing that I'm almost to the end of this letter and I haven't mentioned balls yet. I thought Hudson loved balls, but you my little friend are crazy about balls. You don't play with any toys, all you do is kick and throw balls. If daddy is watching a basketball game you will sit up by him and become absolutely engrossed, (I'm just going to take a minute right now to pray for your future wife) as soon as a commercial comes on though, you hop down and do something else until the game is back on. I love the way you say basketball, it is "ba ket- ball," really fast.

You are so smart, funny, and cute. No matter how big you get I hope I never forget the feeling of you snuggling into my neck. I love when I'm carrying you and you are cold and you fold up your hands and put your chin down on your chest as you squeeze in tight to me. I love when you have something that you don't want someone to take away that you lay down on the floor on top of the prized object. I love how you say "hi" to people and objects constantly in this cute little sing song voice. "Hi punkin', hi meow cat, hi Ainsley, hi Hudson..." I love that whenever we are standing in line in the store now and you see candy you yell "trick-or-treat" over and over. I love how brave and tough of a little kid you are (although I know that will lead us to the ER quite a few times in the future). I love how you and Hudson are starting to play together and how you want to do whatever he is doing. I love how you adore Ainsley. I love how active and busy you are even if it means you keep me really active and busy.

I know God has great things planned for you little boy. I love you. Happy second birthday.