Sunday, July 1, 2012

Heartsticks and Heartstrings

Hi, there. Let's just pretend like my absence from cyberspace never happened, and we'll pick up right where we left off, k?  You didn't miss a lot, even though it was a lot. We moved. It was is was stressful. And other stuff.  Had an amazing women's retreat that was a lot of work for me but super worth it because it was a fabulous weekend with wonderful women and God was so good to us there. So for the past few weeks I had to devote myself strictly to studying and preparing for that (when I get the pictures from the person who took them I'd like to do another post about that event, so we'll see). All in all, it has been a packed couple of months for us with good moments and hard moments, long, drawn out stories and short stories, but now we're moving on. So, moving on.

The Pates are spread out at the moment- spread out as in different parts of the earth spread out. Chris is on a biblical study tour in Israel (which has been amazing, although I have only gotten bits and pieces), and the kids and I loaded up and came out to the country for a bit, aka Granna and Poppy's house. Although we're apart, and we miss Daddy terribly, this was a timely getaway for us all. As I drove away from the city I love so dearly, I could feel weight peeling off and flying out of the window. It's hard to explain, but when God gives you a city to serve, love, and labor for, it's heavy stuff, a thick mantle.  And although we love what we do, wouldn't dream of doing anything else, and have deep, deep rooted love for Houston and the people in it, sometimes you need to lay that very heavy mantle down to take a breather in order to be the best you can be. Liken it to a soldier leaving the battlefield to be refreshed, replenished, and rested to be able to go right back to the front lines of battle with tireless and gutsy resolve. 'Cause love is a battlefield, y'all. Thank you Pat Benetar (yeah, I did that).

So for me, coming here is very timely because it's just about everything that my life in the city is not. There's just something about the wide open plain out here that clears space to let my heart and mind breathe. The nothingness of the pastures that disappear into the horizon with the fullness of family is just right. Plus, let's face it- almost two weeks of being home alone with three kids didn't really sound as appealing as braving the road trip solo and spending some time with family. And I'm happy to report that although it was a long trip, my kids were traveling champions.  An angelic anointing came over all three when we hit the road and they were perfect.  I'm sure that's what we like to call grace. Anyway, among some other things, I hope to be able to get back to a little writing while I'm out here.  This is the first step :) I still have every intention of writing a lot more, even though I hit that little bump in the road recently. I need to turn it in for the night, but here are a few pics of our time so far:

There's usually a new animal or two around when we come, and these four kittens were the new barnyard companions. Don't think they will all be staying around, though. Although I'm not a cat person, even I can't deny that kittens are pretty cute. Too bad they grow up to be cats.

Quintessential Elk City experience- going to the city park to ride the carousel, the train, and get a salty frog snow cone.  This was Jaxon's first trip to the park.

We got a visit from my aunt, uncle, and sweet cousin and her little baby boy.  He was a sweetie! So good to see them for a brief moment.

Cadence is busy from sun up to sun down on the farm.  Not that this is much different from home, except that she has a lot more to do around here!  She picked these leaves off of a tree, found sticks, and called this little project "Heartsticks" (hence the post title). She is her mother's daughter- got the crafty gene for sure :)  Thought this was too sweet!

When it's over 100 degrees around here, cooling off is essential. Makeshift pool from a horse tank seems to get the job done.  And provide hours of fun, too, of course!  And in the background is Granna's awesome garden.  Can't beat fresh veggies for dinner!
Oh yeah, he's having himself a good time around here.

Wide open plain. Tugging at my heartstrings.

Be back for more soon!  I think I need Chris to hack this blog when he gets home to share some of his incredible pictures from Israel, too!

Peace out from the Pate house.

Monday, April 30, 2012

One for the record!

Just had to throw this on here so I can look down at my sidebar and at least see a number 1 beside April posts.  I'll be back shortly with an explanation of why the last several weeks of our life have been missing from cyberspace.  I did not forget about you. There's good reason, friends.  Let's just say that when I put up the next post, it will be from a different address then I'm at today. That's right, and this one's permanent. God is good. And that's all I can say for now.

Can I make up for it by posting some extremely cute pictures of my children from Easter (that most of you have already seen) in the mean time?  I thought so.  Thanks for being gracious.

Peace out from the Pate house.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hellooooooo Kitty.

We had a lovely little Hello Kitty party in our home for Cadence's birthday.  So. much. Hello. Kitty.  I'll admit- she's the only cat I will tolerate.  For the love of my daughter.  But we had fun with our friends, little and big.  Here's a little photo recap of the afternoon:

The party girl is forcibly stopped stops for the obligatory in front of the cake party pose before the festivities began.  She's been waiting to turn six for months now, and believe me- she's going to be a busy girl because everything has been "Well, when I'm six....".  Six is really important.

Decorations. My favorites are the circle mobiles I threw together and the rainbow fruit kabobs Addison and Cadence assembled for me.
And the cake pops.  This was my first attempt at cake pops.  While these kitty ones were a bit tedious (and we had some "oopsy kitty" outtakes in the fridge that didn't make the cut), they were really fun to make.  I always love trying new things!

Two of the party games: the traditional piƱata and pin the bow on the kitty.  Our big friends even joined in the fun!
Pensively awaiting the birthday song. 
Probably everyone's favorite activity: make your own cake pops station.  So fun!
Some of our beautiful and tasty creations!

Cadence. Oh, Cadence.  The best way I can think of to describe my daughter is that.... she is Cadence. Her own person- beautiful, colorful, affectionate, strong of mind, quirky, passionate, creative, sassy, and a blur of motion and energy. So smart and reading and writing well already in kindergarten. She trips, falls, busts, and crashes about one hundred times a day because she can't slow down, and one of these days we'll miss the little lisp she has when she talks because those front two teeth will finally come in (surely!). She loves anything artsy and gives things away from her room when friends come over.  There's lots of love in that tiny little body. Our little blue eyed daughter, in a sandwich of brothers.  Love her so.

Hope six is everything you imagined it to be and more.

Peace out from the Pate house.

Friday, March 2, 2012


Greetings.  We have returned from our week of travels, but this week has been a long recovery because right after we got back in town we had a big birthday party and then sick kiddos (mostly one baby).  So things are slow going this week.  But we wanted to share some of our travels with you.

Our first stop was Boerne, Tx, by San Antonio.  Chris was the main speaker at a Disciple Now youth event with three different churches coming together for the weekend.  We stayed with some friends and enjoyed our visit.  Chris also was amazing, of course.  It was a lot for him- he preached five times in three days!  The last day he spoke at the First Baptist Church (pictured below during the D-now event), which was well over a thousand people in two services!  The whole event and that Sunday morning went really well, people (young and old) were saved, and it was so great to see so many young people passionate and fired up!

After the weekend was over, we headed out to Sea World Monday for a family day.  The entire experience was perfect.  Perfect weather, no crowds whatsoever, kids were great, and just an all around fun day.  We so needed a fun day like that together, no stress and relaxed.
Here's some of the awesome sea friends we saw.
Addison rode his first roller coaster. Couldn't believe he did it, and not only did he do it but ended up riding it three times.  That's the one on the right. The one on the left Chris and both the kids rode. Cadence thought it was a lot of fun.
On the way to our last stop, Austin, we went to a drive thru Safari outside of San Antonio.  The kids especially enjoyed the little petting zoo, as you can see.  The picture on the top right here is really special, not only because you can see how thin my hair is postpartum (I'm hoping it will go back to normal soon?) but because as I was watching Jaxon playing with the baby goats, one of them was behind me eating my cardigan.  For real. Holes and all, totally destroyed. Not cool, little baby goat. Not cool.  But how precious is the baby llama?
Austin was a quick day trip for a worship gathering of Every Nation worship leaders in Texas that Chris spoke at and we were a part of.  Being the tail end of the trip and all the kids were a little road weary, but considering they had to sit there all day and behave they were still troopers.  We rolled back into town a little before midnight, totally exhausted.  A busy, full, but good week.

Big Hello Kitty Birthday post soon to follow.  Peace out from the Pate house.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fast Lane February!

February is most certainly living up to the expectation we had for it- fast and furious!  I'm kind of liking the iPhone dump system I've had lately, except that I'd like to do it more like once a week instead of once a month!  I've been pretty good about taking pictures because of a sort of, semi-scrapbook project that I'm doing offline, so it makes sense to dump them off my phone onto the ol' bloggity blog as an "our week in pictures" type of thing. (What was that we did again before the iPhone? Yeah, I don't remember, either.) I'm still fleshing out the format of the blog, what's doable and realistic for me, how often, the different focuses, etc., so bear with me through it you faithful, you members of my family plus about three that read this.

This has only been the past two weeks.  And I don't have a picture representation for everything that's gone on, so fast and furious is accurate!

One of the great perks of living in a big city is that there's always something really great going on you can be a part of.  Right down the street from us Israel Houghton and the New Breed recorded their new live album and we got to go.  The atmosphere was absolutely electric- it was such a blast!  The kids were so into it.  There's hardly anything that touches my heart more than to see Addison worshiping. He gets so into it.  I would have loved to snap a pic of him but I didn't want to embarrass him!
A few days later we had a Super Bowl party at our house (after the Saturday of a church wide service project and friend's birthday party).  It was massive- there was undoubtedly more food than Thanksgiving or Christmas, probably combined.  Prizes for who called the score and yards for half time/game, half time paper football tournament, tons of people, and did I mention all the food?  

These feet are shuffling together 24/7.  Check out those little chunky legs, would ya? 
Random school picture.  Fractions and shading fractions. Oh yeah.
After a another record attendance this past Sunday (we're bumping up against 150!), we had our New Comer's Dinner in our home.  We push the limits of how many people we can cram into our dining space every time we have one of these, and this time there were over 20 new people there.  City Life Church is a fast moving train, and sometimes we feel like we can barely hang on to keep up but it's an exciting ride!

Not only has our home been perfect for all of the many things we have going on in it, but I keep finding surprises planted in the landscaping.  I can't tell you what this is (because I don't know), but it's making an appearance in our front yard and it is the best. smelling. plant. ever.  Ever. I wish this picture was scratch and sniff so you could see for yourself. It's like something that would be a fruity lotion smell. 

We received some really hard news about a family member who is beginning her journey battling cancer this week.  Her faith is so strong and inspiring, and she has such a courageous spirit and we know God is strong with her and is our Healer.  Janet, if you're reading this we love you so much and are praying for you!  (and I promise I'm getting these sweet cards Addison and Cadence made in the mail!)

 And finally my little hearts.  I call this my little Valentine's Day miracle, because you know the process behind getting this final product.  I am always amazed when I can get a picture where everyone is actually looking in the same direction and making a non-strange expression.  My little babies are so beautiful, if I do say so myself.  And yes, it appears Jaxon's hair is red in these pics.  It doesn't always look like that, but it seems like every time he has a picture taken it comes out like that.  Time will tell, I guess! If you look really hard in his picture you can see a bottom tooth poking out.  Yeah, that one is costing us some!

 Peace out from the Pate house.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On writing, disciplines, and snotty noses.

I've been thinking a lot lately about writing.  One of my goals in the new year is to write more. Not sure where it will lead, what form it will take (songs, blogs, etc.), or why I really feel such a fire in my bones to do it, but I've done all my wrestling with that and now I'm just going to figure out how to make it happen.  I'm afraid I won't have anything to say that matters, I'm afraid nobody will care if I do or if I don't (which shouldn't matter, but just being honest), and now my pride doesn't want to do it because Mommy blogging...well, blogging in general I guess, is taking over the universe right now and everybody is doing it. It's that teenager independence thing, that I can't do what everybody else is doing, thing. I know, mature. But guess what?  The latter is my own fault- I mean, I have been blogging for over three years now, and if I'd been cranking out more than the obligatory catching up, look how cute and brilliant my kids are posts every now and then (which I will shamelessly continue to do, btw), as was my original intention, I would have been cool like that.  And I would have been obedient to my convictions. But I digress.

As much as I love to write, feel like I need to write, I've struggled with penning what's in my heart and ultimately sharing it. Here's one of my problems. I think there's this misconception about having a desire or strong feeling to do something.  We think that just because we are inspired or called to action that it will magically just happen for us. That inspiration will hit us in just the moment we need it- and when it doesn't we just shrug our shoulders, go on about our business, and think maybe we weren't supposed to do that after all.  The misconception lies in the process.  Because sometimes I think we forget there is a process. I've heard this process described many times before, cleverly packaged into three D's:


They are somewhat self-explanatory, so I won't insult your intelligence by going into great detail on all three. But I will say I think we typically want to go, or feel as it should go, straight from desire to the delight stage.  Getting the idea, desiring a better relationship, wanting to change those habits, do something in your heart etc. and then wanting to immediately reap the delight of having accomplished the desire through a wave of inspiration. Bam. Done. Desire is so noble, so fueled by motivation, so right, and delight is...well, delightful!  But discipline is so boring, so unglamorous, and so. much. work. It takes all the fun out of what you wanted in the first place. Like we've bought into this lie that if something is meant to be we won't have to work for it because it will just happen, while your perfect soundtrack is playing behind you in your perfect moment.  Lots of people feel this way about relationships, trust me- we've talked to them-, but that's just one example out of many. What I'm talking about applies to about anything worth doing you can think of.

But it's in the trenches of discipline, in the wrestling around and trudging through the consistency and work of it, the every day stick-to-itiveness that something tangible is born out of the intangible desire. It's through the discipline that we become. We become what we desire and it's to our ultimate delight.

Because, really, the delight at the end of the tunnel (oh wow, unintentional cheesy pun) is all the more delightful, carries so much more weight when you work really hard for it, no?

I know that, yet I still struggle with the discipline stage of the process. I'm not really known to be the most disciplined person to begin with. I'm a live in the moment, love to be surrounded by inspiration kind of person, so to me the idea of doing something even if you're not inspired to do so, just because you should and need to, is a hard pill for my artsy little soul to swallow sometimes.  Maybe that's just me.  Being disciplined and focused actually seems to be custom built into some personalities, and I'm a little jealous of those. But if anybody that happens to read this is like me, let this be an encouragement to you, as it will be an accountability to myself, to press through and keep the discipline of consistency. I've learned to embrace discipline through the years, not because I like it, but because I know the transformation taking place inside of me because of it. Keep on doing what you need to do, even if you don't feel like it.  Don't let the desire die. Do it if it feels like drudgery.

Because one day you might look up and the drudgery might have turned into delight and you're doing what you wanted to do.

This is where I am with writing.  I have to change the way I think about it and approach it. I need to be in the trenches with it more, as a daily (or almost daily) discipline rather than looking at it as something I will sit down and do when "inspiration" hits. I've learned that doesn't really happen and consequently the non-writing happens as a result. Rarely does inspiration hitting and me having a moment to sit down and go with it fall into the same space. Part of discipline is making a plan for yourself instead of just waiting around and thinking things will fall into place the way they need to.  They won't. I am going to make some space on this blog for my thoughts.  And I will continue to write about my family and overload your cuteness capacity with pictures and quotes from my precious children.  And I will try to make it a little predictable, as in certain days having certain themes.  That way if you don't want to read about snotty noses or first teeth (both of which I have in my home currently) you don't have to.  Maybe, just maybe one day I will have another blog.  But let's face it- some days it's a big deal if I can get a shower before 5:00, so I've got to take baby steps, people.  Just gotta start where I'm living, you know?

Finally, a quote I heard from a book I think I want to read: "Our stories affect one another whether we know it or not. Sometimes obedience isn't for us at all, but for another." I'm hoping on the inside that will happen, because it's the only way I won't feel silly and self-promoting in sharing.  Because what do I even have to offer- who am I kidding?  But that leads me to the part two of what keeps us from doing what we need to do, based on something else I read:

"Don't compare your behind the scenes to someone else's highlight reel."  Yep. To be continued...

Peace out from the Pate house.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Oh, what's that you say?  It's almost February?  Ooops.

We've been a little busy around here trying to launch the Pate Family 2.0 upgrade for 2012, riding the wave of motivation and focus that comes along with the beginning of a new year.  Only problem is that we literally rode the wave into the new year- as in, if we had to walk on our own two legs into the new year we would have crawled and then collapsed when we crossed the finish line of 2011.  Since I have yet to convince our sweet Jaxon that he will not miss anything at 3:00am, that the rest of the world is sleeping and so should we, we are trying with all our might to keep up with the pace the new year is bringing but truth be told...we're kinda needing about a week straight of uninterrupted, taking sleeping pills kind of sleep a little tired. He's slowly, and I do mean slowly, starting to get better.  I know it will come.  And he just so happens to be about the cutest, most charming thing you've ever seen and pretty happy at all other times, so he's sort of saving face right now.  Literally, with his face.  But in the meantime, we are probably maxing out our grace allotment for each day! It's amazing how not getting proper rest affects everything you do.  And considering I had sleeping problems in pregnancy (he got an early start), it's been almost a year since I have had much sleep worth writing home about.  So, I'm trying to forge on the best I can, trying to stay thankful (and I truly, truly am) for a healthy, beautiful baby and cherishing him in this phase of life, while trying to figure out how to get it all done in the current state of...well...this current state!  We have great ideas, great goals and vision, both personally and for our family, and we're implementing them a little at a time. So to say that we shot out into January with a bang?  Not exactly :)  But we're getting there.

That's one of the reasons I haven't posted much.  Haven't exactly been teeming with inspiration and extra time and energy.  I also got sick over Christmas and it hung around for entirely too long. And I have also had computer issues which has made it almost impossible to post, so I had that going for me as well.  So there.  Just kidding. I've at least solved the computer issues so we're back in business!

Here's a little of what we've been up to this month...

One of the first things we did to start the new year was to join the Y.  I cannot tell you how awesome this place is!  I need to try to get more pics of it, but it's a massive three story complex, with a huge workout area, women's only workout area complete with monitors to see inside the nursery, multiple studios that house the group fitness classes (the programs I used to teach, to be exact, which was a huge draw), racquetball courts, two swimming pools, batting cages, basketball courts, and the kids area has a huge playground and rock climbing wall.  And a huge bonus is that the nursery and child care area is full of wonderful people that take great care of the kids.  The whole family looks forward to going there every week, and we are so excited to be members!

Another great thing about the Y is that Addison got signed up for karate and he really likes it.  This will be week three, and it's going to be so great for him.  Have to get a better pic of him in the uniform, it's pretty intimidating :)  So the Y is like a one stop shop for us- drop off Addison at karate, drop off Cadence and Jaxon to play, and mommy and daddy go work out (and watch karate some).  Can't beat that!

 Our one big Christmas present to both big kids was an Xbox 360 with a Kinect.  As much as we have loved the Wii (and it's about to bite the dust on us), this really puts it to shame.  You truly use your body, no remotes (if it's a Kinect game anyway), and it's quite a workout!  I mean, not to name names or anything, but some people that might be pictured below were majorly sweaty and sore after playing some of the games!  It's a lot of fun.  The picture below is them boxing.  

 In response to the aforementioned present, Addison wrote us this.  It was so sweet.  In case you can't read the handwriting (we're working really hard on our penmanship cause as brilliant as that dude is it's one of the harder things for him), here's what this says: "Hello mommy and daddy I loved the xbox so much that I wanted to give you this card. It has money on the other page. Cadence wanted to pitch into it.  I love you guys so much. Love, Addison."  And the second page, complete with a pile of change (that included Chuckie Cheese coins), "This is all we have. Sorry we couldn't give more."  Yeah, pretty cute stuff.

We had our annual prayer and fasting week.  We had prayer meetings at our house every day that week, and it was really good.  We had at least 20 people show up every night.  It's always good to start the year out like this to get focused.  Even the kids participated on their own accord- they fasted dessert for the week!  

Jaxon has made the cross over to the big boy world and is eating baby food now.  Got this awesome machine for Christmas that steams the food and then blends it up right there.  I'm really enjoying making my own food this time around.  It's pretty easy and I feel good that I'm giving him the best nutritional start!  Wish I would have done it with the other two, but fortunately they're good eaters anyway :)

With the new year brought a new curriculum change for us in school.  I have switched everything but math to the A Beka curriculum, a very popular but trusted and proven one.  I feel better about this switch, and I love that it's written from a Christian perspective.  We are enjoying it very much so far.  Addison really seems to be enjoying History.

The new year also brought some new changes to our bedroom.  For the first time in eleven years of marriage, we have purchased our first bed!  Of course, we have always had a bed but just always been blessed with some great hand-me-downs over the years.  I will wait for another post to reveal the finished product of this monstrosity, but it's quite the bed!  The good news was that a lot of it was assembled already inside these boxes. 

Cadence is also having a good time in school.  She created this little diorama one day and she got to name the city whatever she wanted so she picked this.  Of course she did.  This is just the kind of city Cadence would live in.

Chris's birthday fell on a Sunday this year.  God is certainly moving at City Life Church! He preached a great message, followed by a birthday lunch at one of our personal favs, Grand Luxe! Man, that's some good eating!

And what does a six month old do all day long, you ask?  Well, he plays and plays, with hopefully a little rest in between.  Pictured is the bumbo seat, new high chair, and jumperoo play thing, all which he loves.  He also loves just rolling around on the floor, eating his toes.  We have a little cushioned mattress topper on the floor for now, since our first floor is all hardwood.  And he has also moved to his crib in his room.  He has been in our room with us, and I was hoping he'd be sleeping through the night when we moved him upstairs to his room.  But he's not and it was time, so oh well!  But really, can he be any cuter???  I think not.

 So there's a little big snippet of January.  And I had to get this in today because I just couldn't live with myself if I looked at that side bar and next to January there was a big, FAT zero.  The month was here and it was gone in a breath.  And February will be the same- lots going on, but hopefully with a little more documentation this time :)

Peace out from the Pate house.