Thursday, June 28, 2012

5 weeks and some change

Samuel had his five week check-up yesterday.  He was totally healthy.  What a huge blessing a healthy, happily growing baby is.  I am so grateful for my boys and for the way the Lord provides for them in every way.


5 weeks, 4 days
10 lbs, 3 oz (48th percentile)
23 inches (90th percentile)

Just to compare...Carter's stats at 5 weeks even:

10 lbs, 4 oz (54th percentile)
22 inches (58th percentile)

This leads me to the following conclusions:

  • Samuel is gaining weight at a much faster rate than his brother did.  (Carter weighed 8 lb 1 oz at birth, Samuel weighed 6 lbs 11 oz)  He's either going to be much bigger...or he just grew quickly to catch up :)
  • Samuel was one inch longer, but I think their measuring techniques leave quite a bit to be desired in terms of accuracy.  So I think they mean nothing...basically.  When they can stand and be measured, I think the percentiles might mean something to me...for now...nothing.  
  • inch makes 30% difference in the percentiles...psh.  These things cannot be accurate.  They would lead me to believe I am going to have one long, lean son.  Which, while possible, is highly unlikely.  Samuel comes from a gene pool complete with lots of dark skin, curly hair, and short stature.  "Long and lean" would have to come from quite the strong recessive gene pushing his way through all the short at our house!

This appointment was my first "two under two" at the doctor's office experience...and?  Not so bad.  We were five minutes early (Please note that I was an HOUR late for a play date on Monday.  An hour.  Sometimes things just pan out better than others.) and Carter played so nicely in the waiting room while Samuel slept in the Moby.  Then, Carter played and ate snacks in the exam room while we waited for the doctor.  Then he freaked all the way out and cried and ran away from me while they tried to weigh Samuel.  Because clearly that is serious torture.  Or something.  The nice, patient nurse carried Samuel back to the room while I toted my still-freaked-out toddler.  We read books together until the doctor came in and then he played cars on the floor during the exam.  (Building immunity and protecting sanity all at the same time...multi-tasking!)  Then Samuel got a shot and Carter lost it again.  Seriously?  The funny thing wasn't really as sympathetic as it sounds.  He was totally just scared that his turn was coming.  As soon as he realized it was just for Samuel, it was fine.  Oh my little not so tenderhearted boy...  I will say that Carter was super sweet when the shot was over (and he realized it was not his turn).  He climbed on the table and held Samuel's hand and patted his hand, shushing him until he stopped crying.  Though not incredibly sympathetic, Carter is a really great big brother to Samuel.

In other news, Samuel is getting stronger and stronger.  He can lift up his head, neck and chest and swivel around to see anything he'd like.  He's about two degrees from flipping himself over from tummy to back and has this big, wide-eyed look when he wants to take everything in.  He's still super noisy when he sleeps and still just as laid-back and sweet as the day we brought him home.  He eats every 2 or 3 hours...but has given me a few five hour stretches at night that were highly appreciated.  He LOVES having his head rubbed and will accept the pacifier if the moment feels right.  It's nothing like the love affair Carter shared with it.  Samuel burps with almost no effort...loud, boy burps that make people turn to look.  What a man cave I'm beginning to live in!  (I love it, love it, love it!  I mean, I don't love burping...but gosh, I love this all-boy, no-frills deal we have going on.  Balls, throwing, outside, jumping, yelling...I was made for sons!)  Samuel likes to hold hands and loves to be held so he can look around.  Loud noises do NOT startle him and he still loves, loves being on his tummy.

These first five (almost six) weeks of Samuel's life have been so much sweeter and relaxed than I pictured.  Carter has adjusted so well...Samuel has been so cuddly and wonderful and sweet...and this Castillo, Party of 5 home is a happy place.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Help

When you have a new baby, one thing you hear a lot from well-intentioned people is, "Sleep when that baby sleeps!"

It's great advice. some point, if you don't do the laundry, pick up the big stuff, and do the dishes, you will be totally buried and have to do it all at one time. least part of nap time gets eaten while you do things that have to be done.  Because you're the adult and stuff.

Except if you have help like I did.

Steven, Mama, and Grandma did dishes, laundry, cooking and cleaning with such diligence that when they ordered me off to take a nap, it wasn't hard to go.  Everything was done...why not nap?

The reason I could get better so quickly was a direct result of the rest they gave me by taking my responsibilities on their shoulders.

They could have chosen to use their time cuddling babies and chatting...and they did do that.  But first, they cleaned what was dirty, fed my family, and took my job as their own so that I could rest.

There is no gift anyone could have brought that was more valuable or appreciated.

Grandma with all her great-grandboys :)

I was so lucky to not only have Steven, Mama and Grandma to each spend a week with me...helping Carter get used to having Samuel around, helping me with housework while I healed and figured out how to handle being outnumbered ;), and helping hold and cuddle Samuel.

Also?  I had an amazing small group and church friends that kept us feed for 3 1/2 weeks.  That's cooking for almost a month of every other day meals.  (They always made enough to have leftovers the next night!)

The first week I was home was great!  I had had enough time to feel physically healed and rested.  I had gone through several scenarios juggling two with help that I kind of knew how I wanted to handle things.  I was in a good place emotionally from all the company and adult conversation.  I was caught up on all my work.

I am so, so grateful for the love that was extended...that I don't deserve...and don't have to.

Thank you family, friends.  Your love to me enabled me to enjoy those first weeks with a fullness I wouldn't have received had I been struggling to just get meals on the table and the laundry through the washer and dryer.

Help.  It's a good way to be loved.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Bright-eyed and busy-tailed

If you didn't grow up with idioms, the title may not make sense to you.  
Feel free to google.

In other news, a question I hear over and over is, "Who does Samuel look like?"

I don't know.  He looks like a sweet baby to me.

But these two pictures...

...did remind me of this one!

 Do all babies make this face...or is it just mine? :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Samuel: 1 month

Sweet Samuel is one month old today.

He is starting to stay awake occasionally...and make faces.  Apparently that's a thing my boys do.

His eyes are still blue...we'll see what happens.  I love brown eyes...but I wouldn't mind it one bit if he had his Daddy's big blues.

Samuel weighs a little over nine pounds now.  He still eats every two hours most of the time, but is starting to go 3-4 hours at night...thanks buddy!

He hates to be naked, like all babies at this age.  Diaper changes and baths are highly unappreciated.  Carter, on the other hand, really enjoys Samuel's bath time.  I think the reason Carter loves it might be related to why Samuel doesn't.  Possibly.

Samuel's hair still stands straight up all the time...I am so in love with that.

He has big yawns, big hiccups, and big sounds.  He is a big blessing to our family!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Letters to Samuel: First Impressions

Dear Samuel,

When you're a little older, I'll talk to you about shaking hands, making good eye contact, and speaking to people politely.  You'll see your Daddy and me model these behaviors, hear us remind you of them, and teach you from good and bad examples we see around us.

You'll be annoyed because all kids are, but we won't let that stop us because...first impressions are important.

All babies make their own first impression.  There are some things that all babies do.  All babies poop and cry.  All babies eat a lot, even at night.  All babies are wrinkly and sweet.  But there are also differences.  Some babies like to be held, some don't.  Some like it quiet, some could sleep through an fireworks show.  Some babies like to be fed the instant they discover they are hungry...some are more patient.  All babies, like adults, have unique personalities.

My oh my.  It has been fun getting to know you.

You are so, so laid back sweet boy.  I know some of that will change when you are awake more and not such a sleepy little newborn, but I can already see bits of your personality beginning to emerge.  You hardly ever cry...and when you do, you are easily soothed.  You love to cuddle, but are pretty content to lay around on your own as well.  You only like to poop when we are in the act of changing your diaper.  You love, love, love being on your tummy with your legs curled beneath you and your hands pulled up around your cheeks.  ( melts me.)  You love to have your head rubbed, just like your Daddy.  You don't seem to mind all the "love" your big brother administers on you in the form of hugs, kisses, and pats.  You like the Moby and the Ergo and are maintaining your ability to sleep through the noise that is living with a toddler.  

You are making your own little noisy footprint in our family's decibel level.  You make the sweetest sounds...all the time.  You slurp, grunt, gasp and burp while you eat.  You snore when you sleep.  You make little hummy sounds when you are just sitting watching the world go by.  Whatever you are doing...we can always hear it!

Samuel, I just can't describe how sweet you glad you are a part of our family.  Your Daddy, brother and I went out to do some errands and ended with some ice cream.  You were ready to eat so I nursed you while Carter ran laps and your Daddy supervised.  Then we ordered ice cream, sharing bits with Carter.  Carter sat on your Daddy's lap while you laid happily in mine.  I think we said a thousand times, "Look at them.  Look at how sweet.  These are the two most precious children in the world.  Look at them.  Can you believe they're ours?  We're just SO HAPPY."  Over and over and over.

I will love every phase.  I will choose every day to enjoy you at every part of your development.  But I will say, it takes no effort at all to enjoy this newborn phase with you.  I love every single second.

You have made quite the first impression on me sweet one...and I will never be the same.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Shots

These are the shots we look for...

This is the reality of a toddler and an infant...and an extremely patient Daddy.

I have said a million times that Carter's current stage is my absolute favorite age.  Now I know that having two ages at one time is the very best.  There is just nothing like the cuddliness of a sweet newborn and the emerging spirit and fun of a toddler.  It's good times at our house...crazy...but so good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Carter loves...

Carter has been UNBELIEVABLE during the first 3 weeks of Samuel's life.  The good kind of unbelievable.  I mean...he's a toddler.  He throws things and is defiant and makes one thousand messes a minute...but he's had some really stellar moments in the past month.  It's been one of those months that make me want to videotape him every single second (which I respond to by not videotaping at all...ergh!) and to remember every single moment.

A short list of what Carter is currently really into:
  • Black beans/quinoa/avocado/tomato with lime: This has been a strong favorite for awhile...but it's gotten intense lately.  As soon as he sees the plate he starts chanting, "cado, cado, cado!"  I have never met anyone who loves avocado as much as I do...until Carter.
  • Fake smile: He totally has a super cheesy smile he saves for when he is about to do something disobedient...or just thereafter.  It's ridiculously and inconveniently adorable.
  • Climbing: I worked just before Samuel was born on helping Carter climb onto things like his high chair and car seat independently to prepare us for when I was home alone after Samuel came and couldn't lift him.  He now climbs on everything with a ton of confidence and a scant amount of concern for safety.  I am both proud and all times.

  • Bathtime: He has always loved this time of day...but he is practically tub swimming these days...time to get to the pool!
  • Chicken: Which he pronounces "tee-tee"...which is hilarious to me.
  • Rice: Pronounced, "lice"...also hilarious
  • Trucks: He loves them on the road and pushing his toy versions.  Mega excitement for tractor trailers...unless they mistake his excitement for an invitation to blow their horns...then excitement evaporates into a cloud of hysteria.  
  • Cars: He loves trying to name the colors and zooming the ones we have in the living room around as fast as he can crawl.  Also?  A red Corvette passed our house last week.  Carter stood totally still... watched it until he couldn't see it anymore...and looked back at me with huge eyes and said, "Wow."  Boys. :)
  • Trains: and he totally says, "choo, choo" there anything cuter than the toddler version of train sounds...I think not.
  • Fruit of all kinds, but especially grapes.  Nothing new here.  This kid could eat a fruit stand...three to six times a day.
  • Helping.  He loves to help do EVERYTHING...specifically laundry and cooking.  He LOVES measuring and pouring ingredients.  He loves to stir.  As soon as I start cooking, he pushes a chair up to the counter, climbs up, and helps himself to whatever he can find.  He also loves, loves putting things in the washer and switching clothes from the washer to the dryer.  I love my little helper!

  • Cheerios: I think this is universal child development.
  • Kisses before bed: Just before he goes to sleep, he's in the habit of grabbing our faces and pulling us in for a kiss.  It melts my heart.
  • Mowing.  Andi bought a toy mower that blows bubbles.  He loves to push it in the yard, house and up the driveway.
  • Keys.  He can crank the car with them.  Fair warning.
  • Books: Not only does he love, love, love reading...he's starting to say some of the words in his favorite books as we get to them...and chanting his favorite parts when he sees the picture on the page, letting him know where we are in the story.  It makes my teacher heart swell.
  • FaceTime: especially when it is dialing and he can see himself in full screen.  He's so full of himself it's incredibly funny.
  • Chasing
  • Being chased: He will pull your leg...herd you to an open space and take off running, shrieking the whole way.  He is so much fun to play with.
  • Yellow: Pronounced "yewhoa"  I can't even handle how much I love that.
  • Balls of all kinds...throwing, kicking, and chasing them.
  • Counting...specifically the number 2...and 8.  I don't know why.  He can't do anything in order, but he loves to tap objects and jibber jabber like he's counting...with 2's and 8's interspersed for good measure.
  • Talking.  Especially repeating every last word in your sentence.
  • Spelling.  Every time we spell a word, Carter chants, "A E I A O"...his version of, "E I E I O" :)
  • Listening to Andrew Peterson's children's CD, "Slugs and Bugs and Lullabies"...and flipping through the songs...quickly.  He just helps himself on up to the computer, stares at the black screen and dances quietly to the songs...occasionally yelling, "no, no!" when he wants a the next song.

  • Answering every question with a "no!" and a big grin.
  • Picking his nose: Such a toddler.  Such a boy.
  • Spinning: Until he's dizzy.  Which makes him laugh hysterically.  Rinse and repeat.
  • Cleaning up.  I'm not gonna lie.  OCD is a pretty convenient disorder to pass on to your child.  I kid.  But seriously.  He likes doors to be shut, chairs tucked under, and pillows straight.  And he does a great job putting one basket of toys away before pulling out another.  Please, please don't be a phase!

All these little things about him...all the fun things he is learning to do...and the ways he is beginning to be able to communicate...Carter is such a fun person to be around these days.  In so many ways, we are such good buddies.  Not the "my mom is my bff and doesn't know how to say no" kind of's the "we hang out all the time and know all of each other's tendencies and have a good time together" kind of way.  I love hanging out with him...doing laundry, going down the slide, burping Samuel, taking walks, brushing teeth.  I am grateful for all these tiny moments that I get to share with my sweet boy that make us this phase of our lives.

Carter loves a lot of things...and boy do we love him!

Friday, June 8, 2012


First, there were


who became 


added a pup,

and with this little 


made Castillo, Party of


Then there was a big announcement...there would be more!

There was a new tiny baby, his own little party of


That made us a family of


It all started with





years ago today.

Thank you, Steven, for being the man of my dreams, my dearest friend, and a daddy the boys will always want to play with and be like.  I am so grateful to be yours.

**Wouldn't it be perfect if Maddie behaved for pictures??

***Also, the last picture is from a wonderful newborn photographer I will be telling you more about soon!