Thursday, July 26, 2012

This kid...just loves to dance


I've written about Carter dancing before.
Ok...there have been a lot of dancing videos.
But c'mon...they're just so cute!

He does it on command now...melt me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Blankie by "Mona"

The people that work in Mama's office are precious.  Like super, super precious.

They spoil my boys rotten every time we visit.

"Mona," as Carter calls Mrs. Ramona, just made this BEAUTIFUL blanket for Samuel.  It brings out the blue in his eyes, is super, super soft, and is big enough to wrap him in for years to come.  I am so grateful for this sweet blanket that represents hours of work.  This is the kind of blanket that looks beautiful for decades and holds together for a lifetime.  It's the kind of blanket that will go to bed with Samuel, keep him warm on winter days and nights, and will represent many a childhood memory to him when he holds it years from now.

I took this one to specifically show the design...isn't it pretty?

And the edging is so pretty!

Samuel and Carter are loved by so many.  Thank you "Mona" for such a beautiful blanket that we will cherish for  years and years to come!

Letters to Carter: Don't Stop Believing

Dear Carter,

You think you are the funniest thing that every walked this Earth.  You never filter your humor through what we think would be just do whatever amuses you the most.  Don't stop believing that that's the way to make people laugh.  Just keep being yourself and making those faces.

When you smile, the light in your soul comes shining from your eyes.  Don't let that light be dimmed by the hard things of this world.  No matter what dark thing comes in life, there is always light to be found.  Find that light, "be joyful always", and let smile brighten the world around you.

You still love to cuddle my little love bug.  Don't stop believing in the healing power of your touch.  You have sweetened many a hard moment, brightened many a tough day, and lightened heavy burdens with your hugs, kisses, and hand holding.  Let your touch always bring healing, love and comfort to the ones who receive it.

When you are excited, you let out huge yelps...and then say, "echo!" in delight on hearing your voice reverb back to you.  Please don't start filtering that excitement.  When you are joyful, let it out!  Your excitement, enthusiasm, and energy are life-giving.  I pray you will forever remain far from apathy and embrace life with conviction.

When you play, you keep your hands clean...nothing else stays clean...but boy your hands do.  (And your tongue.  I always want to remember the day you "cleaned" the mulch off your tongue by licking my jeans from knee to thigh.  It was genius, gross and exceptionally 'Carter' of you.  Also?  Let's not talk about why you had mulch on your tongue in the first place.)  Life won't always let you do this baby boy.  Be willing to get your hands dirty to have a good time, do justice and help others.  I mean this both literally and figuratively sweetheart.  Be a hard worker and have a tender heart.  Both are difficult and require much...but it is my hope for you.

Yes.  I understand.  I always sat outside the toy box because of that nasty sand too.

I tried to teach you how to use sidewalk chalk and you spent about 1 minute playing with it "my way".

You spent an exceptional amount of time throwing it, drawing on me/your shorts/your shoes/your face, and rolling it down the driveway.  Don't ever stop believing that there are new ways to do old things.  Seek out the creative and new.  Please don't let anyone tell you that this is wrong.  It may be inefficient.  It may not be effective...but new isn't wrong.  And changes everything.

You always look up at the sound of an engine roaring in the sky and exclaim, "airplane!".  Don't stop listening and observing everything around you.  One day, something will grab your focus so much that everything will fade around it.  There are many good things that I hope will grab your heart, but don't ever let anything stop you from noticing the world around you.  Look at the people who pass you, watch the world awake and unfold every morning, listen to the words that meet your ears, and cherish the moments that threaten to creep by unnoticed.  Notice everything.  This world has so many wonderful things and people to love.

You have no idea that sitting in sidewalk chalk gives you a colorful rear.  While I know there will be many, many seasons during which I will wish you cared more about your appearance, I hope you are never distracted by it.  True beauty is in your heart.  People will love you, not for the clothes you wear, the "look" you sport, or the lack of sidewalk chalk on your outfit.  True love will come from the smile that tugs at your lips, the light in your big, brown eyes, and the work of your hands.  Please don't be distracted by what you wear...but be overwhelmingly distracted by what is in your heart.

You do everything at 100%.  You never walk without breaking into a run, never talk without it turning to a yell and never hold something without it spewing from your arms in an overhand throw.  While I hope you grow out of these manifestations of exuberance, I pray you will never stop living with the confidence that makes this energy possible.  You can do far more than you think possible.

I love you Carter Steven Castillo.  Never stop believing that.


Monday, July 23, 2012


Little feet pattered down the hall.  A little voice whispered, "Daddy!  Daddy!"

Put down for bed just 30 minutes before, a wee boy sought to fill the loneliness brought on by waking up alone.

I knelt down and held his hand asking if Mama would do since Daddy was in the shower.

A nod and small smile later, we were crawling back in bed.

I wrapped my arm around the littlest brother, still swaddled in the sling on my chest.  I wrapped my other arm around big brother's arm, finding his hand nestled in mine and his head already finding his nook on my shoulder.

I thought of the man in the parking lot that morning who had exclaimed that I "sure had my hands full!"

He's right.

My hands are full.



Wonderfully full.

Samuel: 2 Months

Samuel was two months old last week.

He actually had his two month check-up on his month-day :)...his stats:

Weight: 11 lbs, 9 oz (40th percentile)
Height: 24 inches (90th percentile...seriously?)

Carter was a similar size at his 2 month appointment.

Samuel got his first shots at this visit.  Is anything worse?  His little trusting face suddenly wrinkled with shock and pain...I know what shots feel like.  It's not the end of the world, but I just hate that they don't even see them coming!  After the initial shock and anger, Samuel was a little fussy the rest of the day.  However, it made him just seem like a normal baby.  He's so laid back, it was almost strange to see him need extra holding...which no one minded!

The doctor said Samuel was a healthy boy...a fact I will never ever take for granted or stop being grateful for.  He did have a small amount of fluid in his right ear that was kind of thick...worrisome, but Dr. Greene felt like it was probably ok since it wasn't inflamed, he wasn't running a fever and he has been super happy.  Hopefully it will have all cleared up when we go back next month.  (Of course, since the appointment, he's been a little fussier than normal.  Stinker.  I'm giving it till Tuesday before I stop chalking it up to the vaccines and go back in to have the ear re-checked.  I don't want to give antibiotics unnecessarily, but don't want him to suffer either!  Geez...)

2 months later, Samuel is still the sweetest little baby.  He is so easy-going and fun to be around.  He's starting to sleep longer stretches at night...usually 5-6 hours at some point and then a 3-4 hour stretch...not bad at all.  During the day, he mostly goes between 2.5-3.5 hour stretches with nice naps in between.

I often eat his cheeks with a  spoon.  Or maybe I just want to.

He's starting to stay awake more during the day...smiling and cooing.  He tracks Carter as he runs across the room back and forth a good bit now.  I think he's ready to get in on the fun...and also keeping one eye open for any violence that may come his way.  Being a little brother is not for the faint of heart.

Samuel still has blue eyes.  They have gotten a little darker, so we'll see what will happen.  He has the sweetest expressions and the most gentle demeanor.  I am so smitten.

At 2 months, he is one STRONG little boy.  He loves, loves, loves tummy time, so he is developing quite strong neck and arm muscles.  Even though he is certainly not crawling, he can inch all over the place.  It's disconcerting to find him somewhere different from where I left him this early in the game.  

Samuel is, obviously, eating well.  He's such a good nurser and makes feeding him a sweet, sweet time we share.  Carter is getting much better during nursing sessions with the discovery that he is in love with Elmo.  I've never let him watch TV, but we were having a time finding something non-destructive for him to do while I nursed.  I've discovered that the minute or two long clips on Sesame Street's website are just the thing.  At this point, he doesn't watch them the whole time, but it keeps him busy when he's tired of me being stationary and non-helpful to him.  But please, do not make the mistake of showing him a video that does not star Elmo.  He will not tolerate it.  Samuel's take on this whole endeavor is to just keep calm and keep eating.  Smart boy.

I love this picture...

...and this one.

We are a very blessed family.  Samuel, I am so grateful for the two months we've spent together.  I love you from your fuzzy, soft hair to your extra long toes.  I love your chunky little belly and your pretty blue eyes.  I love the way you hold my hand when you nurse and the way you dart your eyes around suspiciously when Carter makes extra loud noises near you.  I love your little open-mouthed smile and the patience you are already showing for your brother.  I love the way you are flexible and easy-going and the way you crane your neck to see everything when I carry you around the house in the crook of my arm.  I love the way you fit in our family, making me wonder what we ever did before you.

I love you Samuel.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Couch Potatoes

Caught these two lounging on the couch just before a lunch date with Andi.

"holding hands"

Two sweet, Alabama-lovin' boys :)
*ps: Mrs. Kristie, we love that this shirt has perfect Alabama colors!*

Samuel had to show off his new kicks Aunt Susanna crocheted for him.  Yes, she's amazing. sessions wear us out!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The best laid plans...

I had this brilliant moment when I was pregnant.

I spotted a Living Social deal for a full, deep house cleaning for less than one hundred dollars.

I swiped it and then hoarded it.

A little before Samuel was due, I scheduled the cleaning for six weeks post-due date.

How smart!  Now I could just maintain the best I could for the first six weeks of newborn-crazy and then let THEM do a thorough cleaning...then I could just go from there.  Brilliant.

In a moment of divine intervention, Samuel came early, the cleaning date was now 8 weeks after birth and fell on the Monday before I had company for the weekend.  Beautiful.

And then the cleaners didn't show up.

Guess who has a refund in her pocket, 10 "deal bucks" from Living Social in her account to say "sorry," and a really, really dirty floor problem?

This girl.


Pass the Paci

"Carter, would you mind putting Samuel's paci in for him?"

"Oh!  Thank you!  You are such a sweet big brother!"

"Carter!  Not your mouth!  That is Samuel's!"


Sometimes the hardest part of discipline is not laughing out loud.

Monday, July 16, 2012

How to be a winner...

You should start by being born in the right family.

I know.  No one said it was going to be easy.

Find sweet uncles who will hold your sleeping babies for long periods...even when he just got home from work.

Then find an aunt who will set up a mini table for your toddler with his favorite snacks...complete with a rubbermaid of fun toys on the floor.

Then grab yourself an aunt, uncle and cousins who will happily hold your baby the entire time you are in the state...and will entertain your toddler even as he shrieks through the house yelling, banging, throwing, and causing a general lack of peace.  

You may even want to throw in a "cousin-in-law" who will applaud after every "concert", help your toddler up and down and up and down and up and down...and will sacrifice his bacon to be friends with aforementioned toddler.

How to be a winner...if you're like me...just go for "by association".

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Lightning hit our internet.

That's at least the explanation my brain received from the information the Charter man told me while I was trying to keep Carter from running out the door the kind man left open and while trying to keep Samuel's spit up clear of my shirt.  The shirt was the only one that fit well that was clean...I was fighting for it.  If you've had a understand this completely.

So anyway.  The lightning hit our internet and Wordless Wednesday became Wordless Thursday...which really shouldn't have wordless in the title at all since I am STILL typing explanations.

Since I'm on a roll typing...

Mama, Carter, Samuel and I went to Grandma's to celebrate her 73rd birthday.  We had a great time...and got to see lots of family :)  Grandma is now a professional iPad user (I know, she's amazing) and I used my camera exactly twice.  So...many sweet people go completely undocumented.  For instance, Shawn, who totally won Carter over by looking like my friend Kyle, giving him bacon and generally playing whatever Carter pictures.  Same story for Amanda, Aunt Beth, Uncle Scott, Brian, and Aunt Thia.  Totally not pictured.


However...look how cute Amy is!
...and how mischievous Samuel looks pulling her hair :)

Carter spent a lot of time banging the piano and then turning for the entire room to applause for him every 30 seconds.  Which they did.  Every time.  He is rotten to the core.

Samuel didn't hit the ground for more than 10 minutes the entire 5 days we were there.  There were "proximity lines," "I was here first" statements, and "Give that baby to me, it's my turn!" proclamations all around.  It's tough being a baby around here.  Tough, tough stuff.

So there it is...not so Wordless Wednesday...on Thursday. better be reading this on your iPad! ;)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Everlasting Love

I missed Wordless Wednesday because I was just home from Alabama and busy eating kabobs, roasted vegetables and desserts of the red, white and blue variety.  To make up for it, I submit a video AND a picture :)

This was taken by Andi in Wal-Mart on Sunday when Carter needed to get out of the house full of family and run around.  It was way too hot to go he ended up dancing in Wal-Mart instead :)  He's got his daddy's moves.

My other two boys:

I can't even control all the cute around here.  

Happy weekend!  Hope it's cool and full of the things you love most!