Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: We're having a....

As it turns out, Carter was right all along...we are having a little girl!
(Steven is such a secret ham)

(Pointing to her eye)...we had a little surprise ultrasound yesterday with the boys and the grandparents and got to find out early that we are adding a little lady to our crew.

She sucked her thumb most of the time.  If she does that outside the womb, she'll be the first of my littles to do so :)  

Carter mostly played with toys, but Mama captured this sweet shot.  He already is so smitten with his baby sister "Ewwa."  His favorite thing is to give her raspberries.  Samuel thinks it's funny to copy Carter and do it too.

I love this shot of her skinny little self.  She's sure to grow so much in the coming months.  Her heart rate was 149 today.  She started so still...and then started moving and kicking all over the place.

I love being a mom to boys, and I am so excited to begin this adventure of being a mom of a sweet girl.  Oh Ella Kennedy, we are so excited to meet and love you.  

Let the decorating begin! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

These guys...

He woke up from nap in a good mood and with great bed head.

(Clearly, this was from a different day :))  He gives big smiles, big hugs, has big emotions and uses big words.  He's like Texas in a toddler.  Everything is bigger in Carter's world.  

This one has started taking up for himself.  Carter is not a fan of the pounding he is taking when he snatches a toy from Samuel's hand.  I don't like it either, but I am glad for Carter to have a little kick-back when he takes advantage of the little guy.  

All that aside, these two adore each other and follow each other around shamelessly.  They scoot up two chairs to everything they shouldn't be able to reach so they can reach together.  It's crazy right now for them to be little together, but I love the friendship I see lighting up the dawn sky.  It's going to be such a gift to them as it rises.

They're learning good and bad from and with each other.  Learning to share and listen and take turns at every single step of their day.  They'll be better friends, spouses and employees for all this sibling training they are getting now.

 I like these guys a whole lot.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

18 weeks

18 weeks
(19 weeks with Samuel...a little comparison since I probably won't do one next week since an update every week seems like a bit much.  I apparently took a picture hiatus around this time with Carter's we'll do a compare with his later.)

Weight Gain: +5 pounds 

Sleep: Sweet bliss.  If anyone starts to tell me, "Enjoy it now because...." I practically kick them.  Believe me.  I know.

Gender: I'm on the girl track again.  Mostly because Carter is so insistent.

Name: Ella Kennedy for a girl and still don't know if it's a boy.  We'll cross that bridge when we know we need to :)

Feeling: Finally normal again.  I mean, pregnant normal.  I'm having those "pregnant headaches" I always get at some point and the heartburn is ridiculous, but that is all very moderate and no. big. deal.  I'll take that over the crazy first trimester nastiness every single day.

Cravings: Back to normal ole Teri Lee stuff...I am glad.  Steven?  Less :)

Health:  Still healthy as a horse and very grateful for it.

Movement: The little fluttery movements are getting stronger.  I can't wait until the boys get the feel the baby move!

Next Appointment: February 6...and we go back for our anatomy ultrasound February 12th.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Letters to Carter

Dear Carter,

It's really been too long since I've written one of things and to be honest, I should actually be cleaning out our van right now.  It is covered ridiculously in crumbs from every snack you've eaten in the last weeks and bits and pieces of our lives that I haven't had the arms to carry inside.  But there is always something else besides blogging I could or should be doing.  If I'm going to get it out, sometimes I just have to ignore my list to write.

You're transforming into a little boy these days.  My toddler disappeared and took with him the chubby cheeks, round belly and gross motor skills that left you tumbling half of your moving moments.  You are still beating to your own drum, but you are more likely to join friends for playing these days.  Emotions still run at full power, all day.  You're learning to bring them under control, but it is one long battle for you.  Once you lose your control of any emotion, it is so difficult for you to harness them.  We're learning.

You sit so still for books these days.  You memorize them so quickly.  I know I am easily impressed as your mother, but you really are good.  Last night, you "read" the entire "Little Engine that Could" from memory.  I can attest to the length of the book because we have read it so many times lately, though not enough for me to not need the words to read it out loud.  You read with theatrics and intonation.  You are the same with songs and movies.  Everything you hear seems to go into your long-term memory so quickly.  I'm interested to see how that evolves in your life.  I wonder if you wouldn't be a good little actor in sweet childhood plays in the next few years.  I know you will also have to always be careful about what you see and seems that nothing escapes your memory.

I can tell you this because you are, I guess, older now reading it.  You have starting throwing the soft balls we keep inside at our heads.  It is highly annoying to get pinged in the head, and we have really had to come down on you to obey in this area.  But I have to tell you, it is all we can do to hide our laughter sometimes because we know we have to hide how impressed we are with your arm.  You hit a moving target (our heads! oy vey!) with one hundred percent accuracy.  You're a little athlete, even when your intentions are less than pure.

You are completely convinced the coming baby is a girl.  If I ever ask you are excited about the baby, you always say, "I so excited for that sweet baby girl!"  I've asked you if you would like a brother and you say, "I like bruvers but this is a sweet baby girl!"  You have been asking a lot lately if we can get her out to play.  I always tell you that we will see her when the sumer comes and it gets really hot.  You like to kiss and rub my belly, talking to your "sweet baby sister."  We'll see if you're right!  I am so grateful for the closeness you share with Samuel because you are so close in age, but it is also fun for you to be a little older through this pregnancy.  I don't think there are many things more fun than sharing our excitement for this new life with you.

You and Samuel are such sweet friends.  Of course, I have to tell you to be gentle a million times a day.  I'm starting to have to tell Samuel to be gentle as well.  He's just beginning to give you what you've been piling on him for all these months.  He's as tough as nails, but you are still bigger.  We have to watch carefully, and we work on sharing a lot, but you are the dearest friends.  Samuel will do anything if he is holding your hand, and you love to challenge your little brother's bravery with fun ideas your cautious nature would never let blossom into fruition.  You love to chase each other on your hands and knees still...which is funny since you are both capable of running.  You also love to use watercolors, take baths, and play trains together.  There is nothing better for me than watching the two tiny people I love most loving each other.  I pray and hope you will be dear friends as you grow into boys and men.  Your Uncle Travis was such a safety net for me growing up.  He was such a fun person to spend my childhood with and was such a good friend to me as we grew up.  Your Daddy's brothers were the same for him.  In his childhood of uncertainty and confusion, his brothers were rocks that strengthened and smiles in darkness.  I just pray that you and Samuel experience that strong brotherly connection as well.  There's nothing like a brother :)

I think all the time, even if you weren't mine, I would really like you.  I admire your tenacious memory, your fervor for life, and your athletic abilities.  Your humor leaves me roaring with a laughter that colors my world with warmth.  I could melt in your big brown eyes crowned with enviably long eyelashes.  That lilt in your voice when you "perform" a book or song draws me in.  That look you get just before you charge into a physical challenge...oh Carter, I just like you so much.

You are my guinea pig, my first, my biggest boy.  I love you.


Thursday, January 16, 2014


By the time the new baby comes in June, Steven and my brothers will have had seven babies in just under four years.  In other words, it is really, really fun when we are all together.  Toddler/babies everywhere.  It is a little chaotic, loud and crazy but it is also overflowing with cute and fun.  I grew up with cousins close to my age, and I know they are some of the best friends a kid can have.  I'm grateful my boys have the same gift.

(Samuel, Elliot, Carter: zoo)

(Elliot, Carter: zoo)

Grayson, Samuel

Carter grinning about his favorite game: couch jumping

Grayson realizes how unfair it is that he is stuck in his Bumbo while his big cousins jump on the couch.

(Elliot, Carter, Samuel)

Grayson's sad face!

(Carter, Elliot, Samuel: trains!)

(Samuel, Elliot, Carter: zoo)

(Henry, Samuel, Carter: snack at Andi's)

(Henry, Samuel, Carter: Boo's birthday dinner)

(Carter, Henry, Samuel: taking a walk with Boo to run OUTSIDE)

cousin sleepover supplies

(Carter, Henry, Nolan, Samuel: sleepover at Andi's)

(Carter, Henry, Nolan, Samuel: sleepover at Andi's)

(Samuel, Nolan, Carter: sleepover at Andi's)

(Carter, Henry, Nolan, Samuel: sleepover at Andi's)

(Carter, Samuel, Henry, Cora, Andi and Boo for Christmas)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Castillo family

We got nine adults and four children three and under in one photo all looking as normal as possible.  This deserves publishing.

The Castillo Family: Christmas 2013

Monday, January 13, 2014


I know Christmas is quite the memory, but I am behind for the rest of my life.  I promise not to dump too many pictures.

This Christmas goes down as one of my favorites.  Carter was genuinely excited about the entire celebration, and we had a houseful of family that made things fun and also filled my kitchen with helping hands so I could enjoy the day too.

As always, the iPaparazzi was in full swing:

Samuel stopped mid-present for a bite of Daddy's cereal because they were too hungry to wait much longer for the homemade cinnamon rolls.

Carter loved all his presents...and loved opening up new surprises!

The boys are obsessed with their castle from Grandma...they play with it endlessly.

I love this one so much.  The boys love to be read to, and there is no better person to read aloud than Grandma.

Boo and Samuel playing a game that was all their own.

There were so many more many more family members not photographed because I stopped taking pictures around 10 am.  Sometimes it's fun to just enjoy the day without feeling the need to capture it.  We smoked ham, made pies, ate too much macaroni and cheese, and stepped over a million toys all day.  I'm so grateful for the normalcy that has resumed in January...but I so enjoyed this Christmas surrounded by family and celebration.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Carter says...

Andi took Samuel out of the room to change his diaper.  Carter looked up in dismay and said,
"Hey! NO!  Bring my brother back!"

Carter asked Steven to pull the van over about half a mile from Andi and Boo's because he said he had to go potty right then.  He insisted that he wanted to go in the grass instead of the little potty we keep in the back of the van for emergencies.  Steven helped him find a private place to stand in the grass, and Carter surveyed the area before nodding and saying, "Daddy, you found me a nice place to put my pee pee."  Only then could he get the job done and travel the last 30 seconds to his grandparents. 

Carter emptied his bowl of cereal and yanked Samuel's bowl from his hands.  Steven told him that was unkind and to give the bowl back to Samuel.  Carter had a light bulb moment and quickly poured Samuel's cereal into his own bowl.  He handed the empty bowl back to Samuel and said politely, "Daddy, Samuel needs more cereal please."

I was asking Carter to clean up toys when he wanted to play.  I had asked more than once when he looked up at me, put a hand on my shoulder and said calmly, "Mama you are talking to me, but I am not hearing you."

Carter was in timeout for something or other recently and we heard the following echoing up the hallway from his room: "I'm having trouble! I am not happy! I am not happy at all!  I need to call Andi and Boo!"

Steven stopped Carter from taking Samuel's toy.  As he released the treasured toy, he held up his hands and said, "Alright, alright I surrender." 

Steven was spinning the boys in a circle in the living room.  Apparently it got too fast because Carter finally yelled:
Daddy you are going too fast!
You mustn't go so fast!
Daddy give me a break!

Carter was whining about the train video Andi played for him and started to cry.  I said the old mantra that I repeat often at our house, "Carter you can cry when you are hurt or sad, but we don't cry when we don't get our way."  With tears streaming down his face, Carter said, "Yes we do!  We do cry when we don't get our way."
I had to look away to get my smiles out before I could reprimand him.

After looking back on these last few quotes, I'm realizing Carter seems to have his best quotes when he is in trouble.  This makes poker faces during discipline extremely difficult...and increasingly important :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hunger Games

Christmas Eve at the Castillo house.  Supper has been eaten and everyone has moved to the living room for presents.  Wrapping paper starts flying and the chaos of 3 toddlers, 1 baby, and 9 adults opening and exclaiming about presents begins.

A few minutes in, before all their gifts have even been unwrapped, my boys have both disappeared.

Apparently they needed a refueling.  They love, love, love Abuelita's tacos and ate enough to make an adult sick both during supper and again during the present refueling.

His five o' clock black bean shadow.

If nothing else, they sure love Christmas for all the food they got to consume!