Saturday, December 31, 2011

11 Things to do in 2011 Recap:

Well, we failed miserably this year at our accomplishing our list of things to do. I think it might be because we focused a lot of time, energy, and resources onto growing the little guy and then welcoming him into the world. Good thing this is just something fun we like to do every year. There are no penalties for not completing the list!

The things we did do:
Visit Greg and Beth in California 
Mailed Birthday cards to almost all family members

So, as I said earlier we failed miserably.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011:


 This year for Christmas we flew to Montana to celebrate with my huge family. We had a perfectly relaxing time with some of our very favorite people. I think Henry had a great time meeting his grandparents, great grandparents, lots of aunts and uncles, and his three cousins!

Some Christmas highlights were having Granny and Grandpa there with us, watching Henry sleep, taking family pictures together, eating throughout the entire day, watching the younger siblings open their gifts, mom opening her gifts that she bought for herself, watching dad open his present from Bethany, and Doug saying that he would not smile when he opened the next present and it happened to be the Smile album by the Beach Boys.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Party:



We had a Christmas party here at camp last night. We helped plan the party this year and I think it is safe to say it was a success. We had close to 120 people there, a rockin' photo booth, great prizes, Mr.David told the Christmas story, a hilarious game of musical chair with the kids, and a really hott host. [Doug was the host as you can tell by his sweet jacket]

The highlight of the night was the food. It was honestly my favorite meal all year. Justin made homemade ravioli, Lauren made the best green beans and potato casserole, Teresa made my favorite salad, and the turkey was absolutely perfect.

We had such a fun time together as a community during this wonderful time of the year. Again, it was another wonderful reminder of how very blessed we are.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Late Night Adventure:




Two nights before Henry was born I was in a funk. In fact, I was in a funk for about the last week of my pregnancy. I told Doug that I wanted to go do something that we would not be able to do easily once we had our baby. This thought led us to the new Waffle House in town at 10:30 at night. We relived the moments back before we were even dating when we would drive to Waffle House late at night and study together. We ate cheap food. We followed a football game on Doug's phone. We enjoyed watching the different types of people that decided they need to be at Waffle House late at night. It was the perfect little late night adventure.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Past Week We:


- Took super fast family pictures for our Christmas letter.
- We received the She & Him Christmas album...It has already gotten lots of plays on the ol' record player.
- Spent a lot of time watching movies and t.v. shows on our couch bed
- We went on a two day retreat with the rest of the camp staff. It was a good practice run for our week long trip to see my parents for Christmas. It was not much of a retreat for us...but I am glad we went. We were surrounded by people who have all been in our same situation.We received lots of love and encouragement when the little one would not stop screaming. We were all very happy to be back at home in our own beds.
- Ate at a fun local hamburger place. Cheeseburgers, french fries, and root beer were made for each other.
- My sister and her family came over for an evening. They brought their new baby boy who is only five days older than our baby boy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thoughts on the First Two Weeks:


We have been parents for a little over two weeks now. Here are some thoughts:

- The way Doug loves the little one brings me so much encouragement...especially when I am tired and frustrated. And I did not know if it was even possible for me to love Doug more...and then I had his baby.
- My nine month pregnancy was way easier on me physically and emotionally than the past two weeks post pregnancy. I think I am finally making some improvements in feeling like a human again.
- I still forget sometimes that I am not pregnant anymore. It is still weird to look down and not have a huge belly sticking out.
- Henry has the most beautiful eyes. Those sweet eyes have helped get me through so much.
- We have been so blessed with wonderful people bringing us dinner. It really does help to not have to think about the little things like what to eat for dinner.
- I think I need four more hands.
- The past two weeks have truly been the best and the hardest two weeks of my life. Funny how that can happen.
- Doug and I laugh a lot together...these days we laugh at our sweet boy and his funny facial expressions
- I thought I knew a lot about babies, and then I had one of my own. There are so many times throughout the day when Doug and I are standing looking at each other trying to figure out what to do. I love knowing that this is what all first time parents go through and I love being part of Team Castle. We are figuring each other out...one day at a time.
- The cold weather makes it super easy to stay at home and cuddle all day and night.
- We are so so happy our baby boy is here and with us in our home.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Baby Boy:


Henry Edward 
Born Nov 21, 2011
8 pounds 6 ounces

Thursday, November 17, 2011

39 Weeks:



- Baby keeps getting lower and lower. And bigger and bigger. Which really I am okay with. I don't feel as big as I look, thankfully.

- We finished our birth classes. The last part of class was taking a tour of the hospital. It was a pretty crazy feeling standing in the room thinking that in only a few short weeks or maybe days we will be back in there but we will be back there because I will be in labor...not just there to take a tour.

- I had my first pregnancy breakdown. I called Doug because I could not get the fire started. He came home to help and found me in the floor weeping, staring into our wood stove. It is hard to start a fire when the wood is not seasoned very well. But really I was crying because I just want to hold our baby and we don't know when that will be. Thankfully we don't have to know and really we are okay with waiting until the baby is ready. It is not my decision to make. Doug hugged me, made me breakfast, and reassured me that everything is going to be okay. And thankfully, I am fully aware that my feelings and emotions are a little overloaded at the moment.

- My sister had her baby boy...so now our sweet little one has two newborn friends to meet once he/she makes the grand entrance. Baby Devan and Baby Libby.

- Anytime we are a few minutes late people assume that we are having our baby.

- We had to ask our doctor some silly questions, but since it is our first time at this whole thing we really had no idea. He was great and did not make us feel silly for asking "So who do we actually call once we are in labor?" and "What exactly is that phone number?" and "Where do we go to check-in?"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This Past Week We:


1. Talked about marriage with a couple that is getting married this weekend. They needed to interview a couple that has been married 3-5 years for their pre-marital counseling so we met in a coffee shop and talked about our marriage. It might have been one of my most favorite conversations we have ever had. I loved hearing Doug's insights and perspectives on our marriage. I walked out of the coffee shop even more in love with my husband.
2. Watched some football at our neighbors house.
3. Baked some banana bread and muffins. I had my little dog helper at my feet the whole time. Soon it will be my little child helper at my feet.
4. Went to Lowe's and bought a new water filter, a diaper pail, and hand soap.
5. One of Doug's friend from high school came over with her family for a visit. We walked around camp and looked at all the nature and then visited in our home.
6. We played Sequence with dear friends Justin and Cheryl. The girls won [no matter what the boys might tell you] and we might have inhaled two bags of microwave popcorn.
7. Enjoyed another Braum's chocolate milkshake
8. Worked a very busy weekend with lots of people wanting to eat lots of food.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Fun Day:




Last night we had a fun Fall evening with the families here at camp. We enjoyed a hayride, roasting hot dogs, eating smores, laughing at the cute kids, and talking with so many wonderful people. We are constantly reminded of how blessed and fortunate we are to be a part of a ministry that cares so deeply for each other and family.

p.s. Thanks to Justin for the sweet photos. You are the best!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Small Peek of the Nursery:




We have not finished the nursery, so here is just a small peek. We are waiting for the little one to get here before we finish. We will add some gender specific things once we know if we have a little boy or a little girl. The pictures above the crib are silhouettes of my mom and uncle. I found the letters above the changing table at a flea market two or three years ago. When I bought them, I knew I wanted to use them in our future nursery. The ABC print on the top shelf is from a book that belonged to my great-grandmother. The owl was a homemade baby gift from  a special family friend and Mickey Mouse gets a special place on the shelf. He was the only souvenir we brought home from our trip to Disneyland this summer.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week 38:



- We are going to the doctor every week now. Our doctor is super laid back and is great at avoiding unnecessary exams and procedures. We love having a doctor that we trust and is so good to just let the baby call the shots and decide when it is time to come. At the last appointment he told us that the baby has caught up in size. Way to go, babe!
- We were about 10 minutes late to our childbirth class this week...someone told us later that they thought that maybe we were in labor.
- I could have this baby any moment now. Or in 3 three weeks. It is a little difficult making plans.
- I finally packed some stuff for the hospital. I kept putting it off just because I don't want to add to the mental anticipation that it could happen any moment when really statistically we still have several weeks to go.
- I am getting a little tired of total strangers telling me that I am about to pop and telling me that they just know that it is a boy or that there is no way it is not a girl. So far, that has been the worst part of not knowing if we are having a boy or a girl.
- I think my body is finally getting a little tired of carrying around 30 extra pounds. My hips and back sure do ache at night.
- The other night I sat on the floor and read from one of my childbirth books to Doug. We are getting prepped and ready for game time. We are going to make a great team.

The Father of My Child:

                                                                                                 [At Birth Class]
He loves me so perfectly.
He makes me hot tea just how I like it.
He rubs my back.
He pats my belly.
He tells me I am cute.
He makes me laugh every day.
I am deeply blessed to have him in my life.
He is going to be the best birth coach out there.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last Night We:


 Had soup and sandwhiches for dinner.
Watched American Pickers and The British Office.
Doug worked on our finances...again.
I cleaned the kitchen...again.
We cuddled to stay warm.
Talked about birth. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Disneyland Memory:



I recently organized all the pictures on our computer (nesting, maybe?). I came across this picture and it made me so happy. You see, when Doug and I went to Disneyland this summer I really wanted a picture of the two of us in front of the castle. Trying to get a couple picture in a busy place can be rather awkward. We tried several times throughout the day to find the perfect time and the perfect opportunity to ask someone to take the picture for us. I had given up and decided that this memory would just have to live in our minds. But then Doug surprised me and walked right up to a stranger that was passing by and asked her to take our picture. He made my dream come true and now we have this picture to document that memory. It might seem small to you, but it was so significant to me.

Last Night:



We had Thai food for dinner.
Doug told me all about his planning retreat that he had been on.
We talked a lot about camp, living at camp, and how happy we are to be here.
Stopped at the Redbox.
Rented Winnie the Pooh.
Watched the movie on our couch-bed.
Drank hot tea and hot chocolate.
Enjoyed the fall rain shower. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

37 Weeks:



- We are 37 weeks today. Which in the medical world means that we are full term and babies come "any day now". In the Castle family world, we realize that really this does not mean a whole lot and that baby will come when baby is ready. It is a relief to know that if  baby does come soon the lungs and heart and brain and all the vital organs have been given enough time to grow and develop.
- Made it through another childbirth class. We did not laugh quite as hard this time, but still had lots of fun moments. We learned more breathing, massage techniques, and different laboring positions.
- The massage Doug gave me this week made me feel so special and loved. And it was just what my body needed.
- A few people have told me they think the baby has dropped. I think they might be right. Many times throughout the day I feel like my hips are about to break. When I tell Doug this he responds with "Hips don't lie".
- Now when people ask when I am due I only have to say the day instead of the month and the day. We are in our birth month!
- The other night the baby kicked so hard it rocked our whole bed. Doug turned and asked me what had happened and I let him know that it was his sweet child just kicking me that hard.
- I have been eating lots of cereal and grilled cheese sandwiches.
- I am still so overwhelmed and thankful that I still feel great. Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Siblings:


I am not totally sure what is going on in this picture, but I do know a few things:
I love having four younger siblings.
They are all extremely cool people. 
And Montana is very far away from Oklahoma.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Doug's Chili:



I worked the other day and Doug took the day off. Which made for a great night for Doug to make dinner. I came home to our whole house smelling of chili. He said that I put too much stuff in mine, but that is how I like it. It was so good and I hope this tradition continues throughout the cold months.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friends and Baseball:

Doug and I would never say that we are big baseball fans. We don't keep up with the regular season at all, but we do love watching the play-offs. I am a Cardinals fan by birth and Doug cheers for them as well. My dad is a huge Cardinals fan and has been his whole life. For me, baseball is a sentimental sport thinking of time with my dad and going to Cardinals game all across the country as a child.

Last night we had the privilege of watching one of the greatest Cardinals games we have ever seen. It made it even better that we were watching it with some of our closest friends in their warm and cozy home. We enjoyed homemade pizza, a wood-burning stove, pumpkin and chocolate whoopie pies, and lots and lots of laughs. It was a late night, but a good night.

And, let's go Cardinals!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 36:


- This past week we started our childbirth classes. We might have laughed our way through the entire class. It is hard to practice breathing through a contraction, in a room full of strangers, with a funny husband over your shoulder whispering funny things. Next week might be even worse. We are suppose to wear comfortable clothes that we can easily move around in so we can practice different labor positions. We might get kicked out of the class.
- I realized that I was nesting after I looked around the kitchen and saw all the cupboards open, food items all over the counters and table, and walked into our laundry room and found it in the same state. I am glad I enjoy organizing things anyways.
- I am still feeling good, thankfully. I would like to thank water consumption, walks, hot baths, and massages for making this possible.
- We received our cloth diapers in the mail today. I spent a long time watching You Tube videos on how to use them, practiced stuffing them, and got them pre-washed.



This Past Week We:


- Got to meet our dear friends new baby. We enjoyed our visit in the hospital and loved getting to hold a sweet  one day old baby.
- Made lots of cold tonics. We both fought some nasty colds, but I think the home remedy might have kicked them. [Apple cider vinegar, honey, lemon, cayenne pepper, and hot water]
- Spent 24 hours with my dad. He was given a ticket to one of the world series games and he made the time to come up to see us. It was a fast visit, but a good one. We ate enchiladas, watched some baseball, went to Sam's, and ate at Chick-fa-la.
- Enjoyed lots of rain and the cooler weather. The leaves are looking beautiful around these parts.
- We closed a bank account we have been needing to close for ever, got our PikePass figured out, made an appointment for someone to come tune our piano, and hung up some more pictures and shelves around the house.
- Had dinner with mother Karen at a new bbq place.
- Started childbirth classes [more on that later]
- I made some pumpkin cupcakes.
- Took lots of naps. Thanks to the colds and the sweet little one growing inside of me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last Night:

We went into town for our favorite pizza.
Walked around Wal-Mart and looked at a few things. But only bought one package of peanut M&M's.
I ate only half of the bag of M&M's and was very proud of myself.
Came home. Changed into our do-nothings.
Watched a Ben Folds concert on an old DVD.
Drank tea and cider.
Doug read old Xanga posts. I read baby books.
Feel asleep in our comfy, warm bed.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Piano:


Doug plays the piano quite beautifully. The thing is we have never had a piano so I would only get to hear the beautiful music when we were in other people's home that had one. When we moved into our new house we both knew that we would love to have our own piano for him to play. We were given this beautiful thing from a friend here at camp. And it just made it's way into our home this past week. I love listening to Doug play it, even if it is currently out of tune. We plan to get it tuned soon, so Doug can play sweet lullaby's for me and the  little one.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week 35:


Dear Baby,

You have been growing and changing for 35 weeks today. It really is crazy to think that you are going to be joining our family in just a few short weeks. We have prepared a lovely little room for you. We have a comfy bed, some tiny diapers, a few books and toys, and lots and lots of love to give you. Your dad has been really excited and ready to meet you. He is ready to have you here so he can play with you and hold you and teach you lots of things. I think he might be a little jealous of all the exclusive time that you and I are getting to spend together. We know that you are going to come at the perfect time and we are getting to that point where we are ready to meet you whenever you are ready to come. We pray for you everyday, we love you more each day, and we look forward to having you here in our arms.

We love you sweet little one. We cannot wait to see your face and hold your body.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 33 & 34:



- We painted the nursery, ordered our crib and changing table, assembled both, hung up pictures and shelves, and it is really starting to look like a real room.
- We ordered our glider, which we decided we are going to put in our living room. We will see how we like it there, we figure we will use it way more if it is in the living room. After all, it is our favorite place to be. And we can move it easily enough if we don't like it in the living room.
- Doug worked on the labor play list. I listened to it one night while I was falling asleep. I only heard about three songs and then I was out. So it is pretty relaxing, only time will tell if it is relaxing enough to keep my calm during labor.
- Some days I am excited and ready for labor. I feel good about the preparations I have made and I feel ready. Then the next day I am terrified and worried. Not confident, scared that I can't do it, etc. Oh, the crazy range of feelings you feel during pregnancy.
- An old man told me that I looked like I was going to have twins. When I told him we were only having one, he responded by saying "your going to have a real bruiser". Thanks old man.
- We attended our first baby and children consignment sale. There were a lot of people, thousands of adorable outfits, and rooms full of baby stuff. We spent $50.00 for $230.00 worth of baby gear. Thanks baby sales.
- I bought some eggs and looked down at the expiration date, November 23. Our due date. Which is only a few weeks away.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Poor Maxwell:


Maxwell is starting to realize that things are going to be changing in his life pretty soon. He was less than thrilled to have to share the back seat of the car with a huge box holding our travel system for the little one.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Date Night:


We went on a mini-date the other night. We had coffee drinks and played rummy. It had been awhile since we had played rummy, so we had to look-up the rules. At one point we both looked down at our phones to see what time it was, we were both shocked to find that it was only 8:30. We finished up our coffee and went home for an early bedtime. We have both been pretty tired lately. Growing a baby and running a camp kitchen can be very tiring. And, I am so thankful that I get to share a booth and dates with that guy. He is just so handsome and wonderful to me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Home


This is our second fall here at camp. It seems like this fall has been way busier than last fall. We have had a lot of new groups that have come out for retreats and Outdoor Education. It is so great to see people come and experience camp for the first time. We are blessed to be working at a place that experiences growth on a regular basis. I think..just maybe...things are slowing down a bit. The groups that we have coming are not all huge groups. There are some breaks throughout the week with no meals or no groups, which means we get to have some time at home together now. This morning we woke up together, made coffee and breakfast, watched t.v., Doug worked on our budget, I cleaned the house. It felt so nice to have time at home together. Not doing anything in particular. Just being at home.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Productive Afternoon

Many days I get a break in the afternoon, in between lunch and dinner.  Most of those days I try to get a little rest, but today I decided to do something a little different.

Most every productive day starts with a little white lie (at least in my life). I told Danae I was heading home for a nap but I had no intentions of napping. Instead I drove here...

To pick up the crib and mattress Danae and I ordered online (that she thought we were picking up tonight after work.)  I could have stopped after just getting it home but I decided to go above and beyond. First, I had to get it out of here...


Put it on this...


Open it like this...

And get ready to put this puppy together...


But first I put on one of baby's first CD's...


Then got to work...


I needed a break so I went next door to buy some lemonade, a story, a picture and a potholder...


Best two bucks I ever spent. Thanks Graneys...


I finished up assembling and ended up with this for little baby Castle...


I know this was kind of a long post, but I am making up for months of not posting anything on the ol' family blog. Also I hope this post makes my little lady smile, and I hope she forgives me for lying to her earlier.

-Doug