Thursday, December 17, 2015

Two Year Old Jack!!



You love to do anything that Henry is doing. But you also play alone quite well. Recently you have been going to gather your tools from the tool box and going around various places in the house and you "go to work" hammering and sawing away.

You run down the hallway every day yelling "Hennnnnnnnnnnrey" to pick him up from school. You almost always give each other the biggest hugs.

At one of your parties you were off playing well with kids and I was in the den talking to some friends. At one point you came in the room and just crawled in my lap for a second to give me a hug. Then you were off to play again. You also regularly stand up in the grocery cart in the store and ask to "cuddle me" which means you just want a hug. And in the middle of the night if you wake up and want to get in bed with us you ask to "cuddle with dada" and how do we say no to that??

You love to play with babies when they come over and at school. You get down on their level and talk some quietly and kindly. You are also so good at finding age appropriate toys for the littler ones. When we are out in public you make sure to point out all babies we pass.

You have the craziest fastest growing stick straight hair. I think I might have had something to do with that. In fact you continue to look just like me as a toddler. You are just missing pig tails.

You ask "what's that for?" about a million times every day.

You are at the wonderfully challenging age of hating to get in your car seat, refusing to hold hands in the park lot but insisting on walking everywhere, and boycotting the grocery cart. So you can say our outings are a ball of fun these days.

You and Dad play this game every day where he asks you if you have had any kisses all day and you always say in the best way ever "nooooo" and then he kisses you lots and lots.

You are a helper in your class and make sure all the kids are in line and doing what they are suppose to do. You don't like when kids are fighting and you work hard to keep the peace.

You smile easily, unless someone other than me or dad are taking your picture. Than you have a stone cold face.

Dad took you to get a doughnut on your birthday so now you think you can just ask him to take you to get a doughnut at any time and he will go. You regularly tell him to get his keys to go to the car so you can go get a doughnut.

You are so goofy and funny. Even when you are being disobedient.

We love you, Jackie boy!! You are a delight!


Four Year Old Henry!




You have basically excluded all non-fiction books out of your bedtime rotation and only want to look at animal books. Every time we go to Goodwill you run over the the paperback book bin and dig through frantically to find a new animal book. Thanks to these trips, you have quite the collection of nature books.

You are finished with your first semester as a preschooler!! Your teacher always smiles so sweetly and tells me how well you are doing in class. She also pointed out that you are one of the only kids that has not rubbed your name off your sticker on your class room rug because you are hardly ever sitting on your actual spot and you move all the time. Your best friend at school is Hudson and you like to play dragons and dino trucks together at recess.

You are very talkative and there are many days that I don't think you stop. Especially when we are driving. You talk non-stop as we drive to school and around town. You love to talk about past memories and are constantly talking about places we have gone and things we have done together as we pass locations around town.

Every evening when Dad gets home from work you go back to our room and tell him all about your day while he gets changed out of his suit. I have tried to come back there before but you quickly ask me to leave so you can just talk to dad by yourself.

You love to paint and draw and you can write your name perfectly. Your favorite thing to draw at the moment are airplanes and people. You have also started scribbling as if you were writing words. You are always kind enough to tell me what it is you are writing.

You still love to dig in your "construction site" in our back yard with shovels and dump trucks and you still say you want to be a construction worker when you grow up.

Your new favorite foods this season are corn muffins and pomegranates. And you still eat so well. Thank you for not making us battle you on that!

You are a very kind boy. At least one time throughout the day you tell us how much you love us. Or how beautiful I am. And you regularly thank me for making your meals (without us having to remind you!). You hate it when Jack gets in trouble and are very encouraging to him to stop his bad behavior. You have such a kind spirit.

You are also funny and love to tell us anytime you make a girl laugh at school. When we ask you what you did to make them laugh, generally you tell us you made a funny face and then fell down to the ground. Physical humor at it's finest.

You are continuing to learn and grow in your role as big brother to Jack. At the Thanksgiving service at church this year you wanted to take care of Jack all alone. And you did a great job! You were patient and calm and quiet with him. You would come and get his snacks and blanket and reminded him to be quiet. You even put your arm around him several times to show your care. You won everyone within view that night. You have your own games you play with him. Such as, if Jack says the word "backpack" you tickle him. That is a game no one else plays with him and frankly a game that we really have no clue what it means. Sure you disagree and fight over toys. But so many times we see you work hard at being a fun older brother.

Happy 4th Birthday, Henry! You are a treasure!!


Thursday, November 19, 2015

One Year!



One year ago Doug accepted the position at NW Mutual. As with so many life transitions these milestones cause reflection. Especially this transition and this career change because this was not what we were looking for. We were not on the hunt for a 100% commission job. Shocking, I know.

The crazy and wonderful thing about this whole process has been watching the Lord gently lead us down this very scary and very unknown path. From the first time Doug walked into the building to this very day, we have felt the Lord just pushing and calling us to do something so scary, so unsafe, and frankly something so hard.

Especially when you compare it to what we were leaving. New Life literally felt like a safe cocoon in so many ways. Our home, friends, job, etc. We were ready to leave, but it was still a very scary step out of the comfort zone of what we had known for nearly five years.

The past year has been a year full of suits and ironing dress shirts weekly, meetings, praying and waiting, lots of hard work, tears, worry, and seeing the Lord's goodness and faithfulness each and every month.




Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015:





photo cred: Henry Castle 






Our Halloween costumes this year are brought to you from our local Goodwill store. And they might be two of my favorite finds ever. The boys have been taking them on and off since we got them and the fact of the matter is animal costumes are my very favorite costumes. Especially at this age. Perhaps by the time the boys are gone we will have an entire zoo of costumes (all bought for the cheap cheap).

We had a pretty perfect Halloween this year in my opinion. We had the crazy idea to start our day with pumpkin doughnuts and sausage rolls. Jack loved his pumpkin doughnut and Henry scarfed down Doug's blueberry cake doughnut before we could even stop him.

After a lunch of leftovers and a nap for the littlest Castle, we assembled our little animals and headed to our church's harvest festival. There were soo many people and soo many lines but we pressed on and stood in line and gathered candy in our buckets. It literally felt like we herding animals through the crowds but we had the best time. And one older man looked at Jack and said "Oh, what a cute little zebra" and I just couldn't not correct him because he is obviously not a zebra.

The ride home did get a little rocky with a meltdown from the oldest because his shoe got stuck in his costume and the littlest because I would not give him a THIRD sucker.

We headed to the Chalker's house for chili and watching a baseball game. It was so so great being with all of them again. The boys helped hand out candy and at one point Henry told me he was having such a fun time with all the trick or treaters. They were never scared of the sometimes quite scary costumes that came through. One group of teenagers had a boy dressed up in a scary gorilla costume with a mask. He took his mask of and looked at the boys and said "It's okay, I am just a kid like you all". It was just the sweetest thing ever and I  hope our boys grow up to be so kind and considerate.

This morning Henry woke up and told Doug he had a fun Halloween and that it is still okay to eat Halloween candy even if Halloween is over. And Jack asked for his bucket of candy. So I would say it was a success!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Post Nap Jack:






His paci and blanket are never far away and a request for a "nack" (snack) is generally one of the first things he asks for upon waking up.

We are down to one nap a day without even realizing it. I am beginning to realize that with the second child the things that were such a huge deal just tend to happen with the second. Weaning, I remember researching and worrying about Henry. Jack, I can't even remember the weaning process. Dropping naps were a huge deal with Henry and it felt like it took weeks to readjust to the new normal. And I can't even tell you when Jack went down to one nap. It just happened.

I like to think that this means that being a parent is becoming more second nature. That we are just more laid back and going with the flow. That Jack just fits seamlessly into our family. I remember someone telling me when we just had Henry that having two kids was easier for her than having one. It doesn't add up for sure. But I would have to agree. It is still so much work. And there are many moments that I feel like all sanity is lost forever. But I would say mentally, it has been easier with Jack. Not as much stress or worry and a whole lot more intuition and just going with the flow. I know we are all better because of this shift.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pumpkin Carving:












This past weekend we carved our family pumpkin. And by "we", I mean Doug did all the hard work and wrestled a pumpkin for a long time while I took pictures and the boys interest came and went.

We decided it was fitting for us to have a castle on our pumpkin. Henry was concerned about the lighting of the pumpkin and was under the impression the lit pumpkin needed to be inside our house. It took some convincing to get him to be okay with leaving the pumpkin outside. The next morning he quickly went to go check the pumpkin and was pretty upset to see that the candle was not lit. He still has lots to learn about carved pumpkins.

Jack walked around the table looking adorable and was already in bed before we lit the thing, so he has some big things to look forward to next year.

And I am thankful Doug is patient and talented enough to make Henry's little dreams come true.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Soccer:




This fall we have been doing something that makes me feel like a real mom. Like full-out mom mode.

Henry has been playing soccer.

A friend from church asked a while ago if he would want to be on their team. We talked about it and decided to go ahead and give it a try. Over all, I think we would say we are glad we did it. It has been a learning experience for sure. The team is terrible. They have only scored three goals all season. But Henry is having a lot of fun. And it has been good for us as parents to see our son not excel at everything. We have had some good conversations with him about losing and being a part of a team. And his little uniform is just the cutest. And it is has been fun getting to know some other families.

This past weekend he scored his first goal and I think I might have teared up a little bit. The look on his face after the ball went in the net was worth all the agony of all the games of yelling for him to look at the ball! He ran after Doug and gave him the biggest hug after. He was so proud.

These are my sad attempts at soccer pictures to avoid paying 20.00 for two pictures from the official photographers.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Reading Nest:







One of the boys very favorite things to play with are all of our pillows from various beds and couches in the house. I think that is all they need/want for upcoming holidays. More pillows to drag around and build various things. One of those things they like to build is their book reading nest. This generally happens in the later afternoon hours as I am making dinner. My favorite is when I don't know what they are doing and I walk back to their room and I hear Henry "reading" to Jack.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

24 Hours Together:









Last weekend we were planning to attend a friend's wedding in Colorado. Due to an unexpected funeral we knew we could not miss, we ended up last minute deciding not to go. Last minute as in, I already had packed all of our stuff and we had already dropped the boys off with Grandma with their bags.

We eventually landed on spending the money we would have on gas to go to a nice dinner together and go home and sleep in our own bed without our boys home.

It was the right decision.

We enjoyed dinner at one of our favorite restaurants here in town and then went to get drinks after. We took our time. We enjoyed our conversations. And we also just sat in silence and soaked it  up.

My body was anticipating a full night of sleep so we came home and I fell into bed around 9 and immediately fell asleep. And did not wake up for ten hours. It was glorious.

We went to breakfast on Saturday morning and then drove just out of town and did a short one mile hike together at a park. It was the first nice weekend in a long time and we were expecting a busy park, but we had it essentially to ourselves. The scenery was just okay. We only saw one animal the entire time (a tiny tiny frog). But it was great being outside with my one and only.

We talked about dream jobs and our future for our family. Hopes, dreams, wishes, etc. It was really just what we needed. Just a little bit of time alone together full of rest and adventure and really really yummy food. And time to get an actual conversation in without the our sweet Henry and Jack interruptions.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Nearly 2 Jack:


- Takes one nap from about 12:30 - 2:30 each day
- Loves to get a bowl from the drawer and get in the cereal boxes all day every day. (It is nearly driving me crazy finding cereal boxes all over the floor and stray pieces of cereal throughout the house)
- Gives hugs and kisses and waves and says "nigh nigh" when going to bed
- Sleeps well most nights. You have still been working on some pesky teeth so you have been a bit more unsettled the past month or so. The top two are finally breaking through and the bottom two are hopefully no to far behind.
- You love going to your class at church and at MDO and generally get the biggest smile and run towards us when we come to pick you up. It is my favorite part of dropping you off somewhere.
- You are still madly in love with babies and dogs. Another favorite animal is a duck which you call a "quack quack"
- You can point to your toes, hands, belly, hair, nose, ears. I taught you where your elbow was the other night and you just kept saying "ebow" over and over.
- You run as fast as you can and lunge into Dad's arms every time he comes home from work. You move so fast doing this that Dad is seriously concerned that one day he will drop either you or his brief case because he will be caught off guard. If that does happen, let's hope he can think fast enough and drop the briefcase instead of you.
- You and Henry like each other about half the time. You play the best during the 4 o clock hour. Henry is generally making you cribs or book nests to sit in out of every pillow in the house. The other half of the time you are yelling at each other and just generally getting on each other's nerves. I am hoping we can improve our percentage of time where you are loving each other.
- You love "ook's" (books) and your "papi" (paci). Your favorite drink is "ilk" (milk) and you love to eat "izza" (pizza). You love "emmie" (Aunt Emmie) and "enery" (Henry). You love to play in the "water" (our small pool in our back yard).
- You love going to the park and love the "weeee's" (slides) but for some reason freak out if we put you in a swing. The library is another one of your favorite places and you generally run in as fast as you can straight the the play area. You hold the library card when it is time to check out the books.
- You love to ask us to let you walk places. And honestly you do pretty well. Although you do a better job if you are holding Henry's hand then if you are holding one of ours.
- You are a social little boy who loves to wave to strangers and will even follow children on the playground trying to get them to play with you.
- You are just such a fun and sweet and goofy boy. You love to make us laugh by putting pants or underwear on your head and walking around the house. You make the best facial expressions.
- You love singing "wheels on the bus" and "old mcdonald"
- You love Wild Kratt's. And I have a slight suspicion it is because of your older brothers obsession with the show.
- You love tractors, balls, blocks, and have recently started doing puzzles.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Over the Weekend:











Friday night the Crowder's came over for homemade pizza and salad. Henry was very talkative and talked about Wild Kratt's for about 20 minutes straight. Jack went to bed. After we ate we sat in the living room and watched sweet Corinne play with toys and watched Henry look for toys that she would like. We talked about buffalos, church, work, and babies. Pretty well rounded conversation I would say. 

Saturday Jack woke up a little too early and cuddled back up and fell asleep with Doug. I went and got a massage and a pedicure (thanks to a very generous and kind birthday gift). I walked around an antique mall for a while and headed back home to find Jack just waking up from his nap and Henry watching a show. 

We were all a little restless (and some were roudy) so we headed to the park. We got back in the car much more sandy, stinky, and sweaty. 

Sunday we put the boys in polo shirts for church and for some reason I just kept laughing every time I looked at Jack in his onesie polo. We forced a nap on Henry and Jack willingly slept. 

We ended our weekend with another pizza party (perfect weekend if you ask me) with the Odom's and the Jackson's. We had seven children running around between all of us but thankfully we have an older and wiser child, Cora, to help manage the wild crew.