Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Over the Weekend:

Honestly this past weekend went much differently than planned. In several ways.

Doug worked Saturday morning so the boys and I joined him downtown for lunch. Jack napped way longer than expected and so by the time we got downtown we were all super hungry. We toured the new office and then headed out to find lunch. We ended up at a pretty terrible Mexican restaurant and I did not even look at the check because I knew I would be upset knowing how much we had spent on bad food.

We had a wedding Saturday night. Due to babysitting trouble Doug missed the entire ceremony but he loved me well and took me and dropped me off because he knew I was too frazzled to drive downtown by myself. He joined me in the food line at the reception. It was so fun seeing friends and the wedding was so beautiful.

Sunday we had big plans of church and fun family day together, but Jack was sick. Again. So instead of church we stayed in pretty much all day. Trying to keep a fussy Jack as happy as possible. Henry and I did sneak out for a date to Sam's to get more coffee and post-it notes for Doug.

Our weekend ended with a screaming Jack in our bed and us feeding him frozen blueberries at 10 o'clock at night. They soothed him (could all this really just be darn teeth??). He fell asleep between Doug and I in bed.

So all in all. We made it through the weekend! But I am thankful to have Doug home to help with a sick Jack. Thankful for a new office to tour. Thankful for a new marriage to celebrate.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Our Life:

These pictures capture this stage of life pretty well.

Lots of goofy faces, lots of 'helping' me with chores around the help, so so many brother tackles, and "scrambling up" (Henry's words) newspapers on the couch to make Jack laugh.

Not pictured: so so many cups of coffee (for the warmth and the boost), trying to stay on top of the constant hunger of Henry and Jack, still figuring out our new 'normal', and so many dishes thanks to all of our meals at home.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Over the Weekend:

We had dinner with the Sullivan's and Hanna. We enjoyed catching up, bouncing C to sleep, eating cake, and talking about all the new changes for both us and the Sullivan's. We have had several big life transitions line up with them and it is pretty wonderful when that happens. Built in understanding and support. It was such a fun night that ended much later than we had imagined. But it is hard to say bye when it is just so much fun being together.

We had conies for dinner. And the kind man handed us a paper sack and said "for later". The boys were gifted two bags of animal crackers that they both inhaled on the ride home.

I let my feelings get unnecessarily hurt which led to a good/hard conversation with Doug. It ended in good tears and lots of hugs. This marriage thing is so so good. And I am reminded on a constant basis that we have a great one. And that we have to keep talking and keep working together. Especially in new seasons of life.

The weather was near perfect so we spent two days in the row at parks. Henry packed a snack for all of us and we enjoyed it by a pond. The highlight was Henry asking if he could 'get his energy out' and asked Doug to go on a jog with him. His little run with his arms swinging high by his sides and his belly peeking through his slightly too small undershirt will be a memory I hope to never forget.

We attended the traditional service at church. Like robes, hand bell special, 8 verses of a hymn, traditional. I told Doug on the way home from church that especially in the crazy, loud, hectic, constant stage of life I crave simple, quiet, and peaceful. And that is what the service on Sunday was for me. I found rest and peace. And we sang the doxology which always makes me almost cry.

We were 4/4 on Sunday naps. Success!!

Charles came and spent the night with us on Sunday. We watched football and ate pizza. He slept on our couch and claims that he slept super well despite Henry's tantrum at 5:00 am. Doug and him went out to breakfast like they would do when we lived at camp. It was such a fun time seeing him hold Jack again and just continue that precious relationship with our Charles.

We had a spontaneous sister coffee date. On the way home Emily and I decided we need to do that more. Especially now that we all live in the same city! We have to be intentional to make those times happen.

And fun bubble baths were had thanks to Aunt Beth and Uncle Greg's fun Christmas gift of bath color drops.

Monday, January 19, 2015

15 Things to Do in 2015:

1. Eat lunch together at food trucks downtown
2. Get a library card. And use it.
3. Visit the Wichita Mountains
4. Pay for a strangers meal or coffee
5. Social media free Sunday's
6. Find a church we love
7. Go berry picking
8. Learn how to write name (Henry)
9. Take a picture as a family in a photo booth
10. Watch the winner of Best Picture award
11. Hand make something and deliver to Grandparents
12. Mail a care package
13. Attend a performance at the PAC
14. Pick a family verse and memorize together
15. Have a water balloon fight

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Jack's Cute:

He knows how to turn on the cute.
This is one of his signature cute moves.
And it gets us every single time.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Our Weekend:

We ate hamburgers and french fries. Drank homemade root beer. And were so so so happy to all be out of the house together. This cold weather is causing quite a case of cabin fever.

Went back to camp to get one last load of our stuff. The boys went to Grandma's. So it felt like a date. A treat really because we had a few hours in the car to talk alone and not be constantly interrupted. Like every other word, constantly.

Two past summer staffers came by for a visit. Bearing a bag of homemade chex mix and big hugs. So good to catch up with them and hear about all the joys and adventures of college life. They stayed until they got a text from their mom saying "The Castles have young kids who are going to wake up early. You need to come home". We all got a good laugh out of that as one of the sisters said "Our mom is always worried we over stay our welcome". They did not for the record.

We also had pizza twice with two sets of very very great friends. Justin and Cheryl came over and braved our sick house. Then the Odom's came for frozen pizza and brownies. The kids always do an impressive amount of damage on a house. Especially four kids the ages they are. And there is always almost one child crying and/or one child being disciplined. Tis the season. It is worth the chaos. Especially when the kids crash hard at bedtime. And just doing life together, you know. (Maybe we talked about how we think that is such a silly Christian phrase. As is "love on each other".)

Cried in church on Sunday. One of those perfectly timed sermons. You know the "Don't worry about anything" message. I think I could hear that sermon several times a day.

The weekend ended with us duct taping our t.v. antenna to our kitchen wall in order to get reception to watch the Golden Globes. I told Doug as we were rigging it up that it would fall off in the middle of the night and sure enough, about 15 minutes after we got in bed we heard a crash and woke up to no NBC channel.

Friday, January 9, 2015


- Lots of working on puzzles from the paper with a sleeping baby in arms for Doug.

- We both got new jeans thanks to some Christmas money and a buy one get one half off sale. I bought my first pair of skinny jeans. You know, because I am such a #trendsetter. Like eight years late.

- Watching lots of Jimmy Fallon and old Office episodes.

- Eating so many meals around our dining room table! One of the things I have looked forward to the most about moving away from camp.

- So so many cups of water. Early bedtimes. Hot tea. Baths. Vitamins. And all the other things that supposedly keep us healthy during this nasty cold and flu season. So far, the cold is still hanging around.

- And we finally got our trash pick-up figured out. The truck comes by our house at 6:30 am. Picking up trash sounds like one of the very last things I would ever want to be doing at 6:30 in the morning. Especially in these arctic temperatures.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jack's Silly Face and Not-so-Silly Lack of Sleep:

I needed to look at this picture today. To make me smile. And remind me of all the love I have for this sweet one and my absolute favorite funny face.

Because some actual words that came out of my mouth this morning at 6:30 am while holding a screaming Jack.

"If he does not start sleeping I will end up in a home. I am going crazy."

And I had a real dream where Doug had a total meltdown and some people had to grab him and try to calm him down and I was screaming "It is all because we have not gotten any sleep lately. The boys keep us up all night" This was after I smeared lavender essential oils all over his neck in my dream. Oh my.

I know it is all the changes. Throw in teething. A weird virus that just keeps hanging around. A new house. And you get two weeks of no sleep. Except Christmas Eve when we had a real Christmas miracle and both boys slept all night. Best gift EVER!

Doug was up early this morning getting ready for work and I noticed by the time I was up the coffee pot had shut off and more than half the pot was missing. Thankfully it was still warm. And I grabbed a cup and resisted just pouring it straight into my eyeballs. Sat on the couch under lots of quilts with both boys (and Emily), drank some coffee, and watched a little Daniel Tiger.

New mercies every morning. We keep moving. And praying for health and rest. Before we know it these boys will not even be sleeping in our house at all. They will be sleeping in their own homes. That sure helps put things into perspective.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Christmas 2014:

We had such a full and fun Christmas week celebrating with so many wonderful people and so many baby boys and toddler boys. My camera battery died after taking two pictures on Christmas morning so, Uncle Brad to the rescue! These are all from his camera.

Hope you are not tired of highlight lists. That is all I know.

So here you go..

- It was so fun watching the boys play in the light dusting of snow. Anson never really mastered the art of throwing the snowballs so he would just turn and let Henry hit him over and over. They were all having a great time. And then they went inside and warmed up with hot chocolate.
- Our super-hero lunch with Dad and Julie. Four of the boys wore costumes most of the day. We enjoyed ham sandwiches and watching the cutie boys running around saving the world.
- Gift opening and Jack's nap perfectly aligned themselves so he literally slept through the entire ordeal. He woke up groggy and joined the fun. Oblivious to what he had missed.
- Overhearing Grandma tell Henry "As soon as all these other people leave I want to spend some time with just you." Sweetest Grandma ever.
- Every time we check out at Walmart Henry plays with this little fan toy that is filled with candy. He plays with it while I unload the groceries but I always have him put it back on the shelf before we leave.  I bought one and put it in his stocking and when he reached in to see it his face broke into a huge smile and yelled "Oh my word!!". Best dollar I have ever spent.
- Listening to Henry ask Grandpa Jarl exactly how he had made the wooden reindeer toy that he gave all the great grandsons. "How did you get the eyes on?" " How did you make his antlers so tall?"
- We had a super special and relaxing girls day out where Karen absolutely spoiled us silly and bought all the girls shoes, sweaters, and lunch. It was so nice just walking around stores leisurely Laughing at dresses. Trying sweaters on over our clothes. Enjoying conversations and time without little ones in our arms or big ones needing to go potty or more milk.
- The guys went and ate sausage and listened to music. According to Doug "It was fun". That is basically all I know about their time together.
- This was the year of the slipper for us Castles. Doug and I both now have cozy toes thanks to our slippers to each other. Henry's favorite gift was his jig saw from Grandma. And Jack's favorite were the teething biscuits in his stocking. (easy to please)
- Time with Greg, Beth, Fletcher, and Clark! CA is too far away so we soak up the time when we get it. It was so sweet watching Fletcher play with the big boys and Jack and Clark spent lots of time together on the floor playing with toys.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Miracle House:

We had made plans to rent my sister's house from them for a few months to help us make the transition. We had our boxes packed. Several van loads of our belongings already moved into their house. And a moving truck reserved on Saturday to move the rest of our belongings.

We got a call on Monday that due to new jobs in their life, they would be needing their house. So we were back to square one. With only days until we needed to move.

Que tears.

Doug called his mom and let her know that we would be needing to move in with her until we would be able to figure out our new plan.

Que more tears.

About ten minutes later Karen called back. She had walked down her floor at her office and was telling one of her co-workers about the news. Her co-worker perked up and quickly offered to let us live in her Dad's old house. She had been stuck paying the mortgage on the house and was up worrying that weekend about what in the world they were going to do with this house.

It was sitting empty.
We could still move in on Saturday.
The rent is (way) cheaper.
It is closer to Doug's job.
Has more space.

Que more tears. This time, tears of thankfulness and amazement of the Lord's hand in our lives.

The house is still on the market. And it could sell at anytime. So there is still some uncertainty. As I was unpacking our kitchen boxes I started to feel anxiety and worry creep in. (What if they sell the house next month? What if I have to pack all this stuff up again immediately? How can we afford to live anywhere else?) And I was immediately face to face with my ugly sin nature. I am literally standing in a miracle. Evidence of God's care and love for us and all I was doing was worrying.

Doug's aunt summed it up perfectly when she dropped off half a lemon cake to welcome us to the neighborhood, "He is not going to leave you now".

He provided miraculously for us with this house. And He will never stop taking care of us.  I think this house and this new uncertain stage of life that we have found ourselves in is just pushing us into a deeper more dependent faith. A better place to be honestly. Out of our comfort zones. And more dependent on our Creator for our every need.