Monday, October 31, 2011

how jack got his name

It wasn't an easy task, my friends. Here's how it all went down...

One of the names on the table when we were brainstorming was James Andrew. When I realized that his initials would be JAC, I thought it might be cute if we called him Jack for short. But after much deliberation, we decided that we didn't want to call him anything other than his first name - no middle names, no nicknames. I go by my middle name and it's been annoying since the first day of kindergarten. And I don't want to pass that onto my children.

The problem was that we had kind of fallen in love with the name Jack. And we even picked out a middle name to go with it: Wilson. That's Andrew's middle name, as well as his dad's.

But Andrew, being all sentimental and a traditionalist and blahblahblah, wanted his name to mean something. So back to the drawing board we went, although I was already subconsciously thinking of my son as Jack.

Aside: as much as I give him a hard time about the whole name thing, I actually love how Andrew wants our kids' names to have a story. He's not a terribly sentimental man, so I know that must mean a lot to him.

One day, I suggested that we think of authors or other people who have influenced us in some way to see if we could get anywhere with that. That's when we discovered that CS Lewis' name is Clive Staples. Not gonna happen. We love CS Lewis, especially Andrew. I think Mere Christianity is the book that led him to call his faith his own, rather than let it remain rooted in tradition and routine. It answered a lot of the questions he had and in a language that he could understand. To give our son a name that gave nod to all of that would be ideal.

But it's not going to be Clive and it's not going to be Staples.

After that conversation, I had CS Lewis on the brain and decided to read a little bit about him. And that's when I found this:
At the age of four, shortly after his dog Jacksie was killed by a car, he announced that his name was now Jacksie. At first he would answer to no other name, but later accepted Jack, the name by which he was known to friends and family for the rest of his life.
We could name him after CS Lewis after all.

Andrew still wanted to think it over, but one night he said, "You know what? I think our son's name is Jack." And then I cried.

Jack Wilson Castrodale. It was him all along.


Friday, October 28, 2011

jack attack (in pictures)

Thanks to my iPhone, pictures of this little guy are not in short supply.

Picnik collage

You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

my mama


I'm not going to lie. When my mama left on Saturday, after being here for almost a week, I cried a lot.

It's been a while since I've needed my mom. There have certainly been countless times when I've needed to hear her voice or I've needed a hug from her or I've just needed to sit down over a bowl of soup at Panera for a little quality mother-daughter time. But I haven't needed her in my day-to-day for a long time.

Until that sweet boy of mine was born. And then before I realized how much I really did need her help, she had swooped in to make everything easier (or as easy as possible when one brings home a new baby).


We came home to little vases of flowers in every room. The house was clean, the sheets and towels were fresh, a candle was burning and she had snacks ready and waiting. She did the laundry, she cooked meals, she watched Jack while I napped, she grocery shopped, she changed diapers, she told me she was proud of me.

I really, really didn't want her to leave. And even though this gig is getting a little easier each day, there are moments when I want her to come back. Like...immediately. But one of my favorite things about my mom being here is what she left behind:

Picnik collage

All week, I've been finding these notes. In my trail mix. In my closet. In Jack's crib. The bathroom, my car, my wallet, the refrigerator. All over the house, she left these sweet reminders that she was here and that she's praying for me and that she believes in me. Reminders that we are loved by a God who will provide me with strength to love this boy each day. Reminders to continue holding myself to a standard of grace.

She is amazing, that one. I love her and I'm so thankful that she was here as I stepped into motherhood. I can't think of a better guide.

Monday, October 24, 2011

how we're doing

Picnik collage

We made it through the first week!

On Wednesday, I was feeling like this day would never come. I don't know why, but I had it in my head that I'd be okay if I could just make it to the one week mark. This stuff is hard, y'all. Sleep deprivation is no joke. But early yesterday morning when I was nursing my sweet boy before the sun came up, I was thinking about how at that time last week I was in a hospital bed, preparing to meet him. And I couldn't believe how much my life has changed in just one week. (And I was right. Things feel much more manageable now.)

We're still trying to figure each other out, but it's going well. Jack is such an amazing baby, rarely crying unless it's because he's really hungry and I'm trying to do something silly like change his diaper or the onesie he just peed through.

We've almost gotten the whole sleep thing stabilized, thanks to a last-ditch attempt when we put him in his car seat by our bed. We think there may be some reflux issues going on that are keeping him from being comfortable when he's flat on his back. He never would fully settle down and I wasn't getting more than 45 minutes of sleep at a time. But since we moved him to the car seat, he's been going down around 9 or 10 and waking up every 2-3 hours. And those few hours of solid sleep make such a huge difference, amen?

Every day - honestly, every hour - he changes and we're seeing more of his personality. He's awake and alert more during the day, which I love. He gets the hiccups about as much as he did when he was inside me. He makes these crazy mouse-like noises when he sleeps that just crack us up. He pumps his right leg when he gets really worked up. He doesn't mind Rudy's kisses. He loves his pacifier and the swing. He doesn't like to be naked.

And when he breaks out into a sleepy, milky little smile when he's nursing? I melt.

We do love that boy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

jack wilson castrodale


Born on October 16 at 2:31pm
7lbs, 14oz
21 inches long

And y'all? We're so in love.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

dear jack: where are you?

Sweet boy,

We're all just beside ourselves with excitement. When will you make your debut? You've been faking me out with contractions all week, but I'm starting to wonder if you really mean it. Carolina lost a football game against Miami today and your daddy said that there's no way you can be born on a day when that happened. I told him to watch it, you can be born any time you want.

I feel a little bit like I'm giving birth to Simba, from the Lion King. All of your family - your grandparents and great grandparents and aunts and uncles and great aunts and great uncles and cousins - they're all anxiously waiting for you to get here. You are such a big deal to them, little boy. I can't believe how loved you are. Your Papa is even saving two little pumpkins from his garden to carve for you when he comes down to meet you. Like I said, we can't wait.

The last week has been the hardest of the pregnancy, by far. You've probably heard me cry a few tears, but I hope you know it has nothing to do with you. Actually, it has everything to do with you. I'm just so ready to meet you, that's all. I was thinking last night about all the mamas who have gone before me who have spent many a sleepless night praying for an end that seems to be nowhere in sight. That was me at 2:30 this morning. Then I remembered one of my favorite verses in Lamentations. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

That is a sweet promise, my love, and I can't wait for you to know it yourself.

I love you so much. See you soon.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

next stop, tbd

Did you know that Andrew will be getting his assignment in the next few weeks, which means we'll know where we're moving this winter? With all this baby business, I keep forgetting about all the other changes coming our way. We're so excited to find out where we're going and to start thinking of ways to be intentional with our time there. We've said over and over again that it's awesome to be so out of control with all these Navy decisions, because we know that we can only end up where God wants us. And I don't have to worry about screwing it up.

So here are the Top 3 places we could end up. I thought I'd give you the rundown of each place so you can share in the joy/hesitation we might feel when we get the news...

1. San Diego, CA

  • Hello, it's San Diego! The temperature averages 70 degrees for over 200 days out of the year!
  • It's on the west coast, which is different than the east coast (obviously), and we're all about trying new things.
  • Lots to see and do: food, festivals, major league baseball and football, amusement parks, scenery, etc...
  • I have a cousin who lives there and so does Andrew. Family for the win!
  • Remember what I said about the weather?
  • By being based on the west coast, Andrew would get to port in some pretty cool places when he's deployed.
  • West coast means a plane ticket is required to get home and those are $$$
  • The only type of sub out of San Diego is fast attack, which means lots and lots of work, wonky schedules and deployments/underways for Andrew. Boo.
  • Base housing is really hard to get and off-base housing is $$$

2. Groton, CT


  • New England is just so darn charming.
  • It's a short train ride to NYC and you know how we feel about that.
  • It's a short train ride to Boston, which is a place we've always wanted to check out.
  • It's a quick drive to Newport, RI and we love Newport.
  • Clam chowder. And lobster.
  • It's on the east coast and only a 10-hour drive back to NC. While that's still a long drive, it's definitely doable and makes it easier to see family.
  • There's something romantic to me about the idea of living in New England for fall and Christmas. You know how I like my flannel PJs and apple cider and fireplaces and snow!
  • We already know some Navy folks stationed there.
  • As much as I like to romanticize the white Christmas possibility, I know that I won't appreciate the long, cold, wet winters. At all.
  • Andrew's work schedule would be intense, much like in San Diego.
  • It doesn't feel as drastic as moving out to the west coast and if we're going to do this, we want to make the most of it.

3. Bangor, WA

kitsap peninsula

  • Again with the whole west coast thing...
  • Something about the Pacific Northwest culture feels kind of cozy and interesting.
  • Did you see that picture? I don't think I'll have any trouble convincing my family to visit for weeks at a time - my dad and brother will be eager to look for some fish in those waters.
  • The sub Andrew could end up on has a better schedule than the other two locations.
  • Also, there's a small chance that he could end up on the rock star of subs and he gets all excited and cute when he talks about that.
  • Boooo, rainy weather.
  • West coast = more hassle/$$$ to get back home.
  • There doesn't seem to be as much to do as in San Diego and Groton. To be honest, I think it sounds kind of boring, but I might be pleasantly surprised.
  • While Andrew's schedule will be better, if he doesn't get the rock star sub, he'll be on a sub that doesn't have the kind of missions he's hoping for.

The other places we could end up are Pearl Harbor, HI or Norfolk, VA. But that's not very likely. Famous last words, right? Either way, we should find out in about 3ish weeks. Crazy! Don't worry, I'll let you know ASAP so you can decide whether to send me flip-flops or a chunky scarf for Christmas ;)

So, tell me: what do you know about these places? Any pros/cons I should add to my list?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

on waiting


Things I've said a lot lately:
  • "I'm going to have a baby soon!"
  • "I'm pretty sure that was a contraction."
  • "Can you believe there's going to be a BABY here soon?"
  • "Want to go for a walk?"
  • "I'm never having this baby. He's going to stay inside f-o-r-e-v-e-r."

And I haven't even gotten to my due date yet.

I think that because we so badly want our boy to be early or on time due to Andrew's schedule, the waiting part is especially agonizing. I feel like I'm in a constant state of anticipation, not to mention the fact that Andrew is still working hardcore and I'm alone all day. All day. The

My grandmother sent me an email this morning, praying for me. She prayed that I experience joy and patience today as I rest in our sweet God. I read it on my phone before I even got out of bed and I think it set the mood for my day. I'm feeling a little less ohmygoshwhenisthisbabycoming and a little more...patient.

Also, I can't get this song out of my head:

PS: I debated writing another pregnancy/baby-related post because I've been all "I'm having a baby soon, y'all! I can't wait! Hurry up! Woo hoo!" for the last few weeks. But then I thought, meh. It's my blog and I do what I want. Amen.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

how to distract yourself from an impending birth

Step 1: Find a cute boy to share brunch with.

Picnik collage

Step 2: Stroll down hidden alleys and peek inside secret gardens.

Picnik collage

Step 3: Try not to feel awkward when the cute boy turns all papa-paparazzi on you.

Picnik collage

Step 4: Buy a book from a local photographer and settle in on a park bench to thumb through it.

Picnik collage

Step 5: Feel super thankful for a day well spent.


Monday, October 10, 2011

39 weeks

Picnik collage

Here we are! 39 weeks! When I look at this week's picture compared to last week's, I kind of feel like my child doubled in size. That's the only explanation. Yikes.

We had an ultrasound on Wednesday to measure his general size, as well as the amount of fluid around him, and everything looks great. They estimated that he's about 7.5lbs - give or take - and they didn't see any issues at all with his size. All week, I kept reminding myself that this boy is His before he is ours and no matter what, he is fearfully and wonderfully made. Praise God for that.

Now. Let's have this baby :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

maternity pictures

Baby Jack Maternity-112

We met our photographer downtown on a beautiful Sunday afternoon - the weather was great, the lighting was great, the tourists were going home. It was such a great time to wander around this sweet city that we've come to know and love.

And y'all. These pictures? I think they're pretty adorable.

Picnik collage

Baby Jack Maternity-205

Baby Jack Maternity-162

Baby Jack Maternity-144

Picnik collage

Baby Jack Maternity-77

Baby Jack Maternity-198

I love them! We'll treasure these forever - Charleston has come to mean a lot to us, so to have these pictures is such a sweet gift. And I picked a pretty handsome baby daddy, if I do say so myself.

This kid is going to be CUTE.

By the way, if you're from the Charleston area and looking for a photographer, you should talk to Jeni. She's so fun and talented and we had a blast working with her. We're bringing our boy back for a family photo shoot in a month or so :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

what i want to wear

Because I work from home and because we only go out like once or twice a weekend, I was able to get by with very little by way of maternity clothes. As in, three dresses for church/showers, a handful of tees in basic colors, a nice blouse and two pairs of jeans. And of course, there are those yoga skirts that haven't failed me yet.

I pretty much wear the same thing every time I go to church, every time I go to a doctor's appointment and every time Andrew and I go to dinner. That's not an exaggeration. I do try to spice things up with a cute headband or fun shoes, but it's all pretty predictable. On one hand, I'm thankful for that: we've saved a lot of money by not having to buy "work clothes" for the belly and I'm pretty much always comfortable. But on the other hand?

Girlfriend is ready for some wardrobe variety.

So on this day when I'm not having a baby, but watching Sleepless in Seattle and waiting for Andrew to get home, I decided to put together a few outfit ideas - things I can't wait to wear once I'm not with child.

Ready? Let's go.

Outfit #1: Downtown with my honey and my baby
Picture 1
If I can ever get these hips into my skinny jeans again, I'm pairing them with a yummy oversized knit top, like this one from Anthro and a sweet scarf like this one from Forever21. Also, I have a serious crush on those Steve Madden boots. They're currently in my shopping bag, as I mull over the decision to buy them.

Outfit #2: Errands around town
Picture 4
I can't wait to wear my JCrew boyfriend jeans again because I love them so. And I've been wanting a casual blazer for a while - I just saw one at a local thrift store and I think I should go back for it. Don't you agree? Pair all of that with a fun scarf and comfy flats and I'm good to go. To the grocery store.

Outfit #3: Casual at home
Picture 5
Even if I'm at home all day, I gotta make sure I still catch my boy's eye when he comes home from work :) So I'll rock those boyfriend jeans with a plaid shirt like the one there, but that I actually got on clearance from the men's section (an xs) at JCrew last year. And my burlap Toms, because those are also super comfy, but also really cute.

Outfit #4: Date night!
Picture 6
We'll get out of the house without the baby, I swear. A girl can dream, right? I'd love to wear this sweet dress from Mod Cloth with a fun cranberry cardigan. Because we live in Charleston, I could totally wear something like this in October or November (or December). And there are those boots again! See how versatile they are? :)

The best part? Most of this stuff is already in my closet. Love that. But I'm willing to bet I could get a thrill out of rooting around some sales or thrift stores or consignment shops for a few things. Maybe.

Just another thing to look forward to this fall :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

sashes to the merchants


Let me tell y'all something good.

A long, long, long time ago, I clicked over to a friend of a friend of a friend's blog and found Jessi. I was immediately encouraged by her raw honesty about being a wife and mother who loves Jesus with an intensity that I haven't seen in many other people. Since then, she's been one of those internet friends that makes me want to settle in with a cup of coffee to see what she's sharing each morning.

Recently, she opened a shop full of these beautiful, scripture prints that I want to put in every room of my house. So far, I have one in the kitchen and two more in Jack's room. I just love them. And I love her heart behind that shop.

Then, one day when I was struggling with some some of those "am I being purposeful enough?" questions, she posted this about the Proverbs 31 woman and how her work should be done well and with a great amount of faith and trust - no matter what that "work" is. At least that's what it meant to me. And then she talked about how that woman in Proverbs made stuff, sashes, to sell to the merchants.

Fast forward to now. Jessi and a friend have started this amazing place for women - believing, creative women - to learn from each other. To lift each other up, to be a community for each other, to inspire each other as they bring their sashes to the merchants. All of these incredible women who make beautiful things can come together and talk about what that's like. Sounds pretty amazing to me.

All of that to say this: they're officially launching that community today. And I think you should definitely, absolutely check it out. You will find a lot of great women, a lot of beautiful, handmade things, and a lot of encouragement.

And I think you'll love it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

38 weeks

38 weeks

I've never known a waiting game quite like this, but I can't say it's my favorite.

To have everything ready and to feel this excited, yet to have no idea when the big day will be? Well, that's nothing short of torture. Or an exercise in patience and surrender, if you're looking for the silver lining or something.

There's not much to report on the developmental side of things - the boy is just hanging out, getting ready to make an exit.

We have an ultrasound on Wednesday to make sure he's growing alright. Apparently, my belly is measuring just small enough to almost raise a red flag, so they want to take a look and make sure there isn't anything going on that they should be aware of. The doctor didn't seem terribly concerned and I'm sure that if it was a big issue, they would have scheduled the ultrasound right away instead of tacking it on to the next visit. Either way, a prayer or two would be greatly appreciated.

As for the parents-to-be, we're doing well. Andrew's staying busy, I'm trying to do the same and we're making the most of the time we have together in between.

Any guesses on whether he'll be early, on time or late? We're really hoping and praying that he comes maybe five days early - Andrew is more likely to be given some time off if he comes during that part of his schedule than if he comes later.

So please, pray for early :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

this month


It's official: my son will be born this month.

I will meet my son this month.

I will see his little face, his sweet little hands and feet, his teeny little toes this month.

This month, I will sit on the couch and steal some snuggles from my husband and my dog and my little boy.

I feel good about this month.
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