Their baby boy, who is the first child for The Bachelor alums, was the most adorable guest of honor at his recent birthday party — the photos of which the couple have shared exclusively with PEOPLE.
Sean, 33, and Catherine, 31, chatted with PEOPLE for this week’s issue about their new life with their son, who officially turns 1 on July 2: his milestones, their first year as parents, their love for Dreft laundry detergent (the couple has a year-long partnership with the brand) and more.
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PEOPLE: What has parenthood been like for you this past year?
Sean Lowe: It’s been one long learning process for me. From changing diapers to knowing when he’s tired or when he’s hungry or when he has a wet diaper, it’s been a lot of fun. But it’s also been on-the-job training.
Catherine Lowe: I love it! I think I questioned what I’d be like as a mom before I had him. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to become a mom. We have such a great baby. We’re really the lucky ones to have such a sweet child.
PEOPLE: How have your views on parenthood changed since having Samuel?
Catherine: I was nervous about being maternal and seeing what my relationship would be like with him. My heart has doubled in size because I love him so much. I’ve really gotten into that position of being a mom and making it a part of my life.
Sean: Although I wasn’t nervous, it was probably an instance of “ignorance is bliss.” I don’t think I knew just how time-consuming a baby can be. I quickly learned that being a parent is a full-time job. You get very little time to yourself. But that’s also beautiful in its own way.
PEOPLE: What’s Samuel’s personality like?
Sean: We feel so blessed because he has such a cool, calm demeanor. We always say he’s a chill baby because he really is. We often joke that our next baby will be a terror because he’s so good.
He’s happy! He’s always laughing and giggling and smiling. He just wants to be around Mom and Dad all the time. He loves other people. We just feel like we got super lucky!
PEOPLE: What are some of the parenting challenges you’ve come across?
Catherine: Having a job, having our life, being a parent and navigating what that looks like on your first time and doing it with very little sleep … for me, your hormones go crazy and you’re a monster at one point then sobbing the next. It’s a really cool roller coaster, but [I] have a great husband and a wonderful baby to share memories [with].
PEOPLE: How has parenthood impacted your marriage?
Sean: I think it’s only improved our marriage. I know a lot of times people can become too distracted by their children and they forget about their marriage, but Catherine and I are just so grateful for our little family. We certainly haven’t forgotten to love each other and show each other the attention that we both deserve. If anything, I think it’s only made us stronger.
Catherine: Sean and I have been best friends since we got engaged, and now we have another little best friend. It’s a really fun dynamic.
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PEOPLE: What was his first birthday party like?
Catherine: His first birthday party was so funny. We got this big giant teddy bear, and he totally took to it. We opened presents, had cake and dressed him up really cute. Samuel was a trooper.
Sean: He was more concerned about the balloons than the actual presents. We really thought he was going to eat all the cake and go nuts. We were surprised. He liked playing in the cake, but he didn’t really like eating it.
PEOPLE: Thinking about baby No. 2 yet?
Catherine: Sean and I have always been open about the fact that we want more children. I think our lifestyle right now has been not as expected from before. We were like, ‘Oh, we’ll totally knock them out and we’ll be so quick and get it over with,’ just because it’s a long time of being pregnant and having a newborn.
But we just enjoy Samuel so much right now that we haven’t nailed anything down. We didn’t really plan for him, so it’s kind of been that same thing – we’re just enjoying life together and we’ll see what happens.
PEOPLE: Do you have any advice for new parents?
Catherine: Be present. Listen to your parents!
PEOPLE: What’s your connection with/feelings on Dreft?
Catherine: It’s nice to have tradition in our family, like the one we have with Dreft. My mom used Dreft when I was a baby. Dreft has been around for 80 years, and we just want to keep that tradition alive.
Also, pre-wash your baby clothes! A lot of people, for baby shower gifts, give you a bunch of clothes. [With] all the prep that you have to do before you go to the hospital, pre-washing your baby clothes is such a good idea because you don’t want to have to worry about that. You’re going to be doing so much laundry anyway. I do laundry all the time!
It’s really nice with Dreft, too, because I’m such a nostalgic person. [With] the Dreft smell, I know when I look back at Samuel as a baby, I’m going to think about that smell and be brought right back to that time.
For more from Sean and Catherine Giudici Lowe on their life at home with baby Samuel, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.