Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas

Wow - I can't believe it has been a full week since I last updated. Shame on me! Things have been busy, but that truly isn't an excuse. Instead, it means I should have blogged more to talk about all that we've done. But, since I didn't, I guess I'll have to put the condensed version into one post. First and foremost, Merry Christmas to everyone! We had a great Christmas week.
We started with a Christmas dinner at Taste of Texas with my family on Tuesday night. It is a tradition we've followed for many years, and I hope many more. (Up until last year, we used to go on Christmas Eve, but all of the festivities we partake in were too much for the kids in one night, so we split them over 2 nights.) Wednesday was mass, and light dinner, and the Armstrong family present opening at our house. Jacob loves it when we have 'parties' at our house with his cousins, and this was no different. Add in all of the presents, and he could hardly contain himself.

Thursday was Christmas with our little family of 4. What a joy to see Jacob have so much fun.

Friday we relaxed and prepared for Mia and Papa's arrival on Saturday. Saturday night we celebrated Christmas with them.

Everyone surely knows what Jacob's passion is as he got a ton of cars of all shapes and sizes.
He was thrilled.

Santa and Mommy and Daddy tried to give him some non-car things, and he showed little interest. He was happy to get a Big Wwheel from Grandma and Grandpa and a drill from Mia and Papa, so I guess a couple of other toys made the cut.

Luke, of course, had no idea about the whole thing, but liked to pull at the paper and chew on it. He mostly just looked on in awe.

Luke has really had some incredible changes in the last week. He's really coming into his own. He seems so much more alert, is 'talking' more, and is even up on his hands and knees quite often, rocking. Sometimes he will move his knees forward, but he hasn't figured out how to move his hands yet, so he ends up in a faceplant. I think crawling is right around the corner. Yikes!

He also is sitting up much better now too. For awhile, everytime I sat him up, he would straighten out his torso and fling himself backwards. He would do the same while in the Bumbo chair. He apparently had no interest in sitting. Well, in the last two days, he has been doing much better, actually sitting up for nearly a minute at a time on occasion. Unfortunately, sleeping is still an issue. We had one night where he slept until 4:45am before waking to eat. We were thrilled. Unfortunately, it was only one night :( He is eating more and more, usually twice a day. We added carrots to the mix this week.

Mia and Papa will be staying with us for the next week, so we are excited to have some fun with them. Jacob adores them and especially enjoys all of the extra attention he gets when they are here.

Go here for a whole bunch of pictures from the week. (I don't have any from the dinner - I'll have to get some from my dad.) I got some fabulous new photography equipment (a new lens, tripod, remote, and external flash) so I have been taking tons of pictures to experiment.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Slowing down

We actually spent a bit more time at home this week, which was a nice break from the busy schedule of the last few weeks. On Tuesday, Jacob had his last day of school for 2008. They ended the day with a little party in the classromm which Luke and I attended. We had a playdate with a friend at our house on Monday and a Christmas party playdate with our playgroup on Friday. It was a huge party with a lot of kiddos. It was probably the last playgroup gathering of the year for us, so it was nice to see everyone together.

Last week, Luke all of a sudden decided he didn't want to eat the solid food. This week, thankfully, he changed his mind again, and is once again scarfing the cereal. We introduced sweet potatoes this week too, and he seems to like those also. Sleeping is not perfect, but it is improving. He usually only gets up 2 times a night (about 2-3 am and about 5-6am), eating both times, but that has generally been it. I can do that. I'm afraid he's habitually eating at night (at least for the 2nd feeding), even though he may not need to. I've tried to let him cry it out several times, and he always seems to win. I give in and feed him after 1) he wakes up Jacob with the crying or 2) he gets hysterical after crying for 15+ min. He has also been napping a bit better too the last few days, I hope that continues. A good solid napping routine is key in my book.

We are all looking forward to Christmas in just a few days. The festivities with my family begin tomorrow and extend into Wednesday. The celebration with my inlaws will begin Saturday when they arrive to stay with us for awhile. We can't wait.

Here are the rest of this week's pictures.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Movers and Shakers

Earlier this week I noticed Luke would "move" from the spot I put him on the floor. He isn't crawling, by any means, but a few different manuevers get him where he wants to go. First off, he rolls. Front and back, left and right. This moves him along. Other times he will spin around on his tummy to see what is going on in another direction. And finally, if something is just out of reach, he will do a little inch worm wiggle to move himself forward. It is pretty funny to watch. He gets up into a pushup position on his hands and toes, pushes his bum up in the air then drops to his tummy and reaches forward with his hands. I haven't caught video of it yet, but here are a few pictures:

Meanwhile, Jacob was off doing rolls all over the place while Luke struggled to move a few feet. I definitely think I need to enroll him in a gymnastics class in the spring:

Christmas House

For the past several years, David has been wanting to make a gingerbread house at Christmas time. This year, I obliged him and bought a little kit. He put it together last night, and Jacob saw it for the first time this morning. He calls it the "Christmas House." I don't know how long it will remain intact because Jacob is a big fan of all the little treats on the house...especially the gum drops.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Busy Holidays

Everyone knows that the holidays are busy for adults, but often times we forget how busy our kids can get too. Jacob definitely saw it this week. We had something everyday.

We spent much of Monday out and about shopping and going to lunch. Tuesday was school and a playdate at the park after school. On Wednesday he went to Bible Study and then participated in the Bible Study Christmas program. He didn't really sing (though I know he knows the songs as I hear him sing them around the house, he just got shy up on stage, I guess) but he did stay up on the stage and didn't cry.

Wednesday afternoon there was a rare snow shower in Houston The snow didn't stick and the snowflakes were very tiny, but it was snow. Jacob got up from his nap just in time to see it before it stopped, but he had no interest in going outside to see and experience it. I convinced him to go out for a moment, but he came in just minutes later. Oh well. That afternoon, I once again spent some time taking pictures of the boys in the hopes of getting a good picture of the two of them in front of the Christmas tree. Luke cooperated, Jacob....not so much. I did end up with a few cute ones though.

Thursday was school and Friday was a playdate and Mommy's birthday. Saturday was Mommy's birthday party with the family, and Sunday was a day spent playing with Grandma while Mommy and Daddy went to the Texans game and later he attended the neighborhood Christmas party. Busy boy! Luke went along for the ride all week.

As for Luke, several things to report. Besides no longer sleeping swaddled, he moved up to size 3 diapers this week. They are still a bit big, but I didn't want to get another pack of the size 2s and get halfway through the pack and have him outgrow them. I can't believe he's in the 3s already. He's a big kid. He also decided mid-week that he no longer likes his cereal. After a week of scarfing it, he now keeps his mouth tightly closed, and cries if I try to make him eat it. I continue to try each night to get at least a few spoonfuls in his mouth, but he really is not interested. I may have to move on to some other types of food so he gets something in his tummy. So, without the extra food, he is getting up 2 times a night to eat again, but thankfully, he is sleeping well between feedings most of the time. He still wakes up occasionally, but has been able to put himself back to sleep without assistance. He is also giggling a lot these days, especially when watching Jacob goof around and when he is being tickled. And boy is he ticklish. It is really cute.

Go here to see the rest of this week's pictures.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cold Turkey

No...that isn't what we had for is the approach we used to quit swaddling Luke this week. Yes, we were still swaddling our 5 month old. For those of you who remember when Jacob was little, we swaddled him until a week or so after passed the 6 month mark. We tried several different times over the first 6 months to slowly break him of the need to be swaddled, but he just wouldn't sleep without it. Finally, we gave up on the gradual approach and one day we just didn't swaddle him and never looked back. It wasn't an easy transition, but we got through it. Because of that situation, I was hesitant to even swaddle Luke at all. But for several months he really seemed to need it. Lately, though it didn't seem to be working and he was trying to break out of the swaddle all of the time, which in turn made him very awake and not at all interested in going back to sleep. No fun to deal with several times a night. Anyways, on Monday night, David was attending to him when he woke at about 11pm and decided not to swaddle him when he put him back to sleep. It worked! He slept for several hours until it was time to eat. Then, slept another several hours after eating. We haven't looked back. He is actually sleeping better now than he had been for several weeks. Not wonderful yet, but getting there. The swing is still his favorite place to sleep and nap, and I still use it for most naps and at night if he is struggling to sleep in his crib.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas is coming

Though Luke started oatmeal cereal this week, we haven't seen a big improvement in his sleeping just yet. He still wants to eat 1-2 times per night, and he is still waking up several other times before and between feedings which needing to be rocked or swung back to sleep. If we could only drop those extra wake-up calls. He loves the cereal and eats a lot whenever it is offered, which for now is every night and sometimes midday, depending on our schedule. It seems to have helped his bathroom problem, which is good. He is now going every few days instead of once every 1-2 weeks. Luke is also tripodding a bit now and just yesterday I saw him digging his toes into the carpet to try to get leverage while on his tummy. He mostly just rolls and spins, but I think he realizes that there is something more to being on his tummy. He also was up on hands and knees in his crib when I went to get him today. The teething continues (lots of drooling, biting on his hands, and whining) but no teeth yet.
The house is mostly decorated for Christmas now that we have our tree(which we cut down last weekend.) We had a good time scouting out the Christmas Tree Farm until we found just the right one. I think Jacob enjoyed the open space to run around and tractor and train rides more than the actual tree picking and cutting. We also visited with Santa, and although Jacob didn't cry this year, he wasn't too thrilled with the idea of sitting on his lap, but he did it because we bribed him with a ride on the choo-choo train. Jacob is starting to understand the idea of Santa though, so that might have helped too. According to J, Santa is going to bring him "new cars and trucks." Big surprise. :)
Go here to see the rest of this week's pictures.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First tastes of food

Tonight we took the plunge and gave Luke his first taste of solid food in the form of oatmeal cereal. He did great and seemed to enjoy it. After watching his intent interest in our food lately, I knew he was ready. I'm also hoping this will help keep him full enough to sleep through the night again. It won't be a miracle cure, I'm sure, but I hope to see at least a little improvement in the next few days. Here is a short video and some pics of tonight's activities:

Ready to go

First taste

Big brother looks on

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving and Family Fun

A fun-filled week with the Thanksgiving holiday travels, Daddy on vacation and Aunt Catherine in town. In order to maximize our time with her, the family got together a few times while she was home.

Pawpaw had his birthday on Monday so we all celebrated at Grandma and Pawpaw's house. We drove up to San Marcos on Wednesday morning and spent the rest of the day shopping at the outlet malls and getting settled into our hotel (Luke's first hotel stay.)

Thursday we drove to Wimberley and spent the day with my mom's side of the family. It is a gathering we attend every year at my Granddaddy's house and property in the Hill Country. It is usually a fairly big crowd, but this year it was enormous. There were nearly 60 people there for Thanksgiving. It was great to see so many people, but a bit overwhelming at the same time. We had a wonderful time.

Friday we headed home after a stop in Lockhart, TX for some fabulous BBQ. I'd like to say that the drives were uneventful and easy, but they weren't. My boys are not used to car travel (as we do it so rarely), so neither were very happy to be strapped down for the 3 hour drives. I was definitely ready to be out of the car too.

Friday night, the family was at our house for dinner before Catherine left town. Jacob just adores his cousins, so he was so happy to have them over to play. Saturday, Jacob had another birthday party. It was a super busy week.

Luke is rolling around like crazy these days. When he is put down on his back, he almost always flips to his belly. He's not super happy to be on his belly most of the time, so I'm not quite sure why he always rolls there. He seems to have forgotten that he can roll back to his back, so he just fusses until we help him out. Food will be started this week - he's ready. Sleeping has been a precious commodity lately, and it is wearing me thin. I'm hoping some cereal in the evenings will help things out. No teeth yet, but I think they must be close with all the drooling and gnawing he does. He's also in a phase where he wants to be held and/or constantly entertained. This, of course, is nearly impossible to do all the time, so he's having to learn to 'wait' occasionally, and with that waiting, we are learning just how loud he can be.

Jacob is still a handful, but also lots of fun. We hear him say some of the funniest and cutest things these days. I'll post about some of the most recent ones later. He is also saying some things that we aren't quite sure where he picked up. I guess that is what happens when kids start going to school/nurseries/bible studies, etc. He loves to sing and listen to songs, so when he thinks no one is listening he will break out into songs that he has learned at school and/or bible study. If I ask him to sing them for me, he won't do it, but instead wants to sing the songs I have taught him.

Go here to see the rest of this week's pictures.