Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Week

Though I have a lot of updates to go back and edit and post, I thought I would start from some of the more recent posts to keep everyone up to date. This one is actually about activities that went on last week, Dec.20-26
Because all of our regularly scheduled activities were not in session this week for the Christmas holiday, we had a lot of free play time and "do what you want" time. With such a busy fall schedule, we didn't have too many of those days, and we missed having them from time to time. Daddy had to work for the first 3 days of the week, so we tried to keep on our normal eat/nap routine and just find other fun things to keep us busy.
One day we went to a pizza parlor with a kids play area:
We made another zoo trip this week, this time with a couple of friends. No matter how many times we visit the zoo, the boys never tire of it.
As is an Armstrong family tradition at Christmas time, we all went out for a nice dinner at Taste of Texas. One of my favorite restaurants, and so festive at Christmastime. Between waiting for a table and eating, it was a 3 1/2 hour affair. The boys did fabulous. David and I were so proud of their behavior.
Friday was a day of making Christmas cookies,
then Christmas Eve mass and dinner with the family.
Of course, Saturday was Christmas Day. Santa made a visit and brought everyone in the house a lot of goodies. I plan to write a "Christmas Morning" post soon.
After opening gifts, we headed out to Aunt Catherine's house for a wonderful Christmas brunch.
The rest of the week was filled with good old playtime with lots of new toys.
**I take a lot of pictures in general (an average week is about 80 pictures), but because of Christmas morning festivities, there were more than twice as many pictures taken. I try to cut down the number of pictures I upload and share to a more "reasonable" number, but this week couldn't get it down below 100, so be aware if you plan on looking through the link.
Here are the pictures from the week.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Pictures by Monica

For the past couple of years, my friend, Monica, has taken pictures of the boys and our family. I always intend to upload some of the best pictures to share here, but never get around to it. I don't know if I'll ever get the other ones posted, but here are some of my favorites she took the weekend after Thanksgiving, including our Christmas card photo for the year:
Some great shots of the boys:
and some beautiful family pictures as well:
Here are the rest of the pictures she took during the session.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Jacob is beyond excited about Christmas morning. There is so much running around inside that little body of his he could hard stand still tonight. I wish I could just bottle up the innocence and wonder he is experiencing right now. It is just adorable and so so sweet. I also wish I had my video camera on when I went in to kiss him goodnight so I could capture the bubbling over of excitement and glee on his face and coming from his mouth (I did try to go back in with my camera, but like most times he sees the camera, he clammed up). What an amazing time!
Here are the little guys in their new pajamas with the cookies and milk for Santa (I can just see the excitement in Jacob)

My two handsome little men ready for Christmas Eve mass:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Applepus and Brebra

OK, so a very different post than normal, but one I just had to write to remember this cuteness. Right now, Luke talks A LOT and knows so many words, it really is amazing. Not all of his words are correct though. For example, my new favorite - Octopus is Applepus. Adorable! And Zebra is Brebra. I hope to get this on video soon to add to the post.

To the zoo...yes again

Another warm winter day in Houston, brought the boys and me back to the zoo today.
This time we went with our friends Katie and Gideon. Gideon is in Luke's class at school, but the admiration and affection Gideon has for Jacob is what really keeps Gideon wanting to hang out with us! My efforts to get a picture of all 3 rambunctious boys was futile.
In fact, at this spot, Gideon wanted to play duck duck goose instead of taking a silly picture.I got these two to sit for 5 seconds...
This time, as promised, the boys got to ride the Herman Park train. The ticket prices have gone up since the last time we rode, so our rides may not be as frequent as they once were.
My boys have always been stroller kids. They would rather be pushed around than walk (or run) on their own. As much as I like this (it sure makes it easier to take them out on my own when they aren't running in two different directions) sometimes I wish they would get out and walk a bit. Pushing nearly 80lbs of stroller and kid gets heavy!
Not sure what his problem was in the stroller picture, he really was having fun....
In front of the chimpanzee window today, one feisty chimp scared both my boys in two separate instances. The boys were standing on the wall by the window, and this one chimp went right up to the glass and hit it right by their faces. Both were very quick to back away and almost fall off the wall. Good thing Mommy was there to catch them. It really stuck with Luke. Later, at the orangutans he wouldn't go within 3 feet of the glass enclosure!
Though I am sure this has been going on for some time now, and I just haven't registered it, I realized today that Jacob has started asking "what is ?" when an unfamiliar word is used in conversation. Before, he would just glaze right over what was said and go on, even if he didn't understand. He is once again showing his love for knowledge with these new questions. The word that made me pay attention...passengers. Big thanks to Katie for tolerating his neverending silliness and helping to answer his numerous questions.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas #1

Because my sister and BIL are headed out of town for Christmas, we celebrated Christmas with my immediate family yesterday. After some great visiting/playing time,
we had a wonderful meal (including THREE fabulous, homemade desserts) then lots of presents.
The boys had a wonderful time with their cousins and came home with a lot of great stuff too.

Jacob has figured out the concept of presents and gifts and was quick to move from one present to the next.

Luke, on the other hand was very happy to open a gift and play with it for a little while before being bothered to open another one.


Ran out of time to post last night, so here is post 1 of 2 (at least) for today:
A couple of weeks ago, Jacob's teacher sent home a few worksheets with a some evaluations she had done on the children to see where they were at in a few areas. 4 of the sheets were for identifying upper and lower case letters, numbers up to 20, and colors. Of course, Jacob aced all 4, as he actually learned them all at a very young age.
It got me thinking though about Luke and evaluating him as well. I knew he could identify all of his upper case letters (he got that down a few months ago) but I wasn't sure where we stood with lowercase letters, numbers, or colors. I was completely amazed at what he was able to do.
  • He knew about 6 of the 8 colors on the first pass, but missed a couple different ones in the second pass (getting the ones right he previously missed), and got them all right on the 3rd pass. Definitely needs a bit more work on the colors. Overall, I am impressed with it.
  • He needs work on numbers. I would say only about 5-7 were right and he didn't sound so sure of himself on those. I'm glad to know what we can focus on for now.
  • He only knew just over half of the lowercase letters, but that doesn't surprise me as we rarely, if ever, talk about those. The ones that look like their uppercase letters are gimmes, but he did know a few others as well.
  • Where I was completely amazed was when we did the uppercase letters (which we did first.) Not only did he quickly and easily identify each letter correctly, but he followed each letter name with the sound it makes! Only getting 2 of the sounds wrong! This kid is ready for phonics! I was really proud of him and told him, and he was just beaming from ear to ear. Guess kids really do pick up stuff when you just tell them things and don't sit down and try to teach.

Friday, December 17, 2010

African Forest

The boys and I get our money's worth out of our zoo membership, making the trip into town 2-3 times a month to visit the animals. The beauty of a membership means the 1 1/2 - 2 hour visit (usually the max amount of time spent there) doesn't feel like a waste of money.
With our fall activities and school finishing up for the year, we found ourselves with a free day (which rarely happens!) and decided to visit the zoo and check out the new exhibit(s) in the African Forest. We were not disappointed. They did a really good job on the whole area. We plan on going back next week to visit again.
Here are a few pictures with my new pocket (waterproof!) camera I got for my birthday last week. The pictures aren't as sharp as those taken with my DSLR, but you can't beat the ease of a pocket camera.And of course, no trip to the zoo is complete without a ride on the carouselAnd a climb in the prairie dog tunnel
There is a train that runs through the park adjacent to the zoo that the boys LOVE to ride, but I bargained with the boys to skip it this time...which means I am on the hook for next week!