A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Alone at Home

Last night I had a book club meeting - fabulous ladies! - and lucky for me, this month instead of reading a book (which I have NO DOUBT I would not have completed), Tracey brought a craft to do while we munched treats and chatted away. This had been on my calendar for a few weeks. Eli was planning to stay home and have a "Dude time" evening!

And then he got offered two tickets to the KU game that same night.

Of course I told him he needed to go! That kind of offer does not usually fall into our laps - and we LOVE KU Basketball!

So, my sister and her hubby said they would watch the boys. Jonah had been asking to have his first "spend the night" at their house, so the plan was to send both boys with their jammies/pillows/etc., but I would be prepared to pick up Reuben at bedtime should he need to come home. He's never spent the night anywhere without me! He is still my baby boy ... my cuddler.
So, I left my book club a little early to head back into town and give Adrienne a call. She didn't answer. About ten minutes later she texted me that "all was well and both boys were asleep". I came home to an empty house, and went to bed with no little voices saying goodnight, no night light on in the room across the hall, no fear of hearing stirring from the bunkbeds.

And, it was weird!

I'm extremely grateful to Adrienne and Micah for even being willing to probably get a not-so-great night sleep in order to make two little boys grin from ear to ear, and to allow both Eli and I to get some time with friends! And Eli claims a "new era" has now entered our lives (he's totally starting to plan for our anniversary next month!), but it was still strange not to have my little boys at home with me. = ) As much as the bedtime can somtimes be a tug-of-war time, I missed those little faces resting amidst stuffed animals.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Our sonogram was yesterday. We took Jonah and Reuben with us. Jonah was completely "involved" in the sonogram. He asked questions, and really seemed interested in looking at his sibling-on-the-way. Reuben, on the other hand, was much more interested in a matching game on Daddy's cell phone. = ) At least he sat quietly for the half hour!

The sonographer set me all up, put the little wand on my stomach, and rolled over the baby. Eli said, "Oh, that's a boy, isn't it?" She said, Well, I wasn't looking for what baby is yet, I was heading to check something else, but we can take a look.

Sure enough ... Baby Brooks #3 is a B.O.Y.! It was rather obvious all the way through the sonogram.

I didn't have a "feeling" one way or the other - but when many many of my friends and family said that they thought the baby would be a girl over the past few months, I commented back several times that it could just as easily be a boy, and that it wouldn't surprise me if it was!

I was going to be thrilled either way - and I already can't wait to meet this little guy. Will he be a blondie like his brothers? Or brown haired/eyed like his parents? What will his little personality be like? I'm suddenly now impatient to have him in my arms (and slightly impatient to leave all annoying lingering nausea behind me!).

I figure that Eli and I have been given the big charge to raise strong, Godly men. Not a challenge to be taken lightly ... but one I am humbled to be handed. I truly love my bushel of boys - and I think my three amigos will be lots of fun!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cornmeal at Its Best

One of my favorite "warm-up" comfort foods right now is Polenta. A fancy name for cooked cornmeal! But, it is SO good! And so healthy for you! It makes a great base for all kinds of toppings, or can sit in its own right as a tasty side dish.

Earlier this week I created this dish as a meat-free dinner. I had basic ideas in mind when I went grocery shopping the day before, and then just went with what sounded good as I cooked away! It was ready in close to 20 minutes - gotta love that!


2 c. water
1/2 c. cornmeal
extra milk
1/2 c. shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
salt / pepper to taste

Bring 1 1/2 c. of water to boil. Mix 1/2 c. of water with cornmeal until smooth. Slowly whisk into boiling water and return mixture to boil - it will become thick! Thin to desired consistency with milk (for creaminess factor). Add in salt, pepper, and cheese to taste. Keep warm over low heat and stir often

1 large onion
2 large green peppers
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 c. favorite vinaigrette (store bought or homemade)

Julienne cut onions and peppers. Heat oil in large pan and cook garlic 1 min. Add onion and peppers and cook until soft. Salt and pepper to taste, and stir in a little of that vinaigrette for extra flavor! Serve over polenta.

Y.U.M. Eli loved this dish too - and it kept us very full all evening! Simple to make, and can be transformed a number of ways!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Prep Time!

I am unabashedly a "holiday person".
I adore holidays - and have more plans and hopes of crafts/goodies/plans
than E.V.E.R. actually come to pass!
Of course, I love the Christmas season.
I don't mind the so-called "hustle and bustle" of the t0-do lists
(at least, most of the time!)
because it just seems that it is a cheery time of year.
A time to remember why this season even exists at all-
and to wonder at the miracle of Jesus' birth.

And what a wonderful way to look at the beauty of Christmas:

through the eyes of children.

It's true that there is a great challenge of helping little eyes to see that
the season is not about "getting",
but about giving to others and seeing the big picture of Christmas.

But, Eli and I love watching the boys' eyes light up as we pull out decorations,
set up the nativity,
arrange advent calendars.
Their expectations are only of wonderful things: no jaded ideas here!
When we sang "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" on Sunday morning at church,

Jonah just looked at me, with eyes opened wide and huge grin on his face -
a Christmas song on Sunday morning! He couldn't remember the year before doing the same thing.

Now each evening that we're out after dark,
the boys beg for me to take "a special way" to our destination
so that we can hunt for houses with Christmas lights!
The next three weeks are only going to go by too fast,
and if I can keep that in mind as I plan each day,
we will savor the Gift that Christmas brings.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


My little brother's wife is also pregnant. Isaac and Grace's baby is a miracle baby! Amazing story ... in a nutshell: Grace had been told that she would probably never conceive naturally. They started down the road of working with doctors and considering "bigger procedures" or adoption to start a family. And then! She found out she was pregnant this summer.

I still remember - she hunted me down at the gym one Saturday morning to tell me! I think we both had tears in our eyes. We are so grateful to the Lord for this gift of life within her. We are about 5 weeks apart in our pregnancies, so these cousins will be wonderfully close in age!

Mid-October: Grace = 17ish weeks; Me = 12ish weeks

Grace and Isaac are expecting a baby girl to arrive mid-March (the first girl grandbaby for my parents). I will have a sonogram on December 15th - and IF the baby cooperates, Eli and I hope to find out whether we are building a basketball team, or a girl will enter our Bushel of Brooks! It is wonderful to share this journey with Grace - she is going to be an amazing mother!

Mid-November: Grace = 22 weeks; Me = 17 weeks

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Way to Start the Holiday!

We started out Thanksgiving morning heading over to North Lawrence for the Thanksgiving Day Run. It's a 5K that has been going on for quite some time ... but this was our first year to participate! We're often in Arkansas with my grandma for Thanksgiving - but weren't able to go this year. So, Eli and I decided to take advantage on the opportunity to get involved in the run. Eli's sister, Jessica (a dedicated work out-er just like me!), immediately jumped on board with us and helped us recruit the other 4 Brooks siblings to join in.

6 Brooks siblings, myself, and our niece Mya were signed up and ready to go!

The race itself could not have been more perfect. The weather was mild for late November, the sun was shining, and we joined over 1,000 other runners for great run! I pushed myself hard, and was proud that I finished in better time than in the WOW run last month! Then, after we congratulated each other, Eli jogged a half-mile kids' run with Jonah. This was Jonah's first race ... and he was SOOOOOO excited! He earned a "gold medal" and excitedly told me many times throughout the day that he was going to race "every race" with me in the future.

Seth and I were the first Brooks to cross the finish line! Woo hoo!

You can see Eli with the blue bandana on - just crossing Jonah's finish line with him and helping him get his medal!

The four of us after ALL the fun was over!

After the race and post-race showers, we headed back to my in-laws to cook and prep a delicious dinner while the guys headed out to do some clay pigeon shooting. It was a fun day, filled with lots of times to remember, and left me full of Thankfulness!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Renewed Focus

Yesterday at church, the message was on an attitude makeoever: Being Thankful. I needed to hear this! I deceptively think that I am "decent" at being thankful throughout my day ... but the truth is that I am a total failure!

As the message was shared, I thought back to the week before, and several times during the week when it was tough to stay positive, when I ended up frustrated at an unchangable circumstance, or lost patience with the boys, or felt discouraged in relationships. I cannot change my circumstances, my house, the trials I have to walk through - but I can make my attitude make the difference.

These scenarios came to mind:
- I L.O.V.E. my two little blondies ... but they can drive me bananas at times! But how often, even when they have disobeyed or pushing mine/Eli's/each other's buttons, do I stop to thank the Lord for them? So many months of praying for a baby before Jonah was born - each day I must stop and thank God for them, amidst the challenges of raising a child. An attitude adjustment for me means that God will give me a different focus, a different way to cope, a different way to help them find a better solution.
- Sometimes I feel discouraged at work - I feel like I missed some enthusiasm in a class, or should have said something, or who knows! Instead, before the last two classes I taught, I spent some time thanking God for my job, for all the ladies who have inspired me at work, for the opportunity I so craved - and He gave it to me! It made class so much more fun!
- My house. My sweet little house ... that I honestly just wish was a little bigger! I can't wait for the day when I have a living room and dining room that I can host people in! And in my heart, I probably gripe WAY TO MUCH about this. Hello! How many people don't even have their own home, or even a roof over their heads? I have no right to complain. Today, as I woke up, I spent time just giving thanks for my home. Our home. It is cozy, it's warm as the weather turns cold, and God has blessed our family here. Heck, the new baby might sleep in a dresser drawer or something - BUT, I am grateful.

I have so many more. If I can be thankful in all circumstances, at all times during the day, then I can't wait to look back in two weeks and be awed at how different those two weeks will feel compared to times when I thought I just needed "buck up and get through" tough days. And seriously! Who wants the alternative?
- Discouraged
- Grumpy
- Self-Pity
- Whining
- Complaining
- and so many more.
I wouldn't want to be around someone who was stuck in those ruts - why would I want to be like that???? So, today, as once again I was sick in the bathroom early in the morning, I decided instead of begging God to have mercy on me and make me better, I thanked Him for this baby. We're so excited to meet this little one, to add to the silliness around the house ... once this baby is in my arms I will put aside the months and months of being sick.

When I stop and think, it's incomprehensible how many blessings there are in my life. How much I have to be thankful for! Now if I can make it a part of me enough that I don't have to stop and think, but it becomes who I am ...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gettin' Crafty

I have great intentions of being crafty. In fact, I see many crafts for my house that I long to undertake and accomplish. Probably fortunately for myself, I like quick projects that I can assure myself will be completed quickly! Which also means I don't actually do that many fancy craft projects.

Jonah L.O.V.E.S. doing crafts. Nearly every afternoon he sits down at the table: Mommy, can we make a craft together? I try and take advantage of seasons and holidays to keep my brain working and get ideas off the internet and from friends and preschool! Or sit him down with paper, glue, and cotton balls to keep him busy if I am needing to give the house some much needed attention!

But, I had been waiting to get a turkey done. Just because! I can't even remember why, but last week seemed busy and tiring, and I am looking forward to a week of serious cleaning and packing up the house (we're getting new carpet on Friday - YEARS in coming! I can finally have people over without serious embarrassment about the stains), and I just wasn't sure all the cutting would get done. I know, it's rather silly that it seemed like an undertaking ... but it just did.

But, Eli had school all day today, and won't be home 'til midnight. The boys and I had the evening to ourselves. We often find somewhere to visit on these lonely evenings, but tonight I decided to hunker inside, make our turkeys, read some books, and let them end with one Backyardigans show! So, two turkeys got created (Reuben refused to let us take a picture of his).

I'm not sure how much Thanksgiving-y decorations I'll attempt to put up this weekend after we try and return the house to normal - or if I'll just decide to head straight to putting up the Christmas tree!!! Either way, I am soooooooooo ready to head straight into the holidays!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I am filled with gratitude for my family today. We had lunch with my side of the family to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday, and my sister-in-law's birthday as well! We all (sans my oldest sister who wasn't able to come) headed over to my younger brother and his wife's house for a potluck lunch. Weather today was gorgeous, so all 4 little boys ran around outside and plan wonderfully together!

We visited, laughed, planned ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and just enjoyed a couple of hours to catch up with each other. And my sister-in-law, Grace, and I got two more pictures together (we are five weeks apart in our pregnancies!), which I'll post soon!

Eli and I often remind each other how BLESSED we are to live in Lawrence, where the majority of our siblings all live, our parents live (both sets still married to each other), and we don't have to travel to spend time with them. Yes, it may not be that way forever. People change jobs, move - heck, we were planning to move to Latin America for goodness sakes! But, this time in such close proximity to them is a gift from the Lord ... and we don't want to take it for granted.

Monday, November 7, 2011

From Jonah, To God

Yesterday morning before church, Jonah asked me to get on the computer to print out some coloring pages "with pictures of Jesus on them" So, I hopped on and printed out some sheets for him to color with all the crayons and markers he had set up on the table.

Reuben sat beside him and they worked away on pictures while I finished getting myself ready for church and putting away a few things in my bedroom. They were coloring peacefully together, so I took the moment to enjoy some peace myself!

Jonah called me back into the kitchen to show me his pictures. Three that he had pretty carefully colored inside the lines and taken time with. One, he said, was for his Children's Church teacher that he adores.

The other two???

"I colored these two for God. I am going to save them and take them to Him when we go to live with Him in heaven."

Sweet boy. He loves to talk about God, and how God loves him and listens when he needs to talk to Him. And this was what he could imagine would mean something to his Lord. = ) We tucked them away carefully ... this makes me so excited for discussions about the true meaning of Christmas!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I have this absolutely adorable niece, Tirzah. You might remember that we took care of her when she was smaller - before I started training at the gym. Now, we just enjoy time with her anytime that we get to see and play with her!

She just turned 1 year old last weekend, sports the sweetest smile, and is venturing to walk on her own. My boys absolutely adore their cousin, and work their hardest to get her to giggle and laugh at silly antics.

And my sis-in-law gave us a cute little bug to take pictures of Monday at the Harvest Party at church. My boys? I could not get a good picture of them in their costumes on Monday. Sigh. Maybe next year I'll be better - I'll blame it on the fact that Eli and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off since their was our first year running the show. = )

My family is hoping that when I have my sonogram in about a month, that maybe Tirzah will get a baby girl cousin to grow up with. Grin. I, personally, will be thrilled with a boy or a girl ... if it's not a girl, though, Tirzah might get more spoiling from the boys and I!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

WOW Run 2011

Each year the gym hosts a 5K run to benefit a local organization. The run is held in October. This year it benefited Women Build Habitat for Humanity. I ran it last year, and yesterday, Eli ran it with me! To me, this meant so much that he would run with me. Eli does like fitness and weights ... just not as crazy as me! So, this was like a little boost to get to do something together. He has been doing some running to get ready - not as much as he would have liked do to an I.N.S.A.N.E. schedule in October this year - but he still did awesome!

We woke up bright and early (although it was still dark outside!) to get ourselves ready to go. My dad came over to watch the boys while we went. We joined about 270 other runners for a crisp - think 40 degrees - autumn morning run!

Neither of us ran to "win", but to enjoy being outside together, supporting a great cause, and being around lots of great people. It was a hilly run through lots of beautiful neighborhoods. What was really fun was to see how many kids came to run with their parents - we're excited to maybe have Jonah do a run with us next year or the year after!

My friend Natalie took our picture after the run, and commented that if Baby No. 3 becomes a marathon runner, it wouldn't be a surprise! 3+ months pregnant, and I felt great as I ran. We're thinking that we might be running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning in a few weeks and recuit some other family members to join. = )

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin "Sherbet"

I love all things pumpkin. Pretty sure I haven't met a pumpkin recipe that I haven't liked! I have 7 cans of pureed pumpkin just sitting in my kitchen shelves, begging to be made into something delicious!

I stumbled across this website and found this recipe for Pumpkin Sherbet. Okay, so I have been calling it ice cream, but since it doesn't use cream, half and half, or butter, it really does resemble a sherbet-type consistency a bit more than ice cream. BUT, you cannot complain about the stats (and mine was lower in calories because of using Almond Milk and less sugar)! I modified the recipe a bit to suit what exactly I was looking for. Here is what I did:


2 1/4 c. Almond Milk - unsweetened

1 c. pumpkin puree

1/3 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. cloves

dash of salt

I prepared the recipe as directed above, and made it in our "borrowed" countertop ice cream maker. YUM!

As you can see from our picture, the texture was a bit grainy from the pumpkin, but doesn't bother you when you're eating it. Eli and I both really liked it (although, he had to throw out his comment that it "would still taste even better with cream! - Well, yes, but my goal was a healthy dessert) and I think we will be making it again!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Silver Dollar City

About a month ago, we attempting a trip to Branson, Missouri to visit Silver Dollar City. A theme park set in the 1800's that I have been going to with my family since I was in utero! Lots of great memories ... and one of the most family-friendly places in the world! Wholesome and fun. Well, that weekend it poured buckets of rain, and my morning sickness suddenly took a serious downtown. It was NOT good trip (although we did get to see some dear friends that we don't get to see often enough!) in regards to Silver Dollar City!

So, we attempted again last Thursday and Friday for a quick trip! We have season passes, and wanted to take the boys ONE MORE TIME before it gets too cold! And this mama seriously needed a day or two away from home and work and feeling overwhelmed!

It was perfect. Amazingly beautiful weather ... no meltdowns (which is truly a miracle!) ... the boys enjoyed every second of the park ... Jonah rode his first (little) roller coaster ... and family time was great. My dad, Eli's mom, and Eli's little sister came along, which was really fun. Here are some good memories ...

Opa, Jonah, and Reuben petting the goats

Reuben riding "ALL BY HIMSELF"

As always, I come home excited to return!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Annual Fall Indulgence

I have a fall candy love: candy pumpkins.

I know, there isn't much to them besides probably straight sugar ... but I love them anyway! And, they only sell them once a year, right? So, I indulge and get a bag or two in October. And since all things chocolate make me violently ill, this might be the only sweet indulgence that I have been having of late.

And Reuben decided to join me at the table one day to share a few = ) Much more fun to share with someone!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Milk and Eggs

What started as a way for our young marrieds' Bible study to "get out and DO something", rather than just talking about making a difference has turned into a valuable lesson for Jonah and Reuben.

I can't really remember how long, but I think it has been at least a year since the Bible study that Eli and I lead on Thursday evenings starting taking fresh milk and eggs to the Heartland Community Health Center. We had been talking a lot within the group about making a difference in our community, and wanted to find something we could do on a regular basis. We took a tour and met the director of HCHC, and decided that working with the food pantry would be perfect. We simply alternate weekends and deliver 15 half gallons of milk and 10 dozen eggs on Saturday morning, so that individuals and families can get more than just pantry goods when they need some extra help.

Right now, we typically each take one Saturday a month or so, and do the delivery. Sometimes couples stay and help run the time frame in which people come to get groceries: it depends on schedules and such. But, I like DOING something, you know?

And now, Jonah and Reuben look forward to our weekends. We usually have to get them up for an "up and at'em" to get to the grocery store and then the pantry in time. They jump right out of bed! We have had many a conversation during those Saturday morning drives about caring for others, and making sure that other kids have milk and eggs too. About not taking things for granted that we have.

And then when we get there, they each run their 1/2 gallons up the wheelchair ramp (because WHY ON EARTH would you take the stairs when you can run in a zig zag!), and put them away in the fridge. Back and forth, back and forth.

Van loaded up after the grocery store ...

Proud little helper...

I need to do more things like this with them ...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Patch - Take One

Reuben and his "wittle" pumpkin

This morning we headed to a local pumpkin patch with Jonah's preschool. This is a LONG awaited event! Jonah has been counting down days on a calendar to the "Pumpkin Patch Day"!!!

We had lots of fun: riding the hayride, looking at animals, picking out pumpkins, running through a haybale maze, sliding down slides, and enjoying friends. It was really windy and dusty, so we came home covered in a film of brown dust ... but it was worth it!

I love this picture - such excitement in their faces! Jonah and his best buddy from preschool.

We DID try and get Reuben to smile! This was as best as it got ... = )

Bright sun and wind didn't give great pictures - but we had fun!

We love the pumpkin patch so much, we may make another trip before October 31st!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baby In the Tummy

(And yes, venting time is over. I have now recovered from my pathetic bout of self-pity! And each day I read Psalm 23 ... no matter how the valleys feel, I need not fear, Someone else can be my Light).

Although we ended up telling the boys about the baby sooner than we had planned (due to morning sickness), I hadn't seen many indications that Reuben has paid any attention at all the facts of the matter. Jonah makes comments quite often on what color he thinks "our baby's" eyes will be, asking in what relation of time in terms of Christmas will the baby arrive, and is quite indignant that this baby causes his mommy to feel sick.

Reuben has never said much: and we didn't expect him to. His little two-year-old world is entirely wrapped up in figuring out what is "mine" versus his brother's; how to avoid being put down for naps; running circles around the house; and then snuggling for books at night. He is my boy who keeps his mommy laughing and clamoring for more hugs from his sweet little arms and face. The one with the mischevious laugh and smile.

And then this morning after Jonah had gone to preschool, Eli and I were sitting at the table with Reuben while he had a drink. I asked him: "Reuben, how do you feel about your day today?".

He looked at me, pulled up his shirt and looked at his stomach, and matter-of-factly replied: "Well, I have a baby in my tummy. It will come out later." And proceeded to finish his drink.

Apparently he has picked up on more "baby talk" than we had realized! = )

Friday, September 23, 2011

Apologies Due

(Warning: this is a "venting" post)

I feel like I need to apologize to every single woman that I know that has ever been pregnant and had any morning sickness symptoms! My pregnancy with Jonah had a few days of not feeling great, but overall, was pretty good! I kept working full-time, was super excited, and everything (at least as far as I remember!) felt pretty good.

Reuben's had some more rough days. Of course, I've sort of blocked them out. But I've looked back at things I wrote ... and I wrote that I felt pretty sick during the first trimester!

And then, fast-forward to present: OH MY.

This third pregnancy has given me a big 'ole slap in the face! Although most mornings are okay, nearly every day is steady decline. Nausea gets worse, and I often end up in bed or on the couch. Basically out of order. I started taking anti-nausea medicine as soon as it got bad, and have continued to do so. But then this week the throwing up started. And it didn't seem to matter if I had taken medicine or not. Some days I haven't even kept saltines down. Good grief!

It is tough. I hate feeling sick, but I hate being sick. Not able to wrestle around with the boys. Not able to cook dinner, get into projects, go on a date with Eli. Exercise sounds like a joke most days. And there is nothing I can do. Fight through the moments. Ask the boys to snuggle by me as much as they can tolerate. Gratefully accept my family's help any time they have offered it. Sigh.

Not that I haven't believed other women and their claims of morning sickness. But, my compassion level should have been exponentially higher! To feel like this - and for such an extended time - has been hard to get through. It's hard to think that it could go on.

I miss my friends. It feels so isolating to be here alone most of the time! I miss laughing with Eli and boys and being silly with them. I do my best to muster all I have for my hours at work ... and then am often wiped for the rest of the day. It is lonely on the couch. The nausea is almost as mentally exhausting as physically. You start to wonder what is wrong with yourself. You start to feel like you're going slightly insane.

And so, I hope I never downplay another's morning sickness. Give them all the love and support one person can give. And, by faith, remind them that it won't last forever - because it sure feels like it sometimes!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Jonah has mostly given up naps altogether. It's rather sad for me. I utilized that small window of quietness to accomplish many things around my house! I still work to have him have a "quiet time" of his own, which is sometimes successful, sometimes a battle. But every now and then, that 4 year old hasn't slept well, or has had many busy days in a row, and is plain T.I.R.E.D. I believe I've mentioned before that he is exceptional at fighting through those tired moments and getting to the other (although somewhat crabbier) side.

On the other hand, in my current state of life, naps are sounding really good! There are some afternoons as of late, that it has seemed impossible to keep my eyes from sliding shut for a twenty minute cat nap to help the rest of the day livable. Even though I find myself resting on the couch more than I like in the afternoons due to intense nausea, I still feel tired! It's rather amazing to me. I prefer to go-go-go and push through things. My body isn't allowing me to do that.

So the other afternoon, I put Reuben down. Explained to Jonah that Mommy REALLY needed to rest in her bed for a short time ... didn't he want to just join me? A frown followed this suggestion. Fine by me. I told him he could play in the living room quietly. I dozed for about twenty minutes, I think, opened my eyes and saw him lying in the hallway outside my bedroom; blanket curled up under his head - and he was glaring at me. I knew he was tired that day. I asked him - again - if he wanted to lay by me. He shook his head. I closed my eyes, and when they opened a second twenty minutes later ... he was sound alseep in that same position.

Stubborn (but very sweet looking) little boy!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Although the boys wish this meant that we HAVE kittens, it got just about as good as it can get in terms of playing with kittens last Saturday night.

We headed out to some friends' house in the country (ahhhhhhh, no city noises, no misquitoes, just breezes and quiet ...) for some BBQ and hanging out! We were the only couple with kiddos, but Jason and Audrey said "of course" the boys were welcome to come. They didn't need any pushing: Audrey said that farm kittens would be in abundance!

Since Eli is allergic to cats, there will never be any kittens that get to reside in our home, so the boys and I are used to the fact that we just get to play with others' friendly cats when we get the chance. And who can resist sweet little kittens? (Besides Eli - who also professes a strong dislike for cats as well) The poor kittens got their share of being toted around, chased around, snuggled tight, and kissed. Although they most likely breathed a sigh of relief once the boys were being loaded up in the van to head home, it was one evening that is still being re-lived by Jonah and Reuben to anyone who will listen!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Up In Flames

I just got word about two hours ago that Eli's sister and husband's house has caught on fire. As far as I can understand, the husband was driving his motorcycle into their driveway over lunchtime, and the engine of his motorcycle caught on fire, and then caught his garage on fire, which led to some major damage on the house. I'm not even sure if the house itself is salvagable.

Thankfully, their dog made it out safe, and my sister-in-law was at work, and my sweet baby niece was at Grandma's house. No injuries. But really scary.

Moments like this always cause me to look around my house. What if it were me? What if it were my boys' room that was now non-existent ... their special toys, blankies, photos ... gone.
What would I do? Would I be crying? Or would I just be hugging Eli, Jonah, and Reuben as tight as I could, thankful that we were just still okay?

I can't predict that - but I can be thankful. Thankful the Lord protected all of them, and be reminded that daily He has and is protecting me. And it is a reminder to me that the "things" in my house can't be what I treasure. I love memories - I love "stuff" that reminds me of a memory and there is a part of me that loves to store away things and keep them forever. But I am not guaranteed that ANY of that will be around for another day. What really matters? My relationships. My relationship with God, with my family and friends ... and even acquaintances in whose lives I can brighten a bit with a smile or kind word.

For my family's sake, I wish the events of today were reversible. But I won't take for granted the reminder to keep my own priorities in life straight.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Last week was Jonah's first week of preschool for this year. He really needed a haircut ... but he bargained with us to keep it a little longer a few more days. No harm, really, so we agreed. And so, we spiked it! He loved it at first. Eli fixed it for him, and he was proud of his "do".

And then by dinnertime, he asked, Mommy, can we get these spikes out of my hair? Why, Jonah? Well, they are pokey and it makes owies on my head when I push down on my hair.

Spiked hair had lost it's appeal. We got home late that night from a conference at church, but Jonah wanted the fastest bath EVER - just to wash his hair out. Two days later ... we pulled out the Flowbee and buzzed it back down!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sleep, Anyone???

Ahhhhhhh, you forget sometimes how adequate sleep helps you get through each day until you start losing that sleep.

Reuben came down with one of his cheezing breathing issues following a cold (every two months it seems we deal with this!), so we were up with him all last weekend in the night during coughing fits. We've kinda figured out good tag-teaming methods so that we each at least get some stretches of sleep! I was super excited once Monday rolled around, because I could see that he was pulling out of it ... breathing treatments were going well and I knew we had rounded the corner.

Then Wednesday: somehow a ridiculous amout of chiggers found Jonah. Unfortunately, I think it was in his preschool's yard. By Wednesday evening he was itching like crazy ... and in places that you don't really want to itch! We were up with him every couple hours because the itching was literally keeping him awake. S.O. G.L.A.D. that we had anti-itch cream in the hall closet!

And I thought that might end our nights' awake. We put Reuben down last night as normal, let Jonah sleep on our floor in case we were still putting on cream in the middle of the night. But Jonah slept hard and long - not a whimper from him. But at 3:30 a.m., Reuben was crying. The kind of crying that means his ears were hurting. Didn't want to be laid down flat. He would finally fall asleep ... 10 minutes he would be whimpering "Mommy, ooowww!" I took the first shift ... and Eli wonderfully took over at 4:30, and I was back for the next round at 6:00.

Overall, the week has been good. Jonah has enjoyed seeing preschool friends again - in some ways we have had a full and fun week. But I can't wait for just one night of good sleep! Tonight???? I hope so ...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Days Fading Away

Can you feel it? Summer is almost over. Kids that attend public school have gone back, and most private schools start in the next weeks. Several homeschool families that we are friends with have started working through books. Although we're still having some pretty warm days, I think we're done with the 100+ degrees and extreme humidity. Thank the Lord!

Jonah goes to preschool next week. Same preschool he attended last year, but for three mornings a week, rather than just two. I realized that at some point next spring (gulp!!!), we're going to have a make a decision on further schooling. Veritas? Virtual School? Homeschool? How did my firstborn already made it this far? Thankfully, I can still put off the decision a little longer ... but I am thankful that he can attend preschool. I can see a difference in how he interacts with other kids, and it has helped with the "mommy-itis" that he struggles with. He is openly verbal about "just wanting to be with Mommy all the time", so we've seen him grow in the security of knowing that it is okay to enjoy spending time away from Mommy, and she always comes back to pick him up

So, we're enjoying our last few days. And back to the backyard we have headed ...

I love love LOVE playing outside with my boys. They completely crack me up with their antics ... and I relish in seeing them play together as friends more and more. Although summertime is fun ... I will admit that I am excited for a more "set" schedule in our days - A.N.D. fall has so much to look forward to! Pumpkin Patch. Fall Scented Candles. Fire Pits. Camping. Apple Pies. Baking. Costumes. Colorful Leaves. Cooler Temperatures.

Ahhhhhhh, it's a bittersweet goodbye to what has been such a wonderful summer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Connected ... LITERALLY

Jonah seems to have had lots of days recently in which he seemed pretty tired and could have used a little power nap to make it through the rest of the day. But, no. Not him. He'll power through it and get himself to some kind of a second wind. I usually stick him in a quiet spot with some toys and still give him a "quiet time", but when that time is up, he starts to follow me around the house. I'm usually attempting to use that time when Reuben is napping to work on dinner, clean the house, do a bit of paperwork, etc.

But the past two days this guy has been a.t. m.y. s.i.d.e. And not just wanting to be BY me, he walks around trying to put his head on my hip so that we are "in contact". It works if I'm standing still, but when I was trying to clean the kitchen, and he kept trying to walk right by my leg with his head in contact with my body ... it was a little much for me!

Jonah, Jonah, what are you doing?
Just being with you, Mommy. - big innocent eyes
But can you get your head off of me???
But Mommy ... I love you. - made them more like sad puppy eyes.

In other words, he's exhausted, doesn't know what to do with himself, so therefore, this seems to be the best option? Ahhhhhhh, time to scoop up and take to the couch for a book and a snuggle. Not that it seems like it works in terms of getting him to relax, but I figure better to take advantage of the moment in which closeness with Mommy is desired, right?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baby Face

Ahhhhhh, it's happening right before my eyes. Reuben is losing the "baby chub".

Not that he was ever chubby to begin with ... NOOOO, instead our doctor was always ordering us to feed him more and any full fat things that could be found to attempt to bring his weight up! = ) But, you know, that little baby/boy roundness is going away. He's getting taller, talking more (as in: Mommy, don't pat my bottom when I was tucking him in last night), and his face is thinner. I don't want it to happen!

When I was putting him to bed, he decided that his hand was extremely interesting and was holding it up to the light, studying his little fingers. And I kind of choked up - looking at those little chubby fingers, knowing that they are fading away and my big boy is coming through. Two years old. I look back and pictures of Jonah when he was two, and it the same thing. The baby face caught in the middle of growing, still a little round, but saying goodbye. And it is no fun. Not that there isn't more to enjoy. But, I'll never get this little two year old back ... the one who suddenly turns to squeeze my neck and kiss my cheek when singing him bedtime songs, the one who looks up when I walk in the door and says: Mommy, where been you?

As the I do it s become more prominent, I'm loving all the hold me s that I can get from this little guy. This little two year old.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Week of Days Off ... in Pictures

Here are some glimpes of that wonderful and full week last week!