A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

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!