A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Catch Up?

I thought once I returned from our retreat, that I would "catch up" on some little boy stories and pictures, but instead, am WAY behind! Which is discouraging, because I have conversations with Jonah running through my head that I want to remember, some GREAT spring pictures of my little guys to share, and YAY, three more weeks until Baby Brooks #3 arrives! (at least, I am hoping only two, because I have chosen April 13th as the perfect day of arrival = ) not that I get to choose!)

Anyway, though. I finally have my pictures off my camera and onto my computer, so hopefully the next few days I can get all my memories down.

But one memory I wanted to savor first: my "other" kids.

Yes, they happen to be at least 8-15 years older than Jonah and Reuben, but they are "my kids", nonetheless. Especially some of them that I have grown closer to, and really connected with more on the spring break retreat last week. Not all of our youth group kids obviously came on the retreat, but the 26 that did were amazing. At one point, Eli and I were talking with one of our teenage guys - that we adore! - and kinda working through some relationship questions he wanted to talk about ... and I realized how much I hope and pray someday we are able to have just a little bit bigger house! And not for my own purposes ... but I want to have these youth over more often! I want them to be able to crash at our house when they need to, have a space for them. Right now, and even more so in April, we are jammed-packed in! Which is fine - I love our home, but someday I'll have a big living room and dining room in which I have can people over for dinner, and a spot where we can hang out with the teens more.

Until then, we have them over more when the weather is nice and they can hang out outside, or the guys come and talk to Eli at night once the boys and I are in bed! We'll get there. But, I love my teens.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Without Them ...

Eli's sisters

I wouldn't be experiencing an amazing 3 day retreat with our youth group. Spending time with 26 amazing teenagers that were more than willing to give up some their spring break to retreat away to a ranch outside of Manhattan, Kansas. No cell phones. No TV. Just them, nature, and time to be transformed by meeting Someone bigger than themselves.
We are having an amazing time. Lots of fun times in between the serious and "real" times. Laughter, late nights, bonfires, worship times, team building activities - we squeeze it all in!
But, I am sooooooo grateful for the family members that are taking care of Jonah and Reuben at home so that I can join Eli on this retreat. His mom, sisters, and my sister are standing in for us and probably giving those two boys super fun days! They are a blessing - and I never, NEVER want to take them for granted!
My younger sister, Adrienne, aka "Aunt Didi"
And Eli's mom - always gracious and willing to help!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Just conversations with the boys that I don't want to forget ...

1. With Jonah a few days ago:
He crawled into my lap near bedtime. No reason that I could think, he suddenly says, "Mommy, I don't really like it when you speak madly to me." Well, when do I speak madly to you, Jonah? "When I hit my brother." When you hit your brother? "Yes, when I get angry at him, and sometimes I accidentally hit him, and then you speak madly to me ... and that makes me sad, Mommy." at which point he looks up at me with big Bambi eyes. Well, Jonah, Mommy doesn't mean to react with anger, but sometimes when you and Reuben have been fighting and one of you gets hit, Mommy does get frustrated. "Well, when I hit Reuben, I would rather you tell me sweetly not to do that again".
I did apologize to boy for reacting with anger: it's true, lately, especially through those sick weeks of late, I probably did have more frustration expressed during those moments: but we also had to discuss that if he does hit his brother, discipline must follow.

2. Reuben
The other day, we were in the kitchen, and he suddenly stops, looks at the fridge intently, and exclaims: "There's Jesus!" Yes, there Jesus was: a Children's Church coloring page held up by a magnet so that Jonah could work on his memory verse. And he sighed, and calmly added, "And Jesus is always watching over me."
I hope this sticks with him! My little guy has struggled the past two months with being scared at bedtime, though we now have two night lights, plus the boys share their room ... but we often hear him crying before he has fallen asleep because something has scared him. Lots of reassurance that we are here in the house, that Jesus is always watching over him ... and prayer that he will find Security (SO MUCH like me! I was always the one getting my dad up in the middle of night, always scared of "things" coming to get me in bed ... argh).

3. Jonah's musings
We were driving to youth group, and he suddenly asked me what Jesus looked like. I explained that we weren't really sure: there were no cameras back then, and it was so long ago that we don't actually know anyone that actually met Jesus in person. People make guesses ... and he asked if Jesus had light or dark skin. I asked him why back. "Well, I just wondered ..." and digressed about friends of ours with dark skin and wondering if Jesus was like them, or like him.
We finally agreed that it will be so exciting to meet Jesus in heaven and see what he really looks like! Jonah was smiling and gazing out the window. "Mom, we will get to fly in heaven." Yes, we probably will get to do that, it will be amazing to live in heaven! "And Mom, guess what? When I am with Jesus in heaven, we will go HYPERSPEED together!"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Selah Grace

Selah Grace arrived at 11:57 a.m. on Sunday. She didn't give her mommy too long a delivery for the first baby! All went pretty smoothly all the way through - and Grace was awesome! I got to the hospital around 10:30, and got to give a hug before waiting in the waiting room with other family members and friends! We were so excited to get a few texts from Isaac keeping us posted!

Selah is a beautiful baby. Sweet, sweet little face, and strawberry blonde hair. She hasn't shown too much a fussy side, and everyone adores her! It was like a major photo shoot once we were all allowed back in the room!

Monday, Eli and I took the boys up to meet her. Jonah was so excited! He L.O.V.E.S. little babies and adores holding them. He held her several times, and kept asking for another turn. Reuben wasn't quite so sure about Selah = ) I think he realized she could steal some attention from him! He needed me to hold him awhile before he was comfortable enough to move off my lap.

We are so happy she is here, safe and sound, and are looking forward to getting to know this little angel!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Almost Time to Meet Her!

My sweet and wonderful sister-in-law, Grace, got word earlier this week that her doctor was recommending they induce her this weekend. Selah is due on the 16th, but Grace's blood pressure had been going up, and they didn't want to risk it going too high. Soooooooooo, that means I'm about to meet my neice!

She was scheduled to go in on Friday night, but apparently all the 9 month pregnant women in Lawrence went into labor on Thursday, so the hospital bumped her back 24 hours. So, last night, they were headed to the hospital at 7:30 p.m. to get cervix softening meds going, and a good night sleep (hopefully!). Doctor was planning to break her water sometime this morning.
So, of course, we had to get one last baby bump picture together! And what better time than RIGHT BEFORE Grace and Isaac get to meet their baby girl? They stopped by on their way to the hospital, we chatted for awhile, took a couple pictures, and prayed for them before they headed the 2 min drive away = )
34 weeks; 39 weeks

I am soooooooooo excited! The first baby girl grandbaby on my side of the family, and a little one to snuggle! Grace and Isaac have had a long journey to make it to this point in terms of childbearing, so this baby is much awaited! I got a text from my brother this morning that Grace had actually started having contractions in the middle of the night, so labor is already in progress! We'll be meeting little Selah within several hours, I'll bet!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hiding Out

Reuben takes reprimands very seriously. Often when we discipline him, he covers his eyes and tries to "disappear", or bursts into dramatic tears. And we see this reaction when he scares the living daylights out of us as well: case in point, the other day, he found a very large and sharp saw blade on a reachable shelf at my in-law's house. He picked it up, and his Aunt Jess turned and saw him and quickly yelled out: "Reuben, No!!!!" He looked at her with big eyes, dropped the saw, and began crying. I can't even count the number of times he has done that with Eli and I ... out in the backyard when he is being too daredevil ... in the living about to dive off the couch onto a mere blanket ... you name it.

It takes lots of cuddles to cure those tears after he has scared the living daylights out of us, and somehow in our reaction, we must scare his own little self too much!

But back to the reprimands. The other day, the boys had unloaded the tub of Imaginext Rescue Hero toys (current huge fav in the house) and were playing together in the living room. They often get a bit too physical with their "rescue missions" ... which, of course, happened. And Reuben's plane hit Jonah's W.A.Y. too hard. Jonah started crying because it hurt his hand. Reuben looked at my face, and immediately knew he was in trouble.

And this is where he ran to and I found him.

Clear tubs aren't really the most clever hiding spot ... but I did have to hide my smile. Once the matter was taken care of, he later on climbed back in and I took a picture to remember the moment. Have to admit, he does look pretty cute in there!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


How does one's baby suddenly turn three years old? Of course I "know" the answer ... but truly? My little Reuben isn't quite so little right now. He looked at Uncle Isaac out of the corner of his eye this morning at church and said he was "too big" for Uncle Isaac to hold him.

But today he turned three years old.

Reuben is a joy to me. He has this joyously mischevious (if that's possible) grin in which his little eyes light up and you can't help but smile back at him. His laugh is contagious, and it's best when he dissolves into laughter over something he said to himself. Or when his big brother has figured out something bizarre to make Reuben laugh, and it gets done over and over and OVER again, with Reuben cracking up and falling over E.V.E.R.Y. S.I.N.G.L.E. T.I.M.E.

He still loves to snuggle. Put his blanket on my shoulder and bury his face in it. Or have Daddy or Mommy lay by him in bed for a minute to have that "closeness" before sleep.

He can be rather dramatic, falling to the floor in tears when reprimanded, or erupting in angry shouts when fighting with Jonah over a toy or something.

He loves to sit at the table and share whatever he is eating with me. So much that last week he hunted me down in the bathroom (I am NEVER safe - no matter I am doing!) and handed me a fork and requested that I "hurry up" to come and share his noodles with him.

He loves his Daddy: after all, he is going to "shoot lots of deers and moose when he grows up" and wants to do all things that he imagines Daddy doing. Wrestling, playing basketball, baseball, frisbee - he loves to be active just like Eli. And I love seeing him standing on the chair in front of the living room window - watching for Eli to get home from work.

He opened the presents from us tonight with happiness, and then proceeded to state: "But I need to pop my poppers (the bubble wrap) before I play with my toys." And was entirely content to set aside his new cars and superheros to pop little air bubbles. He enjoyed his "Happy Birthday Day".

As always, he still somehow knows exactly how to push my buttons, and drive me to seek from my Father what I need to be doing to parent him. Being his mother is entirely wonderful, and entirely confounding at the same time. I really have no idea what on earth I am doing: and hope that I will never even think that I have it together! That I will seek true wisdom on raising Reuben to be who he is intended to become, and not believe it will just "happen".

I love my little guy - but how did he get so big??? = )