A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Finances on the brain

I kind of hesitate to write this post. This isn't a whine-fest, or a request for pity. No, it is more me self-processing and working through issues. It is just the case that the issue is money.

2012 has been one tough year. Financially speaking. Eli's car had two hit and runs in the winter, the van was rear-ended one morning after I picked up Jonah from preschool in March, Eli hit a coyote driving home from school at 11 p.m. one night in February, we ended up owing on our taxes, and then had an unforeseen expense appear this month - like a $1,200 unforeseen expense. Big, fat, SIGH. Once you add up all those deductibles from the car issues, the taxes, this month, it has been overwhelming. We work together to keep under budget. We run a pretty tight budget, and that's the simple truth. We have made a committment to have me stay at home as much as possible, so I work about 8 hours at the gym. Other than that, I need to be Mommy. I WANT to be home with the boys. I wouldn't have it any other way! I will forego name brands, and many other things to keep it that way. I was raised that way and would in no way trade my mom being there for me everyday, for getting to have Cocoa Pebbles for cereal and load of clothes. Sure, I may have complained along the way, but looking back, I am so grateful to my parents for the sacrifices that they made.

But, all that added up to several months of being way over budget. And figuring out where that money would come from. And feeling like we have to keep thinking of our hope to someday get a bigger house as feeling put off further and further. And I was literally thinking on Saturday as I walked into the house after an hour working at the gym "really, things can't hardly get worse, right?" and Eli stated that the oven was broken.

Eli and I have had several conversations about this all in the past two weeks. Realizing that 1) we are soooooo blessed. God has always provided for us. We've been able to pay our bills, buy things that were needed, pay for costs as Matthias was born, etc., and that 2) we can't hold onto our money. We can't put any hope in our money. Yes, I "knew" that was true, but it has never been so put to the test as it is right now. My hope can't be in things or money. And it doesn't really matter if I get a new swimsuit or new clothes for church: we have our basic needs provided for, and our hearts are full. F.U.L.L. of His love, our family - immediate and extended and church and everyone else! and more. And 3) I have been reminded over and over again how much I love and respect Eli. He sees my fears when they rise, and leads me to the Lord, encourages me to trust, listens to what I have to say, and is such an amazing leader in our home. No one else would I rather walk the path with than him.

On Sunday, our Discipleship Pastor gave the message. It was on the storms of life. It really spoke to my heart. It does feel like a storm. Not a punishment, just a storm. Storms come. No way to avoid them ... but I want to sail through it. And he pointed out that Jesus was in the boat with us. Some of you reading this may think we're fanatics (we probably are!), and some are nodding in agreement. But, that little reminder that Jesus is right with me in the boat, riding the waves, pierced me.

Of course in all honesty, this storm kind of, well, it really stinks. It's really hard. And balancing the end of the month banking stuff today was sobering once again. I don't understand why. But I want to trust. I want to trust more. I want to look back on this time and see growth within me, see that we responded with humble faith ... be that example for my children that money and things don't really matter.

There is so much more in my heart and mind. And it still feels jumbled ... but each day, I will be thankful. Exercise gratefulness. And see what the Lord does. = )

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sleeping like a Babe ...

Looking at a sleeping baby is such a peaceful moment. My heart melts when I look at Matthias, just snoozing away, whether it be in his crib, in my arms, on the couch, etc.! He used to be such a fitful sleeping, but about three weeks ago, we finally moved him out of the bassinet in our room and into his crib. Lo and behold, it has made a tremendous difference! He still wakes to eat in the night, but he sleeps much more soundly! And therefore, so do we = ) I don't know if that little guy just "knew" we were right there, but now we are ALL getting more sleep, which makes the days better!

It's amazing how sometimes babies can sleep so soundly through a noisy moment, and at other times, just the floor creaking makes them fail their arms and wake up! And he isn't on any type of a schedule yet - maybe sometime soon! But, we'll get there.

I love this picture of him. And the funny proportions of babies' bodies. His little hands don't even reach above his head! But, sound asleep. I think this particular day, the big boys were out on an outing, so Matthias really DID get some peace and quiet for his nap!

Sweet lil' babe

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I have been obsessed with smoothies this summer. Extremely hot weather makes many foods sound, well, just not so good! But a chilly smoothie? YES. Sign me up! Add in that many fruits have been great prices, and I've been stocking my freezer with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, etc. = ) All to make frothy glasses full of goodness.

And Eli is even won over. We have smoothies for breakfast together many mornings now! We put about every combination together! Some of my faves:

1/2 frozen banana, 1 c. frozen strawberries, 1/4 c. milk, 1/2 scoop protein powder

1 frozen banana, 1/2 c. milk, 1/2 scoop protein powder: LOVE THIS ONE!

1 kiwi, 1/2 banana, 1/2 mango, greek yogurt, 1/4 c. 100% juice.

1 1/2 c. frozen strawberries, greek yogurt, 1/4 c. milk, 1/2 scoop protein powder

The other day I added spinach to a blueberry smoothie and Reuben and I loved it also! I finally jumped on the spinach smoothie bandwagon = ) Took me awhile. Reuben now states that he only eats green smoothies = ) That's my boy! Eli, not so much a fan of green smoothies ... but I'll work on him. At this point, I don't see the trend stopping anytime soon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Not?

We had the boys do a deep clean of their room ... and I laughed and laughed when once it was all done, this was how the bed was completed = ) Reuben slept a couple nights with all his animals hanging above him! Why not?

*I spent a great deal of time early this morning wrestling (aka, crying/praying) thru issues this morning ... mostly related to yesterday's post. And yes, some days will be "days like this, my momma said" ... but thru prayer and a realization I was beating myself up and allowing myself to be beat up emotionally - I have decided to joyously (hopefully) live in the truth that I can not do it all. I will not live up to all my own expectations, to all of others' expectations, and to random expectations of stay at home moms. I can't, and I won't. I hope to do more walking in a Peace of accomplishing what God has for each day, and even which things don't get done, OH WELL! My husband and children are loved, loved, LOVED, and I am working to be who I need to be on the inside.
A friend of mine said it perfectly the other night as she and her hubby/kids were visiting for dinner: being a wife and a mother is my ministry right now. And it's tough, and some days I just want to throw in the towel, but I love it at the same time, and this is where God has put me. That is where my focus needs to be.
Agreed. I might every now and then have to vent, because there are THOSE days ... but I can't hold up an impossible measure anymore ... And yes, that measure will try and pop back up in my life. I know it. But, I want to live more freely amidst the hard work of being a mother.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The honest truth is 3 kids is a huge kick in the pants for me. I was hoping to post some pictures today - but the pics are still on the camera, and I have been attempting for the last hour to get my exhausted baby to fall asleep. All the while, the boys have hurt each other, bothered each other, and generally made the attempts to get Matthias asleep more of a challenge. Matthias finally fell asleep, I laid him down, and he is now "wide awake", kicking in his bed. Tired? Yes. Me? Trying to find that Peace that transcends understanding and walk within it. I get frustrated. I had promised the bigger boys I would take them outside in the backyard to play in the sprinkler once Matthias fell asleep - and I can't get him down. They are disappointed -

Some days are wonderful, but many days are a huge challenge. I feel like I get nothing done, except baths, clothed, and fed. I most likely should lower my expectations, but bills have to get paid, laundry washed, and maybe a fun activity in there? That would be phenomenal. And moments like this, I wonder how on earth I am going to homeschool Jonah, get Reuben to preschool, learn choreography for fitness classes, keep my house slightly in order?

And how many people have asked me if "we're done"? Lots. I can't even go there right now! Of course we aren't - big families are in our blood. But let me at least try and get my feet under me with three.

This is just a moment. In fact, before the last hour, our day was pretty happy and filled with laughter. But I am not always so great at navigating these moments. And it is tough not to feel isolated and struggling with it alone. I simply adore my children - and L.O.V.E. having Matthias here. But it is true that it isn't easy all the time. The challege of raising children is that: a challenge! Full of blessings and cuddles and silly giggles, but there are these challenging moments as well ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Last week we were at my in-law's house. Hanging out and visiting the evening away! My niece was there that evening, so she got Jonah and Reuben involved in a dress-up game, now lovingly called "Presenting". The gist of which being that they would dress up, and "present" each other to the four of us sitting in the living room. "Presenting Jonah" or "Presenting Reuben" would ring out across the house - and A.L.L. adult conversations needed to immediately cease in order to give praise for the spectacularly creative costumes that would be modeled for us. = ) It was fun - and the kids were entertained for quite a while - with no fights! Winner!

Reuben ended up requesting to borrow a scarf from Grandma. A long patterned scarf. Well, to Reuben, it is a "Scarp". I love his little lisps and funny mispronouncements. Someday he'll say everything just right, and I will wistfully look back at the three year old Reuben and his unique "sayings". So, I smile and enjoy them.

The scarp is well loved right now. Taken to bed with Teddy and Reuben. Wrapped around weapons. Carried with Blanky. Made into any number of costume accessories. Ninja. Cowboy. Injured Soldier. Indian. YouNameIt. Love it!

Had to capture a couple pics of my boy ... with his scarp. = )

L.O.V.E. this one! His Face. His Attitude. His SCARP.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy 4th! (Belated, of course!)

I seriously intended last week to complete several blog posts - too many memories and pictures I want to get up here before I forget them! But, for some reason, the week felt crazy busy, and free time around the house was spent cleaning the house, rather than on the computer. = ( Maybe this week, right? Ha! One can hope ...

But our 4th was great. We had brunch and swimming with my parents and family, time at home in the afternoon, and the evening with friends and some of Eli's family at his sister's out in the country - which meant the boys got to shoot off some small fireworks. THAT made the boys very happy. Mommy headed home early with the baby to attempt a normal bedtime routine. Family time is always good! But, a holiday in the middle of the week almost felt like a tease, and set our schedule off kelter. The boys stayed up so late on Wednesday, that Thursday and Friday were pretty cranky days, so I attempted to keep them low key.

Anyhow - we did attempt to get a pic of the boys - Matthias had a "1st 4th of July" onesie from his great-grandma that we wanted to capture so we can send a picture to California. Lots of hilarious ones, and a couple where they look semi-decent ...

Love these guys!