A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall Time!

No pics to post tonight. I'm in a dark hotel room with a sleeping baby. I had great intentions of taking my ipod around the hotel with me all weekend and getting pictures of our conference and Eli and I ... but most of the time I was toting around a diaper bag/pushing a stroller/ and the ipod didn't get pulled out. Ah well!

The KidMin conference has been great, though! On so many levels ... when was the last time Eli and I got get away alone (okay, a 5 month is with us - but he can't talk!)? It was a long time ago! Being in a really nice hotel, getting to be around wonderful people who love kids and youth like we do, NOT having to clean house/do laundry/etc!, and just be refreshed with amazing worship, great speakers, and time to spend in quiet times myself. That, my friends, has been priceless! And we have meet so many great people. It does help that Matthias is like the happiest baby on the planet, and just smiles and gurgles back at EVERYONE who stops to smile at him! It has made us very popular people around here ... helps when the conference is all people who love kids! Now, if he would just sleep a little better at night ... but that's another story!

But what I was thinking tonight, I can't believe that it is September 30th!!!!!! I will wake up tomorrow morning and it will be October. Fact. And kinda scary. But I saw it all the time to people: I love fall time soooooo much, and because of that, it goes by too fast! I love fall leaves, pumpkins, fall candles, the pumpkin patch, fall baking, fall crafts, Harvest Party, etc., etc.! I love the promise of Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner! And so I must resolve to really enjoy each day, because I can too easily get caught up in daily "stuff" and enjoy the fall time!

My friend Tracey posted a fall bucket list on her blog - I haven't created one of those yet, but thinking about it. That might help me keep the fun in fall, and keep us enjoying the fun things that only fall can bring! Pumpkin baking is definitely high on my list = )

Anyway, my dad is calling me to check in. Enjoy the last few minutes of September and get ready to enjoy October! Find something fun and fall-ish to do!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We're a travelin' Family

Sort of. = )

Monday we headed out in the morning to Branson, for a quick family getaway! Much needed for us. We drove first to Springfield, where the boys and I hung out while Eli went to class at seminary. We went to a park, and the dorked around Wal-Mart for awhile, before parking in the parking lot at the school for a nursing session for Matthias while the boys watched a show in the van. And once Eli was done, we headed the rest of the way to Branson!

We had friends staying there all week, and we joined them for a couple days at the same condo location. The boys got to go fishing, Amy and I got to have down time with the babies (her little girl is two months older than Matthias), we ate meals together, etc. It was fun! And yesterday we spent time in Silver Dollar City together. We had to leave the park earlier than expected because of a rainstorm and lightening spotted, but we still had a good time! Since we have season passes, it didn't feel like a big disappointment, and they had two-day passes, so they were going to go back today or tomorrow to enjoy the park. (I'm hoping to go back in November for Christmastime in the "City"! The boys will LOVE it! We're such Christmas people ...)

Then we headed right back home last night! Whew! Busy three days, but worth it. And now we're already re-packing up for a conference for Eli and I to attend. Thank goodness for amazing family that is going to keep the boys busy and taken care of. We don't normally travel much at all - and it's all getting crammed together within several days! I'm sure once it is all done, I will really be thrilled with the feel of my own pillow and bed!

Anyway, lots of memories and pictures tucked away. I'm hoping to post more over the weekend, possibly = ) But these pictures of Reuben and Matthias traveling on Monday were too cute:

Teddy is a good travel partner!

See Mommy? He loves to sit with me!

Hi Mommy!

Keeping him giggling and laughing was pretty easy!

The boys all did great traveling! I saw in the middle of the van, mostly, so I could keep handing toys to Matthias, and keep the other boys busy with toys and snacks as well. Sooooo thankful for that minivan during these times!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Matthias: 5 Months Old

I have just a quick minute ...

But how on earth is he five months old?

Five months old, and
- playing in the exersaucer
- grabbing Daddy and Mommy's faces and just grinning away at us
- rolling over front to back, and back to front
- grabbing his toes
- playing on his tummy and just "knowing" that somehow, someday, he'll be able to scoot around and get that toy across the room! Concentrated face going on at these moments = )
- Laughing, laughing, and laughing at his silly older brother Jonah
- Getting vocal about when he wants attention
- being a super friendly baby to everyone who says hello to him!
- riding on Mommy's hip now
- growing out of many of his clothes! Time to look in the 6-9 month tub!
- getting interested in the food that everyone else eats ... only a few short weeks and we'll start to introduce new foods!
- still not sleeping thru the night, but some nights going almost 6 hour stretch to start the night off! Some nights not so much, but we'll take what we can get!
- wanting to be involved in whatever everyone else in the house is doing ... which means he wants to be toted along
- enjoying toys
- shoving everything in his mouth
- drooling all over himself and everything else

 - and generally being one sweet little guy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oma Blessings

Another week has flown by - and this week, for some reason, really does seem like it went by fast! Eli's schedule has been packed with meetings and what-not, and I had many requests to train at the gym, so we were both BUSY! Add in some homeschooling, baby-taking-care-of, grocery shopping, housecleaning, and general BushelofBrooks life, and well! Yes! It went by fast! But good. Good, excepting the fact that Matthias had to have shots today. That is never a fun event. Fortunately for me, he did exceptional when getting the shots (normally I have Eli do the dirty work on that one!), but he ended the night being a little fussy and only wanting to be held. Here's hoping that he just wants to sleep it off, right? = )

One of the most amazing things about my days is my mom. Oma. Oma = grandma in Dutch - just FYI if you didn't know. My mom works two hours in the afternoon teaching math at a small Christian school just a few blocks away from my house. And most days of the week, she stops by MY house on her way to work. For about 20 minutes. But the purpose of that twenty minutes is to sit with Jonah and help him accomplish 1-2 school subjects! "Just to be a help to you" she often comments. Seriously? I can't figure out how to explain to her how much this means to me. I can either feed Matthias in peace, try to spend a few minutes with Reuben, or just straighten up my kitchen and dining room table! All without trying to occupy Jonah - who wants to be occupied with something c.o.n.s.t.a.n.t.l.y. Jonah adores Oma ... and although the first week he gave her a bit of trouble, he now waits for "Oma to get here!" I get asked when she is coming, if she is coming, etc., many times during the morning. Such a blessing to me! I captured a couple pictures of them the other day, because I want to remember this, and it will be fun for Jonah to look back on this memory:

Handwriting is much more fun when Oma makes it fun!

 Another great thing about this busy week was this:

Quinoa. Yes, I have mentioned my love for this before! This was actually the first time I had cooked with the red quinoa - and I like the nuttier flavor! I was going for simple, here. So, I cooked it, threw in a chopped avocado (29 cents at Aldi!), some steamed broccoli, and about a half cup of salsa. Simple, but delicious. I could have made my own dressing, but really, I was going to for easy, and I didn't have any limes or lemons around to help out the citrus flavor I would have needed. Super good! I actually really liked it warm right when it was all mixed together, but it has been equally good scooped right out of the fridge the past two days.

Eli won't touch it with a ten foot pole - mostly because he despises avocados - but when I'm making lunch for the boys, this has been MY lunch, and I'm perfectly happy with that!

And now Friday draws to a close! I'm ready for a weekend! Time to catch up on house work, let Eli get some more much needed study time, and have a family birthday party tomorrow night!

Monday, September 17, 2012


First Day of Preschool
 Isn't he adorable? I might be biased ... just a little, but this guy just makes me smile!

Hard to believe that Reuben is three years old and heading off to preschool on Tuesday and Thursday mornings ... just like Jonah did two short years ago. We debated sending Reuben - but ended up deciding that the financial investment was worth it to us this year. Jonah LOVED preschool, and it was extremely helpful in him learning to be obedient to other authority figures, learning how to share and make friends outside of family members, and just plain fun! (not to mention that preschool art projects are WAY better than this non-creative mom can come up with ... I so enjoyed hearing about art!)

Reuben is actually going to a different preschool, because Jonah's didn't offer two-day programs anymore, and Reuben ended up getting to be in a class with his cousin this year. Yay! Win win situation for us. And the drive is such that Eli is able to take him to school most days, with me doing the pick up run. That helps not having to run out there twice in a short time frame.

I wish that I could be a fly on the wall, to see how he acts. I've mentioned plenty of times how full of energy and will little Reubs is. I asked his teacher last week when I picked him up how he has been doing (all three days he has gone), and she smiled and said, "Good, boy is he energetic!" Yup. Him in a nutshell.

I have yet to decorate his school bag - which apparently, ALL moms are suppose to decorate their three year olds' bags extremely cleverly. Hmmmmm, I can hardly believe that these little kiddos really care so much about what their bags look like. Seems more like a mom-deal to me. Hence the reason ours hasn't been decorated. I might delegate the job to Eli - something camo would be just great = )

This is the awkward "Daddy is making me pose for a picture" smile = )

I do hope it ends up being something special and great for him. I know being in the middle can sometimes be tough. Jonah is getting lots of attention because of the homeschooling focus, and of course, Matthias just ends up getting attention because he has to be fed and watched a bit more. And Reuben more easily plays alone, which is great, but sometimes I see him watching me work with one of the other boys, and can tell he has a wistful look on his face. That is the challenge of having multiple children! I include him as much as I can, and can't resist his arms reaching for extra hugs at night and after rest time ... but he is so proud to get to "go to school" like Jonah did. So, he gets something that is just "his" right now, and I am grateful he gets that opportunity.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Halfway Thru

the week already! Seems crazy, yet each day this week has been full, full, full. All three boys are currently in bed, and I am hoping to (once again) head there soon. Eli is finishing up running Outstretch, so perhaps I'll still be awake when he gets home? = ) We'll see ... for Outstretch tonight they are doing an outreach night. So cool. On our "main" downtown street, Massachusetts, is a beautiful old building built in 1910. Built to be a Masonic Temple - which is was until about 11 years old. Closed down, and been closed up ever since. And now a church plant, Greenhouse Culture, is leasing the building! They are currently working on renovations, new paint, cleaning up some really yucky things left behind by some homeless who apparently occupied the building at one point, and getting it ready to house a church! So, our teens are down there tonight, helping to haul out old wood scraps, clean things, and assist them in any way that we can. I went in there for a bit with Matthias ... I have ALWAYS wondered what the inside of that building looked like! When it was the Masonic Temple, the general public wasn't allowed inside, and then it was boarded up. It is pretty amazing and beautiful. Neat to see a piece of history being transformed. Now people will be welcome to come in and view it!

A few highlights of the past two days:

Jonah: yesterday morning I headed to the basement for a quick workout on my own. Jonah wanted to join me - which I was all for! He was definitely a hard little worker, although he used my TRX for swinging in ways I could have never imagined! Little monkey ... isn't the headband just great? The only issue is that I can't seem to find them when I want them, because a little towhead has been wearing them around the house.

If you have a local Hy-Vee store, AND you are on Facebook, LIKE THEM! I "like" both our local Hy-Vee stores, and each day they run a deal of the day! I was super excited because yesterday's deal at one of them was half off everything in their HealthMarket bulk bins! Score! Eli willingly was the errand runner after dinner, and called me as he scoured what they had. I really wanted lots of quinoa and bulger, and of course, at half off, we picked up a few other things to try!


This morning the boys were playing Legos, and I was sitting on the couch feeding Matthias, watching them. It was early, they were still in jammies and hadn't yet eaten breakfast. Just playing. I was mostly listening in on their conversations or somewhat zoning out = ) Either one. I don't even really know exactly how they got to where they ended in their converstation, but Reuben seriously stated to Jonah: It's a hard life, Jonah ... it's a hard life.
Jonah started laughing, and I did too, which offended Reuben who indignately told us to STOP LAUGHING because it IS A HARD LIFE SOMETIMES.
Ahhhhhh, they are always listening, aren't they? I think that Eli and I both often jokingly state when Matthias is crying: It's such a hard life, isn't it? Since he is fed, dressed, and cuddled all the time - all needs met! And Reuben, I guess, has taken that statement seriously. He must be thinking his little life has been hard of late.

Perhaps it has been ... but it is self-inflicted. If that little three year old would obey even h.a.l.f. the time, his life would be much easier! But, he is still pushing pushing pushing those buttons to see how much he can get away with. Sigh.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, Monday, So Good to Me!

It has been a great Monday.

We started off with a few hours at home. I got to get up, stay in my pj's, get the boys breakfast, dressed, and Jonah started on school. Eli had school in Springfield today, so he did his workout with Kaleb at 7:45, and then was around to do Bible with the boys before he was packing up for the drive! Jonah finished three subjects, and then we got ready to head to the gym. I had a small group to coach, and then taught Per4mance (one of my faves!). I consider teaching a total win/win situation! I get a good, sweaty workout in for myself, get to help other ladies accomplish the same, AND I even get paid to do it! Can't hardly get better than that = )

We headed back home, had lunch and re-organized stuff for the rest of the day. Grandma came by to pick up the boys. She wants to have them over on Mondays for a couple hours if it works to help Jonah do any school, and do some science with him. She is the science master, and is going to spend time with him on ocean life this semester so that we can take him to the new aquarium sometime in November or December for a special field trip. While they were gone, I had a wonderful quiet time, did a couple loads of laundry, got to catch up on the phone with a friend that I haven't talked to in a long time, cleaned up around the house and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G! That kind of time doesn't happen too often, and Matthias was a willing helper napper.

Went to pick them up, visited with her a bit before we headed back home. Settled in for the evening. Gave Reuben a bath because his eyes were swelling up from being in a house with dog for the afternoon, made this Quinoa dish to have in the fridge to munch on for the next couple days,

read a book to the boys, and tucked two of them into bed. Jonah is getting to head there as well, myself hopefully soon thereafter! Yes!

This is Jonah with his notebook from Grandma with coloring pages and facts pages about ocean life. Pretty exciting stuff for a five year old.

This day was a complete gift. Many of our days often feel hectic ... but I was convicted Saturday night to make my personal quiet times a priority over my lists. I love my lists ... but can sometimes get a bit obsessed about getting them completed! Once again, I need to refocus and remember that when I am in a healthy and peaceful place with the Lord, all other things will be fine. Whether or not they get done! Peace within the home, within my heart - that will speak volumes to my boys, my family, and hopefully to others as well. I am grateful for the couple hours of quiet that were given to me. I know I won't get them everday - but it was soooo appreciated! Now, I will wait for Eli to get back home.

Homeschool Memory Verse Week #3

I attempted what felt like a million times to upload the memory verse video of week #3. To no avail. Perhaps it was too long ... it was funny! Reuben was being impish and silly, and I was hoping to share it, but oh well! It was Genesis 1:2.

I headed to bed - later than I wanted, only to try again several times this morning in between getting Jonah working on school, and it never worked. We have a busy Monday planned, but a good one, I hope! I will try and re-cap it later on tonight. Enjoy the start to your week!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Coconut Mango Rice

YUM is all I have to say! I had seen several recipes for coconut mango rice, but most of them used coconut milk, and I was looking for a healthier version to make for the family the other week. I don't have anything against coconut milk ... but Eli and I were spending a couple weeks trying to cut out some of the processed foods and other junk that can sneak its way into the kitchen. And this is what I came up with:

Coconut Mango Brown Rice
2 c. uncooked brown rice
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. coconut almond milk
1 tsp. salt
1 mango, peeled and chopped
*Bring water and coconut almond milk to a boil and add in rice and salt. Bring back to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for ~45 min. Fluff rice and gently fold in mango. Cover and let sit another five minutes. DONE! Enjoy!

Even just one cup of the coconut almond milk made the rice creamy, and I loved it! It was a "sweeter" tasting rice dish, but I thought it was great. Reuben loved it as well. I'm already brainstorming additions and variations of the same ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Matthias - 4 1/2 Months

Ahhh, Matthias. My cutie. At four and a half months, he is laughing, giggling, and smiling away. He is grabbing at all kinds of things, and just starting to notice food. Oh yes, Mommy, why is that going in your mouth and not mine??? Can't I just have a taste? Soon ... but not quite yet. He likes to play with his play yard - for awhile; and sit in his bouncy seat - for a bit; but he would much rather be standing in my lap, getting tickled or getting talked to! His little face lights up with Jonah or Reuben come to play with him (although I am forever attempting to keep him from getting loved so much he might not survive! I stopped Jonah from jumping over him the other day, because he likes it so much, Mommy! Yes, but I nearly died from shock when I looked around the corner).

Matthias is good at smiling back at people, and making friends. He wants me to carry him around the house so he can inspect all things that we are doing. That makes homeschooling a bit tough, but we're working on that! He rolls from front to back, because why on earth would you want to stay on your stomach for long? He almost rolled from back to front yesterday, but then I think he realized where he would end up, and quickly returned to his back. He whacks and flails his arms like crazy when he gets excited about something ... and sometimes just puts his little hands on my cheeks and stares at my face as if he is trying to memorize how I look. He chews on everything and drools even more! And when he is fussy or drooling, we just blame it on teething, although no teeth are in sight. After all, he IS teething, because at some point teeth with come in! Heck, he will be teething for years = )

At four months, he was 15 pounds even ... my biggest baby yet! He is actually a bit chubby, which is a first for us! We love those little chunky baby legs = ) And although I hate to say it - it IS going by so fast. Now, it doesn't feel like that when I'm up for the third time of the night ... but overall, the baby days are flying by, so I try and enjoy this pre-crawling stage where he still wants to be in my arms, not begging to be put down to explore quite yet. He is a sweetheart!

Hi Mom! Why you got that big black thing in your hands?

Argh! Tastes so good!

So good, in fact, that I must ATTACK it!

Ooooohhhhh, two things to chew on ... what shall I choose?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homeschool Memory Verse Week #2

This past week, Eli's schedule was CRAZY! The boys didn't get as many days of Bible as we would have hoped, so Eli went with a simpler memory verse for the week. But, still, any memorization of a verse is an achievement, and I am having fun getting the boys to recite their verses for anyone who comes by the house = ) Looking ahead at this semester ... Eli's thesis has to be turned in on the 19th of November. Y.I.K.E.S. That means the next three months are going to be filled with a lot of schoolwork on his part, not to mention keeping up with church work, and a youth retreat and the Harvest Party thrown in there. I am mentally and emotionally trying to psych myself up for three months of him not being as available to help out. Evenings he will need to visit for a bit after work, and then head to the basement and hit the books. He usually studies more after I go to bed. And weekends will have to include those hours as well. Three more months!!!! At least there is in an end in sight.

All that said - the point being that Bible lessons with Daddy probably won't happen five days in a row. Which is fine. We'll aim for around three a week, and I can supplement and practice other days.

Here are the boys, recorded today, with their second memory verse. = ) Oh yes, and if you read this, Jeni, Jonah was super excited to announce that Zayin's birthday was today! It was repeated to anyone we talked to!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Homeschool Memory Verse Week #1

Eli is in charge of Bible lessons for homeschooling purposes. I completely hand it off to him to do what he would like to do! And the boys L.O.V.E. Bible lesson with Daddy! All I asked is that he somehow include a memory verse each week for them to work on and learn. And he took it and ran with it. He has included hand motions to help them remember their verses, and it is fun to see them put the Word of God in their hearts.

I hope to post their little video of their weekly verses. Today's post is actually a week late - and I will try and post their second week's verse tomorrow.