A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Saturday, June 30, 2012


We are so blessed to have wonderful cousins on both sides of our families for the boys! They love each and every one of them.

A couple weeks ago, we headed to my Uncle's house, where my parents are currently living while they build a new house, to swim in their pool! It's definitely a perk for all of us while the house is under construction! = ) We met my siblings and their families there to grill for dinner, swim, and celebrate a few birthdays. With families the sizes both of ours are ... there are ALWAYS birthdays to be celebrated!

And reminded me how blessed my boys are to grow up with cousins. Jonah has a cousin one year older than him, and they are great buddies. Reuben has a cousin about 1/2 a year younger than him, and although they still are not so fantastic at playing together - I am confident they will get there! I remember putting out many little disagreements between Jonah and Ben - and now they just run off and play together for however long we are at the other's house. Reuben and Nathaniel will make it there ...

And Matthias is even going to have playmates! Selah was born five weeks before him - and I am so EXCITED for when they start crawling together and growing up so close in age! And my little sister's baby will be born in August - still so close! The three little musketeers of 2012.

Love love LOVE that they get to play together, grow up together, snuggle with Opa and Oma together, and just all be in the same family together.

Friday, June 29, 2012

He's Home!

Eli returned at 1:30 a.m., Thursday morning, from being gone in Honduras eight days. Yippee!!!!! I know, going into it, that the eight days would probably be somewhat grueling. Yes, I believed that there would be grace, that God would help us get through it, and that I had amazing family that was there to help when needed. But, Eli is one amazing husband and dad. He helps out so much. He is my confidant, my best friend, the boys' favorite wrestler and book reader and you-name-it. Which means him being gone would leave a hole. Also, a late-night baby-bouncing hole as well. = )

Thankfully, we got through it! Some days were pretty good, some were challenging, Tuesday and Wednesday were downright tough at times, but he is back! By Tuesday, I just saw HOW MUCH boys need their daddy. They need that male authority figure. They need someone to wrestle with them and throw them onto the couch, chase them down the hall, fight swords with them, etc. Mommy can only do that so much before she feels like she is going insane! By Tuesday, they didn't want to listen to me anymore, they cried a lot, they picked on each other at lot, and I thought we might just not make it! My mom came and took them for an hour to give me a bit of peace to regroup before evening and bedtime. THANK GOODNESS FOR MOM!

And we talked all day Wednesday that Daddy would be home in the morning. Thursday morning, Jonah tiptoed into my bedroom at 6 a.m. and whispered "Daddy's in bed with you!" And then promptly told me he had to poop. Yes, the anticipation was huge! They wrestled, squeezy-hugged, played their day away with him yesterday (Daddy needed his nap in the afternoon, too!). And he has today off as well.

Ahhhhhhhh. Even though Matthias had a bad night last night - my hubby was home with me. All is back to right in our little world.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Saturday I got home from a baby shower - my short time away from the house! My wonderful brother had come over to watch Jonah and Reuben for me. Reuben had woken up extremely early for him - 5:30 a.m. that morning, but seemed pretty normal. Around noon, he started to fall asleep on the couch - which, again, I didn't think abnormal considering the wake-up time! But when I went to pick him up about half and hour later to transfer him to his bed, he was burning up. 102 degree temp. Argh. Seriously, it seems about 50% of the time that Eli is not home, one of the boys gets sick. He spent the rest of the afternoon lying on the couch, feverish, not talking, and throwing up after attempting a popsicle and later, water. My parents came over at dinner time to help and pray, and later my mom came back again to spend the night. I am amazed at single moms everywhere: I was terrified of having a nursing baby during the night, plus a possible throwing up three year old - all on my own!

I snapped this pic before I picked him up and realized he was actually sick!

Thankfully, the throwing up stopped, although Reuben was up a couple times. His fever was on and off through the day Sunday, and finally broke about bedtime last night. Sigh. My dad stayed the night last night, just to ensure we were good to go! Family is so good! Eli's mom came by yesterday to visit, just to give me some adult conversation since we were stuck at home. = )

Again, one of those weekends that you don't plan on! I had my ideas and my schedule of how things might play out ... and had to shelve all those. It was a good lesson (as motherhood constantly is) on selflessness, as I was cuddling a feverish boy, nursing a baby, and working to give Jonah projects to keep occupied. There was nothing about fulfilling what I would have liked to do, or get accomplished. I would have loved a sweaty workout - had to go. Maybe some time to get out and run errands all together? nope. It wasn't, and isn't about me. And yet I woke up this morning so grateful for God's faithfulness to us. Everyone is (mostly) healthy now, and help arrived when needed most.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Love IS there, right? = )

I feel like the boys have been fighting like cats and dogs this week. Reuben has figured exactly how to "push" Jonah's buttons ... and is pushing away! Even this morning, for no apparent reason, he grabbed Jonah's paper airplane and crumpled it up. Right in Jonah's face. The power struggle. The lessons of authority. The desire to be in charge. The hope to be better, bigger, than the other. And Jonah retaliates, of course! We're working on coming straight to Mom when a struggle starts, or trying to work it out themselves. Working on it. = )

But then, there are still the times when they are best of friends. They sit and play with figurines and jungles, and strings, and animals ... for hours. Happily. Laughing at each other. Giggling away in their room. Those times make me smile. And remind me that the best present I gave my boys is each other. Hopefully they will all long outlive Eli and I - and will have each other, have their siblings to lean on, to grow with, to fight battles with. My siblings are my rocks. There through thick and thin. We're there for each other no matter what. We understand the others' quirks, and can just shrug our shoulders at them and hug the other anyway. And we'll be together - Lord willing - many, many more years. So, as my boys quarrel and argue, and laugh and play fight together, I often pray they will be that for each other as well. Even as boys and later men, they will have a deep bond with each other.

They requested this picture of them together:

I think I will look back on it often!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Missing Aaron

Jonah had a wonderful friend, Aaron, that he went to preschool with for two years. When Jonah was just three, and very nervous about being away from Mommy, he met Aaron and they were two of only six kids in a sweet little three year old preschool class. Then they were together for the second year of preschool. Aaron and Jonah, for whatever reason, just clicked. They played well together. They looked forward to seeing each other at school, and often wanted to spend an afternoon at the other's house. I never had much trouble with them not getting along ... they enjoyed each other's company so much!

Jonah often told me that he just "loved Aaron" and they were best buddies together.

And this May, Aaron moved away. Aaron's dad found a better job for their family several states away. Back where they had originally lived before moving to Lawrence a few years ago. They were excited to go back to friends ... but Aaron and Jonah were sad to realize that they wouldn't see each other again. We had playdates their last couple weeks together, and they were always hugging each other when someone's mommy came to separate them!

And now Aaron is gone. And I didn't realize HOW MUCH Jonah had loved Aaron and how deep their little child-like bond was. He cries about missing Aaron nearly every few days. My mommy heart breaks as he experiences the loss of a relationship. There is not much else I feel like I can say to help him. We pray God will bring him another new friend that has time to spend playdates with him. I tell him that losing friends is really hard, and it's okay to be sad. And that there will be other friends. And I pray that another good friend will come along for my little boy. And ask my mom for advice on anything else I can say to him, besides hug him more, and tell him how much I love him, and that I am sorry.

I remember friends moving away as I grew up ... but can't remember what helped the hurt heal. Any suggestions?

Friday, June 15, 2012

This week ...

I heard a crash coming from a bedroom, I was sitting, nursing, in the living room on the couch.
"Jonah, what was that?"
Um, right.
"Jonah, what was that sound?"
"It was nothing, Mom!" In as cheerful a voice as one could muster.
"Jonah, I'm not angry. I just want to know what that noise was, if you are okay, what happened?"
"Well, I ACCIDENTALLY moved my arm somehow, and it somehow ACCIDENTALLY swung around in a big circle, and then my arm ACCIDENTALLY whacked the white shelves, and then the laptops (toy ones) ACCIDENTALLY fell onto the floor! But! I'm okay ..."
I just found it amusing that he felt the need to reassure me that all actions were, in fact, "accidental", including the movement of his arm.

And earlier today, Jonah, Reuben, and I were talking about names. Everyone's names. Their full names, etc.
Jonah: My name is Jonah Willem Brooks. Reuben, do you know what your long name is?
Reuben: Reuben James Brooks. And my daddy's name is Eli (E-why) Brooks (Bwooks). Actually he is Pastor Eli.
Jonah: You're right, Reuben! - this is exclaimed in a very "teacherly" tone. Do you know what Mommy's name is?
Reuben gazed at me for a moment, then smiled: Yes, it is Aunt Elisa (E-wisa).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Girls

Last weekend a bunch of our youth group girls met downtown for a "girls outing". We had lunch at Noodles together, then we sent them out on a photo scavenger hunt in three teams, and then ended the afternoon at Sylas and Maddy's for ice cream! It had seemed like lately, the guys had done lots of fun activities, so the girls were wanting a turn! We have two amazing volunteer girl staff, Becky and Jordyn, that lead a weekly Bible study with the girls, and are there on Wednesday nights and such. With my three little boys, I am not always so available to get together with the teens, but we coordinated this event so that I could be there, and we could connect with everyone!

It was sooooo fun! I was amazed at how fast the girls flew through their hunt, racing to be the first team back - on a REALLY hot day! Lunch was fun, and ice cream cooled everyone off at the end. You never know exactly what turnouts for events like this will be, but I think there was about 18 of us total, which is great! These teens are amazing young women, and I love every minute I get with them!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


We left Sunday after church for a little getaway to Branson. Our classic vacation location. = ) I've been going to Silver Dollar City since I was probably in my mother's womb, so it is only fitting that Eli and I take the boys back to a family friendly, easily-driveable place! Add to it now that our dear mentors and friends, Pastor Stan and Allison, now LIVE in Branson, it's hard to stay away!

It was a quick trip, we left Sunday afternoon, and returned Tuesday evening. But, the last time that Eli took any vacation days, we were adjusting to life with a newborn, and he was finishing finals for the spring semester. Not exactly "vacation". So, we went away for a couple days, to get away from phone calls, house projects, house cleaning, and such, and to enjoy some much-needed family time.

Soooooo good! I was a bit nervous about how good the trip would be overall, with traveling with Matthias. But, he was a little trooper! Great in the car, great in the stroller, happy to be outside, and even slept pretty good there! That made it soooo nice! And Silver Dollar City has nursing rooms, another bonus! I could hide away for half an hour, and Eli would run the boys around on some rides, and then we would meet right back up.

Daddy and Reuben riding the classic carousel

It was great to see the Nichols, and fun to watch the boys have the time of their little lives! Jonah often comments that Silver Dollar City is his "favorite place in the whole wide world!". So, the enthusiasm to go was not lacking at all (he woke up at 5:30 a.m. that Sunday, ready to leave ...).

Our littlest traveler ... covered from head to toe from the sun!
The boys!
The first day we didn't take our camera, because we were already packing around a double stroller, diaper/snack bag, Bjorn, water bottles, etc. So, we just took a few the second day. But, still have such wonderful memories! Reuben was finally old enough to ride the little rides all by himself, so he was so proud to stand in line with Jonah - and not us! Jonah was all about racing around to his favorite places, and begging for treats = ) I got my favorite kettle corn, and Eli got to pick out a new handmade coffee mug. I love going there ... and since we weren't able to make it to California to visit family this year because of plane ticket costs, we can make these small trips to Branson to getaway, but not break the bank.

Daddy and Reuben relaxing on the porch of the taffy shop

Two little boys!

Can't wait to go back, but it was also so good to pull in that driveway last night and sleep in my own bed!