A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scared at night

I spent many, many nights growing up scared of things. Scared robbers were going to come in my windows, scared of who-knows-what ... I still remember having nightmares about Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Yup. I had lots of fears to deal with and surrender as I have grown up. And I also know, the unknown can be scary, and kids just deal with that. Have to learn that we can't know everything, but that God is watching over us, over them. Hovering.

Usually Jonah has been the one voicing fears. But Reuben, as of late, has been telling us at night that he is scared. Sometimes I can tell this is a ploy - the child isn't very tired and when put to bed and cannot immediately fall asleep, he works to get us back in his room. "Lay with me" he pleads.

Two nights ago, Eli was tucking them in, and Reuben says, "Daddy, I'm scared". Eli asks him what he is scared of. "Scared of the REALLY bad guys that are going to come down from heaven and get me!" What???? Eli assured him that there are no bad guys in heaven - to be sure! - and that God is in heaven, and God is watching over him. Finally got him to release the idea, and fall asleep.

Day Two: Eli is tucking Reuben in. Gives him a kiss and starts to walk out of the room. "Daddy, I'm scared". Scared of what? "I'm really scared of punching people in the face". (yes, Eli was perplexed too). Talks to Reuben, not so much about punching people in the face, but about why we don't need to be scared and that not only is his safe in his house with Mommy and Daddy, but God watches over him. And then we sat on the couch together and wondered: did he mean he was scared that someone would punch him in the face? Or was he feeling bad for getting in trouble earlier that day for shoving Jonah? Sometimes, with Reuben, you just never know.

Ah, the tightrope balance. If he really is scared, we have to work through it. But, when he is just trying to be manipulative, where do we draw the line? Working on that. I will readily admit we are not experts on parenting! But, wanting to be the best we can be, with God's help!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Close to My Heart

I've been done and out with the flu this week ... seriously down and out. I could hardly get out of bed yesterday, but finally today the fever has broken and I have a little appetite again, so on the uphill road, hopefully! I'm ready to have fun playing with the boys again, and catching up on the piles of laundry and housework that are now waiting for me = )

On Monday I got to have brunch with my mom, sister, and sister in law for my birthday. They had a present for me that they had gone in together. I had no idea what to expect, and was soooooo thrilled to find this little gift tucked inside the bag!

Jessica wears one similar to this all the time, and I have always admired it and told her how much I loved. It never actually occurred to me to suggest one for myself as a gift ever! So, it was a wonderful surprise, and I LOVE it! I can't wait to wear it a lot! Keep my boys close to my heart.

Last night as I was laying in bed - at a really low moment - the boys paraded into the room to give "Mommy a present". They had little chocolates that they had gotten at the store with Eli, and pictures that they had drawn for me to "get well". Eli later laughed and said these were the most "violent get well pictures ever created". As you can see, my sweet boys drew me some wonderful get well pictures of us fighting with light sabers ... I'll take that as a compliment that I'm a decent enough light saber fighter that they just can't wait for me to be ready to join back into their battles!

I'm hoping this weekend brings more health into our house, and lots of fun! We've worked a bit on cleaning/sanitizing this morning, and there is more to do, as always. And I'm itching to try a new recipe for breakfast cookies that I found online.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Coconut Almonds + Complications

One of the gifts from Eli for my birthday was this bag of deliciousness:

Yup. I L.O.V.E. nuts. Most any kind. And you know, sometimes when you want to indulge in something, these flavored almonds just hit the spot! I hadn't seen this kind before, but I really like them. I've worked to only allow myself a few each day, so that the package will last longer! Eli and I both tend to like stuff with coconut and/or coconut flavoring, so he was a smart man to pick these out!

Reuben has been fighting a nasty cold for well over a week. I think he's much better in one sense, but he is still really whiny and exhausted. And e.v.e.r.y.l.i.t.t.l.e.t.h.i.n.g. necessitates a breakdown. I literally cannot count the number of times on Thursday that he cried over the positioning of mega blocks in the tower he was building. It about drove me to pull my hair out. Those are the times I do not know whether to send him to time out, send him to his bedroom for a nap, or pull him in my lap and just rock the poor boy. Or a combination of any of the above. He just can't seem to get to 100%. We're toying around with just taking him to the doctor to see if there is anything else wrong with him (he has been known to deal with ear pain until his ear drum ruptures - and we had no idea his ears were hurting! High pain tolerance ...)

Anyway, I was trying to get him ready for bed tonight. Laid him on the floor to help him undress/dress, because at this point in his day, NEVERMIND asking him to do it himself. Not tonight. He had already nodded off on our way to the grocery store, so I knew he was exhausted. "My hands hurt" he says as I pull his shirt off him. "My bottom hurts" he says as I pull off his pants. Yes, buddy, I know, I know. I know you are tired. I know you don't feel that good. "My cheeks hurt" - which I know they do! They are chapped from his runny nose.

And then he stops. Sighs loudly. Looks at me seriously. "Mommy, I'm just complicated"
"Yes, Mommy, complicated"

Oh Reubs ... = ) I'm not sure complicated is quite the right word, but you are one heck of a three year old! When I think of having three teenage boys in my house at some point 12 years down the road, I admit, I do cringe slightly. But, I also think that though it will be - well, something - it might not be as "complicated" as it could be with three girls, right?

And hopefully Reuben's insight into his own complications will end on a happier note and he will get all the way better soon!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Several years ago when Eli ran the Target in St. Joe, the pharmacist there gave us some delicious homemade biscotti for Christmas. I, of course, sent Eli back to work with the instructions to obtain the recipe! I don't necessarily make it often, but I have pulled it out for special occasions, or when we have had people over that love their coffee and a little sweet to go with it!

When the originals were sent home with Eli, they had pistachios in them - the green to go with a holiday theme! But, the recipe simply suggested "chopped nuts" - so you can play around with the flavors that you want! I do love pistachios, but Eli isn't crazy about them. So, I have often included chopped walnuts, or omitted the nuts altogether and just kept it chocolate and more chocolate.

I wanted to have a little treat to take to our group at church tonight, so I decided to pull out this recipe again. Instead of using chocolate chips and nuts, though, I decided to chop up this bar:

Someone gave it to us, but I had been saving it to use in a recipe. I'm sure it would have been good to save on its own - little tastes here and there, but I also thought it would blend well in the biscotti. Sea Salt, Almonds, Dark Chocolate ... I'm thinking YES.

Biscotti (baked twice) is fun to make, but gives an element of "special", rather than chocolate chip cookies or something.

Double Chocolate Biscotti 
6 T. softened Butter
1 c. Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 c. Flour
1/2 c. Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 c. Chocolate Chips
1/2 c. Chopped Nuts

Start by creaming your butter and sugar together.

Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Add your dry ingredients and mix well.

Lastly, add your chocolate and (or not!) nuts. Mix until combined.

Shape into a flattened log (around 12x4 inches) on a greased or parchment paper lined baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 min. Remove from oven. Let sit about 5 min, and then slice on the diagonal and place back on baking pan, cut sides up, and bake an additional 5-8 min (depending on how dry you want it!). Cool. Enjoy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A New Decade

Welcome to the 30's! At least, that's what a super awesome voicemail left for me from Natalie said today! Yep, today was my 30th birthday. In some ways, I still feel about 25, and think everyone I am friends with is still that age as well! But, as another friend laughed with me ... three kids and a minivan later - nope, 25 isn't quite right! So, 30 it is. I wasn't too freaked about it. Just wanted to enjoy my birthday with my family and friends.

Eli and our small group at church surprised me on Thursday night with a little party. We played games and had snacks together - which was fun! He had asked me if I wanted a party or anything - and I really didn't! Nothing big. So, this was a little surprise, which was super sweet and I had a great time.

Sadly, two of the three boys are sick - AGAIN - so I had to stay home this morning from church and take care of them. I wanted to be around my community and enjoy everyone, but it wasn't to be. But, when I woke up, I decided I was just going to enjoy every minute of this day, sick kids or not! So, Matthias, Reuben and I had a wonderful little morning together. Once Eli and Jonah got home, we had lunch, and I got to get out for awhile to head to teach a launch class at the gym (YAY!). It was good to sweat, laugh, and have fun for awhile, since we have been dealing with sick kiddos for several days.

I got home to a big "Happy Birthday" sign on the way, little boys hiding under blankets to yell "SURPRISE" to Mommy, and a table all decorated with hearts, candy and gifts. It was super, super sweet. They were wearing party hats, and Captain America masks (from their birthday party last March), and I put on my party hat to join in on the fun! Eli had taken them shopping and they had some small gifts for me to open, which was funny, because Reuben gave his away before I could get the paper off, and Jonah admitted that he "didn't really pick his out" ... ahhhhhh, love it!

Happy Birthday, Mommy!

Eli and I had planned to walk around downtown and his mom was going to watch the boys, but we decided to postpone and just hang out with the boys here and keep the spreading of germs to a minimum. He picked up some egg drop soup for me for dinner, and my dad surprised me by dropping by later with a little dessert to share.

See? Nothing special planned ... and it seemed like it would be a quiet and lonely day almost, but God gave me little surprises along the way, and I have had an A.W.E.S.O.M.E. day. A wonderful birthday, and hey - I'm ready to take on my thirties.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cousins ...

I've posted about Selah and Matthias before ... born five weeks apart last spring, these two little cousins are bound to grow up good playmates! I had a close, close friend that was a boy when I was growing up, so I'm sure that Matthias and Selah will have lots of fun together - no matter that one is a boy, and the other a girl!

Today we headed over to my parents' to watch the KU game. We cut cable beginning of the summer when we were really trying to trim down expenses because of a rough start to 2012 financially. And we're not planning to re-start it at this point. So expensive around here! And neither my younger sister and her family, or my younger brother and his family have cable either! That all means that my parents get visitors when KU plays = ) They don't mind ... most of the time! If we can watch most of the weekend games there, then Eli is particularly happy - the kids don't stay up late enough to head over there for evening games, so we keep up on the score online or other means.

And Selah and Matthias were crawling all over the living room together and playing toys together. And, of course, eating baby puffs together. Eli and I have dubbed those innocent looking puffs to be Baby Crack. Dead serious. When Matthias hears the little container rattle, he gets all excited and starts waving his hands and breathing all crazy! Goodness - Gerber and knock-offs are making a killing from those things!

But, it was so fun to see those two be together. I remember growing up, and walking down our back street hill to where my cousins lived a few streets away for a time period and getting to play with family. Family is such a blessing! And family close by even more so. I don't take it for granted - EVER - that my siblings (and Eli's!) all live close by and we get to spend so much time with family. I know that could change over time. I count each family gathering as special and am constantly expressing gratitude to the Lord for the blessing of having these years close by.

The photos are a bit blurry - I just took them on my iTouch - and babies don't hold still! But a good memory nonetheless. These two are going to be trouble once they are walking/running off together!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Jonah and Matthias are buddies. Jonah (although smotheringly many times) adores Matthias and is always trying to entertain him. This works well when I need to take showers! And, it is adorable to see Matthias' little face just light up when Jonah comes in to a room.

Someday, when they're older and complaining about each other, I'll remember this sweet first year - Jonah has just doted on Matthias since he has been born. He is a great big brother. I know that he probably is a typical firstborn, and I know that sometimes I almost ask too much of him - he is only five, after all. But, he has been such a great little helper this year. He is, though, quite ready to turn six in March = )

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Crunch - quick note

Eli reminded me last night that we don't really want anyone teasing Jonah about this! I realized I should have included that in my post ... if you know us well, or know Jonah's friend at the gym, then please don't share that we shared this story with them! We would much rather them stay little friends than not play together because they got teased about having a friend that is a "boy or a girl". = )

And working on other posts - but blogger has been acting up the last several hours and I can't get pics to download off my computer - coming soon!

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Crunch

Since Jonah is homeschooled ... well, I know that there are certain areas in which he will probably be more sheltered. That is just fine with me. I know I grew up sheltered in many ways as well, and I certainly don't look back and regret it. And I certainly don't think that it had any type of negative impact on my life! I feel great!

But, in a really cute and funny way, he surprised me the other day with these conversations:

There is a little girl at the gym - a couple years older than Jonah - whose mom also works there, so they are often there at the same time. Right now, she and Jonah are getting along pretty well. It helps that he will gladly play house if requested, and she'll go right along and play dragons with him. He often asks me if she will be there when we're getting ready to head out, or will ask if I will text her mom to find out if she'll be there! So, her momma was already aware Jonah liked having Drew around. And she told me about a week ago that Drew had asked her if "Jonah had a crush on her". Her mom reassured her that Jonah was just a friend, and that girls and boys can be friends.

But the next morning, we were all at the gym at the same time, and Drew went ahead and just asked Jonah if he had a crush on her. A What? A crush. You know, like when you love someone. Do you have one on me? No, he replied. (I wasn't present for this conversation)

A half hour later, I'm walking the boys outside to the van, and Jonah asks, Mom, do you know what a 'crunch' is?
A Crunch?
Yeah, a crunch. You know, like when you love someone.
Ooohhhhhh, yes, a crunch. Why are you asking?
Because Drew asked if I had a crunch on her.
And what did you say?
Well, I told her no, I don't. Because I wouldn't want to say yes and embarrass her.

Smiled to myself. And then told Jonah that having friends that are girls is awesome, and I was so glad that he has a friend like Drew, and it is perfectly okay for boys and girls to be friends and play together.

A couple days later, he was drawing a picture for Drew ... and picture of he and Drew holding hands. Ahhhhhh, hmmmmmm. I asked him about it, and asked if that was the kind of picture he wanted to give her. He paused, looked at me, and then said, Maybe I shouldn't. She might think I have a crunch on her.

He proceeded to draw a different picture and wrote 'I like playing with you Drew' on it. = )

I really didn't think that "crunches" would be coming up in any conversations this year. But, thankfully, I think this one has been pretty harmless.