A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

Last night I was laying by Reuben for a bit in his bed. He was having a hard time winding down and falling  asleep (Jonah was already out for the count), so we were talking about his day. He had already mentioned things about preschool earlier in the day, but suddenly starts talking about making a bread and marshmallow snack.

"And the bread cracker was the tomb. And guess who the marshmallow was?" Giggling. "The marshmallow was JESUS!!!"
"Oh! You made resurrection rolls!"
"Yup. And we wrapped the marshmallow, and it was Jesus, and then the marshmallow disappeared" little hands waving in the air "and the tomb was empty."
"So, the reason the tomb was empty was because Jesus rose from the dead. He was alive!"
Reuben looks at me puzzled, "No, Mom, the tomb was empty because Jesus burned up in the oven!"

Ah well, I think he "kind of" got the gist of the what they were attempting to get across in class! On Wednesday night when Eli was at youth group and I was putting the boys to bed, we were snuggling together and reading the story of the Last Supper and Jesus washing his disciples feet. I questioned them about their thoughts on what that meant. Jonah seemed to have a very good grasp - better than I would have thought. He shared with me about learning to serve others like Jesus served, even when it doesn't make sense. And Reuben pipes up: "AND!" (because this boy really does speak in CAPS!) "AND, Jesus had to forgive Peter THREE TIMES!" holding up three fingers, eyes wide.

He repeated that several times throughout our discussion ... little boys. = ) I was talking to a friend today about how easy it seems to share the story of Christmas, and have children grasp it. A birthday. Childlike faith can grasp a miracle and hold to the story. But, explaining the meaning of Easter feels more challenging to explain to newly 4 year old and 6 year old. I am not an expert in their language by any means. But, we talk. We ponder. And I pray their hearts begin to see how wonderful and great is the Love of our God, who would lay down for such a sacrifice.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Scrub A Dub Dub, Three Boys In a Tub

And that's how we got 'em all clean tonight! Bath night it was - and they all had a blast in there together! Thank goodness, most of the water even actually stayed in the tub! = ) Eli called me to come with the camera, and they were even in stairstepping order ...

Love Matthias' face ... "What are you two doing????"
We celebrated birthdays - four - with my family on Sunday night. Got to watch KU win their way into the Sweet Sixteen while we were at it! Perfect night. The boys' birthdays were celebrated along with my nephew's and my older brother's. Boys oh boys! My brother got the boys real cap guns. They have never had those before ... complete with a belt and holsters. As soon as Eli hooked it on Reuben, he inhaled, lifted his chest, tucked that chin down and got fierce. Instant testosterone boost right there. They stomped around the basement that evening, all around our house the last two days, and then Eli let them shoot some caps tonight for the first time.

Jonah is "Cactus Joe", Reuben is "RedBeard" (a little confusion between cowboys and pirates going on there), and then he happily turned to me and offered, "Mom, you can be "PinkBeard". Why, thank you, Reuben.

I got lots of decluttering and putting away of things today, which felt really good! One step closer ... All the while, baking up another batch of these:

 Homemade Graham Crackers

My Matthias LOVES them, and now Reuben likes them too. I have a chocolate graham batch chilling in the fridge tonight to bake tomorrow. That way, I can keep the honey out until Matthias turns a year old, and know exactly what is going into the crackers that my boys eat. Jonah still eyes them with suspect, but I hope to win him over eventually.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

And We're on to SIX

Six years old, that is! Not a sixth member of the family - not yet! = )

Jonah turned six years old yesterday. Yikes. My firstborn. I'm not going to get sentimental (too much) on this point, I've done that many times enough before! This shall mostly serve as a re-cap. But, still. Firstborns are the ones that make you into Mommas, and for that, I look at Jonah with a bit of wistfulness. He is taller. He has ZERO baby chub anywhere on that skinny little body. His two front teeth are loose. He would rather us cut his hair into a mohawk than buzz it anymore.

But, he is still my snuggler. Even early this morning (because he is my early riser - like his Momma!), I walked upstairs from a quick workout, and he asked "Come snuggle with me on the couch, Mommy". How could one refuse that? No way. I wrapped my arms around that little 6 year old and we talked for awhile together. Those moments are special - and I know that they are all too fleeting.

Friday eve - the eve before his birthday, Reuben, Jonah, Eli and I were sitting at the table. Reuben and I had shopped earlier that afternoon for presents for Jonah. We had a BIG disucssion on the way home about keeping Jonah's presents secret - as this has been a challenge for Reuben any time in the past. We were sitting there, and Reuben says something to the effect of, "He will really like his sticker book". "Reuben!!!" we exclaim! Jonah promptly covers his ears, although looking at my out of the side of his eyes, "I think I heard what he said, 'sticker book' ". "Reuben, don't say what Jonah's present is!". "Look, though! His ears are covered. He can't hear my say I got him the same sticker book!"

And that, is classic Reuben. Jonah just grinned. "Well, I am glad to know I'm getting the sticker book." Because this was a sticker book that he got Reuben just two weeks ago, and then has had some serious envy about the book since.

Morning, birthday Boy!
Said Sticker Book!
Jonah woke up Saturday. Eli had hung a Happy Birthday sign. He wasn't feeling too great since he has been battling a cold all week. But he recovered. Eli and I both had to work, so the big boys got to go to church with him, and Matthias came to the gym with me. They ran some errands after church to get stuff for their friend party, and then came home for lunch and our couple presents for Jonah. We rounded up things and headed over to Eli's parents' house for a party with seven of their little friends. Joint parties are great! I'm going to keep this up as long as possible. = )

Good Friends!

My two boys requested Angry Birds Star Wars as their theme. They and their friends shot at big blocks and played an animal game, had cake and presents, and then ended the party, tired out, watching part of a movie! My boys are blessed to have three sets of sibling friends that line up close to their ages, plus another good buddy from church. Everyone got along great!

Blowing Out Candles
Thanks Daddy, for letting me try frosting when Mommy wasn't looking!

We had a relaxed evening at home, and sent everyone to bed early. The boys ended on the couch, tuckered out, with Daddy, reading their bedtime story (note Reub's still had a party hat on! Love it). And Eli and I talked on the couch, planning out the ever-present work on the house, and then hit the sack early ourselves.

I've been AWOL from writing down my stories because of the house work. We have been HARD AT WORK this week. We were out of town the first part of the week, taking the youth group on their retreat, and then hit the rest of the packing up hard. This week is painting, a few small repairs, and cleaning up the messes left from packing. Our goal is to have the realtor come on Monday the 1st to take pictures and get that For Sale sign up! Yay! Pray for us, cross your fingers for us, or come and help us! It is still a tall order to accomplish on Easter week, as Eli won't be able to take much time off to put into it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Marching Along

Already over halfway thru March - W.O.W. Time is sure going by fast! One boy's birthday done, another to come in one week, Spring Break retreat, house stuff, St. Patrick's Day, my brother's birthday, Easter ... you get the gist! Busy in a oh-so-good way. = )

My sweet little cruiser has decided that kitchen cabinets are made to be emptied. Doesn't seem to matter that we have "child proofed" them. The one that contains my flour and sugar is not proof to the child. He can still get it open. So, I have had to be creative. I started with blocking the kitchen off:

Excuse me, Mommy. You have thwarted my plans!

You can imagine how that went. He wasn't too happy about it! But, it worked. It does work still, it's just to keep the gate up, it has to lock against the fridge, so I have to use it when I don't need to get in the fridge. Or I have to really think and plan ahead if I'm going to use while getting dinner ready. But, then I re-arranged the cabinet so that his little fingers probably won't end up in the brown sugar again. He can throw rubbermaid containers all over the place, but I find that rather harmless at this point!

He has walked halfway across the living room unassisted. Won't be long until this guy is really going at it!

We are officially on "spring break". Jonah was quite excited to get a whole week off school. He is normally a pretty sport at getting school done and being obedient, but he is happy to get a break. Not to mention the fun family time awaiting him next week, PLUS the week will end with his birthday on Saturday! He was so happy the other day that we worked on a craft together. That is my homeschool weakness. Crafts. I just dislike the mess from them! I admit it. And, I find myself very uncreative in the craft department. Yes, I know that pinterest awaits me ... but I just don't really get on there. One, I'm worried I'll get sucked in. And two, I really just don't have the time to surf on there much. My sole computer time is the few minutes I use of Matthias' naps to work on emails and some work stuff, and then a bit in the evenings. and when I hear of people getting on there and "suddenly" an hour has gone by? Scares the daylights out of me. I can't go there. We do lots of drawing and art pictures, and his own craft creations. I'm working on getting better, because the boy loves crafts.

I woke up early to do my own weights session in the basement before I had to work at the gym. Starting to feel that little bit of soreness from it ... and feels so good. Makes me ready to snuggle into my bed by Eli and sleep til another early morning tomorrow.  My hubby has made me so proud lately. In many, many respects. I am not going to list all the reasons why - but I go to bed tonight so proud to be his wife. And so grateful for a husband that I give my full respect and admiration to. Can't wait to be by his side as we take the youth on their retreat and see him pour out to them, so that they can grow and be changed. I'll go to sleep on those thoughts = )

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Curried Quinoa

No secret that I love quinoa. Eli, on the other hand, continues to profess a strong dislike. Maybe someday I'll win him over = ) Ah well, so I make enough for me to enjoy for a few days and let it go. Sometimes Reuben joins in on the eat fest, sometimes not. I, do, however think it is about time to start Matthias in on some!

About a month I made some curried quinoa, loosely based on a recipe I saw in a newspaper insert from www.relish.com ... with of course some changes. = ) Mine was a bit simpler - theirs probably more traditional curry ingredients, but I went with what I had on hand.

Quinoa Curry

1 c. uncooked Quinoa
2 stalks Celery, sliced
1 small Butternut Squash, cubed and roasted in the oven

1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 tsp. Sea Salt - or regular table salt!
2 tsp. Curry Powder
3 T. White Wine Vinegar
1/4 c. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

*Cook quinoa in 2 1/2 c. water until done. Stir in celery and Butternut Squash. Mix rest of ingredients together well to make vinaigrette (I like to shake mine in a canning jar) and pour over quinoa mixture. Let soak and cool a bit. Enjoy!

My sister tells me she just tried a recipe for a Quinoa and Ground Turkey meatloaf that turned out awesome. I'm eager to try that one! Maybe that will be one Eli will even try ... possibly.

I also keep seeing recipes pop up on Facebook and blogs for homemade style Lara bars that are simple and basically made by throwing the ingredients in your food processor. Sounds fabulous! And, I'm always up for a new bar recipe to try. Those always suck me in.

Getting ready to head to bed for a semi-early morning training session after a fabulous day. Sun is shining ... the boys were able to play outside for awhile and get some energy out. I got the hall closet organized and cleaned out. Youth group had started off great this evening as the youth are prepping for our retreat next week. Sigh. Happy Smile. Now, if my baby with a cold will get better and sleep without lots of coughing fits, well, I couldn't think of a thing to complain about!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Moving Fast

Agh. Many things are moving too fast right now! Time is one of them. We are desperately working to pack up any unnecessary items in our house, so that when we list it at the end of the month (fingers crossed we get there!), the house looks less cluttered, more open, and as clean and great as it can! Our realtor suggested we aim to pack up at least HALF of what is currently in our house! Yikes! So, we're working on it as fast as we can. And hoping, no, not hoping, trusting that as we move forward, God will bring the right buyer at the right time.

So, we're spending any free time that we can find doing that. While working to finalize plans for our youth group retreat we are taking the teens on next week, finishing the plans in place for the big boys who will be getting to stay with awesome family members (Thank you, Mikey and Didi!!!!) who will make our three days away be a special treat for them!

Time feels precious.

And then my little guy is moving fast, literally! Crawling is like speedwork to him, and over the last week, he just really started to try and take steps on his own. C.R.A.Z.Y. And, we found one of those little walk-behind toys that we had tucked away from when Reuben was little last night, and brought it upstairs. And today he discovered that he could actually walk behind it! Tried to get a cute little video of him using it this evening.

Anyway! I have a couple posts to try and catch up on this week, so I'll try and find quick moments to share them! Recipes, new ones that I want to try, and stories to share = ) Lovin' life over here!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

4th Birthday Moments

We forgot to take the camera last night to Eli's parents' house. Failure. I was bummed because I always like capturing a few family photos! Ah well, we did get some pictures in the morning when Reuben opened presents at home, and then took one this morning of that proud little four year old heading to preschool with his birthday snack. Originally he requested Angry Birds Star Wars cake. Ummmmm, not for preschool. Probably for the bigger friend celebration - but not preschool. Plus, my sweet child is obsessed with frosting and NOT cake, so I didn't want to send something that he would just lick the frosting off of and leave the rest! So, I baked a big cookie and just decorated with a little frosting. According to him, it was a big hit = ) How could you go wrong, right?

I got my flashlight and am ready to hunt for presents!

Early morning picture with Daddy! (Sorry, Eli, if you don't like this one!)

Peeking in the coat closet

A new sticker book!

We got both boys new hats so that Jonah got a small present also ...

Jonah's present to Reuben - a Mario Kart game

Happy Birthday pancake!

Look! A HUGE cookie to share at school!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Four It Is!

Today is Reuben's fourth birthday. It is, coincidentally, also Eli's Mom's 60th birthday, and a friend of mine back from full-time social working days birthday as well! Happy Birthday to all! Although time goes fast, I can see that Reuben is ready for the big "4". He is growing fast, working hard to keep up with an older brother, and driven to understand things.

He is, many times, so opposite. He runs everywhere, it seems. I can imagine him being our football player or wrestler. He is so physical and can have that boundless, uncontainable energy! And then, the child moves as s.l.o.w. as molasses when we are trying to get out the door, or get into the van, or put on coats, or get dressed, or you-name-it. Can't get him to get the task done.

He can get completely lost in a task or a toy or game. With himself, or playing with others. Lost in a little world of his own, submerged. He doesn't hear you calling his name. Focused. And then later on, he is talking talking talking, and nothing connects. Just all kinds of facts and things flying at you! Feels completely unfocused at that point = )

He talks loud, just like my brothers! Trying to get that boy to keep his voice down is a lost cause, although I still try and attempt it each and every day. He has an intensity when he is talking to people, a "no fear" when talking to adults about things. "Look me in the eye!" he seems to be saying as he practically shouts whatever he is trying to tell you about with those big blue eyes wide open.

Ahh, Reuben. Each day my heart wrings a little for him. I know what it is like to be the middle child. Too often gets the hand-me-downs while his older brother is getting the new shoes. I see his frustration each day when he feels outsmarted by his brother, but also set aside sometimes when the baby needs extra care. I try and make such an effort to give him snuggles and hugs, and encourage him to try again when he fails. He can do it! To remind him he is special - he has skills and things to appreciate, even if he can't get that Lego set together AGAIN and is in tears. And each day I probably plant my hand to my forehead as I try and figure out his headstrong attitude. He tests me, tries me, and gets more discipline than I ever remember handing out to Jonah at this age. He has a tendency to just give Jonah a good clock when angry. To throw big fits when upset. He is mischievous, ornery as all get out, and still that sweet little boy that I steal squeezy hugs from whenever I can!

He woke up this morning, and after Eli assured him he was, in fact, four years old today, leapt into the bathroom, shouted "MOM, I'M FOUR!" and ran out! We had a couple small gifts for him, that he got to treasure hunt for, and then we sang Happy Birthday to him with four candles on a pancake. He got to play with his new gifts, take a special snack to share at the gym, and then later we shopped with Opa and got a birthday donut (hey, on your birthday you get a little extra sugar around here!). We ended our day at Grandma's to have dinner with family and celebrate a bit more. It was good day. Still some tears when he was tired - and some tears from Jonah who has a hard time with Reuben getting gifts - but it was great. We enjoyed seeing him have a special day.

I'll post a few pictures tomorrow maybe. We have spent all our extra time today packing up some boxes attempting to make our house presentable. We have a real estate agent coming over Wednesday morning to give opinions on what we need to get done to get that "For Sale" sign put up in the yard! Whoop! Tomorrow will be filled with more of the same = ) Amazing how much clutter you see (even when you've been trying to de-clutter lately), with this idea in mind! Wish us luck!