A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June 30th ... the difference a year makes

I was organizing some photos on my computer the other day, and was suddenly struck by the fact of how ALL of my boys have grown in the last year. Especially Matthias, of course. The babies change so much their first year of life that is incredible.

One year ago, we were getting smiles out of our two month old: learning about his personality, still suffering from acute sleep deprivation, staying indoors more than we wanted that summer just because of the crazy heat, holding him in our lap, helping older brothers hold him in our lap. Adjusting to life with three kids.

June 30, 2012
And now??? This little 14 month old has a mind of his own! He is practically running now, off after his brothers, after a ball, away from his Mama when she is trying to change his diaper ... you get the picture! He is laughing and giggling, showing off his eight little teeth. Unfortunately, he seems to be exhibiting really picky eating habits, so we're working our darndest on that, due to the fact we know the painful life of picky eating from Jonah. He sleeps through the night, wanting his blanky in one arm, his little stuffed sock monkey from Grandma in the other, a pacifier in his mouth, and five other beanie babies that he has adopted to be his own in his crib. He wakes happy, and waves hello the moment he sees his big brothers when he is carried out of his room in the morning.

He is not afraid of water. We took him in our splash pool last night, and the child fell over into the water multiple times, came up sputtering - on his own! - and just laughed. I got completely soaked in the process of attempting to keep him from drowning = ) He is a true Brooks and would rather be outside, than inside, any time, any day, and any weather!

He doesn't say a ton of words yet ... but knows exactly what we are saying to him. It will come in time, I am not worried. The basics are there, and he follows our instructions fairly consistently.

He loves to dance, clap his hands, and hum the "Elmo Song" from the Elmo Sing-a-long DVD that Aunt Hannah had given to Jonah when he was little. It has passed on from brother to brother. He picks up Elmo board books and starting humming the little "la la la la" tune, and then looks around to find someone to sing it with him. He loves praise time at church and lifts his sweet chubby hands in the air ...

We love our little guy, although the last year has FLOWN by.

Friday, June 28, 2013


With our busy week coming to a close, my boys have had later bedtimes than usual. Granted, it stays light outside so much longer right now! It is hard to stick fast to our inbedby8:30 plan for them. But, when we do ... things are much better the next day! But, this week that did not always happen, and so by yesterday, Reuben was a bit of a train wreck. Not only did he have late bedtimes, but several mornings, he was up before 7, which was just not enough sleep for him.

I told him yesterday he had to lay down for a rest time. He was not happy about it. Came into my room, muttering "I do not like your rules, Mommy". I had him lay down on my bed with me, so that Jonah and his cousin could use the boys' room to play in. He was upset, and after a few more whines, finally lay silently beside, frown on his face, blankie in one hand, Hero Factory in the other.

But things can change so quickly ... suddenly: "Mommy? Do you know why I picked this Hero Factory instead of Thor?" (they had gone to Legoland last week with Eli). He proceeded to explain his choice to me in great detail, apparently forgetting that my rules had infringed upon his little desires to play with Jonah.

Then, silence again for awhile. I rubbed his back, hoping for sleep to overtake him. And then, "I don't ever have to go back?" (go back???? again, his mind can jump to something else so quickly!)"Go back to where, Reuben?" "Go back to preschool. I don't have to go back, right?" "No, you're going to do preschool homeschool, like Jonah. Can you be a good student for Mommy and obey when she instructs you?" "Oh yes, Mommy." His little hand circles in the air, "And I will circle the chickens when you tell me to circle the chickens." (guessing at some point last year in preschool there was some circling of chickens going on ...)

Rubbed his back some more. This time silence led to slumber.


I have spent quite a bit of time today cleaning for our open house tomorrow. Trying to keep my chin up and my faith that the house WILL sell in the right now. The honest truth is: I would like that time to be now! So we'll see ... Eli, the boys and I all prayed that the "right people will find our house" tomorrow (or heck, that "some" people will even just come through the open house!). The house smells like lemon, much of clutter got put where it belongs, and I am ready to fall into bed. = )

Jonah went with Grandma to the library, but my homebody of a middle child wanted to stay home with Mommy, even if that meant lots of helping to clean things up. He was more than happy to mop (a favorite chore),

And once he finished all that I asked him to do, I gave him a little treat before turning on the sprinkler in the backyard for him to run through. Goodness, I just love this kid!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend Rush

Nothing like adding a teenage boy into the mix of an already full house and busy weekend = ) We have a great youth group boy, 15 years old, who has been staying with us since Thursday and through tomorrow. He is a great kid, but it still changes thing when adding someone else in to the home ... someone else to share the one bathroom in the home with the other 5 of us, another mouth to feed (and BOY can he eat!), and working on helping him plan through his packing as he gets ready to head back to home in Australia for a few weeks, etc.

We have family in town from California, which as been AWESOME! We love them sooooo much! Even though it has been years since Eli, myself, and the boys have seen them, it feels like no time has passed. That's how great our family is = ) We've swam with them, we went bowling together to get out of the heat, and have spent countless dinners together and just chatting time. The boys have fallen in love with their big cousin Jonathan (he is 15 years+ older than them), and thankfully he is such a sweetheart and plays Legos and games with them. I am going to try and get some pictures over the next few days to capture the great memories we're creating.

And somehow June is flying by ... I was putting something on my calendar for work, and realized I was scheduling for July 3rd. Boo. I am truly, truly, enjoying a more relaxed schedule this summer. Enjoying a break from homeschooling. I love seeing my boys learn at home - but the truth is: it is a lot of work to homeschool. And I only have two to work on! I have friends with more that they teach each day, and I am amazed by them. It stretches me to the limit of myself and drives me to rely on God intensely. I cannot do it all. Each and every I have to lay down what I would like to do, and see what He has for me. It is all good, but good does not mean easy. I am not even worrying about picking all my curriculum until July: this mental break time is just what I need before I start to gear up for the fall schedule.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Quinoa Protein Bites

I have been eying a recipe for Protein Quinoa Bars on www.skinnyms.com for awhile now. But, I kept putting off trying it because I would need to cook my quinoa in advance, and I would need to have dates on hand. Both of which didn't seem to happen ... because I tend to suddenly want to make things RIGHT NOW. And then I would forget when making a grocery list to put things on there, in advance for my urge to make them.

But Monday I finally picked up dates. And cooked my quinoa so it could chill. Pulled out the ingredients yesterday and made the bars. I made them into little protein balls with chocolate chips in them. Yum yum yum. I've yet to convince my nay-sayer hubby to try them (the non-quinoa person in our household), but I think I will get him to soon! The recipe is so simple if you have what you need, and own a food processor. It came together in a few minutes, and my little Matthias helper was great at pushing buttons to turn the machine on and off!

Protein Quinoa Balls (from skinnyms)

16 pitted dates
1/2 c. whole raw almonds
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/3 dried quinoa (cooked with 2/3 c. water and chilled ahead of time)
handful of chocolate chips

All my mush blended together
 *Blend dates in food processor until they form into a ball. Remove into separate bowl. Pulse almonds in food processor until chopped finely - not into an almond meal!. Add quinoa, peanut butter, and dates back into food processor and pulse until mixed together. Dump back into bowl and add chocolate chips (if desired) and roll into balls. Yum!

Ummmmmmm, chocolate makes it all so good!

Balled up, in a container, ready to keep in the fridge for post-workouts or a quick snack!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Precursor to Father's Day

We woke up today with big excitement in our house ...

Jonah lost his first tooth! This little tooth had been "wiggly" for quite some time, but earlier this week, he bit funny into a popsicle, which really loosened things up! For the next couple days, that tooth has been getting really loose, and when he woke me up this morning, telling me something about his tooth, I looked in his mouth to see it nearly laying sideways it was so loose! Once Eli got up (because pulling teeth is NOT my department!), he "pulled" it out. I think all he did was touch the thing and it came out! So, sooooo fun! We had decided that one celebration of a lost tooth in this house - Eli remembers it from his childhood - would be a slushy. So, later in the afternoon, he took the boys for a slushy, and we'll see what Jonah's finds under his pillow tonight = )

He doesn't believe in the toothfairy, but he knows it is the Daddys and Mommys in this world that make the switch of tooth and treasure in the night. He can't wait!

We had a pretty busy day, between working some, watching a friend's little girl, and needing to run some errands to prep for Father's Day tomorrow. (otherwise known as mommy-needed-to-get-the-shopping-done-and-was-behind-on-it!) We were heading over to my parents' tonight to celebrate Father's Day, Eli's birthday, and Adrienne's birthday. AND, my grandma is in town - whom I haven't seen for nearly three years! Whew!

For my dad, I had wanted to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, because he LOVES those. Once the afternoon started to fly by, I realized I needed to alter my plan slightly. I was all set to make this recipe, which I had seen online a couple weeks, and been waiting to make for him! All I did differently was scratch the pie crust. I made the filling and the topping, and turned it into a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. And it.was.good. And I found out once I was into the "making process" that my parents had decided to make homemade ice cream. Double win. Homemade Crisp + Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream = Heaven. Yup. I have a bag of chopped rhubarb now put away in the freezer to pull out another time for something like this. It has such a short season around here.

Just keep fillin' my bowl, Mom, and I'll have no complaints ...
The ridiculous goodness that is homemade ice cream

We had a great evening. Lots of little boys and little toddlers running all over the place, and laughter, and good times together. I think my grandma mostly sat back and just watched the madness ... but she met four great-grandchildren this trip that she had never met, so it is special to her. And I'm so glad she is here.
Little boys and their Granny

Giving Opa some Father's Day Love!

Me and our littlest family member, Ellia .... sooooo sweet!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Silly Baby

Today, Matthias decided that walking around with his blanket on his head was about the silliest and most fun thing that he could do with his little self. So, we watched him stumbled around, giggle, fall over and just make us laugh for about a half hour straight! Maybe someone else might get a kick out of this silly little boy = )

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I'm headed to bed in a much better frame of mind tonight = ) Yesterday was just a fight ... some days are like that! Everyone slept better last night, slept LONGER last night, and we started off the day fabulously! Jonah and I were playing on the living room floor with Matthias, when Reuben flew out of his room in his jammies, ecstatic, "MOM!!!!! MY DIAPER IS DRY!!!!!" For the four-year-old who regularly bemoans the fact that he has not been able to stay dry through the night and still has to wear a pull-up, this was huge. Doubly huge, because the was the second night in a row! He has so desperately wanted to stay dry - but the child just sleeps hard! I am hoping that this is the start of being able to stay dry.

We celebrated by getting Dunkin' Donuts for a treat on the way to church. And maybe a coffee for Mommy *wink wink*

Tonight, 7:30, I warned the boys that they could have a snack now before bed, but "None later". They have a habit of being STARVING right when we say brush teeth and into bed. "Choose a snack now if you want one, because the kitchen will be closed later on" I warned. I got them both to look me in the eye so they realized I meant what I said.

Jonah stood up, looked at me back very seriously, "I don't want a snack, Mom, but I am wondering: will drinks be free later on? I would still like to have a drink of milk."

I had to stifle my giggle on that one. Free????

This week the weather will warm up, but we have enjoyed our cooler start to a Kansas summer and spent lots of time outside in the backyard ...

Matthias is working on climbing the Little Tykes slide ...

See these muscles, Mom??? Yup, you wish you were as strong as us!

They bicker all right ... but no doubt these two are also best buds.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Small Things

Today was such a tough day. The boys, who were exhausted yesterday, all woke up by 6:30 a.m. Jonah was up by 6. They needed the extra sleep! And they seemed to wake up with the predisposition to irritate each other. By 7:30 I was already sitting them in separate places because they couldn't stop doing things to rile the other up. Oh my ...

Even though there were a couple times I got a bit of reprieve (i.e., needing to work for an hour, so my dad and sister helped out, and then an hour at the wading pool with the boys to run energy out) ... it felt like right back into it once I got home. And I kept looking around my house, which was spotless on Thursday from the showing the previous day, and feeling completely defeated and overwhelmed by the toys strewn about, the kitchen that needed dishes to be washed and dried, etc. Having to get it back to show-ready, as always.

Mid-afternoon, I had put Matthias down for a nap (although he was sitting in his crib talking to himself, rather than sleeping), the boys were drawing a picture on the table for a moment, and I sat on the couch and cried. Tired. Missing Eli. Overwhelmed. Alone. Probably hormonal.

After letting the tears escape for awhile, I felt a Jonah hand on my arm. He handed me a tissue and whispered to Reuben, "I think we had better take care of Mommy. She is missing Daddy." He laid his head on my shoulder and prayed for me in his own sweet words. I remembered what I had written earlier this week about seeing the beauty in what would be a tough 9 days for me.

Their little struggles continued on the rest of the day = ) I wish I could say I feel like I emerged triumphant ... but I'm finishing the day okay. Took a bit of time for myself once Matthias finally fell asleep and the boys were settled with a game to play and refocused. We had to run to Target anyway, and ended up seeing our friends there, who stopped and talked with me for a bit. It was actually a wonderfully bright spot in my day. Talked to adults, laughed, the boys laughed and hid in clothes' racks, and Matthias let someone else hold him! When I was walking to the register to pay for my things, I was just grinning.

We still had moments of tears and frustration from one tired 4 year old once we were back home ... but all three boys are now asleep - hopefully for a good long night of sleep! Mommy is about to join them. Amidst the challenges, those small moments of light mattered sooooooooo much today.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June 2nd

Of the multitude of photos that I have and am behind on uploading to websites and organizing on my computer ... some are just there to make me smile:

The are many moments in each day that I probably struggle with feeling overwhelmed: overwhelmed with making decisions about schooling for the boys; about keeping the house clean; about "enjoying each moment" with my family; about getting enough quiet time for myself; about planning awesome workouts for clients; or "I really want to call so-and-so, but I know as soon as I pick up the phone, the quiet will turn into chaos!"; and I have to remind myself that it isn't about getting everything done each day. If that were the case, I truly wouldn't be able to enjoy anything!

But each day is a gift,

Sometimes the gifts are silly, right (see above)? Sometimes they come in the form of someone calling me, just to say hi. Or the warmth of Eli's hug when he walks in the door from work. Or a quiet time in my own room, with my Bible. Maybe even what I thought was an interruption. Really they are right there, all the time, I just have to stop and take the moment to receive them; enjoy them; be thankful for them.

That is one of my goals this week. We have swim lessons, and some extra things on my plate over the next nine days ... but if I can view each day as a gift, and use even the moments in which I feel like my head might explode to see something beautiful ... then it will end quite wonderfully.