A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sweaty Girl

That's what I am at some point most days. I wanted to take a picture of myself after teaching my afternoon class today, but it was me and my ipod - and well, none came out quite right! The drenched workout top and damp hair are a pretty regular occurrence in my week!

I don't really have a "reason" for working out. I just ... like it. I enjoy it. I know, many people say they don't, but I kinda think that is because they just haven't found a workout that they, well, like! There are so many ways out there to exercise and keep your body and heart healthy, there has to be one for most people. The benefits are so huge!  And I never, never feel bad after a workout. I have so much more energy for my day, and enjoy the energy and physicality I can bring to playing with my boys every day. Long ago, people had to be more active. Had to walk to get places, had to work in their fields or kitchens and use their hands and muscles so much more. Now we all drive to go somewhere, sit quite a bit more in our daily lives - our bodies NEED some movement!

Today Jonah sat at my computer and watched a workout video on YouTube, and each time a new move popped up and the name of that move came on the screen, he paused the video to write down the move. After he was done, he was so proud of his "workout sheet" and proceeded to demo all the moves for me. He loves to be down in the weight room with Eli, we're going to start working on short jogs with the boys to help them build some confidence and endurance in running for future sports. I'm thrilled beyond belief to see the boys take on the idea that our family is an active family and we are active together. Working towards being healthy together.

One of my personal training clients did 100 burpees on Saturday. Completely on her own! She went into the gym to do her own workout, and texted me when she was done, that in addition to weights, she had knocked out 100 burpees! I was so proud of her! This is someone who started working with me and had not been in top physical condition, but has seen changes in her life. More energy to keep up with her son - playing basketball with him, going on walks/jogs/etc. Has gotten stronger and felt more confident about herself.

For me, I can't imagine fitness not being a part of who I am and what I am passionate about. I don't expect everyone to have the same passion about it that I do (we all have our passions! And it's sooooo good that they are different because I learn so much from my friends who have WAY more knowledge about gardening or house stuff or whatever else God has given them talents in) and that is fine. I love to lift heavy weights and work towards getting stronger and faster ... just because I like it. I have nothing to prove, other than that God could take someone who always felt ashamed that I wasn't athletic like many of my friends were in junior and senior high, and now finds herself running, lifting, jumping ... and L.O.V.I.N.G. it! Maybe it gives Him a chuckle = )

Although it snowed today ... spring is in the air, and my itch to move is only getting stronger! I'm so ready for playing at the park, running in the backyard, talking walks with the boys ... and enjoying being just who I am.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Final Birthday Smash!

Last of posts related to Matthias' birthday = )

We had dinner with Eli's family on Saturday night, and this was when Matthias got the "first cupcake". I remember I did these sweet little owl cupcakes for Reuben when he turned 1. Well, I didn't pull out any fancy decorating this time around, but it didn't seem to matter! Once he had the first taste of frosting in his mouth - there was no turning back!

Not sure what's going on yet ...

Why is everyone singing to me?

One little finger got in quick and got a taste ...

AND after that - he dug right in!

No stopping this little boy!

Sugared up and happy once it was over! Happy Birthday sweet little boy!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

One Year Later

Today is Matthias' first birthday. My sweet, third little boy. I still remember when I went to get my sonogram halfway through my pregnancy! I didn't have any kind of "feeling" if he would be a boy or a girl ... but I was not surprised at all to find out our third would join the growing bushel of Brooks Brothers! The first part of my pregnancy was sooooo hard. I was so sick in comparison to my other pregnancies. But, once 22 weeks finally passed, I think I stopped throwing up and started to really enjoy it a bit more = )

And then he came. A whirlwind of a birth - not the way I could have planned - but he came! April 18th, right around dinner time. Maybe that was a prophecy of sorts, because boy does this boy like to eat! He liked to nurse as often as he could convince me to nurse him (and for long periods of time!), and he still grunts and waves his little hands whenever someone else has food because he is sure that he must be hungry. Doesn't matter if I have just fed that little mouth.

He has always been a happy baby. Lots of smiles, giggles, coos, and all those sorts of baby love have been abundant. I see Joy within him. He has always adored his brothers - who adore him right back - and lights up when they enter the room.

One Year Old. Walking everywhere. Attempting to get himself into the bathroom to unroll the toilet paper any time that we forget to latch the door closed. Finding toys that fit in his mouth. Looking back over his shoulder at us when he's starting to get into something that he KNOWS he is not suppose to! (how are they already ornery???) Giving us hugs. Snuggles. Saying "Mama" and "Ball". I think "Dada" is just starting to show up.

Playing ball with his brothers and loving his life. Although I still haven't had one single full night of sleep since he has been born (sigh from Momma), Matthias has brought so much joy into our home. I couldn't have imagined that we could contain more joy, but somehow, we can and we are!

He got to wear the Birthday Boy hat that Jonah wore on his first birthday six years ago.

 Cousin Mataya came over to play!

He opened his first birthday card - all the way from Great Grandpa George in California!

We took treats to share at the gym and had a regular day after that. I gave him a popsicle to hold for his birthday, which was about the most exciting thing for this little boy! = ) We'll give him a cupcake on Saturday when we celebrate with Eli's family - can't wait for those pictures!

Happy Birthday Matthias. Daddy and I can't wait to see what a little man you will become and enjoy each and every day God gives us with you!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Keep It Clean

The house, that is (wink wink).

Perhaps I had prepared myself for worse ... but keeping the house clean over the last week has actually gone fairly well. I feel like I should say "knock on wood" after that - but really??? Does that do a darn thing?

It does help that half of the stuff around the house just is gone. Packed up and being stored at my parents' house. Dusting took about the half the time it normally takes! But, it has been manageable. I've probably cleaned the bathroom three times in the last week = ) Boys. All I need to say. Vacuuming is easier when there is less furniture to move around. Toys are put away more quickly because we are getting less of them out at a time, and they seem to have a proper place to be returned to.

Ask me again in three weeks, and I might have a headache from keeping it so clean! The trickiest part so far for me has been trying to quickly make sure EVERYTHING is cleaned up when we have to leave the house in the morning for preschool or gym time ... with the possibility that a visit could occur while we're gone. We have to get up, get breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, work on attitudes for the day, feed Matthias, and ensure that we leave it pretty sparkling clean behind us as we walk out the door before 9 a.m. THAT one is a bit rough ...

I can honestly say it is grace. I, in and of myself, would not be able to do this without migraines everyday. But, I do just sense the grace of God over the house, over myself, the boys, and our routine. Yes, they are still at home, but their little lives have been rattled a little. We've had to up and get out of the house quickly a couple times, we've had to re-arrange their "things", etc. Grace permeates my days right now. And when Eli came home Thursday afternoon and asked how our day had been, I just looked at him, and replied "Great!" And it had been - the boys and I had a fabulous day. Lots of learning time, playing time, and silly time together. Couldn't have asked for better.

And ... the boys have also learned much more about cleaning! I'm hoping to keep a bit of this structure ongoing in our family life - they have so much improved their attitude about cleaning and helping around the house, and I have worked on how I parent them as they clean and report back to Mom. Even Matthias helps out once in awhile ...

My Sweet Little 11 Month and 26 Day Year Old!
One week down. I know, only one week. But, you never know what might happen this coming week, right? The thing I most miss is baking and working more in the kitchen, because I've scaled back meal prep and stuff to try and keep it cleaner in there (not to mention my kitchenaid keeps being relegated to the garage), but I sneak it in when I can!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bike Helmets

We realized earlier this year, that there was NO WAY that Reuben was going to fit into the bike helmet that he wore last year. And Jonah's only fit so-so. Time for new ones. And we put it off. Put it off. I couldn't handle the thought of plunking down full price for the ones at the store when it was still snowing a few weeks ago. And then a friend of ours reminded me that you could get free ones at the fire department! Sold.

Again, we put it off a bit longer than planned (earlier posts related to insane amounts of work on the house should explain), but finally, Monday afternoon this work, Eli took the boys to get new ones. We had chipped in with his parents to get the boys scooters for their birthdays this month, and knew what happens with scooters/bikes and little boys: scrapes and falls! I'm expecting some skinned knees and bonks along the way, but helmets will be a must for my two adventurers.

The boys were super excited, of course! Anything new to them is exciting, whether or not it is a bike helmet. Reuben got red, and Jonah got blue. And Reuben is quite in love with his bike helmet. He wore it most of the rest of Monday, put it on Tuesday morning after he got dressed, proceeded to wear it to preschool (they made him hang it on his coat hook = )), and put it right back on when I picked him up that morning. As far as I can remember of Tuesday, that red helmet stayed on his head most of the time ... including his own homework-at-home time!

We ended up having someone come look at the house yesterday, so the helmets have been put back in the garage, where I hope to keep them most of the time, but that little four year old and his newly beloved helmet just kept a smile on my face that day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


I hope I can safely say that springtime is here! Our winter came so late this, so much snow in later months than we are used to! I was downloading pictures off the camera this afternoon, the first pictures on there are of the big snow on the 26th of February - and we had more snow after that! And then there were the pictures we took outside, last night = )

Quite a difference!

The last three days have been GORGEOUS! I have been outside with the boys as much as possible. To the park, in the backyard, riding scooters at my sister's house ... up in the 60's and 70's, and we have not been complaining! Even now, the boys are running around outside in the backyard, climbing up the swingset and up to much pirate-y fun. I just washed many windows around the house while Matthias napped, and now taking a few minutes to sit down.

This is how Matthias gets rides around the backyard ... in a tractor. The little guy loves it - and it is pretty amazing how many times the bigger boys will push him around and around the yard while he grins from ear to ear. I am on the watch for a baby swing to hang on the swing set, but haven't come across a good enough deal yet.

We have been working hard on "being kind" to brothers lately around here. It seems like getting in and out of the van, getting first into the store, or the gym, or the house, has become these huge issues! Who is faster (Jonah, of course), and then Reuben is left wailing because of it. Or I send Reuben to brush his teeth, and Jonah hears and races to the bathroom to "beat him" at it. Jonah has had handwriting assignments as of late, asking him to write things that he could do to be kind to Reuben. Reuben and Mommy have had lots of face to face time, reminding him that when he gets frustrated, he needs to talk before letting his hands, get out of hand ... let our house be a house of kindness ... working on it.

Some days it feels like no progress is being made, but I felt a small glimmer of hope yesterday when I was walking down the stairs with them, and there was an argument going on between the two of them as to who was going to be first. They were each to get a ten minute turn on my ipod. "But I want to go first", they were both saying. I stopped them. Reminded them of our goal to be kind to others, to put others first, just like Jesus did. Said - keep that in mind as you decide how to work this out, or else no one gets a turn today. Reuben immediately piped up, "Jonah, you take the first turn today".

I was proud of him, and told him so. Now, I'm not so naive to think that the possibility of NO turn on the ipod did not play into his decision, but still, for the 4 year old to quickly pipe up and give his brother first crack at it was heart warming to me. It is against our nature to put others first ... and there are many more lessons ahead of all of us in this house! But, that little glimmer of sweetness, of the right attitude was a beauty for this Momma to hear.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Big Fat Sigh

I feel ready to crash into bed. Sure, it's only 7:56 p.m. to be exact, but my body is t.i.r.e.d.

We have spent this entire week working working working working on the house. Cleaning out, deep cleaning, de-cluttering, weeding, digging, cleaning some more, painting trim and walls, organizing toys, cleaning off dressers, and who-knows-what. All for today. The realtor came, pictures were taken, and house looks AMAZING!

My job (heh) is now to keep it that way as much as possible. That may feel mostly impossible with my gang in tow, but we have a super clean base to start from, so I'm hoping that we'll keep it decently so = ) The sign will go up in the front of the house on Monday morning, and we're excited to see the next step! I've felt such peace from the Lord all the way through it - and still do! But, we have pushed hard all week, and now I'm ready for a good night sleep. Eli and I "high fived" each other at 5:30 this evening, and then went to Sonic with the boys for a little treat. The boys have been great all through this "don't get that out because we're cleaning!!!!" faze for the last several days. So, slushies were given to end our Friday on a fun note!

I'm ready to enjoy the spring weather that is out there, enjoy such a clean house (although I can't find some things already - ha!), and see what happens next!