A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Green Table

It always seems easier in the spring and summer to have fresh ingredients for meals. More fruits, more veggies ... they taste way better because they're not flown in from who-knows-where, AND my grocery budget can accommodate lots of them! We can eat up strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, asparagus, sugar snap peas and a host of other goodies. And there is less fuss from the troops when the flavor is at its peak.

Although there are some standby meals that our family loves that don't fall into the "healthy" catergory (hello, my mom's delicious and famous enchiladas!), I work pretty hard to find healthy recipes that are flavorful, and ones that at least myself, Eli, and Reuben will eat. And hopefully Matthias will take a bite of ...... and maybe someday, SOMEDAY, Jonah will join us. And I like a variety and I like to try a variety. Which means some are a great success, and some may be ones that aren't repeated in our household. Eli will try most anything I make, as long as I avoid a few things, like mushrooms, tomatoes, and avocados (never mind that I could eat all those every single day!).

I've found a couple specific blogs that every recipe I have tried has been good - and they are designed for the everyday, home cook, AND they are healthy. And some are just really really good.

And my sister-in-law gave me a cookbook that is a sequel to one I already loved: the new one being The Fresh and Green Table by Susie Middleton. Some of the recipes would definitely challenge my slightly veggie-cautious husband and boys ... but it's good to get my wheels turning in terms of different I can incorporate more and more produce. Especially if and when we get overflow from my father-in-law's garden! I did make a quinoa dish from the book that I loved ... full of cumin, coriander, dried apricots, sugar snap peas, walnuts, etc. YUM. Goodness in a bowl.

I can get a moment where I compare my eaters to other families. And in terms of "adventurous eating", my boys fall woefully short. Sometimes Eli and I try and talk about it and figure out what on earth happened. Did we majorly screw up somewhere? We will eat most things. But the boys do not. And we end the discussion feeling depressed about it. But I can't stay there. I'm trying. We offer everything and do our best to encourage them trying new things. Engage them in cooking with us so that they want to try it. We openly talk about eating healthy for strong bodies. And it's not that they don't eat healthy - they would rather just eat the same 5-8 things a day and not expand their repertoire.

So, I'm using the fresh produce time to try and get more things tried. More foods as ones they will eat. And try and remind myself we will get there! Progress HAS really been made this year with Matthias, and Reuben is pretty awesome about trying something new, so it hasn't been stagnant. = ) I just might wish for a magic wand sometimes ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Man Under Cover

This is a usual moment for me in my day ... "where is Matthias? where did he go?" and then I have to proceed to hunt the little guy down. The other day, I was sitting here, at my laptop, catching up on email and he ran right behind into the room all three boys share right now. I didn't think anything of it, until I heard absolutely nothing. Complete silence.

"Matthias??? Matthias, what are you doing???""

Still, nothing.

Never a good sign, right?

I got up, went in to the room, and didn't see him anywhere. Called his name again, and still nothing. And suddenly my calling of him got a bit higher pitched and little more panicked. When he disappears, anything can happen! (at least, that's how I currently feel).

And then I hear a little giggle. Still don't see him anywhere. Another giggle. And I find him in the corner behind the door. I had opened the door to walk in, only to effectively hide him from myself. Toothbrush in one hand, the tube of toothpaste in the other, he was happily tasting and tasting bubble gum flavored toothpaste over and over until caught!

Jonah and Reuben did little things, but never as many as I feel Matthias does. He is always up to something. And then my sister in law reminded me that my niece used to sneak away and cover her hands and arms with Elmer's Glue. And the one time she covered her head and all her hair in vaseline. And my other sister in law told me how my two year old nephew had found a bottle of Pam spray and sprayed it all OVER HIS BEDROOM.

Not that I want to experience those moments ... but at least I'm not the only one!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Happy" Father's Day

I feel like I've spent many a Father's Day or Eli's birthday feeling behind. I admit it ... I put off shopping trips because they involve one Mommy and three little boys, and then suddenly the day is nearly upon us. And I don't have a good card, or we don't have all the presents together. My ducks aren't in a row. And when I compare that to Eli, well, I fall woefully short. Not that he has ever ever said anything! But, his gifts are always thoughtful and surprise me in a good sort of way - the way that reminds me "he really knows me!" And he has always gotten the boys to the store and things in order.

And so this year I was determined to be ahead of the game. I planned gifts - bought group gifts with both sides of the family. Picked out a special little craft for the boys to make him. Got all my errands accomplished by the morning before! I was feeling good about it.

Then, then came the morning of.

Eli left for work a little after seven. I was prepared to have the boys make the craft, wrap presents and have everything laid out before we left for church. I needed to hop in the shower, and everyone seemingly seemed occupied.

But why should I have thought that? Nearly every time I get in the shower, Matthias does something ornery. Unless I've caved and let him watch a 20 minute show. Eating toothpaste. Climbing on the kitchen counter. Dumping laundry detergent. I'm trying to get everything out of his reach, but it is impossible. So, while I was in the shower, he dumped a bottle of Downy Wrinkle release all over the carpeted closet in Eli's and my bedroom. Sigh. Got out, figured that all out, put him in time out (which he was NOT happy about) and attempted to sop as much out of the carpet as I could.

I left him sitting in time out on my bed for awhile (did I mention a couple days ago he had been disciplined for getting into that VERY SAME BOTTLE and trying to spray it? Yup. I thought that issue was done), and went to print the tree trunk picture for the craft. My printer wouldn't print brown ink. Ran upstairs to try and print on my parents' printer ... we couldn't get it to print either! My mom realized my frustration and offered to draw it. Handed that part of the project over to her, and went downstairs to prep paint for the boys to make handprints as the leaves of the tree.

Oh, and I think I finally removed Matthias from my bed, we discussed his wrongs, and all was well with him.

Reuben realizes that I want him to place the palm of his hand in paint and press it on the paper. Apparently, this is equal to sheer agony. He begins crying and rolling on the floor, going on and on about "not getting paint on my hand!" Sorry. I seriously thought all my boys would L.O.V.E. getting messy for Daddy's card. He cries for about 15 minutes while I attempt to reason with him: we can't give a card to Daddy with only two boys' handprints on it; it won't hurt; it washes right off; etc etc etc. No bueno. I eventually have the two other boys do their full handprints, and then I hold Reuben, do only his fingerprints, while he continues to cry like I have asked him to eat cow poop or something. After I wash his hands, he proceeds to lay on my bed and continue to whine and cry.

At what point I begin to cry as well. My plan ... my morning ... not quite what I thought it was going to be. I just wanted to having everything perfect for Eli!!!

In the midst, I knew, just knew, deep down, that this wouldn't really matter in three hours and we would be able to laugh about it, but it still just felt horrible. My mom came down the stairs, hugged me, and took the three boys upstairs for me to fix my hair for church. I laid out the presents and the card, and Reuben came down the stairs (directed by Oma, I am sure), and sheepishly hugged me and apologized for his behavior.

We went to church, came home, and gave Eli all his stuff! I re-told the story, and we laughed, and Reuben proudly smiled next to Daddy next to the other boys and his craft = )

A Father's Day to remember = )

Yup, these are the kinds of gifts in our house!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bicycle Riding

He feels like a pro!
 In the last two-three weeks, Jonah's bicycle riding has improved so much! He went from only riding on two wheels on a basketball court (about twice!), to riding up and down Opa and Oma's street. He asks almost daily to get out and ride his bike. And, I'm so glad we're on a street right now that he can! I still need to be outside to keep an eye on him, but he loves it. Reuben breaks out his scooter - and sometimes his bike - and goes up and down that street with him.

Gosh, I love this kid!
We've had lots of wrecks already, but thankfully I see Jonah getting right back up and getting back on his bike. He is not always the toughest of kids, which is fine, but even if he had a fall the day before, he is ready to ride again.

Our new house is one a good street too. Still will probably have quite a bit of traffic to keep an eye on, but not so much that we can't ride our bikes. And there is a sidewalk. It will just be traffic from the houses and residents, which is soooooo much better than the busy street from the first house!

A couple days ago, we pulled out my bike, and Eli rode around with Matthias in the front seat. He LOVED.IT. Up and down the street they went too. I remember when we first got that seat with Jonah was little, and Eli took him on rides, and I would take him on rides before church on Sunday mornings. Sweet memories of little boys snuggled in front of you with the biggest grins on their faces!

Passing by Mommy!
And then, little Jonah! Five years ago getting rides with Daddy

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ninja Style

We have all the boys costumes/superhero accessories/masks/etc. packed in the storage unit. Although many of their toys came to Opa's house with us, we decided some would just take up too much space and weren't worth the double packing/unpacking process. And although they get used frequently, imagination isn't dependent upon costumes!

A few days ago, a friend of mine from the gym brought two bags of hand-me-down clothes for Jonah to a training session. Jeanette has deemed us to be the ones she gives outgrown clothes to, and I am SO SO thankful! Most everything comes here just about the right size for Jonah, or ready for the next year. We got a new stash of basketball shorts and shirts for the summer, and a cute little robe as well.

The two big boys already got robes for Christmas, but this one was designed a bit shorter anyway. As soon as we pulled it out of the bag, Jonah and Reuben ran to their room and got their robes out of the closet and put them on. -Instant Ninjas-

We wrapped the newer one on Matthias, whose little face just lit up as he got to join "the boys", as he affectionately calls them, in their game. Much jumping, slicing, and intense face-making ensued, and my three little ninjas had a good time together.

Thankfully, these three ninjas weren't interested in fighting each other, just attempting to prove to Mommy how amazing their poses were and asking for me to "watch me!" as they demonstrated their moves. And although we're doing fine without costumes for now, I know when we unpack in the new house in 2-3 months, there is a lot more dressing up time ahead!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

May Reflections

I cannot say exactly how May went by ... but goodbye it went! With packing/moving/unpacking and settling into a temporary home, it seemed like most days were full and we ended them exhausted. I tried to remind myself it was/is only a stage! = ) We have settled in, and are thankfully completely done with the old house, because we spent a lot of time cleaning it and cleaning it completely out. Perhaps if we have moved into a house with garage in which we could have unloaded all the "where does this stuff go?", we wouldn't have spent so many extra trips over the last week of May emptying the old house. But it had tools, paint, misc items that didn't have a home! No garage here to store boxes with time to go through - so it was a bit of a project, especially for Eli. But, done done DONE!

The boys seem to have adjusted to life at Opa and Oma's house, although I hear little footsteps head up the stairs early in the morning to find Opa and Oma and get snuggles and shows before they even look for where Mom and Dad are!

I am most definitely looking forward to June. The boys have swim lessons the last two weeks of the month, and although work is still popping up in our schedule once or twice a day, we can enjoy playdates a bit more often and try and spend some time playing and relaxing (and maybe even Mommy getting a few naps in!).

My morning sickness hasn't gone away yet, although I am at 17 weeks along. That means that evenings are still often a challenge in terms of feeling good, and I usually head to bed shortly after the boys go to bed. But, at some point it has to go away, right? That's what I keep holding on to! The boys are often asked if they want a brother or a sister, and it's funny to hear how their minds change on a regular basis.

Hoping to get back into the swing of writing down the Brooks' family memories now that things have "slowed" down a bit as we head into June from the craziness of May.