Us as we are ...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Food Challenges

We're always in to the challenge of getting the boys to expand their palates. Reuben will typically try most things put in front of him, but the other two are an entirely different story. Sigh. Jonah's so proud of his accomplishment to try different flavors of yogurt past the strawberry flavor that he only ate for the last few years. It makes my shoulders drop in defeat when he crows over this, because it IS NOT that great of an accomplishment! Pizza? That would be, but not just a different flavor of yogurt!

I know - large injury to accompany my little chef
Thankfully, we have discovered one small way to help Matthias be more open. Letting him help cook it. This kid loves to help in the kitchen ... it might be more like obsessed with it. "Cooking? Cooking?" as he runs after me with his stool, grabbing a spatula out of the drawer. "I stir it? I STIR IT!"

But a few weeks ago, I just left him stir away on the filling for lasagna while I made the sauce and cooked the noodles. He just stirred and stirred and stirred, cheerfully chattering about his "cheese-agna" that he was making. I let him help spread the layers and sprinkle the cheese on top. (please note that this child has NEVER never been successfully bribed or forced to eat any pasta of any kind - none).

And then when it came out of the oven? Eli put some on a plate, told him all about how this was his cheese-agna that he had made with Mommy. He poked at it, looked at it ... and then started eating it!

Maybe eating lasagna doesn't sound like a victory to some - not the healthiest meal - but when you've just wanted to get him to try pasta, it was HUGE! So, I've applied this to other things a couple times, with pretty decent success. He still is nervous about meat, but I'm hoping we'll get there! One step at a time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Contract Pending!

Look at this!


Contract pending! = ) I feel like I could CAPS this and add so many exclamation points and just let that be the entire post!

We are so excited! It's almost a year ago that we first listed the house for sale - and of course the story goes that things didn't turn out quite like we thought, and we ended up taking it back off the market last fall after nothing happened with it. Re-listed this February and now we're actually selling it!

Lots of waiting. Lots of questions/prayers/wondering what in the world was going on. And then in January - lots of  repentance as we felt that God just showed us our own selfishness in the situation. Too much focus on our hearts' desires, rather than seeking His. And when we really felt like we had surrendered it all, even saying the words to each other "If we felt Him say to stay here for years longer ... we are ready to do it", seems like a few days later we got the contract.

We've been waiting the last two weeks for all the inspections to go through, and they did as of Tuesday evening, and our realtor added the "Contract Pending" to the top of our sign today. BIG SMILE ON MY FACE

I am just so grateful. Slightly overwhelmed and shell-shocked because it still feels completely unreal. Like, I've been living in a super-clean-house-all-the-time atmosphere, constantly thinking in the back of my mind what to clean, how to get it clean enough for a showing, how to avoid it getting super dirty again, etc etc etc. Hard to switch my brain off that.

It's like a big breath of relief. We're not sure FOR REAL????" Yes, buddy, we finally made it!
exactly where God wants us to plant, and we are thankful that we have the time to decide, and that Opa and Oma are going to let us stay with them for a couple months this summer. Jonah looked at me with big big eyes today, "SOMEONE WANTS TO BUY OUR HOUSE FOR REAL???" Yes, Buddy! We finally made it = )

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hummus

The last couple weeks I've been on a major hummus streak. It all started with a teenage girl party at our church to watch the movie Frozen ... and one of my girls brought a huge container of homemade hummus and veggies as her snack contribution. Um - that is ALL I practically ate that night!

It had been quite awhile since I've made any at home - but that inspired me to pick up some chickpeas the next grocery shopping trip to make some. And, then I needed to it again this week because I finished all that I made last week = ) So easy, and when I already have a big jar of tahini in the fridge, the rest of the ingredients cost very little and the result is making my lunch selection easy each day.

My sister-in-law gave me a basic recipe a couple years ago, and it is what I follow. Loosely. I never actually measure anything (gasp!), but just shake, pour, taste, and go from there. I have heard that rubbing all the skins off the canned chickpeas would give it an even silkier texture, but I haven't found the personal drive to do that, because I like it this way and it is FAST to make!


HUMMUS 
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained well
3 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. tahini
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. minced garlic (or to taste)
*Throw everything in a food processor and let it blend til mixed perfectly! You can always thin it out a bit more with extra lemon juice or even some water.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Madness

That's how the end of March felt - like madness ...

Wrapping up a month of birthday birthday birthday for Jonah and Reuben ended with eight of their friends over for a birthday party on Saturday. Went GREAT - but 10 (11 counting Matthias) boys 8 and under was pretty intense!

We got an offer on the house - still feels like a non-reality. We countered, and they accepted. And now we're waiting on the results of the inspection that happened yesterday. Trying to fight anxiety and desperately wanting to just have this.be.real. And working on that entire surrender piece. A constant for me. I like my ducks in a row, my plans in place, etc.

And somehow in the middle of that madness I feel like I've gotten behind on keeping the house clean and behind on some work prep that needs to be completed by next weekend. And feeling very very tired. Perhaps some of that comes from just doing what had to be done constantly to keep the house up to "showing" par, and when I've finally gotten a breath of fresh air, my body is screaming "hey! you've been wearing me out like crazy the past two months!". And so I've been falling into bed as early as possible, and trying to ease up on some self-imposed pushiness = )

And praying. Keeping my prayers for the right time, the perfect will, not just my own. I sure hope this is the time to finally move on and MOVE OUT, but at the same time, wanting to be at peace knowing His plan is still the best for me, for Eli, and for the boys.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

7 Years Old

What a week it has been! Full of good things, but oh-so-full. Add in a couple short nights, and I thought often of jotting down my thoughts on Jonah's birthday after the boys went to bed ... and then I decided to just go to bed myself!!! Too tired = ) I had to get up super early again today for work, but slept hard before the alarm clock went off, so hopefully this sets me up for more energy this weekend !

I can't believe that Jonah is 7! I still remember expecting him, and all the wonders you experience with your first pregnancy. I remember those moments in the hospital when he wasn't responding well, and I was put on oxygen, and all we're thinking is "Be safe and healthy, Little One". And he was! Just tiny and happy to stay put where he was.


Since Reuben celebrates his birthday only a few weeks before Jonah, it is needless to say that Jonah REALLY starts to anticipate his birthday ... seeing his brother enjoy lots of fun things. We decorated for him, and then had to head off to church since it was Sunday. But, he got to walk around and have it "be" his birthday, so I don't think he minded one little bit. And then we headed home, had lunch, and let him open his presents from us. Which, of course, led into play time with Dad and his brother.

We didn't really have anything else planned for the day, so we ended up just calling some of Eli's family to come over for ice cream and visit for awhile to end the day with family and fun.

Jonah, Jonah! Sometimes he'll say things that just make me stop and realize he is growing up. Of course he is, but there are moments when it is very apparent. He loves to sit and just talk with myself or Eli. About things he is thinking about - or anything under the sun! That boy is a true Brooks, often found looking at birds with his binoculars and marking in a notebook which ones he has seen. He can't wait for when he can get a pet - because we promised once we are able to move into a new house, the boys can get a lizard.

Like Reuben, he has a math brain, and although he complains when doing math at school time, he sails through it and brings up problems he has figured out in his mind at different points during the day. He would rather eat the cake than the frosting (I just CANNOT understand that one!), and he now offers his opinion on if food has enough protein in it since he hears Mommy and Daddy talking about those things. He highlights his favorite verses in the Bible, and solemnly told me the other day that it would be better if he did things "even before I get asked to do them ... but I forget too much, Mommy!"


I take his hugs and love seriously, because as this little boy now missing another tooth grows taller and bigger, I want to squeeze him while I can! Love my Jonah Willem Brooks.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Bedtime Memories

Bedtime is always filled with its own beauty and madness at the same time. Boys in soft jammies, snuggling blankets, wanting to read books together. Buuuuut, also little boys who protest at going to bed, and "why do we have to brush our teeth EVERY DAY????", and just when you're so exhausted yourself that you feel like your eyes won't stay open - someone has a pressing (in six year old terms) question that mustbeansweredimmediately.

Gotta love it.

And I feel like each week gives its own little memories to hold, but here are a few from this week for me to remember a glimpse into the Bushel at this point in time:

***
Rocking with Matthias in his chair tonight, I say "Thank you Jesus for today" and he repeats "Thank you Jesus" in his little voice. And then "Thank you Daddy", which can be interpreted to mean Thank you Jesus for Daddy. Which I say for him. So he can continue on to "Thank you Mommy" and I repeat "Thank you Jesus for Mommy" and he goes on: "Thank you Jonah" and down on the list of everyone in our house, and every single family member he has encountered today, plus the babysitters he had at the gym. Completely out of his own little memory. And then he suddenly grins from ear to ear, reaches up, pats the top of my head, and giggles "Duck Duck GOOSE!!!!"

***
A night or two ago, Eli was laying by Reuben in his bed, praying and singing while I hung on the ladder to say goodnight to Jonah. I climbed down and start to walk out the door, and hear Eli's chuckle. He had been talking to Reuben about his little life, and how the week had been while we had been gone on our retreat, and asking him questions about things, and suddenly Reuben pipes up: "WHAT IF YOU HAD AN ANT ON YOUR HEAD AND YOU TRIED TO CUT IF OFF! WHAT WOULD HAPPEN THEN TO YOUR HEAD???" And yes, I type it in caps because that's how Reuben TALKS. You can't miss it = ) Sometimes he seems super tuned in ... and other times? Well, who knows exactly what's going on in his mind!

***
Jonah's wise thoughts tonight as he goes to bed his last night as a six year old: "Mommy, turning older is a strange thing. Because last year when I went to bed my last night as a five year old, I thought that I would wake up feeling and being older, but I kind of felt the same. I wasn't any bigger! And so, when I wake up tomorrow, I will still be the same Jonah. But, I will have this wonderful warm feeling in my heart, because I know that I really am turning seven. But I might look the same ..." But I am so glad this almost-seven-year-old still wants Mommy's hugs and kisses each night as if I won't be there the next night. I cherish his tender heart.

***
All that to say that, once again, I look around me, and my heart is full. Full of the relationships - family and friends - that I am so so blessed to be surrounded by. My Bushel.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Decorating

We were celebrating five birthdays on my side of the family tonight! Whew! Talk about accomplishing a lot of celebration in one day!

The boys have been anticipating this evening because both of their birthdays were going to celebrated, along with their cousin Ben. Lots of little boy toys! Or, big boy toys, I guess = )

I made a giant cookie to take for dessert, and the boys were super excited to spend time this afternoon decorating it with me while Eli was working at church. We pulled out the frosting supplies and had such a fun little time together (and some frosting tasting along the way!).



Sometimes I forget that it is in these little things when we really have such a special moment together. This 20 minute decorating made it into their "favorite part of the day" comments that we always share while tucking them in to bed. It takes a little extra time to include them, because I certainly could have just done it myself, but the mess and the smiles and the fun were worth it!