A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Little Toes

A few weeks ago at work, the group of ladies that I was training asked about Abram and how he was doing. My answer was that he was good, and getting into that "toe grabbing" stage. Isn't that just like a classic baby milestone? Grabbing their own little toes and bringing them into their mouths?

One that I love.

Although as of late, this little Abram boy has been seriously high maintenance for me, I still love his baby smiles and giggles! Each little Brooks boy has brought their own measure of joy into our home, and of course he is no different. He just still thinks that waking up three times a night and wanting Mommy snuggles is okay = ( I'm heading into some serious chronic fatigue most days, so we're working on figuring out how to get him past this and into better sleeping patterns.

He doesn't really like to roll over, although he can, and I borrowed an exersaucer - thinking he would love it - and he doesn't like it all! Hopefully it will grow on him. He mostly wants me to carry him around in all that I do. Which most of the time I don't mind having him close, but most household chores just aren't easy with only one arm free!

At the same time, I try and remember it is only a stage. A stage that I will mourn once it is gone and wish back for this little boy grabbing his toes, screeching happily at me, giggling when we blow raspberries on him. I won't miss the sleep deprivation, but I will miss this little chubby baby!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Matthias Turns 3

Although Abram has been here over 5 months ... in some ways it is still hard to let Matthias grow up. that little boy still has chubby cheeks and gives me neck squeezes and I just love it! But, last week he turned 3. Hard to believe for this momma.

a little blurry - but a true Matthias cheesy smile!
We were going to be in Branson on his actual birthday, the 18th (hopefully another post on that soon!), so we celebrated with a small family celebration at home earlier last week. The real reason being that the three gifts we got him were all for outdoors! We felt like taking those along on our little vacation wouldn't work out too well, so we wanted him to get the chance to enjoy them a bit here at home.

Matthias had watched his two older brothers celebrate last month. He had been waiting and waiting for his birthday. But, then? He surprised us. This boy that seems to know no stranger and has boundless personality and energy almost acted shy as we sang to him and had him open his presents. Even thought it was just Eli, myself, and the other boys! Made us laugh. But, I could tell that he felt special ... and although I don't want my boys to think the world revolves around them, I also want them to know that in the midst of being one of four brothers, each one of them matters individually as well.

We opened his presents: a little four wheeler (which we bought second hand from friend - SCORE!), a sprinkler for the backyard, and a water gun all his own. This little outdoorsman was quite thrilled with all those things, and has been begging since then to use the sprinkler. The week before his birthday we had lots of hot days ... but since then??? Not hot enough to break in it. We're hoping a hot day comes soon! (although I know once summer really gets into swing I will wish I hadn't said those words!)

I love this little guy. Matthias truly is a life-filled little boy who embraces all things with gusto. And although that means challenges to help him learn boundaries, I love to see his silly faces, his eyes light up with excitement (or mischievousness!), and hear his questions as his figures things out in his world. Eli and I are so so blessed with our four boys and their sweet and courageous hearts.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sobering Realities

There are many days that go by in wave of normal. Normal consists of school, gym, crying fits, feeding people, cleaning house, settling fights, playing outside, checking email, washing laundry, prepping homeschool lessons, etc etc etc. And normal feels like it has always been and will always be. Just a day in our life.

But in February, my morning news would bring me sobering realities. Stories of ISIS and a harshness to which my very soul was troubled. To read of such hatred. To see the faces of those whose lives were taken in cruel manners. And I had days in which my normal felt petty. My worries were certainly ridiculous compared to those who are looking into the very face of death.

I look around my house at times, and am struck with the thoughts of how easy it is to feel comfortable. To think that "nothing will ever change". That my wonderful life is impenetrable.

And I wrestle through those days. Wrestle through knowing that there are those currently, literally, dying because they believe what I believe. Believe that Jesus is Who He Said He Is.

Easter is Sunday.

He was crucified. Tortured in an inhumane way.

And I complain when my house feels stuffy.

I can't really even explain how this strikes me. But I can plainly see that I must be able to look at reality straight in the face. I would like to shirk back and pretend those things going on don't affect me, won't affect, won't ever happen to me or those I know. Live my day to day life as "normal".

But I believe in the power of the Cross. And therefore, even as I wipe snotty noses and send sweaty boys to take showers, as I wash dishes and fold laundry ... I must be prepared to lay down my life. In what way? I don't know. But I can lay it down daily now. Lay down my selfishness. Lay down my pride. Lay down my own desires and serve others. Lay down my weaknesses.

There could be a time in which I will be called to lay it down in a different manner. I can't predict what God has for my family. But, my daily practice in the normal will be setting myself up to be able to stand firm should those harsh realities inch ever closer.

And I look ahead to a week of celebrating the Risen King, may I remember to pray for those who truly are suffering for Him. May I share with my bushel the Power of the Name of Jesus. May I fix my eyes upon the Cross, upon Him who is able to do immeasurably more than I can imagine.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jonah = 8 years old

It is just so amazing that Jonah turned 8 years old yesterday. Not that any child's birthday is more important than another's - but perhaps it is just the fact that a firstborn's birthday is always a little jolt of reality. That one little baby that made me a mother is 8. Pretty amazing, considering I still feel like I should be in my mid-20's! = )

Sooooo excited!
Look at these boys!!!!

Jonah was sooooo excited - as expected - for his birthday yesterday. Since my strange eater doesn't like pancakes, he got a small birthday cookie to go with his breakfast. Matthias and Reuben slept in til nearly 8 o'clock in the morning, which was making Jonah a little stir crazy! He knew that he would get to open presents when they woke up, and they must have been making up for a big day on Sunday! But, they finally decided to rise, and he opened his presents. The "big one" was a pocket knife. He knew it was coming, as he had been promised that he would get his own pocket knife when he turned 8 years old. Pretty big stuff for that blondie.

Other than that, we enjoyed a Monday as usual, although I let the boys have the day off of school. They went grocery shopping with Daddy, Opa, and Didi. Got donuts at Dunkin Donuts. Played outside with the gorgeous weather, and enjoyed each other. He practically created a shrine in his bed for the LEGO alarm clock that we got for his room! Eli's dad came over for dinner since he mom was out of town, and the rest of the day went great!

Jonah certainly isn't a perfect child, but I see such a tender heart within him. I pray that as he grows and encounters more of a harsh world, he keeps that tenderness. The way he loves little ones, and just seems to care for others. As the boys are growing and our days are busy, I am working to consistently spend time in prayer for each of them. Praying that God will direct their paths, that He will work in them, and that He will give Eli and I wisdom - HIS wisdom - on how to be the parents we can be in His strength. It is a daunting job! But, I believe we have been given these four boys to raise into strong men - men of character and courage, and daring love for Jesus.

Happy Birthday, my big boy!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Brotherly Love

As Abram gets more and more interactive, his brothers just dote on him more and more. It's rather amazing! I have to fight to get him up from naps, because Jonah is racing to beat me, Reuben constantly follows me around when I am holding the baby, trying to get his attention and kiss him and make him laugh, and then Matthias continues to request to hold him, although the "wigglier" Abram gets, the more of a challenge that is! = )

But, would I want it any other way? I would be crazy ... it is amazing to watch them love their littliest brother with as much love as they know how to give. No matter how crabby he is, how much time my arms have to hold him, or if he screams the entire car drive - they adore him.

It won't be long before he is joining in their wrestling matches, trying to grab their toys and get into their things. I am only imagine what life will be like in this house when he starts crawling! Until then, though, we'll relish the snuggles and baby-love every single day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reuben is 6!

A little behind the 8-ball, but here we are!

Reuben turned 6 years old last week. I'm entering the short season of three boys having birthdays, which means this Momma suddenly realizes they are all growing up! Happy and sad, exciting and bittersweet - all at the same time.

This little boy had been counting down the days ... literally, for the past month. He is excited to get bigger (and I suspect, catch up with Jonah on things). And so the night before his birthday, we carried up the three presents from the boys, Eli and I, in to the living room. And his big blue eyes got bigger, and he said, "I'm going to bed RIGHT NOW!" He couldn't wait for tomorrow to get here! And off to bed he went! = )

And then he and Jonah woke up at 6am. Yikes! They acted like it was Christmas! Oh, the fun of being little and these things are so so exciting for them.

We opened his presents, and had birthday cake pancakes before we had Bible study at church that morning. What I do appreciate about our boys is that it doesn't take much to have a great celebration. We didn't spend tons of money on presents, but he was so thrilled with what he got and so thankful. Sometimes it feels like all this work we put into character building isn't doing a darn thing - and sometimes you see a glimmer of "yes it is!"

We dropped flowers and cards off to Grandma, who has the same birthday, and enjoyed a playdate with favorite friends before going to youth group as usual. Great day.

I'm so proud of Reuben and the little boy he is growing into. He is showing more and more kindness to others, he is starting to ask more questions about Jesus and how and why we believe what we do. He still can shut down and pull away, but I see him becoming less afraid of crowds and willing to try new things. And that little boy's laugh is just THE BEST! It's more like a giggle of pure silliness, but it just makes everyone else laugh with him.

May his 6th year bring him more knowledge of the saving work of Jesus, more friends to connect with, and may it be a blessed year full of L.I.F.E.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Piano Lessons

Music runs in my family. All five of us kids grew up taking piano lessons. The girls went on, I played until high school, my youngest sister majored in music education, and my older sister played through high school as well. My brothers didn't play as long, but my oldest brother can learn any instrument presented to him, and records music, plays piano, guitar, bass, etc etc etc!

Eli still laments that his mom didn't "force" him to take piano lessons. = ) Truth is, she wanted him to, but he put up such a protest that in the end, he didn't end up taking any. And now he says that is a huge regret to him. He can play drums, guitar, and some saxophone, but always wishes he would have learned to read music well back in the grade school years.

This all equals up to the fact that our boys will take piano lessons. Doesn't necessarily matter if they play forever, but we want them to learn the skill of reading music, and explore if they love piano or any other instruments! We bought a piano back many years ago from a good friend who was moving out of the country for a time. So, we've always had a piano ... it just hadn't been put to much use.

Until now.

We started piano lessons with "Aunt Didi" in January. It is really great for the boys! Jonah is catching on quickly, and since he is almost 8, I think he will move through the beginning levels fairly fast. Reuben doesn't really seem to pay attention to what songs Jonah is working on, and is happily plugging away at his own pace. I know that he will move more slowly just based on the fact that he is two years younger. But, that kid has confidence! He practices, or runs downstairs to practice "Mom! I am so good at piano!"

Or last week when lessons were over and I said "Reuben, great job working on your lesson with Didi today". He responds matter of factly: "Yup, Mom, that's because I am just really good at piano." And continues on eating his lunch.

I'm not really going to worry about squelching his pride. More times than not, he is always trying to catch up to Jonah. In all areas. And so I am just letting him feel proud about his accomplishments, not worrying about pointing out too much where he needs to work. I just sit with him while he practices, encourage steady counting and reinforce what his aunt has told him to do. And heavens no, will I ever comment on where Jonah is at in the book. = )

I know what the middle child feeling is like. And I know that I written about that before. But, I know how easy it is to constantly be trying to "live up" to the standards set by older siblings or catch up to them. Not really possible. And so I am so thankful that right now, Reuben is just having fun working on his songs, looking forward to his lessons, and feeling confident as he learns a new skill.