A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Daddy Time

The three Brooks brothers certainly adore their Daddy. Whether it is Matthias "mowing like Daddy mows", or Jonah wanting to go hunting with Eli, or Reuben sneaking around the house with his impish eyes ... trying to sneak up on Daddy without being noticed, they eat up his attention! So grateful for a husband who believes in "doing" with his boys: getting them outside; letting them take chances; teaching them skills (or looking forward to the skills that will be able to be taught!); and being very hands-on.

I have had a few appointments in the last few weeks in which Daddy was put on duty while Mom had to be away from the house for part of the evening. No worries when that happens = ) Because there are always things like this to be done:

Eli does love to hunt. And this year, with a baby coming in early November (read: deer season) and a very busy October beforehand, he decided - completely on his own - to give up hunting for the rest of the year. Bleary-eyed/newborn/first weeks doesn't seem to mix well with four-thirty am wake up calls for deer hunting. And I appreciate it, because I know that it is setting aside something that he truly enjoys, because he knows that there is going to be a lot going on in this house!

But, that doesn't mean that there can't be some practice going on over at the Brooks' house.

The boys love to practice with their bow when Eli is practicing with his, and with a higher fence than in the old house, it is even a better space.

So, Mommy left for her appointment, and the boys were lacing up shoes and putting on camo hats to have "Dude Time" as it is affectionately called, with Dad and a deer target. The fall weather is beckoning us to be outside more and more, and while bike and scooter rides are good outings, this is a great one (especially for when I am gone!).

Jonah was able to take an archery class this summer, and I need to get him going to the archery club a couple times a semester so he can continue to practice there as well. I don't think that Reuben will be far behind.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Can You Hear Me???

Over the last two weeks, Eli and I started to slowly pick up on the fact that Matthias hasn't been hearing us as great. About two and a half weeks ago, he had an ear infection in one ear (which actually might have ruptured), and we had to take him in on a Sunday morning. The doc on call - who I will never take my boys again to - couldn't see because of the wax in his ears. He always has too much wax! So, he dug in to clean it out. Traumatized Matthias, who was screaming bloody murder, and actually made Matthias' ear bleed because he was too rough. The next two hours my little boy's ear was oozing blood. I was not a happy Mama.

Anyway, we did our 10 days of antibiotics, but we started noticing that when he was facing away from us, he wasn't responding quickly when we said something to him. And then there was the "little" hint several days ago when Eli was sitting on the couch, Matthias was across the room. Eli said something him, and Matthias looked up at him and said: "Say it again Daddy, I can't hear you."

Two days ago he came into our room fairly early, and we let him snuggle with us for about 15 minutes before we had to get up. He was laying next to me, but facing away from me. I decided to experiment. Whispered "I love you, Matthias" to him. No response. And he nearly always responds back with "I wuv you too, Mama" to me. I said something else quietly. Nothing. When I raised my voice louder, he finally turned his head to me.

I decided we weren't going to mess around with this, and called the ENT that morning to get an appointment in. He went in yesterday. Failed the hearing test in both ears, although one was much better than the other. BUT, there was SO MUCH WAX in his ears, that the doctor couldn't see past it to see if there was a lot of fluid build up or anything else to be concerned about! Options??? Pin him down while he screamed and flailed (because of past trauma with ear stuff) and try and clean it out; put him under and clean it out; or have us work the next month with softening medicine and a water syringe to clean it out and go back and see if he can see in there. We took option 3 = )

So, all our baths will involve squirting water in the ears to try and get junk to come out, and I'm being more deliberate in my communication with him. I don't want to get to yelling point, and I don't want to give him the easy "out" in obedience because he might have trouble understanding. He can hear, I just need to make sure he is looking at me when I talk to him, and I speak clearly.

And we're praying that it is minor. We haven't noticed this in the past, so hoping it is a lot of wax issues and maybe some fluid that needs to be drained somehow!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Life with Little Boys

Perhaps girls are just the same ... I have nieces, and I know they still take risks! But, it sure seems like I deal with injuries constantly. I am thankful, so thankful, that we haven't ever had to make an ER visit, or had any broken bones - or even broken teeth! = ) I know lots of parents have had those little emergencies to deal with.

But two weeks ago, Matthias fell down the stairs. Okay, he rolled down the stairs. All the way. And our stairs, although carpeted and ending in padding and carpet, they are still pretty steep. He missed the first step - I was RIGHT THERE! - and rolled down down down. Oh, I shrieked, the other boys came running, and as fast I could, I ran down the stairs to grab my boy. He was scared like crazy, but no major bruises, bumps, or anything! Those are the moments you feel like your heart stops beating and you feel like you (at least I feel like) could hold them for hours afterwards. Reassuring them and yourself that they are okay!

And then last week, I was headed into work at 8am. The big boys ran ahead as they always do, into the kids' room at the gym and sat down with the games they had brought. Matthias always walks in with me. Side note: we're having some two year old separation issues right now. But, he was excited to go in that day because he was wearing his little guitar, and was going to show Ms. Becky how he could play. Started to run across the room and tripped. Face planted. Guitar turned side up. His mouth slammed into the side of the guitar. OH MY. SO MUCH BLOOD. He was screaming. Blood was everywhere on the inside and outside of his mouth.

Thankfully, in those moments, nothing seems to gross me out, although I am not typically great with throwup, blood, cuts, etc. You just want your baby okay. I grabbed, Becky got a towel and we tried to calm a ballistic boy down. Tried to figure out if his teeth were okay. Attempted to get him to let us put ice on it. And eventually, he was heaving, not screaming. Just cut on the lips and gums - no apparent damage anywhere.

I actually held him for the next hour during a training session! He couldn't stay in the kids' room because he was just too upset, which I understood. But I had to cancel following sessions and just get him home to relax with Mommy.

His poor lip was super swollen all day. Didn't want to drink or eat. I managed to get him to have a couple popsicles early on, and finally by dinner time, he was just hungry and thirsty enough that we coaxed stuff down him (also while having to take Reuben to the doctor because he was complaining he had an earache - yup, an ear infection!!!). The boys kept looking at him all day, "Mommy, he just looks a little funny because his lip is so big!"

Poor guy, it was big. But he woke up the next day and it went down all day long. = ) He survived, we survived! And you know what? There will be more. And that's okay.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Lost in the Shuffle

That's how I feel the last week and half has been! Why? Two words.

Garage sale.

We've never done one before ... and since we have been working on our 30% reduction in what we own, a garage sale seemed only practical. Too many bigger things than we could figure out how to give away and we don't want to just take truckloads to Goodwill. We would rather have people get a cheap price and get what they want. And whatever is left we will try and find someone who wants it, and THEN take the last bits to Goodwill! = )

But, amid sorting through boxes, pricing, still getting school done, still attempting to keep a fairly clean house, still working my hours at the gym ... well, my family stories have fallen behind.

Ah well. The good news is, I can remind myself that I can catch back up and get back started. I hate falling behind. The type-A in me was cringing each night when I went to bed and hadn't written down my boy stories for the day or week. But sometimes something has to give! And computer time was it. This body was falling exhausted into bed each night.

So, we've made it past the first morning, and were pretty pleased with what sold. We still have a couple bigger items that we would love to see sell tomorrow, but guess what? By tomorrow afternoon it will BE OVER! And the garage will be re-claimed (mostly) and I might even get to park in it! Hurrah!!!! Been waiting only a mere 9 years for a garage to park in.

Headed to soccer games, gym class, and finishing up the garage sale tomorrow before a birthday dinner for our aunt. Busy, but good day ahead. And hoping to get some soccer action shots to share = )

Monday, August 25, 2014


We have some great friends that I have made through the gym - Anne Marie has two little boys, Reuben and Matthias' age, and we gone on little day trips with them, had many playdates, and the boys always look forward to having each other in the gym kids' center.

Their backyard has been a great place to play together, and the last time they were there, Matthias and his buddy, Bennett, played and played together in the backyard. Bennett had out his little mower, rake, and a wheelbarrow. Oh, Matthias loved that little wheelbarrow!

I debated for a couple weeks on what I should do: this kid loves being outside (and someday SOMEDAY it will cool off, right???), and we spent a lot of time outside. He "mows", digs, runs, and is generally just happy when in the outside air. And although we are really working to rid ourselves and the house of unnecessary excess and stuff, I just wanted to get him a wheelbarrow to play with!

I did = )

Found one at Target, and although it wasn't on clearance yet, they only had one left, and I was worried by the time they clearanced out all the summer toys, it would be gone. So, I bought it.

He loves it! I haven't had them out much the past few days because the heat is just soooo bad, but the first few days after we got it, it was closer to mid-80s outside. He pushes his wheelbarrow all around, puts dirt in it from the spot that will someday be our garden, fills it with water and waters things, and just is a happy happy boy. Last week when Eli mowed the lawn, Matthias followed him all around, pushing his wheelbarrow and "working with Daddy".

It was still a pretty hot day, but he trucked along the entire time Eli was out there working. By the time they were down, he was sweaty, pink-cheeked, but grinning ear to ear. I brought my boys men out cups of ice cold water and he was proud to sit by his dad, drinking his water after his work = ) And the only idea that finally enticed him to come inside was a beloved bath - much needed after all that!

I figure I would rather have him working outside with Eli or I with a play wheelbarrow, hauling things around, than sitting with many other toys that we are considering giving away or selling. I can't wait for this heat to pass and fall weather to come so we can use it everyday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sweet Things

All the males in my house have a fond taste for Nutella. Well, I should say that we all have one. I try to stay away from the jar, because what happens is I think: "I'll just have a taste". Can you really stop at one taste? I can have pretty strong willpower to resist food temptations ... but when that little jar is open, one taste always seems to turn into more = )

The boys would like to dip crackers into Nutella, but Eli and I have decided that we're cracking down on that snack request and that Nutella can be eaten on fruit or whole wheat bread. End of discussion.

But, my sister did bring me a jar of goodness this summer, and it happens to look like this:

Yep. Oh, I had seen these at the store, but hadn't bought one for myself. Yikes, it is good! So good, that I think I really shouldn't ever buy it for myself again. One bad hormonal day, and there might be a good chance half the jar would disappear! Truth be told, it was really really good. And I actually did enjoy it enough that I only had a little a day until the jar was gone ... because I didn't want the jar to be gone!

The little boys weren't even interested in it, but I did share with Eli, who really liked it as well. He would prefer to dip pretzels in it, but I would just like a little on a spoon. All.By.Itself.  YUM.

It seems ironic that I'm thinking and writing about this when I recently proposed to Eli that we take the entire month of September and try to eat zero refined sugars. Talk about a slam to my sweet tooth! He hasn't agreed yet, but is considering. Not that it really sounds fun or anything to me, but I like a challenge. And the month that all that Halloween candy starts making a serious appearance seems like a good month to do it. Our main freakout? Coffee creamer. We are addicted to our half-caf, homemade, cold-press coffee that we have every morning. And yes, I do enjoy my coffee with vanilla creamer. If I'm going to have one indulgence during a day, that is definitely on the list. So, we would have to figure something out with that. Honey in coffee? Haven't tried it before.

We'll see what he says *wink*, September is less than two weeks away, so we'll have to make our decision soon so we can plan, AND so I can go through the fridge and cabinets and rid them of things that won't be allowed. Why not? That's what I say!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pokemon Cards

I'm not sure whether or not it is unfortunate or not yet, but a Pokemon craze has taken over our house. Last year sometime, a baby sitter gave the boys a big stack of Pokemon cards that she had from years ago. The boys enjoyed looking at them and stacking them in different piles, but it wasn't something that truly captured their attention.

Until now.

There were bigger boys coming to the gym in the mornings since school was out this summer, and some of them were quite into Pokemon cards. Therefore, I now have two boys who want to play with their cards all of the time too. = ) I have no real issues with Pokemon cards as they currently operate at our house. Our boys aren't allowed to watch the shows, but they "battle" with their cards and trade back and forth. As far as I can tell, their cards operate like their fighter guys.

My friend, Betty, from the gym, came over to help me unpack on moving day, and she saved me by taking Jonah to Wal-mart. I had promised him that we were get a binder and pages to keep his cards organized in, and with that week of packing, it just didn't happen. So, while I was making space for boxes due to arrive, she took him to Wal-mart and they got their pages and two binders. One happy happy little boy. She even bought him a new package of cards to share with Reuben.

We had packed their old cards for the time at my parents' house (at that time, it wasn't a big deal!), so for the last 4-6 weeks, the boys had been waiting for the storage unit to be unpacked the day we moved into the new house! As boxes came in, and got opened as the day went on, no Pokemon cards were to be found. Poor Jonah. It was nearly more than he could take. "Mom? Do you think they are in this box? Can I check this box?" And I, well, I was hoping that I didn't in some packing fit months ago, toss those cards!

Thankfully, about 7:30 that night, Eli's mom happened to open one random box, and there they were! The boys have been busy day and day with their cards, putting them in their binders, re-organizing them, finding the ones that they want to give away (I am so proud, because they decided on their own to give away about half of the cards that they have, because they have friends that don't have any), etc.

And of course, a few days later, I just had Jonah help me create a small binder for Matthias, because that 2 year old just wants to do whatever his big brothers are doing. Which means when they had their books out for the 20th time of the day, he was right in their business. Never mind. We'll give him some of his own = )

And so, whether or not it lasts for years I cannot know, but I'm hearing more about Pokemon and battles than I ever would have wanted!