A Bushel of Brooks

A Bushel of Brooks
Us as we are ...

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!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New House

We are finally in the "new house" as it has been affectionately called for the last three months! In! Amidst boxes and chaos and clutter and figuring-out-where-everything-goes, we are home. My goal is to unpack and find homes for things in at least 4-6 boxes a day. Why? Because if I look at everything at once, I get overwhelmed and start to freak out ... but if I decide this is my assignment for the day, I can do it.

The boys are happy. Matthias is having trouble going to sleep without Mommy sitting by him until the eyelids droop, but I remember having a week or two like that when we moved into my parents' house as well. Adjustment period. Our first night here, Reuben wrapped those arms around my neck, squeezed super hard, "Mommy! I am sooooooo sooooooo glad to be in the new house and sleeping here!" And Jonah slept about only six hours that night, because he kept coming into our room. Not scared, just unsure how he felt being in the new space.

The differences between boys.

I'm figuring how to creatively store towels without a linen closet, learn my way around in the dark (I walked right into a wall yesterday morning - my first super early work morning in this house), have peace with the piles of laundry growing around me as we still don't have the dryer hooked up yet, and remember it all DOESN'T HAVE TO BE COMPLETED IN A FEW DAYS. Um, yes, I have to remind myself of that daily, maybe hourly! Oh, I like things to be done, finished, arranged, ducks in order ... and it is not going to happen immediately. = ) Learn to let go.

Our goal is to get rid of 30% of all we own as we open boxes and re-arrange things. Why? Because we don't need so much "stuff". This all dates back to the Seven book I posted about months ago ... and realizing that the last thing we want is to instill in the boys that "things" are a focus for us. Hard to do in America when acquiring is a goal. More and better cars, nicer furniture, the newest electronics, and for my bushel ... POKEMON CARDS. More is not always better!!!!

So, we are sorting, thinking, and laying aside. Memories can still be kept even while giving away the item. How many cake pans do I really need? Are we every going to use that again? Is that item useful to the family or beautiful for the home? Or just a "thing"? It's a process. It also means that garage that I am so excited to park in someday will be filled for awhile with boxes and items as we prep for a garage sale that we will hopefully be ready for in early September.

But we are so glad to be here.

I can't wait to have people over into our space. Meetings, dinners, get-togethers, play-dates, wedding and/or baby showers for friends ... anything! And so I continue to delve into the boxes surrounding me, opening up the space to make this house a home, and a home full of welcome and hospitality.

Friday, August 8, 2014

New Beginnings

I'm surrounded by boxes and packing materials and clutter and insanity. That would be moving. I don't highly recommend moving twice within a three month period. Something about it makes the mother of the house feel like she is losing her mind and her energy ... thankfully, at some point it WILL END. We will be moved and settled and we won't have things in four different locations, right? Right.

And really, I should be packing, which feels like all I have been doing all week, except work. But the pregnant belly is protesting right now, which I think means sitdownandstopforaminute. Okay. I will. The new beginning, the new home, is just at our fingertips, although I think the boys aren't taking me seriously when I say "we're moving all this stuff tonight!" as they continue to get out more toys. Ah well. Trying!

As we prep for a new home, we're prepping for a new school year. I can't believe that Jonah will be in second grade! A box of fresh, new schoolbooks arrived yesterday. And of course, even though they are schoolbooks, the boys were excited. There is something fun about pages that haven't been written in, books that haven't even been cracked open by anyone else. They dove in, looking at everything!

I am so proud of my Reubs. Five years old and starting a first grade math book. I'm not worried about pushing through it fast, we will take our time and make sure that we get our concepts and have everything down. But, that kid loves numbers. Nearly everyday he is asking me some addition or subtraction problem that he is working on in his head. Just loves numbers!

He pulled out that new book and right away sat down at the table, finding pages, showing me what he would be working on in that big book! And then when Eli got home, he had to show Dad.

Our new Bible curriculum

I know that each year just ups the workload - for the boys AND for me! And so I enter the school year (which we will hopefully start in a couple weeks) knowing that I cannot do this alone, but really need the grace of God to be the mommy and the teacher for this bushel.

And so begins a weekend of newness. Our last night in Opa's house is tonight, and tomorrow we'll be sleeping on Sharon Drive!