Friday, December 19, 2008

Payton is out of school!

Today I took Payton for his last day of school before the Christmas break. I told him on the way, "Payton I am so proud of you and our family...we made it!" He looked at me and smiled and then asked the question he must ask at least 15 times on the way to school, "I am not going to be tardy am I?"

We had Eden one week before school started...I walked through September, October and some of November in a sleepless haze...So the fact that today we finish this semester with no tardies and a kindergartener who loves his life makes me want to turn the praise music up loud and dance! Here are just a few of Payton's latest quotes that have brought smiles to our faces...

1. Tony and I thought it would be a blast if one of the gifts we gave to the boys was a trip to Holiday in Park at 6-flags. We got them dressed...told them they were getting one of their presents that we had to drive to see...They were beside themselves. The excitement was building the whole drive over. As we exited in Arlington Payton asked "what are those?" while pointing at the roller coasters. He of course, had no idea this is where we were headed. I told him they were roller coasters with a huge smile on my face. Being our little saftey pup he exhaled and said, "Those look terrifying, I hope we never go there."

2. The other night on the way home from church we were asking the boys what they had learned about. They were repeating all the details of Jesus birth and Tony was asking question after question.."Who was Mary again?" What did they ride on?" who was Joseph? Benjamin was answering every one when Payton interupted and said, "Good greif dad, you really need to read your Bible."

3. One of the ways Payton is different in our family is that he always has a plan...clothes laid out, schedule made, watching the clock...He does not want to get somwhere on time he wants to be early. He stresses this to us each day when if we appear to be moving to slow he says things like, "You two are acting like I don't have a tardy on the line. Let's move."

4. We also cracked up the other night while we were looking at Christmas lights and Payton said, "I like the ones with a simple AB AB pattern rather than those with the ABCD ABCD pattern. What do you guys think?" Benjamin spoke for us all when he said, "I have no idea what you are talking about Pate."

5. Each six weeks at Payton's school each class picks one student who is the Proud Panther of the 6 weeks. The qualities they are selcted for are
a. E in conduct for the 6 weeks
b. responsible behavior
c. respects the rights of others
d. considerate and kind
e. thoughtful
f. follows all class and school rules.

This last 6 weeks Payton was chosen as the Proud Panther...and he felt it...I thought he was going to bust out of his shirt as his teacher read this about him at the breakfast.

"Payton is our Proud Panther because:
He cleans up when he is done.
He helps people when they are hurt.
He stands quietly in line.
He stacks chairs.
He sits quietly when we are reading a story.
He listens to the teacher.
He helps people.
He cleans up other things that other people do not clean up.
He does his work.
He puts paper scraps in the recycling.
He follows directions."

Congrats Pate...long before you were a proud were a leader on Team Brooks. We are so thankful you are ours...even more thankful you are the Lords!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

9 years today!

9 years ago today I walked down the aisle to Tony Brooks. It was the proudest moment of my life. I could not believe the Lord had, in His goodness, given him to me. I was beside myself. One of my mentors in college had told me..."When a country picks its ambassadors, it picks someone who hopefully represents the very best of the country...its very heart. When you begin to look for a spouse choose someone who you will be proud to know represents you...because that is exactly what they will do. For the rest of your life people will look at your spouse and they will see your heart." My word...I walked down the aisle quite sure I could not love a person more than I loved Tony. When you look at our wedding album the pictures of us walking back down the aisle are blurry. The Photographer apologized but said , "You all were moving too fast." We actually were running...running to start our new life together. We could not wait.

Our honey moon is a hilarious story...many great moments but more hilariously stressful ones...we missed our flight...I lost my purse...the airline lost my luggage (and regardless of what my brother Sam says I actually did want to have clothes on my honeymoon.)Way too many stories to tell over the internet...It was an introduction to life. Being in love did not mean our humaness disappeared, we remained two people who desperately needed Jesus....and we needed Him in a real way if our marriage was going to be more than just two people who liked each other living together.

A lot has happened in 9 years...There has been a lot of laughter...a lot of tears...we have watched each other walk through life...we have done more than watch, we have come alongside...On days when we have felt overwhelmed the other has stepped up and said, Let me carry it for awhile. We have cried together and asked the Lord to come quickly. We have held our children together and proclaimed them perfect...We have fallen to our knees together countless times because of those sweet children and their imperfections. I have been madder at him than I have ever been at anyone else...(and he could say likewise) and yet we have always been able to laugh at it later. We have seen that the Lord matched us up perfectly...not because we are exactly alike and have the same interests...but because we do not. We make each other better. He likes clean baseboards...I still do not know what those are. I like long conversations in the middle of the day, even while he is at work. He reminds me that is why I have my mother.

My goodness I love this man! When my grandfather was dying my dad asked him what part of his life he would like to do over if he could and he said, "I loved falling in love with your mother." I loved falling in love with Tony. I woke up with a smile before I could even remember why I was smiling. These days, I wake up and walk into walls before I remember why I am up...Oh yes, feed the baby...or someone is coughing...or I need to get someone to school...and yet I love Tony more now than I ever dreamed I could then. On our wedding day I felt so in at peace that he was it for me.

These days I see him holding our baby...wrestling with our boys...folding baseboards...reading his Bible...leading our family in prayer...loving people in our life who are difficult to love...shaking his head when I get two "you ran a stop light tickets" in the mail in one day (Please do not bring that up to him, he's not ready to laugh yet, but I have a feeling its coming :))working for our family, for us.... I see him loving us with everything he is and I think if we had it to do all over again I would not walk down that aisle to him...I would run to him.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Conversations with the boys...

Watching these two's friendship unfold is one of the sweetest gifts of my life. It is filled with bumps, bruises, hugs that are way too hard and all sorts of others things that bring brothers closer to each other. They love each other wholeheartedly. That does not mean that we do not have entire drives home from school with someone yelling "QUIT LOOKING AT ME!" In fact it is in instances like that I sometime enjoy them the most...because I remember not too far back (or actually really far back) that I too yelled "QUIT LOOKING AT ME!" at my younger brothers or my older sister yelled it at me...and today I count those 3 siblings as my closest of friends.

Last night as we drove home Payton was singing the months of the year song. At the end,
Benjamin said, "My teacher says its December which means we are at the end of the year.
Payton said, "That's right Benj"
Benjamin then asked, "What happens once we get to the end?"
Payton replied, "I have not figured that out yet...either we die or we start over with January."
I looked in my rearview mirror and saw sweet Benjamin with his eyes as big as saucers as he exhaled he said, "Wow, I sure hope we start over with January."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Today I Wrestled a Bear

This morning started out like most...One cub successfully dropped off at kindergarten clothed and fed, tiniest cub successfully fed, changed and back to sleep...when all of the sudden out of nowhere I was in the middle of wrestling match.

It started when I picked out a shirt that I thought perfect for the day of preschool. The shirt was not to cubs liking. The cub expressed this by throwing it across the room. Then I picked out a breakfast for the was not to his liking either. Then I brushed the cubs appears the cub prefers NO ONE, especially me, touch his hair. Each of these events was punctuated by the cub's loud screams while he rolled around on his back on the floor. I literally sweated through my clothes trying to get him ready. I raised my voice to a yell so that the cub could hear me over his roars. By the time we got to the church (Where little cub attends pre-school) we had pulled the car over three I could make sure the cub was getting enough air between screams...He was. (The cub was also issued some ultimatums during said time on the side of the road.) Once also to call the cub's father and ask him for wisdom....unfortunately the cub's father was unavailable. After dropping the cub off at school a full 30 minutes late, I walked slowly back to my car, tears falling, begging the Lord for wisdom...confessing to Him yet again I have no clue what I am doing when it comes to parenting. I thought about my bear all day long...praying he was having a better day...asking the Lord to give us a breakthrough.

This afternoon we talked about this morning...about acceptable behavior and unacceptable....My precious bear told me he understood everything. He told me he loves me and he is sorry...then with his sweet smiling face he said, "I don't like acting like that so tomorrow let's make sure you don't touch my hair."

Sometimes life is full of wrestling...Thank goodness today it was with a really cute Bear.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Brother is engaged!

Our family is buzzing with excitement! Andy asked Jessica to marry him last night and she said YES! We are beside ourselves! Overwhemed with thankfulness that Jessica is the answer to thousands of prayers we have lifted for Andy through the years! To quote Payton, "My word, we just love her don't we?"

Monday, October 13, 2008


In a Starbucks restroom:

Payton: Mom, whats this hole in the floor called?

Becky: Its a drain.

Benjamin: What do you use a drain for?

Becky: If the toilet overflowed or if someone left the sink on, all the water would just flow into that and it wouldn't flood the rest of the store.

Both boys pause and look at each other then Benjamin pipes up.
Benjamin: Can we pee in it? (Payton shakes his head like, "This kid can read my mind.")

Becky: NEVER! Boys, that's terrible. I don't want to ever hear about you guys doing something like that. Why would you even think like that? (give a small speech on hygiene and filth)

As we walk out Payton says to Benjamin, "We'll try it out when we come back with dad."

Thankfully their father is more of the drive-thru type, but he has been warned. And...our boys will be receiving a parental escort to Starbucks bathrooms until they are voting age.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Girl and Boys

We are crazy about this girl...(And yes, I am having so much fun putting bows on her!)

Meanwhile with the boys...

1. While we were running errands with eden in the above outfit...A lady asked Payton if he knew what Eden's shirt said...He responded with "I am not annoying." That Pate is always good for a laugh.

2. On our car ride home Payton deep in thought said, "Mom, If Jesus' last name is Christ would you explain to me why we don't call God Mr. Christ?"

3. Benjamin (after throwing the fit of a lifetime) saw me digging through my console and stopped screaming long enough to say , "You looking for your spoon to spank me?" I nodded yes. He said, "I thought so, I took it out yesterday and hid it."
Score: Benjamin: 1 Mom: 0
The score changed after we arrived home and the spoon was recovered.

AND...for actual photo documentation of my new on Sam's blog in the link section. We are crazy about little Caleb!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Coming up for air!

For those of you still checking...thank you. The addition of a newborn plus starting kindergarten has thrown our life into a tailspin...I realize people do it all the time and still manage to be productive. Currently my goal is much less than to be productive...I would just like to take a shower. :)

However, today blogging takes precedence over cleanliness. There is so much going on that needs to be documented~

1. Payton's first day of school went great. His mom was a bit of a basket case. I am quite sure all of the other parents were wondering what was up with the mom who wore her big sunglasses inside (the whole's called...trying to hide from my 6 year old that his mother is weeping. It worked quite well. With my sunglasses and Tony there to hold me up and drag me out...I don't think it was obvious at all.

2. I told Tony today, someday I will drive away from that school without tears in my eyes...but today as Benjamin (Still in pajamas) stuck his head out window (Making me realize I need to tighten his car seat straps) yelling "I love you Pate! Have the best day Pate!" I realized yet again how thankful I am for everyday we had at home together and I got misty yet again.

3. Benjamin is on Eden like white on rice. He loves a way that makes me wish she had a tiny helmet and football pads on at all times. He cannot resist
rubbing her head, squeezing her hand or kissing all over her arms. It is very sweet. He wants to hold her or carry her everywhere. (Obviously the carrying is not happening.)So fun to watch their relationship unfold.

4. Payton loves school. It is so fun to hear about his day...sometimes it takes awhile to get the details out...but I so love hearing everyone of them. He is quite the story teller. We play a game called 5 questions when he gets home...I get to ask 5 questions and so does Benjamin...I ask questions of substance and Benjamin consistently asks questions like "Did anyone toot loud in class?" We get a pretty good view of the day from a mother's perspective and a 4 year old.

5. Benjamin is loving going to school as well. He was all too thrilled to follow in his brother's footsteps and start attending our churches preschool 2 days a week.

6. The other night during family time Tony asked if anyone had prayer requests...Benjamin always eager to share his heart said, "Well, I am a little worried because Eden is still pooping in her pants."

7. Payton explained to me the other day how hard it is to work 5 days a week and then only get 2 days off. He then said, "I am glad I only have to do this for one year." Ummm...

8. As I was making Payton's lunch the other day he said, "You know you do not have to make my lunch every day, there appears to be a fairly nice restaurant at my school." Can't wait to try out the School Cafe and see if Payton's review will stand...The sweet innocence of a kindergartner.

9. Tomorrow we have Payton's school jog-a-thon...He has cracked us up telling us about how he is using recess to "train his body" and how his body is "extremely fast". Today he told me he could probably do better if he had some nice running shoes. I told him the ones he had were fine...I guess we will see tomorrow.

10. This week one of my brothers (Sam) (and his wife, Emille who is one of my very best friends) had their third child, their first son. We are over the top excited for them and cannot wait to meet this new little boy! Today my other brother turns 26...Benjamin shed actual tears that Andy is not having a party. I love my brothers...What joy and perspective they have brought and still bring to my life. I am so thankful Eden will have the joy of 2 of her best friends being her brothers!

11. BONUS pictures!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eden Elizabeth is here!

Joy is in abundance in this household today!
Come read details and see pictures here!

Thank you for sharing our joy and blessing us with your prayers!!

For Becky (From Aunt Kelly)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Still here...still pregnant

Our life has been filled to the brim here recently with friends, summer activities and family time...It has been wonderful. However, as the temperature increases I find myself more and more eager to have this little babe. My body temperature right now is crazy. I can go from fine to bright red and sweating even in the most air conditioned of places...It really is amazing to watch if you happen to be close by when a hot flash happens. As wild as it is...I am remembering this a season that is coming to end...I do want to enjoy it.

2 weeks ago my Dr. said...this baby is ready and you are ready, she could come anytime...Because of our excitement I keep having to call myself back to living life now...rather than in constant anticipation looking only to that event rather than the daily joys that are still occurring. I don't want to miss any of our last moments as a family of four. We still say every day when we get up...Is this a day we will celebrate for the rest of our lives? SO fun to know that someday in August will forever have Eden's name on our family calendar!

Here are the latest stories to remember:

1. The other night as the boys were going to bed we were talking about how excited we all are to meet Eden. This started us talking about another baby that the entire world anticipated, that the Lord knew the world needed, that people had prayed for for years, that would enable us all to talk to the Lord in new ways...Tony and I both were chiming in all the things this baby would do for us, ultimately save our souls...when I noticed Payton's smile getting bigger and bigger...Finally, he interrupted and said, "It's me isn't it?"

2. We have found Benjamin's cryptonite...For those of you who have seen him this summer he almost always is either wearing his polyester baseball pants or his red wool baseball socks pulled up to his knees. We realized last week when we were having some obedience issues the powers of putting his pants and socks up on the top of the refrigerator, where he can see them but not get them or wear them. They have been placed there until he can make good choices while out in public...We frequently find him on the couch staring up at those pants with tears streaming down his face. Change is coming...but its a bit painful for all involved.

3. Payton once again came to our room the other night after having had a nightmare...I asked him what he dreamed about and he said, "It was awful." I asked him again, "What was it about?" He replied, "The Backyardigans."

4. The boys have a new game where they go in the back yard and take turns throwing the football as hard they can at the back of the other one's head. The first one to yell stop loses...more often than not, Stop is being yelled while charging at the other one right before a full contact tackle is made. Tears usually follow. We have made every effort to put a stop to this game. Only two boys would come up with this.

5. We are also working on gas issues over here. Things we hope to get ironed out before their sister is able to learn from their ways. Efforts to out do each other in these games have lead to more than once someone saying from the back seat..."Umm, I am going to need some new pants when we get home." Why? Things that make me shake my head....

6.We have also entered the "If mom is trying to get a picture, whatever you do, don't look at the camera or smile stage"...These made me laugh.

7. Tony got us some great tickets the rangers through work. We had a blast going and eating at the ballpark, watching batting practice, etc...Within 3 minutes of the national anthem Payton was sound asleep on me and drooling, combined with 100 degree outside temp. We woke him up for a family picture...You can tell he's a bit under the weather...Poor kid, kept telling us he did not feel well. We ended up leaving during the 2nd inning...Payton ended up having strep, his dad ended up getting to see Josh Hamilton hit at least one out of the park. Good times :)

8. The other day we were playing in the playroom when Benj crawled in and started barking and said, "Let's play Clifford." Payton quickly said, "I am T-bone." I said, "Who am I?" Thinking Emily Elizabeth, Cleo, etc...Benjamin said, "You be Clifford the big White dog." Thick skin is must during these pregnant times!

9. I love this picture of Benjamin. I was showing it to him the other day and telling him how handsome he is and he said, "Do you just love me because I have a purple tooth?" Not ever wanting him to be sensitive about that I said, "No, I don't really notice that tooth anymore." Benjamin replied, "I love my purple tooth, no one has one but me and its awesome." Not so worried about the sensitivity thing...

10.And because of family who lives far and has asked for is the latest:

Here's hoping for a birth announcement post soon!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Village of Hope

Please click on this picture to make it larger so you can read the words on their sign...
Last year when Payton and I visited Benin, West Africa one of the most touching experiences we had was getting to go to an orphanage called the Village of Hope. From the beginning it was obvious the Lord was at work. Though every child there had an incredibly tragic story...there eyes were filled with hope. When we were able to give them money that some people at the church had given us for just such a circumstance, all the children broke into praises and dancing to the Lord. It was one of the most beautiful expressions of gratitude to the Lord that I have ever seen.The director later told us, We had been hoping you would come. These children are being lead by great people of faith who are trusting the Lord for their provision.

Next month, my sister and Randy are heading back to Benin to visit the Christians there and take some desperately needed funds to this orphanage. This provides the perfect opportunity for them to raise money and hand deliver it to these precious children and their caretakers. As Tony and I have prayed about this we continue to have James 1:27 running through our minds..."Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." We know this mission is one that is close to the heart of our Lord. I am including a link to Randy's website that gives even more details...If the Lord puts this on your heart...your investment in these children is an investment in the Kingdom.

Here are some words my sister wrote recently,"These children have lost their parents due to the HIV AIDS virus and others have been rescued from child traffickers. These children are lovingly cared for and blessed by adults who have sacrificed a great deal to protect them, feed and educate them. Recently we received a letter from the director there describing the present needs of the orphanage. The Lord has put it on our heart to raise what money we can to take and bless these children and their caregivers."

Here is a link to my brother-in-law's business website where they are currently raising money as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Because of Payton

Payton is 6! He walked into our room yesterday (On the 15th) at 6:45 and crawled into bed with us. I said, "Happy Birthday Pater!" and he responded, "You are kidding me, it had completely slipped my mind." I started telling Payton his birth story and mentioned that the day he was born was the first 100 degree day of 2002. He looked at me and said, "I will tell you one thing, you can be sure I never saw that coming."

My word we love that boy!

Because of Payton we have learned life is way more fun with his commentary.

Because of Payton we have seen that his cousins are worth screaming and jumping up and down over every time we mention the slightest chance we might see them.

Because of Payton we have learned that someone actaully can have nightmares about Veggietales. He is still frightened by extremly large cucumbers.

Because of Payton we have had to remind him that even though he can tell time does not mean that his parents, grandparents, teachers, etc...want a running account of how many minutes they are running behind.

Because of Payton I am still asked everytime we pull in Starbucks, "Does dad know about this?"

Because of Payton, I have actually heard the words, "Let's go someplace that has vegetables...I know I have eaten enough sweets to last me a month."

Because of Payton if I ever wander across the aisle at Walmart to get something I hear, "Excuse me, are you leaving us unattended because this basket specifically says DO NOT leave your children unattended."

Because of Payton and examples like the one above...I get lots of smile as we grocery shop.

Because of Payton I am well aware anytime we encounter a smell that is not good. We are working on NOT trying to figure out the source as this can become embaressing when strangers are around.

Because of Payton we see daily a tender hearted little boy who really does think through everything!

Because of Payton Tony and I feel completely loved...He is our encourager and is always expressing his love for us.

Because of Payton our life is overflowing with more and more of every good thing. 6 years ago we walked into a hospital with no idea what it meant to be parents. When they released us from the hospital Tony looked at me and said, "They are not just going to let us leave with him are they? Isn't there more they should tell us before we take him home?" Tony drove 20 mph the whole way home (on the highway) and I cried the entire drive wondering how we were going to make it. Payton has taught us so much...We have enjoyed almost all of it. :) His life and the deep desire we feel to raise him in a way that honors the Lord calls us to our knees time and time again. We are beside ourselves with thankfulness that he is ours...Line up every 6 year old in the world and we are going to search until we find him...Of course we will just have to look for the part of the line that is a little more organized than the rest and he will be there. May the Lord continue to grow and develop this boy...May every dream He had in mind when he created him come true! We love him so!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Because of Benjamin

Our Benjamin turned 4 today! (on July is running a bit behind)

He woke up to great confusion because his parents were singing Happy Birthday to him his older brother was trying to explain that because his party was not today he was not really four. After older brother was silenced(temporarily), the celebrating began!

How we love this boy!

Because of Benjamin we have read more parenting books than any one person can count.

Because of Benjamin we have laughed harder than we thought possible.

Because of Benjamin we have watched two brothers forge a friendship that survives through great laughter and through tears.

Because of Benjamin we have watched Payton's deeply protective side develop.

Because of Benjamin we have a better view of what Tony was like as a little boy.

Because of Benjamin we know what its like to lose a stare down battle with a 3 year old.
Because of Benjamin we know what it is like to lose your 3 year old at a water park for 20 minutes.

Because of Benjamin we daily know how loved we are...He is great at affirming us.

Because of Benjamin we are reminded daily by him to ask the Lord that he would have no bad dreams and that someday he will hit a ball out of the park.

Because of Benjamin we daily go out and watch him slide, hit, and catch the ball.

Because of Benjamin we have had to start imposing the rule...No matter how badly you need to go to the restroom, the garage is not the place.

Because of Benjamin we have learned that someone can actually get full on an almond.

Because of Benjamin we have been told, "That when I disobey you I DO NOT (caps reflect yelling) want you to spank me!" This did not go over well.

Because of Benjamin we have learned to recognize "a mischevious look" and run frantically through the house looking for what has just occurred.

Because of Benjamin we live our life fuller, smile bigger and sleep better at night.

Our list could go on and on. For 4 years we have treasured this boy...and raised our hands in thankfulness to the Lord that he is ours. I must say at least 10 times a day..."I am so crazy about him." Tony always smiles and agrees. Payton will say he has no better friend than his brother. When we went into the delivery room 4 years ago we had no idea who was coming...When they said. "Its a boy!" We both screamed with excitement...We so wanted brothers who could play together, be strong together, and glorify the Lord together. We have not been disappointed. Daily as we hear something thrown a bit too hard against the wall, or perhaps we see a wrestling match taken a bit too far, I smile (sometimes after I have gotten a bit of perspective) and thank the Lord. This is exactly who we wanted...and we praise Him for the gift that is our Benjamin! Line up every 4 year old in the world and he is our first choice...after all...We are crazy about him!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

It's July?!

I am overwhelmed that July is here...Where does the time go? We are 7 weeks away from Eden's due date, 8 weeks away from Payton starting school, 9 weeks away from me being locked in a padded room somewhere.:)

We are enjoying every moment of togetherness we can get our hands on...and loving every minute of it! Here are some stories I am wanting to remember...

1. I am moving slower these days. The other day we were late to church and Payton's teacher said, "Are you guys running behind?" Payton replied, "My mom is as cute as a bug, but as slow as a turtle these days."

2. The other day Payton wanted to know how you get your last name...I was explaining how boys carry on their family name and girls often take the last name of the man they marry. Payton responded with, "I have no idea who I want to marry." I reassured him he had a good many years before he even needed to consider that. Benjamin said, "I know exactly who I am going to marry." We asked him who and with the sweetest smile he said, "My mom." Payton then said, "OH benjamin, that is so embaressing, mom is so much taller than you."

3. The other day I got the boys both a cheesestick for a snack. Payton said we sing about these at church...puzzled I said, "What?" He started singing (To the tune of Shout to the Lord) "My cheesestick, My savior" Ummm...we are still working on basic theology over here.

4. One of our friends gave Eden a swimsuit. Benjamin was very concerned about how she would get it off to go to the bathroom. I explained that she would wear a diaper under it and she would just go to the bathroom in that. He sat there for a second and said, "I am sitting here waiting for you to tell me you're kidding. That's disgusting."

5. In what could be an entirely different post, our house was on the market, got a full price offer and then we took it off the market...(we both felt our timing was off, sometimes you don't realize you are pushing yourself until you get to the edge of the cliff)...However, during the time it was in process we were looking at a bunch of different houses...Payton one day told us that we needed to be sure our next house had 5 bedrooms. When we asked why He said, "Because Benjamin and I don't want to share a room anymore and I am betting you and dad don't either."

6. The boys (for some reason) love the thought of Dairy Queen though we do not frequent it. I told them we could eat breakfast there after I noticed it opened at 8 AM. We got up and went and they do not even have a breakfast menu, they do not even serve juice. However you can get the full belt/hunger buster menu in the AM...we were happy to get this picture, enjoy drink and head to McDonalds.

7. Last week we finished our summer swim lessons...Both boys made huge strides. Payton, ever our cautious insurance adjuster (He evaluates and calculates risk before entering any unknown) is now doing quite well. Benjamin is still working on "Get the wall"(My goal for him was just to be able to get out if and when he falls in, which occurs almost everytime we are around a pool) and he is doing better. We are crazy over Ms. Jody...and all of our friends that took with us. Such a fun time of watching hte kids interact and having some sweet time with my friends.

8. Totally unrelated to my family...but how long can Dippin Dots say its the ice cream of the future? They came out with that stuff while I was in college 11 years ago...The future has arrived and it is not Dippin Dots.

9. This Thursday, the 3rd, my sisters family will have been home a full year from Benin. It has been a year of adjustments and victories for their family. They have done great. Here's to the next year being even better!


My dearest friend BJ made this wreath for Eden's baby shower/to hang on the hospital room door. I find myself staring at it several times a day, praying for this sweet baby girl who we cannot wait to meet.

I hope to do a better job of documenting in the coming weeks...We have Benjamin's birthday on the 10th, Payton's on the 15th...a month full of celebrations. I am so thankful for this season of anticipation in our life.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lifes latest

1. The other night after the boys were in bed Payton called me back in to his room. When I walked in he said, "Mom, I think if you can answer one question I will finally be able to go to sleep." I said, "Then ask it." His response was, "How old is God?" It took me awhile to get him to sleep.

2. The other day as we were eating lunch Payton said, "I think I may be the smartest person in the world." I told him, "You know, you are smart, but that is not something you want to talk about. You want to say things that make others feel good about themselves rather than things that just make you feel good about yourself....etc, etc...Do you understand?" He replied, "Sure, well I at least know for sure I am the smartest one in this family." I do not think he got my message at all...still working on that.

3. The other day after eating pancakes I told Benjamin he needed to go wash his hands in the bathroom. He began to cry and said, "How come you never clean me like a dog?" I looked at him and told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He proceeded to tell me some of his friends moms just lick their hands and clean their kids with their tongues...WHAT?! I never thought this would be our lead in to the conversation that there are somethings that your friends are going to be comfortable with that our family has decided we will not do.

4. Almost everyday the boys play the game Tarzan (they call him Tarzam) and Pirates...Best I can tell the game consists of the pirate running around in full costume yelling Arrgh and Tarzam (who is rather modest at our house) stripping down to boxers and undershirt and running from tree to tree on all fours in our backyard. Here are some pictures from Tarzam and Pirate taking a popscile break.

5. We went to one of the most fun weddings this past weekend. My brother Andy was the best man for Jeremy Epps. Jeremy married Jessica and their love for each other overflowed throughout the ceremony. We left so happy for them and so encouraged about life. We had a babysitter for the night and had a fun date afterwards...Sure love that Tony.

6. We wound up T-ball season this past Saturday. I was sad to see it end. We were incredibly blessed to have fun watching our boys and meet new friends. I hope we play with the same people next year. We loved every minute of being with the New life crew! Here's a picture of my favorite coach talking to my favorite pitcher.

7. Andy and Jessica made the last game. The boys are crazy over A and J. In the mind of a 3 and 5 year old, A and J are celebrities. The boys cannot have a clear thought when we are about to see them and they are reduced to awed silence in their presence. SO CUTE! We loved having them there to cheer.

8. Speaking of celebrities...when Payton was one year old my brother worked in the White house. As a result we were able to meet the President once when he was coming in on Marine One. Things worked out where we got a couple of great pictures of GW talking to and holding Payton. The other day a friend asked Payton (when looking at the picture) "Who is that holding you?" He responded, "That was back when the President used to babysit me."

9.Eden is doing great in utero. Her most active hours are between 3 and 5 AM. I feel like she is prepping me for things to come. I am up and moving during those hours these days (of couse that means that between the afternoon hours of 2-4 I am not up and moving)...I do love feeling her every move. It is such a gift. I am currently 29 weeks along.

10. The other day Payton got up early and we had some time to talk just us. I thought we were having a great conversation when in the middle of it, he picked up the remote and turned the TV on. I said, "Payton we were talking." He quickly turned the TV off and said, "Wow, you really have a lot on your mind lately. Go ahead."

11. A couple of months back I was really struggling... There were (still are) some things that were a part of our life that were beyond our control that brought a great deal of stress to our life. I had the definite feeling of suffocating under the weight of it all. I went to a counselor in order to just hear myself process some things out loud. It was eye opening for me and so good to get some outside perspective. One of the things that she did that has blessed me so much was read the words to "It is well with my soul". When we got to the end, she said, "Right now your "Even so" is off. Things are not well with your soul...circumstances are rocking you and your emotions and our goal is to get you back to where when things of life can say once more, "Even so, it is well with my soul"." We are in process (we always will be) of growing deeper in Him....of getting to the point where we can say, "Even so, it is well with my soul."

We are on the same journey Paul was on when he talked about having to LEARN contentment in any and every circumstance. Our prayers continue that the Lord would hear our cry and change circumstances...But we are feeling more and more content...resting in the pray of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3:16...We believe He is a God who can change things...but even if He does not...It is well with our soul. Its a lifelong journey we are on...but its comforting when you feel yourself walking a bit deeper into the ocean of peace and contentment that is ours in Christ. The deeper you get, the less the waves knock you over. I think we are getting our "even so" back on track.

**A huge hooray for anyone who made it this far...Payton is right, I have alot on my mind these days.

Friday, May 30, 2008


We just returned from a week at the beach...It was wonderful. (Nothing like our beach experience last year)(See October 1st, 2007 post for that awful/enjoyable trip down memory lane)

We loved literally every minute of it. There is something so wonderful about having a week where your only priority is to enjoy each other. The boys loved having every minute with their dad (So did I). We loved eating every meal together... We loved laughing with each other over things that sometimes we are too busy here to even notice. Here are a couple of our favorite memories...

1. On the first day we were there we were sitting on the beach eating our lunch when Payton said, "You guys have no idea how badly I have needed this." Obviously in the business of life we had not realized how playing from sun up till sun down was taking its toll on our Pate. :)

2. Benjamin loves to play "I spy"...We love his creativity with the game...Everyone can be playing as normal and then when its his turn he will say, "I spy a mom who wants a diet coke and that's OK...because I am thirsty too...Good idea mom."

3. We loved opening our doors in the morning and smelling the ocean. One morning we opened the door and Payton said, "fresh air and freedom, I can't get enough."

4. Tony's aunt and uncle live in the beach town that we visited...We had a blast being with them every moment we could.

5. Payton is currently fascinated with subtraction. Therefore he wants to know how old everyone is so he can then subtract his age from theirs and tell them how much older /or younger he is. My mom and I have been trying to explain/teach him that women do not like being asked upon first meeting them, "Exactly how old are you?" He is getting better at bypassing this conversation with constant reminders from his mother. I thought we were perhaps done with this stage until he met random lady the other day and when she introduced herself he said, "Exactly how much do you weigh?" NICE. We move from offensive to over the top offensive.

6. Benjamin practiced baseball every chance he got. He took his glove and a ball everywhere. He would pick up a long piece of seaweed and use it as a pretend bat and work on his swing. I told Tony one of my favorite things about this is watching different guys/dads walk by...and how many of them stop, regardless of where we are (Benjamin does his practice swing everywhere) and comment/critique/compliment. So sweet to me...and of course Benj eats it up.

7. I enjoy the ocean, however, I have to concentrate on not thinking about what could possibly be lurking under the water. Watching Payton and Tony go farther out and farther out gave me plenty of opportunities to work on my Lamaze.

8. Benjamin started crying when we had to leave for home. Tony had already explained that he wanted us on the road by 9 AM to try and avoid as much Memorial Day traffic as possible. We have realized that one of the worst things we have done in parenting was teach Payton to tell time. I sat down by Benj and told him I understood, I did not want to leave either, I did not want his dad to go back to work, etc...etc.. As I was consoling him, Payton walked in, pointed to the clock and said, "It's 8:52, you two have 8 minutes to wrap this up." At times it becomes incredibly apparent that in Payton we have duplicated his father.

9. This is right before the guard asked Benjamin to quit messing with million dollar equipment. The dude was hanging on the nose cone...I was taking a pic of his dad and brother.


I took this same picture almost every day of the boys walking home. I loved it...Such precious memories.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our Life...

1. We got our first package addressed "to the Brooks Girls" the other day from my sweet sister-in-law. I stared at that envelope for forever. We are having so much fun anticipating pink becoming a part of things around here.

2. I wonder how many times a day I use the word Boys. Said in different tones I use it as a:
command- interpreted as "Stop throwing baseballs at the ceiling fan."
question- interpreted as "why are there unrolled rolls of toilet paper all over the bathroom."
warning-interpreted as "I am on my way to find you, if you are found doing something you have been told not to do, trouble is on the way."
blessing-interpreted as "I am so thankful you two are mine."
sigh-while looking at the clock thinking "when does your dad get home?"

3. We have been working the on P and B not slamming doors. The other night they ran inside and once again, every picture was slanted. Tony in an exasperated voice said, "Boys, how many times do I have to tell you not to slam the door." Payton in his most respectful voice said, "Once more would be nice."

4. We have also been working constantly on saying yes ma'am or yes sir. The other night I told P to do something and he matter of fact said "No." I looked back at him and said, "I want you to look at me in the eyes and tell me if there is ever a good time to tell me No." He looked me in the eyes and said, "Well it feels like right now it might work." Tony and I are learning to think through our questions before we ask them.

5. Tomorrow is Tony's Birthday. 9 years ago tomorrow we went on our 1st date. I know I say it every year, but falling in love with Tony was the easiest, most fun thing I have ever done. My insomnia is back full force, so I have had a lot of time to thank the Lord for the sweetness of life that I experience because Tony is my husband...Here are just a few things I love about him:

* The guy is a worker...He is ready to help, fix, build, clean you name it...I always have a peace that whatever it is, he can take care of it.

* I love laughing with him at the end of the day...hearing his take on my day, on his day, on where we are at...One of the best things that Growing Kids God's Way taught was Couch time-the importance of your kid seeing you daily enjoying each other. Our kids see us laughing together daily because that is important to T.

* I love that he insists on me having a 4 wheel drive vehicle "Because you never know" But if I ever tell him I actually used it he gets a bit uptight that I have just possibly torn out the transmission.

* I love it that he knows me the best and still loves me. He has seen every side of me...many of which are hard to love...yet even in the most difficult of times he has continude to be my number one.

* I love it that he is easy to love.

* I love it that he is a healthy eater...I would of been content to order a pizza everyday of my married life and eat desert after that. Thankfully, he calls me and our whole family, to a higher ground...and when he goes on hunting trips the boys and I eat pizza everyday and skittles for breakfast.

* I love it that he is still a mystery. As he allows the Lord to transform him I realize more and more I cannot predict him or his reactions.

* I love it that he enjoys our boys as much as I do.

* I love it that he is still so cute to me.

* I love watching him box, play basketball, play chase, play tennis, play any and everything with our kids...He works hard during the day and comes home tired, but I love watching him come in and engage as a dad immediately.

The list could go on and on...I am so thankful he is mine,so thankful that 9 years ago he called back and said "I know you said you had a lot to do...but you have to eat and its my birthday...Let's go celebrate." The best thing I ever did was say, "Sure." Thank you God for TDB!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008


Thank you so much for the comments and prayers...what a blessing to have a group of friends far and wide who lift up my family and I.

My Dr.'s appt. this morning went well. I was given permission to resume life on a much slower pace being ever aware of my body and any signals it might be trying to give towards going in to labor.

I have been extremely emotional tears have flowed freely. Part of my appointment was going over different scenarios and complications to be aware of. None of it should of been surprising, they certainly were not saying "here is what is going to happen", just here are some things we want to be checking...but for some reason it hit me in different way today.

I ponder my heart on days like today. Last week I felt confident and assured. Today I have just felt...sad. I know the Lord has not changed.

I watched Shadowlands last week. (The story of CS Lewis and his marriage to a woman who was dying of cancer) I love that movie. The quotes in it are incredible. At one point in the movie his wife is going into remission and one of his colleagues says,"Now God is answering your prayers." CS Lewis then says, "That is not why I pray. I pray because I cannot help myself. I pray because I am helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me waking and sleeping. Prayer does not change God, it changes me." Certainly our (Mine and CS) situations or wrestlings in life do not compare. Yet that quote has resonated with me. The desperation for the Lord, the helplessness... I long for the Lord to change me as well.

My sister reminded me today that Eden's testimony has begun....May the Lord be magnified in her life and in each member of our family. Thanks for being a part of our life.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eden Elizabeth

We have a name! Eden- (means the Lord's delight) Elizabeth (after her aunt Kelly Elizabeth means God's beloved)Oh how we love this girl already!

I feel like most are aware of this but here is the email I sent out on Tuesday...


Some of you have already heard this but I wanted to give the quick update. This morning after running a few errands I realized I was bleeding...feeling a bit panicked I called Tony and my OB at the same time. I ended up spending most of the day downtown. I was feeling Eden kicking the entire drive downtown so that was reassuring but the tears of the unknown were still flowing.

They got a heart beat on doppler as soon as I arrived and reassured me it was strong. They did a check, confirmed that the bleeding was not related to anything else and then scheduled a sono for later in the afternoon (as soon as the tech arrived).

The sonogram showed no tears, a healthy baby (already over 1 lb), great fluid level, placenta in good position and Eden sucking on her toes nearly the entire time we watched her. The Dr. believes I have just been doing too much and as a result I will now be on complete bed rest until a Monday AM when I will go to the Dr. to make sure everything is still good.

My parents are leaving in the morning to take the boys to the ranch. They will keep them there until Friday when Tony can take on the tigers full time.

I was telling a friend today that as I laid on that table most of the day I thought of Rick's sermon about being made to lie down in green pastures. We are praying the bleeding stops soon...We are praying I can carry this precious baby girl that we already love so dearly to term (Everything shown today points to the fact that if this bleeding will stop that should not be a problem)...We are trusting that none of the events of today have caught the Lord off-guard. He is in complete control...We will walk in trust of our Father...actually Tony will walk, I will lie down in the green pasture of trust.:)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Favorite Nightmare

The other night around 3 AM I woke up to hear someone sprinting down on our hall. A few seconds later Payton was at my bedside telling me he had just had a terrible nightmare. His heart was racing and he seemed paniced. I picked him up and put him in bed with us and asked him he wanted to talk about it and he said, "No, I just want to be between you and dad." Happy to oblige we each held a hand and went back to sleep.

The next morning at breakfast I asked Payton if he wanted to talk about his dream. He said, "It was awful. I was on a boat." Quick to imagine the terrors that could of come from this I said, "Oh were you by yourself? Did you fall in the water? Did you feel lost?" He said, "No, it was an ocean liner, there were a lot of people." Once again, quick to imagine the terror he had felt I said, "Were you hurt? Did someone grab you?" To which he responded, "No, that ship blew its horn and scared me to death."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Opening day and other Family Happenings

1. Saturday was opening day of t-ball season. The boys were beside themselves...Benjamin more than anyone. He was up at the crack of dawn, fully dressed and stretching for the days events. It was a great day of watching them both have fun.

2. Benjamin is crazy over baseball. We have no way of knowing how long this will last but right now, he is a child obsessed. Both boys get a 30 minute cartoon to watch everyday. Benjamin chooses to watch ESPN or a baseball game Tony has dvred. Last night after (I thought) everyone had been asleep for awhile Benjamin came and said, "Mom, what are you doing?" I responded, "Sleeping." He said, "Mom when you are watching me run around the bases and slide into home are you so proud?" I told him I was. He then said, "What do you think when I swing the bat like this? (and proceeded to demonstrate his best imaginary swing) I told him I loved it and realizing this was turning into a conversation walked him back to bed where he re-lived his game in detail. It is fun watching him enjoy this.

3. Tony was sick with a terrible virus on Friday. It lingered through the weekend. As we were walking into church a friend asked us where Tony was...I responded with, "He has a nasty bug." Later in the evening I heard someone ask Payton where his dad was...He responded with, "My dad has the fleas." We worked on the definitions of "Bug" on the way home.

4. We have been working on our rights and lefts...For some reason Benjamin has labeled his hands, my right hand and my wrong hand.

5. A month ago today I left for Canada...while I was there Benjamin was terribly sick. Tony had the baptism by fire through being up all night long for 3 nights in a row, working during the day and taking care of every need the boys had in between. 4 days into it he shared with me, "We are in survival mode around here." One of my favorite stories that was told to me was this one....Payton, ever my reporter, shared with me the day after I returned- "Mom, you know how there are things, like Scooby Doo that you do not like for us to watch on TV?" I shook my head yes. Payton then said, "Dad says watch whatever you want...just sit down." It certainly brought a smile to my face.

This is probably one of my all-time favorite pictures of our boys. Payton played after Benjamin and this was taken of them walking to the car after Pate's game was over. The were each telling each other how great the other one did. Our hearts were swelling as we walked behind them. I am thankful for pictures like this one that I can call to mind on days like today when these same two sweet ones are in a rolling brawl in the produce section of Walmart or using the toilet at the same time in the doctors office with the door wide open.

Thanks to all of you for your excitement over our precious girl. Your excitement makes it even more fun!