Friday, July 27, 2012

Easton Brooks is 3!

I always write my kids letters on their birthdays. It's just a tradition that I think will bless them later on in life. I usually read it to them and print it out for their journals. Here is my letter to Easton today, on his 3rd birthday:

(picture from his 2nd birthday)

Easton Brooks...

Can it possible that you are three?

Maybe it's because you are the baby in the house, but you still seem so little to assume the title of 3-year-old...

We have had so many fun, difficult, joyous and overwhelming experiences with you in your third year of life. What a crazy year it has been! There have been moments where your Dad and I have wanted to pull our hair out and check into the looney hospital because of your fits and anger. We have lost our cool, we have messed up, but ultimately we have entrusted you to God. We have had a substantial amount of joyous memories that make us forget all about the trials we have been through with you. We have had so many opportunities to praise God for the work He has done and is doing in you.

We praise Him that you are eating dinner, even salad! (those who know our struggle with this know this is a HUGE deal!)
We praise Him that you are going tee-tee in the potty!
We praise Him that the fits are considerably less and God is helping you with self control.
We praise Him that you are a great helper at cleaning up and cooking with Mommy.
We praise Him that you are becoming more of a friend to T & B and less of a destroyer, at times.
We praise Him that your personality gets bigger everyday and you keep us in stitches.
We praise Him that you are asking questions about God and sing to Him with all your heart.

Moving you from the crib to the bunk beds was a funny process and is still going on. One day last fall, you climbed out of your bed and were scared to death. I have no idea if you landed on your head or what, but you were shook up and never tried that again until the spring, when you began to do it every day. We set up the bunk beds for you and Beckett and we have gone through many phases:

Phase 1: E gets out of his bed 10 times a night every night
Phase 2: E gets out of his bed 2 times a night every night (thank God! I was having to sit outside of your door and constantly tell you to go to sleep)
Phase 3: Getting up into Beckett's bed and sleeping with him
Phase 4 (current): Finding you sleeping on the ground next to the door (when we ask you about it, you say that it's "too comfy." We don't know if you are saying the bed is too comfy so you have to sleep on the ground or the ground is too comfy so you are sleeping there.)

We have enjoyed all the talking you have done this year. I didn't think the personalities in our home could get any bigger until you started talking more. You talk non-stop and in the most precious way. You are the center of attention and you most certainly know it. Your Easton-isms have left us in stitches and yet we have captured so few of them in writing. Thank you for making our home a place of great laughter and fun. I have no doubt that you will be our clown through the years and I look forward to watching your personality continue to grow.

Happy 3rd Birthday, precious! Life is better with you in it - it's fun, it's unpredictable, it's entertaining and it's a blessing bigger than words could articulate.

I love you, Easton Brooks!


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review Blurb

***** = Make time soon
**** = Worthwhile read at some point
*** = If you have spare time, go for it
** = Not the best resource
* = Steer clear

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas *****
Such a wonderful and inspiring biography! I was drawn in by Wilberforce's life and the conviction by which he lived. The way it is written is captivating and makes you want to keep reading. I was actually sad when it was over (and it's a big book) and longing for passion like his. Great read!

Becoming God's True Woman by Nancy Leigh DeMoss ****1/2
A compilation of all the wonderful resources on biblical womanhood put into one book. I went through this book as a study with my life group gals and it was wonderful content to go through with them. It goes a little beyond the basic book on biblical womanhood and takes the application a step further, especially for single women, but speaks to married women as well. Great questions in the back for discussion.

Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider ***1/2
Simply written book about organizing your home, de-cluttering, minimizing and cleaning. I thought it had some great tips in there and it was motivating for me to do deep cleaning throughout the house. We had a huge garage sale shortly after I finished this book. Reading the book was the easy part; doing all that she recommended was a pretty big undertaking, but I was certainly glad when it was done.

7 by Jen Hatmaker ****
Hmmm...where to start? I could probably write a separate blog post about this book. Basically, a journal through 7 months of this woman fasting from 7 areas of excess, such as food, clothing, eating out, etc. It may sound weird, and honestly, the book starts off slow and seemingly like its going to be a journal of self-inflicted complaints, but it quickly became a wonderful read. It got me thinking about the ways my family spends their time, money and resources, the complaints, the priorities, the ways that we can serve and sustain our city, and my prayer life. I was grateful that God used this book to open my eyes and allow me to ponder much of this in my heart. It is written in a conversational way that I ended up enjoying after the initial chapters. It's worth reading.

The Soul Winner by Charles Spurgeon ****1/2
Such an INSPIRING book! I gleaned much from the wise words of this theologian. Would highly recommend to any believer, but especially to one who is feeling a bit ho-hum in his/her faith. This book will remind you of the passion you once had to tell others about Christ and refresh you in the beauty of the gospel. It will motivate you to share freely with your children and all those who God has put you in relationship with. I loved that he included many sections about sharing Christ with your kids.

1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp ***1/2
A really sweet book. The premise is about seeing all of your life as a gift from God, even the trials and suffering. Ann is the woman who began the trend of writing down things she's thankful for, all the way up to 1000 and beyond. For me, it was a great reminder to pray for gratitude, even when I didn't feel thankful. Writing down that gift that didn't feel like a gift, "cleaning up yet another spill; thankful to be this messy boy's mom, thankful you made him like you did." I am still working on my list and in the 300-400 range. I am glad I am making time each day to sit, meditate and thank God for His gifts, especially the incredible gift of His Son, Jesus.

Christian Beliefs by Wayne Grudem ****
Great systematic theology book that I went through as a study at New Life. It's a wonderful alternative to the full book as a beginning systematic theology because it is condensed, and takes you briefly through many of the same topics in much less time and depth. Very succinct and helpful.

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp (second time reading this) *****
Such a wonderful book that I definitely wanted to read it again. It relays the truth that
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others. Our hope is found in Christ and is lasting because HE makes change possible, not because we (as counselors) say the right thing or because those we counsel try harder or try new methods or principles...because we offer truth, we offer a Redeemer. Hope found anywhere else is false hope. I highly recommend that you take time to read this powerful book.

Feel free to comment and let me know what you thought of these books or if you have any others you'd recommend that I read next! I am always up for suggestions!
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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Vintage Sports Theme Boys' Room

He started climbing out of his crib and we knew it was time.

Time to get rid of the crib and get him a big boy bed. Welcome bunk beds. Welcome a chance at re-decorating the room! This room seriously needed an update. It was the same as it had been since we were pregnant with Beckett.

Check out the before:

Now, feast on the after:

The boys are super-thrilled about their new bunk beds! I figured a sports theme could last 
awhile with little boys, so I opted for that. I made the pennant banner with scraps of fabric I had around that house that *mostly* matched but I wasn't all too concerned with that...

MADE beds! Ha! They never look this good. Don't be fooled. I did this myself.

I customized this cutie pie canvas print on Paper Coterie when they were doing a freebie.
I absolutely love. it. 
Now if only the boys could understand the greatness of brotherhood. 

Allen's parents bought this chest of drawers for us from craigslist and I refinished it with paint and a little distressing. I love how it turned out.

My sweet friend, Misti, works at Beckett Sports Media and acquired these 
awesome magazine covers for me to use on these canvases. I used the inside pages of Allen's old baseball magazines as the background and the covers Misti gave me on the front with some scrapbook paper to frame it. Modge podge was a great and difficult friend through the process. 

Great find at IKEA. Beckett has loved having a place to put his favorite 
treasures so he doesn't have to keep going up and down the ladder.

And finally, the boys enjoying their beds for their intended purpose. In case you can't tell, that's Easton on the right side of the picture. He has a reputation for sleeping anywhere BUT his bed. 
We're counting that part of it a work in progress. ;)

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Thursday, July 05, 2012


Easton - isms:

"Mommy, you put some white spwinkles on my baw-dom?"
(his way of asking if I was going to put baby powder on him)

(to daddy while he was washing his hair) "Be careful wif me...I'm a baby."

(and a little later) "I'm a kween man."

Beckett - isms:

Mommy, that sign says, "Welcome to our Homie!" 

Beckett made a book at Chick-fil-A and these are some of the things that he told me to write in it:

Nickname: Buddy
After high school, I will: I don't know
For fun I will: Play Wii
I would like to live in: California
I would like to have 10 kids
My job will be: Dolphin Trainer
The car I would like to drive is: Dolphin Rescue Car
Someday I will take a trip to: the sea to rescue dolphins

*we watched Dolphin Tale with the kids and they are obsessed*

Taylor Joy - isms:

(after correcting Allen for using a "mean voice" with Easton)
D: Thanks for helping me be more like Jesus
T: Oh you know...just doing my thing.

Taylor Joy filled out a book that she got from Chick-fil-A. I think it's priceless:

After high school, I will: be a fir fitr (fire fighter)
For fun I will: dres up
I would like to live in: chanlr (chandler - parent's lake house)
My job will be: a fir fitr
I would like to have 8 kids
The car I would like to drive is: a van
Someday I will take a trip to: chanlr
If I could meet a star, it would be: grat

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Chet the Architect: NYC Drawing Book

Ever since we took our trip to NYC earlier this year and adored the city, I have loved seeing shows with NYC in the background and reminiscing about places that we went while we were there. So when I heard about these beautiful children's books that display NYC musuems, aka the Museum Mile, and teach them how to draw the interesting shapes and buildings, I couldn't wait to see them and introduce NYC to my kids.

Taylor Joy was excited to learn how to draw a cityscape and her imagination quickly set in as she went to drawing this beauty.

The quality of these books is worthy to be mentioned. The pages are beautiful and well made. The kids will love continuing to learn how to draw these museums, hear about their history, as well as referencing them in the future. I am really glad we have these.

I was provided these books at no charge in return for an honest review. All words and thoughts are my own.
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