Monday, July 15, 2013

the state of the family: part 4 {brooks}

There was a time when I wasn't sure if Brooks would live until his 4th birthday.

I still occasionally have those moments with him, but they (thank God!) are so rare now.  

He really is such a great kid!

He keeps me on my toes, though.  

He helps me to draw near to Jesus to parent him well.  

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  

Nonetheless, I love Brooks more fiercely everyday.

He's playful, outdoorsy, a true critter lover, all boy, sweaty most of the time these days, and yearns to please.

Although his mischievousness gets the best of him sometimes, he really does yearn to do the right thing.  He reminds me so much of Dennis the Menace sometimes -- in a good way.  His heart is in the right place, he just can't help himself sometimes!

Doing his homework after school one day at the 'new house' while I painted my heart out.  Such a sweet boy.

Ya think he was excited about getting this super soaker at Target?  Nah.  He only fell asleep with it in his arms!

Notice the theme here.  A boy and his dog.  Super sweet.

Brooks is crazy about our Lucy.

Although she looks like she's being strangled in all these photos, she is loving every minute of it and she loves that boy!

James had to get in the frame on this one.  Would you look at that angelic face on him!?  

This was probably one of the first and last times Brooks swam this summer... He keeps breaking out in a awful rash regardless of where he swims: lakes, pools, etc.  Sunscreen allergy?  Help!  Poor baby itches so bad several hours after exposure.  He says he's never swimming again. And so far, he hasn't.  :(

The cicadas were everywhere this year.  Look at the delight on his face -- he loved it!

They're looking for the spider on a dollar bill.

Sweet brothers.

Even sweeter.  
Notice the teal walls are gone!  Hip-hip-hooray!

See?  One of his non-swimming moments. 
 But at least he found some entertainment with his buddy, Sam, and some binoculars.

He rallied.  And then scratched himself to death that night.  I think we're headed to a pediatric dermatologist.

Cheeks, dimples, new teeth and an ice cream cone!  Life is good!

During our trip to Tennessee...

How cute is James trying to hold his lips like Brooks?  

One of the sweetest things about Brooks of late is how he's bonding with James.  When we first brought James home, Brooks was definitely the one child who seemed to struggle the most.  It wasn't that he didn't like James or expressed bitterness, he and James just didn't really click as easily and quickly as with our other biological children.  Now?  Oh my gosh.  It's amazing.  They are buds!  I can hear them from afar playing a game, making up something to play and shouting out orders back and forth to each other about what they're doing next.  Brooks has always been able to 'play down' with other children who are younger than him.  Playing with James has become very natural and something he looks forward to.  He asks if he can get James out of his room in the morning and then they're right at it!  It warms this mama's heart!

Another area in which they bond: the little kid rides at Busch Gardens! 
Brooks is not into the big rides yet so they're perfect riding partners.

He can be such a ham!

In full!

All of spring, we told Brooks that this would be the summer of shoe tying and bike riding for him.  He's so very close to conquering both.  He's tying his shoes with the occasional verbal instruction with what to do next.  He's riding his bike, but needs to, uh, work on his braking.  Ugh.  We had a rough session a couple of weeks back with a couple of full speed crashes into a ditch or two while JD and I screamed, 'Brakes!   Braaaakes!'  Fortunately, our new neighborhood is the perfect place to ride bikes.  Once he has it down with confidence, I'll never see him again.  He already lives outside turning over rocks and looking under logs and bushes for an unsuspecting lizard, salamander, frog, toad or...snake.  Oh yeah, we have 'em.  And according to the neighbors, they're frequently spotted -- every single neighbor we've met has mentioned the snakes in this neighborhood!  Yikes.

Today, Brooks and I had another bike riding 'lesson.'  I was out front running alongside him around our loop drive at 2:30 pm -- practically the hottest time of day!  Probably ten times we went around that loop!  At the beginning he was bawling about how bikes were the worst things ever made and why did he have to learn to ride one anyway and how he'd rather go to his room than have to practice again.  By the end, he was grinning from ear to ear with such a sense of accomplishment because he'd begun to learn how to apply the brakes gingerly and not slam them on until he's about to go over the handle bars!  He's trying and that's all I can ask.  

This sweet, blond, mischievous boy of mine is a definite keeper!

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