Friday, September 25, 2009

This guy made Rob and I laugh last night on Jay Leno. Enjoy!

Stay Cool,
Jenny :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sara Sullivan

This is a name that has been floating around many of my Facebook and military contacts. Sara was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of this year, and gave birth to baby Chloe the beginning of September. She suffered from postpartum brain swelling that eventually lead to her becoming brain dead. She was able to spend two days at home with her husband, Brady and her premmie, Chloe. It is such a heartbreaking story, yet this is a family in Christ who has continuously shown their strength and faith in their Creator.

Her family is participating in the Race for the Cure in Texas and their are trying to reach their goal of $10,000 in memory of Sara. Click here to support them! While their faith is stronger than it has ever been, it would be greatly encourage them in such a dark time as this is.

You can also visit their blog at:

Words cannot express the pain right now, but it amazes me the people I have known who have used their heartache and pain to magnify their God and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is just so impressive to see them take a step for God and trust Him with such a heavy burden.

Mostly, please say a prayer for them.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Team Brooks

About a month ago, Rob took the liberty and signed us BOTH up for the St. Jude Half Marathon. Many of you know that I have run a couple before, but this is Rob's first time, and I am so excited to be able to do this together. While it's a new experience for him, and not as much for me, it is new to the both of us in the respect that we are fundraising for St. Jude Children's Hospital. Of course, it is always hard to ask for money, but the more and more I read about how awe-inspiring St. Jude's mission statement is, I cannot stress the importance of this hospital's success. We ask and encourage each of you to donate even a small amount to such a great cause. With the nation's healthcare being such a hot topic these days, it's quite encouraging to see such a huge impact that this one hospital is making for so many families and children with cancer.

Did you know that St. Jude's spends roughly $1.4 million dollars in operating costs PER DAY?!

On average, 5,400 active patients visit the hospital each year, most of whom are treated on an outpatient basis.

St. Jude maintains 78 inpatient beds and treats upwards of 250 patients EACH day.

St. Jude is the ONLY pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is EVER denied treatment because of a family's inability to pay.

In 1962, the survival rate for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer, was 4%. Today, the survival rate for this once deadly disease is 94%, thanks to research and treatment protocols developed at St. Jude.

Where your Dollars Go:
Average cost for treating ALL per patient ............$573,000
Physical therapy per hour...........$344
One day of Oxygen...........$417
Average charge per inpatient per day...........$5,719
ICU daily room rate (room only) ..............$2,836
Platelet count test.........$42
Complete blood count test ........$52

While St. Jude boasts of never turning a child away due to insurance, this organization could NEVER do it without people like you, people like me, people who see the vision of St. Jude and the necessity of St. Jude's research and care.

Please consider donating to this wonderful cause. Our team goal of $1200 is based on the average amount of money a typical team raises. The link to our fundraising page is located here. You may also mail me a check, please just send me an email, and I can include my mailing address.

Thank you so much for taking the time and considering St. Jude's this year!

And wish us luck, as we complete our first half marathon together!
Rob and Jenny Brooks

BTW - the above picture is of Rob meeting me at the last mile of my first half marathon and running with me until the end. He did duck out before the finish line, so as not to steal my thunder. ;) Little did he know, he was just preparing himself to a half marathon a couple years later!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

it's been awhile.

Doesn't life just seem to be hurry up and wait? Well, blogging has become that way for me, too, "hurry up, get caught up, and then wait to get behind again." I last posted 3 in a week while Ben was at VBS in the beginning of the summer, and here we are at the end of summer, on the heels of school beginning. It was so easy, Ben was gone for a couple hours every night, and Lydia wasn't very much mobile. She was crawling, but having to keep two hands and knees busy, still manages to keep you out of some trouble. "Idle hands are devil's play?" or something like that. Well, now she can walk, and it is just insane. I keep telling her that she's breaking all the baby rules, along with my heart, because she's fast exiting babyhood, and it is making me sad. It just wasn't supposed to happen this fast. Sigh.

So since everything is going too fast. Here's a recap:

Ben learned how to swim! No life vest....although the accomplishment came late this summer, so I expect we will forget all about swimming by next summer! Here a picture of Ben and his clone trooper helmet, it was promised to him. Apparently, even clone troopers have tee times to make. :)
Ben learning to read. Ben learning has always been a theme in his life, and it just continues to amaze me at how quick he is. The first book he learned to read was Green Eggs and Ham. While I know the rhyming and repetition are helpful aids to reading, he has really shown word recognition with many sight words.

Lydia: oh where oh where do I begin? It was very much a blur. And now it is a blur, watching her walk all over the house. She LOVES Ben's room! The other day she was enjoying chewing on Captain Rex's helmet. She also takes to pulling the door stop rubber protectors off and chewing on those as well. (I know, Mom and MamaLiz, it's dangerous....) She also loves Rainey's water bowl...and Rainey too. Here is a progressive set of photos. It's really cute, and reminds me of how Ben used to play with Rainey as a baby.

Ben is determined to make her a Star Wars fan! And it's really bright in our bathroom ;)Here are some photos of Lydia:
First piggie: (can I just please mention how proud I was to be able to manage even a tiny piggy that sticks straight up in the air?) It is weird how changing what little hair she has makes her look so different to me.

She loves food much more than Ben did. But in Ben's defense, I was always too worried about his food/caloric intake, that I manipulated feeding him over self feeding MUCH more than I should have. I guess you live and you learn. And I definitely have learned. Here is Lydia loving grilled cheese. That day she ate a half of one!
Rainey: She is becoming quite the love of two little kids around here. She is so good and loyal to the both of them.
Sleepy times are hard to come by, but summer was busy and those long gone naps returned with a vengeance. That day, I carried two children one by one while on my cell phone.

You know you're too tired, when you can't even finish your lollipop. Ben has never been one of those kids who falls asleep eating. This photo below is for Lydia's Great-Gram. She gave Lydia the sleep lamb that her head is sleeping upon. It makes a few different sounds: whales, ocean, rain, a heart beating.

This picture is for Lydia's Auntie Em. The black bear she is sleeping on top of is made of super soft alpaca! So soft!
Jenny: I have been finishing up projects here and there that got started over the summer and then forgotten about. They eventually got remembered again, when I realized I was leaving project clutter all over the house. So, here are a few things I have started, forgotten about, remembered again, and finished. This baby quilt is for a friend, expecting her third child and third boy. This summer has gone so fast, and now it is time for fall. I am taking on the Moppets Coordinator position. MOPS is Mothers of Preschoolers. It's a Christian nonprofit, that seeks to meet the needs of moms with young kids through twice monthly meetings for a time of breakfast, fellowship, speakers, crafts, you name it. Since I am the Moppets Coordinator, it has been my goal this summer to rally enough workers to work with our kids to make MOPS happen, train/brief them on their importance and role, and plan the kids' curriculum. It has been a learning process, and I presume it will continue that way for the rest of the year. I am also planning on doing the St. Jude Half again this December, and I just might have a partner....TBD. ;) This year I would like to do the race as a "St. Jude's Hero" which is where friends and family donate money to St. Jude's cause. It's a great facility, and it is their aim to never turn away a sick child. I will send out more information once I become registered. Anyway, I am again toying with the idea of accomplishing the full that I have been aspiring to for a couple years now. I want to wait until Lydia's one and she's not nursing anymore. There's always time for running and other things in life, but some time, you just can't get back. She's already changing too fast. Shoot, both of them are for that matter.
Rob: My dear husband. He's the Check Flight Commander still, if I haven't mentioned before. He misses working directly with students and instead is the one that they all fear. We are extended a full year (no more, maybe less) here in Mississippi. Of course there are always mixed emotions, and feel like they all kind of level out in the end. Things could always be worse, things could always be better, but this is where we are. So we are going to enjoy it until the end!

We hope this update finds you well. While I haven't been much of a blogger, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your updates! So - don't be like me! ;)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

five years of puppy love.

Just a tribute on our oldest child~ ha!

Rainey celebrated her fifth year of craziness, and she's still as pup as ever!

Some photos of our puppy was quite symbolic of Rob and my relationship. We had just gotten married, and I really wanted a dog. I thought my one good chance of getting a puppy, was if I could find the breed that he grew up with: the boxer. And we found the perfect puppy. She was the runt of the litter, but had the fire inside her, that was for sure. Isn't that how they always come, though? It's the small, wiry type that are the most feisty and energetic! We went back and forth on names, narrowed it down to four names, and chose Rainey (my suggestion) due to the fact that it had rained the evening we took her home, and it just fit. When she's in trouble, she gets the middle name added in: Rainey Day!

If there was ever any indication of what my temperment would be around children, it was then that I caught a glimpse of it when we got Rainey. I was so happy to take her home, and make her part of our family. However, the day Rob had to go to work, I was a basket case! I was such a wreck, because she was quite young, compared to the typical 8 weeks. She was 5 1/2 weeks old, and she had such a hard time eating, that I was on the kitchen floor breaking up her food with the back of a spoon, so she could eat it! When I was a kid, and we got a puppy, none of these things you worry about. But the day, Rainey Day was in my care and I was "in charge", I was a serious freakshow....much like that of a new mother, who has a baby to care for.

Oy vey.

It was only a couple months later that we found out we were pregnant with Ben. It was merely weeks after we got Rainey that we conceived. If I was like that with a dog, what was I going to do with a little baby boy??

Rainey is such a part of our family, but there are days when she's the last one attended to. Many days however. But it's the love of a dog, that is so special, especially where children are concerned. Ben bounces on her back and Lydia tries to entice her to lick her on the face, but Rainey knows better about these things and resists any action on her part. Rainey now sleeps on Ben's bed at night, and checks on him, if he has napped what she considers "too long". It really is sweet. Lydia is now getting very interested in Rainey, and she continues to be the most gentle dog, when I know she just wants to lick every square inch of Lydia.

P.S. Sometimes, I really do love her. It usually occurs after the kids go to bed, and I just want someone to lie still and snuggle - 4 year olds and babies don't do that so well anymore.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


While we were in Phoenix, my mom shared and taught me one of her new hobbies. She has been meeting with a quilting group at church and she has been loving it. Here is my first completed project; it was a prepackaged quilt. You still have to do all the cutting and sewing, but it takes the guesswork out of picking and choosing matching fabrics (which I think is a talent in itself).

The below project is one I chose for myself. While I have never really crafted any sort of large project for Ben, I decided that I wanted to make him a bedspread quilt to fit his twin bed. Below is the material cut out. I still need to cut a few more pieces at the bottom and do what is called a lattice. It is another material that sort of borders your quilt - kind of like a frame. After it is sewn I need to find a matching flannel back piece for it.

a good laugh.

Thought I'd post a little humor about a song I like very much! It's a song from Samson's point of view.

Hope it brings a smile and a laugh to your day! :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

a little bit Easter, a little bit birthday.

I really said I was going to post multiple times this week?? OK. Well here goes. Back in April was Ben and Rob's birthdays. Ben is respective 4 and Rob his 31st. Whew! I don't know that I have much to say other than posting pictures, but each year you really begin to be better about planning birthdays, I guess it comes with all the practice. Ben had been to a friend's birthday at a place called Bullets. I hate to tell you that it is really a gas station - but a glorified one. Telling you that, just doesn't give it justice, I suppose. Well, Ben also wanted his there. Easy enough, book the room, bring the cake and paper plates, and they provide the rest. Ben's request was Star Wars, and while I wanted to also outsource this task, I ended up doing that. Parenting requires actually doing something sometimes....(totally kidding). Oh you want a Captain Rex cake. Ok. Here is the result after both Rob and I had our hands in the frosting of the cake.

And in case you were wondering how my $3 find turned out from Dirt Cheep (still haven't not revisited this establishment). Here is a picture of Ben finding his scooter. He asked me just the other day where I found it (I guess it is something he never spotted at Wal-mart!). Tee hee.
you cannot escape a hairbow from time to time.Some other April highlights were Rob's Birthday and Easter.
Rob's birthday was on a Friday, hence his Friday shirt.Rob, the fireman. I mean, candle extinguisher.Lydia, nervously gnawing on her thumb, very thankful that there will be no fire today.
Because when a travelling carnival pops up at your local "mall" (in quotes for anyone who has ever "shopped" there), you have to ride the ferris wheel. Shopped is also in quotes too. Sad.

Some Easter shots. The hunting of eggs. The dressing for church.
random happy picture. doesn't need a reason to be included, for no other reason that Lydia's in the picture!Ben talking to Lydia about life.

Monday, June 8, 2009

how does he do it?

...because I tried it and can't do it.

maybe it's a filipino trait...they are quite agile at climbing coconut trees.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


So as I sit here, still sweaty from a 4.5 mile run, I am feeling behind as I log in to my blog account. This is my attempt to add to the blog since it was last updated on March 19th! Oh my. I am surprised it has only been three months, because to be honest it feels longer. We just got home from picking Ben up from VBS, after Rob and I ran with Lydia. Is it possible that Rob is still reading a book to our son at 9:20 at night? Well, that is just the good dad that Rob is. Rob has just come into the room to recount a nighttime conversation he just had with Ben. They were reading A.A. Milne's "When We Were Very Young", a book of poems.

Ben: Dad, what are poems?
Dad: They rhyme and have rhythm and they are short.
Ben: Why are poems short?
Dad: So you don't get tired of them. So if anyone ever asks you why you're short, if they ask you, then just tell them it's so they don't get tired of you.
Ben: (he laughs) Well, I'm tired of you. But I'm not tired of my mom.

I had no intention of adding that story obviously, but I just felt like it was cute. This makes me feel just a little bit more special, because Ben is so very much about being boy and being like Dad. It's nice to know that he has a little sweet spot for his Mom every now and then. And I feel like many moments of our life have been "cute" and "memorable", yet I haven't so much as kept any physical notes detailing them. This has been on my mind, because I know that some day, I am going to be really sad that these moments are gone. I feel like Lydia is already close to 1, when she is only 7 months.

While all this has been nagging me, I received an email from a very good friend and sort of mom to me back in Clovis, asking me how I was and if I was OK, and that I hadn't updated the blog. Thanks, Anna Marie! It was just what I needed. So over the next week (I am hesitant to commit myself to that short time), I am going to update you in a sort of 4-parter. I feel that is the right amount I can bite off each day, and not bore you with one really long update.

But to sort of give you my initial "happies" (as a friend who once lived here in MS coined the phrase, Liz), here is a quickie STS:

1. Lydia's crawling and cutting a tooth. I forgot about all the feist that comes with the crawling strut. I shouldn't be surprised if you I really think about it: a 6 1/2 - 7 month baby learning such amazing feats! To actually coordinate those limbs, oh the joy! Ben is so far quite patient with her, which impresses me. When we were in Phoenix a couple weeks ago, it was a funny sight to see that Ben had relocated himself a couple times each time the sister got closer.

2. Today, Ben weaned himself of his training wheels on his bike! Rob and Ben had been practicing here and there, and yesterday and today were the only days that they practiced two days in a row. Rob began by raising the training wheels off the ground so high that he still fell on the ground, but the training wheels cushioned the fall a bit. Once he got the hang of it, he was riding it without them touching the ground, so Rob took them off. It amazes us that he can even ride on our rocky, dirt road. I figure once we get him on smooth asphalt, he'll be even better!

3. Ben literally crawled our doorframe in the living room all the way to the top of the ceiling, and then let go jumping to the ground. We caught in on video! It makes me laugh to think that he was ever "failure to thrive" just because he's skinny! The funnier thing was that at first he told me he invented it, but then he told me later that he didn't invent it. He said he saw it on TV on the news at Lolo and Lola's house (in AZ). He said they showed a guy climbing a wall outside. So, if any of you have ever been to AZ and know of its illegal immigration problems, the first thought was, "they were probably reporting on Mexicans climbing the wall to get to the US." I know, that's bad. I'm just telling you what I thought. :)

4. We have a Dunkin' Donuts in Columbus now! How exciting is that!? Makes for a great iced coffee on the run.

5. My new jogging stroller that I won! As one friend said, "it's like the Gucci of jogging strollers." This was one of the fundraisers that we had for our MOPS/Stroller Strides walk that we organized in memory of the late Blair Faulkner, one of the two pilots that died in the crash we had here a year ago. We raised just under $15,000 in Blair's name to the Palmer Children's Home, a local home here in Columbus. It far exceeded our $10,000 goal!6. Rob is doing wonderfully at work. While a lot of our friends are AF, and we all think our husbands are the greatest, I am especially proud of Rob for his hard work. It really seems to be reflecting on his OPR/ADP. For all you non-military types: it's translating really well on paper. What counts these days, right?! I don't mean to brag, but I figure if you spend all day at a place that you work, you might want to be told you're doing a good job every now and then! And you might want that one person to be your spouse, who stays at home with the kids and is thankful that she can do so.

This brings me to my closing. I think some of the reasons I have slacked in blogging is because of time. Time flying. Time coming to an end. Time. Time. Time. This is theoretically our last summer here. This might be our last child. I feel like I am losing time. It won't be long before Ben is in school all day. I still have a year, but it still freaks me out. Ben has officially spent his formative years in the south. I can't believe we left NM when he was only 15 months - that seems like an ETERNITY ago. I know that it isn't. I know that I have so many more parenting years to endure. But why does it still feel so fast? So I am relishing every moment with the kids, kind of living in a bubble, trying not to be anxious, trying not think beyond August (when we should hear about an assignment). Summers, let alone time, goes so fast.

If any of this has made you feel a little bit crazy like me, I promise I won't do it anymore. It's out of my system, I have said it out loud, it will not happen again. For this next week, while Ben is at VBS, I will attempt to go back a few months in time.

I hope this summer finds you all the times you need: summer breezes, Kodak moments, and a chance to smile and breathe all God's blessings.