Thursday, November 17, 2011

The "Brooks Family News" Blog is up!

I invite you to be one of the first to join us at (drum roll, please)...
http://mixedandmatched-brooks.blogspot.com/
If you'd like to subscribe to the site (have a notification sent to you when I post), you are welcome to do so == just snoop around and find the link.

Remember, though:  If you get an email with the update, you need to go to the site to reply, if you want others to see what you say!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time for a New Home...

Transition brings out the best in me.  Really.  I love change and the challenges it brings. 
Perfect timing, really.  We are going back to Texas.  So with this change, I am going back to blogging. 

So, if you have been missing posts from me, I appreciate you.  I miss posting.  We have TONS of FABULOUS photos from the last year I know you'd like to look at... but more importantly, I think we need to just move forward.  I'll put a few random pics in now and then (when something spurs my recollection); but honestly, don't you just want to see the CHANGES from here on out?  At least for the most part, I would.

I'll be creating a new 'online HOME' with an new name, to reflect our new place in life.

I'm as excited as I've been in a long time... but it truly is a bittersweet change for us.

I'll post the new site here as soon as it's ready!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

June (Pt.2) - Cali's Redwoods and Grandparents

If you are short on time, YOU HAVE TO SEE THE MOHAWK pics at the bottom!

So, while the summer began, we bought a second small, pocket-sized digital camera to replace my FOURTH SONY CyberShot!  (The 4th one only began to fail because of its "got-bubbles-poured-on-it" state of suffering.)  We replaced it with an Olympus that is waterproof and shockproof... hoping that it stays together a little longer.  Why am I saying this?  Looking for sympathy.  My photos for July and August have been a real pain to sort through due to quirky time/date stamp issues with the failing camera and (oops) forgetting to set the new one when I opened it.  I know you may not care, but my MAC puts my photos into nice, neat little events folders for me based on the DATE and TIME of the pic... and when the date defaults as 2001, my whole photo-blogging world goes topsy-turvy.  So... I hope to make sense of the next few months, but if not... blame it on the bubbles.

The rest of June (after last month's focus on hair) focused more on TREES!  My parents flew in from Dallas on a Friday afternoon and we headed to California that evening... making it as far as Grants Pass, then spending the next three days in the northern end of the Redwoods.  You may remember our trip there two years ago as we prepared for our adoption -- so much has changed in TWO short years!!

Trees of Mystery, CA along the riverbank
If you are one of my FaceBook friends, you may have seen our pictures.  So, for the sake of time, I'm going to let you follow my FB link (which should be available even if you are NOT a 'booker  <=click here)... and simply give you a few of my very favorites to look at here.
Aquarium in Crescent City
Crescent City Beach
Crescent City Beach
Oooooh my, I LOVE MY CUTIE KIDDOS!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

June (Pt.1) - Dancing, Graduating, and Shaving?

~~~~  JUNE  ~~~~  JUNE  ~~~~  JUNE  ~~~~
As the school year wrapped up, the last round of end-of-year performances kept us busy -- and entertained.  Emma and Murphy sang and signed (sign language) their songs, including the Pledge of Allegiance by Murphy's Kinder/1st class.  Emma's 2nd/3rd grade class also demonstrated some traditional American square DANCING.
Waaay too cute picture of my four chickens after E and M's performances!
Yes, it's June.  Yes, Emma insisted on her Christmas boots... 'cuz they matched and were good for dancin'!
We were so grateful to the sweet staff at Bright Futures Christian School for letting our Zinash step in at the end of the year to help her with some educational balance!  The experience she had there (as well as with her homeschool co-op earlier in the year) helped her make incredible academic strides.  She has officially 'GRADUATED' from preschool and will be a full-blown Kindergartener in the fall!!
She is getting ready to do the line, "All the king's horses..."-- note the stick pony!  Zinash loves that on Sundays at church, she gets to see her teachers from this year: Miss Tia (pictured here) and Mrs. Melody.

Hair's what also happened in June.  Zinash had her hair braided at a 'real' hair place (off MLK in Portland) with a sweet woman, KayKay.  She did great, but the braids were too wide and came out too quickly -- however, they worked GREAT for vacation!! 
Yes, she took her "My Twin" doll with her for moral support!
Murphy, not to be left out, got his 2nd annual after-school mohawk.  You can see how much hair he had before -- and we ended up with a 4-inch mohawk!!


I know, it doesn't look very long... but look at the post for this year's Redwood Forest vacation ** coming soon** to see the final result.  My mom suggested we spike it, so we had to oblige!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Catch-up Posts: May 2010

~~~ MAY ~~~ ~~~ MAY ~~~ ~~~ MAY ~~~ 


May started off with a bang! Literally. That first week was h3ll week for Keith, as he totalled my car on his way out of town Monday morning... He made it back into town Thursday, only to pull in the driveway in his pickup and run over our dear, sweet fledgling robin, Steve -- right in front of the kids (Facebook chronicles kept many of you posted). Bad week. Just heartbreaking! These pictures honor Steve's memory. Little did we know the heartache that loomed in the distant months for us. My children grieved well and now fondly remember Steve as a pet just passing through... then passing away.

Preschool!! Classes (and families) from Zinash's preschool visited and
sang at a local nursing home.
I also managed to get a few decent pictures at one of Zinash's end-of-year performances. You can see how much she loves participating in large group singing (which she cannot do well, but totally loves) and shining on stage!  Keith's parents were visiting us for a long weekend and were able to be with us for this exciting evening, BUT we somehow managed to NOT get any photos with them on my camera... could that be??  I guess I need to get some from Rita!

The month ended with time well spent with the Kasten family at Renaissance Farms, their family home. The kids began learning to enjoy and be comfortable with horses (and horse poop) and gain some exposure to horse-farm life, thanks in part to just being with this wonderful family.
 Sarah was so patient with all four kids, as they took (muddy) turns riding.  
(Emma really was excited!)
This shot of Zinash says, "JOY!!"
Murphy (and his muddy knees)
Even YoYo got a turn. (Those were the only boots we could find that day!)

Catch-up Posts: April 2010

~~ APRIL ~~ ~~ APRIL ~~ ~~ APRIL ~~ ~~ APRIL ~~
April brought the blessed celebration of Easter, and we joined the Thompson family again this year. What a blessing to be included like family when we are so far away from the rest of our family.


April started a new phase of spring ball for us -- "Coach Pitch" was a fun venture. Murphy was on a team with several boys from last year's t-ball team. Emma's coach was a real riot... Daddy!! Keith and Chera Thompson teamed up to put a great coach-pitch team of 2nd/3rd grade girls who show great potential... and have fun!


Zinash and I tried to always be stylish at the games this season... when it wasn't raining, or sleeting, or hailing, or thundering. Ugh! We also had a fun afternoon in April when some of the Bergstrom clan joined us for their Gabrial's FIRST haircut -- a la Shelley! He did fine with the clippers, and I helped YoYo's 'do out a little, too.

May certainly earned its own post... click there to see the chaos and fun!

Catch-up Posts: Feb and March 2010

As I sit and absorb the first week of August 2010, my Emma is off on her first solo-trip-by-air, having just landed in Texas to spend time with some grandparents and family.
I realize so much time has passed.
So, if I were to highlight the last 7 months, I'd say whirlwind.
I will add some pics to keep you entertained!
~~ FEBRUARY ~~
Emma and Murphy went back into public school, riding the bus often to Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, about 10 minutes away. M was in an all-day Kinder/1st -- right next door to E, who join the 2nd/3rd grade class.
(above) February 2010 -- Back home after YoYo's 2nd birthday dinner at
Dalo's Ethiopian restaurant in Portland
(below) Emma's 8th bday party at the house


February also took us to Seattle to visit friends I haven't seen since I lived in the Netherlands in 1993!! (see below - we're atop the Space Needle) In from Pennsylvania, Jack and Karen O'Brien were such great pseudo parents when I was overseas -- it was like reconnecting with family! We had fun for the couple of days we were together -- and the kiddos came home with cute handmade pillowcases!
~~ MARCH ~~


In March, my mom treated me and herself to a weekend in Vegas -- a fun, fast getaway. We laughed and walked and laughed some more.
March was full of fun, also, as I took Zinash and two of her friends (and YoYo) to JJ-Jump in Clackamas, OR, for a few hours of fun. (below)
(Trinatee, Zinash and Hailey)