brave turns 09

To celebrate Brave’s last single digit birthday, we did something on the 9th minute of every hour for nine hours. We would all count down the last 10 seconds right before time changed to :09. Our Brave was so giggly and excited to see what the next surprise would be.

8:09- She got her breakfast in bed, as well as a new pack on instax mini film. Ben made her a little grape ant to go with her French toast.

9:09- On her birthday list was a “new watch” because her Timex one had broken. I checked it out, and the battery was just dead, so we replaced her battery, and her watch was working like new again!

10:09- Of course, every birthday has a birthday dress! I made her a denim one (inspired by this dress) and sewed on fun patches in random places, with an 09 to commemorate the occasion.

11:09- She requested a sushi lunch, so that’s what the birthday girl gets. We had some special visitors over for lunch, and we were all so busy chatting, I forgot to take a picture of the kids, who were not as chatty due to the language barrier. The kids created their own California hand rolls and the adults made ahi tuna hand rolls. It was a wonderful afternoon celebrating and chatting away with them.

12:09- A simple request of mechanical pencils was easy to grant.

1:09- With all the swimming they do, a new bathing suit was needed. It was supposed to be for our weekend away, and while we didn’t get out of town for the weekend, she still was able to get some swimming in at what we like to call the Garza Resort (Ben’s cousin’s home).

2:09- This wasn’t on her birthday list, but I knew a reading light would come in handy for her late-night for reading. She had liked this light at IKEA a few months back, so I picked it up for her birthday.

3:09- She wanted a photo album for all the mini instax pictures she takes, so we got her this one.

4:09- The celebration ended with 9 sprinkle donuts and a couple jolly rounds of “Happy Birthday” for our new 9 year old.

Since, we had some friends over for lunch, we all got carried with playing and talking, so we continued the 1:09 and on countdown the very next day. Brave didn’t mind that little adjustment because that meant another day to celebrate her birthday. True (and Ben) started not feeling well the next day, so we had to change our plans from leaving out of town to staying home. We spent all of Saturday in our master bedroom, which we dubbed room 8416 (her birthday is August 4), and Ben made her a hotel key that said, “The Bratcher Comfort Inn,” and we did all the things we normally do at a hotel. Lots of snacking, movie watching, napping whenever, and the only thing we missed out on was the swimming, which we did the very next day at the Garza Resort.

We are so thankful for our Bravey’s sweet heart and her ability to roll with it when he had to change some plans due to some unforeseeable circumstances. I definitely was not as gracious as a child (I was more bratty). When we would ask her what she wanted, her reply was, “I just want to cuddle.” She said cuddling was her favorite thing. Thus, as we watched movies all day long on Saturday, we made sure to do lots of cuddling with her.

Dear Bravey, we love the kind-hearted girl God is growing you into. We are so thankful for your selflessness and how you strive to love others above yourself. We are praying that God continues to open your eyes to understand who Jesus is and what He has done for you.


the big girls are back!

The whole gang is back together again! After six weeks apart, they greeted each other with gigantic smiles and even bigger hugs. I shed happy tears to have our family back together again.

When I was growing up, it was a tradition in my family when someone left on a trip, and then came back home, we made welcome home signs. We’ve continued that on in our own Bratcher family, so Soul, Glow, and I prepared some pictures and banners for True and Brave. Not only did they get a big, exuberant, happy greetings at the airport, but we also made sure our home declared that same message too. We are very happy to have them back home!


our golden hour garden party

True and Brave are going to Texas for the summer, so we wanted to do Father’s Day early since they won’t be here. Ben’s request is a tree and a gardening day, so we spent Saturday gardening with him outside (and I told him we can pick up another tree on actual Father’s Day), and then we surprised him with a garden party at golden hour later that evening. I made herb shrimp capellini with spicy bread crumbs and oatmeal pecan pie for our special dinner. The girls and I set up the dinner table outside, and we had lots of cards, signs, and presents ready for our golden papi.

We themed our celebration around gold/golden, so we picked up some golden accents to decorate our table from Michaels (these are the mercury glass candle holders). The peonies are sitting in some golden glass goblets we picked up at the thrift store awhile back. Then, all our gifts stuck to the theme and had a little corresponding poem on a gold gift tag (similar here).

Golden delicious apple… “You keep us all nutritious, you are as sweet as golden delicious!”

Gold star… “You set a high bar, you deserve a gold star!

Heart of gold (using this I HEART GUTS softie)… “Let the truth be told, Papi, you’ve got a heart of gold!”

Gold medal (made from glitter craft foam)… “You’ll see yourself in record books, for being the #1 Papi, the gold you took!”

Ben is such a treasure as a husband and father and we enjoyed showering him with lots of love.

Supplies provided as part of the Michaels Makers Series. From paper crafts, party goods and baking supplies to new outdoor lighting, glass and floral, Michaels is your DIY destination for all of your summer celebrations.

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for my ten years of motherhood…

On Mother’s Day, the girls, with Ben as the brains behind the operation, surprised me with a little song and dance number. They did their own version of the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and theirs is “Ten Years of Motherhood.” I was chilling in bed that afternoon and they came upstairs to perform their mini show. My favorite part was the 4 booties shaking. Every time they hit that line, they’d all turn around and do a good shaking. These girls are so cute!

What did I get exactly?  1 giant rubber plant tree… well, I have to go pick it out).  2 peanut butter bananas… yum. 3 ice cream adventures… we were supposed to do it that day, but Ben was sick, so I get to cash in later. 4 shaking booties… so funny! 5 wood floored rooms… we are changing out all the carpet upstairs for wood floors. 6 breaks from motherhood… I have to put that to good use. 7 Mother’s Day cards… I love their handmade gifts. 8 hugs and kisses… lots from each girl. 9 salted caramels… I got a bag full of salted caramel chocolates. 10 hip hop ab workouts... I love my Cize workout videos and can’t wait to try this one out too.

Ben created the art work (from this picture) and had the girls draw on each one. He told me he had the song planned out as “Twelve Years of Motherhood,” but True told him, “Papi, mommy has only been a mom for 10 years.” Nice catch, True.

Right before going to bed, I freaked out and started crying because they are growing up. Suddenly, this all feels too fast with already having 10 years of parenting under my belt. True is 10 and that means her leaving us is not too far from now. I was crying and asking Ben if we could have two more. LOL. He lovingly said, “No, we are already having a hard time with 4.” That is true, but all I could think of are all the missed opportunities and how badly I wanted to rewind and do it all over again. I was in panic mode and wanted to freeze time (or rewind), but certainly not move forward.

True and Brave are becoming such little ladies and I feel the teen years creeping up on us. Every one tells you, “Enjoy it now because it will be over soon.” But when I’m up to my neck in all the chaos and craziness of having little ones, I struggle with the enjoy it now part. It’s true though, it feels like it will be over in a blink of an eye.

My motherhood resolution for my 11th year of mothering … more hugs, kisses, and stopping for chats, especially about grace and gospel.


true’s 10 before 10 bucket list

True wrote a 10 before 10 bucket list of things she wanted to do before she hit double digits. Las Vegas was our backdrop for the adventure, and we took a Fuji Instax picture every time she accomplished something on her list. Then, she would put each picture in a little instax photo album we got her. It’s a sweet little book of memories.

1. Try a new fruit… she tried mulberries. Verdict: She loved it (we all did) and Ben plans to plant a mulberry bush.

2. Try a pinball machine… so we visited the Pinball Hall of Fame.

3. Go to Target and get an animal floatie for Glow. She really wanted to pick out something for Glow to swim with.

4. Try Milky Way… she loved it!

5. Angleland. Since we’ve been studying angles and reading the Sir Cumference stories, she wanted to go to Angleland (this medieval castle is the closest we could get).

6. Try a new ice cream flavor… she picked strawberry lemonade and red bean ice cream from Ice Pan. You pick your milk (we chose non-fat), your flavor, and they mix it right in front of you in an ice pan. The harder they beat it, the creamier it gets.

7. Play mini golf. We played it at the Adventuredome in Circus Circus. This was all of their first times playing mini golf and they all had a blast.

8. Try a new vegetable… she picked endive. Verdict: She loved it!

9. Try Turkish Delight. The girls are reading through the Chronicles of Narnia with Ben, so it got her curious about Turkish Delight.

10. Meet Princess Leia. This was the most difficult thing on her bucket list. We were hoping to see someone dressed up as Leia on the Vegas strip, but there was no one (at least not when we were walking around). Ben and I had to go to plan B and using the funny movie maker app, so we had Princess Leia send her a birthday message.

Her bucket list made for a fun birthday adventure, and she was so excited every time was able to cross things off her bucket list. We also noticed it made her more adventurous and she would try foods she would otherwise say no to (she had ginger, tapatio, and wasabi for the first time too!). This celebration is exactly how True wanted to ring in the double digits.


may the fourth

The girls were excited for Star Wars Day to finally come around. Of course, they dressed up in their costumes (True did later). We made Star Wars macaroni and cheese, Han Solo jello (though his face kind of got stuck in the mold), and they drew their favorite characters. These kids of mine are such Star Wars geeks. A friend was grilling them with all these Star Wars questions and they got every single one right. They knew things like where is Obi-Wan from to what costume is worn where, and lots of other things I don’t definitely don’t know.

By the way, isn’t Glow’s Yoda drawing so cute?!


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