summer’s end

Well, it’s the end of summer and back-to-homeschooling on Monday. EEK! Most of the summer was spent at home or swimming, with little adventures strewn in throughout. It was a pretty chill summer, and here we are about to enter our 7th (7!) year of homeschooling. I’m excited and nervous… or as my girls would say, “I’m nervousited!” I have big plans for this school year, and it will take work to juggle homeschooling, craft styling gigs, and Wovenfolk, mixed in with regular life and church life stuff, but I am up for the challenge.

The goal is to get back to waking up at 5am to get in my personal quiet time, exercise, and some work time in before the school day starts at 8. I have my schedule for the girls almost figured out and I have to finish lesson planning this weekend.

Summer, you’ve been great. I’ll miss you and I look forward to seeing you again (Lord willing) next year. 

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our mini garage sale

Ben and I are donate people and haven’t really tried out hosting our own garage sale, but one of our neighbors/friends was having one, and she thought it would be a great idea if everyone joined in, so we did! There were 3 of us in our cul-de-sac that set up shop on our driveway. Funnily enough, Ben had some company pick up all our donations the day before, but they turned down baskets (not the WOVENFOLK type) and books, so that’s all we had to sell (and a rack of his suits). The girls and I baked chocolate chip cookies the day before, so that was really the bread and butter of our garage sale.

They were so excited about the garage sale that they hurriedly ate breakfast, so they could set up shop. They divided up the responsibilities, so Soul and Brave handled the cookies (with food safe gloves), True did the money, and Glow she was in charge of marketing by yelling, “COOKIES!” as people passed. Well, I think she’s not a marketing girl because she called it quits pretty quickly and just sat on the ground while the sisters did the grunt work. Business was a little slow at first, but then it picked up, and the girls were so excited about their customers. We sold a couple books and most of the baskets, one suit, and most of the cookies. We talked about capital, Ben and I gave it to them as their first investors, and they had to take care of giving change and figuring it all out. None of us Bratcher girls are quite fond of math, but I think they saw how important of a skill it is when it comes to running a business. In the end, they came out with 17 and change, and they told me and Ben that we could keep it to get our computers fixed. *heart swell* Well, we ended up letting them keep it and divide it amongst themselves, and I think the girls have been bitten with the entrepreneurial bug. Next up, lemonade stand!

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the OC fair tradition ’17

This was our 11th trip to the OC Fair and we keep going just to take these pictures and use the photo booth. Upon arrival at our usual spot, we were bummed out to see that they switched the booths out into digital booths (bring back film please!). The lady, who takes our photo every year (and I’m facebook friends with now), let us know they’re slowly switching over to digital. They still had some film booths at the fair, but not at our usual spot, so we took our family photo here, and headed to the other ares for the film photo booth. Here are some things I noticed about this newest family photo versus the previous years…

Ben and I are both wearing denim like last year.

Brave has had her hair up 3 years in a row.

They are standing in descending order this year.

This year there are no outfit repeats from the previous year (though you can’t see, but Ben is wearing the same camo shorts like in the previous 4 years).

I’m still always standing to the left of Ben.

The baby, Glow, is always closest to me.

Ben’s hair is really long.

Anything stand out to you regarding this year’s photo? Read last year’s comparison’s here.

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summer of swim

We are so thankful that Ben’s cousin’s have a pool and it’s pretty much at our disposal anytime we want (and they spoil them with big fun floaties and water toys). Thus, we’ve been taking full advantage of it! The girls are all great swimmers, so it’s nice that I don’t have to worry so much about them. I’m not much of  in the pool person (and I’m not a very good swimmer), so I would much rather lounge by the pool. While the girls swim, I read books, catch up on emails, and when it gets to hot, I’ll sit on the edge and soak my legs and feet. If the girls had it their way, we’d be at their house every single day, but I have to remind them that I have other responsibilities to tend to, so we can’t be there all day every day. Oh to be a kid again!

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summer of four


Our summer of four is coming to an end, and we will soon be reunited with the big girls, and get to relish the rest of summer as a family of six. We spent our last night as four picnicking at the park, and asking Soul and Glow what their highs and lows for their summer has been so far. Their highs involve swimming, two kid weekend, and baking. Their lows involved getting bitten by Glow (Soul) and fighting with each other. They didn’t have very many fights, and I can only think of a couple instances that I had to step in to referee. When it’s just the two little ones the dynamic in our home changes so much, as does our grocery budget and the amount of dishes we use daily. The time went by so fast, and I feel like we didn’t do much (not as much as last summer), but I think it’s due to this intense heatwave we’ve been having. We pretty much swim or try to cool off with milkshakes and a movie. We’ve had plenty of movie afternoons. Thankfully, we still have another month of summer-ing, and hopefully more adventures before we have to get back to the grind.

The big girls texted us pictures of the farewell luau party they were having with Ben’s mom and sister. It’s especially sweet to see the last hurrah they are doing a few states away. I know they are excited to be reunited with us, but we all have to endure a water show before the excitement of being back home kicks in. They truly enjoy their time in Texas and goodbyes are always hard for them. They are California girls, but with Texas hearts.

The sweetest thing about this time is the intentional time we get to give Soul and Glow. With four kids, pretty much back to back, it’s hard to give one on one attention, and this allows for that. It also allows room for Soul and Glow to step it up. We see a more nurturing side of Soul when she’s the head honcho, and we also see Glow get more involved in the chores instead of trying to pull the “I’m a baby” card. Soul and Glow also get an opportunity to forge a stronger bond together; it’s so sweet to see them play and make crafts together. They direct their days instead of True or Brave telling them what to do. It’s a time of growth for the little ones when they’re here with us, and a time of growth for the big ones as they learn away from us.

We are looking for the big girls to come (and we miss them a lot), but I must admit, it’s so much easier with two kids than four (I think I haven’t yelled in five weeks). When you’re used to four, 2 kids is a cake walk. But like Ben and I discussed tonight, so much of my short-temperedness comes from my lack of dependence on God and me trying to do it on my own. Raising children, no matter how many and what age, calls for a complete dependence on God. It’s in my letting go and letting God where I can see how to best disciple and love my daughters. So True, Brave, Soul, and Glow… bring it on, so I can keep learning how much I need God.

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how we fourth


“Freedom is a privilege given to those willing to obey.”

That was something I read as a child, so I don’t remember the author, but it kind of stuck with me. Freedom certainly has a cost. The freedom I treasure the most is not my freedom as a U.S. citizen, but freedom from my own sin. I once was bondaged to my own desires, but now for to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. This freedom cost my Savior His life. In return, through repentance and faith, I am covered in His righteousness and can freely enjoy God in and through all. I am free.

This day is a reason to celebrate. This country, with all it’s complexities, is my home (for now). I am thankful. To celebrate, we happily indulged in a Filipino seafood fest and had halo-halo for desert. My parents home is under construction, so our home was the hub for this year’s festivities. There was much eating, chess playing, and napping that occurred all afternoon long.

I’m thankful for the freedom I get to experience in this country, but mostly, I’m thankful that Jesus freed me from my own sin.

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