my peeps

I love photo boothin’ with my peeps. We will continue to try to keep squeezing into one for as long as we can (even if it’s only an ear or forehead that’s makes it in the photo). This was taken at our trip to the OC Fair this year.

I’ve never been a mushy, super attached, sentimental mom, at least not for these first 10 years. But after True hit that 10 mark, I’ve become much more mushy and emotional about parenting. Suddenly, I get it. The days really are long, but the years feel short, and that it’s going to end soon. I’ve known that. People tell me that often, but now I really feel it. I want to rewind and do all the years all over again, even all the hard parts.

Ben and I feel the time crunch to redeem our time with them wisely, and to keep impressing upon them grace and the gospel. First though, it starts with us. We need to be savoring Jesus and worshiping God in our own lives. If it’s not evident to them that Jesus is our all, it certainly won’t want them to make Jesus their all.

I love my peeps. I treasure them and I thank God for giving me an opportunity to love and mother them (and have Ben as my teammate). I’m a not a perfect mother, and my list of shortcomings is miles long, but I’m thankful that my failures point me to Jesus, and through them I can talk to my kids about Jesus and what He’s done for me (and for them).

Looking at these pictures, I see my 4 little loves who are image bearers of God. I praise God for the gifts they are, even if they drive me nuts sometimes (I drive them nuts sometimes too), but these 4 girls teach me to savor and love Jesus more.


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 oc fair tradition ’16

We’ve got 10 years of this tradition under our belt, and the only reason we go to the fair is to keep this tradition going. We love the photo booth, and we make sure to get a photo of our family taken outside of it when we are done. It’s been the same lady manning it for the last several years (and the one who takes this family photo) and she always remembers us. She says, “That’s right! The family with all girls!” Here are some things I noticed about this newest family photo versus the previous years…

Glow is wearing the striped dress that Soul wore in 2013 and 2015, and True wore in 2012.

Ben is wearing the same exact outfit from last year. The shorts are covered up by the girls, but they are indeed the same ones. Therefore, it’s the same shorts 4 years in a row.

While his clothes never change, his hair does.

True’s the one wearing glasses now. Hers are prescription versus Brave’s faux glasses from the previous years.

Second year in a row, no baby in our arms. That’s cause we are out of the baby stage for good (at least as far as our plans are). Glow makes sure we all know she is the baby for life.

The girls are wearing no hats this year.

I’m always standing to the left of Ben; I like this side better. lol

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



birthday creating over here

The girls have been busy making birthday presents for Brave. Getting sick yesterday threw my projects off a bit, but I got back on track today. The girls have this long list of handmade presents they plan to make, but I’m trying to tell them to slow down and not stress about making her a lot of things. These girls are really serious about handmade presents. I helped with one thing (it involved sewing), but everything else is their own creation. They go to town crafting presents, and I allow them to use whatever supplies they want in my office (sometimes I regret it later), but the main rule is that they must clean up after themselves.

I’ll share their final creations once they are given to the birthday girl.


sneaking in a sweet date

Ben and I got to sneak in a little date on Saturday. My parents had the girls for the weekend because Ben and I had a wedding to attend Saturday evening. Actually, our date kind of started at 5am Saturday morning. We woke up early to have a little gardening date together before it got too hot. We are in the process of turning our front lawn into a drought tolerant one. We took a break at 8am to go to the Modernica factory sale to pick up a light, and then we came home right after to get more work done on our lawn. It was super hot by this time, but we kept taking lots of breaks to hydrate and rest. We took out about half of the grass and still have another half left to go until we are completely grass free.

We called it quits around 1:30pm and headed inside to get ready for the wedding. After being dirty and dusty from all the yard work, I think we cleaned up pretty nicely. I played florist for the wedding and made all the bouquets and boutonnieres for the bridal party (see bride’s bouquet here), so after we dropped off all the flowers, we headed to my favorite ice cream spot for our little date. A la Minute was only 5 minutes away from the wedding venue (and we had extra time before the wedding started), so stopping for ice cream was a must.

Ben and I ordered a medium salted caramel (he think we should have done the small, but I always go for the medium). We found a nice shaded bench outside and happily savored our ice cream (and time) together. This guy doesn’t really care much for sweets, but he does have a weak spot for this ice cream. While I’m sweet on ice cream, I’m extra sweet on my Benny.

I’m thankful for the covenant of marriage with Ben, a little alone time together, and for ice cream. All sweet things.

on me: jumpsuit, gap (similar here). heels, banana republic (from over 10 years ago, sometimes it is still worth it to save things). yellow slides, banana republic. 1940′s collapsible bamboo purse, ebay (another available here and here). on ben: top and pants, j. crew mercantile. vintage tie.


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!


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