Monday, December 8, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

This thanksgiving was one of the best I ever remember even though it didn't all go as planned. We were supposed to go to OKC for the first part of the trip but on Thursday Allie was running a 104 and after a trip to the Doctor was diagnosed with The flu. 

We decided to just leave Wednesday and go to Tulsa for a family Thanksgiving. My brother & sister and all there families got to come as well as my dad's sister, her husband, grandson, & her son and wife. Of course Grandma & Grandpa Bell were there! We ate a lot and just hung out! The kiddos had a blast playing together.

 There was lots of rocking chair time with Meme.
And of course the big kids were able to talk Meme into some shopping at Rue21! 

 Emilia & Hudson had there first cousin bath! 

Emilia had her first sit up bath! 

We got to see cousin Axel as well! 

We got to meet Laura & Aaron's Addison and the big girls got to join Aaron's family for their Tradtional Friday-after-thanksgiving-coco-&-Rhema-lights tradition. I am so thankful for Laura being so intentional about maintaining her relationship with the girls and Aaron and his family for being so welcoming and great to Chloe & Allie! 

My parents requested that we all take a new family pic together so we had a little photo session that went remarkably well even though we never got a pic of all the grand kids smiling at the same time. 

We headed home Sunday and made it back in about 9 hours with just a little traffic and of course lunch at Braums! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Dear Chloe, 
Wow! 15! I can't believe I have been your mom that long. You are an amazing girl who has a heart for the broken, lonely, & outcast. Your love for music is exciting to see. When you play I can see you instantly relax and smile a smile that only comes when you are truly at peace. This last year has been probably the most difficult in our relationship. We have definatly had a lot of growing pains.  You have always been a patient child that is instantly forgiving of my mom mistakes. I will say although it's been hard, I think this year has also helped our relationship grow and given us the opportunity to reconnect and learn from each other. You have worked so hard this year to overcome so much change and have begun the healing process for hurts in your life. I am so very proud of you. At church, you have blossomed into an amazing leader and have turned your life experiences into ministry by embracing those who are new and those with similar struggles you have and do face. You are an amazing big sister and you have really made a HUGE effort to get along better with Allie. You are so good with Emilia! You know how to make her smile and can calm her with your music talent when she is inconsolable by anything else. In four short years,  you will be an adult. I hope these next few years we continue to grow our relationship, make lots of fun memories, and when hard times come we can trust each other's hearts to know we want the best for each other. Most of all I love love is unconditional. Just like God is with us, I hope you know there is nothing you can do to make me love you more and nothing you can do to make me love you less. 

Love, Mom

This year Chloe had a slumber party with girls from church. We also discovered that our new friends that just moved here from South Africa had a Chloe that has a birthday close to our Chloe's so we decided to have a party for both Chloe's. 

She also asked for a long board for her birthday! I think the smile in this pic says how she feels about it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

End of summer and ANOTHER new beginning

Honestly, it feels like we survived summer. There were a lot of ups and downs that we worked through. We had a great vacation and we continued to adjust to a new city and a new way of family life that comes with a baby. On August 25th both Chloe and Allie started new chapters in their education journey. For the first time in 8 yrs no one in our house is in elementary. Chloe started High school & Allie has started Middle School. 

Chloe wants little help from me and is very independent. I can see Allie headed that way but there are still glimpses of the young girl. She still likes hearted-shaped PB&Js 

& still needs me at times. The young adolescent girl has started using face wash, has started straightening her hair, & is feeling self-conscious about changing in gym class. 

They both had a good first day. Allie's electives are choir and gym. In her other classes, she is in advanced classes and LOVES school and homework. Chloe's electives are Spanish, gym, & audio visual film. Chloe has had a rough few days since the first day. She only knows one person in one of her classes. It's so hard to watch her hurt. The fixer in me wants to make her see all the good like that one friend, she has friends to eat lunch with, & she has a ton of friends at church but I am trying just to empathize and sympathize with her pain. So, today I am praying extra hard for God to send her a friend and to lift the cloud and loneliness and sadness that seems to be following her around like the cloud that follows Eor. 

Emilia and I are adjusting to our new schedule. She is big enough now to sit in the high hair and watch me make breakfast. 

Then she takes a morning nap after everyone is off to school & work. Then we do a revolving schedule of eat, play, & nap until time to go get big sisters from school. The other day I was able to catch this precious after school moment. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The last year has seen a lot of change to our family. We have moved twice, added a new member, new schools, new church, and a new dynamtic with me now staying at home. It has been a tough year to say the least. Things seem to get better and then it seems we take a few steps back. I will be honest and say this has been the toughest year as a mom. Trying to navigate the teen and preteen landscape has proved difficult and exhausting. Especially with Chloe,it feels like a lot of heart and pain in her life has began to surface. Watching her struggle is gut wrenching for me as a mom when there is little I can do to help with it. Allie has struggled a lot with anxiety especially with the second move which is exhausting to watch. As a mom this last year, a lot of times I have felt powerless and of course I feel guilt a lot of times. I know there are things I have done right but looking back I find myself saddened by the fact that after the trauma of a divorce I was emotionally unavailable to my girls for years. Simple things like hugs and emotion were void of me. I am very thankful for people who were able to step in and help with that but I can't help but wonder what impact this has had on them. All I want for my girls is for them to love God and put Him first. I try very hard to model that but I am not always successful. Often times, I feel very much  the only spiritual parent and feel like I am always negotiating and convincing the importance of church matters. I know my girls are loved by so many of God's people and for that I am grateful. I guess I am feeling weary as a mom today & felt it therapeutic to write it out. I cling to my Christian music so much during these times and in this season the song that brings rivers of tears is "Blessed be your name":

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say

Monday, August 4, 2014

Montana Memories

To be honest, when Misa suggested a trip to Montana that was 3 days in a car there and 3 days in a car back... I was not that excited about the trip but it was so worth it. 

We discovered the first day that E wasn't too excited about her carseat! Pretty much if she wasn't sleeping she was crying. We stopped off in OKC for Claudia and Axel's shower and then we were off to Kansas for the night. 

The next day we headed to Mount Rushmore where we had ice cream and then headed down to the quaint little town of Keystone for a little shopping! 

Mount Rushmore and Keystone were full of bikers on their was to Sturgis for the epic annual bikers rally! The next day we headed to the first ever national monument called Devils tower! 

After lunch there we headed for our finally destination of Bozeman, Montana. 
Grandpa Brazle celebrated his 90th birthday this year and with Paul and Carol here on furlough from Belgium, it worked out for all the siblings to be there this summer. The oldest, Aunt Mindy, lives on top of a mountain about 20 mins from Bozeman, MT. Aunt Mindy is an amazing woman of God who has a profound love and respect for His creation. She rises early to greet the sun coming over the mountains and always has a smile and is excited for the day! 

Allie had a blast learning about her medicine wheel and sunrise greetings! All in all, there were probably close to 35 people coming and going. Between "Spirit Lodge" (Aunt Mindy's place), 2 other cabins, and 2 teepees (Allie got to spend the night with Aunt Mindy in it!) everyone found a place to fall at night. 

We had a cabin with Pete and Janine, and Paul and Carol. Being an Oklahoma girl, I have not had the opportunity to be around mountains much so to say I was in awe was an understatement. Mountain living is simple. Not a lot of phone signal and in and out internet. We spent mornings on the porch talking with coffee and breakfast in the cool morning air and most afternoons at Aunt Mindy's in a game of musical camping chairs as people were in and out from naps, sandwhich making, hikes, & airport arrivals! 

We had some impromptu sing-a-longs with guitars and Ukuleles! 

Allie really enjoyed getting to know her Candian Cousins, Ayla & Liam. 

Aunt Mindy took advantage of the extra muscles and had some rocks moved and a tree cut down to improve her view of "The Crazies" (a mountain range). 

Emilia was like a different baby! She must have loved the mountain air because all she did was sleep in the moby and eat! Princess Fussy-pants disappeared! Although, she seemed to reappear pretty much the moment we crossed the Texas state line! Somewhere in her there must be some of Uncle Mark's blood! He can be a "princess fussy-pants" when it comes to Texas as well! 

We also got to head into town a few nights to Main Street. One night they had "Bozeman Bites" where 45 food vendors set up in the street and they lined the middle of the streets with tables and chairs! 
Misa and I enjoyed steak sandwiches and a Huckleberry smoothie!  The next night was the music festival. We ate at the quaint little food coop with Pete, Janine, Mark, & Jill! I made an amazing salad from there awesome salad bar and homemade salad dressing! 

On Friday we had Grandpa's big birthday bash at the church building. Emilia had a fever and ear infection so we didn't stay the entire time but we got to see the play of Grandpa's favorite book the "Legend of Indian Paintbrush"! 

 Allie directed with all the grands and great-grands!  There was also a video showed of all the family who was not able to be there. And of course no Brazle time is complete without lots of singing! 

I don't know how to be in an amazing place such as the mountains outside Bozeman and not feel closer to my God! The first day I spent my quiet time reading over verses to do with mountains. Needless to say, I have left Montana feeling refreshed and renewed. 

On the way home we drove through the Yellowstone and TeeTon National Parks! It was a cool 75 degrees and we got to see lots of Bison and amazing views before stopping in our Meme's place of birth, Rwalins, Wy for the night! 

About an hour after we got to the hotel Allie managed to throw up on both beds, the nightstand, Chloe's glasses & her shoes. Allie had caught the "Brazle Bug of 2014". At last count, 25 or the 35 people had been sick in the last 4 days. The victims of the bug could be spoted laying around next to bowls. 

The next day we slept too late and then got up. After pumping Allie full of Dramamine we headed for our next destination, Amarillo Texas! And of course about 1:30 am we were awoke by the sound of the Brazle Bug's latest victim, Chloe! We piled in the car about 9 am to make a mad dash for home only stopping for gas, bathroom breaks, and food for those who wanted it. We made it home in 10 hours flat and just in time for Misa to come down with the bug. 

Needless to say it was a vacation to remember! Hahaha 
On the way home, Misa kept asking if I thought the landscaping was pretty as we drove through Colorado and I found myself comparing everything to the breath-taking views I saw in Montana and Yellowstone! I think Montana now has a very special place in my heart! 

Upon being away for a few days, I have also discovered that I have fallen in love more with the Brazle Brunch and their spontaneity! I am proud to be part of such a great family of faith! 

P.S. I must give a serious shout out to Auntie Marilyn! Most of these photos were hers! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Feeding Emilia

Let me be honest here... I have never been successful at breast feeding for lots of different reasons with each girl. However, I have finally found a way to feed Emilia and not feel like a failure as a woman. Apparently, there is a number of women who exclusive pump (EP) for their children!
 It is like I found what fits me best as a mom. There are pros and cons just like any which way you choose to feed your child. Basically I pump every 3 hours and once during the night (most nights). 
I have found a group on Facebook that has been a great encouragement & full of great information. Now at times in this group there are a few fanatics

 but I have learned so much about how to increase my milk, lactation cookie recipes, issues other moms have had, & we all celebrate with a mom no matter if a mom chooses EP for 6 weeks or 12 months! I don't know how long I will do it as with the rest of my life I am taking it one day at a time! And yes there are some days she gets formula and I am ok with that and finally don't feel like I have failed! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Month of Family Visits

Well, today I am one month old! 

It's has been an exciting month! I guess I am a pretty big deal because lots of people have been around to hold me, feed me, burp me, & change me! The guest who stayed the longest was my abuelita!! 

She stayed a whole month! I am gonna miss being with her in the early morning hours while mommy gets a few hours of sleep. She also kept the house really clean and did my big sisters chores! 

My meme stayed the first week of my life and Punkie stayed a few days. 

My uncle Matt and aunt Lori live close so I got to see them and my cousin Adley a lot. Aunt Lori is growing my next cousin and has been on bed rest for about a week now but we have gone over to see her & my cousin Adley some. 

I got to meet my Aunt Heather and cousins Ava & Rhett one afternoon! And my cousin Adley's Papa. I am not sure if he is my family but it feels like somehow we are! It was great fun! 

My honey and papi came from Michigan 
and my Aunt Joni came from Oklahoma. 

They got to only stay a few days but it was nice to be constantly held and  loved on and to stay up until 12:30am a few nights and visit with my honey while mommy got some rest as well!

My Tia Claudia and Uncle Kurt also made the trip here to see me! 

Tia Claudia is also growing me another cousin so I am going to have lots of cousin to play with! 

My sisters, mom, & dad are also getting used to me being around. My dad and I usually have some one on one time until midnight or so and then I get to spend time with mama! 

My sister Allie likes to change my diapers ( but only the wet ones) and dress me! My sister Chloe is great at holding me while mom gets food ready for me! 

My fur brothers have been quite curious about me but so far they have only gotten a few licks in before mama tells them "Just smells, no kisses!" We often all take naps together!

All in all I really like it here and apparently I have great hair because everyone is always talking about it!