14 months!

I watched a few adoption videos this week that were not related to anyone I know… I got so engrossed in them that before I snapped back into my reality I felt the old pang of sadness that I used to get when I thought adoption wasn’t a possibility for our family.  Within a few milliseconds I realized that we had in fact already adopted!  That this is our reality and we are living in the beautiful-messy world that we have always had a heart for.

Anna is brilliant.  She is learning new words every day and is up to about 20 that she can say, though not all are associated with an object. (Hot and cold, for example, she repeats after us but we’re not sure she knows what they mean.)  She can do lots of signs and typically says the word while she signs it (though she hasn’t said milk she has a very cute full-body danced to go along with the traditional sign for milk).

She enjoys eating bananas which must be enjoyed on the same day as some type of prune dish… I’ll leave that for you to figure out.  Let’s just say that there are troubles in diaper-land if she has one without the other. Anna loves water.  Wa-wer.

This child is a climber.  We’ve had to purchase an indoor slide for her in an attempt to keep her off the tv stand.  Since we bought it 10 days ago she’s only attempted to scale the tv stand once.  I’d say that’s a success!  She also enjoys the swing we bought her… we got a pink one just because we can!

Our princess is a ham and knows how to please a crowd.  People still stop us in stores to ohh-and-ahh over her.  Our dentist’s administration staff adores her and loves to watch the bigs with her.  (Benchmark Family Dental will schedule all five of us on the same day so we rotate out of two different hygienists’ chairs.)  During the time I’m back getting a cleaning, some of the brothers are in the lobby watching her.  I had to go back today for two fillings (I know… I know.  At least none of the kids had cavities).  The hygienist and the office staff stopped me before I left to tell me how awesome the kids are and how much they adored watching the boys with her.  They said they could see the genuine love they have for Anna… they watched them without them knowing.  Makes me proud of them for being good to Anna, and it warms my heart that others can see in public what I see in private.

Anna is approaching the line of putting everything in her mouth.  She used to put everything in there… now we’re down to only a few things a day.  This is giving me great joy because now I can sit out in the back yard and let her roam freely.  Only once has she eaten a clod of dirt.  That’s a success, people.


She is still a great sleeper.  She does need her paci given back to her once a night or so, but doesn’t wake fully… she’s got us  wrapped around her little finger.  We never did that with the boys, but don’t tell them.  (Actually, it’s our fault from the start.  We never let the boys have pacifiers in the crib because we didn’t want to start that habit but with Anna, for some reason we were not able to say no.  She loved her paci from the first and since we had that week or so we weren’t sure everything was going to turn out the way it did, we didn’t want to do anything too drastic.  So, she wanted that paci, she got it!  One positive… it seems as if she uses it less during the day than the boys did so I guess it’s a trade-off.  One we’re happy to make.)

Mama Kim and I are still communicating weekly, for the most part.  It fluctuates between weekly and every-other-week.  I hope to be able to visit her in the summer when the kids and I drive to the east coast.  I am so blessed by our relationship… so glad she’s willing to stay connected with us.

I have at least 45 other blog posts floating around in my mind but I am going to leave this one as-is.  I’ll add a few pictures below and write some more posts later.  I’ll close my blog by asking you to keep us informed if you know someone who is considering placing the child she’s carrying for adoption.  I have two great families who are waiting to adopt and I would LOVE to share their stories with anyone who would be interested in considering them.

Blessings!
~Jennifer

 

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NC – Summer 2017

Last Monday (a week ago) the boys and I were feverishly packing the van to head to NC three days early. We cancelled a few things that were on our calendar for the week so we could get a head start on our long drive. 
Our friends have been moving away slowly but surely over the past year and a half and we had to drive right past one of these sweet families! Of course, that meant we had to stop by and we appreciated the opportunity to rest our heads in their home for the night.


 
The next day was momentous: Chick-Fil-A’s “Dress like a cow” day… We stopped at the nearest Wal-mart and purchased a package of vinyl letters and spelled out two messages on our shirts:
“Eat More Chikn” and “Cow sez moo.”
 
The first CFA we came to was a little out of our way in West Monroe, LA. They were so impressed with our idea that they rang the large cow-bell!
Our second CFA was in another state… Alabama, perhaps? They, too, enjoyed our “costumes” and we ate again, for free!
We stopped at a Barnes and Noble for an hour to let Anna run around and for the boys to buy their souvenirs. (When you’re visiting the state you’re from you really don’t need souvenirs, so a book for each kid is a great way to spend a few dollars.)
 

Our hotel in Alabama had an indoor pool which we made good use of to get our wiggles out and tire us enough for a good night’s sleep. And we did sleep well that night.
 
The next morning we got on the road and, for the first time, made it through Atlanta in a decent amount of time. We were in stand-still traffic for only about 30 minutes. Best time yet!


 
We met up with the Ramsey Family at our old stompin’ grounds: Gardner-Webb University. This is where Anna and I first met and it just so happened that Olivia was attending a Volleyball Camp so in order for us to get to see her, we had to meet there.
 


After some fun catching up we got back on the road. We were excited to eat at a Cook-out after being away from this delectable treat for so long and even more happy about it when we found out Anna and Logan were able join us.
 
We then drove to my parents’ town.  When we were 40 minutes out I called my brother to see if he wanted in on the surprise.
 
We met up at the gas station in their town (yes… I said “the”) and drove to my parents’ house. Their driveway is long and gravel and they know the sound of a car on it so we pulled in just far enough to get out of the street and I sent a few back-to-back texts:

We decided to get a head start:

 
I then sent pictures of every state line we crossed, followed by this one of us with my brother and his family standing in my parents’ driveway: 

We may have thrown them for a bit of a loop as it takes a bit to prepare for a group of six people to come and stay with you for a few weeks, but they rolled with it and we’ve had a blast.
 
Getting there a few days early gave the kids and me some down time before we start the next few legs of our trip… which start today. (More on that later.) Had we left when we originally planned we would have arrived, then had only 48 hours of rest before the busy legs of the trip began.
 
Thursday we spent avoiding the car (we were done with the car!) and riding four-wheelers. 


Friday, more of the same, except the bigs did some yard work for Papa to earn some spending money.

Saturday we had “Christmas in July without the presents.” Mom hosted the family with a BIG Christmas brunch and we ate our family’s traditional foods to our heart’s content.
That afternoon my aunt and uncle on mom’s side came to dinner and it was so nice to introduce Anna to them!

Throughout this entire week Parker and my nephew, Mason, have been inseparable. They are the cutest little things!!  My niece, Madison, has really enjoyed being the “big kid” for a change, feeding Anna and helping out when she can. 


 
Sunday we skipped church to rest. None of us could have made it to church if we wanted to! A friend of ours from way back when I was homeschooled came out to meet my kids and reminisce about old times. Anna adored her and entertained us all with Beverly’s glasses!


A few of the boys took rides on Papa’s new motorcycle and as he was about to put the Harley away for the night, asked if I’d like a ride. The sun was setting, the air was perfect, and I couldn’t turn that offer down! When we got home I glanced at the clock and was absolutely stunned to realize we had been gone an hour. It literally felt like 15 minutes. Time really does fly when you’re having fun!


Monday we took the kids to a park giving Anna her first true moments of freedom since we left home. There really isn’t a good place for her to roam safely here so we have to be right on top of her. 

 (She’s even managed to master escaping from her pack-n-play!) Being at a park and watching her play with dirt and walk where she wanted to walk was so delightful that I hated to end the fun… but the rest of the people (including myself) were hungry… we were breaching hangry. 
We may or may not have eaten Cook-out again (and this wasn’t just the second time… I shall not reveal the accurate number of times we enjoyed their food while on this vacation).
After a run through Wal-mart I got my littles home and resting and made the bigs clean the bonus room (the room that they pretty much take over while we’re here). For the first time this week, Mom, Ashley, and I got to sit and chat with no interruption. These precious moments lasted all of 30 minutes… maybe. And then it was time to get the crew dressed and ready to go swimming!
Last week at our hotel Bailey taught Parker how to dive and Parker’s actually really good!
 
Today we head on the second major part of our journey: the kids and I are leaving this part of NC and heading to visit Daddy’s side of the family. We are very excited to see Grammy again and we simply can’t wait to meet our new cousin Lincoln! We wanted to get here to meet him when he was first born but we simply couldn’t get away in the spring! I can’t wait to see Anna loving on the younger cousin!
 
We have a third part of the journey that begins on Friday: we are heading to Virginia to see Mama Kim and Anna’s half-siblings. There are going to be many hours spent in cars over the next 2 weeks and we know the driving time will be worth the experiences we will have, but we do covet your prayers as we travel.
 
The final leg of our journey takes us back to Matt… we all miss him and wish he were on this trip with us! 

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Help Grow the Adams Family!!

Moms, I bet you’ve met another mom about whom you thought:  “I wish I were as kind as she is.”  Or patient.  Or friendly.  Or gentle.  Pick your adjective.

I have met several of those but I happened to be neighbors with one who matched all of the above all the time.  She, even when tired, even in the middle of a deployment, even when her house was the filled to the brim with neighborhood kids, was kind, patient, friendly, and gentle.  Sometimes you meet people like this and you are positive it’s a facade.  In the case of Breanna Adams, I can assure you, she is all of those things and more.

_JEN8348The best way I can put it is that she is genuine.

This post isn’t just about Breanna, although I relate to her most because we both love our jobs as mom and enjoy homeschooling our kids.  The whole family is precious and I can not begin to tell you how excited I am that they are in the process of adopting a child.

Their marriage is first under God, their kids are next, and their ministry is after these things.  They are a strong family and any child welcomed into their home will be entering a warm, loving, and secure environment.  They love deeply…

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Breanna and I have talked about the fact that their family has always dreamed of adopting someday and I watched them rejoice with our family as we walked through our own adoption adventure.  They supported us in numerous ways – the most special way included prayer as we were in the first stages when things could change in an instant. They prayed for Mama Kim to have peace in her choice to place Anna in our home and those prayers have been answered.  They prayed for Anna to bond instantly with our whole family and she has a unique and rich relationship with each one of us.

They even prayed with us when we knew we wanted to adopt but didn’t think it was possible and the grief was overwhelming.  Let me back up a bit and tell you a very short story from our adoption journey:

In August of 2015 Matt came to me and told me that he felt it was time for us to pursue adoption.  We told the kids about it over dinner at Rosa’s Cafe, called the grandparents to let them know that we were going to start looking into it,  but had told the kids we’d keep this quiet during the first part of our journey.  As we were pulling into the neighborhood our sweet little 5 year old said, “Mommy, will you forgive me if I accidentally tell Samuel?”  I knew we never had a chance of keeping it secret so we quickly went around the neighborhood and told our friends the news – and they rejoiced with us!  A short week later our hearts were broken when the research told us it was not possible to go the normal routes.  I walked down to tell Breanna, and our friend, Heather, happened to be there, too.  I sat on a bench in Breanna’s back yard and I wept.  I wept for the daughter I longed for but could see no way to have.  And my friends grieved with me.  People who sit with you in your grief are treasures on earth!

Of course, you know the end of the story and that just a few months later Matt and I got at text about Mama Kim and the adventure really began.

The night before the boys and I drove to the east coast Breanna, Heather F., Heather W., and their families gathered in our living room and prayed over us, Mama Kim, Anna, our journey… all of it.  And they were waiting on us to return home with our princess so they could squish her!

 

 

 

Over the past 17 months they have enjoyed watching Anna grow… and their hearts have been drawn more and more to adopt.  Just a few weeks after moving from Fort Hood to another duty station, they announced that they are in a rush adoption situation and that they are in need of raising funds as quickly as possible… sounds very similar to our own situation. Our friends, family, and even compete strangers helped us raise $10,000 in just a few months and I am so excited that the Adams’ fundraiser has been going amazingly well.  In just the first few hours they reached the halfway point of their goal.

I would love for you to click HERE to go to their YouCaring website and read their story.  Share from there and consider donating.  They set their goal at $10,000 and that is great.  Ours ended up being $13,000 so if you see the goal has been reached, don’t hesitate to give anyway.

I am so very excited for our friends to welcome this new one into their family.  It is so very exciting and I’m just sad that we aren’t neighbors during this particular part of their journey.

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12998474_10209610053836792_7929574627930270193_nHere’s the bench!  I sat on this bench and told them we were going to adopt… then sat on this bench and wept while I was grieving.  And this picture fills me with a joy immeasurable!  I can’t wait for the Adams Family to have this joy!

IMG_7313Parker and his buddy, Samuel.  IMG_4929

Peter, Breanna, and kids, we are so excited for you!  We can’t wait to meet the newest Adams and we pray that your journey is as smooth as ours.  Thank you for being such great friends and for encouraging us along the way.  Blessings!!

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Camp Eagle ~ Summer 2017

I’ve shared before about my favorite place in Texas, Camp Eagle.  It’s a Christian Adventure Camp that has stolen all of the Hamrick’s hearts.

This summer my three oldest had the opportunity to go serve the staffers for a week and then stay on for another week as campers.

My boys each came home with stories and a few bug bites!

The first week they washed dishes, cleaned the dining room, and cleared trails:

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While all three boys told me the second week (the week they were campers) was great, they unanimously said that the first week was their favorite.  They were serving and serving hard.  Exhausting work.  Hayden wants to go back for a three week serving session this summer but our summer is already almost over.  We don’t have three weeks left for him to go.  (We will be starting school pretty early to be able to finish in time for an overseas move.)

We’re telling him to prepare now in case he wants to buy a plane ticket to serve next summer.  Camp Eagle has stolen our hearts.

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Box Day 2017

Our materials for the upcoming school year have arrived!

I have packed away 2016-2017 and am now happily swimming in plans for next year.

Yesterday we opened our Sonlight Boxes and even Matt was impressed with the book selection for Core 400.

For our upcoming year we are using:

Hayden – Core 400: American Government and Civics

Carson – Core 200: History of the Christian Church

Bailey – Core 100 (part 2):  American History

Parker – Core B/C: World History

Anna – colors, letters, animal sounds, etc. (We don’t do school with our littles until they’re at least five.  We just PLAY!  And read a lot of books.)

Enjoy these photos from Box Day 2017!

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We here at Jackson Academy have above average first graders… Algebra 2!

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Just kidding. That’s for Hayden.

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_JEN2137 (1)_JEN2142 (1)_JEN2181_JEN2151Parker’s real math for the next year._JEN2147_JEN2157_JEN2176_JEN2168_JEN2191

Blessings!

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RFOs in hand…

RFO stands for “request for orders” and that document tells us that the Chief of Chaplains has approved the assignment that we have been given.  In my last post I shared about my trip to New Mexico and the fact that I drove through Fort Bliss (the duty station that I most dread being assigned to).  I mentioned that I was actually quite impressed with it and determined that if I were told we were moving there next, I wouldn’t die.  (Swelter, yes.  Die, no.)

I’ve been “hatin’ on” Texas for over four years now and I finally came around to see that I can do it. I can live in Texas and be happy.  I can endure the heat.  And on the day that I saw my least-desired post and came to a place in my heart that I’d be willing to go there if called, we found out where we’re going!

I had driven for nine or so hours when Matt called.  He asked, “Do you want to know where we’re going?”  I told him to wait.  That I needed a minute.  And I took that minute.

I breathed.  I thought back over the mini-tour of Fort Bliss.

I steadied myself.

Then he read the memo and I almost cried.

Once we knew, we wanted to tell the boys before they found out through the grapevine.  However, they were already at camp and wouldn’t be home for another week.  I am not good at keeping secrets so after sleeping at home on Friday night, Matt, Parker, Anna, and I drove to Camp Eagle to reveal the news to the boys.

We originally had a fun plan in place for the reveal:  each kid picked where they thought or hoped we’d go. Then, we had each of them pick a fast food restaurant.  When we knew our next duty station, rather than just telling them where we were moving, we were going to load up in the Silver Surfer and drive (in a non-direct way, I’m sure) to the restaurant chosen by the boy who had been the closest.

The locations and restaurants chosen were:

  • Hayden: Fort Carson – In & Out
  • Carson: Fort Riley – Chick-Fil-A
  • Bailey: Fort Bragg – McDonalds
  • Parker: Germany – Mission Taco

Since we weren’t going to do the reveal as we had originally planned, Matt and I went by the restaurants selected and got bags* from each.  Inside each of these I placed two items that would give them the location of our next duty station.  (*I had to improvise with Mission Taco’s bag since they don’t have paper bags but use plastic [transparent] bags.

After dinner we took them to a private room in the Dining Hall of Camp Eagle and had each boy stand behind the bag of the restaurant that the had selected.  I videoed the response which I will add at some point.

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Inside each bag I placed a bag of Haribo Gummy Bears and a rock from our front yard that I painted:

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Are you as excited as I am?!?  YEP!  We’re heading to GERMANY!

Stuttgart, Germany to be precise!

We’ve visited friends there before and very much look forward to living there!

I am already beginning work on my Smooth Move notebook.  But here’s the thing.  As absolutely THRILLED as I am about going to Germany (and leaving the Texas heat behind), I am dreading leaving my people and watching my kids say good-bye to their people.  It hurts in places I didn’t even have before I moved here. My heart has grown and stretched and molded to the shape of this place in ways I couldn’t foresee.  So know that while I’m happy beyond words, I am in the process of grieving at the same time.  With every PCS comes blessing and difficulty… for the moment, I’m going to focus on the fun, the excitement, and the fact that I still get an entire summer AND fall school semester with my people here at Fort Hood.

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_JEN2097I couldn’t decide which was my favorite and then I wondered why I needed to pick.  It’s my  blog and I can post two pictures if I want to.

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New Mexico

The past week was full of adventure.  Parker lost his second tooth and is quite proud of his gap!img_1756We drove to San Antonio to say farewell to friends who are like family.  The Byers are on their way to C4 (a six month course for Chaplains at Fort Jackson) and we needed one more get-together before they leave this massive state.  We’ve been so blessed to spend birthdays, race-days, concert days, and Thanksgivings with them.  They truly are like family.

We met at a fantastic splash pad and the kids had a blast together.

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We ate dinner at Mi Tierra, our favorite restaurant in SA.  Fun story… it was the first restaurant at which we with the Byers and we were even seated at the exact same table!

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The dads with the new Texas additions.

Just a cute picture of my Anna.

The bigs headed off to camp, which I will share more about next Monday.  When they headed off, Parker, Anna, and I loaded up the van and headed to visit Aimee and Miss Kayla.  Aimee was driving from CO to AZ to visit family and since we had originally decided to meet halfway somewhere between CO and TX, we decided to have our visit coincide with her trip.  She was going that way anyway so I headed west.  We arrived at our hotel within 20 minutes of each other!  We planned well.

A GIANT Texas match.  (Really this is something to do with burning off natural gas or something…)A new state sign for our family.

 

First hugs and loves between Aimee and Anna.  (Anna was VERY interested in what Parker and Kayla were doing.)

Anna getting snuggles from Miss Kayla (Miss “teeka.”)

We played at a local splash pad for a few hours on our first day, then went to the hotel to rest.  We ate Panda Express for lunch in our room while Anna napped.  That afternoon we played in the hotel pool and then enjoyed the free dinner our hotel offered.  We were more than happy to eat for free!  Staybridge is a fantastic hotel in my opinion.

Anna did NOT enjoy being surprised by the water coming out of this yellow ball.

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Playing a fun game of Make 10.  (Best app for learning how to add to ten I’ve seen!  Thanks, Aimee, for the suggestion!  His score keeps going up each day and he’s very proud of himself.)

Our second day we went to the mall to find a few needed things.  Earrings for Anna (she lost one and has been wearing a mis-matched pair for a few months) and an iPod case for Kayla.  I budgeted $30 for fun stuff on this trip.  We ended up doing free activities so when I saw these ride-on animals that were $5 for a 10 minute ride, I was all in.  The kids really enjoyed them!

No shopping date is complete without a cup of coffee and, when possible, a new state mug!  

After a few days in the pool and some late night chat sessions, it was time to say farewell again.  It was like no time had passed and yet, 18 months have gone by since we last saw each other.  I am honored to be her friend.

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We reentered Texas and set our sights on Fort Bliss.

This is the former home of our friends, the Eastes’.  (Why yes, you do see Krispy Kreme donuts in the reflection of my window.  We don’t have one where we live so we make sure to get some each time drive past one.  Thanks, El Paso, for giving me this sweet treat and for the Military Discount!  Military discounts are so often taken for granted and I, for one, am very appreciative.)

 

As we drove around the post I began to become more and more convinced that should we receive orders to Fort Bliss, one of the most remote CONUS duty stations ever, I would likely survive.  It is the one duty station that I dread more hearing that our next duty station would be Fort Hood.  If we were to get Fort Hood as our next duty station, I would survive because I have quite the amazing set of friends to do life with.  Before I saw Bliss with my own eyes, I was sure I would shrivel up and die.  Afterwards, while texting with Matt via Siri (which is why there is an extra word at the end of my second text), I admitted this fact:

 

The following pictures are taken ON POST.  People…  If you aren’t military these will look like your every day shopping center. Nothing special.  But we never see these kinds of places ON post.  It’s a big deal.  It’s called “Freedom Crossing” and has its own website. Toys R Us, Under Armor, Things Remembered, Dollar Tree, Texas Roadhouse, Dairy Queen… seriously… these stores and the beautiful setting they’ve created did a world for changing my opinion of this remote duty station.

As we continued our journey home Parker and I saw many dust devils.  The camera does NO justice to this particular one.

And just as we entered Copperas Cove, a beautiful sunset.  

We were in the car 12 1/2 hours on Friday: half an hour longer than our drive from Wiesbaden to Camp Darby.  My kids are amazing travelers!

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That’s a Wrap!

It is with much celebration that we say farewell to the 2016-2017 school year.  It was a good year even if it was marked with new challenges.

These challenges include:

  • homeschooling with a mobile baby
  • homeschooling four different grades
  • homeschooling with dyslexia
  • geometry
  • biology
  • high school level work and its increased hours

This year was great for the following reasons:

  • having a mobile baby
  • homeschooling four different grades
  • homeschooling with dyslexia (Brilliance is being dyslexic and still being on or above grade level in all subjects)
  • geometry (I got to spend many hours with this student and I loved almost every-single-one of them)
  • biology LABS that were taught by another mom!
  • high school level work that stretched my student and that I enjoyed as much (or more) than he did

Last year we had an official last day of school and we celebrated with donuts for breakfast and streamers.  (I’m more of an Amazon.com mom than a crafty mom.)

This year we skidded to a stop just two days before the boys left for camp (which they did just a few hours ago).

A few had Math to finish up so they spent the last week and a half doing 3 lessons a day but THEY DID IT!  They each finished with an A and we can put this year in the books.

I am excited about it but more excited that I can start planning next year!

We celebrated on Saturday evening when they finished (just after 8:00 pm) with half-off Sonic milkshakes!

 

 

Here are some pictures to commemorate our last day of 10th, 8th, 7th, and 1st grades.

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As I said, the bigs left for camp a few hours ago and I’m not even thinking about the fact that I’ll miss them dreadfully.  Nope.  I have other things to think about:  like packing for my overdue visit with Aimee and Miss Kayla!!  I get to introduced both of them to our little princess!

I didn’t take enough pictures this morning but I did snap one of some of the leaders and Hayden getting last minute instructions – the rest of the kids were already loaded in the vehicles.  And of course, one shot of our sweetie!

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Enjoy your summer break!  It’s HERE!!

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Memorial Day and our Anniversary

Matt and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage today.  When we picked our wedding date, Memorial Day was nothing more than a holiday weekend and the biggest thing that concerned me was that the race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway would interfere with my guests arriving at the church.

Fast forward to today and I celebrate the day that I became Mrs. Hamrick and I also recognize the fallen.

Carleen, Maryanne, and Laurie are always on my mind but even more on this day.

Here’s a post I wrote in 2012 that still holds true.  All our appreciate to the fallen and all our love to their loved ones.

 

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White Space

We are nearing the finish line of a great year of school.  Because of that we are unnaturally busy, which is why I’m even more devoted to protecting our ‘white space.’  Have you heard that term used?  I can’t remember where I first heard it but I LOVE the concept.  Basically, think of the white space on a piece of notebook paper.  You write on the lines but leave the margins alone.  It helps the eye travel over the important stuff that you’ve written without getting overwhelmed by a chaotic page.  White space is also great for times when you’ve written all you can on the lines but at the last minute remember one last fact that you need to jot down.  When you have white space available, you have room to jot it down!  If you began writing at the top left corner of the page and wrote on ever single square inch of paper, there would be no room for that last minute fact you remembered.

White space in life is like that.  I intentionally plan my life on the lines.  In the past 18 months I’ve removed excess actives, even though they were great activities… activities I highly encourage others to participate in (soccer, PWOC, fancy co-ops).  My white space allowed me to go to coffee this week with a bright young woman who wanted to ask questions about life from my perspective.  It allowed me to have friends over last night while the dads got together to farewell a good friend.  I think of the white space as the place for bonus or surprise activities in life that, were I “too busy,” I’d either have to turn down or feel stressed or guilty while participating in.

I haven’t mastered keeping the white space free, but I can say that I’ve definitely learned how valuable it is to me.  I’ve learned how valuable the word “no” is and how often it’s ME telling MYSELF no to great opportunities that would overwhelm my paper and flood the white space.

I just mentioned two things I wrote on the white space of my paper this week:  a coffee date and having friends over for brownies and ice cream.  I had plenty of activities on my must-do list.

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On last week’s must-do list, Hayden tested for and received his driver license!  I simply can’t believe we’re at that stage!  Texas does not make it easy by any stretch of the imagination and we persevered.  (We… yes.  I said “we.”  The facilities were all booked weeks out so Matt and I took Hayden to a different town to test… the town that had the first available appointment.)  The van, which he had been driving for a year, was in these shop the day he tested, so he had to test in the Jeep.  Apparently he got enough practice in and he passed the driving test in 12 minutes and on the first try!

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I snuck this picture just as he came back into the parking lot.  Matt and I were SURE he had failed because he and the instructor didn’t get out of the car very fast.  They sat there forEVER.  When they finally emerged Hayden smiled and gave us the thumbs-up!

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Obligatory shot with the DPS sign and his license.  “Everything’s bigger in Texas!”  (His real license will arrive in the mail in a week or so.)

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Yes, I did video the first time he drove away without a parent.  He was heading to an AAFES gas station to buy a gift card for someone. (This isn’t a video… just a still.)

Last week, M-W, our kids participated in end of grade testing.  We met with our Co-Op and I proctored the 3rd-8th graders.  With Bailey’s official 504 I was able to proctor his test at home giving him a few accommodations so that we should have a better idea of where he is than the test last year provided.  He took the test without accommodations last year just a few months before he was identified and I look forward to comparing the two tests results.

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I snuck a picture once everyone had closed their test booklets.

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On the final day of testing our kids had a pizza and popsicle party.  These beauties enjoyed playing together during testing!

Testing wore this little beauty out.  She fell asleep on the way home and was total mush on the way to her bed.

This upcoming week is filled with last minute math lessons so they can put this year in the books.  We watched a funny homeschooling video this week and at one point the “student” realizes he’s skipped way too many days of school during the year.  I may have a few who are regretting putting math off.  (They need to do 3 lessons a day this week to finish by the time they leave for camp!)

Enjoy!

 

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