It's October?! 
What, what?! 
What happened to September? 
Anybody else with me?

We got a gloriously sunshiny one day break from the wash-out that was and is to come. 
(Bring it on Hurricane Joaquin!) 
We spent the afternoon at the park in an attempt to get a weeks worth of energy out...

Going old school, playing Mother-May-I with some of our Via family.

October is a big month for our ministry, busy with a lot of exciting things...sharing at churches, holding a celebration and benefit dinner, a trip to Madagascar, and of course...the work continues every day at the House of Hope in Haiti. There's too much to write today, but I really need to take some time and update. Have I mentioned that I LOVE our job?!!!

I know its early and people get grumpy about seeing Christmas decorations out at stores before Halloween...but I gotta admit, I am already getting excited about it! Go ahead and get annoyed at me, its okay, I can handle it.

School is in full throttle these days. Our co-op started a few weeks ago and it's been a fun addition to our school schedule...

1st day of P3 co-op

Even Zoe has actually decided to "do school" for a few short minutes every day...

All of my kiddo's have started their school off with these A-is-for-apple print pictures =)

I just love finding her "signature" on her drawings.

And why not end with my coolest dude...

Um, when did he become a teenager?!

Happy soggy Thursday everyone!

The great wash out. Non-stop rain since Friday with no end in sight.

It's a good thing we like rainy days.

Last week, after I had looked at the forecast and realized that we only had one more dry sunshiney day before the rains came, I forced talked Jeremiah into cleaning out the shed.

Which turned into cleaning out the laundry room.
Which morphed into re-organizing all my kitchen cabinets, linen and bathroom closets.
Then my closet and the kids closets were screaming not to be forgotten.
Of course, one cannot leave out the toy bins...

And all this, just in time for the rains to come and me to sit back and enjoy my nice organized house.

Of course, I now have to have a yard sale...
If it ever decides to stop raining.

And now, because I'm feeling like a good bullet point list, here is the Hambrick How-To-Survive Wash-Out Days:

  •  Relax - A little extra screen time is not going to permanently harm anyone.
  •  Make some sort of warm hearty soup or chili.
  •  Bake some kind of baked goodie thingie.
  •  Get a few extra movies from the library.
  •  Allow the pillow pile/forts/obstacle courses to happen 
  •  Throw some rain boots on and go on out and get wet. (Contrary to what my father-in-law believes, I don't believe that rain is infused with germs that make you sick. I love you Jim.)
  • When all the above fails, go to the Mall/Library/Museum/Chuck E Cheeses/Meme's house.

What's your secret to surviving rainy days? 

Our Via-cation week is one of the highlights of our year, every year, going on over a decade now.

We've swam, fished, gotten too competitive at games, eaten too much junk food, relaxed, and watched our numbers swell to over 20 kiddo's combined. We survived the baby years, twitched our way through the toddler years, and this year got our first glimpse of the slightly unbelievably "easier" school age years...did I even write that? It's true...this year was truly relaxing.

Ella enjoying some sunset fishing.

Eli knows how to get some air off the water slide!

Zoe loved "making waves!"

Some of the older girl cousins.

Da' boys.

Tradition: We take a picture in this hammock every year =)

Zoe was so proud to catch her first fish!

Until next year...

So many comings and goings,
but right now,
right here,
while the rain is coming down,
the skies are grey,
the house is surprisingly quiet,
my heart is full thinking of my "here."

Transitioning from Haiti to VA life was tricky for me this time...I felt a pull to maintain the same level of involvement in the UTWWK ministry work while attempting to throw myself into my American life and ministry of homeschooling and church and friends and appointments and commitments and so on and so forth...

And, of course, (duh) I crash and burn when I try to do it all.

But it was a quick crash and thankfully, I have given myself permission not to do it all. I took some time to re-prioritize and re-organize and take some deep breaths.

I was reminded that here and now is where God has placed me, doing exactly what I need to be doing...pouring into my family, being available for my husband and friends, and being obedient to the opportunities the Lord has already placed in my life.

My sense of purpose has returned with joy to do the job I am called to do...right here and right now.

My joy bombs!

First, I had Ella.
She was basically the perfect child.
She followed all the rules.
Slept good.
Ate anything.
Loved to please me.
So on and so forth.

And then came along Ezra.

Ezra, circa 2012

Oh, Ezra.
Oh, oh, Ezra.

Within the first 6 weeks of his life I decided to burn all the parenting books that had worked like a charm with Ella. And I've been burning them ever since because NONE of them apply to my Ezra. He doesn't fit a mold and he won't be talked into anything. But he has a nice dimple that has saved his life a time or two or twenty.

Raising Ezra has shown me that parenting is way more about my sanctification than his...

Learning to trust the Lord,
to listen humbly,
and cry out in weakness...God is a strategic dimple creator and he knew just what he was doing when he gave Ezra to me.

I wrote this in my journal this morning:

Lord, he is yours. You, Lord, are the best thing I can do for him. He doesn't need rules, pressure, entertainment, or shame - he needs you. If I can show him your Kingdom, allow him to experience your Story, I know that's where he will find a Savior to fall in love with. Thank you that I can rest in the knowledge that you love him and pursue him and have big plans for him. Thank you that you make up for my many failures. 

"I can put up good markers, but I cannot chart his course." - Jen Hatmaker (For the Love)

I may not be charting his course, but I am resting and trusting in the best Marker that exists. And I'm so crazy grateful for this chance to be his Mom.

Dear Ezra,

You turned eight today and you had a great day...playing with your cousins, eating banana splits, opening up your presents of "real" artists pencils and paper, skyping with your buddies in Haiti, and just absorbing all the love that your big and crazy family has for you. I may get so stinking frustrated and exasperated with you, but the truth is...I'm crazy for you. You are so fun and creative and persistent and energetic. 
I don't just love you, I really like you too. 

Happy birthday you big eight year old you!

Love today and always,


On Tuesday morning, 
after clearing the cobwebs of sleep from their brains, 
an idea popped into my kiddo's heads that was beyond the ordinary "mmm, lets have pancakes for breakfast"  lightbulb moment.
"Lets make a Ninja Warrior course in the backyard!" 

Because, of course that is what every kid wakes up thinking about on a Tuesday morning.

And off they went. 

(Disclaimer: Off they went after I was the fun sucker and make them complete their workbooks.)

For hours and hours and hours...

Creating, building, wrangling dangerous old boards with rusty nails sticking out of them from the discarded wood pile, hanging ropes, constructing balance beams, and warped walls.

And then, because "American" Ninja Warriors are so 2014 and France has been our country of study in Geography this week, they decided they needed French flags painted on their faces to really get into the spirit of the competition...

It's possible I was the fun-sucker yet again and nixed the painted face for Ezra due to his crazy sensitive skin that overreacts to anything other than my kisses =)

This ever evolving course has brought hours of enjoyment all week with nary a splinter or broken bone despite the decidedly not-up-to-code conditions of their inventions. Health hazard, people. 

(Yes, there is a then...)

They spent approx 1.2 minutes at the brand new pretty much completely child proofed and padded Chick-Fil-A playground and we end up at the doctors office with stitches. 

And free ice-cream.


That's how you do it folks.