Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Restoring Honor

I'm not a very good writer so as I try to spill out my thoughts on the rally this weekend, bear with me, I'm still trying to process it all. I need to get it down on paper before all these incredible emotions are gone from my memory.

About a year ago Glenn Beck announced that he was going to hold some sort of rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He was very vague in what it would be, as he didn't even know himself, but he asked everyone to join him there. I brushed it off but Trevor came home and put a bug in my ear that we should go. I continued to brush it off since I knew it would cost us money. Spare money that we are in short supply of, money that would be better used to pay off our debts, save or otherwise spend on things that seemed much more important then some rally in DC.

As the months wore on Glenn continued to mention his rally and Trevor continued to mention that we should be going. So I began to do some research. I looked into hotels and flights and was surprised to find a hotel, not far from the Lincoln Memorial, for a very reasonable price, I didn't have to pay up front so I booked it "just in case." I began to look at flights and was quickly discouraged by their prices. I continued to tell Trevor that I didn't think it was a good idea for us to go, we really couldn't afford it.

But then something happened and it wasn't until this weekend that I realized it had to be the hand of God. I logged into look at flights in March and about fell out of my chair when I found them for $99, per person. Still with some hesitation I called Trevor, we debated it for a few minutes before he laid down the law and said, "Get 'em, we're going!" And with the click of a mouse we had cheap tickets and a cheap (very lavish) hotel.

There is no way I would have agreed to go if we couldn't have gone this cheap. We're broke. We're doing the Dave Ramsey thing. We can't spend (waste?) our money on some trip that we don't really need. Oh how I would be proved wrong. But I firmly believe today that all those things, all those cheap deals happened for a reason. We were meant to be there. God wanted us there. He knew, and we knew, that it was important.

As the date approached little details started to emerge about what would happen at this rally. My Uncle Paul and cousin David decided to attend. And our excitement was growing. It seemed the country's excitement was growing as rumors of the number of people who could be there began to increase.

We arrived in DC on Thursday afternoon. We had a day and a half to tour the city before the rally. As we toured the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Archives and various other locations it became very apparent that there were MANY people in town for this rally. Everyone around us was going. Everyone! We quickly hatched a plan to secure our seats very early Saturday morning. We found out that the Metro did not run on Saturday morning from 3am to 7am. So we thought it would be a brilliant plan to ride the Metro down to the Lincoln Memorial before it closed at 3am.

I mean who needs sleep while your on vacation, without your kids? It's overrated.

So we tried to go to bed around 9pm Friday night. Neither of us did and I think we each slept maybe an hour or so before it was go time! Paul and David arrived in force from some camp ground outside DC on a no sleep road trip from Minnesota.

We arrived, in the dark, at the footsteps of Lincoln around 2:30am. We wandered through people sleeping on blankets, chairs and against the trees until we found a spot about 150 yards from the stage. We tried to sleep, we toured the World War II Memorial, we walked the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we met and visited with a ton of fantastic people around us, we tried to stay warm...all before sunrise. Being down there, walking around like that, before the sun even came up was surreal. The energy and excitement down there is hard to explain and you can't even begin to imagine it unless you were there

We watched the sunrise. It was breathtaking. It was the dawn of a new day.

It was Morning in America!

I'm not sure I can portray the day well enough to give it justice. But I'll try. So please bear with me as I try and write this out in some coherent fashion. Glenn said the day would be full of miracles. Miracles had happened leading up to the event. Money coming in at the last minute, things falling into place just so, cheap airlines, cheap hotels, etc. They were all signs of God's work, they were all signs of His hand being placed over this event.

The rally began with a video series of pictures and music. It couldn't have been 13 seconds into that video when a group of 20 or so geese came flying from the World War II Memorial straight over the reflecting pool towards the Lincoln memorial, in their signature V shape. It was a fly over, not a military fly over, not one orchestrated by anyone on the ground, it was not planned. Or was it? Was it a coincidence? Was it a miracle Was it God? Whatever you choose to believe, I chose to believe it was the hand of God, it was breathtaking. It was fantastic.

It was the beginning of a 3 hour program that would change my life. I've never seen more people gathered in one space in my entire life. We were shoulder to shoulder. We were heart to heart. We were American to American. And we were stretched from literally the feet of Lincoln to the Washington Monument and probably beyond. We were packed in there like sardines. We met some incredible people. Like Dan and Ann. They left the beginning of August, on their motorcycles, from Oregon. You can read about their journey here. We met people from Florida, New York, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas and many other states. Dads and sons, husbands and wives, grandmas and grandpas, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, moms and daughters. All sorts of people from all sorts of different backgrounds.

And it was hot. Really hot. And there wasn't an inch of shade on our side to be seen. And we were wearing black. (These pictures are deceiving because its cloudy but believe me, they parted and the hot blazing sun came out)

The rally had several themes. Faith, Hope, Charity, Integrity, Honor, Truth, to name a few. All principles that helped form this great country. All principles that can continue to make this country the greatest country on earth! And as I walked away from this rally I was struck with what felt like an insurmountable task of teaching our children all of these principles. Of bringing all this energy and excitement home to our kids, to our family and friends. And as I sit here today, 3 days later, I still don't know how we're going to do it. But I have faith that we will get there, that God will lead us, that the answers will come. And here is some of what I walked away with from the rally.

Faith –Our country was founded on God. When you read the history books, the text, the conversations of our founding fathers you realize what a enormous part God played in the foundation of our country. Unfortunately, many Americans don't have a full grasp of the important role of God in this country's foundation. And today, we've slipped even father away from those ideals and principles. At the top of the Washington Monument it is written “Laos Deo” which means, “Praise be to God.” It's time to get on our knees. It's time to let our children see us on our knees. Lead by example. Prayer is powerful. God answers our prayers. Prayer and faith in God will lead us and guide us and give us the answers and strength we need to raise our children the best we can, to make them the best citizens that we can and to make God the absolute center of their lives.

Charity – Give, Give, Give. Charity starts at home. We want to teach our children to give as much as they can, to always help those in need, to always be grateful, to never take for granted the things that you have. John Huntsman, founder of the Huntsman Cancer Institute (and inventor of the fast food carton) was honored at this rally. He's worth 3+ billion dollars and he has given away nearly ALL of it. He literally wants to die broke. That kind of graciousness is amazing. How do I teach that to my kids? I'm exploring those ideas now.

Honor– The main theme of the rally, Honor. We wore shirts (black, remember?) that stated, Restoring Honor Starts Here.” If I'm going to take part in Restoring Honor to this country then I eed to look to myself first. It starts in this house with me and my husband and our kids. We spent a lot of time honoring our troops. Most, if not all, Americans honor our troops. But we need to do more. These fine men and woman have protected the very freedoms God has bestowed on us, and they continue to ensure our freedoms, everyday. My kids need to understand that. It is our pledge to personally thank every solider we come across from now on. Lead by example. My children MUST understand the sacrifices that have been given for this country. The lives that have been lost and the blood that has been shed. Our troops deserve our forever gratefulness.

Truth - Always tell the truth. ALWAYS! No matter what. No matter what it will do to you. The truth matters and it's important. And once you start telling the truth in your own life then you can begin to expect the same thing from your friends and family, from your teachers to your pastors to your congressperson. Not even a little white lie. Just the truth, plain and simple. It sounds so easy. Most, if not all, parents insist that their children tell the truth, we are no different. But after this rally this seems to have taken on a whole different, deeper meaning. I'm still processing how I will bring this to my children. How to teach them the importance of telling the truth and how to expect nothing less from their parents, family and friends.

At the end of the rally we sang Amazing Grace, to the bagpipes. Estimates are still coming in but its thought that more than 500,000 people were there. 500,000 people singing Amazing Grace side by side! I'm still speechless. It was the most incredible, heart warming moment of my life. This rally changed our life. I'm so thankful for my husband's persistence in going. I'm so thankful I got to experience this with him, my uncle and my cousin. I'm thankful for every person that was there. I will be forever changed and I hope that my experience at this rally will change the lives of my children and their children. God Bless America!

All proceeds to the rally went to Special Operations Warrior Foundation. You can read about the amazing things they do right here on their site. If you feel compelled I'd ask you to make any donation you can to them, or any other charity for that matter.

For more pictures and videos of the rally please check here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


It's been so hot and buggy around here we haven't done much except visit the pool or stay inside. But for one day it was pleasant enough to go hiking. Trevor and I have been so impressed with the boys' willingness to hike. Hopefully this fall we can catch a few more hikes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day Of School

It's the First Day of School! I think I was more nervous then the boys. They did great, no tears, no sadness just excitement for their day. I'm sitting in my house while the baby sleeps and it's quiet. It's weird, but nice. Sad, but exciting. Hopefully I'm more productive in the future then I have been today.

Carson requested waffles for breakfast.

So that's what they got. On their special plates because its a special day.
And I woke up earlier then I have in months YAWN!!

And straight from the horse's mouth here is Declan's rendition of how his day went.

"I learned playdoh and I had recess. And Carson was at recess and we played. And I saw a new Andrew. And I saw the regular Andrew and everyone was dressed like me except the girls they had on skirts. And we sang a song, twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wond....and we went to the bathroom and there's two bathrooms and there's a short hallway and a long hallway and I have a teacher with black pants and a black shirt and I don't know her name and we went to the gym and rolled the ball around and we sat on the oval and then we sat on a circle and then it was time to go home."

Me: Do you want to go back?

Declan: "Yep!"

Carson wasn't so talkative. He told me he did a bunch of stuff he already knew and he was too tired to talk. We'll see what I get out of him as the day goes on. As a Kindergartner he now does mass on Thursday with the school. I went too and he did great. It's pretty entertaining to watch a 40 Kindergartners at mass. God Bless those teachers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Enjoyment

The last few days have been so much fun. The boys and I have been enjoying the last few days of summer vacation. There have been few fights, little yelling, lots of skipping nap and just enjoyment of summer. Which makes it even more difficult to start Kindergarten and Preschool in just 2 days. But, we'll get there, I'll get there, one baby step at a time. For now, I'm enjoying these moments with these boys. And thanks to my friend Libby we've been enjoying some new things.

Like hitting a ball attached to a tree.

And sidewalk paint.

And blowing big bubbles from a dish.

Friday, August 6, 2010


One week from today someone in this house is heading off to Kindergarten. Wait, what did I just say? Kindergarten? This can't be happening. It's not time. Didn't I just bring this home from the hospital?

Seriously? Wasn't I just learning the ropes of this thing called Motherhood? Would some one please tell me where the last 5 years have gone? How did I go from a brand new mother to a mother of three, one of which is a kindergartner. Will someone please just slow this train down. It's going to fast.

Where has the time gone? Where has my baby gone? Somehow overnight he turned into a boisterous, fun, energetic, caring 5 year old. Who makes silly faces when the camera is out.

Somehow he's turned into a little boy who is already talking about his 6th birthday and who he is going to invite. Whoa, one thing at a time son. A little boy who was gleefully yelling "Yum!" as I was rattling off what would be served for lunch at school. A little boy who will learn so many new things this year I probably won't be able to keep up.

I look forward to the adventure. I look forward to the learning. I look forward to watching him grow. And although part of me is sad to be entering this season in our life most of me is really excited for him. Let the chaos begin!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

10 Months

Baby Bennett is now 10 months old. That means the countdown to his first birthday is officially on. But I'm trying not to think about that so let's hold off on the countdown for now. Please and Thank You. The past month has been a busy one for Bennett. Here is some of what he's been up too.,,

* The boy will eat anything. Or at least I haven't found much he doesn't like. Watermelon, peaches, grapes,blueberries, raisins, corn, bananas, potatoes, chicken, lamb, olives, mac and cheese, bread, sweet potatoes....the list could go on. Most meals I'm fairly certain he could eat an adult under the table. If he sees some food he likes his legs start kicking and he goes nuts, whining and carrying on until you let him have a bite, or ten.

* He crawls like its nobody's business. And it doesn't matter the surface carpet, cement, grass, sand, water whatever.

* He can climb stairs.

* He can tear apart a shelf in seconds. Hence this picture of him sitting on the baby books after he pulled them all down. A look of guilt spread across his face.

* He loves watching Husker and Emily. Husker plays with him alot.

* He never stops smiling. And when he does he crinkles up his nose.

* He's sleeping through the night thanks to a little sleep training while his brothers were gone.

* He can walk with his walker and stand alone for a few seconds but I think he's still a few weeks or months from any first steps.

He's growing so fast. He's the light of his big brothers day. He's gives the best hugs when you pick him out of his crib. He loves to open mouth kiss you. He's the best baby boy I know.