This morning I feel like taking a break from my usual ramblings about my kids to write about another topic I am passionate about...politics. I realize some that read this blog may not agree with my politics, and others are closely aligned with my views. But wherever you may stand on the liberal versus conservative spectrum, I am sure most of us agree that the way our elected leaders are behaving is downright shameful. If most of us acted in our jobs the way members of congress are acting right now, we would be fired. I heard yesterday on the news that it was a "notable" day for congress because they showed up at the early hour of 8am to work on passing the bailout bill. The early hour of 8am??? Is that not the hour most of us need to be at work? (or even earlier for the farmers and ranchers that keep our country fed!) I cannot believe the amount of money we as taxpayers pay these worthless leaders to do absolutely nothing but sit on their behinds and argue with one another. I am not a financial expert by ANY means, and I understand that the current credit problem is probably more complicated than most of us realize. But to me, in this election year, it seems like this is all just a bunch of political grandstanding...a way to polish up the public opinion of our wonderful elected leaders that, according to most public opinion polls, has been badly damaged by the inability to do anything productive. Well, from this voter's perspective, IT'S NOT WORKING. And, did anyone else notice yesterday that after congress did not pass the bail-out bill, the markets plunged? They are not making anything better, they are only making things worse. I guess I don't understand the concept of a "bail-out." Why is it our responsibility as taxpayers to rescue a bunch of fat cats who made poor decisions based only on greed as a bottom line? (And, believe me, I have witnessed the greed of the banking world first hand!) But the blame for the current "crisis" cannot solely be left on the shoulders of the banking industry. If you traced back the origins of this problem, you would probably find several politicians who felt it their duty to make sure everyone had a home...regardless of their financial ability to PAY for that home, thus passing down mandates to the banks regarding lending policies. Here we go again with our wonderful elected leaders sitting around coming up with ways to make all of our lives better. I am a big believer in free-will (so is God). Most of the time, I love capitalism, I think it works. But apparently Washington doesn't agree. I have heard others suggest we start a petition to completely wipe out every member of congress and start over. Presidents can only serve two terms, so why do we not have a cap on the number of years other politicians can be in office? Sign me up. I am ready for true "change" and not the kind Barack Obama has claimed as a mantra for his followers to chant.
I am feeling like I have a nasty case of the blahs lately. There are so many projects I would like to undertake, the biggest being to make my house look nice, but I am just feeling like lately my "free" time is better spent doing nothing (does a mama ever have "free" time?). It's probably because Graham is such a handful lately that any child-free time I do have, I am exhausted, therefore I sit and do nothing. I keep thinking I should be a size 3 for all of the running after him that I do, but for some reason it's not working. I am trying to enjoy this short time of Graham's toddler hood, because now I know how quick it goes, but most days I am too tired and too overwhelmed with him to enjoy it...then comes a big dose of mama guilt. Guilt and motherhood are as closely paired as any combination could ever be. So, I will keep trudging along. Hopefully one of these mornings I will wake up after a long, restful sleep and feel inspired to tackle my house and last of the boxes, and complete every other project that is weighing me down these days. Until then, pass the remote.
I took some time tonight to read through some older blog entries of mine and found myself stuck at the entry from March 18 of this year. Its funny how words on a screen can evoke so many, almost physically tangible, responses. As I read the words I had written, about the preparation I had had for that day, about how I had so many unanswered questions about Dave losing his job, I felt all of the same emotions. Mostly, it was just fear. I know as Christians we are supposed to trust, but all I felt those first couple of weeks was an all-consuming, gripping fear. I would look at my babies and wonder what on earth we were going to do. And I would look to heaven and wonder what on earth HE wanted us to do. And the answers were slow to come. I had been like Peter, so sure I would never deny him. I remember taking that Bible study a few months prior, feeling that question "What would you do if something really bad happened?" tug at my heart and being so sure of its answer. I would never be shaken. I had too strong of a faith for that. That was for people who didn't have a faith as strong as mine. And then the storm came. And it got worse. Just when I would think we were rounding a bend, my faith would be tested once again. I had to take a good look at myself and what was really beneath the surface. And I have to say, I didn't like what I saw. My whole life I have been a Christian. I thought my faith had been tested. And, in certain ways, it had. But I had never experienced such silence from heaven before. I would pray, and not only would what I prayed for NOT happen, it seemed like the opposite would happen. I clung only to a scripture from Job that said, in essence, "I look for you in the North, and I cannot find you. I look in the South, and you are not there. I look in the east and west and you are not there either. But YOU know where I am going. And when this test is over, you will have refined me as gold." I am still grappling with my reaction to my storm. Some might look at what happened to us and wonder why I had the reaction to it that I did. I sometimes wonder myself what it was exactly about the events between March 17th and a few short weeks ago that shook my faith to the point of being someone I hardly recognized. I do know that it was something I had to go through. Something tells me this won't be the last serious test of my faith in my life. I will need to cling to this experience and remember how God brought me out of the pit, not because I deserved it, because no one deserved it less. But because of His all surpassing mercy and love. I was driving down the road the other day when suddenly it occurred to me. I had my answer. How many times throughout the two years we were in Iowa did I pray for the opportunity to come home to North Dakota? I had finally settled it in my heart shortly before Dave lost his job that whatever God had for us was OK. I knew His plan was best. We didn't come home the way I thought we would, but we are here and everything is OK. So here I sit, typing on my computer in my beautiful new home. The babies are sleeping upstairs. The only noises in my peaceful house are those coming from Isaac's hamster Harold, running in his wheel. I have lots of work to do on the house, it seems never-ending. But I have finally made it. I am home at last.
We recently had quite a scare with our Isaac. Some of those who read my blog will have heard this story already, others have not. But it was such a memorable experience (although we would probably like to forget it), that it requires recording. The week we moved all of our stuff in, everything was total chaos, as it always is when you are moving. One particular night I was trying to get the kids' play room organized while Dave and Isaac were upstairs eating supper (Graham was already in bed). Dave came downstairs to talk to me for about five minutes and then returned back upstairs. He then called downstairs to me and asked me if I knew where Isaac was. Isaac had spent the entire day (a very hot day) outside playing with his new buddies (two of our neighbors have boys Isaac's age). We figured he had went outside without telling us to continue playing with them. We were still in the process of teaching Isaac all the "rules" about playing outside with his friends (this has been a new experience for all of us as he has never had neighborhood friends before). I was instantly annoyed that he had done this and Dave ran to the neighbor's house to bring him home. A few seconds later, he came back and said he was not there, so we checked the other neighbor's home (they were not home). We returned back to the house and started calling, loudly, for Isaac and began looking for him. A mom knows her children well, and I know that Isaac is not the type of kid that runs away or hides from me-especially when he hears fear in my voice. We have a park behind our house, so we ran over to the park only to find nothing. There is a walking trail around our neighborhood that Isaac knows about, so Dave checked there. Again, he returned with nothing. At this point, we started to really panic. We went back into the house about four more times, each time the level of terror in our voice went up a notch. We started to think about the pedophille that lives less than two miles from our house, and we discussed driving over there. By this time, most of our neighborhood had heard we had a boy missing, and people were walking and driving their cars all around calling for him and helping us look for him. One of our dear neighbors even drove to the pedophille's apartment to see if there was any suspicious activity there. We have a drainage ditch that runs behind our house in a fairly heavily wooded area. I ran through the ditch (without my shoes...I was too panicked to even think about shoes). Then I thought about the river that runs by our house, so I drove over there and looked up and down it looking for any sign of him. I was in full-on mama-panic mode and didn't care what I had to do to find my baby. The whole thing was surreal. I kept thinking that this just couldn't be happening to me. I had always heard that the first couple of hours your child was missing was the most crucial time, and he had already been missing an hour. But, we didn't know where else to look. Finally, we called the police. The officer arrived and he and Dave looked through the house again. He then asked me to find a piece of clothing he had recently worn to have his search dog pick up on the scent. I could not even think straight, and couldn't even find any dirty clothes (which is amazing in and of itself!). Finally, I spotted a laudry basket on the couch upstairs and went over to it. As I looked in the laundry basket, I saw Isaac's little sleeping face next to it. There he was, shoved way into the corner of the couch, covered with pillows and a blanket. My shock and relief turned once again to panic as I tried to rouse him and he was not responding. I remember thinking I was glad the officer was there because I didn't know how to perform CPR on a child. Finally, he woke up and Dave and I just cried and held him until we wanted to just collapse. The only thing we can imagine is that he had gotten really dehydrated from a day of playing in the hot sun, and was just totally exhausted from that and the events of the days before when we were moving. It was certainly NOT a normal sleep for him to have slept through ALL of our frantic calling. Some people probably wonder if we feel stupid for the whole thing having happened. My answer is no, I do not. I was too scared to feel stupid. It was certainly something I will NEVER forget. Not long after the experience, I thought of the nursery rhyme, "Little Boy Blue."
"Little Boy Blue, Come blow your horn. The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn. Where is the little boy who looks after the sheep? He's under a haystack, fast asleep."
After a few weeks (or months) of trying to settle my crazy life, I have decided to try to get back to my blogging. As most of you know, Dave and I are finally settled in our new home just outside of Fargo. We live a fairly small-town life now, which takes a little getting used to (especially when I don't feel like cooking!), but so far we have all loved it! Our new home has four bedrooms and two baths (two bathtubs so I can have one solely for baths!). We have a nice big backyard (the lot is on half an acre), so the boys have plenty of room to run. Not only that, but there is a beautiful park directly behind our house. My sister-in-law, niece and I spent a week painting before we moved all our stuff in. We managed to get everything painted except for the play room and guest room. The house has been in GREAT shape, so that has been a welcome change from our last house. Moving in takes forever (I think at least a year until it looks like "home"), but every day things get a little better. We made the decision to keep Isaac home one more year before Kindergarten. Not only did we have the big move right before he would have started school, but they are doing ALL DAY Kindergarten (which I think is just glorified daycare) in this neck of the woods. We are doing school at home this year, and so far, Isaac loves it! People always told me that they thought he was smart, but I guess I can really see it for myself lately. He is pretty easy to teach and absorbs everything. Lately, we have been reviewing basic stuff from last year, as well as talking about the four food groups, money and the solar system. My goal is to have him be able to begin reading by the end of the school year. We are so happy to be back in Noth Dakota! Sometimes, our two years in Iowa feels like a dream to us...like we never even left Fargo. I have loved living less than a three minute drive to my sister-in-law's house, and NOT being ten hours from my mom and dad. Three hours feels like nothing! Dave has actually enjoyed being back at his old job more than he thought he would. Working from home had its advantages, but he missed having the face-to-face contact with friends from work (oh, and we probably drove him a little crazy when he worked at home). Dave has decided to try to get back into the counseling field potentially, so he will be doing some part-time family therapy at night for Youthworks. As this entry is already quite long, I will detail a little more about how God worked in my life throughout this move at a later time. Here's some pictures of the outside of our house, the back yard, and two shots of the park behind our house to give you a feel for our neighborhood.
"Sons are the anchors of a mother's life." -Sophocles
Isaac is 10 and is a fourth grader this year. He is the laughter of my days. He is dramatic, hilarious, smart, creative and has a great sense of humor. He loves LEGOS, Minecraft, Making stuff out of polymer clay, Taekwondo and music.
Graham is six years old. He is a kindergartner this year. He is the excitement and color of my days. He is obliviously hilarious, independent, snuggly, sweet and totally boy. He loves LEGOS, minecraft, eating, playing basketball and doing projects with mom and dad.
Grayson is 18 months old. He is the pure love of my days. He likes to do whatever his brothers are doing, he loves to snuggle with mama and get into stuff around the house. He loves his papa.