Tuesday, February 28, 2012

McDonalds Goodness - Full of Fruit

McDonald's and goodness don't often go together.  I don't know if these are common in other parts of the country but we are fortunate to live near two "goodness" and "faithful" McDonalds.  The first one built is "faithful".  It is a regular McDonalds - one of the modern ones with cafe sitting, a fireplace and some lounge chairs.  But there is also a giant Bible on the wall.  The "Goodness" McDonald's opened closer to us a few months ago.  Again, it is a regular McDonalds.  It even has a "wifi" bar.  But in the glass windows surrounding two of the tables where we usually sit have the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) listed - Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Self-Control.  They don't throw the faith at you but just carefully place it around.  It's very subtle.  Whenever we eat there (more often then I should admit), I always make a point to read the Fruits of the Spirit to Laci.  I tried to memorize them all several years ago but I still usually miss one or two.  Laci actually corrected me last week and added the one I missed.  She has learned a song at school called "Self-Control" which was a good segway to our Fruits of the Spirit lesson.  Somehow in the first twenty years of my Christian education, I missed the Fruits of the Spirit completely.  I didn't learn about them at all until a Disciple Bible Study I did years ago.  I am glad that I have this subtle way to teach them to Laci.  And at what better place than her favorite spot.  

Stuck at 15

I think everyone in their own way has an age they are "stuck" at.  The age they will always think of themselves at.  Maybe it is your carefree and wild 20s.  For me, it is 15.  I think I will always have the insecurites and anxieties of a 15 year old girl.  I will always be 15 in my own head.  That is why sometimes I am so in awe when I look around at my life - my husband, my children, my house, my career.  I am a grown up - whether I feel like one or not.  

I still have those huge insecurities of how I look to others.  How am I perceived?  I have never felt like "the cool kid".  I have always felt a little bit off, a little bit on the outside.  I have gained a lot of confidence in myself in the last 20 years but sometimes those feelings of wanting to be "the cool kid" are still there.  For example, with Laci's friends mothers.  I want to be their friends.  I don't know why.  I only see them when I pick Laci up from school passing in the hallway or the occasional birthday party.  I had a playdate with one of Laci's school friends and her mom a few weeks ago.  I like this mom.  She is really nice, friendly and personable.  But I had myself all worked up about it.  It was worse than a first date!  Where we would meet, what time, who was invited, what would I wear.  Good grief.  But it went fine.  The girls got along well and the mom and I got along well.  I hope we can do it again this spring.  I love spring when we can have play dates at the park - so easy.  

One day last fall, the kids and I went for a walk.  We walked out of our house at the same time our neighbor and her kids were about to take a walk.  Suddenly I was 15 again and not sure how cool or uncool I was.  Do I invite them to walk with us?  Do we walk the other direction?  She had their dogs.  Maybe they were meeting up with someone else.  Maybe they had a mission.  I didn't want to be the annoying neighbor who pops up whenever they go outside.  So I tried to go the other way.  But Laci insisted on following and trying to catch up with them.  It was so awkward.  We were a few houses behind them the whole walk!  I was finally able to turn and we all ended up at the park together and the kids all played.  

Birthday parties are the worst.  I just want to be the cool parents that sit and chat.  Do I invite myself to talk to the other mothers.  Do I sit alone?  I usually do a bit of both.  I am not the friendliest or most outgoing person.  I try but it is hard.  The last party she was invited to I agonized over whether or not I should stay at the party.  At what age do kids just get dropped off?  The girls whose birthday it was for was just dropped off at Laci's party last fall.  Maybe the expectation was to just drop off.  I had no idea!  I told Laci that if other parents were staying, I would stay.  Otherwise, I was going to go.  It was about half and half.  So I stayed with two other parents.  Two other kids were just dropped off.  I worry about the goofiest things.  Laci was just invited to another party next month.  This is for the girl who I have labeled "the cool kid".  Her parents always seem so put together.  She and her sister show up every morning in the cutest, most coordinated outfits - usually complete with matching shoes or boots.  Their hair is perfectly curled and put up.  My children appear at school in the morning with clothes and shoes on.  That is usually a victory for me.  If their clothes match, it is just a bonus.  The stars have to align just right for their hair to be combed.  As soon as I got the invitation, I started worrying about what gift to give her.  I want to make sure we get a "cool" enough gift - nothing to babyish.  We have been to enough parties that I am starting to see what the kids are into.  I loved Laci's party because she got to try a lot of new things that she received as gifts that I may not have given her - like Barbies and craft kits.  So we will probably get her Barbies or craft kits.  I just hope it is "cool" enough.  More importantly, I hope that I just stop agonizing over these silly little details!  Laci doesn't care about this stuff at all.  She doesn't know there are "cool kids" and outcasts.  They are just all friends.  I have learned to be myself in so many aspects of my life.  I just hope friendships with other mothers is something else I can eventually get confidence in and just grow up a little bit!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A small change can make a difference

I originally started writing this blog to talk about my adventures with my kids.  I feel like the last several ones have been off topic.  Bear with me, this one will be off topic too.  But it all pertains to my life and the lessons I learn in life so I suppose it is relevant to my life as a mother because that is what I am - 100% of the time.

My husband is a big man.  Truth be told, it's one of the things that I love about him.  I know you aren't supposed to list physical characteristic when describing why you love someone because it's the man on the inside I love.  But I love that he is big.  He makes me feel protected.  As one of my friends told me once, no one will mess with me because my husband can beat him up!  Unfortunately, sometimes there is a downside to being a big man.  A couple of years ago, Charlie had a physical and they told him several of his numbers were high or borderline high - blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, etc.  I probably would have brushed it off and said "I'll make a few changes" and really do nothing.  But this sent Charlie into a panic.  He doesn't do things half way.  He gave up everything.  He clearly can't run or work out more.  He is already doing it everyday.  He already gave up all beverages but milk and water.  He has never drank in his life.  So he gave up all sweets - candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, etc.  This is a big deal for him.  He loves that stuff.  But he gave it up cold turkey.  I don't know how he does it.  In the beginning he wouldn't even have a bite of a cookie if Laci offered it to him.  Since then he has relaxed his rules and will eat a piece of cake for a birthday and maybe a bite of brownie if I make them.  But that is about it.  He rapidly dropped about 25 lbs and since plateaued out. 

He finally went back for a physical last week.  He has been dreading it.  He went to see our family doctor since his previous doctor moved.  Our doctor is pretty laid back and a "wait and see" guy.  This is a good fit for Charlie.  He has gotten to know him from all of the appointments with the kids.  He got his numbers back and everything went down - dramatically!  His triglycerides were more than cut in half.  His cholesterol was cut back a third.  His blood sugar was about the same.  The doctor reminded him that an occasional glass of red wine is okay but since Charlie doesn't drink, he joked that he wasn't telling him to start drinking!  I was very proud of Charlie.  I don't mean to sound like an ad but it's amazing what a little thing like dropping a little weight really can make a big difference. 

Calvin's Chores

True, he's 1 1/2 so Calvin really doesn't have official chores.  But he does love cleaning!  If he sees a broom, try to keep him away!  I know that it is a phase he will grow out of.  Toddlers love helping and cleaning.  Kids do not.  Maybe Calvin will the one kid that loves cleaning!  I know I hate it so if I can pawn these chores off on my kids, I will be one happy mama!
Calvin empties the dishwasher. 
He doesn't do a great job at putting it away correctly.
But he tries.  After a plate broke, he is now only
allowed to put away the plastic stuff.

Sweeping with Daddy

This kid loves his mop! 
He even takes it for a ride in the stroller.

So excited to receive new clothes from a cousin.
He carefully looked at every outfit.

Not really a chore but he loves coloring now.

Doing the laundry and taking the clothes out of the hamper.
He also can put the clothes in the washer / dryer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lessons from my dad

I have written a lot about the people I admire.  I am so fortunate to have so many in my family - my brother, my sister, my grandmas.  Recently I was thinking of my dad and how important he is to me.  Charlie looks up to his dad a lot and turns to him for advice often.  I don't go to my dad very much for advice.  I was feeling bad about that recently - that I don't turn to my parents for help.  But then I realized why I don't turn to my parents for help.  They have already given me all the help I need.  I started thinking about everything that my dad has taught me and more importantly how he has taught me these lessons.  My dad is a very quiet man.  He has taught me his wisdom through his quietness.  He has given me three pieces of advice over the years that have stuck with me and it is this advice I have always turned to when I have a decision to make.

1.  In high school when I was picking a college and a major - I was trying to decide between the school of technology and the school of engineering.  He told me that I was smart enough for engineering.  I shouldn't sell myself short and there would be more opportunities for me with an engineering degree than a technology degree.  He was right.  I now have my P.E. (professional engineering) license and I am very proud of it.  Lesson: Shoot for the stars - always go for the challenge.  Don't take the easy way out.

2.  In college, I broke up with a guy I had been dating several months.  I didn't date a lot and this was one of the few boyfriends I had.  I broke up with him right before spring break.  I remember being broken hearted at home that week.  Finally my dad said something along the lines of "he wasn't all that great anyway".  Lesson: Get Over It.  Don't dwell on it. 

3.  When I graduated, I had several job options in several different cities.  I remember being home at spring break, taking a walk with him and discussing the two of the offers.  Finally he said "Why do you keep talking about it?  You already know what you are going to do.  You don't want to leave her."  "Her" was my new baby niece.  One of my job offers was near my new baby niece and I didn't want too far away.  I wanted to be near her to visit her when I could.  Lesson: Trust your gut.... and move on.  Don't dwell.  Your instincts are good and will lead you far.  Second lesson: Always choose family.  I'm so glad I chose where I did...  It lead to Charlie and my own family.  

My dad is a very quiet, humble man.  I love that about him.  He never talks about his accomplishments.  He has done some great things.  So many of them I wouldn't even know about and I just stumbled on them from my mom.  I learn humility from him.  Humility is a hard lesson to teach.  Right now I spend so much time praising Laci to build up her self confidence that sometimes I am afraid we go overboard and she will be too braggy or boastful.  

My dad's confidence is in his faith.  He is never vocal about it.  But I know his faith is what leads him.  His faith is what allows his gut instinct to be right.  My dad has been a great role model for me - as a person and especially as a parent.  I can only hope that I can teach my children these lessons too as simply as he did. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ruby Bridges

The daycare is closed on Monday so we decided to do something fun for the long weekend.  Today we went to the Children's Museum.  It's hard to work in outings with Calvin's naptime smack in the middle of the day but we decided to go at 10 when they open and see how long he does.  He did fine but Laci tuckered out and lost it at 1:00.  But overall we had a good time.

We have been to the Museum several times.  Laci has several favorite spots and we hit them all today.  The "Children who Made a Difference" exhibit really hit me today.  I didn't get a chance to spent a lot of time in that display as Laci and I were dashing through but I did realize what her story was.  She was the first black child integrated into a white elementary school in 1960 in LA.  The reason why this story hit me like it did is because of Laci.  Some of her best friends at school are black.  I was suddenly so grateful that children like Ruby Bridges did what they did, even though it wasn't easy.  I can't imagine a world where they couldn't be in her class or be her friends.  And I am so glad I never have to... Thanks to so many people like Ruby Bridges, her family, her teacher and her school.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Gifts

Last year, as he often does for gifts, Charlie got me a DVD for Valentine's Day.  It happened to be the DVD of a movie we saw in the movie theater.  As you can imagine, we do not see very many movies at the movie theater right now.  It wasn't until I pointed it out later that he realized what a terrible gift that was.  I choose to look at it as a man who is very comfortable in his marriage.  He gave me "The Break-Up"!  

So this year he vowed to top himself and correct the error.  He got me the movie "My One and Only".  Good job, Charlie!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Up! Up! and Away! - Happy Valentine's Day!

I watched Up! again last night.  I know it came out 3 years ago but I just saw it for the first time a few months ago.  I love it.  It falls in the category of the movies I will continue to watch until the end, even if Laci has fallen asleep.  That movie is the ultimate love story.  The first 10 minutes get me every time.  And the scene with the two chairs sitting on the ledge or the house reaching its final resting place over Paradise Falls - love.  I saw a quote "Pixar created a better love story in 8 minutes than Twilight did in 4 books".  I haven't read Twilight so I can't comment directly but I don't know how much could top it.  The love story between Carl and Ellie is what I want.  It's what I believe I have.  

After I saw it the first time, I told Charlie that we need a dream.  We need our own Paradise Falls.  I have my dream - Charlie, Laci and Calvin is all I have ever wanted.  Charlie is still looking for that dream.  Carl and Ellie had their dream to get to Paradise Falls.  That is what they worked towards their whole life.  I am in tears when he looks at the scrapbook, turns the page and sees "their adventure" and pictures of their ordinary life.  My favorite thing in life is my ordinary extraordinary moments.  Ellie realized that they did have their adventure, even if they did not make it to Paradise Falls.  That house is Ellie to him.  When we were watching it last night, Laci said "Most people would just take a plane.  But he didn't want to leave his stuff."  I didn't explain to her that it wasn't his stuff he couldn't leave.  It was Ellie.  I hope I have Ellie's attitude that our life is our adventure - no matter how dull and boring it is.  If it is with Charlie, it's my adventure.  I love being on this adventure and looking for Charlie's dream with him. 

I have been working on Laci's scrapbook a lot this winter.  I am making good progress.  I was really stuck on the page I did for her Great Grandparents 70th Anniversary Party.  I just sit and stare at those pictures - Great Grandpa and Great Grandma together.  The whole family.  Great Grandpa and Great Grandma with the two kids.  I look at them and I see the amazing-ness of it.  That is what I want.  A lifetime with Charlie.  I read a People magazine article recently about John Glenn and his wife.  They have been married 69 years and grew up together as children - similar to Charlie's grandparents.  Amazing.  I believe that the marriage I have with Charlie is like that.  We're stuck together.  Like glue and nothing can tear us about.  Of all the variables and unknowns in life, the ups and downs, that is my constant.  He is the one thing that always feels right.  In every day daily life, he may drive me absolutely batty and totally crazy - the way he chomps his gum or waits to load the dishwasher.  He may not do things the way I do them.  I can't wait to grow old with him.  I don't know if we will make it to 70 years together but as many years as we have, it will be together.  As a side note, while watching the opening scene, Laci pointed out that their hair looked different.  I explained that when you get older, your hair turns gray.  She said "But Daddy's old and his hair is still black."  I had trouble not laughing on that one. 

While going through my scrapbook folders, I found this quote and added it to the anniversary page.  It reminds me of Charlie's Grandparents and where they are right now.  Grandma has severe dementia and is often gone now.  She is not who she was.  Unfortunately, I never met who she really is.  The "silent unspeakable memories" stands out for me.  They are often living in silence now.  But they are together and will be until their "last parting".  

“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life--to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”  - Geroge Elliot

This is what 70 years of marriage looks like.  Beautiful
The quilt behind them was made for their 50th anniversary.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wanted: Grandparents

My kids need some more grandparents.  Not to replace the ones they have but in addition to them.  My kids have great grandparents that love them.  But my parents are 200 miles away and my in-laws are 90 miles away.  Most of the time, I love the distance between me and my parents and in-laws.  For day to day stuff, it's great.  I have always prided myself that we can do this on our own without anyone nearby.  Most of the time that is true.  But my kids need more.  My kids needs grandparents nearby.  Or maybe I just need help.  I wish my parents would visit more.  I never thought I would say that.  I found when I was in college that 8 weeks was about my limit before I missed family.  That is more true now.  I had such a close relationship with my grandma and I want that for my kids too. 

The cliche is true - "It takes a village" to raise a child.  One parent, not even two parents can do it alone.  I keep having the idea that my kids need some local adopted grandparents.  I am not sure what I want from these grandparents.  Maybe I just need some more people to love my kids.  Calvin was home this week for Hand, Foot, Mouth disease.  Charlie and I are taking turns staying with him.  It's hard to coordinate with work and stuff.  I would love to be able to call someone and ask for help.  My in-laws are busy this week and are already coming Saturday night to babysit.  My mom still works and my dad is busy with clubs and has a meeting Thursday night.  I started thinking about my friends that are stay-at-home moms to help but they all have small children and I don't want to expose their kids to this either.  

I have a few people in mind to be their adopted grandparents but I am not sure how to ask.  "Would you like two more grandkids?"  They all have their own local grandchildren.  Maybe they don't need two more.  Most people still work so I don't want to depend on them for babysitting tasks.  But it would nice to know they are there if we need them.  It would be nice to have someone near by to have watch the kids occasionally so we could go to dinner.  Or this week to come over for a couple of hours to help.  Although we have a teenage neighbor we can use now so at least we have the option to go to dinner.  I think I just want some more people to love my kids.  Some more people that my kids can love.  At church, someone that they can run over to hug and eat a donut with them.  Someone that can look over Charlie and I too.  Most importantly, people that can look over us that aren't our parents.  Our parents are too close and have too much invested.  We need people to objectively look over us and love us for who we are now - not the children we were and will always be to our parents.  

I read a lot of message boards online (I don't know why) about the arguments for and against daycare.  So many posts talk about how they would prefer family to watch their kids during the day instead of a daycare or sitter.  No one else can take care of or love their children like they can, right?  I don't agree.  The ladies at my kids daycare love my kids as much as I do.  They want the best for them too.  I know that the more people that love my kids, the better off my kids will be.  I think relationships like I am looking for just evolve.  They can't be planned or forced.  So I will just keep my eyes out for some local grandparents for my kids.  Hopefully something will evolve for us all. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Occupy the Basement

We joke that our basement is the latest occupy location.  With the two kids tents set up and all the doll furniture it looks like the kids could camp there comfortably for awhile.  They have never given us a formal list of demands, yet they never leave.

This winter has been the first year we have really used our basement.  We bought our house with the finished basement.  We are so glad that we did.  We would never be motivated enough to finish it ourselves.  There is one closed off room in the back that currently holds all the clothes and toys as the kids outgrow them.  There is a storage room that I treat like the most important room in the house.  I know how easy it is to just throw things back there and it can fill up fast.  Before I put things back there, I have to identify the need to store the item because I know that it is probably never coming back out.  I try to limit it to holiday decorations.    

But there is a large big open area in the basement.  It is now filled with toys.  Tents, tunnels, basketball hoops, art easel, dolls and doll furniture.  There is an old tv that is hooked up to a VCR/DVD so we can watch videos or antennae TV but not cable.  There is an exercise mat for Charlie to do his workout tapes.  The radio is what we use the most to dance too.  I was so proud of myself for my only piece of organization in the room - the toy boxes.  They are literally toy boxes.  Instead of getting nice organized tubs or boxes, I pulled out three giant boxes - one for Calvin's toys, one for Laci's toys and one for shared toys.  Surprisingly enough, this toy box idea is working.  But the only piece of furniture is an 30+ year old recliner that was my grandpas.  It's old and worn but so comfy.  There are several giant pillows and blankets we can sit on or play with.  The kids love playing down there now and I am glad that we are starting to utilize the space.  After dinner, Calvie always runs over to the door.  
Calvie is digging though Laci's toy box there. 

Look at that comfy chair! 
Is there anything cuter than a boy and his doll stroller? 
I think he is pushing his cracker around.

But since we are down there so often, we have started to dream.  We have started to think about ways to make it up.  The plan is to have it be the rec room.  The place where the kids will hang out - eventually without us.  We can just tell them to go down and play.  We want a big TV, comfy couches, a game / homework table.  We want to decorate the walls - probably with sports stuff.  All of Charlie's sports posters are just leaned up against the wall.  We are starting to think about where we would put the couches, where we would put the TV, where we want a table.  We may be getting closer to furnishing the basement.  But keep in mind, we never do things on a whim.  Getting closer to buying furniture means we are probably about 2 years away from actually doing it.  We have a lot of patience in that area.  I waited years for my mini van.  I mentioned the other day that I like the table his parents have in their basement.  We joked that if we wait long enough, maybe we could get that actual table. 

Last night, I was sitting there on the floor thinking that I may be grown up enough to actually buy furniture.  Doesn't that sound like a grown up thing to do?  Maybe I will start a board on Pinterest for Basement Ideas.  But then I saw my kids run around the basement and realized that they love all this open space.  It's nice to have.  We can wait awhile longer for furniture.  But a few minutes later, as Calvin started attacking me with a plastic baseball bat, I realized that maybe too much open space isn't good either.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Husband, The Streaker

My husband is a streaker.  I love introducing him that way.  He is a streak runner.  No, he doesn't run naked.  He runs every day.  Without fail.  Rain, snow, sleet or ice.  Vacation or at home.  Injured or sick.  He runs 3 miles.  His streak is over 3 years now.  He started the current streak the day after Thanksgiving 2008.  People hear this and marvel.  I think people should be praising me.  It's not easy keeping up with his streak.  He used to run after work.  But since his office is already 80 miles away, he was getting home too late.  Remember, our kids go to bed really early.  Laci was asleep before he got home.  So now he runs early.  He is up at 5:30 every morning so he can run and be home before I leave for work at 6:25.  On the days he works at home, he could run after taking the kids to school but he runs early just in case someone is sick and he can't run that morning.  That happened one time.  On the weekend, I let him sleep in until 8 or so but we can't run errands or go to church until his run is over.  I feel like I am always waiting on him to get back from his run before we can start our day.  When we are on vacation, I usually get up, feed the kids and then try to keep them entertained until he slowly wakes up and then goes for a run on the hotel treadmill.  That doesn't sound too hard until you have tried to entertain small children in a small hotel room.  I am not very good at that.  He always runs outside unless there is an ice storm.  We have a workout room at the clubhouse of our neighborhood.  That is where I run on the weekends in the winter.  Recently the treadmill broke.  He panicked and quickly called the neighborhood association to have them get it repaired.  He needs to know there is a back up in case of an ice storm.  It is January.  Weather cannot stop the streak.  

People may wonder why he does what he does.  I don't have a clue.  I know the sacrifices I make for our family for him to continue his running streak.  Maybe it is the consistency he needs.  Maybe it is the one thing he feels like he can control.  I tried to talk him out of it years ago but have come to realize that this is our life.  He is not changing and I must adapt to it.  This is our life.  Our day does not begin until Charlie runs.  

He is not alone in this craziness.  There is an association for these crazy people.  The United States Running Streak Association.  www.runeveryday.com.  There are Legends (40+ years), Grand Masters (35+ years), Masters (30+ years), Denominators (25+ years),  Highly Skilled (20+ years), Well Verses (15+ years), Experienced (10+ years), Proficient (5+ years), Neophytes(-5 years).  Charlie recently decided to join the list.  He is currently 236 on the list with 1160 days, just a neophyte.  He really wants to get to 2130 to complete his "Lou Gehrig" run for the number of consecutive games he played in.  He would like to make a charity run to raise money for ALS.  There are actually 3 people in the town he works with that are family members that are also members of this "club".  He recently ran into two of them at lunch.  He went over and introduced himself.  The man was so excited (he owns the restaurant) that he called over to the hostess and introduced Charlie as "another streaker".  She just smiled and groaned.  That is what I do when he talks about it.  :)  The daughter whose streak is longer than the father's is having her 10 year run next September and they invited Charlie to join them.  Those crazies need to stick together.  But it is a community.  

These people are serious about their streak.  Recently, two of the Legends streaks came to an end.  This has never happened before - two streaks ending so close together.  Both were due to injury.  Most "streakers" run through injuries so it would have to be pretty bad to stop a streak.  Charlie read an article about one of them and he said making the decision to stop due to the injury was the hardest decision he has had to make in his life.  That is hard to believe and a little sad.  Deciding not to run one day was hard?  Life is too big to make that the hardest decision.  But I understand how important this lifestyle is to the streakers.  It's part of them.  He also said something about never running again because he will never achieve what he has done.  

Running is very different to me.  Having a streak is not important.  I set goals - speed and distance.  But my goals are ever changing.  I meet the goals and move on.  I love running because it makes me feel good, helps me feel successful because I am reaching goals and it keeps me fit.  I feel good about myself when I run.  Running is for me.  I hate running because some days it just hurts and makes me tired.  :)  Streak running is very limiting to me.  Charlie would disagree because he would say his streak has no limits.  I see it has limiting because his workout is already decided for that day.  Run 3 miles.  No variation.  No days off to do something else.  I need days off.  

There will come a day when Charlie's streak needs to end.  It may be next week.  It may be in 40 years.  He will be very sad.  But he will move on and he will survive.  And I will be proud of him.  Just like I am now.