Friday, December 19, 2014

We're Evergreen

I heard a friend of mine say this before I was married and didn't believe it.  Even though you are married and live together, you still rarely talk to you husband.  Life gets in the way.  Thing come up.  There are little annoyances everywhere.  You look for stolen moments here and there to remember why you married your husband and why you love him.  Bedtime or the middle of the night is when we have our best conversations. 

We went to a Christmas party last week and I took this selfie.  This may be my new favorite picture of us.  I think it captures our silliness.  It captures "us".  We make me smile.  This picture is the moment I reminds me of "us".   (Sorry for lack of picture.  Blogger is not cooperating!)

I'm currently hooked on "Thinking of us" by Ed Sheeren and have listened to about a gazillion times over and over.  It's about loving each other forever, even when we are old.  That's Charlie and me.  We're evergreen. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I will take Real-Life pictures anyday...

I know that posed photos at the park are so popular right now.  I love looking at the pictures people post on facebook of their newborn smushed up in a basket.  Or their family frolicking at the park blowing bubbles.  They are adorable.  All of their outfits match and are coordinated.  It's a beautiful sunshiny day.  Great pictures.
I tried it once.  I have done it twice - once with just the kids and once with all of us.  They were okay.  I am completely uncapable of coordinating outfits.  We just all had regular clothes on.  They were nice pictures.  
Here is my attempt at "pictures in the park". 
Their outfits are almost coordinated.  There is a background.
We're at a park on traintracks.  :)

But the pictures I really love of my family are real life pictures.  The selfies we take while sitting on the couch.  The ones were we ask a stranger to hold our camera.  We are in real clothes doing real things.  I love the candid shots of us.  When I think back to my favorite memories, it's not posed at the park.  It's real life.  We're sweaty.  We're dirty.  We're tired.  We're silly.  We're family.  I just looked through my old pictures and those are my memories.  I will take these pictures of my family over the professional ones anyday.  They are not for me.  But I will oohing and ahhing and loving everyone elses.
My current favorite picture of us. 
We're at the track.  We don't match each other or ourselves.
We have hats and are dirty.  We're smiling.
We're busy living!
Another oldie but goody - busy living and reading. :)


Monday, May 12, 2014

A new Sunday...

A few months ago, I mentioned the girl who sits in front of us at church.  Yesterday she came with a boyfriend.  It made me smile.  Again, i don't know her or her story - have they been dating awhile this is the first time she was able to bring him to church?  Did they just start dating?  I don't know.  But I knew that it would be fun to watch her life progress through all the stages and maybe she is in the next one.  :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Calvin's Growing Up!

 need to get blogging again.  i've started several posts but haven't finished any.  So i will start with an easy one.  

Calvin is growing up!!!  He has been potty trained for 3 months!  He was 3 1/2 before he was potty trained which I think is on the old side, even for boys.  But it went just I thought - when they are ready, it's easy.  The whole process was harder on me than it was on Calvin.  I was very patient with potty trained until January when he hit 3 1/2.  Then I started to lose my patient.  Let me advise you, throwing a pull up at your son and telling him to change himself is not a successful potty training method.  But then one day in early February, he wore underwear and we haven't looked back!  He had a few accidents in the beginning and still have a few number 2 accidents (I don't know why).  He wears pull ups to bed but really doesn't need to.  Whenever he has an accident, we pull the changing stuff out of the closet and then he puts it back in the closet (wipes and changing mat) and says he doesn't need it ever again.  

But now that he is potty trained, he is officially in the preschool class at daycare.  He started March 3.  I am so impressed with his preschool and how much he has changed and grown up in the past two months.  He questions a lot.  He clearly listens to all his lessons and tells me about what he learns every day.  He is so proud of the pictures he colors and shows me very day.  When we listen to the radio in the car, he asks questions about what he hears and he asks so many questions about what he sees and always wants to learn more.  He has become so caring of Dog.  He brings Dog to school with him everyday because Dog would be lonely if he was left at home.  He places Dog in the cubby so he can watch class.  Yesterday, Dog had a graham cracker in his cubby.  He takes very good care of Dog. 

On the flip side, that boy is going to give me a heart attack!  He is constantly on the go.  We have had a few close calls running across the street or in parking lots.  Waiting for ballet class is a challenge. Although he always wants to join in and dance with them.  If he doesn't get his way, he throws himself on the floor and screams.  He is the cliche that it isn't the terrible twos, it is the terrible threes!  He has a very bad and mischievous side to him.  he was the quietest and most well behaved baby ever but once he hit three, he got loud and bossy! 

It has been so fun over the last few months to watch the grown up changes in my sweet little boy and watch his personality develop even more.  He has always been fascinated with music as most children are but he seems to have a real creative side to him.  He loves coloring and drawings.  I can't wait to see how his creative side develops and if it grows into more.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Longest Ride

I finished the Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks this weekend.  I have to confess that I was supposed to have finished it by Friday for my book club discussion.  I was only about 3/4 of the way finished so I asked them to tell me the ending.  I won't give that away here.  I had read that the book was predictable but I never caught on and since I knew the ending, I am not sure I would have predicted it anyway.

But what our discussion on Friday centered around was Ira and Ruth's marriage and love story.  I have to admit, I enjoyed that part more than Luke and Sophia's.  I liked the story of Luke and Sophia as a novel but I couldn't relate to it much.  

But Ira and Ruth's story stuck with me a lot.  I loved that we saw their whole marriage and their whole life.  Not just the initial love affair that most books end with.  They had good times.  They had bad times.  But they made it through the bad times and things got better - better than they were before.  Isn't that what life is about?  The great love affair is not perfect. But that is what makes it great.  The tough times are what makes it perfect.  It reminded me a lot of the movie Up.  I love that movie.  I love that love story.  The Longest Ride talked about the sacrifices that Ira and Ruth made to be with each other. They gave up a lot.  Sometimes they regretted the sacrifices they made but they never regretted being with each other.  

One thing we discussed was that we all have good times and we all have bad times in our marriage.  Times of transition are typically the hardest.  But we always make it though.  I feel like I am in the middle of a difficult transition and things aren't perfect right now.  Some days they aren't even good.  But I am okay with that because I know and I believe in the greatness of my marriage.  I know that this is just a time of our life and not our entire life.  I love that when things are tough, there are glimmers of good.  There are glimmers of great.  There are glimmers of the love in my family and we are a great family.  These are the moments that make it worth while.  Sometimes I feel like society makes it too easy to quit.  Sometimes society paints the perfect love story and doesn't talk about the other stuff.  The love story is only the beginning.  It's what is built upon it that makes it great.  That's what makes it last.  I think what I loved about the Ira and Ruth story is that we say the entire story, not just the beginning.  Right now, that was exactly what I needed.  That's what I want for my marriage - the whole 70 years. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

A look into other people's lives...

I had another moment recently when I was reminded that things aren't always as they seem and we really don't know what is going on with other people's lives.  I was talking to a friend about stuff.  I am not going to get into the specifics about what we were talking about because it doesn't matter. But based on the few things she said (or didn't say) my opinion of one of her decisions changed.  I don't know what goes on in her life but I had trouble understanding what she was doing.  After talking to her and hearing how she was saying it, I understood that we all react to situations differently and we all have different stuff going on.  Her decision wouldn't work for me but is necessary for her.  Not to sound cliche, until we have walked in their shoes, we just don't know...  Sometimes I just need the reminder.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Taking Care of Each Other...

I feel like I used to be a fairly competent adult.  I bought my own house when I was 22 years old.  I took care of my car, my house, my lawn, etc.  I was financially independent and was good at it.  Then I got married.  Charlie took over the finances, the yard and the car.  I liked it that way.  I didn't realize how much I depend on him and his flexible job until now.  

Right now he is student teaching and this is the first time in our married life that he has a "job" that he needs to be at every day.  Suddenly, I am the one with the more flexible job.  He has to be at school at 7 am so drop off is now on me.  My "flexible" work hours are 7 - 4 but I shifted them to 7:30 - 4:30 for now.  A few weeks ago, I "crashed" my car.  It was pretty minor and "crashed" isn't the right word for it.  I ran into the snow pile in front of my house.  How horribly embarrassing.  But there is a big hole in my bumper now and I need to get it repaired.  Suddenly it all feel to me.  I got the car to the shop to get the estimate.  I reserved the rental car.  I dropped the car off this morning and got that the rental car.  It felt weird.  It occurred to me that it has been awhile since I have taken care of this type of task.  I felt all grown-up, like an adult.  It went fine and I knew how to do it.  I took care of things.  But it did point out to me how we depend on each other to take care of each other.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

We don't know everyone's story...

Sometimes I need a reminder that we don't know everyone's story.  Today I was eating at Subway and a lady and three school aged girls came in.  I didn't really get a good look at the girls good as my back was to them.  The lady was on her phone and they were waiting for someone.  I smiled in my head as I heard the girls bicker because it sounded like every meal I have ever eaten out with my kids.  I understood (I thought) what the lady was going through.  As I left, she apologized for the girls and I told her I completely understood as I got through the same with my kids.  She quickly explained that she they are foster kids.  Suddenly what I overheard made more sense.  Earlier she explained to one girls that "they don't hit each other in this family" and as I was leaving, she was holding one and she was screaming "I want MY MOM!!!" and the other girls were saying "she is your mom today."  I got in my car and realized that I didn't understand at all what they were going through.  I don't know these girls story or anything about them or why they are not with their moms.  I cried all the way back to my office.  I cried for these girls that do not have their mom and I cried for this lady as she was trying to help them.  I wished I could do more but said a little prayer for them all.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Some embarrassing stories...

Here is another growing up issue I am working through with Laci these days.  Apparently, I am constantly embarrassing her.  Well, I'm her mother.  She needs to know that unfortunately, I will always embarrass her.  Sometimes just for my own amusement.  She is also getting very sassy and she is talking back to us a lot.  Whenever she tells me I am embarrassing her, I remind her that her being sassy and talking back to me around other people is very embarrassing to me.
But here is a funny story about them getting embarrassed now that they are a little older.  We stopped by her friend, John's house yesterday at about 6:30 to drop off girl scout cookies.  He was already in his pajamas and really embarrassed.  I tried to make him feel better by telling him that we were just going to go home, take baths and get in our jammies too.  Later that night, Laci said she was really embarrassed because I told him they were going to take baths.  I reminded her that I was just trying to make him feel less embarrassed too.  Oh the joys of growing up. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Time to Re-evaluate and Remember

A coworker of mine recently decided to go to part time.  She has an infant son and said she wants to spend more time with him and that she just felt ragged and couldn't do it all.
I totally realize that this decision of hers has absolutely nothing to do with me and my mothering.  But I immediately felt horrible.  I am constantly plagued with guilt.  Guilt that I am a working mother.  Guilt that I don't feel guilty for being a working mother.  I felt horrible.  Why?  Do people think I don't enjoy spending time with my kids? 
So I agonized over this.  Did I not spend enough time with my kids when they were babies?  Here is what I remembered after re-evaluating their first few years.  
I never felt ragged those first few years.  That was the simpliest and easiest time for me.  And I am fortunate enough to have known that and appreciated it.  I gave everything up but my job.  My life was so simple.  I went to work, came home and was with Laci.  I didn't run errands.  I didn't go out with friends.  I didn't coach or play soccer anymore.  I wasn't in any church groups.  I don't regret any of it.  I knew at the time that those things weren't important and in time, they would come back.  I remember watching Jeopardy at 7:30 after she went to bed and I knew that those days wouldn't last.  She would eventually stay awake past 7:30 and my "free evenings" would be over.  We're at that point now but it's the way it should be.  I haven't watched Jeopardy in 4 years.  
I remember when she was about 2 years old thinking about how simple our life was.  Work and play with Laci.  That was it.  Spring and warm weather was the best.  We would come home and go for a walk or to the park or pond or just play outside.  I remember journaling about how boring our life was.  We didn't go on play dates.  We didn't go to fairs or the children's museum.  We didn't do a lot of expensive activities.  We were just together.  Charlie usually didn't come home until later so it was just the two of us.  It was just perfect. 
Then Calvin came along and Laci got a little older.  We still have a very simple life.  There are a lot of times in the winter when we are all in our jammies at 7:30 chilling out.  Charlie is still gone a lot and it is just the three of us now.  In the summer we are outside nearly every evening.  I love that our neighborhood is full of kids and we can all just play outside or go to the pool.   Laci loves to go outside and just waits until someone comes out to play.  It's so hard in the winter to have playdates and she is struggling being cooped up..
Now we are a little busier but not too much.  The kids are gone so much, I don't want to overwhelm them.  I try to have a lot of home time to just play.  She has girl scouts twice a month and ballet once a week.  We are fortunate that the school offers several things at school when she is normally in afterschool care.  This month she has tennis twice a week and is done before I pick her up.  I am going to wait another year or so before getting Calvin involved in anything.  He is pretty socialized from daycare and doesn't need any more instruction.
My life is still pretty simple.  I have slowly added a little "me" time.  I run at lunch and know that without a lunchtime gym, running wouldn't be a priority.  I am grateful.  Charlie and I are in a small group at church that meets twice a month.  The focus is families and marriage.  I am in a book club that meets once a month.  Like most women's book clubs, we discuss the book for a few minutes and then just chat.  Between kids, I played soccer again for a few seasons.  I would like to go back to playing soccer again someday.  We don't have any sitters or family nearby so we do it all.  Last week at book club, one of the ladies commented about how ragged she felt.  She has a 6 month old and a 3 year old and is still adjusting to life with two kids.  She said it is hard to balance work, kids and a social life.  I realized that it is the social life that I cut out.  I know how fortunate I am to be able to balance work and kids and have a very simple life.  I know how fortunate I am to not feel ragged.  I know that the best thing I did was simplify my life and cut out the unnecessary.
So the answer to the question "Did I do enough when the kids were babies?  Do I do enough now?" is Yes.  Yes I do.  My kids are my priority and they know it.  I don't feel jealous or bad but I feel very grateful and fortunate.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

Laci's Step Dad...

Laci obviously doesn't have a step-dad.  But we did have a discussion the other day on why she thinks she should call Charlie her step dad.  She knows that she grew and came out of my belly.  But apparently that is the extent of her knowledge.  She explained that because I created her and Daddy really had nothing to do with her, she should really call him her step dad.  At that moment at Steak N Shake, I really didn't want to get into the discussion of "where babies come from".  So I just agreed with her and took all the credit for her and Calvin.   Charlie clearly had nothing to do with it.  I was impressed with the one item that stumped her.  If Charlie had nothing to do with creating her, why does she look like him?  It really bugs her that people say she looks like him.  I mean, really... he's a boy and she's a girl!  But I loved that the fact that she resembles him and yet he had nothing to do with creating her really stumped her!  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Why Runners are the Best!

I have concluded that runners are the best people in the world.  I am proud to say I have been a runner for over twenty years but I am not sure if I am in the same category as these people.  I am what I call a casual runner.  I run one to two days a week but shoot for three days a week.  It's mostly treadmill miles at my gym during lunch.  I run 400 miles a year.  It's not pretty.  I don't train.  I don't race regularly.  I don't have speed goals.  But I get it done.  I run to feel good.  I run to stretch my body and move.  I run for some "me time."  I run to feel just a little bit sore.  

I have mentioned before that Charlie is a "streak runner".  He runs every day. No matter what.  My brother is a marathoner.  A very dedicated marathoner.  I love that we all have our own goals and successes and we are all runners.

A few months ago, I joined the US Streak Runners Facebook group.  This group quickly became my favorite group.  The runners are so supportive.  Whether you are on day 2 or Day 4000, they are behind you. They have given me insight as to why Charlie is the way he is.  They are all crazy.  :)  I gave Charlie a book for Christmas called "Wooden and Me" by Woody Woodburn.  Woody Woodburn is a long time streak runner that is frequently on the site.  The book is about his relationship with John Wooden - one of Charlie's idols.  Could a book by a streak runner about John Wooden be any more perfect for him!  Charlie found that there were a lot of similarities between Woody and him even down to the fact that they buy their wives flowers every month and have a Purdue connection. As crazy as these people are, they are a special group.

Recently I heard about another running site called I Run 4 Michael.  It's a group that matches runners with kids and adults that can't walk or run.  You "run" in honor of them.  The purpose of the group is to build relationships with these kids.  They would like you to post to facebook a note for your match 3 days a week whether you run or not that day.  It's more about the relationship and the kids knowing that someone is out there doing this for them.  Many runners send their race swag to the kids and lots of pictures are posted.  I have signed up to be matched but the group is so popular there is a 9+ week wait list!  I am still waiting for my match.  I think it will be a good motivation for me also to keep running.  Now I am in the group and see what people are posting and doing for the kids and the difference that it makes for these kids and the runners.  I am very inspired by all.  I'm really looking forward to being matched but until then I will run for all the other unmatched kids.  These runners are a special group of people. 

I have mentioned before about my theory that runners are readers... or readers are runners.  All the regular ladies in my book club are runners.  Interesting... 

There are so many reasons why people run - "me time", for exercise, spiritual time, in honor or in memory of some one.  One cliche that I often see is that no matter how slow you are running, you are faster than the person on the couch.  :) 

This winter has been tough with the extreme cold snap.  I pulled a muscle in my hip and everything just hurts.  I'm starting to get shin splits so I know I need new shoes.  It's hard to get the motivation to run, even inside.  But I will continue to run, even if it is just once or twice a week.  Both Charlie and I look forward to a day when we can run with our kids.  I will run and I am proud to call myself a runner because runners are the best!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What do you see... Finding Jesus

This is what was on the front of our bulletin at church this morning.  What do you see?

We walked into church late this morning.  It's not unusual for us to walk into church late in the morning.  This morning had been a particularly difficult morning.  We are potty training Calvin and I am running out of patience.  In my head, I know that it will click for him at the right time.  This is what happened with Laci.  This is the advice everyone has told me.  It is easier to say this than to live it.  I am losing patience.  I threw a temper tantrum while changing him.  It was embarrassing as a mother to throw a temper tantrum and a diaper across the room.

By the time we got to church, I had calmed down.  After dropping the kids off at Sunday School, I sat down in the sanctuary.  I have mentioned before that church truly is my sanctuary.  It is the hour a week that I can just let go.  I am at peace.  I am with God.  I looked at the bulletin and saw a bunch of colors.  Colored what?  Colored Flowers?  Maybe a fuzzy cornucopia?  I was focused on the colors on the right.  I could not make out what the picture was and found it to be quite odd.  After a few minutes of staring, Jesus' face appeared.  It was so clear.  How in the world did I miss that?  I spent the rest of the hour staring at Jesus' face and wondering how many other times in my life Jesus is right in front of me and I am focused on something else.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

These are our stories...

I recently read a note written by a friend of mine about the "Snowstorm of 2014" and extra days of Christmas break with everyone stuck inside.  It's tough.  As mothers we want to create the "perfect" family memories.  We know that it is the simple, little things that matter.  But those memories are hard to plan and do.  We're mostly just trying to get by.  I read the comments and read facebook through the last two days and it is amazing how we all have our own stories.  We all found our own way to get by... good or bad.  The people with grown kids watched movies and cleaned their houses.  The mothers struggled to entertain their kids.  I worked at my dining room table for 2 days hoping to get almost 2 days of work in.  We had a family game of Hullaballu and that was our "special moment".  I felt bad like I should be "bonding" with my kids and doing fun things but then remembered that for every hour I didn't have to take vacation was another hour / day I could spend on spring break with them.  My birthday (May 30) is my last day of vacation day and it should be a day off for Laci.  I want my Girls Day, dog gone it!  

Someone commented that in time, this will be our story.  It reminded me of the Blizzard of 78.  I obviously don't remember any of it.  But Charlie and his mom still talk about that time.  I have recently read several articles about how kids who know their family history are more self confidence.  I love my family history and maybe that helps with my confidence.  It's the little things that matter - how our parents met, when they were married, what was their first date like, where their grandparents lived, etc.  I have always done it but recently made more of an effort to share our family stories with the kids.  Not at a formal "story time" but just little comments here and there, where it fits.  Years ago, I made a memory book about my parents with their childhood pictures and their stories.  I loved making it and sharing it with the kids from time to time.  It's amazing how times have changed regarding pictures.  My parents were able to each give me about 10 pictures from their childhood.  My children have hundreds of pictures from their childhood.  

I have my list of "favorite" stories from my parents / grandparents past.  The one where my dad got lost going to his new school in kindergarten.  Or how my grandma's mother sent her 3 year old little boy on a horse to get help when they were living out of their own in South Dakota and my great grandmother was about to have my grandma.  How my parents met at a church dance and my dad pulled my mom's shoe out of a pile to have the next dance.  How my dad said I am just like my grandma - fiesty, inpatient, independent and in a hurry.  My mom lived in such a small town growing up that when they trick or treated, they would stop and eat ice cream or other treat before going to the next house.  Someday I will start telling my kids things about my childhood like how their uncle could always get their aunt to spit up her milk at dinner time.  Or how Grandma was the reigning burping champ of our house.  I am learning Charlie's families stories and often tell them to Laci too.  

I don't know what part of our families life will make the family lore but I love making these memories, even if it is just playing Hullaballu after working on a snow day. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Puzzle Day 2014 Complete!

The finished product.  We finished last night at 10:30.  Whew...  And Calvin was invited back into the puzzle room.  He played with his trucks and worked on his own puzzle.  I did laugh when I was helping him with his puzzle and he said "Mom, you are doing a great job on this puzzle but not very good at your puzzle."  :)
This is his "cheese" smile face.  Why do kids do that?  :)
He is working on his 63 piece I SPY puzzle.

The Finished Product! 
The other great thing I remembered about Puzzle Day is how therapeutic puzzles can be.  Charlie and I were goofy, sang songs and talked.  We talked about lots of things... everything and anything.  Important things.  Not important things.  Last year a good friend of mine lost her daughter.  She said that for a few weeks, she just sat at the dinning room table and did 1000 piece puzzles.  I understand why.  It would be therapeutic to be distracted and calm to get through that.
Our kids can be given our attention again... until 2015 Puzzle Day.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Puzzle Day 2014!!!

I started a tradition back in college / high school of doing a large puzzle on New Years Day.  This year we started on New Year's Eve.  We never get it done in one day.  Our child care still lacks on Puzzle Day.  We were gone for awhile on Wednesday dropping off Laci and when we got back, Calvin was clearly done with puzzle day and kept asking "Is the puzzle done yet?!?"  He was banned from puzzle day on Tuesday when he started to take it apart.  He keeps thinking we are "playing puzzle".  Fortunately, the kids are getting a little older and can entertain themselves a little bit.  Laci even tried to help with the puzzle too.  But I still found myself just setting out crackers, peanut butter, grapes and cheese on the table and calling Calvin over for dinner instead of actually making a good dinner.  In my defense, he was playing "puppy" and kept referring to himself as "Puppy Calvin" so setting out food like a dog wasn't too far fetched. 

At the end of Wednesday, we were over half done with puzzle hopefully tonight or Saturday we can finish it up.  And pay a little more attention to our children.  :) 

Letting Go... If only for a couple of days...

I talk a big talk.  I want my children to be independent.  I want to be able to let them go.  My goal is to raise Strong, Independent Christian Adults.  But sometimes I think I am all talk.  I don't do as much as I should to "let them go."  

My kids have been daycare kids since they were 3 months old.  I'm not getting into the daycare / stay at home mom / sitter debate right now.  But one of the advantages I have seen is that my kids are independent.  They have always had a life outside of me.  On the flipside, because I am working, I want to spend every second I can with them outside of work.  We rarely use sitters.  I have never left them overnight with someone.  The only nights I have spent without Laci are the two nights I was in the hospital after Calvin was born and two nights she and Charlie went to his parents house.  His parents usually spend about a week a year at his brothers to watch our nephews while my BIL and SIL go on vacation.  They love getting that week with the boys.  Sometimes I feel guilty that I haven't left my kids with them for a week.  But selfishly, I don't want to be without my kids for a week.

This Christmas break, Laci asked if she could go to her cousins house for a couple of days instead of the YMCA.  I talked to my sister and she agreed that it would be okay.  Laci hasn't had any sleepovers with friends so I thought this would be a good trial run.  She adores her big cousins.  We met them halfway yesterday to drop her off.  She was so excited that morning but ever so often on the drive up, she would say "I'm a little nervous."  Fortunately, my sister has dealt with other little girls on their first sleepovers so I knew she would know how to handle it.  

We told Calvin we were going to see cousins and he insisted on packing too once he saw Laci's suitcase and pillow.  So we packed his empty suitcase and pillow too.  He was exhausted yesterday after staying up late on New Years so he slept the entire drive up, the entire drive down and through a few errands.  When we got home, he was devastated that he didn't get to see any cousins and kept crying "I don't want to go home... I don't want to go home."  Then he stood out in the garage at the door of the crying "I don't want to go home."  I left the door to the house open for him.  A few minutes later, he had gotten into the car and was pretending to drive.  I went back to check on him a few minutes after that and he had accidentally locked the doors and was standing by his door trying to figure out how to get out.  I rescued him.  It was pretty funny when Charlie asked him about Laci and he had a look of surprise when he looked at her seat and she was gone.  He hasn't  mentioned her since. 

That night as we were working on the puzzle, I worried about Laci.  Worried isn't the right word.  I knew she was fine and I knew my sister was taking great care of her.  But I wanted to be with Laci.  I want to experience everything new with her.  I love seeing her face and just being with her.  I missed her.  This is how I feel whenever she does something new with someone else - like field trips or outings with grandparents and friends.  I hate missing these moments.  But I have to remember the goal - raising strong, independent Christian adults and that includes knowing when to let go.  Even if it is just starting with two days.