Pack the bags, get the passports, reserve the rental, make sure there's room on the credit card and let's go on a trip. We're on our way to Chicago for a wedding, then we get on a plane to Amsterdam via Dublin. We've spent lots of time planning for this thing and now it's almost here.

I keep looking at my boys in wonder asking myself how they got to be so big. There have been lots of babies born at church lately (not AT church....) and I hold those little ones and remember exactly how it felt to hold my own little guys. It felt like I was doing that a year ago. Not eight years ago.

Now they're big. Now they go out to the pool without my even noticing and I come in from the garage and the house is empty. Now they help me build compost bins and they get on their bikes to go fetch the milk I forgot to buy at the store. Now they are ready for a big trip like the one we're about to take where they experience what it's like to be in a country and hear a different language spoken all day long, where life looks slightly different and the food is slightly different and the rhythm of life doesn't always match up with life in Nebraska. I am excited for them to see it all and I am excited to share this adventure with them.

So today I am in charge of the laundry and the suitcases and the last minute snacks that will get us to Chicago. I am in charge of the activity books and cameras and the rain jackets in case it rains. One kid needs a haircut, one kid needs another pair of shorts, one kid needs a book to read. It's a little stressful, but it's a good kind of stress. No matter what, we'll be together, we'll be seeing the world, we'll have three weeks of family time. Those things are worth the risk, worth the stress, worth the hard stuff that has to be done in order to get there.