8:15 PM: I'm home! In some ways it felt like I was gone for a long time (I really missed my family), and in other ways, the time just flew. The conference (Justice Research and Statistics Association in St. Petersburg, FL) was really good, and as always, I came away with some new ideas for research. I also got to meet new people and see old friends.
My plane arrived in NC just before noon today, and Randall and I decided to meet for lunch (with the girls) in Dunn. Randall told the girls they were going to lunch, but he didn't tell them I would be there. They were so pleasantly surprised. Sophie spent about 20 minutes in my lap, clinging to me tightly, while we waited for the food to arrive. She got a lot of attention at the Cracker Barrel, and told several people she would be going back to school soon. She said (accurately), "If my counts are low, I can't go to school. If my counts are high, I can go to school. I go to Countryside, and my friends are there, but Ms. Dawn moved away." She seemed a little tired and pale, but she (and I) took a long nap, and she has seemed better since then.
Today's cute story: We were all preparing to take a nap, and Randall was groaning about wanting to take a nap with us instead of finishing up his sermon. Sophie said, "I know how to make you feel better Daddy! Tickling!" He chose the sermon over the nap, so we'll have lots of time tonight to catch up with each other after the girls go to sleep. It's good to be back home with my family.