Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Graduation #3

Jeff's graduation took two days! I guess that's part of the difference between a PhD and a clinical doctorate. The "white coat" ceremony took place during an evening banquet for just the DPT students, and the actual graduation was the next morning, combined with all who earned graduate degrees at the university.

The event was held in the Touchdown Terrace of the football stadium. We waited until his last days, but we actually set foot on the University of Florida campus!

Little miss wasn't interested in staying in her seat. Fortunately, she wasn't the only toddler in attendance and no one seemed to mind.

Imagine the energy and excitement on game day when all those seats are filled!

Oops! Didn't get a picture of Kara, but she was there as well to support Jeff.

UF's DPT Class of 2018

We weren't terribly impressed with the actual dinner, so decided to get some ice cream on the way home. In honor of Brad, I chose "Georgia Blues" (blueberries and peaches mixed into the ice cream) and it was quite delicious.

Let's throw in a picture of his senior capstone project poster. That may not be the official title, but that's what I'm calling it.

The next day's ceremonies were held in the basketball arena. It wasn't quite the Marriott Center, but because the orientation was set up lengthwise, with all the graduates on the floor, we could get seats front and center. We chose seats front and to the side to have easy access to the exit, just in case Little Miss wasn't any more interested in sitting still in the morning than she was the night before. Good call.
She was willing to sit for part of the time!

Sitting in the last row helped us find him fairly easily.
Finding him and taking a decent picture are two different things, but here's the proof that we watched him go across the stage and receive his hood. Here's also the proof that he saw himself on the jumbotron monitor.

Just call him Doctor Jeff!

Jeff and Jesse and a couple other friends

You did it! We're so proud of you, and we're grateful for the sacrifices your wonderful wife made to support you in this achievement, and we're looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you.

Congratulations Graduate!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Graduation #2

We've known for over a year that we'd have three sons gradating from three different schools this spring, but we didn't learn until just a couple of months ago that two of them were on the exact same day, at the exact same hour, in two different cities. That's not fair to parents! How do you decide which one to attend and which one to miss?

It was difficult, but after consulting with both sons, we decided to attend Jeff's graduation from the University of Florida. Brad was able to visit us for spring break, so we took advantage of that time together to celebrate his upcoming achievement.

Later, we were delighted to learn that Georgia Tech had a live webcast of their graduation, so while we were sitting in the arena in Gainesville, we were able to watch Brad be "hooded" in Atlanta. For the record, he became an official "doctor" before Jeff did.

We're proud of Brad for earning a PhD in Electrical Engineering, and are grateful that pictures can help us feel like we were with him on his special day.

We're also happy that he found a job doing what he wants, teaching at the university level. We wish him the best as he goes on to teach in Montana this fall, with a detour through Idaho where he's "staff" for the summer term.

Congratulations Graduate!!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Graduation #1

For the 4th year in a row, we made the trip to Utah for BYU graduation. This time David received a Master's degree in Construction Management. It was wonderful being able to celebrate this milestone with him.

The first stop as part of the festivities was the MOA Café for lunch with the graduate. This is a fun tradition and we're glad Michelle introduced it to us a few years ago.

Don't you love the happy face garnish on the raspberry soup?

After picking up his cap and gown, it was time for some pictures!

One of the best things about visiting Provo is the chance it affords to meet up with old friends. This time it was my freshman roommate, whose son was also graduating. We found our seats, knowing from past experience that the best ones are behind the podium, not in front of it above the graduates. (We also recognized some acquaintances from Florida, although it took us a while to figure out how we knew each other because we weren't wearing all white!)

David also had a great seat - fourth row on the aisle with a perfect view of the speakers. We did enjoy the speeches, and if you're interested, you can read about them here. And you can find some official pictures here.

The kids were excited to see their dad in his regalia that evening, but we tried to keep the commotion to a minimum so they could get to bed early and be ready for the next big day, when they would be coming to watch him walk across the stage.

They were ready!

And so was David!

He did it!

That's one deservedly happy family! And we celebrated by playing some Skeeball along with having the traditional Grandpa ice cream date.

Because of the new baby, and not wanting to overdo things, we extended the celebration across a few days, saving the traditional graduation dinner for Saturday. The kids had a simple dinner with the babysitter and the adults had a delicious dinner of sushi and nigiri.

Tsunami didn't have a sushi boat on the menu, but our waitress said we could special order it, so we did. We learned the correct term is omakase. Basically we told the chef how much we wanted to spend, what our likes and dislikes and allergies were, and he put his creative skills to work. It wasn't quite as awe-inspiring as the first sushi boat we ordered a few years ago, but it was still very good and quite delicious. The chef seemed out to impress us, and he did. However, we would have been quite satisfied with more simple fare, where we could positively identify the ingredients used in each roll. We'll know that for next time, and now you know as well. 

Special occasions deserve dessert as well!

Congratulations Graduate!!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother's Day - The 2018 Version

I rediscovered a picture of my mom I hadn't seen in a while. Isn't she beautiful? I also thought it was time to share more of the lessons she's taught me over the years. Several years ago, I shared three of them - the importance of obedience, education and service. Those are very similar to what I was remembering this week (before I found that post again), so I guess they are very important lessons to learn. However, let's take them in a different direction and come up with some new stories and memories to document.

1966 to 1968 - raising three young children
Last week in stake conference we were reminded of the counsel President Kimball gave to parents to have pictures of the temple hanging in their children's bedrooms to help them keep the temple in their sights. As I recall, it was just a matter of days from the time my mom heard that instruction until we had pictures up on our walls. She even asked us which temple we wanted; I chose the Washington, D.C. Temple and my sister chose the Swiss Temple. It was years later before I realized that the "frame" my mom used was actually a pre-cut mat board. Learning that made me appreciate her willingness to follow the prophet even more; she didn't bother waiting until time and finances allowed for the "perfect" frame, she made it work with what we had.

So, this year's Lesson #1 is the importance of following the prophet, or being obedient to a prophet's counsel, even (and especially) if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Some other instances include participating in the Indian Placement Program, leaving the city and purchasing a home on five acres so we could be self-sufficient, planting flowers by our mailbox to beautify our property, and starting family scripture study.

With Arlene in 1971

The week our family size doubled overnight in 1972
Some of these lessons and memories overlap. That just shows how encompassing motherhood is! While education is important, being educated doesn't do you much good unless you also follow Lesson #2 - the importance of work. That five acre plot of land provided a myriad of opportunities to put that principle into practice. We built a barn. We moved sprinkler pipe. We planted trees and vegetables and a strawberry patch. We took care of horses and rabbits and chickens.

There's our little gentleman's farm - complete with a barn, horses and rabbits.
Mom made work fun and enjoyable. On the way to an afternoon of playing at the beach, we'd stop to pick olallieberries or do some research at the genealogy library first. She was always coming up with new charts and systems to put some energy and excitement into the mundane chores of doing dishes and cleaning bathrooms. Scrubbing the shower at home wasn't necessarily enjoyable, but doing it at Grandmother's was actually fun.

My favorite line? "Make mom's bed!"**
And that brings us to a specific subset of service and Lesson #3 - the importance of ministering. As I pondered this subject this morning I realized that a great definition of ministering is "giving aid or service one by one" (as opposed to a group effort). Even in a large family, if we feel our needs are being met individually, ministering is happening. I definitely felt loved for myself, and I hope my brothers and sisters did as well.

Mom's MiaMaid class - Look at all those Gunne Sax dresses!

Mom ministered to Josephine and Arlene and Richard (our Indian foster students). She ministered to me and my friends as she taught our Merrie Miss and Mia Maid classes. She ministered to me by driving me to piano lessons every week. (Once we moved to that five acre plot just before I started high school, it was a one hour drive each way. That's a lot of mother-daughter time!) The most impressive example is the daily care she's given to my younger sister for over 40 years. Being a caregiver is hard work, yet she continues to do it each day with a smile.

Holly at therapy trying to imitate baby Weston
Mom and Holly last summer
I hope I can continually put into practice the lessons I've been taught, and that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can learn from her as well. Thanks for being an awesome example, Mom.
Happy Mother's Day!

**One of the gems I found during my visit to Virginia last summer. That trip was followed immediately by a wedding, then hurricane cleanup, then the holidays, then baby blessings and graduations, all while trying to keep on top of the normal, daily stuff. Hopefully, soon, going through the stack of papers and photos will make it to the top of the list!

Friday, May 11, 2018

My Favorite Two Year Old

While spending time with some grandsons last month, I discovered that two-year-olds can be quite delightful. They love routines, they're learning to communicate better, are developing their own personalities, and yet they're still innocent and delightful.

I love this great birthday tradition - to post pictures from the past year.
Here's some of the fun we had with my favorite one (at least until his cousin turns two in a couple of months, then I'll have two favorite two year olds).

I'm so looking forward to seeing what the future brings for this cute, smart, engaging, amazing little guy!