Family Picture

Family Picture

Monday, June 3, 2013

The One with the Dual Graduation

Are we there yet???
Not about a road trip though . . . . about school!
I feel like we have been doing school for forever. And in a way we have I guess, but Eric more so than me.
After my second year at BYU-I when we found out I was pregnant I withdrew from school, fully intending on returning, because of health issues associated with the pregnancy. Eric finished out his associates at BYU-I and then we left for a business opportunity in Portland where he started at University of Phoenix to finish out his Bachelor's in Business Management. When he finally finished with that in October of 2010 honestly I think we both thought he was done. There were such mixed reviews on whether or not you actually needed a masters degree, and let's face it, school isn't cheap, I didn't want to go into any more debt that we absolutely needed to, and plus, when he is in school we hardly get to see him. It's always papers, and deadlines, and cramming for tests, and schoolwork, yada yada yada.
Anyway, it was when Preslie was admitted to the hospital, right before she was diagnosed with myelodysplasia, that Eric looked at me and said "I think this is the answer to our prayers, I should be going back to school."
And you know what? It was the best decision we ever made.
If he hadn't have gone back to the University of Phoenix to enroll in his Masters program, he never would have been offered a position with University of Phoenix, and without them we wouldn't have ever been able to catch up on our massive medical bill load (seriously, their medical benefits were INCREDIBLE), and without them paying for 80% of my schooling I don't know that I would have made the jump to go back to school when I did, and I wouldn't be sitting her now, a little over a year later with one degree in hand, 3/4 of the way through a second, and with a husband who has one of the most elite masters degrees in the country. It was a HUGE blessing!
I am beyond proud of Eric. Did you know that only 3% of the population will go on to get a Masters Degree??? And out of all the masters degree recipients at graduation he was the only one with the dual degree he received. Incredible.
So graduation.
Saturday, June 1st, CenturyLink Arena
It was awesome!
Eric's parents came down. His younger brother drove down from Rexburg, and his sister came up from Utah. My parents, sister and her family, and my grandparents were all there and somehow they even managed to wrangle together our three crazy kiddos through a three hour ceremony.
I'll be honest, back when I finished my associates and received my diploma in October, I didn't plan on walking through a graduation ceremony for it. Yes it is cool, in all reality I am the first child in my family to attain a college degree, and on one side of my family I am the only person ever to get one. But on the other hand, I always intended to finish a bachelors, and many people do that without ever getting an associates, so it kind of seemed like a dual graduation thing and I worried about doing it. I finally came to the realization that regardless of the extent of the accomplishment in comparison to other people's, it is an accomplishment for me! Finishing up a degree while being a full time mommy to three kids, and working 3/4 of the week was tough work! It resulted in many late nights, missed parties, and a lot of sleep deprivation. I can be proud of that!!
When Eric actually finally committed to walking at graduation, it kind of became a no brainer. How many couples can say that they BOTH graduated on the SAME day!!! How cool is that? I would never say that my degree rivals Eric's, and it was clear that the day belonged more to him than it ever did to me, but it was fun to get to experience graduation together, just this once.
We got up super early Saturday morning (cough 5am cough), got ready and drove downtown to the arena. We spent way too long sitting in lines, taking massive University photos, and talking to a million people that Eric knows, but it was worth it. Since Eric only left Phoenix about three months ago he still knew EVERYONE that was running the graduation ceremony so we had plenty of people to talk to as we waited the hour and a half back stage for the ceremony to begin.
University of Phoenix asked this man, Dr. Vincernt Muli Wa Kituku to be the motivational speaker at the ceremony. He has an incredible story - straight out of Africa, watched five siblings die, and has worked his way into becoming an amazing person. Eric has meant him before when he has come in to speak to his campus so they were good friends already but this was my first time hearing him, it was incredible!

Eric walking across the stage and receiving his diploma for a dual Masters in Health Care Administration and Informatics. 

Pax and Papa Lewis fell asleep through the ceremony together. This little man just loves his Papa. 

Me getting my Associates of Arts Degree in Health Care Administration

 I just love this man and all the support he has been for me throughout this last year and all the amazing things he has accomplished himself. He has about three weeks left in finishing up his capstone class, and then he is done!!!! EEEK!!! So much more time to spend with daddy and so much less stress on him!

The One With the Preschooler

Parker's last day of preschool was Tuesday, May 28th and his preschool graduation was Thursday May 30th! I am still in a little bit of shock that I actually have a child going to kindergarten next year!!! It is insane to me.

Parker's graduation fell in a crazy week for us. We spent the first part of the week planting about 50 plants, Eric built garage shelves, building outdoor tables and benches, massive amounts of yard work, massive amounts of cleaning in the house, and massive amounts of preparing for a bunch of people to come into town. Parker's graduation was on Thursday, then my nephew, Jack's 7th birthday party was Friday, our graduation was Saturday, baby blessing for baby Penelope was Sunday, and my mom's 50th birthday party is Monday. Craziness, right? Yes, I think so.

Back to Parker. Parker's graduation ceremony was adorable. They sang us all the songs they had learned all year long about sign language, looking before you cross the street, counting, and reading. It was awesome! I love being able to be a proud momma!

Currently Parker knows how to write all the letters, recognize letters, count to 100, count by tens, count by fives, and he is even starting to understand addition and subtraction as well as getting great at sounding out letters to create words! Not bad for a little man who hasn't even been to kindergarten yet! Eric and I are beyond proud of this little stud and the awesome little man he is growing in to.

Parker with his teacher Mrs. Wilkes, she was amazing!

The first of *many* diplomas for this little man!