Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oral Defense

Bret and I were students at ACU when we got married. Bret went straight to grad school from there...and a BS, MA, MDiv equivalency, work towards a DMin, and over eleven years later...he's just about FINISHED!

He's completed all of his Doctor of Ministry coursework, completed his doctoral project, written a dissertation about it, edited that book about a kajillion times...and today he defended it. Basically that means that he stood in front of a group of men and women - professors and advisors from his classes and field work - and presented his project.

They had been walking this last leg of the journey with him, and had spent hours tediously poring over his dissertation. After the presentation they were given an opportunity to present any critiques or challenges or editing changes - to point out anything that they found to be of less than superior thought and quality.
Here he is in his little corner room preparing his presentation.
Following the presentation and defense, one of four things can happen: 1) you are sent away with a list of changes to make (most common), 2) you pass, 3) you pass with honors, or 4) you pass with highest honors. And yes, hear me bragging when I say that my man passed with highest honors on all accounts!! He looked like he was about to pop as his advisor shook his hand and said, "Congratulations, Dr. Wells." Woooooohoooooo!!!!!

I guess it's not completely official yet - he still has to print his 251 page book on some kind of special archival quality paper. Twice. (And in case you were wondering, that's $75 worth of paper...which about caused me to blow a gasket...until I put it in perspective with what we've already spent on this thing and what it's worth!) And he still doesn't have that fancy piece of paper that you put in a big ol' frame and hang on the office wall behind your desk. (Or the office to put it in.) And he still gets to strut his stuff across the stage on May 12th. But compared to what all has gone into this, what's left is nothing but technicalities. I mean, after all, the head honcho addressed him as Dr. Wells this afternoon. So as far as I'm concerned, Dr. Wells it is. (And Josiah's proud of his "Dr. Dad," too! :)

So we splurged on steaks for dinner, and I'm not sure who was happier - the boys enjoying their very own little sirloins, or Bret (who hadn't stopped smiling since the "Dr. Wells" handshake this afternoon) enjoying the boys enjoying their steaks.

Congratulations, Dr. Wells. I'm so incredibly proud of you! (And so incredibly relieved to be tasting the light at the end of the tunnel!) I can't wait to see what you do with all this high fa-lutin' book learnin' ya got yerself.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Year...

Today was my birthday. It was pretty low-key - pretty much the way I like it! :) Bret works a night security job on Sunday nights, and is gone from about 6pm to about 7:30am. So it was just me and the crazies last night at dinner/bath/bedtime.

Micah was so sweet. As they were getting ready for bed he asked, "So where do you keep your pajamas, Mom?" I told him, and then he asked which ones were my favorites. I told him that my favs were dirty, which of the clean ones I liked next best, and then busied myself with cleaning up the kitchen. A few minutes later, Micah was standing there with some of my pink flannels. "Here you go Mom. It's time for you to go to bed." Thinking it was very sweet of him - and loving the idea of flannel jammie pants instead of jeans - I went and changed. When I came back into the kitchen, Micah was very upset with me. "I told you it was time to go to bed. I thought you were going to sleep!" I explained that I couldn't do that yet since they were still up and running wild...but then saw that he was working on some kind of art project that he was trying to hide. Putting two and two together, I praised and thanked him for his sweetness, and told him that I promised not to look, but I had to finish helping Josiah brush his teeth and start the laundry and stuff. He was visibly disappointed, but accepted my compromise.

A few minutes later, Micah brought me a birthday necklace that he had just made - pink to match my pajamas. He immediately had me teared up - that kid is so very sweet and thoughtful.

Then this morning was a blur. Lydia and Griffin brought me goodies, and during the ten minutes after Bret got home and before he took the big boys to school, I got some sweet cards, a gift card, and an apology that the "real" gift hadn't come in the mail yet. :) And later in the day I opened some birthday mail (with more goodies inside!), played outside with Josiah and Griffin,

and got another birthday necklace.

(And don't forget the monster goodies I had already gotten! :)

After dinner - and after we finally got the boys to eat enough of their broccoli - they helped me blow out the candles on my Mississippi Mud cake...

...and when we went to cut it, we found that some green "sprinkles" had mysteriously appeared. Eeeewww! (But we ate it anyway! ;)

What a nice birthday I had, wonderfully spoiled throughout the day by my favorite people. I can't wait 'til that "real" birthday package comes in the mail! Conner tells me it's some craft stuff for my silhouette!!!

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

A "Real" Artist

Micah is my artist. For a couple of years now, he has loved arts and crafts. He has developed a lot of confidence and a real identity as an artist. One of the things that Micah wanted for his birthday was some "real" artist supplies. Since that's one of those gifts that are just better when bought for yourself, Gammie and Poppy hooked him up with some cash to go shopping!

We wanted to do this shopping trip right, and make sure that we had enough time for Micah to do some looking around and make good decisions. So Micah has been very patient for the last couple of weeks, waiting for a good time for his daddy to take him to Hobby Lobby. And finally, today was the day!

I hear Micah was a very good shopper, managing to stay within his budget, with only 26 cents left to spare. :) He got some acryllic paint, some good paint brushes of all different sizes and angles, and an easel. This all went very well with some good artist pencils, a real sketch book, and some canvases that he had gotten from Aunt Jodi, Uncle Robert, Bonnie, BooBoo, and Yogi.

He was sooooo excited to show me when he got home. And I was sooooo excited that we were having a lazy kind of Saturday so that he was able to just dig right into all of it! :)

...and of course, Little Brother was right there watching and cheering him on...

...until he decided it was time to get out his own paints.

...and then Big Brother got his out, too!

Ready to see the first two masterpieces??

Little Blue Monster:

And a self-portrait. (We don't know why he wrote his name backwards, or even he's even realized that he did. He doesn't usually do that!)

Micah, we are so excited with you about your "real" artist supplies! It's pretty awesome to have all that stuff, because you know what? You are a real artist. We're so proud of you!
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Winter Carnival

Tonight was the Winter Carnival fundraiser at our elementary school. I was assigned to help at the toilet paper toss booth. Since the boys are older now - 8, 6, and practically 4 - we felt like everyone might be old enough for us to see what would happen if we worked the booth as a family. And surprise, surprise, we seem to have turned a corner - it was great! They actually helped! And not the kind of "help" where it would really be easier if they weren't "helping." They really helped...and it was kind of pleasant! Although we didn't get a picture of it, Josiah was the best little toilet paper roll picker-upper. He had SO much fun...until he paid with some of tickets, actually did the toss, and won a bouncy ball. Then he was much too busy with that and Conner took over. :)

(Can you tell by Josiah's stance that he's pretty proud to be helping? :)

...and then I just didn't get many pictures. I guess we just got a few of Josiah because I ended up with him while Bret took the big boys to do some other stuff for a little while. The boys were all so self-sufficient, and managed their tickets just right to still have four at the end to do the bounce house, and two leftover for cotton candy and drinks. Fun, fun, with bigger kids isn't bad at all! :) And hopefully we raised a lot of money for the school, too!
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's a Small World

Glen Rose Elementary (where I grew up, where Mom used to teach, and now subs) has begun to have an annual "learning event." It's a pretty big deal and they go all out, but we've never gotten to go...until this year!

This time the theme was "It's a Small World." When we got to Mom's and Dad's a little while before it started, Mom had the table all set up with bags for the boys to decorate and then put all their "souveneirs" in. I was pretty proud of how good Conner and Micah did..and Josiah...well, at least he wrote his name! :)

Everything was set up to be like an airport. There was a tunnel to walk through in order to enter the "terminal," complete with a "metal detector!" From there, the school was full of different "gates," each with an exhibit for a different country, and most including a special regional snack and/or craft or activity. I know there are lots of pictures, and I know that most of them aren't really all that great, but they helped me remember what all we did. (And when/if we have to do any reports on countries in the future, maybe I'll remember to come back here and get some ideas!

In Sweden we "skiied" down the Swiss Alps, and then enjoyed some hot chocolate.

In Israel we learned about how things float in the Dead Sea, and got to have some Dead Sea Salt lotion.

In Jamaica, we played a Rain Stick, steel drum, and ate fresh pineapple.

In Germany we learned how to "tie" pretzels with pipe cleaners. (And got to eat some, too!)

In India we got some "henna tattoos" and ate some crackers and some kind of dip with curry.

In Czechoslovakia we got to eat some kolaches, and "paint" eggs.

In Russia, we got to make matryoshka dolls out of styrofoam cups.

In Mexico we made tissue paper flowers.

We stopped off in the savannah for Safari Refreshments.

In Holland we ate cheese and made windmills.

In Australia we had Fairy Cakes (bread with honey butter and sprinkles - what they have at parties instead of cupcakes) and made boomerangs.

In Uganda we learned how to make paper beads.

In China we learned how to write "good luck" in Chinese, and what year we were born in. Conner was born in the year of the ram, Micah was born in the year of the dog, and Josiah was born in the year of the rat.

In England we got to go into a castle. Inside it was inspired by Harry Potter - there were all kinds of potion ingredients. And all of the kids got a magic drink - when the water was poured into your glass, whatever color it was said something about you. Conner and Micah's turned red, meaning bravery. Josiah's turned blue, meaning wisdom. (Conner was quite upset that Josiah got wisdom and he didn't. :)

...and that was all we had time for. An hour and a half just wasn't enough time to see it all! We were quite upset that we didn't get to visit Egypt and Brazil...but were so excited about all of the things we did get to do. Thanks for inviting us, BooBoo! We had tons of fun and learned a lot!

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