Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Graduation Day

Although Derek officially graduated in December, he was able to participate in the university's graduation ceremony this spring (they no longer have winter commencement).  I'm not sure Derek was sold on the idea of walking, but I really, really wanted him to.  I was able to walk for both my Associate's degree and my Bachelor's degree, and while I never cared about it beforehand either, I was always glad that I did it.  I knew Derek would be, too.  So he did it... and boy, were we proud!

The morning started with the Academic Procession... the parade of graduates, basically.  The morning was surprisingly cold and began way too early, but we all made it and were super excited to watch for Derek in the crowd of black clad graduates.  Grandma Julie, Grandma Marilyn, Shawn, Brynn and Claire joined us.  That made it much more fun.  We found one another, found a good spot, and waited.  The bagpipes led the procession (looove those), and the graduates followed.  We were so excited when we spotted Derek!  He snuck out of the procession for a quick photo shoot, then hurried to catch up.  The kids were so cute.  Jolie kept saying, "That's my daddy!  I saw my daddy!"  I think they felt proud.  I know I did.

After the procession, Shawn took our kidlets with him to play with cousins (Thank you, guys!!) while both grandmas and I went into the stadium to attend the university-wide commencement ceremony.  It took me a long time to spot Derek, and when I finally did he was grinning impishly at me from across the floor.  Apparently he'd spotted me much sooner than I'd spotted him.  :)  I took a whole lot of (crappy) pictures and then settled in to listen to the surprisingly good speakers.  Graduation ceremonies are worth attending, I feel, because they not only help you feel completion but also kinda rev you up.  This one was no different.  It was inspiring and encouraging and motivating.  Perfect.  Good work, speakers.

After the ceremony, Derek and I drove together to go pick up lunch (mmmm, Costa Vida take-out) while everyone else met at Julie's.  We got to Costa Vida a little ahead of schedule.  We decided that instead of just waiting, we would squeeze in a mini-celebration, a date of sorts.  We treated ourselves to some delicious pastries from the nearby bakery.  (Holy YUM!)  It was a good call.  Then we picked up our nummy lunches and joined the fam.

Julie spoiled us by buying lunch, and it was fantastic.  Derek was able to choose what we ate, and being Cinco de Mayo, he chose Mexican(-ish).  The wonderful and supportive people in attendance were: Derek, James, Jolie and I, Shawn and Mindy with their three beautiful girls, Julie, my mom- Marilyn, and Derek's cousins Brad and Garrett.  Thank you all for supporting us, and thank you, Julie, for lunch!

Following lunch, we headed back to the stadium for yet another graduation ceremony.  This one was for the College of Business.  Surprisingly, though, the stadium was much more packed than it was for the university-wide ceremony.  And funnily, we walked all the way around the building to get seats... and Derek was the very last seat opposite us.  Oops.  Oh, well.  James and I took a little 'field trip' to the other side to embarrass... er... photograph Derek up close.  You're welcome, Derek.

The talks seemed less impressive this time, but then- how impressive can a business-oriented talk be? Also, we were wrangling kids this time and therefore listening less intently.  That probably affected the quality some.  Thank you, Grandma Marilyn and Grandma Julie for entertaining the kids so that I could disappear and take bunches of photos.  (Oh, and thank you, Shawn and Mindy, for sharing your fancy camera so I could get good ones!)  James and Jolie were actually really well-behaved.  I was quite surprised!  It was well past naptime, and missing naps does not generally result in a positive situation.  I was quite grateful that they behaved so well.  Good job, kiddos!

During the College of Business ceremony, Derek was able to walk across the stage and receive his 'diploma.'  While I apparently am an incompetent photographer and therefore missed some pretty good pics, it was so, so exciting to see him cross the stage.  What a superstar!  I cannot even tell you how proud I was of him.  How proud I am.  My beautiful Bachelor.  And the kids were soooo proud to see him do it.  I am not sure exactly what they understood of it, but they knew it was a big deal.  And they knew Daddy had done something hard and great.  I'm glad they came.  It's good to see your daddy do something awesome.  :)  Congratulations, Derek!!

I know this one's out of focus, but it
seriously just makes me so happy.

Later that night, Julie generously offered to babysit our kids so we could go out on a date to celebrate more.  We took her up on it, and Shawn and Mindy joined us!  We went to Elements restaurant (the same place we went to celebrate graduation in December- ha!).  Mostly, we wanted their piƱa coladas .  Apparently they made an impact on us the first time. But the rest of the meal was amazingly tasty as well!  Derek ordered the house burger- a beastly and delicious piece of meat.  I ordered a steak-Gorgonzola pasta (with a balsamic reduction.... drool) that knocked my socks off.  Mmm!  Shawn ordered a turkey breast wrapped in ... wait for it... bacon.  And Mindy ordered some sort of beautiful fish atop a bed of mashed potatoes.  It looked delicious (too bad it was fish, wink).

Then, when we mostly wanted to take a nap (or maybe that was just me... it'd been a loooong day), we headed to the theater to watch The Avengers.  Luckily my catnap in the car did the trick, and I was awake and excited for the movie.  Shawn and Mindy spoiled us (sensing a theme here?) with movies on them, which was super sweet.  And we watched and enjoyed and clenched our buttocks (it was suspenseful!) and were thoroughly entertained.  It was a great movie!

Around midnight, we headed home, kicked off our shoes and crawled into bed.  Ah, bed.  What a long and glorious day!  Congratulations, my handsome graduate!  We are all so very proud of you.  You did it!! :D


tori said...

congrats derek! love the jumping for joy picture...and love that derek is just as big of a dork as you are and actually let you take a pic like that! :)

Missy W. said...

Way to go Derek!

Kandace said...

What a good day! Congratulations to Derek and to the rest of you! Graduating when you have a family is most definitely a team effort. Way to go!

K S & R said...

Oh Becca, I love this post!! It's funny and sweet and sentimental, just the kind of stories I like to read ;) What a fun celebration! Congratulations Derek!!!

katie said...

Yay, Derek! We are sooooo very proud of you and wish that we could have been there to celebrate too. I'm glad that you went to the ceremony. Bart almost didn't go to his either but said that he was very glad that he went. Sounds like it was the same for you. Good job and it makes me so happy to see your adorable kiddos be happy for you too!

Richelle said...

So proud of you, Derek! I like the jumping picture....very talented to be able to keep your hat on at the same time. Sounds like you had an awesome day! And while I wish we could have been there for all the pomp and circumstance, we enjoyed seeing all the pictures of your cute family. Love you guys!

Megan said...

What a great post!! Congrats Derek, super happy and excited for you! I thought the pictures turned out great, especially the ones where the kids look so proud of their dad, sooo sweet! Sounds like you had a busy but fun day!

Mindy said...

Yay for Derek! We are so glad we got to spend time with you. We love your family, and hanging out with you guys! Thanks for a super fun day. Congrats of graduating! :)

bart said...

Hooray and good for you, Derek! We're proud of you and wish we could have been there!

Adam and Aubrey said...

Woot! Yay for graduation! I love that Melody and her roommate Murphy are sitting right in front of Derek in one of the pictures... haha. Well done yo! And really, congrats to the entire family!