Monday, September 1, 2014


Four or five years ago I began to get this strong impression that Chris needed to go back to school. He'd really enjoyed his master's program and toyed with the idea of a PhD a little bit. I fought it like crazy. We were too old. Our kids would be too big. We didn't want to go into debt. We owned a house, and the market was bad enough that we wouldn't be able to sell.
But the feeling wouldn't go away. One day it hit me stronger than ever, Chris needs to go for his PhD, and I was filled with peace. I had no idea why he needed to go. It didn't make sense. But everything was going to be okay, I knew it with every inch of my soul.
One thing led to another, Chris got an amazing fellowship, we got into the on-campus housing we wanted (which saved us tens of thousands of dollars in the long run), Chris's sister offered to live in our house so we didn't have to stress about selling quickly/taking a big loss/becoming real landlords. All signs pointed to school.
What felt like a huge step of faith into the unknown became the most amazing experience for our family. We learned and grew together in ways we never could have imagined. Looking forward at the loooong three years of school felt like an eternity. But suddenly it's over. We're finished!
These two clear, nice photos are courtesy of UF
 How funny is it that they sold popcorn during graduation :) it kept the kids quiet for a while, so that was nice.
 I love this picture. If you zoom in, you can see how much Dr. Molleda loved Chris. He looks like a proud father.
 This was Chris's dissertation adviser chair, Dr. Kelly. She was a great mentor and friend, and the kids especially loved her because she let us borrow her beach house :)
 The kids were so proud of Chris. They said it over and over. It meant a lot to them to see him graduate after watching him work so hard.
 And they all wanted to try on Chris's fancy gown and hat.
I'm glad we decided to stick it out for an extra month so we could attend graduation together. The kids sacrificed a lot for us to do this (leaving friends and family, leaving the only home Josh and Ashley ever really knew, moving to a place completely different in every way from what they knew, living in a bedroom all together and learning to share space and get along without a lot of "stuff"...), and they grew so much because of it. So graduation was as much a celebration for them and our family's intense three years together as it was for Chris.
Good job us! :)

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