DPP Day 18

Today was graduation day for the Physician Assistant students that I have the privilege to teach at UNMC.  I am such a sap for things like graduations, award ceremonies, and the like.  In fact - I have been known to get misty at an award ceremony where I don't even know anyone getting an award.  (You can imagine how I am when I do know the person getting the award!)  But this graduation every year is so bittersweet.  I am so proud of the graduates and the transformation they have made from where they began to the polished professionals they have become.  It is fun to celebrate with them and meet their families.  But it is also good bye - many, if not most, I won't see again.  And after 28 months, it is hard to see them go.

During one of the speeches today - it was mentioned that the graduates should reflect each day on what they did well, what they could do better, where they got it right, and where they needed to improve.  It was a message that it is within these types of reflections that the learning and growth begins.  I couldn't agree more.  This is something I do every day - usually instead of falling asleep.  But I also recognize that it is one of the upsides to sitting down here each evening - to look through the images that found their way onto my camera in a day, to think about the things that happened today worth remembering and documenting, and most importantly, taking time to find the good, the happy, the treasure in each day.

I took a bunch of pictures today at graduation - one of which I will share below.  But here - I like to share the moments with my family the most. 

I owe my mother-in-law a debt of gratitude.  She was on grandma babysitting duty for nearly 24 hours straight.  She tackled the four children morning routine (fortunately only having to get two out the door) and she did it with grace.  No matter how perfectly things go in the morning - it is organized chaos on a good day and war zone chaos on a bad day. As I understand it - today was not perfectly smooth - yet everyone was to school on time, dressed in their pj best (celebrating the last day before break), and ready to finish this semester.  She then spent the day with the two littles and the new puppy (probably. . . no, definitely the highest maintenance of the three).  She was here to let the Bigs walk home from school and she kept things running smoothly until I arrived home.  She even let Ben have two friends over.  And once I did arrive home - she had all the dishes done, the house picked up, and was asking me how she could help me.  Unbelievable.  I take lessons all the time from my mother in law.  She is quick to jump into action and offer help in any situation.  She is the first to make daily visits to someone in the hospital - no matter how peripherally she knows them.  She would give the shirt off her back to anyone who needed it.  She is generous in every sense of the word.  She passed these great qualities to her son as well.  And I can see that being in their presence continues to make me better.  I have so much to learn from their ability to see what needs to be done, who needs some help, and how to quickly jump into that action.  I am REALLY wishing I would have grabbed a picture of Marilyn with the kiddos or at least doing the dishes. ;)

Shortly after Marilyn left, my sweet hubby returned home.  He is back where he belongs and it is a palpable difference in this household when he is absent.  The minute he returns, I feel myself relax - though I wasn't aware I was tense.  A wave of happy hits the house - the kids come running, the dog is barking, and I just can't help but smile from ear to ear.  I love this picture - because this is his wind down spot - Homer slippers and all.  It is him, all settled in at home.  Right where he belongs. 

After being up most of the night last night, Katherine was in fine form.  Running interference on her was a full time evening activity.  So once all were in bed - I decided to grab the pictures that I had really hoped I would get last night.  I take these pictures every year for this photo challenge.  There is just something that I adore about sleeping pictures.  So peaceful and so sweet. 
Finally resting. . .

She is so often a lump mixed amongst as many stuffed animals as whomever put her to bed will allow.  She tucks each and every one of the creatures in her bed in before she goes to sleep.  Many of the "regulars" have their own mini blankets that will get laid ever so carefully over them each night. 

This picture is sweet because it is a sleeping picture.  But what is wrong with the picture is that it is my bed he is sleeping in.  We will frequently get a visit from this little man in the middle of the night - but this is a first.  He was in our bed before 10pm.  Little stinker.

I also love the marker on his face from his time doing arts and crafts all afternoon - one of this favorite pass times.  Coloring, writing letters, art projects, and (his all time favorite) doing "homework" - which is him working in a preschool workbook.

This will be the DPP post for today.  Partly because the lighting from his nightlight was so perfect I didn't even have to use a flash.  Partly because the fact that his pillow case, his blanket and his fitted sheet are all different characters and needed to be documented as it is so perfectly in line with Ben.  But mostly because he is so active, outgoing, and busy that I don't get so see this kind of quiet and peaceful on that handsome face very often.

Elizabeth is missing from this post of sleeping children - because she is not sleeping.  She got to enjoy a special date night with her Omom and Pawee.  Should have taken the picture with the three of them too!  I have GOT to get back on my picture taking game!  What a treat for Elizabeth - any time - but especially when you are one of four - to get to be the center of attention for an entire evening.  They went to the Symphony for the Christmas concert. She was able to see what all that time practicing cello, flute, and piano could lead to if she wanted to apply herself.  The best part for me was how obvious it was that she had a wonderful time.  She was able to sell her Pawee on getting her some ice cream on the way home too.  If you don't know my dad - that isn't a hard sell. . . at. all.  She came home telling me that she could tell which kid on stage was the one that was like me.  I think it has been said before that Elizabeth is a bit reserved. . . and I am pretty sure that is an adjective that has never, ever, ever been used to describe me.  And Elizabeth - in a demonstration that she can imagine fairly accurately what I must have been like as a kid - described a girl that was doing the choreography with a little extra flair and animation.  And when it was time to leave the stage, this girl was blowing kisses to the audience.  Elizabeth giggled and said, "That was totally you, Mom."  I couldn't really argue. 

Here is a picture my dad took and just sent to me.  

And again - how wonderful do my kids have it to have such wonderful grandparents?  How lucky Rich and I are to have a pretty rock star village to help raise our kiddos.  Omom and Pawee are so great at providing opportunities that coincide with what the kiddos are doing.  Tonight's concert came only weeks after Elizabeth's music program.  Omom and Pawee provide these fun opportunities, help with babysitting, offer work opportunities (for those requesting money), and really help with whatever things we ask of them.  They provide such an example of intentional family time, making time for travel, and they continually challenge me (mostly by example) to be the best parent I can be.

So as I reflect on this day - I will go to sleep reflecting on how I could have shown more gratitude to the parents that raised us, shaped us into the people that made us perfect for one another, and continue to invest in their grandchildren's lives in such meaningful ways. 

It must be getting late as my eyes are getting droopy again.  Here is the promised graduation picture mentioned above.  Otherwise - on to tomorrow's fun activities!