Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Jackson, Pre-Six

Jackson’s 6th birthday is one week from today. I know, how did this happen, right? It feels like just yesterday I was whining about sciatica and sleeping in my “nest” as Stu so lovingly called it. 

My Nest. 

Last belly picture, almost 42 weeks pregnant. 

And now he is such a smart, funny, artistic little man. Here are some things about Jackson, pre-six:

(Photo cred: Mary-Leah Moore)

He is an artist. While my other two are content enough to draw or color from time to time, Jack is my left-handed, talented creator who loves all things art, music, and abstract. He can easily mimic another drawing, or create from his imagination with paper and pencil, legos, or any other medium he can get his hands on. He also has an ear for music and can identify songs and sing the chorus after hearing them a single time. This has gotten me into trouble a few times when I didn’t think he was paying any attention to the music I was listening to, and then a few days later he starts singing Wiz Khalifa from the backseat. Whoops. Yes, art is his world and he totally rocks at it.  

Ever since Jack was little, he has always thought of things in a different way than the rest of us. He is intuitive in ways that freak me out, and he cares deeply about the things he loves. Alternatively, he also could not care less about things which do not interest him. His siblings tend to have an opinion about almost everything, but with Jack, it is live-and-let-live unless it is about something he is deeply passionate about.

But mostly, Jack is the biggest people-person in our little family. He is always the funniest, most charismatic guy in the room, and people are drawn to his little personality. I can’t wait to see who he will grow into, but I know whatever he chooses for his life, he is going to do it effortlessly, and happily. 

I love you, Jackson! I can't wait to see what six brings!

My Master's Degree Graduation

I sucked at the promise to actually start blogging again. So I’m just going to catalogue some of the fun stuff we have done of late, before it fades into the background of life. First up, Master’s Graduation!

I think part of why I was so bad at keeping up with the blog is because my master’s degree was actually more work than my undergrad was. I’m not certain I was prepared for what full-time work, full-time grad school, and full-time parent-of-three actually entailed. I’m ashamed to say my house was frequently dirtier than it was clean and I easily gained 30 pounds throughout the saga. But looking back on the experience as a whole, I would say I have learned a lot, and my priorities have been even more streamlined than before.

Here are my takeaways: My kids are happy, so apparently I didn’t create any noticeable lasting damage to their psyches being absent too many evenings.

My marriage is intact, and strangely, even stronger than before we decided to double the stress in our lives. I feel like Stu and I understand each other even better now, and we have learned how to keep up our communication, even when we don’t see each other as often as we would like. This has made us more efficient communicators, more understanding of each other, and I think has built the mutual respect we have for one another, as we have each had to take on more tasks, all while being the “single” parent while the other is in school (spoiler alert, Stu is working on his master’s degree right now).

I actually learned a lot! This seems obvious, right? That at the end of a degree, I should probably have more information than when I began it. But honestly, so much of my undergraduate degree was just going through the motions and taking classes that did me no real good outside of getting the degree itself, that I just assumed a master’s would be along the same lines. Instead, I have a decent-sized arsenal of tools now that I can draw from. I feel like there was not a single class I took that I will not draw from in some way in my career down the road.

Lastly, I have learned that life is too short. Both in general, and specifically, it is too short to not be doing something you just love doing. I mentioned I will do little bits-and-pieces blogs, but another spoiler in the meantime: 2016 has been pretty hard on my family so far, and Stu and I have made some decisions that will be changing the nature of our life soon. As always, it is a true pleasure to have this supportive guy as my teammate and by my side for this life, and it is due to his unending faith in me as a person that we are moving forward with the next chapter in our lives.
For now, here are some pics from graduation. See you soon! (But seriously this time.)

My Master's Hood. 

Entering the ceremony!

My view of commencement, from the stage.

My sweet family!