Sunday, October 25, 2015

Road Trip 2015: The drive home

After graduation, we hit the road once again. It was almost time for school to start! No time to waste! Well, OK, maybe a little time to explore. But not much!

We stopped at Arches National Park, near Moab, UT. I LOVE the red rocks in that area, but had never stopped at Arches.

We ate a quick picnic lunch and drove through the GORGEOUS scenery, 
but it was too hot to do any hiking.

When you can't hike out to delicate arch,
it looks tiny!
Can you see it back there?

It's on the far left of this picture,
on a different angle than I imagined.

A beautiful, iconic landmark.
Glad we got to see it.
Want to go back when we get a closer view.

Oh, how I love exploring with my family!

We drove through Shiprock, NM,
where my family lived when I was a preschooler.

Another memorable rock formation.

We stopped in Farmington for dinner with Marianne and Patrick.

 The kids loved the root beer floats for dessert.

We stopped in Albuquerque that night.
And went to church there in the morning.

Then it was off to San Saba!
My cousins, Yolanda and Chayo came to see me!
We haven't visited in YEARS.
So, so fun to catch up!

Chayo and I can't believe how much our
sons remind us of each other:
B and D didn't see it.
Can you?
(If you look past W's photo bomb!)

They DO share a love for VIDEO GAMES.
And were THRILLED to discover that Aunt Virginia
still had Michael's old NES in the box!!

Took me back to the good ol' days!

I spent SO many hours of my childhood playing this game!

A bunch of good-lookin' cousins.

While we were in San Saba,
we had to stop at Harry's

 to smell the boots

And try on a cowgirl hat.

And we had to visit Oliver's fancy new downtown store.
And buy some yummy pecans.

After a way-too-short visit in San Saba,
we drove to Aunt Irene and Uncle Bill's.
We met in Ft. Worth at the American Airlines museum,
where they had a cool Trivial Pursuit 50 States exhibit.

Under one roof, we got to:
 do a little boating,

 cross-country skiing,


 watch Old Faithful,

ride in a hot air balloon,

and ride a donkey through the desert.

Other cool things at the museum:

Thanks for taking us, Aunt Irene and Uncle Bill!

Another fun, but too short visit.

My kids LOVE their dogs!

So cute and sweet.

And then we were on the home stretch!
Stopped at Sci-port in Louisiana

Stayed the night at a hotel in Mississippi...or was it Alabama?

We made our last fun stop in South Carolina
at a BMW plant.

Look at that cute little car and camper!

Care Bear liked the motorcycles.

We made it!
What a summer!
Loved it so much.
And school started THREE DAYS later.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Road Trip 2015: Graduation!

For the past eight years, I have slowly, slowly been working on finishing my bachelor's degree through BYU independent study. And I finally made it! Woo hoo! Yippee! Hooray! After all that work, I really wanted to participate in the graduation ceremony. Luckily, we spend time in Utah every summer! Graduation wasn't until Aug 14th, thus the SUPER LONG road trip. But it was SO worth it.

We left Roosevelt and drove through Provo Canyon. We made a super quick stop at Bridal Veil Falls.

So pretty!

Then we were off to campus for me to pick up my cap and gown...
And for Brandon to take his first official prospective-student tour of campus!
Two birds, one stone.

We had a super cute golf cart tour guide.
Her biggest advice for B:
Do well in seminary!

The next day, we had a graduation luncheon sponsored by the
Bachelor's of General Studies program.

It was fun meeting other moms like me who have
been working hard at home to finish their degrees.

They took professional photos for us.

So grateful for Andrew's support and encouragement
throughout this LENGTHY process!

We took a couple photos of our own by the BYU sign

There are two graduation events.
We participated in both.
First, we had commencement.
 We all marched through the tunnels to the Marriott Center together.

When all the graduates were taking their seats
and before the program started,
I was texting Andrew to figure out where 
they were sitting. He told me which direction
to look and I stood up to wave to them.
Didn't realize I was accidentally photobombing the jumbo tron!

It was a wonderful program.

We got to hear from both Elder Dallin H. Oaks
and Elder Russell M. Nelson.
LOVE opportunities to listen to apostles in person!

Look at all the awesome people who shared
my big day with me.
My awesome sister, Destiny, who was
younger than Whitney when I started at BYU.
And now has two cute girls of her own...
with a third on the way!

Grandma Cuca,
who has traveled all over the country with us.
LOVE that she is still up for it!

My family, who shared lots of dinner table
conversations about Sports Psych and
LDS Perspectives on Psych.

My parents, who first dropped me off
at BYU twenty years ago.

We enjoyed a SCRUMPTIOUS dinner at Cafe Rio afterward.
I was too busy stuffing my face to take any pics. :/

The next morning, we woke up bright and early to head
back down to campus for Convocation.
We were greeted by a BEAUTIFUL mountain sunrise.

This was the part of the ceremony where I got to actually
walk across the stage and get my diploma. Exciting!
Can you see the excitement in my face?
Yes! Feels so good!

Andrew's parents came down to watch me walk, too.
So grateful for all the Sunday dinners we shared with
them during our time at BYU!

Woo hoo!

Officially done! Wow, it feels so good. Seriously. Now that I've finished my bachelor's degree I've had lots of people ask me if I'm going back to work. That was not my goal in finishing this degree. In fact, if I was looking to go back to work, my associate's degree in dental hygiene would pay much more than this bachelor's. As of right now, I plan to continue focusing my time and energy on taking care of my home and family. 

But I am a big believer that my education will bless my life whether or not I use it in the workplace. There's a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that says, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." (130:18-19) That is true! Knowledge is never a waste. I will be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and citizen because of the things I learned while finishing this degree. So grateful I had this opportunity.

And I have not ruled out the possibility of grad school.

In the future.