Thursday, May 31, 2012

Introducing Dr. Brandon M. Reed

I honestly don't know how to begin this post.
I think I never really thought this day would come, and now that it has, I'm speechless.  Brandon and I have been married for 8 years and he has been in school ALL of those EIGHT YEARS.  During that time, he earned an Associates Degree in Generals (just cuz he wanted to), a Bachelors Degree in I honestly can't remember what, and during the last 4 years he worked tirelessly (and I held down the fort with three little ones) so he could earn a Masters Degree in Vision Science (with Distinction) and a Doctorate Degree in Optometry (again with Distinction).  He jokes that the only degree he doesn't have is a PHD and that he ought to give it a shot.
  Not very funny if you ask me.
Anyhoo.  Saturday, May 19th our family (and I say "our family" because this truly was a family goal and required joint family effort in bringing it to pass), witnessed the fruition of all our labors as Brandon became a Doctor of Optometry.
We attended the "Hooding Ceremony" Saturday morning where the Class of 2012 School of Optometry received their Doctoral Hoods.  Each student was allotted only 4 tickets, but lucky Brandon ended up with 8, so everyone (aside from my mom, who was gracious enough to stay with the kids) who traveled the distance to Oregon to celebrate with our family was able to attend.  He had a pretty awesome cheering section.  ;)
Left:  Brandon headed to take his seat on stage at the hooding.
Right:  Brandon receiving his doctoral hood.
The Hooding Ceremony was wonderful.  Because it was just the 2012 Class of Optometry, it had a much more intimate feel than the graduation.  The speakers were wonderful...the valedictorian, whom Brandon worked closely with on his Masters of Science, made me laugh and blubber like a baby.  He did a wonderful job.  Dave, Brandon and I both feel you are an exceptional individual and are honored to have had you represent the Class of 2012 School of Optometry.
After the hooding, we enjoyed lunch on the lawn outside the optometry building, took gazillions of pictures, then rushed to drop the kids off at the Sorenson's (our dear friends).  We actually ended up with enough tickets for all the kids to attend...but they said they'd rather go play and with friends....I really can't blame them, and truth be told, as much as I had wanted at least Jemma to witness her father's graduation, I was able to sit and enjoy the ceremony better and not have to endlessly answer "how much longer before it's over" without them there.  So, thanks Jenny and Paul for taking care of our crew for 4.5 hours. You guys ROCK.
Brandon headed into the Graduation Ceremony.
(I stole the left photo from Kristina's K, I haven't gotten Windows Live Writer up and running on my computer yet...((hence the no-black-border on the right)) I did attempt to...but it was giving me a weird response, so I'll try again when I have my hubby here to translate the month.)  

Doesn't he look distinguished?  Those hats are pretty non flattering, but I'd say he looks down right dashing in his.  :)  What a stud.

Left:  Being hooded.
Right:  Admiring his doctorate degree after Graduation.

Our family. 
My friend Kristina mentioned that she wanted to scribble her name and her childrens' names (lightly) on the backside of her husband's degree, and I'd have to say I echo her feelings.  As I mentioned earlier, these last 8 years have been rigorous and taxing on our entire family.  And frankly, we wouldn't have it any other way.  We wanted to start our family and we wanted Brandon to gain a stellar education.  Both goals have been accomplished and we are simply on cloud nine.  (STILL.)

Brandon with both degrees.  Still can't believe he pulled off a Masters and Doctorate in 4 years.  Double stud.
This is the group of guys Brandon did most of his studying with and who's families we got closest too.  Left to right:  Devin, Eric, Colten, Aaron, Shawn, Brandon, Dave, Dave, Seth, and Scott.

Kiss for luck and we're on our way.  :)
I don't know what I would have done without all these stellar wives.  Their friendships were a saving grace and I admire so much about each of them.  So, thank you (left to right) Tana, Jen, Jenny, Claudia, Kristina, Tara, Brianne, Sierra and Erin.  You ladies are amazing. 

  And here we are "leaping for joy".  :)

I owe an especially deep debt of gratitude to this gal.  Kristina, you are a phenomenal friend, dedicated wife and incredible mother.  You are the best next-door-neighbor EVER!  I will miss you terribly, but look forward to hangin' with your family in Murtle Beach.  :)

More shots with Friends

Left:  Shawn and Brandon.  Right:  Eric and Brandon.
Left:  Brandon with Dave.  Right:  Brandon with Prof. Kundart (with whom he worked closely on his Masters degree.)

We were fortunate enough to see the Haycock clan during our quick trip to Oregon.  Our family's paths have been intertwined since the start of our marriage and we absolutely adore Mason, Laura and their darling children.  The first couple of times we parted ways it was emotional, but I think we've come to realize that we will NEVER lose contact with these guys.  They are just like family, so they're stuck with us forever!  :)

 Just real quick, I have to say that there were so many friends who made time for us when we came for graduation.
Thank you Dave, Lisa and Kierra for feeding us a home cooked meal (complete with homemade ice cream) after a 12 hour day in the car.
Thank you, again, Jenny and Paul for taking such wonderful care of our children on your Saturday.
Thank you Tracy for saving me from the cold and lending me three pairs of pants when I was retarded and only brought shorts.  (I've been spoiled by the California heat.)
Thank you Kristina for letting me live at your home for two days so we didn't have to stay cooped up in our hotel and for feeding us a Thanksgiving breakfast Friday morning.  :)  (Seriously, watermelon, strawberries, pancakes and hash browns.  Did I forget anything???  If I make pancakes, that is it.)
And thank you Mason and Laura for sacrificing by driving back and forth from Woodburn to meet us at a park on Thursday and for dinner on Saturday.  You guys make parenting 4 look simple.  :)


Thank you to all of the family who took time off of work, (spent their birthday on an airplane...Mom) and made the effort to be present at this significant event.  We were so grateful to have each of you their to help us celebrate.

Left:  Brandon with his Dad and Step Mom.      Right:  Brandon with his Mom and Step Dad.

Brandon with Pop & Gram.

Brandon and I with my parents.

These kiddos have been Brandon's number one fans through this whole thing.  No one (aside from me of course) could get more excited when he walks through the door at the end of the day.
Brandon, you have been a wonderful father and have done an incredible job of balancing the pressures of school with the needs of your family.  Thank you for that and for the example you have set for your children.

I love you Bran and am so thankful for the level of dedication you"ve demonstrated during the last 8 years of our marriage; both in school and at home.  You are a genuine, bonified, stellar stud.  And I am one lucky gal.  (The Mrs. to Dr. Brandon M. Reed OD.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Gavin turns 2

Gavin turned 2 yesterday.  We've been outta town and spent 12 hours in the car on his birthday, :( or I would have posted this on his REAL birthday.  I still can't believe he's TWO.
And yet, I've already forgotten that he looked like this after just a few days in mortality.  Other than the lips, I'd say he looks nothing like this newborn.

Gavin has been our most mellow baby...temperament wise.  He was generally happy, but his sad face was so darling I couldn't resist putting a pic of him teary on here.  :)
He took FOREVER to sleep through the night.  Nine months to be exact, and if I'm honest, he still wakes up/gets out of bed 6 out of 7 nights a week.  Someday this child will allow us a full night of rest.  (Fingers crossed.)

 Gavin has always been very active.
He loves to be outdoors.
He is obsessed with mowing and edging the lawn.
Up until last week (when he received a toy lawn mower for his birthday...thank you Nona and Papa) he would push a toy shopping cart around on the grass pretending to mow and use a golf club flipped upside-down as an edger.  Too cute.
Gavin is super independent.
He rarely asks for help.
In fact, I attribute the chaotic and messy state of the kitchen almost entirely to him...he gets into whatever he wants.
Gavin loves his pacifier.  He calls it a "pa" (the "a" is pronounced like the "a" in "apple")
We can get him to do just about anything if we bribe him with his pacifier, gum or chocolate.
He loves pizza, soup, toast, popsicles, ice cream, and ALL meat.
 Gavin loves bouncy balls, balloons, legos, cars, trains, and books...but only if they contain pictures of the previously mentioned items.
He loves his family.  He is genuinely concerned about the ware abouts of his siblings (especially Carter) and if he is given a treat or snack of some kind, he always asks for extras so he can give them to Jemma and Carter.
There are not many things Gavin doesn't like, but there are a few things on his "dislike" list.  Gavin does NOT like to get his diaper changed, get buckled up, or be left behind.

 He has recently discovered the hose and loves to play in the water.
Gavin has always loved to jump on the bed and play in the pillows...especially me and Brandon's after it's made.  (Good thing we're planning on purchasing a trampoline when we get to Georgia.)
 Gavin is a very happy boy.
He is also a tease.
He loves to goof of and mimic the silly behaviors of his older siblings.  (Thank you Carter for teaching him to say "poop" and "bum".)

We love the way you sing "Manahmanah",
shrug your shoulders when you don't know where something is,
blow kisses,
get excited when Daddy comes home,
have your own dialect,
and so much more.
Happy 2nd Birthday!!!
We love you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Carter turns 4

Today is Carter's 4th birthday.  INSANE!  I have half-a-million photos on this post...just enjoy.  :) 

Can you believe it's already been FOUR YEARS since this little guy came into the world!?! I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around that. He just looks so teeny snoozing there on his daddy...not so teeny anymore. :(


Carter keeps us on our toes.
He is incredibly stubborn & head strong strong-willed.  (Where in the world did that come from???)
He is our most introverted child in public, but our most vocal at home.  I don't ever have to wonder what he's thinking cuz he's quick to tell me...especially when I'd rather not know.  (ie. "I don't like you Mom".)
He is a real goof.
He adores his big sister and is becoming very protective of his little brother.
He would rather play games on Dad's ipod than watch a movie.
He LOVES playing with cars...especially when Jemma is willing to play with him.
He loves to jump...on Nona and Papa's trampoline, on my bed, on the couch, on his siblings.  He's a jumper.


Carter has recently become a fan of dressing up...sometimes it's in princess attire...but his other favorites are Darth Vader and a pirate.
He loves food.  ALWAYS hungry.  (Maybe that's just a boy thing.)
Favorite flavors of ice cream: Mint & Chip and anything chocolate.
He loves spaghetti, pizza, bow tie pasta, ramen noodles (I'm ashamed to admit I feed my children that retched stuff) and ALL MEAT.

He loves riding his bike and scooter...been riding a 2 wheeler since before his 3rd birthday.
Carter is actually very athletic.  He has a great throw, loves to play baseball, golf, soccer, football, throw a frisbee.You name it, he's down.
He has a very inquisitive mind.  He questions his surroundings and wants an explanation for just about everything.

  He loves emergency vehicles of all kinds, motorcycles, garbage trucks, airplanes, tractors, and helicopters.
Carter is becoming a big fan of game playing.  His current favorites are Sequence and Candy Land.
He loves to be read to.  His favorite books are "The Selfish Crocodile" and "Green Eggs and Ham".


He claims he loves the grocery store.  (Probably because there's a mini carousel outside that I let the kids ride afterwards if they're well behaved while we shop.)
Carter still sleeps with my old yellow blanket.  It's pretty tattered now, but he loves it.
His favorite songs are "The Imperial March" from Star Wars, the theme song from Cars 2 (ya know, the one they play whenever Finn McMissile is in on some sweet action), "Book of Mormon Stories", and "Follow the Prophet".

Happy 4th Birthday Carter!  We just love and adore you.  Thank you for all of the joy you have brought into our lives!