Congratulations Grad!

As many of you know, either from my recent Instagram or Facebook posts or because you have known us for a while, but this graduation has been a long time coming. For as long as we have been together (almost 11 years!) Aaron has been doing some type of schooling AND working full-time.

After leaving Purdue University, Aaron moved out to Seattle and started working, but made time to take classes at the local community college. It wasn’t always consistent, but slow and steady, even if it was just one class per term. Even after we were married, he was taking evening classes at the local college while supporting me as I finished my own education. And then a few years ago he found out about WGU (Western Governor’s University) which is a non-profit, online college focused on competence of information rather than credit hours. It wasn’t perfect (nothing is, right?), but it was the best fit for our growing family.

And while he would never consider himself a student, I am in tremendous awe in how he was able to balance work, life, and his classes over the years. I had such a different education experience, having the “luxury” of being a full-time student (and no kids!) in both my undergraduate and graduate studies. Not in my wildest dreams could I fathom having more commitments than the current term’s studies. But this guy, he put in late nights and weekends and even studying during our vacations. There were times that we both questioned the process, but in the end, it was totally worth it!

Congratulations on a HUGE accomplishment Aaron! Your commitment to your personal growth and to our family is awe inspiring. We are so SO proud of you!

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{Making sure the gown and the cap fit!}

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{Hugs for Grammie.}

 

{Walking in.}

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{Graduation ceremonies are notoriously long and this one wasn’t any different. But the girls did so well!}

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{Daphne with Aunt Sarah and Uncle Ben.}

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{Aaron was sitting in the very last college/school to walk across the stage, so he had some time to think about what he might do in front of the camera.}

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{A proud family right there!}

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{Apparently “get your hands out of your mouths” didn’t work.}

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{And our dear friend Jerry was able to join us for the ceremony too!}

And now onto the next big thing, though I promise you we are not getting any more degrees!

Happy Graduation Aaron! We are so enormously proud of you!

M

highlights of 2011.

i love reading the yearly highlights on other blogs & thought it would be especially fun to catch up on the entire year since i didn’t start blogging until the fall.

{via google}
january: we had a mellow start to the new year that was highlighted by starting the last semester of my law school career.
february: we celebrated our 6 month anniversary on the first (cheesy, i know). we hosted a celebration party at our townhouse which included my turning 26 (yikes!), a very belated housewarming & of course, our 6 month anniversary. aaron took me away to whidbey island for a romantic weekend to celebrate my birthday and valentine’s day, and we went to serafina (my fav) for dinner!

march: my last official spring break (probably ever) which was spent studying (papers & oral argument) & working on my Bar application. i submitted my Bar application. we were surprised by the early arrival of baby cambridge: franklin pierre cambridge.

{via cari cambridge}
april: we attended the Barrister’s Ball (a.k.a. law school prom) which was held at the EMP. we drove to ritzville, WA to meet my dad & brought home the newest member of our little family, sadie. we had a date night at The Pink Door during Seattle Restaurant Week.

{taken at photobooth}
{the very first picture of sadie & aaron at the columbia river – taken with holga 135}
may: my last official final exams period: one final, two papers & a project. i painted our office a soothing blue in preparation for my bar exam studies. we attended Baccalaureate Mass at Seattle University & my Law School Graduation at Key Arena. we flew to indiana to see aaron’s family & to attend aaron’s ten year reunion at Culver Military Academy. we continued east-ward to Paris where we spent a week of celebration: graduation & aaron turning 28! we spent our first day in Paris with our good friend jerry who acted as our translator & tour guide.

june: i started my bar prep studies on the first; this marked the beginning of eight grueling weeks of 80 hours a week cramming. aaron interviewed & was offered a program manager position (still at microsoft). 
july: we saw Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part II at the IMAX. i sat for the WA Bar Exam on July 26, 27 & 28; i wouldn’t have made it thru those three days without my friend miriam, three-evenings-in-a-row massages, jimmy john’s delivery service or the sheraton hotel in bellevue. we got celebratory pedis at my favorite spa Julep
august: on the first we celebrated our one year anniversary at Rover’s. we dropped off sadie with nanny lisa and headed east for a lower family vacation. we spent the bookend weekends in charlotte, NC with aaron’s brother david & his family, but spend most of the vacation in charleston, SC on the beach at the Isle of Palms. lots of sun, sand & air conditioning. sadie & i drove to boise for a quick trip home to visit my family & to get a haircut (yes, i go to idaho to get my haircut). we waited in anticipation for baby lower who was born shortly after we left NC: landon neal lower.

{via jodi lower}
september: we saw maroon 5 & train in concert at the white river amphitheater. we drove down to salem for a weekend to see old family friends & so aaron could skydive; we saw our friends but had to cancel the skydiving due to weather conditions & miscommunications. we attended a surprise dinner party for sami, one of my very old friends from idaho, who now lives in seattle with her husband, brandon. on the 26th we celebrated sadie’s 7th birthday.

october: i passed the bar exam! we celebrated our four year dating anniversary with dinner at the melting pot. we attended Ghouls Near Greenlake, ben & sarah’s annual halloween bash as aladdin & jasmine. we ate our way thru seattle & bellevue during Seattle Restaurant Week. aaron ran in the warrior dash. i started a little blog called emerald city diaries to keep family & friends updated on the lower family.

november: i was sworn in as an official King County Bar Association member. i was rear-ended. we celebrated the baptism of baby herschel, the son of one of my law school friends. we celebrated thanksgiving with my grandmother & friends in seattle. we bought doug the douglas fir, the second annual lower family christmas tree. aaron took me to the nutcracker for an early christmas date.

december: we celebrated the engagement of our good friends andy & hailey. we attended a champagne brunch fundraiser. we got an SLR camera. we drove to boise in a rental car. i got a haircut. we flew to vegas. we attended the nuptials of scott & kelly at the chapel in the clouds. we cheered on the boise state broncos to victory in the las vegas bowl. we attended a christmas reunion of the CBC (my dearest high school girlfriends). we celebrated christmas! we drove back to seattle. 

whew, what a year! every year i think “this has been the best year ever!” and i think this is totally true about my 2011.
how was your 2011 – was it a year to remember or are you itching to start 2012 already?
M