Sunday, May 19, 2013

Graduation Weekend

I had a really special weekend and don't want to forget a single minute of it!  My mom and dad BOTH flew in for my graduation from Colorado State University.  Saturday morning my mom and I drove to Lakewood, CO for a luncheon at the Lakewood Country Club put on by the Denver Metro Mortar Board Alumni Chapter.  At the luncheon I was the guest of honor and received a $2000 graduate fellowship award as well as a commemorative plaque!  I got to give a little speech which, for me, was pretty fun.  I can't remember ever having more fun dressing up with my mom.  She looked absolutely stunning in a black and white cocktail dress with the perfect pair of black heels.  She was, without a doubt, the most beautiful woman in the room.   Another thing that made the luncheon special was the amazing group of ladies there.  All of them were active in philanthropy and volunteerism, and all of them were highly intelligent and friendly!  It was an amazing experience I don't think I will ever forget.

There was a sad/scary part of the day too.  While my mom and I were driving in Denver, a car in front of us ran a red light and T-boned an SUV with a family of seven inside.  The side of the SUV was caved in significantly and the force of the impact threw the SUV over onto its side.  We had no choice but to jump out of our car and try to assist (high heels and all).  When we ran up, other bystanders were already pulling children out of the overturned vehicles and holding the vehicle up to keep it from tipping on a lady who was trapped somewhere inside and underneath.  We noticed that both cars involved were beginning to leak fluids and smoke badly.  We tried to find a fire extinguisher, but couldn't.  It was really amazing to see people work together so well and so quickly to get the family to safety.  We weren't able to do much other than to try to comfort the family members and pray for the lady still trapped inside.  The whole experience was a very moving moment for us and a reminder of just how special time with our loved ones really is!

After we got back to Fort Collins we had a little time to rest at home before heading to my CSU graduation.  The graduation ceremony was packed!  I was lucky enough to find a place in the lineup near some friends and classmates.  In the audience I could see Matt, Jana, Michael, my mom, my dad, my sister-in-law Rachel, and both of Matt's parents!  I had butterflies during the whole ceremony and didn't even mind that the announcer pronounced my name as "Kelly Ferguson Oak."  The things that made me the most proud were to wear the orchid lei Matt bought me and to see how proud my parents were to be there with me.  It was also really meaningful to me that my kids got to see me graduate (even though they were bored out of their minds for the whole ceremony).

I was honored in the ceremony for being a part of my honor society, Mortar Board as well as for completing a minor in addition to my major.  Mortar Board has been extremely important to me for the past year, and I was proud to wear a Mortar Board stole in the ceremony as well!

Today we had a party at our house to celebrate not just my graduation but also my sister-in-law Rachel's graduation and her 28th birthday!  Is it 28 or 29?  I don't know!  She graduated this week with her associates degree as well as her EMT certification!  I am extremely proud of her work.  It's been inspiring to watch her work so hard and overcome obstacles to accomplish all of this.

We had 25 people over for the get-together even though I was only expecting 9!  It was sooo special to spend the day with loved ones and remember others who couldn't be there in person but who were there in spirit.  The weather was perfect enough for running through the sprinklers and to top it all off we have a brand new deck we got to relax on!  Matt rebuilt our deck this week just for me and even added some really cool, custom stairs and a slide coming off the lower deck platform.  My mom had worked on the house for the past few day so I didn't have to do ANY housework.  Talk about a stress relief!  My mom and dad worked together to provide the food and drinks and guests brought food as well.  I got flowers, cards, a diploma frame, a graduation bear, and other presents too special to share!  Having the deck ready for the party was so cool and took some collaborating between Matt, Ron, and Rachel... not to mention Julie sweeping up the sawdust, Josh and Michael collecting nails in the lawn, and my mom keeping the kids away from the tools.  Rachel even fell off a ladder an hour before the party started because she was standing on a rickety ladder installing new rail slats.  I was talking to her right before she fell and then she suddenly disappeared from sight.  What do you do when the EMT gets hurt and you don't know what to do?  Luckily she appears to have super powers because she walked away with only a scrape and a bruise.

A BIG surprise announcement we made at the party was that Matt also graduated this semester!  He received his Associates Degree and Pre-Paramedic Certificate, but was too shy to tell anyone.  I had to beg him to let me even make the announcement at all.

Celebrating this weekend with both of my parents helping me has been the highlight of my year.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined that graduating from CSU would be marked in such a special way for me.

I only have a few more hours with each of my parents before they will fly back to California, and I'm sure the time will be gone in a flash.  I am so thankful that I have the most amazing family in every way.  I hope I can finish graduate school quickly just so we can do this all over again. 

Other notes: I gave notice this week for my job as Interim Director at the Boys and Girls Club.  My last day there will be June 7th.  Oh how I will miss seeing the beautiful faces of so many children who I have grown so close to at the club!  I will begin a third AmeriCorps term at The Family Center/ La Familia on June 10th.  That position will run for 9 weeks.  While at The Family Center I will also be working on a graduate degree in Non-Profit Management.  Grad school coursework begins July 15th.  So many things to look forward to... Wish me luck!

Matt is taking the summer off classes to do some more fun remodeling projects on the house.  He is so good at what he does as a dialysis technician. 

Michael and Jana are both excited about spending the summer with me and have both decided to volunteer their time helping me daily with non-profit work!  Aren't they amazing kids?  I guess the only other plans we have this summer are to watch Michael's baseball games and triathlon feats, do some biking, and hang out with friends and family!

If you made it to the bottom of this post, congratulations!  This was a long one.  If I forgot anything noteworthy about the weekend, remind me in the comments.  xoxo!