I am Crazy. The end.

Ben and I were like little school kids yesterday, waking up and wanting to check his diploma to see the words “Doctor of Philosphy” in those big letters again! What a thrill. We are just so thankful for our family coming in town to celebrate with us. It wouldn’t have been the same without them! They helped make it so very special for us.

Today when Ben checked his status at school, his degree was officially conferred on him in the computer system which was fun to see:) Hey, it’s the little things in life!

This week is a fun week for the boys! They started VBS at our church. Both were a little nervous, not having been to VBS before but they came home so happy! They loved it so much and can’t wait to go again tomorrow! They will go all week from 9-12pm. Eliana cried when we left them there:( She’s loved having her brothers home!

They stayed at the hotel with Mugga and Grandma on Saturday night and she missed them then, too. I heard her call out from her room, “Bring da boys home!” before she collapsed in exhaustion and we never heard another peep til morning:)

And while big brothers are being occupied at vacation bible school, Eliana is being potty-trained! Oh, yes, you read that right. It should be alternately stated: Eliana’s mommy is crazy! Everyone keeps telling me how easy it is to potty train girls and they can be trained so early and blah, blah. I have been putting it off because of the nightmare of potty training my sweet Z-man (sorry, buddy!) but she has shown so many signs of being ready lately, including not being able to keep a stitch of her clothing on when in bed (!!!) that I knew it was time.

We ran to the store to grab a little pack of M&Ms and stickers and headed home to begin. She whipped off her diaper so fast it wasn’t even funny! Or it was:) We started out with some Minnie Mouse underwear and she plopped down on her little Ikea potty to watch some Sesame Street, in hopes of earning her 2 M&Ms.

Within a half an hour we had success! I made a big deal out of it and gave her the M&Ms, a sticker on a little chart (which she got to put on) and was SO excited! And then it went downhill. She sat on and off for awhile and then went and peed all over the floor. Then, by the time it was time to go pick up the boys, she was in melt-down mode and refusing to even look at the potty! I almost threw in the towel right then and there.

Now, I know you are not supposed to leave the house when potty training but I needed to get the boys and Ben talked me into making a quick stop to the store to get something. So, I loaded the car with a pad on her carseat, the potty chair, stickers, the M&Ms, the chart, etc. And Eliana, half-dressed. She sat on the potty before we left the parking lot, when we got to the church (didn’t go both times), and right before we walking into the store.

And promptly peed all over the store floor literally 2 minutes later. So back to the car we went and got changed and sat some more and I felt so frustrated! She didn’t nap because she kept stripping herself down to her birthday suit (which is awfully cute!) and threw her diaper across the room. The afternoon consisted of 2 accidents on the floor (including a poop that I didn’t catch in time) and I was feeling SO done!

And then she went twice in a row in the potty. Go figure. We’ll see if I can gear myself up to keep going tomorrow. I really wish there was a manual for this!!!!

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My Sillies

Remember that cold I mentioned I was getting? It is kicking my behind. I am chugging along doing what I need to do but I have a fever, weepy eyes, congestion and aching head. Oh, the joy…Just hoping I’m the end the of the cycle and not passing it on!

I admit, it’s very hard to stop kissing and cuddling my chickies, esp Missy Girl:(

Today, I drugged up (myself) and took Zakkai on his promised prize-date which he earned from his chart. We went to see a movie, just the two of us! It was fun being with just him. We saw “The Croods,” which was pretty cute. He loved it and during the funny parts he would always look up at me to share the moment:) Afterwards, we went to Target, where he got to pick out a dollar section toy for himself and his siblings. He picked a little screwdriver! Funny boy. He came right home, opened it up and started finding things to open up. My little mechanic!

I have a funny little video to share from a few nights ago, when Ben was gone for dinner. My funny kiddos!

Before the video, I just wanted to take a minute to explain what I meant by Ben’s “defense” the other night. I had to learn all this terminology and sometimes I forget that not everyone lives in academic world:) haha.  So Ben had to turn in a full draft of his dissertation to his NELC (Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) office 4 weeks before defending, along with signatures from his committee on a form.

A defense is just that, a defending of the dissertation. Ben will go in a room with his academic advisor and reading committee (the professors he chose to read and edit his dissertation all along), the dean of the program and another representative. Plus, anyone else in the public who would like to attend. He half wants me to go and I half want to go. It makes me too nervous!

Anyways, he has to give a “talk” about his dissertation for about 25 minutes and then they get to ask him questions and he has to “defend” it and show that he really knows what he’s talking about. After this is over, he and everyone but the committee leaves the room and they put it to a vote. Once they decide whether he passes or not, they call him back into the room and give him their decision. Generally, they will not let someone get to this point and fail them. He would have to totally fail to show he knows his stuff and after 3-4 years of emersing himself in his topic, that would be crazy!

After that, he’ll have another week or so to do a little more editing on the dissertation and then he has to give a final copy to the Dissertation Office where it has to sit for 4 weeks before convocation. And then June 15th, if all goes well (Lord-willing!), I will sit with a bursting heart and watch my beloved graduate and become official!

It is coming soon but there’s a lot for him to accomplish in the meantime. He would definitely love your prayers and for our future, too!

For now though, we take it day by day, trusting. And being silly, upon occasion. Enjoy the video!

Spring Is A’Comin’!

 Upon finding out we were traveling to Florida, several of our fellow mid-westerners asked us to bring some sunshine and warm weather back with us. Looks like, all kidding aside, we did! Okay, okay, I know we can’t take the credit but the timing worked out pretty well. When we left it was in the 30’s and we were comfortable sequestered within our winter coats and now the sun is shining daily, the birds are hopping about everywhere and we are slowly shedding layers!

Zakkai literally shed a layer of winter gear. Somewhere along our travels to Florida, he lost his winter coat! We didn’t realize it until Monday when he wanted to go out and play and we couldn’t find the coat anywhere. We’ve searched lo and hi, to no avail. So, I am doubly glad that spring is coming!

Now for our last day in Florida. We actually had a very quiet morning, just getting ready, doing laundry and packing up (especially my mom and stepdad and sis and her family who left Thurs afternoon.) I just missed an adorable picture above where the baby was checking out her cousins and they were being so sweet with her!

But Little E is getting very savvy with her moves and she quickly and artfully moved herself away before I could snap a pic. She found her booster seat and her daddy and she was happy:)

But these two were definitely worth another picture!

Our last full day, it finally warmed up enough for us to go swimming! It felt really good going into the water and staying under but it was still a teeny bit chilly coming out. The boys played in the pool for an hour and a half straight! They had so much fun.

I played with them for awhile and then I braved the slight chill and ran for my towel and sun-covered deck chair and there I lay, desperately trying to soak up some rays while keeping an eye on my boys:)

Then my sister, bro-in-law and niece showed up and I talked my Sis into enjoying the sun with me! Eliana went in the pool a few times with Ben but mostly wanted to dangle her feet in by me and splash:)

Sisters!!

We were very sad when our family left shortly after. We wandered out onto the lanai and sat in the sun.

A comfy place to be!

Little sun-bathing beauty:) We (and by we, I mean I) soaked up some more sun while gearing up enough energy to go get some freshly-squeezed Florida O.J. to bring home with us. Unfortunately, my dreams of coming home with a nice healthy tan were unrecognized; instead a few of my freckles made their annual appearance.

Beggars can’t be choosers:)

We had a good time and it was hard to tear ourselves away from the sun and our grandparents and their loving home!

Since returning, I’ve had a bit of a stomach bug and am now going into a cold. Boo. I held strong through Ben being sick but it has been a very busy and long week.  Ben finally got over his sickness after several days but jumped immediately into a brutal week of finishing his dissertation editing. He is about to turn in a final draft tonight or in the morning! It is over 600 pages long; 54 of which are bibliography which he’s been working on this week. Can you even begin to imagine how much research he has done over the past 4 years? 54, single spaced pages, people. Of books he’s read. In many different languages. Dead and alive. Spanning over a century.

I’m truly amazed.

Once he turns this in, they will officially publish his defense date, which is May 3rd!!! We are SO incredibly excited to really, finally and truly see a light at the end of this tunnel! Thanking God for seeing us through this long, arduous and often, lonely, journey and awaiting anxiously His plans for our future!

Can I get an Amen?!