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Last catch-up. Hopefully...

The last few months have been really hectic at the Nuffer Nest.  It seems like every day I had 26 hours of stuff to do in a 24 hour period, thus I was constantly getting behind.  BUT school is over now, and I actually have a little bit of free time.  I'm hoping my bits of free time will allow me to keep up on the blog, but I'm aware it's a bit of a lofty goal.  So lets move on with this catch-up-

Austin can read!

Austin is a pretty decent little reader!  He even reads scriptures with us in the evenings with very little help from us.  The school that the big boys attend has a really great program that encourages little readers to read to big readers, so pre-schooler Austin was able to read to Jackson's 2nd grade class!  He did GREAT!  Of course, I cried and the 2nd graders and Austin's teacher were quick to call me out on my tears. 

Austin reading Mo Willems' The Pigeon Takes a Bath
 

He was so proud of himself!  You can tell in the pictures just how proud he was of himself.
I was a little worried that the 2nd graders would be rude or disrespectful, but they were wonderful!  They even laughed at all the funny moments in the book.  That was probably Austin's favorite part.  He loves to be the class clown.  Jackson's teacher even talked about how hard Austin works at school and encouraged her 2nd graders to be just as hardworking.  I'm such a proud mommy!
 
 
Afterward, we took Austin out to celebrate the great job he did reading to big kids with ICE CREAM!
This kid is so cool.
 
 
 
Austin turns 5!
 
Austin really wanted a Minion party for his 5th birthday, so we minioned up the house!
The door turned into a giant minion-
 
 
 
The front entry-
 
 
 
And some other decorations and the cake-
 
 
I had a bakery frost it the way I wanted because I hate working with black icing, and I decorated the rest.  Turned out pretty good.
 
 
The birthday boy!  He's my little lovey boy, snuggle bug, and I almost don't recognize my baby anymore.  He's so big!
 
 
Maggie and the boys.
Hard to believe she's Jackson's age, so little.
 
 
Then it was time to party at Mr. Ghattis!
 
Eating lunch-
 
 
 
Then it was time to play!
I didn't get any pictures of the birthday boy playing.  What's wrong with me???
 

 
Austin is my only child that gets to celebrate his birthday at school because Jackson's birthday falls the week before school starts and Harrison's birthday is in July, so I was excited to make little favors for Austin's friends at school.
 
 
 
 
Easter 2016
 
And then it was Easter.  Easter kind of snuck up on me this year, so I didn't do all the little things with the boys that I wanted to, but I was able to make these cute little pompom bunnies with my mom for the boys.  They turned out adorable!
 

 
We even found these cute little baskets that were the perfect size.
 
 
I was sure my nurturing Austin would love his bunny, and Harrison loves to put things into other things and then take them out over and over and over again, so I was sure he would love his bunny too, but neither boy cared about his bunny.  Jackson, the one child I thought wouldn't care at all about his bunny loves his bunny the most.  He even sleeps with his bunny.
Just goes to show that you never know with kids...
 
We colored eggs...
 
 
And we had a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt.
This is always my favorite egg hunt.
We did a regular egg hunt outside on Easter morning, but I forgot to get pictures.
 

 
Then it was time for the Easter bunny to show!
 
 
 
 
Uncle Brian's Composition Concert
 


My little brother is so talented!  I don't have a musical bone in my body, but my little brother is super musical.  He had concert last year that featured him playing his tuba and it was fun and impressive, but he just had his composition concert.  This was the concert I was looking forward to.  I'm blown away with what he can do musically.  I can't play a tambourine or a triangle, let alone a real instrument, but the fact that he composed music is amazing to me.  It's phenomenal!  And it was really good music!
 
I wasn't the only one that was impressed.  Jackson was super impressed.  I don't even think I've told Brian about this yet...  We had a conversation about college a few days later because Jackson asked me if he could go to the same college as Uncle Brian.  He wants to have a concert just like Uncle Brian.  Jackson has always wanted to be a teacher, but his music teacher thinks he's musically inclined, so I've mentioned to him that violin or piano lessons would be a good idea.  He's basically ignored me until Uncle Brian's concert.  Since the concert, Jackson is certain he is going to West Texas A & M University, and that he's going to put on a concert just like Uncle Brian!
 
 
His sign reads:  My college is going to be at West Texas A and M.  It is in Canyon
See, Uncle Brian, he doesn't just love Whitney.  He pretty much adores you too.
 
 
They do adore Whitney, though.  A lot.
 
 
You're amazing, Uncle Brian!
 
 
MY graduation.  Finally... 
 

I've been working on TWO masters degrees since Jackson was born.  I almost completed a masters in Education, except for student teaching.  It's a long story, but I don't want to teach public school.  Ever.  So I won't be finishing that degree.  I DID finish the Masters of English degree.  Finally.  It was hard, guys.  Hard.  No semester was as difficult as my last semester.  I wanted to throw in the towel a few times, but I kept going because I kept telling my GED students that they couldn't give up- so how could I??  I made myself physically sick with worry and anxiety over my comps test.  Then, when I turned in my last paper and final I cried.  Uncontrollably. 
I don't know why I cried.  I was happy.  I was ecstatic.  But all I could do was cry.  A very ugly cry.
Anyway, I'm done and I'm so proud of myself!
I didn't care about my high school diploma because I knew I wasn't done.
I didn't want to even walk for my undergrad degree because I knew I wasn't done (but I did because my mom graduated the same day with her undergrad and she asked me to walk with her).
But I wanted to walk for my masters.  I'm so glad I did because it felt complete.
I keep getting asked if I'm going for a PhD.
My answer is:  HELL NO!
I am done.
 
Here I am on my way to take my comp test.
I was so sick to my stomach, but I smiled through it.  I knew I was almost done!
 
 

 And here I am on my way to graduation (luncheon) with Jim.
This was a genuine smile.
 
 
 
Then, just like that, it was all over.  I was soooo glad that ceremony was over.
 It was all over.
 
My grandpa and me (and a tiny photobomber)-
I wish my grandma was there, but I know she was there with me in spirit.  She was always proud of me.  I miss her so much, but especially on special days.
 






 
My mama and me-
 
 
Brian and Whitney
 
 
And with my family.
I love these fellas!  I say we all sacrificed because Jim was a single dad maaaaaany nights.  Harrison would call for me every night that I was studying.  I heard his little voice and it broke my heart that I couldn't run to him.  Austin would come give me hugs every night, several times a night and tell me how much he missed me.  And Jackson, well, I know he missed me too, but he's not very sappy (like his mama).
Look how big the big boys are- breaks my heart a little and gives me so much joy at the same time because they're such good boys.
 
 
Did I mention, I'M DONE!
 
 
Teacher gifts!
 
 
Usually I do a whole week of little gifts for teacher appreciation week, but this year was CRAZY!  I did manage to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day with these little antique bookmarks/paperclips.  They're pretty cute, I even kept a few for myself.  ;)
 

 
 
Then, Jackson informed me last Friday that today (Sunday) is his teacher's birthday.  He also informed me that he wanted to make her something, and not just a lame card.  -his words, not mine.
So, I gave him my Pinterest board labeled "gifts" and let him pick something out.
He picked out a cute little jar filled with chocolates covered in compliments.  I told him it would be a lot of work and that he would do all the work himself since it was his idea, and he assured me he was up for the challenge.  And he did it!  No complaints.  He kept writing compliments even after the jar was filled.  I had to stuff everything in.  Sorry, if things are a bit smooshed, Ms. Blake...
 
 
Mrs. Lee, one of Austin's teachers, finalized an adoption last Friday, so I thought a nice gift for her would be fun too, so Austin made something very similar to this for his teacher (I didn't get a picture of his gift)-
 
 
We are so grateful for the teachers the boys have this year.  They're wonderful!  I wish we could do more for them, but I'm so glad that my boys have such thoughtful and grateful hearts for their teachers.



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