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Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry and Bright

Calvin checks out his first Christmas tree.

We set up our Christmas tree about a week after Thanksgiving. It's a little, fake tree because we don't like to buy a real one on the years that we are going out of town for Christmas. Fire hazard and all that. We took a video of the Great Lighting of the Little Christmas Tree, but it ended up being kind of a bust because only the bottom half of the tree lit up! We found the loose bulb and fixed it, and I think it is a very pretty little tree.

My family has a tradition that every year, each of us kids and my parents together would get new ornaments. So my brother and I each have one ornament for every year of our lives up until we moved out of our parents' house, and our parents have an ornament for every year of their marriage. When James and I got married, I started this tradition for our new little branch of the family and now that we have Calvin I am excited to do the same for him. 

I decided to forgo the typical "Baby's First Christmas" ornament care of Hallmark in favor of something that I felt was more unique and special for my little chicken. Here's a video of Calvin opening his very first Christmas ornament, which is also his very first Christmas gift!

We did another photo shoot to get a nice pic for this year's Christmas card. This time, at Crissy Field. I had this brilliant idea to make a cute banner with a Christmas message, but it was really too windy for it. Here are some of the photos we got:

We brought Calvin with us to a couple of holiday parties, including a Holiday Baby Bash hosted by a friend from the mom & baby group I go to. You might recognize these tots from the Halloween party pics. They are much sleepier in this picture! And sorry about the glowing eyes, I couldn't figure out how to fix it in a pic from my cell phone. 

A few days later, which was a few days ago, we got on a plane very early in the morning and flew out to Atlanta. So we are here hanging out with my parents, and on Christmas Eve we'll drive up into the mountains to spend time with James' parents. I am always thankful to get to spend the holidays with our wonderful families and to get to see some much missed friends while we are in town. More Christmas pics to come!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hooray for Dr. Dad!

We are still sad about our lost kitty, Lucas...

Calvin won't even remember him! It makes me so sad :(

...But happily we have some very good news to think about instead!

James' PhD defense at Stanford was last week and he did great! I am so proud of him!

Thank goodness some of James' lab mates took pictures on their phones! I had remembered to bring the camera but sadly I had left the memory card in my laptop. Oops.

Calvin and I were there to watch James' presentation and Calvin only had to be taken out of the room at the very beginning so I was able to watch most of it. Calvin slept through most of it. James' degree will be in mechanical engineering, but his research has had a biomechanics focus. As he presented all the experiments that have compiled his thesis and all the results and conclusions... I was flashing back to weeks when James was spending every other night in the lab running those experiments, days when he was frustrated that something had gone wrong and had to be redone, late nights he spent analyzing results or writing papers or preparing presentations. I know it has been a tremendous amount of work and stress for him and I am just so so proud of him for all of it! At the end of the presentation he thanked the organizations that provided funding for his work, he thanked his advisor and the defense committee, he thanked his lab mates, and he was kind enough to thank me which was very sweet.

The oral defense was closed to only James and the defense committee so Calvin and I waited in the hall with James' lab mates. I was so nervous for him!! An hour or so later the committee members started filing out with smiles on their faces. They told me that James did great. They told Calvin he should be proud of his dad :)

We popped the corks on champagne and fancy beer (and even some of James' own homebrew!) and toasted his success right there in the hallway. Then his advisor took us all out to dinner at a brewpub where we also watched Stanford beat UCLA! Again!

Of course James got lots of messages of congratulations from friends and family. The funny thing was that some people's messages sounded like they assumed James was going to go out and party and get wasted celebrating! We laughed about this as we were on our way home at like 10pm with a sleeping baby in tow! I mean, not only did we have Calvin with us, but James was EXHAUSTED. It had been a totally grueling month for him, especially the two weeks leading up to the defense.

Whew! Completing that thesis defense has been a long time coming and I know James is so relieved to have it behind him. The next day he slept in, then spent the rest of the day watching football in his pajamas and playing with Calvin! Unfortunately, the work is not 100% done. His reading committe is still reviewing his thesis and giving him revisions to make. It will be maybe a couple more weeks of this before it's all said and done. Because the quarter ends next week, James' degree will not officially be conferred until the end of winter quarter in March. But he is still set to start work as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford in January in the same lab where he has been doing his graduate research.

So YAY JAMES!!! The hardest parts are now behind him and he's just polishing up that thesis! We'll have to have a big big party once that sucker is printed, bound and completely finished :)