Mr. Mitchell and I drove to Boise (about 8 hours) and spent a day dedicated to running errands that we can't complete while living where there are no stores besides a TrueValue and a two-aisle grocery store. The highlight of the day was getting to see Elder Kevin Miller return home from his LDS mission to Russia. I have known Kevin since he was in diapers; his older sister was my first friend. We took some videos for the Miller family to enjoy:
The next day, in the wee small hours of the morning, we took off to Provo (about 6 hours) for BYU Commencement and Convocation. We technically graduated in December, but BYU doesn't do commencement in December because they don't want all of the families traveling in inclement weather. (Let's just say that there are enough accidents in Utah without a sudden surge of traffic in the snow.) Mr. Mitchell and I originally weren't going to go all the way back just to walk across a platform, but then we found out that my dad was graduating also! He's been working on his degree for 40+ years and after always putting his family first has finally had time to graduate! Congratulations, Dad!
We got to Provo in a very timely manner and got our caps and gowns and alumni shirts and free cookies and headed off to the hippy hotel to get ready.
|Mr. Mitchell getting ready.|
|He worked so hard to grow his facial hair out.|
We then headed to the Marriott Center where the big commencement is held. All of the graduates had to meet in a parking lot across the way about an hour ahead of time so we could get in line. Mr. Mitchell, my dad and I stood together in my line. I'm sure there were many others lining up wherever they wanted to based on the mixed tassels. (I accidentally ordered the wrong color of tassel, but then I ran into somebody that had also ordered the wrong color and we each just happened to have what the other person needed - so we swapped. Perfect!) After 5 1/2 years of school it was finally my turn to walk across the pedestrian overpass in my cap and gown and I actually got quite excited.
|My dad and I lined up in the parking lot.|
(P.S. I have the wrong tassel.)
|Mr. Mitchell and I willy-nilly in the parking lot...they frown upon that.|
After the big procession to the Marriott Center we had the opportunity to have Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an apostle in our church, as our commencement speaker. If you are interested in seeing what he had to say, you can find it here. The Marriott Center was packed and toasty, but it's always a wonderful opportunity to see a church leader in person and he had uplifting things to say, plus some funny anecdotes. In the video that zeroes in on Elder Oaks, I'll bet you can't help but notice the organ music. What can I say? BYU loves their organ music.
|The very full Marriott Center.|
|Elder Oaks speaking.|
|Elder Oaks on the big screen.|
After commencement we found my mom who sat in that big crowded Marriott Center all on her lonesome. We took a few pictures, which we do not have, and then went to the hotel for naptime. We made the mistake of going to Cafe Rio for dinner, but other than that we had a peaceful evening.
We had to rise and shout, er, shine (a little Cougar humor for you - hehehe) very early the next morning to make it to our convocations for our individual programs/schools on time. All three of us were scheduled to walk at the exact same time and we all graduated from different programs. Bummer! I ended up walking with Paul (BYU is very family friendly and so they have no problem accommodating situations like that) at his graduation, which was a good choice because it was probably half as long as mine would have been. My dad walked at his own and so we didn't get to see him walk, nor did they get to see us walk. It all worked out, however, because Harry and Annie drove all the way down from Oregon to see us graduate and were able to watch us walk. My dad also had a bigger crowd because my brother, Ryan, and my sister, Jayme, came with their families and watched him walk. Everybody was happy...I think.
Unfortunately we weren't able to get any good pictures of us at our convocation, but we were able to get some good ones once everybody was done and we could all meet up together.
|We were the first ones to walk in.|
(P.S. Now I have the right tassel.)
|They announced us together.|
|Mr. Mitchell gave his mom a Stole of Gratitude.|
|Apparently we like the sundial.|
|Getting a smooch by the library.|
|Enjoying the quiet in the JSB courtyard.|
|The beautiful South Campus path.|
|Traditional shot by the cougar outside LaVell Edwards Stadium.|
|The three graduates.|
|A small portion of our gang.|
Once picture-taking time was done we spent the day with the Earls. We had lunch with one of Annie's old college friends and then drove an hour up to Salt Lake City. While there we took a stroll through Temple Square, visited the Beehive House, and checked out some family history stuff in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
|Beautiful flowers we found on our way to the Beehive House.|
|Annie and I wondering about some crazy tulips.|
After our time in Salt Lake, the Earls drove us up to Layton (about 1/2 hour) to meet with my family as they went to meet another friend.
The following morning my family was running around like crazy trying to get all packed up and get all of the grocery shopping done for our day at Lagoon. My parents, as a graduation celebration, paid for everyone to go have a great day at Lagoon and it was a lot of fun.
|The gang at the beginning of our Lagoon day.|
|Mr. Mitchell and Carter on the first ride of the day.|
|We were all soaked after Rattlesnake Rapids. |
I wish the picture could really do it justice.
|Our last picture as the park was closing.|
That night we drove back to Boise (about 4 1/2 hours) so my mom could be to some meetings in the morning. We finally had a day of rest (yay for Sundays!) and then on Monday morning we were heading over to Pocatello (about 3 1/2 hours) to visit some friends. My best friend, Jen, lives there with her husband and they're expecting their first baby in about four weeks. I couldn't make it to her baby shower and since we were relatively close Mr. Mitchell decided we should go for a visit and take a present. It was so much fun! They made us a yummy dinner, we played frisbee golf, got ice cream, and watched a movie that I fell asleep during. In the morning we were spoiled with a fantastic breakfast before we left.
|Me at 18 weeks and Jen at 34 weeks. Pregnant BFFs.|
(My butt is bigger than my bump... ...)
We then drove back to Boise and then back to this tiny, old town in Oregon. Lots of driving that week and, consequently, we had perpetual numb-bum.
It was so nice to have a chance to see family on a special occasion and to be in areas that are familiar and fun.
Mr. Mitchell's favorite memory from the trip: Carter was really excited to get to ride his first roller coaster. As we approached one, Mr. Mitchell told him that he probably wouldn't be tall enough and that we'd have to measure him first. Carter solemnly walked up to the measuring stick and waited for the verdict. He was tall enough! When Mr. Mitchell told Carter so, Carter jumped up in the air and did a fist pump; he was ecstatic to go on his first roller coaster!
My favorite memory from the trip: As we waited for the Earls to come out of the visitor's center on Temple Square, Paul lovingly talked to Sprout about the history of the Salt Lake City Temple and what a feat it was to complete it .