Monday, February 21, 2011

MIT Quals

I, Kevin, have been attending MIT as a grad student studying plasma physics since August 2009.  In order to continue towards my final degree, I had to pass a Qualifying Exam along with my fellow classmates.  The Exam is conducted in to two parts.

First, a written exam is administered consisting of material from 4 different classes I have taken since coming to MIT.  An hour and a half long exam is written for each course.  So, on January 28th from 9am-12pm we took 2 exams and then from 1:30pm-4:30pm we took the last 2 exams.  It made for a long day.  (My classmates and I used the 3 Saturdays leading up to the test to duplicate the testing environment and take practice exams from previous years.)

Second, I took an oral exam on February 7.  This exam started with me giving a 10 minute presentation to four faculty members.   When I finished, the exam committee asked questions over anything I mentioned during my presentation to test my knowledge.  This continued for 30 mins.  Then, I was given a preconceived question chosen by the committee to answer.  While answering the question, the committee probed for deeper meaning or caught me in contradictions to test my understanding and ability to answer confidently and accurately, relatively quickly.  This went on for about 45 mins.  This was the extent of the qualifying exam.

The day that I took my orals was the same day that we were to be told the results.  At 6 p.m., the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department held a post-quals celebration.  At 9 p.m., we who had taken the exam were to return to the theory lounge of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center to be notified.  The video below is of three of us walking down the hall to the lounge.

We sat down and waited...

Pictured here are the fusion students who took the qualifying exam in 2011.  At 10 o'clock is Ian, moving clockwise is Chi, Christian, and Mike with his back to the camera.  I sat to the left of Mike.  This is how we sat for almost a whole hour...

First, Ian and Chi were taken away, then Christian, and finally Mike.  I was left alone in the lounge for only about five minutes, but time slowly but surely pressed on.  My advisor called for me down the hall. As I walked towards the room where I was to be told, I went over the possibilities in my head.  Will I have to do this all over again in one year?  What do I do next?  I rounded the corner and my advisor put out his hand.  "Congratulations, Kevin, you passed."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NY Baby Shower

On January 22nd, my lovely Aunts on Long Island threw me a Baby Shower!

It had been about a month since we had seen each other last.  So everyone was able to see how much my belly had grown in such a short time!

The lovely Ladies of the evening.

The Fellas with Abuela.  --->

We received so many wonderful gifts from everyone!

My pregnant cousin Cynthia and I. (Who is also expecting a boy in June!)

My amazing cousins who attended!!!

We visited for hours!  It was so much fun visiting with everyone.  Abuela even made all of us laugh uncontrollably.

Kevin had to stay in Boston for an MIT practice test so I was going to go to New York by myself.  My dad, however, was so sweet.  He flew from Texas to Boston just to drive me to New York!  I'm so glad he came.  It was a really good visit for both of us, and he got to see his mom, brothers, and sisters again too.

It was truly an amazing Baby Shower and I am forever thankful!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

34 week photos

With the recent snow, we thought it was a perfect time to take a few more pregnancy photos.

First real snow in Boston

Soon after coming back to Boston we had a big snow storm!  It has been the biggest we've experienced while living up here. All the snow in the pictures is from this one snow storm in one day!

Kevin had the lovely job of shoveling.  :-) The worst part was at the end of the driveway where the snow plows blocked it with snow from the street.

We took the dogs out in the snow and to the park down the street.  There was so much that there wasn't any traffic on the side streets that we let Maggie off leash and away she went!  She loved it!  We remembered from past experience with Maggie that she loves the snow and this time wasn't any different. 

We went back to our apartment and let the dogs play some in the backyard.

So of course we had to play too :-)

Kevin loved throwing snowballs at us...

Maggie liked to hide under the grape vines and scare the birds.

Capri like running in the well packed snow but she couldn't stay out too long without her toes freezing :-)

Kevin decided to bury my lower half in the snow.

 Kevin's Snow Angel is below and next to it is our little piece of Texas.

Here are two videos we took later in the week at the park down the street from our Apartment.  The dogs were having so much fun and Kevin and I couldn't stop laughing at how cute Capri was in her new Italian Greyhound Booties!  We all had a blast in the snow!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Texas Baby Shower

While Kevin and I were down in Texas my Mother-in-law, Grandma, and Mom threw me a Baby Shower!

It was so much fun!  (The guys had a party in the building next door where they could watch football and play games too)

The Decorations were adorable!  My in-laws even made the best diaper cake I've ever seen! My Sister-in-laws did a lot at and for the baby shower too.  I'm so lucky to have them as family.

My mom made Pacifiers out of mint lifesavers and jelly beans!  Not to mention the baby themed chocolate covered pretzels!  So clever and cute!

The room was filled with loved ones and we all enjoyed visiting and playing games.

We had a word scramble, finish the nursery rhyme, cut a ribbon the size of my belly, and first to have a de-thawed baby trinket in their drink ;-)

Kevin and I received so many wonderful gifts and great advice.  We can't thank everyone enough for all that they have done and given to us.

My best friends from college came! (Megan, Jessica, and I)  I haven't seen Jessica since June and Megan even longer than that.  Megan and her Husband are also due April 30th!  Can't wait to have our little ones grow up together.

It was great to have my sister there.  I don't get to see her or her family much now that we live in Boston so it was a great to have the extra visit.

Kevin and I truly are blessed to be in a community that has so many loving people that care about us.  We know that Liam will always be looked out for.  Though we don't currently live there, Decatur will always be our home.

My Texas Baby Shower was above and beyond anything that I could have imagined.  My hostesses really did an amazing job.  I felt and feel truly loved.  I love you all.

Christmas in Texas!

Kevin and I went to Texas for Christmas and New Years!  We drove down to Long Island and stayed with my family Friday (Dec. 17th) night.  We left EARLY the next morning and drove straight down to Texas.  We alternated driving about every 6 hours and stopped every 2 hours.  It took us 28 hours but it was well worth it to see our parents' faces when we surprised them Sunday Morning.

We went to my sister's house before Christmas to celebrate and exchange gifts.  We had so much fun with the Kids!  I've missed them so much!  They were so cute opening their presents.

After leaving Danielle's we went down the street to Chesapeake Energy and took pictures of their massive tree light display.

Christmas Eve the Woller crew did our annual passing out of cookies and caroling, then we went to the Christmas Eve Service at Church and took pictures of the Family, though we were missing Erin and Chazz.

After Church, Kevin and I went over to my Grandma's  for her annual Christmas Eve party.  It was a fun evening filled with food, games, and laughter.
Christmas Morning we headed over to the Woller's where Jaron and Aaden, Kevin's Nephews, ripped through their presents!  It was heartwarming watching the little ones open up their presents.

Kevin and his brother Andy received their old high school football jerseys for Christmas.  They also got "Plinker" guns, which we all had a lot of fun shooting.  So we had them strut their stuff.  It was fun going down memory lane with those jerseys, and seeing how the boys have grown ;-)

We then headed back over to my Parent's to continue the gift of Christmas and eat some Turkey.  My Dad fried up two turkeys this year and we took one back over to the Woller's.  I love fried Turkey!

Our Christmas present :-)

Erin and Chazz came the end of December and stayed til the 2nd.  The whole Woller Sibling Gang was reunited again.  (The first time since May)  We had a fun evening New Year 's Day shooting guns, eating Lasagna, opening presents, playing games, enjoying good conversation, and good company.  We can't wait to go to Texas again!