Tag Archives: UTSA

Then and Now

Looks like he’s happy to be home and back in his spot.

Looks like he’s happy to be home and back in his spot.

Now that my older son has returned from UTSA for his winter break (he drove home last Friday), our family is complete once again. My heart is full to the brim.

One of the first things that Jake does after he walks through the front door is set up his 2010 MacBook Pro in his spot at the far end of the dining room table. That’s been his computing comfort place since he first got his laptop after he graduated from high school three and a half years ago.

Looking at the above photo, I figured that I would check my archives to see how Jake looked with his MBP during his first collegiate winter break in 2010.

More of a baby face at the end of 2010

More of a baby face at the end of 2010

And here he is! What stands out most to me?

First, he’s staring down at the screen. He didn’t like having his photo snapped back then. Now he almost always looks at me and smiles. Love seeing those beautiful blue eyes!

Second, his face has changed so much! From the mere stubble of 2010 to the cute never-quite-filled-in beard, his features are more angular and adult. He’s definitely grown up.

Third, ironically, he’s wearing the exact same shirt in both photos! Yes, it does look faded now, but my Linkin Park fan continues to show his loyalty. As well as his penchant to wear the same t-shirts over and over and over again. How very male of him!

It makes me wonder what the photo of my sweet boy will be like next December. This is his final winter break, continuing his streak of “lasts” this senior year. Hopefully, Jake will be settled in an apartment (perhaps with his BFF, my “third son,” Chase) where he’ll have a new special computing spot.

One thing’s probably certain: I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still wearing that Linkin Park shirt then!

One Home . . .

My older son is back in his usual spot in the dining room.

My older son is back in his usual spot in the dining room.

. . . and one to go! I can’t wait until our family of four is reunited!!

Sidebar: Jake looks like he’s up to something, because he didn’t have his fake tooth (flipper) in (he gets the permanent one probably in March). He looks like a goober when he smiles without it!

Feathers A-Flying

The brothers (ages 4 and a half and almost 8)

The brothers (ages 4 and a half and almost 8)

Throwback Thursday has me thinking about life as an empty nester. It’s been almost 12 weeks since both of our sons flew the coop, the older one to finish his senior year at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the younger one to start his college journey at Sam Houston State.

So how has it been for dear, old mom, who is home alone during the day for the first time in almost 22 years? Lonely, my friends. Maytag man lonely. Oh, how I miss my sons!

The boys on their play cottage in 1999 with their  Pokémon collection

The boys on their backyard play cottage in 1999 with part of their Pokémon collection

What’s been hardest for me is that my younger son usually ignores me unless he needs homework help or someone to talk to while he drives through McDonald’s at night. Yes, my little sweetie who I’ve always been so close to! Before he left for SHSU, he told me straight out that he would not be like his older brother, who at least texts me good morning and good night every day (and usually quite a bit more).

I understand that he wants to assert his independence and become his own man, but, as I’ve told him many times this fall, caring is not a crime. There’s no off switch to your emotions when you’re a parent.

I hate the news blackout after 18 years of being in the loop. It stinks, and it hurts my heart.

Older brother helps his younger sibling with his homework 10 years ago.

Older brother helps his younger sibling with his homework 10 years ago.

My strategy has been to be patient and relish the communication opportunities that I do get. The kid does call and Skype more often than his older brother. Plus I listen intently while he and his father chat (he talks to him more), while throwing helpful suggestions for questions to ask (which the Mister usually fails to use . . . frustrating! Guys!!).

Fortunately for me, we’ve gotten to see our sons this semester, our younger son more often because he’s closer. My older son hasn’t returned home since he left in late August. That’s about to change, though, because he’s driving in from San Antonio tonight (he has no classes tomorrow)! When little bro heard about it, he also decided to come visit the old folks at home.

I’ll try not to make the grill too hot for him!

A Surprise in the Mail

Unbelievable!

Unbelievable!

Need proof that time does actually fly by? This was an envelope we received in the mail the other day.

Yep, my older son will graduate from the University of Texas at San Antonio in May!

Very official

Very official-looking

When we dropped him off in late August of 2010, four years seemed like an eternity. It’s almost surreal that our older son will reach this important milestone in a matter of months.

One more semester. Only 12 more hours (four classes) left until he has his marketing degree. What a wonderful achievement for him!

The Mister and I would like to make one little change to the wording on that envelope, though:

“That day you’ve been waiting for . . . off your parents’ payroll!”

Hope that’s not just wishful thinking!

Fill ’Er Up 2!

That ceiling light is bad news for photography.

That ceiling light is bad news for photography.

My heart was filled to overflowing this weekend. It started by Skyping with my younger son Thursday night . . .

I live for that smile!

I live for that smile!

. . . and ended with some overdue, virtual face-to-face time with my older son last night.

My UTSA senior always prefers texting us, but every now and then it’s important to actually see that he’s doing fine instead of just reading about it.

Getting to look at those beautiful blue eyes, handsome face, and cute smile? Definitely a bonus!

A Little Traveling Music, Please

Still can’t resist my older son’s beautiful blue eyes!

Still can’t resist my older son’s beautiful blue eyes!

The Mister and I pulled on our traveling pants (big pockets for lots of snacks) Saturday and yesterday and put about 560 miles on the Honda Odyssey.

Our goal? To take our sons out to lunch at their individual colleges.

Result? Mission accomplished!

Our older son was first on our list. Saturday we drove the 190 miles to San Antonio, picked him up, and went to see “We’re the Millers,” which was surprisingly good despite the awful, woeful, disgusting abundance of foul language, even by Jennifer Aniston (you’re better than that, Jen!). Then we enjoyed lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and chilled for a bit at his nice apartment.

Love that Sirius XM!

No commercials rock

Finally, the Mister and I hugged our senior collegian goodbye (we probably won’t see him until Thanksgiving) and made the three-hour trip back home. We lightened the load by attempting to harmonize to songs played on Sirius XM’s the Bridge station. Usually putting that capital L to our foreheads, though, is the Mister’s inability to remember most of the lyrics despite his fine singing voice coupled with my out-of-tune pipes despite knowing most of the words.

Our finest moment? Our rendition of Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” Even Simon Cowell might have been impressed! And, yes, we were 1 for what seemed like 236 songs. At least we weren’t shut out!

RJ and the kid

RJ and the kid

Yesterday we pretty much repeated the procedure, but without the movie. Fortunately, Huntsville is only 88 miles from our house; it takes about 90 minutes to get there. We picked up our younger son and his roommate, RJ, at their dorm and made the scene at Chili’s, which was their choice.

Yum!

Yum!

Naturally, the kid needed a molten dessert pick-me-up. It doesn’t take much to raise his spirits, thank goodness. After a stop at Walmart and a small disc golf course to play a few holes, we returned to Sam Houston Village. There we deposited the boys, gave our freshman a hug (we’ll see him a few times this month thanks to disc golf and SHSU football games), and then it was back to our horrible harmonizing.

Whew! Glad we don’t have to labor on Labor Day!!

My #2 Son Moves On

Almost to Huntsville; you can see the big Sam Houston statue up the road.

Almost to Huntsville; you can see the big Sam Houston statue up the road.

You would think that after three straight years of college move-ins that our family would’ve been like pros when it came to transporting my younger son last Saturday to Huntsville.

Sadly, you would be mistaken.

The boys have their own bathroom.

The boys have their own bathroom.

That’s because we remain procrastinators. As if watching our younger son leave the nest isn’t bad enough, the Mister and I insisted on adding to our stress by waiting until the last minute to get things done (although that’s absolutely nothing new for us). Last Friday night (into early morning) wasn’t a fun time to be a member of our household.

The "kitchen area": Small but usable

The “kitchen area”: Small but usable

Fortunately, we pretty much had our act together when it came time to hit the road for the 90-minute trip north to Sam Houston State University (with only one return for a key, forgotten item while we were still close to home). The Mister and I drove the majority of the kid’s essentials in our Honda Odyssey; our sons followed in the Ford Fusion, which our younger son will keep near his dorm.

Because our sons are so close, we were glad that they had a last chance to talk, laugh, and commiserate about classes. I’m sure they were trying to top each other when saying how much they would miss their parents (as if!).

Hope they have friends stop by.

Hope they have friends stop by.

We got to the kid’s dorm, Sam Houston Village, which is fairly new, around 10:30 a.m. Which meant we had to wait in the heat for the doors to open for about a half hour (move-in was 11 a.m.-5 p.m.). Few cars were able to get close to the doors for unloading (there are three residence halls in the same area, all with students moving in at the same time), so we were glad we had our company’s dolly (which just so happened to be that key, forgotten item).

Looking good at his desk (with his brother asleep on the bed)

Looking good at his desk (with his brother asleep on the bed)

RJ, my son’s roommate who he has known since kindergarten, and his parents had pretty much moved his stuff into his bedroom by the time we got to their second-floor room. The boys each have their own bedroom with separate, locking doors. They share the sitting area, kitchen (microwave, small fridge, sink, and cabinets), and bathroom. It’s very nice, but, quite honestly, we were used to the spaciousness of our older son’s UTSA dorm. This one is tiny in comparison.

Good thing my younger son didn’t have a lot to move in. He actually could rent out half of his closet!

I think this will get a lot of use.

I think this will get a lot of use.

One thing the kid insisted on bringing was his disc golf mini basket. I’m sure he and RJ will have weekly competitions. He also has his disc golf bag with him. Hopefully, he’ll keep his skills sharp at some local courses.

Ready for college!

Ready for college!

After the two families finished moving the boys in, setting up electronics, and making a quick Target run, it was about 5:30 p.m. Time to say goodbye before both of them walked across campus for ultimate frisbee practice. (It’s nice that both of them are jocks.)

RJ’s mom, Veronica, and I marveled at how we met 13 years ago in Ms. Germany’s kindergarten class. Who could have guessed back then that our little cuties would be college roommates! Nice how that worked out.

Brothers and besties

Brothers and besties

And now both my sons are in college. The younger one told me that they plan to Skype; I know they’ll always keep in touch. Now they’ll have even more to share.

As I watched my beloved baby boy walk away from us after my last, tearful hug, a lot of thoughts went through my head. I was so happy that he seemed to be right at home in his dorm. I was glad that he already had an activity (ultimate) where he can meet other students. I was relieved that he had several days until school starts (tomorrow) to walk his schedule and get to know the campus.

But, of course, I couldn’t help but feel sad for myself. Our house would be so quiet without him. I know I’m going to miss him (and his brother) an astronomical amount.

As well as all my blogging material!

A New Chapter Begins

Items ready to be loaded into the Highlander

Items ready to be loaded into the Highlander

At about 10 a.m. today, something unusual happened to me.

I officially became an empty nester.

This is an easy move.

Lots of room remains.

We moved my younger son into his dorm at Sam Houston State Saturday. This morning his older brother and I loaded up the Toyota Highlander, and then he left to drive to UTSA.

Hard to believe he’s a college senior!

Hard to believe he’s a college senior!

UTSA begins classes Wednesday, so there was no need for my #1 boy to rush back. He’s living in the same apartment, so he easily can move himself in. This is the first year we haven’t helped him transport his stuff; I’ll admit that I won’t miss the three-hour trek to and then from San Antonio.

But, of course, I will miss my clever, handsome, blue-eyed boy! We’ve had a great summer together, and it’s always hard seeing him return to college.

Drive safely!

Drive safely!

As I watched him drive away, one thought popped into my head:

There goes half of my blogging material!

The State of the Summer

Parking permits are ready to be used.

Parking permits are ready to be used.

Now that we’re into August, it’s time to sum up how our summer is going in one word:

Yikes!

In exactly 20 days, we will move my younger son into his dorm at Sam Houston State. The next day, his older brother will drive to UTSA to start his senior year.

Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

A few school supplies for the kid

A few school supplies for the kid

I’ve slowly but surely been gathering things the kid will need in his dorm. Every time I add an item to his list, I have to smile when I remember how my freshman roommate Jan brought a popcorn popper, and I toted my beloved suitcase record player to our tiny dorm room at the University of Illinois. Methinks my son will get by with his dig’s microwave (and small fridge) and iTunes on his iPhone 4S. Easy peasy!

Notice a couple great test grades?

Notice a couple great test grades?

My #2 son is almost finished with his summer school Finite Math class at our local junior college. He’ll have his fourth test Thursday, go to class next Monday to review, and then take the final the following day. Here’s hoping he starts college with an A average!

His older brother continues to use his spreadsheet skills at our box-distribution company. He’s definitely helping the hand that feeds while earning money for college. Love those win-win situations!

Thanks for noticing!

Thanks for noticing!

Before the boys leave the nest, we’ll celebrate my (gulp!) 60th birthday on the 15th. We have special family time planned for the big day. My three guys are my favorite party animals!

We only have three weeks left before our summer ends. I’m sure that the time spent in class, at work, and in doctors’ offices and dentists’ chairs will be forgotten amid the swirl of TopGolf, disc golf, and playing videogames with friends. The boys will go on to new adventures, learning, fun, and, ultimately, graduation.

Meanwhile, the Mister and I will look at each other on August 27 in our quiet house and wonder where life will take us. It might be time to finally grow up!

Ironic Fortune

“Annoyances” like using hyphens in fortunes?

“Annoyances” like using hyphens in fortunes?

Last night my older son and I ate at Pei Wei (yes, one of the acceptable restaurants on his list; in fact, one of his favorites). Even though he had his “Game Informer” magazine at the ready, which meant he would rather read than talk, I decided to engage him in conversation about his future.

Because his senior year at UTSA looms largely ahead of him, I want him to think about what kind of job he’ll pursue after graduation, his long-term goals, and how to achieve them. So that was the main topic of our talk . . . except that he didn’t want to participate.

“This is annoying,” he proclaimed amid many eye rolls after consuming a fortune cookie. “I just want to eat and enjoy my summer.” Which meant putting this discussion on the back burner for awhile.

Normally I might be a little discouraged after this kind of exchange with my precious, hard-headed son. But then I read his fortune:

“If you put up with small annoyances, you will gain great results.”

Hope this means his future is looking good!