Category Archives: University of Texas at San Antonio

Finale Friday

I’ve been hiding behind a Nikon dSLR for years.

I’ve been hiding behind a Nikon dSLR for years.

Today marks the end of an (admittedly short) era: This is the final post of Random Snippets & Apertures, my fourth child.

After five and a half years, almost 1,400 blog posts (this is number 1,373, to be exact) and one name change (originally I called it “Get ’er Done,” not that I ever did), it’s time to move on to other writing and creative projects. I’ll miss posting in my tiny segment of the blogosphere, but it really is for the best.

Jake in 2009

Jake showed off his beautiful blue eyes in 2009.

I started Random Snippets & Apertures as a way of chronicling my family’s adventures. I wanted it to be a legacy for my sons. My first post was on January 5, 2009. At the beginning, Jake, my older son, turned 17, and was a high school junior.

Jake rocks a giveaway Houston Astros José Altuve jersey last Sunday.

He rocked a giveaway Houston Astros José Altuve jersey last Sunday.

Now he’s graduated from UTSA and is sharing an apartment in Houston with his best friend forever and our “third son,” Chase. He’s gone from student to working man.

C.J. in 2009 unhappy that I’m taking his photo.

C.J. in 2009 was unhappy that I snapped his photo.

Meanwhile, C.J., was a mere 13 and a half and in eighth grade way back when.

C.J. at Jake’s UTSA graduation. Some things never change!

The bearded one was annoyed at Jake’s UTSA graduation. Some things never change!

As I blogged earlier this week, he just celebrated his 19th birthday. He finished up his freshman year at Sam Houston State with all A’s and a B. What a great transition for him!

As you can see, with both boys out of the house for much if not all of the year, my blog’s purpose is over. It’s as much fun to look back as it is to look ahead, especially for this sentimental mom who adores her sons to the moon and back.

So now it’s on to the next chapter . . . whatever that will be. Thanks for coming along for the ride, dear readers! Hope you enjoy your summer!!

P.S. The blog will remain here on WordPress; I just won’t be adding any new content to it (probably!).

The Mister Hits a Homer

Jake holds his new prized possession.

Jake holds his new prized possession.

During spring break the Mister asked Jake a supposedly innocuous question: If you could have an autograph from any major league baseball player, who would it be?

Our older son, who boasts an encyclopedic amount of useless baseball information in his gray matter, didn’t hesitate one bit.

“Billy Martin,” he said. He’s always liked the fiery former player and manager.

After the boys returned to their respective college campuses, the Mister asked me what we were going to give Jake for his upcoming UTSA graduation. Naturally, I thought being debt-free should be enough. However, the doting dad had other ideas.

And that’s why the day after we returned from watching our pride and joy walk across the Alamodome stage, Jake opened one unique present from us.

So cool!

So cool!

Yep, it was a baseball autographed by the one and only Billy Martin, scored by the Mister on eBay.

Jake was thrilled! “Most people wouldn’t understand how meaningful this is to me,” he said, as he inspected the signature. “It will always be special to me.”

You’re special to us, sweet boy!

Another Milestone Achieved

Why we’re in the Alamodome

Why we’re in the Alamodome

Something about “Pomp and Circumstance” makes me cry. Could be because of what it signifies.

You might think that after watching two emotional high school graduations that my eyes wouldn’t tear up when hearing that standard ceremonial march. But you would be very wrong.

Jake shows off his class ring Green Lantern style.

Jake shows off his class ring in Green Lantern style.

Of course, this time there was much more at stake, because it was Jake’s commencement ceremony from the University of Texas at San Antonio. After four years that seemed to be over in a minute and a half, my older son was set to graduate last Saturday afternoon in the immense Alamodome.

As I waited with the Mister and C.J. for about two hours (which did not fly by) before the start of the festivities, I reminisced about how far my beloved chubby, blue-eyed baby had come. I thought about when we got his acceptance letter from UTSA, orientation, and that painful moment when we moved him into his dorm. Talk about your emotional rides!

Jake seems to enjoy talking to a college official.

Jake seems to enjoy talking to a college official.

Even within a sea of graduates (Jake’s College of Business seniors joined those from the College of Architecture, which included his former roommate Ben, and the College of Public Policy), my eyes were focused only on my son. Watching him walk across the stage to accept his faux diploma (he has to wait a month or so for the real thing) was a moment of immense emotion for me. I couldn’t be prouder of Jake!

The smoke from indoor fireworks and streamers rain down on the graduates.

The smoke from indoor fireworks and streamers rain down on the graduates.

Plus our family added its third alma mater (after my University of Illinois and the Mister’s University of Houston). Go, Roadrunners!! We appreciate and value Jake’s college education.

We’re glad C.J. has long arms!

We’re glad C.J. has long arms!

Once Jake finally found us outside and we snapped a few photos, it was time to move on . . . literally in many ways (well, after we had spent about 20 minutes trying to get out of the parking lot). After dinner at Pei Wei, we put all of the graduate’s possessions in our cars and made the three-hour trek back to Sugar Land where we finally ended our long day’s journey into night and then into day again (we started at 9 a.m. Saturday and returned at 12:15 a.m. Sunday). Everyone was exhausted.

Definitely!

Definitely!

Now Jake gets to relax for a couple weeks before he becomes a working man. How will he handle the transition from school to the real world? All he has to do is remember the fortune he got!

Yay!

No flipper (temporary tooth) = no smile

No flipper (temporary tooth) = no smile

It may not look like it, but Jake really is excited to be on spring break from UTSA (he has no classes today plus he came home early). Now all we need is for his little brother to finish his classes (he has a history test today, which I think is kind of mean) and drive home from SHSU this afternoon.

Then their week off can truly begin! Along with all of their chaos and clutter, which is what I plan to enjoy while I can.

Jake’s last spring break . . . who woulda thunk it?!?

Birthday Weekend Starts

Embarrassed!

Embarrassed!

Jake turns 22 on Monday! He started his big birthday festivities by driving home from UTSA yesterday (he’s off on Fridays). Little brother will be here from SHSU later today (he does have a couple classes) to gather with Jake’s besties Chase (our “third son”), Josh, and Tanner for a fun weekend.

Last night we ate dinner at Willie’s, which is one of his favorite restaurants (plus we had a coupon for a free entrée for the birthday boy). It’s possible that someone let it slip whose birthday it was . . . and that meant that the wait staff sang and gave him ice cream. And it’s very likely that someone was not pleased at all of the attention.

There definitely was a balding third person who was glad he wasn’t to blame!

Bye for Now

The Mister and our younger son

The Mister and our younger son stand side by side, as always.

Hear that sound? Neither do I!

Both my sons returned to their respective college campuses yesterday in anticipation of the start of the spring semester. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, is the final one for my older son, Jake.

First, C.J. packed up his Ford Fusion and left with his roommate, RJ, at 9:30 a.m. for the 90-minute trek to Huntsville. Why so early? They needed to check in at their dorm and then watch the NFL playoff games (one of which was sad for my younger son, who picked San Francisco to lose in his suicide pool; that knocked him out).

The sun bothers our older son’s eyes and my D700 light meter.

The sun bothers our older son’s eyes and my Nikon D700’s light meter.

Two hours later it was time for Jake to start the three-hour drive back to San Antonio. In this senior year of “lasts,” we checked off “last winter break.” I’m sure he’ll miss the four weeks of lazy days gaming with friends when he’s a working man.

I must admit that after three and a half years, I’m used to Jake coming and going during the school year. But my baby boy, the college freshman? Not so much. And I’m not so sure that I want to have it feel familiar. Before I know it, both boys probably will be out of the house, and I’ll always experience what greeted me this morning once the Mister left for work.

Quiet.

Good luck with your spring semesters, my sweet sons!

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!