Tag Archives: SHSU

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!

The Beauty and the Cutie

Aunt Dorothy is surrounded by Mike, Carol, and the Mister.

Aunt Dorothy is surrounded by Mike, Carol, and the Mister.

Last Saturday the Mister and I drove to Huntsville for two reasons. First, we joined his brother, sister, and sister-in-law and visited with a true beauty, the Mister’s aunt, who was celebrating her 94th birthday in a facility there.

Practice makes better!

Practice makes better!

And then we moved on to this cutie! We picked up my younger son at Sam Houston Village and drove the short distance to Eastham-Thomason Park so that he and the Mister could throw some discs.

Teeing off into the gloaming.

Teeing off into the gloaming.

It was fun spending time with the Mister’s family. And, of course, we can never get enough of our beloved baby boy (or his equally beloved big bro). What a wonderful afternoon and evening we enjoyed!

Simply gorgeous!

Simply gorgeous!

The fiery sunset? Icing on the proverbial cake!

All Is Better in My Photographic Universe

The kid catches the football in 2009 (left) and 2005.

The kid catches the football in 2009 (left) and 2005.

As much as I miss my younger son living with us, there’s one thing that hurts my heart even more: Not snapping photos of him playing sports.

I’ve clicked the shutter on my many film and digital SLRs thousands of times, as I’ve documented the kid kicking a soccer ball, hitting and catching a baseball, scampering up and down a lacrosse field, throwing a disc, bowling, golfing, scoring baskets, and tossing and catching a football since he was five years old. Blessed with great hand-eye coordination and good speed, he’s been fun to watch.

Just because he’s away at Sam Houston State doesn’t mean that he’s stopped being active. This semester my son has played intramural flag football, basketball, and soccer (which he hadn’t competed in since he was about nine years old). And here I’ve sat 90 minutes away, torn between wanting to still be a part of that experience and realizing that it’s time to let him go (plus I doubt that the other parents are around, which only ups the potential embarrassment factor for him).

Purple was the color of his Knights’ youth football jersey!

Purple was the color of his Knights’ youth football jersey!

But when the kid told us that his team (called Beowulf, natch) was in the semifinals of the SHSU intramural flag football tournament last Tuesday, I decided that I was tired of literally sitting on the sidelines. So the Mister and I drove up to Huntsville to relive the kid’s athletic past and revel in its present.

He made the conversion catch, but, unfortunately, his momentum carried him out of bounds.

He made the conversion catch, but, unfortunately, he landed out of bounds.

I’m so glad that we did! It was fun meeting the guys who have been making a positive impact on his collegiate life, especially his friends Nick and Brandon. And, of course, it’s always good to reconnect with his roommate RJ, his friend since kindergarten.

I never tire of watching him catch a touchdown.

I never tire of watching him catch a touchdown.

Mostly, though, it was wonderful to see our son playing a sport he loves. Personally, I would’ve preferred better lighting conditions—an 8 p.m. time-change game on a dimly lit field caused me to use my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens, which I usually reserve for indoor sports.

Willie Joe congratulates the kid.

Willie Joe congratulates the kid.

But it felt good to be back watching my son from behind my Nikon D700, even with a plethora of crummy, high ISO pics.

Good times!

Good times for the kid and RJ!

Plus the chance to snap a post-victory pic of these two happy roommies? Priceless!

My heart feels a little bit better now.

Pooh Skypes

Check out the lower left corner!

Check out the lower left corner!

Look who decided to Skype my younger son the other evening.

This is our big Pooh Beanie Ball.

This is our big Pooh Beanie Ballz.

That silly, old bear—Winnie the Pooh! It made me laugh.

The kid? Not so much. Methinks he doesn’t miss my clever sense of humor.

Fortunately, I can continue to torture him with it online!

Moving (and Spiking) on Up

I couldn’t resist think-bubbling this photo of Shelby from eighth grade.

Cool Shelby back in eighth grade

Putting the cherry on top of the proverbial sundae at last Saturday’s SHSU Family Weekend was the chance to watch college volleyball. The Bearkats’ schedule indicated that they would take on Houston Baptist University at 7:30 that evening.

Serving it up

Serving it up

Our main reason for staying late in Huntsville? The chance to see Shelby G. play.

The team is ready.

The team is ready.

My younger son and Shelby (and her twin brother, Sean) go waaaaaay back. They were in kindergarten together.

Spiking time

Spiking time

I’ve watched Shelby play volleyball at their middle school and high school. It’s been fun watching her skill level increase over the years. When we found out that she signed with SHSU, we knew we’d have to see her in action.

What goes up, must come down!

What goes up, must come down!

And we’re so glad we did! Shelby started at middle hitter, as she helped the ’Kats sweep HBU.

Eat ’em up, Shelby!

Sidebar: The SHSU photos were snapped with the Nikon 1 V1 and its 30-110mm lens. Fortunately, the lighting was great; ISO was 1600.

A Wet and Not-So-Wild Weekend

Avoiding eye contact with people, aliens, and cameras

Can you tell that the kid isn’t a morning person?

The best-laid plans of mice, men (dads), and moms too often can get waylaid by the weather. That’s what the Mister and I experienced as we tried to enjoy our first Sam Houston State Family Weekend with our younger son last Saturday.

Come along for the ride as I recap most of our unusual day.

The museum is minutes from our son’s dorm.

The museum is minutes from our son’s dorm.

One of the highlights of our visit was checking out the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and grounds (the Mister and I are history buffs). 

The kid tries his hand at tomahawk tossing.

The kid tries his hand at tomahawk tossing.

Before we entered the building, our son got to test his skill with a tomahawk. Good athlete that he is, he hit the target twice and probably would’ve sliced off at least a toe with his third effort.

Sam lived a colorful life.

Sam lived a full and interesting life.

After the kid’s weapon wizardry, we went into the museum to learn more about his university’s namesake. All three rooms were packed with photos, paintings, artifacts, and information; it was fascinating!

Santa Anna . . . or Elvis? The kid wasn’t quite sure.

Santa Anna . . . or Elvis? The kid wasn’t quite sure.

What most intrigued our son, though, was a talking diorama of the injured General Sam Houston interrogating Mexican meanie Santa Anna after his defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.

Note the sword behind Sam

Check out the sword behind Sam.

More specifically, it was the sword behind Sudden Sam that sparked the kid’s interest. Oh, how he wanted to touch it! I told him to fight that urge, as I turned away. Next thing I heard was a loud, female, somewhat robotic voice saying, “Get out of the diorama!”

Yep, the kid had touched the sword, which set off a sensor. Embarrassing yet so funny that I’m sure we’ll be reliving that moment again and again and again. Hey, son, get out of the diorama!

Bowers Stadium

Bowers Stadium (note the ominous clouds)

After we ate a catered lunch and dropped the kid back at his dorm (supposedly to study), the Mister and I walked to Bowers Stadium to watch SHSU hopefully defeat rival Eastern Washington (they were nationally ranked #4 and #3, respectively, in the Football Conference Subdivision).

Along the way, it was drizzling a bit. Unbelievably (for me), I actually had not only found two ponchos (just in case) but also remembered to bring them with us! Really, folks, that’s pretty miraculous when you’re suffering from CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff) disease.

Again, note the clouds.

Again, note the clouds.

Once we got to our seats, that drizzle turned heavier. On went the ponchos just in time, as the dark skies opened up with torrential rain, thunder, and scary lightning. Naturally, we left our metal seats and looked for an overhang. All of them were packed with soaked people.

When the announcer said the game would be delayed for at least an hour, the Mister and I decided to bag it and spend time with our beloved baby boy at his dorm. Eventually, the storm moved out, and SHSU came away with a victory, by the way.

A crowded desk

A crowded desk

Although we would’ve loved watching the game, we enjoyed being with the kid more. He insisted we watch the first season of “Seinfeld” (he’s become addicted).

Father and son get the comfy digs.

Father and son get the comfy digs.

It was just like old times with our son . . . except for the cramped quarters and soggy shoes and socks. While the Mister napped, the kid and I had fun tossing around his Tigger ball. Later we threw a little football and mini discs. Just like home, except that the mess stayed while I left. I liked that part a lot!

After we had eaten dinner, made a Walmart stop, and enjoyed some great SHSU volleyball, it was time to bid adieu to our bearded boy and drive the 90 minutes back home. As I hugged him tightly, I was glad we got the chance to see how comfortable he is in his new environs, as well as enjoy some of what makes the campus unique (thanks to General Sam).

Next time we get the chance to see the Bearkats’ football team in action, at least it will be indoors against Stephen F. Austin State, the Battle of the Piney Woods, at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

No ponchos necessary!