Monday, September 20, 2010

A New Life

It's official.

Our son is now ensconced in life at UCLA and we are back home beginning our new life as empty nesters.

Here's how it all unfolded...

We arrived Thursday afternoon where Christopher was excited to give us the tour of the campus.  This was the first time my Mom had ever been to UCLA.

The first group of move-ins took place on Thursday.  We were scheduled to move into Dykstra, the oldest and most storied dorm on campus, the next day at noon.

Royce Hall is a building on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Designed by the Los Angeles firm of Allison & Allison (James Edward Allison, 1870-1955, and his brother David Clark Allison, 1881-1962) in the Italian Romanesque Revival style and completed in 1929, it is one of the four original buildings on UCLA's Westwood campus and has come to be the defining image of the university. Named after Josiah Royce, a California-born philosopher who received his bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley in 1875, the building's exterior is modeled after Milan's Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio.

The monument is a must-see for anyone who visits UCLA, especially because of its asymmetrical features.

Powell Library

Bruin Walk

Can you tell how excited my Mom was to get inside the UCLA store!

It was about at this point that I got a call on my cell phone from local blogger, Hollywood Forever, Kevin, welcoming us to Los Angeles and inviting us over for cocktails which turned out to be a very good thing...  (more on that later!)

Next stop though was the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.

UCLA continues its tradition into the 21st century as having the most impressive sports history of any college in the nation since 1950.

The trophy room was simply awe inspiring!

There were many displays recounting UCLA's rich athletic and academic history starting with the campus' founding in 1919: the year the "Southern Branch" of the University of California was founded.


This case showed all the famous people who have attended UCLA over the years.

That concluded our tour of the campus and so we began to make our way to The Grafton on Sunset.
If not for Hollywood Forever, Kevin...

(Kevin's cat, Elizabeth Taylor)

only God knows where we might have ended up!

But thanks to my newest blog crush, we ended up in paradise!   Kevin rescued us from the freeway from Hell and guided us to his charming abode in West Hollywood promising us ice cold libations upon arrival!


He did not disappoint!
My mom could not stop from comparing his good looks to Richard Gere. 

Get ready to be wowed... I certainly was!

You know I'm loving this!  Yep, you guessed it... Kevin made it!  He's a designer.  Let me show you some more fabulous eye candy!

I'm in full "swoon mode" over this vignette.

Where can I get myself a doll head?

There were punches of this gorgeous shade of aqua blue everywhere!

This shot looks right out of a magazine spread if I don't say so myself.

Kevin and I share a fondness for natural history.

A treasure chest and cabinet of curiosities, boy am I feeling giddy!


Hey, where did everybody go?


The kitchen, of course!


I haven't even had a drink yet because I can't stop taking pictures!

It's all so delicious.

I'm even in love with the trash can!

See what I mean about the shades of blue around here?

I think I'm in the laundry/pantry.

The eye candy never ends...

Just when I considered putting away the camera so I could actually converse and make eye contact with my new crush... he offered to take me to the place where he creates.

I couldn't take it anymore and just had to take it all in with my naked eye.

(Check out what Kevin did to transform his shag rug here)
I'm sorry but I finally stopped taking photos and just enjoyed the company of this most talented and charming new friend and fellow blogger.

As you can see, I was not the only one enjoying myself!

Good-bye Kevin!
Thank you for the tour, the drinks, and a wonderful new friendship!  I can't wait to see you again! 

Thankfully, our hotel, The Grafton on Sunset Blvd. was not too far from Kevin.

I was taken with how this green canopy really enhanced the entry to the poolside rooms! 

My husband loved the headboards!

(Excuse the unmade beds)

Only in LA!

We probably should have tried these as I don't think any of us slept too soundly... too much anticipation of the big day!

We awoke bright and early and headed directly to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Westwood Village.

The moment of truth... Dykstra Hall.

"First on the Hill!"

With ultimate proximity to campus and Westwood Village, Dykstra Hall is named after Clarence Dykstra, former Professor, Provost and Vice President at UCLA. Dr. Dykstra crusaded for student housing. He ended UCLA’s 40-year-status as a commuter college, and on November 19, 1959, though he wasn't alive to see it, the first hall was completed and appropriately named...Dykstra Hall.
The first dormitory in the country to jointly house men and women under one roof, Dykstra Hall has lived up to Clarence’s expectations for fostering cultural and intellectual life.

UCLA students cheered as we drove through!
It was quite a welcome!

It ran like clockwork.

We were provided with carts to transport our belongings up to our floor.

We were the first to get settled.
Chris is in a triple.  His other 2 roommates would arrive the following day.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much storage they were provided with.  Chris took a top bunk which came with the cupboard storage in the background.

Here he is setting up the all important technology while Mom, Dad & Grandma made his bed and organized his clothing and sundry items.

I'm still amazed at how smoothly it all went!

It looks good now...

I can't wait to see it on Parents Weekend :)

Here is a shot of the hall bath

and the 3rd Floor RA.

Everyone we came in contact with was amazing!

And we only had to make one trip to Target!
We bid him good-bye and left him to get acquainted with his new dorm mates and headed off to explore the gorgeous area around UCLA.

(The owner was a UCLA Alum!)

The next morning we got up early and hit a garage sale in Beverly Hills on our way back to campus.

I scored these dolphins which I thought was very fitting and served to remind me that I'll still have a life when I get home! 

We met Chris at the UCLA Store to get some Bear Wear, took him out for breakfast and then went back to Dykstra to meet his new roommates, CeeJay and Ryan and their families. 

We all took turns hugging him good-bye and quickly jumped in the car and drove away...

We made it home in time to watch UCLA kill Houston at The Rose Bowl while Chris texted us from the student section.

I'm so happy that my Mom came with us as we will always share this wonderful experience and can now picture him in his new life.  It really was a great experience for all of us, one we will never forget!

We were married for 10 years before we had Chris and have raised him for the last 18, almost 19 years, and now we are back to just us again.

A new phase begins...  

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me.



jeanette from everton terrace said...

So much wonderfulness. The campus, I had no idea how pretty it is. Your son is so handsome and looks so excited and your mom does too! That house, oh I would have been just like you, snapping away at every nook and cranny. The doll heads are cool and creepy at the same time. What a talented guy your new blog crush is, and so kind to have you over. The headboards, yowza! Only one trip to Targe??? Guess that's the difference between girls and boys, we had like 8 trips.

Unknown said...

I wandered to your blog today and had to comment. I grew up near UCLA and can tell you he is in GREAT hands and will have an AMAZING time. We too sent our son to the University of Arizona last year and it's been such a trip to be just "us" again. It's been awesome having a new relationship with my honey and REALLY loving when our son is home for visits. Enjoy!!

It's me said...

What a great GREAT !!! post much beutiful pictures.......yes mom little boys grown older...and than ?? they fly out.............thanks for sharing this with us......have a great week love Ria....

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Gosh makes me cry just reading your post. Your family is beautiful Terri, through & through. I wish my mom had lived long enough to see my Emily off to University last month. But she was for my other 3 so for that I was truly blessed. Your son is going to a great college adventure & it was so fun to see the photos of UCLA and of your family. As for your new blog crush. WoW!! Hollywood Kevin's home is brimming with charm and style and everything that makes a person feel good. Your husbands expression was fabulous! Terri you have such a positive attitude about this next phase in your lives; you are truly amazing. I still want to adopt your mom or have her adopt ME!! xo xo take care this week kiddo
Hugs, Deb

Pamela Hunt Lee said...

Thanks for sharing and reviving memories of sending our sons off to college. All of you are off on new and wonderful adventures.

savvycityfarmer said...

happiness is not at the end of the journey, but all along the way ..
you'll do fine my friend ...

what a beautiful day for settling into school ...
I felt like I was there with you!

Angie said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I have a 12-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl and I CAN wait for them to go off to college. Thank you for sharing your memories. Congratulations and good luck to Chris. Go Bruins!~~Angie (UCLA Class of '91)

Anonymous said...

My goodness Terri, it's overwhelming me, and I wasn't even there! UCLA looks so not my idea of LA (well, I'm a foreigner!). And I loved Kevin's house, full of meaning and allusions and... a strange lizard in a dome... all wonderful! Chain banister, yeah!

The dolphins will always remind you~

sealaura said...

WOW! what wonderful post! I will take me days to take in all those gorgeous pics. Oh and you must be so proud of your son, he will absolutely love UCLA. Your post made me want to head to Westwood right away. I love all the love and excitement that is transmitted through your photographs. All the best to your son and enjoy your time with your hubby!

Kathysue said...

Terri, I love UCLA's campus and all the architecture is amazing, I remember walking up those steps and having to catch my breath, Yikes. Chris looks so happy and looks as if he has been there for a long time. He is going to do great. You gave him a wonderful send off and he has everything he needs and you are always a phone call or email away. You will cherish all these wonderful images as time goes by. Your new blog crush looks like a very interesting and creative guy!! Glad you are home safe and sound. Hugs Kathysue

Beach House Living said...

Oh, Terri how wonderful all of you were together to send Chris off on his new journey and to start a different chapter of your own. Your will look back in the "blink of an eye" at his graduation.
UCLA sure looks organized with carts and everything. I've haven't seen that before. I recall lugging my sisters things up one by one.

Beach House Living said...

I forgot to add some cool things in Kevin's house. Those doll heads are a bit scary I don't know if I would sleep knowing all those eyes are open.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

This post has been so much fun to read. You are such a beautiful family. It's great that all of you were able to celebrate his getting set up at UCLA. Before you know it, it will be parents weekend and Thanksgiving and Christmas...and you'll all be together again. You have given him the greatest gift of confidence in his future. He will do great!

Tuuli - Lumo Lifestyle said...

This is a new exciting era both for you and your husband and of course for your son.

What great collections Kevin has, I have looked the pictures over and over and found new details every time.

lisaroy said...

Awesome post! I'm so glad it all went without a hitch and you were all there to send him off on his new adventure! It brings back memories of the day I went to university and my parents brought me - it's like it was yesterday (more like 1987!).
Blogger Kevin was great to have you over and his place is amazing! Designers have such a way of making every nook and cranny look great, don't they?
You got some incredible photos on your trip that you'll cherish for years to come. Good luck on your own new journey! xx

Unknown said...

Terri, it has been such a pleasure taking this journey with you. From his high school graduation to his beginning at UCLA. You've got blog material for the next 4 years!!! And, what a fun way to round it all out with Kevin. Hope you're enjoying the nest....quiet though it must be.
xoxo Elizabeth

Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

So what can I say? If I haven't told you how nice it was meeting you and your family I'm telling you it was wonderful. Actually it was fun, so come back, soon! And by the way, the pictures of my house are beautiful, I was shocked how good it looked. Also Terry, how many people do you meet were born in Corpus Christi?

vignette design said...

Hi Terri,
What an action packed weekend. And thanks for taking us along. I have had to drop 4 kids off at college and it doesn't get any easier with each one. My youngest boy is at LMU nearby. My oldest graduated from USC. Nice for you to visit your son in LA and enjoy all that it has to offer. Welcome to a new life. The empty nester life! I love it! Also, great to meet a new blogger. I'll check out his blog. He is gorgeous! How lucky for you to get the invite for drinks.

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh, what a few days you had! I love how you document and tell stories.. such a treasure to us, I can't even imagine how wonderful they are for your family! Good luck to your handsome son on his new journey, and to you on yours :) Lots of love, xo

Elizabeth said...

Fun post, and Kevin's house is amazing!!!!!!

Pretty Zesty said...

All the best of luck! These are some great pics too!

ps stop by for an award!

La Brocanteuse said...

Hello Terri,
thank you for taking us along on this next step, it is so precious that you could share it as a family. I do hope the transition is soft...take one day at a time. I'm glad you found the dolphins-I know it will always have special memories for you. xo Colette
ps oh and not to forget- those gorgeous pics and inspiring Kevin. WOW!

Angie said...

Terri!! This post had me smiling from ear to ear and then almost made me cry!!! I'm so jealous you got to meet Kevin!!! I LOVE his blog!!! Then when you had to leave your son at school!?! I don't know how I'm going to make it thru that when the times comes!?!

Privet and Holly said...

For some reason
your ending has me
in tears....Guess
because we had our
first baby after
eight years of marriage
and she'll be 16 this
March....I know what's
just around the corner...
You've handled it with
such aplomb, Teri!!
WHAT a trip ~ You made
is so memorable and I
feel privileged to have
been along. Keep the
updates coming, both on
your son's college life
and your new life, too!
xx Suzanne

Tricia said...

What a fun post Terri. Your son is so handsome and your mom is a doll! Speaking of dolls...wowee with all of the doll heads. ;)
Thanks for taking us along for the ride and congrats on a successful transition at such an incredible school.

Thanks for your sweet comment this morning!!

Happy Fall to you my friend.

The Plush Pad/The Adorned Life said...

You guys made it! Congradulations to you & your beautiful family. I can only imagine what I'll be like when my (future) child has to leave me for anything! (Camp or college!) lol. Bask in that sense of achievement- you did a great job! Xx

Cashon&Co said...

I tried twice and I could only get half the photos uploaded but I got to see the important ones of your son at college! This is so exciting!! I would of cried.... I will cry! I bet that time has flown by since he was just a child and now at university. I will come back and revisit to see all the photos when I get my laptop. On my iPad right now, and as much as I love it, 3G is blechhh sometimes ... Miss ya Chica! Xoxoxoxoxox

Anonymous said...

What a great post! I was doing the same thing but in Boston with my daughter at Emerson College. It all happened so fast that I didn't have time to cry. When we returned to Florida her empty room made me a little sad, but then I started cleaning it!! Our kids are on a great adventure and I'm so happy for all of them. Thanks for sharing! DMW