Monday, May 25, 2015

What to Expect When Your Kid goes off to College

Today, you're all smiles. In a couple months, you may be all in tears. It seems that more and more of our family and friends' kids are choosing to attend college out of town.  These are my words of wisdom to those parents on what to expect when you drop them off to the dorm and live through those college years.

1) Your kid didn't get into college because of mediocre grades, a laissez-faire dedication to community service and scarce activities.  They had someone at home to push them, support them, and guide them - YOU!  They've been making the right decisions. Your kid turned out great!  And guess what? They still need you! A lot of parental anxiety may come from that feeling of helplessness since you won't be nearby to protect and care for them. Some things you may need to do with them before they leave for college: open a checking account, get them an emergency credit card, teach them how to cook basic meals, do the  laundry, although, they should know how by now right? When you tour the campus with them, make sure they know where the student health building is, where the campus police station is, where to find the number for a campus escort to walk them home at night.  Give them their health insurance card and circle the phone number to call.  Let them know that you trust them and that you're only a phone call away.

2) You may wonder if your kid misses you.  They miss you just as much as you miss them, believe it! Set up a standing phone/text/video call time! Whether it's a call to say "How was your day?" or a  "Good night Mom!" text, this will give you some assurance that they're thinking of you and are okay. As time goes on and both you and your kid acclimate, these communications may get longer and longer in between. Don't fret, it's normal!

3) Do things just because. Send your kid a care package! Its fun to go out and put stuff in a box, especially around the holidays. They'll appreciate that you got them their favorite snacks, maybe even baked some goods, money is always welcome and a letter from Mom and Dad is a forever keepsake.

4) Give yourself some peace of mind and make an emergency kit for them:  first aid kit, flashlight, multi-purpose tool, some cash, bottles of water, and protein bars.  My husband gave my daughters a mini flashlight for their keys. One of their aunts, gave each a can of mace too. Don't make it too big as space can be very limited in the dorm.

5) Your kid may think they still need to get straight A's in college. Let them know that you're always proud of them, but in reality, grades no longer matter. Of course you don't want them to get on academic probation or anything, but once they're in college, the focus transitions to getting the degree.  I no longer make a big issue of grades. Just finish is what I want them to do. My middle child hates talking about school.  Then again, she's my quiet one. She tells me that "It's hard." Well, yeah, you're among the cream of the crop,elite group of kids in the nation. Just stay disciplined, stick it out and finish.

6) Your kid in college is a life changer for both of you and the years go by fast.  Your house will be quiet and you may not know what to do with the free time on your hands. Take advantage and  pursue activities that you've been wanting to try as well.  Both of you can join new clubs and organizations!

7) When your kid comes home, they'll be different. You may feel sad about it, but you'll get used to it. They're just growing up.  Mine really like to sleep, I think they love the comfort of their own room and their bed. Sometimes I have to wake them up before they sleep the whole day away! My husband likes to prepare their favorite food and they always want Carne Asada Fries!! Nothing compares to San Diego Mexican food, I guess! I've learned not to pounce on them the second they come home to pepper them with twenty questions.  So, how are your classes, what's your favorite one. How are your roommates?  Are  you dating? What do you want for dinner?   They glare at me, don't answer anything, and go to their rooms.  I get annoyed and frustrated. My husband gently gives me a look to leave them alone as he starts the large pile of laundry that is a regular part of home visits. I sigh. By now, with my oldest one graduating next month, I've come to realize, they just want to BE home. So, I gather my patience and  let them sleep. The inquisition can wait. I'll interview them when they're eating the sock it to me cake late at night or their lox and bagels in the morning or get ready for this, ...over a glass of wine from a bottle that they've brought home!

8)  The last words of wisdom I have for parents is to realize that goodbyes don't get easier. Yes, you're going to be super excited the first time they come home. The house will be alive and noisy again, life is back the way it used to be.  But when long weekends and vacation time come to an end, you'll relive the packing, the worrying,  the sadness, etc.. That feeling of your heart breaking when you drop them off to the airport, train, or wave goodbye from your driveway will never completely go away.  'Tis the life and privilege of being a parent.

I hope this helps parents of kids going off to college in some way!  Is there an expectation that I didn't include? Please leave a comment below!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Mother's Day isn't always about being Happy!"

Mother's Day isn't always about being Happy! How do you describe being a mom? It's the most terrifying, challenging, exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling part of being alive. Once the baby is in the womb, moms-to-be start worrying about eating healthy, being extra cautious, doing everything right to make sure there are no problems with the pregnancy. I remember having anxiety filled discussions of how were we going to provide for our family? How were we going to protect our child from the evil in the world? and what about college?! I was overwhelmed and I kept Eric up on many sleepless nights with my concerns. Being a mom, I smiled, laughed, worried, yelled and cried.... a lot. There were times I was amused - first steps, first word, first pee in the potty deserved a hamburger from McDonald's! There were times I felt needed, appreciated, loved and also felt used and abused. There were times I wanted to run away, annoyed at having to figure out what to feed them, angry at the growing pile of laundry yet to be done, frustrated with homework time, stressed out at the sight of our cluttered house, angry at them when they made poor decisions, wondered what happened to "me" time and where the heck is all our money going to! I felt burdened and still do at times. Then there were the times when one was sick, or hurt and I prayed that everything would be alright. Please God, take care of my kid. There were times I beamed with pride when someone else recognized my childs' efforts and celebrated their talents. There were times my heart ached for those growing pains that all kids go through with friends and rejections. The wedding yesterday took me back to our wedding. I already had Sherilyn in me. During "Ave Maria" I prayed to Mama Mary to please give me the guidance to be a good mother. I still pray to her often. And on this day, I think about the women that wished they could be moms and can't. I think about the moms who had their kids taken away from this lifetime too soon. I think about the moms who are extra-challenged because their kids have special needs. I also think about all the kids without a mom. I see them at school every day. I've come to realize that being a mom is a life trial. It is a constant reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and that children are His ultimate gifts. I realize that I am blessed to be a Mom.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Mother's Day-Making It Super Special!

I don't argue with Bey-Bey when she says "Girls Run the World" but I would change that anthem to say "Mom's Run the World"!  Yes, right?! So how do you give the special lady in your life the best Mother's Day ever?  Here are some ideas:
  1. Start off with an extra-special breakfast! You can cook one or more of her favorites, like belgian waffles, veggie omelette, eggs benedict or even wake up early and pick it up! Does she like hot fresh bagels and cream cheese, a healthy fruit salad or breakfast burritos? Find out what time your local place opens and go out and get it before she wakes up!  Presentation counts on this one. Dress your food to impress!  Add cucumber slices to her water or strawberries to her sparkling champagne. A single flower across the top of her fresh pancakes with a cute container of syrup is a great visual. Fresh cut tomatoes alongside salmon for her bagel with a sprig of basil on the side will awaken her appetite!  Make an animal out of the linen napkin and score extra points!
  2. Don't forget the beverage!  Does she like smoothies, coconut juice or maybe her favorite drink comes from Starbucks or Jamba or 85C? Is she more of a mimosa, bloody mary, sangria type of mom? Again, go out and get it before she wakes up or plan ahead, buy the ingredients for her favorite drink and make it the morning of. 
  3. Decorate the living room / family room!  Get the family involved!  Make a poster that says "Happy Mother's Day!" and hang it! Blow up some balloons! Cut out construction paper arrows and make a path on the floor that leads her to her breakfast that is all set up!
  4. Give one nice gift or small gifts throughout the day!  Sorry, but a gift card doesn't cut it today. Women like to know you actually took the time to SHOP for her. Don't know her size, you say? Go look in her closet and find out! No excuses here.Presents that don't cost a pretty penny:  
      -Flowers from your own garden.
      -A letter from the kids, "I love you Mom because..."
      -A letter from you would be icing on the cake.
      -A framed picture of the family. I'm sure you have a decent one in your phone right now and there are   24 hour places to print it out! If you're really ambitious, make a photo book!
      -A montage of pictures set to her favorite song (s) to play on the TV hooked up to your tablet.
      -A playlist of her favorite songs that you can play when you take her out in the car to brunch.
      -Her favorite magazines, movies from netflix, fruits, candy in a nice basket!
      -A massage!  I especially love a good scalp and foot massage.  Read up on some reflexology and practice before hand!  Have a bubble bath or foot bath ready to go before the massage!
    1. Do something that she has been wanting to do.  She's creative you say?  Go to a ceramics place or a  painting place and create a masterpiece together! She likes to get pampered?  Get a mani-pedi WITH HER! She's into fitness? Go for that hike, bike ride or run along the beach. The point is to spend time doing what she likes! How about a menu of options that she can pick and choose how she wants to spend the day? Present it with breakfast and that makes the decisions easier for you! 
    2. No need to spend the whole day together, give her alone time today! A mom's job is 24/7, and moms always have their families on the brain.  Give her an hour or two to herself today! Let her enjoy that bubble bath and read  that magazine you got for her after you're back from the hike.  Pour her another glass of sangria and let her listen to that playlist while you get dinner ready.  Tell her to take a NAP! Moms will appreciate that!
    3. Take over the chores that she normally does! For today, have the laundry done, dust, vacuum, get the kids' stuff ready for school the next day, do homework time with them, give the dog a bath, get the groceries, car washed and filled up. Take the kids and do the outside stuff while she NAPS, did I mention this already?!
    4. You probably already have a restaurant in mind if you take your mom out for lunch or dinner, but have a great dessert to end the day! Pick up those chocolate-covered strawberries,  that European Cake Gallery chocolate cake, that Claim Jumper Mud Pie,  that Hans and Harry's Streudel, that Sprinkles   Red Velvet cupcake, that Red Ribbon mango cake, and for me that Albertson's Tres Leches cake.   Like most families, you probably need to spend some time with the grandmothers in your family as well, but if you start and end the day with your mom feeling special, it will be a perfect Mother's Day all around!
    Moms, feel free to share this blog post to your family members' FB accounts, text the link, even print and post this on your fridge, on the bathroom mirror or onto the steering wheel of your hubby's car!  It's all about communication right? Good luck families and plan a fantastic Mother's Day for your loved one!
    Have an idea to share, please comment below!  Thanks!

    My Picks for the Top 8 Most Fun Restaurants in San Diego!

    Have an occasion to celebrate or want to show visitors a good time in SD? Check out my list of the Top 8 Most Fun Restaurants in San Diego! Not in any particular order, ok alphabetical!

    Benihana - A smoking volcano! A thumping heart! Shrimp flying through the air! And those fast chopping knife skills! It is dinner entertainment at it's finest!  Kids and adults alike will be smiling throughout your meal. Beware though, this is not fast food. Your meal can take up to two hours! Located at 477 Camino Del Rio South, San Diego, CA 92108
      Crab Hut - Seafood Bucket - San Diego, CA, United States

    Crab Hut - Put your bib on, rip open the bag, and devour the piping hot crab legs, crawfish, shrimp, mussels, clams, potatoes and corn with your bare hands! Pros bring their own gloves if you're into the spicy sauces!  Two locations in the Gaslamp and Kearny Mesa areas.

    Corvette Diner - Soda Fountain - San Diego, CA, United States

    Corvette Diner- A throwback 50's diner complete with gum-smacking, beehive hairin', SASSY waitresses! A real corvette greets your eyes when you arrive and you'll leave with either a balloon hat or at the very least, some straws in your hair! Vintage shows play on the tv screens at your booths! With your milkshake in one hand, and burger in the other, enjoy some classic American fare served with a lot of 'tude!  Arcade in the back too!  Located at 2965 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106
    Jasmine Seafood Restaurant- Pick and choose your favorite dim sum from carts being wheeled past your table! You never know what deliciousness is next! Two chopsticks up for this foodie experience! Located at 4609 Convoy St Ste A San Diego, CA 92111

    Kula Revolving Sushi Bar = Sushi + Convenience! Select your nigiri, sushi rolls, as they stroll by on a conveyor belt! Or order on the touch screen. Feed the plate monster 15 plates and you get a red ball prize dispensed! Ninja videos also shown every 10-15 minutes! Kids love it here! Located at 4609 Convoy St Ste F San Diego, CA 92111

    Lips Restaurant - One of the Divas - San Diego, CA, United States

    Lips - Come for the show and eat while you're there! Well known for bachelorette parties! The food comes second to the comedy! You'll laugh so hard at these entertainers and will marvel at what you're seeing.  Rated R, not for small children. Located at 3036 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92104 

    Sonic Drive In- Burger joint where you park and waiters skate your order to you!  Eat in the car or eat inside, the waiters are still on skates! Fun!  Yummy drinks too! Locations in National City, Kearny Mesa, and El Cajon.

    Zorbas Greek Cuisine - dancers of Zorbas - Chula Vista, CA, United States
    Zorba's - Fill up on an AYCE Greek Food Buffet and work it off later with the belly dancers! Great value for really good food and a show! Located at 100 Broadway Chula Vista, CA 91910

    Have a fun SD restaurant to share? Please comment below!
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