Mother-Son College Road-trip

Monday, February 16, 2015
I had NO idea that President's Day weekend is apparently a HUGE time to visit colleges.  Will is our oldest so this is our first go around at college visits.  Last Fall, Dave took Will to visit UVA and William and Mary.  He really liked both of them.

I decided (when I found out Will had off last Friday) to plan a very spur of the moment road trip for us to visit Baylor, TCU and SMU.  Now this is kind of ironic because a) I don't really do things spur of the moment, b) I don't really travel and am a homebody and c) I have a severe phobia of driving on the Texas freeways (a recent one since I have been hit a few times on them through no fault of my own).  Even Dave could not believe I had planned this little road trip.

I really enjoyed my time with Will.  He introduced me to his favorite music.  We ate a lot.  This boy ate 6 full meals on Friday.  Our first stop was Baylor in Waco, Texas.  It was my first time in Waco and we were both pleasantly surprised.  We pulled into Waco around breakfast time so we went here and had a great breakfast.  There were lots of very cute co-ed girls there and so Will was a little distracted.  Baylor has 60% females to 40% males.  I think that was kind of appealing to him.

After breakfast, we had to make a slight detour.  I love the show Fixer Upper and it takes place in Waco.  My Mom is kind of obsessed with the show and Joanna Gaines.  When she found out we were going to Waco she made a big fuss about us visiting the Magnolia shop.  So we did.


It is a cute shop but the inventory is very limited.  I hear they are expanding.  My Mom was looking for a "g" for her wall but I could not find one.  I did pick her up a little something for Mother's Day (she is coming to visit for Kate's 1st holy Communion!)

Will hated this.  He was embarrassed and did not want to take my photo.  He did notice there were lots of other old ladies in mini-vans stopping;)

Then we went to the Catholic Student Center at Baylor.  We just walked in and there were some kids studying.  They were so welcoming.  I really enjoyed talking to these kids. We got a great tour of the center and learned a lot about the campus ministry.  I felt confident that Will would find a great place to support his faith there.

Will was hungry again so we headed to this place (at a friend's recommendation)


I got a coffee milkshake because I was sleepy.  Will ate a double cheeseburger and a peach milkshake.  The food here looked amazing and not at all healthy!

Then we had a tour at Baylor.


We had fabulous tour.  Baylor has such great traditions and the campus was lovely.  We both were so pleasantly surprised.  Will had always thought he'd go out of state for college but I think he will seriously consider Baylor now.  As we started this tour, Will said, "Mom we should walk near the front of the group.  You learn a lot more that way."  And he was SO right.  On both this tour and our SMU tour, we learned all sorts of tidbits that the rest of the group did not hear.  Just my piece of advice for those of you about to tour colleges.  Stay near the front and strike up conversations with your guide as you move from point to point.

After our incredible Baylor tour, we headed up to Dallas.  It was a harrowing drive during Friday afternoon rush hour but we made it.  We checked into our hotel in Highland Park and then went to dinner with Eloise, Robert and Vivi.  Eloise is a blogging friend who we have gotten to know a bit over the years.  She has visited us in Houston and we have visited them in Dallas. They were so kind and gracious to take us to their local Mexican restaurant.  Then they drove us around the SMU campus.  They are both SMU alums as they met there:)  I did not get a photo of us and I am so bummed because I just love their family.  They have a daughter Will's age who is also touring colleges.

Saturday morning was GORGEOUS!  It was perfect Texas weather….  blue skies, no clouds and perfect temps. And the SMU campus is absolutely beautiful.  I cannot overstate how beautiful it is.


I LOVED SMU!    Seriously, I would go there if I could. If Will chooses a different school, I'm going to hope Kate or Harry goes there;) It is beautiful and the alumni are incredible.  I loved the academic programs and the traditions.  Again, we had a great tour guide and we stuck near the front and got a lot more information from him.


We did not have time to visit the Catholic Student Center but I wish we had. Next time.

Will was starving (again!) and really wanted In-n-Out.  We don't have them in Houston.  So, we went. It was heavenly.


So, at this point, I kind of needed a nap.  But we headed back onto the freeways down to Fort Worth to visit TCU.  We could not get into an official TCU tour because they were full.  But we walked around campus and talked to students in the rec center, visitor center and student union.  Will really liked the laid back feeling of the campus.  Kids were laying out on the lawn and playing music and tossing a football.  It was super chill.



The mascot is the "horned frog"


This is frog fountain.


I really wish we had an official tour.  But I think if Will wants to, we could come back and visit again.

We were SO TIRED after this visit.  I seriously wanted to get a hotel and sleep.  But we had to drive home.  It was a long drive that afternoon but Will and I had some good talks.  He slept some of the way but then we talked about some really good stuff.  I really am so grateful for the relationship we have.  I am kind of tough on my kids.  I have high expectations but I give them unconditional love and we talk about everything.  I am incredibly blessed that they talk to me and trust me too.  I will never forget our talks on this road trip.

As we pulled into Houston (I was completely fried), Will played me some awesome upbeat 80's music from his phone.  He held out on me the entire trip.  I laughed as we enjoyed some fun 80's music for the least few minutes of our drive.  I am still tired from this trip and cannot imagine touring colleges in 9-10 years with Kate.  I will be SO OLD!  

I am just so proud of Will.  He does not know where he wants to go to college or exactly what he wants to major in but he has such a good head on his shoulders and he is a good person.  I am blessed to have had this time with just him.

{All I-phone pics}


  1. What a wonderful trip you just had! Keeping a growing boy well fed is a full time job. I am sure he will choose a great college! Glad you had a nice weekend with some good Mom and son time!

    1. Kathleen…SO TRUE. he wanted food constantly! I am sure I gained weight in those 36 hours!

  2. Looks like some wonderful visits and time with Will! How fun was that!! Good luck to Will on deciding -- looks like he has lots of great options.

    1. Hopefully, he will have great options. I am sure he will choose the right place.

  3. Such a fun trip! I can't say enough good things about Baylor, and I'm so hoping at least one of my babies will go there. SMU is less than a mile from our home, and the campus really is gorgeous!

    1. Michele, I am glad you liked Baylor so much. I really loved it too. We must have stayed right by y'all. I did not know you lived so close to SMU. We could have met!

    2. Next time you're in town, I'd love to meet up!

  4. I think this is my first time to comment, but I'm a longtime reader! As a Baylor Bear {one entire side of my family has gone to Baylor} I'm so happy y'all had a good time in Waco! I'm a Houston Stratford girl who went to Baylor 2000-2004. I met my husband there and now we are actually back in Waco while he is attending Baylor law school. We were both in a sorority/fraternity and have wonderful memories of our time as undergrads. Just so you know, it was an easy drive back home for me to Houston from Waco... Also, one of my very good friends who also attended Baylor was Catholic and she was involved in the Catholic student center while we were in school. You definitely do not have to be Baptist to attend there as I'm not nor is my husband. Re: Fixer Upper and Magnolia Store. They did recently purchase two old silos downtown with plans in the next year or two to move into those. They have big plans with all that space and are even thinking of having annual antique marts there, etc. If you need any more yummy restaurants or good shopping recommendations for another visit, I'd be happy to share. Good luck with college shopping and I'm sure wherever Will chooses will be great! Sic 'Em!

    1. Thank you for commenting Lauren Kate. I think Will would have an excellent experience at Baylor. I was so impressed. He is leaning toward a major in Science and I loved the science bldg and programs. I will keep you in mind for future reference. I know he will apply there for sure in the Fall.

    2. My husband was pre-med when he was there as an undergrad. The new science building hadn't been built yet, but we took a tour and it's truly amazing! He wishes it had been there when we were there! He went on to get his masters at KU and got a full scholarship thanks in partly to his preparation from Baylor. Good luck again!

  5. I have never heard of SMU! Secretly I am hoping your kids go to school in VA and then you eventually move back ;)

    Choosing a major isn't easy. Especially when you are SO young. Crazy to think at 19 you have to figure out what you want to do for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

    1. Molly, I a surprised you never heard of SMU. People come from all over to go there. It is an amazing school and the George W Bush Presidential Library is there. Laura and George Bush visit campus often I am told. I think Will is going to major in Environmental Science or something related but its hard to know.

  6. I've been reading your blog since I was a freshman in college (a little over 5 years ago). Wow! It's unreal how time has flown and your oldest will be headed off to college soon! I think it is so wonderful you are touring schools with Will. I didn't understand the importance of it when I was choosing colleges and didn't want to miss any days away from my AP classes (so silly now, I realize.) Thank you for sharing your lovely family with all of us readers, and prayers for Will as he looks into choosing schools :)

    1. Ashley, It is really hard to find the time to tour college but we started early with Will. Luckily he has not missed much school for it. Now I think he wants to visit Miami of Ohio and Clemson but they require flying.

      I am curious as to where you ended up in school. Thanks for your kind words.

    2. Although I went to University of South Carolina, Clemson's rival, all of my friends who went to Clemson absolutely loved it! It's a long way from Texas, but a beautiful campus and strong sense of "campus family." :)

  7. Wow! I was organizing photos the other day and came across one if your old Christmas cards...the yellow polos. Will was just a little squirt and now he's looking at colleges. Such exciting times. Any school Will chooses will be lucky to have him. I think you can imagine my thoughts about UVA, but SMU would be a good choice, too ;). I could "babysit" again and have him over for home cooked meals like y'all used to do for me. Good luck!

  8. What a fun mother-son trip! The collages look beautiful. It looks a lot warmer down there compared to Virginia!

  9. Doing my early morning routine of favorite blogs and coffee before heading kids to school.

    So my 6 & 8 yo sons and I went out to pizza last night (and with the well earned Nice Slice points they received at school for RAOK yeah!:) anyway it was Tuesday, a school night here in DC/MD as no winter break here and I was struck my the 25 handsome well dressed teen boys - and turns out they were visiting from a methodist hs houston - totallty was like maybe the oldest peanut is in this crew somewhere :) I was looking at them thinking how soon (too soon) my kids will leave the nest - even just going on winter break across the country without me.
    I love seeing how you are bringing up you kids (and particularly the boys that's what I have). I am just 9 years away from junior year college tour. Wah.

    What a special trip for both of you. Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a great time and wonderful memories! Mother son time is so special and college comes so quickly, just around the corner for us! sniff sniff I know Will will make the perfect college choice for him!


    I will also be old when Clara Beth and Emanuiel start touring colleges!!! or on the bright side I think they will keep us young!

  11. Touring colleges is so exciting! I think starting college and starting life after college are two of the most exciting times in a young adult's life. So much is ahead! I really wish I would have toured more colleges. I grew up in Florida and the University of Florida was the end-all, be-all for many high schoolers in the state. (I loved it, and have zero regrets.) The state had a great scholarship for in-state students back in 2005. But still wish we would have traveled to see other campuses back then. That's great Texas has so many schools within driving distance. My boyfriend went to Miami of Ohio and loved it. Miami has a large alumni group here in DC.

  12. great pictures! amazing weather--I am jealous! We have FOUR feet of snow on the ground.

  13. I am a SMU mustang who married a Baylor Bear! Best of luck to your outstanding son!

  14. Health Camp! Ha! That place has been there FOREVER! Can't wait to see where Will chooses! They are all great schools! (I think it would be fun if he went to Baylor and you could buy a Waco house and let the Gaines remodel it! How fun would that be?)

  15. Don't tell Will but TCU landed #13 as to having the prettiest girls. I'm the Mom of one of them! Good luck in your search.


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