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Hello friends! Also hello (and almost good-bye) to August! I’ve missed you all! I’ve missed blogging. Here’s a little (but also sort of long) re-cap of what we’ve been up to. I’m also sharing everything I bought for Ellie’s dorm room for those of you who are also sending kids to college this year or next!
August. It was the best of times.. it was the worst of times. ;) By the end of July summer was winding down with the kids so we decided to make the most of our time together during August.
We took the kids (and two close friends) ;) to Disneyland and had such a good time. Even waiting in line was fun with this crew. Our family is easily entertained.. ha.
Then the next day we packed up Ellie’s bedroom and she said good-bye to all of her friends in San Diego. Along with laughter and fun lots of tears have been shed this month. :( More on that at the end of this post.
We traveled to northern Utah and spent some time in this cozy cabin in Sundance. I knew we would be traveling for a couple of weeks and had planned to continue blogging during our time here, but the internet connection was terrible! We had lousy service and I was bummed I couldn’t post. The upside was that we had several days of uninterrupted family time which is always a good thing!
*Thank you to everyone who reached out to make sure we were ok! It meant so much to me that you noticed and missed my posts. I would have announced a little blog break if it was planned so I’m sorry about the crickets with no warning! Summer and travel and life (and bad wi-fi) ;) sort of took over this month.
Isn’t this just beautiful!? We hiked all over these mountains and watched movies and played games and just relaxed together. My husband and I live by the ocean now, but we both grew up and feel the most at home in places like this. The Utah mountains (especially in the summer!) are truly our happy place and we both dream of owning a cabin someday. Well.. truth. I dream of building or re-modeling and decorating a cabin someday and my husband dreams of napping in one. ;)
After some time in Sundance we took Addison to a summer camp for a week with a friend and picked up my nephew (Kole’s bestie) and drove to our hometown in southern Utah. We stayed at this fun vacation rental for a week to spend some time with family.
The boys spent a week living their best lives!
While Ellie and I got moving on all things college dorm.
I waited to buy some things for her dorm because I wanted to see what we really needed and had space for, but these are a few things I knew she would need and bought ahead of time. Towels, a small fan, and cord for her phone/computer, etc.
Like her mom El isn’t a big cook :) but she does love eggs for breakfast! I knew she would need her own pan and our favorite egg spatula. We also ordered our favorite Amazon sheets for her bed and this cute lamp for her desk.
El has these LED strip lights up in her bedroom at home and loves them so we picked up the blue lights for her dorm. I ordered a garbage can, jewelry box for her earrings, mattress pad/cover, and a white comforter. El picked out some posters of music groups she likes to hang on the wall.
This acrylic jewelry box ended up having 4 drawers for earrings and two drawers with large spots for bracelets and necklaces. It’s so cute I ordered another one for Addison!
I also picked up this cute soap holder, cup and tissue cover. Not for El but for my bathroom at home.. ha. Couldn’t resist!
After a fun week with family it was time for Kenny and I to divide and conquer. He had to take Addison and Kole back to San Diego to start school. I was staying with El to get her dorm ready. It was time for Kenny and the kids to say good-bye to Ellie and it was a rough night for our family. Addison and Kole are so close to their big sister. We all just cried. And hugged and cried some more. Kole couldn’t get to sleep that night he was sobbing so hard. I laid by him and hugged him and he told me “mom.. this is the saddest I’ve ever been.. it’s just too big.” I told him that we are so lucky that we are such a close family that it feels so big. That we will talk to Ellie every day and see her again before we know it. That everything was going to be ok. But tears were rolling down my cheeks and I was feeling the bigness of it too.
The next morning Ellie and I woke up with puffy eyes and tried to re-group and get excited about organizing her room. When we pulled up at the building the football team was lined up to help kids move into the dorms. So much fun! They were all pumped up and playing music and tossing bags and suitcases into big bins to take up the elevators. We got everything moved into her room, snapped a couple of pictures and then got to work!
We ordered these extra large moving bags to move all of her things from San Diego and they were perfect! Strong and durable and easy to carry. We packed a lot into each bag. El is in a dorm with 6 girls and 4 of the rooms are private! One room is shared with 2 girls and then they have a common living area with a couch and a little kitchen. We got on the list early so she was able to get her own room. It’s tiny but so nice and new! I only had a day and a half before I had to head back to San Diego so our goal was to get everything moved in and organized. The decorating could wait! We started decorating but plan on adding some things over the next few months. Ellie is a minimalist and didn’t want much in her room and really it’s so small that it will feel cluttered quickly so we kept things pretty simple! After lots of sweat (it was SO hot), hard work and multiple trips to a near by Target we went from this picture above..
to this. We ended up just putting the blue lights around her window and she loves them at night!
Simple white bedding (always a good thing) and we will add an accent pillow or two later. Her floors are beautiful! We didn’t want to cover them much or have a rug that got in the way of the desk chair so we went with this small faux fur rug to just add a little something and give her a soft spot to step on when she wakes up. I also bought her this faux fur blanket to match and use when it cools off.
We organized her clothes and packed the drawers that came in her room pretty full! I lined up her shoes on top of the drawers.
We had a little extra space under her bed so we added this white 4-drawer tower for extra storage and this white laundry hamper to hold her bags. The laundry hamper rolls so it’s easy to get in and out of the corner when she needs something.
Her shelf is a work in progress but we found a cute faux plant (I had to give it a haircut to fit!) and a green bowl and a couple of frames we need to get pictures for. We didn’t have another spot for her jewelry box (she didn’t want it on her desk) so up it went! I ordered a step ladder for her so she can reach things easily.
She has a large wall space between her desk and shelf. We measured it so that we can find something cute for that space. Maybe some art or a wall of pictures. I suggested a bulletin board of some sort but she’s not feeling it so we’re still tossing around ideas.
Ellie has loved her stuffed animals her whole life and couldn’t leave home without a few that are especially sentimental. :)
Her desk turned out cute with a few essentials! In a month or two she can move the fan (did I mention how hot it was!?).
This plant in a plant stand is too cute! She brought her favorite make-up mirror from home. I left that note in her car two years ago before a football game. She put it on her mirror and hasn’t taken it off since. :)
It was so hot on moving day (did I mention that? I think I did.) ;) and El loves the sound of a fan at night when she sleeps so we ended up buying this 5-speed tower fan in addition to the small fan on her desk. It’s awesome and I was so grateful to have it on while we were working in her room! It’s going to be perfect for her because it packs a big punch but doesn’t take up much space. She’s planning to leave this fan up all year but will move the desk fan when it cools off.
We hung some of her posters on the wall above her fan. More posters are coming in the mail so she can cover a lot of that wall with favorite musicians. Blue painters tape for the win once again! :)
I bought this cute green striped bag for her laundry. So great because it has straps and can be worn as a backpack when it’s full! Perfect to toss on her back to take when it’s time to do laundry.
Her closet is open to the room and took a few hours to put together but we were so happy when it was done! Hoodies, tops, tanks.. everything is organized. We folded her jeans on the shelf in-between her clothes. She has quite a bit of closet space for a dorm! So nice. I bought some cute gray storage bins to set on top for extra random items.
Like I said the decor it’s still a work in progress, but we were so happy to get all of her things moved in and at least put away and organized!
The girls have some shelf space in their bathroom below the sink and in by their shower so I don’t think she’ll need a caddy to carry bathroom items. I had this plush shag rug as an option for her room that we didn’t use so we put it in the bathroom. I wanted to share it because it’s such a great bathroom rug! Really soft and doesn’t slip. It comes in a gray and pink too. This white will probably get dirty but one nice thing about Target rugs – you can toss most of them in the wash and they come out great!
We finished her room and had a couple of hours left to spend together. We cried a lot. And laughed. And hugged. And cried some more. Saying good-bye to my sweet girl was heartbreaking for me.
I was literally dropping her off at Kindergarten and blogging about it all 5 minutes ago! I left her dorm and SOBBED. I drove to my parents house that night and then left for San Diego the next morning. My parents walked me out to my car before I left and I was crying and said to them “I’m so sorry I married Kenny and moved to Virginia!” We were all laughing in-between sobs but really – I get it now! How hard it is as a parent when your babies grow up and move out. I waved good-bye and pulled out of the driveway with my mom yelling “drive safe and text us when you get to Barstow! Then call when you get home!” I’m 45 years old and my mom still worries about me driving home safe. I’m worried about Ellie being sad and she is worried about me being sad about Ellie being sad. Moms never stop worrying and loving their kids!
The drive back to San Diego felt longer than ever and I went through that entire box of tissues. Even my time management podcasts and audible books didn’t cheer me up (a first for me)! I’ve been home now for a few days and I’m still in such a funk. Something just feels off with her gone. I know I just need time. I know she is in such a good place and ready for this. I know she is going to do amazing things. But knowing all of that doesn’t make it hurt any less. It hurts when I pull in to our garage and her car isn’t there. It hurts when I go to the grocery store and remember to get “crunchy” grapes (El doesn’t like them too soft) and then remember I don’t need grapes at all because really she was the only one who ate them. When I check on my kids at night before I go to bed like I have every night since they were born and pass her empty bedroom with the fan turned off. It hurts. There is an ache in my heart and a lump in my throat that just isn’t leaving yet.
I’ve been trying to give myself some grace and just sit in the sadness of it all. This week I’m going to try to do the little things that always help when I’m sad and in a funk. Time outside in the sunshine, exercise, lunch/phone calls with good friends and of course.. organizing, decorating and blogging about it all. As sad as I am you can expect my house to be pretty decked for Fall this year with every drawer in tip top shape! Ha. Really though – organizing and decorating are always the best therapy for me.
To any moms going through this same thing (or to anyone reading who is going through a difficult time) hang in there. We won’t always feel this way! This hard phase of life will pass and get better with time. That doesn’t make it any less hard or sad, but it does help to remember. I wish I could meet you for lunch with a box of tissues and give you a huge hug.
Since we can’t all do that.. let’s get started on that junk drawer.
*Everything we bought for El’s dorm is linked below!