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Summer!

Time to put up something else :-)

We’ve been enjoying every single second of summer so far! I’ve got lots of photos I’d like to share . . . but haven’t had time to download them.

In short (or not) . . .

Keira – horse shows, riding in our very own arena out front, playing with the horses and kittens, summer swim team with friends, friends staying over, trip to Breckenridge with a friend. Did I mention horse? She’s having a great summer so far!

Jason – baseball, baseball, hanging out with friends, getting grounded for getting home late, baseball, baseball, learning how to drive a stick shift, volunteering to go on every errand so he can drive the Audi now that he’s figured it out, baseball, baseball. Have I mentioned baseball? He’s FINALLY back on the field and having a last! We’re headed to Phoenix this week for a tournament.

Jodie – work, mom taxi, work, mom taxi, muck stalls with Keira, mom taxi, sort and price items for Boy Scout garage sale, mom taxi, mom taxi, mom taxi. 63 more days of mom taxi before Jason gets his license. I. Can’t. Wait. I might even be more excited than Jason is about it . . . and he’s pretty darn excited!

Dan – work, work, work, watch Keira ride, work, watch Jason play baseball, work work work. Business is good and he’s keeping busy – even hired a couple more people last week!

Jared – wait, what?! Jason’s coach is staying with us for the summer. He’s here from Texas for the summer to coach the team and needed a host family – so we gave him Grandma’s room and the truck’s spot in the garage for the summer. While it’s different having a 24-year old in the house, it’s been great. Shakes things up a bit. AND he gives Jason a ride to the baseball stuff . . . I just have to pick him up. So there’s that added bonus. Very nice kid! He’s only been here a week, but we’re enjoying having him around.

So there you have it – our first 10 days of summer break in a nutshell (Seriouly? Only 10 days?!).

I hope you’re all enjoying summer as much as we are!!!

The Parenting Struggle Is Real

REALLY real.

It’s long – so please stick with it. I think it’s so important and worth the time (not to read my ramblings, but at least to watch the video).

You may or may not know that last May, one of Jason’s friends committed suicide. Took her dad’s gun, loaded it, went to her room, shot herself. Her mom came home and found her.

This is sooooooo definitely not something a 14 year old (or ‘any’ year old) should have to deal with. The squad had a memorial for her at one of the kids’ houses – cookies, balloons, stories. MacKenzie’s family attended.

A lot has happened in a year. Within the school district (the majority of kids come from well-off middle-class families) in the past year, there have been numerous suicide attempts and a number that have succeeded. It’s so sad. The administrators are wondering WTH is going on and WTH do we need to do to stop this culture of suicide?!

I have all kinds of opinions on what’s happening and why these kids with seemingly everything going for them and everything to live for are choosing to end their own lives. If you want to know them, call me.

But for now, I’ll say that they took a step. A first responder in the area walked into the school after winter break, sat down in the Principal’s office and had a very frank conversation about what had  happened over break with a number of kids at our school alone. He said they needed to get real and find a way to get through to these kids.

So they had an assembly. Unfortunately, the assembly was on the 1 year “anniversary” of MacKenzie’s death. Not intentional, and possibly something they should have changed, but they decided to leave it as it was scheduled and made it very clear to all the kids that this was not some kind of memorial or celebration or anything like that for this one child.

None of the kids wanted to be there, but they all went. I chatted with Jason afterward about it. He said it was horrible and awesome. He said they finally treated the kids like adults. Finally told them how it really is. He said he thought they made a huge impact and finally got through to the kids – at least a large portion of them. I asked if he thought it would make a difference. He said absolutely.

The thing that hit home the most? MacKenzie’s dad stood up there in front of 1000 high schoolers and told them what happened that terrible morning – in detail. Then he went on about how he had hoped to come there that day and provide all of the kids with a message of hope . . . but ended up saying (yelling if you ask Jason) that he was still too angry with his daughter to forgive her or give those kids a message of hope – because for those left behind, there is no hope of ever getting that loved one back.

The biggest impression on Jason was watching his friend’s dad go from sad, to smiling at memories of his daughter, to yelling because he was so angry.

What I took from Jason was that NONE of those kids had ever before thought about what happens to those they leave behind. It’s like they think they just get over it and move on.

The first responder also spoke, as did a counselor from the area. Not a school counselor, but a local counselor who himself had tried, and failed, to kill himself when he was 13.

The evening after the assembly, they had a meeting for the parents. The same people spoke and basically told the parents what they had told their kids that day.

Here’s a link to it – it’s worth watching if you have the time.

 

It is almost 2 hours long. If you don’t have the time, please just watch the first part where MacKenzie’s father speaks (starts at ~5 minutes). And have a box of Kleenex ready. The honesty and detail . . . I can’t imagine.

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Fast forward to Monday of last week. We get an email from school on Monday afternoon telling us that a Freshman has committed suicide. She stole her dad’s gun, ran away, and someone found her body Monday morning. Of course the kids were hearing about this through the grapevine all morning.

Another friend of Jason’s (not a squad friend, but a friend nonetheless). WTF IS GOING ON?!?! I thought you said the assembly had an impact? Would change things!

He asked the same question, without the curse words. Then he tells me how he figured it was coming because everyone was texting everyone Sunday night asking if anyone knew where Riley was, etc. etc. etc. Um Dude?! This is not stuff you keep to yourself. You do NOT go through these things by yourself. When you start getting messages like this, you TELL US! We may not be able to help Riley, but at least we can be there FOR YOU as much as possible.

Then he says “She’s literally THE last person you would’ve ever thought would do this.”

I said “Dude, that’s what scares the SHIT out of me!”

He just said “I know. It sucks.”

A horrible couple days at school. Nobody wanted to do anything, especially not study and prepare for finals.

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Fast forward a whopping 2 days to Thursday of last week. Another email with the title “Sad News.” My heart sinks as I read about another freshman, this time a boy, who killed himself Wednesday night. His 15th birthday. He killed himself after the family birthday party. Suddenly that post that all the kids saw on Instragram about his birthday had a new meaning. School said they were making a general announcement at 1:15 to the kids about Kai. Anyone who needed to come pick up their kids early was welcome to do so.

I texted Jason and asked if I needed to come get him. No.

Do you know this boy? No answer (crap!).

Do you need to skip baseball practice tonight? No.

I pull up to school and the high schoolers are outside in a giant circle holding hands crying, praying, grieving, just being together. It was like one of those dance circles where someone goes in the middle and dances, then someone else does. Except this time, they were going into the middle of the circle to say anything they had to say about what was going on, how they felt, etc.

OMG this is not something high schoolers – or ANYONE – should have to be doing ever . . . not to mention a week before school is out. Where is the happy? The year book signing? The fun and games? The making summer plans?

Turns out Jason knew this boy, but was not a “friend.”

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What the hell do we-they-them do with the last week of school? Finals? So many kids are REALLY grieving and receiving counseling.

And who wants to go to school each day not knowing what kind of horrible news you might hear that day? It’s definitely something they’re looking forward to each morning.

I just want them out of school. Done for the summer. They all need a break from “it.”

The school did not cancel finals, as they shouldn’t have.

BUT, each department got together to see how to best handle the current situation, and each teacher sent out an email to the parents of his or her students.

Turns out, most of the teachers are NOT cancelling finals. They expect the kids to be there for finals; however, the final cannot make their grade go down – it can only make it go up. If your child just cannot properly prepare (those closest to the kids are having a really hard time) then the parents can email the teacher and they can talk. If the kids are not in class taking their final, they need to be in the counselor’s office getting help during that time.

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I get it. They’re trying to help the kids and relieve the stress. And relieve stress it did – Jason’s stress level decreased 10-fold! I still made him take all of his finals – AND STUDY for them. But knowing you weren’t going to ruin your grade was a huge stress relief. (I have opinions on THIS, too – just ask me what they are. I think it’s the ROOT of the problem.)

***My fear? This will end up being like some horrible horror movie where kids make a pact . . . and one of the group chooses to literally take the hit so the rest of the kids can get out of finals. The workings of the teenage mind . . . they just don’t understand the FINALITY of it all . . . and that whatever they are feeling NOW will NOT go on forever. Ugh.

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So Jason comes home Tuesday. Asks if he can go hang out a friend’s house and have a campfire (this friend is not in the same school district and they were finished with school last week). We’re like “Um HAYEL no! It’s finals week and you have to study!” He then goes into which finals he has and how he doesn’t have any studying to do for the very next day (no finals – they are just final projects for those classes and he’s already done) and and and.

We struggle with a decision and talk and hem and haw until Friend is at the door to pick him up.

We ultimately decide to let him go, but make it clear it will not be a late night. I will pick him up at 9:00.

He’s been working hard in school.

He’s been working through all of the “stuff” that’s going on.

But in the end, quite frankly, he just needed to spend time with friends. Friends that AREN’T from his school. Friends with something else to talk about. Friends with regular teenage stuff to talk about. Friends who are already enjoying summer and aren’t stressed out. Friends who just want to hang out and have a campfire.

Friends who just want to be teenagers.

Those hours did WONDERS for him. He loved every minute of it. When he got in the car he said “That was the best night in a long time. We just hung out and had fun and talked and laughed. I think I found my people.”

He’s known these people for a long time (he went to daycare with T – they’ve literally been friends Jason’s entire life). It was just the therapy he needed.

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So now what?

Who knows. I just know he’s looking forward to a summer of baseball with his friends, a week-long sailing trip around the Florida Keys with his Scout troop, and just existing and having a good time.

That’s all we want for him, too.

I See Dead People

Well – I don’t. But Jason did!

Since October he’s been excited about the HOSA field trip to the morgue. It finally happened last Friday night. Yep – they went to downtown Denver to the morgue from 6-10:00 p.m. on a Friday night. Sounds like fun to me! YIKES!

I’ll give a condensed version of what he told us – but he absolutely LOVED it!

  • There wasn’t a new body available that day, so they got to “use” an 80 year old woman that had donated her body to the morgue for student research and learning – she had been dead long enough that she had started decomposing a little bit (fun, right?!).
  • They covered up her face, hands, and feet because apparently if you see those things, that’s what makes you identify with and connect with the body as a person.
  • They took off her “chest plate” and got to see everything preserved inside.
  • They got to hold . . . kidney, heart, lungs . . . he was surprised how small the kidneys are.
  • When they took out the lung, it was still attached to everything, including the tongue. Um, yuck!
  • They took off her skull and they got to hold her brain and pass it around. No joke.
  • When the brain was out, they got to see the spinal cord and what’s inside and how it all attaches.
  • They got to pass around an arm. Yes, really.
  • The morgue had shaved her head, and when they took the top of the skull off, they passed that around. Jason said that was the only really creepy part because it had little tiny hairs you could touch and see, which made you realize this was an actual person. All I could think of was that Play Do barbershop guy.

So so so much more – but YIKES! Hubby could barely stand to listen to Jason talk about it!

I was 195% floored at what they got to do and see and touch and hold! I didn’t know what to expect from the trip (even though I did sign the waiver with all the details) . . . but I certainly did not expect all the hands-on stuff they got to do and see and learn. CRAZY!

Jason thought it was absolutely amazing. Loved every minute of it. He also though that getting home at 11:30 p.m. after a night “out” in Denver with other high schoolers was pretty cool 😉 (Note to Jason – there are other ways to have fun and get home late with our approval – just saying!)

15 years old getting to have these experiences.

Dayum!

I’m glad he loves it – because there is no way you’d catch me doing this stuff!

He Found His “Thing”

I’ve mentioned before that Jason had an epiphany last year – his Freshman year – that he wanted to do something in Science. He just didn’t know what. He had the opportunity to take Principles of Biomedical Science in school (really? Definitely not an opportunity I had!). He LOVED it.

This year, he took Biomedical Science, Biology, and Forensic Science.

OMG does he absolutely LOVE Forensics! Loved it enough that he joined HOSA – it’s basically club for high school students who want to work in the medical field – Future Health Professionals.

His favorite unit in Forensics so far? The brain. L.O.V.E.D. the unit on brains. Promptly decided he wants to be a neurologist. What?!

Some things he’s said to me and Dan this year that make me wonder “Who IS this kid? And where did he come from?!”

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“Mom – can you remind me to get online at midnight Sunday so I can sign up for the trip to the morgue that’s in May? Only a certain number of kids get to go and I want to make sure I get on the list.”

Um – Yes? He’s ecstatic – he got registered and will be taking a trip to the morgue May 13th – from 6-9 p.m. Our doctor friend told him to take the mintiest thing he could find and hold it up to his nose the entire time!

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“Hey Mom – are we doing anything from 3-4 on the 5th?”

No – why?

“Well – I signed up to listen to a speaker who’s coming to school. She’s a transplant doctor. She’s going to bring real human organs and everything! I mean, they’re in that preservative stuff, but she said she’s got a couple livers and one of them even has cancer that we get to see!”

The excitement in his voice . . . wow. And Dan is just like, Dude – seriously? That sounds HORRIBLE!

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“Um Mom? Now listen before you say no. But can you get me out of school next Friday?”

Why???

“Cuz my friend Jack’s Mom works for the CU health department and there’s this giant new medical campus at the University of Colorado and she was invited to go on this tour of it and listen to doctors talk and they get to see all the stuff they can do there and did you know doctors from CU performed one of the first transplants ever? And well, she can’t go but she asked if her son Jack could go because he loves medical stuff and wants to be a doctor and they said sure. They also told her to have him invite up to 5 friends because they want as many people there as they can. So anyway, it’s from 8-2:30 next Friday in Denver. And if I get all my school work done ahead of time and get all my other stuff done can you PLEASE take me out of school so I can go?”

Seriously – who in their right MIND would say no to their 15 year old wanting to take a tour of a brand new medical campus??? I can bet you a million dollars he’ll learn more on that tour than he ever would attending school on a Friday during the last month of school.

So I will be transporting Jason, Jack, and Caroline up to Denver next Friday morning so they can get on the charter bus with the other tour attendees and spend the day at the Medical campus.

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The kid came home from school a couple weeks ago excited beyond belief. For Forensics, they have to do a report and presentation on a job in the field of Forensic Science. They didn’t get to choose – they had to draw a card out of a hat.

He drew “Aviation Accident Investigator” – nope – not kidding!

He was telling Dan about it with the biggest grin on his face. Then Dan said “You know, Dude . . . one of my friends up in Denver is an aviation accident investigator. He’s been doing it for years. Want me to see if you can interview him?”

Coolest. Dad. EVER!

So last night, Jason spent an hour on the phone with a real live Aviation Accident Investigator who has spent the past 15 years of his life being the first on scene to aviation accidents involving death (yuck!) and reviewing photos and conducting pilot interviews for non-deadly accidents.

Jason had the BIGGEST smile on his face when he came out of his room.

Told us all about it and got his laptop so he could create the Google Docs PowerPoint shell because today was a work day in class for the projects.

In the car this morning on the way to school . . .

“Ya – I kinda was pretty pumped about my Forensics project and, well, I finished it last night. So now I’m not sure what I’ll do in class all day.”

Then . . .

“Why can’t we just take the classes we like? Like science. Why do I have to take British Literature and French and all that stuff, too?”

Well Dude – that’s what college is for :-)

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Can I say how HAPPY I am that he’s found something he’s so in love with? Could it all change? Maybe. But for now, he’s loving it and has a path to start on.

Proud Mama!

Like A Duck

That was me yesterday afternoon – frantically moving and treading underneath, still and calm where the world could see.

I was sitting at my desk working while Keira was out riding Remi in the arena. For some reason I had an urge to go see how it was going. As I got to the sliding glass door, I saw her ask him to canter . . . then I saw him turn his head at her, glare, and proceed to buck her off.

Little shit!

He stood there for a second then trotted off up the driveway to the barn and stood by his stall door.

Keira’s friend was out there with her, so while I really WANTED to bolt out the door to see if she was OK, I just stood there and waited. Keira got up, dusted herself off, said something to Piper, and stomped up the driveway after her horse.

I looked out my office window to see what she’d do. I was HOPING she’d get back on him. Instead, my heart deflated a little bit when I saw her untack him.

Really?! You’re going to just let him get away with that?

Uh – no. I should’ve known better.

Next thing I see is Keira stomping back down the driveway with her horse in tow. The poor guy had no clue what he was in for.

She lunged the crap out of him in the arena! He got to do all the cantering she wanted him to do originally, and then some.

And boy was he M.A.D.! I saw him put his ears back, give a little mini buck, and try to gallop off. Keira grabbed the lunge line with both hands, held on, and made him come to her.

He tried again.

Same result.

He finally put his ears up and started to nicely trot around on the lunge line. Then canter when she asked. Then change direction. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Finally she took the pressure off and just stood there in the middle of the arena.

He stood at the end of the lunge line. When he decided it was safe, he put his head down, slowly meandered over to her, and put his head in her hands.

Good boy.

She wasn’t willing to get on and give him an attitude adjustment without the fence up yet, but she found a way to get her point across without getting back on, that’s for sure!

We’ll see what happens when she gets on him to ride today.

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This morning when I went out to feed, I told him that if he hurt his girl again, we’d send him away to the cowboy farm where he’d have to actually do work and not have a cute little girl to braid his hair and bathe him and get him all ready for horse shows where everyone would love on him and give him carrots and treats and ribbons.

He actually looked at me, dropped his head, and nickered.

Good boy.

Ma Baaaay-be!

Dropped Dude off at school last night for a Prom week volleyball fun night.

I get this text around 8:45 p.m. . .

“We’re gonna go get food after and C can drive me to get it.”

After a few more texts, they were all off to Freddie’s.

Hubby picked him and a buddy up at 9:45.

Today at 11:30 a.m. I get this text . . .

“Can I go to the park at 2 to play soccer?”

After a few more texts, I took him to Fox Run Park at 1:00 to play soccer.

Then I get this text . . .

“Hey. It’s crazy snowy here so we’re going to Davinci instead where there is none. C can drive me there.”

OK.

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If you haven’t guessed, C passed the 6-month mark and can have a non-related passenger in the car with him.

How did this happen?

WHEN did this happen?

When did this guy get old enough to get dropped off at one place and picked up at another place 4 hours later?!

Jason Boedigheimer

Ma Baaaaaay-be! Is growing up :-(

 

Empathy

While Dude rehabs his elbow for baseball, he decided to get a job umpiring for Little League.

He’s loving it! And earning some money.

I’m enjoying watching the kiddos play from a completely different perspective than I had when Dude was 12 and playing Little League (oh how I’d love to talk to some of those parents!).

They are so cute and innocent and just out there playing baseball.

To end the game on Thursday, a kid hit a fly ball to center field for out #2. The base runner walked back to 2nd and didn’t make it before the center fielder threw to 2nd and got him out for a double play.

Dude had to call the runner out.

When we got to the car, he said “I wanted to yell to him to run back, but we can’t do that. After I called him out and the other team started cheering, he just started crying. I felt so bad for him! They’re so little!”

I love that my Dude has such a huge heart :-)

Still Got It – Sorta . . .

Remember when Dude was working on his last requirements to earn his Eagle Scout rank? The last thing he had to do was complete a 20-mile hike. He picked a nice Sunday, mapped out a route on the Santa Fe Trail, and hiked.

This also meant that I hiked the 20 miles with him.

Now that his elbow is doing well and he’s in rehab mode, he has to work through the Interval Throwing Program before he can play again. Don’t know what that is? Check this out:

ITP

 

If Dude has to complete the ITP, guess who else gets to complete the ITP? Yup – you guessed it. Me.

Why do I have to do it? Because it’s high school baseball season and all of his buddies have games and practice every day. And since I’m the parent that can catch and throw a baseball, I win!

Kinda . . . not really.

We must all remember that not only do I have a bum right shoulder, I also have bum wrists and elbows.

And, quite frankly, I’m 43 . . . not 23.

He has to complete each step of each phase 3 times (although doc gave him a pass on 45′ – he only has to do those 2 times) . . . which means a total of 2380 throws, not including all the warm up throws.

Ugh.

He may have to find a new throwing partner when he gets to the 90′ phase!

There is one bonus – the boost to my old lady dead arm ego. The Dads and Grandpas at the cages are still impressed when I step in there with Dude and catch and throw with him 😉

They don’t need to know that even with the whiskey, ibuprofen, and hot tub remedy, I can barely lift my arm to brush my teeth the next day 😉

She’s Better At This Than I Am

We brought Remington home last Tuesday – he’s been here one full week :-)

He and Cowboy spent the first 5 days fighting . . . nipping at each other, kicking, pinning their ears and prancing around, kicking stall walls, getting stuck in the Cameo fencing when they tried to get to each other. All typical stuff for horses when they first meet – figuring out who’s in charge.

Quite frankly, I’m surprised Remi gave it any thought at all! He’s so laid back and passive, we thought he’d just settle in and let Cowboy be in charge.

They’ve stopped fighting and even took naps next to each other yesterday, although I still don’t know who’s alpha. They haven’t been let out in the pasture together yet. We’ll give that a few more days and hopefully let the snow and ice melt so there aren’t any accidents.

Remi came from a very nice boarding facility – he’d lived there for the past 2 years. His previous owner had him there and we left him there for winter so he could get training and Princess could use the indoor arena to ride him. Boy was he SPOILED! Three meals a day, big pastures to run in, temperature-controlled personal automatic waterer in his stall, inches of shavings on the stall floor to sleep in . . . and all the love and hugs and treats he wanted because he’s so darn cute and everybody down there just loved him!

We kept saying he’d be in for a rude awakening when he came home – he’d actually have to behave like a horse!

I have to say – Princess is much better at letting him learn to be a horse than I am.

Me: You should go spend lots of time with him and love and hug on him so he feels comfortable.
Her: I do love and hug on him, but he’s a horse – and I have to go back to school next week. He’s going to have to figure out how to exist without people around all the time.

Me: You should put some shavings in his stall for him to sleep in until he gets used to it here.
Her: No. That will only encourage him to pee and poop in his stall. And besides, Cowboy does just fine without shavings. He has his blanket and is comfortable. If he doesn’t want to lay in his pee and poop, then he will learn to do that outside where he should do it anyway.

Me: You should put his hay in the same place every morning so he knows where it is.
Her: Mom – he spent the past 2 years being fed at the same time in the exact same place. His gate to the pasture was open all day yesterday and he didn’t even go out! He needs to learn to look for food like a real horse. Yes, I will give him hay, but I’m going to move it around in his run and the pasture so he has to do at least a little work and behave like a horse. He will still get his grain inside like Cowboy does.

Me: What are you going to do when we let them out in the pasture together? I think Cowboy will bully him and try to eat all the hay.
Her: He will be fine. I will make a couple piles of hay like I always do. He’ll just have to figure out how to get his share.

And on and on and on. She’s great with her horses. When we first got Cowboy, I figured she’d baby him and try to treat him like a house pet. But nope – she treats him like a horse. A horse that she absolutely loves (and one who still has a pretty cush life here), but like a horse nonetheless. And Remi – just like a horse. Sink or swim, baby. He’ll get the food and love and hugs and work that he needs, but he will not be spoiled, not if she can help it (however, she IS at school all day and I’m here to do with the horses as I please – bwahahahahaha!).

After 2 days of having Remi here, she went online and bought a book – 101 Ground Training Exercises for You and Your Horse. She didn’t like his manners when she was feeding him and wanted to fix it right away. She looked through the entire book the day it came and tabbed the pages of the lessons she wanted to work with him on first.

So ya – Remi will be loved and hugged by his sweet girl as much as any horse should be . . . but he will also have manners and not be spoiled :-)

Can I say how much I love my Princess?

The Bonus of Being Behind

We gave up Saturday in the mountains and with friends to work around the house. We spent the day cleaning up the yard . . . all of it . . . the pastures . . . the woodpile that was here and out of sorts the day we moved in . . . trimming tree branches . . . cleaning the horse trailer . . . picking up trash that has blown into our yard from the neighbor’s construction site . . . throwing out saved carpet that is 3 generations old . . . cleaning the inside of the house.

I’d say we put in our fair share of adulting on Saturday!

Sunday, we took a break. I had 13 loads of laundry to do (don’t ask), so I decided to set up scrapbooking shop in the dining room and scrapbook while I did laundry.

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve scrapbooked!

How long?

I was scrapbooking pages from June of 2008.

One HUGE bonus of scrapbooking pages from 8 years ago?

7 and 5 year old Dude and Princess :-)

JDandelion

KDandelion

All at once now – “AwwwWWWWWWwwwww!” :-)

I think I’ll leave the stuff out a little longer – the kids have enjoyed looking at their former selves as well :-)