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Dude

Oh Jim!

When your girlfriend is a fan of the show The Office and you need a last-minute Halloween costume?

Three-hole Punch Jim – BAM!

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The “real” Three-hole Punch Jim for comparison – I think Jason nailed it :-)

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Homecoming 2016 – 1 of 2

While I was gone last week, Jason went to his first of two Homecoming dances this year. He actually decided to ask a girl from another school! He asked her friend to get her to Serrano’s so he could surprise her. Knowing Sarah loves The Office and Dwight in particular, he got a little creative :-)

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I love that he drew a beet – hee hee!

They certainly looked cute together! I have to add that I love that she wore a dress she already had instead of buying another.

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Jason was happy as a clam to go to her homecoming dance as well, because his friend he’s had since he was 8 months old (yep, they went to daycare together!) goes to the same school and is part of the same squad :-)

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I love that Jason and Travis still hang out together and have so much fun together!

Of course the guys always have to get a guys being cool photo!

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I love this pic! Looks like they’re having so much fun!

Another of my favorite thing about Jason and his friends? They know what’s up. This is how every event should be – a group of friends getting together to have fun – and maybe a couple of them go as dates and having matching dress and bow tie 😉

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And when one of the squad owns a drone? Well then you get fun pictures of the entire group from above!

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Jason said they had a blast, which I don’t doubt for one minute. They started their day at noon with the guys playing football and the girls doing “whatever it is they did” as Jason put it. Then the guys got ready at Connor’s house. They met the girls at Fox Run Park at 4:00 for pictures. They had a potluck dinner at one of the squad members’ houses. Then they piled in 3 cars and headed to the dance, where they had 4 hours of awesome funness!

Ah – to be in high school again :-)

Looking forward to Homecoming 2 of 2 this weekend at Jason’s school! The bonus is, Sarah knows some of the kids in his squad because she played soccer with them when she was younger – so yay!

Fair Game

My baby is 16 . . . and a junior in high school . . . and ready to get cracking with the rest of his life :-)

A few weeks ago, we filled out his profile for college fairs. It’s pretty cool – you get your own personal barcode that the school scan at these fairs so you don’t have to fill out a card for everyone. They  just get the info. based on your profile and you can spend your time chatting with the folks rather than filling out a card.

On his profile, this is what he put for major areas of study, in order . . .

  1. Pre-med
  2. Biomedical Science
  3. Environmental Science

Last night, we went to the Southern Colorado Out-of-state College Fair. He talked to lots of people and got lots of information about lots of schools.

He was very impressed and surprised by University of Iowa and their Biomedical Science program and the school and their med school, etc. I was impressed, too!

Then I had to leave and take Keira to swim practice. Jason stayed for another hour checking out other schools and chatting with admissions counselors. He texted me when he left, all excited. He found a school he absolutely loved and talked to the lady for like 15 minutes and he can’t wait to tell me all about it when I get home.

I was SOOOOOO excited for him!

And then I cried alone in the car – my baby!!!

Then we talked when I got home.

University of Washington in Seattle. U-Dub (can we eat B-Dub at U-Dub???).

He was totally into their Environmental Science program. Couldn’t stop talking about it. All the details. Showed me all the literature. Told me the lady gave him her card and was excited about how she said she’d only given out a few that evening to people who really seemed interested.

So maybe a trip to Seattle is in order for a college visit – I could totally go for that :-)

***I wanted to live in Seattle. We ended up in Colorado Springs, and love it. But I could totally visit him in Seattle 😉 My college roommates also live there with their family. Double bonus!

Anyhoo – this was just one fair of many.

But can I say HOW FRIGGIN’ PROUD I am of my shy guy for putting himself out there and having an open mind? It’s quite a thing to stand there and listen to your kid talk to people about wanting to be a Neurologist some day . . . or an Environmental Scientist.

Who knows – I may have a doctor or I may have a tree hugger 😉 Can’t wait to see what the next few years bring!

Summer Baseball

Jason played with the CageRats baseball club team this past summer. It was awesome and fun and a struggle at times. He absolutely loved the workouts and the other kids on the team. They played a mix of out-of-state tournaments as well as a bunch of in-state games against other high school teams.

He struggled with his elbow at times . . . sometimes it would be awesome, and sometimes it would hurt so bad he’d ask to be taken out of the game, which was a big deal when it got to that point.

He got a LOT of playing time in left field, which he totally loved!

We traveled to Phoenix in June. I made Jason and his buddy, Shep, sit on the Jack Rabbit in Holbrook, AZ for our token Route 66 stop :-)

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They also had the opportunity to play on the Oakland Athletics’ spring training field! Super nice field! Jason couldn’t get over how awesome the outfield was – how clean and flat and “springy” the grass was. Welcome to the Big Leagues, kid :-)

Jason and Shep before their first game.

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Not everyone gets to say they executed a successful hit and run on a big league field!

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We also traveled to Atlanta (hot!) for a week – in July. Holy hot Batman! The boys actually played pretty well at the Perfect Game tournament. They could’ve been even more competitive if their coach hadn’t been overruled by the club team owner on who to play where, when. It was tough for the guys to give their best every game when they knew the best team wasn’t on the field at any given time. But, it was a great experience overall. Jason really liked how the team stayed together in the hotel and had a team van where they went everywhere together in. One of the kids’ Grandma had a great house on 10 acres with a pond about 45 north of the hotel. After one of the early games, we loaded up the boys in the van, ran to Walmart for food and drinks, and went to the pond to play, unwind, and enjoy BBQ. It was a great break in the middle of a tough week!

We spent quite a bit of time scrimmaging our own in-house club teams and playing games in Denver. There was a lot of driving and a lot of time spent at the ball field this summer! But, when you get to watch your kid play under the lights and see some amazing sunsets, it’s all worth it.

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Oh Time – Where Have You Gone?

I’m old enough to have close friends sending kids off to college for the first time. I’ve been crying with many of them for the past month as they figure out how to say a temporary goodbye to their babies. I’ve also been the freak sitting at my desk (or at the stoplight) crying as I read about friends of friends dropping THEIR babies off at college.

We’re not there yet, but it’s getting closer every day.

I have proof . . .

Photo 1 – what they looked like just last year when I put them on the bus for the first day of school :-)

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Photo 2 – what they looked like just last week as I put them in the car for their first day of school :-)

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Yikes! WTH is happening?!

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!

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 :-)