Saturday, May 31, 2008

End of 7th Grade

Damon ended the school year slightly better than I thought he would. It's not as well as he could have done and not as well as he started this year — he's a pretty smart kid when he tries. He did manage to lose his homework folder Thursday/Friday. It's no where to be found. This about threw me over the edge, then I could hear Stacey telling me to let it go. Really, how does one lose his homework folder?!? Luckily...or should I say lucky for Damon...I don't think he had anything homework in it. School officially ends Tuesday, but they have a field trip and a talent show, so not much learning during the make-up snow days. It's been my hardest parenting year yet...for my sake and his, I hope next year his organizational skills improve.

Last night we had 2 baseball games Friday night, 1 tomorrow, 2 on Sunday and another 1 on Monday. They won 1 on Friday....during which the coach from the other team got ejected. It was a disappointing show of sportsmanship. It's one thing to disagree with the umps, but it's a whole other when tell the ump that "I got you. I'll find you after, I got you." He said that a few times coming off the field, but it was a good opportunity to teach the kids about sportsmanship. And after the school year we had, it made me feel a lot better about my parenting skills.

My house is a disaster, so I'm off to clean.....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No Baseball.

A completely honest post.

Tonight I logged on to Infinite Campus to see (yet again) that Damon had 2 missing assignments in Science and Spanish. Then I checked the rest of his grades....a C in gym. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? At this point my friend Stacey would talk me off my ledge and remind me that until this point he was getting an A in gym....why you ask, because he does participate in gym, he does try during class and generally his teacher enjoys him. So you must be wondering why a C....well, all because he brought home his progress report, showed it to both his dad and I, then left it on the end table for a week. Never once did he say he had to turn it back in with our signatures, he just showed it to us. Because he didn't return it with a signature he failed that portion of his grade, worth 20% of his over all grade. Stacey would say, "Really in gym aren't we suppose to teach them to live a healthier lifestyle." Honestly educators of America : can we teach an organizational skills class in middle school?!? I mean Franklin Covey has one for adults....don't you think it's a little effing late at that point. And Stacey, I love ya, but it may really not matter that we sign a piece of paper for gym, but his teachers think so and I am so so so very tired of him not writing it down, losing it to or from school or simply not doing it. And to be perfectly honest in this blog....I don't know what else to do to help him understand that it's important, grades are important, college is important. I know science extra credit is a lot of extra work with not much point, but his grade needs help and this is the only way I know how to give him extra points. To any one reading this, help.

So tonight, I did what I never thought I would do. I took away baseball. It lets down his dad, it lets down his teammates, and quite honestly I'm disappointed too (I love to watch him play). I said no baseball until Science extra credit is done and until missing assignments are done. If that means his misses his game tomorrow night, his practice on Thursday, 2 games Friday, 1 game Saturday and 2 games on Sunday.....well, then he misses baseball, we miss baseball. I think baseball (activities in general) keeps him active, he's met a ton of kids and we love to watch. However, we've taken away the PS3, the TV and hanging out with his friends...this is my last desperate straw. Probably too late, but none the less I had to do something. He instantly teared up, looked to his dad to save him and the lip started to quiver. Luckily for Terry he backed me on this one. He's gone to the other room to study Art vocabulary and I sit here with tears streaming down my face because I feel like I've failed him, failed me. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Parkersburg, Iowa (more pictures)

Molly sorting through their belongings. Molly is a great friend of the Flanigans and at our last HD Hoop we made her an honorary Flan. We'd do anything for this girl and her family...

A view of the destruction...
This is the room where Annie, Jack and Jack's friend and his family took shelter...

I have some more photos on my Facebook (some photos are the same). Our prayers go out to all.

Parkersburg, Iowa

I don't think this is what Iowa had in mind when they decided on this slogan...

The house Annie and Jack were in...
Their car...
Terry standing by a tree...
A view of the A-P High School and softball field...

We drove to Parkersburg last night after we got the call from Meghan, Terry's cousin) that Parkersburg had been hit by a tornado and it was bad, very bad. A lot of their friends lost their homes, their memories, some even lost friends and family. You can't imagine what you are going to see, you see it on the news, you watch video, but yet...nothing can prepare you for what you witness when you're actually there. Damon stayed with Ethan and his family (have I mentioned how lucky we are to have them as friends?!?). Terry and I decided that his cousins would be too busy helping their friends and family, trying to make sense of what just happened in "little Parkersburg, Iowa." So off we went. 

When we arrived we went up to the elem. school in Aplington that they set up as a Red Cross center. Annie was craving a twix and a Diet Pepsi, another family needed toothbrushes and Jack wanted a off to Caseys we went. 

Nancy and I were scheduled to man the phones from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Went in for our shift, but so many people were still there trying to make sense of what just happened that we just ended up sitting in the office chatting while the office secretary answered the calls. The girls left to spend the night with friends.

At 6:30 a.m. the next day, Terry, his Uncle Gary and another teacher from A-P left to go start the clean up. Nancy, Jack and I waited for Nancy's brother Rick and his friend Tracy...then at 8:45 we were off to Parkersburg. After a long wait (only one road in)...well, this is when you can't believe anyone survived. It looked like a landfill: debris, memories, photos, checkbooks, purses, papers, text books, clothing, games, you name it -- scattered over miles. People digging trying to salvage any pictures and clothing they can find....their homes destroyed. Terry's cousins Annie and Jack were at a friend's house when the tornado hit Parkersburg, they are so lucky, WE are so lucky. God has big plans for them, he has big plans for all of A-P. 

We got home early evening Monday, tired, sad, dirty, and thankful. Thankful that the amount of destruction didn't equal the number of lives lost -- nothing should have survived that destruction, nothing. Sad that even one life was lost, even though they are each with Him. Sad that so many memories were lost. Most people, although still in shock,'s all just stuff and "stuff" doesn't matter....then they would hug each other. You cannot prepare yourself for something like this. 

Remember what matters.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Getting through eye roll at a time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Happy Birthday To My Dad And More Baseball

Well, not to copy Holly...but she's right. Dads do get a raw deal when it comes to holidays, birthdays, etc. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! My other problem...what do you buy the parents that have everything they want and what they don't have, well, I can't afford. My dad's wants : new golf clubs, a trip to Australia and to see his grandson. Really that's about all he asks for...a truck used to be on his list, but now that he has "Grace & Peace" he seems to be satisfied (for those of you that don't know, that's what we call Dad's truck thanks to a sermon by Pastor Mike).  Dad could have his last wish, to see Damon, if he didn't still have school and we didn't have baseball game after baseball game! The baseball photos I sent him in the mail will have to do for now.

We had another game tonight, one tomorrow night but the weekend is off! I do actually love going to watch Damon play....I won't get to do it much longer (he's growing up too fast!) and he seems to be happy that we're there watching. It's a priority for both Terry and I....even with countless games this summer, I don't plan on missing one.

Damon turns 13 in 24 days......Wasn't I just eating Cheetos at the info desk?!?! Wow, time really has gone fast and some days I can't believe we've made it (a little touch and go there at times). I'm sure there are things I could do better (clearly with the attitude I'm getting these days), but overall it's been amazing. I can only pray that God gives my son a life full of happiness and health; that he is filled with drive and determination and that he learns from every experience. I think I'm having a harder time with him turning 13 than I did when I turned 30.

On a side note, please say a little prayer for my friend's, Heather and Holly, grandpas. They are both battling cancer and well, I didn't get to know either of my grandfathers and I so very much enjoy hearing the stories they tell about theirs. I think about it often.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Peanut Allergies and Damon: Drew's Hero

So my sister-in-law Jenny emailed me today. Her youngest, Beau, has peanut allergies. His daycare provider thought if she fed the other day care kiddos peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the other side of the room that would be fine. NOT. Please take note if you are not familiar with peanut allergies. Soon after they ate she put Beau down for a nap, when she went to get him, his eyes were swollen shut and he was wheezing. Instead of calling 911 she called Jenny. Once Jenny got there, she called 911 to tell them she was on her way with Beau. Luckily after steroid treatments, a nebulizer and a few other things he's fine. If you are not familiar, peanut allergies are very serious and can be fatal. Please take it seriously. It gives me the chills to think of what easily could have happened to Beau. Scary.

The second part of the email was the cutest story ever. Jenny's middle child, Drew. It went like this:

Drew: Mom, can we move to Des Moines?
Jenny: Why Drew?
Drew: Because then I could see Damon EVERYDAY!
Jenny: Ah, that's nice Drew. Maybe we can see Damon more this summer and he can spend the night.
Drew: Mom, is it summer yet?
Jenny: Almost Drew.

Drew and Annie both adore Damon and I have to say I'm pretty proud of my son. He is really good to them. Hopefully that is a sign of how he treats most people in general. He may test our patience sometimes with his homework and grades, but we never have to worry that he isn't a nice kid. He just has a big heart, loves his family and is a loyal friend (this part will probably cause me headaches some day soon).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

YIPPEE (sarcasm), Egg Project

Damon's homework assignment : package an egg any way you want. Has to weigh at least 3 lbs. (actually what it said was 13.5 newtons), cannot be more than 8" (actually it said 20 cm) in any direction. That's it. They get graded on how well they do, if it breaks (yolk included) then points are deducted or they're also deducted if it doesn't weigh enough or is bigger than the measurements above. My thoughts : who cares? Who is ever going to drop an egg from a crane and not want it to break...unless maybe if you are the guys from Myth Busters. Wouldn't it be more of an incentive if a child actually put forth some real effort than if the freakin' yolk of an egg actually broke or not?!?! Points are deducted if any part of it breaks. Well, materials shown above : duck tape, bubble wrap, bread and one of Terry's small weights from his bench set (hope it doesn't break). We had a small victory tonight too. Also included in this assignment is a page regarding the egg project (again another good use of time). Damon swears it isn't due tomorrow, but I'm not convinced (considering his track record). After a lot of sighs, he finally said, "Fine" in a 'I hate you, but I'll do it or you're never going to shut up' tone. Hate is probably a strong word, but at almost 13 I'm pretty sure that's what he's thinking. He got it done! He really did it and it's almost a full page long! Did I mention we also studied his Spanish words? We only went through them once, but still he let me quiz him and I didn't even get an eye roll! V-I-C-T-O-R-Y, that's a mamma's battle cry! And because he got his homework done and still had time...I let him play a little PS3. Anyway, when was the last time you weighed something in NEWTONS? Or measured something in centimeters? Just curious.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

School, Baseball and Chorus

Oh geez...... middle school and an almost teenager. I don't think I'm going to make it. You don't know how serious I am about this (well, you probably have an idea if you're Heather and Stacey). I say if you're a stay-at-home mom now and you think you'll go back to working outside the home when your kids are older....well, I say you've got it backwards. You and your kids need you home more when they are older than when they are younger in my not-so-professional opinion.  I can't type any more about his subject or I'll cry (Yes, cry (again). It's been one of those days.)

Damon had a baseball game tonight. He was totally off. May have been something to do with our long discussion (and by discussion I mean me talking and him not answering) about schoolwork, priorities, and importance of applying oneself. Anyway, they tied it up when we were leaving and we got a sigh, eye roll and a whiney "do I have to" when we pulled him from the field. Needless to say he wasn't too thrilled with me to begin with so imagine his "love" for me now.

Chorus, he went in with his sleeves rolled down. Came out with them rolled up along with the 4 other boys around him. I'm quite sure they planned it. They all had blue shirts and I'm fairly certain they were the same outfits they all wore for the fall concert. If the other parents are like me, why buy another tie, dress pants and button up shirt that they won't wear unless they have to. Anyway, by the last song...and the most fun with a lot of movement, he was getting in to it. He's actually a pretty good little dancer....a step up from his father's sprinkler moves I think. Very animated, I wish he would do a school play. Maybe next year....

It was beautiful out today....hopefully tomorrow is just as nice as Grandpa Leo and Barb come tomorrow and Damon has another baseball game.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Grandma Trish and Another Clean Closet

Grandma Trish came down on Thursday. She got to pick him up from school and we all went Damon's game Thursday night. Friday night we were suppose to have another game, but the field was too wet. It worked out ok because then we all got to go to Uncle Tim's and celebrate Kim's graduation from RN school. They grilled out and we had a few laughs and came home. Saturday Trish left, Damon went to a friend's house and Terry went to watch the Kentucky Derby at PM. I'm not a big fan of Prairie Meadows (or gambling in general), so I stayed home and cleaned another closet! YAHOO! I didn't take a before picture (too embarrassing! Seriously, stuff would fall out at you), but I am so proud of the after. I threw away a few things and have some items to take to Goodwill. I'm happy each time I open that darn closet! You can even see the floor and I have some empty shelf space!!! Damon spent the night at Matt's house. They play on the same baseball team this year and have become buds, it awesome to watch boys make friendships...sorry, but there's no girl drama. Matt B., Nick C. and Damon hung out most of the day and in to the night. Nick had to go home, but they "camped out" at Matt's and I say it with quotes because they took an extension cord and hooked up a TV, PS3, XBOX and a heater (is that safe?!?). They had 20 blankets and really didn't go out there until well after midnight. He had a great time and kept texting us the next day trying to extend his stay....we finally picked him up at 1:00 p.m.