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Best friends

By Robin Dearing
Friday, March 20, 2015

I've always been the disciplinarian in our house. I was the one who laid down the law, who enforced the rules, who did most of the yelling (both when it was needed and sometimes just because I'm a jerk who yells too much). 

Bill has always been the fun parent. He was the one who made the jokes, who was silly, who wrestled and laughed at fart jokes while I stood by like a disapproving rabbit. 

Bill still is the fun one. He makes my days so much better. He's an eternal optimist and helps me to see that everything will be OK even through sickness and sadness. He does so with a joke and a hug. He's been my best friend since I met him over 15 years ago. 

He and I have been a good parenting team, too. Our kid is a full-on teenager now. The teenage years are difficult for all those involved, but our kid is really taking it easy on us. She's doing great in school and will even be seen with us in public. We actually spend a lot of time together. We're so lucky.

Now that Margaret isn't a little kid anymore, she and I have forged a friendship underneath the blanket of our mother-daughter relationship. She and I have our own jokes and little dances, now. I love it. She and I are two peas in a pod. I love hanging out with her. She's funny as hell.  

Here's a picture Bill took last night, nothing terribly unusual for us:

Can you read Mar's comment? It says, "That moment when your mother is your best friend."

She's the best ... a best friend a momma could ever want.

1 comments

Wordless Wednesday: Photo illustration

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

1 comments

A few kid-movie reviews

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE OUT OF WATER"

 

I took Jonas and Marek to the "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" movie last weekend.

I tried so hard to get out of seeing this movie in the theater. So hard. I've been asked nearly every day since the beginning of the year until I finally caved. I am not a SpongeBob fan. He's annoying. I hate his laugh and I hate that the storyline is basically the same thing over and over again in each and every episode. But mostly, I hate his laugh.

Regardless, I figured it couldn't be that bad and much to my regret I ponied up $40 to see it. I can't even believe I actually spend $40 on SpongeBob. The things I do for these kids, I swear.

In this movie, like every other SpongeBob episode, something happens to the crabbypatty secret formula. Movie twist though — the Chum Bucket didn't steal it. Whoaaaa. So, SpongeBob teams up with Plankton to prove his innocence.

It took about half an hour to lay-out this truly complicated twist in the plot for kiddos. I'm pretty sure SpongeBob laughed about a million times. I ate my fill of popcorn, went to the bathroom a couple of times.

Then there was some more plot stuff. And I passed out. Cold. Right there in my seat. I never did see SpongeBob get out of the water. Most expensive nap ever! I woke up to clapping children who apparently thought it was the fantastic because they were having a spontaneous dance party front of the screen. Well, good for you SpongeBob, hope you like my $40.

 

"ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY"

I wouldn't have minded paying for this movie in the theater. Or, rather, I would have minded less.

Of course, I made the boys read the book first. The movie was very, very loosely based on the book. I mean, as in the main character has a bad day and he likes Australia.

This movie fit perfectly into the "family-movie" format. Crazy situations, resolve of those situations in a really good way. Everybody wins and everybody is happy. I'm not Jennifer Garner's biggest fan, but I actually thought she did a pretty good job playing a stressed-out mom. Steve Carell, of course, funny. This movie made me laugh at times and I stayed awake for the whole thing. That's a thumbs up in my book.

"THE BOOK OF LIFE"

The "Book of LIfe" is okay. It's not thumbs-up the best or thumbs-down the worst ... it's okay. I've seen it twice because Marek convinced me to buy it because he thinks it's AWESOME!!!!

In this one, the main character, Manolo, sets out to find his true love through a series of fantasy worlds. It has excellent graphics and animation. Really pretty at times and I love all the references to Spanish culture, especially the Day of the Dead scenes. But, the story itself is kind of boring. The writing is not clever and basically just leads through plot.

And, there's this thing about the music. This show incorporated every single popular Top 40 tune whether it fits the movie or not. It's very song heavy and after awhile I found it annoying.

But, I watched it from the comfort of my couch and was able to distract myself with something else when the songs started playing, again.

It's worth a rent but not a buy.

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‘Normal’ is becoming a thing of the past

By Robin Dearing
Friday, March 6, 2015

This week was supposed to be an easy one for me. Margaret only had to go to school one day for standardized testing. I only had to get up early once. I had planned on sleeping in, working, exercising, hanging out with Mar.

It didn’t work out that way. Instead, I had one of the most stressful weeks I can remember.

At band practice Tuesday night, I started feeling dizzy and weak. I couldn’t remember songs I had just practiced. Two days into the week and I was already stressed to the point of becoming ill.

Too much stress, not enough cortisol.

I should have known that the stress of dealing with all the crap I had to deal with on Monday and Tuesday was too much. I should have known I needed to take more medication. I should have …

I’ve been living with Addison’s disease for almost two years now and I still feel like I have no idea how to control it. I’m still always surprised when I start feeling sick.

Then once I am feeling sick, it’s too late. All I can do is double up my doses and hope it’s enough.

But the reality is that it’s not always enough.

I’m a member of several support groups for people with Addison’s and adrenal insufficiency online. Two women from these support groups died from this disease recently. One was 21, the other 45.

21 and 45 are too young for a disease that the textbooks say is easily managed with oral steroids. Obviously, those textbooks never had to live with this disease — neither did the people who wrote those textbooks.

Our little disease is so ill regarded. We have no celebrities with it. Just us regular people trying to live our regular lives.

Normally, Addison’s is just one part of me. “Normally” meaning the easy days when everything goes right and life is a breeze. “Normally” is becoming a thing of fiction.

1 comments

Grounding

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, March 2, 2015

I hate grounding just as much my kids do because it means that I'm grounded too.

But, what else to do? Grounding is the final weapon in my arsenal of discipline. I hate to use it, but at some point a kid does something that requires a stiff punishment. In our house, grounding means no television, no social activities, no family outings, and a slew of chores. This time it also included a letter of apology to a teacher for acting up in class.

Most of the time grounding is pretty effective in our house. The boys understand that when we ground someone, we mean business.

To tell the truth though, I'm terrible at the discipline thing. I let stuff slide. I've giggled when I should have been serious. I've threatened and then never followed-up. I've handed out light-punishments for harder crimes. And, I hate to use grounding because it means I've just grounded myself.

Can't my kids just be good? Or, is there a more effective form of discipline that I'm missing?

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Wordless Wednesday: New Specs

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, February 25, 2015

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Review: Grand Valley Climbing Center

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This crazy weather. One day we're hiking in the sun in shorts and T-shirts and the next huddling next to the fireplace in our fleece pajama pants. Best of both worlds I guess. 

The cold days brought us to the new Grand Valley Climbing Center.

My boys absolutely LOVE it there. Yes, that's LOVE with capital letters and shouting emphasis.

I was reluctant at first because I thought it meant I would spend hours tethered to the boys, belaying them until my hands bled. I envisioned the fights over whose turn it was, how long they got to climb, etc., etc.

So, imagine my mommy joy when they showed us the auto-belay system. Oh, how I fell in LOVE with auto-belay. It's basically a giant pulley that does the belay work. It eliminates the need for a climbing partner.

It means that all three boys can climb wherever they want without the heavy oversight. And I can sit on a comfy bench sipping water, or assisting minimally with a stuck carabiner here and there.

Next to that though, the staff is great. I appreciate a really good staff. Super friendly, laid-back young climbers more than happy to assist us in putting on shoes or adjusting harnesses. They stop to chat, introduce themselves, give the kids climbing tips.

One price allows the kids to climb all day. All Day! Last weekend, the kids climbed for nearly 3 hours, took a break for dinner, and came back for 2 more hours in the evening. We certainly got our money's worth.

Climbing is a great activity for three boys. It tests their strength and their courage. My boys leave the gym feeling more confident ... and tired.

It looks like the snow and dreary weather might be around for awhile. Take advantage and try climbing with your kids. Auto-belay I tell ya, is a wonderful thing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who’s the jerk?

By Robin Dearing
Friday, February 20, 2015

Today was the second day in a row that I was stuck behind the same very-slow driver on my way to take Margaret to school. I commented on how slow the car was driving and even thought some bad thoughts about the driver as I tailgated him.

When I had the opportunity to pass, I made sure I looked into the car to see who was being such a jerk.

Turns out it was me who was being a jerk. The driver of the car was a kid, probably just turned 16 and was driving to school alone for the first time.

If I was that kid’s mom, I would be so happy he was taking his time and using his blinkers and obeying all the traffic laws properly. But I’m not that kid’s mom, I’m just another asshole driver who is more concerned with my own convenience than thinking about anyone else.

But isn’t that the way it is? Someone cuts you off, someone is driving too slow, too fast, someone waits too long at a green light … why won’t everyone just drive perfectly all of the time? What is wrong with people?

What is wrong with people is that we are people, flawed, imperfect beings. Sometimes we’re just assholes for either no good reason or sometimes because we have an excellent reason, but the result is still the same, assholery.

I make mistakes when I’m driving. I feel bad when I do, but it’s not like I follow the person home, make a formal apology and offer to buy them lunch. I’m just another one of those jerk drivers.

So, I’m going to work to become a more forgiving driver. If you have your blinker on, I’m going to let you over instead of speeding up. If you cut me off, I’m going to write it off as a mistake. If you are driving slow, I’m going to assume you have a reason.

As I mull this over and over, I can’t help but think there is a bigger lesson here. Something about the fact that people can never be perfect and we’re always going to make mistakes. From the outside, those mistakes make us look like jerks. But I think that’s all in one’s perception.

In the grand scheme of things, I want to stop immediately assuming everyone is a jerk. Instead, I’m going to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the people I come into contact with are just people doing what I’m doing, trying to get through their days.  

2 comments

Until we get some snow ...

By Robin Dearing
Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mar wants to go skiing. It hasn't snowed in a while, so we did this on Sunday:

2 comments

Happy Birthday! Now that’s enough.

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Soren turned nine-years-old last week.

Notice I was silent about it last week. I tried. I stared at this blank blog screen a dozen times and tried to find words for how it feels to have been a mother for nine years. I thought about just saying "Happy Birthday" with a picture. I thought about a Throwback Thursday to show you'all how much he's grown. I tried to write just an update post about what plans we had for his birthday and what kind of cake I should bake.

But, I just couldn't get anything out.

What I really want to do is bundle him up and keep my nine-year-old as close and safe to me as I possibly can. I want to protect him from all the things he's learning about and from outside world. I want to keep the teenage years at arm's length. I want this growing up stuff to stop.

But, it's not going to stop. So, I have to suck it up and just celebrate all the things that are wonderful about Soren being 9. So much wonderful, actually. He's a smart, funny boy who is willing to try anything and works hard at everything he does.

And I just so hope that he remembers these kid years as some of the best in his life. Happy Birthday SoJo!

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