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Betsy Ross flag cake and good riddance to preschool snacks

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, May 18, 2015

Last week I was celebrating the joy of the end of preschool snacks.

When Soren started preschool I was an over zealous mom who poured time into preschool snacks wanting nothing more than to blow those little tykes away with my use of green grapes and mini marshmallows. If anything, I impressed myself and thought for sure I was nailing it on every snack day.

As the years have gone by, six of them by-the-way, my enthusiasm for preschool snacks has waned. Often, (gasp), I brought fishy crackers and apple juice. A few times, I even forgot to bring snack at all. (I know.)

Marek brought his last preschool snack last week. We went with carrots, dip and crackers. Not fancy. But, I presented them to the teacher with a huge grin on my face. No more preschool snacks — EVER!! Good riddance.

That very day, Jonas came home and informed me that we need to make Revolutionary War cupcakes for his book report project.

Waaa — waaaa .....

How does one even make a cupcake to represent the Revolutionary War? They didn't even have cupcakes back then did they?

And Pinterest was no help. There is not a category called "Revolutionary War" baking. I checked.

But I did stumble on a few flag cakes and convinced Jonas that it would be perfect if we added some mini marshmallows to make a Betsy Ross flag.

He loved it.

I'm going to Pin it just in case some other poor mama is out there searching for how to represent the Revolutionary War with cake. I doubt it, but you never know.

1 comments

Haute Mamas Day!

By Robin Dearing
Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day was Sunday. How did you celebrate?

Us? We went out to breakfast. It was yummy. Instead of buying cards and candy, my mom and I usually get our annual flowers and plant our spring pretties. But our crazy, cold and rainy weather put those plans on hold until we we permanently thaw out.

But all was not lost ... not at all. The Colorado Mesa University baseball team was slated to play Metro State University for the Rocky Mountain Athlectic Conference championship at noon.

Considering that Bill and I have been quite obsessed with CMU baseball, spending the day watching CMU take the championship in a nailbiter that went to the bottom of the ninth was a happy way to spend a day dedicated to mothters.

Next to CMU's win, the best part of the game was seeing this mama:

Yep, Richie and I spent our Mother's Day on the bleachers. Well, actually, Richie and her family were on the bleachers on the home team side. Our little group insists on sitting on the visitor's side. Not because we enjoy cheering alongside the visiting fans, but because the visiting side has nicer seats. 

Yes, I sit on the visiting side because the seats are more comfortable. I'm old, I get it.

The worst part of sitting on the visiting side was suffering the disdain of Richie's boys. They were mortified that any true fan would choose comfort over loyalty.

Luckily, Jonas and Marek braved the visitor's side to come visit with us:

I loved having a little time to catch up with Richie and to see her boys in person. Add that to the CMU win and I call that a Happy Mother's Day!

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Wa? Lawn Care

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, April 27, 2015

The boys started their own business over Spring Break. It's called Wa? Lawn Care.


But seriously, don't hire these guys. I've tried to hire them a thousand times to get yard work done at our house and they rarely show, are easily distracted, and leave the work undone.

If you need a cardboard sign though, they're all about it.

2 comments

April is Addison’s disease awareness month

By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

“When you were sick two years ago, did you read that last Jane Austen novel you haven’t read yet?"

Margaret asked me this question out of the blue one afternoon when she and I were out to lunch.

It took me a while to figure out what she was really asking.

Years ago, when I was explaining my love for Jane Austen’s novels, I told Margaret that I had read all her books, except one. I’m saving that one last novel as a treat for when I was sick, old and/or dying.

“I didn’t think I was dying,” was my reply.

“I did,” she said plainly.

That was like a proverbial dagger to my heart.

Two years ago this spring, I was sick and no one could figure out why. For months, I went to doctor and after doctor, enduring test after test that revealed nothing that could lead to a diagnosis.

Luckily, my primary-care doctor admitted me to the hospital. When the admitting doctor heard my story, he immediately had an idea what was wrong with me. That doctor saved my life because he remembered the symptoms of a rare disease of the endocrine system.

I have Addison’s disease.

Addison’s disease is a rare disease that affects 1 in 100,000 people. That’s 10 in a million. Here in the Grand Valley, there are probably 3 of us.

My adrenal glands were attacked by my autoimmune system which destroyed my adrenal cortex. They no longer produce cortisol nor aldosterone.

Everyone need these hormones to continue living. I take oral steroids to replace them.

If I stop taking those meds, I die. That is a sobering reality.

Figuring out the  correct dosing and timing to take my meds is a giant guessing game. Getting it exactly right is close to impossible. This disease is rare and little research is done because there’s no money to be made from it.

Living with this disease is like having a hit man constantly on my tail. I’m savvy enough to take my medications, but I have to be constantly thinking about what I need to be doing to prevent my own death. I have to constantly be avoiding my body’s hit man.

But that’s not even the worst part of this disease.

The worst part is that Margaret had to witness my illness and decline. My daughter has to watch my daily struggle with this disease. The best I can hope for is an almost-normal remainder of my life.

For more information, click here.

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Update: Another girl named Richie!

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I was at CMU today walking along minding my own business when a guy yells out — "Hey Richie!"

I don't know who he is so I'm sure I smirked. A girl walks up to talk to him for a sec, then turns away. He calls out again "Hey, Richie." And they chat again.

Uh, the 'hell?

So I caught up with her and asked if I had heard right, that her name was indeed Richie just like mine.

And it was. Spelled the same and everything.

Of course, we were both blown away because I'd say it's probably one of the most uncommon names for a female ever. I've never, ever met another girl named Richie. I've even searched Facebook and only found a rodeo cowgirl named Richie Ann who lives in Canada.

This new Richie gave me a HUGE hug, and then we took a selfie. We were mutually excited.

Here we are : Two gals honestly named Richie.

What are the odds of intersecting paths with another girl named Richie right here in Grand Junction? It makes you wonder how the world works, don't it?

1 comments

15 years and counting

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

On this day 15 years ago, I made quite possibly the best decision of my life. I married this guy:

We've had our ups and downs, our highs and lows, but we've also had a whole lotta laughs. I know that I've laughed more days than I haven't over the past 15 years thanks to Bill. 

Happy anniversary, Bill. Here's to at least 15 more!

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Moab just gives and gives

By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Not to let y'all think I just sat in our camper crying over my dead pup, I wanted to share the highlight of our trip to Moab over the weekend.

I've been to Moab several times in my 18 years in western Colorado. I've visited Arches National Park and finally made the hike to Delicate Arch and we've driven through the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park. But I had never made it down to the Needles section of that beautiful national treasure. We fixed that last Saturday.

It's a longer drive south to Needles, but there are two very cool things to see on the way. The first is the Hole N" the Rock which is a delightful roadside tourist stop. 

The Hole N" the Rock was the home to a couple who carved their house out of the bottom of a rock cliff with dynamite. They even ran a diner out of the front portion of the hole. Along with the interior of the house, you can also tour the kitsch-filled grounds where you can see bigfoot and a spaceship. For another entrace fee, you can visit their little zoo.

Not only can you view their menagerie, but you can feed them as well:

Looks fun, huh?

Trekking south from Moab to the south entrance of Canyonlands is a stark, desolate landscape dotted with the rock formations that makes the area famous. Just outside the park's entrace, we stopped to visit Newspaper Rock. I love looking at remnants of bygone civilizations. Petroglyphs fascinate me and this rock wall it pretty impressive.

I would like to take this moment to apologize for the giant glob of mayonaise that I left in the parking lot from where I dropped our jar and busted the lid while trying to make myself a sandwich.

From Newspaper Rock, it's just a short jaunt into the park. 

The views are fabulous. And I have to give my husband credit. When Bill saw this above-pictured rock formation, he said it looked like a shoe. I poo-pooed him and said it looked more like a train engine. Then we came around the corner to see the sign pointing out the Wooden Shoe overlook. You were right, honey!

While Needles has less scenic roadway than Island in the Sky, it's a different type of landscape. Worth the drive. I give it my two thumbs up.

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My dog days are over

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When our friends invited us to join them camping in Moab last weekend, we jumped at the opportunity. Spring is the best time to visit Utah's desert landscape.

Last week was our spring break, so we had plenty of time to get my mom's rv out of storage and get it ready to go for the first time this year. 

We made the quick trip across the Utah border on Thursday and found our campground. As we began to set up camp, we put out our chairs and lantern and our campstove. Among our gear, we came across the long leash and corkscrew we used to keep Quincy from roaming into neighboring campsites. Her bowls were in there, too. 

It was bittersweet camping without our dog for the first time in 14 years.

We had to have Quincy put down last November. The one truly terrible thing about having pets is their short life span. 

Since I work mostly at home, my pets are my constant companions. In the months since Quincy's death, I've missed her marble-like eyes staring at me, begging for attention and treats. I miss the way she'd lie behind my chair while I worked or sought out any spot of sun to warm her old bones. 

She and I walked countless miles around our neighborhood. I knew exactly which shrubs and curbs at which she would insist on stopping.

We've been asked if we were going to get another dog. No. I don't want another dog. 

Yes, it would be nice to have a walking campanion and to have a dog to take camping, but I have no desire to start all over with the training or to deal with a dog in general. I would be very unhappy if we ended up with a dog that barked or bit or shed all over the place. I'm over the dog smell and the dog poop and the idea of having yet another responsibility.

Quincy was not a perfect pet, but I loved her just the way she was. My dog days are over.

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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

3 comments
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