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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?


Wordless Wednesday: New Specs

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, February 25, 2015


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!









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.  


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:


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!


Hey February, where’s your winter?

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sunday was February 8, a mere six days after good ole Phil saw his shadow and decided we'd be having six more weeks of winter.

I don't mean to be cruel, but I don't think that rodent knows what its talking about.

Look at that picture above. I took that on Sunday while Bill and I were scrabbling around the Colorado National Monument. I wasn't even wearing a jacket.

Sunday we hiked, we rode the motorcycle, we even stood around outside drinking cocktails with friends at Peach Street Distillery. It was glorious.

It was a beautiful spring day ... but it's not spring, it's the dead of winter. Only winter didn't get the memo or decided to take off early because we aren't having a winter anymore.

I feel bad enjoying our temperate climate and am thankful that we aren't suffering below-freezing cold and snowy driving conditions but there will be a price to pay. No snow = no water. No water = no good.

Instead of celebrating our lovely days, I feel like I should be doing a daily rain/snow dance and working on new compounds for seeding clouds. But since my dancing has only inspired pointing and laughing and my science is no better than my dancing, I'm just going to go ahead and enjoy the good weather while simultaneously worrying about what's going to happen this summer.


Throwback Thursday: First Day of Preschool

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, January 29, 2015


The Book Report News

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Soren came to me last weekend and said he had a great idea for his book report project. He wanted to be a TV newscaster and I should video it for him.

On the designated night, Soren came down in a suit and tie. He even found some dress shoes. I tried to keep my motherly guidance to a minimum. At one point though, he started going on and on about valium. I sat behind the camera, eyebrows raising and raising as he gave a very strange description of the mother in this book who apparently took valium a lot. I nixed most of that part of his speech. I mean, what the heck is his teacher going to think? He insisted it was an essential part of the plot so we compromised as you'll see in the video.

I let him help me do the editing last night. He really likes transitions and made sure there were many fancy extras. Who doesn't love a good transition to jazz up a newscast.

Anyway, here's Soren presenting The BRN (Book Report News).


Throwback Thursday: Baby Kip

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, January 22, 2015

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