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By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I really want to be a good mom. When my boys look back on their childhood I want them to say "Wow, I had a good mom."
But being a good mom is much more than tickle fiestas and perfecting the art of making the perfect PB and J.
It means brushing teeth, enforced hair washing and set bed times. It means being the bad guy more than you'd like. It means doing everything you can to keep them safe.
That's why I made sure to find the time to have their car seats checked at the Mesa County Health Department's free child safety seat check.
Installing a car seat is not common sense. I thought I could do it without any help. The more I drove around the looser the seats became. There was obviously something wrong and no matter how much I fiddled with the seat belts I just couldn't get them tight enough.
I learned that you have to pull the seat belt all the way out until it stops then feed it back in as you install the seat. The belt will make a "ratcheting" sound when you have it right. I also learned that car seats have expiration dates and they need replaced after just a couple of years.
I feel so much better knowing that my boys are as safe as I can possibly make it in the car. It's worth finding the half hour it takes to have your seats checked. Not having them checked could have fatal consequences.
The Mesa County Health Department
has car seat checks each Friday on a drop-in basis and by appointment each Wednesday.
By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 29, 2007
The Halloween season is upon us. Everywhere you look there are ghosts and goblins.
And this holiday has definitely spread from a "single-day" holiday to having its own "season." That means, of course, more opportunities to dress up as whatever you're creative mind can conjure on more than just one day a year.
This past weekend we attended two Halloween style parties and because it's the Halloween season, Margaret wanted to dress up.
Much earlier this month, I ordered her a costume online, giving plenty of time for it to arrive even if it had been shipped via slow turtle from India. But as things are loath to happen, the costume didn't arrive. We waited for the mail and then headed down to Mad Margaret's Costume Shop to see what we could find for me at the last minute.
This is what we ended up with:
I was pleased that she agreed to something as banal as a Gothic princess as the lure of being Hannah Montana
was pretty strong this year.
Also this weekend, I baked.
I can make food.
I just usually choose not to.
I made brownies (OK they were from a box, but they were still good) and I made these complicated, filled cookies all. by. myself. ... from scratch. Bill didn't even help me figure out how to measure a cup and a half of peanut butter.
The last Halloweeny activity we accomplished this weekend was the Carvin' o' the Pumpedkin. (Margaret still says "pumpedkin" — Aw!)
I think it turned out well. Bill cleaned the pumpkin, Mar drew the face and I carved it. I true family affair.
Oh the fun of the Halloween season!
By Robin Dearing
Friday, October 26, 2007
Things I have said in the past week:
"Don’t make me come in there."
"Don’t jump on the couch!"
"Don’t hit your sister!"
"Don’t play with the dog food!"
"Where’s your sister?"
"Did you poop?"
"Don't' step in the poop!"
"Do you act this way at school?"
"I don’t want to have to tell your Daddy how you’ve acted."
"We're not going to buy any toys today. Christmas is coming."
I don’t think I have actually ever uttered, "Wait until your father gets home!," but I’m sure that one’s coming.
Click here to read more from Blonde Mom Jamie.
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, October 25, 2007
We've written here before about the wide array of mommy blogs to be found in cyberspace. I personally read two or three each day. I like to hear what other moms have to say about being a mom.
Parenthood is so much different that I thought it was going to be and it's nice to know that other moms have issues similar to mine.
As more and more moms write their stories for untold numbers of people to read on the Internet, the realization has come that there's a big market for successful bloggers du mommyhood. Some like, Heather Armstrong at dooce.com
, are able to provide a steady income off of advertising on her blog.
On the other hand, I've read some who find the idea of making money from ads that run alongside their personal maternal experiences as loathsome. Personally, I have no issue with people making money off their blogs. I'm under no obligation to click on their advertisements, so it doesn't bother me one bit.
I was interested to read this article
sent to us by The Daily Sentinel's managing editor.
This story talks about how and why some women blog and even gives tips on blogging dos and don'ts.
This article also introduces a new blog written by Colorado moms, milehighmamas.com,
which features Annie Payne — a contributor to the Sentinel's Charm page and an established blogger in her own right. And that's the great thing about cyberspace, there's always room for more!
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The one black mark on our trip to D.C.
was Margaret's health. The day we flew across the country she started coughing ... and continued coughing the whole time we were there.
She coughed through the Capitol tour, she coughed as we admired the Leonardo da Vinci portrait
in the west wing of the National Gallery and as we watching the Alexander Calder mobiles
in the east wing. Hack, hack, hack as we walked around Whistler's Peacock Room
at the Freer Gallery. She coughed all the way home.
Monday I took her to the doctor who said that 80 percent of the patients he'd seen that day had the same cough, sometimes accompanied by a running nose, sometimes not. He warned us against using over-the-counter cough medicine
and gave us a prescription for some with codeine.
She's resting more now and even feels pretty good during the day, but she's still coughing.
Richie's discussion yesterday about being a stay-at-home mom or a working mom
is never more relevant than when you have a sick kid.
Bill and I don't have family here and we both work full time. So what do we do with a sick kid?
During the summer, sick kids are Bill's territory because he's a teacher. During the school year he can't stay home, because he's a teacher. To minimize the time I have to take off from my job here at the Sentinel, we split the day.
I come to work in the morning and work until just before lunchtime and then race home to allow Bill time enough to get to work before his classes start.
It's not a perfect solution, we're both harried, but it works.
Most weekdays, I don't mind being a full-time working mom, but these sick days always leaving me longing for the freedom of being able to stay home with my daughter.
I don't work because I want to, I work because I have to. Sometimes life makes the hard choices for you.
Oh and if you're interested, I posted some more pictures from our trip to D.C. over here. I mention this because I just found the Web site, picnik.com, which is a free (for now) photo Web site that allows you do some fun stuff with your pictures. Plus it's really easy to use. Check it out.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
My days as a stay-at-home mom are now numbered. I've vowed to spend the next few weeks playing with my boys more and spending less time cooking and cleaning.
Going back to work after maternity leave is hard and this time even more so as I'm leaving even more behind. I'm a bit of a control freak (understated) and if it weren't for a trusted family member there is no way I could return to The Daily Sentinel. With her help, I can monitor both of my kids' well-being, be home for all meals, still breastfeed Jonas and bring home the bacon. I have never left them for more than 4 hours at a time and I'm hoping to keep that the status quo until kindergarten.
Now that I've seen both sides the decades old debate of who has it better, the stay-at-home mom or the working mom, the pros and cons of each are continually running in my head.
SAHMs deserve all the respect in the world. From the outside it seems so easy. No boss, no deadlines and endless amounts of time to get things done and spend time with the kids.
But the reality goes something like this: Wake up and feed the kids, change the diapers, get them dressed and perhaps run an errand before returning home to start the cycle all over again. Often by 1 p.m. little else is done other than meals and clean-up. At nap time, a SAHM runs the vacuum and begins planning dinner. Perhaps she pays some bills or makes a few phone calls to schedule appointments. She picks up the house. She writes her blog.
Then there are those damn gorillas. A SAHM spends a lot of time discussing gorillas, the noises they make, the dances they do and how they say goodnight. Or maybe she discusses how Elmo uses the potty or that the cow says Mooo.
At dinner time she may find herself having very little to say except what cute things the kids did today or the new recipe she saw on America's Test Kitchen. Maybe she'll comment about how skinny Kelly is and wonder aloud to the hubby about why Regis doesn't do something about it. Yeah, the hubby doesn't care but listens politely as he devours this new pork chop recipe.
Isolation is very hard and now I know why there are so many mommy groups out there. Moms have to get out sometimes to discuss grown up things. But, there aren't a lot of people to hang out with because most are at work. Besides, if I were truly a SAHM there wouldn't be any extra income to spend in order to pass the time.
I will say staying at home is much less stressful than working. Being stressed about missing socks or scraped knees is much easier than the worries of lawsuits and the responsibility to the public to convey accurate and timely information. Perhaps it's unique to the media business but hearing about fatal car accidents and child molesting clowns all day really gets to a person sometimes. Working at a newspaper is stressful.
In some ways going back to work will be a nice break from my boys. But on the other hand leaving my boys at home with someone else is stressful too. I worry about them when we are apart.
A working mom has more money but less time to pay bills or schedule and attend appointments. Cleaning, laundry and meals are all still waiting to be done when a working mom gets home.
Working moms have to make sure their kids still know all the nuances of the gorilla.
And they have to feed their babies at 3 a.m. and still perform well in the office without anyone knowing how truly truly tired they are.
Being a SAHM is a 24-hour job but being a WM is 24 minus 8. Conclude what you will.
See ya'll soon!
By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 22, 2007
Bill, Margaret and I just got back from a trip to Washington D.C.
Bill had a conference, so Mar and I decided to tag along ... definitely one of the best decisions we made in a while.
I'd been to D.C. many times while I was in graduate school at Penn State — a mere three-hour drive away. Bill had visited before, too. This was, of course, Margaret's first time.
I love D.C. for so many different reasons. And I was hoping Margaret would love her time there as well.
That fact that it's our nation's capitol makes all my patriotic tendencies come bubbling to the surface, especially when I think about how our country was founded and all the things that I've been able to accomplish because I live in this country. Knowing that my daughter will have opportunities that are not afforded women in other parts of the world is something of which I'm very proud.
Plus there's a sense of history that is made palpable by the grandeur of the architecture. The monuments that line the mall are on such a scale as to remind us of the great accomplishments by some truly great Americans.
The dot on the exclamation point that is the dramatic power of Washington D.C. has got to be the U.S. Capitol
building. It dominates the skyline with its impressive dome and colonnaded facade.
Luckily for Margaret and I, Bill had the foresight to call Sen. Ken Salazar's office in D.C. and set up a tour of the building.
I knew that tours were available, I just never figured out how you got one. It's as easy as calling your elected representatives. Did you know that? I hadn't a clue.
At the time of our tour, our group (which included Bill's colleagues) headed over to the senator's office in a building near the Capitol. A lovely intern, Beatrice, took us over to the Capitol via a series of underground passages and even a mini subway system used to transport congressmen back and forth between the Capitol and their offices.
Again, I had no clue that congressmen get their own public transportation. Maybe I'm just slow.
Inside the Capitol we were presented with wonderful artwork and more amazing architecture.
I loved the Brumidi Corridors
on the Senate side of the building.
The level of intricacy and detail was astounding. A true feast for the eyes.
We all enjoyed by the statuary hall. Not just because of the lovely sculptures, but because of its acoustical properties.
Originally the statuary hall was location of the desks of the representatives. That was until it was discovered that it was a whispering gallery.
This is a phenomenon that allows a person to whisper on one side of the room and be heard on another side.
Despite the fact that the hall was filled with many tour groups, we were able to hear our tour guide as she stood on the other side of the hall. We were all pretty amazed when her voice seemed to be beamed down right on top of us from a very far distance and heard over the top of, at least, 75 other people.
But that's how the whole experience was for us — amazing. The elegance, remarkable detail and the utter care taken in the creation of our nation's Capitol is truly a wonderful sight to behold.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"Why is the rum always gone?"
Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp
It's been a week. And that's all I have to say about that.
And when it's been a week, I think of a nice long hike followed by a nice glass of wine. Or a dirty martini. Last night's 50% off wine list dinner at Il Bistro Italiano helped. Thank you, honey!
I'm not saying that alcohol can solve your problems. It just makes them more distant, and they seem more trivial by your second glass. I wasn't driving and I'm big on responsible drinking, so please don't lecture me about all that. It's just that my Mojo is out of whack lately and so I turn to wine instead of whine. Everybody's happier.
In case you haven't checked it out yet, you need to tune in to Dave Buchanan's blog, WINE OPENERS
.The man knows what he's talking about and always has great wine suggestions. But he's never answered the question of what he does with all those bottles of wine he gets in the mail at the office.
Maybe he can answer the question about the rum.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
As much as I try to weasel my way into Margaret's psyche, she shuts the weasel hole and leaves me out in the cold. I would love to dress her in black turtlenecks and black Chuck Taylors, but she just won't have it.
So, I've stopped trying to force my way in and let her find her own way of expression. And the more I loosen the reigns, the more she's apt to follow. This revelation has been very fun for us.
Early in the year Bill bought Mar a cheap pair of slip on tennis shoes to wear to school. so cheap in fact that the insole has started to deteriorate and cause Mar no end of discomfort.
This weekend I took her to find a new pair of shoes. We looked through rack after rack of shoes, sorting through the shoes with all the rhinestones, silver foil and Bratz logos. My goal was a shoe that was most comfortable and too ugly.
As we walked down the aisles, I would point out ones that I thought she would like and some that I liked. She'd veto the ones I liked the most and try to talk me into ones with so plastic and things dangling off of them they looked more the an ornament for Liberace then a pair of athletic shoes.
Finally she picked up a pair of Vans
that were black, white and neon pink. I held my breath ... was she mocking me. They were adorably cute and exactly like something that I liked and knew her dad would love ... a skateboard shoe.
After trying on the size 2.5 pair and the size 3 pair about 15 times each, she assured me that the 2.5 was perfect.
I ran to the register, sure that she was going to change her mind at any moment.
I think her change in taste is due to the fact that she's inundated with the images and Bill and I love and it's just seeped into her impressionable brain.
For example, Friday I bought Margaret a little "Thanks for being such a swell kid" surprise gift. When she saw this gift, she proclaimed that I was the "best mother ever."
I was going for "coolest" mom ever, but I'll take the "best."
Cute huh? Yeah, they are cheapy stick on fake nails and lasted a total of 2 minutes once she actually started using her fingers for any activity other than fashion modeling.
Oh well, they were cute while they lasted.
Happy Birthday, Mom!
Thanks for everything. Hope you have a great day!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
It’s been a sad week in our house because we’re missing Asher. Our little puppy made it through his ordeal but he is now living with some employee of the emergency vet clinic. I still think the way the staff handled things there was really pretty crappy but I’m dealing with that through other channels. We’ll get another puppy someday but we’ll never forget Asher. How could we?
"Can somebody help me up here?"
"A little nap never hurt."
Alex insists on keeping the crate in his room until he gets another puppy. He won’t even consider moving it to the garage. Fine with me. Asher thought it was pretty cozy.
Many thanks to all of you out there who called or commented with support and encouragement and righteous anger about the whole series of events. It was really uplifting to see so many nuggets of goodness in the people we know.
So . . . Alex went to homecoming this past weekend and I get no information from him, as you know. I pumped his friends for a few details and it sounds like it was the typical high school dance scenario - high on drama, low on actual dancing. Alex did a great job arranging the social agenda for the evening, complete with whose parents would drive who, when and where. Good job son!
His plans also included having about five of his friends back to our house after the dance for an evening of Halo 3. All I have to say about that is that any conversation you have with a group of teenagers that includes the phrase, “We didn’t think it would actually start on fire” does not bode well.
The fall weather is beautiful. I managed to fit in a hike with my sisters before the rain came this weekend. If all goes as planned we’ll be going on a long overdue camping trip this weekend. One of these days I’m sure I’ll have a working toilet in my master bathroom. So life goes on, and you suck up the bad stuff and remember there is, at the end of the day, a lot more good.