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Thursday, March 15, 2007
It’s a scary world out there for parents of teenagers. And apparently it gets worse when they leave for college. There is an alarming new report
out about binge drinking and drug abuse. Although I might argue with myself about “new”.
College and drunken stupors go hand-in-hand. But I think the stakes are higher now, the drugs more addictive and dangerous and the consequences more severe. Or maybe it just seems that way because I’m on the other end of it now. Regardless, I don’t like it and it bothers me a great deal. What’s a mother to do? Or a father?
We talk to Alex frequently about the dangers of over-indulging in alcohol or recreational drugs. He's been told that too much is not fun and can kill you. And that death is a pretty permanent condition. I’ve told him about kids from my high school who drove drunk and one was killed and one is living in a wheelchair hooked up to machines that feed him and breathe for him. Not pretty.
And let’s face it. If you went to high school or college, chances are you drove drunk (or at least impaired) or were probably in a car with someone driving who was drunk or impaired. Statistically, you were just lucky if you made it home in one piece.
I think the statement in the article that college administrators say there is little they can do about the problem is total crap. Isn’t the legal drinking age everywhere in the U.S. 21? And aren’t most college students under that age until the year they graduate? I bet a couple of big busts would get their attention. And I’m not talking about the ones being flashed at spring break . . . that’s a whole other topic for another day.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
My parents are here for a visit and to watch Margaret for us while Bill and I travel to Austin this weekend. Monday I took the day off work so we could make the gorgeous drive through Gateway Canyon and to John Hendricks' car museum.
Anyone who's made that drive knows its splendor. It is so beautiful. I love that drive. It so characterizes the Western Colorado landscape with its diversity and utter beauty.
Then there's Hendricks' Gateway Canyons.
I have mixed emotions about the development out there. I feel for the people who have lived their lives peacefully among the statuesque spires. But I also love having another reason to go out there to visit ... and believe me, the car museum
is a great reason to make the drive.
My dad has always loved cars and I developed a love of cars, too. The history of the automobile is a history of innovation and speed and glamour ... and I could go on and on.
The collection that John Hendricks gathered is exceptional, with the $3.24 million Olds concept car
being the cherry on an already delicious cake. Each car in the museum is special and the way that they are displayed is wonderful.
It's a great place for an afternoon getaway.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
There are so many unmentionable uncomfortable aspects to pregnancy that I just have to look for the little positive and cool things. Here's one of them:
That sign is located in the K-Mart (Wait—is it called Big K now?) parking lot. There are two spaces reserved for pregnant mothers. How cool is that? I've never seen any other store that extends that courtesy. You would think that people would park there regardless of the sign but they really don't.
That parking space keeps me going back to K-Mart for my little stuff like cleaning supplies and nail polish on a regular basis.
I used it at Christmas, not really showing yet, and I felt a little embarrassed. But now that I have the rotund belly I intend to park there every chance I get for the next five months.
All stores should take note and add a few "mom of little people spaces". What mom couldn't use a little more room to drag the double wide stroller out of the trunk, unshackle the kids from the back seat, strap them in, search for the diaper bag, grab the purse, lock the doors, unlock doors to retrieve cell phone, lock the doors, unlock the doors to retrieve sippy cup, lock doors, and then finally get the stroller moving without getting hit by oncoming store traffic?
The WORST is when the occupants of the car next to you come up and stand there waiting to get into their car. I apologize but I can't really get out of the way fast enough much to my embarrassment.
I haven't seen that many businesses extend an extra courtesy to moms. My little City Market on First and Orchard insists I let them load my groceries for me when I'm pregnant or even toting Soren. That's pretty nice.
Motherhood Maternity offers a place for moms to breastfeed privately and without scorn or proof of purchase.
Anybody seen other cool "extras" put out there by businesses just for moms?
Monday, March 12, 2007
Sometimes I’m in serious need of a big-city fix. Grand Junction is a nice place to live, but we’re suffering more and more from big-city disadvantages without the corresponding advantages. We’ve got too much crime, too many drugs, burgeoning gang problems about which we seem to be in denial, traffic issues, growth issues, and on and on.
What we don’t have are the things I really like about big-cities that make all the other stuff tolerable. Lots of ethnic restaurant choices, upscale shopping, wide variety of entertainment options and people out and about on the city streets past 10:00 p.m. who are having fun legally.
Oh, boy - please don’t comment and tell me if I don’t like it here I can move. This is not a bitch session about GJ. I like living here. It’s my home for several more years at least. And yes, we have all the above-mentioned stuff, just not in large quantities.
It’s just that, cue the music, sometimes you want to go where nobody knows your name. And you want to go to a stadium that seats more than half the entire population of GJ and happily plunk down $6.00 for a nasty Budweiser. And go to more than one mall on any given day, and go to the other three the next day.
Alex and I were born and lived in big cities. He is definitely a big-city boy. He likes the action, the options, and the eating of gyros, curry, dim-sum and cannolis. He is fun to travel with and likes to go to lots of places once the destination is reached. He is equally happy to just hang out and veg in that same destination.
So our mini-excursion to Denver this weekend was good for both of us. I went to the mall, he shopped for lacrosse stuff with his dad. We all went to the Pepsi Center Saturday night to watch the Crush play arena ball. I never heard of it until a few hours before we went - it’s indoor football played on a 50-yard field. It was fun and we had a great time. Then we cruised downtown. Did some other city stuff on Sunday and then I drove back over the mountains while Alex stayed behind to enjoy more of the front-range with his dad. It was a really beautiful drive back and I saw one helluva sunset. Honestly though, I could have used another day in the big-city. It was a lot of driving for a short break.
I find myself kind of homesick for big city life. I could be suffering from a bit of grass-is-always-greener syndrome, but I’m not looking for a cure anytime soon. Next stop . . . . Seattle? San Francisco? Chicago? D.C.?
By Robin Dearing
Friday, March 9, 2007
Earlier this week I told my fellow Haute Mamas that I wanted to write about this
story and the fact that my band
got its picture on the cover of the Out & About today.
But as I was writing that entry earlier this week, I got a call from my husband. Our doctor was admitting him to the hospital. His blood sugar was sky-high and he suspected diabetes.
After a two-day stay in St. Mary's, it's been confirmed. Our lives will never be the same. It's manageable, of course, but anyone who has this disease or who knows someone with this disease knows that it takes constant vigilance and dedication.
Now we're just trying to adjust and alter all those things that need adjusting and altering. And we're answering the phone which hasn't stopping ringing.
I'm so thankful to all our friends and family who have called with concern-tinged voices asking what they can do to help. Our dear friend and next-door neighbor was one of the many calls I fielded last night. As I talked about how I would be going on Bill's diabetic diet with him, she quickly chimed in, "And your neighbors, too."
It may not seem like it, but I guess you could say that we're lucky. We're lucky that we caught this before his out-of-control blood sugar caused him to have a seizure. We're lucky that we have lots of treatment options and the ability to easily and quickly check his sugar levels. We're lucky that Bill's home and ready to do what he has to do to stay healthy.
After all, it is what it is.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Some days you just can’t think of anything to write that’s worth the server space it takes up. So here are a few random things that are on my mind these days.
1. There should be some kind of law (of nature, even) that makes it illegal for PMS to coincide with a full-moon. And don’t even think of arguing with me about it.
2. I need to check into car insurance rates pending Alex’s 15th birthday next month but I’m too scared.
3. Why am I the only person in my family that likes leftovers?
4. Our school bus drivers deserve our thanks and recognition. They are up at dark to pick up our grumpy kids and drive them back and forth to school day after day. They do it with a virtually accident free record while dealing with more crap than you realize. On a paycheck that’s pitiful. Thank you school bus drivers!
5. I made really good BBQ ribs this past weekend and now I’m on a rib bender. Dry rubbed, slow baked, yum!
6. I love the spring shoe fashions at Nordstrom’s. Thank god we are so over that whole clunky, really bad, butt ugly, Doc Martin or whatever his name is thing. Alex and I are going to Denver this weekend and I plan on getting me a pair or two of those new shoes!
7. Why do I have to drive all the way to Denver to buy cute shoes?
8. This is the last week for wine discounts at Cottonwood Liquor store.
9. I had one of the best evenings last Thursday. There was an art show at Two Rivers Winery put on by Artspace. It was all local artists including school kids. Fantastic! Wonderful food and wine and lots of art work for sale. I bought the cutest lizard picture done by an elementary school kid. Best part of all - it was a crowd where Dan and I knew very few people so it was great not to have to talk shop and we met some lovely new folks.
10. I need to exercise more. Yawn.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
The best way to let something go is unconsciously; by the time you realize it's gone...it's just gone.
Last week, a co-worker asked if Soren was still breastfeeding. I started to say yes, he still nursed at 5 a.m. but then I realized that I hadn't nursed him that morning.
The night before he hadn't wanted to eat dinner because he snacked all day. At 1 a.m. he woke up cranky and hungry. It took a couple of hours for him to finally settle back down into a fitful hungry sleep.
As soon as he woke, I sat him on a newspaper in the middle of the living room floor with a muffin and a glass of milk and hurriedly made breakfast. I was running late for work rushing to get out of the house on time.
I guess the thought of nursing never crossed either of our minds. The next morning at 5 a.m. I waited to see what would happen if I didn't rush to his side. Within a few minutes he was asleep again. At 7 a.m he was happy with his milk and muffin pre-breakfast snack.
He hasn't nursed since.
It's all done...just like that.
Despite what I said here
I did finally find the joy in breastfeeding. It changed from a chore I had to do 12 times a day to just a few times a day. After returning to work, I began to look forward to going home to hold and cuddle by baby boy. The feedings dropped off and I guess I started to really cherish those few minutes we had to ourselves in the pre-dawn hours.
I'll admit I've felt sad and weepy about it all week. I never knew that quitting...the moment I had looked forward to for so long...would make me feel so blue. Had I known the day was coming, I would have said goodbye the last time he nursed. Now the moment is just gone.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
She hurried toward me with a look of disappointment on her face. She crawled on to my lap and whispered, "I'm glad that is over."
Saturday, Margaret participated in her first piano sonatina competition. She was required to memorize all three movements of the sonatina and perform them in front of three judges and an audience of contestants and their families.
The children were grouped by age. Margaret was in the youngest group which had over 20 competitors. I was amazed at the caliber of performances by these children.
Since Margaret begun taking piano lessons last August, we've been impressed by her progress — thanks to the tried method her experienced teacher uses and to the hours that we've spent in front of her keyboard.
Margaret and I worked so hard getting her sonatina memorized, but I was still worried for her. With the hectic schedule that we keep, it never seems like we have enough time to properly prepare for anything.
Saturday morning we ran though the piece a couple more times and then tried to focus her attention away from being nervous. We got ready and dashed to the competition venue.
When it was Margaret's turn, she looked so little climbing up on to the piano bench all by herself, then sitting, hands in her lap. After a few seconds, she positioned her hands and she began to play.
She was playing very well. The first movement went just fine. Somewhere in the middle of the second movement she got a little lost, but was quickly able to get back on track without appearing visibly flustered.
She soared through her third movement without a problem and then she was done. I was so happy for her. She prepared and performed a complicated musical arrangement with grace.
I felt her frustration knowing that her mistake in the second movement meant that she had no chance of placing in any of the three levels. We told her over and over again that it didn't matter that she didn't place. What did matter is that she did it and did a fine job.
As much as we meant it, I knew that it did matter to her. She wanted to be good enough to place well. So I told her that this year was just a practice run and that next year we'd be better prepared and next year we were going to knock 'em dead.
Here's to next year!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, March 5, 2007
Well, it's official. I'm pregnant and I'm wearing the clothes to prove it.
I had to sacrifice a pretty penny for this tent shirt. For the moment, I now have shirts free of sticky peanut butter stains from groping hands, but it won't be long before all my shirts have that perpetual stain across the stomach from washing dishes and cooking dinner.
Thank goodness that a Motherhood Maternity
came to this town. I don't know what a working girl would do without that store, although Sears
was pretty good to me this time around.
I guess it didn't used to be so nice. According to this
website, Sears used to offer some sew your own patterns. Sew My Own?? What the hell? Whatever!
As the website points out the models aren't actually pregnant. Yeah, I bet that pantsuit looked great over a big belly.
Other products of days gone by on that site are interesting like this first class throne.
Every kid will learn to potty within just a few days of being strapped down naked for a few hours.
I have to try on a million clothes before I finally pic a few pieces. It sure isn't easy to cover an odd shaped pregnant body. But, it's nice that they label clothes medium instead of the XXXL that they really are. The sales girls are sympathetic and never cast a judgmental eye when you ask for a larger size.
It's worth the extra money to feel pretty when you're body is changing into a giant incubator.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, March 2, 2007
Daily I get asked by interested friends how the pregnancy is going?
I usually answer with a "Good, I feel good. Everything's fine." And the subject changes to Soren's latest feat of toddler strength and superior mental capablities.
I can't help but feel bad about that.
Another lady in my office is one month ahead of me with her first pregnancy. She is indeed glowing, placing a protective hand over her perfectly round belly. She beams with happiness whenever asked about how things are going. I remember those days.
I feel bad because I just don't have the time to dote on my new pregnancy. To be honest four months is a weird stage for me. Not yet showing enough for it to be obvious; it just looks like I eat too much. Nobody is opening doors or offering to carry my groceries yet. I lug a toddler on one hip and a gallon of milk on the other.
I try to sit down at night and think about my new baby. I usually end up wondering how a mom with two kids gets the grocery shopping done (I mean where do the groceries go in the cart?) or how the sleeping arrangement with the new baby will be. Will we need another crib? Is Soren ready for his toddler bed? To be honest, I'm so busy with work, chores, and toddler needs that I don't really think about being pregnant much. I sort of forget.
I don't want it to be this way. This baby was just as planned and thrilling as the first.
I don't want my second baby to suffer from second child syndrome
. I really want to try to keep up on baby books and photo albums. But most moms tell me it's pretty natural to let things slip. Everyone has told me that my feelings are normal and there are articles
to back it up.
How do other families divide time and attention between two? As an only child myself, I'd really like some practical suggestions.