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By Robin Dearing
Monday, May 7, 2007
There are so many things I love about having house guests. One of the great things is getting to show off the beauty that is the Grand Valley.
Saturday afternoon, my brother, Roger, his wife, Lisa and their two kids, Mackenzie and Colby came for a visit.
Sunday we decided to take a drive over the Colorado National Monument.
It's amazing how infrequently we go visit the Monument and how truly beautiful it is.
We had a great time scrambling around the rocks:
Do you see Bill, Colby and Margaret in that picture? Bill looks like a tiny x-marks-the-spot guy.
Margaret loves her cousins and the three of them are thick as thieves:
Rog and family are looking to move out of hustle and bustle of the Sacramento Valley and we're hoping that they'll like it enough to move here. So if you see these people roaming around town:
Make sure you're really nice and offer them jobs and money and houses.
Friday, May 4, 2007
I ran across this article today on MSN.com. With Mother's Day right around the corner, you can forget breakfast in bed, foot lotion and a Hallmark card. Show me the money!
The price of a mom: $138,095
A new report assigns a salary to a stay-at-home mother, based on the jobs she does in a normal week.
By MSN Money staff
What's a mom worth?
According to one new report, $138,095 a year.
That's the figure in a report by Salary.com, which calculates the wages that would have been paid a stay-at-home mom in 2007 if she were compensated for all the elements of her "job." That total is up 3% from 2006's salary of $134,121. Moms who have jobs outside the house would earn another $85,939 for their mothering work, beyond what they bring home in existing salary.
The job descriptions that Salary.com used to determine a mom's salary includes 10 jobs that moms do on an average day: housekeeper, day care center teacher, cook, computer operator, laundry machine operator, janitor, facilities manager, van driver, CEO and psychologist.
In calculating a mom's wages, Salary.com looked at the "overtime" that both working and stay-at-home moms put in each week.
"Mom works multiple jobs and rarely gets a break from the action, working an average of 52 hours of overtime," said Bill Coleman, senior vice president at Salary.com, in a statement.
According to the Salary.com survey, stay-at-home moms work a 92-hour week, with more than half the workweek spent in overtime. Working moms, meanwhile, logged more than nine hours of "overtime," with an average 49-hour "mom" work week -- on top of their full-time paying jobs.
For the Salary.com survey, more than 40,000 moms quantified their hours per job description; Salary.com benchmarked the median salaries for each job to the national median salary for each position as reported by employers.
The final salary was calculated by weighting the salaries and hours worked in each role.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Grand Junction has a public works program called Spring Clean-Up. Every year residents are invited to throw their junk in the curb and a payloader will come pick it up for free.
Grand Junctionites love it for a number of reasons. First, if you have junk like old carpet or tree limbs it will save a trip to the dump. Secondly, it's like a giant free yard sale the whole town participates in. Throw out anything...I'm serious...anything...and in a few hours a truck loaded down with old windows and broken dishwashers will come around and pick it up.
I wonder how much of it really gets to the dump and how much is just moved from garage to garage year after year. This year we threw out a perfectly good rocking chair that needed a cushion. Gone. Last year I threw out an old bike without handle bars...Gone. Once the Sentinel ran an article in which they decorated a whole room in Shabby Chic style just with junk they found on the curb. I swear it's true!
As you drive through the streets you just can't help yourself and you have to look. Looking at other people's junk is fun. We sort of have this rule that if you dig something up it better be good and practical and work.
This year I dug a little kid plastic wheelbarrow that was totally new complete with sand shovels and a plastic snake out of my neighbor's trash. The neighbor informed me that his exgirlfriend left that for him in the break-up. Guess he's moving on. Good for my sandbox.
Yesterday I found this picture on the Internet:
This is a picture of Robin's junk pile that she posted on her other blog
. Seems her hubby and her each pick a piece of discarded refuse, add it to the top of the pile, then compete to see who's junk will get snatched first.
You see that booster seat? I IM Robin and say "Dude...what are you doing throwing out that booster seat when you know that I need toddler stuff?" (See this baby in me is the fifth baby born to the Ashcraft family in a little over two years. Five toddlers...who all need stuff! Geez what is she thinkin?)
"Oh, I'll dig it out for you tonight if it's still there," she said.
And it was. How cool is dumpster diving your friend's trash pile from the comfort of your work computer? The Internet is useful in so so many ways.
Check out Robin's other website
...you never know what you might find!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, May 3, 2007
An Ashcraft family conversation in the car.
: It's sort of stinky in here.
: Yeah, it is stinky.
: Blink at each other.
: That's right baby Stinky!!
: Hey what should we name your new brother?
I tell ya...it's the little stuff that makes my heart laugh!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
It's the one year anniversary of the Haute Mamas Blog! This is entry no. 274. We've had 844 comments thus far, more than any other blog on this website. We hate to brag (OK we LOVE to brag) but until recently we held the No. 1 position for most read blog, too. Here's us at a recent photo shoot and what we have to say about becoming veteran mommy bloggers.
Lynn showing off the "eyes" in the back of her head!
One year already? It seems like just yesterday that Lynn, Richie and I
concocted this plan to douse GJSentinel.com with some mommy content.
In this last year, my daughter "graduated
" from kindergarten, started
playing the piano
, learned to ride a two-wheeled bike
, made a quilt
almost completed the first grade.
I have sprouted many more gray hairs, gained a bit more patience and learned
that it's helpful to share my hopes and fears with others.
Taking the good with the bad, I'd have to say that it's been a good year to
be a Haute Mama.
Richie's look of total pregnancy induced confusion. "Wait...what are we doing?"
When they say kids grow fast they sure aren't kidding.
I can't believe how my life has changed this year. I've gone from clueless mommy attached to a breast pump to newly pregnant mommy trying to figure out how to accommodate another one. Again, pretty clueless.
I'm starting to get a really stern mom voice down, learning that mixing applesauce with basically anything gets it to go down, and how to spend a little time on myself.
Blogging has been a great outlet for me. When things aren't going so well, I always think, well, it will make nice fodder for the blog. I've really enjoyed the feedback from our readers with their helpful suggestions and often witty comments.
Blogging is a new venture for GJSentinel.com. I always feel like Lynn, Robin and I are pioneers in a cutting edge industry. We are great examples of the "new mom" who uses technology and resources to our advantage.
Ten years ago I never could have imagined that I'd be juggling career, kids and sharing it all via the Internet, whatever that was. Or that the life of a normal mommy would even be interesting enough to share.
So, thanks for reading and making me feel like blogging is time well spent.
The Haute Mamas...Oh So Hot!
Blogging can be scary - you put your personal stuff out there for all the world to see.
You can only hope that maybe someone is struggling with the same issue and you find out you’re not alone, you’re among many moms trying to raise kids right, whatever that means.
I am always a little fearful that Alex will be embarrassed about what I write, but for the most part he could care less. Mostly because he really does not want to spend any time reading whatever it is his mother has to say! We made it through the first year of high school already, and now we look forward to a summer of driving lessons (!), certain boredom, summer camp somewhere, and trips back East or wherever he grudgingly agrees to go with his “mothuurrr”.
Thanks to Robin and Richie for taking up the slack when I had nothing to blog about, and to Robin for being my instant editor and patiently answering my stupid questions like, “Is driven a word?” And to the rest of my family - yes, I really do get paid to do stuff like this!
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Grand Valley Lacrosse played a two-day tournament in Durango this past weekend. Geography whiz that I am, I knew Durango was close to Cortez, which is close to Mesa Verde National Park, which I have visited several times, which Alex has never seen.
So now you have the background to the rest of the story.
I had tentatively asked Alex a few weeks ago (tentatively, because that’s how you approach teenagers with something you want them to say yes to) if he might be interested in taking a day off from school and going to visit Mesa Verde before the tournament with his . . . .mothuurrr.
“Yeah, I guess.”
Whoopee! That was unbridled enthusiasm! I was psyched and immediately booked hotels. I walked on egg shells up until we actually got in the car and headed out, feeling almost certain he would change his mind at the last minute.
We had a very pleasant drive to Cortez via Moab and other parts of Utah. We discussed his school art project, why people have different talents, and the fact that throwing a pot on the wheel is way harder than it looks. We probably had about 20 minutes of real conversation before he plugged in his ipod and fell asleep.
We got to Mesa Verde about 8:00 a.m. on a beautiful day. We got tickets to tour Cliff Palace which Alex really seemed to enjoy. At this point, I would insert a picture of him in front of the cliff dwelling. However, something happened to my USB port when I tried to plug in my camera and some little black plastic thing fell out, so no picture. Probably no new computer on the horizon for me either.
At any rate, we toured some of the pit dwellings on top of the mesa and he seemed to like those as well. The highlight for him I would guess is that I let him drive through the park, even though he doesn’t have his permit yet. We were the only ones on a safe, one-way road and what the heck?
By the time we got to the fifth “ruin” he was done.
“They’re all starting to look the same. The Anasazis really didn’t change their architecture much in a thousand years. The ones that Dan and I saw last fall when we went backpacking were way cooler. They still had corn cobs in them.”
The tournament days passed quickly, and it was time to drive home. I had debated driving over Red Mountain, or Puke Pass as I call it. But after talking to one of the moms who had driven over it I decided to get some cajones and go for it. It pretty much sucked as much as I remembered it. Why do they build roads like that? And why, for God’s sake, do they let people ride their bikes on them? Dudes, buy a car.
So we made it. We made it over Red Mountain Pass, we made it through almost four days together without a single fight, screaming match or extended period of grumpiness. I really enjoyed our trip together. Hopefully someday Alex will admit he did too.
By Robin Dearing
Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday Margaret and I carved a little time from our hectic day (that involved making cakes in Margaret's Easy-Bake Oven for four hours — FOUR HOURS!) to finally finish her little quilt that she began while my mom and I were making our quilt
Mar sewed all the pieces together and then quilted it together.
Here she is using the machine — she's pretty scared of getting her fingers sewn together so she's uber careful using the machine:
When she had it all sewn and quilted, I trimmed out the edge.
Notice the frayed edge? Mar requested that I leave that part showing. She likes fringe, so there it is. Just like she wanted it.
I think it's pretty great.
By Robin Dearing
Monday, April 30, 2007
We Haute Mamas had the good intentions to play along with the Mama Drama
gals to participate in Fun Monday with all the other Fun Monday players.
So instead, I'm making my own Fun Monday. I read about this meme on this nice gal's blog
(how do I know she's nice? I operate on the fact that all the people I steal things from are nice, it buffers the guilt). This meme
goes like this:
You google the following phrase with your name filled into the blank:
"Last I heard __________ was"
and then you see what gossipy things are out there on the Internets about you.
Here's what I found:
1. Last I heard Robin was being kept in protective custody by the FBI for safety reasons.
Oh, FBI protective custody. I wonder if they are trying to protect me from eating all those donut holes.
2. Last I heard Robin was working in the Twin Cities ...
Yeah, that's not gonna happen. That's a little too cold for this cold-blooded girl.
3. Last I heard she was in Portland, Oregon and still in the game.
Good news, I'm still in the game. I wonder what game it is?
4. Last month I heard Robin on Public radio introducing her new CD.
How I wish this were true. But alas, my band is not quite done with our new CD. Maybe it's a harbinger of things to come.
5. Last I heard, her brother still worked there.
And you know what? He still does work there. Although, we're currently try to convince him to not work there anymore and move here instead.
Ha! That's fun. Try it with your name and lemme know what funny things you find.
Happy Fun Monday!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, April 27, 2007
I had a different post in mind but this article
that appeared on yesterday's editorial page by Kathleen Parker inspired me to take this post in a different direction.
Parker says that bookworms are a dying breed as are newspaper readers. The Atlanta Journal Constitution recently eliminated their book editor position from the newsroom. Parker says eliminating such jobs contributes to the dumbing down of American society. She notes that "fewer than half of Americans read literature" although more and more books are being published each year.
The whole article is just sad. I've loved books ever since my grandpa and I dug out an old Dick and Jane book that belong to one of my uncles. My grandparents came to the United States in the 50s as Ukrainian refugees of WWII. They took a English as a Second Language class and learned to read at the same time I was learning to read in first grade.
So we sat after school and picked out the words of simple books together. Most times my grandpa would cheat and ask me to read to him. I'd look over and see him dozing in his easy chair, a habit that remained throughout his life.
I love to meet people who read. Often times when I'm at a loss for my next book I just ask around to see what others are burying their noses in.
We had a book club for awhile here at the Sentinel but ultimately it failed because the groups interests were too diverse. "Blindness"
by Jose Saramago was the best book the group ever read. A close second was a comparison we did between "Catcher in the Rye"
by J.D. Salinger and "The Bell Jar"
by Sylvia Plath. It sparked a great conversation about teenage angst and depression.
I'd love to hear what others are reading. Recently Robin and I finished "The Kitchen God's Wife,"
by Amy Tan. I'd never read anything by Tan until Robin loaned it to me and I'm so glad she did. Tan has a great voice and is an excellent storyteller. The plot tells the story of a WWII refugee telling her daughter about her life during the war, something I can relate to based on my family's history.
I'm currently reading "Exile and the Kingdom"
by Albert Camus with my friend Velvet. It's great to have a friend that likes to eat lunch and discuss philosophy. Previously we read "My Sister's Keeper"
by Jodi Picoult. You can read my review here
I'm always in the mood for new books and I couldn't agree more with Kathleen Parker that not having book reviews in the paper is a great loss to our culture.
Let me know what you've read by leaving a comment or feel free to email me anytime with suggestions.
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Just before Margaret's first birthday, she got a box from her Pappy and Gramma Fran filled with presents.
One of the presents was a Beanie Buddy birthday bear.
It was soft and cute and little Mar Mar (as we used to call her) loved it. She carried it around by the ear and hugged it to her neck.
I, too, loved the bear — but in a different way. I loved that it commemorated her first birthday. I wanted to keep it forever as a reminder of her first year of life.
So I did what any more-than-slightly neurotic and probably OCD mother would do, I took it away from her. But first, I took her to the store and let her pick out another Beanie Buddy.
Her little 1-year-old self, chose this one:
I put the birthday bear on a shelf and she permanently attached herself to this brown rabbit. Margaret would nap with the rabbit and take him to daycare. It quickly became the toy of choice. She would go to sleep at night rubbing his ears.
Originally, we called the rabbit "Ears" as that was the name that the manufacturer called it. But then she started calling it "Bunny Rabbit" as that was what her lovely daycare gramma called it. Eventually, it was shortening to just "Bunny" — "Brown Bunny" if there was a need to distinguish it from any of the many other rabbits in her arsenal of stuffed animals.
Bunny has had a permanent place in Margaret's life since that first birthday almost six years ago. And he's been through a lot, including several trips to the washing machine. Perhaps his most tragic experience was early on when Mar was about 2, she carelessly flung him on to the stove top and his face was burned on the electric burner. She would touch the burned rings on his face and say, "Owie!"
I remember one evening getting a frantic call from the babysitter. The first words out of her mouth were, "I can't find Bunny." Back then, those were words that could ruin an evening out in that there was no way she would be able to go to sleep without those ears between her fingers.
Now, she doesn't have to have Bunny firmly tucked under her arm to go to sleep, but more often than not, he is the one that gets dragged along with her when a nightmare or a bump in the night causes her to climb into our bed.
If I had a penny for every time I woke up to see this face staring at me ...