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By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
The Daily Sentinel is not only a consisently award winning newspaper with an up-to-the-minute Website, it is also a cornerstone of Grand Junction supporting numerous events and projects within the community.
One amenity that I've used regularly in the past six months is the playground located at Mesa Mall
. On any given day this little area is a haven for kids and parents alike.
The toys were getting a little rough around the edges. Last week, the Daily Sentinel unvieled new toys in the area with a camping theme. There is a river with fish that is perfect for sliding on to unwhiten socks, a log tunnel which is Soren's favorite, a ladybug, a turtle, a new tent, a raft, and a campfire.
Gone are the boulder slide and the dragon. Getting rid of the slide is a good thing I think. The slide was very steep. I've witnessed plenty of four kid pile-ups at the bottom and I spent a good portion of my time trying to steer Soren away from it.
Photo by Joy Pope/The Daily Sentinel
Last week's event brought lots of kids and their parents out to enjoy free storytelling about safe camping. Here are more photos by Joy Pope taken at the event.
Not that anyone asked me, but I have just a couple of suggestions for improvement.
For one, it should be gated. Every single time I go a kid escapes. Luckily a kind passerby usually steers the child right back in. It's like an unspoken mom code that if you see an escapee you take action. All the parents watch all the kids but a little baby gate would make the job easier.
Okay, only one suggestion and one complaint. The complaint is that some people allow children that are way way to big to play in the area. There is a height limit to play there for good reason. Little ones like mine don't have much fun when a whirlwind of giant children are zipping all around him. Crossing to the log tunnel is like a game of Frogger (warning: don't click that unless you really want distracted)
for a one-year-old when big kids are present. He's been trampled, knocked down, picked up, hit, teased and kissed all by bigger kids. It's just part of the experience but some kids are much too big to be playing there. I'm a rule follower and I wish others were too.
K-I'm done complaining now.
I do want to thank the DS on behalf of all parents for providing this area and the new toys. The company doesn't get anything out of it but the satisfaction of knowing that parents like me appreciate a place to take a break in the mall or a place to go during the cold winter months. I hope they know that my kid really enjoys it.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
It is easier to talk about my proud mom moments than it is to admit my unproud ones. I made a big mommy oopsy last week that left me pretty rattled for a couple of days.
My great-niece had spent the day with Soren and after a long day at work I realized that the cupboard once again was bare. So I strapped the kids into the side-by-side double Jeep stroller and we were on our way to free food at grandma's house.
We meandered down sidestreets to avoid traffic. Soren had a plastic snake. He had just learned that a plastic snake can be great fun. Even funner when the little girl beside you squeaks and squeals each time it's shaken in her face. Every few blocks he would lean way out to see her face and shake his snake at her laughing hysterically at her prissyness. The classic boy teases girl game. It was pretty cute.
As we approached an especially busy street I waited until all traffic was very very clear. I let the front tires off the curb and at the exact same time an overly rambunctious game of snake shaking began. Soren leaned far forward to get the best possible view of his cousin's face, she pitched herself aggressively forward to get away from the snake, and I held on to the tipping stroller as if it were teetering on the edge of a cliff.
Carrying this oversized belly makes my center of balance a bit comprised. The stroller, the kids, and myself hit the pavement. I picked myself up, ran in front of the stroller, pushed it back upright and hauled it back onto the sidewalk before any cars could come. It took literally a millisecond and it scared the crap out me.
Then I had to assess the damage. Baby girl had a goose egg on her forehead. Soren had a scraped knee. Both kids were crying and a fine layer of grey road ash covered them from head to toe. My eyes were clouded with tears. But my first thought was..."Oh thank God...no blood."
We finally reached our destination. The kids were done crying by the time we finally crossed the street. I cleaned the road dirt off them and they jumped in the sandbox none worse for wear.
But I was visibly shaken for awhile. Of course I had to confess to everyone what a bad mom I am. Nobody seemed to think it was such a big deal. I felt really really bad about it for a few days.
I'm starting to let it go though because I keep telling myself that things like that are going to happen. All parents make mistakes and there are such things as accidents. I just need to learn to accept it. Much worse things than dumping a stroller are going to happen, some may even involve the emergency room and blood. I can't beat myself up every single time I make a mistake but really I do.
Compassionate parents should share their oopsy moments with me. I'd like to hear your stories because they'll make me feel better.
By Robin Dearing
Monday, June 4, 2007
Our lives changed on that day in March
when Bill was diagnosed with diabetes.
We looked at our lifestyle with critical eyes and realized that there is no tomorrow. We had to make changes today ... and we did.
For the last 3 months we've prepared healthier meals and made a concerted effort to get up and about instead of sitting the sofa (the sofa, afterall, will remain in our living room whether we sit on it or not — we finally realized that we didn't need to be holding it down to prevent its escape).
Bill has cut out regular soda, fruit juice and high starch foods with great ease. He now drinks Crystal Lite
with a vengence. Man, he loves that stuff.
We've begun riding our bikes again which is not only healthy but so much fun. Margaret is now riding her own bike and loves riding around town.
Bill monitors his bloodsugar like a hawk and his glucose levels have been very good — very, very good really. He's gone off all the medications and managing well just by watching his diet.
But we didn't really know how well his body was responding to the changes he's made until his most recent A1c results came back. The A1c test monitors glucose levels over a period of three months.
A person with healthy glucose levels will have an A1c under 7. It's a very precise test and even a result of 7.1 is considered high.
When Bill had his initial A1c taken three months ago, he was at 12.1. Way too high.
The results from the A1c test taken on Friday was 6.7.
Awesome happy news for this fine Monday morning.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Close your eyes and imagine where you would overhear comments like these:
“Your breath smells like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
“My pink underwear was in the wash.”
“Out of the frying pan, and made into French fries.”
“I’ve moved lettuce into one of the major food groups.”
Hint: it’s not a new, racy Food Network show.
“How come the guys in the black jackets are just standing there and don’t play?”
“My brother got hit in the nose by a girl.”
“Somebody burned the hot dogs and mustard.”
Can you guess yet? How about after this:
“We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher.”
If you guessed at last night’s JUCO game, you were right! Dan and I were sitting in front a group of about a half-dozen kids, ranging in age from 5 to 8. Dan was of course enjoying and paying attention to the game. I of course was not. Well, I was enjoying it, but not paying attention. Which is fine. I go to the games for the salted peanuts in the shell. The fact that I was totally entertained by this group of munchkins made up for the fact I had no beer to go with my peanuts.
They were just so darn funny and just so kid-like! They were giggling, and fussing with each other and at times on the point of hysteria. They just plain made me laugh! I needed some laughs and they made me remember that life can be simple and fun and silly and make no sense at all. Just like their overheard comments.
Just like my first sentence that I just re-read. If your eyes are closed, how can you read the comments?
JUCO is fun, even if you couldn’t care less about the actual game being played. Check out these pictures
and hurry to the ball park. Get your pink underwear out of the wash first.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
A good portion of my life I’ve gotten the feeling it’s not okay to be a girly girl.
My dad used to holler at me: “Richie, what are you doing in the bathroom? Why’s she spend so much time in there? Richie get out of the bathroom.”
didn ‘t my dad know that I was trying to fix my hair like Alyssa Milano? The next 13-year-old Tiffany would be me despite the fact I’d never been to a real mall? Or that very soon Teen magazine would be calling to absolutely beg him to put my beautiful face on the cover after they discovered me walking through the shampoo aisle at WalMart? I mean GAWD DAD your so cool
NoT! ( Of course I never really said those words out loud I’d just emerge with my best bershon
Other comments about how long it takes for me to apply makeup before going out or I catch a rolling of the eyes by coworkers who see me filing a nail in the office.
And the funny thing is I’m really not as girly as most girls but I do appreciate the feeling of slipping on a beautiful gown and a pair of high heels. You need a bridesmaid, call me, ‘cuz I love an excuse to dress up.
Having boys is great but I do wish I had a lovely little girl to play dress up with. Lucky for my great-niece she is the recipient of all my pent-up girly energy.
I couldn’t resist getting her this fairy princess costume for her second birthday. Then I found the shoes that not only light up but play “Here comes the bride” with each delicate high heeled step. As my cart rolled along I threw in the princess crown and septer. It was delightful to shop for little girl stuff and I had to squelch the urge to spend more.
Her eyes lit up when she saw that dress and those shoes much to my aunty happiness. She played the part of birthday girl fairy princess well delicately lifting her skirt to show off the shoes.
Her cake had plastic bugs on it and one of her favorite gifts (from her mom) was a fishing pole with magnetic plastic fish.
I overheard this conversation at the party: “Looks like she’s going to have to choose whether to be a girly girl or a tom boy.”
“What?” of course that was out of my big mouth before I could bite my tongue. Too late
I was in.
“She doesn’t have to choose
she can go fishing in a pink dress if she wants.”
I mean really
what? Why would she or any of the rest of us have to choose between the two because I certainly don’t.
I put on my makeup, fix my hair, help load the canoe and troll for rainbow trout. I like to use pink lures. I can gut a fish and fry it.
We hike miles and miles and when I get tired I sit in the dirt. I sleep in a tent and I don’t complain about it. I don’t like bugs but I’ll touch them if I have to because it’s no big deal.
My sunglasses may be Gucci but my shoes are Tevas as I slosh in the black mud of a local lake.
I get that fart jokes are funny but I’d never repeat one.
I can swing a hammer and lift a paint brush. I can sweat. I can work. And then I can spend a good long time in the bathroom putting myself back together.
And she can too. I hope she never chooses between a pretty dress and fishing pole. If she learns anything from her aunt Richie I hope it’s that she CAN have both.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away and know when to run."
Kenny Rogers’ immortal words may symbolize an era bygone, but I'm still trying to figure out exactly when is the best time to fold and when it's the best to call — and do so without the doubts and lingering questions.
I could make a career out of second-guessing myself. As a mother, how many times do I fold for the sake of my kid?
Until last night, I thought that a good mom always sacrificed for the sake of her children; kept her mouth shut so that she could benefit. I found out last night that this was neither necessary nor the way to set a good example for my daughter.
We live in a wonderful, friendly neighborhood full of good families and happy children. It’s just another reason why we love raising our children in this valley.
But there is one person who has the ability to undermine my confidence. This person is not a bad person - on the contrary, this person is generally a very good person, loving parent, positive and upbeat. But she says things, very casually, that have left me reeling again and again.
At first, I thought she was just pointing out the obvious. I questioned myself and tried to be a better person (something that I am always striving to do). Then the passing comments became more pointed and unnecessary. I was really beginning to be hurt.
I started talking to other neighbors who suggested that she just didn’t realize what she was saying, that her intentions were admirable. I wanted to believe this. This person is not at all your typical busybody. She’s sunny and enthusiastic and helpful.
But after so many conversations I’ve had with her, I’ve been left really feeling bad about myself.
I tried to limit contact with her and tried to keep my mouth shut. I wanted Margaret to continue being invited to play with the neighborhood children who often play outside together in a giant screaming mass of kids. I didn’t want to let my issues cloud her childhood.
I faltered last night and I went all in.
I called and confronted this person.
Margaret was already in bed and I was in another room. I didn’t think she knew anything about the incident that sent my chips flying. But when I got off the phone, Margaret came to me and said, “I’m proud of you for standing up for yourself.”
I was dumbfounded. I thought that my call was going to cause Margaret grief and sadness because she most undoubtedly will now be excluded from neighborhood gatherings. She said she didn’t care, that me standing up for myself was more important.
Double or nothing says this daughter of mine will be drawing a lifetime of aces.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, May 25, 2007
The Haute Mamas
officially announced Friday morning that Ralph D'Andrea of Junction Daily Blog
is the big winner of the "Who Wants To Win 50 Bucks?"
"I think it proves that I need a life," D'Andrea said when he heard the news.
He guessed 17 out of 25 quotes correctly not counting himself.
has been lurking behind the scenes as a regular reader of the blog for some time.
"I read your blog everyday and it sounded like fun," he said, "It's a fun read."
It took the allure of a contest to intrigue him into commenting.
As the winner, D'Andrea will receive $50 from giftcertificates.com
, the highest prize awarded by a GJsentinel.com
contest thus far.
"I'm gonna give it to my wife," D'Andrea said when asked which online store he'd like to spend it in. His wife enjoys shopping online and will be pleased with the windfall.
"We wanted to spice up our daily blog with some interaction for our readers ... plus we got to give away a nice, juicy prize," said mastermind of the contest, Haute Mama Robin.
Robin said she feels the contest was a success because the blog received comments from readers that hadn't been heard before.
She was pleased that the contest was won "fair and square" and there was so much positive feedback.
The contest entry received 28 comments, a record for the Haute Mamas.
Fellow blogger Pensieve
linked the contest to her blog for added support.
Other commenters included Blondemom
, Robin and Jenny at Mama Drama
, and Annie at Hot Fruita Moms
"Hell yeah it was a success because it was fun and different," said Haute Mama Lynn.
She will be awarding D'Andrea with the grand prize after the long weekend. She plans on telling him "Congratulations and always vote Republican" she said grinning widely.
The authors would like to thank everyone for their participation.
The Haute Mamas update during business hours and can be reached by commenting on this Web site.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Today is the last day of school. I just wanted you to know I acknowledge that and choose to say no more at this time. Yep, I plead the fifth.
I have two new best friends. They don’t talk, they don’t call, we never discuss our love lives. But we go out a lot. I spent $89 on these new friends, on sale! They are the ugliest color, but I really like them.
Meet my new trail running shoes. Holy cow, I have trail running shoes! I’ve been wanting them for a long time. Even bought a different pair once and returned them cuz they hurt my feet. I got these at REI in Denver as a Mother’s Day gift for myself. I have used them faithfully almost every day for two weeks.
There are a bunch of great trails up behind my house that are not very well-used. I head up there after work and do the best I can. I’m getting better. I visualize myself leaping over rocks and tree roots in my path like a mountain goat. I said visualize, OK. Not quite there yet. I also bought some new fancy shirts and shorts. Gotta have the right gear, you know! But the shoes are the highlight. I am so excited about them. They fit great, they don’t hurt my feet and best of all they haven’t aggravated my plantar fasciitis
The only thing missing from my little jaunts was music. Usually, I like the silence. But I also like the extra jolt of motivation I get from my favorite songs. So I bought an ipod shuffle. Yep, another $80. I had a gift certificate for that though. My fellow HUATE MAMA Robin was my guru on that purchase and she assured me that loading and playing music was “intuitive”. Ummm, not so much for me. After an hour and a half of jerking around and cussing, I managed to get four songs onto it. The only thing I intuited, is that I’m a moron.
(I tried it again last night and had better success, so now I have 26 songs loaded. More than enough to keep me leaping over rocks for an hour.)
I’m really digging my renewed commitment to working up a sweat. It feels good, and I’m just mostly happy that I can do what I do without my body protesting too loudly. My sister told me she is going to a body-sculpting class and invited me to join her. Uh, no. I think I’ll get rid of some of the flab before I start sculpting it.
Anyway, since it is the start of summer vacation, I have a feeling I’ll be headed for the hills, a lot. Me, my shoes and my Madonna songs.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
It's silent in the newsroom today and that's good because I'm in no mood to hear anyone speak.
The Haute Mamas were once accused of being the "Happy Happy Joy Joy" moms by an obviously complainer but from Robin's post yesterday and the one you are about to read I'd argue that comment is most erroneous.
I know this is going to sound whiny and pathetic but that's just what happens sometimes when you're being honest. I'm sure a few stay-at-home moms are going to be rolling their eyes at this post...but you know my heels are hard to fill.
It's HARD and I mean damn HARD to be a working mom. That's just a fact.
My family doesn't feel very well. To tell the truth, I'm just plain worn down but I can't stop because the kid wants held. He needs me to hold him and tell him he'll feel better. He needs me to wipe away his tears and his snot, coax him into eating some dinner, put clean clothes on him and get him to sleep. Sleep will make us all feel better. He needs me to hold him while I brush my hair and find something to wear to work. He needs me to hold him as I'm pulling out of the driveway and he's crying at the door. He doesn't care that I left my heart with him.
I do more in eight hours than most do in a week...and I'm seven months pregnant...and sometimes it all is just overwhelming.
The fridge is bare. By bare I mean there's some ketchup and a bag of old carrots. But, I don't have time to go to the store because my family needs me at home and my job needs me at work. There's no dish soap so the dishes are stacked up. There's a heap of laundry that needs folded. All of it is waiting my arrival after an eight hour day.
At work there's a list a whole page long of tasks that need done. In the newspaper business that means they need done TODAY...preferably on deadline. A little something for Ann, a little something for Todd, a little something for those of you who are addicted to your horoscopes or the church page. There's this blog and I can't forget to remind you all to check out our contest
. And the people who call to yell at me about how we got the weather wrong for Saturday. How do you really have time to make that phone call....and did yelling at me make you feel better?
In my purse is a stack of bills. When do we get paid and when are these due? Did I forget any? Are there any lost on the kitchen table? Oh, and I can't forget to mail that graduation card that's already late....
The calendar is covered in notes for doctors appointments for myself, the kid, and the hubby. I'm sure there's another that needs scheduled so I'd better add that to my list of personal things to do like buy groceries, don't forget the stamps to mail the bills and make sure the backflow preventer gets checked before the June 1st deadline the city of Grand Junction gave me.
I never returned my mom's phone call from the weekend. I'm a terrible friend to most everyone these days because I just don't have time to nurture those relationships. When I do have ten minutes to myself I try to do some general hygiene or just take a second to breathe instead of jumping on the phone to call someone. Maybe that's selfish.
I think this picture says it all. This is how far I got into an at-home pedicure last week before the kid discovered what I was doing.
My toes stayed that way for two days until I found the time to take off the smeared polish. They are still bare.
It makes me dizzy just thinking about all the things I'm trying to juggle without dropping anything.
I'm not looking for sympathy or even someone to help me. I guess I just air it all here to make myself feel better and hope that this bit of insight gives us working moms a bit of respect. God knows we deserve it.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
It's the last week of first grade for Margaret. A week when they wrap up a year of learning and do some fun stuff.
Today is swim day.
Monday it was 83 degrees and sunny and great for swimming.
Today is cold and raining and really sucky for swimming.
That's pretty much how things have gone for us this year. We planned for sun and got rain.
One of the best things I've learned about Margaret is that she, like most kids, are resilient. She may whine, stomp her feet and give the grimace-face of doom when things don't work out the way we planned, but in the end she'll swim on a cold, rainy day and have fun nonetheless. And that is what gets me through most days.
I guess that's the trick, finding peace with your decisions even when things don't work out the way you planned. I hope to find out how to do that trick someday; how to enjoy the trip down the waterslide even with your teeth chattering.
But grinning and bearing it isn't always enough. I mean even Bill's normally Silly Putty persona has been stretched out of shape recently. And who can blame him. He was giving a life sentence of blood checks and carb watching (at which he's doing great, by the way) combined with Atlas' burden at his job.
So it's been a hard year for us. We planned on being involved and helping guide our daughter through her elementary education. But instead we barely help her with her homework and piano lessons. I can't begin to tell you how much that sucks to admit.
I could spin it differently and list all of her amazing accomplishments this year and pretend that it's all turned out how we planned. But the reality is we’re still shivering on swim day.
Don't forget about our Haute Mamas contest
. There are still a bunch of blogs that haven't been guessed yet. Come on over and help us finish the list!!