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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!!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, May 21, 2007
It’s contest time here at Haute Mamas and we’re hoping this one is going to be great! So great in fact we’re putting up a GRAND PRIZE
of a $50 gift certificate of your choice available at giftcerticates.com
. Love Marshalls
? Bam...fifty bucks to Marshalls. Had your eye on a new sushi set at Bed, Bath and Beyond
? Wham....new sushi set just for playing our game.
Here are the rules: below are a list of quotes by various bloggers. Some are featured right here on GJsentinel.com
and others are from our most recent commenters or those we wish would comment more. (Wait, that’s everyone but anyway
Your job is to be the first to correctly guess who said what by leaving your answers in a comment. You don’t have to get them all right, just be the first to guess that quote. The one with the most right wins. Anyone and everyone can play no matter where you live.
Note: we will not accept any answers via email or verbally relayed while we’re on our way to the bathroom. I mean
a pregnant lady needs to hurry ya know!
Multiple guesses are encouraged and it’s not really as hard as it sounds. I’ve left the dates of the quotes to make blog-hopping a little easier.
Oh, and you can’t OUT yourself but you can send your friends to do it for you. Unfortunately, The Daily Sentinel employees and their families cannot win...but again you're friends can and maybe they'll share with you.
So, happy hunting! The winner will be announced Friday.
1. In other news, the sun is expected to rise in the east tomorrow. (May 3)
2. And why, for God's sake, do they let people ride their bikes on them? Dudes, buy a car. (May 1)
3. I mean, really, it was the best hamburger I’ve had at a Grand Junction restaurant in awhile. (May 4)
4. As a woman of many words, I am very surprised to find myself searching for a term that describes the desire to tell the woman who walks into the ladies restroom just as you are washing your hands that the overwhelming aroma they’ve just been knocked over with was there when you walked in, too. (May 17)
5. Of course, the towering cliffs of Dinosaur National Monument’s spectacular Gates of Lodore glinted in all its vermillion brilliance above the basin itself. (May 8)
6. People sort of tip-toed around me Saturday evening. They asked how I was doing Monday. (March 29)
7. First I have to just say that I got my best comment ever. This one is from Laurel: "That Sneaky Sausage!" (May 17)
8. Democrats were not impressed by the Bush announcement. (May 14)
9. I don’t think that my boss would truly appreciate a good testicle picture. (May 14)
10. Decisions hot or cold
and sometimes in between
How could I forget to
Turn on the durn* machine? (May 21)
11. Can felons, deprived of other rights, also be deprived of speech, even via surrogates? (May 14)
12. I won a contest.
And my prize? Have my blog critiqued/featured/reviewed by Jenny at Mama Drama. (May 17)
13. It's a stinky minefield and I’d be embarrassed to take out-of-town visitors on this particular jaunt. (March 28)
14. The only thing I disagree with you on is that you said it is a “little confusing”
I think it is a LOT confusing. (May 1)
15. The question immediately comes to mind, "What resident of North America is unaware of how to fasten a seat belt?" (May 9)
16. I suggested that I shop for my own present. I know, that is what makes me so nice. (May 10)
17. I'm not going to call the idea "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," because the airport isn't quite that bad off. (May 15)
18. If you watched the debate, it is easy to see why the Democrats were afraid to let Fox manage the Dems own debate. (May 16)
19. Of course, those arrested are innocent until proven guilty. (May 15)
20. I've learned that it is not that easy to conduct an interview with screaming fans crowding around snapping pictures with their cell phones. (May 15)
21. The best thing about my Mom is the things she has done for me and continue to do for me are out of love and not out of any kind of obligation. (May 9)
22. She's an angel sent from heaven
who can melt me with one hug,
Her eyes sparkle with mischief,
Oh my God she just peed on the rug. (May 21)
23. The downside was we didn’t have a place to have a fire, so we cooked marshmallows on the gas grill provided on the attached deck. (May 15)
24. You’re totally living in sin.”
“Not technically. It’s more like I’m sleeping over in sin. (May 18)
25. Earlier this week, a series of local Republicans told me a “high profile” conservative was mulling a run against Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction, in 2008. (May 19)
By Robin Dearing
Friday, May 18, 2007
Yesterday my brother and sister in law packed up their two kids and all their stuff for their westward trip home.
I'm sad to see them go, but hopeful that I will be seeing them return soon enough for a permanent visit, i.e., they are hoping to move here sometime this summer.
I am thrilled at this prospect. Bill and I have a very good and happy life here in the Grand Valley. But we've always lamented the lack of family.
We have lots of friends, who are like family to us. For that, we are so thankful. Our dear friend, Tracee, has watched Margaret for us so many times that she knows Mar's quirks just as well as we do. But the fact is that Tracee’s going to be starting her own family at some point and we're not going to be able to call her at 7 p.m. on Friday and ask her to sit for us anymore.
Not that the reason we want my brother and sister in law to move here is so we have more baby-sitting options. But because we'd get to see my niece and nephew grow up. And Margaret would be able to be even closer to them than she already is. And Roger and Lisa could come over for game night with our other game-playing friends. And we could have family barbecues and camping trips.
Oh, it gets me all a little teary just thinking about it.
We've already talked to a Realtor and looked into getting them jobs. My sister in law is a dental hygienist and my brother an experienced heavy-equipment operator, so it looks like the trickiest part of this whole equation will be selling their current house.
Here's to hoping that happens soon and the Grand Valley is graced with four more Dearings.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I hear a high pitched whisper say “Wuzdat” as I approach the back door on my lunch hour.
Soren’s blonde head and big blue eyes peak around the corner with trepidation.
“Mummeeee!!!” he shouts while lifting both arms high in the air to receive the hugs and kisses that inevitably are coming.
I happily scoop him up in my arms and ask him how his day is going while I kick off my heels and don my mom hat.
“Duk..duk..” he points to the traffic.
“Yes, that’s a truck,” I say.
“Bop Bop” he says and points to my car
. (The car says Beep Beep when unlocking it, thus he thinks it's name is Bop Bop.)
I lift him into his high chair for a lunch of leftover pasta.
“Dit..dit,” he repeats when I tell him to sit down.
He takes a drink of milk from his sippy cup and lets out an exaggerated “Aaahhhh.”
So do I. We both giggle and smile through milk mustaches.
He opens his mouth wide like a baby bird and pops in a bite.
OoooEEEE” he shouts while pointing to my cell phone in earnest.
“No, that’s mommy’s phone and you can’t have it,” I say.
“HIIIIIEEEEE HIIIIIEEEEEE” he shouts. I hide the phone under my leg.
” he says while pointing at the golden retriever he’s spotted on PBS.
“Okay, mommy has to go to work. Come over here and give me a kiss,” I say.
Twinkle Toes dances a little Footloose style jig over to me, lifts his little face with pierced lips up to mine. “MmmmmMaaaa” he says as he gives his kiss and then runs back to his toys.
I love this new phase in his life. Being able to communicate with my son even on the most basic level is an absolutely incredible feeling. His vocabulary list has grown by leaps suddenly; often adding one or two words daily. He’s eager to talk and tries new sounds, inflections, and noises until my ears ring with the constant racket.
And although he can’t always communicate his feelings there is no doubt his understanding of my language is immense. When I tell him to do something, he does it. It makes me proud when puts something into the trash or lifts his little shirt in anticipation of his bath. It’s really amazing.
I look at him and I just can’t help but think that I have the smartest coolest kid EVER! I revel in his awesomeness on a daily basis.
His laughter fills my house in a fulfilling way that conversation of adults can't. He's truly a joy, the most important person in my life and every day when I wake up I can’t wait to hear what he’ll say next.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
My brother has a dog named Cheena. Cheena is named after a river in Alaska, where she was born. She’s the result of a night of passion between her mother, an Alaskan husky, and her father, a golden retriever. Examples of family values her parents are not. Her mother systematically dropped every little pup on my brother’s door step and was never seen again.
Cut to the present - my brother needed someone to watch Cheena while he was gone for the weekend and my parents volunteered to dog-sit. That was two months ago. Lest you think my brother takes after Cheena’s mother, he actually returned. But mom and dad still, by their own choice, have Cheena.
Cheena, after an encounter with an Alaskan porcupine
Cheena thinks she is now living in Buckingham Palace. And why wouldn’t she? That’s how my parents treat her. My mother calls daily to give Cheena reports. What she ate (never just plain dog food, but mixed with hamburger, or chicken or sausage) and how she spent more on Cheena at the Canine Beauty parlor than she does on her self. My dad gripes about the dog, while rubbing her belly and sneaking her bread dipped in homemade stew.
Really, my siblings and I are puzzled, yet pleased, by this behavior. They don’t even let most of the grand kids in the house, but Cheena has carte blanche to plop anywhere she likes, shedding dog hair and all. One of my sisters, the baby of the family, is experiencing some sibling rivalry over this. She called a few days ago and said somewhat peevishly, “Yeah, mom made Cheena eggs benedict for breakfast.”
I will say that Cheena is a very sweet, well-behaved, friendly dog. She is happy to see just about anyone, especially if you have food anywhere about your person, or you just pet her, rub her ears or scratch her belly. She’s very patient and lets the little kids do just about whatever they want. But don’t go near her food. She gets really cranky then.
Being part sled-dog, she is strong and likes to pull on her leash. Her twice, and sometimes thrice, daily walks have resulted in my mom losing about five pounds. It also resulted in a dislocated ring-finger on my sister which resulted in a trip to the ER to have her ring cut off. But that’s another story in itself.
How long this love affair with the new great-grandoggie will last is unclear. Right now, it seems everybody is happy with the arrangements, especially Cheena.
Oh. Did I mention the pink bows they put over her ears?
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
We spent the Mother's Day weekend with my brother's family in Glenwood Springs. Instead of a long, dry explanation of what did and saw, I'm going to grade the major elements of our trip in honor of the end of the school year.
The town of Glenwood Springs:
The area in and around Glenwood Springs is beautiful. Their downtown is nice (made even nicer by the obliteration of the reverse-angle parking — Hello Grand Junction City Council! Many people have a hard time backing into a wide-open street, why make it harder?). The drive is short enough, but I would have awarded the town of Glenwood Springs an "A" if it was even closer to Grand Junction and connected by bike path as to avoid expending umpteen millions of dollars on gas.
Glenwood Canyon Resort:
B+ given with the squinty eyes of skepticism
Apparently the newish Glenwood Canyons Resort used to be a trailerpark, but now is a nice RV campground which includes camper cabins and "resort" cabins.
My brother reserved a "resort" cabin which their Web site said would sleep six comfortably. We had seven, but the three little kids slept up in the "loft." By loft, they meant an area that Margaret and Colby could stand up but the rest of us feeling a little claustrophobic. The cabins are newish and the kitchens have nice appliances and are stocked with cookware and dinnerware. The pull-out sofa upon which Bill and I slept wasn't horribly uncomfortable, so we slept well enough.
The downside was we didn't have a place to have a fire, so we cooked marshmallows on the gas grill provided on the attached deck.
Because they are still in the process of finishing the "resort," there was no playground or other things to keep kids occupied, but we took advantage of its closeness to the riverfront trail and walked along there in the evening.
Overall, we enjoyed our time at the "resort," but I found that even with the Mother's Day discount, the cabins were more than a little expensive. If my brother hadn't been paying, I doubt we've stayed there. And they seemed a little stingy on some things like towels and charged $15 a day for maid service.
Cave are cool — literally. Glenwood Caverns are a really nice set of caves. If you like that kind of thing at all go see these. The tour is about an hour and requires some stair climbing but I think it's worth it.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
The caves are part of the "adventure park" but I separated them out, because the caves are cool. The rest was a disappointment.
First, it was expensive and you can't bring your own food into the park. Also you have to take the tram up to the park and caves which is cool, unless the weather is bad.
And guess what? The weather turned bad while we were there. They closed down the few rides they had open and the tram to get down. A couple of things advertised on their Web site that would've been a lot of fun for the kids were not going to be open until later in the season.
Because of the weather we had to wait for a van to get off the mountain, which is not fault of the owners and operators of the park, but it was annoying since we'd forked out a large chunk of change to basically get a tram ride up the mountain and the cave tour.
Luckily, Bill heard someone else ask for a refund on the ride tickets that we purchased at $2.50 a pop, so we got some of our money back which made us feel better.
Eventually I think this will be a fun place to take the kids, but they've got a long way to go. Oh, I should mention that the one ride we did get to go on, the Alpine Coaster, was really fun.
I took this picture by putting the camera behind my head on the way back up the hill.
Hike to Hanging Lake
My favorite part of the trip was the hike up to Hanging Lake. It was great in so many ways. I wrote about it over here
if you're interested.
I would highly recommend this hike despite the warnings and all. It's only a mile and it's shady. You won't regret it.