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Rain, rain go away

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!! 3 comments

Who wants to win 50 Bucks?!?

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) 28 comments

Come back soon now, ya hear?

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. 3 comments

Conversation with His Awesomeness

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…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. “Dug…” 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. hatoff.jpg 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. 3 comments

It’s A Dog’s (Improved) Life

By {screen_name}
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.jpg 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? 4 comments

Glenwood Springs report card

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: A- 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. Glenwood Caverns: A 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. caves.jpg Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park: C 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. from%20the%20coaster.jpg I took this picture by putting the camera behind my head on the way back up the hill. Hike to Hanging Lake A+ 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. 4 comments

Check Me Out!

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, May 14, 2007

Mama Drama gave me a virtual make-over today!!! I have long red hair and I love it! I was hoping to be a beautiful blonde like this one but oh well.... Contestants have to guess three bloggers and the winners will have their blog featured on Mama Drama. Trust me, you want this because they have tons of viewers and commenters daily. These ladies are often raw, edgy and always funny. Once they posted a pic of testicles hanging from the ceiling! The Houston Chronicle must be very very relaxed although they do refer to their boss as Dwight from The Office. me.jpg I don't think that my boss would truly appreciate a good testicle picture. It makes me uncomfortable just to use those two words in the same sentence! Eeek-Hi Denny! Go ahead and drop by...you can reveal my secret identity here. 4 comments


By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, May 11, 2007

CUT Several times over the last month or so strangers have referred to my son as "she." He by no means looks like a she nor does he dress like one but regardless it occurred more than once. It was the hair. beforeblog.jpg I just couldn't bring myself to cut one single precious hair on his head. He has hit so many milestones this year, few of which I actually had control over, except this one. So I postponed it wanting to keep him in this pristine baby state just a little longer. I loved to bury my nose in his fine blond hair and smell the top of his head. I loved to stroke it and tuck it behind his ear before he went to bed. I loved to wet it down and comb it into the perfect Donald Trump 'do complete with a side part. And it always made me laugh when the hair at his crown stuck up in a classic Dennis the Menace rebellion a few minutes later. But I had to suck it up and let it go. At first he didn't seem to mind. okayblog.jpg And then he did. Oh My God...he so did!!! notwellblog.jpg But what can you do? Stop? So, his torture had to continue and so did mine as lock after lock of his beautiful baby hair fell. I collected them all into a little white box of sentimentality. And sure enough...that sealed it...he's not a baby....he's a little boy. And nobody calls him "she" anymore. They say "Oh, what a beautiful boy you have." Of course, I couldn't agree more but I think I'm always going to miss my baby. done.jpg -N-THINGS I recieved this piece of anonymous mail yesterday. It was addressed to the Daily Sentinel from a Mom in Grand Junction. We don't publish unsolicited anonymous poems in our print product...but I post it here in honor of Mother's Day. I think the anonymous Mom would love to share it with all of you. Have a Great Weekend! momsblog.jpg 8 comments

Parent-teacher conference

By Robin Dearing
Thursday, May 10, 2007

Today marked the beginning of the end. The beginning of the end of Margaret's first-grade year of school and with that comes the parent-teacher conference. It was a year of ups and downs for our family, but it was a year of profound academic success for Margaret. smile.jpg Despite the concerns we have about Margaret's school (which I wrote about in this column) this has been a good year for her. She is achieving at a high level. She's a great reader, as witness by her and her partner, Cora's, success at the Battle of the Books. She doing well in math and all other subjects in school. Her teacher assures us that Margaret is ready to move on to the second grade. This is, of course, a great relief to her father and I. But we still have so many questions — like are we doing enough? Are we involved enough? Should we be working with her at home more? Is she being sufficiently challenged? head%20down.jpg We can't even decide if we should let her walk to school by herself yet (we live, literally, around the corner from the school). When is a kid old enough to cross the street by herself anyway? As Margaret grows up, I feel simultaneously pulled by feelings that I'm finally getting the hang of this whole parenting thing and feelings that I'm not doing enough to help her achieve and be a happy, successful person. I wish there was a parent-teacher conference for my performance as a mom. 2 comments

A is for Alba

By {screen_name}
Wednesday, May 9, 2007

So I get a letter in the mail last week telling me that my son will be receiving an academic recognition award. Wow, pretty cool. I ask Alex about it and he has no idea what it’s for. I call the office and they tell me it’s because he has earned a 3.5 or better GPA and he’ll be getting an academic letter. A great big fuzzy “P” I tell him. So I ask, “Do you want to go the awards ceremony or lacrosse practice?” He decides lacrosse practice. Then yesterday afternoon he tells me. “Mom, I’m getting an academic letter.” Uh, yeah. “Maybe I should go to the ceremony. I can go to lacrosse for the first part and leave early. But I’ll be sweaty.” “So will I, since I’m getting in a bike ride first too.” I pick him up and he strips off his practice jersey, does a quick parking lot shower with his water bottle, puts on a clean shirt and asks, “Do I smell?” Like I’m gonna sniff him! We get to the school parking lot and I tell him, “OK, my turn to change my shirt.” “What? Here? With me in the car?” He’s panicked. “Just don’t look. I’ll be quick.” I park way in the back of the lot where nobody else is around, and proceed to change out of my sports bra and damp t-shirt into dry clothes. Now, girls can do this without exposing any body parts other than an elbow. Alex doesn’t realize this and is freaking out. “Ohmigod. This is so wrong. On so many levels. Ohmigod. If you were Jessica Alba, this would be really cool. But you’re not.” See, the kid deserves an academic brilliance award! At any rate, he recovers from the trauma and we proceed to the auditorium. He found some of his buddies to sit with and the ceremony begins. He begrudgingly allowed me to take a few pictures of him, only after I told him they were for his Mema, who is paying him for A’s and B’s. Yes, Mema, we’re on to you, but it’s totally cool! Alexonstage.jpg Alex on stage getting his letter Alex’s dad and I are both quite proud of him. I also told Alex I look forward to the day three years from now when his name is listed as the recipient of every scholarship they doled out last night! Alexandjohnletters.jpg Alex (with lacrosse-helmet hair) and his friend John Congratulations to my kid and all the kids graduating this upcoming week! 4 comments
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