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Frugal Internet Junkie

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, February 16, 2007

The first step is admitting you have a problem...or so I've been told. My problem is I'm an information junkie. If I would have had kids ten years ago I would have been completely lost. How would I ever of had enough information to be a good parent? Anytime I have a question or concern, I pop it into a search engine to get my answer. Strange rash? I ask Doctor Google...which by the way I seriously do not reccommend. If you Google a word like hangnail it will tell you that you are seriously ill and must seek medical attention immediately as you have some strange South African bacterial infection which will result in certain painful death. Then you'll walk around all day with your eye twitching because you just know this hangnail is going to kill you. When I'm not popping random words into the Web I'm reading books like "What to Expect When Your are Expecting" or "Your Pregnancy...Your Child." Now, I've found a way to peruse the Internet and get FREE reading material for my offline time. How cool is that? baby magazines.jpg I got every magazine for free...except the Parenting one which I had to subscribe to because my cousin solicited me to support the Girl Scouts. (Speaking of which, where are my cookies?) It appears there is no catch to my online subscriptions. I just signed up and every few days a new glossy mag appears on my kitchen table. On top of having my every question answered without having to admit I had such a stupid question to ask, I've found coupons for baby food, free baby lotion samples, and free baby cereal. If you formula feed there is no reason to ever pay full price for a can. Those companies are literally giving it away on the Web. Here are links to free magazines: babycenter I love this website! It compares your tiny fetus to fruit which I always have found strange but it is definately one of the best sites on the Web. Child.com babytalk.com Americanbaby.com Pregnancy and Newborn Parenting What's your favorite parenting website? 2 comments

Get Well Soon

By {screen_name}
Thursday, February 15, 2007

With the exception of my mom having a strange and mysterious illness, it’s been a mostly uneventful week in the Lickers household. This is a good thing. My mom being sick is not such a good thing. We’ve made three trips to the ER in the past week and each time left with no more answers or a definitive diagnosis than the time before. The good news is that the gajillion tests they ran all came back normal. The bad news is because they all came back normal nobody has a clue what’s causing her distress. My mom is going crazy because she is not the type of person who likes to sit around on the couch because she has no energy to do anything more strenuous than that. They’ve ruled out stroke, hepatitis, heart problems, kidney failure, West Nile virus, brain tumors, and a host of other things. Now we’re down to testing for carbon monoxide poisoning, voodoo curses, and the mal occhio. At any rate, I hope they find out soon what it is and give her some magic cure. The fortunate thing is that she has three daughters in town along with her husband to fret over her, make jokes that most families would think insensitive, bring dinner and grandkids to cheer her up. And we know that we are blessed with good health in general and are mindful of those not so blessed. All this makes me understand some culture’s custom of bringing as many children as possible into the world so they have a gaggle of people to look after them in their later years. It makes sense from that perspective. And it makes me ponder my own “elderly” years, several decades from now, when I might be in the same boat. Thinking of Alex’s current aversion to compassionate care, I’m starting to think the celebrity craze of adoption make sense. Maybe I ought to start thinking of that as a way to make sure I have more than one prospect for a ride to the hospital. All kidding aside, I hope my mom gets well soon. She has a lot of stuff to do - cookies to make, quilts to finish, curtains to sew, worlds to save. In the meantime, she at least has her whacked out grandchildren around to make her laugh and her daughters who keep telling her a pedicure and a bottle of good red wine can work wonders. 4 comments

Happy Valentine’s Day

By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Yes, it may be one of those made-up holidays invented by greeting card companies, but that doesn't mean that you can't take the opportunity to remind those that matter in your life that you love them. Valentine's Day at The Daily Sentinel office is marked by a steady stream of floral deliveries. We wander around the office enjoying the bouquets and oh-ing and ah-ing. It's a nice day. Bill always gets me something lovely. This year was no exception: Tulips.jpg Tulips. Oh how I love them. They're so elegant without being pretentious. All of us here in the office got an early Valentine's treat yesterday in the form of a just-turned-one-year-old little boy who stomped around and delighted us all: Pictures of Soren copy.jpg Soren is such a sweet little boy. His sunny face lit up with every new toy he discovered as he made friends across the office. I even took a little video of him. Sweeter than chocolate, that one is. 2 comments

Gone and done

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Considering how sick Margaret was last week, the fact that she has just a random cough and a bit of a runny nose today is amazing, but so goes the immune system of a healthy child. Margaret attests her rapid recovery to the vast amounts of Sierra Mist Free that she drank over the past week. Normally soda of any sort is a special treat beverage, but she suffered six days of fever and claimed that the soda had some sort of healing power. So we let her drink it. It has no caffeine or sugar and it made an otherwise miserable child happy. After drinking a can of the diet "pop" (as some like to call it) myself, I was lead to ask the can of Sierra Mist Free, "What is the point of you? You have nothing of value. Bubbles are nice, but what do they add to the world, really? Gah!" It responded with a gentle fizz and said nothing else. I think I was a little delusional at the point as we'd spent the last week up many nights with a coughing child. And instead of resting on the weekends, we ensconced ourselves in the world of home improvement. It seemed that everything that we attempted to do was thwarted by either my own stupidity (enhanced by the Dearing gene that suggests one should never read the instructions on anything until after it's broken) and bad luck. But we are pretty much done with the kids' room shuffle and the transformation of Mar's old room into a little office/TV room for Bill and me. Here are couple quick (and blurry, for some reason ... I'm gonna say that it's to add an artistic flare) pictures I snapped this morning of Mar's new room and our "office": Mar's room.jpg When Margaret was just a few months old, my parents came for a visit. At the time we only had a crib and a changing table in her room. My mom asked me one day, "Can we buy Margaret a dresser?" Never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I quickly agreed. We ended up buying an unfinished chest of drawers and then my mom and I painted it ourselves. I will always love that dresser. Study.jpg This room isn't a really a "room" at all, but a converted service porch. It's attached to our bedroom and worked wonderfully as a nursery and then as a tiny bedroom for Margaret. Bill commented last night how strange it is to not have our little girl right next to us. We agree that it's best for everyone, but we always loved having her so close. And once again I'm having trouble remembering just why it is that kids need to grow up anyway. 3 comments

Not another Aquarius

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, February 12, 2007

The second and third weeks of Febraury are really busy ones. There is birthday after birthday and then of course Valentine's Day. When Soren was due last year I kept telling everyone that I hoped he'd get his own birthday and not have to share with his uncles, grandma or even his dad. Somehow he picked the one day in February not already being used by someone else. His birthday was a huge success. The people here at Birthdays Without Pressure would have been proud of me. I made chocolate and strawberry cupcakes out of a box with homemade cream cheese frosting. We had some pizza, a salad that I bought from the store, a few decorations and that was it. Even with the day off I was still busy running errands from store to store to pick it all up. A huge lesson learned was that cupcakes are HARD work. It is so much easier to make a cake and put frosting on it. I can kiss my cupcake business dream goodbye because after the first dozen I was pooped. And to think I thought I could make a career of that...whatever. All said and thank goodness done I'd say it was a succussful run of February birthdays. I got the cards out mostly on time, a nice dinner on the table for loverhubby's B-day and even an extra special surprise in Saturday's paper for my two main men. You can sign the guestbook here. birthdayblog.jpg I'm glad February's a short month. And...Happy Birthday Mom! 2 comments

Too darn hot

By Robin Dearing
Friday, February 9, 2007

100.8 That was Margaret’s temperature this morning and I had to take it with her mouth open since it’s been six days since she’s been able to breath out of nose. And six days since she’s been fever free. And six days since she’s done more than lie on the sofa and cough. The doctor said it is a bad cold. We’ve heard this particular cold called the respiratory flu. And that’s pretty appropriate. It’s got a hold of my little girl and it’s not letting go. Margaret perked up last night to the point of being almost annoying while my dear Tracee and I tried to watch the season premier of Survivor (it’s embarrassing how much we love that show — I won’t mention that we play a game every week that involves ballots and accumulating points, because some might find that sad. We’re not sad, we’re enthusiastic!). We had even thought that she might be able to go back to school today. But that fever this morning meant that it was not to be. She’s missed an entire week of school. Believe me, you do not want to get this cold. Just to be on the safe side, I keep Richie at arm’s length so she doesn’t breathe up one of these uber-germs and get herself sick while she’s all busy growing another person and all. Neither Bill nor I are particularly interested in getting this cold either so we’re trying to eat well, drink lots of fluids and get enough sleep (which are all difficult to do with our hectic schedules, but we’re making the effort). I started feeling poorly yesterday so I started using Zicam to help fend off this scary monster virus. I hope it works. If it doesn’t you’ll be reading a lot more complaining about this illness next week. Here’s to a happy — and healthy — Friday! 4 comments

Not Invited but I’ll Be There

By {screen_name}
Thursday, February 8, 2007

I’m left with the task of following Richie’s blog yesterday. How unfair is that? I’m very happy for Richie. I think people with cute kids are obligated to have several. Robin? Alex and his posse’s choice of entertainment seems to be movies. Almost every Saturday night for the past couple months they go to the new Canyon View theater to watch a movie. They are running out of new ones to see I think. So Al asked me if he could have the posse over this weekend to our house for movie night. “Yeah, that’d be fun. How many kids?” “Well, the usual” he said and rattled off a dozen male and female names. “What kind of movie do you want to get?” I asked, thinking of the old time comedy classics like Monty Python, Animal House (a really bad idea though) and the original Pink Panthers. “We like horror movies.” Gross. My least favorite. Let’s just say we’re going to have to compromise on the movie choice. And my absolute steadfast rule is nothing R rated. I don’t care that they see worse on MTV. I don’t allow that in my house either. With that settled, my thoughts turn to food. Can’t have a party, especially of teenagers, without food. Hmmmm, pizza? Too obvious. Sub sandwiches? Maybe. Tacos? Too messy. “Just junk food Mom, that’s all we want.” That’s fine for him, but not for me. I want something that will be fun, and good and since it’s dinner, at least vaguely nutritious. But really, that’s not the important part. The important part is that he’ll have his friends over, they’ll have fun and they’ll be safe. I’ll know where they are and who they’re with. And since they’ll be gone by 11:00 they won’t be sneaking out of the house while I’m asleep! “Oh, and Mom, please don’t hang out with us.” Duh. “But you can hang out in your room.” Gee, thanks. Pass the popcorn. 5 comments

Precious Cargo

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Yesterday was Soren's very first birthday! We ate a leisurely breakfast, got dressed, shoed and reshoed the kid for a short morning walk to the big check-up. As we walked along we pointed out the trees, the sky, the cars all in an effort to stimulate a little 1-year-old vocabulary. Mixed in was an adult conversation about the future of the Ashcraft family. We let Soren try his strenth by letting him climb the grassy hill that led to the doctor's office. He played innocently with the germy toys in the lobby...he was facinated by an older girl who talked to herself as she played. We all filed into the small room. The doctor congratulated Soren on his big day, admiring his T-shirt that announced his #1 birthday and the birthday boy ribbon mama had pinned proudly to his chest. She chatted to him about his plans for the day while daddy did his best to answer and keep him from wriggling off his lap. He retied his shoes. "What are you getting for your birthday?" she asked. Then our fourth heartbeat filled the empty air with a whoosh whoosh...whoosh whoosh. I looked at Marty with a sigh of relief and he smiled. "Ooohhh," Soren said of the sound he was hearing. "He's a big brother for his birthday" I replied. I got dressed, threw Soren's shoes in my purse, and we walked back home grinning. It was indeed turning out to be a very special day for us all. 23 comments

The big shuffle

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, February 6, 2007

It seemed like a good idea at the time ... When we moved into our house three months before Margaret was born, we knew that some day we would have to rearrange the children's living arrangements. Sean was 10 at the time and was given the second bedroom upstairs. Margaret had the small nursery room that was attached to our bedroom. But now that Margaret is a couple of months away from 7, we decided it was time to make the big shuffle — unfortunately, we couldn't have picked a worse time. Saturday, bright and early, Margaret and I headed to store to get Sean a rug and other items for his new room. Then we cleaned and organized the basement room and moved Sean in. We had always used that room as a make shift laundry/office. Now it is a pretty sweet teenage bachelor pad complete with his own bathroom. When he got home from work Saturday night, he was pretty excited to have his own living space. I remember thinking it was odd that Margaret was so content to spend the day watching TV and doing crafts by herself, but the frenzy of the day left us thankful that she was happy to entertain herself. Sunday I roused Bill bright and early so we could get to Home Depot just as they were opening at 8 a.m. We picked up paint and various implements of the home improvement and headed home for a long, long day of painting. When we got home we found Margaret moaning listlessly on the couch. She had a fever, congestion and a wicked cough. She spent the entire day in her pajamas dozing on the sofa and blowing her nose. By early afternoon we had the painting done. After a couple more trips to the store accompanied by my friend and decorating consultant, Tracee, Bill and I watched/listened to the SuperBowl and hung window treatments in Margaret's newly painted lavender room. Tracee's husband came over to watch the game and eat dinner (somewhere in there Bill had time to make ribs). Rob is one of those guys that is immediately loved by kids and dogs — ours are no exception. Somewhere around halftime, Margaret started teasing Rob. "Well, it looks like Margaret is feeling better. She's started calling Rob names," Bill remarked. It was a relief to see that she was feeling better. But her recovery was short lived. Her last night in her little, pink room was punctuated by coughing fits and general discomfort. We kept her home from school Monday. Bill stayed home with her in the morning so I could at least get in a half a day's work. Then Bill went to work and I took on the task of moving all of Margaret's furniture into her new room. She helped a little by ferrying her kajillion stuffed animals in, but the activity of walking back and forth across the house left her tired. I continued to arrange her room after Bill got home and warmed up some dinner for us, then I left to teach my Monday night class. After a couple of hours of lecturing, I came home to finish moving Margaret little-girl stuff into her new room followed by moving our office stuff in her old room. By 10:30, I was utterly exhausted and Margaret was awake and crying. She was so congested she could not lie down and breathe at the same time. Eventually she fell back asleep and so did Bill and I. Margaret ended up spending most of her first night with her big-girl room tossing and turning in our bed while I desperately tried to stay covered and stay asleep. Needless to say, I was more than a little envious when looked in on my peacefully sleeping husband and daughter as I dragged my sore and sleepy self out the door this morning. 3 comments

You mean “Playdate” isn’t code for “Glass of Wine?”

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Sunday, February 4, 2007

Stephanie here at Metro Mama brought to my attention a Today Show's recent piece about moms getting together to have a glass of wine while their children play together. You can watch it here. I swear it never even occured to me that it would be wrong to have one glass of wine in front of my kid. I'm with Melissa Summers that having a glass is no big deal. I think Meredith Viera totally attacked her unfairly in the interview. I mean what a riduculous question to ask if it was okay if babysitters got together for a drink. Everyone knows THAT is probably not okay especially if your babysitter is you know...13! Although I distinctly remember sitting down one evening last summer with my 27-year-old babysitter and having not one but two glasses of white wine after I got off of work. And, our kids were there. And what about when my family gathers today for the Super Bowl? I know that there will be a bottle of beer in someone's hand and it doesn't bother me a bit. I think most reasonable people would believe that these moms know enough not to get drunk in front of their kids at a playdate and this issue was totally blown-out of proportion by the Today Show. And to be fair here is Meredith's reply to mom's like me. I left her a comment. 2 comments
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