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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.
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.
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.
Friday, February 2, 2007
“Hey Mom,” Alex said excitedly over the cell phone yesterday morning. “Can you give us a ride back to school tonight so we can see John play the piano?”
Palisade High School was holding their Palisade Idol contest that evening.
“Yeah, that’s fine. I’d like to go to that.”
“OK cool. We’re gonna make signs that say We Love You John and stuff.”
My mom radar started beeping.
“I will only take you if you’re respectful and supportive of him and the other kids.”
“Yeah, of course. Can you give Sue and Joe ride too?”
We got out the poster board and made a couple quick signs. I grumbled to myself as I drove about 30 miles to pick up kids from one end of the valley and drove them out to the other.
We got to the auditorium just as the show was starting, and here’s what was going through my mind:
These kids are going to be a terrible audience. They will be disruptive and talk and be poorly behaved throughout the evening. They will make fun of the kids on-stage. They are going to piss me off. I’ve seen this happen at events like this before.
The first performers came on stage and had some technical difficulties getting their CD started. Here we go, I thought. The kids are going to boo.
Well, they didn’t. They didn’t boo for the first act and they didn’t boo for the second or any other act all night. They were, with one or two very minor exceptions, an absolutely beautiful, wonderful, attentive audience. I wanted to cheer for them!
But I was too busy cheering for all the kids that took the stage that night! I had a lump in my throat as I watched a couple dozen teenagers give performances that blew me away. What an incredibly talented bunch of kids! First of all, for a teenager to get up on stage in front of their peers and put themselves on the line like that takes some serious courage. And then to sing, and play the guitar, and the piano, and the violin and cello so beautifully and with all their hearts was phenomenal to witness!
And the audience? They couldn’t have been more supportive when a couple kids made a wobble or two. They cheered them right through it and clapped just as loudly at the end.
We left before they announced who won the Palisade Idol title. But it didn’t matter. I don’t know how the judges could have decided. All the kids were first-rate and even though I only personally knew one of them, I was so proud of all of them.
Including the audience.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, February 1, 2007
"Newsroom this is Yesterday."
"What? Richie? What did you just say?"
That's the way this week has been.
I just purchased my breakfast out of the vending machine. (That's right all you health conscious people out there...I am eating out of the vending machine! Give me a break! It's not like I feed it to my kid. Beside what did you have for breakfast???)
As I'm staring into the reflection of the microwave waiting for the processed cheese to ooze out of my Hot Pocket I was thinking "Wow....I have changed so much in the last year!"
My morning routine has gone from sipping coffee and watching Katie Couric talk about must-have Prada totes to making scrambled eggs for Soren, sipping coffee, and shushing my husband so I can hear what Meridith Viera has to say about spoiling Generation Y.
I made it through a whole year of pumping and breastfeeding and believe me...it wasn't easy. It's downright tiring to be a milk-cow! Not to mention the precise routine you have to keep while working. No going to lunch with friends or lingering in the card aisle after work. Plus I made a whole-hearted effort to choose the salad over a Hot Pocket from the vending machine.
I've figured out bottles, diapers, rashes, fevers, bumps, baths, toys, teeth, toenails, car seats, baby food, housework, bottles, weaning, and how to get myself to work ontime most days of the week.
And, I feel like I'm contributing more and more to the newsroom all the time.
I know I have so much more to learn...17+ years. But the learning curve the first year is really high.
I guess what I'm saying is "I Rock!" even though I had to eat out of the vending machine today.
Sorry, enough self back-patting. I'd better get to work and finish my chocolate milk.
(P.S. Check out the AP video on our main page of Super Tonio! The baby weighed 14 pounds at birth! That mom Rocks!)
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
It feast or famine, it seems, when it comes to things to write about. I was running a little short on ideas and time today, so I tried to get Margaret to write an entry for me but she said, "I don't know what to write."
I know the feeling.
We decided that after a long day in school she needed a snack.
First we stopped by Richie's desk, who quickly commented on Margaret's giant, new front choppers. For some reason this embarrassed her. To make up for her embarrassment she threatened to bite off my nose. Riche quipped that it was lucky she had those two big choppers so she could.
A trip to the snack machine found Margaret in possession of a Rice Krispie treat.
We stopped by Lynn's office so Margaret could tell Lynn, "If you give a kid a Rice Krispie treat then she'll ask you for a drink ... ." We laughed at her interpretation of the children's book "If you give a moose a muffin."
"Now turn around and do your work," Margaret commanded as she turned Lynn in her chair to face her computer.
Indeed! I took her advice and did some work of my own.
Later the afternoon dissolved into silliness when her favorite copy editor came down and gave her one look. She melted into pool of giggles that could only be heard half way across the office.
Margaret always enjoys coming to work me with ... I can only wonder why.
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
It was quite a weekend for this rock-star mom.
I scrubbed our bathroom. I know, I know, I'm living on the edge here.
While I enjoy clean stuff, I'm not big into spending my few moments of free time souring and polishing. But I made an exception Sunday.
Bill took Margaret to Powdaerhorn and I enjoyed my day alternating between cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry and mopping the floors and listening to NPR and surfing the Web.
The life of a rock star is oh-so glamorous.
I was pretty domestic on Saturday as well, but in a more creative fashion.
Since Margaret starting going to pre-school three years ago, we've (meaning mostly I) made the Valentines that she's given to her classmates. This year I decided to get our Valentines project done early.
I like to embark on these projects with some professional supervision in our dear friend, Tracee. She's an art teacher and an all-around crafting goddess. It seems every couple of months there's reason to make cards and Tracee is always the one I call on for guidance and support.
So with our table littered with glitter, stamps and ribbon, we began.
Margaret made some big ones for her best friend, Kate, and her music teacher while I toiled away on cards for her classmates. Tracee, on the other hand, created a handful of gorgeous one-of-a-kind cards (she could totally sell them).
I was pretty pleased with the result and took the opportunity to show them to anyone who had the misfortune to step foot in our house over the weekend.
I know that I could've saved a couple of hours of time and some money if I just bought Mar a box of SpongeBob Squarepants Valentines, but there's something satisfying about giving things that are homemade.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, January 29, 2007
As mentioned before
, I have not been a very good friend lately. The past year Soren has held my rapt attention leaving me with little time to spend with my girlfriends. I'm not going to apologize for it but I am going to try to do a little catching up. That's a warning really to my friends...expect a phone call from me out of the blue to just say "hey".
I started with a movie and one of my favorite girlfriends. When invited I knew she was genuinely surprised and happy that I said "yes" as I've said "no" so many many times this year. The last movie I saw outside of the house was King Kong. I was seven months pregnant and everytime that gorilla shouted Soren kicked me frantically from the inside. I knew he could hear loud and clear before they ever gave him a test.
We saw Catch and Release....and it sucked. It is set in Boulder and was a running cliche of Colorado. It started with the Fat Tire they drank, the posters of festivals and Bolder Boulder obviously placed, to the Subaru Outback the chick drove. The scenery really drove me nuts. I hate that kinda crap. Aside from that the story was pretty lame and predictable too.
But it doesn't matter. What matters is I was in the outside world again past 6 p.m. I relaxed in the new theater's bouncy seats and I didn't talk about my kid very much. And you know what? It felt good. And I didn't allow myself to feel guilty about Soren going to bed without boob.
Friday, January 26, 2007
So I ask him, “Alex, it’s my turn to blog tomorrow. What should I write about?”
“As long as it’s not about me and Suzie Q I could care less.”
Suzie Q is his friend-girl and not her real name. I say friend-girl as opposed to girl-friend because I am not ready for him, nor is he ready in my opinion, to have a girl-friend.
Having explained all that, I figured I might as well go ahead and blog about it.
Suzie Q is a very cute girl. She is also intelligent and as far as I know a good student. I have met her briefly once or twice and seen pictures of her on Myspace. Alex has been smitten with her for months now. They have gone to numerous movies together, been ice skating and I’m fairly certain they will be attending the winter dance at school together next weekend. Now the good part of this for Alex at least is that these social events are attended with a group of friends and are not technically dates. This means that he does not have to pay for them, or more accurately, her.
Where it gets puzzling for me is that they have endless, and I mean endless, phone conversations. I am always amazed that two teenagers who have spent the better part of the school day together can talk for hours on end later that same day. What the heck do they talk about? Bush’s state of the union address? The pros and cons of nuclear energy? Amnesty for illegals?
The part of this I struggle with is if and how I should limit these phone conversations. Right now, I see no real negative effects. His grades are fine, he is no more or less well-behaved, and as far as I know they are not plotting anything immoral or illegal. It just bugs me that he is in his room literally from the time he gets home from school until the next morning, emerging only to eat and shower. I don’t like the lack of actual face-to-face socialization that goes with the whole cell phone, instant messaging stuff.
And to be honest I ask myself if I’m struggling with it because it’s his friend-girl or would I be equally, or more, concerned if it was his guy friends?
How do other moms and dads deal with this? Advice? Suggestions?
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, January 25, 2007
"Well, at least it makes me
feel better," Lynn replied as Bill and I told her of our parenting woes over several bowls of soup* Friday.
Both our kids have been ... well, just not acting right and it's really getting me down.
My 16-year-old stepson's story is so frustrating and sad that I always end up just shaking my fist in the air and crying, "Teenagers!" in a disgusted voice. Plus, it's really not my story to tell, so I'll just focus on Margaret.
Margaret ... my 6-year-old little darling.
She brought home two
notes, on two
consecutive days last week about talking back to her teacher. Talking back to her teacher!
Gah! What kind of parent am I?
I am mortified by this. Her teacher is an earnest, hard-working and dedicated woman whom Margaret has always liked. And I feel like an ostrich parent saying, "I have no idea where this behavior comes from." But really, I am surprised.
Oh, that's not to say she isn't more lippy at home than I'd prefer, but she seemed to act right (mostly) at school.
Not anymore. And we're not really sure what to do about it.
We "grounded" her for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with exceptions being that she got to go to Powdercats
(because I prepaid good money for that and, bad behavior or not, she was going) meaning that she couldn't watch TV or play with her friends. We spent extra time doing homework and practicing the piano.
But I'm not really sure that it did any good.
Saturday evening as Bill and I watched some television, Margaret came out of her room and without a hint of sarcasm stated, "I thought I was going to hate being grounded, but I'm finding much better things to do than sit around watching TV."
Yeah, how do you respond to that?
I always end up blaming Margaret's bad behavior on Bill, because I never got in trouble at school. But then I remember that this isn't about me. It's about Margaret and then my head starts hurting.
I think I'm going to stock up on extra-strength Excedrin.
*Our office held a soup potluck Friday. I was amazed at the variety of soups that were brought in. We have a lot of good cooks who work at the Sentinel. Bill was invited to the office potluck because he's the one who actually makes the food I bring to potlucks.