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By Robin Dearing
Monday, July 3, 2006
Like the Clampetts, my family and I have packed up and headed west to California ... for vacation. But instead of Beverly Hills, we stopped in the Sierra Nevadas and are staying in the town of Truckee.
Truckee is kind of like Grand Junction in that it's a town that many people have passed through on their way to some place else. Or they come to Truckee to enjoy the outdoor recreation that the area has to offer: skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in the winter, rafting, camping and hiking in the summer.
We drive the 800 miles across Utah and Nevada — not so much to partake in what the Sierras have to offer, although I'm glad to be out of the heat for a while — but to visit my family.
After my parents retired, they sold their house in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to the mountains. It was a logical move since they had spent the majority of their vacations and many weekends enjoying all that the glorious California gold country has to offer.
I've made this drive numerous times since moving to Grand Junction in 1996. We've spent many of my precious vacation days visiting my parents.
We have a good time together. And a lot of that is because of my husband. He's gets along very well with my mom and dad. He was the one who planned this trip with my mom while he was visiting with them last month.
That's right, my husband visited my parents while he was working a consulting job a couple hours from Truckee. I was at home; he was playing blackjack at a casino in Reno with my mom.
I know that I am a truly lucky person. I mean, really, how many spouses do you know would voluntarily spend time with their in-laws?
This relationship between my husband and parents makes me wonder what kind of relationship I'll have with whomever Margaret chooses to spend her life with? Will we be close like Bill and my mom and dad? Will I even like the person who will be closer to her than I ever will?
I realize that I have many years before this becomes an imminent issue. But I wonder what my parents did that made me see them now as not just parents, but as friends? How can I make Margaret's husband love me like Bill loves my mom and dad?
By Robin Dearing
Saturday, July 1, 2006
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Friday, June 30, 2006
I guess I’ve always done things “my? way. And, I realize sometimes •my? way is not always the normal way. The same can be said for my homemaker qualities.
I tend to hold on to the traditional. A good example is cloth diapers. I like them. I like that I•m not piling up the landfill with my kid’s excrement. I like that I’m not consuming valuable natural resources just to cover his butt. It’s not that I am trying to make any kind of political statement. I just like them and they work for me. And I feel good about my choice. Oh, and I have ABC Diaper Service
. No dumping, rinsing or boiling for this working mom.
I also like that my husband and I sit down to family dinner every night. At least five nights a week the meal is homemade. It rarely comes from a box and almost always includes the protein, starch, and vegetable combination. This meal is good for us in a number of ways. I think it’s unfortunate more families don’t do it.
Now that the baby has reached the four-month mark, it’s time for us to include him at the family dinner table. He’s not quite ready for food yet. The first time I gave him cereal he just looked at me in bafflement. The sensation of something being on his tongue was too much for him. He proceeded to cry while the runny cereal dripped down his chin. Swallowing was out of the question! But, we keep trying and despite his protests he still joins us at the dinner table without food.
I want to make my own baby food. I tried my hand at it last weekend by mixing breastmilk and mashed banana. He hates cereal so I thought maybe we’d try this. He took a couple of mouthfuls and then he was done. That’s cool. But, since there are starving babies around the world, I couldn’t see just throwing out the rest of his gruel. So I froze it into individual ice cubes.
If we have carrots, he should have carrots. If we have peas, wait, I hate peas…but anyway you get the point. I assume the food I prepare has to be better for him as it will be lacking in preservatives and whatever else may be in a jar product.
The thing that surprises me is how many people find this to be a radical idea. I guess most think that jar baby food is better. Huh.
But, despite that I’m going to try my culinary hand at the fine culinary art of baby food
. Maybe I’ll find it too time consuming or too whatever…but I’m going to give it a shot. Plus, it will save us a wad of dough!
!!! That way the next I have to justify a new skirt, I can say "Hey, I save us a wad of dough!"
Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Lickers household is finally bursting into the 20th century! Uh, make that the 21st century.
We have two computers at home (sort of) but up until today no internet access, and my son does not own a cell phone. He assures me that this clearly makes him a social outcast of epic proportions.
The “sort of? computer thing means we have a second CPU that his dad gave him from his technology recycling business. I have no idea why we need this second CPU. Hell, I don•t even know if they still call it a CPU!
Alex has swapped out bits and pieces (no pun intended) from each computer so there’s no telling what’s in where. He’s 14 and thinks he knows everything about computers. I am substantially older than that and I know I don’t know squat about computers anymore. That’s why I’m hiring Rick Castellini
to sort it all out.
So, getting this internet is a big deal for both of us. It will somehow instantly elevate his social, economic, academic, financial and spiritual standing, or so it would seem. For me, it’s one more battle line to be drawn in the sand!
Up to this point, I didn’t need to worry about on-line predators, porn sites, unauthorized credit card purchases, instant messaging, dangerous web sites that teach you how to make meth and bombs, or the number of hours wasted aimlessly surfing the net. I was blissfully happy that it was one issue I didn’t have to deal with. (At least not in my home. I’m not naïve enough to know he couldn’t access all this junk from a buddy’s house.)
But now that my kid will be in high school he truly will need all the good stuff that comes from the internet. Like when he writes his thesis on how to finally save the whales, or why Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth really isn’t, or how to actually Free Tibet he’ll need to use the internet for research. But in the meantime I have to worry about viruses you can catch with your clothes on and spam that doesn’t come in a can. And firewalls, whatever they are.
So while Alex can hardly wait to finally be wired to the world, I have one even bigger fear. Now he can read my blog!!
And post comments!! Wait! Isn’t that what parental controls are for? Hey – this could be fun after all.
Now, about the cell phone . . .
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I hate to belabor the whole "they grow up so fast" point, but, man, kids grow up so fast.
My daughter turned 6 on Monday. Six years old — that is the age of a bona fide kid ... and definitely not a baby. But she still seems like my baby, only in a long, skinny body.
Mostly I'm OK with the fact that my kid is getting older.
She can do things like get in the car and buckle her seat belt, get herself a drink and she can go to the bathroom ... all by herself. I don't miss doing any of those things for her.
Yet she's still young enough to want me around. She's happy to cuddle up with me on the sofa and watch a movie or do crafty projects together or read or ... fortunately the list goes on.
This was a fun birthday.
We had her party in the front yard (yes, in the front yard, but we moved the Camaro off the blocks for the party). We live in a great neighborhood and often spend time socializing with our neighbors and friends in the front yard — which is directly related to the fact that we have not yet landscaped the back yard.
Our neighborhood is full of girls about her age (really, there seems to be an embargo on boys), so with the neighbor girls and Mar's friends, she had a great group of kids who enjoyed playing party games, scrambling around on the ground for candy from the piñata (we bought one of those piñatas that aren't meant to be hit, but instead had strings that release a trap door — it's kind of anticlimactic, but no one got smacked in the head with a stick) and eating cake and ice cream.
Then there were the presents, of course. I always feel greedy when she gets so many nice gifts on her birthday, like it's all about the material aspects of the celebration. But her real fun came from being with her friends, so for that I'm thankful.
Each year that passes, I am reminded how she is not really my
kid, she's her own person who I am lucky enough to get to share my life with.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, June 26, 2006
We are going on vacation next week. In the car. With a four-month-old baby. A really long way.
I think we are crazy. The more I think of it, the more certain I am of this fact.
I love to travel but this will be a first for our new family unit. To be frank, it’s a bit stressful.
I’ve thought of the amount of stuff I am going to have to bring. The playyard (for those who don’t know, play-PEN is the politically incorrect name for such an item. We no longer are able to PEN our children like animals. They are put in a play-YARD. Just trying to help those that may have been unaware and might get chastised for their language use at the next baby shower.)
will have to go. So will the Snuggly, the Boppy, the breast pump and bottles for emergencies, the wet-wipes, disposable diapers which I’ll have to buy, the baby shampoo, the head scrubbin brush, the white bear lovey, a pile of onesies and overalls and socks, the just in case jacket, some baby blankets, some changing pads, and some diaper crème.
That’s just the necessary items. Others in consideration are a thermometer, the baby nail clippers, and a swim diaper (But he doesn’t own one. Can’t he just be naked at the beach? What’s the beach etiquette on that?).
This doesn’t include his parent’s things and I’m wondering how we will have room in the mom car for all this stuff.
Oh, and I had better bring the infant Tylenol just in case he decides to pop some teeth while we are gone.
When I try to imagine what this trip will be like I just keep wondering if between feedings, changings and our own personal needs if we will EVER get there. I’m worried about our own temperaments. Can we survive crossing the desert with a baby? Will he cry the whole way ‘cuz that will suck.
And I had better not forget the camera.
But, the thought of our first “family? vacation has me excited. Seeing those baby footprints in the sand and taking pictures of my baby on the beach (I had better buy him that diaper)
are going to be priceless. It will probably be me asking the quintessential question, •Are we there yet??
By Robin Dearing
Friday, June 23, 2006
I like reading mommy blogs.
I like that there are moms out there who write openly, honestly and with dripping loads of sarcasm about parenting and all the things associated with being in charge of the day-to-day well being of those dirty, oops, I mean, darling creatures we call children.
I did a quick Google search for "mom blogs" and I was amazed at the number of Web sites out there that allow for moms — and dads, too — to expound on the condition that is parenthood.
I think this is a good thing, a very good thing. We shouldn't have to navigate the mommy waters alone. We should be able to learn from one another and commiserate over the sleepless nights and frantic days full of peanut butter sandwiches.
But, of course, I think mom blogs are a good thing ... since I write for one.
I was excited to begin this blog with my cohorts in crime, Richie
because I wanted to be part of the wonderfully diverse world of mom bloggers.
Here's a short list of some of the mom blogs that I read regularly:
Wait, before you begin clicking, I should provide a disclaimer.
See, some of these Web sites are private, governed solely by their comfort with having their words strewn across cyber space. Some include ... uh, adult language and content that some readers may find ... er, objectionable or inappropriate. So, understand that you click the links below at your own risk knowing that what is written has been done so by mothers ... uncensored and without concern for those with delicate constitutions.
Consider yourself warned. Here they are, in no discernable order:
Bringing up Ben & Birdy
There are more blogs out there, but these are my favorite ones because they tend to leave the sugar-coating at the breakfast table and the wine bottle uncorked.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, June 22, 2006
I’ve never had the opportunity to watch a baby grow. It is so cool.
Every week Soren tries something new. This morning he log rolled three times across the living room floor, got tired, took a five minute nap, and then log rolled back. He couldn’t do that yesterday.
In the morning, I like to wake up with a hot cup of coffee. Soren is in a great mood when he wakes up, the exact opposite of mom and dad. We usually mutter grunts for the first hour until all the synapses start firing.
But, the baby smiles and coos. Morning is a shining time for this kid. It figures, right? What do they say? Round people usually have square children or something like that.
We recently got him a new activity center. He loves it. His little feet can’t reach the bottom yet but he somehow wiggles himself from toy to toy. His fine motor skills aren’t very sharp either but he can use his fists to turn some of the toys. He loves it.
As I sip my coffee, I watch him play. He gets this intent stare and it’s obvious he is really thinking about the object in front of him. He has to concentrate to move his arm, open his fingers, and touch the spinning toys. When he’s successful, his eyes light up and he smiles in self-adulation.
I can get that feeling by trying to wiggle my little toe independently of the other toes. It’s the same kinda mental gymnastics. I tried it while I watched him play and it’s hard so I totally can empathize with what he’s going through.
He also got a new jumpy thing. Again, his tiny toes can barely reach the floor. A big kick from one foot will send him into a spinning pirouette. He looks like a baby Baryshnikov spinning on his big toe. It makes us both laugh.
Just watching him grow has become my favorite pastime and makes my mornings so much more enjoyable.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Motherhood is nothing if not a learning experience. We thought we'd share with you the things we've learned since becoming mothers (and that nobody ever told us). We'd love to hear from you and what you've learned as well!
1. There’s nothing to stop a baby from pooping in the bathtub.
2. White carpet should not be sold to people with children.
3. Parenting books are rarely useful, especially if you don’t read them.
4. If you laugh when your kids says a swear word, she’s likely to say it again and again.
5. No matter how badly your toddler wants to walk the dog, it’s never a good idea to tie the leash to her wrist.
6. A regular sleep schedule is essential to maintaining sanity.
7. Hearing the words, “I’m gonna frow up,? means that it•s already too late.
8. The Wiggles are way better than Barney (except for that narcoleptic guy – what’s his story?), but Baby Einstein rules.
9. Serving baby carrots with pizza makes a complete meal.
10. Parenting is so much harder than I ever imagined, but it’s so much better in so many ways that my life really began when my daughter was born.
1. Your child will only miss the bus and need a ride to school on days when you absolutely can not be late to work.
2. You will become the world’s best finder of all things lost. Including living things that crawl or slither and are found behind the toilet.
3. No matter how big your kid is getting, he will keep growing. And you will have to keep buying bigger shoes for him. Every three months. At sixty bucks a pop.
4. Your child will claim that he can’t hear you when you ask him to do chores, but he can hear you whisper gossip into the phone from two rooms away.
5. If there is more than one kid in the house and it’s quiet, something is likely to be very wrong.
6. Most teachers in school district #51 will not correct spelling. No matter what. You will have to take on that task by yourself.
7. Most teachers in school district #51 will assign math homework that is beyond your ability to be of any help with by the 3rd grade. You will have to deal with it by stressing that spelling homework is far more important than math homework.
8. When your teen-aged child tells you he is going to the store to buy eggs, toilet paper and whipped cream you can safely assume he is not planning to make dinner.
9. Through much trial and error you will eventually find a disciplinary technique that works. The fun part is in the trial.
10. Take advantage of any opportunity you can to hug and kiss your teenager, especially in public. They pretend to hate it. And it’s so cool to see them blush.
1. Just stop and enjoy the moment because he’s already growing up so fast.
2. The dishes and housework can wait until after the baby goes to bed.
3. Toys are expensive!
4. The human body needs much less sleep than recommended.
5. Motherhood is the strongest emotion I’ve ever felt. I could never love anything more than my child.
6. I’ve learned how to be grateful. I have the most generous friends and family in the whole world.
7. It’s okay to cry right along with the baby if you feel like it. He’ll understand, he won’t tell anyone and you’ll both feel better.
8. Babies are the best excuse to loosen up, make faces, blow bubbles, and just be generally silly. After all these years of being told to STOP these things, it’s so refreshing to start up again.
9. Always give your husband credit and compliments especially in public and to his mother.
10. Everything you own is doomed to be destroyed in one way or another. Just accept this and you’ll be a lot happier.
So, that's what we know! How about you?
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
A doctor? A lawyer? An accountant? President of the United States of America?
What is my kid going to be when she grows up?
And more importantly, what is my role in helping to shape what she turns out to be?
Do I push her? Or do I sit back and let her develop on her own? Because my obsessive-compulsive tendencies lend me to want to push.
My parents never pushed me. They taught me that doing well in school was expected and that education was the most important stepping stone to success.
But man, did they ever cringe when they found out what my major was in college. I can still hear my mom talking to my gramma on the phone, "Yeah, she's still studying art history. I'm not sure why."
My mom wanted me to be an accountant (which is laughable because my relationship with numbers is sketchy at best). My dad wanted me to be a blackjack dealer in Reno — yeah, he had high hopes for his only daughter.
I followed my own path. And I'm glad of it.
I have several jobs that I really enjoy, so I feel like I've made good choices.
Ultimately, I want Margaret to follow her own path ... I just hope that the path she takes is the one full of music.
I would love for Mar to become a musician. I realize that this dream puts me outside the mainstream of thinking in that the life a musician can be far stable and secure.
But one thing I've learned is that there are no guarantees? There are no sure things in life, only risks.
And what better thing to take a risk on than one's true passion? So I keep my fingers crossed that Mar will adopt the love of music that her father and I share.
Believe me, we do our best to encourage any musical flames to grow. For her 3rd birthday, we bought her a drum kit. Next week when she turns 6, we had planned to buy her her first electric guitar, but upon further investigation, she revealed to us that she really wants to play the piano.
I'll admit, I'm a bit disappointed. I play the guitar and I was hoping that she'd want to take after her dear, old mom, but no luck.
Being that a piano just isn't in the budget, Mar's getting an electronic keyboard and piano lessons instead. I'm just happy she wants to play music.
Because my favorite moments with Margaret are when she and I are singing songs together, sharing the gift of music.