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Pondering Nurture

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I've asked myself quite often, "What kind of mom do I want to be?" Having just started I feel as though I have a clean slate from which to begin the relationship with my son. After a particularly hard knock to the head I picked Soren up and kissed his boo-boo. Not just that, I riddled his little face with smacks and filled his ears with high pitched Muppetesqe gibberish that only a mother and child can understand. "You're gonna turn him into a mama's boy," I heard from a spectator loitering in the corner of the room. "No I'm NOT," I replied defensively, "That's what moms are supposed to do!" I think. I mean honestly I don't want to raise a wussy whiner. It's just not becoming of a child to be frightened of everything to the point of paralyses. I've seen it and it's not pretty. I'm 100% about some parenting choices. I tend to uphold the traditional in many ways, like family dinner being mandatory, college education being of utmost priority, and anything but politeness and manners unacceptable. But what else? Do I want to be the "best friend" mom or the "I hold high expectations" mom? The mom who works too much, the one who dotes too much, the one who goes out all the time, the who never sits down, the one who lets herself go, the one who NEVER lets herself go......the question could go on and on. I often put my mind through the mental gymnastics of how I'll handle this situation or that. And how much of it do I really have control over? I mean, I am who I am and he is who he is and that dynamic is going to play out all by itself. As much as I'd like to imagine myself to be like Brie I'll admit I'm more of a Lynette. (Man, am I embarrassingly hooked to that show! You can find out which one you are here.) But still, I can try right? 4 comments

Raising a reader

By Robin Dearing
Monday, November 13, 2006

We all sit down at the restaurant table and decide what we want to order. Immediately afterward Margaret asks, "Can I read my book now?" Mar reading Junie B.jpg Sure you can read your book, little kid — what a crazy thing for a 6-year-old to ask, especially when she could be coloring the kid's menu or eating bread and butter while drinking her elusive soda (that she never gets anywhere but the occasional restaurant), but I'm thrilled about it. We've got a reader on our hands. You want my secret to raising a reader? OK, um, yeah, I don't have one. Because that's the kind of mom I am — the kind with a few good ideas and no plan. It's not as if we never read to her or she doesn't see us reading, it's just that we never pushed her to read. She just likes to read and she good at it. She's currently reading at a 3rd grade level (sometimes I just can't help myself but brag). Right now, she's all about the Junie B. Jones chapter books. We've gotten into the routine of getting Margaret to bed early so we can spend 20 minutes with her reading aloud to me. While she reads well, she will try to guess at unknown words lazily instead of sounding them out. Our evening reading sessions seems to be helping her to be more diligent and less hasty. And she's not just happy being a reader alone. Nope. She's been working with our very-soon-to-be 5-year-old neighbor on reading. The other evening, the adults were in one room looking at pictures. When we moved back to the living room, we found this: Mar, Kate reading.jpg Margaret reading to Kate. They could have been doing anything they wanted and this is what they picked. Sometimes I feel like I must be doing at least one thing right. 2 comments

High Tech Teens

By {screen_name}
Friday, November 10, 2006

“Hey mom, can I buy myself a razor?” Geesh, the kid is actually kind of shaving every couple weeks, and he has a Gillette Mach 3. “You don’t need a whole new razor, I’ll just buy you some new blades.” “No, I mean a RAZR cell phone.” Uh, right. This whole cell phone thing has truly revolutionized the way that this generation communicates. Back in another life, I did technology briefings to executives from Fortune 50 companies. One day we had the CEO of Motorola in. He showed us this device about the size of a women’s shoe. It was black and clunky, kind of like a Doc Maarten. He explained that it was a new technology his company was working on. It was a telephone that you could use from your car! Very space age! “We think it might really catch on,” he said. Doubtful, I thought. I bought Microsoft stock instead. So Alex has a friend who lives up the street. She calls him yesterday to ask what kind of battery he has in his cell phone. Long story short, her battery died, she couldn’t find her charger and she wanted to use Alex’s phone to recharge her battery. “Dude, I’ve been text-ing all day, and I really need my phone tomorrow”, she told him. For what, I wondered? So you can send messages to your friends instead focusing on math lessons? So she drops off her battery and tells Alex she’ll call him on his cell phone in an hour to come pick it up. Good plan, right? Alex and I go out and she calls him to say she’s on her way over to get her phone. Alex says OK and hangs up. So I gotta ask, “Is that her battery in your phone?” “No, her battery is on my desk.” “Being charged?” “Uh, no.” “Do you think you might tell her it’s not charged?” “Uh, probably.” So he calls her from his cell phone to give her the news. She’s kind of incredulous that her battery is not charged yet. Slowly, it’s kind of dawning on them that they didn’t really think this plan through. It was very amusing to watch the little light bulbs go off as they realize it’s kind of hard to call someone on their cell phone if it’s supposed to be at home charging your battery. It was a classic teenage moment. I chuckled all night. And it makes me wonder if they realize that technology doesn’t just happen. That somebody needs to write programs for all the stuff they take for granted. That the geeks that are paying attention in math class will truly define their future. Too bad I sold the Microsoft stock. 3 comments

Shhhhh—We’re Sleeping

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, November 9, 2006

After nine months, I'm finally getting some sleep....it's heavenly. I've been hesitant to blog about my shuteye in case it was just some fluke but it's been over a week and Soren has slept in his own bed every night. I wouldn't say he sleeps through the entire night but it's pretty darn close. I have to give all the credit to his dad who has been home with him during the day. He makes sure that the baby stays on a fairly routine schedule with naps at 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. plus breakfast, lunch, snack. He ALWAYS puts him in his crib for naps no matter how long the crying ensued. Something just clicked finally. The repetitive routine of dinner, bath, bed finally got through to my little boy. He fusses for just a few minutes and then he's visiting the sandman. It's been better for all of us including the baby. He seems to be getting a lot more sleep on his own as he can flip and flop and groan all he wants in his little cage. Dad and I have time to pick up toys, talk about politics and watch movies. I even painted my toenails the other night! I love Soren but I really need some time for myself. I mean, no woman should have to give up toe maintenance just because she's a mom. My mental clarity is returning and I no longer dread the 8 o'clock hour. As a matter of fact, I can't wait to fall into bed every night. I have A LOT of catching up to do! 3 comments

And the winners are ...

By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The skunk and the truck! Ava as the skunk: Ava  Ruble -Skunk.jpg Carter as the truck: Carter Truck copy.jpg Congratulations to the Ava and Carter! Their moms, Miranda Ruble and Kelly Culver, will receive two tickets to the Avalon Theater! Many thanks to all those who voted and submitted entries. 0 comments

Vote, vote, vote

By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Don't forget to vote in our Halloween costume contest. (Oh, and while you're at it, make sure you vote in the election, too. There are a lot of items on this year's ballot, so you might want to take your sample ballot with you when you go.) I'm happy to say that it's very close contest with each of adorable entrants getting votes. A big thank you to everyone who sent in pictures. Winners will be announced tomorrow. 0 comments

Tennis? Anyone?

By {screen_name}
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

I was a pretty good soccer mom for the two seasons Alex played the game. I was a really good karate/stick-fighting mom, having earned my own black-belt in another life. I was even a good football mom and was happy to finally learn how that game is played. I’m an excellent lacrosse mom because that game is a blast to watch and they get to play in Aspen. I’m afraid, however, I’m not going to be a very good tennis mom. First of all, I like to cheer. I like to cheer a lot, and loudly. You’re expected to cheer for soccer and football and karate and lacrosse. So I do. (Sometimes a bit too much, apparently. During one game years ago, Alex actually stopped mid-play on the field and shouted, “Mom, please go wait in the car!" I was eventually vindicated when his lacrosse team lost the only game I couldn’t attend, and his teammates said they lost because I wasn’t there to cheer. Ha! So there!) In tennis, cheering is seriously frowned upon. I don’t think anybody does it. I just sat through Alex’s weekend-long USTA sanctioned tournament and there was definitely no cheering. Not even clapping! What kind of sport doesn’t even warrant clapping? I also don’t understand how tennis is scored. The game itself is easy to understand. Hit the ball over the net. I get it. But scoring? Did they make it difficult because the game itself is so . . . . not complex? It’s not really that exciting as a spectator sport. Much like golf in that respect. (I know, boss. Just blew my Christmas bonus.) At this tournament, when I wasn't watching Alex play, I entertained myself by listening to a couple 12-year-old players constantly berate their own play and yell at themselves after every swing of their racket. It was weird. Really weird. Where was that pressure coming from, I wondered? I’m pretty sure they didn’t have Nike contracts. No college scouts were around. Nobody was cheering more for one player than the other, that’s for sure. Maybe they were upset because they didn’t understand the scoring thing either. I’m also not big on that throwing-the-racket-temper-tantrum maneuver that a couple kids demonstrated. My son did it once and I almost went out on the court and dragged him off by the ear. His coach saw it though and admonished him from the sidelines, to which Alex responded, “Oops, it was an accident." Uh-huh. One that will cost him extra rounds of push-ups at practice today! Alex gets his taste and talent for tennis from his dad and his Papa (his dad’s dad). Both are very good tennis players. (I’ll refrain from adding “back in the day" since Christmas is coming! ) And both would make much better tennis moms than I ever will. Regardless of my own thoughts on the sport, it’s one my son very much enjoys right now. So I’ll be there, cheering silently at his matches, and counting the days until lacrosse practice starts this spring! P.S. He placed third in his singles group at the tournament. That’s my boy! 2 comments

1st Annual Haute Mamas Halloween Costume Contest

By Robin Dearing
Monday, November 6, 2006

Here they are — the entrants for the 1st Annual Haute Mamas Costume Contest. Edited to add an entry that was mistakenly omitted by me and my careless fingers. 8. Shase as a frog Shase Frog.JPG 1. Ava as a skunk Ava  Ruble -Skunk.jpg 2. Carson as Spiderman Carson Mestas Spiderman copy.jpg 3. Carter as a truck Carter Truck copy.jpg 4. Colbin as a lion Colbin Lion.JPG 5. Hannah as Little Red Riding Hood Hannah Moore - Red Ridingho.jpg 6. Jack as a chicken Jack Chicken.JPG 7. Kate as a cat Kate Cat copy.jpg Please take a moment to vote for your favorite two costumes by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at Robin Dearing. 7 comments

Parent Resources

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Saturday, November 4, 2006

A quick weekend note: Don't forget to send us your Halloween Pictures for the Contest. And, it's been a busy month here in the DS newsroom. The month of October found me doing a different job, mostly compiling the daily Planner, Out and About briefs and our Of Interest column. I remember a comment left here at Haute Mamas asking about ways to find other parents and children in the Grand Valley. There are a surprising number of groups looking for people with similiar interests. I've compiled this list in hopes of helping anyone looking for resources. Notice I filed it under a "Parent Resources" category for future easy reference. I'll try to update it from time to time. Young Parents Support Group for mothers ages 12-24, information/support, 6 p.m. Monday, American Lutheran Church, 1350 N. Seventh St., 244-3842, 244-3836. Mothers’ Initiative Hot Line, for mothers of an adult child with AIDS, noon-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, (800) 566-6599. ToughLove, self-help program for parents troubled by teenage behavior, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Unity Church, 3205 N. 12th St., 640-2591. Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), support for teenage mothers, 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Clifton Assembly of God, 258 Fifth St. in Clifton, fun, food, creative activities, childcare/transportation available, 434-6907. MOPS: Mothers of Preschoolers, Thursday, Redlands Community Church, 2327 Broadway. Western Colorado Parent Support Group, for parents concerned about their children’s choices (drugs, alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, questionable friends), meets twice monthly, 858-8368. MOMS Club of Grand Junction, support group for at-home mothers, monthly activities, play groups park days and service projects, 314-9050. At-Home Dads Western Slope Chapter, for fathers who are primary caregivers for their children, playgroup, 625-9817 or e-mail 4snsgolf@rifle.net. Rainbows, free peer support group for children K-8 who have lost a parent to death or whose parents have divorced, also groups for parents and stepparents, 243-1785. Exercise class for teens, 4-5 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, The Teen Bistro, 1505 Chipeta Ave., building B, step, free weights, toning, 241-8001. Kindermusik Village classes sessions for parents/babies ages birth-18 months, physical/brain development exercises and bonding activities, 9 a.m. Wednesday-Thursday; Sign and Sign, sign-language for hearing and hearing-impared babies/parents, Kidszplex, 609 Road 25; other classes available up to age 8, 523-1298. Early Pregnancy Classes, 6 p.m. every other Thursday, 20 South Nevada, Montrose, 249-2933. Children’s Immunization Clinic walk-in, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday- Friday, no appointment; children’s physical exam clinic, by appointment, some evening hours, Mesa County Health Department, 510 Road 29, 248-6900. Child Health Hot Line, toll-free, for children without health insurance, (800) 688-7777. Babysitter’s Training, American Red Cross, 506 Gunnison Ave., 242-4851. The Tree House Bistro seeking high school and college age people to join the Bistro board to create, implement and supervise the programming at the Bistro, 1505 Chipeta Ave., building B, 241-8001, e-mail TerriKtreehouse@aol.com. Hilltop Community Resources’ Young Parents Program, group facilitators, training provided, 244-3803. Project Wings, provide support to families who have adopted children with special needs, training provided, 255-7342. The Foster Grandparents Program needs seniors 60 or older to work with children mentoring and tutoring, 263-9091. Riverside Tutoring Center offers no cost tutoring services for kindergarten-seventh grade and homework help for eighth-12th grade, students must qualify academically and financially, Monday, Tuesday and/or Wednesday, 4:30-5:30 p.m. or 5:30-6:30 p.m., and 2-4 p.m. Wednesday for elementary school early release, 552 W. Main St., annex building next to Dual Immersion Academy and Old Riverside School, 433-0481, e-mail mjjc@bresnan.net. 55 Alive/Mature Driving classes take place at least twice a month, $10, certificate issued for insurance discount, 243-2531. Camp Kiwanis in partnership with Hilltop, offering youth groups the opportunity to enjoy camping in the Grand Mesa National Forest, 242-4400, camp@htop.org. Family Steps early-childhood/parenting education program for families with children ages prenatal to 3, 1129 Colorado Ave., 244-3825. Mesa County Partners restitution crews available, $25 an hour includes four to six youth, supervisor, vehicle and basic tools for basic landscaping, clean-up in and around yards, outside painting and more, 245-5555, ext. 33. Hilltop Community Resource’s Young Parents Program support for pregnant/parenting women ages 12-22, 244-3803. Bright Beginnings’ Warm Welcome Program for newborn to age 3, to improve lives in the most critical period of development, 254-8240. Girls in kindergarten though 12th grade encouraged to register in the Girl Scout program, Girl Scouts of Chipeta Council, 242-4461. 1 comments

Home (bitter)sweet home

By Robin Dearing
Friday, November 3, 2006

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. But before you decide to hate me because I was born in California, you should know that my mom grew up in Colorado. My gramma and two of my mom’s sisters and her brother and their families all live on the Front Range. So, I’m not even a generation removed from this great state. As much as I love California (and by "California," I mean Northern California) and miss the Pacific Ocean, the Sierra-Nevadas and the culture that a major metropolitan area has to offer, I love raising our kids here in the Grand Valley. When I moved here 10 years ago, I never expected to grow so attached to this valley. But I do. I have to admit that sometimes I get a little misty when we walk downtown for the festivals, farmer's markets or just to have brunch at the bagel shop because it's so quaint and charming. I love the view of the Mesa, the monument and the Bookcliffs. I love that we have so many wonderful friends who are from this valley and across the country and we run into them at the grocery store or at the park or a parade or when we're just walking down the street. I love that my kid learned to ride a two-wheeler on a tree-lined street where our neighbors would stop to cheer her on and congratulate her on yet another accomplishment. I love when the peaches are in season and I love when the leaves turn yellow and red. I love it when we get a dusting of snow and my daughter gets on her hands and knees and eats it like she’s a snow cow. I even love it when it gets hot and we can walk over to Lincoln Park Pool to cool off. I love that my kid’s school is a half-block away from our house and that not even a full-year into her first year there, everyone seems to know her name and that I belong to her. I love that we have the best neighbors we ever hoped to have and that they’ve become some of our favorite friends ever. But there’s one thing I hate about living in western Colorado and this one thing has made me consider moving away from the valley that I love on more than one occasion. And that’s the fact that my parents and my brother live in California and my extended family lives on the Front Range and that Bill’s entire family lives in and around Buffalo, New York. But we are lucky that we can talk on the phone and we visit with my parents at least once a year. I make videos so Margaret’s grandparents can see her in her school productions and I send pictures in e-mails. But it’s not the same. No matter how wonderful our adopted family is here, it’s not the same as having my own flesh and blood close by. I miss them. Desperately. 4 comments
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