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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.
Thursday, November 2, 2006
My nephew and the baby of the Lickers clan started kindergarten this year. His name is Sam and he is 5. He’s the quirkiest little kid you’ll ever meet and he absolutely slays me.
He’s a small kid, even for 5. Petite, you might say. Blonde hair and golden brown eyes. Probably weighs all of 35 pounds soaking wet after a big meal, which for Sam is defined as more than two bites of anything. The kid hardly ever eats. He lives on love and air.
When he does eat, he has some unusual ways of doing so. He will eat the top off a donut in a perfectly horizontal way, leaving only the bottom half. He will eat only the frosting off of cake. He ate a carrot about six months ago and still talks about it. He told Grandma he doesn’t like to eat at her house “because everything is home made.?
Sam has a quick wit and delivers great one-liners. For example, one day he was running around au natural after his bath. As his little self flitted past me down the hall I remarked •Sammy, you have no butt!? He stopped, looked up at me and said matter-of-factly •Well, YOU don’t have a penis!?
He has this tendency to travel to an alternate universe and return through a worm hole to say things that have no apparent connection to what is happening in this dimension. I think the kid will grow up to be the next daVinci, or Kierkegaard.
One evening we were sitting and chatting and Sam looks up and says. •Aunt Lynn, I think you should have married Rick instead of that other guy because nobody ever really liked him.?
Last night at an extended family dinner he pulls his shirt up and over his head and states, •If I was a mother I would find this very disturbing.?
Yep. I AM a mother and I though it was hilarious, much to my sister•s chagrin.
A few days before Halloween he says to me, “Aunt Lynn, did I show you my pet rock, Roger??
•No, go get him.? He runs out of the room and returns with this:
•And I made him a Frankenstein costume.?
See? I truly think the kid is brilliant. He has resurrected the whole pet rock thing AND designed a custom line of clothing for them! He is destined to be a millionaire.
I have numerous nieces and nephews and they are all special in one way or another. Sammy just captures my attention because he makes me laugh and I never know where his mind will take us next.
Looking for pet rocks
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
I think life is what you make of it and the holidays are no exception. This year my family went all out and did Halloween up right. Maybe it was because we have a kid and maybe it was because the mood just struck us. Whatever it was we had a busy and truly happy Halloween.
It started with National Pumpkin Carving Day which of course we celebrated by having a carving contest. My hubby had a creative burst of genius and decided we needed to use hollowed out eggs for creepy eyeballs.
We had to carve in shifts as someone had to hold the baby and keep him from ingesting errant pumpkin seeds. Inspired by Marty's genius, I created this pumpkin I call "Whimsy."
Yeah—those are chopsticks and green tomato antennae. I don't know who won the contest but we had quite a few comments by the trick or treaters about our unusual eyeball choice.
Prince Soren loved Halloween. He wore his costume with pride and never tried to eat his crown.
He greeted everyone with a big smile while he used a small box of Hot Tamales as a rattle. Of course he played the charming part perfectly.
Mostly he charmed the people here at the Daily Sentinel, like Robin.
We finished by handing out candy to mostly teenage beggars at our door. By 7 p.m. my prince was pooped and so was I!
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Tonight's the night all the ghosts, goblins, Cinderellas and Little Mermaids come out and beg for candy at stranger's doors.
If you think about it, trick-or-treating is a strange practice. We teach our kids to never
take candy from strangers — except for this one night where we brave the cold and walk our kids around dressed in any sort of feathery, polyester and plastic apparel so they can ring doorbell after doorbell expecting the folks within to haul their cookies to the door and give the little kids free candy.
And I think it's all just great.
Mostly because I love to eat Halloween candy and there's no way my kid can eat all that candy herself. I mean, she only gets a piece or two a day and she always ends up with a huge bag that will most definitely go bad if I don't eat it by next week.
But tonight won't be Margaret's first time trick-or-treating this year.
Saturday, my friend and I walked downtown with our two daughters and a pair of adorably well-behaved twins that I could eat with a spoon they are so sweet to let our gaggle of kids beg free candy from the merchants downtown.
I love living in Grand Junction and I love it all the more because I live close enough to downtown that we can easily walk down to enjoy the plethora of events and festivals that go on along our charming Main Street.
I remarked to my friend Saturday that our downtown merchants are so generous in that they opened their doors and their pocketbooks to allows scores of bedecked children to tromp in and out of their stores for several hours and handed out free candy and expect nothing in return.
There were crowds of fairies, ninjas, cowboys, princesses, unicorns and firemen roaming the street as we walked from store to store encouraging them to fill their bags while we tried to keep track of all four kids — it's like herding cats, I tell ya.
After the walk down one side of Main Street, our quartet was running out of steam. We stopped at one of the free cookie decorating tables and had the kids make a cookie then sit and eat it.
Lemme just say, I am impressed by the power of sugar. While we were waiting for the kids to munch their pumpkin-shaped cookies, our little Davy Crocket started to fade. His blinks got longer and longer and I'm sure if we hadn't been watching him and chuckling under our breath, he would have fallen asleep right there on Main Street amid all the Halloween hoo-ha.
But then, 20 minutes later on our walk back home, he was racing ahead of us trying to be the first one to reach the corner. I am now a convert to the power of granulated sugar.
Lookit these girls:
Pretty cute costumes, eh?
Oh? But not as cute as your kid/grandkid/niece/nephew/neighbor's costume?
Then prove it by sending pictures of your little ones to me at Robin Dearing
by Monday, Nov. 6.
On Monday, we'll post all the Halloween costume pictures we get and then you — that's right, dear readers — you will vote on who you think is the best/cutest/most creative costume. The two that receive the most votes will receive two tickets to the Avalon Theater.
You can e-mail me or post any questions in our comments.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, October 30, 2006
For the last eight months I've been running myself ragged on Soren Standard Time.
SST is almost exactly half an hour later than Mountain Time. Since everyone around me operates under MT I'm constantly beginning every conversation with "Sorry I'm late," as I inspect my disheveled self for undiscovered stains leftover from his morning cereal.
It's not like I had a perfect track record of timeliness prior to the kid but I could have been counted on. Now I'm a total flake.
Although it doesn't seem like it at the moment, I really do try to be aware of the big hand. I'm a watch-checker so being late ALL the time really causes me some undue stress.
I am LOVING daylight savings time for the first time ever. Soren was begging to go to bed last night at 6:30 p.m. well before his appointed 8 p.m. bedtime. And this morning, he was up at 6:30 a.m. leaving me plenty of time to feed him cereal and take some time to put myself together which is all to rare anymore.
I know it won't last but that extra hour is a mommy's best friend!
In a rough transition-Don't forget to take and send pics of the kids to us for the Haute Mama's Halloween Contest. Winners recieve tickets to the Cinema At The Avalon (sorry babysitter not included). Send pics to Robin Dearing to enter and voting will take place next week!
Thursday, October 26, 2006
If anyone deserves a break it’s . . . YOU!
And we have just the break you need! If you live anywhere in the vicinity of Grand Junction you need to come out to CHARM School Women’s Expo this Saturday at the Doubletree Hotel.
This promises to be a really fun, relaxing girly-girl kind of day. You won’t be able to buy a hunting license there but you might see the latest in camo fashion. You won’t learn how to change a flat tire, but you can find out how to get rid of that “spare tire? around your waist. And you won•t hear any of your kids whine, but you can do a little wine tasting!
CHARM school starts at 9:00 a.m. and sadly must end at 4:00 p.m. But there’s lots to see and do throughout the day. Visit over 30 exhibitor booths and sit in on one of numerous fun and entertaining – and yes, educational – seminars.
We even have a fantastic luncheon and keynote speaker at 12:00. Luncheon tickets must be purchased ahead of time for $25. Come down to The Daily Sentinel right now to buy your ticket or call 242-5050.
Best of all, admission to the exhibitor area and seminars is FREE! Yep, FREE! For a complete list of exhibitors and a seminar schedule check out today’s hard copy of The Daily Sentinel or just come on down to the Doubletree Hotel Saturday morning. It’s a day for women to relax and recharge. You deserve it. And so do I. See you there!
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Starting today and through Monday, Nov. 6
the Haute Mamas will be accepting pictures
of your devils and angels all dressed up in their Halloween finery for our First Annual Haute Mamas Halloween Contest.
Wednesday, Nov. 8 all entry pictures will be posted here and you, our dear readers, will be asked to vote for your favorites.
The two that receive the most votes will win tickets to the Avalon Theater.
Entries should include the child's name, the parent's name and contact information.
So get clicking and send us the best pictures of your goblins in their Halloween costumes to this e-mail address.
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
In light of Lynn's entry yesterday, I almost changed what I had in mind to blog about today. But I realized that she and I are at exact opposite ends of the parenting spectrum which is interesting.
Soren is definately in a clingy stage but not necessarily for his mom. Any set of warm hands to hold him will do.
He crawls across the floor and butts the top of his head into my legs while desperately trying to grab any hand hold so he can pull himself up. Usually my pants just end up down around my hips from his constant pulling.
He's underfoot no matter what room of the house I am in. He follows me back and forth across the living room floor until he throws his head down in frustration and lets out an ear piercing holler for attention. I'm learning to hold him on one hip while I wipe down the counter with the other hand.
I can't get anything done! The house is messy, the chores are undone and it just has to stay that way until he goes to bed. He does not want to be alone.
When in my arms, he's constantly hitting me, pulling my hair, yanking my necklace, sticking his fingers in my eyes, and trying to pry open my mouth. Yesterday he bit me!
If I try to put him down for any reason what-so-ever he claws at my body on the way down and erupts into over dramatic cries of neglect with big tears and a pouty lower lip.
Cuddling is one thing but using mom as a human punching bag is another. I'm sure I'll miss his needyness when he's as old as Alex, but I won't miss his days of biting.
If you find yourself missing those days Lynn...just ask Alex to pull your hair then you'll remember how it really was to have a baby boy!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
One of things I loved doing with Alex when he was little was snuggling. From the time he was newborn until he was about 7 or 8 we snuggled a lot. And every night I would go into his bedroom after he was asleep and give him a final good-night smooch.
One thing I’ve discovered (yeah, like I’m the only one this has ever happened to) is that when the boy-baby-child gets older the whole snuggling thing ends. In fact, you are seriously not allowed to touch, even accidentally bump into, your teenage boy.
Maybe every now and then you can “knuckle? him (meaning you make a fist and touch knuckles in a bond of solidarity over an important issue like agreeing he gets too much math homework) but beyond that any and all physical contact that hints of affection ceases. That baby boy who was never happy unless he was almost permanently bonded to some part of your body now responds with, •Don’t touch me,? when you sit a little too close on the sofa.
So of course I touch him • like I poke him in the arm, or smack him on the leg, or wiggle my finger in front of his eyes saying, “I’m not touching you!? just to be a pain. Ha! It•s fun.
But every now and then, when he's spooked about something, or needs to recharge, or the planets align in some pre-destined pattern, he’ll forget the “don’t touch me? stuff and actually snuggle.
OK, •snuggle? meaning he•ll put his head on a pillow in my lap while watching TV and say something like, “Mom, you really need to lose some weight ‘cuz your stomach is squishy.? Yeah • I get that he’s gotta say that otherwise he’d be admitting that he really doesn’t mind “snuggling? at that moment in time as long as he makes it clear that he is not enjoying it and is only doing it because my stomach happens to be in the same spot on the sofa where his head wants to rest.
But, hey. I•ll take what I can get. Even though he’s a big hot tamale, he’ll always be my baby, and I will always be there in case he wants to snuggle. And my stomach will only get squishier and be a softer place to land when he needs it.
Oh, and I still sneak into his room after he falls asleep to smooch him good-night!
By Robin Dearing
Monday, October 23, 2006
One of the things I love about living in this valley is its bounty.
Yesterday saw us happily tromping around one of the local pumpkin patches in search of the perfect "punkin" that could be gutted and turned into a festive jack-o-lantern.
It was a gorgeous day and despite my fear that we'd already turned the corner into winter, we were warmed by the late-fall sun.
(In some cases, maybe there was a little too much sun!)
We found some really great pumpkins. The kids chose non-traditional, but uber-creepy, white pumpkins, while Bill and I settled on a small orange one and a big one that was mostly covered with webbed green veins.
Throwing fear of moldy pumpkins on Halloween to the non-existant wind, we decided to take full advantage of the beautiful day and hauled our pumpkins into the backyard. We sliced, scraped, poked and carved away until we ended up with these:
We learned that white pumpkins are much thicker-skinned than their orange counterparts and therefore much more difficult to transform into a spooky jack-o-lantern. And I was reminded once again that while my baby is growing up, I am enjoying the traditions and celebrations of the holidays more and more each year I spend with her.