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Little girl birthday parties

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. Birthday presents 06.jpg 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. 1 comments

Are we there yet?

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?? 5 comments

Cyber mamas

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 and Lynn, 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: Dooce Finslippy Mimi Smartypants 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. 1 comments

Morning Sprout

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. gym.jpg 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. 2 comments

Things Nobody Told Us

By {screen_name}
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! Robin 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. Lynn 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. Richie 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? 3 comments

My little rock star

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. Mar singing.jpg 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.Mar microphone.jpg 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. 0 comments

Misc. Monday

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, June 19, 2006

Ah, another Monday come too quick. I gave my husband the best first Father's Day gift ever. Being the first, I really wanted to get him something special. He'll have plenty of macaroni statues and fishing lures in the coming years. He's become a natural father and has been wonderful to me especially this last year. So I created a photo memory book from Shutterfly.com I can't say enough good things about Shutterfly. I created this book of photos along with my own captions at a reasonable cost. What more could you want? The print quality was excellent. The layout and uploading of photos was easy. And, I ordered the book on a Monday and it arrived by Friday. Now that's service. My husband was completely touched. He carried the baby under one arm and the book under the other to show off to our family and friends. Richie book.jpg I want to hail the planners of the Strawberry Festival in Glenwood Springs as being mother friendly. After parking ten miles away from the park, I had to do a little baby maintenance before I braved the trek down Main Street Glenwood. I've learned that my trunk makes an excellent changing table and I nursed in the passenger side of the car. Pedestrians saw me I'm sure but I figure inside your car isn't really a public place. After finally making it to the park, I saw a tent called "Mother's Sanctuary". It had changing tables and gliders and fresh water. There was some relaxing new age music playing. I mean, how cool is that? It beats the trunk of my car anyday! I'm sure such tents have always existed at the festivals but I honestly never noticed. Last but not least, I think my kid is getting teeth. I can't be sure though. I thought I was supposed to have some innate knowledge of such things but I don't. Can anyone tell me how I can tell and what to do if he is? I'd like to make it as painless as possible on us both. 2 comments

Happy Father’s Day

By Robin Dearing
Friday, June 16, 2006

We're all going to take a turn paying tribute to the men in our lives for Father's Day: Lynn My dad is a quiet man. So quiet, in fact, that the standing joke in the family is to ask, “Where’s Dad?�? and answer, “In the basement!�? whenever we’re all in the midst of some get-together, and Dad is clearly present, yet silent, in the room. We joke that he spent a lot of time at his basement workbench when all six of his kids were growing up. Can you blame the guy? The din in that house had to be unbearable at times, and it was his only sanctuary. My dad thought, and hopefully still thinks, that his children walk on water. Growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, we watched a lot of those corn-ball variety shows like Carol Burnett, Tony Orlando and Dawn and The Osmonds. My dad was very puzzled about all the fuss over The Osmonds. “You kids are WAY more talented than any of those kids. I don’t understand why they’re such a big hit.�? While it really wasn’t a goal of any of ours to emulate the Osmonds, we thought it was pretty cool that our dad believed we would get better ratings. My dad is a serious patriot. He was in the Army during the Korean War and spent his honeymoon on a ship bound for Germany. I’ll tell you one thing — do not mess with this man and his United States flag. Some young punk tried that once and my then-70-year-old dad took out after that punk like nobody’s business. He flies his flag every Flag Day, Fourth of July, Pearl Harbor Day, September 11, Veteran’s Day and for no particular reason other than he believes it’s the right thing to do. Right on, Dad! He’s also a Native American. For Show and Tell we got to take in really cool stuff like genuine arrowheads and corn-husk medicine man dolls. He occasionally took us to visit relatives that lived on the reservation in Ontario. It was kind of scary because his great aunt had a bull that I swear tried to break out of its pen and stampede us. Dad assured us that no bull was any kind of match for the six of us kids. Those six kids went on to give him 14 grandchildren. On the rare occasion that the whole famn damily is together, the din really is unbearable at times. Dad doesn’t have his basement workbench to retreat to anymore, so now he takes on the task of cleaning up the kitchen in solitude after the family feast. grandpa and alex.jpg My dad and Alex, one of his favorite grandchildren My dad is like a lot of other dads when it comes to having deep, meaningful conversations about very emotional issues. Like, “How’s the car running?�? and “Did you put new batteries in the smoke detector?�? or “How’s the stock market treating you?�? Of course we realize that this is how our dad expresses his love and concern for us. “Be safe, be careful, be happy and prosperous.�? My dad is a quiet man, but his love for us has always been loud and clear. Happy Father’s Day Pops! Robin Ride a bike, hit a baseball, tie my shoes, work hard, laugh out loud, help a stranger — these are just a few of the things that I learned from my dad. Mar, Grampa 1.jpg My dad worked hard during the week to provide for our family. Then he would play hard with my brother and I on the weekend. I don't ever remember needing anything as a child (now, there was a whole lot of "wanting" going on — I'm still holding out for that pony — but that's a different story.) Mar, Grampa 2.jpg Growing up, we spent most of our summer vacations in the same place, a heavily wooded campground on Highway 49 nestled in the Sierra Nevadas. It is a glorious place with a creek and lots of rocks to throw into the creek. We would spend our days Jeeping around the Sierra Nevadas exploring abandoned mines and generally enjoying the California wilderness. My favorite part of camping was after the dinner dishes were done and the sun had gone down, the four of us would sit quietly around the campfire, expertly built by my dad, and listen to the pops and sizzles of the fire and the rush of the creek nearby. Now my daughter is lucky enough to have a dad who loves camping and the out of doors.Bill, Mar.jpg To honor my dad (who we'll be visiting in a couple of weeks — yea!), we're packing up our sleeping bags and marshmellows and are heading up to do some camping. This has the makings of a great weekend — it could've been perfect if I was spending it with my dad. Happy Father's Day 2 comments

A whole new world

By Robin Dearing
Thursday, June 15, 2006

I've had a couple of my adult friends tell me that when they were kids their parents would force them to stop spending all their time reading books and go outside to play. I know how their parents feel. My kid is a reader. She just learned how — I mean, she started kindergarten knowing the reading basics, but couldn't actually read alone — and now she'd rather read than anything else. This is a problem that I'm very happy to have. Last weekend, we signed her up for the Mesa County Public Library's summer reading game. The goal of the game is for children to read 50 books or spend 5 hours reading. For every 10 books they read, they get a prize. Monday when I met my daughter and husband for lunch, they had just come from the library. Margaret had earned three prizes for the 30 books she had read so far. She had also received her very first library card inscribed with her name in that unmistakable almost-6-year-old scrawl. It is a beautiful sight. She had also checked out a huge stack of new books from which she could complete the book reading program over the next couple of weeks. After dinner that same day, I asked Margaret if she wanted to ride her bike with me around the block. She looked up from her book with an annoyed glare, carefully pointed to the book program score card and said, "Um, I need to read." Dramatic pause, "So I can finish the program." Then she went back to reading. Yeah, she just had to finish the book program in three days. Don't get me wrong, I love that she has found a place in her life for reading. Finding joy in books is a gift. But I hope that I don't end up having to punish her by sending her out to play. 1 comments

Breastfeeding Ad Campaign

By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Advertising is a powerful tool. Propaganda can shape the societal norm very easily by using national ad campaigns. If you don’t believe me, just finish this sentence, “Never, Never……..?. A national ad campaign to promote breastfeeding is causing quite a stir in the news today. I saw it this morning on the TODAY show. A set of new commercials are scheduled to run that show pregnant women engaging in risky behavior like riding a mechanical bull and getting bucked off. Another has two pregnant women log rolling with one being flung into the water. It is obviously playing on the ridiculous. Paraphrased campaign says something like you wouldn•t put your baby at risk while pregnant, so why would you put them at risk by not breastfeeding. Followed by a statement "Babies are Born to Breastfeed." It then lists the benefits of breastfeeding including the fact that it prevents diseases such as diabetes. Apparently, these commercials have found opposition from formula manufacturers because they believe they are too negative and will hurt their business. Here is one they especially opposed: milkad.jpg NBC compared the debate to that of the tobacco companies opposition to public service announcements denouncing smoking. They also said that these types of campaigns would negatively affect women because those who choose to formula feed will be frowned upon by society furthering the guilt they already feel about their choice not to breastfeed. The other side said the commercials will help women choose to breastfeed making it more acceptable in society. They hoped women would not be criticized for breastfeeding in public and workplaces and other businesses would provide women with places to pump or breastfeed. A Google search will bring thousands of sites discussing this ad campaign. The Early Show has featured the debate. This is one HOT topic at the moment. 20/20 featured the ad debate last weekend and most major news stations have had featured segment. These ads haven’t even run yet. I assume for formula makers, this is a PR nightmare. But I do see the relevant comparison to tobacco companies. Ads like this will hurt their business, but is their business more important than the health of our nation’s children? Will we pay or are we paying now for choices made by mother’s choosing not to breastfeed with the added healthcare costs accrued as these children become adults? Is the generation of formula fed babies (myself being one of them) adding to the rising (out-of-control) healthcare costs? I wonder if formula companies are frightened of lawsuits from disease ridden people who could blame formula made them diabetic. Seems far fetched, but maybe not. Trends in childcare change all the time. What was done last decade is WAY wrong in this decade. This debate isn’t likely to be resolved by public service announcements, but does that mean they shouldn’t be run? Thoughts anyone? 5 comments
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