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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

Separation Anxiety

By {screen_name}
Monday, June 12, 2006

My son is at his dad’s for a week and a half. That’s fine and good and they’ll have a great time. They’ll run with scissors, eat real bacon, watch TV in their underwear, stay up way too late, and rent movies where everything gets blown to smithereens. BUT WHAT ABOUT ME??!! Do they care about my aching heart? Will Alex call me every day, think about how much he loves me when he wakes up, send me post cards? Ha! About as likely as me ever voting for a tax increase. Whenever Alex has “left the building? his absence leaves a void. Yes, the house stays clean, I don•t have to buy snack food that I end up eating too much of, nobody sasses me or criticizes my choice of clothing/music/vocabulary, no dirty socks are left on the living room floor or kitchen counter, and I get complete control of the remote. So why am I whining? Because my baby is gone. At least temporarily. And he won’t even realize how much he misses me!! Since he’s been away, it’s strangely quiet in the house. There are no more Doritos, and only enough laundry for half-loads. I haven’t seen a single episode of Whose Line is it Anyway, and I’ve worn jeans that come all the way up to my waist. What’s a bereft mother to do? Clean his bathroom? Check. Discuss aiming? When he gets back. Go through his closet and get rid of clothes that don’t fit him? Check. Have the carpets cleaned? Check. Once the housekeeping is done, there’s the reality of dealing with the reason for all the busy work. I miss him. Even though he can be a total pain in the butt, he’s my sonny-boy. So much of my life is dedicated to protecting him, taking care of him, and teaching him ways to take care of himself. And that’s what good moms do. But in four years, he’ll have to take care of himself, all by himself. And he’ll be protecting other people if his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL comes true. BUT WHAT ABOUT ME??!! What am I supposed to do for the next ten days? Host the next Bunco Barbies party? Have only roasted vegetables and Pinot Grigio for dinner? Go see the movies I want to see? Hike Escalante Canyon with Dan? Come and go as I please? On second thought, ten days really isn’t very long. 0 comments

We want your pictures!!

By Robin Dearing
Monday, June 12, 2006

We've got pictures of our kids — now we want pictures of your kids. We created a category, Other People's Kids, so we can show off your kids for a change. You can find all of the categories for this blog on the left-hand side, below the newly added pictures of us and our kiddos. So e-mail pictures of your little darlings and devils to Robin Dearing and we'll post them daily. 0 comments

Help me out here

By Robin Dearing
Friday, June 9, 2006

Here's my Friday afternoon conundrum: Does my kid have the right to be annoying? I mean if she isn't doing anything really wrong, isn't hurting herself or anyone else and is enteraining herself, does she have the right to be annoying to me? bagels 1.jpg Recently we were downtown eating lunch at the bagel shop. Margaret was enjoying a jug of strawberry milk. As she reached the bottom of the jug, she began using her straw to blow bubbles in the milk. I made her stop. It's gross to blow bubbles in your milk, plus it's annoying. Should I have let her? bagels 3.jpg She wasn't hurting anyone. She wasn't making a mess. But still I made her stop. Or how about when she's playing with her best-friend, Kate, and they start making all those annoying little girls noises that are loud and unpleasant. Mar and Kate.jpg If they aren't being overly obnoxious, shouldn't I just let her be? I never know when I should be molding her into a well-behaved, obedient, darling of a child and when to let her be a wild, raving banshee. Is there some sort of balance I'm trying to seek? I can't believe I left my "How to be the perfect mom" handbook at the hospital the day after she was born. 2 comments
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