Blog Posts by Cristie Ritz King

  • User Post: 100 Words on Mother

    It's hard to describe yourself as a mother. Right now, my kids are so young they still say things like "good cooker and best hugger". Not that those aren't top-of-the-line compliments, but they don't get to the heart of it.

    The description I strive for would be an amalgamation of all those moms who raised me-the mothers of friends and friends of my mother.

    On good days, my aim is to be generous like Betty, efficient like Karla, talented like Denise, warm like Jean, funny like Anne. Mostly though, I hope most days to recreate the motherly strength and depth of soul like that of my own mom.

  • User Post: 5 Women I Want My Girl to Know

    I am nothing if not a firm believer that you are the people you surround yourself with. Growing up, my mom surrounded us with a cast of characters. I learned from each and every one. As an adult, my friends are just as eclectic as the people who filled my childhood home.

    My daughter will learn a lot from me. Some of it I will be proud of and some I wish she would never learn. No matter what kind of parenting job I do though, there are some things that will translate better coming from someone else. I hope, somewhere in my friend menagerie, she finds these ladies.

    1. The Stalwart: This is the friend that is up for anything and down with anything. She has been around a long time and even if she doesn't make appearances too often, her presence is felt in our lives. My daughter learns from this lady what it means to be loyal. She learns unconditional love. Mostly, she learns what always brings a smile to her mom's face.

    2. The Hippie: Sometimes, this is me but even I walk smack down the

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  • User Post: When Their Dreams Might Have Been Yours

    Since the day she was born, my Girl has been a mini-me in every way. She was blessed with giant, deep set King eyes but other than that, she has my physical features (even the teeth-poor kid).
    What people don't see, yet what I am painfully aware of, is that she shares a bit of my spirit. To the outside world she is bright and cheery. She is dramatic and easily fits in anywhere she goes.
    But I have heard her struggles with confidence and they break my heart.
    I know them intimately and I know what they are capable of keeping her from.
    My Girl wants to be a performer. She wants to sing and dance and act for crowds. She has already planned out a life as a waitress in New York as she is realistic about what a life in the theater might entail. And, she is good. I have literally been stopped by people who enthusiastically tell me I "MUST" get her into performing. On some level, she knows it. She has a light about her after every show she does that proves she knows she's got something.

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  • User post: Don't tell Gloria Steinem, but I'm happy being a stay-at-home mom

    I have a secret and I have been afraid to say it out loud for some time now. My fear was that by recognizing it, I would be admitting defeat for myself and somehow showing disrespect for all the powerful women who've paved the way for me. I am afraid my admission might, at worst do damage to a movement and at best force judgement upon me. This fear has caused my silence, until now.

    Today, as I made breakfast, balanced the checkbook then browsed the aisles of a kitchen gadget store I recognized within a familiar feeling of bliss. I knew right then that it was time to come clean.

    My secret? I love my life as a wife and mom. That's right, I said it. I am more than satisfied with my roles in life despite the fact that they don't fit into the definition of what we as women should want, what I thought I wanted for years or what women fought so hard for us to have.

    Let me assure you, I am not who you think I am. I am married to a man who supports everything I choose to do, in or outside

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  • User Post: Eating Out with Kids Can Happen

    I remember when I had my first child I envied those moms who just toted their babies in their carriers and didn't miss a beat of their old life. On the rare occasions where I did sneak out, I would see these moms. They would sit for hours chatting with friends or spouses at a table while their babies cooed in infant car seats nearby or slept peacefully in slings that somehow never seemed in the way of mom's eating or drinking.

    I was not that mom. It took everything I had just to get us both bathed and dressed much less out and about for any length of time. I thought if I ever attempted a meal out again it would have to be after I left my kid with a babysitter.

    Well, I am here to tell you that not only did we did make it out with one, but we continue to get out as a family now-even with three active kids. There are a few tricks I've learned to make the meal a success for everyone. I hope they help you get away from carryout now and then.

    1. Choose kid-friendly places. This seems
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  • Thanksgiving Traditions Past and Present

    My mom's favorite day was Thanksgiving. She made every bite of food from the appetizers to the delectable pumpkin pie. The cooking started days before. Year after year, she opened her house to whomever wanted to join. It wasn't a huge house but we managed to always fit the crowds around a formal table. She was typically the most informal of people, but that day it was all about bone china and polished silver and a table set for 35.
    If you were her kid and you ever started seriously dating someone, the first thing you did was let them know you would never spend Thanksgiving with their family. When I got engaged, I had to make sure my future husband understood he would no longer spend Thanksgiving with his family, unless they agreed to come to my mom's. That was just how it worked. Turkey day at Toni's was part of the package if you married a Ritz.
    When my mom died, it never occurred to us to go our separate ways. My oldest sister offered the hosting duties and everybody grabbed a dish

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  • User post: Tips for Car Travel with Kids

    One consistent factor in my family, no matter how many kids we have, is that we're on the move. We spend holidays and summer weeks here, there and everywhere so we've gotten quite adept at planning for (mostly) stress free car trips. There are a few key things that lead to smooth sailing (or driving as the case may be).
    Five tips for tolerable travel with kids.

    1. Plan Together: Sit with your kids a few days before departure and let them know where you're going, how long it will take and what the plans are for stopping, resting etc. If it is a long trip that will take multiple days, plot out the course of each day. You can even get online and map out the trip with the kids if they are old enough to get it and still young enough not to roll their eyes in boredom.
    2. Give the kids guided autonomy: Each of my kids has their own "car-bag" that they choose how to pack. I do suggest items that make sense for the car-making sure they know this is what will occupy their time. I also
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  • Cancer...Sucks

    This post started as an email saying I wasn't going to write a post. As a member of the Yahoo! Motherboard, I was giving the task of writing about cancer for Breast Cancer Awareness month. At first I thought it was a topic that I could really dig into. I lost my father to lung cancer (nope-never smoked) when I was four. I fought beside my mother through her colon cancer for all of my 20's. She fought hard and was the fortunate recipient of clinical trial drugs that made the fight a bit easier and her life a bit longer.
    I lost her when I was 30, five months after my second baby was born. I have also worked with the phenomenal program Look Good Feel Better through the ACS-helping women in the midst of treatment reclaim their beauty from the drugs that threaten to destroy it. You could say other than being a patient, cancer has touched my life in numerous ways. How come then, every time I sat to write about it, nothing sounded right?

    • Should I write about how thankful I feel every day
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  • Catalog Envy

    Damn you fancy catalog people.

    When I worked outside of the house full time I used to pour over the pages of the dozens of catalogs that arrived in my mail and imagine that my life could be like those pictures. Whether it was kayaking in a Land's End Fleece, or a table set with PB Kids Halloween themed dishware, I wanted what I saw in those pictures and I was convinced if I just had the time or money-or both at the same time - I could make it happen. I could turn my life into a catalog picture...if only.

    The problem is, I don't kayak. Even when I worked full time and could afford to buy whatever clothes I chose, my curves don't really work in "active lifestyle" gear. I tend to be boxy and masculine. And really, unless you count pushing a stroller to the library active, my lifestyle doesn't really fit the clothes any more than my hips do.

    Now that I have the time for a beautifully set table it doesn't matter. I have three loud, messy kids who will either break something or

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  • Family Dinner-A Learning Experience

    How do parents get by without family dinner? I suppose I can't officially call our meal time "family" because The Husband, with his work hours, is rarely there. But every night we sit around the table, the children and I, and they tell me their tales.

    "What was the best part and the worst part of your day?" I ask.

    What I hear is everything I need to know about where they are at any given moment. Most of it is delightful and some of it is a little sad.

    The other night we talked about what a makes someone a good friend. It was quite by accident but it seemed fitting after The Middle One shared about his day and I imparted my "wisdom".

    "If someone tells you they won't be your friend if you don't do what they want, then they were never really your friend at all."

    I know what you may think. My kids are young. They shouldn't (and probably don't) even understand this logic. But this is the topic that came up and who am I not to talk about it head on? They are grappling-the

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