Archive for June, 2011


I’m gonna tell you some things about Brad as a father.

Brad was pretty afraid when I got pregnant with Taylor. I’m sure a million things went through his mind. I’d catch his face sometimes when he’d watch me get bigger and bigger. And especially when my nose grew.

It grew very wide. That was very weird.

He never expressed his fears, but I know he had them. So did I.

The day we found out that Tay was going to be born was a pretty dramatic day. I had been assigned a substitute teaching position and when I woke up, it was raining. I was really feeling apprehensive about driving the car we had. Kind of terrified, really. Things just felt wrong.

Back story. This is all occurring in the inner city in Kansas City, MO.

Brad had gone to a police auction and purchased an old postal truck. He and a friend, Bump, bought a ton of black spray paint and doused the truck with it. They called it the urban assault vehicle. It was supposed to be safe. I guess because it was square and looked stupid ghetto. And it already had bullet holes so no one cared.

It also had no seat belts. And you had to sit in the passenger side to drive it.  Which is awkward.

So. That morning I begged Brad to drive me. I cannot express the hatred and fear I had for driving that ridiculous excuse for a car. He convinced me I needed to face my fears. (He was really right, on a lot of levels.)

I left for work. Next thing I knew I was bouncing around on the pavement of the highway. My next memory is staring into a truck driver’s face. I can still see him mouthing “Oh my god”. When his truck stopped, I had somehow come to a standing position and I could reach my hand out and touch the bumper of his semi.

The rest is simple craziness. Paramedics came. Our car had slammed into a median. The back door was completely dented where my head hit it on the way out. I had no insurance so I begged the paramedics to drive me back to our apartment. I crawled up the stairs, climbed fully dressed back in bed with Brad and started sobbing.

Poor guy had no idea what hit him.

I just whispered, “I’ve been in an accident.”


He was beside himself. About this time a massive knot had formed on the back on my head. Duh. I had dented a postal truck door with the force of it.

His first instinct was to pray. And no joke. The massive knot disappeared instantly.


He still wanted to take to me to the clinic. The free clinic.

That’s how we rolled.

After a thorough investigation, all was somehow well with my body.

And there was news.

I was pregnant.

The nurse’s exact words were, “This baby should not have made it with that kind of impact”.

My baby was a little miracle.

We sort of went home and stared at each other.

Lots of things happened throughout the pregnancy. We moved into a new house. I got shingles. Whole ‘nother story worth being told. I ate crab rangoon until I couldn’t see straight.

And then it was time.

And do you know what Brad did? He bought a stop watch that hung around his neck.

It was hilarious.

He timed contractions, drove me to the hospital twice for false alarms, and finally, helped me manhandle a nurse I named Helga. She was the most terrifying woman on this planet.

Did I mention that my baby doctor was a hippie, I had attended a baby/aids clinic throughout the pregnancy and we couldn’t afford “drugs”?

Tay’s birth was totally natural. I blacked out a few times, but I did have her like an African bush woman in a field.  I wasn’t even given Tylenol. She was born on the evening of the 19th and was home early afternoon on the 20th.

It takes a dedicated man to handle these things.

But Brad was smitten.

He was an immediate daddy.

I’ll never forget how he’d come home and want to lay down with her on his chest. He’s doze off and I’d stare at them together. Then I’d go do laundry. I needed to use my hands when I could.

You never know what it’s going to be like until it happens.

Brad is a great dad. He gives our kids confidence. He’s never pushed them to be what they aren’t. He stretches them in their faith. He creates opportunities for them to succeed. He even fishes and tosses footballs.

And he wore a stop watch around his neck with our first born child.

My kids will have no regrets with their dad.

That makes me proud.



2 years ago, Avery Isabella Riley was born to parents Carmel and Remington II.

She’s royalty.

She’s a viszla.

A spastic dog child  with the most ridiculous personality who can now delete “extreme fear of German Shepherds” from her list. Thanks to Cesar Millan and an extreme Boulder dog owner who brought out the sassy “watch me teach this dog what you cannot with your super weird dog guardian skills”.

It’s a dog. Not your estranged son.

Call me. I’m available for sessions.

And now I’m gonna show you what Avery did yesterday.

Which could possibly qualify me as aforementioned guardian.

It’s okay. You just don’t understand.

I just used the word aforementioned. I totally wish someone was here to slap me.

We started the day with a hike up Enchanted Mesa.

This picture looks a hundred years old. Weird.

Then I took her to PetSmart where she acted like a crazed banshee.  Cesar would not have been pleased. I bought her a replacement for her blue thing. Her blue thing is what I use to babysit her when I’m trying to get some work done and she feels the need to follow me from room to room and blocks the doors so I can’t get out until I throw something for her. If you don’t have one of these, I highly recommend it. I took a picture of it.


Go get one.

Next she had a Pawbender at Good Times. These are delicious. And they only cost a $1. Don’t ask me how I know it is delicious. It just is.

Then we went to P.C.’s Pantry.

Yes. It’s a bakery. For dogs and cats. Because I live in Boulder and I can.

Look what they make.

They make Mighty Meatloaf. It is also delicious.

But it totally gets better.

Yes, it is one of Edna’s bowls. I wanted it to be fancy for her. I’m sure Edna will never know.

Happy Birthday, Aves. Thanks for keeping me company.

And scaring the crap out of the UPS guy. That’s my favorite.

The End.

Never lonely

I’m never lonely.

I have my overactive brain and my dog, who turns 2 tomorrow, by the way. Oh, and Taylor’s around here somewhere.

But I do get lonesome.

I believe there’s a huge difference.

I have approximately 7 more days of complete and total freedom.

In the last 6 days, I have devoured 4 and a half James Patterson books. He’s a complete freak and I can’t get enough of his psychopaths.

Once upon a time, I went to a liberal arts Christian college, which I thought meant you could talk about a lot of stuff but never do it. Meaning, I gave up reading for pleasure. It felt so guilty. I know. You don’t have to say  it.

Until then, I had read myself to sleep every night of my life. My elementary school librarian would send home 100 books with me over the summer and I honestly read every one of them. I was almost like a sleepwalker. I’d wander around with a Beverly Cleary or a Harriet the Spy in my face and try to make a sandwich while balancing a chapter and a knife. I can literally associate certain flavors with certain characters. I will always see the Secret Garden if I ever eat a bacon cracker. Which is super awkward in writing but super right in my own mind.

I also got caught a lot in high school with paperbacks in my textbooks. No wonder I have no idea where the Carolinas are. I just know they swelter and have mad awesome trees with moss.

I’m pretty sure I want a bacon cracker right now.

And a secret garden.

Or at least grow my own cilantro.

I need to replant Torrie’s Venus Fly Trap. It’s a very valuable part of the family.

Glad we could have this little chat.

Don’t forsake me.

Things will get better from here.


Well, we did it.

We packed up our belongings and hid them in the Mayor’s garage.

Okay, so he’s letting us keep our stuff there for the summer. We gave him our kitchen table and a long handled broom thingy that you clean ledges with in exchange for the space. I think that’s fair.

He’s not really the Mayor, in case you’re wondering. He’s the landlord. I knighted him the Mayor of Crazyville when I realized he was never ever gonna leave my house. Ever. He was there 32 of the first 40 days we lived there. He was in the bushes, in the basement, on the roof and on the balcony.

Here he is inspecting the refrigerator a few days before we moved out.

He took the whole thing apart. Then he pointed at things I needed to clean.

Yes, Mayor. I know. Now run before I grab something sharp.


Let’s recap our Boulder moves, shall we?

We packed up a 4000 square foot home in Stillwater and moved into a 1300 square foot home in Boulder with our 4 kids and a dog in 2004. The laundry was done in the garage and I would have to wear gloves and chisel the clothes from the sides of the washer in the winter. Those were great times.

We packed up a 1300 square foot home and moved into a 3000 square foot home in 2007. This is where I learned to clean vaulted ceilings and ledges that serve no purpose other than to house spider webs and dead stuff.

We packed up a 3000 square foot home and moved into a 2000 square foot home in 2010. Everyone on our block was over 100 and the houses were all dark by 7:30. I’m pretty sure they miss us.

We packed up a 2000 square foot home and shoved it all into a garage in 2011.

Then we packed our suitcases and moved in with Brad’s mom Edna. She lives in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment.

Her shower is amazing, by the way. It’s like an angry waterfall in a phone booth. You have to stand perpendicular to the walls or you’ll skin your elbows. But the water pressure is out of this world.

She also has a magnificent couch that eats electronics. This can be inconvenient, but no one cares because it has a good heart and gives great hugs.

So, we’re on a summer vacation from bills and rent, and nothing but good can come from that.


I said garage about 50 times, didn’t I?

Now I have to go get some free stuff from Target.

I have way too much time on my hands.

This is going to be interesting.