01
Apr, 14

Happy 101st Birthday, Great-Grandpa Riley!!!

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Today may be April Fool’s, but this is no joke.  My amazing Great-grandpa, Riley, is 101 years old today!!! He’s definitely one of the most incredible people that I’ve ever known, and I’m proud to call him grandpa.  He’s smart, strong, kind, warm, and loving.  I truly admire him and hope to be as great as he is one day.  His smile, laugh and love are genuine and you feel it as soon as you see him.  Happy 101st Birthday, Grandpa!!!

Robert Riley moved from Thornton, CO to Paducah, KY in 2009 to be closer to his son and daughter-in-law.  He’s been living in an independent living facility which provides a private apartment, meals, housekeeping, and activities.  Fortunately, [my aunt Jan + uncle Bob] were able to hire people to help with his personal needs and washing clothes to avoid the nursing home thus far.  My aunt and uncle also have a good home health provider to provide physical & occupational therapy, and professional nursing, as needed.  My aunt Janice keeps him supplied with snacks, juice, Gatorade, and does his other personal shopping for him, so he’s surrounded by love and care.  I also hear that he’s quite popular!

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When I think of my grandpa Riley, I think of all that he’s seen and accomplished so far in his 101 years!  He makes me want to be a better person and to strive to be the best that I can be with no excuses.  In fact, I often think of him, particularly in times of self-doubt, and quickly snap out it.  I think of how happy he’s always been and what a go-getter he’s been throughout his whole life.  He truthfully has to be the most physically active person that I’ve ever known.  He inspires me to keep my mind, spirit and body active and healthy.  I know that I can speak for my whole family when I say that we have such good memories of him and all that he’s done.  Honestly, my youngest brother, Michael, summed it up best in a school report that he did about 6 years ago, when he was about 14 or 15:

 “Air Corps

In March of 1942, my great-grandfather, Robert Wesley Riley, joined the Air Corps. Robert was supposed to go to Aircraft Engine School, but at the time, there were no openings. He had to wait five months to get into the school. During those five months, he had to take five exams, one every month. After the five months were up, the aircraft engine school let him in without a history of any college. This aircraft school was called Hendricks Field. It was in Sebring, Florida. Everyone in the school was either a mechanic or an engineer. My grandfather stayed at this school for three years. He became a flight engineer. What he did was test the planes to see if they were in flying conditions. For five to ten hours a day, he would test take-offs and landings. After his training at Hendricks Field, he went to Chanute Field in Illinois for one month. He worked on gyro instruments. Gyro instruments are engines that spin. Some examples of gyro instruments are automatic pilots and field indicators. After that, Robert went over seas for twelve months as a replacement. Later my grandfather was stationed in India to work on humidity and temperature control in a factory. He inspected the work of twenty-eight Indian workers who worked on assembly lines. He had to have two interpreters because the twenty-eight men didn’t speak English. He stayed there for one year after the Indian war was ended.


Jobs

Robert W. Riley had many odd jobs before and after the war. He worked for Arkansas and Louisiana Gas Company right out of high school. He was making nine cents an hour and got a ten-cent per hour promotion for digging ditches. Then he got into trucking companies. He drove trucks for a box factory in Pittsburg, Texas. They would cut down gum trees on the river bottoms and make would make boxes out of these trees. Then he moved on to hauling produce around. He would haul yams out of Texas to Denver, potatoes from Denver to Texas, then he would go down to South Texas to get watermelons and grapefruits to haul them to Denver. The watermelons made good sales. Before my grandfather went into the service, he laid pipeline. It was construction work, but my grandpa hauled and strung oil pipe all over. His boss knew that he was strong, so he took him off of driving trucks and moved him to working the sledgehammer. The unfortunate side of him being strong was that he had to break concrete in order to put in the pipes for ten hours a day with only a sledgehammer.


Fishing and Hunting

When my grandfather got older, he would go fishing every weekend, rain or shine, with his wife, Helen Riley. He would fish all over Colorado and many other places like Canada. When he went to Canada, he flew in at six in the morning and caught one hundred and forty pounds of fish. It didn’t get dark until midnight. The lake was called Otto Lake and the Indians helped them cook the fish that they caught. They would fillet the fish and quick dry them so he was able to take the fish home. He makes his own flies for fishing and uses different types of feathers. My grandfather also loves to hunt. He’s been hunting since 1952 and has been ever since. In the fifty-six years that he has been hunting, he has only missed one season. He has shot thirty-two elk, many birds, and a few moose.


Great Depression

The year he left home on his own was 1929. He left with what clothes he had on his back and the change in his pocket. ($1.25) Luckily for him, he worked in Texas and could get about any job, which was a plus except for the fact that he worked ten hours a day and only made one dollar. My grandfather was one of the lucky ones to get a job and live through the depression.

Childhood

My grandfather, Robert Wesley Riley, was born on April 1st, 1913. He was raised on a farm and took up farming until he graduated high school. On the farm they raised their own mules and used them to plow. He had eight brothers and sisters to help him with the farm work. He started school when he was seven years old. He walked to school everyday, which was 6 miles to and from school. He went to a consolidated school and only wore shoes when at school. He didn’t have much homework, but if you didn’t pay attention in class, the teacher would not re-teach the lesson. When he was ten years old, he was driving his model T around on the dirt roads.


Brittany Spaniels

My grandfather raised and showed Brittany Spaniels. He had two dogs of his own; their names were Mutt and Jeff. Their registered names for shows were Denver Skyline Rocket and Prince Jeffery of Rocket. They were registered with an AKC book. On November 7th, 1966, Jeff won a certificate for best in show. The dogs would also go out-of-state with my grandpa and help him in hunting birds. He trained Jeff and Mutt by taking pheasant wings and putting them on fishing rods and reeling them in and casting them, making the dogs chase the wings. He also had many training tactics. These dogs were also trained by whistle and were hunting at five months of age. They would stalk and also retrieve the birds.

Today (written 6 years ago)

Today my grandpa is ninety-five years old and lives on his own. He continues to hunt, fish, and walk three miles a day. When the weather is not it’s best outside, he jumps on the treadmill and does his walking there. He has so much spirit, which keeps him going everyday. My grandpa Riley means a lot me. I love him and his great laugh so much.”

Below is an article in the Jackson Oaks Newsletter that was written for him last year to celebrate my grandpa’s 100th Birthday:

Jackson Oaks 100 Birthday-Riley

And this isn’t even half of what my grandpa has seen and accomplished!  He’s living proof that living a good and healthy lifestyle goes a long way.  I’m proud and blessed to have him as my grandpa!  I love you so much grandpa Riley – we all do.  Thank you for being true to yourself and for being such an amazing role model to us all.  I wish we were there with you today.  We all miss you very much and want you to know that we think about you.  You’re an amazing man and we hope you have a wonderful 101st Birthday!  We love you tremendously!!!

I want to thank my Uncle Bob for providing me with the latest photo and details on my Grandpa.  I also want to thank my brother, Michael, for letting me share his piece on my grandpa’s life.  And Thank you to Jackson Oaks for writing such a beautiful piece on him.  So much love!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANDPA!  WE LOVE YOU!

16
Oct, 13

{Life Lately} Week 24

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This week Ron was in Pagosa Springs, so I took my family to see the final touches on the house before we close on Friday.  Friday night I took my mom and one of my brothers to see the inside.  Then on Sunday I took my dad and my youngest brother to see the outside (as it was locked).  It was so helpful to have my family look at it and find little things that I had over-looked.  There were a few windows and things that needed to be sealed better.  Our representative assured us that these things will be taken care of by closing.  They also plan to have our landscaping in, too.  I wasn’t able to go inside this Sunday, because they had it all locked up, but that allowed my dad to focus on the exterior details.  He’s a painter by trade, so he knows what to look for.  I’m so blessed to have such a supportive family.  Anyhoo, here are a few photos from week 24.

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Our baby tree in the front yard is in.

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Our AC unit is in and they still need to fix that window well… looks like someone ran over it with the Bob Cat.  Eep!

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My dad pointing out a few things.

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This Saturday we have so many of our family and friends that will be helping us move our things from my parents’ and from both of our storage units (which are of course at separate locations – sheesh).  Then, this Sunday will mark week 25 (the final week of this adventure) and we will officially be moved in to our new home!

 

 

09
Oct, 13

{Life Lately} Week 23

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Week 23 has brought us the most change in the shortest amount of time.  The crew is really wrapping things up, and quickly!  Monday, Ron and I met with our amazing contractor and he did the final walk-through of the house with our Realtor and us.  He explained how everything worked, from the furnace to the care of the granite countertops.  We also went through each room with red, green and blue dots to mark what needed to be touched up by the carpenters, drywallers and painters.  This step really made me very appreciative of the time and care that the contractor and his crew put into our new home.  It showed that they wanted to make it perfect for the day that we move in.

What day is that you ask?!  We close on Friday October 18th at 11am (squeal)!!!  We’re beyond excited to finally see everything in its place.  After all is said and done, this whole process will take 25 weeks to complete.  That’s a long time, but well worth the wait.  I really want to thank my parents for being so supportive in this process.  My dad opened up his home to us and our three fur babies for 25 weeks!  I don’t know how he could stand having us that long, but he made us feel welcome the whole time.  My mom was so kind to let us store a lot of our stuff in her garage and on the side of her house.  I’m sure it was in the way, but she never complained!  This process would have been very unpleasant without the both of them there to support us.  Thank you beyond words!

Below are some photos that I snapped during our final walk-through.  Enjoy!

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Moving day is coming!  I’ll be taking more photos this coming Sunday.  We hope to see the landscaping put in this week and that might be the only other change that we really see.  P.S. I love how the new iPhone 5s takes better photos when the camera is switched to face you, however this photo of me could have been fuzzier and I wouldn’t have minded… hahaha

30
Sep, 13

{Life Lately} Week 22

All I can say is WOW!  Week 21 has been good to us.  The flooring and cabinets are all in, so next Sunday we expect to see the sinks, toilets and counters.  We also hope to see the driveway and front + back landscaping.  October 7th is our Final Walk-Through with the home builder, Lead Contractor and our wonderful Realtor.  This is where we make sure that everything that we’ve asked for is there.  And if not, they’ll have a week to make changes.  This is also the day that they’ll show us how to work everything in our new home!  I’m so incredibly excited to start this new adventure with Ron.  We Close on the house on October 18th!

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We’ve made it a tradition to sign the floors in every home that we’ve owned… this marks number two… heeheehee.

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30
Sep, 13

{Life Lately} Week 21

We were happy to see that the walls textured and painted this week!  Holy smokes, some of the base-boards and window sills were in, too.  Oh, and they started in the deck in the back.  We expect the landscaping and driveway to be in soon, along with the finishing touches.

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Oh, and the rails are in, too!!!

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Guess what are in these boxes?!  Our kitchen and bathroom cabinets!!!

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30
Sep, 13

{Life Lately} Week 20

Week 20 came during the big Colorado Flood, and boy were we scared of what we would find when we drove up.  Luckily, there was minimal damage and the home builder is taking care of it.  When we walked in the front door, we were hit with a warm flow of heat coming from the front vent.  Was the heater on?  Yup!  Since it was so incredibly rainy, they put the heater on to help the mudding on the drywall dry.  The house is officially drywalled, taped and mudded.  It’s really starting to come together and we couldn’t be happier.  It’s starting to take shape and feel like home.
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14
Sep, 13

{Life Lately} Week 19

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We got some good news and some not-so-good news last weekend.  The not-so-good news is that we found out why we haven’t been seeing progress on the house.  Apparently the home builder and the stucco company went separate ways.  I’m not sure on the details, and I really don’t want to know.  All I want is for our house to be finished with quality craftsmanship.  I like to look at this as a positive thing.  Hopefully the new company will come in and do a better job than what we would have had.  The biggest downside to this is that it set us back 2 1/2 weeks!  So our Closing date is no longer September 27th, it will be sometime in mid October.  Probably October 18th.

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The good news is that we have some progress to share!  When we drove up we saw that the first layer of stucco was on the front of the house and the rest of the house was painted.  We were also thrilled to see the garage doors were installed.

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Inside, the insulation has been put in, along with some of the drywall.  We hope to see all of the drywall completed by this coming Sunday, along with the cabinets and possibly flooring, too.

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13
Sep, 13

{Life Lately} Week 18

We’ve come to week 18 and things have slowed down even more than before.  We were told that things would be moving faster, not slower.  We’re looking for answers because something seems off.  Here are a few photos that we snapped, but nothing has really changed since last week.

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01
Sep, 13

{Life Lately} Weeks 16 + 17

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Week 16 didn’t bring much change at all.  I heard that they’re still doing some inspections and that’s slowing down the dry-walling.  So, since we ran out of tape last week, we decided to finish videotaping the electrical and plumbing for future reference.

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Then, week 17 didn’t bring anything other that the packaged insulation.  We hope that this means things will start rolling again.  These are terrible photos, but we snuck over in the night like bandits and these are the photos I got.

15
Aug, 13

{Life Lately} Week 15

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Usually we go visit the house on Sunday’s, but this last Sunday, we were on vacation in Turks + Caicos to celebrate our 5 year wedding anni.  That’s right, 5 years!  It worked out nicely though, because the home-builders’ reps and contractor wanted to meet with us on Wednesday for the Electrical Walk-through.  It’s so important that we did this walk-through because they were able to show us where all of the wires and cables run to and from outlets, switches, light fixtures and tech ports.  We were encouraged to bring a camera and a video camera to film where both the wire and studs are for future reference, too, because you never know when you’ll need that info.  We also had a lot of our questions answered and made sure that a few things were being corrected on the order.  Things are really starting to come together and we were told that dry wall will be up by next week!  Things are rolling and we were finally given a Closing-Date of September 27th!!!  A month and a half more and then it’s officially ours.  I can’t believe it.  Oh, and the front porch rails are in!  Now we need to find a swing.

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That silver material that you see there looks like metal, but it’s actually foam.  They explained that it helps the air circulate better once the insulation is put in.  It leaves a gap between the roof and the insulation.  We also learned that newer homes are better insulated all the way around, so we’ll be even more energy-efficient than we had thought.  Bonus!

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We also learned that the pink, or sometimes orange foam, is used for both an insulator and a fire resistant barrier.  It’s found along the walls, outlets, switches and pipes.  I can’t tell you how nice and informative it was to have everything that we’ve been seeing explained to us.  We feel like we actually know what happening and why.

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So, from what we understand, the drywall will be up soon, the extra windows will be put in and things will start to move a lot quicker.  From this point forward, we may not be able to go in every Sunday, so we will have to get the “okay” from the home-builder to ensure that’s it’s safe to enter the premises.  I’ll keep posting as things progress, though.  The Closing-Date is only and month and a half away, so we’re almost done!