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Something Every Parent Should Think About: Picking a Guardian for Your Children

[ Monday, April 7, 2014 | 0 comments ]
It’s the question that no parent (even me!) really wants to consider:

“What would happen to my kids if I (or my partner/spouse/other parent) couldn’t take care of them?” 

It’s a difficult, gut-wrenching prospect to consider, but thinking about the unthinkable and appointing guardians for your minor children now is one of the most important decisions a parent can make.

Creating an estate plan with a guardianship provision could ensure that your children will be taken care of by someone of your choosing – someone who you trust. Without this provision, you’re leaving the choice of legal guardian to a judge who may have an entirely different interpretation of what’s best for your children.

If you haven’t yet designated guardians, the following considerations should help you get started.

There’s no such thing as a perfect choice: For many parents, it’s not only avoidance of a difficult topic that prevents them from appointing a guardian. Often it’s also the pressure to make the perfect guardian choice.

In reality, there is no perfect choice because no one is you. Every candidate has pros and cons, and you and your partner may disagree about who’s in the best position to care for your children. Remember that you can change your choice at any time as circumstances and second thoughts dictate—and that a well thought out, though imperfect, choice is better than no choice.

I’m often asked if it’s “normal” for parents to pick family or friends. My response is “it depends” (typical lawyer, I know). In truth, only you know your family dynamics. Many of my clients do appoint family members as guardian(s), but some also choose friends. Often, there is guilt associated with choosing one family member over another or a friend over a family member. Try to put that guilt aside, because what you’re really doing is choosing what is best for your children. Listen to your gut. If someone doesn’t feel right or if you have doubts, there’s usually a very valid reason.

Compatibility: While there may not be a perfect guardian choice, some choices are certainly better than others. You want your children to be raised in the same way that you would raise them, so it’s important to consider things like the religion, education, and child-rearing philosophy of the guardians.

Guardians who already have children are a natural choice, but then again, if your kids don’t get along with theirs, the expanded brood could spell trouble. Relatedly, think about whether you want a married couple for guardians, or if the right single parent would work. More generally, considerations such as work schedule, maturity level, patience, morals, and values are extremely important for choice of guardian.

The age of your children: Grandparents might make sense for very young kids, but as kids get older, you might consider guardians better-suited to teenagers. In addition, the older your children, the more likely they are to have roots in their community and be opposed to a geographic change. For that reason, you might want to pick somebody who either lives in the same city that you do or would be willing to relocate there.

Age also matters in terms of imparting belief systems. If your kids are young, you may not have had the chance to fully instill morals and values, making the choice of guardian more critical.

Finally, in Colorado, minors age 12 or older have the power to object to a guardian “choice.” Because their objection to your appointment could instigate a court proceeding, it makes sense to consider an older child’s wishes.

Willingness to Serve: I’m often asked if you have to inform a nominated guardian. You don’t technically have to tell a nominated guardian that they’ve been named in your estate plan. Of course, this could lead to myriad problems, not least of which is somebody’s unwillingness or preference not to be a guardian.

Communicating with guardian candidates is a good way to better explore your options. In the course of discussion, you might learn things that will help you decide whether somebody is or isn’t a good choice. And once you’ve made a choice, don’t hesitate to let the chosen ones know how you want your kids raised. While your values should be clear to anyone you designate as guardian, it never hurts to be direct.

Keep in mind also that some individuals will be so honored that you have chosen them that they may not fully consider their own needs, family or lives. In addition, if and when a guardian is ever needed, a chosen candidate’s life situation or health may have changed. A proper estate plan will account for such contingencies. There are also ways to memorialize conditions for the acceptance by a guardian and guidelines for guardians after acceptance.

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When we chose the guardians for our children ten years ago, my husband and I wrung our hands, pulled out our hair, and eventually held our noses and chose candidates that we could live with. Five years later, we had three children and our feelings about those candidates changed. We updated our documents to reflect the changes in our family, choice of candidates, and values. The candidates are not perfect…because they are not us. And before we send our kids off into official adulthood, I’m sure we’ll change them again.

If you have any questions about appointing a guardian for your children, or any other estate planning question, please let me know. I can be reached at Yvonne@oliverelaw.com or 303-974-5617. Read the full story »
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Wazee Supper Club - All Things to All People

[ Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 0 comments ]
By Edan Goode

I first went to Wazee Supper Club in high school back when the corner restaurant stood in the shadow of the crumbly viaduct above. Back then, Wazee was just a tad too far away from the comfort of Larimer Square to be considered a safe neighborhood. So going there was a treat not only for the food but also for the slight element of danger it suggested. Everything has changed about that scenario, except the good food, which has only improved. Wazee Supper Club is now in the heart of chic LoDo renewal and has a spiffed up look and menu to go along with it.

A few things remain from those early days (and the many days long before I ever set foot in there) like the big windows, black and white checkerboard floor, antique fixtures and the dumb-waiter that raised hot food up to the second floor and  lowered empty dishes down again. 

Wazee Supper Club is one of those places that can be all things to all people. Want a night out with friends? Wazee. A date with your sweety? Wazee. A place to take the kids? Wazee. Pizza is Wazee Supper Club’s claim to fame so right there, you can make everyone happy. But they also have some other great menu items plus Absynthe cocktails and a beautiful Absinthe Fountain, perfect for those times you don’t have the kids with you.

There is a good kids’ menu though with items that include a drink for $5.95. Choose from a Grilled Cheese and Fries, Chicken Fingers with Fries, a Kids’ Pizza and a Grilled Chicken Breast with Fruit Cup (you don’t often see that welcome option for kids).

Read the full review of Wazee Supper Club on the In GoodTaste Denver blog.   
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A Modest Proposal for Summer Break

[ Monday, March 31, 2014 | 0 comments ]
Today was the first day of spring break. By 11:00 am, I had heard from three of my friends:

"We aren't even halfway into the first day of spring break, and my kids are driving me crazy! What will summer vacation be like?"

I found my boys digging a mine in the backyard and building a mine house out of cardboard boxes and duct tape.

After I made them clean that up, I found them in the park playing a game called "Crazy Golf," where one would hit a golf ball, yell "Charge!" and the other two would chase after the ball. Inevitably they were still on the field when the player lobbed his next ball out. Before I could finish my sentence about how dangerous that game was, my 5 year old was hit in the thigh with a golf ball.

But it got me thinking: what if some of us stay-at-home moms joined forces, and created our own version of summer camp?

Monday mornings we could meet at the F-15 park for a game of kickball. One hour. They'd get bored just in time for the pool to open at 11:00.

Or how about getting some of those high school athletes to hold practice sessions for kids? Get a couple of East High lacrosse players to work with younger kids in the park.

How easy is it to set up a croquet court around the lawn? Are there any volleyball nets in Stapleton?

Seems like a great idea to me: nothing too formal, just open pickup games at our lovely parks.

Who thinks this might be interesting?


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Farewell to the double BOB stroller

[ Thursday, March 27, 2014 | 0 comments ]
This morning, I bid farewell to our trusty double-BOB stroller.

I won't lie. Tears were shed.

It's been such a symbol of life in Stapleton: me, the two boys in the double-BOB, our lunches packed for a picnic in the park, our black lab with her leash dangling from the bars, a tennis ball in her mouth.




For a few years, the BOB was our main mode of transportation during our daily walks to and from every park in Eastbridge, Central Park, along Westerly Creek. It was the core piece of equipment during Stroller Strides classes (couldn't have done those lunges without it!). I'll never know how many miles it ran with me. It served as the wagon hauling our gear to and from the pool, all summer long. It made the endless hours of toddlerhood happy ones.

It came with us on trips: through airports, all over Yellowstone, countless mountain treks.

The days are long, but the years are short.

It's kind of fitting that this blog's transition is timed now: when I began this little mommy blog, I was up to my ears in toddlerhood. My boys are now 5 and 8, and the BOB collects dust in the garage. Every once in a while it makes the trek to the bus stop to collect the boys, but they're too big to ride in it. It was time for it to move on.

Thanks to the new Stapleton Moms classifieds section for finding a wonderful new home for our BOB, where it is headed for all new adventures. If you haven't made the transition to Big Tent, do it now. It will be so much more flexible and easier to use! Read the full story »
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Stapleton Mom to Lead First Allergy & Asthma Office in Stapleton Opening April 2014!

[ Tuesday, March 25, 2014 | 0 comments ]
 



Dr. Otsu


Finally, Stapleton will have its very own Allergy and Asthma office nearby.  Allergy & Asthma Care and Prevention Center, PLLC announced that it will open a center for care of allergy and asthma patients in The Shops at Northfield Stapleton. Dr. Kanao Otsu, an allergist and immunologist who also happens to be a Stapleton Mom, will begin seeing patients April 14, 2014.   “We are thrilled about expanding our practice and joining the Stapleton neighborhood,” said Dr. Avner, the founder of Allergy & Asthma Care and Prevention Center and an allergy and asthma specialist with more than 30 years experience. “Dr. Otsu is a tremendous asset to our team and already an integral part of the Stapleton community.”

Dr. Otsu graduated from Columbia University’s Medical School for International Health, where she also received a Master’s Degree in Public Health. She completed her residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts and her fellowship in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at University of Colorado Denver/National Jewish Health. After completing her fellowship, Dr. Otsu and her husband, who also is a physician, decided to make Stapleton their home. They have three children. 


“Opening the Stapleton location is truly a personal endeavor for me,” said Dr. Otsu. “This is my home. I have the chance to really focus on the community here and partner with both adults and children in their long-­‐term health goals.”

Allergy & Asthma Care and Prevention Center works with its patients to educate them on prevention skills and methods to keep them healthy.

“We are committed to the principle of maintaining a healthy patient and not merely treating sickness,” said Dr. Otsu. “So much of treating allergy and asthma is prevention and education, so we partner with our patients so they are better equipped to handle their day-­‐to-­‐day health 
challenges.”

Allergy & Asthma Care and Prevention Center’s Stapleton location will offer a full-­‐ range of diagnostic services and treatments, including allergy, skin testing, desensitization treatments, and ingestion challenges. The center’s highly trained health professionals will assist in providing treatment and education for food allergy, plus seasonal, environmental, and pet respiratory allergy symptoms, as well as skin allergies.

The new office is located at 8340 East 49th Avenue, Northfield Stapleton Building K – Suite 2620, Denver CO 80238. Please call 303-­‐706-­‐9923 or visit www.allasth.com to schedule an appointment.
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