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A Life Reposessed By the Feds: Aurora Wife of Convicted Ponzi Schemer Shares Her Story, Part II

Editor’s note: Almost two years ago, Denver was caught up in a scandal when it was revealed Shawn Merriman was involved in a $20 million Ponzi scheme. There were many victims but no one was more blindsided by his betrayal than his own wife and four children. In our three-part series, Shawn’s now-ex-wife Andrea shares how she learned the horrible truth, the day the Feds came to confiscate everything and where she is today.

They came.

Government representatives, approximately eight of them. Wearing dark jackets and sunglasses, flashing gold badges, they arrived at my home in dark Suburbans with tinted windows–just like in the movies. Only this time it wasn’t a movie, it was my new and unexpected life.

I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I was ashamed to be associated (by marriage only) with anyone and anything that required government agents entering my home, doing inventory of its contents, and compiling lists of things for seizure. It was surreal.

They were very kind to me. Very polite. They quietly chatted, walked from room to room filming the contents, narrated what they were filming, they asked questions. I mostly stood in one corner of the house, in the dining room, looking out the window, seeing the same view I’d gazed at for the past 16 years so differently. Sadly, I saw everything very differently now. I tried to come to grips with what was taking place in my home around me.

But I don’t think I ever reconciled it. I just endured it, and waited for it to be over.

I had so many questions,

Review and Giveaway: SmartyAnts Innovative and Interactive Reading Program


This month, LeapFrog’s founder released a must-have reading program for children ages 4-7: SmartyAnts. I was sent the product and was asked to try it out.

Or rather, my kids were. Last I checked I’m a pretty good reader.

Problem is, my 6-year-old daughter Hadley isn’t. I’ve struggled to get her excited about reading but have been frustrated with her lack of patience and my lack of ability in knowing how and what to teach her.

SmartyAnts may just save me.

What It Is:

There are a couple of different components to this product.

1) The SmartyAnts Phonics Reading Pup is a cuddly, 11-inch-tall robotic dog that offers a fun, interactive way to learn to read.

2) The dog comes with a free one-month membership to the

No Parachute: Aurora Wife of Convicted Ponzi Schemer Shares Her Story, Part I

Editor’s note: Almost two years ago, Denver was caught up in a scandal when it was revealed Shawn Merriman was involved in a $20 million Ponzi scheme. There were many victims but no one was more blindsided by his betrayal than his own wife and four children. In our three-part series, Shawn’s now-ex-wife Andrea shares how she learned the horrible truth, the day the Feds came to confiscate everything and where she is today.

March 18, 2009 I dropped my three-year-old off at preschool. I had a plan for the 2-3 hours he was going to be gone. And then my spouse called me on my cell phone. ”What are you doing this morning?” he asked.

I told him my plan and he told me he had hoped to spend time with me. I invited him to join me doing what I had planned. He told me he didn’t have that much time. I asked him how much time he needed, he told me (it was the same amount of time it would have taken to do my activity, and when I pointed that out he told me he wasn’t going to do that activity with me.) So like the flexible, kind wife that supported all of his dreams that I’d always tried to be, I turned the car around and headed home to spend time with him. I had no idea I was turning around so he could destroy all of my dreams.

Before I reached home, he called my cell phone again and asked me to meet him in the motor home. He loved that thing. (I hated it, had never wanted it, but had supported him in that dream as well.) Looking back, it was probably a bit odd for him to request I meet him there. But then again, I had no idea what was about to go down.


Disney’s “Tangled” Hits the Frying Pan on the Nose (P.S. That’s a good thing)

My children and I recently attended an advanced screening of Tangled, Walt Disney Pictures’ latest movie about Rapunzel and her 70 feet of magical, golden hair.

This feisty, tower-bound teen (voice or Mandy Moore) was kidnapped as a baby and has been locked away for years. The day before her 18th birthday, she partners up with charming scoundrel Flynn (the voice of Zachary Levi) who is her ticket to freedom.

You know–it is your typical story of teenage angst.

But what isn’t predictable is how much my kids and I loved and laughed through the entire film. From the super-cop horse (my daughter’s favorite) to the over-protective chameleon to the gruff gang of pub thugs. Tangled’s hair-raising story ranks as one of my favorite Disney movies ever. See for yourself

Mile High Mamas Bring Jewels for Hope to The Blues Jeans Bar

Take a bar full of blue jeans, a fantastic charity, darling jewelry and you have Mile High Mamas’ latest night out.

In style.

On Wednesday, Mile High Mamas partnered with The Blues Jeans Bar in Cherry Creek to host a fun evening for about 25 of Colorado’s social media moms.

Not familiar with the store? The Blues Jeans Bar is modeled after the concept of a friendly neighborhood pub and blues are housed behind an old growth wood bar. With more than 40 lines for both men and women, “jean-tenders” cater to every

Movie review: “Megamind” is out of sight

Talk about your unreliable narrators.

At the start of the impossibly slick, sweetly wise, animated romp, “Megamind,” the titular villain recounts how he’s come to the end of the line.

He is tumbling to his demise. A ray gun floats in the air nearby. It doesn’t look good.

It all began in a galaxy far, far away as they say. On the eve of their planet’s destruction, Baby Megamind was put into a space module by his folks much like the Man of Steel was saved by his parents.

Only the blue-hued, big-headed Megamind (Will Farrell) is not going to be a hero but a nemesis. Along for the journey is Minion (David Cross), his pet-assistant- only friend, a sharp-toothed fish- gorilla-robot,

Early-season savings for Colorado’s best mountain destinations

This winter, Mile High Mamas will be offering oodles of contests and deals designed to get your families up to the mountains.

You may start salivating now.

Last week, Colorado’s tourism office released these fabulous deals to get you primed:

* Crested Butte 50/50 Package: In celebration of 50 years of skiing and riding, Crested Butte Mountain Resort is offering 50 percent off lift tickets and $50 per person, per night for lodging. Valid November 23 through December 16, 2010. 800-600-2803;

* Glenwood Early Bird Ski, Swim & Stay Package: Ski at Sunlight Mountain Resort, enjoy unlimited swimming at the World’s Largest Hot Springs Pool and stay in the conveniently located Hot Springs Lodge. Plus, kids ski free! Prices start at $100 per person. Valid December 4 through 16, 2010. 800-537-7946;

* Winter Park Ski Free: Book one night lodging (two night minimum stay) and receive a free adult lift ticket. Stay more nights, get more free tickets. Valid November 17 through December 25, 2010. 800-979-9874;

* Denver Twice the Fun for the Price of One: The brand

The Baby Dentist’s Tips for Healthy Teeth & When (and How) to Start Flossing

Both as a dentist and as a mother, I hear people say, “We just have bad teeth. Our whole family does.” My name is Dr. Liz, the Baby Dentist, and I have good news for you!

The first piece of good news is that not everyone has to get cavities. Even if your family members have had bad teeth in the past, you can change that for your children. It’s likely that your baby was born with healthy teeth, most babies are. As soon as those first teeth come in, it’s time to start taking good care of them. Unhealthy teeth come from not taking good care of teeth as soon as they first come in, and from bad hygiene habits or diet at home.

The next bit of good news is that cavities are caused by germs (bacteria). Why is that good news? Because it means they are almost 100% preventable. Tooth decay is caused by germs in the mouth that we can clean off when we brush in the morning and again at night. So, there you have it; no more mystery.

By making some simple changes in your home habits, your baby can grow up to have healthy, beautiful teeth!

* Begin brushing twice a day with a toothbrush and a small smear of fluoridated toothpaste as soon as the first tooth erupts.
* Daily flossing starts when baby’s teeth are touching. Pre-threaded flossers are great for this.
* Do not share spoons, forks, or cups. This goes back to where cavities come from. When you share utensils of any kind, you are passing germs from your mouth to your baby’s.
* Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle or cup with milk, juice or any other beverages, only water is OK.
*Only put water in a sippy cup. Milk or a little bit of juice is ok at mealtimes, but if your child carries a sippy cup around outside of mealtime, make sure it only contains water.
* Don’t dip pacifiers in honey or sugar or clean them with your mouth.
* Your child should start seeing a dentist when the first tooth comes in or by age 1.

Remember that as your child is growing and learning, important tasks like brushing and flossing need to be done by you or another adult in the house until about the age of 8.

Of course, we also want to see you at the dentist office early and often and I have more good news on how this will only help you and your family. If you make these little changes at home, and see the dentist regularly when things in your child’s mouth are good, your child may grow up loving to brush their teeth and loving to come to the dentist. Wouldn’t that be great? Of course, prevention is much less expensive than restorative care which
can make a big difference for your family.

As a mom and a dentist, I could tell you any number of stories about the young children that I see with cavities and how much they hurt, but not today. Today is all about good news. If you get into healthy habits at home, you can keep your dental visits short and sweet and your child’s smile healthy and beautiful.


Tips on Flossing

1. You don’t need to begin flossing until your child’s teeth are touching.

2. Pre-threaded flossers are your friend. Try something like these

3. Make it part of the bedtime routine. While sitting, let your child rest their head in your lap while you use a pre-threaded flosser.

Remember that flossing is just one part of overall good oral habits including: twice daily brushing, limiting juice to 4oz per day, putting only water in the sippy cup, not sharing utensils or cleaning pacifiers with your own mouth, and getting your little one to the dentist by age 1.

For more info go to and read the entire Mommy DDS article on infant dental care.

Dr. Elizabeth Shick is a Pediatric Dentist at Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor for the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine.

Your Opinion: San Francisco bans Happy Meals’ toys

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has voted, by a veto-proof margin, to ban most of McDonald’s Happy Meals as they are now served in the restaurants.

The measure will make San Francisco the first major city in the United States to forbid restaurants from offering a free toy with meals that contain more than set levels of calories, sugar and fat.

The ordinance would also require restaurants to provide fruits and vegetables with all meals for children that come with toys.

“We’re part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure. “From San Francisco to New York City, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low-income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate. It’s a survival issue and a day-to-day issue.”

After the vote, McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said, “We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision. It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for.”

-By Sharon Bernstein

What is your opinion?

Let Me Introduce You to Fred….My Whisker

One day, about 5 years ago, I was about to rest my chin in my hand and Ouch!

What was that?

I got up and peered at my face in the mirror. I didn’t see anything but the same face. Weird.

Sat back down on the couch and then I ran my fingers along my chin. Ouch!

What IS that?

I got up again and stood closer to the mirror to look at my chin. Huh. Same face. Weird.

Finally, I put my glasses on and looked one more time.


What IS that poky thing sticking an inch out of my chin? I think I would have noticed landing face first in a bed of cactus, don’t you?

I gently tried wiping it off my chin. Still there.

I tugged gently on it, because after all, maybe I did fall face first in a batch of cactus and just now noticed. Lots of alcohol must have been involved, but I suppose it could have been a possibility. Still there.

What in the world?

I got my tweezers out to pull this odd splinter out of my chin. I tugged. It didn’t budge. I pulled harder. Still there. I grabbed hold and yanked!

Out. Finally.

What IS that?

Wait for it….wait for it… (not quite as bad as Marmaduke, but still)


What? A whisker? How did I get one of those? And WHY didn’t my husband or best friend TELL me I was growing a beard? Huh?

Trust me, I gave them both a piece of my mind for that one. By the way, nothing sexier than pointing out to your husband that you are growing facial hair!

My best friend told me (after laughing hysterically at me) that a woman gets whiskers after being pregnant with boys. One boy = 1 whisker. Thank goodness I’m not Mrs. Duggar. I’d have a full goatee!

Alright. It’s taken me time, but I’ve finally come to grips with “Fred”. Yep, all random hairs are named Fred for some reason…. totally different and long story.

“Fred” (my whisker) is akin to that family member that you don’t particularly like, but they keep showing up anyway. You know who I’m talking about?

I don’t know how he does it either. I think I”m pretty paranoid diligent about keeping a lookout for Fred, but one day I’ll find he’s back and he’s already 1/2 an inch long!

Do whiskers have super growth hormone or something? One day you don’t see them, the next they are all grown up? That doesn’t seem to be how hubby’s beard works.

I’ve seriously considered going to a laser hair removal place, but I haven’t figured out how to put up with a whisker long enough to drive myself over to someplace and have it zapped. Plus, would it hurt?

Guest blogger Daria works full-time at a consulting firm near Invesco Field and lives in Arvada, CO with her husband and their 3 children. She writes about leadership and management of both employees and family on her blog Mom In Management and about interior design and remodeling on her husband’s remodeling business website Simply Stunning, LLC. Go ahead and keep up with Daria’s posts by following her on twitter or facebook.

Photo: Indiana Public Media