Friday, May 30, 2008

Rough Day.....

So today has been a really hard day for us. It started out this morning with the news that my Grandpa had passed away. He was 92 years old and had been getting weaker by the day. We knew it was coming but that doesnt erase the sadness that we feel knowing that we wont see him again in this life. He was a compassionate, funny man and I feel fortunate that his blood is flowing through me. I will miss seeing him at church each week and really wish that I had gone over to visit more often.

Not 15 minutes after receiving this news, we got the news that Denver's Dad actually does have cancer in his lung and his liver. We had thought the lungs were clear but the test he had wasnt conclusive and the new tests brought bad news. I am so happy that we were just there visiting and hope that his prognosis will be good. We are awaiting word on how advanced it is which will probably take a week or 2. He is in the hospital now resting....which he really needs to be doing and it is the best place for him to be right now.

An hour later, I had to call 911 for Evan. As you know, Ian is allergic to peanuts and so we have to carry an EpiPen which is an injection of adrenaline in case he ever eats any and goes into anaphalatic shock. Evan found the expired one that Ian's school nurse had given me the other day and decided to push the top down with his thumb like a pen.....this engaged the needle and it shot into his thumb. He was hysterical and because I had no idea what adrenaline would do to him, I just called 911 to be safe. Luckily, because he was holding it upside down, he didnt completely depress the button and none of the medicine was injected however, the needle did go in so far that it hit his bone and actually bent the needle. As a result Im going to have to take him into his doctor tomorrow for a tetnus shot and an xray to make sure the bone didnt chip. If it did, infection could set into the bone....yuck.

I have to go to work in about an hour and Im dreading it because I just dont have the energy at this point to go. But, no choice..... I am very greatful though for my family and that I am able to be with them not only in this life but the life after. That we are close and love each other means we can get through anything life throws at us even though sometimes it feels so hopeless in the beginning.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our Kentucky Trip in Pictures....

Well here are the pictures....I took 175 in all, dont worry they arent all posted here. But there are still a lot. It was a crazy trip. The full report is below the slide show. Pull up a chair, its a long one!

What A Trip.....

Well, we are back. I sure didnt think it would take me this long to post about our trip but we are exhausted! In fact Im struggling with what exactly to write about because there was so much going on. Its going to be a long post.....For those that dont know the details, we went to Kentucky for a family reunion. If any of you have flown recently then you know that going that far isnt cheap and when you multiply that by 6 tickets.....yeah. Thanks to some family angels, we had some help though and were able to go. In order to save about $800, we flew on Spirit Air which does not fly out of SLC....it does fly out of Vegas though. So the first leg of our trip was a 6 hour drive to Vegas. We spent the night at my parents house who just so happen to live there! Thanks guys..... then, because Spirit doesnt fly to Kentucky, we flew into Detroit Michigan where once again we imposed on some really great relatives! Jim Lynn and "the girls" were so very generous to let us stay the night and feed us too! The next morning with a beautiful 2008 Honda Odessey Minivan Rental, we drove off for the 7 hour drive to Drift, Kentucky... Now I can say that I have been to Michigan as well as Ohio since the drive took us literally from the top of the state to the bottom. We arrived around 4:00 pm.....tired and relieved to be there.

The rest of the week we spent there is all a big blur of people. Saturday was the Humble Reunion. This is Denver's mothers' father's side of the family.... Carlotta's dad was Carl Humble. It was a great time with lots of food, games, and prizes. We won $50 for the family that traveled the farthest to get there....isnt that the truth! It was nice to have $50 so we could put it back in to the $4 per gallon gas fund....yikes. After the reunion, we spent lots of time visiting. Sunday, we went to church. It was fun to see some of the people that we went to church with for the year we lived there. Unfortunately attendance has really dwindled in the little ward and there were many that we didnt see. Denver and I spoke during Sacrament meeting and even though I was VERY stressed out about it, I think we both did great. Lots of tears.....nothing new for me. Everyone from Michigan came down and so around 55 people showed up for a BBQ on Sunday evening at Scott and Stacys new house. Luckily their deck is HUGE and accomodated everyone! We ended that evening playing SingStar on the Playstation and that is the most fun I have had in a long time! Its like competition Karaoke. I cant tell you how much fun it was and everyone participated. Even Alec who really wanted to play but was acting like a teenager and pretending to be too embarrassed and cool......after he sang a song, it was ON and he very easily took the Mic again and again. Even Ian and Evan played and sang a couple of songs. We are going to have to buy it for sure! I will tell you though....if you are about to go head to head with Kailey Jo Shannon, you better just put your money on the table. This girl put ALL of her 9 years into her performance. It was so cute. She needs to go on American Idol. Im embarrassed to admit that she beat me on 2 songs that she shouldnt even know considering they were popular when I was like 10. "The Final Countdown", and "We're not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister..... Wow.

Monday morning, we went to Don and Carlottas for "Car-Cars breakfast".... she (with some others) made breakfast for all 55 people. Biscuits and Gravy, eggs, potatos, fried apples, bacon, sausage. More food than you could imagine. Very Southern. Then the Michigan people headed out. We spent the rest of the day visitng with some family that we hadnt seen yet. Cathi and Dicky and Aunt Sally. We were sad that we didnt have more time to visit each of them but there had just been too much going on. We are happy that we got to see them at least for a little bit.

The next morning we headed back to Michigan after a stop to see the dentist. Dicky was going to fill a couple of cavaties that the boys have but apparently their dentist here in SLC is a bit money hungry and was going to do unecessary work on our kids. They checked out with a clean bill of teeth health and we hit the road. 7 hours back to Michigan.....ugh. We arrived around 8pm, got to bed at 11pm, got up at 3:30 a.m., took off for Vegas at 6:00 am, arrived at 7:45 am (4 hour flight but you lose 3 hours going west)....had to get Alec to his plane to Phoenix at 9:00 am, left Vegas in our own van that my mom brought to us at 9:45 a.m and finally ate breakfast after 10 hours with no food. Finished the trip with a 6 hour drive back to SLC. WHEW......... I feel like Ive been hit by a freight train and Im not sure it was worth saving the $800. But, the kids really had fun and so did we after all is said and done. Addie loved everyone, but especially Josh! Ive NEVER seen her flirt like that before. Thanks to everyone that helped us out there....we miss you already.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Here We Are.....

The Shannon Family Picture at the reunion.....more to come when we get back.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Good News - Bad News - No News......

So they say that no news is good news right? Except of course when you are waiting for money from the IRS....no news means "you aint gettin any". This only means we are still broke, and that certainly is old news. Other than that, we are getting ready to leave for our trip to Kentucky. We are leaving tomorrow and of course I have nothing packed. I havent even made a "trip list" yet. I will be making this list immediately following this post. We will be gone for 8 days and I can pretty much guarantee you that I will not be posting anything during that time however, you can expect a full report with slideshow the day after we return....maybe even the night of if I'm up for it. The kids can hardly wait....and I am just as excited to be traveling with 4 children by car and by plane, not. We are driving to Las Vegas (6 hours) then flying to Detroit, Michigan (3 hours), then driving to Drift, Kentucky (another 6 hours). All of this with 4 kids. Then repeating the scenario coming home. Lord help us. Oh, and just to make the trip even more fun, we have been volunteered to speak in church that Sunday in Kentucky. Good times.

Ok, If I have time before I leave, I will document, in film, Addison's new and amazing skill. She has taught herself how to sommersault. Im not sure where she learned it although I have a feeling Evan had something to do with it. It is very cute to watch her do it over and over and over until she hits something. Then if she is in a really good mood (and not too injured from slamming into the couch or wall or table....), she will jump up and show you her dance spins. Very entertaining. I think Im going to enroll her in a gymnastics class when we return.....she seems to be a natural.

Now, I am going to go pack and clean and register my vehicle.....and probably pray for forgiveness for the hateful things I have said today about the IRS and other parties involved in taking my hard earned money.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Im So Excited!.....

So, I must have had a dream last night because when I woke up this morning I was thinking about my choir teacher from Junior High. Weird I know. She was probably one of the best and most memorable teachers I have ever had. At the very least, she left a lasting impression. One of the big things that she did for me was boost my confidence. We had moved from one end of the valley to the other and as it worked out, I went from a Junior High School that started in 7th grade to a Middle School that started in 6th grade. Because of this, when I began my 8th grade year at Indian Hills, most of the kids already had been in Junior High for 2 years and had made all their friends. Needless to say I really felt like a fish out of water. It was my most difficult year. I dont know if she saw that in me or if she just thought I was a great singer but she really pushed me in the right ways to open up and to perform in front of people. She even had me sing a solo in Italian for a state competition! I wish I had video of that... What she did for my self confidence was irreplacable. To this day, the only reason I think I have potential to sing well is because of her. She really made me believe I could sing. So, flash forward 24 years and I am thinking about her and wondering what she did with her life. Thanks to the internet I found out and just mailed her a check to purchase music and join a choir that she directs which sings on Temple Square every fall. Im so excited! I feel like it was fate that I woke up thinking about her (I know you think Im crazy dad....) Anyway, Ive been toying with the idea of voice lessons for a while now. Too expensive of course....but I really want to learn to sing well. I feel good when I sing and yet I feel like there is this HUGE voice that wants to come out Josh Groban style....and I cant make it happen. Anyway, in further researching her website I found that she offers group voice lessons and they are only $20! Im so excited.... I cant wait.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Great News....


Just got the Great News that my father in law does not have lung cancer. The spots on his lungs were not cancerous according to the biopsy so we are very, very happy to hear that. He is still not feeling well so they are looking into other things, but it is nice knowing that the first test is good!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Green Stuff Again....


You remember an earlier post I made about "going green"? Well, I found this really cool site that gives tips for the "average person" to accomplish this. Just little things that you can do that fit with your own personal life and family. I have a widget on the side of my blog that will feature a 'tip of the week' from this site. Im hoping it will be a fun way for me and my family to contribute to the environment more than just take from it. Go check it out!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Okay, someone asked... so I'm clearing it up. The YouTube video below is not some random little chubster in the pool. It is my nephew Soren. The movie was made by his adoring father Nate and his fancy shmancy Mac Book and imovie. So cool. Doesnt he look so cute in his little sunglasses.....oh and the random dude in the background is none other than Grandpa Ries. My Dad.

Pool Pimp......

Monday, May 12, 2008

Addison Jayne 2 Year Portraits...

We took Addie's 2 year portraits today and I was very happy with how cooperative she was. Of course some would wonder just how cooperative she really was considering I had to bribe her considerably in order for her to stay put. Candy is a word that Addison loves to hear......we have Grandpa Ries to thank for that! I can pretty much get her to do anything I want with the promise of candy........

Hind Sight.....

I have been reflecting a lot lately about the phrase "Hindsight is always 20/20". When Denver received his final grades the other day, he wondered aloud why he had such trouble getting good grades his first year in college at age 19. "Was it really that difficult?" he mused. I laughed of course because #1. No it wasnt and #2. It wouldnt have mattered anyway....easy or not, Denver was bound to fail because he wasnt there for the right reasons. Either way, I started thinking about my own college experience and how it tops my small list of regrets....not finishing college that is. I have always thought that regretting your past is not healthy. Granted, there are a few things that I wish I could do differently. Choices that I made foolishly. However, most of what a person does in his/her life is called "life experience". Without it, there would be no personal growth. My past is a part of me, it is what has helped to mold me into who I am now, it is what makes me different from the rest. I have very few regrets. And I am pretty certain that I still have a lot more to learn. More mistakes to make. I wish that "kids" today could have the 'foresight' to really understand how important their youth is. I can remember thinking I had all the time in the world to live my life. Play now, work later. Denver of course wishes he had not wasted his college opportunities back then when he was younger, healthier, had less responsibilites, more time, more money......you get the picture. How do you impress that upon your children.... to seize opportunities before they slip away? Of course, if my children are anything like me, they wont really listen anyway. They already know everything....Im pretty certain that my parents mentioned it at least once or twice that I shouldnt let college slip too far behind. You start wondering where you would be right now had you done the smart thing and buckled down....could'a, would'a, shoud'a. This illustrates both the beauty and the danger in focusing on hindsight. Yes it is a valuable tool in evaluating mistakes so as not to make them again. But, it can be destructive too because most of the time you cannot change what has happened....choices are made, consequences are lived through and then you have to move on. Beating yourself up over choices made that you cannot change is unproductive and serves only as a reminder of your failures. I guess you have to find a balance in reflecting on the past in order to make the future better. This is the lesson I hope to impart on my kids. Use your mistakes to learn and grow but dont focus on the fact that you made mistakes because this will only hold you back. Everyone makes mistakes. It is part of the great "plan"..... In the end it is how we have learned from them that matters the most.


On another note, I do not like Tulips. But look at these little beauties that have bloomed in our garden. I really like this breed of Tulip. Cute, petite, and I love the dual colors! Happy Spring!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ode to my Mommy.....

Ok, so I realize of course that even though I am a MOM and today is partly my day.....it also belongs to my MOM who is the most Amazing mom ever! And of course.....to my Mother-in-law who is also a wonderful MOM to both me and to Denver. What would we do without you?

I have been told that I put my MOM on a pedestal but I cant help it. I think she if perfect and I can only hope to be half of the mother that she was/is. Love you Mom! Love you Carlotta!

(All my pictures of Carlotta are stuck on my non-working laptop and I cannot access them....sorry)

Happy Mothers Day......

Even though this is a day to celebrate Mothers, I always feel like I should be celebrating my children for giving me the opportunity to be their Mom. I dont know what I did to deserve my beautiful children but I try everyday to remember to feel gratitude to God for allowing me to raise and nuture them. They have made me a better woman all the way around. What more could a person ask for?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Future Public Speaker.....

Today Mr. Ian Shannon gave yet another speech in class. This one was about the Australian bird "The Mallee Fowl" which, by the way, was a very interesting animal. Although it is a bit of a pain getting these speeches ready for Ian, I end up learning quite a bit from them so I never regret having to help him. This time around, I let Ian do more than usual. I helped him search for articles on the internet and showed him how to print them out. Then I had him read the articles and we chose the parts that we wanted to put in his speech. He also helped me make the poster. Ian has this amazing confidence about him that I envy. Im sure at that age I was probably the same way..... it is sad that we cant all keep some of the desireable traits we had when we were young. Ian just simply doesnt care what anyone thinks. He knows that he is GREAT and so he just gets up there and starts speaking. He even threw in additional information that wasnt in the speech...."in case you were all wondering" he said..... He surprised me by stopping during the speech to point out information on the poster board which he had never rehearsed. He was just ad-libbing as he went along giving out extra tidbits and answering questions at the end like an expert. Ok Im done bragging. Here is a couple of video clips. I wish I had recorded the whole speech but those dang batteries ran out on me.....
video video

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Good Job Denver....

Kudos to Denver for finishing another semester of school at Westminster. This makes 3 semesters under his belt. This last one was a bit stressful though as the anticipated work load was far more than expected. Especially the Art class. Not only was it nothing of what he expected, the teachers expected him to attend numerous functions throughout the semester that were Art related. Dance performances, music performances, art showings.....etc. Granted it would have been enjoyable Im sure to attend all of these functions but we had neither the time nor the money to do it. He expressed this to his teacher in the beginning and actually asked her if she would let him out of the class because if he didnt get at least a 'C' grade, he would have to re-pay Boeing for the tuition. No thanks! She encouraged him to stay in the class but we were very nervous about his final grade. Well, he got a 'B' in the Art class and a 'B+' in his History class. Whew. I know he is relieved and so am I. For a 37 year old working husband and father of 4, those are fantastic grades!

In other news Addison has decided that taking her diaper off in order to poop on my floor is a much better alternative than going in her diaper. She probably figures it is less of mess! Huh! How 'bout the toilet little girl?!?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another thought....

Did anyone watch the Kentucky Derby yesterday? Is anyone else as upset as I am over the fate of Eight Belles....the 2nd place horse? It has made me physically ill and I cannot stop thinking about it. I even had a dream about it last night (this morning tecnically). Denver is wanting me to be more rational about it considering the horse was bred to race but I just find it so brutal and unfair. I know that those horses are WELL taken care of.....but it still doesnt feel right. Obviously if both of her ankles broke, she shouldnt have been racing. She was a 3 year old Filly and from what I have been reading her bones were still technically developing so the stress of this "great race" literally killed her. They euthanized the poor horse right there on the track! She fell right after she crossed the finish line. She completed her task and then collapsed. Ugh. Well, I dont want to open a can of worms but I dont feel good about horse racing as a sport. Money always becomes the motivator for men, who then in turn push their animals to perform. Yeah, its not dog fighting, or cock fighting, but it is still making animals work hard so that men can get paid. I dont know...... sad stuff.

Another Lazy Sunday......

I worked last night and could barely keep my eyes open. They were burning with fatigue by the time 4:00 a.m. rolled around. I couldnt get out of there soon enough. There is nothing worse than typing away on the computer and then suddenly waking up and realizing that 10 minutes have passed while you sat and snoozed with your hands on the keyboard. I think I might lose this little job of mine if I dont wake up! Time to buy some no-doze I think. Really though, I feel like I age 10 years every weekend that passes on this shift. I dont know how people do it 40 hours a week. It would kill me.

So, because I was so tired, I must have either forgotten to set my alarm or turned it off hastly without really waking up (which is probably what happened) and went back to my peaceful slumber because when I woke up (the first time) it was 8:45 a.m. I had been asleep for roughly 4 hours. Hardly rejuvenating. I was supposed to teach a lesson in primary today....I hope they are understanding because, needless to say, we didnt make it to church this morning. So, I went back to sleep for 2 more hours and then we decided to go on a drive. We went to Coalville, Utah....Echo Reservoir, for some fishing. Or at least we got to practice our casts! No bites.....at all. We did see lots of deer poop though and the boys found a deer skull with its teeth still intact on one side. They have proudly brought this thing home....Im supposed to clean it up so they can take it for "show & tell" at school. Gotta love boys. We stopped to eat at a little place called "The Polar King"....now wouldnt you think of this as a Dairy Queen knockoff? Not this place....it serves everything from burgers to Gyros and "the best Mexican food in Coalville" which shouldn't be very hard considering its the ONLY Mexican food in Coalville. We had smothered burritos and chicken fajitas. I have to say they werent too bad either. Not authentic in any way, shape, or form but delicious and greasy nonetheless.

We are home now and I am thrilled not to be going to work tonight. I traded my shift out so I could enjoy Sunday with my family. Working weekends isnt always ideal. Ian survived being outside thanks to the myriad of allergy drugs he is on right now. The poor kid has it bad. He had a recent appointment with his allergist and was unable to take any medicine for 5 days prior to the appointment (not that the Zyrtec was working anymore anyway) and by the time the appointment got here, Ian was begging to see the doctor. I wish I had taken a picture of his eyes. I cant even describe how gross they were. The nurses were freaking out, and hurried his testing along so they could give him eye drops and medicine. So, everything is working wonderfully now and he is allergy free as long as he is taking the meds. Ian was so miserable that he has agreed to get allergy shots. His doctor said that because Ian is only 7 years old and his allergies are already so bad, and they will only get worse as he ages, then he is a perfect candidate for Allergy shots which after 5 years will nearly get rid of almost all of his tree, grass, and weed allergies. Even his allergy to animals will be reduced to nearly nothing. The only thing it wont touch is the food allergy that he has. That is a whole different monster. I explained all of this to Ian and he gladly accepted and said "mom, I dont EVER want to go through this again so I will take the shots".... that is a HUGE commitment considering how Ian feels about shots. Poor kid. I take the blame for passing the allergy gene along. Denver doesnt have any allergies. We tested Evan also on the same day and he didnt have a single reaction to ANYTHING. Flora, Fauna, or Food. Zilch. Ian took em all. I guess there are some good things about being born second. Unfortunately, Evan isnt in the clear though. The reason we tested him was because of his chronic ear infections, nasal problems, continuous flow of snot....you get the picture. Turns out he will most likely be getting his adnoids taken out. Not his tonsils though. This should solve all of his problems though and it is a much more temporary problem than having allergies so we are grateful for that small miracle.

Ok, looks like Ive rambled a bit. I'm siging off now. Hope you all enjoy your weekend.

Me & Marcy.....

My Cousin Marcy....

My cousin Marcy was in town for the BYU Womens Conference. She comes up every year and we always try to get together for a visit. This weekend I met her down at Temple Square and we visited outside in the GORGEOUS weather! yay! Of course, for her it was a little chilly considering when she left Phoenix it was 96 degrees....yuck! For Utahns, anything above 60 is shorts and flip flops weather. It was good to see her again and we enjoyed our visit....took lots of pictures...and enjoyed a good lunch at the Lion House. Always a plus! Above is a slide show of our pictures and visit (Obviously Addison was the main subject...and the beautiful Temple grounds)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Green Thing....

So, I am watching an episode of Oprah yesterday....which I admit was only because I saw that Julia Roberts was on it, I know...shallow. Anyway, I had actually DVR'd it a week ago and it was the "Earth Day" episode so it was all about living Green. Now you know this is like the "in" thing to be.....green, right? I am not one of these types that gets all gung-ho into anything really, except blogging (haha). Really though, I am concientious of the environment. I truly want to make the world better and healthier, the problem is how do people afford it. Let me back up. The first segment of the show talked about how horrible our food is and how we should buy organic everything. Great. I would love to, can you lend me an extra 'grand' every month so that I can afford it? Most average parents out there would love to feed their children organic foods free of pesticides and growth hormones. I have a son who is allergic to peanuts and suffers from really bad allergies and asthma. I firmly believe that eating healthier foods would help that situation for him but when I compare eggs for instance.....$1.35 for regular eggs, $3.25 for free range, brown, organic eggs....well, there just isnt any way for me to justify that. Chicken and Beef too.....an extra $3 minimum for the better meat. It really is unfair. I could go into my whole conspiracy theory about the FDA and Government trying to keep Americans fat and unhealthy but I wont get on that soap box today. In defense of the wealthy "guests" on Oprahs show, they did give a cool recipe for a veggie wash that rids your "non-organic" veggies of most of the pesticide residue. I plan on trying it.....

So, the next thing on the show.... grocery shopping bags. Plastic or Paper? Apparently neither. I wholeheartedly agree with the plastics issue. I watched a show that was about where plastic ends up and it really disgusted me. There is this place in the ocean....somewhere in the Pacific around Hawaii I think, that all the currents kindof come together there. It is hundreds of miles of plastic bottle wasteland. You have never seen anything so gross. Of course the marine life end up ingesting it and you get the picture. Also a beach in Hawaii that doesnt make the tourist mag's happens to be where a lot of this oceanic plastic washes up. It is miles long and the sand is basically plastic chips. It is horrible. When I watched that, I decided that day to never buy bottled water again. We used to buy cases of it because I hate tap water but we havent bought a case since. I have occasionaly bought a bottle of water for work....mostly because I cant keep my re-usable water bottle at my desk. But, we have not purchased bottled water since that show. Our fridge has filtered water and the next place we live I will buy a filtration device for my tap. So, back to grocery bags. Your supposed to say no to paper too because of all the trees that are butchered to make the bags. So what do you do? You use re-usable bags. You know the kind you can buy at the grocery store? Here the problem I have with that. When we grocery shop, we have to use 2 carts to fit everything in. How the heck am I supposed to do re-usable bags? I would have to bring like 50 of them in order to fit everything! Ridiculous. So, I guess I will just have to continue the way I am and feel guilty for the dead trees or the plastic wasteland.

This really isnt a rant, I really do believe that we should take steps to be more aware of the environment and do our best to help clean it up. We recycle.....I try to remember to throw anything in our big blue bin that is recycleable. We dont use plastic water bottles. I have replaced a lot of my light bulbs with the those swirly ones that dont emit that stuff that is bad for the air....(you can see how well versed I am in the green terminology) So, I feel like I am contributing. Would I consider myself green? No. Turquoise maybe.....I'm working on it. When I hit the lottery, then I will replace my vehicles, get solar panels on my home, buy a compost machine, and buy only the best, organic foods for my family.