Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Year in Review....

So, I didnt get Christmas cards out this year. And sadly, I havent taken many pictures this Christmas season. So, on the heels of many other friends, I am going to give a quick little review of our 2009.... We'll call this The Shannon Family New Year Letter!


Denver: The year has been mostly uneventful for Denver. He continues to work at Boeing and likes his job for the most part but continues to hope for something better eventually. He has been taking advantage of Boeing's tuition payment program and attends University of Phoenix for free. He is not too far away from finally receiving his Bachelors Degree in Business Management. From there, the plan is to get his Masters in Business.....he figures he may as well as long as Boeing is paying for it! He is a Sunday school teacher at our church, instructing the 12 year olds...I think. Sadly, Denver lost his Dad to cancer at the beginning of the year and that has been very difficult for him and his family.... we surely miss Don all the time. Denver's mom came out and stayed a month with us in August. We enjoyed her visit and I know Denver loved having her out here with him.

Vanessa: Well, my year has been a little more eventful. It started with a layoff from my job at Wells Fargo and then continued with the decision to go back to school instead of going back to work. I started school again for the first time in 18 years this past September at the University of Utah. My plan is to finish my Bachelors in English and perhaps a minor in Spanish and then teach at High School or Junior High. I figure if Im going to have to work I would like to be on my kids schedule. Ultimately I would like to be an Editor but that is a job that will have to be found later. I LOVE being in school and just finished the semester with a 4.0 gpa. Another big thing for me this year was the decision to run in a Half Marathon race. I trained for 4 months and in November I ran the Big Sur Half Marathon in Monterey, California. I took the kids and my mom with me and we made a vacation out of it. It was so much fun and gave me a big sense of accomplishment that I followed through with my commitment to run. I have since signed up for another Half Marathon to run in March of this coming year in Moab, Utah....sometimes I think I might be nuts because I dont really enjoy running but the end result is such a great feeling that Im getting hooked on it!

Alec: Well, we dont get to see him enough thats for sure but we see updates here and there and know that he is doing well. He is in High School now and will be turning 16 this coming year. Hard to believe that he was just 4 when we got married....time really flies. Alec is with us this Christmas and even though he is a big ole' teenager now, he is a good kid and nice to his siblings and that is a huge accomplishment for any teenager!

Ian: Ian had a big year! He turned 9 which according to him means that he should have a cell phone and an attitude. The attitude is definitely here but the cell phone wont be making an appearance for a couple more years. He is still a big sweetheart though and such a smart kid. He attempted playing Football this year and that was an interesting time. He was sure excited when it started but quickly realized what a commitment it was and how much hard work it required. He stuck it out though and even though he claimed many many times that he would never play football again, he has already announced that he is going to sign up again this next year! He is still in the ELP (gifted) program at school and continues to excel at just about every subject. Im so proud of all that he has accomplished.

Evan: Evan has been finding his personality this year. Even though he is just 18 months younger than Ian, he couldnt be more different. He does really well in school and continues to amaze us at his competence in every subject. He is especially good at math. He loves animals still and he loves his friends. Evan played soccer this year with the Firebirds and enjoyed it very much. Everyone on his team has been in one of his classes since kindergarten so he was amongst friends. He is such a happy kid most of the time and has a genuinely sweet spirit about him.

Addison: Our little Addie has really found her language skills this year. In the past 3 months she has really turned into a little jabber jaws. She is ALL girl and loves everything pink. She loves makeup and hair and clothes and all things "princess-y".... She has an unbelievable memory and I am constantly freaked out at the thing this 3 year old remembers! I cannot imagine our family without her and love having this little girl in my life. I will miss her when she goes to school. She started dance classes this fall with "Miss Julie". She loves to dance and sing and had her first recital this December. That didnt go as planned when she had a bout of stage fright but it was still cute and fun to see her up there. Her favorite movie is "Mamma Mia" and constantly sings songs from the movie. If she isnt singing Mamma Mia songs, then you will hear her singing Michael Jackson. She is a sight to behold that is for sure!

We experienced some difficult times with Don's passing and my own Dad's heart attack a couple of months after that. Also, Job layoff's and financial strain definitely caused some stress but in the end I feel blessed to have what we do. Cant wait to see what 2010 brings!

Happy New Year Everybody..... here is a slideshow of the additional Christmas pics I took of the kids.



Christmas 2009....


Christmas this year was interesting. Without going into too much detail, we have been under a lot of stress. For the first time in my life, I did not enjoy the "holiday season" much at all. We experienced so much stress that it made it difficult to really feel the spirit of the season. I didnt even have the motivation to put up the outside Christmas lights. We put up our tree and then it was dead 4 days later. It seemed as though anything that could possibly go wrong did. Needless to say, I was left wishing it was over before it really even got started. It was difficult and depressing because Christmas has always been my Favorite time of year.

I will tell you this though....by Christmas day, I was reminded of what really matters about the holiday and that despite the hardships that everyone faces and these tough economic times that we live in today, there are truly people out there with the spirit of Christ in their hearts. We were the recipients of some anonymous generosity as well as generosity from family members and it was an awesome feeling to know that there are people that truly care. I feel badly that I spent the whole month pouting and letting everything affect me so negatively. In the end, Ian claimed that it was the "best Christmas ever"...... so thankfully the kids were unaffected and happy and thats really what matters most to me.

Alec came in on the Sunday before Christmas and we have enjoyed having him here this year.


He has really grown up and the kids just think he is the coolest thing ever. Ian announced tonight that Alec is his hero.... I thought that was cute.

We decorated cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve and even Alec participated, although he ate the cookies that he decorated which was just fine by me!

Santa certainly doesnt need any extra cookies..... wink wink. We had fun seeing movies the day after Christmas and tomorrow, thanks to a gift from Nate and Alisa, we will go to Fat Cats for bowling, eating, and playing games. It has really turned out to be a great Christmas..... I am so grateful for the blessings in my life including my family and friends! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday as well... Here is a slide show of extra pictures taken during Christmas....

Im so Behind!

I dont know where I have been....well, I do know but that is a story for another day. Anyway, I just cant believe it has been 2 weeks since I have posted anything. I need to resolve to improve this next year! I wanted to post this picture of our family with Mandy.

Mandy is Denver's cousin from Michigan. She came out to visit with us for a week this month and we really enjoyed having her here. The kids adore her so much...especially Addison.

Mandy spoils her and Addie loves it! She flew in on a Wednesday and it just so happened that the University of Utah was playing basketball that night against the University of Michigan. Mandy works at that school so she got tickets for everyone to go and brought Michigan hats and t-shirts for everyone to wear. Sadly, I had school that night and couldnt go to the game but everyone else had fun! We took her to temple square of course to see the lights and took some great pictures. Also, I got lucky this year and got tickets to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert with guest Natalie Cole and I took Mandy with me to see it.

Thanks for coming Mandy. You are welcome anytime to come back and stay.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Our Little Performers.....

First we went to Ian's school for his piano recital. His school is fortunate enough to have a piano lesson program starting with second grade. It was fun to watch although Ian could have played a more difficult piece.....he picked it out himself and said it was "fun to play" (see video below)

Next was miss Addison's very first dance recital. I was a little nervous with how it would go since she doesnt really like to perform on demand. I let her play up on the stage before the recital started hoping that it would help her feel more comfortable. She seemed to be OK after a few minutes and even stood up there by herself waving to us. Then when it was her groups turn to do their little dance....she started out fine but suddenly panicked. Then the screaming ensued and I had to go and remove her from the stage. It was cute, funny, and sad all at the same time. They had a second song to perform as well but no amount of bribing could get her back up on that stage. Oh well....she was still the prettiest girl up there and hopefully when the spring recital comes around she will be more comfortable on the stage . Here are a few pics of her before the recital and of course the video! video video

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Card.....

Ive changed my blog header to the Christmas Card I would be sending out if I had the time to do it. The way my life has been lately, Im lucky to get a shower in each day. The other problem being that I dont have any real current pictures of Alec....we dont even get school pictures from him so I cant use those either and he has changed a lot from this picture which was taken 2 Christmases ago. Perhaps when he comes here for Christmas this year I can get a nice family picture and then I will send out "Hope your Christmas was great & Happy New Year" cards!

Anyway, my point is, this blog header is my Christmas card to all those that read our blog. We do wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope that your coming year is even better than the last!

Love to all,
The Shannon's

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Here We Go Again.....

The decision has been made and the notices have been given. Now all that's left to do is pack. Yes, you heard right, pack. We are moving.....but dont worry, its just down the road. With our lovely economy in the dumps and not looking like it is going to recover anytime soon I was having to consider going back to work. As you know, I am currently a student at the University of Utah and absolutely loving it. So, going back to work would mean the end of school. With the amount of money I would probably make at a job, coupled with the fact that more than half of that income would have to go to pay for daycare for Addison, Ive decided to stay in school and move our family into Family Student Housing on campus. Basically, its a 3 bedroom apartment with super cheap rent. I wont even go into how much money we are going to be saving by moving there. This will allow me to continue with school and maybe even take extra classes to finish sooner. It was a difficult decision to make because I adore this home that we have been living in and I will miss it..... a lot. But, the boys wont have to switch schools or anything and they are actually really excited about it because they will have a lot more kids to play with everyday. Anyway, thats our news. Its going to be an adventure to say the least but its only temporary and a means to a much better end. It will be happening in January so if you have any spare boxes, send them our way!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Cheering Section....

Tonight was my big choir performance on Temple Square. We got to do a Christmas program this year which was awesome. I loved every minute of it....here is my big fan base minus Grandma Lloyd and Aunt Debbie who had already left when I snapped the pic..... I sure appreciated the support everyone!


Afterward we strolled around the square and took in the lights amongst thousands of other people there to do the same thing....lots of people, did I mention that?

I really appreciate everybody's support during the past 11 weeks...especially Denver and the kids who put up with my 2-3 hours rehearsals every Sunday.

It will be nice to be home on Sunday nights but I am going to miss singing. Ive met some really great women during the past 2 years in the choir. It's sad to think it will be another whole year before I get to sing with them again!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful....

Happy Thanksgiving! I love this holiday....there is just something warm and fuzzy about it. Even though I can never seem to get the timing right on the rolls, everything always turns out great and the food....oh, the food. My parents drove in from Reno this week to spend Thanksgiving with us. We had our feast at Nathan and Alisa's house and as usual, it was wonderful!

Im so grateful for the blessings in my life. Most importantly, for Family. There is just no replacing them. My kids are obviously tops on the list of things that I am grateful for but truthfully I have a pretty long list of blessings. Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday....time for a nap!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Actually Did It......

6 Months ago when I made the decision to register for a half marathon, there was a little voice inside my head that said "you wont make it". I also know that the voice was inside the head of other people close to me. All I can say to the voice is "HA!" I did it. No, I didnt run fast and No, I didnt win anything but I finished it and I didnt die doing it! I also had a lot of fun which was the best part. You will have to forgive the boring details of this post but I have to document this experience somewhere and this seems a better place than any other.

We drove to Reno Wednesday afternoon and spent the night and the next day at my parents house. On Thursday I met my friend Amy for lunch. I met her while living in Monterey 14 years ago! I havent seen her since I left in 1996 so what a treat it was to visit with her again! Friday morning we got up and left for Monterey California with my mom joining us. Denver was not able to come with us because of work so my Mom filled in for him.... The drive to California was fun and what a feeling it was to come over the hill and see the Monterey Bay again after 12 years!!! I LOVE this place....... We had dinner and relaxed at the hotel the rest of the night. The next day we took a drive along the coast on the route that I would be running that weekend. I showed everybody the sites and then we headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The kids loved it! It was a lot of fun and they enjoyed seeing all the fish and touching the Sting Rays and Starfish. I was a little disappointed that the seals werent around. Normally they crowd Fishermans Wharf and you can hear their barking for miles. I used to love waking up to that sound everyday. Ian started feeling a little sick after dinner so we went back to the hotel and went to bed.

The next morning I got up at 4:45 and got ready for the big race. I was very nervous even though I knew I would be fine....it was the anticipation I guess! We took off running at 7:05 a.m. on the most beautiful morning EVER! Not a cloud in the sky and no fog, which was strange for Monterey. Every 2 or 3 miles they had a different type of live music group playing...it was so amazing. Especially running through the tunnel and coming out to the bagpipe players as the sun was rising. Unreal! The town was so supportive and people were out on their porches playing music and cheering for everyone. It was so much fun! The scenery was breathtaking and it was hard not to stop and just appreciate it. I am not a fast runner and did not run the race in the time that I had wanted to but enjoyed it so much that I cant be too disappointed! When I was running back and hit the 10 mile mark, I was quite tired and very hungry....I was ready for it to be over. As I came around the final stretch Ian and Evan ran out to meet me and then held my hand and ran across the finish line with me. It was so awesome.... Poor Ian was still feeling sick but trying so hard to enjoy the moment with me. There were lots of pictures taken by the race organization and I am still waiting for those photos. Mom was too excited and didnt get any of us running in but thats OK! It was a great experience and I believe I am going to do it every year.

We went out to eat after the race and then headed down to Carmel beach so the kids could play in the ocean. They have never seen the ocean before so it was all a new experience for them. I couldnt get the boys to leave they were having so much fun. They were soaked from head to toe by the time we left. Addie was content to just stand with me....she didnt dig the water too much and I dont blame her....it was COLD! We went back to the hotel and showered and then Ian really got sick. So much so that I ended up taking him to the hospital. He was running a high fever and wasnt breathing well. I was really nervous. No H1N1 thank heavens but definitely sick and having asthma problems. They gave him a breathing treatment and gave me an inhaler to continue giving him. He is still feeling sick tonight and I am praying that it doesnt turn into the flu.

We left Monday morning to drive back to Reno. We decided since we were so close we would take a side trip up to San Francisco so the kids could see the Golden Gate bridge. What an adventure that turned out to be! All I can say is be careful not to get off on the wrong exit in San Fran because if you do, you will be in the city for hours trying to find your way back out. Every street is one way, I didnt think we would ever get out!! We saw Lombard St. so we took a little drive down the "crookedest street" in the world. The kids were literally squealing at the super steep hills....I felt like we were on a roller coaster! The bridge was awesome and we got some great pictures. Then we were off to Reno. Tuesday we left and made the 7 hour drive back to Salt Lake City.... What a trip! Lots of driving but lots of fun! Here is a slideshow of our adventures.....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tiny Dancer.....

Addie got a new TuTu which she adores...... have a look! (click on the collage and it will bring the image up in a larger format...)

Monday, November 2, 2009

We Survived.....

The last 2 weeks have been so full of busy-ness that I wasnt sure we could survive it, but we did! Ian had his final football game of the season on Saturday.....I think he learned a lot from it and it was generally a good experience even if every single day he whined and cried over having to go to practice. I have discovered that childbirth "selective memory" doesnt just apply to the act of having a child. Apparently, the trauma of having football practice 3 days a week has been long since forgotten in a matter of 2 days as Ian announced to me this morning that he would definitely be playing football again next year! What?! Wow. Didnt see that coming. Here is his team right after the game. Ian is on the back row, smack in the middle. Number 73.....

I wont go into the trauma of that day and how we ended up clear out in Riverton for the game only to find out it was back in Salt Lake City.....thankfully we made it just as they were getting ready to start.

Halloween was a total success....as it is every year. Kinda hard to fail getting free candy. Although we did run out of black hair spray and Addisons Snow White hair looked a bit like bride of Frankenstein with her blond streaks showing through.

Oh well, it was dark.....no one noticed. These are our pumpkins that the kids (read, Denver) carved this year. I thought they turned out great!


November is already starting out busy..... Evan's last soccer game is Saturday.

We leave for Monterey next week. My choir performance is the week after that and then the week after that is Thanksgiving. Nevermind that we have school in the middle of all this mess. Onward and upward right? Happy November everybody.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Yesterday......

I held you in my arms and wondered how I ever lived without you......


And now, 9 years later I know that my life was forever changed the day I held you for the first time.....


I only wish that time could stand still, so I could savor your childhood just a little longer....


But I know that as each year passes, it only gets better......


And 9 years from now, I will remember my funny little 9 year old and wish I could see him again....


So today, I will cherish the fact that you are 9 and remember that time passes quickly......


Because it seems that just yesterday, I held you in my arms for the first time....


Love Always & Happy Birthday......
Mom

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Surprise!!!

Today we had a surprise party for Ian's 9th birthday. Technically, his birthday is not until the 29th but considering the extreme state of distress he was in over having to wait "another whole week", and the fact that there is literally no time next weekend to even have a party.....I gave in and told him we would celebrate on Sunday after church. That was Monday, by Wednesday I decided to totally surprise him by having the party today. Denver hauled both boys off this morning to soccer games and football games.... When they returned late afternoon, I quickly got the kids into their Halloween costumes for the Trunk-or-Treat at the church. Ian is Harry Potter, Evan is Draco Malfoy...Harry's classmate enemy, and Addison is our little Snow White. She fully embraced this role as you will see in the pictures! While they were there, I quickly set up the party. It was a small, family party and we were joined by Nate and Soren, and Jeff and Nicola...sadly Alisa was out of town and couldnt be there. We had a lot of fun yelling surprise when he walked through the door. Needless to say he was shocked and very, very happy. You will see from the pictures he got everything he wanted in the line of presents and I believe he will remember this party for a long time.

I had fun making his pumpkin cake and I thought the little "mummy" pigs in a blanket were especially fun for Halloween and so easy to make! Here is a slideshow of the kids in their costumes and of Ian's party. I'll be posting something about Ian on his actual birthday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ok, I know my dad isn't going to like the fact that I did this but it was such a good picture of him I couldnt resist. Isn't he handsome..... I sure love him.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Zoo.....

So, in the midst of one of my mental episodes where I forget everything that I am supposed to remember for the week, Ian missed going to the zoo with his scout troop. He was highly upset to say the least and I felt horrible about it. To make it up to him, I went ahead and took him to the zoo last week along with Addison and Soren, of course. I havent been to the zoo in a while and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was so relaxing to let the kids run and be happy and not have to worry about them breaking something or messing up the house. I also enjoyed watching my nephew Soren discover all of the animals. Everyone really enjoyed themselves. We even went on the Carousel and the train. There were a lot of babies that had been born at the end of the Summer and my favorite was the little baby elephant Zuri. I couldnt take my eyes off of her, she was so cute. The worst part was that when we first arrived I took out my camera and to my dismay, the battery was dead. It was one of those special lithium batteries so I couldnt just buy some new ones....I just couldnt fathom not having pictures of the event so I bought one of those archaic disposable camera's. The kids could not understand why I had to take the camera to store to get it "developed"..... "why cant you just pull it up on the computer mom!" How weird that they dont know anything but digital! So, not the greatest quality of pictures but better than nothing...... enjoy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My Favorite 2nd Grader.....


Here's Evans new picture.... he is so sweet and this picture really shows it. He told me a kid at his school said he had "bunny eyes". I asked him what that meant and he said it meant that he looked "Kind"..... I totally agree!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Week in Review......


Ive really been slacking on this blog lately! We are just busy busy and I dont seem to have the time that I used to for sitting at the computer. It may also have something to do with my poor time management skills, but that is a post for a different day. Anyway, this past week was pretty good.... The kids had Thursday and Friday off for UEA weekend. This meant no soccer game for Evan on Saturday but Ian still had a football game. It was a great game and they actually Won!
Its their first win of the season and it was so fun to watch these kids get so excited over it. Denver's brother made us some team wear which we proudly wore at the game..... Go Highland Rams!


I ran 8.5 miles on Sunday morning and am constantly amazed at how well my body has adapted to each long run that I finish. It was an interesting 2 hours considering that I ran through rain, hail, sleet and then finished the run in a torrential downpour. I had people stop and ask me if I wanted a ride but by that point I was soaked from head to toe and didnt see the point. Besides, I had to finish the mileage. It was actually fun.....next week I have to run 10 miles. There are only 5 more weeks until my race! Im getting really excited.

Here is a fun little picture that I took last week of my nephew Soren. This was after Addie had gotten into my makeup bag and decided that Soren would be her model.

She is such a girl and is obsessed at the moment with makeup, perfume, and jewelry. She has also discovered the Disney Princesses and watches the movies over and over and over. Jasmine from Aladdin is her favorite right now. Its times like this when I wish I could just freeze time and stop my kids from growing..... you can never have this time back once it is gone. There are days when they exhaust me but I just cannot imagine what I would do without them. Love love love my kids.