Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Donald Ray Shannon.....

Monday morning my father in law, Don, passed away. He has been quite ill with cancer and his body finally gave up. I know without a doubt that he is at peace and with our Father in Heaven. A friend of mine suggested that sometimes death is merciful and in this case I think it was. Cancer is a horrible disease that no one should have to suffer through. The toll it takes on the person who has it as well as the loved ones who take care of them is almost too much to bear. It has been a difficult road since Don was diagnosed last June. We have been far away in SLC and unable to help but our hearts were always there. Im so glad Denver had the opportunity to be there for 2 weeks over Christmas to spend time with his dad. It will mean so much to him as he goes through this experience. I know it hurt him not being able to be there at the end.

Don was a very interesting man. I remember the first time I met him I was scared to death. I had a difficult time understanding him because of his thick southern accent and on top of that he is a big man with a deep voice and likes to play jokes and I wasnt quite sure how to take him. His first order of business on this visit was to show me the scariest parts of Kentucky that he could find. He enjoyed watching my eyes get bigger and bigger as I was taken to parts of the mountains that felt like third world countries. He would tell me stories that hardly seemed like they could be true and enjoyed watching my reaction. New Years Eve he brought out the gun. I didnt know what to do and he just laughed and laughed. He got a real kick out of scaring this "big city girl". I was so nervous.....but underneath all of this scarcasm was an incredibly tender man. He loved his family deeply and loved my children with everything that he had. I am so grateful that we were able to live with them for a year so my boys were able to get to know "Dadi" and have some memories of him. Addison wasnt born yet but she has spent time with him on 2 different vacations and now whenever she sees pictures of anyone from Kentucky she always asks about "Dadi".... Don and I butted heads a couple of times while we lived there for that was because we are actually more alike than either of us wanted to admit. Don was stuck in his ways and so am I....but I learned to really appreciate this about him and I wish I would have told him that before he passed. He lived a simple life full of family and friends and love. He was a faithful member of our church and I know that he will be blessed for that. He will be dearly missed by many....... I hope he knew that I loved him.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

News about Don....

I havent written much here about the situation with my Father in law. Mostly because it feels so private and painful that I dont want it to seem trivialized on a blog. However, the few times I have posted something I have received numerous comments with words of encouragement and offers of prayers. I know that there are some of you out there that care deeply about the Shannon family and may not get an update without seeing it here so I decided to post this tonight with a little more detail than usual.

Don is home now. He went into the hospital last week because he couldnt move his bowels and it was backing up into his stomache. This caused him to become septic and he was barely breathing. He was put on a ventilator and things looked grim. A couple of days later, they were able to take him off of the ventilator and he was breathing on his own and doing better. They were pumping antibiotics into him to control the infection. Unfortunately the good news did not last and the doctor basically said he would have to keep going on and off the ventilator and he was too weak (white cell count almost nothing) to have the surgery needed to give him a colostomy bag...which would have allowed him to go home and keep him from becoming septic again. With that news Don decided he did not want anymore life preserving treatment and he just wanted to go home. He is home now with hospice care and the feeling is it will only be a matter of days. We are extremely saddened by the situation but know that when he passes he will feel so much relief to be out of his sick and broken body.. Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers.....

Spring is Coming.....

Yay! I am so excited for winter to be over. The buds are coming up on our Aspen trees....temps are rising....Spring fever! We decided to attempt bikes for the boys again. The first time we bought Ian a bike, he was only 5 and it was not a good experience. Uncle Scott was helping him ride and he fell over and scraped his knee....from that time forward he wouldnt go near a bike and I decided not to push the issue because if you know Ian, he is stubborn and once he makes his mind up that he doesnt like something there is no changing it! Evan never showed any interest. We did finally buy him one when he was 4 and it ended up rusting in the rain and then he threw it down some stairs and bent the wheel frame. So, bikes have been put on the back burner and scooters have been all the craze. They have decided now that they want to learn to ride bikes so we found some cheap ones at Walmart and took them to the park this weekend to try it out. The weather was beautiful on Saturday....of course right now 55 degrees feels like 80 to us! I have to say they did pretty good. I wouldnt agree that they are comfortable and ready to ride on their own yet but I think one more session at the park should do it! Here are some pictures of the experience.... taken on my phone so not great quality....Addie was just climbing things as usual.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I am retiring this quote for a while but want to save it.....

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty and to find the best in others; To leave the world a little better.. whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived..... This is the meaning of success.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So Glad When Daddy Comes Home....

The kids always love to hear the door close in the afternoon...they know that Dad has come home from work. Addison especially loves it when daddy comes home and asks numerous times throughout the day..."is da home yet?". This picture captured their excitement when Denver surprised us by coming home early yesterday. They pretty much tackled him on the couch.

(the second picture I liked because I caught them playing the piano together and was so cute I wish I had a video of it)

Tiny Dancer.....

I had dinner with my good friend Linda the other day...she is the proud mom of 4 boys. She has been saving these little dance/gymnastics outfits for the girl she might have eventually but has resolved that maybe it isnt going to happen and so she kindly passed these outfits onto me for Addison. Addie has enjoyed twirling and dancing around in them for the past few days....they even have matching hair scrunchies! So cute.....I cant wait to enroll her in dance this summer!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Post V Day report.....

I hope everyone enjoyed their Valentine Day weekend/holiday. We were pretty low key this weekend actually....just rented some movies and stayed in. I bought a big heart shaped ribeye steak for me and Denver to share and that made for a really nice meal. We dont eat steak very often but sometimes it just hits the spot. The kids enjoyed the holiday of course....Friday was spent finishing up sugar cookies and running them to each boys school. I stayed at Evans class in order to assist them with the Valentine party. That was interesting. It further solidifies my decision to eventually teach Jr. High or High School instead of elementary. While I adore my own children, 24 other 6/7 year olds hopped up on sugar was enough to do me in for the whole weekend. Yikes. There were moments that felt completely out of control. Im sure the kids are angels on a normal day! I got chewed out by an angry woman over my car being in the way of the ski busses and that was a fun time! Apparently numerous announcements were made over the intercom for the driver of the gray least I had the other moms at my back who never heard the announcements either, this was due to the over exhuberant children in our classroom. We all felt she needed some calgon or a valium perhaps? She was quite angry with me and I felt suddenly as though I were a 7 year old myself being scolded by a teacher....Okay moving on.

Last week wasnt really the greatest in terms of my job situation. Ive been working at Wells Fargo bank and actually quite enjoy the job itself...sometimes the hours are less than perfect...but Wednesday I was informed that my position, as well as 2 others, were being eliminated due to the current state of the economy and the fact that people arent writing as many checks...yadda yadda yadda. I was pretty upset that night and the next but Im over it now. I guess I'll just have to find another one that works perfectly with our crazy chaotic schedules. Should be interesting. Also, funny story. I came out of that meeting pretty down and my supervisor asked me if there was anything she could do for if. I just kinda mumbled "pray that my husband doesnt lose his job too?"....Boeing is laying off on Feb 20th and we are holding our breath. Apparently she is not the religious type and I offended her because she sort made this snorty sound and said "Well, I will HOPE that he about that?" Excuse me......I wasnt suggesting that she bow her head and drop to her knees and actually pray. It was a figure of speech. Ugh I hate overly sensitive people. But Im not getting on that soap box.

We are looking at going to Kentucky soon. Don isnt well. It seems things are on their way has been a difficult weekend on the phone with everyone trying to get a picture of what is going on. I wish I knew how to handle this better. It is a new experience for me and I really want to do it right for Denver. No one deserves to leave this life in such pain..... I hope he knows how much I love him and I really hope I have the chance to say that to him in person.

Denver is almost done with his current class. He is really plugging along in school and doing very well. I am impressed with his determination to finish school and his perserverance even when it is difficult. One thing about Denver is that he has always worked. There were times when it seemed he would jump around a lot...from job to job...but it was always in order to find that better paying job. He is a hard worker and has a really strong desire to provide for his family. I see it more now than ever that he wants to do this and Im very proud of him for going to school and working full time. I hope that his kids will see this example and want to finish school as well. Alec doesnt get the benefit of seeing his dad work so hard and thanks to other forces, who I wont mention, he doesnt have the highest opinion of his father. We have come to the realization that we cannot change this fact. 10 years of only hearing one persons opinion is a long hopefully one day he will get to see more of who his father really is before its too late. You never know how much time you have on this shouldnt waste it being bitter, right?

I have a few pictures from last week but the camera is not down here with me so I think I will post them tomorrow. Goodnight!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Problem Solved....

I really dislike getting up and getting the kids ready for school in the morning. I know that sounds really lame....but seriously it is such a pain. The problem is different for each boy. Evan is difficult to even wake up. This kid could sleep through a tornado and that is no joke....he has been known, more than once, to throw up on himself while sleeping and never move a muscle....sleeps right through it. Ian on the other hand is great when it comes to actually waking up and getting out of bed. However, once his feet hit the floor he is in snail mode. I dont think a person could move slower if they tried. It takes him 15 minutes just to brush his teeth....20 to get dressed. It borders on ridiculous how slow this boys moves. Unfortunately for Ian, I have no patience for it and so our mornings become stress filled.....I constantly ride him to hurry up, lets go, move it! So, my dear sweet Ian solved his problem last night.....after he showered he suggested that perhaps he should go ahead and get completely dressed for the day so that all I have to do is wake him up and he could brush his teeth and go! He said, "that way you wont have to get so mad at me mom" I feel horrible. I told him not to worry about it that I was going to try and not get so stressed out from now on. Later in the evening, Denver went into Ian's room looking for something and called me so I could see this......
Ian the problem solver.....I guess he was serious!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Random Pictures....

Ok, Im outdoing myself now (pat pat pat)....3 posts in one day. Really I just uploaded pictures from my phone that I took recently and realized that I hadnt included them in my slideshow so Im posting them now....
First one is a self portrait of me in front of our resort in Taos....
Second, I just had to take a picture of the MASSIVE breakfast burrito I was served at Michaels Kitchen and Bakery across the street from our resort. I ate here 3 times and was never disappointed. This burrito was humongous but oh, so was full of green chilis and topped with green chili sauce. I only ate half of it and then spilled the rest all over the floor...oh well.

I took this today....we were picking Ian up from chess club and they were loving on each other. I love it when they get along :)


I was looking at my blog archive list and realizing that January 2009 must have been a bad month for me. I only wrote 8 posts last month...compared to 18 the January before. Wow. I think I am slowly coming out of my funk...maybe. I just got what felt like gallons of my blood drawn on Monday....Im sure everything will come back great, except for maybe my there will be no explanation for my depressed moods or my total lack of energy and motivation. Nothing to explain the fact that I can suddenly take 2 hour naps in the middle of the day for the first time in a lot of years or how I want to shove everything I see into my mouth, and quite frankly go ahead and actually do it. Another physical to tell me I am healthy when I shouldnt be, because I weigh too much and Im nearly 40. I feel it in every joint, every morning. Pointless probably to even bother witht the physical,but then, you never know right? Its good to stay on top of your health no matter if it feels like a waste of $10 to have them tell you everything is fine.

On to something else. This economy. I know, its the most talked about thing in recent days. Maybe thats because its affecting everyone....except Bill Gates and Brangelina. I was told Wednesday night that Wells Fargo has made a "business decision" to eliminate a few positions from my department. They have already informed one of those people but are still "evaluating" the others. I have to hope that I am safe due to the fact that I only work 15 hours a week and dont receive any benefits. Surely letting me go is not going to affect their bottom line in the maybe I can keep my sad little job that I really happen to enjoy despite the crappy hours. Then, of course we are also on standby with Denvers job. Layoffs are to start at the end of the month. 4500 people originally has now changed to become 10,000 people company wide. Salt Lake is a small plant...hopefully it wont lose too many people.

We had SEP's with Ian's teacher last night (thats parent/teacher conferences)... Ian is still the best speller in the class and interestingly the best handwriter. Apparently, according to his teacher, gifted children are notoriously sloppy handwriters. 2nd grade has been hard for Ian. Im not sure why exactly but the poor kid compares himself to his classmates to the point of total meltdown frustration. It has taken its toll....I think he is an emotional eater and I have noticed it a lot lately. We are working on helping him recognize his own talents and thankfully his teacher was good to point them out to him last night. It always helps to know you are the best at something, right? Just yesterday Evan said he had a bad day at school because some big kid told him he wasnt fast. Crocodile tears and all. I asked Evan if he thought he ran fast? He said "yes", to which I replied "then who cares what the big kid says as long as you know you run fast?" To which Evan rolled his eyes at me. It makes sense to an adult...this kind of reasoning. But to a 6 year old, impressing the big kid is all that matters. I have nightmares about my childrens feelings getting hurt. I wish I could shelter them from it. I wish that they would feel and know that they are the coolest kids on the playground. I hate that they have insecurities. I know its normal but I still hate it.

This year is my (and Denvers) 20th high school reunion. I have been nervous about it because I dont want to show up and be the "fat kid" thing that has brought some comfort is being on Facebook. What a crazy couple of months it has been on there. If you havent checked it out, you need to but with a is Highly addictive. I have reconnected with so many people from my past...people that I never thought I would see again, let alone talk to. I signed Denver up in spite of his objections...he said "I will never use that"...and guess what? He is on it everyday and probably has more friends on there than I do. Interestingly enough, they are almost all women. Anyway, seeing other people from my high school and realizing that they too have aged and gained weight has made me feel more confident about showing up....whenever they decide to have it. Denvers reunion is going to be in July...looks we will be making a trip to Kentucky.

Well, not much left to ramble on about. The boys are at school and I am getting ready to go work out with my trainer. He kills me but it feels great when I am done. Im still waiting for it to actually work. I guess it would help if I hadnt eaten that apple fritter this morning....

An Early Mothers Day Gift.....

My aunt forwarded this to me the other day and I just got around to reading it this morning. Funny how the people who love you seem to know, without even realizing it, just what you need and when. Thats the best part about family. Anyway, Im considering this an early Mothers Day gift because of how much it touched me this morning. It may only seem like a nice thought to some of you but, if you are a mother then Im pretty sure at some point in your life you will need to read something like this to understand why you do what you it is:

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack
of response, the way one of the kids will walk into
the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to
the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on
the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on
the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even
standing on my head in the corner, because no one can
see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can
you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a
human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'
I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the
Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around
5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held
books and the eyes that studied history and the mind
that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had
disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen
again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner,
celebrating the return of a friend from England.
Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and
she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.
I was sitting there, looking around at the others all
put together so well. It was hard not to compare and
feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic,
when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped
package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a
book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't
exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her
inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the
greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the
book. And I would discover what would become for me,
four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern
my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals
- we have no record of their names. These builders
gave their whole lives for a work they would never see
finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no
credit. The passion of their building was fueled by
their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who
came to visit the cathedral while it was being built,
and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside
of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are
you spending so much time carving that bird into a
beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will
ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into
place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to
me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you
make every day, even when no one around you does. No
act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on,
no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice
and smile over. You are building a great cathedral,
but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction.
But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It
is the cure for the disease of my own
self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong,
stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a
great builder. As one of the people who show up at a
job that they will never see finished, to work on
something that their name will never be on. The writer
of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals
could ever be built in our lifetime because there are
so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to
tell the friend he's bringing home from college for
Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and
bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey
for three hours and presses all the linens for the
table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a
monument to myself. I just want him to want to come
home. And then, if there is anything more to say to
his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We
cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day,
it is very possible that the world will marvel, not
only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has
been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Home Again....

Ok....Ive been gone for too long! This has really been a hard month for some reason. I'm thinking it must be Spring fever or something....I just cant get into the swing of things. I did, however, have a wonderful break for 4 day in Taos, Nm. I returned Sunday night....late.....and am just getting the time to sit here and blog about it. I left Thursday morning and flew to Denver, Colorado where I met one of my friends....Kellie. She lives near Vail and had decided to drive to Taos so because it was quite a bit cheaper to fly to Denver than Alberquerque....I did that and gave her some company on the drive down. Our other friend Kris drove herself to Taos from San Diego. The drive down was took about 5 hours to get there. You may think that this seems like a long time to drive somewhere but even if we had flown to Alb.,NM....the drive from there to Taos would still have been about 2.5 hours. So was a fun drive and I got to see parts of the country I probably wouldnt have seen otherwise. Kellie has a vacation timeshare deal so whenever we go on these trips, we dont have to pay for the condo. And these are nice places....I loved the place we stayed this time. It was beautiful..... So, I had a totally different picture of what Taos would be like. It is much smaller than I thought and way more laid back than other similar towns such as Park City or Aspen....and the ski resorts (there are 3) are actually about 20 minutes away. I always thought that the ski resort was right there in Park City. If you like art and jewelry, then Taos is the town for you. The first full day that we were there was Friday and the other 2 went skiing (I decided not to ski) I slept in, went to the gym in the resort, went to breakfast/lunch and then spent 2 hours walking up and down main street. There were sooooo many shops to look through and I thoroughly enjoyed this time alone. I dont get much alone time these days and it was very rejuventaing to have that time to myself. I bought my kids some fun souvenirs then went back to meet the girls. We had dinner at a very yummy "new" Mexican restaurant. I learned something interesting. Green chiles are normally fairly mild. Sometimes I get a can that is a bit spicier than normal...they come in a little yellow can and are "Hatch" brand green chiles. Well, Hatch is a town in NM that grows these green chilies and they are much spicier than regular green chiles! Wow....who knew. I can tell you that I ate a lot of these green chiles on my trip. Just about every meal, including breakfast had them incorporated somehow! So the next day was another relaxing day topped off with dinner which was so much fun. I really enjoyed reminiscing with my friends and we laughed and laughed the whole dinner through!

We of course have decided to make this a yearly event and have already planned next years trip to Cabo San Lucas! Wahoo! I cannot wait. I had such a fun, relaxing time and although I missed my family, it did me a lot of good to get away for a short time to "refuel".....Now, Im back to the grind and wanting winter to be OVER. I need some sun! Here are a couple of pictures from my trip