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 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!

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!