Thursday, December 23, 2010

What a Difference 10 years Makes!


This recent picture was taken this evening and I couldn't help but notice right away how much it reminded me of the older picture. So I made this side by side to see the comparison. It is hard for me to believe that it has been 10 years.....and even though Ian would die to hear me say it, he is still my big baby! Even if he is a lot harder to carry.... Love him so much.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!!


What a year this has been! Wouldn't even begin to know where to start, but the word "Change" could certainly sum it up for our family. Or maybe "School" would be more appropriate. Both words dominated our familial landscape in 2010 for sure. Two moves would certainly fit in there as well with all of us leaving our comfy house to start an adventure in Family Housing at the University (read: major downsizing). I think this move affected the parents more than the children though! Then a few months later, Denver moved to South Carolina to work for a while with Boeing. This has been difficult of course for everyone, but probably the most for him. Thankfully lots of work has helped to pass the time for him...and of course the kids and I have kept PLENTY busy. Almost to the point of exhaustion and craziness! Now the year is coming to a close with Denver being 3 classes away from his degree at the University of Phoenix and me...well....lets just say I am closer and starting to see that shimmer of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. As for the kids, well they take everything in stride of course and have been kept busy as well with Taekwondo, Soccer, Dance, Spanish Lessons, Chinese Lessons, and Scouts....oh and let's not forget school... and that was all crammed into the months of August-December! Whew. I am definitely looking forward to less of that now Winter is in full swing.

We lost some loved ones this year too... My Grandma Lloyd and our friend Jeremy as well as 3 year old Anarae Lefau a cousin from Denver's side of the family. Very sad losses all around and they will be missed dearly. I am so grateful to have knowledge of life beyond this one. To know that we will see these people again. I am also grateful for the full life that I have been given and for the many friends and family that love and surround me. My Resolution this year (well, one of them anyway) is to pay attention to the things that matter and put aside the stuff that just isn't important; the clutter that takes away my focus. I've learned that you need to keep the people you love close to you even when it's seems difficult because you never know when they might leave this life and you are left wishing you could tell them how you feel.

I think 2011 will be a great year full of even more change and I say, bring it on! I hope all of you have a Fabulous Christmas and a very Happy New Year too!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fun with Friends....

I really detest creating posts without pictures but unfortunately I have had a really bad habit lately of bringing my camera and not taking any pictures with it! Case in point: the kids and I spent an evening last week at my friend Karolyn's house. She had her daughters for the weekend and her boyfriend had his kids as well. They surprised my kids with a real treat....2 hours at a place called "Jump on It" which is basically a warehouse of trampolines.

The floor and even some of the walls are trampolines. How fun! They were red faced and sweaty by the time we left and slept like angels once we got home...thats always a bonus!

Karolyn fed us dinner as well and I stepped outside of my food comfort zone and ate Elk and Venison. I about died inside when she told me what we were having but I have to say it was very tasty! Even Ian ate it knowing that he was eating the poor Elk that was hanging on the wall above the fireplace. Yes, they killed it! The whole way home Ian discussed the possibility of him taking up hunting....oh boy. We had such a fun time and I realized that I need to get out more. I really enjoy socializing with friends. But, like I said...didnt pull out the camera once! So, I have resorted to photo theft....this picture above is of Karolyn and one of her daughters, Bryn (sorry Karolyn) which I took off of her Facebook... I really wish I would have taken a picture of the Elk that we ate, haha. I did snap the first 2 pictures above on my phone though so they will have to suffice: Addison jumping on one of the trampolines, and Ian's red face as we were leaving.

Last night I was able to enjoy a nice dinner with my friend Linda. I haven't seen her in so long it seems, so it was nice of her to drive up to SLC and go to dinner with me. We ate at Red Rock and I had a nice Filet Mignon...I eat those so rarely that I couldn't resist it! We had a great time and again, I am reminded that I enjoy having a social life even if it is a small one! But no pictures of course! Here is an old one of Linda from last year; just so I can have one on here :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

End of the School Year and Other Happenings....

I finished up the semester finally on Tuesday and believe me, it wasn't a moment too soon! Still waiting on the final grades but so relieved to be done for a month. The kids didn't get out of school for their break until yesterday so I had a few days completely to myself and will have another full week of bliss in January after they go back and before I start up again. I put my free time to good use finishing up Christmas shopping and running errands....not exactly the vision of bliss I had imagined (read: sleeping in, laying around and watching movies, etc) but it was nice being able to shop alone! In the middle of this the boys both had school performances for me to attend. First was Evan:

He and a partner worked on a report about the endangered Monk Seal and then their assignment was to use this fun program on the computer to create a documentary which they narrated, inserted pictures, and chose background music for. It was a fun project for them and I was excited to see it. Here is a picture of Evan with his teacher Mrs. Norton.

She is super nice and Evan really likes her. Now if only I could get him to do his homework, 3rd grade would surely be a big success!

Next was Ian's piano recital. His school is the only one in the district that has piano lessons once a week and now that he is in the 4th grade, he also has a violin lesson once a week! I love love love this music program and the fact that he is learning and I don't have to force him to practice. Here he is waiting for his turn....sitting next to Josie, who I am not allowed to tell you about; wink wink. At the very end of this post is the video of Ian's performance.....

So, now they are out of school until January 3rd and there is a lot of excitement with Christmas coming up and Denver coming to town....in fact it's all they talk about!

Unfortunately we received some really sad news this week. My mechanic, who also happens to be a pretty good acquaintance of ours passed away. It's a long story but basically we met him and his family when they moved into the first house we rented in Sugarhouse when Addison was just a few months old. We only moved around the corner so we still saw them on occasion and would take our cars to him for cheaper repair. Eventually they were baptized into the LDS church and were attending our ward as well. Jeremy had his struggles but he was always so kind to us and very fair with our car repair. We trusted him and he charged us so little compared to what we would have to spend at a regular shop. Even when he was out of work and needed the money so badly he didn't charge us much. In recent months he has fixed my poor van at least 3 times or more and was scheduled to fix one last thing next week after Christmas. He was going through some really personal trials lately including being out of a job for nearly 9 months and it was clear that he was struggling emotionally. Sadly, it got the best of him and he took his own life on Sunday. I attended his funeral on Friday. It was heartbreaking to look at his 3 children and see what they are going through. I cannot even begin to comprehend that level of sadness both on his part where the hopelessness was so intense or on his children who now have to come to terms with how their dad left them, not to mention just the fact that he is gone. It was a horrible experience. I hope I never have to experience it again. My heart is full of love for his family and I pray that they will be able to reconcile this and move forward. It has hit me much harder than I thought it would....I'm still just struggling to understand why.

But, now it's on to Christmas and a brand new year full of possibilities. I am sure thankful for whatever comes my way, good and bad, because it is a reminder that I am alive and experiencing all that God intends for me....what could be better?
video

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dancing Queen....

Ok, so the last 2 attempts at a dance recital that we have made with Addison have resulted in major meltdowns, screaming, crying.....and yes, disappointment. So, this year when Addison said she wanted to dance again with Miss Julie (we just love Miss Julie, pictured with Addie below)
I decided ahead of time that she would go to classes but not participate in the recitals. It was just too traumatic for her and for me! Fast forward to this month and it's all Addison has talked about: my dance recital, my dance recital! I asked her if she was going to be able to do it and she announced that she would be going up on stage with her friend Abby....pictured with her below

Ok...well, I guess we will try it again I said. I am happy to report that this time, Addie did it!!! I am so proud of her for overcoming her fear of being on stage. The first number was the tap dance and she started to get watery eyed and was just staring at me the whole time. She really didnt dance a step of the whole dance but she managed to stay on stage and not have a meltdown. I was ecstatic for that. Toward the end we even managed to get some smiles out of her and a little toe tapping. Next was the ballet number and by this time she was ready to go. She danced the entire number from start to finish!!! Yay!!! It was a big day in the Shannon house today. Her brothers were some of her biggest supporters and could be heard yelling for her when she finished....she was so excited to hug them when she got off stage.

It was a great morning. Ballet West here she comes! Here is the video of her ballet number..be sure to turn off music player at bottom of blog so you can hear the video:


video

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Pictures....


You can always count on a post like this 2 or 3 times a year! I just love having the kids pictures taken. School pictures just don't cut it for me. Now that I have found a fabulous, affordable studio (click here for FotoFly) to take them to, it's just fun to keep going back! Here is the latest batch although this is just a snippet of all the great pics they took. I don't know how I am going to choose which ones to print this time around! Sorry there are a lot but I couldn't narrow them down so you have to see them all! (if you click on each collage the picture should come up larger)

December....

December is a great month for many reasons. The obvious of course being that it is Christmas. You wanna know why I think it is GREAT right now?? Because in one week, this semester of school is OVER!!! This has been a tough one for me. I'm not sure why but I had a couple of classes that have been downright miserable. One with a teacher that is impossible to please no matter how good your paper is....and another who doesn't believe in giving A's. Thanks to these two teachers my 4.0 gpa is about to take a big dip and I have been very bummed out about it. But, it is what it is....I have to deal with it and move on and I am soooo ready to move on. After this semester, I only have 11 classes left until I graduate. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.

In the meantime, it is December and so we started off the month getting our Christmas tree. I love the look of my home when there are Christmas decorations up. It is so warm and comfy....

We don't have a lot planned for this month. I think for once it will feel nice to just stick around here and not have to be running from one place to another. Denver will be back in town on Christmas Eve day through the 5th of January and the kids are beyond excited to see him as I am sure he is just as excited to them.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving....

I hit a breaking point in my stress level a couple of weeks ago when my car broke down. Normally I maintain my stress level pretty well and manage to wiggle through it unscathed but I think this time it got the best of me. If there is one thing I cannot do without, it is a car. We thought it was the transmission and were making plans to try and buy a new vehicle which was going to be very difficult at best. Thank heavens for miracles...it turned out to be a minor issue and it is now fixed.

Due to the car issues, I chose to rent a car to drive to Reno, Nevada for Thanksgiving. Me and the kids went to my parents' home to celebrate along with Jeff and Nicola. I am ashamed to admit it but I didn't take a solitary picture the whole weekend except this one:

I'm not sure why but I just didn't have the energy to take any. Oh well...we had a wonderful time and the dinner was awesome, as usual. My mom, Jeff, Nicola, and myself all went to see Harry Potter one night while Grandpa watched the kids. Another night just my mom and I went to see the late night showing of Inception, which I LOVED. Never mind that it took me about 20 minutes after the movie ended to be able to actually say that. Its a mind blowing kind of movie. It was just a nice escape from school and life and none of us really wanted to go home, but alas... reality was waiting for us and we had to leave. I'm so Thankful for my family....I never get enough of them when we visit and feel so fortunate that we have such a great relationship with each other.

We drove home on Sunday and arrived in Salt Lake City to a Foot of snow; I kid you not. It was crazy! I cannot believe that we didn't hit one drop of snow for the majority of the trip. As soon as we got to the Tooele exit (which is on the outskirts of SLC) it was like crossing over into another world. Weirdest thing ever. Dry roads and then suddenly snow packed roads...almost immediately. It was beautiful until we had to lug 4 rolling suitcases through the un-plowed parking lot to our apartment. Gotta love Winter!