Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Happenings....

Flowers Blooming on campus at The University of Utah

Spring looks to have officially arrived here in the valley.  We have all been so skeptical because Utah weather is unpredictable this time of year.  However, after an extremely odd winter...very little snow... it seems like Mother Nature has just decided to give us all a break and actually allow us to experience a true Spring!!  Of course, I don't doubt that I will be complaining about a couple of more snow storms during the month of May, but happily they won't stick around for any length of time.  I just hope it stays away on my graduation day.  The pictures above and below were taken today on the University of Utah campus.  I had to go turn in a test to the English Department and Addison joined me, begging me to take a picture of her amongst the beautiful flowering bush of which I have no clue what its name is - Personally I think the little girl is prettier but the yellow certainly adds a nice punch of color!

Beautiful Addison

A couple of weeks ago we headed to Tooele for a sleepover at my best friend Shannon's house.  Shannon and I have been friends since we were 5 years old!  We lost touch just after high school but 20 years later,thanks to Facebook, we reconnected and picked up where we left off.  It truly feels like no time has passed between our last connection and now.  It is so awesome having someone who you know without a doubt doesn't judge you and loves you for all your quirks and craziness.  That is Shan.  Anyway, our kids happen to get along famously as well which is an added bonus!  Hannah and Addison are like 2 peas in a pod despite a 4 year age gap and the boys are completely enamored by her son Jorden who is 17.  They think he is sooo cool ;)  We have so much fun whenever we go stay with them.  Her husband works out of town frequently and it is nice to help keep her company because I win too!  She always has fun things in store for the kids when they come.  One weekend we made T-shirts, and on this most recent visit she created the most amazing ice cream sundae bar EVER.  My kids were dumbfounded.  They call Shan "Aunt Lovey" and she spoils them.  We love her and her family.  Here are the boys with some of their sundae creations.  Yes, Ian managed to eat that entire bowl full of junk!!

Ian, Evan & Jorden
Mmmm, Ice Cream

As much as I hate this picture of me, I love it of the two of us :)

Me & Shan
Addie and Hannah put swimsuits on and got in Shan's big bath tub, along with colored bath paints!!

Addison & Hannah

And this is me after I completely chopped my hair off.   Felt sooo good!! I take a swimming class and it is such a pain having to shower and dry and style my hair everyday.  I thought this might be easier and I was right!  I have lost about 20 lbs at this point...and of course I plan on continuing to lose another 60.

My new hair cut

This month Evan was awarded his Webelo badge.  He wasn't so thrilled about having his picture taken but he was pretty excited to get that badge.  After June I will no longer have any Cub it's Boy Scouts!

Another picture Mom???

 And finally, a couple of nights ago we attended the performance of Ian's 5th grade along with 5th graders from other Salt Lake schools.  Ballet West has a program where they work with schools teaching children to dance in hopes that they will be motivated to stay in school.  Ian sure had a lot of fun doing this and we had fun watching!

Ian Shaking his Booty to the Batdance by Prince

Here is Ian with one of his classmates who is moving to Ohio this week.  Ian came home bawling today over it.  He has been in the same class with all of the same children since Kindergarten.  That is one of the wonderful things about the gifted program that he is part of.  He has made tight friendships with these kids.  My heart hurts for him because I know how hard it is to lose friends at his age.

Collin & Ian

But, even worse than the boy above moving is Gabe, pictured below.  Gabe and Ian have a really close friendship even outside of class.  Gabe's mom is in Medical school here at the University of Utah and they also live here in student family housing with us.  This has enabled Ian and Gabe to really form a bond.  Gabe's mom received her "orders" for her plastic surgery residency and although they were hoping to match with the University of Utah, they are being sent to Galveston, Texas.  That was a hard day for Ian and I dread the day in June when Gabe and his family actually leave.  It's going to be a tough one.  We love their family and will miss them dearly.  Guess we might have to make a visit to Texas!!

Gabe & Ian

Monday, March 12, 2012

3 Months Later....

--Wow.  That's about all I can say for my serious lack of posts since Christmas.  Same old story though.  Life takes a hold and sometimes it is really difficult to break that grip and slow down.  I think for today I will just give an update on each family member, throw in some pictures, and call it a day.

Vanessa:  I am in my FINAL semester of school!  Can you believe it?!  I know I am still in shock about it.  I am having mixed feelings because on one hand I am more than ready to be done with the craziness, but on the other hand I really do love being in school, learning and stretching my brain matter.  Also, I am petrified about trying to find a job.  I haven't worked in 3 years now and I am not really excited about getting out there and joining the rat race again.  So, I am trying to just enjoy where I am right now, as stressful as it is sometimes.  I graduate on May 4th but I still have to complete a 6 week math class in the summer term.  Then in July, I am going to Hawaii with my girlfriends to celebrate my graduation!  I am so excited for that!  Of course with the new year came my usual resolution to lose weight, this time with more urgency.  Being 40 I am starting to see my life from a different perspective and suddenly I don't feel like I have all the time in the world to get in's really crunch time now if I want to enjoy my middle aged status.  So I registered for a triathlon. Yikes.  Its not until my birthday weekend in September but, yikes, nonetheless!  So far I have managed to lose 18 pounds since the end of January which I am very happy about.  I am taking a swimming class at school and that is helping a lot.  I just keep plugging away at it one week at a time and so far, so good!  I am part of a writing group that meets outside of school every other Tuesday.  I was invited by a guy who was in one of my creative writing classes and it turns out he owns a publishing company.  He is going to give me an internship at the company this summer which will hopefully be helpful in finding me an editing job.  Aside from that though, the writing group is so amazing.  I have never felt so enriched and challenged all at once by a group of people.  I leave each meeting with a bigger sense of who I am and what I believe.  Its just been such an amazing experience.  So, thats me in a nutshell....

Denver:  Denver has moved back from South Carolina.  He transferred back with the same company, Boeing, because he missed the kids so much.  And, the kids are ecstatic to have him back.  He has been back about a month now and just celebrated his 41st birthday.  He enjoyed being able to help the boys with their basketball skills and I have enjoyed having someone else around to balance all of the activities, dinner, and housework.  When he switches to the night shift this Friday however, it will be almost like he is gone again.  But at least the kids will have the weekends with him.

Ian:  Mr. Ian is busy being a know-it-all 5th grader!  He is at that stage in childhood where he doesn't have a place just yet.  He is not a little boy anymore but he is not a teenager and so we get the fun mood swings and attitudes you would expect from a "tweener."  Ian keeps us on our toes though and I especially enjoy having conversation with him.  He just finished up a season of Jr. Jazz Basketball.  It was a lot of fun watching him get better throughout the season.  It was the first time that he truly seemed to enjoy the sport he was playing.  I think he may have found his 'thing', sports wise anyway.  He is also our drama boy.  I swear he was born to be on stage!  He is in a theater group called Up With Kids and this year they are putting on a musical after the movie Tangled...or Rapunzel.  Singing, dancing, and acting.  They had auditions and Mr. Ian got the LEAD!!  He is playing Flynn Rider and couldn't be more happy about it.  He plays the part perfectly.  I think this is something he will continue doing throughout his youth.  He also had the opportunity to sing in the One Voice Children's choir for the Salt Lake Olympic 10 yr anniversary celebration.  This choir is amazing and right now we are on the waiting list to get in.  In August he will have the opportunity to officially audition for the choir and that will make for a very busy year!

Evan:  Evan is our bright 4th grader.  He struggles sometimes with school work because he is a bit of a day dreamer and would much rather being doing anything BUT homework.  This has been challenging but hopefully it is just a stage and he will soon realize that it is important to get the work done.  He also just finished up the basketball season and he is a natural athlete.  The boys played on the same team and I was surprised that they managed to do so without fighting, ha ha.  Evan sunk a few baskets in the last few games and that was very exciting for him.  He is in the theater group with Ian as well and is playing 3 different parts in the play.  He is an amazing singer when he can get over his nerves.  I really think he could be a force on stage one day... He is quiet and shy and sweet.  Even though he is about to turn 10, he still loves little boy things and I really love that about him.  He turns 10 next month.  I can't believe I will have 2 kids in the double digits!!

Addison:  Miss Addie is 5 going on 16.  She turns 6 next month and is already asking when she can have fake nails and a cell phone.  I catch her in my makeup constantly and she loves dressing up and wearing my heels.  She is a girl through and through.  If she isn't singing, she is dancing but often times it is both.  We are going to put her in a dance class soon because she really seems to be inclined to dance (Im secretly screaming with joy about this).  She loves school and being with friends.  She is also in the theater group with her brothers and will be playing 2 parts with small speaking parts.  Its going to be such a fun play.  I can't wait to watch them all shine.  Addison is a blast of personality constantly even though at times she can throw quite the tantrum as well.  I guess when you are the youngest and the only girl in the family it warrants some diva-like behavior.  I cannot imagine our lives without her in it.

--So thats about it for now.  Life is a strange and ever-changing experience.  For all the low's, there are just as many high's.  Sometimes it doesn't work out the way you had dreamed or hoped, but I love having the assurance that just around the corner a different dream will come to fruition that will make the failed one seem trivial.  I often wonder, with sadness, how anyone could lose hope completely. There is always something new around the corner if you just wait it out.  I feel that coming up for me.  There are a lot of changes on the horizon for The Shannon family...some good, some difficult.  But, in the end 2012 is going to be a good year.  I can just feel it!