Saturday, December 16, 2006

Merry Christmas

Greetings & Happy Holidays!

The Shank family has had a very exciting year with lots of changes in our life. We are all doing very well and looking forward to seeing some of you over the Holidays and reconnecting with those we have not seen in awhile. Hopefully things will settle down enough for us to enjoy some peace this holiday season.

It has been a year with many ups and downs as Jackson has begun to exercise both his independence and obsessive compulsive nature. He is constantly informing us of the manner and order in which things should be done and what we should and should not be saying. While the terrible 3s held true for most of the year, Jackson has really turned into a joy to be around these last few months. We are finally able to reason with him…a little, and he actually listens and understands. Now whether or not he obeys or ignores is a whole different issue. We also managed to make our first 2 trips to the ER: one for the 35lb. weight he pulled down on his foot (he was playing on the playground for 3 hours the next day) and one for the 7 stitches he received above his lip when split his face open on a railroad tie at school (as Darin says “chicks dig scars”) Never the less, we enjoy the challenge and can’t imagine our lives without him.

The Move
We put our house on the market in February and sold it in mid-June. Although 5 months is fairly common in today’s housing market, it seemed like forever, especially having to clean up everything everyday. We found a new house out in Shawnee, Kansas in June and moved in August. Our new home has completely changed our lifestyle. Jackson has buddies. He can ride his trike on actual sidewalks. We are 4 houses away from the community pool. Oh, and did I mention that our yard backs up to a bean field? Also, we only had to paint 3 rooms – two bedrooms and a bathroom. With as picky as we are, can you imagine us finding a house that we could not only live with the color scheme, but loved it? Oh, and did I mention the lack of maintenance and attached 3 car garage. I really enjoyed our old house in KC, but this one is really going to give us what we need right now…an easier life. Please feel free to come visit anytime. Our door is always open and there is always food in the fridge.

What an exciting year! Darin completed his MBA program and graduated in March. That was a huge accomplishment and we are all very proud of him, but also grateful that school is behind us. For the first time in years, Darin is also enjoying his career. He quit his job as a Credit Manager at International Paper on June 1 and has gone into business for himself as a Waddell & Reed Financial Advisor. The family is very happy that he has seemed to find his niche and is enjoying success at the same time…he has been promoted once already to Supervisor and also earned all three Super Starter awards as well as achieved Pacesetter status, which is rare among new advisors. If all goes as planned we should be purchasing our summer home in the islands sometime next year. Seriously, he is doing very well and enjoying every minute of it.

I am in my 7th year with H&R Block and 2nd in the Corporate Community Relations Department (the smallest in the company…there are 2 of us). Our new headquarters was completed this year and we moved in September. I have a great view of downtown and all the construction projects of our new entertainment district going up on all four sides of our new building. My corporate softball and volleyball team also received silver medals in the KC Corporate Challenge. I always love the chance to relive those competitive times of my younger years…maybe too much so as I received my first major sports injury this year when I tore a ligament in my thumb playing softball. I had to have surgery to repair and was in a cast for 6 weeks. I have decided not to do that again.

We hope that this has been a great year for you and we hope to see you or hear from you soon. Our new phone number is 913-322-8848. Please give us a call if you are ever in the area. Take care and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Darin, Michelle & Jackson


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