Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays…a little late! Another year has passed and has, once again, been an exciting one for the Shank family

At this time last year, we had settled into the suburban lifestyle quite nicely and were thinking about growing our family. Good thing, as I learned right before the holidays that I was expecting. No egg nog, no softball, no beer…OH NO! My first summer in the new neighborhood with all the parties at the pool and I had to stay alcohol free!

All my sacrifices were rewarded when we gave birth to the first Shank girl in the last few generations of the family. Zoë Noël was born on August 13 weighing 8lbs. and 1oz. Darin is in so much trouble as he has already told Zoë that she earned her college tuition and a red convertible all in her first few months in this world. She has been to several parties and festivals, an out of town wedding and even a couple of happy hours. I am sure we are going to pay for this good behavior later in life, like when she turns 13.

She’s been a great baby! Zoë has only seen the doctor for scheduled appointments. She was up to 15lbs at 4 months. She only fusses when something’s wrong and she is always smiling and happy, except when Jackson is around and then she giggles uncontrollably! Jackson loves his sister seems to be the one person who can make her laugh on a regular basis. They are a great pair and we are looking forward to the years to come.

Jackson is getting smarter every day, which has brought new challenges to our life. He turns 5 in a couple weeks and will start kindergarten in the fall. I am hoping the structure will help him. I think he gets a little bored with preschool. He is a bundle of energy and is very argumentative, which always leads us to repeat those famous words from our parents like “because I said so, that’s why.” He loves the kids in the neighborhood and is also wonderful with his sister. We are sure he will be a great big brother for years to come as he protects her from the forces of evil!

I am getting back into the swing of things at work. The balancing thing isn’t as easy with two kids, but we are working on it. We are in the process of a huge reduction in force at H&R Block. I don’t think my job is in jeopardy, but I have 8 months of severance coming if my position is eliminated. Sometimes things happen for the best, but this kind of thing is never easy when you are going through it. You lose a lot of friends and work is not the happy place it used to be for awhile. Right now it’s just a waiting game, so we will have to see what happens.

Darin has had a stellar year! In early November, he was recruited by UBS. He has a lot more resources and support available to him, which allows him to spend more time working with his clients. It has been a great career move and was the logical next step. He truly enjoys his work and his schedule is a little less hectic, which makes the family happy!

Looking to the future, Darin and I will be taking our first vacation alone together in 7 years. My fabulous husband surprised me with a week long Caribbean cruise to the Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, Tortola and Great Stirrup Cay. I have been lobbying for us to take one for years as I thought it would be the perfect getaway vacation for us. One week alone, away from the office, family and children…I don’t know if we can handle it! But we going to try just for fun and see what happens!

So that about sums up our year. We settled into our new suburban lifestyle, added a new child, Michelle may be unemployed in a month, Darin changed companies and we’re headed to the Caribbean. We really could have done this letter in one paragraph, but what fun would that have been?! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for safe and happy 2008!


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