Posts Tagged ‘Christmas update’

Love is Patient

I didn’t get a clever Christmas card put together in time this year, and surprisingly, I’ve heard from several people about it. Patience. I had ideas for what it might entail: a 10-year collage of past Christmas card fronts (or randomly mailing one of 10 “retro” versions of past cards), a Shattuck version of The Night Before Christmas poem. But I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to design and assemble it. Then I thought we might just send a Happy New Year card, and that came and went, too.

We didn’t forget about you or lose your address. And we do have news to share, so Valentine’s Day seems pretty appropriate to announce our annual family update.

Steven, Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang, had another year of speaking engagements across the U.S. He nearly earned his Southwest A-List status again (one trip short). He speaks at conferences to audiences about donor retention, fundraising success and constituent engagement for not-for-profits. Steven co-wrote two chapters in a new textbook, Fundraising Principles and Practice, which was published in March 2017. He and Wesley have their weekly activities they participate in together, including tennis lessons and Cub Scouts. They also are partners in crime in solving video game puzzles – finishing both Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. In warmer months, Steven cycles to work via the Fall Creek Trail and Fort Harrison State Park, and he is increasingly interested in clean eating and brewing kombucha.

I, Communications Director at Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter, started regularly attending a Crossfit gym in April for low-weight/high-rep training, mixed with cardio and gymnastics workouts. Though I don’t plan to graduate to “real” Crossfit with power lifting, I have enjoyed being a part of an encouraging community. I feel good and am stronger than I’ve ever been. I also regularly sing on the worship team at Trinity Church, which is such a blessing and immensely fun. I hope to read and paint more than last year, and found that I enjoy dabbling in yard work (when it’s not so overwhelming).

In August, we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in Chicago. We saw Aladdin on Broadway and visited the Field Museum for the first time. We also had our first-ever family photos taken in October, and I wore my 10-year-old rehearsal dinner dress.

Wesley, Kindergartner, is a bright, clever and sweet 6-year-old. He is well-liked by kids in his class and his teachers. Because he is inclusive, he has many friends and a few close ones. He is a leader and role model, but he sometimes has trouble with dictating and tattling. And when it comes to peer pressure, he follows – even if he knows better. But he’s excelling in school, learning to read and write in Spanish AND English. He’s lost two teeth, loves Star Wars, Power Rangers and even (still!) Octonauts. Going on bike rides with the family is one of his favorite things to do, and he loves to hang out with us and friends. He’s such a gem.

Jake, 12-year-old Italian Greyhound, and Lucy, 8-year-old lab-pit mutt, are lazier than ever. Jake continues to have terrible breath and rotten teeth, so I finally introduced him to soft food and chewy treats. Lucy wishes she could have them, too. She found yet another spot in the fence that’s loose, so she frequently explores beyond our fence line. Lucy can’t stand to be left alone too long, so we never worry that she won’t return to the back door. They’re both going gray.

The House hasn’t undergone too many updates or exciting improvement projects this year. We spruced up the guest room with a new headboard, mattress and lighting. The rickety mailbox finally got replaced with a sturdy new one. We planted a few arborvitae in the side yard and started a pollinator garden. The living room gained a new club chair, plant stand and greenery. I think the biggest project was installing new interior doors for the upstairs bedrooms. Still on the list: bathroom remodels, kitchen back splash and paint, basement flooring.

Baby Shattuck was quite the surprise at the end of 2017, and probably the reason I didn’t have motivation to create Christmas cards in time! She (yes, girl! Stay tuned for further info.) will be joining the family in mid August – right around our niece’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. After an initial period of shock and panic, we spent the long winter break warming to the idea of another family member in this house. We’ve enjoyed our small trio family, but if you know much about me, I used to grieve for another child. Patience. After much prayer and reconciliation, I have found peace and happiness with my two boys. Even so, Steven and I were planning to explore fostering and possibly adoption soon, and those plans are now on hold. What a change in plans!

We attended the first ultrasound together, and Wes was able to meet my OB doctor; the doc who delivered him has since retired. I feel so much different than the first pregnancy, but as I enter the second trimester, I feel less nauseous and more “normal.” Except food is just a nuisance. Aversions, spontaneous hunger followed by uncomfortable fullness, ugh. And so many pimples! But I can continue to work out, of which I’m grateful.

Wesley is thrilled to pieces, and he has been very sweet and interested in learning how the baby grows each week. In yet another lesson in patience, he’s learning to wait. And how the period of waiting can make you frustrated and yet grow in love and joy. He thinks it’s been fun to have a family secret, and now that we’re gradually telling people, he sometimes gets protective. “Only FAMILY MEMBERS can know, Mama!”

The nesting period has already begun; Steven has helped me make an inventory of what baby items we still have, cleared out space for the nursery, and Wes helped me put together the crib I scored on Craiglist for $35. (We will likely be asking to borrow your gear!) And while I was on a business trip, they found cute prints to hang on the walls, had them framed and hung before I returned home.

Frankly, we Shattucks are glad 2017 has past, which wasn’t the best of years. We have so much to anticipate, do(!) and look forward to in 2018, and we wish you a lovely year. Please stay in touch, and come visit us soon!

(Remember this? The Sequel releases Summer 2018.)

Posted: February 7th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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The 2016 Shattuck Game of LIFE

By now, most of the readers of this family blog have seen our annual Christmas card. And if you haven’t, you likely know the stories behind the “game pieces.” The idea for the design was inspired by Wesley’s increased interest and play-ability of board games. His favorites are Candy Land and Shoots & Ladders. He has yet to actually play LIFE, but I found it fitting for this year’s card to share a few updates within the last year.

So here’s what happened this year:

Steven becomes Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang. He also speaks at 28 conferences and events.
In January, Steven took over management of sales and leads in addition to his marketing team. He’s a natural leader and has done a fantastic job in this guidance role. He’s requested at many NPO and donor/development conferences, and he’s quite the presenter on donor retention and engagement. If it’s possible, he’ll pick one or two locations and buy a plane ticket for me to join along, and we’ll make a long weekend out of it. He’s pretty great!

The Shattucks become friends with several neighbor families.
The best thing about living in this “new” neighborhood is the amount of young families. We purposefully played in the front yard during the warm months to meet and scout out families with kids about Wes’ age. It worked! I can’t tell you how much I love and appreciate having friends and built-in entertainment just a few doors away.

Leah paints the family room trim white. SKIP A TURN while she recovers.
Whew, that project took forever. It does look so good, though. I still need to touch up the ceiling where I got a little paint happy… Since THAT project, we’ve painted the guest room (December), installed glass block windows in the basement (October), and plan to install new interior doors upstairs (January?).

Wesley fractures his collar bone. GO BACK 2 SPACES.
If nothing else, breaking his right clavicle the week before starting at a new school was a great way to meet more families! (Are you sensing a theme? I’m craving fellowship and community like whoa.)

Jake and Lucy become fans of Pokemon Go because of longer evening walks.
The mobile app game fad sorta faded, but we saw a lot more of the neighborhood and surrounding parks while it lasted. Wesley still thinks it’s great that he’s in on the “joke” and can’t say walk aloud for fear of too-excited dogs. He now calls it a W-A-L-K in normal conversation.

O Canada! The Shattucks visit Ontario.
What a great trip. Easily one of the best yet.

Steven initiates Launch Cause, a co-working space for not-for-profits. LAUNCH AHEAD 1 SPACE.
If you know nothing about Launch Cause, stop what you’re doing and check it out. I’m super proud of what he started back in February.

Steven teaches Wes how to play tennis and ride a bike without training wheels.
Summer 2016 was all kinds of fun. I feel like Wes is at an exciting age. Not that baby and toddler years weren’t exciting in some capacity, but we’re doing so much together. It’s fun to pretend together, explore together and learn together. Wes enjoys tennis enough that he’s requested to play outside in 30-degree temps with Steven. This prompted a search for indoor tennis lessons, which start next weekend!

Leah leads her communications team at Alzheimer’s Association to reach record media goals.
We kicked some major rear end. Over the years I’ve become better at acknowledging and taking credit for achievements, and while yes, it was a team effort to reach, I recognize that it was by my guidance and direction that we reached 120% of our media impression goal. I’m proud of what we’ve done and the bond between my coworkers.

The house gets a new coat of exterior paint. GO BACK 2 SPACES for Leah’s indecisive color selection.
Overall, I like what we ended up with. I’m still not settled on the color of the shutters, and eventually we’ll replace them entirely. Since the exterior paint job, we’ve replaced the garage doors, and they help clean up the look even more.

Wesley starts Prep-Kindergarten. SKIP A TURN while he grows 3 inches taller.
While he’s not the tallest kid in his class, he’s certainly not far behind. THREE INCHES in one year! I’ve had several trips down memory lane because Wes is attending the school that my sister and I did. My third grade teacher is the principal, and my fourth grade teacher is the assistant principal. The school nurse is still there, as well as a handful of elementary, middle and even high school teachers! Several fellow alumni have sent their children to the school, and it’s been fun to reconnect with former classmates from various graduating years.

Steven and Leah spend their 9th anniversary in New Orleans.
The trip surrounded a speaking engagement in Baton Rouge. We were nervous to go because it was just weeks after the shooting of Alton Sterling and days after massive flooding. But it was safe to travel, and we had the best time. I love that we’re able to be together and see unique places – just the two of us.

Finding a new church home is taxing. GO BACK TO START
You should see the excel document we started – a pros and cons list of sorts. I guess we were a little picky in what we wanted for our family, but after visiting multiple churches in 9 months, we determined that it might be us tasked to start the changes we desire in a church home. We were ready to settle where we could serve, and we’ve been attending a church regularly for a handful of months now. I decided to join their Christmas choir, which was another way to meet and connect with people, and it was a terrific idea. It felt so good and fulfilling to serve by song with others.

The Shattucks sponsor a 5-year-old child from India. GO FORWARD 1 SPACE
Last month we received our first letter and sent a lengthy response with photos of our family. Wesley frequently asks questions about Jastin and life in India, and it’s opened up honest conversations about faith, materialism and community service. It’s fascinating to watch him understand his role in our family and in society. We hope to be able to support additional families in other ways in 2017.

Steven, Leah and Wes wish you a merry Christmas and a happy 2017! GO CELEBRATE
Thanks for being a part of our lives. We’re the better for it.

Posted: December 31st, 2016
Categories: Leah
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Tidings of Comfort and Joy

I’ve been enjoying small comforts of home and friendship these last few weeks. Sometimes the value of loved ones is forgotten, especially when so focused on internal struggles. I know that I haven’t been the best friend to many of my own this year, so I’m consciously making an effort to reconnect with those who love us regardless of our absence.

First off – here’s this year’s Christmas card! I know that I didn’t get it into everyone’s hands that I typically do; please accept my apologies if you didn’t receive a paper version. Pretty proud of my design of our instagram accounts.

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Spending a large amount of quality time with many of our closest friends and family members in the last month has been a source of healing and renewed strength. Truly, it began around Thanksgiving-time, when our friends and godson came to stay with us for several days. Time with them jump-started the season of gathering with loved ones.

THE HIGHLIGHTS:

Cookie baking and decorating with my BFF Rachel. We baked Christmas cookies once when we were in high school – in fact, we made a music video about it – and I don’t know why we’ve waited so long to do it again. Once inseparable, we now live two very independent lives, and we find that we miss each other too much too often. Time together is one of the best things in this life.

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Visiting downtown lights, Potbelly dinner and MORE cookie decorating with the Reynolds family was another favorite evening. I love this family – their friendship now extends into a second generation, and it’s wonderful to see our kids enjoy each other so well.

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Friends Thanksgiving/Christmas with our friends from college has been going strong for more than 10 years. While we don’t see them often, I look forward to this time of year to catch up and strengthen our friendships even though we live miles apart.

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The days leading up to Christmas were fabulously warm – 60 degrees and higher! Wes and I went to the park, played outside and even raked leaves. Crazy.

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We were offered complimentary seats to an Indiana Pacers game in the Varsity Club, including a buffet dinner with a front-row seat to the game! While there we ran into Tyson, and Wes just about exploded from excitement. To top it off, “Hickory” Boomer and Santa both came to visit.

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Christmas with family members is always busy, but I feel like the kids are getting old enough to grasp the season of giving and love. It’s been fun to watch my nieces and nephews love on each other, play with each other and anticipate seeing each other again. It wasn’t all about the presents, you know? And time with my sister is getting harder and harder to “schedule,” so I love hanging out and goofing off with her during times like these. It’s the best. I even got a chance to properly catch up with many of my cousins I haven’t seen in a while – we used to be so close, and I’ve often felt disconnected.

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The whole Shattuck clan                                  Dad and the boys play with circuits
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          Shattuck cousins  |   Wes & my grandpa exchange gifts      |        Sisters

Earlier this week, Sarah and Levon invited us to take Santa back to the North Pole via the Polar Bear Express Train. The boys were ecstatic about the train – more so than seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus! Sarah is one of the most thoughtful people I know, so generous. Levon and Wes are great playmates and it’s yet another reminder of how precious friendships are to me.

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There’s no photo evidence, but visited with several old friends who were in town (from Alaska!) and/or visiting my parents (to check out the new condo). There’s something especially comforting about friends who grew up with you. I regret that I wasn’t able to see life-long friend, Megan, who’s due to be a mom in January, as we had planned for earlier in the month, but I DID get to see her parents who were in town this week (almost as good), and I’ll go down to visit once baby girl arrives.

And one night, Steven made a pot of mussels for recently engaged friends Muhammad and Kylie. That’s like, the ultimate demonstration of affection. He’s perfected his recipe and loves hosting, so you might expect an invite sometime soon.

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Though it looks like we’ve been busy, we have had our fair share of staycation – LEGOs, trains, Octonauts and Mario for several days in a row. Steven badly hurt his back last week, so we have taken it easy overall this holiday season. The “forced” time inside and together has been a form of healing in itself. Lots of snuggles, pjs, baking and snacking over here in our new-old house. I’m pretty sure I’ve read 5 books this past month. It’s been fantastic.

As yucky as 2015 seemed most of the time, there have been wonderful reminders of comfort and joy – especially these last few weeks. We’re ready for you, 2016.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with Wesley’s latest obsession: singing Christmas carols over and over and over again into his camera-voice recorder…

Posted: January 1st, 2016
Categories: Leah
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2013 Year-End Update

ShattucksThis year has been one of our more change-heavy ones! Here’s a few updates from the last time we sent out a Christmas letter.

Steven joined Bloomerang as VP of Marketing in May. He educates not-for-profit organizations on how to use web and social media for donor retention, and I usually learn a thing or two when I read his published posts across the internet. He is also a bit of a local expert on social media and inbound marketing. We often get jests from family and friends that they see/hear more from Steven on TV and radio than in person! Steven is still involved with the Historic Irvington Halloween Festival, Art Institute of Indianapolis and CICOA, and he continues to speak at various conferences and meetings all over the United States.

As of August, Leah is Communications Director for Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. I am responsible for media relations, marketing and promotions and overall communications for the statewide chapter. The Association provides complimentary services to families caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia, as well as raises funds for Alzheimer’s research. This fall, one of my design pieces I completed for Joy’s House – the annual report & calendar – won a national award for creativity and design. For fun, I dyed my hair red to celebrate my 30th birthday in May and was featured in the Indianapolis Star with my childhood best friend for our unique ways to celebrate the new decade.

Wes, now 2, has recently exploded his vocabulary. He has been named “class clown” for his humorous antics and ability to lead his other classmates into silly phrases and actions. Despite his goofy side, Wes is very loving and enjoys giving hugs and now, kisses. He scolds the dogs just like Daddy and then nuzzles his face in Lucy’s fur (which then gives him hives). We’re still in diapers, but he’s showing more interest in bathroom procedures. His favorite foods are pizza, grapes, apple sauce and green beans. His favorite color is purple, or sometimes, yellow. Right now, he’s fascinated with the “Chri-muh tree” and points out every single “ai-pwane” in the sky.

Jake, the 8-year-old Italian Greyhound, is becoming a cranky old man. He loves to groom himself and stay warm under covers, and he makes it known when he doesn’t want to be bothered. He still has lots of affection and follows me around the house until I sit down long enough for him to hop in it. Lucy, the 4-year-old lab/pit sweetheart, doesn’t realize how big she is. She is wholly devoted to Jake, and she obeys his every word/move. She wouldn’t hurt a fly, though she looks out for her pack members. She and Jake are an odd pair, but they are the best snuggle buddies – especially in a patch of found sunlight.

As we get older, our world gets smaller and perhaps more boring. But, we’re happy and ready to see what 2014 brings! Thanks for being a part of our lives.

Posted: December 6th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Comments: 1 Comment.

Merry Christmas from The Shattucks

2013 Christmas Card

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

For our annual year-end updates, click here.

We’re doing something a little different this year. The money typically spent on printing and mailing our Christmas cards is going directly to support my friend of nearly 20 years, Angie Mayle. She and her young family are moving in July to a small Madagascar island to serve as medical missionaries. To follow their journey, visit maylesinafrica.com.

Posted: December 6th, 2013
Categories: Leah
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Christmas Card 2009 Update

Christmas Card 2009

Hi everyone! This post is in replacement of a Christmas letter that we were thinking we would include with our cool card.

The photos on the card were taken at the Joy’s House 10th Annual Black Tie Gala in October (yes, in an old-fashioned photo booth!). Leah became Outreach Coordinator at Joy’s House in May, a not-for-profit adult day service that provides care for adults living with physical and mental challenges while providing respite for caregivers. She absolutely loves her new position, and gets to dabble in graphic design, marketing and event planning!

Steven is continually producing successful short videos for organizations and local businesses at CMC Media Group. He has made many great relationships with churches, small businesses and hospitals this past year. We are both very blessed to work for such wonderful companies filled with amazing people!

Leah is still singing on the praise team at Castleton Christian Church, and Steven has helped develop the web site and coordinate technical aspects of the Sunday service.

This fall we’ve had the opportunity to house Leah’s cousin, Chris Ashbaugh (son of Keith & Dee), while he enters his first semester of grad school in music composition at Butler University. Leah has gotten used to have all boys in the house (including the animals!) – and it’s been fun to listen to his pieces of work come together into a beautiful arrangement.

Jake, the Italian Greyhound, turns 4 this month. He is still getting used to having a brother, Desmond (aka Jack, aka “Kitty”), a 12-year-old white medium hair cat we adopted in February. They argue over who gets whose lap to snuggle in.

Jake & Kitty

This has been a growing year in many aspects. We have met many new, wonderful people in 2009, and it’s exciting to see our relationships grow and form. God has provided for us in ways we cannot begin to appropriately thank Him for!

We hope all is well with you, and please continue to come back to our blog to check for updates in 2010. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted: December 7th, 2009
Categories: Leah
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