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The Larsen Family Reunion--and a Little about Shanna

This weekend was a first—the first Larsen reunion without one of the four Larsen sisters—without my mom. We had a great time visiting around the campfire (I still smell like smoke when my hair gets wet) and roasting marshmallows, but it wasn’t the same without Mom. She’s been to every reunion since we began many years ago, and she usually coordinates everything for the potluck dinner as well as the craft. Needless to say, we did a little scrambling to organize our traditional potluck dinner (we all snuggled and ate under the canopy of one of the trailers during a rainstorm), and I grabbed a few of the convention Make & Takes for our craft.

The weather, other than the one time it rained, was perfect; the scenery was breathtaking; and I thoroughly enjoyed vegging. In fact, the first day I fell asleep while visiting because I wasn’t doing something with my hands. So, out came the projects, and I didn’t miss anything else.

I’d love to show you lots of photos, but do you think I took a single photo of the mountains or the trails while riding on the four wheelers? No, of course not! I did focus on the people though. That’s the important thing, right? Except that I’m not in a single shot. Usually I ask someone to include me in a photograph so I can prove I was there, but not this time. I hope I’m not the only one who repeatedly makes that same mistake. I took photos that I think will be meaningful to Shanna, and we all recorded a little something on a cassette for her to listen to because she couldn’t be with us.

That reminds me, one of you asked about Shanna. She is serving a mission for 18 months in Spain for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She’s been gone for 3 months, 13 days, and 12 hours (but who’s counting?), and I miss her tons! Please don’t misunderstand me; I’m thrilled for Shanna and know it will be a wonderful growing experience for her. I just miss her. Maybe I’ll adjust to her being gone, but it hasn’t happened yet, so beware of my blubbering!

And speaking of Shanna, I think I wasn’t as clear as I could have been and one of you thought Shanna wasn’t included in our Gardner Girls Gathering photos (the photos on the photo fan I posted last week). If you look close, Shanna’s the one on the far right. In fact, I didn’t notice it until today when I looked at the photo of the fan again, but the girls are all in age order (except me, of course) starting with Megan on the far left, then Sara, Shalae with Cooper, Sage (and me), and finally Shanna.

And I know my girls are reading my blog because I was reading one of the posts that commented on the photo fan and Washington weather. The comment noted that since I was making one fan, I just as well make five. As I read the post, I thought it sounded like something Sara would say, and lo and behold, it was her! I did laugh out loud, Sara!

I swore these wouldn’t be long posts, but once I get typing, I just don’t want to stop—kind of like the way I talk…

I’m signing off!

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Reader Comments (38)

I just love listening - sounds like you had a fabulous reunion, spending time with family and doing awesome things together!! That to me is what it's all about! I know what you mean about missing Shanna - it is hard when they grow up! God Bless, and have a wonderful evening! I am off to stamp - LOL!

August 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra Hobson
Sounds like a well deserved break from the incredibly fun filled week we just had, well 2 weeks ago at least:) Glad you got some down time with your family. Thanks for all you do Shelli!
A re-energized demonstrator,
August 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShannon Eberhardt
I'm glad to hear you had a great time. I'm off to my one reunion this weekend. I'm so glad you posted where Shanna was serving. I've been wondering ever since Leadership. I hope things are going well for her.
Happy Stampin' Candice
August 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCandice Anderson
Those 18 months will go faster than you know it...hang in there :) So glad you could get some time with the family. Reunions are the best!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenn
Wow Shelli......that does sound like a whole lot of fun (even when you mum wasn't there...). I hope one day I get to miss my kids like you.....I have four and all still 'little' and it is refreshing to read that one day they will fly the coup like Shanna....LOL!! IYKWIM.........off to stamp (for my own little 'mental' getaway LOL!!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Davis
Hey shelli - since you are now making 5 fans... add 1 more on for me!!! :-)

I have an s name...... I could be a Gardner girl for a day!!! :-)
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie
Shelli - reunions are so much fun, remembering the good times everyone has had together and remember those who aren't with us any longer. That's the bittersweet part. It is good for the youngsters in the family to sit and listen (if they can sit still long enough!) and learn a lot of family history to pass down. I know you miss Shanna a lot - but God will bring her home safely!
Hugs! Judi
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJudi

I just love reading your blog. You write the way you talk, which is such a GREAT thing. I can just cloes my eyes and hear your voice as I'm reading.

I completley understand about not being in photos. For my college graduation a few years ago, it was my parents first attempt at using my digital camera. It looks like I come from a divorced family because there isn't one single family photo of us, because either my mom or my dad is taking pictures. THe one that we did get, that my grandparents took... We're headless :) They didn't understand the digital camera either. Too funny! I'm so glad you enjoyed your time off with your family! And know that your mom was there, in her own way, watching over all of you smiling that you are still carrying on tradition!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara
We just sent my little brother off to England to serve his mission on Thursday, I know my Mom is sad that he is gone and happy all at the same time about his decision.
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

So glad to hear you had a great time at your reunion and to catch up on some much needed rest. I miss our family reunions - they just don't seem to happen anymore. My dad comes from a family of 14 kids and I'm sure I could trip over some of my cousins on the street and not even know who they are.
I have a question for you - I only saw you on stage at Convetion yet there are so many demonstrators who have pictures with you. Where were you and how did they get to do that?

August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy
Glad to hear that you had a wonderful reunion and it helped you to wind down after convention. I totally understand not being in pictures - you just don't always think about it in the moment. I'm enjoying reading your messages - totally understand the whole - once I start typing I can't stop! Have a wonderful day. Thank you for all your imagination and inspiration. Joan
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Jeffery
Shanna is serving a mission. That is awesome, she will do a wonderful job. I can't wait until she returns to hear all about that. Count it down with SU events, that will help.
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSharie
Hi Shelli~

It sounds like the reunion was fun...a picture of you on the four-wheeler would have been so great! I am never in the pictures either...always behind the camera. I do try to get in one every now and then, so future photo album viewers will believe my children actually have a mom. :)

So happy for Shanna! She has a made a terrific choice, and her life will no doubt be deeply enriched because of it. It is so difficult when our children reach the jumping off place. It must be especially hard with the last one. I will send up a prayer for you.

August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCindy Lawrence
Hi Shelli,
I was so excited to see you have a blog. I love the way Stampin Up is always changing with the times and how much information your demonstrators have to help them to inspire me! I love the way you always put your family firstand have had fun watching your cute family grow.
Thanks for your hard work! Dahlene Spencer
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDahlene Spencer
Great job on your blog, Shelli! I love seeing the projects that excite you. That fan is SUPER CUTE!! I made some scrapbook pages based on what I learned at convention. You can check them out at my blog stampingtoshare.blogspot.com posted on 8/12. Celebate '08 was my first convention. I really LOVE being a demonstrator and since convention I have a feeling of such peace knowing that I am in the right place at the right time time . . . like I'm walking into a rainbow! Thank YOU so much for EVERYTHING you do!!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKay Kalthoff
Thanks for sharing your reunion experience with us Chelli. Although your mom wasn't there physically, I am sure she was there with you in spirit.

Best of luck to Shanna on her mission experience. I hope at some point in my life to be able to take the time to do this. It would be such a life enriching experience.

Have a wonderful day!
Liz (SU demo)
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!I wondered if you would catch my comment...You don't mind me commenting, right? I'm glad you had a good time at the reunion- sad I missed it. Say 'hi' for us on the tape to Shan.xoxo Sara
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSara Douglass
Hi Shelli! Glad to hear about your reunion - as Cindy said - it would have been fun to see you on the four wheeler!! You go girl!

And -like Sara said- you DO write like you speak and I can visualize you writing your postings....its so cool that I can include you in my daily "blurfing" - you are probably THE coolest CEO on the planet....and that's from a Business Teacher!!

Have a good rest of the week!!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen Stivala
WOOHOO! Shelli is blogging! Welcome to the blogging world Shelli! I love hearing about your family!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLana Lepinski
It has certainly been a joy reading your blog the last few days. I think what I love about it the most is that as I read what you are sharing, I actually can hear your voice speaking the words as if we were at a Convention and you were sharing it with us in person. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to get to know you even better. For those of us that have not had the opportunity (yet) to spend time with you at a smaller scale event and share personal stories, it is really an honor to have you reach out and include us in your day to day life. Being a stay at home mom of 3 beautiful boys, I can so relate to many of the stories you have shared on this blog as well as at convention. I look forward to reading much more and also participating in your craft challenges. Thank you for being you and for all of your inspiration!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLori Maier
Don't worry about babbling on in a blog entry - I personally think that those are the best ones. My favorite blogs are the ones where I get a "feel" of the person's personality. So far, this blog is just reinforcing the impression I've gotten of you in the brief times I've met you at SU! conventions over the last few years, that you're just an overall lovely person. I think I speak for a lot of demonstrators in saying that we'd all love to sit and have a chat with you, and although there's no lemonade and cookies here, it seems to come close to that sort of experience. Keep up the good work!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Yow
I find myself taking most of the photos of family reunion and then wondering afterwards why I didn't show up in any of them. The time together is what counts. Thanks for sharing your family with us!
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlexandra
I every day become more excited to share what I love whether it is reading your blog (re-reading on days you are so busy you can't post, checking all the neat stuff on the demo side of the website etc). Your excitement is contagious and I think we have all been exposed! I really appreciate such a candid look into your world...it reminds me of the little Elmo's world segment on Sesame street.Elmo is a favorite and Shelly YOU ARE OUR ELMO! (ok, watching SS with my 3 year old niece as I type this so forgive the corniness) Thanks for all the inspiration and encouragement. SU ROCKS! Love being a demo! Jenny
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjen wogernese
What a refreshing tale of a very well spent weekend. Thanks for sharing it with us.

I will keep your youngest in my prayers as she continues her mission. I am sure it is enriching her life as well as the lives she is touching. Remember are children are like butterflies. We protect and watch over them till they make cocoons and then share in their joy as they spread their wings and fly.

Rubber Hugs,
Trish B in KY
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTrish Brunkhart
I loved hearing about Shanna and wished you had said more about her and Spain. Our son Jeff was recently called to the Barcelona, Spain mission and yesterday, after 3 weeks in Provo, flew to the Madrid MTC for more training before heading to Barcelona. He got to call home while waiting for his flight…it was so good to hear his voice! Anyway, I am soooo excited to be a missionary mom and look forward to hearing more about how Shanna is doing in Spain.
-Kimber Millard, Mesa, AZ
August 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKimber Millard

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