Hello Writing Friends!

Its been far too long!! How have you been? 2014 has certainly been one wild ride for me! But before I get into that, I want to announce that I will NOT be running Start The Year Off Write this January. I’ve agonized over this decision as it was always my intention to make STYOW a yearly challenge.  However, things changed.  Thanks to some unexpected curve balls this year, I did not have time to organize the challenge to the level of my satisfaction.  I hope you will forgive me.  I swear I have the cutest excuses ever.  See.

securedownloadAdorable, right?  :)

Really is was all this amazing little lady’s fault.

Isn’t she just the cutest?

Isn’t she just the cutest?

Behind that beautiful smile is the story of a survivor. This little lady was born ten weeks early!  If you’re curious, here’s where I’ve been the past eleven months and why I didn’t have time to organize Start The Year Off Write.  I’ve got to warn you, its a bit of a read so if you don’t have time here’s the cliff notes version: new baby, new business, NICU, sewage flood, and new home in a new state!


  1. Christmas Eve 2013 – Shannon surprised Jim with the news that Baby #3 is on the way!
  2. January – Shannon runs her first large scale writing challenge, Start The Year Off Write, and is thrilled by its results. Writers in 9 different countries are logging in to participate! Jim and his smarty-pants business partners finally launch Trek10, which helps companies upgrade and save money by replacing their servers with secure cloud-based solutions.
  3. February – Jim twists Shannon’s arm just enough to convince her to move from downtown Chicago. They settle on Northern, IN and plan to move in the fall.
  4. March/April/May – Big Brother #1 turns four, Big Brother #2 turns two and the family finds out Baby #3 is a GIRL.  Shannon can hardly contain her excitement: bring on the hair bows, ribbons and pink soccer cleats!
  5. June 8 – Surprise! After nearly four days of labor, Whitney Grace makes a very dramatic arrival 10 weeks early. Little Miss showed Jim and Shannon the heart of a warrior and the marvel of modern medicine.
  6. June 11 – Ever fallen asleep at the wheel? Neither have Jim or Shannon but someone else did and managed to drive thru the property in Michigan that Shannon manages. Thankfully, the driver wasn’t hurt but he did a number on the trees, outbuildings, and newly completed landscaping. Feeling overwhelmed, their families come together in an amazing pull of support to manage the damage and take care of their boys for a few days while Jim and Shannon sort out NICU protocols.
  7. June 30 – It was a dark and stormy night – no, seriously it was – a storm pummeled Chicago and Shannon on her way home from the NICU. It was all fun and games until water started shooting through every sink, spout, drain and opening in their basement.
  8. July 1 – Jim and Shannon learn that every penny they spent on renter’s insurance was worth it. That fun little rainstorm flooded their basement with black water (aka: raw sewage) and they had to trash nearly everything it touched.
  9. July 3 – If you didn’t think things could get any more stressful, you were wrong. Mold was discovered so the four Abercrombie’s moved to a hotel for ten days while it was cleaned. The kids think they are on vacation and keep hoping to see Mickey Mouse or at least an amusement park but have to settle for the hotel’s tiny indoor pool, which is almost as awesome. Meanwhile, Baby Girl is still in the NICU impressing everyone with her incredible resilience and steady growth.
  10. July 23 – Surprise! Baby Girl is ready to come home from the NICU almost 5 weeks earlier than anticipated!! Hooray!
  11. July 25 – Jim and Shannon move from downtown Chicago to Northern, IN. (Yes, it was really two days after Baby Girl came home! Like so many things in 2014, this was NOT part of their plan.) Cue the hardest, most exhilarating, and exhausting Autumn of their lives.
  12. September – Big Brother #1 is running his heart out on the soccer field and taking a “muscle grower” class at Jim and Shannon’s gym.  Big Brother #2 also participates in said activities from the sidelines. (Shhh…don’t tell him, he thinks he and Mom have their own class.  And really they do, it’s called Toddler Distraction 101).
  13. October – Big Brother #2 joins Big Brother #1 in pre-school!
  14. November – Baby Girl reports back to the NICU and thrills her parents because developmentally she’s already catching up to her birth date.  Not to mention the little performer stuns the doctors (and Mom) by rolling over for the first time.
  15. December – Jim and Shannon are counting their blessings. Big Brother #1 has grown into the perfect combination of wild and sweet.  He LOVES to run, build, read and NOT listen to his Mom and Dad.  Big Brother #2 is the friendliest little spitfire you’ll ever meet. He spends his time karate chopping and “kangaroo hopping” through whatever his brother builds and loves to throw everything in site especially if it’s a ball or a ball-like object.  And our darling little girl has more than quadrupled her birth weight and is a smiling, giggling, little bundle of pure joy.  In retrospect, 2014 may have brought a lot of stress but it also gave Jim and Shannon the greatest blessing of their life – THREE HEALTHY CHILDREN.

See I told you it was a wild one…

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