FC: Our Family. Our Story. | Shannon, Andy and Reid.
1: How We Met... We met in San Francisco at a crowded bar, on a Wednesday evening in 2001. We met, started talking and hit it off right away. There was an immediate attraction and chemistry between us and after that night we were excited to see one another again. Soon after we had our first date on St. Patrick's Day and have been together ever since. | The Beginning: Our Relationship | Our First Years After dating for 18 months we decided to move in together. Our first home together was a cute apartment in Oakland, CA near Lake Merritt. We lived in sunny Oakland for two years before moving back to San Francisco for another five years. Our first years together were about really getting to know one another and having lots of fun - being with friends and family, exploring the beautiful city we lived in and lots of traveling! | Hiking in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. | Our first trip together! We drove Andy's 1991 Subaru to Santa Barbara for a long weekend.
2: Our First Years: Travels | We love to travel and look forward to traveling more with our children once they are older. | Visiting Yellowstone National Park. | Boating and scuba diving in Mexico.. | Catching enormous catfish in Thailand. | Andy enjoying a beer in London. | Andy 6" 1' Shannon 5' 3' Skiing in Banff, Canada | Quiet time during our annual Memorial Day trip to Seabeck, WA.
3: Our first time going away together! A trip to Santa Barbara. Here we are sailing on a boat whale watching. | At a friends wedding in Argentina. | Ahhhh .... Foot Massage in Thailand (while Andy was fishing)! | Relaxing on the beautiful beach in Brazil. | Coffee! Amsterdam. | Visiting NY, NY. | Biggest. Frog. Ever. Costa Rica.
4: Andy proposed in 2006 while on a hike on Bernal Hill in the Haight/ Ashbury district of San Francisco. On the hike Andy spotted a bench up ahead and suggested that we sit there for awhile. As we sat down Andy said how much he valued our partnership and that he wanted to be with Shannon for life. Of course Shannon said yes! Andy proposed with a diamond that was worn by Shannon's great- grandmother, her grandmother and her mother - Shannon loves the significance of the stone. | Deciding to be together ... | We celebrated our engagement at a Moroccan restaurant in San Francisco.
5: We were married on the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico with 40 of our closest friends and family - in the rain! | Our Wedding | Shannon's brother Michael married us - and kept us laughing the whole time! | Our nephew Sean was our ring bearer. | Andy checking the weather before the ceremony. | Our rainy ceremony.
6: Welcome Reid! | Reid Bridger Dec. 20th 7 lbs 5 oz. 21 in. | After 12 hours of labor and over 2 hours of pushing, Reid was delivered via C-section. | Relaxing in Mom & Dad's bed! | As a baby Reid loved to be outside - and Dad always kept him warm! | 8 Months pregnant! And looking uncomfortable... | Kisses from Mama before a hike. | In the front carrier with Mom. | Cuddling with favorite blankie.
7: As New Parents... | Our Oregon RV road-trip. Hiking the Oregon dunes! | The cousins love each other. Reid (age 1) Sean (age 5). | Reid has always loved to have books read to him. | Camping at the Oregon Coast for New Years Eve. Reid had just turned 1 year old. We love to camp at the beach for New Years. | Spring 2010 we went to Mexico with two other families and rented a beautiful house on the beach with a pool. Reid loves the water! | Christmas with the cousins! | Halloween 2010! | Exploring on a camping trip.
8: Giving piggy back rides at the zoo. Reid's legs always get tired at the zoo! | Relaxing with Dad after sledding and snowball fights with Ryan. | Hugs and giggles at school on "picture day." | Reid and his friend Jackson goofing around in the kiddie pool in our front yard. | Roasting marshmallows with Daddy! | After swim cuddles at the pool in Corvallis. | Art projects and big camera smiles in the kitchen.
9: Our Life Now... | Getting ready for a canoe ride on Clear Lake. | Playing in the Willamette River. Our favorite summer activity! | Finding some shade on a hot, summer day. | Lunch picnic at the park. Reid claims to have "special skin" that doesn't get cold! | The activity table in our front room is always covered with Legos. | First time skiing at age three! | Looking cool at Oaks Park Amusement Park. | Making jewelry together on a camping trip.
10: Playing around at home. Love this picture with Reid's big smile. | Getting the fishing rod's ready! Looking through the tackle box together. | At "Big Trucks Day" - an event where kids get to see all sorts of giant trucks! | Reid and his friend Jackson enjoying a cold drink and relaxing on our back deck.. | "I can put this life jacket on by myself!" | On the bus with mom & Wyatt for a school field trip! | Warming up after swimming at the pool.
11: "Life is a journey, not a destination.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson | Cooking breakfast in our RV trailer. | Feeding the ducks in the Willamette River with Jackson. | Riding on Daddy's shoulders at the zoo. | These cousins love each other! Lunch picnic at the park with Ryan. | Enjoying a Portland Timbers soccer game - Michael, Fumiko, Sean & Ryan were there too! | Getting some help balancing on the curb! | Relaxing on the shore of the Willamette River. | Someone doesn't want to have his picture taken anymore.
12: Andy on Shannon: I admire many things about Shannon, like her creativity, her warmth for her friends and family, her dedication to our partnership and how she is a rockstar mom. | Shannon | Birthday: January 7th Favorite Colors: Blue and Purple Favorite Book: Water for Elephants Favorite Activity: Spending time with family, doing art projects with Reid and making jewelry Nicknames: Moose, Poozie, Shanz, Mama Favorite Foods: Popcorn, chips and anything salty Favorite Vacation: In summer 2010 when Andy, Reid and I rented an RV and road-tripped around Oregon Next Vacation: Anywhere warm! Education: Bachelor of Science in Psychology College: University of Oregon | FUN FACT In 2003 Shannon went to the Oscars and was on the red carpet with all the celebrities.
13: Teenage Shannon making awesome faces for the camera. | Shannon in college with her close friends Bianca and Alexis. | Shannon has always liked dressing up! | Getting to know baby Reid. | Shannon and her Dad laughing with baby Sean. (Sean was Shannon's first nephew) | Shannon has always loved cats but is now terribly allergic! Growing up she had lots of cats. | Shannon playing soccer in High School. | Shannon and her brother Michael at her High School graduation.
14: Shannon's Story | My Childhood Growing up in Corvallis we lived in an old, yellow farmhouse on seven acres of old farm land. My brother Michael and I were very close as kids (and still are) – I always felt lucky to have a loving and protective older brother. We were a tight knit family growing up and had family dinners most nights, which I really appreciate looking back. My mom was a stay at home mother and was very active in our lives. | People Who Have Influenced Me I know a lot of women who hate it when people tell them they are turning into their mothers. For me, I love it when people say that because my mom is awesome – and I hope that I can be like her! My mom is almost 70 years old and is in better shape than most people I know. She rides her bike hundreds of miles each summer and exercises almost every day. She has so many friends and activities and so many people who love her. She is warm, loving and has a constant positive attitude. She is adored by her grandkids and is always thinking of new and fun things to do with them. Sure she can get annoying just like any Mom- but I can say I am so happy to be like her. | Taking a "bath" in the kitchen sink! | Shannon and her brother getting "pretend married." | Shannon and her Mom.
15: Greatest Life Lesson My greatest life lesson comes from the overwhelming grief I experienced after losing my second son Griffin to premature birth. The lesson is in two parts: First and foremost, time does heal all things. At my lowest point and in my darkest hour I thought I would never feel happy again. But, as they say, as time has passed I continue to feel stronger and happier once again. Part of being able to move beyond the overwhelming grief is learning the second part of the lesson – how important it is to find and appreciate the silver lining – the gift of the wound. After losing Griffin I learned so much about myself and my family and that truly is the gift of my wound. | Shannon with her cousins, Shoshana and Alison. In 2012 we ran a 5K race together in Seattle. | Shannon with her mom and Grandmother (Dami). | Personality & Outlook on Life Before I was a stay at home mom I worked for a large company and was often told in the workplace that “I am too nice.” When I was younger people telling me this used to upset me. As I have gotten older I’ve realized that being “nice” is an essential and wonderful part of my personality. It makes me feel good to be nice to people and offer help to others when needed. I love having close friends and want to go out of my way to help them and make them feel loved. I often tell people now that I don’t want to ever work in a place or be involved in an activity again where being nice is a bad thing. | From left: Shannon's brother Michael, sister-in-law Fumiko, Mom, Nephew Sean and Dad | Family
16: Shannon on Andy: I appreciate that Andy is honest, loving and that he takes such good care of our family. I love how intelligent Andy is, that he's a great communicator and most of all an amazing Daddy. I also appreciate that Andy wakes up with Reid most mornings and then brings me coffee in bed! | Andy | Birthday: January 7th Favorite Color: Orange Favorite Book: Any camping or fishing book on the Northwest Favorite Activity: Almost anything outdoors Nicknames: Andy C, AC, Uncs and Ombudsman Favorite Foods: Pizza Favorite Vacation: When Shannon and I went to Costa Rica in 2004 and stayed in the Rain Forest Next Vacation: Camping around Oregon Education: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and History. Juris Doctorate (Law Degree) College: Butler University and University of Colorado at Boulder | FUN FACT Andy once won two, free, roundtrip tickets to London in a raffle drawing.
17: Andy with a host family while traveling in Bolivia. | Andy fishing in Argentina while studying there during Law School. | Andy has always liked dressing up too! | Andy skiing with his long time, close friend Pete. | Andy, Shannon and his Dad, Gil in Yellowstone National Park. | Andy ran track and cross country in college. Here he is looking pretty tired! | Andy snowmobiling in High School in Montana. | Andy played football in Middle School and High School - and still loves the game!
18: Andy's Story | My Childhood Bozeman was an awesome place to grow up, as long as you didn’t mind cold and snowy winters! Bozeman was small enough that it was safe, friendly and familiar. I was blessed to spend so much time outdoors with my family, and especially my dad, whose work schedule was pretty flexible by virtue of working as a college professor. This instilled in me a lifelong love of outdoors recreation. | My Favorite Memory The birth of our son Reid, amidst the biggest snowstorm in 50 years in Portland. Our family members were worried we would not be able to drive to the hospital. Such a whirlwind but such a great start to a magical journey with Reid | People Who Have Influenced Me My dad – for a love of the outdoors. Several of my teachers / professors / coaches – inspiring me to achieve academically and opening new doors in my life experience. Lifelong friends who helped me understand the great parts of “me” and showed me other great perspectives for how to live. Shannon, for the power and beauty of partnership. And to be a great parent.
19: Greatest Life Lesson That you can’t necessarily plan the future. When I was young, I had strong ideas about how I wanted things to go, and yet sometimes they turned out quite differently. I came to accept that part of life is appreciating that sometimes things don’t go according to plan. As I got older, this lesson was reinforced as I experienced some painful family losses. I have continued to learn this lesson, and I now try to always focus on the things in life that are within your control, and to just be at peace with the other parts of life that are out of our control. | Personality & Outlook on Life My outlook on life is to be an individual and treat everyone with respect and dignity. Although there are tough things in the game of life you can’t control, I believe that your attitude is something you can largely impact. As such, I aspire to be a person with an upbeat, “can do” attitude. I also believe striving to maintain a positive attitude positively impacts those around you. | Family | Andy with his Mom at our wedding. | Andy with his Dad at the wedding. | From left: Andy's sister Amy, Mom, Grandmother, Uncle Rob and Aunt Christa.
20: Andy on Reid: Reid is a magical kid and a blessing to us. He loves playing games, reading books and especially using his imagination. And he's very excited to be a big brother! Shannon on Reid: Reid has an amazing imagination and endless creativity. I love that he is always suggesting fun ideas for what we do next "Mommy, I have a GREAT idea!" He is loving and cuddly and I'm so happy to be his Mama. | Reid | Birthday: December 20th Favorite Color: Red Favorite Book: Watch Out Wombat, Sam the Library Mouse, any Frog and Toad book Favorite Activity: Reading, making art projects, playing at the playground, swimming and watching Rescue Bots on TV Nicknames: Reid-Kun, Bugaboo, Goose, Bridge, RBC, Little One Favorite Foods: Ice cream, chips, popsicles, candy and popcorn Favorite Vacation: Going camping with my cousins Next Vacation: Somewhere with friends Education: Preschool! | FUN FACT Reid laughs and giggles in his sleep almost every night.
21: Reid is always up for strawberry picking (eating). | Fishing in the canoe! | Reid has the best costume box in the playroom! | Reid competed in a pie eating contest in 2012. He barely finished one piece much to his dismay. | Reid "working on" Dad's car - complete with toolbox and gloves. | Reid loves to "write books" and always wears his fake glasses to do so. | Pure joy! A beautiful day at the Oregon Coast and running naked in the waves | Shannon and Reid spent a whole morning riding the MAX train as many times as he wanted.
22: We live in a quiet area on a cul de sac. We love having play dates and parties where kids can play in our cul de sac - biking, baseball, hopscotch and more. Our home also has a great backyard with a hot tub (mostly for grown ups), a play structure, a giant sandbox that Andy built a few years ago and lots of fruit bushes- raspberries, strawberries and blueberries. We love our home and hope to live in it until our kids are grown. | Our Home & Neighborhood | Our backyard. | Home. | Hanging out in the kitchen. | The view from our back deck on a sunny day. | Playing in the play room! Reids room is attached and the nursery is down the hall.
23: Reid calls this his "exercise." | Cousin's Lemonade Stand. They made $37! | Shannon often sets up "Treasure Hunts" in the neighborhood - with pirate costumes! | Andy and Reid built a Hot Wheels car ramp. | Cousins and friends splashing in the kiddie pool in our front yard. | Swinging at our neighborhood park. | Indoor picnic for Reid and his turtle! | Uncle Michael pitching for Reid in the cul de sac. | Family pic in the kitchen.
24: Our Traditions | Our traditions almost always include family or being outdoors - or both! Our family loves to be together and we spend holidays, birthdays, special events and milestones together. We try to have dinner together several times a month. | Every Memorial Day we stay in beautiful cabins on Hood Canal with four other families. | Every spring we take a warm & sunny vacation. Reid is feeding a giraffe at the Tucson Zoo. | We always cut down our own Christmas tree at a local farm. | Our summers are filled with lots of camping trips. | Sunday night family dinners! We love to have the aunts, uncles and cousins over for dinner whenever possible!
25: Every Forth of July weekend Andy and Shannon go on a canoe trip - just the two of us. We spend the day together, pack a lunch, bring books and just enjoy one another. | We spend 4th of July with family and always buy way too many fireworks - not that the kids complain! Trying out sparklers for the first time on July 4th 2012. | Family camping trip! We love being outside together and take many camping trips all summer long - and sometimes in the winter. | We always have parties to celebrate birthdays! Reid's 3rd birthday party.
26: Our Values & Beliefs | Love | Family | Partnership | Honesty | Spirituality | Individuality | Kindness | We believe giving the most love to a child, from as many people as possible will help provide a happy life and a successful future. | Family is the most important thing in our lives. We believe that family should stay close to one another and support each other. | We believe that you should always be honest. Honesty is important for keeping relationships strong and healthy. | Our partnership is what makes and keeps our marriage strong. We both believe that we are truly partners in life. | While we are not associated with a specific religion, we do believe that there is a higher power that steers us in the right direction. | Individuality is so important to us. We believe that everyone should do what is right for themselves. | We treat people like we want to be treated in this world. Simple kindness can make so much difference in other peoples lives.
27: Open Adoption Aspirations | We want as many people possible to love our children - teachers, extended family, friends and especially our child's birth family. We want our child's birth family to love our children and play a positive role in their lives. | We sought out open adoption not only because we want to grow our family but because we want to grow our extended family. We want our child's birth family to feel like a natural extension of our family. We are also so excited for Reid and his sibling(s) to gain the life experience of having a sibling. | We value honesty in all situations and relationships. Therefore we hope that in our open adoption relationship there is continued honesty and communication between our families | We hope our open adoption relationship is truly a partnership where we are joined and committed to each other because of our shared love for a child - and our efforts are joined in doing what is best for our child. | We hope that our child's birth family makes their entrustment decision in peace, and that they remain at peace with that decision because of their continued positive involvement in our child's life. | We are excited for open adoption to provide a diverse experience for our family by creating a family outside of the “norm.” We think it's important for our children to know that all families are not created in the same way. | We hope that as we move through the open adoption process and as our children grow that Open Adoption and Family Services remains active in our lives. We anticipate needing help and counseling with difficult questions as our children get older, and we look forward to working with OA&FS in the future.
28: Hopes for Our Children | We have been blessed to have amazing families. As adults our parents have become our friends and continue to be our strength, comfort and support as we deal with life's challenges. Our parents provide us unconditional love and have raised us to be strong individuals who know who they are. Above all this is what we hope for our children and our family. We hope that we can be the same amazing parents that our parents were to us. We hope to raise independent, confident individuals who are successful and happy in life - and who grow into who they were meant to be. We hope to, and we will, always provide unconditional love to our children - and have them know that, no matter what, we support them, love them and will do anything for them. We knew when we decided to get married that we wanted to have children. We are planners and we began talking then about the life we wanted to provide to our children. These talks led to the move from San Francisco to Portland - because we wanted to raise our children close to extended family and have a better quality of life. We also did things like purchase a home that was large enough for multiple kids, in a neighborhood close to Shannon's brother. We started two college savings bank accounts when we became pregnant with Reid because we wanted multiple children. We also became involved in family activities and communities to ensure our children had a positive and diverse early childhood. Finally as we expand our family through open adoption we have specific dreams for the child we hope to add to our family. We hope our child has a strong sense of self from knowing exactly where they came from. We hope our child has emotional maturity from having a diverse life experience. We hope our child has strong ties to their birth family. And finally, we hope our children become lifetime advocates of open adoption.
29: Thank you for reading our family book. | "With my whole heart, for my whole life." -Unknown | We wish you peace on your journey and in life.