Bio: Shannon

Shannon, husband Rich and their children Sabrina and Jake
  • Age: 36
  • Spouse: Rich, age 38, is a retired Navy officer and now full-time student in law school
  • Kids: Sabrina, 13, and Jake, 10
  • Pets: Sally, a black lab; Tinkerbell, a golden retriever puppy; Spanky, a cantankerous Canadian cat
  • Hometown: Salem, Oregon
  • Writing: Not in Room 204 (a children's picture book, published by Albert Whitman & Co)
  • Website: shannonriggs.com
Greatest inspiration: My husband, who after 20 years in the Navy is now re-inventing his career as a full-time student in law school

The TV show that best describes my family life: Is there a show about a family with a dad in the US Navy that moved 15 times in 17 years? If there were, that would be it! Favorite time of day with my kids: After school. I love hearing about their day and getting a glimpse of the independent adults they'll someday become.

Least Proud "Mom" Moment: The kids were 3 and 1 at the time, and we had taken them to an evening church service where they were the only kids in attendance. They behaved so badly, we had to leave early. As I was buckling them into their car seats, I actually heard myself say, "I am never taking you two to church again!" Yeah, that'll fix them.

Favorite part of getting older: Seeing my kids' interests grow in unexpected ways, like when shy and quiet Sabrina chose the trombone to play in the 7th-grade band, or when Jake volunteered to play the Darth Vader theme song on the piano in front a school-wide assembly with 350 kids watching

Favorite thing to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon: If it's not raining, taking the dogs for a walk. If it is raining, reading and napping!

Funniest thing my kids have said or done lately: Recently, when Sabrina's 7th-grade soccer team scrimmaged against a high school team, she told us that she thought it ought to be a law that you can't play soccer against 7th graders if you're big enough to have things orbit around you.

Jake excused himself from dinner one night to go to the powder room. He stepped out when he was finished and said, "Call Wolf Blitzer. This is now a Situation Room." Do you think that means I watch too much CNN?

Favorite season or holiday: Thanksgiving, because it has all of the family and none of the stress of presents!

Parenting pet peeve: It's a tie: Tissues that don't make it into the bathroom wastebasket, and when the kids throw clean clothes in the hamper just because they don't feel like putting them away.

Favorite afternoon snack with kids: Carrots with homemade ranch dip. Also, cookies.

My Philosophy of Parenting: Parent with the end in mind. Focus on what they'll need to know as adults and let smaller stuff slide. Nagging insecurity: Walking the tightrope of being involved enough, but not too involved

Best decision I ever made: Starting both kids on piano lessons, even though my husband and I had zero musical training. At 13 and 10, they're now in their sixth year of lessons, and both have recently started playing second instruments — Sabrina, the trombone, and Jake, percussion. When my husband recently retired from the Navy, we happened to settle in a city with a strong music program in the schools. Their musical background has really helped the kids transition into their new schools.

If money were no object... I would open a shelter for women and children affected by domestic violence.

Five things in my purse: A light blue wallet, a new "Retiree" military dependent ID card, two shades of lipstick, business cards with a picture of my new book on them, and five old raffle tickets that say "Keep this coupon"

TV mom I'm most like: Deborah from "Everybody Loves Raymond"

Best thing about my husband: His endless energy and his willingness to work hard for our family and for our community

Biggest parenting challenge: Helping my kids overcome shyness. Sometimes I push, and they're happy I did. Other times, it drives them crazy. It's hard to know when it's right to push and when to hold back!

Least favorite household chores: All of the above

Favorite family dinner: Tortilla soup. Any meal that's served with chips has to be good!

The most important thing I can teach my children: To know and love themselves and to follow their hearts

The biggest lesson I've learned from my kids: To know and love myself and to follow my heart
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