August 31, 2010


I can't believe I have a child old enough to go to Kindergarden!  Keaton started school yesterday.  He woke up ready and so excited for his first day.  His new teacher seems really nice. I have heard nothing but good, postive things about her so I am relieved to know that. 
School starts at 8:55 a.m. and we thought we would take him earlier so we could meet the teacher and help him out alittle.  They didn't let the kids into their class until the bell rung so until then they played outside on the playground.  Andrew wanted to join in on all the fun so they ran out and played with all the little friends they knew there too. The bell rung and 200+ kids starting running everywhere. It was madness.  We finally found Keaton and Andrew was completely clueless that the bell meant time to go, so he stayed behind to play. Lance and I got a good laugh.  Andrew was so excited to be like Keaton. He even wanted to dress like him.
All the kids were greeted at the door by the teacher.  She shook their hands and asked them to find their name on a chart she had and then gave them a name tag to wear.  She invited all the kids to sit on a big reading rug in front of the class and read them a story about the first day of Kindergarden.  Keaton found some friends and sat down and listened so quietly.  Then they sent all of the parents off with a goodbye kiss that they all blew to us.  Andrew was really sad that he couldn't stay with Keaton and the rest of the class.
I have had mixed feelings about it.  I am so excited for him to start school and try new things out without me.  At the same time it is sad that doesn't need me all the time. He is only gone for 3 hours and that passes really quickly.  We are already walking down to the school to pick him up before we know it.
So far he is really enjoying it.  Even though it has only been two days he is excited to go back each morning, so that is good.
Here's to a good year and to a lot of learning. I am really excited for him.

August 26, 2010

I couldn't help myself

I just couldn't help myself with this one.  I can't believe they actually put this on the news. The brother is my all time favorite. I think I almost peed just watching it. See for yourself.......

So just remember, Hide your kids, hide your wife!

August 18, 2010

This is Me and what I love

Yep, the one always behind the camera.  But that is ok.  I am working on me before I go in front of the camera.  I am not always good at taking the pictures but someone has to do it.  I love pictures! I love taking them, and creating something amazing.   Some many think I take too many but that is nonsense.  You can never have too many.  Now if only I were beter at the video camera.  That is my next project.
So this is Me.......

I just had my hair colored but you cannot tell in this photo.  I have been blonde for as long as I can remember.  I was feeling alittle flushed with it and pretty much ready for a new look.  So we went darker.  I am doing it slowly bit by bit but we will get there by this fall.  I have darker highlights and I am loving them.
Here are some facts about me.......

~I love chick flicks!  The Notebook, 27 Dresses, Letters from Juliet, etc....  I will watch them anytime.  I am always up for a good movie with the girls.  I just read The Last Song.  Now I got to see the movie.

~ I usually fall asleep during action packed movies.  My brother-in-law Preston will always say "Oh it must have been a good one if you fell asleep."  This is very true.  I am not sure why but I do fall asleep during those kinds of movies.  But the main reason why is because they always start them late at night.  I am not a night person.  Don't get me wrong, I do like some of them. I have stayed awake to see them but for those I have seen later at night, you will find me snoozing somewhere.

~ I love my children!  I love being with them. But there is a reason why dads come home at the end of the day.  Mom gets frazzled too.  Our dad is great! He loves to be with our boys and I love that too.  I enjoy a break now and then.

~ I love to read!  It has to be a good book though.  I am reading The Alaphabet Sisters right now and I must say it is a pretty slow boring book but I will finish it nonetheless.

~ I am pretty laid back most of the time.  I love to let my kids run and play, get dirty and do whatever unless they get injured doing something.  I love watching them do new things.  They have a great love for exploring and they get that from their dad.

~ I make a dessert almost every night.  Ever since John and Carrie moved in with us, I have earned the sweet tooth award.  I seriously don't know how or why but I love to eat at night.  I got to cut back.

~ I love listening to loud and upbeat music while I clean my home.  I grew up listening to the Old Rock station and I have gained a great love for some of those songs.  It can be wild at times in our home.  If the music is loud then I am usually cleaning.

~ I love to vacum. Yes, I vacum every day.  I don't even know if my vacum does the job I am wanting, but I do it anyways thinking in my mind that it is making my carpets much more cleaner. I doubt it but I keep telling myself that it is true.

~ My favorite T.V. program is The Office.  You will find me watching it at 9:30 pm. every evening. I have rubbed off on my in-laws and they have started to join me.  Could Michael Scott be any funnier? I must say that Dwight is just as funny.  Although Creed makes me laugh every time they show him, which is not very often.

What do you love?

August 12, 2010

Family pictures

The last family picture that we took as a family was just a few days after our second child, Andrew was born.  So we were way past due for an updated family picture.  Tonight seemed like the perfect opportunity to do it.  My kids had a good day, the evening went pretty well so we tried to dolly ourselves up and go for it.  I am happy to report that we did pretty well. Since this year there was no budget for pictures we attempted to do them ourselves.  My brother came along to help us out. Between trying to position my children and looking through the lens we did it.  He was a great help by the way. Thanks Bro.!
See for yourselves what we accomplished. I feel pretty good about them too.......

I am so proud to call this handsome group of boys all mine. Aren't they adorable?

August 11, 2010

A Sunbeam teacher

Yesterday Andrew recieved a letter in the mail.  It was a small and simple letter from his Sunbeam teacher in Primary.  The letter simply expressed how grateful she was for his good behavior and that she was so excited to be his new teacher.  Andrew was so excited that he got his very own letter.  It made him feel really special and loved.  He carried it around with him all day long and even to bed.
Seems like I have been making cookies just about every other night for the boys in my household to devour the same night I make them while watching our favorite Office Episodes.  It has been a fun tradition we started ever since John and Carrie moved in with us. 
While I was making the cookies I felt impressed to call Andrew's teacher, Sister Clark and thank her for that small act of kindness that meant the world to my son.  She was alittle shocked that I would call and tell her that but she was very appreciative of the thought.  She said that she had never been called to be told thank you for sending a card in the mail.
It made my heart happy to see that with Andrew.  I love good teachers.  Teachers who go out of their way to make their children feel happy and important, but most importantly, loved! Thank you Robin for doing that. You will never know just how important that was for him.  We love you!

August 9, 2010

The S Family

I loved taking pictures of this sweet family.  These are my in-laws.  John, Carrie and their son Brantly have been living with us this summer and we have enjoyed them every minute.  Yesterday was the perfect day so we siezed the opportunity to take some pictures of them. Thanks guys! It was a pleasure.

Aren't they beautiful? They were so photogenic.

August 5, 2010

It's been 6 years

I was visiting my mom today and we were sitting on her back porch while I was putting together a robin hood tree fort out of legos for my boys and my mom asked me if I remembered Madaylnn's birthday and if we did anything.  I had to stop in my tracks and remember, oh ya, it has been 6 years.  I hope you are not reading this and think I am a horrible mother for not remembering my first child's birthday. Of course I remembered! Really I didn't.  It didn't even phase me because we were gone on vacation and I wasn't even near a calender nor a watch to know that I had passed it up.
Yes, I remember. I remember like it was yesterday.  But I can look back on it now with a smile on my face.  There is no more pain. No more sadness.  Nor more grieving.  Maybe I am a horrible mother for saying that. Maybe I am not.  Whose to say!
For those of you reading who have no idea of what I am taking about, I am talking about our first baby who was born with many complications and passed away the day she was born. Let's rewind.......
6 years ago Lance and I were so excited to be expecting our first child.  We were both anxious and nervous but mostly thrilled with having a child.  I was sicker than sick. I remember that. I remember not wanting to cook, clean or do anything because I felt so bad.  Lance came home many nights to a very simple dinner because I couldn't stomach it.  Every time Lance took me out to a nice place to eat and forking about a hefty bill, it would always end up in the toliet or in a bush afterwards.
Our 5 month ultrasound arrived. It was on a Tuesday afternoon and Lance met me at the doctor's office.  We were going to find out what we were having.  We both sat there as the ultrasound tech looked at our baby.  She was silent mostly through the whole thing not really telling us a lot.  I remember thinking that she was rude and inconsiderate for not filling us in on what she was seeing.  Finally we started to ask some questions and she asked us that she wanted to doctor to take a look first.  I didn't know what to think because I had never had one done and thought this was how they all went.  Doctor Huisch came into the room scanned around the baby for quite some time not saying a whole lot and then he asked us "Well I have some good news and some bad news! What do you want to hear first?" We of course said "the good news!' He told us " well the good news is, it's a girl! And the bad news is, there are a lot of unexplained things there were seeing in the ultrasound." He went on to explain that she had a double cleft lip and palate, multiple bubbles in her stomach and no movements of her hands opening or closing.  Usually when a girl is born with a double cleft lip and palate there in an underlying cause for it.  Whereas in boys, there isn't much concern about anything else. Don't ask me why, I never learned why that is.
I remember laying there on the table looking over at Lance who had tears in his eyes and feeling just devastated.  How could this be?  Everything is suppose to be happpy and congratulating but we had none of that.  The doctor told us that he would have to hand us over to a High Rish specialist who was specialized with things like this.
I remember feeling mad! Confused! SAD!!!! The ladies at the front desk handed me a bag full of information about babies, a big binder full of misc. information about random things and said, not knowing what just happened, "It says your having a girl!' "Must be so exciting for you!" Ya  pretty exciting given the fact that the doctor just told us that there were multiple things wrong with our baby.
Afterwards Lance and I left each other in the parking lot. Lance had to go back to work and I went back to my in-laws where were were living until our You
Well the Lord works in mysterious ways.  We had ultrasound after ultrasound done.  I loved the fact that I got to see our baby every other day seems like it on monitor. She was beautiful to me.
Well the Dr.'s decided to do a more indepth study of her chromosomes and come to find out there was a very tiny microscopic mutation on her 4th chromosome.  It was hard to find but they found the reasoning behind some of the things that were happening and more answers started to come.  Dr. Johnson put it this way that helped us understand he said "Imagine going to a library that is completely stocked with books.  Books that hold valuable information.  All of those books has something important to tell you.  You know allt he books are there on the shelves and that none are missing.  But say you went and checked out a book and the pages on the inside were missing. It would be easy to look at the shelves and know that you have all your books there, but when you open a book to see the important stuff missing, well then it makes all the difference in the world." Does that make sense? It did to us anyways.
Well time went on and we were doing ok.  My sister Rachel came to live in Mesa with us for awhile.  She needed to get out of town for something new.  I was thrilled with the idea of her having close to me.  I love my sister very much.
May 13th 2004 and it was Lance's birthday.  We were scheduled to go in for an ultrasound and then the birthday festivities were going to begin.  Well bad news, I was dialating to a 2 and almost 80% effaced. I was going into labor and I was only 5 months along.  I was admitted into the hospital that day.  So much for a birthday party ha? Lance was the greatest sport. To celebrate, my in-laws brang Taco Bell to our room that night and we visited. I was on strict bedrest. I had doctors and nurses everywhere trying to help us get settled in.  I was told I would have to stay in the hospital until I had the baby. I didn't want to be in there for 4 months because I knew I was going to carry our baby full term.  Well after 20 different doctors came to see me and tell me more bad news we decided that I would go home and leave it up to our baby when she would make her appearance.  It wasn't going to change the outcome because we were told we had a 50/50 chance of our daughter surviving.  Lance and I just wanted to get out of there and go home and leave it in the Lord's hands.
We were told that we would be back in over the weekend to deliever her because there was no way she was going to stay in there for much longer.  We were going to prove them wrong.
We called my family and my mom flew up the next day so she wouldn't miss being there for the birth of her first grandchild.
To make this amazing long story short, she flew in. I went home and lived on my living room couch.  Next week a man drives his car through our home (story for another day) and we are on every nightly news channel of what happened. Endless phone calls and visits from friends and family. Unbelievable is all I have to say.
I was on bedrest for another 3 months. We proved the medical proffesional wrong.  We did it! Our baby did it! It was a sad time but I am so glad that my mom and sister were living with us.  It was a guessing game as to when she would be born and my mom didn't want to miss it so she stayed until the baby came and it was 3 months. She lived with us in the dead of Arizona's hot summer and she did it! I know she missed home. She woud buy flower magaizines so she could see green, country sides and beautiful things.  Arizona has some beauty to  it but not much if you ask me. I am not a fan of the desert.
Lance's brother Lee had just gotten home from his mission.  This was towards the last of July.  The whole family was in town and we were tall together.  Lance's mom had rented out Stapley swimming pool for a family get together and to welcome Lee home.  I needed to get out of the house so we all decided to go. I was only about a month away from my actual due date and things were good.  So we went and had a great time.  We left around 10:30- 11 p.m. and I had a really strange feeling that something was happening. I don't remember feeling any pain. I just remember having the thought " Go to the hospital and get things checked out." So I told Lance.  My mom, sister, Lance and I were in the car and I told Lance and he didn't think we should since I wasn't in pain or my water hadn't broken.  So we had nothing to loose so we went.  They checked me out and I was dialated to 6 cm. and they told me I was in active labor. 
One the most amazing genes I got from my mother was her fast labors.  We were admitted into the hospital and when they were registering me in my water broke. I had tons of fluid. I soaked pretty much anyone who came near me. This was it! She was coming and I hadn't prepared myself at all.
The staff at Banner Baywood Hospital was the best.  They made us feel so comfortable.  I was not in any pain and I didn't want to be in case we had complications so they hooked me up to an epidural just in case.  The only thing that physically hurt during labor was my I.V..  I slept mostly that night.  I was told I was at a 10 around 5:30 that morning and I pushed once and she was here.  Now going into this we had prepared ourselves and the hospital staff as to what was going to happen if she did survive or if she didn't.  I was nervous, excited and sad. I imagined that she would come out completely whole and prove all the medical staff that the Lord is in control, but that is not always the case.
We agreed from the very beginning that if she needed to oxygen, feeding tubes and other machines to keep her alive, well that is not living, it is being kept alive by machine.  So we prayed and felt good that if that were the case we wouldn't intervine medically. But is she did come out breathing on her own and was going to survive we would see at that point what was to be done.
I won't go into much detail because it is all too personal but our baby was born at 5:39 a.m..  She was born without crying, opening her eyes or moving.  She was silent and still.  She didn't even open her eyes.  It was like giving birth to a baby that was fast asleep.  We were told that she had a very faint heart beat and that she wasn't going to make it.  If we wanted to call family and friends now would be the time for those we wanted to let come and see her.  My family had flown down from Idaho first thing that morning and they arrived later that afternoon. Lance's family came with all their little children to come and see her. We wanted everyone to have a chance. It was July 28th, 2004.
She was almost full term. One month short of a full term baby which is a miracel I carried her that long. My actual due date was August 28th.
But before all that happened. Our baby was born.  When she was born I just knew in my heart that it was not going to turn out how I am pictured it to be.  The doctor told us that she had little time left and all the doctors and nurses left us alone with our baby to grieve and say our goodbyes.
I remember them handing her to me.  She had the darkest hair I can remember.  She had tons of curly hair.  A curse from both her father and I.  She was so soft and so little.  She weighed 3 lbs 10 oz. and was 16 inches long.  She was heaven.  We had only 59 minutes with her but those 59 minutes were the most peaceful 59 minutes of my life.  She passed away very quitely and they declared her dead.
We had some genetic testing done on her and both Lance and I to see if this would be something that would happen again. Turns out it was a fluke and something that will never happen again. She was diagnosed with Wolfe Hischorn Syndrome.  It is so rare that most of our doctors had no idea what was involved. So we did a few studies of our own. Every child that has been born with this syndrome usually die after birth. The birthing experience is just to much for them to handle.  There is dwarfism, mental retardation and the mental capacity of a 3 year old.  Most of them never learn to talk, walk or breath on their own. Most are kept alive on feeding tubes and oxygen.  What kind of life would we have given our child had to chose to go that route?  There are also some very distinct facial features that go along with this syndrome.  The first time I looked it up on a website there was a picture of a little girl named Madeline too with this same rare syndrome.  Strange that we had the same name picked out.  Most doctors study these kinds of cases in medical school but seldom do they actually see these symptoms in real patients. The doctors askes us if they  might use Madalynn's body for further testing. We declined and told them all they could take was a small skin sample for the genetic testing to see if this was something that would happen again. They were understanding with us.
The hospital staff was amazing.  They allowed us to stay in the labor and delivery room with our baby for as long as we wanted.  We had a steady stream of visitors for  2 days so they allowed us a bigger room to accomadate all of them.
I am not sure if you have been around someone who has passed away for a length of time but the blood starts to set in and the skin becomes dark and cold. That is when we knew it was time to say our goodbyes and plan a funeral.  Before we left my grandmother ,who is extremely afraid of planes, flew up just to be there with me. I couldn't believe it. Another miracle. She brang a blessing  dress to bury her in. So before we left we prepared her body for burial.  We said our goodbyes and walked out the door with our baby in the arms of another woman rocking her. Words can't describe what that feels like.
They wheeled us out the back door of the hospital so I wouldn't have to sit with all the other mom's with their new babies waiting for their husbands to bring the car aruond so they could go home.  When Lance and I left the hospital we went straight to the funeral home to pick out a casket.
A lot of it is a blur.  I feel blessed that way.  I have felt numb to it all and I think that is Heavenly Father's way of helping me cope with her loss.
Madalynn Kay Snyder was buried in the Mesa City Cemetary right next to all the other little babies who have passed away in the Snyder/Ray Family. She is not alone.  There are a few other little companions there with her.
Now it is 6 years later.  I am not mad, nor am I sad anymore.  I feel blessed.  I have 3 boys who love me, who teach me about love and who constantly remind me of how lucky we are. One day we will see our baby and we will have the opportunity to raise her. That I know!
I have moved on. I feel sorry for those moms who have not done that yet.  What a great life I have.  I am happy and I am optomistic about our future and eternity.  We pray for her.  We share her story with our boys.  They already love her.  And I am sure they knew her even before we did.  Children are a heritage from the Lord.  Some are too pure to live here. I think Madaylnn was that.

August 4, 2010

Mom Interrupted

I just got done reading a book that Lance's uncle John Viehweg wrote called Mom Interrupted.  It is about a family who faces cancer.  Lana, who is Lance's aunt, passed away in December of 2003.  I read it in about 3 days.  It hit home because it was family.  I knew all the people that they talked about in the book.  John and Lana Viehweg had 9 children. Ranging from 18 years old to 4 yrs. old.  She was diagnosed shortly after Halloween and passed away 6 weeks later.  It all started with a cough that had been lingering for a long time.
She went to have an exam and the doctor reccommended a physical and a mammogram.  That is where they discovered a lump in her left breast.  So they sprang into action.  After a lot of tests and waiting they found out that the lump in her breast was a cyst but there was still a concern about her cough.  So they did an ultrasound and more tests on her lungs and found multiple things.  Cancer on her lungs and also on her liver.  So they started Chemo and that is when it all started going down hill. 
To make the long story short, she had all of her come to town for some cheering up and they thought she was better but my mother-in-law Sharon, who was her older sister,  spent the night with her in the hospital so John could go home and get some rest.  He wrote that he left the hospital hearing these two sisters giggling and knew that all would be well and that Lana was in good hands.  Sharon calls John early in the morning with urgency in her voice telling him that a code blue had gone off for Lana. She wasn't breathing well or responding to the nurses who came in a regular intervals to check her vitals.  So John quickly went to the hospital and she was in the CCU, Cardiac Care Unit.
Lana didn't make it.  She was a fighter from day one and she never gave up. Throughout the book she always said "Bring it on!" Lana was so swollen from all the fluid retention in her abdomen. She had a hole in her liver that was not allowing the blood transfusions to work thus filling her body up with fluid.  She had lost her hair, and John explains that her body was convulsing on the table that she had been strapped to and all the tape holding all the tubes to her face.
Lana had a great love for music.  Everything she did was centered around music.  She loved her children and was a great homemaker.  John gathered all of his 9 children around Lana including family members and they sang a few hymns and said a prayer and she passed away.
I am constantly amazed at how well this family has been able to cope with the loss of a mother and wife.  They have moved on and are still strong as ever. My hat goes off to John and all those other people who helped them out.
John has since remarried and her name is Deborah. She has taken on the incredible challenge of being a mother to 9 other children besides her 3 from a previous marriage. She is a superhero. So is John.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book.  It has filled me with more devotion to my husband, children and friends as well.  Life is too short so live it up!