November 28, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Our fireplace is not quite finished but it will get there

 Our Christmas tree this year. Yes kind of plain but my boys decorated it this year. Yes, it is real!
 We put this ornament on our tree every year. When our daughter Madalynn passed away the hospital gave us this angel ornament to remember her every year. So she hangs on our tree each year.
Grandma Snyder would love to see this.  This is the Grinch set that she gave us two years ago. We love it!
My boys love it!

My mini Christmas trees in the family room upstairs. It isn't the best picture and it doesn't do it justice, but they are beautiful.
More pictures to come. Stay tuned........
Let it snow! Let it snow!

It has been snowing almost every day this past week.  We love it! It makes me happy! It makes me happy seeing my boys enjoying it. We want more!!!!!!

November 26, 2010

Black Friday

I love Black Friday! I am one of the very few people I know who actually enjoy getting up really early to battle the crowds for the best deal on the best gifts.  So this year my dad, my sister Rachel and I went.  I got up at 5 a.m. and met up with my dad at his house and then we went to pick up my sister at her home.  We had a great time too!  I think I got most of my shopping done.  I usally do on Black Friday.
This year my boys are into Batman everything. The games, the figurines and whatever else there is out there. Lance and I got them a few things that have to do with Batman. We also scored on a V-Tech Reader for Keaton. He is going to love it! It looks like a DS for kids. I also got him a Batman game to go with it.  Owen, well he is still too young to know what Christmas really is so I told his secret Santa to just buy him a little tyke shopping cart. He LOVES those! My parents have one and so does my sister and he will push that around forever so we need one of those at our home.  Andrew, I am not so sure about him. They usually play the same thing so we kind of got two of everything minus a few suprises. Then I got really lucky at the Carter's outlet mall. I got a ton of cute clothes for my boys. It is about time they start wearing clothes that don't have holes in them, clothes that fit them and clothes that will keep them warm. So we succeeded this year.
Then my father treated us to breakfast at IHop. It was the perfect thing for our starving bellies.  We didn't stay out too long. We were back by 10:30 almost 11 a.m.. I went to pick up my boys at my parents so Lance could go to work.  We headed back to our home so I could put Owen down for his nap and then I busted out our Christmas decorations.  Everything is up besides our Christmas tree (which is always a real one) and the Grinch set that Lance's mom gave to us.  This happens every year and I can't stand it and then I always end up finding it after Christmas is over with. So this week I am on the hunt for the Grinch.  Wish me luck!


We had Thanksgiving dinner at our home this year.  Since we are only getting bigger and larger in size we decided our home was a little bigger to hold everyone this year. We were right too, it was just the right size.  Lances' oldest sister Rashelle, her husband - Dave and their two boys, Brayden and Devin came up from Utah to spend it with us.  We are so glad they did too.  It was a big sacrifice on their part getting here but they made it and we had such a nice time with them.  Since Eldon and Shelli moved out their room was vacant so we just said " Who's next?" It fit them just right too.  Since Shelli (my sister-in-law) was in Utah with her family, her husband Eldon stayed with us and occupied my boys bedroom.  I know, I know it sounds complicated and I won't got into any more detail but we all fit and we had plenty of space.
It was my first time ever making the turkey and it turned out sooooo gooooood! I was alitlte worried that it wasn't going to be ready on time but it pulled through for me.  Everyone brought something to pitch in for the dinner and it was fantastic! Thanks everyone for your help!  I just love having everyone at my home. 
The boys played nicely together.  Ava did really well with all of them too, being the only girl. Soon enough her new baby sister will be here and she won't be left out.
We ate, we played and we stayed up late playing the Great Dalmuti. Ever play the game? It is so much fun. It is a family favorite.  I didn't take too many pictures but here is a look at our evening.  Until next  year.  We hope yours was nice too.
This is my nephew Brantly and it was his first Thanksgiving.
The traditional Snyder Family veggie Turkey

 Keaton and Devin in their indian costumes they made
Aunt Carrie was the best at entertaining the kids. They loved her!

November 21, 2010

First Snow

Yep, we woke up this morning to snow. My boys are thrilled and the forecast calls for a week full of snow storms.  It made me happy this morning to see snow.  Let the week of Thanksgiving festivities begin.

November 19, 2010

Ray Family Reunion

About every other year Lances' mom's side of the family gets together for a Ray Family Reunion. This isn't just any family reunion.  It is a cramned 3 day event. Every hour is planned and there is a lot to do. I just found this pictuer and I thougth it would be fun to introduce to you at least half of the family that showd up. There were quite a few of those who didn't attend either. So you can imagine it only getting bigger and bigger. They are an amazing group of people who have inspired me to be a better person.
May I introduce the Ray Family......

November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving activities

Our good friend from our ward approached me this past summer and told me of a preschool that she was planning to start up this fall.  I had been brain storming ideas of where I would put Andrew for preschool.  He was old enough and he needed to find his own place and get his own group of friends.  Emily asked if I would watch her youngest son in exchange for Andrew's schooling.  I thought it was a great deal and I couldn't pass up on it.  Her youngest is my youngest sons age too so I thought it would work out rather well.  Well I was right.  He has been doing great so far this year.  He has loved it.  Mrs. Emily is an amazing teacher who loves these kids and he is happy.  I am happy.  It has been just want he needed.
She built a huge school room on to her house and they have it there each week.  The room is so much fun and I have fun when I go in there. There are happy colors and the enviornment is just great.
As I was cleaning off my fridge that was covered in my boys art work from school this past week, I found a volunteer calender that Keaton's teacher sends home with them each month.  All the moms get to sign up each month to come and volunteer in the classroom. I LOVE it! I love watching Keaton in the classroom and see him interact with his classmates. It is a sweet thing to watch them learn and play and make friends.
I saw that I was signed up for this mornings class. I also wanted to be a part of Andrew's Thanksgivnig feast for his preschool. Since I can't really be in two places at the same time, I spent a hour and a half with Keaton's class and then the second hour and a half with Andrew's class.
Keaton's kindergarden teacher is a sweet lady. She is a great teacher and is very sincere with her students. Keaton is learning a lot from her.  I hate to brag but Keaton is a very smart boy for his age.  He is more advanced than some of the kids in there. I think sometimes he gets bored because he knows a lot of the stuff already. So next year we are signing him up to go to a Charter school that has a great reputation.  I was suprised that they did not mention anything about Thanksgiving while I was there. I was alittle disappointed that they didn't tell the story of the first Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it. It is just common history and everyone should know that but I guess they are going to try to take that out of public school then? It is just sad. So while they were at recess I slipped away to Andrew's school.  They were just sitting down to have their Thanksgiving feast. Andrew was so excited about it. I had been up last night making rolls for him to take and he was so excited to share them with everyone else.

Mrs. Emily (his teacher) was dressed up as an Indian woman. While they were sitting down to eat she pulled out some pilgrim and indian statues and told them about why we celebrate Thanksgiving. I was so thankful for that. Of course if no one was going to tell my children about it then I was going to do it for FHE next week. But nonetheless, we will tell the story again and act it out this time.  They had a great time. He had a fun time. I even had a little fun too.
Now the kids are out for 10 days on Thanksgiving break. Can you believe that? 10 days. What are we going to do? Time to have a little fun. Enjoy the holidays! I know we are going to!

November 12, 2010

Flashback Friday

Tonight I am taking you back almost 10 years ago when I started my mission. I was called to serve in the Chile, Santiago West mission.  I arrived in Chile on December 23rd 2000.  I was a nervous wreck. Ask my trainer or anyone who was there when they say me.  I was scared to death.  I had been in the mission field for about 6 weeks. My trainer, Hermana Ashworth finished her mission.  No one told me that that was going to be really hard. I was still in my first area, 5 de Abril, en Maipu, Chile. The ward was called Lo Errazuriz. I recieved my second companion, Hermana Van De Graaff.  She was amazing.  She was hard working.  She became my new best friend.  We hit it off on the first day.  I was so thankful I didn't get a native companion. I was dreading that part.
(This is Hna. Van De Graaff and I outisde our pension in 5 de Abril, Maipu)
(We were invited over for dinner with Franco and Clara. We had so much fun with them)
 (Companionship study in our bedroom. Really nice I know)

Let's just say that we worked our tails off with only one baptism. We were only together for 6 weeks but those were some of the best 6 weeks of my mission.  Some of our highlights, walking, lots of walking, meeting our first amazingly handsome Chilean man on a door contact, singing Chayenne in the streets, meeting Fernando in the streets. Now mind you, this wasn't just any man.  We came across him one afternoon while walking. He was laying on the grass listening to his little radio. He looked a little strange but he was a Child of God and he deserved to hear the message, so we approached him.  He accepted and funny enough we kept meeing with him and we finally found out where he lived so we met with the rest of his family. He was an older man, alittle slow at times, ok slow most of the time. He was only interested in "protecting us."  One night after we had a discussion with he and his family, he asked us if he could walk us home.  He then went on pointing at his "combat boots" that he was wearing telling us that he was the "defender of our faith" and that he was there to keep us safe.  We thanked him nicely but declined the offer so instead he sent us home with peanuts and coke. Fair enough I guess.
Joey (Hna. Van De Graaff's first name), do you remember meeting Franco and Clara for the first time? Do you remember teaching them? I remember feeling something really strong with them. I just knew they were going to make it. After a lot of hard work and a lot of faith on their part Franco was baptized and Clara started going back to church.  Do you remember leaving their home one night after he told us that he would be baptized? I remember almost crying because we were so happy.  Remember walking home one night from a discussion and we were given so much to drink and we started talking about some of the elders and I had to sit or I was going to pee? Remember that? Little did I know that that story was going to be spread throughout the mission and I would soon be labled "Anda gringa?"
Thanks for the great time we had together.  You taught me a lot of great and important lessons that I took with me for the rest of my mission.  You are such a good friend. Muchas gracias Hermanita! Me ensenaste muchisimo. Gracias a ti, yo ensene muchas cosas importantes. Nunca olvidare nuestro tiempo juntos. Espero que estes super bien con tu familia. Te extrano mucho. Besos y abrazos. Gracias!

November 9, 2010

Who's coming to Thanksgiving?

Who's coming? I am still not sure. Let us know. Because this year we are going all out for dinner and decorations. I am currently collecting ideas if anyone has any.  This is going to be great. I am so excited. Bring on the Holidays!

November 8, 2010

Taking a moment

Outside my window..  I can't really see anything because it is so dark.  It is staring to get that way way to early
I am thinking... If Owen would just calm down and go back to sleep, life would be ok for him.
I am thankful for... a lot of things. I wish I could list them all but you would get too bored. But one thing I am thankful for is good music.
From the learning room....I realized this past week just how much I relied on T.V. to keep my kids entertained. That was a big mistake on my part. I am going to try and do better.
I am reading...The Undaunted by Gerald Lund
I am wondering.....when the first snow is going to come. Believe it or not, I am getting pretty excited about it.
I am hearing.....Owen cry from his bedroom and I am debating whether to let him cry it out or go to him.
Today if I could change one thing.... I would take back the 2 chocolate chip cookies I ate. They are hurting my tummy.
I am quoting....."It is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all." Laura Ingalls Wilder
I am going.... to be much more patient this week with my boys even though I feel like pulling my hair out most days.
I am hoping....that I will get a good nights rest tonight. I could really use that.
One of my guilty pleasures is.........taking a long hot bath after my kids are in bed. Then curling up in bed with a good book to read.
Pet Peeves......people who wear wrinkled clothing.
One of my favorite giving my babies a bath and then rubbing them down with baby lotion. I love cuddling them and just breathing them in. I love that new baby smell.
An enjoyable movie I watched lately....was Toy Story 3 tonight with my boys for family night. I recommend it.
I am curious about....about these oils I have been using.I would love to learn a whole lot more.
A few plans I have for the rest of the week...clean the bathrooms, carpet clean the upstairs, help Eldon and Shelli move, Enrichment, activity days and a baby shower.
A picture and thought I am sharing with you........
(I love this picture, it is Keaton meeting Owen for the first time)
I was reading in Isaiah today, Isaiah 49:1 and it says "Your hands shaped me and made me. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;" Interesting isn't it? I will leave it at that.

No Media Challenge

Last Sunday our bishopric invited our ward to a "No media challenge".  I was alittle upset about it at first.  I use the media almost everyday to some extent.  I was alittle worried that it would end up being a bad and a really rotten week for all of us.  This media fast included the following : No internet, no news, no t.v., no movies, no music, no anything that has to deal with media. Try that!
After spending a week without the media, I can honestly say that it was nice.  I really mean that.  I realized that we used the media too much to help us raise our children.  It used to be that our boys would wake up too early for us and we would send them downstairs to put some cartoons on or even put a movie on, thanks to Keaton. How did that kid ever learn to use the t.v.? They sure are smart.
But this week when they got up early, Lance and I would take turns getting up with the boys. We would go downstairs and just play, read them stories or  help Keaton with his spelling.  It was really nice to be just with them. No interactions or disturbances from other sources. Just us.  I walked away this week having a different perspective of how we will use the media in our home.  So here are my goals.....

1. Don't use the internet while my kids need my attention
2. No watching T.V. during the day. I can spend this time playing with my boys. That is if they want to play
    with me.
3. I can do all my blogging, journaling and computer stuff at night after my boys are down for bed.  I will try
    to stick with this. You may have to remind me now and then but it is my new goal.
4. Listen to more positive and uplifting music. Unless I am cleaning. I have to have louder music while I do
    that. It is what motivates me to get it done.

So here are a few of the things I am going to try from now on.  I challenge each of you to do a no media fast this week, or sometime with your family. You may be suprised just how nice it can be.