December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

This year we had a great time.  The boys were more excited then we had ever seen them.  They were really excited.  The only thing that would have made it even better would have been snow, but since you can't do anything about that we still had a great time.

Lance and I were hoping that the boys would sleep in alittle longer.  Ya right.  Keaton was the first to get up at 6 a.m and then he crept into our room to tell us that Santa had come and that there were a million presents under the tree.  So we made him wait in our bed until Andrew and Owen started to stir.  Well Andrew was the next in line.  Since Ellie was already awake, we still had Owen to wait on.  So we gave him about 20 minutes to wake up.  We turned on the front room lights and started to make some noise but no luck.  So Lance went in and woke him up.  Poor little guy, he would have slept in too I am sure of it.  He woke up happy so that was a good sign.
The previous night Lance showed the boys a website that was tracking Santa's every move.  Andrew and Keaton were running down stairs to check on it every 3 minutes.  Andrew was really curious as to when Santa would come to Star, Idaho. It was so fun to watch them be so anxious about it.
The boys got their Christmas pajamas. We have had that tradition in both Lance's and mine as well.  So we carried it on.  They were excited about that. Keaton ended up gettting the wrong ones but he was still happy with the ones he got.  He is such a good sport.
Everyone got what they wanted.  Keaton and Andrew got some Wii games, some Ninjago Lego sets, transformers and much more. 
Ellie was content with her little teething ring.  Owen fell in love with his Thomas the Train set and all the Thomas the Train books that he got.  But his biggest and most favoirte gift of all was, his tractor. This boy of mine is love with tractors, riding lawn mowers.   You name it.  He wants to go for a ride and will point them out faster than anyone while we are driving in the car.  He knows pretty much where every tractor is from our home to my parents. It's amazing.

Since our ward started at 9 we didn't have much time to sit and play so we got ready for church. I wish I would have taken a picture of all my kids in their nice new church clothes. They looked really sharp.  Our Sacrament had a great program.  My favorite speaker was a deaf guy whose family is in our ward.  The dad translated for him while he signed. It was a very touching talk about service and about giving. 

After church we headed over to my parents house for the rest of the day.  My siblings met up there too and we had a nice Christmas together.  We had to wait for about 4 hours for my sister and her kids to show up.  That was the most torture I have ever seen my kids go through.  We didn't open a single gift until they came so we could do it all together.  It about killed my boys.  Andrew asked us about every 20 minutes "When is Rachel and Ava going to be here?"  Finally they showed up and they opening and ripping of wrapping paper began.  The kids went crazy with excitement.  Andrew got his Nintendo DS that he has always wanted, Keaton his RipStick that he asked Santa for and Owen his tractor.  It was a great afternoonw with family.  It was so nice to be all together.  We had a great dinner with grandparents and great-grandparents as well.
After dinner and the after the kids were all bathed we pulled out the new family board game we got this year which was Ackward Family Photo.  Ever heard of it? There is a webiste called www. if you are ever interested.  There are some good laughs to be guarenteed.  We had a great time playing and laughing really hard.
Then we all headed home to put tired, fussy kids to bed.  It was a great year. I can't believe it is already over.  Now it's time to ring in the New Year.  Hope your Christmas was merry and bright.

December 22, 2011

Our Andrew turned 5 today!
Happy Birthday Andrew!
We love you!!!

Candy day

I love making candy, frosting cookies.  I have always loved it since I was a child.  My mom's side of the family always did it each year and it is a tradition I like to continue, especially with my own children. They love it too!  This year we made Reese Peanut Butter cups, fudge and a gazillion cookies.  It was so much fun to have my family over helping us out.  My boys had a good time and I hope my siblings did too.  Then for family night we delivered them to all our friends and family.  My boys had a great time running up to each home and hand delivering all of them.  Thanks everyone for a great candy day this year! Can't wait until next year.

December 21, 2011


This year our ward Christmas party invited Santa to come.  It has been a long time since he has come to one of our parties. The boys were so excited to see him.  It was nice to have Bro. Josoff do it.  Since we knows our family the boys felt like it really was Santa because he called them by name as they came up to see him.  It was a great party.
Owen even liked him.  All my boys could do was stare at his stash of candy canes.  That is what they wanted the most. Go figure!

Never mind the fact that my children look homeless. It was a fun time being together.
Only 3 more days Santa! Please hurry!!!!

December 14, 2011

 Saying farewell to John, Carrie and Brantly

Well they have moved.  John, Carrie and B have moved back to Arizona.  So the night before they left we had a get together with all our family for one last horrah.  We made homemade pizzas and had a white elephant gift exchange {which was not very fun, considering we had a lot of kids who didn't quite understand the fun behind it}.  But we had a nice time together.  John and Carrie moved here about 18 months ago.  Lance offered him a job and they moved up a week later.  We had the opportunity to have them stay with us for a few months.  About 2 weeks after they moved in with us, Carrie had their first baby Brantly.  I remember the morning that she came down the stairs just as I was on my way out to run some errands.  She told me that she thought her water had broken and that she was go to straight to the hospital. So that is where we went and sure enough she was in labor. For once I got to feel what is must be like for the men who get to sit back and experience it without any of the pain that come with giving birth.
It has been a joy having them with us.  It has been sad to see all the Snyder's that we once recurited up to Idaho all vanish. Eldon and Shelli left for Medical school and now John and Carrie. We are going to miss them very much.  It was so much fun getting to know Carrie. She is so much fun.  So very sweet. So is their little B. 
Thanks for coming to Idaho John and Carrie. We hope that Arizona will treat you well.  We love and miss you guys already!!!!
Merry Christmas!
With Love from the Snyders

December 11, 2011

Christmas past.
Do you remember as a child all the anticipation of what Santa would bring for you?  Do you remember how anxious you felt as the days got closer and closer?  I DO.  I remember as a child writing the list to Santa, telling him all the things I wanted.  I remember praying and trying to be extra good so that Santa would see the great lengths I went to prove I was good.  Being good just for that one month.  It was almost like the other 11 months didn't matter.  Only the month of December did.
I remember all the fun Christmas parties, movies and food that came with it.  All the pretty decorations, the trees and lights.  Growing up we never had a fireplace and each and every year my mother faithfully made an artifical fireplace to which she hung our stockings from, because after all, stockings were meant to be hung from the fireplace with care.
I remember setting out the cookies and milk for Santa. Because afterall, I was taught from a very young age that is what He liked best. 
I remember going to bed at night just dreaming about presents and wishing that the night would past fast so we could wake up to a feast of presents that were so neatly wrapped.
I remember going to my grandma's house for dinners, getting more presents and eating more candy.

Christmas in Chile.
It's been almost 11 years since I experienced my first Christmas away from home.  My first Christmas in humble circumstances. My first Christmas where I really relied on those I loved most.  It wasn't what I got for Christmas, but who I was with and what it meant to me at the time.
I remember one Christmas in particular.  I was celebrating my second Christmas in Chile.  I was used to the living conditions. In fact, I felt like I had adapted myself quite well.  Life was happy.  Life was simple and there were no worries.  I was a missioary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I was in Ochagavia, Chile.  I had only about 3 months left on my mission.  That Christmas we were invited by our Mission President to find someone in our area that needed love.  Someone we could reach out, give food to, sing carols with and someone that needed to feel the Christmas spirit.
Well there was a man in our area that was pretty much homeless.  Now that is not common because most of the Chileans are close to homeless or live pretty close to the life style. This certain man, lived in the corner of an old alley.  He was lonely. A sad life he lived.  It was just him, a dog, a wagon and a filthy dirty mattress in the corner covered with some of his belongings. Trying to cover what was his only true possesion, hiding it so that no one could take it.

As missionaries in our zone we agreed that this man needed love.  He needed to feel that the Savior was there and that He loved him.  So we {about 7 of us} walked up to him on Christmas Eve and presented a box full of food, simple hygenine products and a Book of Mormon.  He was completely taken by surprise.  He didn't fathom that someone would or could do that for him. At first he rejected it, then he welcomed it with open arms.  I saw at that moment something in his face. Something in his countance changed.  He went from sadness to hopefulness.  I had never before experienced something like that. It is really hard for me to explain because words don't do this story justice.  Those of us who were there that day only know what I am talking about.  It's amazing that I can still close my eyes and see his face.
He was drunk.  His eyes were glazed.  I don't know what his story was, I only know that at the time, he didn't have much to live for.  Every time we noticed him on the street he was sad.  Really sad. 
I didn't receive a package from my family that Christmas.  My mom sent it on time.  I didn't get it on time. In fact I got it the week before I went home. Another story for another day. I talked with my family. Said my hello's and wished them a Merry Christmas and then we were on our merry way to celebrate with other loved ones.
Celebrating a holiday such as Christmas in a humble country is an experience.  I sometimes wish that I could go back.  Back to simple conditions.  Where it wasn't who got what and how much someone spent, because well, Christmas isn't spent like that. Instead we read from the scriptures of the Savior's birth. At traditional foods, sang songs and went caroling.  I think that the first time I truely felt the true meaning of Christmas.  I knew then, like I know now that Christ was born into humble circumstances. He was the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Savior of the world. Sent to redeem mankind.
Sent into the world to love and serve those who would crucify Him.
I take comfort knowing that He died for me.  He died for all of us.
I hope that we can reflect on Him this season and not dwell so much on the worldly scene. Although it is beautiful and it is fun, the true meaning comes from the heart and the way it can change us.
I will forever be grateful for my experience that Christmas in Chile. It forever changed my life.

Christmas now.
I have 4 small children.  I am a busy mom.  I feel tired most of the time and I am always wondering if it is bedtime yet.  I know that is horrible for me to admit but I am being honest.
3 of my children are wild boys.  Boys that keep me on my toes almost 24/7.  They have all written their long lists to Santa explaining all the 100 things they would like on their list.  I am trying to teach them, but so far their little minds are focused on getting.  It is only human to feel that way.  I will admit I get caught up in the " I want" attitude.  That is when I catch myself and then I take a step back and put myself back together.
The tree is up.  There are a few presents under the tree.  We have done the shopping, sang lots of Christmas songs and watched a ton of Christmas movies.  The sweets come out each night. I feel cavaties coming on.
I have been spending more time this month reading of the Savior's birth in the scriptures.  I feel His love for me. I feel His love for my little family.  I know that He is aware of our circumstances, and because I know that and feel it, I know that all will be okay. 
A tradition we have in our family has been picking a family we know to do that 12 days of Christmas to.  Lance and I started it when we got married.  I grew up doing it with my family. Each year we would pick a family and it was one of the best things about Christmas. The door bell ditching, leaving gifts on their doorsteps, running for your life and hiding, waiting and watching them answer the door. There were a few times we almost got caught but each and every year we continue to do it. Our boys love it! They love the service and most of all the thrill that comes along with it.
I have loved and lost.  I have felt love and also grief.  I know that the Lord gives us these emotions to help us when times are hard.  I believe in miracles.  I believe in angels.  We have one hanging on our tree to remind us of our eternal goal ~ Madalynn. I know that she was His long before she was mine, and that doesn't help the pain sometimes but the fact that life after death is real and that she will be ours, is what helps me put things into perspective.  She is out there.  She is here. I have felt her spirit at times and it almost scares me.  Am I doing what I should be doing? How am I treating my other children? Am I where I need to be.  She makes me want to be better. Stronger. 
So to my children, Merry Christmas! May the Lord instill in your hearts the true meaning.

Christmas future.
I hope that as my children grow older I can instill in them a love for Christ.  What He did. What He does, and what He will do for them if we will turn our lives over to Him.  Let Him lead and guide us. I hope and pray that I can teach that to my children.  Right now, it is about presents. It is about who gets what. That is okay. They are little. But I also know that they feel Him near this time of year. As we choose families for our secret Santa, giving them the opportunity to serve others is something you can't just give them.  They have to live it.  To know it and to feel it.

Merry Christmas to all of you! I am so thankful for each and everyone of you.  You have uplifted me, strengthened me, help me to be who I am today. I owe it to so many of you. I can't afford much.  All I can do is express my gratitude for the things you have done for me and my family.  We are forever in debt.
May the Lord fill our hearts with peace and love is my wish this year.
We love you! I love you!

December 9, 2011

Ellie Mae {at 4 months}
her stats.....
Weight: 13 lbs. 2 1/2 oz. {48%}
Length: 25 1/2 inches {98%}
Head: 40 cm {25%}

Ellis is 4 months old.  I can't beleive how fast the time has gone by.  This little bundle of ours in starting to squeak and squill.  It has been so fun to watch her grow up.  Having a girl is a whole different ball game than raising boys.  Here are a few things we have learned from Ellie.....
~ she loves to be held.  She does well for a few minutes in her bouncer or on the floor and then when everyone else has left the room or when she can't hear anyone she starts to fuss until someone comes to her resuce.
~ she still has to be swaddled to sleep.  Although she is getting pretty strong and breaks out of it quite abit, she hates being wrapped up. She can't sleep without it.  I feel that a weaning is in the near future.
~ she loves the bath.  She loves to float and splash.  She really loves her head being scrubbed.  She will giggle when I wash out her neck.
~ she can almost roll over.  She is almost there. It will only be a matter of time before she completes it.
~ she is an early teether. Her two bottom teeth are trying to break through. Causing some miserable days for Miss Ellie and mom.
~ she is a very long baby. Everyone comments on how long she is.
~ she went right to 6-9 month clothing.  She didn't really get to wear alot of her cute 0-3 outfits.
~ she only gained 1 pound in between her 2 to 4 month appointment. I swear all my babies, besides Andrew were low on the charts. Maybe time for some rice cereal?
~ she refuses pacifiers.  She sucks on her fits like crazy.  She has found her thumb and her index finger will curl around the top of her nose. It is really cute!
~ she is one slobbery baby! Her tops are constantly soaked. We will go through several shirts in one day.
~ she is the only child I have ever had to treat for Thrush. Both her and I are passing it back and forth to each other. So we have tried all the medications and they don't seem to clear it up. So we have been doing some home remedies like Gentian Violet and it is working. So we will stick with it. Only downfall~ a purple mouth and it literally stains everything it touches.

~ she still sleeps in our room at night. During the day, its in her crib.
~ really doesn't like her swing anymore
~ she likes to be sung to.
~ she is sleeping much better during the day. At night, she is still waking up 2-3 times. That is the reason why she is still in our room.
~ she loves her brothers. Well almost all of them.  Owen {our 2 yr. old} is not the kindest little one to her.  Whenever he comes around her eyes get really big and she starts to fuss, looking for someone to help her out.

Have you ever had a really fussy baby?  Well I have! I have had a few of them. Everyone always tells me, "Wait until they are 4-6 months old and they will calm right down."  Well that is starting to happen. Ellie is becoming much more content.  It has been so nice.  Yesterdy was the first time in her life that she has been out shopping. My mom and I went out for alittle bit yesterday and we didn't hear a peep from her. She was so happy.  Thanks Ellie!  I hope it lasts so we can shop some more.

December 4, 2011

Owen and Ellie

The other day Owen asked me if he could hold Ellie.  Owen is at that terrible two stage and his favorite words lately are "No" and "Mine".   If Ellie is left unattended you will usually find Owen trying to find a way to hit her, kick her or try to pull her out of her bouncer chair.  To put it more simply, he is not that nice to Ellie.  But this particular day  he was pretty sweet to her.  So I let him hold her and this is how it looked.

Can you believe my girl is 4 months old? Neither can I!  Where has the time gone.  She is getting sweeter and sweeter.  I am so glad that we have grown out of that really fussy stage.  She is starting to laugh, talk like crazy and I think a tooth might be trying to wiggle its way to the surface.  She goes in for her 4 month app. on Tuesday so I will hold her off for another post.
Owen on the other hand, he is a handful.  I think most of my day is spent trying to keep Owen away from Ellie.  He is doing better, but there is always room for improvement right?
Owen is into building forts.  We have an oversized chair in our office and he loves to take the cushions off and make a fort with his blankets.  When Lance was in Georgia back in September he bought each of the boys a gift from his trip.  Lance got Owen a dog that laughs.  Well the machine part ran out of batteries and he was a pretty hard pup, so we took the inside part out and now he is a soft, squishy, loveable pup that he plays with all the time.  He loves to take him to bed each night too.  It is cute to watch him carry him around the house.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree

Our family Christmas Tree.  This year we told the boys that they could pick out the tree.  I guess we should have told them what section of trees they could pick from.  We knew we wanted to get a big tree. I guess 11 feet is a pretty tall tree but to our boys, they wanted the 18 ft. trees.  There was no way on earth we were going to pay $180 for a tree.  When we told them that we wouldn't be able to do that, Andrew caused a huge scene at the tree lot.  Full on screaming and crying.  It was another joyous outing with all my children. 
These are our little Christmas trees in our entry way.  The boys let me do the decorating on these ones.

This is the Grinch House that Grandma Snyder gave us a few years ago. This is one of my boys favorite things to put up.  Every morning Owen goes straing for it to turn on the lights so it is all lit up.  Thanks Grandma S.! We love our Grinch!
Now we just need to hang our stockings with care.  We will post pictures soon.

Rub a dub dub, 3 boys in a tub

I love bathtime! I always have! These 3 boys of mine always have fun in the tub.  Tonight we had a bubble bath.