March 23, 2012

life with andrew

Life is pretty busy right now.  Life with a 5 year old who is so full of life and an attitude of his own makes each and every day very interesting.
I'm not going to lie and tell you that life with him is easy, because it is not. But there are the small, quiet little moments when he will walk up to me and hold my hand or just come sit by me and whisper a secret to me that makes this boy so worth the fight.
Andrew turned 5 in December.  He was our Christmas present the year he was born.  It was one of the best presents I have ever received and I would not trade this boy for anything.  We love him very much and these are all the reasons why we do.
SLEEPING... Andrew is probably my only child who truly understands the importance of sleep.  He is a lot like me in the sense that when his head hits that pillow each night, it is a matter of minutes before he is out like a light.  The only problem is, getting him to stay there for longer periods of time.  We are doing better but there are still nights when we have to literally bribe him to stay in his bed with something that is worth while for him.  He shares a room with Keaton and they sleep on bunk beds.  Andrew wanted the bottom bunk and he is content with that.  He loves his Mario and Lugi bed sheets and constantly instructs me when we change the sheets that the Mario ones must go back on or he isn't going to bed.  Andrew will ususally sleep in the morning until 8 a.m.  Some mornings it has been much later and I love that, unfortunately I have 3 other children who don't agree so we don't get to take advantage of sleeping in.
EATING...  Andrew has always been a good eater.  Since the day he was born, well I will just put it this way, he has been eating non-stop since the day he was born.  He loves broccoli, salad, boiled eggs and pretty much anything you put in his face, he will try. Sometimes when we are feeding Ellie her baby food, Andrew will frequently ask me what her food tastes like.  So I always ask him if he would like to taste it, he usually doesn't pass up an offer to try new foods. He is a good eater.
GROWTH SPURTS...  Andrew doesn't suffer from growing pains like his older brother Keaton.  In fact, I have never heard him complain about having them. If he has had them, he has never made it known to us. Andrew has grown by leaps and bounds this year.  Since he started his little preschool group he is counting, writing his name and just telling me a lot of fun facts that he has been learning at school.  He is so full of fun things that it blows my mind at how much he knows. He is wearing the same size of clothing and shoes as Keaton. So there is no such things as hand-me-downs for this guy. We constantly get asked the question "How old are your twins?" He is a big, and heavy boy for his age.
PLAYING..  That is all this boy likes to do. His best little buddy Tyler is always either at our home or Andrew is over at his house. They go to the same school and we used to be in the same ward at church until the wards were split. They are together almost 24/7 sometimes. It is so much fun to watch them play together. They like to play legos, put puzzles together and when the weather is nice, it is all outdoors and exploring for them.  He plays and gets along really well with everyone he comes in contact with, most of the time :)
SCHOOL LIFE..  Andrew is in his second year of preschool. This year we switched to a dear friend from our other ward who holds the preschool group out of her home.  We heard excellent reviews about her school and we decided that Andrew needed to attend her class.  Plus Tyler, his best friend was going too.  He loves it! He goes to school Tuesday thru Thursday from 9-12. On Wednsedays Mrs. Amber cooks with them and Andrew has really enjoyed that. Life is good at school. He is doing really really well. Very ready for Kindergarden coming up this fall. I still can't believe that!
HOME LIFE.. Andrew gets bored pretty easily. I will have a list of things for him to do if he comes to ask me that and he will usually find something quickly to avoid helping me clean, organize or cook something. He is the middle child and I am not sure what it is about the middle child but he suffers from it. He is not like Keaton, not old enough to do what he can do, but yet he is older than Owen and doesn't want to do all the little boy stuff that he is into. But he gets along with both of them fairly well. There are days when he and Owen are like oil and water. They just don't mix some days and that is when I am at my whits end trying to keep them both happy and busy doing their own thing.
FAVORITE TOY.. I don't know if Andrew has a favorite toy that comes to mind.  He usually likes to play whatever the other kids are playing with. Wait a minute, YES, there is a toy that he loves most of all and that is his Nintendo DS that he got for Christmas from Santa.  It is a curse and a blessing in our home. Lance will testify to that too. He is our game player. He loves to play any kind of video game. I have to be careful with this child. He could play all day long if he wanted.
WHAT ARE WE READING...   We are reading The Jungle Book right now. Each and every night they request Lance or I to read them a few pages of the book we are reading. I really love to read to them each night. It is our routine and it just calms them down. I love reading to my children!
EXTRA ACTIVITIES....  Andrew will start soccer here in a few weeks.  We signed him up with Star Parks and Rec. I think it will be good for him to be on his own team and not on the same team as Keaton. Plus they are on completely different levels of skill.  He loves jumping on the trampoline at his friends house across the street. He needs to learn to ride his bike without training wheels. He is the kind that when you see him ride his bike he isn't even using them, he is already balancing really well but the fact that they are off, he doesn't like that. It is security and it is his braking system right now. His legs don't quite touch the ground  yet so he is content to leave them on. This summer when we go on a lot of family bike rides, we are going to have to leave those behind.
Andrew is our sensitve child. Andrew is also our very rough, tough child if that makes any sense. It is hard to believe that he can be all of those, but he is.  He is sweet and very receptive to the spirit. He takes good care of his sister Ellie. It is so cute to listen to him talk to her. He gets all nasaly and just talks so sweet to her. I love watching them together. He is pretty protective of her. He loves dressing her and if you ask him how we should comb her hair, he will calmly say, "with a part please." So Ellie has parts in her hair a lot. She is looking more and more grown up and her hair is growing out of control so it has come time to put some bows and barrets in her hair.
Anyways, Andrew has been a sweet boy. I love this sweet boy of mine. My mom tells me that he looks a lot like what I did when I was his age. He gets a lot of his attitude from me. He inherited my teeth too.
I love you Andrew! Thanks for choosing me to be your mom. Life doesn't get any better than this son!

March 16, 2012


Try not to compare your children,
even if you think you are skillful at it.
You may say most positively that
"Susan is pretty
and Sandra is bright," but all
that Susan will remember is that
she isn't bright and
Sandra that she isn't pretty.

Praise each child individually for
what that child is, and help him
or her escape our culture's
obsession with comparing,
competing, and never feeling
we are "enough."

- Jeffery R. Holland

March 14, 2012

Look what I found

I know, I know you are probably thinking that I post too many things about my mission.  Sorry!  It was a huge thing for me.  My mission changed me.  It changed my life.  This afternoon all the my kids were playing with their friends who were over.  It was a nasty, rainy day outside and so they set up some games and it allowed me to start cleaning out some closets.  Since the space in this house is much smaller than the last 2 homes we have lived in, some of my bins have been stacked in my boys closests.  So this afternoon I decided to tackle Keaton and Andrew's closet.  These are just a few of the fun things I found, pictures, old pictures.  Pictures that brought back a lot of memories.  Good memories.  Happy memories.  I also found 2 of the 3 journals I kept on my mission.  I was able to read a few of those entries.  There were a ton of moments I had forgotten about completely.  Re-reading those times brought back some amazing memories. There were so many people I came to love.  So many who took care of me.  Who loved me and who honestly became my best friends.  I wish I could find most of the people I taught and met.  I wish I could go to Chile and visit. I know that was 10+ years ago but I think I could find my way around once I got there.
So here is a little bit of what I found.... those who read this and served with me will appreciate them.

These were the glasses our zone gave to the companionship who taught the most discussions that week.  We were privelaged to wear them. Since my companion was embarrassed to wear them, I did. I was honored. It got a lot of people looking to notice us and plus they were old bent up frames without the lens so most people would ask me if I knew my lens were missing. I would tell them yes and I would ask them if we could come in and tell them about them. It got us in a lot of doors.
Also notice, my lovely long john garments hanging below my skirt. Lovely isn't it. It is amazing how much I didn't really care. I was too cold to care.

This was our penision in Talagante.  Good old camp stoves is what we used to cook on. I never really got used to that pension.  This is the area, I felt the most little tremblers my entire mission.

Earning my first piocha with Pres. and Hna. Hadfield.  I earned it for memorizing all 6 discussion in Spanish within the first 6 weeks of being in the mission field. That was HUGE for me!

My second mission companion Hna. Van de Graaff in 5 de Abril, Maipu. Love her! She taught me so much. I look back on what we did in 5 de Abril and a huge smile comes across my face. We never laughed so hard, worked so hard and we saw so many funny things together. She taught me to work really hard. I owe a lot to her. Joey if you are reading this, remember wet skirts, Franco and Clara, Flute boy (defender of the faith) and so much more? Thanks for the fun time. We worked so hard at being obedient and we saw so many blessings.

I believe this was after a mission conference. Some of my greatest friends!

The shower in our pension in Talagante. I think this was the most nasty shower I ever had. I never liked it.

Walking the main street of my 3rd area in La Granja (the farm). This was one of my most favorite areas to serve in. Loved the people of La Granja. A piece of my heart is still there. A pretty common street. It was in this area where I learned the most about loving others. Just a very humble ward.

A pretty busy weekly agenda that I found. We always did presentations in the mornings with our zone in different areas to help each area out. I loved that about my mission, we were always helping each other out. Funny that I can't remmember what most of this stuff was. But every now and then I can read a name and know who they were and I can still remember what they looked like and where they lived. I saved every single agenda I had on my mission. Is that strange? Looking back now I am so glad I did. My boys liked looking at them.

My third companion Hna. Butler. This is our area map of Talagante. I was only there for 6 weeks. It was the strangest 6 weeks of my mission. I don't remember a whole lot about this area. Weird? I remember just crying a lot with Hna. Butler. I don't remember anything about the ward. I remember Orlando and Connie and the girls. Orlando was a taxi driver. His wife and daughters were members but he was not. Our whole focus was on getting him to feel the spirit and recognize it. He was like our father. He and his family did so much for us. He finally was baptized right after I left that area and the last time I saw him was when he came to say goodbye to Hna. Butler and I at the airport before we flew home. That is what I remember from that area.

March 12, 2012

My Challenge

Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted something that you knew was going to be hard, barely attainable and often times never given to you?  I have!  I dread those times. I still look back on my life and remember some of the things that I wanted, something I prayed for, something I worked pretty hard for but still never got it. I remember coming home from my mission feeling pretty good about what I wanted and where life was going to take me, but realizing that it was going to be something that I couldn't have. I had a list of things I was going to do and people I was going to see, places I wanted to visit and all the plans I just knew were going to fall into place.  Well, life had different plans for me.  Even though my plans were good, honest things, Heavenly Father decided to change my list of wants, or I should say needs.
This year I have decided to focus on myself.  Is that selfish? Probably yes, but it was time.  This year I made a list of things I wanted to do. Things I wanted to accomplish for myself and for no one else. This year I felt ready.  So I decided what the heck, go for it.  I set some of my goals little higher but I knew that if I put my mind to it I could do it.
Yesterday was the last day of our 3 month challenge.  I LOVED it! It was just what I needed and I am going to continue to do it.  There are somethings I can control and my body is one of them.  I have lost over 10 lbs and I have more to lose and I LOVE the way I feel.  Is that bad for me to say? Maybe all of this is something I should keep to myself but this is for me.  This is my way of journeling so even if no one reads my blog, it is for me.  For the record.
Even though I didn't win the challenge I feel like I got far more out of it then just weight loss and learning to love working out. It has become routine for me.  I am one of those who thrive off of routine.  Call me weird, but it is the honest truth.  My kids do too.  I am going to keep doing it even though all the other girls have stopped.  The hardest thing for me was no eating sugar.  I allowed myself one day a week to eat all the sugar I wanted and that was on Sundays. Sundays were off limits. I would eat all I wanted and however much I wanted.  It really didn't affect my weight but man o man each Sunday evening my stomach would really pay for it.  Was it worth it?  Part of me says yes, and a huge part of me is sreaming NO! Maybe that part will need to be altered or changed.  Either way, this challenge was just what I needed.  I am going to keep doing it. It has become my routine and I am comfortable with it. 
My challenge was also to not to raise my voice to my kids.  Well that part of the challenge will always need to be worked on.  Children will always be my challenge. Trying to figure out how to be the perfect mom will always be my challenge.
Yesterday at church we learned something very disheartning about a great family in our ward.  Something from the past has come back to haunt them and it is something huge.  Very sad for the kids, spouse, everyone involved. Even thougth I don't know all the details my heart still aches for them.  Bad things happen to good people.  I have come to learn that if we are living the way we are suppose to then the Lord will help lighten the load that tends to hang heavy on our shoulders.

I received a new calling.  I was released as a ward missionary and put into cub scouts.  I know you are probably laughing right now, but it is true.  I am a new den mother.  Me a den mother. Funny ha!
I knew it was going to be coming sooner or later. I have three boys. I am going to be a pro at this once they get into scouts. Keaton is just one year away from it.  Here we go!!! I get to wear a scout shirt. This is going to be funny.  More to come that later on.

So here's to 3 months of my challenge going strong. It is going to get even better from here on out. Wish me luck!

Stake dance

Since Lance was called to be the Young Men's President there are a few things that are asked of him.  One of the - a chaperone for the Saturday night stake dance.  Well this last Saturday Lance volunteered us.  I was alittle excited to go. I have always loved being involved with the youth.  I miss not being in Young Women's anymore and so this was a fun chance for us to get out and do something different for a change. My mom was nice enough to come over and watch the kiddos while we went.  The last time I have been to a stake dance was when I was in young women's myself.  Even then, I didnt' really go because they were really lame.  There was no dancing. The boys were usually on one side playing hacky sack and the girls were alwasy on the other side worried about hair and makeup.  Since I wasn't into either I didn't really attend those.  They were never really fun anyways.  If I did go it was because I was dragged to them. 
Well, they are completely different now.  It was acutally fun.  There were about 12 other couples there also to help out.  I thought that maybe 20 kids would show up but nope, there were close to 300 kids there.  There was food, games and lots of fun things to do.
Each couple was assigned to do something different, like monitor the rooms, making sure all the lights were on and the doors were open.  One couple had to check the parking lot, making sure there were no steamed windows and that the kids weren't just hanging out in the parking lot.  The others monitored the halls and the gym while the kids danced.  It was a lot of fun.  We all danced, hung out and did our duty too. We played games with the youth and I won't lie, I went out dancing too. Some of the other moms joined us too.
They were just a fun bunch of kids. There were no problems the entire night and everyone just had a great time.  Deny Wagstaff (owner of KFC) is Young Men's Stake President and he was the DJ. He was a fun DJ and the kids had a good time.
Thanks Lance for a fun date night! Too bad our Stake's turn is over. I would do that again.

March 8, 2012

6.75 years old

Life with a 6 year old has it's challenging and rewarding times.  I won't complain, it is nice to have children who are old enough to do things on their own.  I keep waiting for a child to reach the age where we can comfortably go out and have them babysit the others. I hear that is when family life changes.
If you ask me Keaton is 6, but if you ask him, he is almost 7. Only 4 more months to go. July 15th to be exact. He is already planning it all out.
Here is a little bit about what life has been like for me with Keaton.

SLEEPING  Keaton was never been a good sleeper.  Since the day he was born, he has never slept really well.  I am not sure if I am to blame for that or not.  Keaton was one of my most challenging babies (putting it nicely).  If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have stressed out about it as much.  Life is okay and he would grow up to be an amazing young boy.  Anyways, back to sleeping.  He goes to bed between 7:30-8:00 p.m.. He will usually wake up at least once or twice but lately we haven't seen or heard from him all night long.  This might be the start of something here. I like it.  He is usually the first to wake up bright and early - 6 a.m.  He usually knows not to come into our room and go straight upstairs to put on a cartoon or something.  We don't want to wake the others.  Usually Ellie has already beatin him to it at 5:45 a.m.  That is about to change too after she is done teething.  I just wish he would sleep alittle more, but people tell me all the time that some kids need more sleep than others. Early to bed and early to rise is our Keaton.
EATING  This is a struggle for me.  I have always dreamed of having a child that would rather snack on veggies and fruit than a fruit snack or a gogart.  Is that practical? Lately it has been a struggle to get Keaton to sit down and eat an entire meal.  Breakfast he does pretty well at. He is at school and brings his lunch pal home clean, so I know he is eating what I pack for him.  Dinnertime, well that is a whole new ballgame.  Tonight for example, I had made some Wild Rice Chicken soup with bread.  The first thing Keaton said when he saw it (enter crying child here) "Why did you make this soup? You know I don't like it! I am not going to eat it, only the bread!"  This is usually what he says most nights.  He would settle for maccaroni and cheese or hot dogs each night and be perfectly content.  He gets distracted easily especially when all of his friends are outside playing and he has to be inside eating. He will try to get out of eating but we make him eat a certain amount before he is allowed to leave the table.  So tonight he had to eat his bread and take 3 big spoonfuls of soup before he could go.  So he did it and was gone.  Bedtime rolls around, " I am so hungry, I am starving! Can you make me something to eat?" (Enter a tired, frustrated mom) This happens quite often.  How do you teach them? Seems like he never quite gets it. Some days I want to just give in and give him something to eat so he will stop the whinning but what would he learn? So he went to bed hungry tonight. Heaven forgive me but hopefully lesson learned ?
GROWTH SPURTS  Keaton gets growing pains and sometimes he gets them pretty bad. I won't lie, they are no fun. I rememeber having them as a child and they were pretty uncomfortable. I swear sometimes I can still feel them now and again. Maybe I am still growing. When this happens he will come and get him and I have been using some essential oils and it seems to really help him when I rub his legs with it.
PLAYING  Keaton loves to play.  Especially with his friends.  His good little friend Logan who lives just across the street has become his good little buddy. They are together when they can and they get along so well together.  Their favorite thing right now are Lego Ninjagos.  Keaton has always enjoyed a good playtime.
SCHOOL LIFE  Keaton is in the 1st grade.  He loves school.  He constantly amazes me with how much he has learned.  There is really no homework that is sent home with him during the week and he can retain everything he learns without trouble.  He is reading at a 3rd grade level right now. He really enjoys reading.  It has opened a whole new world to him.  He still gets excited to have hot lunch every now and then when it is something that he really likes.  I will keep letting him think that way. It doesn't stay that way for long.  He enjoys learning and has a great group of little friends. It is fun to walk down to the school and watch him come out of his class room and over the cross walk to where I am waiting for him.  He is excited to go home when the day is done too.  He gets worn out.
HOME LIFE  Am I a boring mom? Probably. But I hope not.  We have a pretty happy home life I think.  The kids are healthy, happy and doing well.  We have had no problems with home life.  Sometimes we get alittle bored now and then but that is when the imagination comes to life.
THINGS TO WORK ON   There is quite a list of something to work on. There is always something that needs to be worked on but for now, we are trying to teach our children obedience.  Seems like they never take us seriously until about the 4th or 5th time.  I am tired of it! They should be obedient to whatever is being asked of them.. I feel myself rasing my voice quite abit during the day and that tends to make me grumpy. Any ideas on how to get them to learn the first time we ask them? I am taking all ideas!!!!
We are also working our prayer. Seems like prayer time is a time to be silly.  Now I know that kids will be kids but there comes a time when some reverence is in order.  We are still working on that.
FAVORITE TOY  Keaton's favorite toy right now I would have to say are his lego ninjagos. He will line them up neatly in a row each night on his bedstand.  Put them all together and design ships, etc.   He has never really been drawn to a certain toy like some kids are from birth. Keaton's interests come and go.
WHAT WE ARE READING  We are reading a few things right now.  Lance's father compiled a notebook full of stories from his childhood growing up in Colorado. They are adventurous and very fun stories to read.  Our boys really love those stories and ask for a Grandpa Snyder story just about every night. They are starting to memorize them.  For fun sometimes I will make a twist to the story that is not written to see if they are actually listening. They will catch me on it so I know they are listening and that they know the real story.  We are also reading The Wizard of Oz.  They are liking that story as well.  After we read the story we usually watch the movie to compare.  We just finished reading Charolette's Web and Heidi.  One of my favorite things to do is read to them at night. They are in bunk beds right now and they just lay there and gaze up at the ceiling and listen carefully and then ask a million questions while I am reading. Love it!
EXTRA ACTIVITIES  We just enrolled the boys in spring sports. So that will be coming up shortly.  They are excited about that. Keaton will be in a League for older boys that do coach pitch.  Last year he did T-ball and he was too old for that. Kind of got bored but it was nice to have both boys on the same time. It made it easier for a 9 month pregnant mom to get around.  This year Keaton is in his own little league. I am excited to watch him this year. He is really, really good. Some kids have to work really hard at something like baseball and other things, well for Keaton, I swear it just comes naturally.  With golf, soccer, basketball, football, you name it. He loves it and knows how to play the game.  Hoping he will go pro one day so Lance and I can retire early. Wishful thinking I know but it is always nice to dream right?
That is our Keaton wrapped up in one Post. Of course there is so much more to this intelligent boy of mine that I wrote here but it gives you an idea of what our life is like with this sweet boy in our lives.  We love Keaton!

March 4, 2012

Heidi's baptism

We went down to Provo this weekend for Heidi's baptism. Heidi turned 8 this weekend so we had all the family there.  It was such a great trip for our kids and for me.  It was so nice to get out and do something different.
My brother Justin accepted a job offer in Salt Lake City and  happened to be moving that same weekend.  So my mom and her sister Sheryl drove my brother's car,while my brother drove the Uhaul down to Utah.  We met up with them around 2 p.m. and helped him move in.  He lives literally by Temple Square.  He has a sweet apartment and it was newly modeled and it looked brand new. Granite countertops, hard wood floors and just a great location for him.  He is only a few blocks from where his office will be. So everything for him is in walking distance.  Thank goodness for Lance, he was such a great help.  Without him, they would  still be trying to move things into the tiny apartment. He is on the 4th floor and everthing in downtown is really cramned and straight up. This was no different. He lives right next door to a Cathedral that is just amazing. I believe it is a Catholic cathedral.  It's bells chime every hour on the hour and it sounds so beautiful. I think I could get used to that. We were so happy we could help.  My children were super troopers. They all did really well. So my mom paid them each a dollar and they just thought that was the best thing that happened to them. So happy we were there.
Then after 4 hours of moving we headed to Provo to join the Snyder clan.  There is never a dull time with the Snyder's. It is so much fun.  Since all of them live right next door and across the street from each other, everyone would put their children to bed and then we would all meet up at mom and papa Snyder's to chat.  It was so much fun to catch up with everyone. The kids all slept really well, which is unusual for our kids. Usually we dread the nights but they all slept really well.  We never made it to bed early. Midnight was as late as I could stay up. Our last night we stayed up alittle later to watch BYU get slaughterd by Gonzaga. Too bad too.
I didn't take many pictures and now I am kicking myself for it because there was so much to capture. But I did take a few of Heidi's baptism.
Heidi's baptism was Saturday afternoon.  She looked so sweet in her baptismal dress.  Lesa braided her hair because Heidi wanted it to look like a crown. Well that is what it looked like. She is just he most mild tempered, sweet girl you could ever know.  Just a very sweet girl.  She and Keaton get along really well. The always look forward to seeing each other every chance they get. All the kids are so much fun.
Everyone came. All the grandkids that were there were close to 15 total. I don't think Lance and I saw our children the entire weekend there. They just all ran around and played so well together. I was so thankful too. We just got to sit and talk and do nothing. It was so nice for a change. I really needed that.
Then in the evenings we would go to Paul's racquetball court that he built in his home and watch everyone try to beat each other. It was a great time! Thanks Snyder's for such a nice weekend. We already miss you all. Until we meet again!!!!!!
I was also suppose to meet up with my friend Monica.  We served our mission together in Chile and have been such great friends.  She just recently had a baby prematurely and she is finally out of the hospital. We really tried to meet up but we didn't get to.  I was so sad because I was really looking forward to it too. I guess I will just have to mail my gift for her baby before she grows too big. We are going to try and plan a small mission reunion this coming fall for some our of really great friends we made on our mission. It will be fun to catch up some other time. Sorry Monica! Sure love and miss ya!!!