Sunday, April 27, 2008

okay, just a few more of this cutest little girl...

yep, you can ooh and ahhh all you want...she's adorable!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

MATILDA (mae or jane, they haven't decided what her middle name is) WOOD is finally here!!!!

if you know the snyder family at all, you know that we have been waiting for this little girl to show up for years!!! my mom has organized the boxes of toys with pictures on the sides for grandkids to easily find and play with many,many years ago....she has bought the target little lunch trays for her grandchildren many, many years ago.

the proud and tired mom and dad and baby - miss was in labor for 31 hours the doctor said... after waiting and waiting for her to dilate, they realized that matilda was too excited about coming and she was looking up instead of down - like she was suppose to! so a C-section was done (i don't think that is how i am suppose to spell that, but you get it, right!?). little tillie's (or tilley, who knows how it will be spelled!) face was a bit smooshed and extra red from the weird positioning she put herself into, but...she's a beauty nonetheless!

yep, miss made this cutest headband!!

as a first-time grandma, mom is more than excited...why is it that when i see mom cry, i start to cry too! i have never truly understood when people would say that babies are always a miracle...i finally grasp this concept...she is truly our happiest miracle! AND we get to call her tilley!! if that isn't reason enough to smile, i don't know what is!!
oh, maybe we'll be smiling even more when the little wood family comes to utah for almost an entire MONTH!! hooray~~

who wants to sleep when we are counting our "sleeps" till she comes!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

so this last weekend, i made a quick trip to denver to visit the BaIlEy'S!!!
laura and i have been friends since 4th grade. she and jeff have been living in DC the last 4 years as jeff attended George Washington in Law - is it just a law school, i have no idea...
he has a "clerk-ship" in denver for the year and then they will be moving back to the east coast for him to work at a pretty great law firm (yep, he graduated in the top 10% in his class! how do people get to be that smart?!! wow!).

don't ask me what my bangs are doing...laura looks as beautiful as ever!!

while they were living out there, they had two adorably cute kids - alexa who is 6 and in kindergarten, BUT reading on a 3rd grader level!! and dallin who is the cutest boy in the world!

my family fell in love with these kids two summers ago while laura and the kids hung out in utah while jeff studied his brains out. we got to babysit them a handful of times as laura ran errands around utah about a great joy and blessing!! (alexa was rather sad that lizzy wasn't my daughter and that she wasn't coming with me to denver, but as soon as i pulled out the color wonder surprises i brought, i think i became her favorite =).....).

we had the perfect weekend! we went to alexa's soccer game - laura is the coach!! dallin and i played at the play ground for a bit. and when alexa was taking her turn on the sidelines, we talked and chatted =) (that's the way i enjoyed playing soccer games...kicking and running AS i drove my coach crazy!)

rockin' away!

talk about the super-woman, super-mom...laura's on the field coaching!!

chloie has pink soccer cleats! alexa has me!! =)

we are soooo into the game...

or sooo into our faces on the camera screen...

the soccer star that would rather be a ballerina or figure skater!

dad was trying to teach dallin how to count with his fingers....

mom was on the phone as we left the game and headed to the car wash

dallin cheesy-ing it while we get excited for the "colors" that go on the car!!

then went to the outlets for a bit before heading to the KiTe FeStIvAl!! jeff had bought a spinning kite, a barbie kite, and a cars kite. talk about fun! Windy. but very, very fun!

"let's go fly a kite! up to the highest height!!"

does she look like the pack-horse mom or what!? and yet she does it so beautifully!!

us and dallin...

us and alexa and dallin not wanting to be there....

that's where dallin wants to be...with DAD!!

oh the wind!

alexa in action!!

we sure love us!!

because i am such a sleepy head, i fell asleep watching "ice princess" after laura and i addressed baby shower invites she had made for 47 people! yea for naps! OH and we played with side-walk chalk both afternoons!


then laura and i had a night on the town! we went to the mall and i bought a khaki skirt - i have been looking for 6 months for one - and a blouse. then we headed to Cheesecake Factory. we were so hungry by this time that as soon as the waiter - very cute one - came to us, we instantly begged for the yummy wheat bread asap!!

we talked and talked and talked. it was better than even our memories. we have grown and become who we are in very different ways, but we have similar passions and have learned similar lessons. blessed little table at Cheesecake Factory.

sunday morning we got everyone ready for Church and headed in the same direction as the kite festival had been - the church house was directly across the street from where we had played! i love attending different wards. i think it is thrilling to see how uniform our services are throughout the world.

there was a powerful talk by a graduating Laurel. she was beautiful and inspiring. then, the Sunday School lesson was taught by an incredible sister. i had many spiritual ah-ha's as she directly applied the scriptures to our current and personal lives. i was humbled to be taught by a dedicated disciple of Christ.

and THEN, we got to go to Young Women! laura asked me to share some thoughts i had told her about a pioneer trek i had been on with her Mia Maids as part of her lesson that day. i love being with the women - regardless of the age - of the Church. i love to see their eyes light up when they connect with true doctrine. i love to see their lives change as they realize that they truly are daughters of the Heavenly King. so, when laura had asked me that morning to share some thoughts i had while i was on a pioneer trek, and share my love of journaling, i was excited. there are powerful, amazing women in the world, that simply need to know Who they are. when we truly know who we are, we then have courage to do all the best and greatest things to not only get ourselves Home, but to take lots and lots of people with us!!

as we went home from Church, i was grateful to have been deeply filled.
i was grateful again as i fell asleep on the couch, took a walk with alexa and laura looking for wild rabbits and then eating jeff's yummy chocolate chip pancakes for dinner! what more can a person ask for!?!?

all-in-all, it was a spectacular weekend. laura and i decided that our visits need to be annual!! hOoRaY!

Friday, April 18, 2008

a young man who lives in petrozavodsk, Karelia, Russia has been here in the states for the last few weeks, emailed me today. he is amazing! he has served a mission and is a strong leader in the branch up in petro. he creates a branch newsletter for the members and includes a section about missionaries that have served there (it is a heavenly spot. i was able to serve there for 6 of the 8 months i was in the country. it is because of these men and women that i love and cherish Russia. they were my family away from home.). Roma asked that i write something up for the month. he didn't tell me how much to write, so i hope it's not too long. he instructed me to include things i have done, what i am doing, and share my testimony. when i sent it to roma, i told him he could trash whatever he wanted. he asked for pictures...i've already posted the ones i sent, but here's one just in case...

When I left Russia in November of 2000, I traveled home with the possibility of a brain tumor. I had to leave Russia 8 months earlier than I was suppose to, but at the time I was in so much pain, I was just glad to go home to my family. Seven years later, I am missing Russia - especially Petro - tonz and needing to find a moment of life to get back!!

(i left petro at night, but this is the view from walking out of the train station. the road in front is the main street - many a random stories along this long street, including getting my leg smashed in a bus, a blue grocery bag of apples getting stuck in the door of the bus, slipping on the hardened layers of ice, and getting separated from my companion. just to mention a few!)

A handful of things have happened in the last seven years - no of which were things I had planned!! I didn't have a brain tumor, but the pain of explosive headaches lasted for about 8 months (ironic I know). I finished school ready to teach either Elementary kids of English to junior high kids. I taught 6th grade for 5 years. During that time I was engaged, broke it off, and found out that I had thyroid cancer. I had treatments which included digesting a radioactive pill and had to be isolated in an apartment all alone for about a week (my little sister loved to door-bell-ditch food and treats)!!

There are a few consequences I get to deal with for life...since I have no thyroid now, I need to take a supplement every day. My energy is low, but overall, I am a healthy and happy lady!!

I stopped teaching last August and am working for the Relief Society general presidency at Temple Square. I get to wear a dress and nylons every day!! It makes me feel like a missionary - just without the Russians whom I love!! When you read the Conference talks and see any of the sisters that speak, I work on the same floor with them and they are wonderful!

I am learning lots about who the Lord would have me be. I know that He has a special and specific plan just for me. He reminds me that I am His precious daughter many times a day as I read my scriptures, pray, ponder, smile, interact with others, etc. I get to teach an institute class at BYU each week. We just finished studying the New Testament. I have been in awe of the characters of the disciples that chose to follow Christ. I have gained great appreciation for the decisions they made, daily, in their efforts to know Him, to follow Him, to watch Him, and to be with Him. I am thrilled at the reality that we get to abide in Him. We get to walk the roads He walked...the beautiful, hard, painful, blessed paths that He was asked to walk upon. I have realized again and again that as I know Him, know His doctrine found in His holy writings, seek Him out in all situations, and am willing to follow Him - even on the really long, tiresome, painful paths - that I get to be with Him forever. I get to partake and be embraced with His perfected love and understanding for all of eternity. And I get to enjoy the confidence of His love and understanding IN THIS LIFE as I make, renew, and keep the ordinances I am have made and am continually preparing to make in the Temple and each Sabbath.

How I dearly love and miss my heart-mates in Petro!

love always, sister snyder

i'll have to scan and add some real pictures of my petro experience. they are much better than these i found on the internet! =)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

shockingly miss already has a beautiful dedication to becca on her blog. i'm not nearly as creative as the rest of the snyder clan, so i'll just give warm fuzzies. 20 to be exact...

1. master chef. the details of a meal never seem to overwhelm her.
2. read aloud to me when i had my thyroid removed.
3. stopped by institute last week to say hi and...
4. saved me from a very random and interesting boy...hmm. we have a pen as proof!
5. loves Truth.
6. has music ADD :)
7. received a talent award in the art program she JUST got accepted to...talent ooze out of her.
8. had the stores she was interested in visiting written down for her b-day outing.
9. gets frustrated with me when i loved spending money!
10. introduced me to the greatest movie ever...."the shop around the corner" - it's black and white!
11. will be my date to Salt Lake events that i want to attend, but don't want to be alone for...
12. held my throw-up bucket for me as i threw-up all the way down to lake powell after surgery.
13. doesn't roll her eyes at my cheese-y-ness.
14. understands my heart.
15. personifies being strong and immovable...doesn't let the thoughts of others sway her thoughts.
16. gets 98% of her tests at BYU...that NEVER happened to me.
17. has a perfectly classy yet meg ryan - you've got mail -style all of her own.
18. keeps many of her hurts to herself...mine are often vocalized, i am learning to keep them to myself.
19. is tough while remaining beautifully feminine.
20. is never afraid to venture out on her own.

becca, happy 20th birthday!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

General Young Women Meeting

last weekend was the General Young Women Meeting. for soooo many reasons it was incredible:

1. i get to see the women who serve as the Young Women general presidency daily. they are real to me. they practice what the preach. they are warm, loving, uplifting, and powerful women. they love the Lord. they love their families. they love the Young Women. the doctrines of the gospel have shaped who and what they are. to hear their words of love and uplift and comfort and direction was a great blessing for a older young woman like me.

2. i missed my mia maids. tragically time doesn't stop for my "mia maids" are now laurels. but, the love and connection i have with these young women will last forever. there are so many moments that i wish life looked a little different for me because i want to be able to include them in the moments of life...

3. i got to see GENEVA GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i had a grand idea - that someday i hope to have happen - to try to get tickets for all the girls i have been able to teach at Geneva. excitingly, the Conference Center, Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building Chapel were ALL full! thus, i wasn't able to get tickets...but one day.

haley, haley, valerie, and jade were all in attendance!!! hooray that haley sorenson's mom had a camera and took our picture. =)

i had been touched a number of times in the meeting and had cried. so maybe the tears were easier to spill out, but as i had to say good-bye to these girlies, i obviously bawled! i miss them (especially these girls) and all my students and my would-be students a ton. i miss their energy. i miss their lives. i miss getting to have a direct influence in their thoughts and thinkings (scary responsibility i know!!). i miss their laughter. i miss being in the details of their lives. i miss crazy moments we shared EVERY DAY!

i will be back to the classroom one day. but i miss it today. i am realizing again and again how the principles of a great teacher are the principles of great people. the lessons i learned in trying to meet the student's needs have taught me priceless lessons about who my Father in Heaven is. and for these, i am eternally indebted to my beautiful, and wonderful Geneva kids.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

becca - who not only just got accepted into BYU's art program, but who also has her own blog - has been thoroughly disgusted with me since i haven't updated my blog. she says that if she had a dollar for every time she checked it and it was the same thing, she'd be rich. hm. maybe i should do something about that.

but i am so tired. i feel like i am running a million miles an hour. my dad lovingly lectured me for a bit - his words are often rare and powerful, so his one sentence tends to feel like a lecture at times - about eliminating things from my life. i think i triggered this comment when i said the uncle jerry had said that i should work a shift a month at j.crew...great discounts!

thus, i'm posting. but i am am brain dead and falling asleep at 9:37 pm that i don't really have much to write.

thankfully, i am in alpine and saw on the desktop of the beautiful mac i am using, an "paper" i wrote. some girl posted an invitation to write about lessons we have learned from our mothers. i loved the idea - especially since the invite was to be apart of a book and someday i would love to write something really good. AND because my mom has taught me a ton.

i was able to attend a funeral in which a speaker commented about "the songs my mother sang". so, i began writing about my mom's songs:

“Whenever I Feel Afraid” The summer before my senior year of high school, our town has a Junior Miss Pageant. A handful of my girl friends and I decided to be contestants. The only problem, was that there is a talent portion to the pageant. Although I have an okay singing voice, it is nothing that I have a lot of confidence in. But after weighing the choices (you can’t really cook cupcakes on stage as a talent…that’s what I’m good at..) I decided to sing a solo. My mom and I practiced a variety of songs and we decided I should do a part of “Whenever I Feel Afraid” from the musical The King and I. My mom and I hunted down the perfect costume: a huge hoop skirt slip, black skirt, white blouse! Then my mom hunted down the perfect ways for me to act out the song. One little problem, however, was the whistling. The words of the song say, “Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect, and whistle a happy tune so no one will suspect, I’m afraid…” At one point in the song, there are a few measures of whistling. But, I can’t whistle. This is where the kazoo enters the scene. My mom suggested I pull out a kazoo and make it funny. She was very literally teaching me the power of the song. I was very, very afraid to sing a solo in front of an auditorium full of people, but I was getting to “whistle” my happy tune in the funnest, most me way possible and no one ever suspected!

“I Like You Like You Are”
For a Family Home Evening one night, my parents introduced a desire to have a family motto. I’m not sure if we were being extremely critical of one another as siblings or what the inspiration was for this motto, but what ever it was, I am grateful. There is a primary song with the words, “I like you like you are”. It takes about someone being different than me, doing things different than me, looking different than me, but that it didn’t matter because, I like you like you are. This became the family motto (I think we were going to change the motto as soon as we had learned to live it…but it never was changed so who knows if we ever have truly learned it!). My mom found a small bulletin board and placed it in the certain of the kids’ rooms. She had a picture and the title of the motto song on the bulletin board. We role-played scenarios that we would have to prove that we truly did like each other for who they were. I look at the experiences I have had in life and realize the great power my parents found in this song. And although the motto didn’t change, I’d like to hope that the friendships and love I share with various people with various lifestyles, various beliefs, various cultures is because of the truths my mom – thanks little bulletin board – reminded me of daily.

“The Wind Beneath My Wings” 1989 was about when the movie, Beaches came to film. Bette Middler and Barbara Hershey play two completely opposite people that end up having a powerfully, supportive and honest friendship. Barbara Hershey’s character dies of caner and Bette Middle’s character sings, “The Wind Beneath My Wings” as a tribute to her. My mom’s daddy died in 1989. I was in sixth grade. We were living in Northern California and grandpa was in Spanish Fork, Utah. It had been just my mom and her daddy at grandpa’s house for most of my mom’s life. Losing him broke her heart. She sang a tribute of her daddy’s selfless sacrifice and dedication to all that she was and is as she sang “The Wind Beneath My Wings” at the funeral. Every time I see birds flying in their V-formation, I think of this song. I think of grandpa, but I especially think of my mom. Because of her, I can fly. I know that she sees amazing things in me; things that are impossible for me to see. She doesn’t control, but she does all she can to create and find opportunities for me to be the best and highest me. For her, the most important thing is to see her children and husband fly. She never cares about the simple and silent role she often plays, because it is all about her family.

“I Love To See The Temple” Driving from Kearns to Spanish Fork, we’d pass by the Jordan River Temple. As we drove from our house to grandpa’s house, it became a game to see who could see he temple first. When we had all had the chance to see the beautiful House of the Lord, we would them sing, “I Love To See the Temple”. My mom had taught us the second verse to this primary song. I recall driving with another family going somewhere and this song was the topic of conversation. I mentioned something about the second verse and the family didn’t believe that there was one! I sang the words for them and they still didn’t believe me! They thought that my mom had created second verse and that it wasn’t in the primary song book! As a defender of this special second verse, the words became mine. “I love to see the temple. I’ll go inside someday. To covenant with my Father, I promise to obey. For the temple is a holy place, where we are sealed together. As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth, a family is forever.” There was no doubt or question in my mind that I would enter the Lord’s holy house. December 6, 1999 was incredible. I had received a call just a few weeks earlier that I was to serve the Lord as a missionary in St. Petersburg, Russia. I only had time to attend one temple preparation class. But, a lifetime of desire, stemming from the simple words my mom had taught me before primary had taught me, had prepared me to go inside that day. The feelings of peace, calm, awe, reverence, and joy overwhelmed me as I watched so many of my loved ones walking into the endowment room at the Mt. Timpanogoes temple that day. These feelings return each time I get to be in a temple of our God. My family knows my great love for the temple, I even wrote a third verse to the primary song…it’s not in the song book yet! Thank you, Mom.

there was more...but i'll save them for another day...but until then, enjoy the picture of my mom - and my dad :)