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The Boy’s Cardiac Status

Heading home from yet another trip to Dallas…our 15th year of appointments at Children’s Dallas.

This time we moved with Dr. Zellers over to the Plano hospital, and I am quite impressed!  Was just really wierd not going to the main hospital after doing this for so long. However, we got to spend alot more personal time with Dr. Z and had virtually no wait time.

So where are we with Kaston’s cardiac status?


He had a 24 hour Holter monitor done Monday/Tuesday but Dr. Z didn’t have time to get the reading done on it. He wants to compare it to his last one and see if he sees anything different. His EKG and Echo looked good and he is in normal sinus rhythm.

He said he may want him to come back and do an exercise, or stress test, to rule anything out.  Basically, we are trying to get to the root of his extreme fatigue.  He sleeps all the time and it’s only getting worse.  (He’s asleep right now and slept 12 hours last night) When he is active, his recovery time is twice as long as it used to be.

We feel it is likely a combination of things.  His heart rate really doesn’t get above 115 or so and his average heart rate is in the 40s.  This in itself will cause anyone to slow down.  Top that with his 60% cardiac output from his Fontan anatomy.  And add the demands of puberty into the mix.

This may be just how his life will be. Could a pacemaker help?  Maybe.  But could that harm him too because of his anotomical design? Maybe.

Is there an underlying cause we’re missing? Maybe.

So we will wait to hear back from him next week and see where we go from here.  We may need to go back and do the stress test.  We may just let him push through it and see if he improves.  We might have to just say, it is what it is.  And let the boy sleep.

I am not sure how I feel about it all. Part of me says if, it is what it is and this is what his life will be like from now on, I knew this day would come, just not quite so early.  We knew he would start slowing down and his heart would not be able to  manage the demands he puts on it. So that’s a little disheartening if that’s what it is.

If he needs a pacemaker, that’s a whole new set of responsibilities and limitations for him to worry about. But if it improves his quality of life, then that’s what we need fo do.

I just have to remind myself it could be worse.  He is in relatively good health, his liver seems to be doing ok, his heart function looks decent, his lungs are junk but nothing we can’t deal with, and he gets to lead an easy and adventurous life. Because we designed it that way for him. Let’s get as many as those peak life experiences in as long as we can, because that opportunity will not always be around for him.

Dr. Z seemed pretty excited for him to have gone scuba diving and was glad to hear he did so well.  He said he only had a couple of Fontan patients that had attempted it.  And he asked what his next adventure was going to be…skydiving?  Of course Kaston said yes, one of these days!

So, we’ll just keep on keepin on until we hear differently!






A New Year, another update

This crazy dog of mine…oh how she has missed her people.

It’s been pretty quiet around the Snyder household the past few months. But we fortunately were able to take a few days off and head to one of our favorite places, Possum Kingdom Lake for NYE. And our pups for sure missed us this time. It was definitely the coldest I have ever been at the lake before, but that’s what campfires and propane heaters are for! We had an amazing and relaxing week-end, totally unplugged with some of our closest friends. The kids – teenagers mind you – even played Uno, Yahtzee, Life, Monopoly and put puzzles together! They also hung out at the little restaurant at the marina and played pool too. Other than that, great food, great company and a great NYE and transition into 2018.
House update::: everyone always asks::: We haven’t gotten any offers, we have had almost 5,000 hits online, host an open house once a month and had half a dozen showings beyond that. March 8 will be our 12 month mark. And we couldn’t be more ready!
So please pray for us to sell our house quickly so we can move on to our future plans….which, is also a hot topic question! Right now we are looking at purchasing some land in River Falls, the gated area next to where we currently live at Lake Tanglewood.

River Falls is also part of the Palo Duro Canyon and offers access to a 500 acre refuge with ATV trails, fishing ponds, waterfalls; it also offers an equestrian center, airport and golf course. So it is similar to LTW, but doesn’t have a damned lake (it’s actually on the backside of the damn from LTW) Our plans are to build a barndominium! (For those of you not in Texas, a barndominium is basically a large barn with upscale living quarters inside.) Bob has been filling his down time with floorplan possibilities. In the mean time, as soon as our house sells, we will either do apartment living, maybe buy a small house to rent out later, or just rent while we build. Once we get the main part of the barn up, there’s been talk of just setting up our 5th wheel in it and live there while we finish it out! So, we at least have options.

We also would like to purchase a lot at Possum Kingdom that has income potential by making it a vacation rental. There is the PERFECT fixer upper lot available right now, exactly what we are wanting in our price range, but the stars are gonna have to align just right in order for us to get it before it sells. So we will keep looking, and of course praying for our home to sell quickly. We are soooooo ready to start this next phase in life! And super excited as well!

Korah is steadily looking for side projects to make extra $$ and still working on her real estate license. It’s proving to be a bit more difficult than we anticipated but she’ll get there eventually. She’s still caring for the little girl of our friend’s and taking her to therapy for her spina bifida. But she is also currently looking for another part time job to help her with her upcoming trip to Europe in September. So she has been steadily applying for jobs this week.

Kaston has a big cardiology appointment coming up this month so we’ll be headed back down south to Dallas. He’s getting to the age of transitioning his care to himself so his appointments will now be geared more towards him and not so much us and our concerns. It’s just preparing him to learn to take proper care of himself when he turns 18 and transitions to adult care. So crazy we are getting to that stage. It will be here before we know it. He hopefully will continue to have no concerning or immediate issues. Other than that, he starts 4H competitive shooting next week and is super stoked. We are excited to see him trying a new activity in which he will likely do well in since he has been shooting recreationally for several years with his dad.

Bob’s work schedule is changing this year, as he will be working 3 months of days and 3 months of nights. Not sure how it’s gonna work out just yet, and we’re not super happy about it but it is what it is. He still gets his 4 days off and earns a ton of vacation and flex time, so we can’t complain too much and are super blessed to have the job he does.

As far as travelling goes, we ended out 2017 with a trip to Playa del Carmen Mexico and it was amazing!!! So much sun, beautiful beaches, amazing food, went scuba diving for the 1st time, and a great resort overall. Not sure we’d go back but it really was a great vacation.
2018 will take us to Alaska!!! We are doing an Alaskan cruise for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary in May and we we couldn’t be more excited! We have about 14 couples/families going with us. It is gonna be quite the adventure for sure and we are so looking forward to this experience!

And then Korah will be going on her adventure with EF Tours to Eastern Europe in September. I am so excited for her! If things fall into place, I would LOVE to be able to meet up with her in Hungary, where my dad’s family is from, and explore for a few days and maybe go to Amsterdam. We’ll just have to see how things go. I also have talked about doing an East Coast Tour in the fall for several years and we have just never been able to make it work out. Maybe this will be our year!

There are SO many things I wanna do and places I wanna see and experiences yet to be had. If we could, we would sell it all and just take off for a couple of years! That’s why we are so passionate about travel and why we encourage Korah to do it NOW! But we for sure have been blessed by what we already get to do and the possibilities our company provides us. There simply just isn’t a price tag you can put on making these amazing memories with your family and friends. Glad we found a better, easier, cheaper way to do it.

So here’s looking at 2018…may it be better than 2017. It just has to be!



I’ve been doing alot of scrolling these lazy days of summer without my kiddos being around and I came across a really good marriage blog the other day. It referenced a message from Pastor Jimmy about having vision for your marriage.  I’ve heard it before but it really is such a great message, I thought I would share it with you!

The Power of Vision for Your Marriage

Bob and I have been asked many times in our marriage how we do it.  How do we stay happy and content and fun and in love, even after 20 years of marriage…27 years together. I don’t really think there is any one specific thing except for we are always willing to learn more.  Of course, we keep it as God-Centered as possible and that is truly the #1 reason.  But there really is no perfect marriage and we both understand that we will always need to continue to learn in order to grow. We are not beyond going to marriage seminars or retreats.   We are not beyond reading marriage books.  We are not beyond hearing a good message and applying what we learn.  Marriage is a continual education and the more we learn the better we are with each other, the better we understand and respect another. We refuse to allow ourselves to be on auto pilot so we make a point to talk about goals and dreams and vision in our lives and in our marriage and our family. We are intentional.  I feel that if you are not continually learning how to have a successful marriage and just exist day to day, then you are opening the door for the enemy to attack and you will have problems. But know this, we also still have alot of work to do! We always will!

I love this message from Pastor Jimmy as he talks about some of the things we have tried to implement in our own marriage.  Enjoy!

The Power of Vision for Your Marriage

Snydertime Update

Gonna try this blogging thing again…since I tend to be long-winded. Hoping to keep it more updated, especially as our family enters into another new phase in life!

Totally missing my kiddos tonight and been a pretty big funk today! Probably why I wanted to hop on here and share some thoughts since I have no one else to talk to (Bob is working…more on that later)!!! 😁 Also, it’s been 6 years ago today that we had Debbie’s (Bob’s mom) funeral.  She died on our 14 year anniversary, so each year is bittersweet for us on June 7.  Grief has a strange way of showing up unexpectedly and both her and Drew have been heavy on my heart lately.  I think it’s mostly because I feel bad for Bob no longer having any of his parents. And I hate that my kids don’t get to know them the way we did.  I know they both would be so proud of our kids and totally involved and supportive of them. I miss that relationship so much and am grateful that my parents have the ability and means to do fun things with the kids and spend quality time with them.


Debbie in the mountains, one of her favorite places

Got to facetime Korah for awhile tonight. She is having a great time and making friends from all over the world! I was able to meet her friend from Slovakia tonight.  There are several other countries that some of the counselors and campers are from also! She is having a blast teaching her campers archery and is doing quite well herself, earning some sort of medal for something?? They played softball today and went for a swim in the Guad (Guadalupe River) and can’t wait to serve us dinner “family style”. She and another counselor are in charge of 8 girls at meal time and have to grade them on their table manners!  It was great seeing her smiling face and interacting with all of her new friends! She seems very content and happy and well adjusted.  She has had some difficulties with a pretty massive heat rash on her feet and legs but seems to getting it under control.  It happened to her when we were in Mexico too.  She was pretty miserable a few days ago but it seems to be subsiding.


Haven’t yet heard from Kaston, as they are off the grid with no service. Briefly talked to the parentals the other day about the storm that hit their house. But am sure he’s having fun up in the mountains of Arizona riding dirt bikes and hanging out with my parents, my brother and his family.

Other #SnyderTime news…Bob is back on Group, meaning he is back to shift work…4 on/4 off…month of days/month of nights. It will definitely be an another big adjustment for our family again, but there are positives to it as well. Always gotta look for the positive, right??!! Glad I have my pups to keep me company at night!!


Thanks to the Ishams for having me this week-end! Was so good to be back out on the water, even if it was windy. Had a great time with new/old friends! Looking forward to spending the rest of the summer with friends at different lakes all over!  We of course have friends here at Tanglewood, and then the Ishams at Ute lake in NM, work friends at Possum Kingdom, and then our Jones friends up in OK we hope to visit at a lake near them!


Was itching to book another vacation the other night, so we booked our next family vacation!  Headed to Playa del Carmen in Nov for 6 nights, 7 days with the kids and a group of friends! Super excited to be staying at another 4 Diamond resort.  We aren’t traveling quite as much this year as we have in years past because we’re doing an Alaskan cruise next summer for mom & dad’s 50th and there’s talk of maybe Scotland next fall since we didn’t get to do a 20 yr anniversary trip this month (Bob’s work stuff got in the way). Those are pretty big trips so we had to scale back this year. Plus mine & Korah’s London trip was a big one too. We just so love exploring new cultures and new food and new experiences!! And we of course are always looking for people that wanna come with us and wonder how we travel like we do! We can definitely help fulfill some of the items on your bucketlist!! We have ways to make it happen for you just like us!


Our house is still for sale and haven’t really had many showings.  There are about 30 houses for sale down here right now and nothing is really moving real estate wise for some reason. But “they” are predicting the market to improve within the next couple of months. As far as our plans go, still undecided! We may build another house down here at LTW but are looking at maybe building something over at the neighboring River Falls community as well. Just will depend one what’s available when that time comes!

Got some exciting new stuff in the works but gotta keep a lid on it for awhile! Can’t wait to see how it will affect our future! We definitely have technology to our advantage on this one!

Thanks for reading the #SnyderTime scoop! Until next time!


Thanks for all the support y’all! Quick update…Korah is still down and out so I called Teladoc today-one of our many benefits of our travel club membership – crazy, I know! It didn’t cost us anything to get a doctor to call me back – within 5 minutes – and get her a prescription called in. Been doing essential oils too so maybe she will be better in a couple of days.  She has been on the couch since Sunday night!

Kaston’s Holter results will be sent to Dallas for review that we will discuss next Friday during our visit. We are not expecting any surprises heart wise that we aren’t already aware of.

Other issues to address will be liver damage, as new studies and information kids/adults with the Fontan circulation have some degree of liver damage, whether just scarring of the liver and gradually fibrosis and full blown cirrhosis of the liver. Some of the top centers like Children’s Boston and CHOP (Philadelphia) are starting screening immediately on all Fontan patients and some centers their standard is 10 years post Fontan.  He is 11 years post Fontan. We are not sure if Childrens Dallas is screening the liver or if they even have a program in place yet.

So many times these kids are referred out to bigger more advanced centers (like when we referred to Texas Childrens in Houston for neuro issues). Dallas is great and a top center in the nation but not as big as TCH or CHOP.

Here’s a simple explanation from Mayo Clinic.

I have read so many of these hospital sites and read studies from so many journals it would make your head spin.  One of the last reports indicated 100% of Fontan kids/adults screened have a certain degree of liver damage. Problem is, they know what’s causing it but have no way of fixing it, except for transplant, when it is completely failing. By then it puts so much pressure on the heart that many end up in heart/liver transplant.  A few years ago Kaston had some blood work come back with terrible numbers on his liver and it freaked everyone out. They chalked it up to bad test results.  Now I am beginning to wonder??

Of course we have only been seeing this information come out over the last year so this is all very new to us, as well as the medical community.

Alot to wrap your brain around, and the source of some anxiety in mom!

Overall we think the visit will go like they usually do, EKG, Echo, see the doc, answer/ask questions on both parts and we’ll be outta there!



Snyder kids

Please keep my kiddos in your prayers as you go throughout your day today! Korah has been pretty sick all week and not getting any better. She told me she wanted to go to the doctor tomorrow if she isn’t any better by then.  And that’s saying alot because she absolutely despises medicine and shots.

Kaston has a 24 hour Holter monitor strapped to his chest like a mini bomb- it’s basically a portable EKG machine monitors his heart rate and rhythm for 24 hours, as he is at risk for abnormalities and his heart rate is typically Bradycardic, meaning slower than average and his Dallas cardiologist likes to look at that once a year.  This always affects him emotionally. I guess it just brings his CHD to his forethought constantly and affects his attitude on a big level. 

He and I will be headed to Children’s Dallas next Thursday for his annual visit. Letting the familiar anxiety settle in a bit.

Snydertime 2016

Well, this blog thing hasn’t really been used in quite some time, but I really would like to develop it a little more. As alot of you guys know, I enjoy writing so whether you read any of this or not, it’s really a great way for me to jot some thoughts down and gives me the ability to organize the craziness that goes on inside my head that keeps me up late at night!  Sort of like a journal you could say.  And if it can help any of you, then that’s just adds to it! It is my #1 goal in life to help people and have a servant’s heart, so maybe this can just be an extension of that for those that want to follow along!

So as I was scrolling thru FB land, my Time Hop popped up and 1 year ago today we were skiing in the Rocky Mountains in New Mexico!  It was the first time we had ever been as a family together.

The year before on this day, Bob and I were in Kentucky enjoying the distilleries of the Smokey Mountains.

And here we are year #3 headed home from Orlando.  Twice in the last 7 months. Out of the country 4 times in 2 years. Countless vacations and bucket list item after bucket list item checked off.  Who would have ever thought this would be our life?!

The last 10 days has been an incredible experience and full of reflection, goal setting, personal development along with preparation for our future.

One of the best things about the last 10 days is that I got to have so many peak life experiences with my mom. She is checking bucket list items off of her list too! I am so so blessed that she is able and capable and willing to experience new things, even at the young age of 66!! And I am grateful I have a dad that allows her those opportunities to spread her wings. It’s what makes their marriage work, for more than 47 years. She is adventurous and spur of the moment…a free spirit. He is steady and hard working and content. An awesome combination that works. It was such a great experience her sharing new things with her grandkids and especially her love of Star Wars with Kaston. And then of course wearing matching John Lennon shirts with Korah! Her time at Give Kids The World was very fulfilling and I am so glad to have shared that incredible experience with her. Just a great time overall!

So where am I going with all of this?

A little over 3 years ago, our lives changed forever in yet another direction that we had not planned for.  Crazy how when you give over control to God to help you find your path, destiny and purpose, where He will lead you. As you all know Kaston was granted a Wish through Make A Wish, and it was to go to Disney World.  It was something, at that time in our lives, that we never even thought would ever be a possibility to ever provide for him. And man was it an incredible experience that can ever be or will be recreated again, nor would I want it to be. It was such a special time for our son and our family and we will forever be indebted to Make-Wish for what they did for us.  Kaston will always be a Wish child and will always carry that throughout his life. And we as a family will always be a part of MAW as well.

What it did for us, however, was to open up a world of possibilities for our family and put in us an intense desire to travel more. And for us to volunteer more. We basically opened up our hearts and mind and asked God for the desires of our hearts and for Him to reveal His purpose in our life and boy has He delivered since!

For us to have had the opportunity we have had this week has made things come full circle since that first Florida experience and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter in our life will bring us. We are on the path to our destiny and purpose God has placed in our lives and I have no doubt the future is going to bring so many more opportunities our way.

The fulfillment we experienced in volunteering at Give Kids The World far surpassed anything I could have ever expected for myself and for my kids.  To be able to serve other families like we were served 3 years ago is priceless.  It taught our children compassion for others and is developing a servant’s heart in them at a young age, something I only started learning in my 20s. Those things can only be taught by experiencing it. You can talk and preach it but until you do it, it won’t ever develop.

And honestly, even though when we left there 3 years ago we really wanted to go back to volunteer,  we figured it would be maybe 20 years from now that we would have the opportunity to do so, like when we retired! Who would have ever thought it would be a short 3 years later??!!! But sometimes when opportunities present themselves, you just gotta run with it! And for my mom and her friend to have just a little taste of that made it even better! Because you can talk about and show pictures about places far and wide, but until you are actually EXPERIENCING it first hand, it just won’t have the same impact.

It’s the same as travelling.  You can read about something or even see it on TV but until you actually see it, feel it, smell it, taste it, EXPERIENCE it, you really have no idea what it is like.

Something I have been reflecting on the last few days, and actually has been heavy on my heart for quite some time, is knowing that not everyone has the ability to travel like we do. Or do you? We have so many people that have questioned us, the good, the bad and the downright ugly, about why and how we travel so much. But I want you to think about something for a minute.  Most families I know have something they enjoy spending their “extra” money on.  It ranges from shoes and purses, clothes and jewelry, to maybe a nicer house or nicer car.  So many families have their kids involved in sports (I know families that spend THOUSANDS on their kids sporting activities). Many people I know enjoy camping and have expensive campers, toy haulers, RVs and the usual toys that go along with that lifestyle, like boats and motorcycles and all terrain vehicles. Some ladies I know spend a TON of money on getting their hair and nails done and have the best make-up out there. Some people choose to spend lots of money on alcohol or eating out or tatoos. If you add up some people’s ink, it would provide for a pretty awesome vacation, right??!! Then there’s the gym people that have gym memberships and the best and most expensive nutrition products on the market. And of course don’t forget about the people that have the newest phone or gaming system and have to buy the newest and latest version the week they come out and spend more on their phone and data plans, video games and televisions and computers and tablets than we do airline tickets. Or maybe sending your kids or yourself to college has been a priority, which is perfect if that’s what YOU want. I just see it as funding a TON of peak life experiences instead! College just isn’t our thing…but that’s cool if it IS your thing. Same with public school. It’s just not our thing.  Then there’s the guys that spend a fortune on hunting and fishing and golf. Or maybe a Harley. Or maybe gambling on your favorite sports teams.

So really, isn’t it more about where you personally enjoy spending your own money? It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t afford to travel, it just means you choose to spend your hard earned cash else where!  And all of the above is ok! It’s your decision to invest in what you feel is best suited for you and your family and what your interests and hobbies are.  We spend our extra money on travel and on a boat and time at the lake. We truly enjoy meeting new people, exploring new places, having new experiences. When was the last time you did something for the first time?? Our kids aren’t in sports, but what most parents spend on sending their kids to sports camps, club ball, rodeo-ing, 4H or whatever else, sends my daughter to Costa Rica or Europe!

Have we always been this way or felt this way?  Heck no!  Have we changed??!! Heck yes!!  Our lives have changed, our needs and wants have changed, our goals and aspirations have changed. We have had very very different life circumstances happen in our lives than most people we know and that has molded us into totally different people, for which we are thankful for.

Besides that we NEVER EVER pay what most people do to travel. We have found a better way. We love getting free rooms, free flights, and deeply discounted trips, excursions thrown in, etc. Sometimes our trips are 100% paid for.  So why wouldn’t we, right? Where in the world are the Snyders, right?? We just have the deal. And it helps us with our passion and life goal of fun, freedom and fulfillment.

It’s simply what we enjoy doing with our family.  It’s our hobby.  You guys brag on your kids games or events or grades or accomplishments or jobs or your new purse or new jewelry or that big fish or the one that got away or your house or your car or your cute nails and new haircut.  Ours just happens to be travel. It’s who we are and what we do.

I do sometimes have guilt about how we are able to do what we do. I know the struggle is real for so many families. Believe me…we’ve been there!

Sometimes in life, however, you just have to learn to trust God to provide direction for you and He will puts things in place for you.  God wants to fulfill the desires of your heart!

What are your desires?

What are your goals for your life?

What are your gifts?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 10 years?

In 20 years?

Do you have vision for your future?

Do you know what your purpose is?

Does your purpose, your future and your goals align with each other? Are you and your spouse on the same page? Do you know each others dreams and goals and desires? Do you have a bucket list to fufill? How are you gonna accomplish that?  Do you have a plan in place? Or are you just gonna go to work day in and day out and let life deal it’s cards to you for the next 30-40 years while the world goes by?

Yes, this past 10 days was incredible. The parks, the volunteering, being in Florida, have all been incredible.  Saturday and Sunday was astounding. I encourage each of you to grow and challenge yourselves mentally and spiritually. What are you filling your days with? Do you watch mindless television, stupid youtube and facebook videos and sporting events on TV (aka Income Reducer). Or are you investing in yourself and your future? I never knew what personal development was until 3 years ago. I didn’t understand that there were books out there that you can read that can help you to think and grow as a person, as a leader and, if you choose to be, successful. I had the misconception that the only way a person could become successful in life is if they went to college and got a degree!  And that wasn’t us!! I just thought that since we never completed college and got a degree that we would ever be successful.  And actually I have found it to be quite opposite!  I would say that 95% of the most successful people I know personally didn’t go that path!  They are outside the box thinkers and taking risks drives them to become more successful.

Low and behold, there are other ways to become successful in life! Choose to surround yourself with GOOD and motivated people and it will change your life! Because you are the average of the 10 people you surround yourself with!

So if you want something to change in your life, then you’re gonna have to be willing to change and invest in yourself to make those changes.

Here’s what I know to be true. You are in charge of your destiny. Who is guiding it? Are you just letting life happen or are you going out and MAKING things happen for yourself?

I have learned that all people can tell you is no. And if you have an idea or a thought or a dream or a vision, what’s keeping you from fulfilling it?? Is it money, or resources, or an unsupportive spouse, or time?  Whatever it is, you actually DO have permission to make it different for yourself!

Moral of my story…be who you wanna be! Travel the world if you want to!! We do!  And would love for our friends and family to come along, if that’s your desire! Are you tired of life just happening and passing you by and wishing things were different?  Well, who in the world told you that you had to live a mediocre life?  Some of you may have a great life with no struggles and are content and happy and desire nothing more, nothing better and are 100% happy with every single aspect of your life. I personally don’t know anyone like that, so if you are that person, I wanna talk to you and see what your secret is! Of course, I am blessed beyond measure and have no real complaints in my life, but I feel there is ALWAYS room for improvement and for dreaming and aspirations and to become a better human being overall. And of course, to become everything I am destined and called to be.

That is all.


Snyder Time is active again!

St. Lucia, West Indies

St. Lucia, West Indies

I sort of forgot about  this little blog of mine and decided to see if it was even still available!  So I’ve spent the afternoon going over all of my past posts and I can’t believe it was Christmas of 2012 since I last posted!  Wow, So Much Has Happened since then!  For those of you that I am friends with on Facebook, most of you know what’s been going on the last couple of years.  My intentions are to start this blog up again, so I can communicate better with close friends and family, and those who want to keep up with the Snyder Times!  Not to mention, writing has always been therapeutic for me and allows me to go back and reflect.

To catch everyone up since 2012, I will back up and try to cover the top events of the last 2 years.  Shortly after we got back from Kaston’s Make-A-Wish trip, one of the biggest blessings ever came into our lives.  More about that later.  In June of 2013, we had the opportunity to go to San Diego, CA for a much needed family vacation for a few days.  We were still dealing with the death of Bob’s mom Debbie and taking care of his dad and his high medical needs, along with maintaining 2 households.  It was amazing and we had so much fun being on the West Coast and getting to see the Pacific Ocean when Bob had just first seen the ocean only 6 months prior on Kaston’s Make-A-Wish trip!  And ever since Debbie’s passing, his dad, Drew had been in very bad health due to unmanaged diabetes.  Unfortunately, July 3, 2013, Bob’s dad, Drew, passed away.  Bob found him at home in his bedroom.  His kidneys had failed him.  So we planned yet another funeral during the summer.  4 funerals in 4 summers in 1 family.  The Boxwell Brothers have been amazing to our family, but just as Bart told us, we really hope we don’t see each other for a very long time.

A lot of you may not know this, but Bob has been surrounded by an incredible amount of death in his life and his dad’s took the cake.  When Bob was 14, his only sister tragically died in a car wreck.  She was 16 years old.  Over the years other great-aunts & uncles passed along with Debbie’s parents, as is expected as people get older and most people experience.  In 2006, his biological mother passed away at age 53.  In the summer of 2010, his grandmother that he was extremely close to  and spent his childhood summers with passed away.  In the summer of 2011, Debbie passed at age 59.  In the summer of 2012, Debbie’s brother Gary passed away at age 61.  In the summer of 2013, his dad Drew passed away at the age of 60. And of most of you may remember, not even two months after Drew passed away, Bob’s 25 year old brother Matt was in a terrible car wreck that almost killed him.  He is still recovering a year and 4 surgeries later.  To say that a black cloud has been hanging over this family is an understatement…not to mention Kaston’s near death experiences when he was a baby with his heart condition.  So we pledged and prayed that 2014 was the year of the Snyder’s.  And we made it through the summer without anyone dying or having to attend a funeral!  It was a much needed relief for our family and our kids.  Besides Kaston being born with his medical issues and the amount of stress that brought on our family, those 3 years were the very hardest times of our lives and our marriage.  If our marriage can make it through those situations, I have no doubt we can get through anything! The demands of caring for dying parents is excruciating.  And we are young.  Most people do not have to do this so close together and at this age.  Maybe one parent dies tragically or unexpectedly, but to have 3 parents die so young and so close together is unusual.  And we finally feel like we have some normalcy in our lives now.  After thousands of dollars spent on attorneys fees trying to settle both estates, and paying two mortgage and maintaining 2 households for 3 years, we are getting closer to being finished.  We finally were able to clean out his parent’s house and get it ready to sell and is currently on the market.  Our realtor has been showing it non-stop for the last week and we actually have an offer on it.  Just waiting for them to accept our counter offer.  Once that is complete, hopefully that chapter of our lives will be closed and we can continue on with the wonderful memories that we have of his parents.

So, let’s back up to our blessing that was brought into our life in January 2013, shortly after we were home from Kaston’s Make-A-Wish trip!  Some friends introduced us to something that has allowed us to travel the world this year.  It’s hard to go into detail about it, because there’s just so much to it, but it has allowed us to have a life I have only dreamt of and still have to pinch myself some times!  It has taken some mental changes on our part and made us get outside of our comfort zone a little bit, but we have dove head first into a life changing thing!  It is a great place to be in at this time of our lives and we have grown so much over the last year just from the personal development we have gone through.  Our dreams are becoming realities.  Kaston’s Make-A-Wish trip opened up something in us we never really had, nor knew what we were missing.  We simply didn’t know what we didn’t know.  The desire to travel.

This year has been filled with many firsts and allowed us to start checking off things on our bucket lists! I have been on an airplane more this year that I have in all of my previous years combined!  Beginning in January, Bob and I spent 5 days in Louisville, Kentucky.  It was a great getaway for us and we enjoyed our time at the Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark Distilleries, along with our tour of the Churchhill Downs.  In March, we embarked on an amazing journey together and travelled the Atlantic and spent 10 days in Ireland.  I can’t even begin to describe what an amazing time we had there!  The pictures do not do it justice.  We will take our kids there when they are a little older.  We topped it off with 2 days in London.  I fell in love.  We will take our kids there someday too.  The kids and I spent a few days in Ruidoso, NM with my family for my grandmother’s birthday, Bob & I went to Indianapolis, Indiana in June for the Mended Little Hearts Conference, Las Vegas in July, and then add in a couple of trips to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Oklahoma City, and Possum Kingdom along with a lake trip to Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma and I’d say we had an incredibly busy summer traveling and blew the last 3 summers out of the water!  We ended it with a 8 day cruise out of San Juan, Puerto Rico in the Caribbean just a couple of weeks ago – St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, and Barbados were our ports of call.  WOW!  We had an amazing time and it was the kids first time to travel out of the country!  The water and beaches were amazing, the cruise itself was unforgettable and I can’t wait to have to opportunity to go back to the Caribbean and stay on my favorite island…St. Maarten!  We have made friends with people all over the country and met some amazing people from other countries – the people of Ireland are the friendliest by far!

We have some big trips coming up for 2015 and I can not wait to have them on the books permanently!  Just trying to figure out when and where, but it’s gonna be another epic year for our family!  I guess when you go through what we’ve gone through, priorities change.  Cleaning out Bob’s parents house was very emotionally draining.  They worked their entire lives for a house full of stuff that had no value.  The only thing we wanted to keep were the things that had memories attached to them.  And there were so many things we simply just had to get rid of.  An entire, albeit short, lifetime of working 40-60 hours a week for a house full of things.  Oh how I wish we had more memories with them.  More peak life experiences shared with them.  Because in the end, that’s all we really have.

I want to show our kids the world.  I am so glad we said “yes” to an idea that we weren’t sure of but took a leap of faith.  And man, it has sure changed our lives for the better.  Bigger things are coming our way and our future has been changed forever.  It’s a really good place to be at and I thank God every day for placing such an amazing opportunity in our lives.  It’s crazy how God likes to give you the desires of our hearts…we just sometimes have to ask.  And it may not be anything you ever expected, but you know it when you see it.  It’s hard to believe that He has placed the people in our lives that he has and that we have had the opportunity to meet the people we have.  And I know this is only the beginning.

Homeschool is going well and it really fits our family and our family perfectly.  We have so much freedom and this new lifestyle fits our schedule nicely!

Of course, there’s so much more that has happened, but these are the biggest things that have impacted our family the most over the last couple of years.  I hope to be able to keep this page updated more frequently.  We have some big things coming up that I will share with you later, so until then…


Where Dreams Come True

Where Dreams Come True

Side Note:  if you don’t want to read my long-winded tendancy style of writing my emotions and details…scroll down to the bottom to see the pictures – it’s long too.

Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas! We had a simple Christmas yesterday with Bob’s dad Drew and his brother, Matt. My folks are out in Phoenix with my brother in his family for the holidays and should be home soon! The kids are super excited to see their grandparents and have yet another Christmas (which means more presents!)
We have actually been celebrating Christmas for a month now! November 26th we embarked on an experience that was most definitely once in a lifetime!
There are just too many emotions and experiences that we had to describe it in words. The best way to describe it is that we felt like celebrities everywhere we went! We were taken care of so very well, ate like kings and the magic of it all…just so unbelievable.
Give Kids the World is like no other place you EVER have been or ever will go. It is completely a fantasy world that you live in, for 7 days. There is so much joy in that place. I have never in my life experienced true joy as I did while we were there. Granted, there have been joyful moments in my life…wedding day, birth of kids and such, but nothing like this. I can’t tell you how many times I was in tears because of the pure joy of the moment.

I would love to write out everything we did and the emotions we experienced, but we would be here for a while! Here are the highlights. I will say I always thought “Disney World, Where Dreams Come True” and “The Happiest Place on Earth” was so cliche. But now I understand it. Dreams do come true there and it is one of the happiest places I have ever been in my life. I don’t know whether it was just Disney World or just all of it. Make-A-Wish, Disney, Universal, Sea World, the Ocean, Shaun Murray, GKTW made it where Kaston’s dreams came true and brought us to one of the most happiest places we have ever been.

Note: Disney World is actually 4 parks – none of which we really understood until we were there and Bob still doesn’t get!
Magic Kingdom = the Castle
Hollywood Studios = the Hat
Animal Kingdom = the Tree
Epcot = the Ball

Day 1 Travel to Florida
Being greeted with a sign with Kaston’s name at the airport
Our villa – it was decorated for Christmas!
Day 2:
ice cream after breakfast
Animal Kingdom – The Lion King (I cried during “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. We played that song during our wedding (a really long time ago!)
Hollywood Studios – Star Tours and Kaston getting to fight Darth Vader during the Jedi Training
ice cream when we got back to the village
Day 3 Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure
Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit – 17 stories straight up while Motley Crue is blasting in your head followed by the most awesome roller coaster ride ever!
Kaston got chosen as a volunteer for Animal Actors on Location.
Ice cream at the village
Day 4
Ice cream after lunch
Boggy Creek Boat Ride and Relax at the Village
Saw a bald eagle and alligators in their natural habitat, held a baby gator
The Village…again, no place like it. Kids swam, they did their magic pillows and Kaston did his Castle of Miracles Star, Korah got a manicure and they did tattoos, rode on the carousel, played putt-putt, pool, video games, had Christmas Dinner, ate ice cream, met Santa, got presents, had a parade, made ornaments, cookies, snow cones, played in the snow, danced. I cried, again. To see the joy in the children’s faces and within these families is something I have never experienced. The volunteers that make it happen…so much joy. So many of the kids are in wheelchairs and have obvious physical and mental impairments. But to see the pain released and the outward joy of so many people that struggle just to survive is an amazing experience. We are blessed.
Day 5
Eric from Mauiva Air Tours took us flying over Orlando!
It was amazing and Kaston flew the plane most of the time…seriously. We flew over Epcot and the others and then headed to Epcot, which was my favorite park by far. They were all amazing, but Epcot is geared more towards adult in my opinion.
Highlights…Mission Space, Soarin’, the food, margaritas and daquiries, the most amazing fireworks show EVER! Think about the best fireworks show you’ve ever seen. Now, multiply that by 1000. And to watch my kids faces and their smiles…there’s not enough money in the world to ever recreate that magical moment in time. We did not want to leave Epcot. We sat for awhile at the front and just basked in the joy of our hearts. And had our picture taken.
Day 6 Magic Kingdom
It’s nostaligic. We did the nostalgic rides…for me. I wanted the Jungle Cruise experience, the Dumbo experience and the Tea Cup pictures, like you see on the commercial and we have all wondered and dreamt about since we were kids and understood what Disney was. So my family went along with it. And it was fun. Not thrilling fun, but nostalgic fun. We loved Space Mountain and rode it twice. Just being there was fun. It was a little crowded, as they were filming the Disney Christmas Parade and lots of celebrities were there (which we did NOT get to watch yesterday and I forgot to TiVo it…stupid stupid stupid!) but it was so Christmassy, so amazing. Again, such a fabulous fireworks show…it’s called Wishes. How appropriate! Tears for me again. Loved the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster. Only got to ride it once because it was down for part of the day. Would totally love to have rode it again. Hall of Presidents was really neat and I was so proud that my kids new every single president, in order. Unlike the man behind us that didn’t even know who Abraham Lincoln was.

I will say this about Disney. No one, I mean No One, does it like Disney. Their staff (or cast members) are amazing, their facilities are amazing, their attention to detail…amazing. This may seem stupid, but even their bathroom facilities were the best. Every door shut properly, they were always clean, always had toilet paper. More companies and businesses need to take note of how this works. Disney employs over 65,000 people in central Florida! And they do it right.
Another great thing about ALL of the parks we went to was that they treated us like royalty. Kaston was given a GKTW button with his name on it with our village dates. That was the magical button. It gave us special access to wherever we wanted to go. We never waited more than 10 minutes for any ride. We had special seating everywhere we went…front and center. We were IN FRONT of Fast Pass most of the time, or simply ushered to the exit where we were promptly put on a ride. Alot of times, it was, “Right this way, we’ve been waiting for you!” GKTW has an amazing partnership with the Disney, Universal and Sea World corporations and every.single.person we came into contact knew exactly who we were.  Not us as the Snyder’s, but us, as guests of Give Kids the World.  From the parking ticket taker (which of course, we had complimentary and at the very front of every park), to the ticket turnstile workers to the photographers that took tons of pictures of us, complimentary of course.  We were definitely spoiled and it will be hard to go to another theme park again!

Day 7  Departure and Sea World

We didn’t want to leave.   I cried.  Again.  Not because I was sad, but that me and my family got to experience what we did and that so many people volunteered their time, money and hearts to make it happen for us.  Not just us, but for 100,000 children and their families.  We ate breakfast, had 1 last ice cream palace visit and headed out after visiting the House Of Hope.  A place that talks about Henry Landwirth’s amazing story of being a Holocaust survivor.  A place of dedication to the hundreds of companies and individuals that have donated money and hard work and where a hand shake actually meant something.  A place of dedication to the thousands of individuals that volunteer their time, every single week, to make this happen for families like ours.  Although we had to check-out, we will definitely be going back in the future (which we are always welcome to visit at any time since we are now considered alumni) and we will volunteer.  I am already looking forward to it.

After we left, we had to take care of the rental van to extend it to the next week and we headed to Sea World.  It’s Bob’s all-time favorite park.  We had so much fun!  Kaston, FINALLY got the nerve up to ride a big roller coaster, the Manta.  He cried the first few seconds and then it was pure happiness and excitement from there.  We rode it and the other big coaster twice.  The shows are always great, of course.  We got to feed the dolphins and pet the sting rays.  We went on the Polar Express simulator and sat front and center at the Shamu Christmas show, Miracles.  Again, so appropriate.  We weren’t in the splash zone, we were in the SOAKED zone.  Great fireworks show, again, and peppermint hot chocolate. 

We were changing out of our wet clothes in the parking lot trying to decide where to go from there.  We were winging it the rest of the week.  Which, if you know me, kinda freaked me out a little.  It was 10:00 at night, I had no reservations and had no idea where we were going!  So, we decided we wanted to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic so we drove to Cocoa Beach!  We found a great hotel right next to the pier and fell asleep with our balcony door open to the sound of the waves crashing ashore!  My familie’s first ocean experience!

Day 8 Cocoa Beach

Bob arose with the sun and caught his first glimpse of the ocean.  He went to the pier and had coffee and chatted with the fisherman.  He absolutely loved it.  We did breakfast and headed down the A1A (Beach Front Avenue) to find a cooler and go to Ron Jon’s, the largest surf shop in America!  It was our kinda place!  We hung out on the beach all day, played in the surf, the kids did some boogie boarding and Korah & I collected sea shells.  She even found a complete sand dollar.  We went swimming in the heated pool later (the ocean is cold!) and cleaned up for a fabulous seafood dinner on the Pier.

Day 9  Woke up with the sun rising again of the Atlantic.  We wanted to hit the Kennedy Space Center for a few hours before we left the Space Coast for Orlando.  We only had 3 hours there and it was really really cool.  We could have spent all day there but had to get back to Orlando for a 2:00 appointment with professional wake-boarder, Shaun Murray.  I had been emailing his wakeboarding school since we found out we were going to be in Florida.  During the time that we had available, there wasn’t going to be anyone at The Boarding School, so Shaun emailed us and said to just come by his house and we could hang out for awhile and he and Kaston could ride together.  So we headed back to Orlando and found his house.  Of course it was gated, so he rides his skateboard up the drive-way to meet us at the gate and we follow him to the back of his house.  We are sitting in Shuan Murray’s drive-way, staring at his boat dock and lake.  What a very surreal feeling.  His wife, Kerri, and their little girl were waiting outside with professional wake-boarder Emily Copeland Durham and her daughter.  Emily is one of Korah’s favorite riders as well.  It was just so crazy that we were sitting there visiting with these athletes and their families that my kids have pictures and autographs on their walls of.  We headed out to the dock and hopped in Shaun’s ($108k) Nautique.  Aaron Perkins was driving…he’s another big name in wakeboarding and another one of Shaun’s neighbors, as is Emily.  So Shaun went first and was just doing his thing, throwing out tricks like it was nothing!  Tantrums and raleys and backside 180s and half cabs and whirleybird 540s (which he invented along with the bell air, egg roll and tweety bird)  CRAZY!  So then he busts and tells Kaston to come on out in the water with him.  So they ride together for awhile.  He teaches him to deep water start and to switch and is just instructing him out there.  He falls a few times and as we’re passing by he tells us to get our cameras ready…he’s gonna do a Raley over Kaston.  Got the video – got the picture!  Amazing.  They called it quits after that as the water was pretty cool and Kaston was turning blue.  We headed to the dock and he asked if we had plans, of course which we did not – again!  He asked if we wanted to go back out in the boat because he needed to do some filming for a movie he was making.  So he got his RC airplane that was rigged up with a camera and they went out and did some filming.  I stayed on the dock and just took it all in!  Once they were done filming, we just hung out.  I visited with Kerri and his daughter while the kids jumped on the trampoline with Shaun.  We finally figured we needed to head out so Shaun busted out sponsor stickers and autographed some pics.  Which by the way, his sponsors include Nautique, Fox , Jet Pilot life jackets, Hyperlite, Cobian, HDX, Springfree Trampolines, the Boarding School,, 2012 Detention, Performance Ski & Surf.  And he has his own line of boards, bindings, ropes, rope handles, boardshorts, clothes, helps design the boats.  He is the Tiger Woods of Wakeboarding.  And we went to his house and rode in his boat and Kaston wakeboarded with him!  This day was a wish in itself (actually, it was Kaston’s back-up wish when Make-A-Wish came to our house!)  So very grateful to Shaun and Kerri and Aaron for making it possible. 

After leaving Shaun’s, we headed to the Gulf of Mexico.  Can you believe you can drive across Florida in 3 hours?  That’s just crazy to me!  We drive 3 hours and are only 1/2 way to Dallas!  Clearwater Beach was our next destination.  We stayed at another hotel on the beach.  We ate at Frenchy’s…on the beach, and it was the best seafood I have ever had in my life!  Don’t know if I’ll ever be able to eat at Red Lobster or Pappadeux ever again!

Day 10 Korah figured out that there was an aquarium at Clearwater and come to find out it happen to be the home of Winter, the dolphin from the movie Dolphin Tale.  So we decided to check it out and it was an extra special unexpected, unplanned treat for us!  Clearwater Marine Aquarium is basically an animal hospital and the place where they filmed Dolphin Tale.  We basically were at the movie set, talked to cast members and saw Winter, up close and personal.  We took a ferry over to another area where they had the props and all the stuff related to the movie.  After that, we did a little shopping and headed to the beach.  Bob went and got snorkeling gear from across the street and Korah snorkelled, looking for sea shells.  It was pretty cold so Kaston snorkelled in the heated pool!  It was a nice relaxing afternoon, except for the sea gulls that attacked me and hit me in the head!  We watched the sunset down by the pier and looked at all the street vendors and entertainers and had yet another amazing dinner.  Back at the hotel, we hung out by the pool, which was on the beach, that had a small outdoor bar.  The kids were swimming and we were sitting on the beach at the bar having a beer – all within 20 yards from each other!  What a life! 

Day 11  We headed back to Orlando and did some shopping and checked into Disney’s All Star Music Resort.  What a fun hotel.  Again, no one does it like Disney!  The kids swam in the piano shaped pool and then the guitar shaped pool.  We headed back to our Rock N Roll hotel room with 2 story guitars on the front of it.  Headed to Downtown Disney for dinner.  We could have spent all day there if we had only known what it was!  They had shopping and dining and boat rides and arcades and live music.  It was great!  We rode a giant hot air balloon, Characters of Flight, that goes up 400 feet in the air.  Kaston wanted to do Disney Quest, the giant arcade with simulators where you can create your own rollercoaster and then ride it, but we didn’t have enough time.  It was a fabulous evening to end our once in a lifetime vacation.

Really, there are no words that can begin to describe what we got to do and experience.  I wanted to tell you all about this because what Make-A-Wish does and what Give Kids the World does is so important.  I simply can not wait to get involved more with these organizations and can only hope that I can be a part of helping a chronically ill child’s wish come true some day.  And I can only hope and wish that one day in the future, we can plan another family vacation to central Florida, and volunteer at Give Kids the World.  So if you ever want to support something, these 2 organizations are at the top of the list (of course, next to Mended Little Hearts!)  They’ve got a good thing going on and we are so very thankful that we have become a part of  and been blessed beyond words by these organizations.   

Without further ado…enjoy!

So Thankful…

Where do I even begin? Everyone has been posting what they’re thankful for since November 1.  I chose not to, well, because we do a “Thankful Journal” for school, which has now become a “Prayer/Thankful/Answered Prayer Journal”.  I think it’s a great movement and I love reading what everyone is thankful for.  And I believe it just opens the door to continue that mindset year round and for others to follow suit.  And I can’t possibly fit everything I’m thankful for in the month of November.  However, I will tell you about one of the very most important things in my life that I’m thankful for, that was born 10 years ago today. 

10 years…Ten years ago our lives changed forever. A whole decade has gone by since we’ve heard the words no parents ever want to hear from a doctor, “Your baby will need heart surgery in order to survive. Not just 1 surgery, but 2, guaranteed.  We do not know how long he will live, if he will live, and if he does live, what type of life he will have.  He has a something something heart something.  Mumble mumble blah blah blah.”  Oh my gosh I hear Charlie Brown’s mom!  Well, maybe not in those exact words, but that’s what I heard that day while I wondered where they took my brand new baby and why he was so blue.

How in the world can one child change a person’s life so dramatically in ten years? I’m not talking going from having no kids to having a new baby, but really CHANGING a person’s life…the direction of what was to be to what will now be.  I sometimes wonder where we would be if Kaston had been born with a healthy heart, a whole heart. I have no doubt that we would NOT be where we are at in this life if it wasn’t for a life-altering course of direction because of the birth of our 2nd child. We would be walking through the rigors of life with a warped sense of reality and truth. Bob would probably still be a cop, I most definitely would not have chosen to homeschool my kids (ha! who would have thought that would ever be in my future?) and we would not have the faith we have by witnessing so many miracles in front of our eyes or leaning on God when we had absolutely no one else in this world to lean on.
Instead, we have gained so much. We see the world in such a different perspective than most.  Not saying it’s a right or wrong perspective, just different. Bob changed careers to have better insurance and so he could provide for his family better. I got to be a SAHM for awhile, worked part-time and am again a SAHomeschoolM! We have met countless other amazing families that we would have otherwise had no connection with or had a reason to cross paths. We have a better marriage and strong relationships with our kids.  Our 13 year old daughter has such a servant’s heart and has huge desires to help others. Our son is tender-hearted, both physically and emotionally. Jeez, there’s so much to be thankful for and how Kaston changed us for the better that I could go on all night.

You may ask, however, at what cost? Is it all worth it? I don’t know that answer. I hate that he has gone through more pain and suffering, physically and emotionally, than most of us can ever possibly understand. That I won’t deny. But as we say, It is what it is. He has sacrificed so much. We have sacrificed SO MUCH. And will continue to do so for the next 10, 20, 40 years if need be. So, I am thankful for the blessing of that little baby 10 years ago, healthy or not.

Here’s a poem by a heart mom friend of mine I met online in about 2004, right before Kaston’s 2nd OH surgery. She is an amazing writer and I love to share my own thoughts through her poetry! (cuz frankly, she’s just so good at it!)

Sometimes I have those “moments”,
When I think…life’s just not fair,
Then I think of all you’ve been through,
And I see the scar you bear.
A faded line right down your chest,
Made with such careful precision,
We wanted you to have a chance,
Could there be any other decision?
And so I trace that “perfect” scar,
Made with the utmost care,
And I realize there is purpose,
Behind this scar you wear.
What have you taught us?
You’ve taught us how to face a storm,
(Some things are just out of our hands)
Life has no handy guidebook,
(Things don’t always go as you’ve planned)
People come into our lives,
(Sometimes it is just for a season)
But God brings them into our lives,
(And I know that He must have a reason)
Normal, uneventful days,
(The kind that we always hoped for)
These are the days I say, “Wow God”,
We just never know what lies in store.
If I can place a feeding tube,
Without even getting distraught,
Perhaps, maybe, I might be…
Much stronger than I thought.
It’s okay to be afraid,
And it’s alright to cry,
It’s okay to feel lost sometimes,
It’s even okay to ask…why?
You face life with courage,
(Knowing God set you apart)
Every little thing you do,
You do with all of your heart.
No crystal ball exists for us,
(To see us through each strife)
We only have one wish for you…
An ordinary life.
You’ve taught us to love one another,
(Helping each other to cope)
You’ve taught us compassion for others,
You’ve taught us to never lose hope.
You already have quite a story,
Which you can someday share,
And I can see it’s beauty,
Behind that scar you wear.

~Stephanie Husted

Even though I talk way too much about Kaston and his heart business on a regular basis, I do realize there’s more to him; actually he’s quite the complex little man.  Yes, I think about his broken heart every single day.  But it is hard not to when the scars are evident and the responsibility of meds ARE every single day.  Kaston, now age 10, is quite the guy! He loves music, his sister and nerf wars with his friends. His favorite color is blue (he says it’s because he was always blue when he was a baby) and he would drink root beer every day, all day if I let him. Sometimes I think he’s going to starve to death and then he downs an entire cheeseburger. He loves being in his underwear and knows more about guns than I do. Cherry donuts are his preference for breakfast, lunch and dinner and his left-handed writing would make any teacher cringe. He is immature for his age but old in his soul. He loves wholly with his half a heart and is so very afraid of insects, spiders and everything of the reptile species, especially those little dragon frogs called horny toads. He has the coordination of a star football, basketball and baseball player, instead perfecting his skills in wakeboarding, rock climbing and karate (and maybe his knowledge of the Vietnam War or the frequent song he sings “Yankee Doodle Dandee” – the long version.)  He is and that I’ve just had to learn to live with. He cuts a rug like no other and his best friend Thaddeus, he’s his “Mexican” brother from another mother. (and I’m Thaddeus’s white mom, fyi, and the fideo that his mom makes is Kaston’s favorite thing to eat at their house!)   He still sleeps with his stuffed puppy Bassil (shh, don’t tell him I said anything!) and isn’t afraid to jump off of cliffs at the lake.  He wants to be a Navy pilot and Top Gun is his favorite all time move – for now.  He just recently figured out he would never be able to be in the military (one of those discussions that is NEVER the right time to have) and said he would settle for just being a pilot of some sort if his heart could handle it, or maybe just own his own gun store.  He wants to know when he will get married and talks of “when I have kids” and “What if I had a boat with 100 motors!”  He hates to read, and quite frankly stinks at it, but can recite all the presidents and explain what Hamburger Hill was and show you where Columbus actually landed (San Salvadore).  He hates sleeping by himself and still likes to snuggle, he loves live music and helping his daddy gut a deer.  There’s so much to him.  And I am THANKFUL and blessed to be his mom.

So…enough of the sappy stuff!  Let’s get onto the real business!  First off, Kaston’s cardio appt.  I think I pretty much updated on FB what went on, but will recap again.  After his routine tests of EKG and Echo and a very lengthy visit with Dr. Z, we’re still on that path of hurry up and wait.  He had ordered a 24 hr Holter monitor before we went down there and his rates are still nowhere where he needs to be.  His low is low 40’s is high is 180’s.  He will continue to slow down and once he is in the 30’s then it will be time for this dreaded pacemaker.  We talked of liver failure and his complaints of his “gut” hurting and neurological development issues we’ve noticed since very young but really didn’t know what or why.  Now we know the what and why but still aren’t really sure where to go from here.  Developmental psychologist and therapists really don’t fit into our schedule and are they really necessary?  Or are we being selfish and in denial that there’s more to it than what we think and have just become accustom to certain behaviors and normal little boy struggles, like sitting still for long periods of time.  Who knows – as long as we see progress, hard work and determination, we’re good for now.  We figure God will lead us in the direction we need to go.  He hasn’t had any more episodes of spurratic heart rates and hasn’t complained of his gut hurting anymore, so hopefully those were just random things and he’s being honest (because he’s not so honest when it comes to what his body is doing – he is very scared of surgery now – I guess it comes with age and understanding?  Or maybe he just doesn’t pay all that much attention and doesn’t think that when he can’t breath or he gets lightheaded is anything to worry about! His lightheadedness comes with insufficient bloodflow to the brain – duh Kaston!  Dont’ you know that?!) So we go back in March and check him again.  I have a feeling that we will be doing this for awhile.  We know it’s coming but just don’t know exactly when.  So we will just try to keep on keepin on without any worries – yeah, ok.

S today is Thanksgiving…we celebrated yesterday with Bob’s dad and brother Matt.  So weird cooking for just 6 people.  Our norm is at least 15-20.  Mom & dad are out in Phoenix with my brother and his family and Bob’s gotta work (he’ll be up in one & 1/2 hours) so we celebrated a day early.  Kaston’s birthday is today (we celebrated that on Saturday – more later), we’re gonna decorate for Christmas and then START PACKING FOR FLORIDA!!!!

We had a dual surprise party for Kaston with Make-A-Wish on Saturday.  We were able to celebrate his birthday and present him with his Send-Off package!  The party was awesome, there were loads of friends and family there and he was so blessed by everyone’s generosity!  We served cherry and chocolate donuts and 8 different kinds of rootbeer.  By far the best party he’s ever had.  We leave on Monday 11-26 for 12 days!  We, needless to say, are super excited.  One more thing to be very thankful for!  It is going to be a jam packed schedule the first few days and then take the last leg of the trip and relax on the beach (Bob & the kids have never seen the ocean).  We will be staying at Give Kids the World; a 70-acre village created and designed by a Holocaust survivor, Henry Landwirth.  They will provide us with a “Villa” where the kids get the master suite, all meals are complimentary on site, unlimited ice cream from morning to night, activities scheduled every evening – including Christmas on Thursday, plus tickets to all the local attractions.  We will have access to 3 days of Disney parks, 2 days at Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, Sea World and so many other things that the generous people of Central Florida have donated.  We were told to bring an extra suitcase just to bring gifts from GKTW home.  After our 7 day stay at GKTW, we’re going to head to Cocoa Beach and the Kennedy Space Center (I promised the kids this would be the only educational thing we would do!)  Maybe spend a day or two there, maybe head to the Gulf Coast?  We also were able to get in touch with pro wakeboarder Shaun Murray and set up a visit at his wakeboarding school in Orlando at some point.  Kaston does NOT know about this!  We are all just so excited and have been counting down the days since we got the dates, 30 something days ago!

I will try and update here if time allows, but most likely will just be posting on FB, so get ready!  I’m sure you all will be Disney’d out before it’s all said and done!

Hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving!

The Snyder’s