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Jeff, Beth, Lindsay, Logan, and Ryan Snider

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I love being a dad. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. And one of the highlights of my time as a father happened last week, when Logan and I celebrated his sixth birthday by taking a road trip to Arizona to spend a week watching Spring Training baseball and just being together. That kid is so blasted fun, and I know it was a week that neither of us will ever forget.

On Sunday, the day after his birthday, we hopped in the car right after church and started our road trip — aka, the “carty” (because it’s a party in the car). That drive was when I started to realize that I don’t just like being with Logan because I’m his dad, I genuinely enjoy his company and think he is just one of the funnest people in the world. This picture sums up the drive pretty nicely (it’s a little blurry because I was, ya know, driving a car at the time):

In case you can’t tell, he’s watching a movie on the iPad, holding an orange soda in his left hand and a bottle of water in his right hand, and drinking a cup of root beer he has wedged between his arm and his chest. Oh, and he’s wearing one of my shirts because he was cold.

The two of us went to four games together: Angels vs. A’s in Phoenix on Monday, Dodgers vs. Padres in Peoria on Tuesday, Team Mexico vs. Dodgers in Glendale on Wednesday, and Rangers vs. Dodgers in Glendale on Thursday. The Tuesday game was the only one we stayed for all nine innings, because that was the only day that some clouds gave us some respite from the sun. The other days, we generally lasted six or seven innings.

Because Spring Training tickets are a lot more affordable than regular season tickets, we splurged and bought front-row seats for all four games. The coolest was the game against the Padres, where we sat behind home plate and ended up about ten feet from the Dodgers’ on-deck circle. Logan thought it was pretty cool to be that close to Matt Kemp (and Logan’s daddy might have liked it, too).

After every game, we would head back to the hotel, get our swim trunks on, and spend some time in the swimming pool. Then we’d go to dinner somewhere fun, and wrap up the evening with a trip to the hotel gym and then some homework.

Some other highlights of our time together:

On Monday, one of the security guards working on the field came over and gave Logan a game ball. He said one of the A’s’ players had asked him to give it to Logan because he could tell Logan was going to be a great baseball player.

All four games, we sat next to really nice people who treated Logan like a prince. The first game, I ran out of cash (not knowing that the concessions stands at Phoenix Municipal Stadium don’t take cards), and a cool older man from Seattle took Logan upstairs to get some ice cream. It was one of MANY ice cream treats Logan had that week.

Logan has his first several Dodger Dogs.

Logan had a blast playing photographer at the games, and he actually took some pretty great pictures.

The dude got a kick out of the fact that there’s a Major Leaguer named Logan:

Breakfast at Denny’s most mornings is every kid’s dream, I think. (Not pictured: the root beer I got in trouble for letting him drink for breakfast):

Logan also got his first Dodger hat and a couple Dodger shirts:

The players were cool, but we were less than 100 feet from Vin Scully!

On our fourth day, Logan finally got his first autograph, from Dodgers’ first-base coach (and former second baseman) Davey Lopes:

On Friday, Beth and the other two kids flew into town for a quick weekend visit. That night, we went to Chase Field for the United States’ first game of the World Baseball Classic, taking on the same Mexico team we had seen play the Dodgers a couple days earlier. It was basically a home game for Mexico — I’d estimate that 80% of the fans were rooting for the Mexican team — but it was a very fun environment to watch a game. There was a guy in the stands who is apparently famous, but I have no idea who he was. I just know that a ton of Mexican fans were getting their pictures taken with him. Here he is:

I used the panorama feature on my phone to take a picture of the stadium:

Then we spent Saturday visiting with cousins:

Sunday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, did a little more visiting, and then headed home. Logan and I drove again (and I only got pulled over once!), and Beth and the other two kiddos flew home.

It was an amazing week, and like I said, it was one that neither Logan nor I will ever forget. I am so blessed to be his daddy, and I am so thankful that he and I got to share this experience.

Let’s not bury the lede: Ryan Koufax Snider was born on June 14, 2011, at 6:13 p.m. He was 19.5 inches long and weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces. If he had been born 47 seconds later, he would have been born on 6-14 at 6:14 and weighed 6-14. We may just decide that their clock was off by a minute, because that’s cool.

The birth was a bit scary. As labor progressed, the nurse noticed that Ryan’s heart rate would spike and plummet, which indicated that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. She called the doctor and told him it was time to hurry over, and then she told us that we were going to have a full house in the delivery room just in case there were any problems. They also prepped the operating room for an emergency C-section, although she didn’t tell us that until afterwards (thankfully). Beth was very scared, and I pretended not to be to help calm her down. We said a prayer, and then everyone came in and suddenly it was time to have a baby.

Still no doctor.

They started prepping Bethy, got her legs in position, and when they lifted the sheet, Ryan was crowning despite not a single push yet. The nurse, Annette, said, “Okay, we’re having this baby now.” One push got the head most of the way. Quick break, then a second push got the rest of the head. They quickly unwrapped the cord from his neck. One last push got his shoulders out, and they realized that the cord was around his neck a second time. They quickly undid that and pulled him the rest of the way out, only to discover the cord ALSO wrapped around his chest. So they unwrapped that, too, and he finally started to cry for us.

Still no doctor. He showed up about 30 minutes later. He was stuck in traffic. Luckily, we had Annette, who has been a nurse here for 40 years and is absolutely amazing. She took charge and delivered the baby like it was no big deal. Her calm demeanor helped us not to panic. We can’t thank her enough.

Bethy got to snuggle Ryan for a few minutes, but then the nurses noticed that he was having a little trouble breathing, so we took him to the nursery and they put him in an oxygen mask for about an hour. Then he had a bottle, and he’s been asleep for the two-and-a-half hours.

He is a beautiful, healthy baby, and we are in love with him. He is much smaller than we are used to, which is interesting. I don’t know what else to say, so here are a bunch of pictures, and then I’ll throw our timeline in at the bottom:

Bethy’s belly on birth morning:

Our last picture as a family of four:

The view out our delivery room window. It really made the experience a little more special:

Ryan meets his mommy:

Ryan with Annette, the Super Nurse who delivered him:

Ryan with his sad little oxygen mask:

A kiss from his big sister:

A kiss from his big brother:

All three of our beautiful children:

Meeting Grandma Madsen:

Meeting Aunt Laura:

Meeting Uncle Lane:

Meeting Aunt Kelly:

And finally, a picture with Daddy:

Here’s the timeline we kept track of:

8:45 am – Call from hospital to be there by 10:00.
9:45 am – Got to hospital.
10:15 am – Found out Beth was positive for Group B Strep, which meant she needed to be on antibiotics for four hours before delivery.
11:00 am – Started first dose of antibiotics.
12:00 pm – Started Pitocin to induce labor.
12:25 pm – Contractions started.
2:35 pm – Dr. Young broke water.
3:15 pm – Nurse anesthetist arrived to do epidural.
3:25 pm – Epidural in place and delivering its magic sauce.
5:40 pm – Dilated to 6 cm.
5:45 pm – Third dose of epidural.
5:50 pm – Nurse puts on an internal heart monitor and notices the mucus plug come out and bloody show.
6:05 pm – Fully dilated, concerns about Ryan’s heart rate.
6:11 pm – Started pushing.
6:13 pm – Ryan is born.

(This post is about baseball, and how it brings families closer together. But seriously, there’s LOTS of baseball in this post. Just fair warning.)

Yesterday evening, Roy Halladay threw a no-hitter in his first career postseason game. I turned the game on in the sixth inning, and when I saw that the Reds hadn’t scored yet, my first thought was, “I wonder if Halladay has given up any hits.” With Roy Halladay, that’s a logical thing to wonder.

It turns out that he hadn’t, and I knew immediately that he wouldn’t. I had Beth sit and watch with me, because I knew it was something special. I explained to her and our kids that the last time someone threw a no-hitter in the postseason, my parents were the age that our son is now. (Craig Calcaterra should have tried something like that with his son — kids need a frame of reference.) Anyway, so we watched the end of the game, and it was a pretty awesome thing for a baseball fan to do with his wife and kids.

Lindsay is at the age where she loves to hear stories about when Mommy and Daddy were kids. A while after the game was over, she asked me for a story. Still in a postseason-baseball-history sort of mood, I told her about when I was 11 years old, when the Dodgers (she KNOWS about the Dodgers) were losing by one run in the last inning in the World Series (she doesn’t know what the World Series is, but the girl’s got a knack for context, so she was appropriately enthralled), and a man named Kirk Gibson came up to bat even though both of his legs hurt so bad that he could barely walk. I reminded her from her T-ball days that you need your legs to do a good baseball swing, and Kirk Gibson’s legs hurt so bad that he didn’t know how he was going to swing. I told her how my whole family was watching the game together, and how much we wanted Kirk Gibson to hit a home run. And then I asked her to guess what happened next. This girl, she knows how to tell a story, and she knows that it would be a pretty lousy story if the last line was “and then Kirk Gibson struck out.” She said, “He hit a home run!” And I said, “He sure did!” And then I told her how her grandma started hyperventilating, screaming “He did it! He did it! He did it!” I did an awesome impression of Grandma Snider, and both kids got an enormous kick out of it.

And then Beth had a great idea: “You should show them the video.” I got the 1988 World Series on DVD for Christmas a year or two ago, but I hadn’t yet had occasion to pop it into the DVD player. So I pulled out game 1 and queued it up to the bottom of the ninth inning. Mike Scioscia popped up, and Beth and I marveled at how young he looked compared to when we met him a few months ago. Jeff Hamilton struck out looking, and we felt bad seeing how overmatched he was against future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley and his mullet. At some point during Hamilton’s at-bat, the camera showed Gibson in the dugout with a helmet on, and Vin Scully mentioned that it would be up to Mike Davis to extend the inning to give Gibson a chance. Sure enough, after Hamilton struck out, Davis came up and worked a walk against Eckersley.

And then I started saying every word along with Vinny. “And look who’s coming up. … All year long they looked to him to light the fire, and all year long he answered the demand. Until he was physically unable to start tonight, with *two* bad legs! You talk about a roll of the dice, this is it.”

I could write a book about how much I love Vin Scully. (And really, after the way Curt Smith botched an unbotchable topic, maybe I should.) Everything about Vinny is magical. I watched — and LOVED — “For the Love of the Game” with Kevin Costner just because Vinny was the announcer throughout the movie. I pay many dollars a year for an account just so I can watch a Dodger game and listen to Vinny. So I think it is perfect that Vinny was doing the World Series in 1988. Joe Garagiola was there in the booth with him, and he was good, but Vinny was magical.

One thing I often forget about the Gibson at-bat is how long it was. There were seven pitches (including two foul balls with two strikes). There were three or four throws to first by Eckersley. There was a throw to first by catcher Ron Hassey, whose curly mullet was a perfect compliment to Eck’s feathery straight mullet. There was a stolen base by Davis on the 2-2 pitch. I didn’t time it, but I bet it was close to four minutes between when Gibson came to the plate and when he hit it out.

And it almost didn’t happen. There were a couple close calls. Strike two was a weak ground ball down the first base line that went foul just before Mark McGwire could pick it up. When Davis stole second, umpire Doug Harvey very easily could have called Gibson out for interference as he stumbled into Hassey’s throwing line. But he didn’t, and everything was set up perfectly.

At this point, Beth looked at me and giggled about how into it I was. It’s been 22 years next week, and I’ve seen it literally hundreds of times, but I love it just as much every time. Logan kept asking me, “Is this were you’re gonna scream?” I kept telling him he’d know it when he saw it. And now, finally, I told him, “It’s this next pitch!”

“High fly ball into right field, she is … GONE!”

“He did it! He did it! He did it!”

The kids were jumping around, half in excitement that Kirk Gibson hit the home run, and half in excitement about how excited Grandma Snider had been. They watched Gibby pump his fist twice as he rounded second. And we listened as Vin Scully said … nothing. And that’s what makes him so great. My brother and I have often wondered what happened in the booth. Did Vinny put a muzzle on Garagiola, or did they both know to shut up. It’s a full minute at least, nothing but crowd noise. Then, a long time after saying “she is gone,” as Gibson celebrates with his teammates, Vinny says:

“In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”

Joe Posnanski recently wrote about Vinny for Sports Illustrated, and he said Vinny believes that line was a gift from God. I think it was just an extension of the gift from God that is Vin Scully. (That article by Posnanski is 100 times better than Curt Smith’s biography.)

Look, I know it’s just baseball. I know it’s not important in the grand scheme of things. But I also know that I am closer to my family because we grew up watching baseball together, and I hope to be closer to my kids through baseball too. And if it brings families closer together, then it’s a good thing.

Today I ran in the Pioneer Day 10K down in Provo. I had two reasons for wanting to run this race. The first reason was because I hadn’t done a 10K in a year and I wanted the challenge. The second reason was because I wanted to do something for my good friends, Niki and Flavio, who are anxiously waiting to find out if their in-vitro worked. Niki has been on bed rest for 4 days and has one more day to go and then they still have another week or two until they find out. I knew there wasn’t anything I could do to help with that process, but I knew that I could show them how much I love them and how amazing I think they are. I chose the 10K over the 5K because it had what they called “Goliath Hill” at the beginning. This hill was high. It was steep. And it was long. As I was thinking about Nikio and their experience and the journey they need to take to have a child, I felt that the 10K was a good representation of that. I started out good and once I hit the bottom of the hill I still thought I could run up the whole thing, but halfway through it, I had to stop and walk. The hill won and I was okay with that. I kept thinking of Nikio and all of the ups and downs they have had and once I got to the top of the hill I never walked again until I crossed the finish line. My legs got really tired at about mile 4.5 and I really wanted to quit, but Nikio’s example of never giving up kept me going.

I truly enjoyed running this for them and want to publicly thank them for their wonderful example of enduring to the end and having faith in the Lord. Love you guys!

The course for this run was absolutely beautiful. Provo is one of my favorite places to go in Utah County. It reminds me of my childhood, of when Jeffy and I met, and it is so pretty. As I was running, I thought a lot about Nikio, but also of the Pioneers. Looking at those beautiful, magnificent mountains, I thought of how those Pioneers had to walk up and over mountains, pushing and pulling their belongings and loved ones in handcarts and wagons, and suddenly my race didn’t seem so difficult. All I had to do was run. I am so grateful for the Pioneers and the sacrifices they made to get here and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank my Heavenly Father for this beautiful land. We truly are blessed to live where we live.

Near the beginning of the race, at about 1/2 mile into it, a dad pushing his disabled daughter in a stroller passed me, and I was overcome with emotion. He reminded me of the sweet love a father has for his child and the willingness to do anything for that child.

I was lucky to have Jeff and the kids cheer me on during the race. This was the first race the kids got to come to and they really enjoyed watching me take off and then continuing to drive around the course, stopping and waiting for me so that they could give me high fives, cheer me on, blow me kisses and tell me they love me. It helped so much to see their cute little faces and to hear their encouraging words. I am so lucky!

I highly recommend a good run like this every Pioneer Day to help remind us of all the blessings we have in our lives.

Happy Pioneer Day!

I am sitting in the car at the 1-mile marker of the 10K Bethy is running, and she just ran past. I think they staggered the starts, so its tough to tell how shes doing compared to everyone else, but shes not too concerned about anyone else (except that she doesnt want to finish last). Its a fun way to start our anniversary, and I am super proud of her.

I am thankful every day that Beth decided to marry me, because she is absolutely perfect for me. Shes my best friend, a wonderful wife, a nearly flawless mother, and pretty much everything I ever would have dreamed of in a wife if I were smarter and knew all the right stuff to dream of.

We spent last night at the Grand America hotel in Salt Lake, capping off six years of marriage with the most wonderful Cobb salad weve ever had. Seriously, if you like Cobb salad, you have to come up here. But anyway, we had a great evening with good food, some time in the hot tub, a movie in our hotel room, and some nice child-free relaxation (thanks Mimi!). Then we got up way too early this morning and watched SportsCenter as we got ready to go (the Dodgers won last night). Its been perfect, although I acknowledge that I think every day with Beth is perfect, so I may not be the most objective person in the world.

I think Ill go drive around and see how shes doing. Happy anniversary, Bethy! Six down, eternity to go! I love you!!!

So, the crazy chick that I am, I signed up for a 10K this Saturday. You know, for our 6th anniversary, I’m gonna run 6 miles. I’m insane. Heidi was so nice to watch the kids for me this morning and off I went. Between new shoes, numb toes, and a constant stitch in my side, I ran it in 1 hour and 20 minutes. It didn’t take me as long as I had feared it would, even though I know it’s not a great time. I’m not doing this to prove anything to anyone. Mostly doing it just to say that I did it, and of course the health benefits of running. But 6 miles is so FAR! Man oh man. But now that I’ve done it once, I can’t use it as an excuse to not ever do one again. I really do enjoy running. Wish me luck this Saturday! I’ll let you know how it goes!

We’ve finally done it. I grew up here and Jeff went to BYU for like a hundred years and neither of us had ever hiked the Y. And since we’re all healthy and active now we decided it was time. It was a lot harder than I had expected it to be but it was beautiful and worth it and fun to be able to do it together. If you’ve never hiked it, there are 12 switchbacks and the 11th switchback is the longest and steepest one on the whole thing. A pretty cruel trick if you ask me. We were about 1/4 of the way up this switchback and Jeff says, “Let’s run it.” I was shocked and proud at the same moment so we started running up this beast of a switchback and about 3/4 of the way to the end we stopped because it hurt so bad. But you should have seen the faces of the people we passed as we were running. They really thought we had done that the whole way up! Totally worth it! Going up was hard and going down was obnoxious. We had a really good time though and thanks Laney and Kelly for watching the kids and sorry again for the throw up.

I’m blowing this baby up.

I don’t care what anyone says, Utah is fan-freakin-beautiful and I’m so proud to call it home.

For some reason these rocks reminded me of New Zealand or something.

Centennial Apartments. That’s where Jeffy and I met. 🙂

Side view of the Y.

The Y from the top. If I was still 15, I would have hiked up higher to get a better picture of it, but I’m not, so deal with it.

Picture this: a woman who isn’t showered, her house is a mess, her kids are half dressed, she’s on the phone with her mom. The doorbell rings. She walks to the door, looks in the peep hole and sees a man she’s never met before, with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a balloon. The woman says to her mom, “I just got a beautiful bouquet of flowers!” The mom says, “Is it from your husband?” The woman says, “I hope so!” The woman then walks to the kitchen to put the flowers on the table, during which her son trips on one of his millions of cars and is screaming, so she still doesn’t know who it’s from. She’s pretty sure it’s from her husband but she just can’t wait to see for sure. She goes back to comfort her son and then asks him if he wants to come see who the flowers are from and he sobbingly says yes. She goes over to the table, takes out the card and reads this:

“Roses are red, pickles are green
You’re not part of my life,
You’re the whole blasted thing!
(I bet you didn’t know you were married to a master poet!)
I love you SOOOOOOOOO much!”

The woman then starts to cry and calls her husband to thank him and tell him that it truly made her day awesome and that she loves him too.
And scene.

Best. Day. Ever.

Today was the annual Digicert snowmobiling trip up out in Midway, which is right by Heber. It’s beautiful up there and it’s such a cute, little town. Jeffy and I always say we’re going to move there every time we go there. (Don’t worry Mimi!) It just has such a good feeling about it. Anyway, Auntie Laura came and watched the kids for us and we had a really nice time together. I was a little bit nervous this year because last year I went off a jump and got thrown off the ski-doo and was in LOTS of pain for a couple of days. I knew that once we got started I would be fine, but it actually took me a lot longer that I had expected to feel comfortable on it. For the first 10-15 minutes, I was actively scared but then once I got the hang of leaning while turning and all that stuff again, I was just fine. We were out for about 3 hours and I wished we could have stayed out longer, because I felt like I was just getting to the point where I wasn’t scared at all anymore, and then it was time to leave. Oh well. I still had a great time and there is always next year! Afterwards, we had some time to shower and relax and then we had a really nice dinner there at the Homestead.

I love the company Jeffy works for, Digicert. They genuinely care for their employees and are always treating them with wonderful experiences to thank them for all of the hard work they do to help the company move forward. Thank you Digicert! We are so grateful to you (and for you)!

Jeffy and I on our ski-doos sporting our sexy jumpsuits!

Me on my ski-doo on the side of a mountain. I was still a little nervous at this point.

Us and the Heber Valley behind us. Gorgeous.

Another shot of Heber Valley, taken at the top of the mountain. I think the guy said it was 8,840 feet up.

Us taking a break at the top of the mountain. I’m seriously buying myself a pair of these goggles to wear as sunglasses…

Everyone that came.

It’s Valentine’s Day morning, and Beth is lying in bed next to me in a hotel room in Salt Lake, so I thought I’d sneakily pull out my phone and blog about how perfect she is for me. We’ve been best friends for six years and four days now, and I don’t know how I was ever happy without her. Probably had a different definition of happy back then, I guess. She has strengths that complement all my weaknesses, and she has just enough weaknesses to make me feel like I’m contributing something to the relationship too. And now she’s waking up, so I’ll stop.

I love you, Bethy!

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