Rocky Mountain Snyder Family XMAS | 04

Friends and Family >>>

I sure do enjoy the opportunity the annual holiday letter allows me to brag about my beautiful, talented wife and kids. And while most of this letter has little to do with them or the holiday, it’s still fun to write.

We spent our October vacation in L.A. with our friends, Rose and Audrius and their awesome kids. One day the boys visited a surf shop and checked out long boards, while the ladies went for bagels. We went to Zuma Beach, swam in Pacific and dug sand castles. The kids were in heaven. We drove down the coast, getting a sightseeing tour via the walkie-talkies. “That’s where Cher lives.” The kids were sleeping in the back. We went to the Farmer’s Market for dinner. The kids had ice cream cones and called it a day. A great day.

My First Triathlon …
I did a triathlon in June. It was one of those short ones, but it was still long to me. I’m not that strong of runner, but what are you going to do; you can’t have a triathlon without the running. I am planning on doing it again this spring … I’m shooting for ‘most improved.’ I am riding a stationary bike right as I write, watching “Desperate Housewives.”

Aquatic Life …
Carli is turning into quite a swimmer for a nine-year-old; she qualified for the silver state meet in 10 of the possible 11 events. She never got around to swimming the 100y butterfly, event number 11. For a fundraiser, Carli swam 5,000 yards in one hour and 44 minutes – that’s a lot of yardage – just for kicks you should go try that some afternoon. Carli’s a little stud.

Landsharks …
Last spring Gina joined the Landsharks, a running club for the elementary school kids. For her first big race, we arrive early – but guess what – they have more kids running in this race then the Kentucky Derby. Or whatever. We get one of those ‘Runners World’ numbers. I pin it on Gina’s little shirt. “Hurry, Gina, the coach is giving instructions.” I rush her over there, but then I realize she isn’t missing much – the race is once around the track, fastest one around wins. Gina and her kindergarten cohorts line up and the gun goes off. Gina’s going pretty good; I mean she’s running in the right direction. Sam, Carli and I are running along the course cheering her on, until we can’t follow any more. We keep yelling, but then Gina stops running. The little girl next to her says something like, “Hey, why don’t we walk?” And Gina is all like, “Okay.” And I’m all like, “Gina, what in the blue hell are you doing?” And she’s all like, well, she couldn’t hear me; she was too far away at that point. Gina picks it up for the big sprint to the finish. At the end of the race, they have snacks and Gatorade waiting for the six-year-olds. That was a godsend; Gina was glycogen-depleted.

“Wicked” …
I was in NYC for a conference. One night after Tom Haskins backed out on dinner to go see Sting from the fifth-row – a likely story — I started back to my hotel in the middle of Times Square without any idea of what to do. I decided to take a different way back. I was walking and noticed a theater directly in front of me, the Gershwin, so I walked right up. It’s 15 minutes until curtain. “Do you have any singles?” He says he does on the 14th floor, center section, fifth seat off the aisle. The show, Wicked, the musical that tells the story of Oz and what happened before Dorothy showed up. It was so awesome; 10 minutes into the show, I said to myself, “I want to see this again.” Wicked got nominated for 10 Tony Awards and has been sold out every night since. (I also saw “Movin’ Out” and “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” on or near the Great White Way.)

GhostRider …
The scene … Knott’s Berry Farm in October and Rose is lost in fond childhood memories of this iconic Southern Californian theme park. We have just entered the park. The very first attraction we encountered is GhostRider and by the looks of it, GhostRider was built decades ago … the entrance resembles a deserted mining tunnel. Rose grabs the girls and in they go.  Neither Rose nor I thought to find out what the ol’ Ghost Rider was … hmmm, probably should have done that. Turns out, GhostRider is an old-fashioned wooden roller coaster, which begins with a 108-foot drop at 50 degrees into a tunnel at 60 mph. Gina wasn’t planning on going on a level-five thrill ride. She cried hard throughout the two-minute experience. She’s in therapy now. “Make it stop, mommy, make it stop.”

Masters Degree …
Rose is about halfway through her odyssey for a masters degree in Organizational Management. She’s enjoying the intellectual challenge, but it’s a lot of work. Her group meets on Tuesday night at the library to prepare for the four-hour classes on Thursday with the team papers, presentations and the dreaded footnoting. She is researching every day and every night. We are all very proud of her and all of those A’s.

Kite Flying …
During a Milo Family Reunion in July, we went kite flying at the park at Cottonwood Creek. Sal, Joe, Tony, Dominic, Dante, Tara, Carli, Gina, and Sam flying kites. It was perfect fun …almost too good to be true … until the storm came. Carli’s kite started dive-bombing. Spinning out of control with Carli holding on for dear life. Sam’s kite – in the shape of a fireman’s ladder truck – began barreling down some imaginary street answering the storm’s four-alarm siren. Gina’s kite took a turn for the worst. Ass-over-tea kettle. Heading straight for the Fire Swamp. I lit out after it. Flying like the wind, I dove. Fortunately, the kite had already stopped. The dive was completely gratuitous. Joey was in the swamp working on the tangled line by the time I got there. With one disaster averted – Rose comforting Gina – I went back to help Carli. By now, hail was pelting the park. With rain raining, wind hailing, I took over the kite line, vowing to bring her home safe and sound without crashing. I felt like I was standing on the deck of that fishing schooner in the movie, “The Perfect Storm.” Sam, ignoring the pleas of his mother, ran into the eye of the storm to stand by my side and together we pulled down the ailing flyer safely to the ground.

Great Aunt …
Rose is a great mom, a great wife and now a great aunt, after Baby Grace was born. The parents are our niece Nicole and her lovely husband, Kevin. We babysat that little girl once. She’s really little. And she hadn’t been apart from her mom that often just yet. Guess who was the go-to guy to calm down that little tyke … that’s right, the Great Uncle.

Sam the Hedgehog …
Unlike the girls, who were more than happy to sit and watch ol’ dad play video games, Sam is a gamer. He is addicted. He’s five. If he’s awake, he’s playing Sonic or Tak or Spyro or SpiderMan or Nemo or Mario or Zelda. He’s pretty good, but we’ve either got to have him go pro or maybe get a little more activity introduced in his life. He is taking swimming lessons – wearing his shark fin goggles mask – and wants to get back into gymnastics or try karate. He already has all of the karate ‘sound effects’ down. He still has the stank breath I wrote about last year, but a couple of weeks ago, our dentist said that the bad breath is probably caused by his gigantic tonsils trapping gunk and making it hard for him to breath through his nose. I rushed home to break this news to Rose. She says that not only is she is aware of the titanic tonsils, but the doctor’s been watching them since his first well-baby visit. Ah,  “nobody hipped me to that dude.”

Brainiac …
Carli is in the fourth grade. She’s halfway through War and Peace. For the past two years, she’s received straight A’s. She was named “Awesome Astronaut” for the fourth time this fall; it’s kind of a MVP-type of deal. The higher-ups try to convince the parents and the students that the “Citizenship Award,” which honors good behavior, is as important or more important as the “AA,” but we’re not buying it. Sure, Carli’s won the “Citizenship Award” too … she won it last year … the only year she hasn’t won the “AA” … we are launching an investigation to find out if her teacher last year – the only teacher to not give Carli the “AA” – lied about her academic history to get her position at the elementary school.

BTW, Gina has won the coveted “AA” her own self and was nominated for Student Council. Sam is turning into a fine reader; he loves the books, “Dogzilla” and “Kat Kong” – both fine reads.

Feeling Minnesota …
The family went to visit my father and sister, Mary, this past Labor Day. Dad had his 86th birthday this summer and Mary just went through the ordeal of treating breast cancer, including radiation, hair loss and surgery. Today she is fine. Prior to the surgery, Mary traveled to Washington and went kayaking in the ocean with some new friends. I thought that was so cool that she did that. Mary’s pretty tough for a girl. (I just say that to needle her.) And Dad’s pretty tough for an old guy. We enjoyed our visit to the Great Northland.

We visited the Troup’s, who moved from Switzerland to Plymouth, Minn. We had dinner with the Anderson’s and saw the local theater group’s musical, “How to Talk Minnesotan.” We were the youngest people in the audience by 30 years.

My brother Dave has told me that he and Michelle are expecting.

Happy Holidays!
Happy New Year!

Love,
Charlie, Rose, Carli, Gina, and Sam Snyder

This entry was posted in Christmas Letters. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.