Umm … apparently I gave birth to a human baby nearly three months ago. This is what they tell me, at least. And there are pictures to prove it, so I guess it happened.

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged about it all yet. I keep wanting to update my blog template and become an awesome sahm (that’s how all the cool people on the What to Expect mommy forums abbreviate stay-at-home-mom) blogger-type person, but then I have to choose between eating, showering, dressing, or watching The Bachelor while my son takes his 30 minute nap (he should be napping for 1.5 hours, but he scoffs at that idea), and in conclusion, I never blog. But I do know what Ben and Olivia and Chris Harrison are up to.

However, today is a new day!

So, my life has completely changed in every way. And in theory I knew that was happening, but then it happens. And then you realize that Rachel’s life after having a baby on Friends is not realistic. Because you never see that baby — Emma apparently doesn’t cry or eat or need attending to. You’re free to go to Central Perk alone every afternoon. And Rachel’s body is amazing immediately. And she’s not in pajamas until noon every day. And she’s not crying about the pain of breastfeeding. Thanks for nothing, Hollywood!

Anyway, back to my baby. This is Theodore Dale William Snyder. Theo for short. (Because with a name that ridiculously long, you need a “for short.”) Hi, little Theo!




He was born on November 19, a week after my due date. Lazy.

I had to be induced, which meant that I spent the night going through early labor, and then the next morning was only 2.5 centimeters dilated, which was not cute. But THEN! The doctor broke my water at 8:30 in the morning and somehow I had delivered Theo by 11:24 — three hours later. Here are a few quick points about this labor and then we’ll move on before we get TMI:

  1. A fast labor is nice because three hours and you’re done!
  2. A fast labor is terrible because those are the most painful, intense, deathly hours of your life. No breaks in between contractions. No “stages” of labor. No relief. No fun.
  3. When you have a fast labor, you might give up all resolution to go med free and then beg for an epidural but then suddenly be dilated to an eight and realize that you are about to die and push out a baby and there will be no pain relief because there’s no time!
  4. If your doctor wants to monitor your contractions and the baby’s heartbeat your entire labor, you may as well give up on life. Being stuck in that bed is the worst and you won’t be able to do any of the massages or walks or baths that your classes tell you will make labor bearable.
  5. Suddenly you’re done! And you seriously feel nine gazillion times better within three seconds. And you never even look to see what the doctor may be stitching or piecing back together because suddenly your very own baby is on your chest and you did it and he’s beautiful.
  6. It happens how it happens. Fast, slow, epidural, pain, whatever. And somehow you don’t die, and somehow your body does what it’s supposed to, and somehow Jesus helps you, and somehow you suddenly have a son and become a family.

8 lbs 7 oz. Theo, not me.

Wow. Being pregnant and giving birth shows you a whole new aspect of God and his care and creativity. He formed Theo inside of me. And he created me to be able to bring him life. And he made my body to be able to sustain him afterwards. It’s quite amazing, really.

Stretches with Wolves

Stretches with Wolves

So I had Theo in November and then began the process of healing and nursing and being awake for the rest of my life. The first three to four weeks were really hard. My body hurt in so many ways. I felt like all I did was feed him. He would be inconsolably fussy in the evenings. But my mom was there and Andrew’s mom was there and they were so helpful. Andrew was amazing and kept us scheduled when I couldn’t think straight. At three weeks old we traveled to the States so Theo could celebrate his first Christmas with my family. Then we spent time with Andrew’s family. And then suddenly Theo was six weeks old and I was going to take care of him by myself. How can something that weighs ten pounds and can’t move anywhere on its own be so terrifying? I don’t know, but it can.

Our little teacup piglet!

Our little teacup piglet!

Theo's a good eater. He's a cheerful, chubby kind of fellow.

Theo’s a good eater. He’s a cheerful, chubby kind of fellow.

And now we are somehow at 12 weeks! Everyone you talk to and everything you read says that it gets a bit easier at around the three month mark. And when you’re two weeks in, that reassurance makes you want to kill everyone because three months is years away and you’ll certainly be dead of sleep deprivation and nursing pain by then.

A rare moment of sleep.

A rare moment of sleep.

But we’re here. And I can already feel how much easier it is. He is learning to put himself to sleep a bit better. His naps are gradually becoming more dependable. Nursing is a million times better. He smiles and giggles and is becoming so much fun. (He still needs to practice sleeping longer at night, but we’ll get there. Right? Please?)

Yes, this white child with blue eyes came out of my body. He's only a quarter black. Like the Psych singing group.

Yes, this white child with blue eyes came out of my body. He’s only a quarter black. Like the Psych singing group.

I love this little friend. It is cliche, but I love him more than I thought I could. Being a parent is very different. It is very hard. And it is very amazing. Little by little as I go through this process, I understand a bit better how deep is the Father’s love for us. Vast beyond all measure.

Thanks for reading friends! I was interrupted about 1,000 times while writing this post, even though it was “nap time.” But hopefully I’ll get to write again soon. Goodbye from Theo and me!


Last night Diana and I went out to a vegetarian restaurant because we are super healthy. Except that we accidentally ate a lot of carbs because apparently the only delicious thing vegetarians have to offer is bread. What were we to do?! Anyway, if you’re in the Denver area, you should try City O’ City. Their savory waffle was a carb-filled delight.

Oh, guys. I started to get caught up on all important television yesterday. Parenthood. You are killing me. I don’t even like you right now. So many tears. But it’s so good I just can’t stay away. Here are some people who need to get it together: Julia, Joel, Camille.

My friend Alecia shared this picture with me. It’s a lady who has decorated her cane with some stuffed animals. It’s cozy and fancy that way.


My jove Micah announced yesterday that she’s having a baby!! This is great news because she will be a wonderful mom, I will get to hold her baby, and she’ll also probably want to name it after me (Denise or Dennis, either works according to people at Starbucks and Panera who often call out “Dennis!!!” when my order is ready).

I realized today that I have been feeling anxious since I’ve been back in Colorado. Actually, I was feeling anxious the day before I came back. (Just ask Andrew about the crazy, moody, angry, crying person who he got to spend the day with on Saturday.) I am back here, and while I love seeing my friends and enjoying the gorgeous weather (it is 61F/16C right now!!!), I also feel really stressed. I think it is because I don’t have much to do except wait to hear about this visa. And the waiting gives me time to think about anything that could go wrong (I like to stay positive). But after last time, I just worry that the visa will get denied or delayed again, which would be the worst because I am about at my limit with airplanes, suitcases and travel-sized items! Anyway, I feel stressed and anxious, and I know those feelings do not come from the Lord. So I thought I’d tell you so that if you think of it, you could pray for peace and a quick yes to my visa!

OK, that felt heavy. Let’s cheer ourselves up with a picture of a tiny puppy in a shower cap and a tiny bathrobe!


He likes to stay so fresh and so clean, clean.

K, have a good day, friends! If you’re in Colorado, enjoy this gorgeous weather! If you’re not in Colorado, be jealous. Good day to you!

…I said good day!

If I Lay Here

March 2, 2012

I’ve heard that it’s Friday. That can only mean one thing. A very random list of things on this here bloggy.

1. I think we should start with this.

2. Yesterday I made gluten-free pancakes. They were a little flat and chewy, but overall, not too bad. I also had real maple syrup on them, which I thought I hated, but turns out it was pretty good. Next I will make maple candy in the snow like Laura did.

3. Speaking of which, I found this fun site where you can get recipes that are mentioned in the Little House books and take quizzes based on facts from the books. I just took a quiz and aced it. Jealous much?

4. Taylor Kitsch (a.k.a. Tim Riggins, a.k.a. my future husband) has been doing interviews for his horrible new movie John Carter. He was on Regis and Kelly (or whatever it is called now that Regis has apparently been replaced by guest hosts like Alec Baldwin) and he was lovely. Someone in the audience had a “Texas Forever” sign and he talked a bit about Friday Night Lights. The most important news is that apparently old Taylor is building a house in Austin and spent a lot of time researching for movie roles at UT where Jaci goes to school. Thus, she has been tasked with finding out his exact location so that next time I come to visit we can “run into him” and he and I can start our fairytale romance.

5. Vulnerability Corner with Denise: It has been a tough week. Pray for me. I’ll pray for you too.

6. What’s that? You would like to see another video interview of celebrities I like? OK, here’s Dax Shepard and Joy Bryant (Crosby and Jasmine on Parenthood) talking about their “wedding.” Also, I think I would like to work on the Parenthood set. They all seem to have so much fun together. And who doesn’t want to get to know all those crazy Bravermans better? Let’s make this happen — I could write for TV, right? Next season on Parenthood, Crosby’s best man’s younger brother comes to Berkeley and falls in love with a TV screenwriter from Colorado…

7. And I think we should end with this. Let’s just forget the world with Llama Patrol.

Have a blessed weekend!

Feed the Birds

February 24, 2012

Fri! Day! List! Day!

1. My back, you guys, has given up on life. It’s been hurting all week and last night at kickboxing it decided to quit working. So I’ve been icing it and lying on the couch and whining a lot.

2. I love this tiny little duck. He is on a very important mission. He is probably quacking a case. He’s specquackular. I really think his detective skills are all they’re quacked up to be. You guys, I’ll be here all night. Seriously. I can’t get off the couch cause of my back.

3. So, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I will say it again. You should start watching the sitcom Happy Endings. It’s on Wednesday nights on a channel. Maybe ABC? Anyway, it kills me. Last night they called one of the characters “Tuppence a Bag” because he attracts birds. Mary Poppins plus clever nicknames? Exactly. Start watching.

4. When you have a dog who’s been rescued from a tsunami, you have to fill his water bowl in a special way.

5. Laura and the fam are living in the surveyor’s house for the winter. It is the largest, grandest place they have ever lived. It has three rooms. And a pantry. Pa made a checkers board and he and Laura play. Ma doesn’t care for it.

6. For some reason, these bacon and corn griddle cakes look so good to me. But they are filled with fat, so I’m not going to make them. Until a day that my resolve is weak. So someone make them and report on the deliciousness, please!

7. Landon Pigg is a musician who is dating Mae Whitman (Amber on Parenthood). He has a new song and the Parenthood cast made the video for it. They’re very bad at lip syncing, but it’s super cute.

Okey dokes. I’m going to try to get a massage. Have a great weekend!

No I’m not. I’m totally not.

Wednesdays are the worst this semester. They make me very complainy. Do you know what makes me less complainy? Knowing that my dad is coming to visit in a couple weeks and we’re going to pretend we are rich at The Broadmoor! The Broadmoor is the most beautimous hotel in all the world/Colorado Springs. It’s very fancy and gorgeous and way more sophisticated than we are. We are going to eat brunch in here. I will smuggle you some crepes.

Ok, y’all, let’s just calm down and have a moment of silence. Please show some respect. Jack, the Ingalls’ trusty bulldog … has died. He was such a good dog and always trotted faithfully under the wagon — from Wisconsin, to Indian Territory, to Minnesota. He protected the family, and he swam an overflowing creek in order to stick with them, and he helped herd cattle, and he was always there to greet Laura when she got home from school.

I may or may have cried the other night when he died, you guys. It was emotional. I don’t even like animals.

Speaking of emotions, I love Parenthood! I felt so sad for one couple and so happy for another one last night. I mean, Zoe and Julia killed me. But then Crosby and Jasmine made me feel all better. Also, I felt mostly just perplexed when it came to Sarah and Mark. What is their deal? They’re going to have a baby and then run off to New York right quick and pretend Sarah doesn’t have two other children and that Mark doesn’t have a creeper mustache? Is that their plan? Maybe they just want to hang out with the Hasidic Jews too.

So Lent starts today. Is anyone observing it this year? I’ve done it for the past few years, and it’s always a good learning experience for me. I like this season. There’s Lent and Passover and Easter Sunday. What I’m trying to focus in on for my thesis is the ways God asked his people to remember what he’d done through the holidays that he commanded. He didn’t just tell them to remember, he gave them celebrations and things to do, build, eat, not eat as ways of reminding them of his goodness. For some holidays you blow trumpets, and for others you eat unleavened bread or bitter herbs. Sometimes you fast and other times you eat and eat. These tangible things that God commanded are interesting to me. I like that God gives us ways to remember him. For me, Lent is one of those ways. I won’t talk a ton about it here, but I did blog about it over on Boundless this week if you want to learn more.

OK, I’ve got to go be crabby to everyone because it is Wednesday. See you tomorrow!

Just so you know, this blog will contain regular updates on the happenings of the Ingalls family until I finish all nine books of the Little House series. Consider yourselves warned.

So, in the Big Woods, Laura just turned five. And she got a rag doll for Christmas that she named Charlotte. It was her favorite thing ever. Also, listen up, my future children — everyone got mittens and one piece of candy for Christmas. And they were thrilled to death about it. I expect the same. Also, they just made a ton of snow candy and sugar cakes out of maple syrup and I want some right now. The dumb thing is that I don’t actually even like maple syrup, but when Laura describes it tapped fresh from a tree and boiled into syrupy goodness, it sounds so delicious. (Mom, did we try to make snow candy once? I have a feeling it didn’t turn out.)

Oh, yes. The best activity of the fall was playing with a balloon made of the bladder of the pig Pa had just butchered. So there’s that.

What else? Oh yes. Drew crying on Parenthood = Me crying at home.

I got proposed to by a stranger over on the Boundless blog yesterday, so I should be wed within the month.

So, Kristy invited me to come in yesterday as a guest speaker for the theology class she teaches at Colorado Christian University. She wanted me to talk about God from the Hebrew perspective. I’m sure the students were all bored to tears, but I had fun. We talked about how as Western thinkers we see God and theology very linearly, but the Bible shows God in such concrete, physical ways. We talked about how God’s word is sweet like honey, and how to the Hebrew mind, God is not understood philosophically or through systematic theology, but he’s understood functionally. Our God acts, he does. It was pretty fun, and I’m so grateful to Kristy for allowing me and my weird wannabe Jewishness into her class.

Well, Wednesday is a busy day for me, you guys. Every week it includes failing an Aramaic quiz and lots of other stuff. I best get to it. Bye!

Stop, Thief!

January 11, 2012

Is it stop, thief or stop thief? It’s with a comma, right? You’re calling out to the thief, yes? I’m confused. Don’t judge me and my commas, OK?

Yesterday I tried to go to the Target by my house but when I got there, police cars were everywhere and the whole building was taped off with that yellow police tape that informs you that someone has been murdered! Is it bad that I just mostly felt annoyed that my Target was inaccessible and less worried about the possibly murdered person inside? After writing that out, I realize that yes that is bad.

There were even news vans outside the store, so I knew this was a big deal. Luckily I have an iPhone so I immediately looked up the news and discovered that no one was murdered but people had been shoplifting  video game systems from Target. Apparently these thieves had been casing Targets in the Denver area. They ran out of the store with their loot, sprayed a bunch of pepper spray, and they got away! The store had to be evacuated because of all the pepper spray residue. So, be on the lookout for three thieves playing video games. They’re driving a Kia with Florida plates. Dummies.

Can you think of a worse tragedy than your very own Target being shut down? Me neither. So, I drove over to Highlands Ranch to their Target. Now, Highlands Ranch is where all the rich people live, and their Target shows it. It was fancier than mine. The aisles were wider, the lighting was warmer, the vegetables were fresher. I’m not sure if any of that’s true, but it felt like it. Also, guess what I found?!?!?!

Target has teacup piglets, you guys! My friend Lindsay had informed me of this magical miracle, but now I saw it for myself. Here’s what’s puzzling: they’re on clearance. How are they not the most popular toy in the store? How did those Target thieves miss these babies on their shoplifting spree?

I almost got one, but then I realized that it talked. You could push its nose and it would say things like “hi, best friend!” Now, wouldn’t mind having a talking teacup piglet, but I felt that if I bought it I might be teased even more mercilessly than I already am. However, even if I don’t have a teacup piglet toy, I do have a 2012 teacup piglet calendar from Micah!

January is rodeo month, y’all!

So after all the Target adventures, I went to the gym. Then my friend Courtney and I had dinner and watched Parenthood. For the first time in forty years, it didn’t make me cry, you guys! I did get close when Adam and Crosby made up, though. Brothers.

I was reading Exodus yesterday and God was giving instructions for the building of the tabernacle and for all the priestly garments that were to be made. There was gold plating and fine linens and weaving and carving to be done. In Exodus 31, God says that he has chosen Bezalel to make artistic designs, to cut stone and work with wood. Bezalel was filled with the Holy Spirit and given wisdom and understanding specifically for these tasks. All of the workers who would assist him were given skills by God as well. This was fascinating to me because  in the Old Testament, not everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit like all believers are today. The Spirit came upon certain people — usually “big name” people like Saul or David or Elijah for certain times and tasks. God thought the artistic work of the tabernacle and priestly garments was so important that he sent his Spirit to fill Bezalel. Bezalel was one of the chosen few who was filled with the Holy Spirit for the his artistic tasks.

Not only does this confirm that God can use our skills and gifts and artistic abilities for his glory, but that he sometimes fills us for just that purpose. Kind of awesome.

Well, I best be off. I bet you’re really glad you stuck around for this post — Target and teacup piglets and tabernacle. These are the things that keep me going. Thanks for visiting!

Friday Funday

November 18, 2011

Friday Listacular!

1. Clearly the most important announcement is that Toby Mac has a new Christmas CD! I’ve heard that it’s on sale on iTunes this week!

2. NBC has put up the music that they play on Parenthood each week. Such good stuff. Check it out.

3. Did you know that you can make your own vanilla extract and never have to buy it again? All you need is three vanilla beans, some vodka and a jar with a lid. Store it and top it off every once in awhile. So awesome!

4. I’m writing a paper on Amos 5. It’s the passage about justice rolling down like water and righteousness like a stream. We’ve kind of turned that verse into something fun and awesome, but it’s not. It’s right in the midst of God being very upset with Israel for their sin and idolatry. He’s warning them of what’s to come if they do not repent. Rolling justice is probably not going to be all that pretty — not something to turn into a fun, camp song.

5. My friend Matthew posted this on Facebook yesterday and I died. This is one of the oddest, and at the same time, most awesome videos I have ever seen in my life. I am in love with this tiny little one-eyed shell who wears shoes.

6. I’m on the board for a non-profit called Axis. They travel globally, going to churches and schools and speaking about worldview — helping move families from apathy to compassionate action. If you have any connection with schools or churches and would like Axis to come, you should check out their website. They use tons of multimedia and they do such a great job. I got to go on a trip this past summer to speak at a youth conference, and it was so great. Consider supporting them too!

7. Only one of them.

OK, you guys. It’s been a busy, crazy week. Have a restful, awesome weekend! Loves!

Shut Up

November 9, 2011

Wednesday, am I right?

OK, can I just take one second to talk about the show Parenthood? If you don’t watch it, you don’t have to pay attention. Or better yet, go watch it. No, wait. First go watch Friday Night Lights. Then watch Parenthood. OK, clearly you have a lot to do, so get to it while we chat about last night’s episode.

They played a Head and the Heart song last night, so automatic win. And then I cried when Adam was so sweet to Kristina and told her how beautiful she is (they also played a Civil Wars song during that scene). Then I cried when Seth left all those birthday cards for Amber. Oh my. And I kind of wanted him to stick around. I know he’s been a loser, but Sarah still loves him and they should be a family. OK, one last thing. I know Jasmine is awful sometimes, but Crosby has been awful too, and I just want them to get back together. They clearly have feelings for each other, and they should be a family. (I like family.) Oops, I lied — this is my last thing: I love Zeke.

OK, back to real life.

I am all up ons my whole food eating, you guys! I just made this quinoa pudding, and it’s really good.

 I also made some crockpot magic and cooked these homemade refried beans overnight. It’s just how I roll, you guys. (My rolling usually lasts about two weeks.)

We’re translating parts of Amos in my Hebrew class. The prophets are so fascinating (I’m not kidding), and I’ll have to do an entire post on them soon. Amos starts out with all these judgments against different nations that surround Israel. God is going to punish them because they’ve broken treaties and shown cruelty, and widened their borders with violence. Pretty much stuff our country and lots of other nations continue to do all the time.

Amos then goes on to include God’s people in these judgments. By this time, the kingdom had split in two — Israel was in the north, and Judah was in the south.  In chapter two, Amos begins to call out Judah. He starts listing their sins, just like he had done for all the other countries. But their list looked a bit different. Judah didn’t exile nations or pursue their brothers with the sword or slaughter kings.

Judah’s punishment comes because they rejected God’s laws, didn’t keep his statutes, and chose to believe lies instead of truth.

Their crimes were not against people; they were against God himself.

Judah was judged for rejecting God’s law. And part of what the people continued to be criticized for in the prophets is ignoring the poor and needy among them. God provided for the poor in his law, but Israel often avoided those commands, thinking they weren’t all that important.

I realized recently that I’m just as guilty as Judah. I ignore God’s commands, I do my own thing, and I decide which parts of his word should be most important. I realized this because I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately. School is hard, my work future is uncertain, and I feel discontent in lots of areas. Woes and self-pity abound.

Then I saw this picture.

Shut up, Denise. That’s what this picture said to me. Shut. Up.

God doesn’t want me focused on myself. That stupid jerk Satan does. The Lord wants me to remember his law, to keep his statutes. To love him with everything that I am, and to love my neighbor as myself. He wants me to be more concerned with finding shoes for this man than whining about nothing. He wants me to share the gospel (and resources) for the glory of his name.

OK, that’s all. May the grace and peace of Jesus be with you today (and forever!).

Yom Kippur

October 6, 2011

It feels like fall today, you guys. There’s a breeze, and leaves are swirling around, and most importantly, new episodes of my favorite shows are back on TV! I cried at Parenthood this week. Yeah, I cry at fictional characters interacting in fictional situations. Jealous?

Here is how God celebrates fall.

So, we’ve got another biblical holiday this week! Although, that exclamation point is probably a bit much because it’s the one somber holiday that God commanded. Yom Kippur (or the Day of Atonement) starts this Friday at sundown. It is the holiest day of the whole year for the people of God. In Leviticus 23, God commanded the Israelites to abstain from work and to deny themselves (fast) for a whole day. People examine themselves and their sins, asking God for his forgiveness.

Yom Kippur is the day, each year, when the people of Israel must atone for their sins. There are very detailed instructions in Leviticus 16 — the high priest must sacrifice to atone for himself, and sacrifice to atone the altar and the Most Holy Place. God dwelt there, among sinful people, and it needed to be made holy. Then the priest would bring two goats — one to sacrifice as a sin offering for the people, and one to be a scapegoat. The priest would symbolically place all of the sins of the people for the past year on the scapegoat. A man would then lead the goat, heavy with the burden of Israel’s sin, into the desert and let it go — the scapegoat would carry away, upon its head, the wickedness of their hearts.

It’s a fascinating story. Please, please take a second to read Leviticus 16. I hadn’t read it in awhile, and it’s amazing to look at the process required to atone for our sins.

First Fruits of Zion wrote a newsletter about Yom Kippur, reminding us that Hebrews 9 parallels this process by showing us that Jesus, the Messiah, has become our high priest. He is the one who made  atonement for us, not through sacrificing a bull or a goat or a ram, but through sacrificing his body — broken, burdened, crushed under the weight of, not only the sins of Israel, but the sins of all humanity throughout all time.

The Bible is cool, you guys. There are so many parallels, so many stories that get retold and fulfilled and given new meaning. It’s like a much, much cooler Lost. Or maybe Lost is like a much less cooler Bible. Or maybe … OK, the analogy isn’t working. Let’s move on.

You are not supposed to work during Yom Kippur, and you are supposed to fast. I plan to do a fast, and I’ll talk about my reasoning more tomorrow, but I wanted to let you know so that if you want to consider doing it,  you could start praying about it today.

OK, I’ve gots to go, folks. Have a good day, friends, in grateful remembrance of Jesus who atoned for us.