I am the oldest of five children. That means I'm bossy and controlling (which sometimes comes in handy as I try to raise my brood of spirited youngsters). My younger siblings all happen to be male so I grew up as a bit of a Tom boy. I've never been sad about that.
Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that I have four younger brothers who are AMAZING!
On Tuesdays since Thanksgiving my oldest younger brother, Josh, has been coming to my house to pick up my two oldest boys. He takes them to his house where they are working on a project to make Christmas gifts. I have no idea what they are making (I do LOVE surprises!), but I think it is incredible that Josh has taken them on as his little protegees so that they can learn from him and feel his influence and share his insights. Josh is incredibly talented, but a few years ago he discovered he has a talent working with wood. He has made some pretty amazing things from clocks to decorative backyard benches. One of his latest creations now resides in my living room. It is a wooden manger that he built for me so we can put straw in it as we do kind things for each other (if you have no idea what I'm talking about you should read this fabulous Christmas story to get the idea). Josh and his wonderful wife (I do love that my brothers pick fabulous girls to be my sisters) have been an incredible blessing to my family and I can't thank them enough for that.
|Josh (my brother, not my husband) helping Aubrey with a kite.|
My second oldest younger brother is named Brian. Despite being the brunt of much (seriously, much) harassing and teasing while growing up (sorry Bri-Guy...I guess that's the nasty benefit of being the middle child) he has grown up to be an incredibly well adjusted and gifted adult. Brian created an awesome program, now called Canvas, while he was working on his masters degree and decided to turn that idea into his own company, now called Instructure (I told you he was fabulous). But more importantly, Brian is the father to a precious trio of children, one of which is a patient and beautiful sweetheart named Becca who has a severe form of Autism called Rett Syndrome (meet her here). He and his wife are amazing and tender parents, but they still find time and energy to look out for others. Brian recently worked with his venture scouts to make their own kayaks from wood and canvas and then took them on a river trip. Seriously, who does that? Not long ago Brian gifted our family an expensive piece of electronic fun that has become an integral part of our lives and he did it just to be nice -- no praise or return favors required (not that we won't try anyway). I just adore that guy.
Next in the line is my brother Kevin (or Kephin as I like to call him). Kevin went to school to become a chef and makes some of the tastiest things you can believe. While working at one bakery he also wrote a fancy computer program from scratch to better track the inventory/expenditures/recipe needs because he knew it would make things easier. Pretty impressive to me. Kev is my "Top Chef" companion because I am addicted to the show and he is the only other person I know that watches it. One of my favorite things about him is that he makes me laugh. He does so in real life, but also, every day he sends me things he finds on the web (often from Failblog) that are hilarious. That means every morning I have a crew of kidlets gathered around when I check my email because they want to see what funny bits Uncle Kevin has sent us. He and his wife have a couple of the cutest boys ever and I'm grateful for them all.
Last but not least (well, maybe least weight wise these days) is my baby brother Joel. I used to tote Joel around with me when we were growing up. I am 13 years older than him so when I would take him to the park or the store with me I would often get told what a cute son I had. He is pretty adorable. Joel returned from an LDS mission just less than a year ago and I am forever grateful for the example he set for my boys who adore him. He is closer in age to my three oldest kids than he is to me and they have grown up goofing off and wrestling with him like he is a bigger brother. He is currently attending BYU (go cougars!) and working to determine who he wants to be when he grows up. I'm awfully glad we have him around.
There is something forever comforting about being surrounded by siblings who love you, and I'm lucky enough to know that feeling. Thanks, boys. I love you, too.