Saturday, June 30, 2012

Uncle Ray

Lori and Ray
Ray is my oldest brother.  I really can't claim to understand him, after all,  no matter how hard we tried to include him in our adventures, Ray just didn't want to sneak around the house with us on Christmas Eve night!   Not only that, he would have slept in on Christmas if we were willing to let him -- which we weren't!  Still, though I can't claim to completely understand him even now, I do love him and I know a lot of good things about him.

Ray is quiet, and perhaps a bit shy.  He was hard for me to talk to because if he didn't have anything to say, then he just wouldn't say anything (sounds logical said that way).  Calling people makes him nervous.  I can remember him pacing back and forth in front of a phone for quite a while before he called someone.  I thought he was kind of afraid of people, which made me think of him as super brave when he went off on a mission to England where he had to talk to people, and probably call people on the phone too. 

He served an honorable mission and then came home and joined the Air Force, which I thought was really brave.  I could not imagine how he would get through basic training since in our house there wasn't really much yelling, and I always managed to cry if anyone raised their voice when I could hear.  I knew they would yell at Ray in the Air Force and I was afraid for him, but he did make it through basic training even though there were others who quit.  He was in the United States Air Force for two years.  I have been surprised by Ray a few times and I learned that I had underestimated this big brother of mine. 

Ray seemed to be a great favorite with my great uncles and aunts on my Dad's side.  They were always happy to see him coming and he remembered their names better than me because he took the time to visit them more often.

I always thought that Ray was funny about money.  He would have coins and dollars lying around in his room and he never seemed tempted to spend it.  I was tempted to steal it and see if he would notice it was gone -- but I didn't.  Still, if anyone needs help, then Ray is quick to offer.  He likes to use his money for helping.  Not only that but Ray has some good muscles that he will use to help others too.

Ray is smart, and talented.  I'm sure that my Dad is happy that at least one of his children picked up his good sense of direction and his love of driving around and seeing new things.  Ray is one of those people who seems to find the encyclopedia much more fascinating than a novel, and I expect he knows a lot of interesting facts about a lot of things.  Ray has learned a lot about gardening too, both from helping in my parent's garden growing up and from creating his own little mini-farm on his property.  He gets a lot of produce and he cans it for winter and shares his crops with his family.   Ray is also blessed with musical talent.  He has a nice singing voice and he has taught himself to play the piano.

My Mom met a man who works with Ray.  He told her that Ray doesn't talk much, but he is a very hard worker.  Ray likes recreation too -- hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities.  Ray has a wife named Lori and a 16 year old son named Michael.  He is a good man and I am proud that he is my brother.

Happy Birthday (a few days late) to Ray!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Uncle Brian

Brian at our last family reunion (at Jenny's house)

Brian singing to us at a reunion.  I loved it.  I stole this picture from his facebook page.

Another facebook picture.  Brian likes to hike -- and go backpacking with the brothers.

Brian had his birthday last Sunday (the 10th) -- the day after Connor's.  Connor moaned on his birthday because Kayli told her friends that she was going to stay home for her little brother's birthday.  He didn't like being called a little brother.  It wasn't until the next day, when I was thinking to myself "it is my little brother's birthday" that I realized I call Brian my little brother, and Brian may not like it (now that he is aware).  He's not smaller than me, so I can't really call him little.  It must be a habit from years ago.  He's really my super awesome younger brother.

Derek, Connor, Kayli, and I were talking about Connor and Brian's blogs and it was suggested that I could do them together since they like many of the same things.  Brian loves to read, loves to write, is coordinated like Connor, and, at least when he was younger, had some awesome moves like Connor.  I still remember him doing a very impressive Elvis Presley, singing "He ain't nothin' but a hound dog", complete with air guitar.   Brian would also be great at doing puppet shows (like Connor).

Brian has written books, and learned to play the real guitar (as opposed to the air guitar).  He sings, and he helps me with computer problems.  He is a good dad and a good uncle.  He loves the scriptures and is a good listener and a compassionate person.  I think he is impressive.  When we were young we spent a lot of time playing together.  He did do some of the annoying little brother things, like hanging our stuffed animals by their necks and laughing when we cried about it.  Still, he had his own stuffed animals too, and he participated in our creative stuffed animal dramas (for lack of a better way to describe how we spent our time). 

A few of us had monkeys.  Jenny's was Tiny, which fit with her size, and I think Brian's was Bop because he would bop us all with it.  The name of my little monkey might have been Bo Bo.  I'm having a hard time remembering.  Clingy the mom monkey is still at my house, much to Derek's chagrin, but Bo Bo leaked beads and finally had to go.  I really was blessed with good people to grow up with, and I have such good memories of those years together!

I love Brian.  Fairly recently (within a couple of years) when we were just getting to a church parking lot for a family occasion, Brian pulled up and I said "Brian's here!" and then promptly burst into tears because I was so happy to see him.  I had to get a grip really quickly since it was time to go in.  It had just hit me how thankful I am for Brian.  He is good to me.  He has always been good to me.  I hope he had a great birthday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Connor Blair

Connor holding Jake.  Connor was 3 and a half and had just become a big brother.

Connor opening a card from Grandma and Grandpa F.

Connor blows out candles.  Brownie trifle doesn't work with candles too well.

Connor and his birthday loot.  I think he's almost done reading both of those books already.
Connor turned 14 on Saturday.  He was at the Fathers and Sons campout and so he didn't get to open presents until late morning when he got home.  He is a great boy and always grateful for everything and so it is fun to get presents for him.

Connor loves to read.  We tease him because he loves his books so much and is very protective of them.  You might get in trouble if you use a sock as a bookmark in one of his books (even a clean sock), and in even more trouble if you use no bookmark at all!  He also remembers characters and plots really well.   Connor likes to write and hopes to write his own book someday.  He is always working on a story.   Connor is a good artist, even though he doesn't think so.  He obviously has not been comparing his art work to mine!  Connor is great at sports.  Soccer is his favorite, though he loves basketball too.  Connor is very fun in a lot of ways.  I like doing puppet shows with him.  He has the pirate puppet (Arrrrgus) and a parrot and a shark, and he is really entertaining with them.

The best thing about Connor is that he is a thoroughly good person.  He always wants to do what is right.  He is kind.  He loves family.  He really did not like it when his older sisters moved away to college, and he has always been good friends with Kayli, who is thankfully still at home.  He's a good big brother too.  I like that he often plays with his younger brothers when I leave him in charge.   Connor likes learning about the gospel and is very thoughtful when he prays.  I am really proud of Connor.  I love him.  He makes me smile.

Happy Birthday to Connor.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Dad

These are my nice parents.  Dad is the manly one.

This was last year's 50th anniversary party.

Hopefully he won't shoot me for this.  He came to our recreational property a year or so after it burnt and scouted around with us.  He found some bear tracks!
My Dad had a birthday on Saturday.  We were able to visit them the Sunday and Monday before.  Here are some of the things that I love about my Dad (in no particular order).

*Dad was and is a good missionary.  He helped his companions.  He helped the people he taught.  My Mom and Dad have been missionary companions a couple of times, and they continue to be missionaries when they are at home. 
*Dad is a great gardener and good at sharing the bounty of the harvest.
*My Dad likes learning about the history of places (among other things).  He took us to Promontory Point and he probably knew as much about the history of the trains as the rangers. 
*My Dad is good at directions.  I did not get my ability to walk out of a building and automatically head the wrong direction from him!
*Dad loves the scriptures, and that helped me learn to love them too.  This is a great blessing in my life.
*Dad loves family and adventures and so we often travelled across the country to see family.  Two parents and five kids, in a little car, sometimes staying in a tent.  Wow. What an adventure! We had fun too.
*Dad is talented.  He can sing, carve, paint, play the harmonica, build things, garden, and recognize bear tracks.  He and my Mom both have a talent for being very kind and hospitable to those who are having a hard time.
*My Dad is a hard worker, and he took good care of us.  But it was most important to him that we knew about Jesus, and that we learned to love Him too.
*My Dad loves my Mom.  He treats her well and expects us to do the same.  All Dads should be like that.

Thanks to my Dad for being the best Dad for me.
Happy Birthday!