Sunday, August 26, 2012

Uncle Doran

Doran and some of his children, and some of his nieces and nephews

I have very few pictures of Doran on the computer.  The one above is from a family reunion in 2008.  I chose it because it is like so many pictures I have of Doran in my mind.  In my mind there are pictures of Doran running birthday parties with lots of nieces and nephews, Doran driving a four wheeler with a big trailer behind it that is loaded with children, Doran giving rides to children on four wheelers or Derek's motorcycle, Doran wrestling children, Doran chatting with children, and Doran laughing with children.  Whenever Doran is around, he seems to spend an incredible amount of energy on the children. 

I have been blessed with incredible brothers-in-law and a great husband, and they all spend a lot of energy on the children, but it is when I was watching Doran once that a quote from Joseph Smith came to mind.  Joseph Smith was considered a great friend to children, and in the Nauvoo Pagaent he was quoted as saying, "When I am with the children, I make all the fun I can for them."  It seems to me that Doran is like that.

I asked my children what they like about Doran and they rolled their eyes and said "he's fun", because they say that about every uncle I ask about.  They meant it even though they rolled their eyes.  They also say he tells funny jokes, and I didn't know that so I'm looking foward to hearing one.  I asked his nephews Tyler and Isaac when they were over what they like about Uncle Doran.  They agreed that Doran is fun, and Tyler said that Doran has great hair, so Doran can feel especially good about his hair today.

Doran is a musician.  He played the cello at Derek's and my wedding reception, and I still remember the Christmas that he got his first guitar.  Derek and I used to spend Christmas at his parents house because Christmas is more fun with children around -- and some of his brothers and sisters were still children.  Doran has an acoustic guitar now that he uses to enhance singing time at family gatherings on occasion.  He can also sing -- in tune! 

Doran went on a mission to Scotland and used to address his letters to our house to Trisa or Tia, who were pretty small still.  He has always been a good uncle, and somewhere I have pictures of him carrying around my girls when they were very little.  Now my girls are all grown up, and Doran mostly carries around his own children, though they're getting a little big to be carried.  Time sure flies!

Doran met Tanya after his mission while they were attending BYU.  They were married, and graduated from college, and made the decision together that Doran would be a seminary teacher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He spends school days teaching youth the gospel.  He is a gospel scholar, who does his best to teach, and live the gospel that he loves.  Most importantly, he always remembers the importance of family.  He and Tanya have two girls, and four boys.  Doran and Tanya put a lot of miles on their car to visit family and attend family events.  We love it when they come this way because, obviously, things are more fun when they are around.

Happy Birthday Doran!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Proof That Monsters Exist

Dan told his Dad that he is sure that monsters exist because sometimes when he wakes up his blankets aren't on any more.  Obviously monsters must have removed them.  Derek tried to explain that blankets fall off because we wiggle when we sleep.  Dan looked a bit skeptical.  Apparently blanket moving monsters is a more believable story when you're five.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Uncle Devin

All my pictures of Devin or from a few years ago!  This is 2008 and he's at his own house holding Annie and talking to a nephew.

This is Devin holding his nephew Sam
When I think of Devin the word boring does not really come to mind.  What comes to mind are images of Devin dramatically entertaining the kids with stories, or carrying them around on his back or shoulders, or playing the role of devil's advocate in family discussions, or marching around at a family reunion pretending to be Captain Moroni from the Book of Mormon while many of his nieces, nephews, and children followed him around wearing their homemade shields and swords.  His way of expressing himself is not boring either, but sometimes we might need a dictionary to make sure we've caught the meaning of his words properly.

Devin is fun, and has always been a good uncle for my children.  He makes us smile and we all love him.  He has always been very helpful to our family, and has on many occasions chosen to come help us with a project rather than do something he would perhaps enjoy more.  Before he was married we liked to try to take more than our fair share of his time because we enjoyed having him here so much.  We especially liked having him over for his birthdays.   I've made Devin the occasional birthday cake, and I was always made to feel like I had done the most wonderful thing for him.  It is fun to do nice things for someone who is thankful, and Devin is good at being thankful.  Of course, he did say that I didn't need to make a crashed motorcycle cake for him again:).

Devin is really smart, but somehow he also manages to be very humble.  He does not get offended easily and I have often been impressed with his willingness to believe the best of those around him.  He studies, thinks about things a lot, and has well thought-out opinions.  Still, he is willing to listen to the opinions of others and to change his opinion as he learns new information.

Devin is a musician.  I love to hear him play the violin and he has a great singing voice.  The singing always sounds better at family gatherings if Devin is there and participating.  Devin is also a good athlete.  Derek has told me before how impressed he is with Devin because Devin has determination and would practice and practice to become better at things he wanted to be able to do.

Devin is married to Mandy, who is awesome, and they have four children.  Devin is thankful to be a Dad and he loves his children well.  My kids sometimes comment after family hikes about how many children Devin can carry at once.  Of course, this was before Madeleine and Annie got so big, but he does have some pretty impressive children carrying abilities!
Devin on a reunion hike 2008 carrying Madeleine and Annie.

When I asked Connor what he likes about Uncle Devin he said, "Super fun, great prayers, awesome vocabulary".

Happy Birthday Devin!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Uncle Russell

Russell, Erin, and their beautiful family (I think I put this picture on Erin's birthday blog last year:)
Russell is in the middle with the mircrophone -- singing karaoke at a family reunion.
Russell is married to my husband's sister Erin.  Russell and Erin have five children and another should be born sometime in October.  They had three girls first (like Derek and me) and then two boys (again like Derek and me) -- but they are going to break our pattern and have a girl sixth.  Once Russell told me, in a complement to Erin, that Erin could find surprising energy for their children.  I'm not quoting that right -- but I thought he was saying -- Erin loves her children and finds energy for them even when she is tired.  I like that about Erin, and I suspect Russell is like that too.

Russell is a very caring and talented person.  He will literally spend hours helping people he cares about with projects.  This includes Erin (of course!) who loves to have variety in the rooms of their home.  Russell has likely painted about every room, some of them multiple times.  He has put up bead board and done other projects that help their home look nice.  It is always fun to visit and see his and Erin's handywork. 

I do not know how Russell manages to find the time for all of the nice things that he does.  He is a good Dad, he works, he makes our reunion videos, he has taken our mom and dad in-law's old family videos and put them online to preserve them, he helps buy or set up family computers when asked, and he does other computer projects and home projects too.  Derek sometimes jokes that Russell is his (Derek's) mom's favorite son.  This is because Russell is a very attentive and thoughtful son-in law.  Russell also spends hours every week serving in the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).  Serving seems to be a way of life for Russell.

Russell is very musically talented.  He has a terrific singing voice and he uses it at church, and reunions for the benefit of those of us who get to hear him, or sing with him.  He has also taught himself to play the guitar, which he does very well.  I love music, and always enjoy when Russell shares his talent with us.

Russell is very interested in people, and he takes the time to get to know them.  This is a part of what makes him such a good uncle.  I asked Kayli what she likes about Uncle Russell and she said, "He is easy to talk to.  I like him because he is interested in me and my life."  I believe that is a direct quote, and I suspect my other children (at least the older ones) would say something similar.  Russell is a good listener, and he is appreciated for it.  I am very thankful to Russell for the attention and caring he gives to my children.  It is a blessing to them, which makes it a blessing to me.

Happy Birthday Russell!