Monday, February 28, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Janna Bluth!


From Naomi:

1. You are one of the most thoughtful people I know. It makes me feel so good that you put forth the extra effort to call and check on us every once in a while, send special treats to the girls just for fun, give me the heads up on good deals that you've found, or fly out here to help me out with a week of babysitting.

2. You are a stellar shopper! Not just because you have great taste and work fast, but also because you know how to get great bargains. I will never forget when you refused to buy a shirt because it was on the $5 rack instead of the $2 rack! Ha Ha! It seems you never get carried away by a "good deal" either.

3. You are ridiculously talented and aren't afraid to try new things. The few times that Kevin and I actually got to watch you act and sing were TRULY a treat. And the fact that you would willingly go from singing and acting, to swinging around poi balls without even thinking twice, proves that you are totally willing to try new things.

4. You are a fantastic mother and aunt. You have such a great balance between fun, needs, and discipline, and my girls love you for it (as I'm sure Audrey does as well). Plus, it is so nice for me to have daughters that want to hang out with you, accompanied with the knowledge that I won't have to retrain them when I get them back!

5. You are one of my heroes. That might seem weird since I'm an old fart compared to you, but you have so many qualities that I am striving to posses and I look to you for an example of how to achieve them. Thank you for living such an exemplary life, for being such an incredible sister and friend, and for always making sure we are not left out or left behind. We love you Janna!

From Kevin:

6. Janna is one of the most talented people that I know. It seems like Janna can pick up anything, and be incredible at it! I've seen her play the piano, violin, guitar, trombone, sing, act, improve act, kick my trash at Wii bond, sew, cook food, be a mother.... AND she does it all extremely well.

7. Janna is an excellent friend to me, a wonderful sister and a fun person to be around. I remember when we were both in classes together at BYU, and Janna and I had the opportunity to hang out together quite a bit. I got to walk to her dorm room to eat lunch all the time, study for our Art History class together, and laugh about how funny her roommates all were. Very good times. Oh, and I got a better score than Janna on the final test in our art class... but only because she made all the flashcards and forced me to study so much! She was always ready to help me out... despite all those time I (allegedly) hug her upside down over the banister when she was little... (she's got three brothers, you can't prove it was me)

8. Janna is a great friend to Naomi, and I always appreciate how well Naomi is treated by my family... especially by Janna. I can't count how many times we've been blessed because Janna decided to give us a phone call, stop by our place to say hi, fly across the country to help babysit, etc. I really appreciate how well and accepted Janna makes Naomi feel.

9. She's a very opinionated person... and of course I mean that in a good way! She knows exactly what she wants, what she believes, how she will act, how she will conduct her relationships, etc. It's very inspiring to see someone with such a solid conviction and high self-respect.

10. Janna does THE very best bat impression I have ever seen in my life. If there were a national symposium for the gifted bat-impressionist... Janna would definitely be the keynote speaker and head award recipient. If you've never been blessed to witness this phenomenon, then you are missing out.

Well, that wraps up our month of love, but don't worry, we still love you even if we don't blog about it on a regular basis. Thank you to all of you for being such wonderful influences in our lives and bringing us so much happiness and joy over the years. And thank you for letting us tell the world about it. WE LOVE YOU!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Tyler Bluth!


From Naomi:

1. You are SO darn funny! I can't tell if you are trying to be, or if humor just leaks from your pores on a regular basis, but BOY do you crack me up! And let's face it, sometimes we all need to lighten up a little and have a good laugh.

2. You spoil Janna whenever and however you can. How manly is that!? I love how you get so much joy in getting her something she's been thinking about for a long time, or doing a super nice favor for her, supporting her with her talents and hobbies, or just making sure she feels loved... it makes me feel like there is hope for us all after all.

3. You are a dog man, but still love your cat. Being an animal lover myself (dogs preferred) I think its pretty cool that you share your home with a funny and furry creature and don't seem to mind it one bit (even if you have to pay the big bucks to get thread removed from her belly!).

4. You are VERY intelligent! I particularly enjoy it when you talk about history or reference past conference talks. I've always wished that I could have the kind of recall that you do.

5. You are a stellar husband, father, and provider... once again, VERY MANLY! I have a lot of respect for men who get out of bed everyday and put in the hours to pay the bills and care for their family's needs. But to do that AND still come home and play with your little girl and take care of your wife...That's just AMAZING!

From Kevin:

6. Tyler is a very deceptively funny person that always surprises me with his sense of humor. Tyler definitely knows how to be proper and poised, but can crack a joke with the best of them. I love it.

7. Tyler is an easy person to hang out with and spend time with. He is capable of entertaining himself and this always makes me feel comfortable around him... he never forces a conversation and is happy just sitting and reading, watching a movie or just chillin'. Add to that how clean he is and how naturally he picks up after himself, and Tyler is the PERFECT house guest. I'm serious about that... he's awesome to have stay at your house.

8. I like how the very first time that Tyler and Janna met (at Craig's Missionary homecoming) I could tell that they liked each other. They flirted so awkwardly at first as they traded insults and right hooks (just kidding), but it was fun to watch them grow closer together until they finally broke it to the family that they were going to get hitched. I think we all suspected it before they knew it....

9. Tyler is very patient with Janna and I and is usually willing to give up the TV at a moment's notice to let Janna and I play some games together. I know he rolls his eyes and laughs at us, but it's appreciated all the same!

10. Tyler is an outstanding person, a hard working professional and an exceptional priesthood holder who takes his duties as a husband and father very seriously. I appreciate that, as he did take on the role of taking care of my little sister. I love the fact that I never even had to question or even so much as raise an eyebrow at my sister's choice in a husband. He's a great guy, and I don't think that Janna could have done any better!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Liz Mucci!


From Naomi:

1. You say it how it is. No sugar coating, just the straight up honest truth. And that means when you tell me I look good, I know I really look good! It also means that I can trust you to set me straight when I'm being ridiculous and tell me the truth when I need to hear it the most.

2. You are one of the select few who can make me laugh until I'm near wetting my pants. You're just so darn funny! The only bad thing is, we don't get to spend more time together laughing our guts out.

3. You are a master chef, and although your cooking does nothing to get me closer to my weight loss goals, I always thoroughly enjoy every bite! (Unless Kevin tries to keep all the food to himself and manages to freak out and pour water all over everyone's dinner.)

4. You are my go-to-girl. I know that if I need a last minute ride, a cute hairstyle for a hot date, someone to sit and chill with, or help figuring out my wardrobe, you will be there in a heartbeat to help me out.

5. You are an excellent sister and friend. I've always enjoyed spending time with you, whether we're chillin' on my couch telling stories, or driving to Vegas for a weekend of AFV. Things are just comfortable when we're together because we get how the other operates and accept each other for who we are...faults and flaws included. Thank you for always being there for me and having my back. I love you Lizzard!

From Kevin:

6. Liz is a great dance partner. I remember doing a show with her one time, and she and I were dancing a couple's dance. I completely forgot the dance and she and I had to keep from smiling as she and I made up the rest of the dance on the spot! We had some good laughs over that one, and she has very graciously not made fun of me over the incident!

7. Liz is always fun to hang out with and chill with, she's a great conversationalist and makes it easy to be around her.

8. She is a very determined individual... when she decides she wants something, she works hard to achieve it, even if it means trying several different methods. She isn't afraid to try new tactics, and different ideas as she discovers the best method to attain her goals!

9. She is a fantastic sister to my wife, and whenever she makes the time to chat with or visit with Naomi, it always puts her in a good mood.

10. Liz is a wiz when it comes to clothes. I didn't even mean for that to rhyme. but she has helped me pick out my clothes for Naomi and my wedding engagement pictures... several dates, and always made sure I looked and felt like one classy fella. That's not easy to do!

Friday, February 25, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Tony Mucci!


1. You have a great sense of humor and are always making people laugh... and as we all know, a great laugh can make ANYONE feel good!

2. You are EXTREMELY musically talented. It's one thing to be able to play an instrument or sing on tune, but you have entire symphonies bouncing around in your head and that amazes us.

3. You are super protective of Liz, which is both sweet and manly. Every girl deserves a man who is willing to fight for her honor.

4. You are willing to sacrifice so much to make your marriage work. Everyone who is married, or has ever been married, knows that marriage is hard sometimes and requires sacrifices from both parties, but you have had to sacrifice more than most and we are grateful that our sister gets to see how important she really is to you.

5. You are a fantastic teacher. Whether it is your consistency and love in home teaching, or your patience and dedication to your primary calling, or even your fun loving spirit when briefing for a laser tag game, you know how to get your message across in a way that will stick and be taken to heart.

6. You are kind and respectful to Mom and Dad and are willing to help out whenever they ask. It means a lot to us that they are in good hands while we are living so far away, especially when mom is sick!

7. You are majorly social...and in our family that is kind of a MUST! We are always impressed with your ability to jump right in to a conversation and become a part of any party. That's the way we like it!

8. You are incredibly intelligent. Not only can you understand just about any subject, or quote any General Authority on ANY topic, but you can also carry on a conversation with Josh and understand more than half of what he is talking about...which is truly a talent in and of itself!

9. You are a true blue FOODIE just like the rest of us! Thus, you can party with the best of 'em and you totally get it when we just need to sit on the couch and eat an entire package of Oreo's for no apparent reason.

10. You have allowed yourself to be a part of our family, rain or shine, for or against, crazy or sane. Joining families is never a perfectly clean or exact process, and sometimes it can be stressful, but you've done it. You've accepted us ALL and put yourself out there for us to accept as well. We are so grateful to call you brother Tony! We love you!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Craig Hanks!


From Naomi:


1. You have ridiculously good taste in music (according to me) and always have a fun TV show to recommend when I am bored. In fact, when it comes to media, I think we are pretty much cut from the same cloth... minus your obsession with Starcraft and 007.

2. Your sarcasm makes me laugh. It takes genuine talent to make sarcasm work for you without sounding mean, but you definitely pull it off.

3. You are fun to ask for help, with ANYTHING! Whether it is vocabulary, political opinions, movie reviews, or fashion advice, you always have good input that is worth asking for.

4. You are a FANTASTIC uncle. You have spoiling and fun down to an art and our girls LOVE you. Not only that, but you have always been willing to take the girls overnight when we needed to go to a race, or watch them when they were little so we could go to church. You're the best!

5. You are a great brother and friend and you are a blast to have around. I will always remember our Provo apartment fondly because of the hours we were able to spend with you double dating, watching movies, and playing Risk. Thanks for being such a stud Craig! We love you!

From Kevin:

6. Craig is fun, spontaneous and always good fun to hang out with. He is one of the favorite Uncles to the girls, and Brooklyn especially adores him. Anyone that gives Brooklyn butterfly wings and a poofy tutu for Christmas is instantly on the A-list in her mind!

7. When Naomi and I were living in Provo, Craig was a regular visitor at our house. Those are some of our favorite memories of having Craig coming over to chill at our place, play some games, do some homework, play with Brooklyn etc. Even when we moved up to Pleasant Grove, Craig still came over frequently to eat some dinner or watch some Fringe! Good times.

8. Craig is a brave man, who is willing to try just about anything. I remember two specific occasions: Doing the 8-hour adventure race with Brian, Nick, and myself. We canoed 2.5 miles, and biked/ran for I don't know how many miles (some 6 1/2 hours of it!) through 4 ft deep mud puddles no less! The other instance was the 1st of January of 2010, when Craig and I went to downtown Chicago to run the new-years day 5k. It was so cold that day that the water they were handing out at the end was completely frozen by the time we got there! Yikes. More good times!

9. I got to go on my all-time favorite hiking trip ever with Craig. We hiked up around Grand Teton National Park for almost a week. We swam in a lake at 11,000 feet altitude, slept in a pass with wind blowing 40 mph the whole night, hiked through a torrential downpour, and then almost died when we capsized and lost a canoe on the snake river. Best trip ever!

10. Craig is an excellent video game partner! I believe Craig and I are 2nd place in our division of Starcraft! Booyah! Craig does all the hard work though, and ALWAYS beats me in points.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Sara Hanks!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA!!!


From Naomi:

1. You are super intelligent, but not condescending. I love it when you share your generous supply of knowledge with me and I feel like I always learn something new when I'm around you... but at the same time, you never make me feel dumb, or give me the feeling that I'm not smart enough to hang with the cool kids!

2. You do the BEST Muppet impression I have EVER seen! Sometimes when Kevin and I are feeling particularly low, we try to imitate your Muppet moves in hopes of cheering ourselves up. Although it always elicits a good laugh, it's just not the same when you're not doing it!

3. You have a remarkably positive outlook on life. I am frequently impressed with your ability to look past your trials and find the good in all things. Your strength in moving forward is both inspiring and amazing to watch.

4. You embody the saying" I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR!" Although you love the companionship enjoyed between a husband and wife, and respect the role of your husband and other men in the world, there isn't a single part of you that believes you won't succeed in life without the help of a man, and I TOTALLY respect that!

5. You are not afraid to be your own person. You find joy and appreciation in all the things that make up "Sara" and that puts you in a very enviable position for most women. That being said, it is all for good reason! You are such an amazing, loving, kind, motivated, strong, and passionate person, who wouldn't love you! Thanks for being such a great example to me and a fantastic sister and friend. We love you Sara!

From Kevin:

6. Sara let me stay at her house when I ran my very first marathon down in St. George. I couldn't walk for two days, and had to hobble up and down the stairs. She gave me all the Kool-aid I could drink!

7. Sara has always impressed me with her self confidence and will. Sara has always struck me as someone who knows exactly who she is and doesn't apologize for it. Her personality is magnetic and it makes her very enjoyable to talk to. It did not take long at all for Naomi and I to decide we like Sara a ton!

8. She is an extremely patient person, and is always willing to let Craig and I play some RISK, Starcraft, Wii Bond etc. Something that I always appreciate.

9. She's a very accepting person, and has treated Naomi and I like family from day one. Not only us, but our kids too. Brooklyn cried for a week after "Auntie Sara" left our house last time. She's a fantastic Auntie, always has fun with the girls and makes sure they feel special.

10. At Sara and Craig's wedding, she had a bar with humongous glass jars filled with M&Ms, skittles, gummy bears. Mmmmm... I had a stomach ache the day after, but definitely cemented in my mind the fact that Sara's the BOMB! I couldn't think of another human being that I'd rather see my little brother with!

10 Things we LOVE about Scarlet Uda!

So... Yesterday just ran away from me and I TOTALLY forgot to post this. Sorry we are late Scar, but we absolutely still love you!


From Naomi:

1. You treat me with so much respect and love. I never feel like you are looking down on me or that you feel awkward around me. When we are lucky enough to spend time together, it is just comfortable.

2. You are an incredibly talented dancer. It has amazed me how you have jumped into Tahitian dancing full-heartedly and how well you have picked it up. If we ever get the chance to dance together, people won't be able to figure out which one of us is really Polynesian. (Let's not tell them that neither of us are.)

3. You are great at keeping in touch and reaching out. Living so far away from everybody makes me lonely sometimes, but you always go out of your way to drop me an email or send me a text, and it makes me feel connected to the family. Thank you!

4. You get me. When our husbands are acting like total lunatics together, we can exchange one quick glance and know exactly what the other person is thinking. It is fun to see those similarities in couples rather than just the individual and it makes it more enjoyable to hang out as well!

5. You make my brother HAPPY! Because Jake is one of my best friends, I find great joy in seeing him that way and I am very grateful that he married such a sweet, loving, loyal, and devoted wife. Thanks for being a part of our family, putting up with our craziness, and helping to make us complete. We love you Scar!

From Kevin:

6. Scarlet makes me laugh. There is something about her sense of humor that makes me chuckle even when she's not trying to make me. She has a way of looking at life that makes it seem like things are never really that bad if you just roll your eyes at it and have a little laugh.

7. She is an excellent Sugar Mama for Jake and I totally respect that. Jake is one lucky guy to have someone who is willing to work her butt of for him every day and bring home the bacon while he is still in school!

8. Scarlet is always willing to try new things and her bravery and self motivation have really impressed me.

9. I've also always been impressed with the amount of schooling Scarlet was able to get through and at how hard she works to accomplish her goals in life.

10. Last but not least, Scarlet has a calming influence on Jake that somehow helps him to be slightly less insane then he usually is, and anyone who can do that has my vote!

Monday, February 21, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Jacob Uda!


From Naomi:

1. You are THE "straight and narrow path" in my life. No matter what occured in our lives, or who mocked you, you always stood your ground and followed the teachings that you believe in. You are a phenomenal example to me of doing what is right and serving the Lord.

2. You are one of the BEST temple buddies I have ever had. Some of my fondest memories are from the month before you left on your mission when we went to the temple every week and did something new. You were always so diligent in your attendance and responsibilities and it meant so much to me that you were willing to take time out of your busy schedule and lug me along.

3. You are my favorite dance partner. I never would have thought when we first started learning to dance that you would ever pick up the rhythms, or that I would ever remember the moves, but we both eventually figured it out and since then we have had tons of fun learning and making up dances together. Also, it has been so fun to watch our talents grow and to be able to use them to make others happy, and I'm glad I got to do that with you.

4. You are always the first one on the scene. Anytime I ever needed help in my life, you were there. It didn't matter if it was to help me clean, learn a new dance, move to a new location, or just be there as a shoulder to cry on, you had my back. I consider myself VERY lucky to have a brother who is so sensitive, selfless, and supportive.

5. You are not only my brother, but you are TRULY my friend. We have had so much fun together throughout the years, playing games, going to luaus, hiking up mountains, and just hanging out. But besides that, we have had some really awesome life experiences too, like gaining a testimony of the temple together, learning about relationships together, and learning more about each other whilst chasing Kevin around the entire state of Utah in the Santa Fe. Thank you for always being there for me Jakey. I love you yer stinkin' guts!

From Kevin:

6. He's an excellent and patient teacher: Jake taught me the Haka, Mea Pa'ani Kinipopo, Ku'u Hoa, Keahi alapa, AND the macarena.

7. Jake is always fun to hang out and do stuff with. We can go running, bowling, play RISK, go hiking, to football games etc. Jake has a gift for making everyone feel comfortable and relaxed. He also has a gift for pushing me to be better. I still remember to this day running with Jake after moving back to Utah, and having him kick my trash and leaving me in his dust on a 3 mile run. Funny thing is though, during that run I broke a 7-min/mile pace, and have never had a problem with that barrier again!

8. He's an excellent example of what Christ-like charity really is. It seems Jake is always out doing some kind of service helping people out. When we lived at his parent's house at the same time, if it was snowing and I wasn't out of the door by 7 AM, Jake had already beat me to it: shoveling not only our driveway, but most of the neighbor's driveway too.

9. Jake knows how to treat women with respect. Who knows, maybe it was growing up with 5 sisters and under their constant threat, but Jake was a good example to me of treating women with kindness, respect and making them feel like the most important thing in the world.

10. Jake has wash-board abs that make most people cry. I do sit ups every morning just in the hopes, that I too, may have the option of lighting a match on my 6-pack.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Sarah Ioane!

From Naomi:

1. You have a soft spoken and sweet personality. Although you could throw some prettty awesome fits as a child, you have matured into one of the kindest people I know. Your calm demeanor and soft voice are relaxing and comforting to be around and as soon as you walk in a room, people can tell that you are a good person.

2. You are one of the most service oriented and selfless people I know. It doesn't even matter how rotten someone is to you, you will bend over backward to help them in their time of need. I have the highest respect for your willingness to serve others and for your efforts to do so.

3. You are the queen of frugality. SERIOUSLY! I thought I was frugal but you amaze me with your ability to coupon with the best of 'em and find awesome deals on Craigslist. You go girl!

4. You are SUPER easy to hang out with. You never make me feel pressured to entertain you, yet when we are together I am always entertained... even if we just sit and chat for hours while our kids run a muck!

5. Through thick and thin, you have always forgiven me, loved me, accepted me, served me, and stood by my side. Your loyalty to family knows no bounds and I love you for that. Thank you for always treating me with kindness and compassion and for ALWAYS being there for me whether I deserved it or not! I love you Sarah!

From Kevin:

6. Sarah is one of the kindest people I know. She is always soft-spoken and has something kind to say about everyone. I never have to feel awkward around her because I know she's never going to bad-mouth anyone.

7. She is very service-oriented and always seems to be willing to help anyone out, even if it means sacrificing a great deal for herself. She's always been quick to volunteer help when she sees a need, and has babysat for us on several occasions just to give us a break and a night out.

8. Sarah has always worked hard at achieving her goals, whether it be school, dancing or being a parent, she's always been a hard-worker and a great example.

9. Sarah is always good for a book recommendation. I've gotten to read several books that I loved that I got from her. I always appreciate a good read!

10. Sarah is the BOMB no-bake cookie maker. Sometimes I wake up at night drooling, and it's because I'm dreaming about those no-bake cookies... at least, that's the story I'm sticking with. But seriously, they're good cookies.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Tau Ioane!

From Naomi:

1. You are a big Teddy Bear. You're one of those big dudes who could be really scary if you wanted to, but when it comes down to it...you are the first person to pick up my girls, snuggle them, and give in to their every whim. Heaven help you if you ever have daughters!

2. You like to spoil your wife when she least expects it. One of my favorite examples is when you gave her a really small budget to buy you a Christmas gift because you had already secretly blown most of the budget on her. She thought you were going to spend the same amount on her, but was surprised when she opened up her new computer and her Wii! LUCKY!

3. You are a loving father. I think everyone really loves their kids, and most people even like their kids, but you adore your boys! It is so wonderful to see you puff up with pride every time they do something great or to see you smile from ear to ear when they are being cute. You are obviously one proud papa, and for good reason!

4. You are always pushing to be your best self. This is one of the things that impresses me most about you. You never claim to be perfect, but it is obvious to anyone who pays attention that you are working your hardest to get there. I am grateful to know my sister is in the hands of a righteous and loving man who works so hard to be his best and care for his family.

5. You are super fun and funny to be around! I have spent many hours laughing at the funny things that you say and enjoying your company during good games and conversation. You are easy to be around and I wish we could hang out with you guys more often. Thank you for being such a fantastic brother. We love you Tau!

From Kevin:

6. Tau's a stud, fun to hang out with, and hardworking. I have always admired how hard he works to achieve the goals he sets for himself.

7. I always appreciated how Tau treated Brooklyn as a little girl. It surprised me how tender he was and how Brooklyn would just sit on his lap for hours.

8. I can tell that Tau unconditionally loves his wife and he is a great example to me of how to be a good husband.

9. Tau is good at any sport I can think of and I enjoy playing with him...even though he can kick my trash at ANYTHING!

10. I think Tau is a great father and because of him I know I am guaranteed to have very many nephews!

Friday, February 18, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Becca Rigg!

(aka, Dude, Chewy, Bec-way, and Grover the incredible talking dog!)

From Naomi:

1. You are so blasted funny! I have spent days without end laughing at things you have said or done and you are the only person who can get a good old fashioned seizure-laugh-attack out of me. I love your sense of humor and how you never have to put anyone down to get a good chuckle!

2. You are Super Mom. Sometimes it seems like you came straight out of a magazine. Your children are well dressed and well fed, they have been taught good manners, and they are incredibly smart and talented... and all that is because of you. Somehow you find the time to get all your responsibilities taken care of and still play with and teach your children for hours at a time. They are lucky they will have so many cherished childhood memories, and I am lucky to have such a great mentor while raising my own children.

3. You are a social genius! It is amazing to watch you move comfortably from one crowd of people to another and seamlessly fit in. Not only that, but you make everyone else feel comfortable and at ease the minute you arrive. Furthermore, to this day I have never gone to a new location without at least one person stopping me to ask if I am Becca's sister, and then proceeding to tell me how much they love you and how you changed their life.

4. You work hard to nurture your relationships. No matter where I am in the world, I always know that you will call me, text me, send me a birthday card, and let me know that I am loved. You also take the time to learn about me and listen to what is going on in my life, and then you take an interest in those things. I am lucky to have you as a friend.

5. You are my best butt-ie. My very first memories in life all involve being inseparable from you. You were my favorite playmate, the vault that held my best secrets, my big sister, my good advice giver, my mentor, and my best friend. And besides the fact that you no longer ride around on my back while I clean our room, or waste countless hours playing with chip and dale or our barbies together, not much else has changed as we've grown up. I love you dude!

From Kevin:

6. Becca has an amazing personality that makes it easy for her to meet people, make friends, and help people feel comfortable. When Naomi and I started dating, Becca and Taber lived in California, thus I didn't have the chance to meet her until much later. Even still, I felt as if I knew Becca and that we were friends before I ever met her face-to-face.

7. She is very blunt, unapologetic, and unafraid to speak her mind. This quality has led to many opportunities for me to think and examine situations in my own circumstances. For example, here is an excerpt from a conversation we had after Naomi and I had been dating for some time: (keep in mind, we had still not met as of yet)

Becca: "So what, do you love my sister or not?!"
Kevin: "Actually, yeah... I guess I do!"
Becca: "Well then, what are you waiting for? When are you going to get married?"
Kevin: "I... uhh... well... I don't know... I ummm, [etc.]"
Becca: "Well, seems like a pretty obvious choice to me! You guys are perfect together. Call me when you've got a ring!"

To be completely honest, I think that conversation planted the seed in my head and I first seriously considered marrying Naomi. Obviously, I made the decision, and it's been a blessing to me ever since!

8. Becca's a great running buddy. She's very motivating and makes the run enjoyable We've been on many fun runs together, including a 15-mile training run around the Waterfall Glenn Forest Preserve, and a nice 7 mile run up and down Provo Canyon. She even let me run a marathon with her up in Duluth, MN that was one of my funnest races ever!

9. She is an exemplary parent, and someone Naomi and I both look to for an example frequently. She is a master choreographer, dancing the parenting balancing act that is being fun, creative, stern, immovable, patient, loving, and kind. There have been many parenting challenges that Naomi and I have faced when Becca's example becomes a positive factor in how we face those trials.

10. Becca can fart on command. Enough said.


2nd Intermission...

...To talk about Lily's Birthday Celebrations!


On February 12th, Lily celebrated her first birthday! Unfortunately, she was still on the tail end of a 6 week illness so we don't have a lot of smiley pictures of her.

Anyway, we started out the day with some Saturday shopping and went to pick up cake ingredients and some last minute presents.


After shopping, we took the girls to McDonald's to play on the indoor gym and eat some chicken nuggets. They both had a blast getting their wiggles out and Lily even managed to provide a great deal of laughter to the other parents by crawling around like a wild bear.

When we got home from McDonald's the girls went down for naps while Kevin and I made cupcakes and frosting. Then the girls got up and we had a quick dinner and then sang to Lily and gave her her first birthday cupcake.



As you can see from the video, Lily wasn't as fond of the cupcake as her big sister...in fact, I think she may have been a bit terrified of it!

Despite the bad cupcake experience, Lily was able to recover her happy feelings while opening birthday presents. She got a really cute stuffed caterpillar that came with a book, and a cool animal train from Grandma & Grandpa Hanks, a singing Barney card and her first cash ever from Grandma & Grandpa Uda, a letter book from mom and dad, and a farm animal book from Brooklyn.

Lily actually loved all of her presents, especially since she is really into books right now, but her favorite by far was the animal book from Brooklyn. You can see for yourself:



Well, minus the sickness and cupcake trauma, we had an incredible day with our sweet little Lily and we are so glad that we are blessed enough to begin another year with her. Happy Birthday Lily! We love you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Taber Rigg!


From Naomi:

1. You are a good and righteous head of your household. You are soft spoken and kind to your wife and children, you treat everyone as equals, you teach with love and patience, and you are a worthy priesthood holder and wise teacher.

2. You are a hands-on-dad. Nothing pleases me more than to see fathers who are anxious and willing to help out with their kids. You not only make sure you are available to do the necessary things like feeding the kids and changing diapers, but you go the extra mile to spend one-on-one time with them, play with them, read to them, help with their night time routine, and let them know that they are loved.

3. You are a compassionate and doting husband. Because my siblings are also my best friends, this one means a lot to me. It makes me so happy to see how well you treat Becca. You are so whooped by her it is almost ridiculous... in a good way! You still find ways to surprise her, make romantic gestures, help her whenever and wherever you can, and make her feel beautiful after 9 years of marriage... and I definitely dig that!

4. You are a manly provider for your family. Why manly you ask? Because you put in the hours and the time, and do whatever it takes to make sure your family is secure and taken care of. Not only that, but you do it the SMART way! Staying out of debt is definitely MANLY!

5. You are an incredible brother and friend. You are giving and selfless, terrific at listening and communicating, and a BLAST to hang out with! It is so much fun to be around other people who like the same things that we do. The only real shame is that we don't live close enough to you guys to camp in the igloo together or hit up a few good races! Thanks for all you do Taber and for being such a DOPE brother! We love you!

From Kevin:

6. Taber always makes me feel welcome and comfortable. From the moment I met Naomi and started getting introduced to everyone in her family, Taber was always making sure I was included.

7. Taber can do anything. Seriously, I can't think of a thing that he can't do. Get an incredible education, have an incredibly successful career while loving what he does, run marathons, be an exemplary father, build igloos, do the hoop dance. This is why whenever I run my mantra is "BLT" Be like Taber!

8. Taber is the perfect example of quiet dignity. He never boasts or flaunts his skills and talents, but isn't afraid to share them when appropriate. He's helped me out scores of times with advice or guidance.

9. Taber very obviously loves his wife and kids. He's a great example to me of putting his family's comfort and well-being at the top of his list. He works hard for them.

10. Taber is an awesome game buddy. Whether it's pounce, Settler's of Catan, or Boggle, he's always game. I can never beat him of course, but it's still fun to play!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Erin Uda!


From Naomi:

1. You are one of the most soft spoken, sweet spirited, accepting, forgiving, and kind people I know. Everything about you makes people feel comfortable and good.

2. You are an example to everyone of how to be a loyal and supportive wife. It amazes me how brave and trusting you are as the wife of an entrepreneur...I couldn't do it! Josh is lucky to have you (and he knows it)!

3. When people say that big things come in small packages, they are talking about you. You have so much to offer in every arena. You are a talented singer, writer, creator, crafter, leader, and business woman, and it is inspiring to watch you work.

4. You are a loving and devoted mother. Though you have been busy trying to help your family stay financially stable while Josh has been in school, you still find time to come home, spend time with your boys, teach them fun and exciting things, and let them know that you love them and are there for them.

5. You are so much fun to have as a sister and a friend. You have a great sense of humor, you know so many fun games and things to do, you are a great listener and conversationalist, and you are a blast to make fun of the Twilight movies with! Thanks for being such a wonderful example to me. I love you Erin!


From Kevin:

6. Erin is always quick with a joke and makes me laugh!

7. Erin has a very refined and sophisticated personality that speaks of her self-confidence, yet is still able to goof off with the best of them and have a good time!

8. Erin is an exceptional parent and has given Naomi and I gobs of ideas on how to teach, nurture, discipline, and raise our own children.

9. Erin is extremely hard-working and has never been afraid to put in long hours to help support her family.

10. She has always been SO patient when Josh and I were goofing off and playing video games or hosting a TAG game up the canyon until 2 in the morning.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Josh!

From Naomi:

1. You are one of the funniest people I know. You seem to have a sixth sense for what individual people will find funny and you nail it every time. Not only are you funny to talk to and fun to be around, but you have also provided me with years and years worth of funny memories to share with others. (Although I'm sure many of them didn't seem that funny to me at the time... i.e. being shot repeatedly by your BB gun, locked or tied up in various items, or being told that I have a fruit fly permanently stuck in my eyeball.)

2. You taught me how to be tough, stand up for myself, and defend myself the smart way. Some of my favorite moments with you as a child and an adult were when you were teaching me different self defense tactics or wrestling with me on the living room floor.

3. You are the most AMAZINGLY talented person I know... and that's the truth! Everything you try, you can do, and then you can perfect. You are an incredible artist, writer, dancer, actor, musician, physicist, business man, leader, interior designer, chef, etc. etc. etc.

4. You are a devoted, loving, and faithful father, husband, and friend. I am inspired by the efforts you put into your family relationships, especially with your wife. Anyone who knows you, knows that Erin is the thing you cherish most in this world. Through your example, I have learned the importance of respect, charity, devotion, and loyalty in a marriage. Thank you!

5. No matter where our lives take us, I know you will always be there for me and you will always love me. You have taught me so much, shared so many fun memories and moments with me, and supported me throughout my entire life. I love you Josh and am so thankful to have you as a brother. Thank you for being you!

From Kevin:

6. Josh is a great friend and a fun person to be around. I've enjoyed many hours of fun hanging out with Josh, I really miss him living out here in Chicago!

7. Josh is fiercely loyal to his family and his values. He never makes excuses for the way he conducts himself. While Josh shows respect for another person's point of view and actions, he demands for himself the right to choose his own path.

8. Josh is freaking brilliant! I really do think I get smarter through osmosis if I just stand next to him for a long enough time.

9. On that same note, Josh is always willing to share his knowledge & skills. Because of Josh, I've learned: The push-theory of gravity, how a magnet works, how to capture and maintain the attention of 30 12-year olds, how to fire a handgun, strafe a corner, perform the split-wedge maneuver, how the "For Strength of Youth" handbook can and does apply to adults, how to act like a squirrel in a fight, how to exercise every muscle in my body in 10 minutes, how to make a client feel like they cheated you, how to do a wing chun punch, a triangle choke, and small joint manipulation. HA! Josh probably didn't think I was paying attention!

10. Josh has provided me with hours and hours of laughter as I listen to anecdotes from my wife about the kind of stuff he did to torture his sisters when they were all little!
For instance: "Hey Naomi, I need to practice my aim... run around and give me a moving target!" Hehehe I sure am glad I didn't live next door to YOU guys!

And as an extra pinch to grow on, I (Naomi) would just like to add that I also think you are one good looking guy! Despite the fact that you look like Gollum attacking a chocolate cake in the first picture! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

10 Things I LOVE about my VALENTINE!

(aka Kevin Hanks, Kev, Kev-ness, Kevers, Monkey)

1. You STILL make me laugh...even though I have spent the last 6 years listening to you repeat the same jokes, use the same puns, and flash me that same white hiney!

2. You treat me like I am your NUMBER ONE! You always put my concerns and feelings above yours and make me feel like there is no one else in the world but me.

3. You let me snuggle you all night long, even though it makes your arms cramp and forces you to sweat wherever I am touching you.

4. You can still surprise me. Sometimes with gifts, sometimes with a kind deed, sometimes with a random thought, and sometimes because you jump out from behind a door and scare me to see if I will actually wet my pants.

5. You motivate me to be healthy, happy, and whole. You are frequently encouraging me to try new things, defeat my fears and insecurities, get up when I don't want to, and be the best "me" possible...the "me" that I could never be without you!

6. You are literally the BEST dad in the entire WORLD! I mean really... how many full-time employed fathers do you know that come home from 8 hours of work, change the baby's diaper, feed the kids dinner, get in an hour of playtime, get the kids in their jammies, brush their teeth, say their prayers, read them books, and get them to bed...EVERY NIGHT!?

7. You are the most thoughtful and helpful man I know. I feel so lucky that you go out of your way to wash the laundry, do the dishes, and make dinner almost every day, just to give me a break from being a mom. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

8. You make me feel beautiful. It doesn't matter if I haven't slept for days and I'm still in my PJ's, you still think I'm beautiful and you make me feel like I am too.

9. You are a righteous leader for our home. You do everything in your power to invite the Spirit into our home on a daily basis and you teach Gospel principles to our children whenever the opportunity presents itself. On top of that, you are a great example to me of obedience and faithfulness.

10. You are my BEST FRIEND! I can always count on you to be there when I need you, to talk me down when I am freaking out, lift my burdens when I am overwhelmed, and just be a fun person to play pounce or 007 with when the day is getting old. Thank you for being my everything! I love you Kev!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Brooklyn Hanks!

(aka Brook, Brookie Bear, Worm, Chubs, Monkey, B)

1. She is the funniest person we know! We wish we could just record her all day long so everyone else could hear all the funny things she says.

2. She is both dramatic and imaginative which makes her a loose canon at times but also keeps our days exciting and fresh.

3. She is always SUPER excited to see us, and often thanks us repeatedly for coming home whilst hanging on our legs and showering us with kisses.

4. She is very helpful and loves to make dinner, get the mail, take out the trash, throw away diapers, and rule over Lily...I mean watch out for Lily :)

5. She loves to climb into bed with us in the morning and wake us up by kissing us all over our faces and whispering "I love you" in our ears.

6. She is the most grateful and appreciative 3 year old alive. Whenever we do ANYTHING that makes her happy, she thanks us and tells us how much she loves us over-and-over again.

7. She is sweet and compassionate. Whenever we are sick or even appear to be sad, she gets very concerned and starts to hover around us telling us we will be OK and petting our hair. When she is feeling especially nice, she will even offer to give us a special treat or allow us to share her bunk bed with her if it will make us feel better.

8. She is one tough cookie. She not only gets up and dusts herself off after a bad spill, but she doesn't take crap from anyone. If she knows something is wrong, she will say so and she will enforce the rules on anybody if she feels it is necessary.

9. She keeps us in check. If we say something negative about the way we look or say something unkind, she tells us that we are making Jesus cry.

10. She always tries her hardest to be a good little girl and do what her Mommy and Daddy tell her to. She trusts us with all her heart and loves us unconditionally. We love our little Brookie Bear and are so grateful she is a part of our family!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Lily Hanks!

(aka Lilers, Lily-kin, Lily Vanilly, Liller spills, Lily Skibilsters, Lil)

1. We love the way you can jabber on for hours as quiet as a mouse, and then explode with volume that would match an elephant.

2. We love the way you nerd out and pretend to be laughing or entertained when we are trying to be funny. Your fake "that's funny" smile is the funniest thing on earth!

3. We love how snugly you are and how you will race across the room as fast as you can just to plow into our arms and slobber-smooch our faces.

4. We love the way you crawl like a bear wherever you go, unless you have to get through a tunnel.

5. We love that you can out-eat all of us in any single sitting.

6. We love how you like to be pretty and you try so hard to do your hair and dress up like your big sister.

7. We love the way you put up with Brooklyn's constant attention and smothering, whether you like it or not.

8. And we love the way you will fight to the death when you are ready to be put down and have some space.

9. We love how playful you are and how you love to be thrown around, teased, and tickled.

10. And we love that you will just sit and chill in our laps for hours.

We feel so blessed to have you in our family Lily and we all love you SO much! Happy 1st Birthday Little One!

Friday, February 11, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Jennie Smith!

1. You are a walking Encyclopedia. It is so fun to go places with you or have conversations with you because you always know some random historical back story about...everything! I feel like every second I spend with you is spent getting smarter.

2. You are the best travel buddy around. Not every person has figured out how to vacation properly, but you've got it nailed. You know when to party, when to relax, what order to hit attractions, what attractions will actually be worth our time, and you are SO laid back. Some of my best memories are from vacationing with you.

3. Your listening skills are unparalleled. I'm pretty sure you know me WAY better than I even know myself. You can listen for hours without interrupting and you can recall everything that was said no matter how minuscule. You even know when to give advice and when to nod your head and smile.

4. You will play Risk for hours on end...so that I don't have to. Kevin loves himself a good Risk partner and I know he enjoys the competition of playing with you. Plus, its nice for me to be able to opt out of using my brain that much and just watch you guys play.

5. You are the best comfort-food-chef I know. You seem to always know which medley of sugars combined will cheer me up the most and you put them together like a master. I'm actually drooling just thinking about your cinnamon zucchini bread as I type this.

6. You are always up for a new adventure...no matter how crazy it is. I know if I want a buddy to run a marathon with me, or a two day race, or to travel to some random part of the country with me just to be random, you will be the first one on board and you won't back out!

7. You are comfortable to be around. I can go anywhere with you, with any set of people, and feel comfortable just hanging out. You don't need to be entertained and you know how to include yourself without being awkward. You relate well to others and make them feel interesting and wanted. You're just a great companion!

8. You love the gospel and you aren't afraid to share your testimony. In fact, you live your testimony so well that it would be nearly impossible to pass you by without thinking you're a Mormon. And you not only live the gospel to its fullest, but you go out of your way to learn more about it every day. Your internal gospel library is astounding.

9. You are the ultimate Auntie/Babysitter. My girls love you so much and are always excited for you to come and visit. You seem to have mastered the fun-to-discipline ratio and the girls know they can't mess with you but that you will still be loads of fun to play with.

10. You are the BEST friend a girl could ask for. You always have my back, you have a sixth sense for when I need you to call me the most, you are a fun story teller and a great listener, you accept me for who I am, and I know that you love me. Thanks for always being there for me Jen. You are the best!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Rachel Murdock!

(aka Rae, Rae-shine)

From Naomi:

1. You are a nurturer. I remember as children, when things got tough, you would take us outside or to the basement and play make-believe games with us to help distract us from our problems. You were a second mom to all of us!

2. You are remarkably talented. There are so many things you can do, and you can do them well. Your musical and writing skills are enviable and even when you try your hand at sewing or crafts you do a fantastic job. It is as if you were born to make things more beautiful.

3. You are an incredible hostess. Whenever we have had the chance to stay in your home, everything is in order and well cleaned. You make us feel comfortable, keep us entertained, feed us in like we're at a 5 star restaurant, and make us feel loved and wanted.

4. You are strong in the face of adversity. No matter what comes your way, whether it be Cancer, migraines, financial setbacks, or personal struggles, you keep picking up your feet and moving forward. Not everyone can do that, or even wants to, but you do it, if not for yourself then for your family, and I respect that!

5. You are an actively engaged and organized mother. As a mother myself, I find those qualities to be even more exceptional. It is hard to find ways to keep your children learning and active, but you do it. You have organized schedules and routines and you stick to them. And at the same time, you manage to fill their lives with worthwhile adventures and experiences. I hope that one day I will be able to say the same thing about myself! Thank you for being my big sister, and a great example to me. I love you Rae!

From Kevin:

6. Rachel is very accepting and helped me to feel welcome into the family very early on in Naomi and my marriage.

7. Rachel has a very charitable personality and always seems to be willing to give. I can't count how many dinners, games nights, etc. that we've been to at her house. She was always hospitable with good food and fun games. To a poor starving college student it was heaven!

8. I remember very fondly some of the conversations that Rachel and I had when she was in the hospital with her cancer. I visited several times and remember her always wanting to talk about me: how school was going, how my job was going, what my latest run up squaw peak was like. She seemed so interested in me at a time when I imagine it would be hard to not to be introverted and think about your own struggles. Those conversations with that bald, chemo-ridden girl are some that I'll never forget!

9. Rachel let Naomi and I use her house as our base of operations as we prepared for the wedding. We spent hours addressing invitations, preparing food, loading in and loading out decorations. There must have been a hundred people in and out of her house doing odd jobs in the days before the wedding, and we were very grateful for the help!

10. She bought a trampoline and let me jump on it anytime I wanted to! And yes, trampoline skills (like being able to do 100 back-to-backs in a row) are absolutely vital to success in life as an adult...


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Munro Murdock!

From Naomi:

1. You work like an ant. You are a power packed ball of energy who can lift 10 times your weight on any given day, and you do it. You are always willing to help, to get your hands dirty, to carry the biggest load and get the job done.

2. You are a MANLY provider for your family. It doesn't matter what comes your way, you will ALWAYS find the means to provide for, and support your family. Whether that means delivering pizza at night, or working several part-time jobs at once, or even sacrificing to get your MBA whilst still working full time, you take care of your family and I TOTALLY respect that!

3. You are a great listener. I know everyone has their own style of listening, but yours really resonates with me. I like how you make eye contact, remember what I said, and ask follow-up questions. And even though we don't see or hear from each other for months at a time, you seem to always remember what we talked about last.

4. You are a go-getter. I am lucky to have so many great examples of good goal setting in my life and you are definitely one of them. When you put your mind to something you do it, you don't just sit around and dream about doing it. You start your own businesses, try out new techniques, sign up for crazy races... whatever it is, you are not afraid to jump right in and get it done!

5. You are a good husband and father to my sister and your children. You run your home in righteousness and are a strong priesthood leader. You are sensitive and soft spoken, you spend what little time you have caring for your family and trying to ensure their happiness, and THAT makes me happy. Thank you for all that you do for our family, for being such a good example to me, for listening when I needed you to, for letting me run ridiculous races with you, and for being my brother and friend. We love you Munro!

From Kevin:

6. I've never seen anyone that can work so hard and move so fast! Munro knows what it means to throw himself at a task.

7. Munro's helped me move more times than I can count. He's helped me for hours on end lugging boxes, couches, heavy TVs to and from trucks as Naomi and I moved around during college. He was very much a lifesaver.

8. Munro has always been an example of taking excellent care of his family. Whether it's delivering pizzas, moving to the Cayman Islands, taking classes and going to school, being a salesman, buying real estate, starting his own businesses, etc. Munro has always been a great example of someone who takes his role of provider very seriously.

9. I watched closely as Rachel struggled through her Cancer at how much Munro did to take care of her. He worked tirelessly with no other thought than her comfort and well-being.

10. Munro's a great father, raising 3 really phenomenal kids. They are developing qualities obviously gleaned from their parents. I am lucky to be an uncle to some of the greatest kids in the world!

A brief Intermission...

To talk about our SNOW DAY!

Well, our little family spent the entire month of January moving from the "barf your guts out" disease, to conjunctivitis, to sinus infections, to sore throats, and so on. So, it was an AMAZING and WONDERFUL change of pace to wake up to a winter wonderland on February 2nd.

We spent the night before listening to pounding winds and thunder-snow, and then we were privileged to wake up to mild blizzarding and mountains of snow!

As much as I hate the idea of snow anytime besides Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I have to admit, Snow-magedon left a beautiful sight out our front door!

As Kevin and I were staring out the window at 6:00am, I realized that our neighbors had been completely blocked in their apartments by snowdrifts. So Kevin and I geared up and spent the next 2 hours digging people out of their front doors. We were lucky enough to only be blocked in our house by about a foot of snow, so I was able to slam my way out, but some of our neighbors were buried 4.5 to 5 feet up their doors!

Our car was one of the many snowdrift victims, thus, Kevin did not make it out of the parking lot or to work that day. Although, it wouldn't have mattered if he did. Once out of our parking lot, there were no roads to drive on until the late afternoon.

So Kevin spent his work day digging out our car instead. He did a pretty good job and even managed to keep our snow off the other cars.

In the meantime...Brooklyn and Lily found our stash of toilet paper and spare wood and created the above scene! They also managed to cover every other existing spot of our floor with craisins and cracker crumbs, complimentary of Brooklyn's new found tiptoe skills.

After the wind died down and it completely stopped snowing, we bundled up the girls and went to play outside for awhile. It was awesome making snow angels in 2 feet of snow and watching the excitement on the girls' faces as they played in the mountainous piles.

We played and played until Brooklyn thought it would be a good idea to white wash Lily's face. After that, Lily and I went inside while Kevin and Brooklyn spent the rest of the daylight jumping in and out of snow!

Anyway, we had a lot of fun on our snow day... I hope it melts soon, but it was certainly fun for a little while!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Natalie Hanks!


From Naomi:

1. You are a fantastic planner and organizer. I always know that when everyone else is sitting around trying to figure out what to do, you will have a plan and you will put it into action. Also, your organization skills keep chaos at bay and make me feel like I don't have to worry about my time slipping away unnoticed when you are in charge.

2. You are the great motivator. Whenever Kevin and I say we have a plan, you immediately jump into action helping us find ways to reach our goals. You help us break down our problems and build up solutions, and then you encourage us, cheer us on, and follow up on our progress.

3. You are a strong and independent woman. Because I often find myself on the doormat side of things, I really look up to these qualities in you. You are not afraid to speak your mind, pursue your dreams, or stick up for what you believe in. You are powerful, convincing, and respectable, and I hope that when I grow up I can be like that too.

4. You are one of the most thoughtful and compassionate people I know. You are always concerned about making others feel comfortable and happy, you remember us on special occasions, you send us emails or give us a call when you are thinking about us, and you make us feel loved. You are a terrific friend and we are lucky to have you.

5. Besides my sisters, you are the only other person in the world who can make me giggle in hysterics to the point of nearly wetting my pants! I don't know exactly what makes that happen. I'm sure its partly because you are hilarious and partly because your laugh is ridiculously contagious, but whatever the reason, it shows me that I feel like myself when you are around. Thanks for being my other big sister, my laughing companion, and my friend. We love you Natalie!

From Kevin:

6. She is THE example of setting and sticking to goals. She is a determined individual with a capacity for working towards her ambitions that I wish I had! (Example: Boston Marathon… I haven’t qualified like Natalie… yet!)

7. Along those same lines: she is always encouraging me to set goals for myself and is never afraid to ask me how they’re doing. I always leave those conversations with a determined resolve to more clearly define my own goals and to do better.

8. She is an excellent planner. Whenever we’ve had the chance to visit, she always makes sure there’s something fun to do for everyone.

9. She is a FANTASTIC cook. I believe I drove from Chicago to Ann Arbor simply because I heard that she was trying out a new apple crisp recipe. Natalie has the best recipes!

10. Her card-playing skills (specifically Pounce… though her skills reach into all aspects of the card-game universe) are the envy of all who know her. Naomi and I practice and play Pounce together for weeks before we visit just so we won’t lose too badly to Natalie!

Monday, February 7, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Brian Hanks!

(aka G-Baby, and Pig-in-the-room)

From Naomi:

1. You are the definition of a Big Brother. You are always watching out for your siblings (and their other halves). We each know we can call you for good advice, expect a good answer, and even get a good follow-up. You are aware of our struggles and strengths and you are constantly encouraging us to be our best selves. That being said, you also know what buttons to push, you tease us or put us in our place when we need it, nerd-out when it is necessary, and enforce the law-of-the-jungle whenever you feel the need to show us all who's boss. You are a Big Brother through and through!

2. You are the coolest and most mature nerdy 12 year old I know! It never ceases to surprise me how quickly you can move from the smooth, collected business man to the nerdy Star craft playing, M&M loving school boy, and I admire your ability to play in both worlds.

3. You motivate me to be a better goal-setter and goal-achiever. Whenever you think of an area you want to improve in, you immediately set a goal and take action, and EVERYONE respects a man of action!

4. You are a fun-loving uncle to my girls. I feel so lucky that they know you, love you, and want to be around you. You aren't afraid to roll around on the floor with them, throw them around, act like a crazed animal to make them laugh, and even help out with the dirty jobs like diapers and feeding time if its needed.

5. You let me play the "Brian Card" whenever I need it the most, you give me "Man Points" when I do something worth a mention, and you laugh at my jokes...what more could a girl ask for!? Thanks for being my big brother too. We love you Brian!

From Kevin:

6. You've always got my back and are willing to come to my aide when I need it. I can't count how many times you've taken a hit for me, and it's always appreciated!

7. You're always encouraging me to plan ahead, make goals, hold myself accountable, and to not be afraid of taking action.

8. I can think of 3 jobs that I've held in my life that I got as a direct result of your help and actions:
-Serving food at Apple Tree Retirement (first REAL job ever!)
-Testing Forensic Software at that "one place" (what an interesting experience that turned out to be for BOTH of us!)
-Structural Engineering at Burns & McDonnell (I got my current job because of you when no one else in my graduating class could so much as get an interview with an engineering company!)
No other single person has helped me out SO much!

9. You're a great uncle and my girls (mostly Brooklyn) are always excited for several days before and after you visit.

10. You taught me in high school the value of the doughnut run. Mmmmmmmm!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Pae Nattakarn Uda!

(aka Sis, Puppy)

1. You know EXACTLY where you want to go in life and you are working hard to get there. It is enviable to see anyone with as much direction as you have.

2. You are one of the hardest working people I know. When you decided to become a flight attendant, you applied yourself full heatedly. No matter how hard the training was, how long your hours are, or how far you have to go, you keep pushing yourself to be the best at what you do.

3. You have an adventurous spirit. It is so fun to hear about all the fun places you get to see and the neat things you have been able to do, and it is amazing to me how you just jump right in to new experiences without much hesitation or fear.

4. You are both random and spontaneous. A person never knows when you are going to come up with the idea to fly off and see Niagara falls or take a road trip to Hope, Arkansas to see the biggest watermelon in the world!

5. You find JOY in the simple things life has to offer. Whether it is in a quiet evening drinking hot chocolate with Chris, finally getting the chance to buy a Japanese GIANT apple, or sleeping with a cute little starfruit on your pillow, you find something wonderful in it.

6. You are patient. While you have been working toward your life goals, not everything has always lined up perfectly, but you have been patient and have kept pushing forward and it is fun to see you getting closer to your aspirations with every step you take.

7. You have the most WONDERFUL smile! You are a remarkably beautiful woman anyway, but your smile lights up a room and is definitely worth a mention! :)

8. You love EVERYONE and EVERYTHING! It is so fun to see how much compassion you have toward people and animals the same. I imagine if you had a big old house and a giant yard, they would both be filled with stray animals (and people for that matter) that you picked up along the way.

9. You love your family. I think most people do love their families, but not everyone shows as much loyalty and devotion to their families as you do to yours. You can see how much you love them, and how much they love you.

10. You make my brother happy. Chris is already a pretty happy guy, but you really and truly bring him Joy. He adores you, cherishes you, and is so proud of you, and watching him experience those feelings with you is a blessing for me. Thank you for being there for him, for immediately accepting me as your sister, and for being exactly who you are. We love you Pae!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Chris Uda!

(aka Guy, Bro, Piggy)

From Naomi:

1. You are the BEST hot cocoa partner around. I love spending endless hours drinking hot chocolate out of a warm mug and just talking to you about any and everything! I suppose a lot of that is because you are an excellent conversationalist and an even better listener...but the chocolate isn't bad either.

2. You make me laugh...a LOT! You are so goofy, and even a little nerdy, now that you're an old man, and you remind me a lot of dad. Only, I think you might be a little more crazy and a tad more crass :) I love the way you can lighten the mood of ANY uncomfortable situation with your sense of humor. You are just a happy guy and I like it!

3. You are the ULTIMATE friend. No matter if it is to your siblings, your marine buddies, your fiance, or your coworkers, you are always there for people. You listen, you love unconditionally, you are accepting, you are loyal, you are dedicated, you are available, you go the extra mile to make people comfortable and happy, you understand people, you get along with all types of personalities, and you are just plain old fun to be around.

4. You showed me how to have Christlike love. When I was having a tough time making friends in high school, you taught me to recognize the fact that there is no way for me to know everything that is going on in people's lives or even to understand those things if I did. You taught me not to judge people for their lifestyles, choices, or personalities. You taught me how to be accepting and kind, to love unconditionally, and to get along with all types of people.

5. You are my big brother. No matter how far away you are, or what is going on in your life, I know you will always be there for me. You will protect me from the bad guys, you will give me the advice I need in the form that I need it, you will put me in my place, you will tease me to no end, and you will love me unconditionally. You will always be my big brother, and for that I am grateful. I love you Chris!

From Kevin:

6. Chris surprised Naomi on her birthday by calling her from across the world. She was in an exceptional mood and danced around the house for days!

7. He always makes funny comments on our blog that make me laugh.

8. He's a great example of working hard and sacrificing for something that you love.

9. It took 3 minutes after meeting Chris for the first time me to feel like we had been friends for ages.

10. Chris' girlish figure and perfectly unblemished visage gives me something to aspire to.

Friday, February 4, 2011

10 Things we LOVE about Colleen Hanks!

(aka Mom, Grandma Hanks)

From Naomi:

1. From day one you accepted me as your daughter. You have helped me out of tough situations, been by my side when I needed your help, lent a listening ear, spent hours teaching and encouraging me, and even managed to throw in a good scolding when it was needed. :)

2. You are Martha Stewart...without the criminal record. You can create ANYTHING you want to whether it needs to be sewn, stitched, cut, glued, sawed, or hammered. And EVERYTHING you make is beautiful!

3. You have VERY expensive taste, yet a VERY frugal personality. I am frequently amazed at the elegance in which you live your life...and then at the fact you paid only a fraction of the price for it. I even love shopping with you because you manage to get exactly what you want, on sale three times over, in a matter of seconds. Your efficiency is astounding!

4. You make me feel like I am worth more than my mere Associates Degree. You have proven time and time again that you don't need a degree to have a fantastic education. You have dedicated your lifetime to learning new things and your internal library is remarkable. No matter what random questions I need to ask you, I know you will either already have the answer, or you will know exactly where to find it.

5. You are a compassionate, charitable, and service oriented individual. Like my own mother, you give and give with no expectation of a return. You love all your children, biological or tag-a-long, just the same. You accept us and love us despite our flaws and shortcomings and you serve us no matter what the cost is to you! And when you are not helping one of your children, you are running around like the Energizer Bunny (but faster) helping everyone else. Thank you for being such a great example, teacher, mother, and friend. I love you mom!

From Kevin:

6. She always takes good care of her grand-kids and makes them feel extra special anytime we’re lucky enough to have her visit.

7. She is always working on something productive whenever I see her. She is an example of the “rolling stone gathering no moss” principle.

8. She makes sure that my wife feels just as much a part of our family as I am.

9. She always encouraged me to develop my existing talents, and work to discover my new ones.

10. NOBODY makes monster cookies as good as she does… they are exceptional!