I used to call you Fidget, cuz that's all you ever did as a baby. Now you're three, in glasses, and throwing free throws like a pro! Every time Mom and Dad leave, you're the best kid to babysit, Chase. I love being around you because you're full of energy and your smile is contagious. You always say the funniest things, and already know so much about BYU sports, I'm sure I'll be watching you in a college game one day. I wish I saw you more, but never forget that your Aunt Sam loves you!
You're starting to gain a personality, LorLor, and I think you and I are gonna have a great bond. You have the best laugh, and I love seeing how you're taking in the whole world. I can't wait to see you grow! I love you!
Not just my first niece, but the first person on Earth to give me the official title of "Aunt." Unlike the rest of your siblings, you never went through a phase of "I only want mommy and never Aunt Sam." You liked me through it all. I learned so much with you, Audrey, at my young age of 13; like how to change nasty diapers, how to bottle feed, and you taught me more patience, of course. I can still remember I was in my middle school drama class, sitting on the spotlit stage with my whole class, listening to Mr. Timmons' comedic demonstration when my name was called over the intercom. I wasn't expecting to get to leave school early, but I knew right away why I was called to the office. I told my class as I left, "I'm an aunt today!" and they cheered as I ran out into the hall. Ever since the day you were born, I haven't stopped bragging about you, and all my other babies after you. "IIII have a waaand..." will always be one of my favorite memories of you, but now you're 10 years old and so creative, you make me proud. Audrey Madison, no matter what this life throws at you, your Aunt Sam will ALWAYS be here for you. If you ever need to call me and tell me a funny story, or vent about something bad that happened, I want to be that person you know you can call at three a.m. I cherish every picture, card, picture book, performance, basketball game, and hug. You're the sweetest big sister and cousin, and the best oldest niece I could have asked for. I'm doing our secret handshake in my head....I love you.
My sweet, sweet Bub, who gives the best hugs EVER! You, my oldest nephew, are gonna be a heart breaker one day. You know just how to woo the ladies, no matter what age. I love your raspy voice, your laugh, how matter-of-fact you are, the way you tell stories or answer questions in such an adult way... you're a fantastic kid. When you were a baby, Bub, it took what seemed like forever for you to get out of your "Mommy" phase and start liking me. This picture of us laying on the couch, as you can tell by my face, was probably the first time you let me cuddle you. I made Lindsay take a picture because I didn't know if you'd ever let me again! And now you're usually the first one to jump on me with a bear hug. You're just like your dad - a man's man, but with a sensitive heart. You will do great things, Dallin. I can't wait to watch. I love you.
I just imagined you doing your evil laugh and couldn't help but smile. You are a ham, just like your Aunt Sam. You make me laugh, and you're definitely my cuddliest of all the nieces and nephews, which I love! You're great at doing somersaults and flips off my stomach. You give me fabulous drawings, and always make me feel loved. We will always laugh together, lil Emma. I love you.
Claire, aka the Moon, aka Ludo, aka killer bunny,
You also are quite the character at only age 4, Claire Bear. You definitely have confidence and leadership qualities in you. You will one day run a business, I know it. You don't like to take no for an answer, and you can usually get your way just by saying something so adorable as: "Oh Tham, thith ith the betht day of my life!" as we're running to the playground, or "Oh! It thinkth I'm a monthter!" to a chubby rabbit that just wanted to escape your grasp. You pull the best funny faces, and have the best one-liners of any kid I know, Claire. You crack me up more than most adults do. I'm proud of the little lady you're becoming. I hope you continue to be so aggressive, but also as sweet as you are. I love you.
Oh my chubby little red-headed nephew from my only brother, how I adore you. I'm so sad I only got to spend such a short time of your life with you so far, but I hope to have more time with you when you're older. I've always had fun with you every time we've been together, even though you are kind of still in that "parents only" phase. You're adorable, and your high-pitched squeals make me smile no matter what mood I'm in. You're at the explorer age now, and I love reading about the trouble you get into and the sweet ways you get out of it. I love you, Jonny.
That's it for my side. To all my nieces and nephews, you mean more to me than any of you will ever ever know. I'd do just about anything for each of you, and my only wish is that you all grow up to be healthy and happy. I'm always here for all of you, and hope you never forget that. Life will throw you lots of unexpected stuff, so handle it with guidance from your parents, prayer, and good humor. Be interested in others, instead of trying to make them interested in you. You'll make a lot more friends that way. :) Show off your talents, but remain humble. Never tell your parents you hate them, that's the most hurtful thing you could say and we all know you'd never really mean it, so just don't say it. Eat your fruits and veggies, but sneak a cookie every once in a while. Be honest in ALL things. Better to tell the truth and get in a little trouble, than lie and get glory you don't deserve. Help others every single chance you get. Laugh at yourself before others get a chance to. Take care of your teeth. Clean up your messes. Tell everyone you love that you love them as often as you can. Be yourself.
OK, enough for now, I suppose. I love you guys.
Well, I bet you thought this was done. HA! You don't have to keep reading, nobody's forcing you. This is more for me anyway. Can't forget Elise's side, because they have become like family, after all.
The thing that stands out most for me, Buddy, is your honesty. I've witnessed you get in trouble many times, but you always 'fess up to what you did, and admit when you've done something. You're an honest kid, and I can't tell you how much I admire that. You're an amazing singer, sports player, and entertainer. Ever since I first met you, you've loooved your own reflection and making people laugh. I love that about you. You always make me feel welcome and invite me to play your games or do whatever you're doing. You're growing up into a great young man, and I've loved watching you grow up. I love you, Jackson! P.S. You speak better Parseltongue than Harry Potter himself.
You intrigue me because you love gross, scary things, and you're such a brave girl. You're beautiful, sweet, funny, and smart. You're good with younger kids, and know how to entertain adults as well. I love your Hannah Montana performances and watching you play dress up with your cousin. Your imagination is so fresh and I'm excited to see what you do with it when you're older. I cherish your hugs every time I see you, and hope you always know I love you!
The future marine-biologist/veterinarian/dragon-keeper. You have a gift of story-telling, Jacers. You talk so much, but the amazing thing is, you know what you're talking about! You know so much about animals, you teach me a ton! You have a great laugh, and you're just the sweetest little guy. I always look forward to talking to you every time we see each other, and I hope you never lose that wonderful quality. I love you!
Oh man, Pook, you are so full of energy, and you always make me smile. You could run around for hours, I love to watch you play soccer and dance with your Aunt Weese to crazy Britney Spears and whatever else is on your mom's "iPot." You're a great big sister and a sweet girl with a great sense of humor. I love you!
I have a video on my phone of me making you crack up a while back when Elise and I were babysitting you guys, and it never fails to make me laugh also. You have a contagious laugh, and the throwing arm of a pro, not even joking. This kid was born for sports. I love throwing around a ball with you, or playing Dungeon with you and Jace, your fierce growls and quick sprints keep me quite entertained. Although you're quite the man's man like your dad, you can also surprise me with sweet words and hugs. I love you, J.J.!
I met you when you were about an hour old, and I'm positive you'll follow in your brother's footsteps. You look exactly like your dad and brother to me, and although I don't know you well yet, I look forward to doing so. Ooja booja!
My current favorite memory of you is the way you blow out dandelions, or should I say - eat them. You and your twin brother are always a joy to babysit because you two are always cracking me up. Everything you do is adorable. I love when you dance, march, sing, copy Rapunzel's spinning with her arms out when you watch "Tangled", run around with your cute big belly, and interact with Linc. You are independent, and constantly figure out how to do things on your own. You explore, lead, and you do it all while managing to steal the hearts of everyone you come across. I love you, Isabella!
The other half of the twins, you also crack me up. I love everything about you from your white-blonde fauxhawk, to your incredible laugh. I loved the night when we all went on our adventure to the Real game in the rain, on the train, which you now tell mom you don't want to ride. I love it when something scares you because your scared face is priceless, and even though you can be a bit dramatic, you're a wonderful brother and you care about others; even little potato bugs on your driveway. I love you, Linc!
Family is the most important thing I have, and I'm lucky to have all these amazing kids in my life. Every one of you is unique and amazing in your own way. I love you all!
Ok, this post is done now. Promise.