Wednesday, July 11, 2007

happy birthday to my missionary brother!

On July 12th, 20 years ago, I got a baby brother. I was 4 1/2 and my sister Lauren was 2. We had just moved from Bountiful, Utah to Shaker Heights, Ohio (a Cleveland suburb) for my dad's surgery residency. To be honest, I don't remember much about the day Michael was born. But I remember he had to stay in the hospital for a week, and I couldn't go visit him. When he did come home, he was little enough to fit in our doll stroller. Lauren and I loved that!

Of all my siblings, Mike and I are probably the least close, if that makes any sense. I think it is a combination of our age difference, gender difference, and just all around personality differences. But Michael's first word was "Cheena"-- translated as "Trina"--my own name. Although at some point he forgot that and started calling me "Weewee". I have no idea why. Perhaps because I made faces like this...

As a toddler, despite being surrounded by girls, he was a boy through and through, always wanting trucks and cars. And especially balls! "Ball" was his second word. (I'm sure "Mama" and "Dada" followed shortly thereafter.)

But beginning at a very early age, Michael's greatest interest was drawing. To my recollection he spent most of the day drawing from the time he could pick up a crayon or pencil. He drew Ninja Turtles and Transformers with amazing ability. Then it was Power Rangers and then Pokemon and Anime. My mom, who has an art degree, was always amazed at his natural ability to draw figures and muscles and to foreshorten limbs. He can also draw pretty much anything from his head, a rare skill, even among talented artists.

Mike is also an excellent guitar player. I'm pretty sure there are 3 or 4 guitars and a keyboard at my parents house. Usually I could never get him to play for me, but his last Christmas at home (2005) he got out the acoustic and played while I sang carols. That is one of my favorite memories.

Mike has always been a bit of a home-body and he doesn't like change. So you can imagine his response when my parents decided to move across the country from Ohio to New Mexico the summer before his senior year! Not too happy. But he did it. And after a few months of sulking, he finally decided New Mexico wasn't that bad of a place. And did stuff like this (he's second from the right)...

Then it was off to BYU...where I think he may have even had some fun.

And then...

the Brasil Goiania Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! He left in November right after Thanksgiving straight for the Sao Paulo CTM. Before he left, we both went to the Albuquerque Temple for the first time.

And took some family pictures...

Since he's been in Brazil he hasn't been the best letter (email) writer, but I hear from him every couple weeks. He has learned Portuguese easier than some, but living in a foreign country and learning their culture and language on top of trying to teach them about a religion is far from easy. He's hanging in there. And I've enjoyed his occasional Facebook notes. My brother is quite witty. And apparently quite tall in Brazil...

So Happy Birthday, Mikey!!! Welcome to your 20's--the decade when you get to make all those life-determining decisions! You are in our prayers! I love you!

(I also just remembered Mike's cool "remixed" pictures that he did on photoshop before the mish. He did a bunch of himself and friends, but never did one of me-- punk!) (And the reason I posted this today as opposed to tomorrow is that today is the day Mike gets to check his email.)


  1. i love reading about your family because i remember them as just these tiny little kids! i can't believe how much michael looks like your mom and nick (does he still go by nicky?) looks like your dad! and hilary and lauren are so grown up! crazy!

  2. You are SOOOO cute as a little kid!! And YES we should get together now that you are here in Utah. We are going out of town a bunch in the next few weeks but after that maybe?? What about you guys?

  3. ps I love the song on your page, and we didn't end up going to this concert because we went out of town...I was bummed, but thanks to you I have purchased it on Itunes. Love it.

  4. Wow. He is so talented!

    Katrina, my all time favorite band is Spoon. I loooove them. Do you know them? I could email you their new album. It is divine.

  5. Andrea-- I would love to hear their album! I've heard of them but don't know them.

    Danielle-- let me know when you guys are available, it may have to wait until August sometime. We are out of town the first of August.

  6. I love that first picture of you guys, 'cause that's how I remember you! And I think that I even have a picture of you wearing that same outfit! Good old Shaker Heights. I can't believe your brother is 20!