My Uncle John is super smart and a very successful businessman. He graduated from Harvard Business School and has run multiple huge companies and organizations. But he is such a softie when it comes to babies. Ha! When we were growing up, he started calling us "Sa-wa," "Wachel," and "Lo-wa," and he still does today. Too cute. I have a vivid memory of one Christmas morning when Laura was about five years old, and my dad accidentally gave her night-time allergy medicine instead of the non-drowsy kind. She was so dazed, and Uncle John held her on his lap for hours and helped her open her presents. I think he loved the snuggles. ;) As we have become mothers, he has continued to love on our babies, especially my nephew Callum, who lived down the street from Uncle John and Aunt Muriel for the first two years of his life. Uncle John visited him on his first day of life (pictured below). Sweetest!
My mom's older sister, Dana, is married to a wonderful man named Mark. He is a scientist who has spent his lifetime studying, researching, and advocating for the protection of birds of prey, such as the peregrine falcon. Due to the nature of his work, he has traveled to dozens of countries all over the world, and he knows so much about so many places and peoples. Maybe this is why he is so open-minded and so very kind--he has gotten to know and love people in many circumstances and cultures. I think Uncle Mark could talk easily with anyone. He is a great listener, and he sees the best in people and makes them feel comfortable around him. Ryan can be quiet when he's around people he doesn't know very well, but even when Ryan and I were first dating, Mark could get Ryan talking because he is genuinely interested in him and asks great questions about his career, his aspirations, and his hobbies.
Uncle Mark and Aunt Dana live in Boise, and it has been so fun to live just two hours from them these past few years. I have loved seeing Mark interact with my kids. He has the same interest in children as he does in adults--wanting to get to know them and bring out the best in them. He is so patient and kind with Noah, and he will get down on the floor and play with him. He notices and remembers Noah's talents and interests, and he loves how inquisitive Noah is. Mark will talk to Noah about many subjects--last time Mark and Dana were at our home, he told Noah about various countries on the light-up globe in the bedroom. ;) Noah talked about it for days!
My Uncle Steve is married to my mom's younger sister, Beth. Steve is crazy fun--a total tease--and you do not stop laughing when he is around. When we were young, he would organize family games of Knock-Out in the driveway on Thanksgiving and he would trash-talk all of us, so we would all gang up on him and cheat so that he could never win. He used to try to act like a chauvinist to his wife, saying things like, "Woman, bring me my coffee!" just to get a rise out of us three Westover girls who would lay into him and lecture him and he would laugh and laugh. (And my Aunt Beth would just roll her eyes.) We had a tradition of going to Marie Calendars to get pies for holidays. Steve would drive us in his pick-up truck, and we could never decide on flavors, so we would come home with five pies and gorge ourselves.
And speaking of his pick-up truck, Steve prides himself on being a redneck from Grand Junction, and he wears outrageous shirts like, "PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals." Ha! When we were teenagers, he took the three of us girls on a date to the movies and insisted on wearing his ugliest camouflage coat to embarrass us. We secretly loved it.
Even now that we are adults, it is non-stop laughter when Steve is around. At our most recent gathering at Christmas, we were playing a game of charades and he is so terrible at it but he kept insisting that he was our team's MVP. He said that he is "the tapestry" that brings everything together (whatever that even means!). So all night we kept cracking jokes about "the tapestry" and Steve would laugh uproariously. Truly no family gathering is complete without Steve the jokester there.
Steve also has a very tender side and loves us girls so much. Apparently he had a real case on me when I was a cute little two-year-old and he called me his "girlfriend." He kept a photo of me in his office at work, and last I heard, it was still there, thirty years later. ;) I am honored to be one of his girls.
All of my Eulich uncles and aunts have been a huge part of my life, even though we've always lived hours or even states apart. They have been there for us through all of our triumphs and our sorrows, and our milestones, big and small. From wherever they were around the country, all of my aunts and uncles and their children flew to Denver to be at our weddings. None of my mom's family is Mormon (my mom decided to be baptized when she was in college), so this has made weddings difficult because they can't come into the Mormon temple. Oh how we wanted our beloved aunts and uncles there with us as we took our wedding vows! I think it speaks volumes about them as people and about the love in our family that they spent the time and money to come and be there for us on our wedding days, even though they couldn't attend the ceremonies. They waited outside the temple to congratulate us and be the first to hug us--it meant the world. And then they joined us at the reception and broke-it-down on the dance floor. Those Eulichs sure know how to party!
I am proud to be a Eulich and have been blessed beyond measure to have these good uncles in my life!