Monday, September 17, 2007


It's been that many years since my brother Matt was born; and what a joy these 27 years have been. So many memories - countless laughs, a few cries, lots and lots of fun, hearts full of love...
Well anyway, a tribute to you, my brother...Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

Just the two of us at the Alanis Morissette concert during the 2002 winter olympic games. Remember all that spinning?

Some Childhood Tidbits:

  • Forceps were required to assist in his delivery, leaving little baby Matthew with quite a cone shaped dome. Our parents had a hard time taking him out in public without a hat for the first few months of his life...until the cone disappeared that is.
  • He was probably at least a couple of years old before he got his first real haircut. He had the most adorable blond curls. He had a beautiful face too, and people were always mistaking him for a little girl. (I think that's when mom finally decided it was time for a cut.)
  • As a very small child, he discovered his love (borderline obsession) for knives. No matter where they were hidden, he always seemed to unearth them; and despite my parents endless demurring, it was not uncommon to find one of these within the grasp of his chubby little fingers. I still remember the day my mom burst into sobs after walking into the living room to find Matt, butter knife in hand, busily (and happily) sawing a crevasse into the wood of her cherished piano.
  • The whole knife craze came to a screeching halt the day Matt discovered stuffed animals. He had a whole army of stuffed friends that accompanied him everywhere he went. My favorite part about the whole thing, is that they were all named after him. Let's see...there was Matthew the dog, Matthew the bear, Matthew the sheep, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
  • He was a very friendly little boy. At the age of three, he developed quite a friendship with Michael, a fellow three year old who lived a street over from us. One morning upon waking, Matt decided - all on his own, that he wanted to go out and play. He arose from his bed, slipped out the front door, and (without telling a soul), began his jaunt over to Mike's house. A short while later my mom awoke to the resonant clangor of the telephone. It was Michael's mom, advising her the whereabouts of her little Matt...for it was 5 am!
  • Matt is also notorious for rambling in his sleep. One time he had fallen asleep during one of our family movie nights. Suddenly, and very randomly, he shot up, pronounced "I'm Junion!", then his head reconnected with the pillow, and he was out, just like that! "Who in the world is Junion?"... we all wondered as we laughed hysterically.
  • He also slept through his very first concert. Our parents took us to see The Beach Boys, and I'm guessing Matt was around 6 or 7.
  • In grade school, he loved studying American History, and was especially fascinated with the Civil War.

    A few of his favorite things:
  • The Big H Combo from Hires
  • Chuck Taylor Hi Tops
  • Peanut Butter
  • Meatloaf (and his specialty seasoned Meat Balls)
  • His Barnes & Noble classic book collection
  • BYU bookstore fudge
  • Apple Beer
  • Simon and Jaime

    Evidences of his love and compassion for others:

  • Decided to start training for a 1/2 marathon (less than two weeks before race day), so that our sister Rachel wouldn't have to go it alone (as those who had previously committed to run it with her, had backed out for one reason or another).

  • In a two month period, read the first six books of the Harry Potter series, and was able (as he had hoped) to finish just prior to the release of the 7th book. He did this to share in our little sister, Erica's, love and passion for the tale of Harry Potter, and to be able to engage in some exciting discussions with her while they simultaneously read the final book of the series.
  • Slept in my dad's room with him after the passing of our mom - so the nights wouldn't feel so dark, lonely, and disconsolate.
  • Literally spent hours and hours of his time (over a two week span) sitting in my hospital room during and after my pregnancy with Isaac. He brought me some good books to read and some delicious fudge to eat.

    Uncle Matt, holding Isaac

  • Was moved with compassion upon learning (from our sister, Kim, who was a hostess at the time) of a waiter at Mimi's Cafe who had just been stiffed by one of his tables. At the same time, this man had a premature baby that had been in the NICU for the past two months. Matt had never personally met him, but after hearing his story, anonymously left him a very generous "tip".
  • Recently surprised his wife with tickets to a Keith Urban concert. Matt pretty much detests country music. (Now that, my friends, is love.)

    A few of the myriad reasons, I'm proud to call him my brother:
  • Midway through his mission, he was involved in a serious accident, requiring him to come home for hip surgery. I was told (I was still serving at the time), that every day during his recovery, he dressed in his missionary attire, even down to the little black plaque. Because he had not been released, it was important for him to continue to look and act like a missionary...even when a pair of sweats would have been perfectly acceptable, and much more comfortable.
  • He's one of the most intellectual people I have ever known. He made a commitment when he started high school, that he would never do homework on Sunday - and he never did. He graduated with all A's (one A-), and was the Salutatorian of his class. Also, He just recently returned from studying at the Hebrew University in Israel.
  • He has a rock solid testimony which stems from his early childhood. As a small child he demonstrated his ability to comprehend deep subjects, such as the atoning suffering and sacrifice of our Savior. He's always had a profound love for Christ and His Gospel.
  • He is a very well rounded individual. I can't forget to mention that he's funny. He has the best sense of humor, and is happy to be alive. There is just something very unique, special, and different about Matt. I can't quite put my finger on it, but those who really know him, know exactly what I'm talking about.

  • And finally...
    Something that I will hold near and dear to my heart, all the days of my life. A wedding gift to me. A beautiful song depicting our childhood story, written and recorded by my two dearest brothers. Every time I hear it - beautiful, yet heart wrenching, feelings of nostalgia, envelope my entire being. Go ahead, take a listen!

    Here we are in the MTC together. We received our calls the same day and both were sent to South America (Spanish speaking)...he to the Venezuela, Maracaibo mission, and I to the Argentina, Buenos Aires South mission. We had a joint farewell and open house, entered the
    MTC the same day, and even purchased matching missionary glasses!

    Matt, I love you, and hope you have a splendid Birthday!


    buddens said...

    WOW! Nicole, he sounds amazing. Siblings really are such gifts in our lives, and all of yours sound remarkable.

    I totally had chills listening to that song! What a great gift idea, and how great that your brothers are talented enough to pull something like that off?!! Really, a gift to last a lifetime.

    Michel and his sister have a similar picture to yours and Matt's of the two of them in the MTC. His sister is now inactive, but those days they spent together in the MTC and letters and moments they shared are so special to him, and give him peace and hope. Great post!

    Dad said...

    Wow! I guess "The Olders" are really getting older. :) What a beautiful tribute, Nicole, to a beautiful soul. I love you, and I love Matt. Happy Birthday Matt!

    Love, Dad

    Kira Joy said...

    What a sweet tribute! I love when you talk about your family members. You really have a way with pointing out their strengths and character. You seem to really come from an incredible family.

    Amber and Dallas said...

    Nicole- what a sweet tribute to your brother! He sounds like a really neat person! What a beautiful song - they are so talented! Happy Birthday Matt!

    diana rose said...

    wow, what a tribute! i cannot believe what an amazing family you come from, do they really exist somewhere? you are very lucky!

    John said...

    Happy Birthday Matt!!

    Blackner Family said...

    You are just a total sweetheart!! You are so kind, loving and considerate of everyone. You guys are an amazing family and I am sure your mom is so proud and smiling down on all of you!

    What an amazing wedding gift song. It brought tears (happy tears) to my eyes...something that happens often when I read your blog!! I'll have to remember to keep the tissues out when I go to your blog!!

    Very cool you went to Argentina. My husband was in Buenos Aires (north or south) I can never remember!

    Matthew the sheep said...

    Haaaappy Biiiirthdaaaay Maaaaaaaat!

    Danielle said...


    What a blessing it must be to have siblings and a family filled with such love.

    I really missed out...

    (I should find a guy right now and start having kids so that my children will know the joys of sibling love.)

    That line "as momma slipped was an end of an era...the hope of a new dawn" -- that got me choked up and brought back a flash-flood of memories of my sweet beloved mother.

    There is so much love in your family. Wow!