the first edition

 
 I always say my boys are boys to the 10th degree.  I'm sure some people think they are a handful or are too rough with each other, but I wouldn't change a thing.  I love that they are rough, climb trees, have huge personalities and love to get dirty.  They received a boxing set for Christmas this year, which is perfect for them.  Atlys, our youngest is at the I want to do everything his older brother does phase.  Tyton, my oldest is at the why do you copy everything I do phase.  But these, these moments when they are bonding and together... these are the best moments. 

I always say my boys are boys to the 10th degree.  I'm sure some people think they are a handful or are too rough with each other, but I wouldn't change a thing.  I love that they are rough, climb trees, have huge personalities and love to get dirty.  They received a boxing set for Christmas this year, which is perfect for them.  Atlys, our youngest is at the I want to do everything his older brother does phase.  Tyton, my oldest is at the why do you copy everything I do phase.  But these, these moments when they are bonding and together... these are the best moments. 

 At times you both become frustrated because it is your responsibility to take care of our goats. It is such an amazing learning opportunity for both of you to have chores, this is one of the main reasons that we purchased them. I know that someday you will both be thankful that you grew up on a farm, out in the middle of no where. I love being outside together playing with the baby kids and watching the gorgeous Oklahoma sunsets.

At times you both become frustrated because it is your responsibility to take care of our goats. It is such an amazing learning opportunity for both of you to have chores, this is one of the main reasons that we purchased them. I know that someday you will both be thankful that you grew up on a farm, out in the middle of no where. I love being outside together playing with the baby kids and watching the gorgeous Oklahoma sunsets.

 Ohhhh…My rough and tumble boys. You exhaust me completely on a good day. You take the last little bit of energy I have most evenings, but I just cant resist a good sword fight, that typically turns into giggles and lots of snuggles. I often hold back the urge to yell at the both of you to “fight softer” as if thats such a thing, but somehow know in my heart that you won't hurt each other and are just being “boys”. I have come to really love your smelly feet in my face, your constant messes, the noise you create at very high volumes, and your dinosaur breath. I wouldn’t have this crazy chaos that puts the biggest grin on my face, without the both of you.

Ohhhh…My rough and tumble boys. You exhaust me completely on a good day. You take the last little bit of energy I have most evenings, but I just cant resist a good sword fight, that typically turns into giggles and lots of snuggles. I often hold back the urge to yell at the both of you to “fight softer” as if thats such a thing, but somehow know in my heart that you won't hurt each other and are just being “boys”. I have come to really love your smelly feet in my face, your constant messes, the noise you create at very high volumes, and your dinosaur breath. I wouldn’t have this crazy chaos that puts the biggest grin on my face, without the both of you.

 Sometimes it's hard for you to understand that your brother is still little. Yes, he just had his first birthday but he is still a baby in so many way (thank goodness for the sake of this mama's heart). But he wants to be bigger and just like you. So when you are feeling particularly patient, you try to teach him something. Today was about shadows. You took his hand, raised your own, and said, "see like this Cam, hold your hand up to see your shadow". He was absolutely thrilled. Probably more about the fact that you were giving him attention than about the actual shadows but it's all the same to you, sweet Big Brother.

Sometimes it's hard for you to understand that your brother is still little. Yes, he just had his first birthday but he is still a baby in so many way (thank goodness for the sake of this mama's heart). But he wants to be bigger and just like you. So when you are feeling particularly patient, you try to teach him something. Today was about shadows. You took his hand, raised your own, and said, "see like this Cam, hold your hand up to see your shadow". He was absolutely thrilled. Probably more about the fact that you were giving him attention than about the actual shadows but it's all the same to you, sweet Big Brother.

 You might be only two years older than the middle and four years older than the youngest, but lately it might as well be a ten year age gap. You are simply in a different phase than your preschooler and toddler brothers and as a result, you often prefer to have more alone time than not. But sometimes I still see you patiently and joyfully help them. Even when they may take more turns than you get. And in those moments I can see more clearly the person that you are becoming. One day a few years age gap won’t matter much at all.

You might be only two years older than the middle and four years older than the youngest, but lately it might as well be a ten year age gap. You are simply in a different phase than your preschooler and toddler brothers and as a result, you often prefer to have more alone time than not. But sometimes I still see you patiently and joyfully help them. Even when they may take more turns than you get. And in those moments I can see more clearly the person that you are becoming. One day a few years age gap won’t matter much at all.

 Archer, I will be forever grateful for your need to be close to your brother. You are (almost) always so gentle with him, and when you are separated you are both uneasy. I used to carry you around the house in the very same laundry basket as I cleaned and gathered laundry, and now I often take Gryffin along for the ride. Of course, when you see me do it you want a ride too, so I lifted you into the laundry basket with your brother and I grabbed the camera thinking it would be a funny moment to capture. As soon as Gryffin let out a little peep of a cry, you reached over to him touching his cheek and said a simple “Hi, baby”. What I thought would be a memory of the two of you laughing together turned into something so much more. I can’t wait to watch your relationship continue to grow. I hope you are always looking out for each other when you need to, and I pray you are always looking for opportunities to be closer. 

Archer, I will be forever grateful for your need to be close to your brother. You are (almost) always so gentle with him, and when you are separated you are both uneasy. I used to carry you around the house in the very same laundry basket as I cleaned and gathered laundry, and now I often take Gryffin along for the ride. Of course, when you see me do it you want a ride too, so I lifted you into the laundry basket with your brother and I grabbed the camera thinking it would be a funny moment to capture. As soon as Gryffin let out a little peep of a cry, you reached over to him touching his cheek and said a simple “Hi, baby”. What I thought would be a memory of the two of you laughing together turned into something so much more. I can’t wait to watch your relationship continue to grow. I hope you are always looking out for each other when you need to, and I pray you are always looking for opportunities to be closer. 

 Your relationship is new, and still a bit one sided.  You love being the big brother and approach the baby often, chirping 'hiiiiiii' or "smiiiiiillllllle" to him in a somewhat too loud, sing-songy voice.  You don't realize how much he already loves you, and I am both a tiny bit jealous and so very amazed at the way he will smile at you every time, far more than he does for practically anyone else so far.

Your relationship is new, and still a bit one sided.  You love being the big brother and approach the baby often, chirping 'hiiiiiii' or "smiiiiiillllllle" to him in a somewhat too loud, sing-songy voice.  You don't realize how much he already loves you, and I am both a tiny bit jealous and so very amazed at the way he will smile at you every time, far more than he does for practically anyone else so far.

   
  
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  For the first couple of months as brothers, you two could not interact much, but now that Colton is able to support himself a bit better, he has quickly tired of his activity mat, and much prefers to lay on the ground and ‘play’ with his brother. Colton, as I perched over the two of you from the bunk of Xander’s bed, I watched you taking in everything around you, so full of curiosity. You looked around at the brightly colored toys strewn about, the bins full of toys, the cars in front of you, and the colorful mat underneath you, but your gaze always came back to brother, most interested in him. Xander, you play very independently, but are always quietly mindful of your brother, making sure that you are careful around him, and that he is within reach. I can tell already that you like to have your brother nearby, and when the time comes that he is truly able to play with you, you will be ready and waiting.

For the first couple of months as brothers, you two could not interact much, but now that Colton is able to support himself a bit better, he has quickly tired of his activity mat, and much prefers to lay on the ground and ‘play’ with his brother. Colton, as I perched over the two of you from the bunk of Xander’s bed, I watched you taking in everything around you, so full of curiosity. You looked around at the brightly colored toys strewn about, the bins full of toys, the cars in front of you, and the colorful mat underneath you, but your gaze always came back to brother, most interested in him. Xander, you play very independently, but are always quietly mindful of your brother, making sure that you are careful around him, and that he is within reach. I can tell already that you like to have your brother nearby, and when the time comes that he is truly able to play with you, you will be ready and waiting.

 It’s not often I ask for the shot. But sometimes I know that is the only way I’ll get all three of you in one frame. I know that in time the age difference will not matter. But right now it shows. You are charging into your teenage years. Friends, school, and sports take up your time. You are trying to carve your way in this world. Your brothers are still carefree and wild. They live in superhero costumes and play from dusk till dawn. Sometimes you will play hide and go seek with them or help them build in Minecraft. I know it’s not easy, 7 years difference feels like a lifetime apart. But I promise you that gap gets smaller and smaller with each passing year. The three of you will find a common ground outside of rough housing and wrestling that bonds you together now. I see the bond even if you can’t always see it clearly. 

It’s not often I ask for the shot. But sometimes I know that is the only way I’ll get all three of you in one frame. I know that in time the age difference will not matter. But right now it shows. You are charging into your teenage years. Friends, school, and sports take up your time. You are trying to carve your way in this world. Your brothers are still carefree and wild. They live in superhero costumes and play from dusk till dawn. Sometimes you will play hide and go seek with them or help them build in Minecraft. I know it’s not easy, 7 years difference feels like a lifetime apart. But I promise you that gap gets smaller and smaller with each passing year. The three of you will find a common ground outside of rough housing and wrestling that bonds you together now. I see the bond even if you can’t always see it clearly.