Friday: The Hey Brother Edition

It's been some kind of week, you guys. Between starting Monday off with a holiday hangover — and being behind all week, including right this very minute — I feel like I haven't taken a deep breath in days. It's rained nearly every evening for the past two weeks and my running game is so off. Tomorrow will be my first attempt at a sunrise run — yeah, on a Saturday. Wish me luck — and it better go well, because mama's got some energy to burn.

But more importantly, tomorrow I'll be celebrating someone who's really, really important to me. More important than words can say, really. He's my big brother, and one of two of the best guys in my life (the other would be my little brother, naturally!). He's my hero, my best friend, my coach. He encourages me to push harder, do better. He's an incredible athlete, an amazing running buddy, and I can't wait to have two races with him this fall. His adventurous spirit is always inspiring mine — not that I can even remotely compare to the man who's been to Thailand, Australia, England, Scotland, Italy, France, Belgium, Budapest, Prague, and too many U.S. states for me to list. He's not always easy to deal with though — I've had to push him just as much, and god knows he's made me cry. But at the end of the day, I know how much he loves me and I can only hope he knows how much I love him. How lost and alone I would be without him. And how awful my childhood would have been without him.

So for today's Friday Favorites, I'm giving credit to that guy. He turns the big 2-8 on Sunday, and though he'll likely never see this post, here are some of my favorite photos and memories with him over the years...

I remember this day so well — parts of it, at least. There's baby bro in the background. He's 21 now, but he'll always look like this to me. And my big bro is probably 8 or so in this shot. That day was shortly after we'd gotten our new dogs, one a rescue and one, a puppy who chose us immediately, and had a family picnic in the park. Also, let's not let these shots go by without mentioning our awesome sense of style.
L to R: Big bro, me HENRY WINKLER, cousin M
Story time. In October 2000, my family celebrated my grandparents' 50th anniversary by taking them to see Kiss Me Kate on Broadway {my only theater experience to date} and then to dinner in a limo — fancy stuff. While we were waiting for our limo post-show, we spotted the Fonz himself walking down the street with his cigar. So... we chased him, I guess. {I was 11. I didn't know better. I was just doing what my big brother and cousin were doing!} Bro took off yelling "FONZIE" down the street while my cousin, trying to be more polite, called him by his name. Or what would have been his name if his name was Harry. I just ran. They both got scolded by Henry Winkler, and I got a half hug and a snapshot. I don't think any of us will ever forget that day.
Don't judge me for the nails in this one — it was 2008. So that's me on the left, my brother in the middle, and a friend on the right. My tattoo says "Hold Fast" and is a reference to a military command as well as a poem by Langston Hughes. My brother's says "Carpe Diem" — "seize the day" in Latin. I got my tattoo in May 2007 when my brother, a then-active reservist {he completed his active duty while I was in high school} in the U.S. Navy, had recently returned home but still had to spend a bit of time at New Jersey's Fort Dix sporadically. That spring, three brothers were spoiled just days before carrying out their plot to raid Fort Dix and shoot everything in sight.

While I knew my brother wasn't in harm's way during his time abroad, having him away during my sophomore, junior and senior years of high school was so hard to endure. I just missed him. Facebook wasn't ubiquitous, Google Hangouts wasn't a thing. He sometimes was able to call once a week, Saturday mornings. We had letters, and a few unexpected calls — like the time a friend of ours told him I'd been caught canoodling with a boy {I WAS 16!} and he called to scream in my ear for 20 minutes at 5 a.m. — but mostly, we just had to miss him. And then he came back and they threatened to take him away from me again? No way. My family is something I hold fast to, and I want them to always know that. Especially him.
Trying to take pictures at family holidays shouldn't be so difficult, should it?
Last year bro and I took a road trip up to Cooperstown, NY to check out the Baseball Hall of Fame. I was able to nab this shot without him knowing and it's one of my favorite photos of all time. I'm thankful to him for his never-ending patience in showing me the ropes of sports as a kid and fostering my undying love for the New York Yankees and the New York Football Giants. We've had so many great times together going to games or posting up at a sports bar or hanging home with brews to catch the game. This was great to share together and I can't wait until we make our voyage out to Canton, Ohio — after our guy, Michael Strahan, is inducted of course — to check out the Football Hall of Fame.
And here we are again, just last week, out on the boat with our family. {Say hi to cousin J in the background! Eyooo!} This is one of a few shots I managed to take this weekend, and it's one of us doing what makes us really happy — enjoying people we love, getting out on the boat, doing things, having fun, living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment we have to make it great.

If you've made it all the way down here, I salute you.

So anyway, a bunch of us will be doing the dinner-and-drinks thing to celebrate that guy this weekend, and I just hope he has a great time. And I hope all of you have great weekends too — what kind of trouble are you getting into?

{ Linking up with my other Friday Favorites // Whitney & Amanda }


  1. aww happy birthday big bro! this is such a sweet post. i love that you guys love each other so much. i have an older brother & a younger brother as well. to say my brother and i do not have this kind of relationship would be the understatement of the year.
    good luck on your run tomorrow girl! what time you heading out? also have fun tonight!

  2. Oh Alyssa its way too early in the morning to have me swooning. hahaha Happy Birthday to you big bro!!! And in case Alyssa never tells you ... You're hot!

    Have a great weekend girlie!

  3. seriously though taking photos with my brothers during the holidays is just as hard! cheers to your big bro

  4. Happy birthday to him! Hope y'all have fun celebrating! And those it! Haha! I've never had fake nails before.

  5. And dang sister...lookin good in a bikini! :)

  6. Happy birthday brother ! He's going to have all these "happy birthdays" from people in blog-land and be super confused :)

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  8. I love this! I have a little brother, and we love eachother, but have never been real close. Hope you have an awesome time celebrating him. And you are smokin hot in that bikini!!


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