This is Your Life!

I’ve been wanting to do a post about my sister and her twin boys and today is the day!   First, MUSICA!  The picture below on flowerthe right, is my sister as a baby. I was fourteen when she was born (she’s the youngest of eight and I’m the oldest) so my mother let me name her — I chose Michelle after the most popular girl in my Junior High School (whose name was Shelly Stewart).  Most of us call her Shelly, some say Shelly Belly, and I call her Belle, as in Mee-shell, ma belle, somblay mon kee bon tre bien on somble . . . (my “French” is phonetic in case you can’t tell!).

family love

Mar 2011 054

That is Belle just after giving birth to the loves of her life in 2003.  Two little boys, Mason and Paden Stewart.

Mar 2011 055

My sister was forty-one when the boys were born . . . she had suffered with breast cancer a short time before she became pregnant, so these little dolls were and are her little miracles.  Mason is in Green and Paden is in red.  Not that you will ever be able to tell them apart.

Happy babies from the beginning. I have no idea which one this is.


But here’s the other one.  If I was forced to guess . . . (I can’t).  Sometimes I call them and ask who’s who in a photo and the boys don’t know either, which makes me feel better.


They have been such good friends from the very beginning,  We would come in when they were infants and they’d be in their crib holding hands.


They’ve been in it together from the start.

go. be. love.

Shelly and the boys used to live in Durango, Colorado. Unfortunately, their dad wasn’t well and so went MIA early on; that’s what happens sometimes . . . my brave sister has done it all herself. 

jim and kids

Maybe with a little help from this guy.  The twins are very much loved by my brother Jim who lived right next door to them in Durango for the first seven years of their lives.



They used to go on the job with him . . .

July 08 Vineyard 1400

My mom came to visit and the boys are doing what they do all the time, making art . . . paper, pens, pencils, brushes and paint, they love it and they’re good at it. That’s Mason in the Martha’s Vineyard lobster jammies.  You might wonder why the one on the right (Paden) has a beard and those amazing eyebrows.  That’s because this was November first . . . think about it.


Here’s Mason on October 31st, doesn’t he look happy?  He’s getting ready to go trick-or-treating.  Shelly is a wonderful costumer . . . look at these boys 

July 08 Vineyard 1395

So darling!!!!  She made their swords with cardboard and aluminum foil.  On the left, if I have this correctly, is Mason, on the right is Paden.  Or it could be the other way around. Either way, they could not have had any more fun going trick-or-treating that night than we did, going along and watching them.

July 08 Vineyard 1394

I’m pretty sure this is Paden with the beautiful eyes.  But it’s hard to tell because Mason’s eyes look just like Paden’s!

July 08 Vineyard 1398

I can almost hear Shelly going Arrrgh.

Jan 2010 110

See what I mean about the eyes?  Holy Smokes as my dad would say.  Here we are in Las Vegas at the Shark Tank (celebrating my Mom’s 80th birthday), and these are stuffed toy sharks.  The one on the right is the Hammerhead shark.  They will know who they are based on who had the Hammerhead.

Mar 2011 057

Mason, Brianna (their next door neighbor) and Paden, Adorable children, and beautiful eyes on all of them.

Mar 2011 058

One way you can tell who they are (which doesn’t always work):  Paden is usually in the green shirt, Mason wears blue.  

Paden is not happy because he is having his picture taken under the giant statue of Marilyn Monroe in the Seven Year Itch called “Forever Marilyn” and he would just rather not.  I really don’t blame him.


These may be the only two pictures I have of them where they aren’t smiling.

They take paper and crayons or pens everywhere they go. They have sent us their art for years.

Here are a couple of samples of their wonderful work ~ Paden’s snowman, and . . .


Mason’s fish that looks like he might have a bit of chicken in him (I mean the fish — around the mouth). (Ooops, just got a call from Mason, this is an Angry Bird, of course, what was I thinking!)  The colors in both of them are wonderful . . .

two tickets to paradise

They send me their art and I send them mine . . . these are the two tickets to paradise I made for them for their seventh birthday.

They are very proud of their Lego creations.  They put these things together, look close, there are like five of them on the table . . . 


This is another of their passions.  Minecraft. It’s a really popular video game and they LOVE it ~ at least they did last October when I took these pictures, by now I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t have a whole new passion.


Joined at the hip, they have magnificent obsessions ~ they know every species of shark (and draw great pictures of them); they also know the scientific name for all dinosaurs and whether they eat carnivores or herbivores (and draw great pictures of them).  When they were around seven, their school quit teaching cursive, so they asked Shelly for books with cursive writing and they taught themselves.   Boys after my own heart.  Here boys . . . Here’s some sharks for you:


Click HERE for Fun Facts about Dinosaurs.  I bet you know all this stuff already!


So these are their own home-made Minecraft characters. (His name is Enderman.) 


They make these little box creatures out of paper.(He’s a zombie.)



This one is like a snowman-pumpkinhead. (Actually to be exact, he is a “snow golem.”)  I know this may not be the most interesting thing to the Girlfriends, but for sure the TWINS will love it.  Right guys?  I thought the characters you made were wonderful . . . really creative . . . I liked them all but the craziest one was the tarantula! I don’t know how you did that!


These are their friends . . . from the left is Michael, then Seth, Mason, Ryan, and Paden ~ you can tell by their pinkies that they have decided to drink “elegantly!”  That’s what I heard.   You might note that perhaps the twins could be actors, they have very interesting facial expressions! 🙂



Shelly and the boys are HUGE animal lovers. MAS MUSICA?  This is Gracie who is no longer with us, except in this beautiful frame, which she deserves because she was a doll of a love bird. She stood on Shelly’s shoulder while she put on her make up, and took seeds out of her mouth.  Adorable birdlet we all loved.


los perros

From the left, starting with Shelly’s dog Elsie ~ then my brother Brad’s two Jack Russells, Samantha and Orbit ~ and then Shelly’s Pepper, Chica, and at the top right, that’s Schmoopy . . . and that really cute little hairless dog over there with the red car is Paden.


This is Jack.


Unfortunately Jack didn’t make it which was a very sad day for everyone. But he was given the BEST funeral with full honors. No fish was ever loved so much.  Look at the lemon/rock circle of love, plus the little cross . . . Boys, you did an amazing job with this . . . 

hearts and flowers

IMG_1223. . . brilliantly constructed from highlighter-enhanced ice cream sticks and a pipe cleaner. Rest in Peace pobrecito.

heart of any man

Elsie has also gone to heaven too, and one of the boys made this as part of their memorial.  The hearts!  ohhhh. xoxo

If you do it with heart

And now, Chica, on the right, my personal favorite because of her adorable winning smile and because she never forgot me, passed on only a week ago.  She’s in heaven now and only Pepper is left to carry on.  Everyone is being very brave and so happy they were able to have their petty-pets for so long.♥

hearts and flowers

So when Aunt Sue and Uncle Joe come to visit . . . what do they bring?

Something orange . . . hmmmm, it’s Halloween . . . so maybe . . . .


Ah yes, just a little something for the yard.

Shelly loved it too.



Belle is a great cook ~ she fixed us this most wonderful lunch of spinach salad with toasted pecans and strawberries.  To pastabalance out all that health, she made her favorite recipe for “Macaroni and Cheese.”  Here’s the recipe . . .  she changed the elbow macaroni for “shell” pasta (of course she did)  ~ this has four different cheeses and is OUTRAGEOUSLY delicious. She served it all on our great grandma’s Haviland China. (Alice Carpenter, was the boys great-great-grandma.  That’s pretty good boys!)

Course we all had to go to the giant flea market.


And now it’s time to say goodbye.  We always kiss goodbye. We are sisters for life. ♥

hearts and flowers



Bye Mason, Bye Paden, I hope you enjoyed these pictures!  You live a magical life boys, mostly because of how you are. Give your mom a hug for me.  Now look away because I’m going to say something nice about you . . . These boys are fun, funny, smart, and creative, such good artists ~ they’re really great as a pair, good to each other, good to their mom, and just the best to be around.  On top of that, for the last three years they have made the principal’s honor roll at school.  I hope they keep doing that forever.  And never change and stay just the way they are (inside anyway — they are allowed to grow up,if  they  insist).

AND JACKSON BROWNE?  If you’re out there somewhere, you should let my sister make some macaroni and cheese for you.  

heart of the home


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376 Responses to This is Your Life!

  1. Linda Pintarell says:

    That was a beautiful post…so much love in the family. And she is definitely “YOUR” sister…you can see it in the eyes…without a doubt. Having a mom that is so intuned to the life of her kids is so very important. I know…I had one…she was always there for me…making my costumes, making cookies for the bake sale, driving us everywhere…just there. I could count on her and I knew it. She has been gone 22 years and I still miss her every day of my life. That is what those two boys have and you can just tell that they will grow up to be kind, caring, loving human beings.

    • sbranch says:

      Family love. You were a lucky girl, are a lucky girl Linda.♥

    • Elizabeth in Montana says:

      I have that kind of mom too. She’s 90 and getting frailer, but I treasure her.

      • Lynn McMahon says:

        ~ I had a Mom like that too~ miss her very single day ~ what a wonderful childhood she and my Dad gave me!~

      • Toni from Sylvania OH says:

        I have a Mom like that too. She will be 99 on Aug. 8th, and she too is getting VERY frail. It’s scary…we’re are being ssoooo careful, just about carry her around on a pillow, so she doesn’t brake something. She is a darling but you can TELL…she’s really letting go of life, more so every day…God love her:-))) Toni

  2. Tana says:

    Only just the bestest post EVER!! What fun boys. The tortilla mask and the boys at the MM statue made me laugh out loud!

  3. Precious, bountiful blessings here, Susan. What a delightful post. Y’all are surely fortunate to have such a wonderful family.

  4. Donna Babbitt, Brea, Ca. says:

    I am a pro, mother of six adult children and granny of twenty one and I am telling you that the twins are special!!! Goodness radiates from them and from their Mom. The world is a much better place because they are in it.
    Their eyes, smiles, body language, just adorable!! I tend to be a bit partial to boys…………………..they are like puppies, so real, so up front, I will baby sit anytime!!
    What a great family, may God continue to bless them beyond their wildest dreams.

  5. Carrie in Medina says:

    What a great post! Full of heartwarming moments! I can see why you love those little boys! They look so delightful! So much fun! I hope they keep practicing their artwork, Lego projects, math skills and dills, vocabulary skills and drills, and anything else that helps them continue to grow into (obviously handsome) healthy, productive and interesting young men! Great job Shelly!

  6. Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

    Hello Susan…it’s been too long. Love this post! I, too, share with you…a beloved younger sister, 17 years younger than me. We just had a wonderful week of “sisters time” as we three sisters gathered in the good ole San Fernando Valley for family time. This was all the more sweet as she was moving from Manila to Brussels and it will be a while again before we see her and her family. The highlights were cooking together in my two-butt kitchen and doing simple things together at home. :). Who else but sisters understand your makeup and hair dilemmas?!?
    I also have precious twin grandsons, 4 years old. My son, their daddy, still has problems telling Titus and Silas apart. :))). Papa and I are always thrilled at their accomplishments and understanding of relationships. We are deeply thankful for the parenting provided by our DIL and son.
    Your post helped me count these precious, precious blessings. Thank you! Sending my sincere affection to you…Charlene

  7. Mamey Brown says:

    That was amazing Susan!! Thanks for the lift!! Your sister has your beautiful high cheekbones!! You lucky girls!! Once again, you’ve brought such joy to my heart and spirit.

  8. Jackie Bienemann says:

    I loved this post! What great kids and what a wonderful blessing to have a big family. Your sister is doing a great job with her boys, you can tell they are her miracles! So much love here, it made me feel so good to read this. They are very talented! Enjoy your day Susan, you have helped me enjoy mine. You always do with your blog!

  9. Karen P (Wisconsin) says:

    What a sweet tribute to your darling baby sister and her two adorable boys! They look like a bundle of fun! And, they’ve taken after Aunt Sue in their artistic gifts! That must be such fun for you to get their “originals” sent to you! There’s nothing quite so wonderful as a child’s artwork! Thanks for sharing today. xo…Karen P.

  10. Jane says:

    The boys are just adorable! I love their artwork. My heart is warmed from this posting Susan! Thanx!

  11. Ginger says:

    Thanks for sharing. I love twins, since two of my favorite girls in the world, my step-daughters are identical twins. I remember when we couldn’t tell them apart except for their clothes. As they aged, little physical features and big personality differences emerged. Twins are so much fun. You are a wonderful auntie.

  12. Pamela Tasker says:

    Totally enjoyed reading about your nephews! They are adorable. And you and your sister? Cutie Pa’tooties ! My dad was an identical twin. Oh the stories my grandma would tell. When they were born she had to tie a ribbon on their toes to tell them apart! Family ^;^ nothing more precious. Thank you for sharing yours.

  13. What a beautiful post Susan. It brought tears to my eyes. The boys are just darling. One of my sisters has twin boys and they are wonderful. Sisters are a marvelous thing. I have 2 and they are all within driving distant. I am blessed, and it seems you are also!

  14. What a great-looking pair of boys they are, and so identical. I’m sure their personalities are not exact, though. Kudos to your sister, too.

  15. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    What a darling family! I can see that Michelle La Belle is even more than a sister, as she was your baby too. I love that despite all the technology, your nephews are into arts and crafts. My 7 yr old granddaughter, Kaitlyn, is the same. She will be visiting soon from AZ and this Grammy has lots of projects lined up for us, and little flashlights for our bedtime reading. Can’t wait for our slumber party! My husband says it’s great when Kaitlyn visits because it gives me someone to play with.;)

  16. Sue G says:

    Such sweetness, dearly loved this post about your sister and her boys. What a wonderful life, thanks for giving us a glimpse inside to it! I have had twins a few times over the years in my kindergarten class, always fun to watch their special relationship!

  17. Andi M says:

    Tears for the pets, we too are mourning the loss of our Sugar (my daughter’s cream colored standard poodle). I just hung another photo of her by the computer before I opened your blog. The sister, nephew thing, wow! I have it, I know it, I love it! I have two sisters who have boys only. I have already said to my youngest nephew, “she was my sister first, before she was your mom!” I am kinda selfish that way.

  18. Barbara F. says:

    A beautiful post, so filled with family and love. Those twins are adorable. I think Belle resembles you alot.

  19. Julie says:

    Lovely – such love in that family – it shines through. Had to comment on the Marilyn statue – that the carpet was worn in the middle underneath her – lot of people looking up? Hee Hee.

  20. Patsy in Nixa, MO says:

    You brought tears to my eyes with this blog – so sweet. Seems your entire family has creative talent in all things – art, costumes, food. How wonderful to share each others’ creations. And so much love. Your family also has a talent for mothering – sons, daughters, pets, nieces, nephews. Love must expand with use – its seems yours reaches the furthest edges of your circle of family and friends, saturating all it touches, so that it goes on and on, like ripples in a lake when one small stone starts the action. We, too, feel the love when you share your life with us. Thank you.

  21. Heartsdesire says:

    A lovely look at your family, Sue. As a mother, I always thought it would be fun to have twins. Instead, I had two girls, one right after the other, and then two boys six years apart. Your sister is so beautiful, just like you. And I loved seeing the picture of your mom. My best friend just recently had her picture taken beside Marilyn. She was somewhat more interested than the boys.

  22. Susan says:

    You and your sister may be 14 years apart, but boy, do you look like sisters! What a perfectly wonderful, and personal, post. Thank you for sharing your amazing family with us, Susan~

  23. Lynn McCormack says:

    Hi Susan, I will be going to see Jackson Browne on Aug. 5th at Jones Beach,NY! I will tell him Shelly says hello!!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh she is going to have a fit. You are so lucky!

      • Linda Matson says:

        I am going to that same show!! That’s why I came on here to comment. LOL-I will tell Jackson about Shelly’s mac and cheese. (sure…) I guess we have a LOT in common. You with Paul McCartney (my first love) and Shelly with Jackson (one of my all-time big crushes) !!

  24. deborah t. norling says:

    I L O V E YOUR D A R L I N G FAMILY ! ! ….speaking of darling and animals…if you haven’t already seen this…google…”cat in shark costume sitting on Roomba chasing duckling”….someone just showed it to me…it’s hilarious..the most amazing docile chocolate point Siamese cat in a shark costume..yes I did say shark costume..sitting on a Roomba as it vacuums the floor ..and a little duckling is pattering around him on the floor…..then ….a dog comes into the picture..dressed as a hammer head shark…..all animals lovers simply must check it out’s a riot ! The cat is taking his job very seriously !!

    • sbranch says:

      Here it is . . . I think I might need a Roomba! That is so funny. That duck would not last 2 seconds around Jack. I can’t believe that menagerie of good animals! How funny. . . Shelly? You should look at this!

      • deborah t. norling says:

        I’m so glad you enjoyed it…the duckling definately adds to the hilarity…I have to wonder if he thinks the cat is his Mom .. that is a household I would love to visit !

  25. Joan S says:

    A delightful post. What a blessed auntie you are! Hmmmm….kitty named Jack,
    goldfish named Jack, Blog Daddy named Jack…..anymore Jack’s in the family we should know about??????

  26. Deb says:

    Your sister is amazing. And, she looks so like you!
    My nephew has triplets that just turned one. They all are struggling a bit but we are praying for great healing and growth.
    There is nothing like family.

    • sbranch says:

      Triplets! Wow. I have a girlfriend who had boy triplets (not planned) and then two years later, she had another boy, also not planned! She is amazing! Always has been, it could not have happened to the more perfect person for the challenge.

  27. Marty says:

    I love this post! It makes me think about my boys when they were very young. They are pretty much all grown now; only one left in high school. (We have 4 boys). I miss those younger days; the artwork, the smiles, the hugs and reading to them. Sigh!

    • sbranch says:

      I can only imagine.

    • Linda Matson says:

      Marty, my boys are grown now, too. My older one lives in NYC and I see him sporadically. My younger one is in California. I miss the ‘kid’ days all the time. You have to treasure it when you have it, for sure!

      • Chris Wells In Knickerbocker, W TX says:

        That’s why God gave us grandchildren. So we can keep doing all that fun stuff!

  28. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, twins are the best! They will be friends for life. I have a twin brother and we are still close. I found one of your books in the “wild” today. I was checking out the children’s books at Goodwill and I saw a blue and white plaid corner peeking out from a pile of books. Self, I said, I know that book. Yes, indeedy, it was your “Summer” book in all it’s pristine loveliness. When I went to pay for it the lovely lady insisted it was a children’s book ($1.99) but I said, no I’m pretty sure it’s a cookbook. Oh, no, she says as she flips through the pages, I’m sure it’s a children’s book, lol. I was finally able to persuade her I didn’t mind paying $3.49 for it as it was an “adult” book. I am thrilled and will give it to a dear friend. Such fun to find a treasure. And speaking of treasures, sisters are the best, too. And brothers are pretty special too. Blessings to all of you.

    • sbranch says:

      It’s a children’s book for grownups! Thank you for the rescue!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        OMG, you have absolutely nailed your genre. Children’s books for grownups – that is EXACTLY what you do!

        • sbranch says:

          I’ve always thought so. You can look at Girlfriend’s Forever, it’s a book for twelve year olds. I didn’t think that until it was finished and then I went, oh yeah!

          • Janet in Rochester says:

            And the neatest thing is… you are the only one doing it. In this country, where people leap without thinking onto every new and original idea out there, no one else is following you. Because no one else CAN. What you do – and the way you do it – is THAT unique. At least in this reporter’s opinion…

          • sbranch says:

            I do adore “this reporter” . . . that’s so nice. From the inside looking out, it’s sometimes hard to see it. Looking at others? It’s a piece of cake, that uniqueness is so obvious. ♥ xoxo

  29. Wendy Louise says:

    Dear Susan
    Ohhh my goodness !
    Thank-you for sharing all the love a beautiful family inside and out can put into the world !
    Your sister is doing a wonderful, fantastic, job raising those fine young boys, so much encouragement. I see you all know that language of encouragement, imagine the whole wide world with all that loving encouragement ! LOVE ! We are all so blessed to have one another, starting with family and working it’s way out with wonderful friends and animals. I just love seeing all the interactions, it is truly beautiful Susan, Thank-you so much. Sending Love to you and all yours ! oxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxooxoxoxoxooxooxoxoxoxoxox

  30. M. says:

    Words fail. These are beautiful photos of a beautiful family. What a brave lady your sister is. God bless all! Thank you for sharing. ♥︎

  31. Karenn J says:

    I loved the entire blog today. Such cute young gentlemen and such a testament of love amongst the entire family. You’re all very lucky to have your sister’s little miracle babies in your lives. I love that they’re such good artists from the get-go. Is their momma artistic too, or have they gotten that blessing from you? Thank you for sharing your sister & delightful nephews with all your girlfriends.

    • sbranch says:

      She’s a wonderful decorator, gardener, cooking creative person . . . I’m not sure if she’s ever tried to draw anything.

  32. Stacey Louis says:

    Hi Susan,

    My friend Jennifer and I are here on Martha’s Vineyard taking in all that this beautiful island has to offer.

    • sbranch says:

      How wonderful! I hope you are enjoying yourself . . . gorgeous weather!

      • Stacey Louis says:

        Hi again…thanks so much for your response. So sad…not sure what happened, but my note got cut off. : (
        Meant to say…
        We are taking in all this beautiful island has to offer. A day that will never be forgotten. Thanks for all the tips on the ‘must see’ spots. We have been in many of the fabulous shops looking for all things Susan Branch, but have come up empty. Can you direct us to stores that carry your 2015 calendars and such. Can’t wait for your new book!!!
        Your two BIGGEST fans,
        Stacey Louis & Jennifer Stuart
        (aka The Bobsey Twins)

        • sbranch says:

          Go to Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven . . . we just dropped off some calendars a couple of days ago. Keep having fun you twins!

  33. What an adorable family you all are! I teared up with the love of it all.
    I can tell that your nephews are full of that young boy energy that is so amazing when they are bright and brimming with enthusiasm and magic. Kids like these are the sign of a great mother and extended family.
    I, too, loved being “that aunt” who made tea parties and intricate treasure hunts with riddles to solve to find more clues, each time my nephews and niece came to visit. We had ice cream and movie jammie nights every chance we had. Now the youngest is 15 and the oldest is off in the Navy. To see your amazing twins-makes me nostalgic in a really good way. Lucky sisters, lucky nephews. <3

  34. Joann says:

    OK, that just made me cry. I love them all…..xoxo It’s a rainy day here in Colorado….it’s just beautiful. After years of fires, I am grateful for the rain. You are so grateful for your family and you show it in the biggest and yet simplest of ways….
    Give of ourselves………’s the best gift.


    • sbranch says:

      Hi Joann, so nice to hear from you and know it’s good clean normal rain out there for you! xoxo

  35. Carol Norwood says:

    Oh, Susan! What a wonderful sister you have and those twin nephews are to die for! How sweet and good! I, too, have twin nephews that have always made my heart soar! They are 19 years old and both in college. I’m so proud of them and I am honored to have watched them grow from adorable young boys like your nephews into nice, decent young men! We are blessed!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s going to be shocking how quickly the boys will be 19!

      • Jack says:

        19? I’m already 91, try that on for size ~ the way that I know it is ’cause I have so many beautiful memories …. And still making more! It’s a wonderful, fabulous, fantastic world we have here so enjoy and appreciate every minute and every inch of it It’s a gorgeous morning here in good ole AZ –trash day and my birthday. Who wants more than that? OK, I gotta go put out the trash bags, later gaters, after while crocodiles ~ see ya on the good ship QE Tooie, soonly. Here I am goin on 92, yesterday I was only goin’ on 91. Do it now!

        • sbranch says:


          • Darlene says:

            Happy Birthday Jack!!

          • Joan Lesmeister says:

            Oh no, I missed your birthday yesterday dear Blog Daddy! Hope it was even greater, after the trash got out on the curb! Happy Birthday Dear Blog Daddy Jack, Happy Birthday to Youuuuuuuu!!!!! I was singing with gusto & a beautiful (I wish) voice! Cheers & Blessings for a fahhbulous year! xo ♥

        • sondra fox says:

          You’ve got to be kidding Jack! Honestly, you appear to be in your late 60’s, 70’s. WOW. You must be taking
          “youth tablets.” Happy, happy Birthday. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  36. Kirsten Anne Wichert says:

    Are you kidding me? This is exactly the blog us girlfriends LOVE!

  37. Nettie says:

    Lovely and so amazing that you share your family with all of us….very special. Thank you

  38. Gladys Marie says:

    Wow. You did it again. Sniffing away the tears, and, smiling & giggling all in the same visit. So wonderful to be a part of the sharing of your heart. You create a healing spot for me. ❤️ Thanks again. “G”

  39. I loved your post Susan! Mason and Paden are about a year older than my youngest son Cole, who was born in 2004 when my older son was 14, and I was 41. Then add in that they are so into drawing, Legos and Minecraft! Those things are the things Cole loves most! The minute I finished reading this post I had him read it too. Thanks for sharing your awesome nephews with us.

  40. judy young says:

    Beautiful post. Enough said.

  41. Holly says:

    Sisters are the best! Your two have the same eyes. The boys are so handsome!! The girls will be chasing them soon. Great post!!

    I only have one sister, and she is my best friend. She lives on the West coast, so we each make one trip a year, and call everyday at least once. She too had a miracle baby after radiation & chemo for non-hodgkins lymphoma. They said “you’ll never have more children”. Well, five years later, she had a baby girl. She was a total miracle. My sister has had cancer for my niece’s entire life, can you imagine??? She just finished her third round of chemo, and now doing every other month for 2 years….. so hard. I thank God for both of them.

    • sbranch says:

      Sending prayers to your sister and all of you. Yes, so lucky. She must be an amazing person, as are you Holly. xoxo

  42. Linda Hurst says:

    Oh my gosh! I could pick your sister out of a crowd–she looks like you, or you like her! Darling boys. Cute family. All of you — very blessed!

  43. Janine from CA says:

    Your sis looks like you! Cute pictures. I know the twins look alike, but I can tell them apart because Payden looks so much like my own son, from the baby pix to being 8 y.o.! My son is into the same things and he’s going to love this post!

  44. What a wonderful celebration of Shelly, Mason, and Paden! So special… in so many ways! We feel so honored that you shared them with all of us today, Susan.
    It’s true… “Great sisters get promoted to aunt.”
    Sunny summer hugs!

  45. Susan (Grayslake, IL) says:

    Thank you for sharing your family. Love the boys’ story. My nephew and niece-in-law are expecting twin in September and these pictures and stories made me smile <3

  46. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    This made me cry, as it did some other girlfriends. You have such a knack for choosing just the right things to blog about. Family! What could be better? Now that you’ve introduced us to your lovely sister and her two handsome young sons, I hope that you’ll keep us updated periodically as they grow. Toot-a-loo! xoxo

  47. Susan Joy says:

    That was just beautiful! I read it early in the day and it brought tears to my eyes. Later, a package came and my Susan Branch calendars and desk blotter arrived. You out did yourself, they are lovely. For dinner I made your delicious Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Cheese. My hubby loved it! I guess July 30th is Susan Branch day (actually, every day should be Susan Branch day). Thank you again!
    P.S. Your sister is gorgeous, Jackson Browne is an idiot if he doesn’t go to her house for some mac and cheese.

  48. Tawni urrutia says:

    Oooohhh Susan Branch…we just feasted on crab cakes! We are feeling fat and happy. So delicious! The tartar sauce is the cherry on the sundae!
    Big round of applause from the Urrutia family!

  49. Debra V ~ Southern California says:

    First I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing your family. Those twin nephews are really adoreable. Your sister was really blessed with your brother helping to step in and keep these boys under his wings too. What a blessing family can be. It does my heart good to see families love eachother and spend time together. Life was meant to be lived this way.
    Now I wanted to write to you to tell you of a new book I’ve been reading, you might have already read it. If not, I highly recommend it. “BEATRIX POTTER’S Gardening Life: The plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tails” by Marta McDowell copyright 2013. It’s wonderful and made me fall in love with her too. Also I found a 1999 edition of “The Giant Peter Rabbit Storybook” by Beatrix Potter, it’s bridging the gap in my knowledge with Beatrix’s life and all of her storybook characters too. I’m loving it. Just in case you’re looking for another good book on the subject of Beatrix Potter I know you’re a real fan.

  50. Janet in Rochester says:

    PS – Wow, your brother Jim is a spot-on ringer for your Dad!

    • sbranch says:

      You can’t tell any of my brothers and Dad apart on the phone!

      • Janet in Rochester says:

        My youngest sister & I are spot-on ringers on the phone too. Or any voice-recorded things. We don’t see it ourselves, but everyone says so. :>)

  51. Susan, I adored every bit of this post. It just oozes love from top to bottom and right to left and inside and out! I loved reading all of it. Enjoyed all of the photos. Loved learning more about your lovely sis and your fab nephews! In short, just love, loved, LOVED it all. Beginning to end. It was just the bestest. And yes, that is not a word that I just fling about. I save it only for the bestest things. And this post was. The bestest thing. xxoo
    PS – Got my blotter calendar for 2015 and wall calendar. LOVE LOVE. Also the bestest things!

  52. Cindy says:

    I love it when you can just SEE the love a family has for each other. Your family has that. So does ours. We are lucky people. Those boys are adorable…and funny…and happy…you can see it in their eyes!

    Cindy Bee

  53. Sylvie from France says:

    Dear Susan,
    I particularly enjoyed this lovely post about your family. Yes, family is more than important in our lives.
    Thank you for sharing with us the photos of your sister and her 2 little boys. Against adversity, they have succeeded in becoming a wonderful family.
    As for the musica, you couldn’t have made a better choice !. For me, this song is one of the most beautiful ones of the Beatles “Michelle, ma belle sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble …”.
    All the best to you and your family.

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Sylvie!! How wonderful to see the actual spelling . . . I should know our French girlfriend would show up to save the day! 🙂

  54. Charly Fowler says:

    What a wonderful family diary. My husband has an identical twin brother and they grew up so very close…the same way as Mason and Paden. The only way you could tell them apart was for one of them to grow a mustache! When they were older and married they still showed up in the very same coat and tie (without even consulting one another! Twins are really a miracle!) Coincidentally, they also had two great aunts: Belle Marie and Marie Belle! What fun! You have a way of writing that makes it all come to life! Those little twins of yours are so blessed to have you for their aunt! Thanks!

  55. Gail says:

    Beautiful post. Really enjoyed it and your sister is as lovely as you are.

  56. Marie (Long Beach, California) says:

    Good morning from sunny California! I really loved this post about your sister and her two handsome boys. Family is such a wonderful part of my life and I enjoyed getting to know some of your family too. This entire post was terrific and I especially loved seeing the two tickets to paradise you made for the twins seventh birthday… what a fantastic gift! I’d be putting those tickets in a memory book or frame, they’re beautiful! Life is crazy good! ♥ ♥ ♥

  57. Shelly says:

    Shelly The Great here! At least that is how you have all made me feel:) I am loving reading all the comments based on my sisters last post. So generous are you all with your kind words and well wishes, I tear up reading through them. When I learned I was carrying twins I felt like I had hit the biggest lottery ever! I had reconciled to my four legged kids to be my family, but the powers that be had other surprises for me. It’s been quite a journey so far, and I am truly blessed to have such beautiful boys. Among their many talents, they also quite witty which I love. They make me laugh often with their take on life’s moments. Thank you very much for all your posts!

    • sbranch says:

      Hey Belle! ♥ I’m so glad you’ve had fun with it because I sure have! I love introducing you to the Girlfriends . . . I think now you can see why I love them so much! And vice versa! xoxo

      • Vickie in Olympia says:

        Sue and Shelly,
        This is what makes Sue’s blog so different and loved. The Girlfriends. We wait for a new blog so we can our appreciation for Sue’s talent and to hear from each other. I’m so glad it is Joe carrying the suitcase with all of us in it. He hardly jiggles the tea cups.

      • Carol on the Farm in Iowa says:

        Fun blog post! I have forgotten….. is Shelly your ONLY sister?

    • Mary in Phoenix says:

      Your boys are funny, smart, creative, kind and witty because of their angel mother and all the love that surrounds them ♥ Thanks for sharing them. You inspire us just like your sister does 🙂

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        Shelly, love meeting you & the boys although I do remember our other short visits through the blog years. You are “The Great” GF! You and your boys are wonderful! Twins are so special ( my dad was a twin, born 1910 & I always loved to hear my dad & his twin talk about their antics growing up!)!! My goodness sakes, so much talent, love & of course, great looks in the Stewart family, & wit! Continued blessings to you! Thank you for giving permission to Aunt Sue to share your family LOVE with us! XOXOXO!!!!

  58. Mary in Phoenix says:

    You took me back with Michelle Ma Belle. Rubber Soul was my very first album ever! I was about 6 years old (with siblings who were 14, 16 and 18) when I won the talent show at St. John the Baptist School dancing to “Run For Your Life” … complete with boots, bell bottoms and a first grade boy friend 🙂 After reading this and your “Nostalgia” post I thought of something my young daughter asked my mom as she reminisced about the past … “Are these MY good old days Grandma?” Hmm… These are definitely Mason & Paden’s good old days … and you make them ever better! I’m sure they’ll be nostalgic one day and tell lots of stories of sweet Aunt Sue and cool Uncle Joe 🙂 Your sister is adorable and reminds me of a quote I heard from a mom of twins … If you think my hands are full you should see my heart. What a blessing she is … they are … you are. Thanks for sharing the tremendous JOY JOY JOY JOY down in your heart. Glad to hear you are bottling it and putting it in the new book ♥ P.S. Was that the farewell kiss before the Fine Romance van headed to Phoenix last fall for tea in Carefree? XO

  59. sondra fox says:

    Oh my, another of my favorite posts! Your entire family are A+ people! My brother is ten years younger than I am. I’ve always thought of him as my “first” kid, as I babysat for him a lot. I’ve always been very protective of him. Families are where it’s at, as far as I’m concerned. That’s all I’ve ever requested from God is to have a happy family. My request has been granted. I suspect you have a happy family as well Susan. Your twins are so special. Thank you so much for sharing another wonderful part of your dear family.
    (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

  60. Michelle says:

    Tears in my eyes! I’m a Michelle and was 42 when our twin boys arrived. They aren’t identical, BUT they have a slightly older brother and all three are miracles. There are days I worry that their Daddy and I can’t do it all with no family close by, but they support us long distance (especially my parents) — so there you go! Family is the best and I pray that everyone FIND their family if they don’t luck out at first … It is so evident how you and Joe and your extended family LOVE your baby sis and her boys. WELL DONE! And they ARE such wonderful artists, with dreamy eyes. Kudos and hugs to Michelle. I gotta start the laundry! xoxo

  61. Raenell Cannady says:

    Great blog Susan. What a beautiful sister and adorable nephews you have. Your sister has done a wonderful job with those two precious boys.
    I loved, loved, loved the Disneyland tickets you made for the boys…..they were just precious. For the price of a ticket today the least they could do is have you make them for Disney so we had something pretty to scrapbook with …LOL I really thought the way you have shared your creativity, your art work with the boys is awesome. That will mean so much to them through the years…for these are the things we remember. Have a good August my friend…xo Raenell

  62. Debby says:

    So sister Michelle, became Shelly Stewart, just like the most popular girl at school? Just wondering, Debby

  63. Asha says:

    Hey Susan & Belle! What a wonderfully fun post! Nothing is better than family. I’m so looking forward to spending more time with my son, daughter and three grandboys! I retired today! YAY! After more than 35 years of working as an Human Resources professional, retirement is here. 🙂 We are blessed and it sure looks like those twins have inherited your creative genius, Susan. Thank you for introducing us. My sister is 13 years my senior and does not live close to me. Now we can spend more time together. YAY! oxoxox

  64. Nancy B says:

    Love, love, love this post! Thanks so much for sharing your family with us. The boys were beautiful babies and are now just the cutest young men. They look like so much fun to be with; bright, shining personalities. My fraternal twin granddaughters will be leaving in little over a week for college. They grow up too fast, so enjoy these boys while you can. 🙂

    Nancy (from Bakersfield)

  65. Margie says:

    What a lovely feature article about your sister and her twin boys. She is to be commended and “high-fived” for all the hard work she has put into being a single mom to her boys. She is lucky to have such a supportive family! I also was a single mom of twins, and I can appreciate all she has done — What a GREAT lady! And I loved seeing the creativity and fun personalities of those boys — thank you for sharing your lovely family!

  66. Vickie Getty (Little Rock, AR) says:

    What a beautiful blog post. My smile grew and grew and I read. I too have a sister that is simply the best. Our Mother died when I was 6 and she was 12. She has been my everything my whole life. I couldn’t have done it without her. As always, thank you for brightening my day!!

  67. Kathy says:

    What cute boys and artistic too like their auntie! But aren’t there 2 sets of twins… you and your sister? She’s adorable just like you.

    • sbranch says:

      🙂 That would have been one long birth!

      • Jack says:

        You were the slow one …. Your Mom was in labor for more than two days and then they had to call in a specialist , to get you pointed in the right direction…..they had to push you back turn you over , get the cord from around your neck and turn you around …. I have never seen anyone look so tired out in my life , face was a shade of gray and her features were like a Dali painting .
        Next day after work when I went to visit —- she was gone – empty bed
        They had taken her for ice packs — took few minuets to find that out !
        And there is much more that I won’t go into now , it’s a good thing you turned out good ……

        • sbranch says:

          I remember hearing you threw a vase. That’s when you decided not to name me “Candy” after all . . . definite lack of sweetness. She was 17 and you were 23. Your first child, and what an ordeal. I know I’ve said it before, but just one more time: 1. I’m sorry and 2. Thank you. 🙂

          • Jack says:

            I’m not blaming you …. The blame is for that Dr. Trendle…. He should have arranged for help immediately . Today it would be Cesarean Section ….
            Medicine has come so far in the last sixty years….that doctor was picked by your mom because he had delivered one of her girl friend’s baby
            Yes I slapped the vase of flowers off the counter , across the room where it hit the wall and exploded…..I yelled “I want something done here” –That’s when they called the specialist — Grandma Flo was sitting there and was shocked to have me blow up like that … But it got some action from somebody …. The hospital never mentioned that incident…..

          • sbranch says:

            I’m sure they didn’t. Personally, I’m glad you got mad. It’s good that she didn’t have Cesarean … she might not be able to have more children.

        • Is this why she had 7 more children? She knew the rest would have to be a piece of cake by comparison?

          • sbranch says:

            She actually wanted a baseball team.

          • Jack says:

            Once she went into see Dr. McGill for her regular scheduled appointment — he told her to go check into the Hospital — right now! — you are in labor! She phoned me at work. By the time I got home and got everything squared away …and back to the hospital …. We had a new baby!

          • sbranch says:

            Yes, she got very good at it. Practice makes perfect!

  68. Kellie Badger says:

    This was just a wonderful “tribute” for a wonderful sister and very beautiful eyed nephews. It was truly a joy to read. Made me smile the whole time I was reading and admiring the pictures. 🙂

  69. Stephanie D says:

    Oh they are too cute and creative! BTW thanks for this link to the Jackson Browne song – it’s SOOO good! I had never heard it before! (I’m 32, if that’s any excuse. It’s not.) Definitely adding it to my playlist.

    • sbranch says:

      So many songs, so little time! Jackson Browne is heaven though, Fountain of Sorrow is my favorite.

      • Sylvia in Seattle says:

        Oh, thank you for reminding me! I’m going straight to YouTube. My kids loved Jackson Browne and so did I. Surely someone is going to turn him on to this blog and dinner with your sister.

  70. Nancy says:

    Guess whose book is brand new at our local library?!!! Of course I have read mine twice but was happy to discover A Fine Romance. On the “new” shelf! And this is a sweet post…your sister is to be highly admired…our daughter is solo parenting…not an easy path. Blessings to yours…

  71. laurie says:

    I loved every word! A beautiful family,

  72. Denise :) says:

    I’m relatively new to your blog and artwork — I could just sit here for hours and peruse the pages. Your work is just absolutely beautiful and, as it does for *so* many others (I’ve been reading comments, too), stirs something deep within. All that to say that I immensely enjoyed your post about your sister and your nephews. Having three sisters and thirteen nieces and nephews (and one great-nephew!!) myself, all scattered hither and yon, your sweet sentiments resonated. Thank you! 🙂

  73. Darlene says:

    Such a sweet and loving post! Susan, your sister is beautiful and her boys are so handsome and talented! Thank you for sharing xoxo

  74. Kathy Thompson (in Rialto CA) says:

    Hi Susan…wonderful, wonderful blog today, honoring Mason and Paden. My husband, Terry, is an identical twin. I still sometimes get the two of them mixed up if the day is busy and I don’t have my specs on…even after 38 years. They look so much alike, but are so very different. We’ve had so much fun over the years. Twins are wonderful. My late sister, Annie, and I were sixteen years apart…kind of like you and Michelle. I adored her and have missed her every day since I lost her in January 2000. It’s funny…when I was a kid those sixteen years made such a difference, but as the years passed the sixteen years seemed to disappear. Thanks for a wonderful blog today. So very enjoyable.

  75. Leslie-Anne says:

    Lovely post. Thank you.

  76. katherine says:

    Great Post. Sister’s are the best. Mine is 13 years and 13 days younger than I am. We decided that is very lucky! We are best friends – and have stuck close through thick and thin no matter what. She now has moved close to me and my Mom moved close too! It is the best. I am enjoying my nephew who is two and squeals with delight when they pull into our drive way! I love being an aunt! Thanks for sharing and reminding us once again about the magic of everyday life!!

  77. Dolores says:

    Just lovely! I am crying with a smile on my face and can not wait to call all I love and hear their sweet voices.
    Thank you so much for sharing your love with us.

  78. Michele says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Susan! Just had my 7 yr old niece and 11 yr old nephew come stay with us for about a week. I TOTALLY get it! Love em, LOVE EM!(and ALREADY miss em, miss em!)

  79. Deborah B. says:

    Hi Susan, Loved this post! A lot of love flows through it! You and your lovely sister really favor! The twins are adorable—hope they don’t mind my using this word to describe them! Thank you for allowing us the priviledge of meeting your sister and wonderful nephews! I love family! I come from a large one—my Mother, who is 90, has 6 children, 23 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren and 3 more on the way! 5 babies in the year 2014, all boys! (one of them being our grandson)—plus all the n-laws! I’m thinking your family is pretty large by now also! Love your blog—never boring! Looking forward to your new book! Have a wonderful day Susan!

    Deborah :o)

  80. Hello,
    Thank you for sharing. 🙂
    We have two boys who love Minecraft, Legos, Dinosaurs and art too. Maybe we should have Sam and Atticus meet up with Mason and Paden. 🙂

    Boys are so special, thank you for taking time today to share boys!
    Prayers to your sister. She is a strong lady and a great mom!!

    xx oo


  81. Christabelle says:

    Loved, loved, loved this post. I had surgery 2-1/2 weeks ago, with a 4-week anticipated recovery and one of the things I looked forward to most was actually having the time to get my Susan Branch “fix.” It has been a joy to catch up, but especially to read this latest entry (and all the wonderful comments). Your sister’s life is a real testament to the old saying about a window opening after a door closes. I had breast cancer around her age, too. I’ve had to wait just a **little** bit longer for motherhood, as I’m about to become a step mom at 61. And, as someone who labored for 8 years on her master’s in children’s lit, I had to laugh with you when you said you wrote children’s books for adults. So very true. Hope there are many more from you to come.

    • sbranch says:

      The bright side of recovery, catching up on the little things in life! Hope you are feeling well Christabelle! You have a beautiful name. Thank you!

  82. Rhonda D. says:

    What a beautiful family. So many things for all of you to be proud of in each other. Shelly has done an amazing job with her boys. Seeing her life with Paden and Mason is kind of like a Susan Branch mini series…all the right elements are there. These two wee laddies are very lucky indeed and one day they will be fully aware of this. It brings a smile to my face and heart to see the good life that they’ve created. Aunt Sue and Uncle Joe in their life just puts the icing on the cake. (We can only wish that “Aunt Sue” would paint special tickets for each of us). Thank you for sharing the wonderful people in your life with us and many blessings to Shelly, Paden and Mason, you truly do lead a magical life…inspiring!

  83. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan, what a wonderful post. Those twin boys are so cute!! And yes, it defiantly is hard to tell them apart. We have twin great granddaughters and they too sleep holding hands (sweetness) and there is no way I can tell them apart. How blessed you are to have those amazing little twins as nephews. Bless your sister for being such a good mommy!

    • sbranch says:

      I’m glad to hear someone else has trouble telling them apart, I always think I’m supposed to know, but so far, I’m a complete failure. At least in photos they hold still!

      • Gert~Iowa says:

        I know, and I even asked my son (their grandpa) and he shrugs his shoulders and says I don’t know, while he carries one around and continues to love on them…smile… Whether it’s Ivy or Eden he knows he loves them!

  84. Carilyn Wolski says:

    Hello Susan! Your twin nephews are so cute and very talented young gentlemen!!! I love their artwork, and Lego talent!!! Shelly was truly blessed to have them…….one for each hand! Isn’t it funny how God works! She is a miracle, and they are both miracles!!! I think they may just follow in their Aunt Susan’s footsteps, with their wonderful ability to draw!!! So happy Susan to have received your recent post, as I’ve been away from the computer due to the big 90th Birthday bash we threw for my father last Saturday. He lives on Harsen’s Island, Michigan, and the event kept me busy with all of the details. The color theme was red, white, and blue, and his old Navy photos and sailor pictures were scattered throughout! I even enlarged ten of him in different poses in his uniform, glued cardboard on the back, then cut them out, like paper dolls, and surrounded his cake and the 88 cupcakes I baked from scratch. He was so happy, and loved being the “birthday boy” all day…..his little badge I made him read “Hey Sailor, 90 is swell!” His gift from me was a huge 2-volume binder of all of his letters he wrote to his parents while in the service (1943-1946). I wanted to protect them by sliding them in plastic page protectors, even the envelopes and many telegrams and postcards he sent to his mother and father. My father was so happy to now have them within reach, for him to read, and walk down memory lane with the relatives and friends. Reading the letters gave me a different outlook at how my dad was in his youth, his sensitivity toward his mother’s loneliness while he was away, and how much he thought about his future plans once discharged. They are treasures for certain! How my grandparents saved them for so many years, even after they passed, how my dad saved them after moving so many times. Now, if I could just find the time to type them all out and bind them together like a little book, then our family generations to come would have a homemade book of his adventurous years serving in WWII in the U.S. Navy. Hmmmmmm, do you think I could do it, being an amateur? Well, anyways, once I am an empty nester, it’s on the top of my to-do list. Have a wonderful happy weekend Susan! Take care!

    • sbranch says:

      WHAT a fabulous book of memories for your dad! Of course his parents saved those letters, that’s such a wonderful record of him, of his times. Wow! And yes, of course you can do it. You can do anything!

      • Rhonda D. says:

        Carilyn, I’m working on a similar project, and I’m planning to photocopy the work and then put that into book form. If you photocopy the letters then the handwriting is preserved as well. And that makes it even more valuable and interesting, especially for future generations. Sounds like a great project.

        • Carilyn Wolski says:

          Thank you for the suggestion Rhonda D., regarding the Navy letters of my father. I love the idea of photocopying them, much easier, and then everyone can see the various unique stationery he used. Each year, or location he was at, the stationery head was different. And, once he wrote on the hotel stationery were he had stayed with his younger brother, who was also on leave, and my dad actually wrote he was using only the front side of the paper, as it was complimentary from the hotel. Therefore, it was a luxury not use the back side also, as all of his other letters were written front and back. So, I love your idea!!! I believe this will be the path I will take to get them faster into book form. Good luck on yours, too!

  85. Cindy says:

    Susan, your sister is a DIVA! What blessed boys Mason and Paden are 🙂 Isnt’ family the wealthiest treasure! I just spent the week with my parents, five siblings, and all of our children and grand children. We do an annual camping trip where all we do is laugh, eat, and make fun of one another while reminiscing about our great childhood! Our kids LOVE to hear our stories! I am so thankful for the gift of love, security and simple pleasures our family shares. God bless you and your family too ~*

  86. Laurel in VA says:

    What a lovely post Susan! I really need to call my sister now 🙂

  87. Tina Mandeville says:

    Susan, I so loved reading about your sister and her boys! She has had lots to endure though blessings now abound. My 2 youngest children are twins (boy/girl – they met you too last Dec at Titcombs! :)…..and suffice to say, I can’t imagine if I were to raise them alone. Your sister is indeed a brave woman and it sure looks like she is doing an amazing job! Huge kudos go out to her! It’s not for wimps that is for sure!!! And I send you a hug for being such a good sister with such insight and a deep compassion for her. My best to Belle and her beautiful boys!

  88. Terry says:

    Your post warms the cockles of my heart! We’ve just returned from Melbourne to Adelaide (740 kilometres driving) after looking after our 19 month old granddaughter. Your love for your sister and her boys is here for all to see..and what a buzz for Mason and Paden from their favourite Aunty I’ll bet!
    Do wish our’s lived closer, thank goodness for modern technology… even though I’m as old fashioned as they come!

  89. Joan H. says:

    Thanks for sharing , Susan . You’re so lucky to have a wonderful sister & nephews . Looks like artistic talent runs in the family ! That’s wonderful 🙂 I treasure my nieces & nephews too . They’re all such sweet , unique individuals with great personalities . It’s been a gift to watch them grow from babyhood to adulthood . 🙂

  90. Susan, what a cute, sweet, great post about your family. At the top of the post, that baby picture on the right looks just like you. Mr. Froggie is doing fine and he’s happy by my fish pond. He even witnessed a beautiful kestrel hawk sitting on the trellis over the fish pond. It kept coming back for several days. Always look forward to your posts. Lynda

  91. Tawni urrutia says:

    Good morning Susan!
    We celebrated my husband’s bday last night. I made your GORGEOUS pineapple upside down cake with vanilla cream sauce. Outrageously delicious! Another High Five from our family to you!
    Tawni Urrutia in Lodi, Ca…for the last time this post, I promise!!

  92. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Thank you for sharing a little more of your sweet family. Aunt Susan must be awfully proud!

  93. erica says:

    Hi Susan!

    I’ve just finished reading your post, and am envisioning how thrilled Paden and Mason would have felt reading this loving tribute to them and their Mom! And, am thinking that this memory with all it’s fuzzy-wuzzy feelings will stay with them forever because you’ve honored them and Mama. Beautiful. I’m sure they feel ten feet tall – so valued and appreciated. Brilliant!

    It makes me feel all fuzzy inside too! Thanks, I needed some fuzzies today!

    Erica xo

  94. This was such a heartwarming post, Susan, full of love and appreciation for your family. The boys sounds like amazing young guys; how lovely that they share your passion for art. Based on the costumes, it seems their mother is creative as well. She must be a wonderful woman to be raising such kind and accomplished sons.

  95. Marian Yeckinevich says:

    Oh Susan, what a wonderful post! Brought me back to the days when our identicle twin sons were born fifty-one years ago. Stephen and Scott. They were never apart for very long. Went to the same college moved to Florida together and have lived with each other for most of their lives. Scott had a severe stroke three years ago and Stehen is now his primary care-giver although he is able to walk with the aid of a cane. They are certainly joined at the hip as it seems Mason and Paden are. What a wonderful family you have and that is what life is al about. You make everyday wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your life.

  96. Monique says:

    You brought tears to my eyes!
    Such beautiful beautiful boys:)
    I only had daughters..and now have 4 grandsons..a bit younger than your 2 loves..but they like the same things and dress the same:)
    They are so talented!!
    No mistaking you two are sisters..Kudos for being an amazing mom..the boys..ARE amazing:)
    What happy pics w/ the Giant Pumpkin.
    Charlie Brown must be smiling too.

  97. Monique says:

    Meant Great know what I meant:)

  98. Barbara (WA) says:

    Having just returned from a whirlwind week (wedding, 3000 mile trip, funeral) I am settling in to read blogs. THIS one is a favorite because my DIL is an identical twin. I cannot tell them apart in childhood photos! Even their mom got them mixed up 🙂 Fun post!

  99. Amy Warren says:

    What a beautiful post about your nephews..I got very emotional seeing the photos of them aging. God bless them!

  100. Amylisa says:

    So, so nice to see these pictures you shared. You grabbed me right away when you called your sister Belle. I always call my daughter Anna that.
    I pray these dear boys always stay as close and kind as they are now.
    What a terrific family you have!
    My youngest was born when I was 41 also. I am glad for your sister that your brother lived next door when her boys were little. What a great help that must have been.
    You can definitely tell that you and your Mom and your sister are related! So much family resemblance!
    Your blog never fails to inspire me. Thanks Susan! I got my 2015 calendar already, and made sure to get a mini one this time before they ran out. Love love love them!

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