Friday, September 7, 2012

Meet The Family

My family seems to be big on nicknames.  When I was little, so little that I don't even remember it, I nicknamed several of the close people in my life. 
I think I've just inspired myself to do a blogpost on each of these monikers and the people to which they've been bestowed.  But this post will be about my siblings and our children and the pet names that have been given to us. 

My nickname, given to me by my mom is "Baby Boo-Boo Bear".  That seems like a mouthful but usually it gets shortened to"Boo-Boo Bear" or just "Boo-Boo".  Or if it's in writing or an email it's "BBB".  .

This is my brother, Seanoa Drake.  He's half Samoan and obviously quite handsome.  He's always gone by his middle name Drake.  His nickname started out as "Bug" but has been lengthened to "Buggie".  My sister and I always tease him that he's the favorite.  And my mom has made feeble attempts to deny it.  But being a mom of 4 kids, 3 of them boys, I completely understand that it's not a matter of favorites at all but more of that special bond between a mom and her boy.  Although it's still fun to tease him about it.  Especially when we get to throw the nickname "Buggie" in there.    Because Mercedes had a hard time saying his name when she was little, my kids call him "Uncle Jerky". 
My sister and I are fiercely protective of him; Me in more of a maternal, nurturing sense and my sister in more of a "mess with him, you mess with me", "let's take this out back" sense.

This is my sister, Whitney Jace.  She's 1/4 Italian and obviously a knockout.  It could be argued that she's my mom's favorite because not only does she have a nickname... she has a whole slogan!  It's "Whitney Jace With The Baby Doll Face."  Of course we don't greet her with this lengthy phrase but we will lovingly sing it to her at random.  Yes.  I said sing.  Kind of surprises you that we don't still refer to her as "the baby" anymore, doesn't it?  Since Mercedes had a hard time saying her name when she was little, my kids call her "Aunt Mitney".  (Let me take this moment to assure you that Mercedes speaks just fine nowadays.)  Whit will get upset if the kids call her anything but "Aunt Mitney".  If they call her "Aunt Whitney" she demands that they call her the right name and won't respond until they do. 

"WJWTBDF" with Nick. Who doesn't have a nickname since Mercedes speaks fine now that she's not two.

The grandkids all call my dad "Papa".  I have to say that it makes it very easy to distinguish between which grandparents that we're talking about when you have a "Papa" and a "Grandpa".  The only question now is should I write "Dad" or "Papa" on the envelope when I forward the dental bills?
I love this picture of my dad and Brandon. I don't think my mom has given Brandon any nicknames but my Grandma has.  She calls him "pedolito".  That's all I'm going to say about that.

Mercedes nickname is "Sadie Bug".  Here she is with Kylie.  Ky is my cousin.  Her mom (my aunt)  is 6 months younger than me and was one of my best friends growing up here in California. 

Beau is named after our baby brother, Timothy Beau, who died of S.I.D.S at 6 weeks old when I was 14.  My Beau's nickname is "Beau-skee". 

Reef's nickname is "Reefy".  Which seems very generic but my mom also has a little something that she says to him to make him feel special.  It's a borrowed slogan from a fast food chain.  Can you guess it?  "Where's The Reef?"

Cruz is "Cruzers". But he is more commonly known by my mom as "My Sweet Face Boy". And he does have a sweet face. Unfortunately, it's not looking so sweet after having a quick meeting with the pavement.

Nothing a little bit of ice cream couldn't cure, though!  Thanks Papa! (The bill is in the mail!)

This is Jayda Rae.  She is Jessica's and "Buggie's"  gorgeous girl who is soon to be a big sister.  She's also known as "Punkadoodle".  She's the sweetest little thing.  So far she's the only grandchild with brown eyes and they just melt me.  She's also got some BIG britches.  It's not uncommon to find her with her hand on her hip running the show.  She's going to be a good big sister.

Jessica was such a sport to host us all even on the brink of delivering Baby #2

This is Whit's daughter, Brooklyn.  My mom originally gave her the nickname of "Sunshine Girl" (pronounced "Shunshine) but lately she's been calling her "Tuntin".  I'm not sure if it's a spin off of "pumpkin" or because she does funny things with her tongue.  Maybe both.  She is so adorable that it just kills me.  My mom thinks she looks a lot like me when I was an adorable baby.  I think she's growing out of that, though.  Not the part about being adorable.... just looking like me. 

Drake and Jess have decided to name Baby #2 (a boy) Seanoa Drake, after daddy.  He will go by "Noa", a shortened version of his first name.  I love that they've chosen to do this.  So far we refer to him as "Baby Noa" but that's soon to change once my mom catches sight of him.

And finally, the grand finale... the woman that started us all... my mom.  Once again, let me state that it's very easy to differentiate between the grandma's when one has a nickname.  My kids will correct us if we call her "Grandma" or "Grandma DiMatteo".  It's "Go-Ma".  And just like her license plate frame says,   "Go-Ma's The Name, Spoilin's The Game."

And let's face it.  Since I'm the oldest, I'd like to argue that I'm the favorite!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back 2 School 2012

And they're off!!!

There goes Mercedes, sprinting out of the blocks.  Her comment to me?  "I can't wait for 8th grade to be over because then I can go to High School!"  Slow down, baby birl.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have a teenager!!  She loves her classes and teachers and said she couldn't have picked them better herself.  And I'm so grateful that she has a church friend in one of her classes.  It sounds like there's going to be some church history discussed and I'm sure it's going to be very skewed.  *crossing fingers*

I also can't believe that Beau is in 5th grade.  We hung around outside his classroom this morning waiting for Ms. Teacher to open the door.  When it was time to say goodbye I asked if it would be embarassing for him to hug me before I left.  He quietly said no but gave me the quickest half-hug I think I've ever had.  That's okay.  I'll take what I can get.  He's more than generous with those hugs at home.

This will be an interesting year for Reef.  He had the same teacher for Kindergarten and 1st Grade so 2nd Grade will be a brand new experience for us.  He was all excitement and smiles this morning when he woke up at 6:30am ready for the first day of school.  I hope he starts every day with that same positive attitude.  (But maybe just not so early in the morning!)

Here's looking forward to a great 2012-2013 school year!!!


Friday, August 17, 2012

A really long post about a really short vacation

As easy as it'd be to say "just click here" to read about our Southern Californian vacation (thanks, Marie!) I figured now is as good a time as any to get myself back on the blogging grid.
This has been an atypical summer for our family.  About this time I am usually counting the days before school starts.  We are usually so "FUNgover" from the summer's different vacations that a return to normalcy and routine is just what we're craving by now.  But not this year.  Not even close.  Besides a 3 day jaunt to a friend's cabin, YW camp, and some boating days that I can count on one hand, we had nothing going on.  Not even a single swim lesson, baseball camp, or dance camp was scheduled.  But one thing we did plan in advance and looked forward to in earnest was our trip down south to visit the 'SoCal Crew' of Brandon's annual Cabo surf trip.

This beautiful family, the Wallwork's, have been some of our cherished friends for a long time.  They were kind, patient, (and possibly crazy) to let us crash their home. 

 Marie, Emry, Glenn, Lila, Brutus, and Ethan

First stop was the beach.  We didn't care that we had to wait in line to get a parking spot.  Catching some waves without having to gear up in wetsuits was one of the highlights of the trip.

The next stop was the Lundquist's home with this amazing swimming pool.  The kids stayed in this pool jumping and sliding and swimming until they were literally dragged out at night's end.  

The adults joined in on the fun, too.

  There aren't any pictures of it but the kids and I made a train and rode down and I even went down the slide double-decker style with my man. 
When we weren't playing around in the pool we were chatting and gobbling up some delicious Filet Mignon and Lobster Tails.  These SoCalites do some gourmet BBQing!

Just a few of the SoCal Crew Eric, (the homeowner), Ryan (the new daddy), Glenn (BBQ Master Extraordinaire), Ryan (the Newcomer), Matt (the mellowest), and Brandon (my personal favorite)

The next day we went to the beach in Encinitas.  We've had many beach days but this was a beach day to go down in the books!  Of course we were stoked to be amongst friends and fellow surfers but the weather was unreal.  We had barely stuck the umbrella in the sand when these two paddled out for some tandem surfing.

Watching all of the kids grab boards at random, wax them up, and paddle out all on their own makes a surfer's heart swell with pride.  (Not that I'm calling myself a surfer.  But I was very proud nonetheless.)

(Beau, Reef & Brandon, Mercedes, and Emry)

Mercedes and Emry taking off on a wave together that they paddled for all by themselves!!!

This little guy does NOT like getting left out.  I think he really gets his feelings hurt that he's not out there with the rest of the family. 

And believe me, I know how he feels.  So I put my husband in charge of Cruz, grabbed a board and paddled out myself!  Of course, there are no pictures to document it but let it be known to my posterity that I actually caught a few waves this day!  Brandon eventually put Mercedes in charge of Cruz, paddled out and we had ourselves a little surfing reunion. 

By the way, Mercedes is a very good babysitter!

The next day was church so we figured it'd be a good time to get some great photos while we were all dressed up.

(Emry, Beau, Mercedes, Cruz, Lila, Brutus the dog, Ethan, Reef)

I can't remember the last time we've taken a family photo!

Words can't explain how much I love this man!

Admire, Crazy about, Smitten, Adore, Cherish, Fancy, Idolize, Treasure.................. just to name a few! 

I enjoy watching these two together.  They can laugh but can also talk business.  They can discuss matters spiritual and matters temporal.  They keep it real.  And then they laugh some more.

And then they nap.  What better to do on a Sunday afternoon?

Marie was such an easy and mellow hostess.  She made us feel right at home and fed us some delicious meals.  She's a great cook, you know.  Follow the first link at the top of my blog post and she will inspire you to cook and eat natural and healthy.  We also share a love for thrift store shopping.  Marie is an amazing woman that I am glad to number among my friends.  It is so easy to pick up where we left off and ease right into a comfortable pace together.  She said some nice things about me on her blog but I want her to know that she inspires me, too!  I have some great memories of early motherhood, datenights and dancing, camping, and just pure enjoyable visits and conversation with  her.  And I know there will be more memories made as we continue to nurture our friendship.

There was no rest for Marie on this Sabbath day as she prepared to host 5 other families for Sunday Dinner.  The kids played together very well and the adults entertained eachother with stories from their missions and from previous surf trips to Cabo. 

Amy & Ryan Fifield

Jason & Jennifer Fifield

Ryan & Sarah Swindel with their youngest, Mason

Jeannette (Marie's sister) & her daughter Kylee

 Cruz even got a haircut from Uncle G-Dub.  The first haircut he never cried through.  Glenn must have made an impression on Cruz because he would give Glenn random hugs and snuggles that he doesn't dish out to just anyone.  And I think Cruz cracked his first joke during his haircut.  If that's the case, his Daddy better come up with some new material.  He's got some competition coming.

And what better to finish off a nice Sabbath day than a walk to the park?

We had fun playing around with some glow sticks and slow shutter speeds of the camera.  Emry read how to do things like this in a book. 

The last day was spent in the pool and at the Pizza Factory.

We hated to have to cut this trip short but have returned with bigger hearts as we have gathered in more people to love and have grown to love others more than we did before. 

It looks like the Summer of 2012 wasn't so much of a bust after all!