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(day seven) Happy 18th Birthday Sandra!

Thank you Kelly for the cool graphic. I jacked it from your FB post : )

The day is finally here! Please join me in wishing Sandra a very Happy Birthday!

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(day six) My Sandra…

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I did not had the privilege of being a mother in this life. And that is something that I would have liked to experience. But not one day goes by that I don’t feel so grateful to my two sisters Kim and Sheryl and my brother Brian, for sharing their children with me. I have felt the love, probably even stronger than any mom could, being an Aunt to all my nieces and nephews. I love each one of them more than anything in my life. I hope I have been a good aunt to them and I hope they know I will always be here for them as they go on and build their own futures.

My Sandra Marlene is the “light of my life”. She makes me smile from deep inside every time I am in her presence. She has been the one person in the world that has given me more joy and happiness and has given me a reason to believe in myself. She is my VP! She is my friend, and she is the most funny, smart and beautiful person I know.

I found this note Sandra wrote me a long time ago…

as I read it, I realized she HAS done something for me. Sandra, you have done more for me than I have ever done for you. Your debt has been paid in full sweetie pea. The love and respect you give me every time we are together is my true happiness.

Its almost your birthday Sandra. I can’t wait to celebrate with you this weekend! And on this day (Happy Birthday Dad/PeePaw : ) I wish you a wonderful last day of being a kid. Cause come tomorrow, your world is about to get good! Thank you for being You. Thank you for letting me love you.

Until tomorrow…

Love, Aunt Lisa : )

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(day five) Friends and “Team Tangerine”

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Sandra’s friends are so AMAZING! I have had the privilege of meeting most of them and they all know me as “Aunt Lisa”. You will have to ask her why they are “Team Tangerine”. Some things I just don’t question.

I had a little trouble finding pics of her with her friends, as a kid . Sandra was a bit of a loner in her early days. I remember trying to teach her how to make friends and not be afraid to just include herself in groups at school. But she’d much rather hang inside with the teacher at recess or sit alone.

Sandra's Brownie Troop in Aliso Viejo back in 2002.

I worried about her, and even started a Brownie troop just for her (and of course I was the troop leader : ). But she caught on, and built her own network of buddies! And now it comes so natural to her to be “bubbles” and a leader of her pack.

I love the way Facebook and iPhones has allowed kids to share images with each other and their families. Sandra is a photographer at heart and is always capturing “the moments of her life” and posting and sharing.

Sabrina, Sandra, Collin and Ryan. True friends for 10 years!

Sandra has made some lasting friends over the past 10 years or so. Ones she will keep her whole life. I know that to be true because, even after graduation, they are all still together. And because I have a few friends of my own who I’ve know and loved for over 35 years! Right Jacquie? My boyfriend Paul and I have know each since we were 14. So long-lasting friendships run in our family!

I hope everyone that reads this post will share a comment to their friend Sandra and tell her how much they treasure her friendship. The best gift you can give someone you love for their Birthday is kind words of gratitude that will make them smile : )

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(day four) Sisters…

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This post is gonna be my favorite cause I get to talk about Sabrina! She so gets overlooked having a big sister, but she is an amazing kid and I don’t think she gets the spotlight she deserves.

One thing I have enjoyed noticing about their relationship is the growth from sisters to friends. Just like me and my two sisters, Kim and Sheryl, we are always happy to be around each other and truly like each other as people. I think we have passed that trait on to the girls and that makes me very happy!

I love that Sabrina has called Sandra “Sister” her whole life. Sabrina always took care of Sandra growing up. I don’t think Sandra realized it at the time, but she does more now. Sabrina helped her when she couldn’t do it herself, and looked up to her always. And what is so cool to watch now, the grown up way they both are around each other. I love them both so very much! And looking thru the pics of them together , I know they love each other too!

One of my favorite group of pics is the one where Sandra progressively gets tired of the camera and the holding of her baby sister. Makes me laugh every time I see it.

What a joy it has been for me to be able to watch them grow up to the beautiful and funny and sweet (yes, Sheryl they are always sweet to Aunt Lisa) girls!

You both make me very proud to be your Aunt : )

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(day three) The ones who love her the most…

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I spent most of the day gathering and organizing photos. What a beautiful family I have.

Sandra’s family started with two young friends of mine, Sheryl and Carlos. I remember the both of them as one unit and they were kind enough to include me in their group. Even though Sheryl happens to also be my younger sister (of 11 yrs), I felt more like we were best friends. I know people say that a lot about their family, but for me, it is true. I would of chosen her as my friend without the family tie. And Carlos was a great father to Sandra! I miss him and I am truly sad for him that he has missed out on her life.

This love has never faded.... only gotten stronger every day.

Sandra's Parents Sheryl and Carlos

Carlos and Sandra

Sandra has amazing cousins, aunts and uncles and such a large extended family, I wanted to post pics of everyone and note them all, but there are just too many.

But there are a few that needed to be a part of this page because they have shared in the make up of Sandra’s character and personality. Sandra has had the gift of living with her Grandma “GranGran” her entire life. GranGran (GG) has watched over her and the whole family, and kept a roof over everyone’s head. She made our holidays beautiful and our birthdays so much fun! We are so blessed to have our GG! Jesse is Sandra’s Step dad. What a wonderfully caring and loving man he has been to our family. He loves Sandra as his own and has provided for her everything she needs and deserves. Thank you Jesse for loving our family and being a great role model to the girls. Sandra’s little sister, Sabrina is so special that I have decided to save tomorrow’s post just for her. So check in then and I’ll share more about the two of them….

GranGran with Sandra and Edward

Jesse and Sheryl

Sandra and her sister Sabrina.

Sandra (and the rest of the gang), I hope you will forgive me if I shared a photo or two that you would of rather I had run thru Photoshop. Believe me, in my eyes, none of you need any retouching!

There are a few people who had to leave us too early and did not get the chance to know Sandra the way I do. Her “PeePaw” was one of those people. He was here until she was about four. I know he has watched over her and smiles every time we are all together, and laughs along with us as we laugh together. He will always be a part of our lives. At 10:10 am or pm our family remembers “Aunt PeePaw” and we always will.

This photo was taken the morning after Peepaw passed away. This photo was framed and placed in my dad’s arms. My favorite part of this image is that no one directed the kids to hug each other or pose… that was all them! I love the natural love of my family : )
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(day two) Once upon a time…

Sandra's first day out and about the world!

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…there was a little girl named Sandra.

I can’t quite recall that day she arrived. I remember more the days and months after, when she started to grow and crawl and walk and tap dance in the foyer of GranGran’s house in Aliso Viejo. She was a super calm and happy smiley baby. Her mom and dad were so in love with her and she was always surrounded by love.

Sandra was definitely a lucky little girl to have so many people there in the beginning of her life. Her parents Sheryl and Carlos, GranGran and PeePaw, all her aunts and uncles, and cousin Kelly! So much love : ) Her cousin Edward was not far behind in arriving (April 10). The pair were inseparable and are still very close today. So close in fact, that they now share a room, share friends and are planning their college lives together!

If i had to share one memory about Sandra’s early years (and I guess I do, cause this blog was my idea : ) It would be the way she lit up the room with her sparkly eyes and smile. There is nothin better than a baby’s smile! So true and pure and untouched.

Sandra’s smile made my heart so happy. I love being her Aunt. She is the light of my life!

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Our family is a circle of…

Our family is a circle of strength and love…
With every birth and every union the circle grows…
Every joy shared adds more love…
Every crisis faced together
makes the circle grow stronger.

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