Thursday, September 29, 2011

Say cheese!

Gigi, September 2010, 2 years & 3 months at her first Picture Day
Almost exactly one year today Gigi took the above picture at the local Montessori Preschool she attends. Look at that winning smile and gleaming eyes. Picture perfect right?......not! What this picture does not show is that while she is smiling away here she is actually sitting on my lap and the photographer cropped me out, lol! Reaallleey!

Earlier that morning I got a phone call from her school's director saying that "Mrs. DePerio, Gigi has been practicing taking her pictures and has done so well..but this morning she refuses to take a picture." I let her teacher know that I was nearby and I'd help out. Gavin at the time was four months old and thankfully was portable in the bjorn and still slept a lot. I packed the boy and I and we headed to Gigi's school. When we got there, I swear, my child was a hot mess. Her eyes were red, slightly swollen and she was crying like someone had hurt her.  I brought some bribery (candy) and it worked like a charm...except that she did not want to let go of me..and refused to take a picture without me. I suggested to the photographer to take a picture while I sat in the background (strategically) so that he could easily edit me out. And that worked great. I was told that her picture was one of the best! Hahahaha! It took a team (photographer, teacher, and mother) to get that shot. *Phew*


Fast forward to the present day and I cannot help but observe just how much my little darling girl has grown..physically, socially, and mentally. Check out the behind the scenes pics from today:

Last year, no one could touch her but me. Look at her now =)

That winning smile veiled with an inner confidence...all her baby! No mother needed to be cropped out this time.

And there was another huge difference this time around. The photographers allowed for an option where siblings could be included in the pictures! Umm, hello?! YESSSSS!!! I was soooo all over that. So Gavin comes along and he actually gets to be part of it. Check out our lil' confident..he'll definitely be ready next year for an early pre-school education as well:

I'm #1 right? Right!

Making himself at home ;D

My personal fave. He sat himself on this chair and wanted to be just like everyone else. CUTIE!

Class pic sans Gavin

 What melted my heart most was seeing the two together.

Gigi is morphing into a good big sister and welcomed her little brother into her domain (her school). *Happy sigh*.

Our lives can be so busy at times that one year can fly by and the details of it all is a complete blur.  I've learned that snapping a few pictures along the way allows us to hold on to those moments. Documenting is important to me because it cements the important details I don't want to leave to chance to our often fallible and sometimes inaccurate memories...

Photographs allow for those precious moments to be re-lived in our minds and hearts. And to me, that is absolutely priceless :)

Happy Thursday and have a C&B weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Each other's light

This past Tuesday Gavin and I went to visit our dear Jojo's final resting place. Since my internal GPS is non-existent (I get lost very easily), Gavin and I found ourselves in "Noor Terrace" where all the gravestones were in arabic??...I was like uh, wrong continent, LOL! I have to mention that this was the first time I'd ever gone to a cemetery on my own. We usually visit Julio and Dad (Gerald's father) together and I was a little scared to go on my own. But... I was seriously non-functional from sadness the night before and that morning was no different. I really wanted to visit him.

Since Jojo was not a "flower-kinda-guy" friends and loved ones brought him various items: Voss water and a Diet Coke. Since it was a Tuesday game night, our contribution was a baseball with his name and number on it and a bag of chips =)

It was an adventure getting there though! I finally had the good sense to call Erle and he gave me the directions to where to find Jojo. I followed the directions and found him. After looking at a myriad gravestones that were not his, I was relieved to get there, talked to him for a bit, cried, and gave him the things we were there to deliver. I was still sad but felt ready to function again. I then decided to visit other loved ones that have gone before us.

We visited Juju and brought him the little Fall themed globe. Later when we got home the picture of Juju, Noy, and Lorenzo from our wedding hung loosely outside of its frame. Juju and I had a special bond and I think that was his little "hello" to me :)

I was lost (again) and could not find Dad's gravestone and by accident, I discovered Auntie Cecille's final resting place. I was happy to see her and I think she was happy to see us too :) After a second phone call to Gerald, he set me on the right path and I was glad to be able to deliver the flowers for Dad.


When a loved one is no longer with us the pain left by their absence is at times overwhelming. It is sad that their presence..their light.. is no longer with us. This is why we must be ever more present for those loved ones who are still here. Small gestures of love, thoughtfulness, and encouragement is how we successfully navigate life's storms because being each other's light is the absolute greatest gift we can give :)

Till next time, please be safe and make all your days count! 

Forget the bad, hold on to the good, and have a charmed and blessed weekend all!

=) ;D :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Kauai Marathon

One of my favorite things to do is to have coffee with a dear friend or loved one and just chit chat and talk about the nitty gritty of their day-to-day. We share the highs, we also share the lows. We celebrate, mourn, dissect problems, create POA's (plan of actions), then part ways always with a heartfelt hug. The end result is that warm, fuzzy feeling of having connected to someone that really matters. I am recharged, my cup feels full again, and I can share with those who need it.

...My run two weeks ago at the Kauai Marathon felt like that. Except, that the South Shore of the Garden Isle of Kauai was a new friend that I got to know in those splendid, glorious, challenging, and tiring 13.1 miles


Love that purply, blue sky

My sister and Matt picked me up at our condo at around 5:36 am which was LATE because the race was due to start at 6 am.  (Gerald gallantly let me run while he watched the kids because our babysitting had fallen through =( The good thing is that we've rolled over his registration for next year. And YES. we're doing the half again and making an adult-only-island-hoping trip!)

Matt was mashing the Ford convertible rental and I felt bad they had to pick me up :( Oh well cuz we got to the starting line in the nick of time. I, however, did not get to the bathroom which I ALWAYS do at the beginning of a race. I was too anxious and I just wanted to be where everyone else the starting line.

The excitement of race day to me is always palpable. The fresh island air, the enthusiastic MC, the magnetic aura of mother nature untarnished by real estate development after real estate development heightened this feeling to the nth degree.

One lane of the two lane main highway in the Poipu area was closed for us runners. This allowed for the truly special meet-and-greet-feel of this run. The first three+ miles or so were quite pleasant except for the fact I had to stop and wait in line for the porto potties to pee. Boo. I will NEVER get used to using them. EEEEWW *shudders* One good thing about using the porto-toilets early on is that they are not as "tainted." That and the sun hasn't cooked their remains to the point that stepping inside them makes you dry heave, vomit, and want to do you your business out in nature. I only had to go once and the conditions were tolerably-horrid. Had I gone at the start of the race, I wouldn't have had to pee. But oh well. LESSON LEARNED.

At around 4+ miles I started feeling sluggish and FML (F/ my life) thoughts started popping up in my head. I thought to myself..hmmm..this is way too early for this. I usually don't get those thoughts until around 6+ miles. Dang, I must be out of shape! But....after the race I was informed that the elevation rose sharply around this time.

Our cheerleaders helped us through those miles.

The magnificent scenery helped as well.

Runners helped each other out without even knowing it ;D

And the volunteers at the aid stations were phenomenal!

This is a picture of the ancient Tunnel of Trees. No picture or video for that matter will ever capture the feeling you get running/walking under these magnificent structures.

Mile 8 rolled around and I was starting to feel good again. There were some descents that helped but the sun as beautiful as it was, did not. I veered off the "running lane" to the dirt road for some shade because heat is not typically a runner's friend. And being a veteran fainter and light weight anemic, I knew I needed to be very careful of heat-stroke, dehydration, and all those nasty heat-related ailments.

I remember feeling okay at mile 9.

The Aloha the locals showered us with was gratuitous and much appreciated. FYI: getting hosed down in the heat, as sexy & relieving as that sounds is neither. Wetness dries and chafing happens. I've never chafed this whole season until this run. Boo. Although it hurt, there was no blood. For that I'm thankful for!

Cheering on the local Taiko drummers helped me push through the last 3+ miles. That and thinking of Jojo getting better in the hospital made me push, push, push!

As physically demanding as this run was I managed to finish in less time than my first half marathon in June. More importantly never have I felt so "one with nature" as I did in Kauai during this run. Something awoke inside this coffee-loving, FB junkie, house-keeping-rebel...A profound yearning and new found appreciation for Mother Nature...I am forever changed and I am grateful.

Have a charmed and blessed week all!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Farewell beloved brother

There are some people we are connected to by blood, some by law, and some purely by love. Our kinship to Jojo was purely out of love and his passing has been an emotional earthquake for all us who cared for him. As we pick up the pieces and remember him, I would like to share my fond memories of my adopted little bro.

Larger than Life

Jojo came into our lives via my brother Erle and siter in law Jessica. My first impression of him was "Wow, this guy sure is loud." Then slowly, but surely we all welcomed him into our family and into our hearts. He was a one man party and his antics to make you laugh and feel good were endless. He had this signature dance move that would crack us up to no end.

One of his signature dance moves: get behind a dude (this time it was  my youngest brother Lyle), bend over slightly, look over your shoulder with a silly grin, jiggle a little and  voila! you've got "The Jojo" ;D

This fella had a fire in him that was constantly lit...He was seriously the most popular guy I knew. He was friends with so many different circles it was kind of dizzying. He loved all of us dearly and by yesterday's attendance and out-pour of emotion at his viewing, for a mere 30 year old- Jojo, you've got enough love to last you three full lifetimes!

Family man

Although Jojo had never fathered a child (not that we know of at least ;D ) he was a loving and doting Godfather to many! At his viewing yesterday his family prepared a beautiful picture slideshow of him and the amount of godchildren was again a little..dizzying. Heckaaaaa godkids this 30 year old had, lol! Another common thread among those that shared their memories about Jojo was his elaborate and extravagant ways he showed his affection to his family and friends. From giving his time, energy, and money...he spent all resources as if he had an endless supply.

Speaking of family, he always rolled with Erle & Jess at Dizon and Salinas get togethers, PacMan fights, birthdays and more. They were what I would describe a tri-pod, well balanced...just right. Always together these three were. Some would describe Jojo's presence as "side-bustin" but that was farthest from the truth. I would observe their interaction and their dynamic was effortless, pleasant, humorous, and real as it gets.

He got game

I had the pleasure of seeing him weekly during the Hooliganz softball practice (sometimes more that when there were family events on the weekends). This fella gave things his all in everything he could see him hustle on the field and cheering him on put a great big smile on his face. Gigi would say, "Go uncle Jojo!" 

Jojo was so adorable the day Gerald (my husband) got their team jerseys. He was so excited to wear it and since he was heavily involved with the selection of the color and style, Jojo was the first to pick up his jersey. He came over that day after work, super stoked. He put on his jersey and said "Sis, how do I look?" .."Good as always!" I said. It was the sweetest thing to see his sister Jessica was wearing his jersey yesterday...;D

Lyle, Biggie, & Jojo

This is the only team pic I have of Jojo and the boys. Go hooooliiiieeez!!

Farewell, brother

Dear Jojo, if you are checking your facebook in heaven please know that I love you dearly--WE ALL DO. You called me sis so I think you knew that. I didn't even get to see you on your birthday..your 30th. We didn't have babysitting and figured we'd see you on Tuesday for softball...but sadly did not. But...God's plans are indecipherable to us..What I know for sure is that you were a professional lover of life and knew damn well how to live! I miss your loud-ass immensely. Your death has broken us who love you. I am comforted only by the fact that your passing as tragic and sudden as it was...was God's will. I will hold on to my cherished memories of you. We will never forget you and you will always be loved. Farewell, sweet Jojo, farewell...

Until we meet again bruh..

Fam pic aboard Lyle's party bus