This album is a gift for our beloved daughter Ana, who successfully graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Geography/Environmental Studies and minors in Geospatial Information Systems and Public Affairs. We put together 22 years of precious memories to remind her how much we love her.


Mom and Dad

Baby Ana

For 9 months I dreamed about you, I imagined you, I felt you growing inside of me. And when you finally were born on June 8, 1998, I knew we were the luckiest couple in the world and had been entrusted with the biggest gift and the most rewarding job: to be your parents.

Your abuelos from México, Olga and René, were so happy to meet you. In fact, my mom was in the delivery room! Later you named them Yeyi and Ne.

Your grandparents from Michigan, Pat and Anne, better known as Papa and Nana, could not get enough of you either!

Dad and you liked to do piggyback rides.

You probably don’t remember your first trip to Niagara Falls.

You have always been close to Lala (Aunt Laura).

Here I was pregnant with your brother Pablo. You were ready to be a big sister.

You’ve always been a great sister for your brothers. Here with baby Pablo.

Young Ana

Seeing you grow has brought me so much joy. I have lost count on the number of friends you have. We were so blessed to live in such a safe community when you were young. Saint Thomas School, Wilcox Park and Wallinwood Street were safe places where you could do what children are supposed to be doing: play, laugh, be happy.

Going to Mexico has always been fun, a time to reconnect with our family there, practice your Spanish and try new activities and new food!

Halloween running up and down our street, with your brothers following your lead, was an adventure every year. The season started with picking up costumes and carving pumpkins and ended with hiding candy from mom and dad!

You have always been a great sister for Pablo and Daniel. Michigan’s Adventure was always a must every summer.

Upper Elementary

As you kept growing, it was clear that the day didn’t have enough hours for all the things you wanted to do. You tried everything and you were good at everything!

Uncle Jack had a special way to make kids laugh. You were speechless when he took his dentures out during dinner once!

Daddy-Daughter dance was a big event at St. Thomas. Dad was so proud of going with you! You were growing so fast!

Baking has always held an attraction for you. I’m sure you helped me decorate this cake. Eventually you became the baker of the family.

The only one of my children that was an altar server!

Summers at the cottage… Being the only granddaughter, you were the only cousin allowed to invite a friend every year!

Blandford School (6th Grade)

I wonder if going to a school located next to the Blandford Nature Center helped in any way to foster your love for the environment. You learned to identify all the trees and leaves in the trails, to get sap from the trees, to make jelly from blueberries, raise chickens, and spent most of the school year outdoors.

You always had fun with your brothers and cousins even though you were the only girl (until Una and Lenore came along).

You always have been good at mixing friends from different schools and making them all feel that they belong.

Having your own chicken and selling eggs was so much fun!

Middle School

I wanted to stop the passage of time, but at the same time enjoyed watching you become a teenager. The sports became more competitive and you continued to excel in school and grow your circle of friends.

Watching you play basketball was the highlight of my winters. I don’t think there was another mother that cheered as loudly as me!

Sisters for a year. Montse lived with us as an 8th grader. You were attending 7th grade at St. Thomas.

Dad loved being your softball coach that summer

Time with the Corcoran cousins at the lake always translated in lazy days in the water, rainy days playing Monopoly, and a tight circle around the fireplace telling scary stories after eating yummy S’mores.

Catholic Central High School

Catholic Central was an easy transition for you since most of your friends moved with you. For Dad and I was a little different since we were not as involved with school, except with sports.

I loved having you at Spanish Camp as a helper, after being a camper yourself since your preschool years.

You loved your uniform at Catholic Central. In fact, it’s still hanging in your closet today!

Papa and Nana never missed a sports event. They were the first ones to proudly cheer for you and your brothers.

During Daniel’s First Communion in second grade. The little angel!

The Cone Shoppe was the place to go for ice cream. You could always count on seeing somebody from the neighborhood. A must after the Spring Program.

Art Prize was the time where Downtown Grand Rapids would come to life. A perfect excuse to stroll with some of your good friends.

Ireland

Summer 2014 was particularly hard for you. We needed to pack, sell our house and move to California. On top of that you were traveling to Ireland with Irish Life Experience. Being your last summer in Michigan, you had second thoughts about going, but at the end it was so worth it! You got to visit a very important part of your heritage. In your own words, you walked away from the experience with a second family and a second home!

Knowing you, I’m sure there’s no beer in that glass!

More friends to love.

Papa and Nana were so happy you visited the country of their roots.

Irvine High School

Moving as a junior was tough for you. I wondered if we made a big mistake coming to California. You had to start all over, make new friends and gain your place in a school with more than 2,000 students. What you accomplished in two years was incredible. By the end of your senior year you had shown outstanding scholarship, citizenship, effort, overall excellence and great leadership, which made you a recipient of the Principal’s Award that year! So proud of you!

Going to the games at the high school was a big thing on Friday nights.

Your friends were always big fans of you!

Being part of ASB expanded your leadership skills and gave you a place in the student community.

Love to see how close you are to your brothers. They look up to you!

Your friends from Michigan in California? What else is there to ask?!

Exploring some college options with your abuelos.

Irvine High School - Prom and more

You looked so pretty in all your formal dances! But the best of all, you were prettier in the inside!

Irvine High School Graduation

The day you turned 18 years old was your High School graduation, June 8, 2016. You graduated with Highest Honors. Nobody could be prouder of you than Mom and Dad. Actually, your brothers were so happy for you, and Papa and Nana made the trip from Michigan to be with you on that special day.

Mexico

Going to Mexico every year has been part of your life since you were born. With all my family living there, vacations in Mexico were more than just an exotic place to practice your Spanish and try new foods. It meant getting to know your abuelos, tíos, primos and all my extended family. It meant learning about your heritage, seeing the country where your mother grew up and understanding who I am. At the end, I wanted you to feel that Mexico is your home too.

Your great grandma Güicha was so happy to have met you! She couldn’t stop touching you! Our last night together, she held your foot all night and the next day, insisted on going to the airport to say good-bye.

Having big gatherings is the only way to see as many people as we can in one trip. Here with all the Diaz family from your abuelo’s side.

A visit to the zoo in Chapultepec was a must every visit, first enforced by brother Pablo and then followed by Daniel.

A visit to Acapulco was always a treat to visit Montse’s family.

Celebrating Yeyi and Ne’s 50 th wedding anniversary.

Here at the “Isla de la Piedra” in Mazatlan, a traditional destination to eat good fish, have a piña colada and why not, enjoy a banana ride in the ocean!

The photos taken by tío Juan turned out great despite the weather not cooperating!

UCLA

When you decided to attend college at UCLA, we knew you’d picked the right place. Being one of the best public universities in the country, you’d receive the best education possible. It also had the spirit and social life that suits your boundless energy and friendly personality. And to top it all off, you graduated Summa Cum Laude! We couldn’t be prouder of you! In your father’s words: “We’re proud of her, not just for being an excellent student, but also for her big heart and being a loving sister and great example for her younger brothers”.

Moving day… My baby grew up!

With Julia, one of your first friends at UCLA.