Aunty Files: Isaac Turns 4

Aunty Files: Isaac Turns 4

My nephew’s at the age where he’s really excited for his birthday. He was so excited when I visited, the first thing he said to me was “Aunty Relly! It’s almost my birthday!”

Grandma Elaine and Grandpa Noni had just flown into town and we waited until almost midnight to sing happy birthday to him. His birthday party wasn’t until the weekend and my parents were going to miss the party, so my sister baked some homemade cookie butter cupcakes so our whole family could be together to celebrate his actual birthday. He was so ecstatic – he sang the happy birthday song with us and blew out his candles with a big smile.

Aunty Files: Babysitting

Aunty Files: Babysitting

My entire week in Arizona was mostly spent babysitting these cuties. It was a sweet departure from my last visits in May when I could only stay for a day each time. My nephew is now a little older so he always remembers his Aunty Relly, but my niece is already shy so it takes a while for her to warm up to me. After babysitting her for about a week, I hope the next time I visit she’s yelling Aunty Relly too.

Took some photos for the Aunty Files.


Aunty Files: Merbaby and Friends

Aunty Files: Merbaby and Friends

I think it’s important to gift my niece and nephew with things that are meaningful and memorable. My niece just turned 1 last month, and I have no idea what toys or clothes she already has. As her only aunt (read favorite aunt) I want to get her cute things!So when I saw that Lexi Lizama from reopened her Etsy shop, I messaged her right away for a custom order.

Lexi is a Pacific Islander like myself and–inspired by her adventures with her sweet daughter Aaliyah–she makes the most adorable merbaby dolls and sea friends from soft colorful felt and hand stitched detailing.

Lexi is super sweet. She was super helpful and sent me a custom Etsy link for my order. At only $30 for both the custom merbaby and seahorse, and the fact that she was able to make and ship my order within just a few days, it was all so worth it! I placed the order while I was on a trip to the Dominican Republic and was so excited when I got to Arizona and found that the order had arrived! Just in time too since I only had a couple of days with my niece before I was to return to American Samoa.

My order was wrapped in white tissue paper and twine. She also included my message “To my sweet little merbabe Rachel”.

My nephew helped his baby sister open her present and let her rip off the tissue to reveal her merbaby.

I requested a merbaby with light brown skin (for my little asian pacific islander niece) and braided black hair. I wanted this merbaby to have a friend and asked for the seahorse plush in complementing colors.

My sister noticed the special details right away, like the twinkle of the merbaby’s eye, and the secured stitching at the end of her braided hair to prevent from unbraiding and flyaways.

My niece is an observer, so she held it skeptically at first. I imagine her thinking to herself: what is this… it’s soft but it doesn’t smell like mom… oh but it looks like her… ok I like it!

I really like the size of these plush merbabies too. It was larger than I expected, which is nice so Rachel can hug them for warmth and comfort while she’s still tiny, and she can still hug them as she gets older.

This merbaby and seahorse plush was the perfect gift for Rachel’s belated birthday. It has all the elements of what makes a gift from an aunt so special, and it felt great to support a small business and artsy friend! I hope my niece goes on many adventures with her merbaby friends.

Check out @MeandMyMerbaby on their website, instagram, and etsy!

*This is not a sponsored post!

Diary of an Aunty: Summer 2018

Diary of an Aunty: Summer 2018

Oh my goodness time flies and these cuties just get cuter! I am so incredibly blessed to have the chance to go and visit my nephew and niece every year.

It always feels like eons waiting for summer to come around and my bank account is weak but when I’m hanging out with them and we’re bonding over a fish book that Ian picked out a couple years ago and my nephew’s super excited to read it for us… It just feels so good.

Also my tiny 3-year old nephew who barely spoke the last time I saw him showed me a photo of his class playing with puzzles and I asked him if he was able to solve the puzzle – he straight up said to me “it wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy”. What??? Who taught you that kind of reasoning in response to a very simple question?! You’re 3!! How do I even respond to that?? I’m just “aunting” real hard here heheh.

My 1-year old niece is also too adorable for words. She’s different from Isaac: she doesn’t (yet) like people as much as Isaac did when he was that age, gives you a skeptical look when you try to pick her up, she is a total mama’s girl, and she has a hilarious toothy smile when she laughs. But she’s also super observant, gives the best kiss we when you say besos, and makes my heart melt when she’s reaching for her blankie in her sleep.

The two of them together, they’re just the perfect little kids in my eyes. Isaac’s always talking about his little sister with affection, always tries to make her smile, shares his toys with her and is patient with her when she hogs the toys. Rachel is learning lots from her big brother. She laughs every time he makes a funny face for her, or when he runs around and does something silly, she plays with him even if it’s trucks or puzzles.

I forget sometimes that these tiny humans came out of my sister’s womb. It’s nuts to me. We were that age once, my sister, me, and my baby brother. We were best friends and confidants, with some headaches in between. All these little moments make me so happy.