I freaking love my Ruiz cousins. Technically, I am their wacky step-cousin from California, but no one ever makes that distinction (about the step-cousin, not so much the wacky). As far as Dave’s family is concerned I am a Ruiz: a penchant for cheesecake and fart jokes is enough to get you “in” with these people.
I came into the family a shy only child who was completely overwhelmed by the noise level and constant activity and OH MY GOD THE NOISE. I thought people were fighting but it turns out everyone just yells everything all the time. OK. Nichole is the oldest of the Ruiz kids and literally took me by the hand the first time we met and included me in some game she and the others were playing. She is wonderfully loud and outspoken and bossy – the ideal Queen Bee of the kids. Although I am older than she is, I see her as our ringleader and criminal mastermind and feel so blessed that she is my family.
Andrea was the baby of the family for a long time and usually got sucked into some ridiculous game that Nichole, Tamara (Andrea’s big sis) and I made up. It’s a miracle she didn’t suffer more concussions what with us deciding that the “physical challenge” when we played Double Dare required her to endanger her life. I’d like to think the torment she suffered at our hands made her a stronger, smarter person. Plus, she got to keep the tradition of harassing the little ones alive once her younger brother was born. Circle of life, kids. She is a smart, quiet, funny girl and it’s so cool to see her all grown up now.
This last weekend these two brilliant cousins of mine graduated from college and are going to set the world on fire. (Not literally, although with our family YOU NEVER KNOW.)
And because no Ruiz family gathering is complete without CAKE I present the super-classy photos of these geniuses:
Congratulations, you crazy, brilliant, gorgeous ladies. I would take the Physical Challenge for you any day.