flowerssmall nicaart_014smallGentle • thoughtful• gentle soul • creative • artistic • a sweet girl• confident • observant • a good artist • gentle and kind • generous • interested • all smiles • kind • lots of ideas • artistic • quietly sweet • has a lot to say • sweet nature • very helpful and smart • #1 treasure collector • good team player • always full of smiles and sunbeams • quiet • sweet and diligent

From Veronica’s classmatesDonutsSmall

The Garden Goddess

by Mary

We know you as a good friend, a jeweler, a budding artist. And I wonder if everyone also knows that you were a Garden Goddess. How do I know that you were a Garden Goddess? The best cucumber I have ever eaten came from your personal garden. I remember once when I came over for dinner, that, in addition to the delicious cucumber, you also harvested—minutes before dinner—the greens that made up the salad. I remember your wise mother saying: “Dinner is almost ready—time for the salad!” You walked into your backyard to your raised bed and collected the ingredients. You prepared a perfect salad dressing after washing your harvest and delivered to the table the finished product: the freshest best tasting salad that could only come from a Garden Goddess.

I miss walking with you in the gardens.

Veronica Howard by me

by Veronica Howard

I was born on September 14, 2001, at Stanford University Hospital. My family was very happy when I was born. When I came home my eyes were still closed. My family adored me so much.

I was two years old when I first went to Death Valley. It was December, 2003, and we were camping at Furnace Creek. They have a golf course and a wonderful restaurant. They also have a pool and you can ride horses. We go there every year for Christmas.

I got my stuffed animal, Gingy, in 2004. Gingy is one of my favorite stuffed animals. I got it because my mom was shopping and I was bored so I grabbed a stuffed animal to play with. We walked out and I was still holding it. Then my mom saw I was still holding it and we went back in. My mom could not make me let go so whe bought it for me. I called him my man because I did not know how to say gingerbread man. Now I call him Gingy. He has three buttons and a big red nose. It was a really good day.

I went to Disneyland in 2007. The rides were so much fun. My favorite ride is called tea cups. I went there with my family and friends. We went on a ride where you go on a fire truck and you pumps. We also went on the Indiana Jones ride. It was scary but fun!

Now I am in 3rd grade. It is February 2011 and I am nine years old. My family is still very happy and I still love Gingy.


Touched by an Angel

by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Memories of Veronica on her Birthday

Robert with Baby Nica

From an observation at 8 months:

Nica watches her sister and a friend and turns toward them. She rubs her hand on a lambskin and starts to whimper. Ana-Maria calls her name and Nica calms down. Then Nica makes more frustrated cries and starts to frown. She picks up a toy and stops crying. Then she cries again. Nica watches as Ana-Maria calms her sister.  Nica continues to make whimpering noises, flexing and curling her feet and stretching out her hands.  Ana-Maria picks up Nica and holds her on her hip.  Ana-Maria walks to the kitchen with Nica on her hip.  A starts making a snack for the big girls, still holding Nica on her hip. Ana-Maria gets some rice crackers out and asks the big girls if they want crackers. Nica reaches out for the plastic bag the crackers are in and starts rubbing it back and forth between her fingers. Nica begins making sounds with the plastic bag by opening and closing her fist.

Robert and Nica

On the Tire SwingFrom Heidi T:

The tire swing was a magnet to most of the children in the class. They all loved having a swing on it, spinning round and round. Nica preferred not to spin, and so Ana Maria made sure that she was close by, to safeguard Nica from some of the more adventurous kids who would jump on, climb the chains, and start twisting. Here is one of my favorite photos of the two of them on the tire swing: Ana Maria’s smile is blazing like the sun, as usual, and Nica is gracing us with her sweet, demure grin.

Circle Time

Circle Time

Another moment illustrating the close bond that Ana Maria and Nica shared. This photo is another one of my favorites: it simply captures a moment that all of us have experienced a countless number of times: lounging with our child on a rug. Seemingly unremarkable, really. Yet, there are so many tiny details that make this photo spring to life for me: Nica always played with Ana Maria’s nametag. Always. When they sat on the rug, Nica would naturally gravitate to this position: snuggled between Ana Maria’s knees, almost like she was re-living the comfort of being born. And always, Ana Maria’s gentle, protective, capable hands were there, guiding Nica, and holding her close.

From Veronica’s Friends

I admire Nica because she was always caring and she would always comfort people if they were troubled.

Nica Fashion

Veronica's Fashions

From T

Something I really loved about Nica was she would always tell jokes and she was always fashionable. She wore those boots and hats.

I remember when Nica came over last and we made plans and drawings to build a replica of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. We were gonna use scraps of wood from her dad’s shed.

Nica and I always went to and from soccer sometimes carpooling together.  She was one of my best friends.

From M

Sam and Nica would want to always play Apples to Apples and Twister when I babysat them.  They always beat me. I had fun with them.

From M and T

We remember when Sam and Nica came over to our house after soccer.  We built this enormous fort out of blankets and chairs and pillows and couch cushions.

It had a cool entryway and a separate exit.  It was always so fun playing with Sam and Nica.  They helped us create places.

From A:

Something I really loved about Nica was . . . She is always nice

I admired Nica because. . .   She’s always very neat

I remember one time when Nica . . . invited me to her house with other book club kids and to watch “Matilda.” We had lots of fun

From E and M

Something I really loved about Nica was that she was a great friend.

I admired Nica because she was very talented and smart.  She helped in math sometimes.

I remember one time when Nica let me play Sorry with Maggie and her.  It was a good game.

Something I really loved about Nica was her sense of humor.

I admired Nica because she was very kind to people and loved everything that people did.

I remember one time when Nica wanted to spend most of the time with me and gave me her hat.

From A

I admire Veronica because of what a great friend she was. She was nice to me, and all of her friends. She always was smiling, and laughing. She was funny, nice and loyal. She never insulted me once since I met her. She really understood me. She was my sister. Veronica is an amazing person.

From O

I admired Nica because she was a really good friend, always kind and really flexible. She was always inclusive, never minded if someone wanted to join in to the activity she was doing. I really liked her style and sense of fashion.

From L

What I admired about Nica was that she was always so bright and happy.  I never saw her being sad or gloomy.  She was willing to teach me, tell me things, or to just simply play with me.  She was kind, happy and helpful with her friends.  When I played soccer with her, she was always passing a ball to a teammate, or trying to kick the ball through a gap in our opponents’ defense.  My memory of Nica is of an optimistic, loving girl who was always there for her friends.

From M

I still remember when we used to have lots of playdates in kindergarten and 1st grade, and we sat besides each other sharing a desk in 3rd grade just 2 months ago. I had great time playing with you, whether it was playing Build-a-Bear dress-up, or playing with water in your backyard. The toy horse you gave me is still on my desk, but I can’t play it with you any more. You were such a good friend and you were always nice to everyone. I miss you Nica.

With Stuffed Animals

From M

I remember one time when Nica had a Teddy Bear Fashion Show at her house. We made jewelry and outfits for our stuffed animals. Nica was really good at making jewelry and was very creative. That afternoon was a lot of fun.


I really loved how Nica dressed. She had these really great boots. And she wore skirts a lot when she would play soccer, which I thought was cool.

From G

Something I really loved about Nica was how friendly she was with everyone.

Nica Painting

From M

I admired how good at drawing Nica was.  Something I really loved about Nica was that she was so thoughtful. I remember one time we were playing at my house, and she wanted to save her blueberry muffin for her sister.

From S

Something I really loved about Nica was she was very kind and she was a great friend. When I was in 1st grade, I was very sad one day and she cheered me up.

I remember one time when Nica … I remember that on the last day of school Nica was selling ducktapes which can be used to decorate wallets.  I think all the money she made she would donate to the poor.

From C and J:

I remember one time in Kindergarten when me, Nica and some of our friends took a poster board and drew a house for my stuffed cat Calico.

I remember one time when Sam, Nica, my brother and I went driving around our neighborhood in their pink Barbie car. Then, Nica and I drove the car and Sam held onto the back of the car on roller skates.

I remember when Nica and Sam had a bunch of friends over in their backyard. Nica’s friends put on giant boxing gloves and we attacked Sam’s friends.  They fought back by throwing balls at us from the treehouse.

I remember when our bunny chewed through my Nintendo DS wires and Ana-Maria taught me how to splice the wires so they would work again.

From L

1.Something I really loved about Nica was…that she always was kind and considerate and caring. And she always stood up for me as a friend.

2. I admired Nica because…she would let others go before her in four square, she was good in soccer, and she always had a smile on her face.

3. I remember one time when Nica…scored the winning goal for our AYSO soccer team and made it so that coach got us all free cheeseburgers.