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First Day of Fourth Grade

September 23, 2017
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My baby is growing up. From cute to adorable to handsome!

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First Day of Kindergarten

First Day of Kindergarten

 

First Day of Fourth Grade

First Day of Fourth Grade

I think that, up until a few days ago, I was in denial about the challenges a new school, new expectations, the cusp of pre-teenhood, and new hormones would bring. I figured the challenges would creep up one-by-one, gradually. But instead they came as a tidal wave and within the span of an evening I transitioned from being the mom of a kid dealing with simple kid issues, to the mom of a kid with complexities and confusion and insecurities. Like, I should have known that this is the year kids start being hypertuned to what others think.

For example, in first grade when we attempted to get Adry into flag football he was far more concerned with chatting with friends on the field than winning or points or anything else. His teammates would be yelling, come on, Adry, get the ball! And he’d say, but I was talking! I was more than fine with that! I was like, my kid doesn’t give a damn… that’s fantastic. But now, since he’s not macho/coordinated/fourth-grade-gym-class-soccer-champion, it’s become a part of his identity– not good enough, not cool enough, not enough, less than, unworthy. And it’s not just gym class, it’s everything. It’s breakin’ my HEART! As his 33 year old mother who’s been there done that I wish I could just tell him it doesn’t even matter at all¬†but of course I know I can’t say that because that’s not true. It does matter. At least to him, right now in his life, it does matter. And telling him it doesn’t demeans these feelings he has that are great big and overwhelming to him.

But I guess Adry has always been a complex kid, and I’ve found it to be challenging yet endearing because it gives him layers and depth. He’s never been comfortable on the surface. He suppresses, analyzes, explores self-awareness, and inevitably we sometimes endure the mini-emotional breakdowns that coincide with such a personality.

Other things about Adry remain the same: he’s a great big brother that loves his little sister; he’s brave and loves to try thrilling new things (roller coasters, high dives); and he loves the same group of school buddies. His eyes are turning hazel and his hair is blonder than ever. He loves YouTube and video games and playing with friends. I am thankful that he is confident I will be his biggest supporter and his biggest advocate and he can talk to me about anything. That means the world to me. I love him so very much.

So. Fourth grade! …Hold on to yo’ butts.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Summer of ’17 (Part II)

September 16, 2017
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Ella Bella <3s Tara Bear

Playing Doggies

Playing Doggies at Tara’s Birthday Party

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playtime at Tara's house

Playtime at Tara’s House

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Version 2

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Taylor J. got married!

This kid:

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grew up, got even taller, and became a husband. And I can’t even process it because, like, wait, wasn’t this ^^^ just last month or something?

Ryan was his wedding DJ and introduced the newlyweds and their bridal party to the Blues Brother’s theme song, which was perfect.

It’s always nice to be reunited with the good ol’ Family Frens. I love them all and I am thankful for each of them.

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Dad turned 55!

He set up some yard games, and Ella was the true badminton champ.

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This is what it looks like to be 55. He was riding this kids’ bike trying to dodge golf discs that were being hurled at him. Happy birthday, Dad! ūüėÄ

Ella The Artist 

Fun in Grandpa Sanders’ Garage

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Labor Day Poolside Fun

We like to say goodbye to summer by enjoying the Grandview pool on the last day of the season that it’s open.

Adry n' Grandma

Adry n’ Grandma

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The pool wears Eleanor out. She has to take catnaps during each break period.

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Goodbye, Summer 2017! 

 

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Summer of ’17 (Part I)

September 9, 2017
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I am so behind on my journaling. I am going to try to combine a bunch of my summer photos in a couple of big huge picture posts. Here y’go!

Fourth of July

was a lot of fun.

We experienced Red White & Boom at Audubon Park, and I loved it so much there I want to make it my yearly Red White & Boom tradition.

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Thanks for this photo, Matt.

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The next day we went to the Dublin fireworks and saw Peter Frampton live! After the show we were so close to where they set off the fireworks it was probably literally one of the very best displays I’ve ever experienced. I was mesmerized!

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Park of Roses Picnic

I adore this park.

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Photo Cred: Rebecca

Photo by Rebecca

Photo Cred: Rebecca

Photo by Rebecca

Photo Cred: Rebecca

Photo by Rebecca

Attempted Potterfest

For just a minute (30 seconds?) Eleanor was Hedwig and Adry was Dumbledore!

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But Potterfest was a bust. It pretty much went like this:

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A trip to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties made up for it for some of us!

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Misc.

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Adry at Niagra Falls with his dad and Grandma Ellwood

Adry at Niagra Falls with his dad and Grandma Ellwood

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Me n' My Girl

Me n’ My Girl

Eleanor learned how to help with household chores (and enjoyed splashing in a pool and visiting Carl the Turtle and other fun things) with Grandma Martin this summer!

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She also had many great adventures with Aunt Alexz while she was on summer break!

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And Grandpa Sanders, too!

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Dress enhanced by Grandma Martin

Dress enhanced by Grandma Martin

Adry on Lake Eerie during a trip with his dad

Adry on Lake Eerie during a trip with his dad

 

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Spoiled by Grandma Sanders– new dress up shoes and clothes just because

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And although Jazz and Ribs Fest was stressful this year, this full arch double rainbow (can’t make out the second rainbow in these pics) was unforgettable.

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The Bunny Water Park/ Mt Vernon Water Park

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We took a trip to Mount Vernon for Maya’s first birthday party. The kids got to play with Logan and Lilly (my cousin’s son and niece) at the water park up there. We had a lot of fun!

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Easter Sunday 2017

April 29, 2017
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Adry had no interest in being a part of our Easter Selfie Sesh. We wanted him to join.

Adry had no interest in being a part of our Easter Selfie Sesh. We wanted him to join.

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Mom's Easter Sunday Lunch Table

Mom’s Easter Sunday Lunch Table

 

Blurry. Adry is helping Ella find her Easter basket.

Adry is helping Ella find her Easter basket.

Ella's bloomers kept falling off of her tiny self.

Ella’s bloomers kept falling off of her tiny self.

Chocolate!

Chocolate!

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Adry, looking for his basket

Adry, looking for his basket

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Not pictured: Mom, Dad, Uncle Matt, Aunt Alexz, Uncle J, Aunt Becca…

The kids both enjoyed Easter Service at Grace Central, as well as the toys, books, and candy in their Easter baskets. Afterward, everyone gathered for a delicious lunch, and then took a walk to the park in the neighborhood to watch the kids play.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Easter Egg Hunt 2017

April 22, 2017
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Eleanor takes tumbling classes (which, by the way, is adorable. She calls it ‘BOUNCE!’ class, and she proudly shows off her splits, kicks, forward rolls, and top-notch bouncing skills). At the beginning of April we participated in the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Open Gym at the place she has BOUNCE!, and both of the kids had a great time.

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Eleanor is cheating and trying to snatch some eggs before the go-ahead.

Eleanor is cheating and trying to snatch some eggs before the go-ahead.

Grandma is helping her go through the loot.

Grandma is helping her go through the loot.

So is Big Brother.

So is Big Brother.

...using all her strength to try to open an egg by herself!

…using all her strength to try to open an egg by herself!

 

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The Mom and Dad Selfie

The Mom and Dad Selfie

Shamelessly Eating My Kids' Chocolate

Shamelessly Eating My Kids’ Chocolate

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

The Last Single Digit

March 25, 2017
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Dear Adry,

You turned NINE years old this month.
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Your Grandma Sanders let you choose your own cake from the Whole Foods selection. You chose well. And on your actual birthday we had a mother-son movie date at The Lennox. We saw the live action Beauty & The Beast and I think you enjoyed it for the most part! Afterwards you decorated sugar cookies, got some money on your Roblox account, and opened up some cool presents from your aunts and uncles.

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You also had a little party with your buddies at your daddy’s house, and spent a day with Grandma and Grandpa Martin, too! They spent some time with you at your friend’s birthday party, took you to see a little bit of a movie (before you asked to leave because it was more intense than you’d expected), treated you to some dinner, and took you to cuddle on some cute puppies!

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But your birthday festivities weren’t over yet! Your daddy shared this picture of the cake your grandma Ellwood made for you! You got to spend a day with them, too!

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I really enjoyed celebrating you, Kid. I love you a great big amount. A bigger amount than I ever knew possible. And it grows bigger with each passing year. I’ve always enjoyed watching you learn and grow and change, but now- as you are getting older- it’s kind of cool because I get to enjoy being your pal, too. I like hanging out with you and laughing (at Keith.) I like trying to listen as you talk endlessly about all the things that interest you. Even though 90 percent of the time I don’t understand the words you are using, I still think it’s cool that you like to tell me all about it. AND I’ve picked up on SOME of the lingo. Lyke, I can dap to da brass horn, brah. Even doe I’m a n00b and wait, what even am I doing…

A little bit about you at 9 years old:

Basically, you have two settings. In the first you are quite literally vibrating with energy and bouncing off furniture and walls while Keith constantly shouts, “you are shaking the whole house!” Of course, you don’t hear him because you are right in the middle of explaining easter eggs and hackers and memes and forgetting to breath. In the second you are checked out of reality, lost in the gaming world, and I don’t hear a peep from you for hours.

You are also a fantastic big brother to Ella. You adore her. You are patient and good to her. I’m very thankful for that.

Our dinner routine consists of 5 parts us trying to convince you to eat, 1 part you pretending to eat, and 4 parts you insisting on getting dessert because you maybe ate one bite.

Our bedtime routine consists of 10 parts me fighting with you to brush your teeth and 1 part you pretending to brush your teeth. Then we read Harry Potter. You love it. Sometimes we snuggle and fall asleep to Doctor Who instead.

You decided to cut your long, thick, naturally highlighted hair and now you have perpetual bedhead because you claim that your new haircut is “supposed to be messy” and doesn’t need brushed.

You are as sweet and sensitive as you are sassy and temperamental. You’re funny, you’re smart, and you’re loved. You’ll always be my baby boy.

I love you forever!

-Mommy

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Another Year Passed

February 25, 2017
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I gladly welcomed Year 2017 and Age 32.

(This girl loves being photographed:)
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(This boy, not so much:)
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32 Feels…

Exhausting. Still. And a little more isolating than I’ve felt in previous years.

I am doing this project for myself: (not necessarily with the hope or expectation that my children will want it and cherish it, but just in case they will) I am printing the entirety of my online journal into hardback books year by year. I have to go through each month of each year to edit out all of the cuts in order to do so, so I am revisiting all these events I’ve recorded with my family and with my friends, and remembering how close I felt to them, and how secure I felt in my relationships. Little by little, over the years, that security as been chipped away because of one thing or another… I no longer feel unconditional support or love. I’m no longer honest and open about my life-my joys, my hurts, nor my disappointments. I’m leery of everyone. I bottle things up. I keep secrets that aren’t my own but that effect me greatly. And I deal with everything all by my damn self, largely because I don’t know who to go to.

32 also feels passionate. Motherhood is a saving grace. It gives me a strength I can’t seem to procure from any other source. It gives me the selfless determination to improve whatever situation I can, for my children’s sake. I keep going for them; I continue to¬†care for myself and my life because there are little, beautiful, innocent people that depend on me to make the most of each day. And I love those little people so much my chest aches with it. My family is my everything, and my happiest moments are when we are all together. I feel so fortunate to be their mommy.

32 finds me taking delight and comfort in the little things. I love Grandview and its homes and holiday decorations, and the neighborhood pets that greet the school children on our morning walks. I love opening the curtains to allow the sunlight in my home, and opening windows at night for the fresh cool air. I enjoy organizing the closets and choosing outfits for my kids. I like watching Doctor Who while I paint my nails on the bed. I like being silly with my husband and hearing my kids laugh. And I enjoy the rare occasion I allow myself a warm cup of coffee with flavored creamer, or a fountain soda with ice in a styrofoam cup, or a glass of good chilled wine.

I also have a lot of personal and family goals I’m working toward, one day at a time. It feels good to have direction, a “big picture”, and attainable hopes and dreams for our future. There is a probability that Keith and I will grow our family by +1 while we are still in our thirties. But we both decided that once we reach 40 I’m gettin’ a tummy tuck and Keith is hittin’ the gym and our forties will be all about us! We’re gunna go to movies, take road trips, have dinner dates, and drink fancy cocktails in jacuzzis! (We remind ourselves of this on the days Ella whines nonstop for 3 hours straight, and then inevitably bashes her head on the corner of a piece of furniture the moment she settles down.)

But for now… 32 is all about raising a young family that is growing too quickly. It’s waking up early every morning to get them where they need to be, and crashing in bed late after tucking them in and kissing their foreheads. It’s about missing them all work week, and forgoing date nights on the weekends to be home with them. It’s about trying to witness every milestone, and being eternally grateful when loved ones relay milestones missed. It’s kissing booboos, wiping snotty noses, enforcing Xbox schedules, and eating drive-through treats in the car while the toddler sleeps in the backseat! It’s an endless stream of worry, frustration, and pride. It’s fast-paced, it’s flying by, and I’m hoping to not take this phase of life for granted.

32 is hard, but it’s good.

 

 

 

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Some Christmassy 2016 Photos

February 12, 2017
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[I am sorry to the people that did not make it in these photos. It was unintentional. …Namely Rebecca and my mother, who seem to have eluded the camera when I was taking photos (I think they were beside me on the couch); and The Martins because I must not have gotten my camera out when we saw them.]

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This gift of Jacob’s was perhaps one of my favorite things about Christmas this year. Back in 2011, Jacob and our boss at work- Robin- started a prank battle with these creepy AF caroling Christmas dolls.
THE STORY IS HERE:
Battle of the Caroling Dolls
When Jacob left his job at The Village, he took one of the caroling dolls with him with every intention of getting the final prank in–maybe even years later when the time was just right he’d take the doll back to The Village and leave it where Robin would find it. The topic would resurface every now and then over the years, and he would confirm his plan to do so.
Well, this year Dad gave a package to J and told him it was NOT from him.
When J opened it and received a caroling doll for Christmas I could not stop laughing. FIVE years later Robin beat J to the punch and remains the prank master.
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Well played, Robin!

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Halloween 2016

February 11, 2017
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I finally got a new computer! Hooray! Despite the amount of our savings that Keith’s temporary unemployment ate through, I decided to bite the bullet and invest in a MacBook Air. I was going to wait until after tax returns until I realized I do my own taxes, and… I need a computer to do taxes!

Now I can play catch-up on all my holiday photos.

First: Halloween

Halloween was the most enjoyable holiday for me this year. I was sick on Thanksgiving, and Christmas was the most stressful and depressing Christmas I’ve ever experienced in my life thus far… In terms of circumstance-induced anxiety and depression, it even surpassed the year I had the miscarriage Christmas Eve through Christmas morning. (I am better now.) (Man, it felt good just to write that out, even as vague as it is. I’ve missed journaling.) BUT Halloween was such a sweet, enjoyable holiday for me. I’m glad I made the most of it.

We did our annual Friendship Village of Dublin retirement home Trick or Treat.

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Eleanor used the Max from Where The Wild Things Are costume that Adry’s Grandma Ellwood made for him when he was just a bit younger than Ella was this year. It’s a bit too short for her. But still adorable. Adry was a Civil War Union Soldier. (NOT a Confederate Soldier, for heaven’s sake. That’s a good way to annoy Adry!) His costume was made by his Grandma Ellwood as well.

We also tried a Trunk or Treat in Hilliard for the first time. I loved it so much I’d like to keep it a tradition.

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Uncle Sam told Adry that his costume was the most authentic he had ever seen and wanted a picture with him.

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And my kids enjoyed Beggar’s Night in Grandview, too. Adry got to trick-or-treat with his school buddies while Keith and Grandma and Grandpa Martin spent hours walking with Ella house-to-house up and down Grandview residential streets. I joined them when I got off work. We spent the last half hour at the Grandview library playing games, winning prizes, and getting our picture taken.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal