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Thanksgiving ’17

December 2, 2017
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Last year the holidays sucked. I knew, probably, they’d be the “last” and I was still fighting it. Fighting a losing battle is the worst feeling. My parents moved into their new home last November and I remember feeling very pessimistic. Like what’s the point. I hated that I loved the house. I loved it so much, and I wanted to cling to it and cling to everything I was about to lose. I went through the holidays incredibly morose.

This year I’m going through the holidays having officially lost. The Sanders Family is broken, physically and emotionally. Things have pretty much spiraled into (almost) my worst fears. The house is gone. For some reason, now that it’s reality, living it is almost easier than fearing it. Fearing this and fighting it sapped a lot of my energy. Now I feel defeated.. numb.. dead inside. But it’s better feeling numb than feeling desperately afraid. I’m resting here in my apathy for awhile. I don’t really have the energy to try to revive myself, or feel hopeful or optimistic or vulnerable.

So this Thanksgiving I decided to be thankful for what I have left. Which is still so much. Though we’ve added a layer of crazy complexity and dysfunction to my wackadoo clan, at least I have a clan! Every member is alive, healthy, and together. That’s HUGE and I’m not taking that for granted. Thanks to Leslie (who was, unfortunately for us, in New York to be with Mer and Chip) we had a home in which to have our family Thanksgiving meal. That’s huge, too! There was music, laughter, and more delicious food than we could eat. My little brothers are the best. Literally the best. And they have the best life partners I could ask for. I’m glad I have both my parents, and I’m thankful that Jeff, Sherry, Suzanne, Tay, and (later) Rachel could join us for our meal. I also love my husband and my two beautiful and healthy children.

This was at Keith’s brother’s wife’s (lol) family’s Thanksgiving.

Ella and I all dressed and ready to go to The Sanders Thanksgiving!

Mom set the table, and she and Keith worked hard for two days to make nearly all the delicious food for our meal!

Uncle Matt brought over his Nintendo Switch and we had some Mario Cart fun.

Sadly, Louie was not with us this Thanksgiving. He passed just a week or so prior from Leukemia. This is the new member of the canine extended family, Puppy Huxley (Huck)! Old Man Reese Pete and Brady were also with us.

Too cool for… anything.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella’s <3 Princess <3 Party

November 25, 2017
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My Eleanor Joyce turned 3 years old on November 4th.

I had a really good time celebrating her young and incredibly vibrant life with an apartment full of people who also love her. I am so incredibly grateful. My mother generously provided delicious pizzas, chips, drinks, cake, ice cream etc. for everyone to enjoy. Thanks so much, Mom!

Upstairs I set out a make-your-own Princess/King/Queen crown craft and I think the adults had more fun with it than the kids did.

In my basement I had a ball pit, tunnel, art corner, dress-up station, toy kitchen, and our various other play room toys, and the kids pretty much hung out down there until presents, cake & ice cream time.

There was probably a little bit of cheating before we cut the cake. But what fun is it to turn 3 if you can’t break convention a time or two and get hot pink icing all over your face and your friends’ faces, too! Right?


Ella Belle is healthy. she is full to the brim of joy and enthusiasm and wonderment of the world around her. She is curious, tough, brave, observant, and outgoing. She is sassy, dramatic, bossy, strong-willed, defiant, and possibly a bit a lot temperamental. She makes her own rules, and, as a gymnastics teacher of hers once said: “Eleanor does what she wants.”
She consistently wins the hearts of strangers in an instant, and drives Mommy and Daddy certifiably crazy on the daily. She is the most challenging, thrilling, and the most joyful experience of my life. She is quite literally a great adventure in and of herself — We have gone through SO many things with her these past three years, both terrifying and rewarding. I am quite certain she has stripped years from my life, but I’d give even more for this experience of life with her in it.

I know I’ve mentioned this before— I don’t know if other parents have the experience of loving their children in equal but incredibly different ways. Before I had Ella I honestly didn’t know how I’d love anyone like I love Adry. Quite frankly, I don’t love anyone in this world like I love Adry. He is my passion. I love him fiercely; my heart aches with it. And Eleanor, hands down, is my joy. She makes my heart fly.

I love you SO much, El. I’m glad you had a very happy birthday!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Halloween Two Thousand Seventeen

October 28, 2017
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It was gray and rainy on Pumpkin Patch Day.

Did we let that stop us? No. Without regret.

Hay Fight

Jacob continually tossed Adry off the hay stack. As any good uncle should.

I can’t decide if Ella got more soaked from the rain or from splashing in every puddle she could find.

The things we do for our kids…

Adry was over the sticky muddy patch.

Eleanor gor her boots stuck in the mud…

…REALLY stuck in the mud.

Boo at the Zoo with Grandma and Grandpa Martin

Pumpkin Carving at Uncle Matt and Aunt Alexz’s

Alexz designed this, inspired by Sloth from The Goonies

Eleanor designed our jack-o-lantern. I tried to follow her design as best I could, minus the extra nose and 5 extra eyes she drew.

 

 

 

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

Ella’s Adventures

March 18, 2017
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Ella Bella, you are a consistently busy girl with a schedule full of love. I wanted to share with you a little glimpse of the kinds of things you do with the people you get to spend time with.

(Thanks to everyone who shared their Ella Adventure pictures with me, and on Facebook!)

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with Mome Martin

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with PaPa Sanders

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your hang out spot at Uncle Matt and Aunt Alexz’s

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Fashionista Ella!

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Shopping with Papa Sanders

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Homemade play dough with Aunt Becca!

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with Aunt Becca and Reese

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Raincoat, Bebe, and tights

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watering plants with Mome Martin

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Play dough animal sculptures with Mome Martin

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back porch hangs with Aunt Becca and Uncle J

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Movie date with Mome Sanders

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Dinner date with Mome Sanders

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Princess tent reading time with PaPa Martin

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art work at Uncle Matt and Aunt Alexz’s house

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

Ella Turns TWO!

February 11, 2017
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On November 4, 2014 The Martin Family lost a baby and gained a toddler.
That morning we woke up and went to Amy’s Donuts
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and Eleanor enjoyed every last bit of icing on her’s.
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She was also treated to an apple and a sucker at the grocery store.
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And she celebrated life and autumn and sunshine by dancing in the leaves at Grandma and Grandpa Sanders’ house.
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Several days later we had a small family party for yummy cake and a few gifts.
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Aunt Alexz made the cutest, most delicious cake!
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And the day after she partied hard, she laid back and read through her birthday cards.
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Ella Bella,
You are such a spirited little girl- so full of life! You are also tough as nails. You’ve been through so much in your young life, and you take everything head-on. I will never forget the time two big, strong male nurses and myself gathered around your bed at Children’s Hospital prepared to hold you down to get an IV in your tiny arm. You were frightened, but you didn’t look away, nor did you cry after the initial prick. …Or the time I put you in the bathtub and took the shower head down. It got loose and hit you in the belly and sprayed ice-cold water on you. You screamed and I whisked you out as fast as I could and held you against me to comfort you, and just a minute later I asked if you were ready to try to take a bath again. You said, “okay”, so I put you back in the tub. You were so nervous you were shaking. You kept your eyes peeled to the shower head, but you didn’t back away or cower when the water came back on. Instead you went up to it and held out your trembling hand to test if it was safe. Baby Girl, I admire your bravery!
You love BeeBee (your baby doll), stuffed animals, and doggies. You have recently begun to let us read books to you! (I love that.) You dance and sing ALL the time, and you like to organize things/put things back where they belong even though you are a tornado that leaves a trail of destruction everywhere you go. You also LOVE to color-even yourself, the walls, and Grandma and Grandpa’s floors and furniture.
You have a mind of your own and you’re difficult to keep up with. (I mean, you really wear us out, El. You are exhausting.) But I am excited to realize the things you are capable of accomplishing with all that energy and determination when you are older! (I just keep reminding myself of that, haha.)
I am so thankful you are part of our family.
I love you very much!
-Mommy

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Recentish Events

October 2, 2016
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I’m starting to see a ton of ME in this girl.

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All the Ellwood/Buccilla/Martin/Miller kids were together at Tara’s birthday party.

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Spoiled by Aunt Alexz and Uncle Matt.

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Snuggles with Grandma Martin

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Adry at his Eye Exam

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Buckeye Girl ~ Tutu, Frills, and Sequins!

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Lapping water from the chair (like a doggie!)
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So very excited about the rain!

Dad’s in his mid-fifties!

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Ella started tumbling lessons!

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal