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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

Christmas Season 2015

January 2, 2016
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Timbuk Farms ~ Santa Claus & Finding the Sanders Christmas Tree!

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Thanks, Grandma Sanders, for this adorable outfit!

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Horseback Carolers

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Christmas Eve!

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Thanks, Aunt ‘Lliyah, for the sparkly Christmassy party girl outfit!

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Christmas Morning!

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Matt’s face after Dad revealed his big gift: Dad had polished up and revamped his drum set and had Alexz, J, Keith, Rebecca, and I each decorate a drum head.

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This is Keith’s drum head. I’m pretty proud of it in part because I came up with the idea, and Keith executed it so well. He chose his own colors and filler designs! I love how it turned out.

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Alexz’s~as awesome as expected!

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The kids and I did the heart in the top left. I let Ella finger paint with acrylic, and Adry filled in the spaces with little pictures and words. Rebecca did the snazzy snare drum head and J’s is the super cool colorful fantastical scene bottom right.

Our Christmas season also included Christmas with The Martins with Uncle Phil and Great Grandma Dee, as well as cookie and gingerbread house decorating with Grandmas Sanders, and a Christmas Eve midnight candlelight service at Rebecca’s grandmother’s church. It was a very nice Christmas and we are very blessed. My kids are loved by so many awesome people!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Christmas with our Families 2014

January 2, 2015
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Christmas Day with The Martins

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This is Gracie, Keith’s other woman

Christmas Celebration with The Sanders’

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waiting in the hallway to see the gifts

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Uncle Matt and Adry look so thrilled to be playing Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em

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Christmas nap with Aunt Becca

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Aunt Nelda came to visit later in the the afternoon

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more brother sister love

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Christmasy Things 2014

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Ella’s entertainment this season was looking at the tree lights.
She loved the lights so much!
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Christmas Girls! Ready for Rebecca’s graduation party

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Santa Socks

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Mom set us all up for gingerbread house decorating on Christmas eve!

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Mom’s house

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My house and Adry’s house were neighbors

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And my personal favorite, J and Rebecca’s house

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Heads on pikes

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Pile of bodies and the sacrificial fire

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Hanging bear

Now if that doesn’t get you in a Christmas spirit, then I don’t know what would!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Cuttin’ Down the Sanders Christmas Tree 2014

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We went to Timbuk Farms again this year to get the family tree and to get pictures with Santa.
They have the best Santa.
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Baby’s First Pictures with Santa
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Each year we go Adry proclaims passionately and with conviction that he refuses to talk to Santa and he absolutely will not get a picture with Santa and will CERTAINLY not sit on his lap!
So we were there and Adry saw Santa and Mrs. Claus waiting to talk to children. He would barely glance in their direction. Even though I told him that whatever decision he made was fine with me and that he didn’t have to talk to anyone he didn’t want to talk to, he still felt the need to put his foot down and adamantly deny that he would be paying Santa a visit.
And then the magic happened.
Mrs. Claus caught his eye and asked him to look at the tree with her… “and since we are here,” she says, “we might as well smile for the cameras.”
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“and just a few steps that way and you can be by your sister.”
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“Hey. Santa has a free knee right beside you. You can just hop right up there!”
And I present: the boy who refuses to sit with Santa:
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After Santa pictures we hopped on the bus to go saw down a blue spruce.
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This is a great grandpa. I hope my children always know how much he loves them and enjoys them.

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We took our tree home and spent the evening decorating with Matt and Alexz.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

One Big Holiday Update Part I

January 4, 2014
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The holidays were kind of a blur this year.

A little stressful. A little depressing. A little frustrating.

In the end I know I am incredibly fortunate and extremely blessed. My heart is full; my life is full. I have so much hope for the future.

On Christmas Eve my miscarriage began. Luckily it wasn’t a huge shock because by the time it started I was expecting it. I’d felt weird about this pregnancy from the beginning, mostly because my pregnancy tests weren’t as clearly positive as I wanted them to be. I got paranoid and must’ve taken 10 or 15 tests over the course of a week with varying results. I was warning people not to get too excited before my pregnancy was verified with an ultrasound, and by the time Christmas Eve rolled around I was telling people I was expecting bad news at my ultrasound. When the miscarriage symptoms finally began it was almost a relief because I could let my guard down; I could let myself say ‘goodbye’ to that particular pregnancy timeline and hopes and excitement and just get sad and emotional.

It sucked. It was painful. It was sad. It went on throughout the entirety of Christmas day. The hardest part was when Adry left to go to his dad’s for Christmas because I just wanted to hold him all day. Although I’m so so glad I didn’t have to go through it alone in secret and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, it was hard to see how the loss of this pregnancy effected Keithy and my family. I felt like I’d in some way let them down, but I know there’s nothing I could have done to prevent it.

Anyway, it’s a perfectly normal thing to experience. 1 in 4 pregnancies end that way, and every woman I know who’s had 2+ kids has had a miscarriage at some point. I can count my blessings that I wasn’t far along and that it happened before I heard a heartbeat. I feel like that’d be a lot harder. At this point I’m convinced that I passed a cluster of cells that didn’t develop properly and my body’s response was to expel it, and that’s a good thing. Thank you, body, for doin’ your job! 😉

Also, Keithy is simply the single best husband I could ever ask for. I could never put into words how thankful I am for him. I had a grief partner, I felt comforted, I felt hopeful… He was available for whatever I needed, whether it was space or hugs or tears.

Besides all that, Christmas day was good.

Adry woke up excited and anxious to see if Santa had come with presents.
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Of course, Santa had.
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We had Adry wait in the hallway for several minutes before he could see the living room. A Sanders kid tradition.
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He was so excited to dig into his loot.
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(My exhausted, sick self)

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Giant Reese’s Cups!

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Keithy, Adry, and I excited about our new XBox

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Adry in his chef garb and Easy Bake Oven

The Martins joined us for a Christmas brunch, then soon after Adry left for his dad’s, Keith and I wrapped up our Christmas at the Martins’ for dinner and a gift exchange.

A week later we celebrated a new year and my parents’ anniversary. I’m breaking that up in a new post!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Christmas Tree and Cookies 2013!

December 21, 2013
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This year we went to Timbuk Farms to pick out the family Christmas tree. Very cute place.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus were there!
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Adry was shy at first, but Santa asked him over and you can’t say no to Santa.

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The farm was so huge that we had to take a bus ride to the trees.
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Adry looking out over the tree fields from the bus

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J and Rebecca on the bus

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Mom and Dad

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It was way too cold for Adry and I out in the fields, so we rode the bus while the others found the tree.
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Once we got home we decorated Christmas cookies and the tree.
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Adry had a blast helping with both.
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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Christmas 2012

December 29, 2012
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Christmas was really great this year! Albeit I’m still mysteriously ill and I’ve really been slacking on the whole taking pictures thing, so once again I have to share my experience with a few poor quality phone pics.

(Just a quick update: I’ve done a slew of different blood tests, a round of steroids, a round of antibiotics, and my symptoms have persisted. Full body flu-type aches, no fever, and pressure in my neck/ears/head. Next up: CAT scan and connective tissue test. Ibuprofen has been my best friend, yet it’s totally inadequate. My feelings on the whole thing range from ermergerd what if I’m dying from a brain tumor *panic*! to *sadface* what if this pain will never go away… to I will figure this thing out and everything will be okay *ForcedSmilePositiveThoughts* to meh I don’t remember what healthy feels like, who cares. Right now I don’t care.)

We spent Christmas Eve Eve at Grandma Martin’s house. Keith’s Grandma in Lima.

Keith’s dad, Keith’s brother, and Keith wearing Grandpa’s overalls

Grandma Martin is an incredibly talented seamstress and I will never get enough of her homemade gifts. Ever. Among some other great things we got to bring home this blanket she made for Adry:

It’s just perfect for him.

The next day we went to Christmas Eve service at Cypress, which was just… so awesome.

Honestly, I am totally spoiled. I grew up in a tiny little Nazarene church where the congregation was (and still is!) my family, so I never felt like Cypress was my church… it was just the place I attended. 15 years later, all growed up with a kid of my own, when I visit other churches I feel all aaaaaw I miss Cypress! and I hate missing Cypress services. Now I’m thankful Cypress is my church! It’s just radiating with talent from wall to wall- the sets, the videos, the speakers, the MUSIC. Talent just continually breeds talent in that church, and it’s always so neat to see that people have poured their hearts and souls and hard work into the church for God and for love and for people. Not to mention the constant outreaches we do abroad and in the community, continually making a difference.


Credit: I swiped this video off of Miss Chris Harder’s Facebook

Christmas morning we woke up and enjoyed great family time and a gift exchange.

Keithy got some socks (that he totally needed haha) and I got hypnotic poison perfume! Which I was excited about! Later on Mom and Dad Martin came over and the scavenger hunt for our “big present” commenced! We had no idea there would be a scavenger hunt or a “big present” that our parents and Grandma Martin went in on together. Later on Mom made the comment, “Weren’t you wondering why you got so little before Keith’s parents came over!?” and I realized I hadn’t noticed at all. I had been completely content and got the most enjoyment from watching my family open the presents Keith and I had gotten for them. It’s just an added bonus blessing that we have families that love us so much that they got together to get us something we could have a lot of fun with!

So anyway, they hid 9 clues and little presents around the house leading us to this:

A flat screen TV! We’d been using a clunky hand-me-down TV box with a small little screen. A 46″ definitely transforms one’s entertainment experience. The boys can actually play 2-player Halo!

 

And it’s definitely super enjoyable to watch our new blurays with our first bluray player on the new TV. I feel as though I am finally living in 21st century Amurica!

Anyway, after our big present the family partook of an excellent Christmas brunch prepared by The Food Woman.

On Christmas night Keith and I took the kid to the Martin household where we exchanged more family time and gifts with Uncle Phil, Scott and Tarah, and ate more wonderful goodies made by Keith’s parents.

Keith and I are very blessed. I love our family. We had a very merry Christmas.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Christmas 2011

January 4, 2012
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Adry went missing for a few minutes on Christmas Eve and I caught him among the presents… “rearranging”.

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More rearranging

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Christmas Morning

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Camera Shy Bedhead Boy waiting to see if Santa came

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Finally allowed to run to the living room!

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Checking things out. He was MOST impressed by the $.98 cotton candy…

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Eating stocking candy– Curious George gummies

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Reading one of the new books he got for Christmas

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He loves this penguin blanket from Gramma and Grampa

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Jacob got this enormous Harry Potter gift book and grew three shades paler this Christmas.

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Matt’s present. He had a very Ralphy Christmas this year. He’d been asking for this brewing kit for months but mom and dad were all “you’ll shoot your eye out!” er things of that nature. Christmas morning rolled around and Mom and dad had wrapped his brew kit and put it under the tree, but labeled it to me, so Matt figured he wasn’t getting it after all.

After Christmas morning with my family, I drove to Westerville to spend a few hours with the Keith and his family. I need to get better at getting pictures of things I do with him… He’s too distracting and irresistible 🙂

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal