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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

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

take a sad song, and make it better

July 1, 2017
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I never thought I’d be writing this, but I believe it is time.

A lot has been going on in my little world for years now- a lot that I’ve kept close to my chest; a lot that I haven’t talked about. I can’t talk about some of it and I don’t entirely want to talk about the rest of it. It’s been… overwhelming. Heh. I don’t even really know how I’ve held it together. My whole fucking entire world has been on my shoulders, and now that it’s in pieces, well… I’m just so apathetic about it. I mean. I fought so hard for it… and now it’s gone. I lost. It feels. so. twisted. I feel guilty for even writing that because I don’t want to offend my parents or anyone else, but sometimes when I think too hard, or think at all, I’m just… what the fuck, y’all. What the fuck. How did my life become this?

Anyway, to cut to the chase and to make a very very (very) long and complicated story short and simple— The Sanders Family is now a split family.

Dad is living apart from Mom and they’re working on a disillusion. And that’s not all! They are also both seeing people they intend to stay with. We get to navigate all the life changes at once!

Dad is with a gracious, kind, intelligent and beautiful artist named Suzanne. She is like this sociable Bohemian-esque free spirit with long flowy hair who paints for a living and has friends and stuff, haha.  For those of you who’ve known my dad all these years, your eyes are probably bugging out of your head right now. I know! mine are, too! I used to think- if anything ever happened to Mom, Dad was sure to become a hermit or something in a house full of his hundreds of hobbies. I thought that surely he’d find new instruments to play that no one has ever heard of, and spend the rest of his days playing records/listening to NPR and making things out of wood.  I am, of course, thankful that I like Suzanne, as unexpected as she is! Mom seems to be okay with Suzanne. Suzanne it seems is also willing to accept our wackadoo clan and hang out with all of us as a family… I mean, the situation at this point is as positive as one could hope… And I don’t know what else to say, y’all- that’s that! We will see how the future unfolds.

My mom has been a bit more private about her situation, so I guess I won’t talk about that yet.

Sometimes I have fantasies that we will end up like Modern Family where we are all quirky and dysfunctional AF but we are still one family, for better or worse, forever. But I am also trying not to get my hopes up, because being let down still feels raw and incredibly painful. Right now? I just don’t want to care. I’m done caring. I’m tired of caring. I have cared too intensely for far too long and it’s time to rest. Right now I just want to be selfish. Like, I want to be a child that tests my boundaries to see how unconditionally loved I actually am. (Am I?) I don’t want to be nice. (I am not not being nice!) I don’t want to try to hold this together and make this work. I need other people to figure this out.

I am thankful I have both of my parents, and they love me and my kids. I am sure to not take that for granted, and I count my blessings every day.

 

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

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

Park of Roses Pictures

October 22, 2016
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We attempted to take some family photos at Park of Roses, and it was a largely unsuccessful experience that involved both of the children crying 75% of the time. Eleanor skinned her knee, then skinned her knee again, then face-planted the ground, then fell again. Adry was overwhelmed by the pressure to be still and smile. But I still like the pictures Dad managed to capture in the in-between moments… I love my family, even when we are NOT picture-perfect! ♥

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skinned knee- the evidence
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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal