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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

Adry ‘n Tori Disney Date

February 24, 2015
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This past weekend Mom took me, Adry, and Tori to see Disney on Ice.

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It was a classic Adry-and-Tori day.
Just like between siblings there was some sass, a few eyerolls, and un-photogenic pictures.
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But for the most part the day was full of running around, giggling, and enjoying an experience together.
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After the show they asked if Tori could stay, so we took them to Mom’s and they played together for several more hours…
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I used to entertain the worry that they’d butt heads so much that they’d hate each other one day…
Tori is very spunky, imaginative, and doesn’t really care what people around her think while Adry is a realist over-thinker who is very aware of what people are feeling… Sometimes he gets stressed out and rude and sometimes she tattles.
But as they get older I’m realizing they are growing fonder of each other despite all that!

I guess I just have to remind myself that Jamie and I were in the same boat as kids. We were both so opposite and could annoy each other like no one else could, yet there was a loyalty there… an obviously unbreakable one that has stood the test of time. Maybe that’s the kind of bond Tori and Adry are forming as they grow up together.

It’s fun to watch it pan out.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

A Sanders Thanksgiving 2014

December 20, 2014
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Once again my mother, The Food Woman, and my husband, Chef Daddy, spent HOURS planning, shopping for, and preparing an absolutely delicious Thanksgiving meal for 23 people who got to enjoy it at a beautifully decorated table.

I cannot remember all the dishes, but to name a few: three kinds of stuffing (to accommodate the vegetarians and those with aversions to onions), two kinds of sweet potatoes, church potatoes, brussels sprout salad, deviled eggs, two kinds of soup (one made by Alexz who brought a couple of other yummy dishes), homemade rolls, salad and corn casserole made by Sherry, and several desserts… the list goes on. It was a proper Thanksgiving with stretchy pants and food comas.

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Rebecca and J dressed Ella up in her Chef Baby outfit.

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Adry stood by the window for the longest time anxiously awaiting Tori’s arrival.

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Apparently Mom asked J and Rebecca to set out extra toilet paper rolls in the bathroom.
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The Bird

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Reese decided to cuddle with my poor sick boy.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Sanders Sunday Lunch

September 15, 2013
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mmmm, mom’s meatloaf sunday!

Last Sunday Mom set a beautiful table and cooked a delicious meal to celebrate all kinds of events in our lives: Ben and Jessie’s engagement, Hutch and Corey’s wedding, Tay’s birthday, Jamie’s birthday, Dad’s birthday, and whatever else we wanted to celebrate!

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Mom & Dad Surprise 50th Birthday and 30th Wedding Anniversary Bash- Part 2 of 2

November 20, 2012
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…When everyone finished eating Matt played the video that he put together for Mom and Dad.

I had helped him by going through their photo albums and digging up old pictures. I scanned them, emailed them, and left the rest to Matt. I love what he did with it! Unfortunately, I do not have access to the final edited and revised version of the video at this time. Fortunately, I DO have one of the ALMOST final versions of the video that I can share with you now. Matt just made a few more tweaks to this version (You might not even notice them when I show you the final one):

Hi! I’m a LINK! CLICK here ON ME to watch the VIDEO!

URL of video:

While watching the video:





Song at the end of the video: Johnny Cash ‘In My Life’ LYRICS:

There are places I’ll remember
All my life
Though some have changed
Some forever
Not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends
I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life
I’ve loved them all
But if all these friends and lovers
There is no one
Compares with you
And these memories
Lose their meaning
When I think of love
As something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life
I love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life
I love you more
In my life
I love you more

Before I move on to the group photos I’d like to mention how proud I am of my parents.

Both of them.

Their life together has not been easy. I could write 10 novels on the hardships they’ve endured as a couple and as individuals. They’ve worked HARD. All on their own. I absolutely could not be more thankful for the PERFECT childhood and growing up experience they provided for me and my brothers. As a mother of only one young boy, I cannot wrap my mind around the work, time, energy, commitment and sacrifices my parents made to raise three children the way they did– My dad used up his hard earned vacation time from work to work even HARDER taking his kids to camp out at music festivals. He used his evenings creating stage sets and scripts so that the church children could put on plays for the congregation. He carved pumpkins through cramping hands, sawed down Christmas trees in the dead of winter, coached soccer on his weekends, and so much more. He was our spiritual leader; our go-to guy when we had questions. He challenged us to open our minds and think critically. (And boy, we do! All three of us willful Sanders kids, haha!) My mother made her career her children. She visited our classrooms, made meals for teachers, took us to every school, home school, and extra-curricular activity, and nursed us when we were sick. She was our encourager, nurturer, and defender. (She was MamaBear. We knew who had our backs. We still do.) My parents raised three kids who are best friends for life, and that just an extremely precious and rare gift. I am eternally grateful for them, their teamwork in raising their family, and their marriage.

Now for group pictures!

Before toooo many people left Mom requested we all gather for one big happy photo.

A few of the ones I liked:

(To not-so-tech-savvy people: You can click on the photos to go to my photobucket account where you can view them BIGGER.)







And a few more fun photos from the end of the night:





Adry had SO much fun running around and playing with all of the children that were there, and he cried and cried when they all went home and he was the last little boy left. (He is far more fearless and social than I am. I don’t know where he came from!)

Anyway, I’m glad my brothers and I had the chance to celebrate my parents that night. They are awesome. Happy 30th Anniversary to them, December 31st! 🙂

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Mom & Dad Surprise 50th Birthday and 30th Wedding Anniversary Bash- Part 1 of 2

November 10, 2012
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Several years ago Matt, J, and I had the idea to throw a surprise bash to celebrate our parents. We decided to do a combo over-the-hill and 30th anniversary party because we figured that’d be a big year for both of them. We chose a date right in between their 50th birthdays.

My dad-in-law was able to reserve the basement of his church for us, and Matt and I invited everyone we thought had loved and cared for my parents over the years and watched them  grow from dating teenagers to grandparents. I ordered food and cake and collected a bunch of decorations, and Matt put together music and video for the occasion. On the day of we got to the church to set the place up. After most of our work was done Rebecca drove J back home to mom and dad to “bum a ride” to what my parents thought was Keith’s birthday party… J was in charge of making sure Mom and Dad didn’t get there too late or too early, and kept us informed on their whereabouts.  (The three of us make a great team, I must say. High Fives to my awesome brothers.)


So Matt and I gathered the crowd to one side of the basement and when Mom and Dad walked inside (with a birthday present for Keith in tow lol) everyone yelled ‘SURPRISE!’ of course. And they were. Totally surprised. (Or at least they acted like it.)

Matt and I presented Mom with a lovely over-the-hill boa and Dad with an inflatable walking cane, and then everyone dug in to the hundreds of pounds worth of city BBQ Matt and I bought (which we pretty much ran out of by the end of the night. It was yummy) as well as the delicious salad Mom-in-law made.
















Being silly





Mom and her kids



The fam


Mother wanted this group hug photo. This is for you, Mom!



T. Matt’s mustache









Jamie got cut off here but she was pulling me away from Keith all SHE’S MINE!

My next (and last) birthday/anniversary bash post will be the video Matt made for Mom and Dad (which I absolutely love. It was perfect) and the group photos!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Thankful 25, 2011

November 22, 2011
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In no particular order:

1) Adry. For bringing so much meaning and fullness and love to my life. I’m thankful that he’s healthy, energetic, and curious. I’m thankful that I get to watch him learn, grow and enjoy life.  I’m thankful that he loves me and excitedly runs to greet me when I pick him up after work (- great feeling).  I enjoy reading with him, snuggling with him, and having conversations with him (- he’s always saying stuff that cracks me up).

2) Keithy. For restoring my faith in commitment and monogamy and giving me my dreams back. I don’t think I’ve ever thanked him for that.

When I met him I had been headed down a pretty wild and self-destructive path. My views had become really warped…  My marriage was the fourth marriage, within my group of friends, to crumble due to scandalous secrets and infidelity.  I’d been with guys before Keith and they and I had agreed that if we ended up together, an open marriage was the better alternative to secret affairs and family splits. I expected and willingly accepted that that was the way life was and I’d better just grow thick skin and get used to it. I thought, if no one was capable of fidelity anymore then hopefully they could at least stay in a marriage if they were able to have a life on the side. I was twisted, damaged, and just didn’t feel worth much at all.

Keith came along and, I’m not going to lie, it was tough to decide to be in a committed relationship with him. And after I decided it, it was painful to follow through with because I was SO scared and insecure and anxious ALL the time… I’m prettyyyy sure I drove him up a wall ALL the time, too. lol. I was constantly drilling him about why he wanted to be with me, when he was going to stop being happy with me, when he was going to become interested in other people, when he was going to break up with me. “INBUWU” became his boyfriend slogan. “I’m Not Breaking Up With U”. He had to say it so much it became an acronym- not even joking! haha. It took me a long while, but now I believe him when he tells me that he IS committed, he DOES love me, he’s going to be honest, he’s not going to keep anything from me, he is going to be faithful to me, and he’s not going anywhere.  He’s been consistent and incredibly patient with me. I love him so much it hurts and I am SO thankful I have him.

3) My parents. For their love and support. For their experience and everything they’ve taught me and continue to teach me. For being excellent grandparents and loving my boy. For all of the fun we have and memories we’ve made.

4) My brothers. For being awesome. For being smart, clever, funny, and talented. For loving me, being great uncles, and making family their priority.

5) JamieBaby. For being my best friend and soulmate. During the absolute darkest days of my life she was the only one who understood exactly what I felt and what I was going through. I do not think I’ve ever been as open or raw or vulnerable with anyone like I have been with her. She knows my ugliest thoughts, insecurities, and struggles. She knows my most painful heartaches and deepest despairs. I honestly do not know if I could have gotten through some of the toughest, most painfully lonely times in my life without her. She’s been by my side through it all, from first grade on.

6) The rest of my awesome friends. For being there for me for a lifetime and making me laugh ALL along the way. I’m amazingly blessed.

7) The beauty and intricacy, patterns and predictability of this created world.

8 ) Music. How it feeds our soul and makes us feel alive. How we use it to experience life and express ourselves.

FIVE IRON FRENZY!!! and the major impact they had on my life when I followed them religiously seventh through twelfth grade, and NOW THEY’RE BACK!!!

9) My home. When it’s clean, laundry is put away, the dishwasher is running, candles are lit, and I feel like I put in a good day’s work and I can rest.

10) General health and opportunities. I’m still young and have a world of possibilities available to me. I hope I don’t take that for granted while it lasts.

11) Pictures and journaling. Looking back. Remembering. Reminiscing. Reflecting.

12) Literature/reading. Getting lost in different worlds. Learning. William Barclay and CS Lewis.

13) Fun girly things. Makeup, hair stuff, nail polish, clothes…

14) Roses.

15) Snuggles, kisses, hugs, and back rubs. Affection.

16) Holidays. Setting aside time to observe, celebrate, remember, give thanks, and spend time with loved ones.

17) Good homemade food.

18) Spontaneity and mischief, all in good fun. You have to live a little and break routine and rules sometimes.

19) Joy. Genuine kindness. Goodness. Gentleness. And, well I guess the rest of the fruits of the spirit while I’m at it.

20) Movies. Cozy nights in or the theater experience.

21) Date nights with Keith. We should do it more often.

22) Road trips. I need one.

23) All of my working possessions: car, computer, phone, cameras…

24) Sleep/Coziness. Naps, beds and blankets, fans and nighttime noises.

25) Columbus. The city, campus, surrounding areas, lots of stuff to do, family is all here, etc… Home.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal