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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

Thirty Years of Throwback ~ 2012-2015

June 18, 2016
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1985-1992
1991-1995
1996-1999
2000-2002
2003-2005
2006-2008
2009-2011

2012

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Mer n’ Chip’s Wedding

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The brief engagement of Keith n’ Jess!

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Becoming a family unit!

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The Fine Lookin’ Sanders Gang- Mom and Dad turned 50!

 

2013

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2013 makes me miss my long hair!

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Five Iron Frenzy Reunited!

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Keith n’ Jess actually got to go on dates this year!

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Adry still thought I was cool!

 

2014

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Dancing in Bicentennial Park

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Being enormously pregnant with Ella Bella…

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…at the same time as Jamie!

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Game Night Girls

2015

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First year as a Family of Four!

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Baby’s First Halloween

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Mommy-Daughter Times

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The Sanders Sibs- perpetually children reprimanded by Mom!

 

I’ve had an enormously rich and blessed 30+ years of life!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Thirty Years of Throwback ~ 2009-2011

April 10, 2016
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1985-1992

1991-1995

1996-1999

2000-2002

2003-2005

2006-2008

2009

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Adry’s first birthday party!

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Didn’t everyone have a pair of those navy sneakers for a minute?

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This is a photo from the scavenger hunt that Dave and Ginny hosted. I believe Matt, Alexz, Mer, and I called ourselves “Team Awesome” and we did not win, haha.

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This is one of my favorite photos of young Reese and Baby Adry.

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I loved being a stay-at-home momma with Adry this year. I will forever feel grateful I had those couple of years with my baby boy.

2010

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Another young Reese and Baby Adry. I can’t resist posting these pictures.

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Our bowling party! So much skill displayed that night.

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A very Sanders Easter. I believe this is the year I put edible grass in Adry’s Easter basket. Jamie came over later that night and we all sat around in the living room laughing and joking ’til our abs hurt about who-knows-what-probably-something-really-immature and obnoxiously eating the Easter grass ’til we got sick. I actually really miss random hangouts like that.

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Adry, Dad, and I did a TON of biking with the bike trailer and Adry’s bike buddy Charlie the frog that year.

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2011

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The year Nick and I decided to spend an entire season in a High School Throwback and he was kinda my 2nd best friend for a minute. It was good for us, though. Well, it was good for me at least; I can’t speak for him.

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I fell head-over-heels for ^^THIS^^ guy! It was a whirlwind adventure and I fell hard.

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Tay, J, and I at the theater for the last Harry Potter movie!

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Little Bro J and I spent a lot of time together in 2011. We roomed AND worked AND hung out as friends together. People used to marvel at how well we got along. They’d say, “If I spent that much time with my [sibling] we’d fight all the time, but you guys are like best friends!” I am thankful for the year I had with my littlest brother.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Thirty Years of Throwback ~ 2006-2008

January 10, 2016
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1985-1992

1991-1995

1996-1999

2000-2002

2003-2005

 

2006

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The year I graduated from college!

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All I want to know is where Little J’s paisley shirt from this photo ended up! Also, throwback to the 2000’s “scene kid”, perfectly embodied by T.Matt!

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2007

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This gem is a wonderful throwback to FLIP PHONES and T9 texting! (One day I will tell my kids, in my day we texted on a 9-key number pad, imagine that! And my kids will be like, what is a 9-key number pad?) And also: throwback to our St. Patrick’s Day Mexican Fiesta as well as plastic beaded necklaces and that little ranch house on Scioto Darby Road!

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Getting excited about Mom’s meatloaf was, is, and always will be. Having to put our coke in fancy glasses at the dinner table? Another thing that will never change!

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The year I got my tattoo! Which I still absolutely love. I can’t bring myself to get another for fear I won’t love it as much as I love this one.

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Pregnant with Adry!  The year Jamie was vicariously pregnant through me!

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A cute little first-time-pregnant baby bump. Flashback to two-toned hair dye!

 

2008

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Throwback to being HUGE and pregnant with TWO FULL months to go!

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My very first moment of being a mother- the very first moment I saw Adry- the moment that changed my life forever- the best moment of my life!

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Baby Adry in the bassinet Jamie got for him, the same bassinet Ella slept in.

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The year of many, many game nights with the original husbands

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Throwback to Adry and Reese as Aang The Last Airbender and Appa The Sky Bison

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

THIRTY Years of THROWBACK! 2003-2005

September 13, 2015
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1985-1992
1991-1995
1996-1999
2000-2002

 

2003

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The Sanders kids used to think it was the greatest thing ever to get Coke in our Easter baskets. (I know I’m older here, but J was still a kid, so Matt and I still got Easter goodies.) Contrary to popular belief – probably an assumption based on the Sanders’ undying love of Coke – Mom and Dad did NOT keep Coke on tap in our childhood home. As a matter of fact, sugary treats such as soda, cereals, and candy weren’t brought into the home at all, as far as we knew, except on 3 holidays: Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. So when we got it we made that shit last!

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My two favorite pictures of me n’ Jamie.
We were both dating our future ex-husbands – Stephan and Ben – at the time. Unbeknownst to each other the boys each got the Snoopy and Woodstock shirts for me and James as gifts. Then Jamie and I, entirely unaware of the fact that we possessed these matching shirts, packed them to wear on the same day in Chicago. So of course we had to get corresponding facepaint at Ed Debevics.

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Mer, Dave, Ben, Les, me, Hilary, T.Matt, Jason, Kevin, Eric, Amber, J, and Mom the day I turned 18. Incidentally it was also the day OSU won the National Championship against… er… some other football team. So of course we had a party that was completely about me and not football at all!

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Throwback to Creation Fest days! And thrift store plaid pants, midriff spaghetti straps, dangly belly button rings, pigtails, band t-shirts, and MATT’S MOHAWK in its baby days.

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Throwback to J&Tay on the far right and their Best-of-Pals days. I miss those kids together!

 

2004 

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Jamie, me, and Jessie. Keeping it classy. Jamie is wearing a Jr. Asparagus t-shirt ~ throwback to Veggie Tales!

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The year I wore my mother’s wedding dress to marry Ben! It was a very happy day and I enjoy remembering it.

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Left: Me, Ash, Ryan, Mer, Pammy; Right: Les, Jessie, Jamie, Harriet.
breakfast with the bride’s maids.

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Throwback to the Alternative Christian scene with babydoll band tees, studded belts, and dickies.

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This was the year Pammy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Sarcoma and began an intense fight for her life. The girls and I stopped by the hospital to pamper her with a pedicure.
(Mer, James, Me, Pam, Ash, Jessie, and Harriet)

 

2005

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This was our last family-friend outing before Dave died.
It was the cookout for which we forgot spoons, so we got creative with plastic cups!
(Tony, Pam, Me, Dad, J, Matt, Les, Dave, Tay)

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Out for Tony’s birthday!
(Me, Ben, Matt, Mom, Les, Mer, Ash’s boyfriend, Ash, Tony, Ginny, J, Tay, Ryan, Ryan’s girlfriend, Pammy)

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Me ‘n Momma <3

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

THIRTY Years of THROWBACK! 2000-2002

August 2, 2015
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1985-1992

1991-1995

1996-1999

2000

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Matt, Jessica H, Jamie, me, Jessie, Steve, and Jacob– Jessie and Jamie’s last day as my backyard neighbors– neighborhood buddies gathered together to see them off to their new home for a few years in Dalton, Ohio. This was a very very sad day for teenage Jessica. (Also the summer T.Matt swung from a rope in shallow water while he, Steve, my parents, and I were boating in Alum Creek. Broke his tibia and shattered his growth plate and had to wear a cast up to his thigh the rest of the summer! And I still notice his slightly ‘off’ gait.)

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The night Ash entertained us by performing silly dances to 98 Degrees in my living room for my 15th birthday. Throwback to the the obnoxiously long bunny ear antennae on the TV set and the bookshelf full of VHS movies! Oh, and everyone’s stylin’ plaid button down over-shirts are lying about.

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The last-day-of-school shaving cream fights my mom used to organize for us. I’m pretty sure that’s Mark, Matt, Steve, and me in the back; I forget/can’t tell, I forget/can’t tell, Little J, and his girl pal in the front.

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High School Homecomings! pre-dance photos by the parents in my living room. Flashback to spaghetti strap dresses! The boys in the back: Clint (who passed a few years ago, RIP Clint), Nick, Steve; girls in the front: Amber R, me, Jessie, Jamie, Jessica H.

 

2001

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The year Matt, Ash, Steve, and I decided at the very last second that we weren’t ready to be too old for Trick-or-Treat. We tried to be strong and mature, but dammit we needed one more year to be kids! So we ran to my parents’ box of old Halloween costumes and threw on the first things we could find. Ash had on a witch’s dress I think and the bunny ears from my first Halloween Costume. I think Steve had a Frankenstein’s Monster head and a sword or something. Matthew is in the picture donning my Orville Wright goggles and a clown wig, and I have on a clown hat and vest… And we had ourselves a Marry Trick-or-Treat. We didn’t have bags to collect candy and I remember Steve eating every single piece of candy he received between houses. My stomach hurts just thinking about it.

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Throwback to High School Sweethearts and the lilac bushes my mother planted on either side of the front door of our house. ohmygoshimissthose, I remember that fragrance. It takes me back every time I smell it.

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(**The date on some of these pictures is totally wrong.)
Young Reese Pete! See, we once loved each other! He had to have been under one here because I believe 2001 is the year I bought him- I had just turned 16 when he was born. (I still love Reese, by the way. Just in a very I’m-glad-he’s-Jacob’s sort of way.)

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Me- with ears stretched to a 0 gauge- and Little J with green teeth!

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Ah yes. Dad snapped this shot as I was about to walk out the door to go, i dunno, lollygag teenage-style somewhere. I was ready for my day, and what else could a 16-year-old girl need for her day other than her rainbow tank, baggy pants, hippie hair twists, quarter machine jewelry (a loovely choker and Matt and I had matching rainbow Power Heart Kid bracelets), blue Hot Topic Soda shoes, and 2 Blowpops just in case. You never know when you might need a Blowpop, and ya’ gotta have a second one to share with a friend.

 

2002

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The Year of Greta! and lots of thrifting, concerts, festivals, Monty Python, and Home Schooled kid sleep-overs together.

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The Brothers and I at a little music festival. Little J is shamelessly rockin’ that massive spill on his shirt!

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Ben and I were dating. Throwback to iron-on patches and safety pins!

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J, Dad, and I were camping out in line for a CD Release and signing.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

THIRTY Years of THROWBACK! 1996-1999

July 25, 2015
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1985-1992

1991-1995

1996

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Throwback to church plays. Matt, Mer, and I are dressed up for our Go Go Jonah play. Matt was a Ninevite and got to chase Jessie around with a sword, which was appropriate. Mer was a Yeoman of Joppa, and I was Jess: the visitor of The Museum of the Bible. I remember Dad working his tail-end off to re-write that whole script in order to include every single kid who wanted a speaking part or solo, and he also created a great stage set-up complete with visual and sound effects for the ocean and storm. It was such a cute little play that we even got to take our show on the road and put it on for another church.

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Throwback to church Sunday School at DCN led by Dave. I’m sure Dave put in a lot of time and effort preparing lessons and discussions for us but my only clear memories of those days were his field trips to Krispy Kreme and having us take bets (like good Nazarene kids) on how long it would take for the donuts to be devoured by the congregation… oh, and his sassy jokes throughout haha. Thank you, Dave, for the memories <3

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Throwback to American Girl Dolls– back when there were only FIVE! Samantha, Felicity, Molly, Kirsten, and Addy- and Addy was brand new back then. I had Samantha and she is currently packed away in my parents’ garage with her school desk, bedroom set, tea party table, and several outfits… and Little Jacob is quite enjoying his tea party with her in this picture.

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The year I was a midget for Halloween. (Jessica Harris the Joker, Jamie the… spider-vampire-witch?, Little Jacob Spiderman, Matt the Pirate, Me, and Taylor the football player)

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The Brothers and I. Throwback to GIANT hair bows, Honey We Shrunk ourselves on VHS, and Matt’s buzz cut!

 

1997

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My Nutty Bar, Me, ‘n Ash the year that Mom attempted to force-feed me Nutty Bars any chance she could get because I was painfully underweight.

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Jacob with his little friends, Me, Ash, Matt’s friend Mark, and Matt. Matt and J are both wearing their super cool visor sunglasses, and Dad is organizing the wagon. We also each have our white socks folded in half several inches above our shoe line in proper 90s fashion.

 

1998

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My cousin Jack and I are standing in front of the chapel at The Naz (where we would both end up as students together several years after this) holding up the medals we won at BLAST. BLAST is essentially a 3-day Nazarene talent/skill contest. I assume we both entered in Writing Poetry and Prose, although Jack could have done something in music. Also, throwback to BIBS! which I think I loved and wore at least through 8th grade (not that pair). And I’m not gunna lie- I’ll be the first to hop back on that train if they come back in style because so comfortable that is all.

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James and I sharing a seat, and we are both in the awkward and uncomfortable throes of young adolescence as well as a more enjoyable and exciting blossoming best-friendship.

 

1999

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The Sanders Clan Oh-My-Gosh-We’re-All-Dressed-Up-And-The-Weather-Is-Nice Photo Opp in the Yard and are J’s socks pulled all the way up his shins!? Haha! I love that family.

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Yes. The year we were N’SYNC for Halloween, complete with several dance routines we spent months choreographing and practicing, and a fangirl. We won 2nd place in the Hilliard Parks and Rec Costume contest, losing to “The Millennial Girls” who wore matching sweatshirts and shook pom-poms with cutesy smiles on their cutesy faces AND THE INJUSTICE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN, DO YOU HEAR THAT CITY OF HILLIARD!? Haha. James had to duct tape her boobs down to be Justin, Taryn was Chris, Ash was Joey, Jessie was Lance, and I was JC. We carried a boom box and occasionally broke out in dance along the neighborhood streets during trick-or-treat night, and ladies squealed and ran in to get their camcorders to capture us on video.

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Neighborhood buddies! Steve, me riding piggyback on James, and Matt in the van window

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This picture is the perfect throwback to the nineties. First, I must point out my high school “sk8er boyfriend” Nick’s wide-leg silver pants and skater shoes (he actually skated a lot. All the time. He was a legit skater boy), Ryan Parks’ forward comb hairdo and wide-leg painter pants, Jessie and I are both wearing all-white cloth shoes with 3-inch thick clunky soles, AND there’s a disposable camera on the table!

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Jamie, Jessie, and I! Throwback to Y2K and bringing in the new millennium!  And to all our friends’ families that stocked up on supplies in preparation for the end of the world. We all held our breath when the ball dropped but we survived! Haha.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

THIRTY Years of THROWBACK 1991-1995

July 20, 2015
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1991

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Little T.Matt ‘n Me. I just love this. We were so happy. We had a very blessed childhood.

 

1992

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Throwback to my childhood best friend  Nic and the old Nazarene campgrounds where we spent every summer together! And also some dude Mom made us pose with, but I forget who he is. I still remember the layout of the campgrounds like the back of my hand… And now I’m in the mood to get a group of girls together and recruit all the boys to spin us as fast as they can on the merry-go-round!

 

1993

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Snuggs with Little Bro J~ I just loved that baby! I love the dude that he turned into, but that baby was the such a sweet, good baby!

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Kristen and I played dress-up with Matt and J.
If you ever wondered why my brothers have always been comfortable with their “feminine” sides, now you know! This kind of thing may have happened on more than one occasion, with very willing participants I might add!

 

1994

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Me ‘n Momma!

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Okay, THIS right here was me, Matt, and J on Christmas morning before we were permitted to go downstairs to see if Santa had come. I just love this picture for so many reasons. First, Matt and I are both wearing my dad’s giant power tool shirts, and might I point out to you that mine says, “DO IT WITH A SCREAMER”. Second, Matt and J aren’t even looking at each other and are making the same face. Also, J-the only one fully dressed- is freaking adorable and he’s snuggled up with Big Dogon (the stuffed animal) which I think he still has!

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That’s me and my cousin Jack on our trampoline with Grampa just a few months before he passed away.

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Throwback to childhood cheerleading days. And also The Era of The Flower Bangs (See: Jessie and Jamie) and The Side Ponytails! Thank you, ’90s, for those fashion gems! (I’m in the very back left, Jamie is in front me on the left, and Jessie is in front of Jamie.)

 

1995

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Jessie, and J being held by Courtney in the back; Jamie, Emily, and Holly 2nd row from the back; and Jenn and Ash were right above me. I believe this was the birthday party during which we danced to Ace of Base (which they now play on the oldies station and Adry is amazed I was alive when the album came out) and Holly told her famous plum story. God help me I can’t remember at all what the plum story was about, but it was a big deal, okay. Oh, and I am wearing my Hilliard Crossing Elementary School sweatshirt~ Represent!

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The brothers and I are in Kansas, dressed for Grampa’s funeral.

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See? J has always been this cool and chill.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Adry’s 7th Birthday

April 7, 2015
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ADRY IS 7!

 

THIS GUY:
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IS 7!

He is 7 years old, in first grade, and his favorite things include Xbox, Youtube videos of people playing Xbox games, books written about Xbox games, earning and saving money to buy Xbox games… Lol. He loves zombie games and Minecraft! His favorite color is still green, favorite song is Eye of the Tiger, favorite super dudes are the Ninja Turtles, favorite food is air, and favorite person evar is his sister. (Don’t even try to compete with Ella, by the way. If there is a person in the universe past present or future who is the cutest, smartest, and overall best at anything that can be thought of, it is ultimately Ella, according to Adry.) Adry also enjoys mazes, tic tac toe, Goosebumps, and playing tag on the playground with his friends.

This year I invited a bunch of family and friends and a few kiddos to come hang out and enjoy cake and The Amazing Mr. Magic (Magician Ron Frank) for Adry’s birthday.

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The kids watching the magic show

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^That’s Baby Tara- Jamie’s baby- and the group

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Uncle Scott and Ella

The magic show was super cute. He had the kids giggling the entire time.

We also had refreshments and cake.
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Uncle Jacob enjoying some watermelon pizza!

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I think it was a pretty successful party and a fun day for Adry and the kids. I’ll have to take another long break from kid party planning after that, though, haha. I mean, I have to do the obligatory first birthday for Ella, then I’m not doing another party ’til Adry turns 10! (10 is a good birthday party year, right? Right on the cusp of adolescence, a final hurrah of young childhood…)

Anyway, Happy Seven Years Old, Adry Padry Puddin’ Pie! I love you so much, Kiddo.

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