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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

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

The Last Single Digit

March 25, 2017
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Dear Adry,

You turned NINE years old this month.
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Your Grandma Sanders let you choose your own cake from the Whole Foods selection. You chose well. And on your actual birthday we had a mother-son movie date at The Lennox. We saw the live action Beauty & The Beast and I think you enjoyed it for the most part! Afterwards you decorated sugar cookies, got some money on your Roblox account, and opened up some cool presents from your aunts and uncles.

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You also had a little party with your buddies at your daddy’s house, and spent a day with Grandma and Grandpa Martin, too! They spent some time with you at your friend’s birthday party, took you to see a little bit of a movie (before you asked to leave because it was more intense than you’d expected), treated you to some dinner, and took you to cuddle on some cute puppies!

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But your birthday festivities weren’t over yet! Your daddy shared this picture of the cake your grandma Ellwood made for you! You got to spend a day with them, too!

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I really enjoyed celebrating you, Kid. I love you a great big amount. A bigger amount than I ever knew possible. And it grows bigger with each passing year. I’ve always enjoyed watching you learn and grow and change, but now- as you are getting older- it’s kind of cool because I get to enjoy being your pal, too. I like hanging out with you and laughing (at Keith.) I like trying to listen as you talk endlessly about all the things that interest you. Even though 90 percent of the time I don’t understand the words you are using, I still think it’s cool that you like to tell me all about it. AND I’ve picked up on SOME of the lingo. Lyke, I can dap to da brass horn, brah. Even doe I’m a n00b and wait, what even am I doing…

A little bit about you at 9 years old:

Basically, you have two settings. In the first you are quite literally vibrating with energy and bouncing off furniture and walls while Keith constantly shouts, “you are shaking the whole house!” Of course, you don’t hear him because you are right in the middle of explaining easter eggs and hackers and memes and forgetting to breath. In the second you are checked out of reality, lost in the gaming world, and I don’t hear a peep from you for hours.

You are also a fantastic big brother to Ella. You adore her. You are patient and good to her. I’m very thankful for that.

Our dinner routine consists of 5 parts us trying to convince you to eat, 1 part you pretending to eat, and 4 parts you insisting on getting dessert because you maybe ate one bite.

Our bedtime routine consists of 10 parts me fighting with you to brush your teeth and 1 part you pretending to brush your teeth. Then we read Harry Potter. You love it. Sometimes we snuggle and fall asleep to Doctor Who instead.

You decided to cut your long, thick, naturally highlighted hair and now you have perpetual bedhead because you claim that your new haircut is “supposed to be messy” and doesn’t need brushed.

You are as sweet and sensitive as you are sassy and temperamental. You’re funny, you’re smart, and you’re loved. You’ll always be my baby boy.

I love you forever!

-Mommy

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

Halloween 2016

February 11, 2017
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I finally got a new computer! Hooray! Despite the amount of our savings that Keith’s temporary unemployment ate through, I decided to bite the bullet and invest in a MacBook Air. I was going to wait until after tax returns until I realized I do my own taxes, and… I need a computer to do taxes!

Now I can play catch-up on all my holiday photos.

First: Halloween

Halloween was the most enjoyable holiday for me this year. I was sick on Thanksgiving, and Christmas was the most stressful and depressing Christmas I’ve ever experienced in my life thus far… In terms of circumstance-induced anxiety and depression, it even surpassed the year I had the miscarriage Christmas Eve through Christmas morning. (I am better now.) (Man, it felt good just to write that out, even as vague as it is. I’ve missed journaling.) BUT Halloween was such a sweet, enjoyable holiday for me. I’m glad I made the most of it.

We did our annual Friendship Village of Dublin retirement home Trick or Treat.

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Eleanor used the Max from Where The Wild Things Are costume that Adry’s Grandma Ellwood made for him when he was just a bit younger than Ella was this year. It’s a bit too short for her. But still adorable. Adry was a Civil War Union Soldier. (NOT a Confederate Soldier, for heaven’s sake. That’s a good way to annoy Adry!) His costume was made by his Grandma Ellwood as well.

We also tried a Trunk or Treat in Hilliard for the first time. I loved it so much I’d like to keep it a tradition.

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Uncle Sam told Adry that his costume was the most authentic he had ever seen and wanted a picture with him.

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And my kids enjoyed Beggar’s Night in Grandview, too. Adry got to trick-or-treat with his school buddies while Keith and Grandma and Grandpa Martin spent hours walking with Ella house-to-house up and down Grandview residential streets. I joined them when I got off work. We spent the last half hour at the Grandview library playing games, winning prizes, and getting our picture taken.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal