Search my journal

Archives

Calendar

December 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

© 2012 CiaoBellaMamma - All rigths reserved.

Firstyme WordPress Theme.
Designed by Charlie Asemota.

Thanksgiving ’17

December 2, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

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
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

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
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

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

5 Year Anniversary

October 7, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

How Keith n’ Jess got started:

A snippet of a conversation I documented, March 2011~

“I was just going to talk to you today about how I can’t do this ‘taking it slow’ thing anymore. I want you to be mine.” -K
“I’m not scared anymore. And I’m okay with having you forever. Are you ready?” -J
“Yeah I’m ready.”
“Sure?”
“I’ve made my decision.”
“Then let’s do it.”

In September of 2017 we celebrated 5 years of commitment to each other.

I am so thankful for us, and I love the life we have built together.

To be honest, I feel insecure about my life *only* when I think about how it must seem from the outside looking in. I do not think I have an enviable life when up against society’s measuring stick. Keith and I, we are poor. We live in a very old apartment in which our children share a bedroom and we do not spend money on any vacations or personal luxuries. Everything we own is either cheap or handed down. We also both struggle with 2 opposite mental disorders which can cause conflict between us. We are often over-worked, overwhelmed by outside life circumstances, sleep deprived, and exhausted (which we’ve learned to call adulthood). Despite all of that- or maybe even because it eliminates the pressure of living up to anyone’s expectations- I can’t help but feel consistently, sincerely, and deeply grateful for what I have and the life I live with Keith.

I feel so thankful. I’m thankful that I still feel very much in love with him. …I keep waiting for that feeling to fade! But now I’m beginning to wonder if it ever will. Maybe I lucked out. Haha, don’t get me wrong! There have been times I’ve been so mad, and so annoyed, and so disappointed and he’s felt the same towards me. But then he holds my hand for 30 seconds or we pause for a minute to say ‘sorry’ or we just make fun of ourselves and laugh it out, and all the sudden my heart is full again and I can’t get enough of him.

I appreciate using him as a sounding board to sort through confusing emotions. I enjoy cuddling, watching him love our children, receiving chocolates, and the many wonderful surprise homemade meals he cooks up.

I love you, Keith! I’m happy to have launched Year Six with you. Here’s to another year of adventure (Lord, have mercy!) and holding on tight to one another while we weather the storm.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Summer of ’17 (Part II)

September 16, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

Ella Bella <3s Tara Bear

Playing Doggies

Playing Doggies at Tara’s Birthday Party

IMG_6969

IMG_6973

playtime at Tara's house

Playtime at Tara’s House

fullsizeoutput_258b

Version 2

fullsizeoutput_258f

Taylor J. got married!

This kid:

butayj

grew up, got even taller, and became a husband. And I can’t even process it because, like, wait, wasn’t this ^^^ just last month or something?

Ryan was his wedding DJ and introduced the newlyweds and their bridal party to the Blues Brother’s theme song, which was perfect.

It’s always nice to be reunited with the good ol’ Family Frens. I love them all and I am thankful for each of them.

IMG_7003

IMG_6993

IMG_6989

IMG_6980

IMG_6981

IMG_6983

Dad turned 55!

He set up some yard games, and Ella was the true badminton champ.

IMG_7018

This is what it looks like to be 55. He was riding this kids’ bike trying to dodge golf discs that were being hurled at him. Happy birthday, Dad! 😀

Ella The Artist 

Fun in Grandpa Sanders’ Garage

IMG_7035

IMG_7034

Labor Day Poolside Fun

We like to say goodbye to summer by enjoying the Grandview pool on the last day of the season that it’s open.

Adry n' Grandma

Adry n’ Grandma

IMG_7049

IMG_7053

IMG_7064

IMG_7066

IMG_7070

IMG_7087

IMG_7088

IMG_7041

The pool wears Eleanor out. She has to take catnaps during each break period.

IMG_7098

IMG_7105

IMG_7106

fullsizeoutput_262d

fullsizeoutput_262e

fullsizeoutput_262f

Goodbye, Summer 2017! 

 

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Summer of ’17 (Part I)

September 9, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

I am so behind on my journaling. I am going to try to combine a bunch of my summer photos in a couple of big huge picture posts. Here y’go!

Fourth of July

was a lot of fun.

We experienced Red White & Boom at Audubon Park, and I loved it so much there I want to make it my yearly Red White & Boom tradition.

IMG_6730

IMG_6731

19601207_10212356308238365_5313872096180941475_n

Thanks for this photo, Matt.

IMG_6682

The next day we went to the Dublin fireworks and saw Peter Frampton live! After the show we were so close to where they set off the fireworks it was probably literally one of the very best displays I’ve ever experienced. I was mesmerized!

IMG_6693

IMG_6697

IMG_6706

IMG_6709

IMG_6719

IMG_6721

IMG_6732

IMG_6733

Park of Roses Picnic

I adore this park.

IMG_6744

IMG_6749

Photo Cred: Rebecca

Photo by Rebecca

Photo Cred: Rebecca

Photo by Rebecca

Photo Cred: Rebecca

Photo by Rebecca

Attempted Potterfest

For just a minute (30 seconds?) Eleanor was Hedwig and Adry was Dumbledore!

IMG_6734

IMG_6740

fullsizeoutput_262c

But Potterfest was a bust. It pretty much went like this:

IMG_5987

A trip to Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Sweeties made up for it for some of us!

IMG_6863

IMG_6864

Misc.

IMG_6758

Adry at Niagra Falls with his dad and Grandma Ellwood

Adry at Niagra Falls with his dad and Grandma Ellwood

IMG_6777

IMG_6775

Me n' My Girl

Me n’ My Girl

Eleanor learned how to help with household chores (and enjoyed splashing in a pool and visiting Carl the Turtle and other fun things) with Grandma Martin this summer!

IMG_6788

She also had many great adventures with Aunt Alexz while she was on summer break!

IMG_6880

And Grandpa Sanders, too!

IMG_6849

Dress enhanced by Grandma Martin

Dress enhanced by Grandma Martin

Adry on Lake Eerie during a trip with his dad

Adry on Lake Eerie during a trip with his dad

 

IMG_6937

Spoiled by Grandma Sanders– new dress up shoes and clothes just because

IMG_6941

And although Jazz and Ribs Fest was stressful this year, this full arch double rainbow (can’t make out the second rainbow in these pics) was unforgettable.

fullsizeoutput_2628

fullsizeoutput_2629

The Bunny Water Park/ Mt Vernon Water Park

IMG_6807

IMG_6808

IMG_6811

IMG_6812

IMG_6815

IMG_6819

IMG_6821

IMG_6828

IMG_6829

We took a trip to Mount Vernon for Maya’s first birthday party. The kids got to play with Logan and Lilly (my cousin’s son and niece) at the water park up there. We had a lot of fun!

IMG_6834

IMG_6833

IMG_6836

 

 

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Easter Sunday 2017

April 29, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

IMG_6124

IMG_6126

IMG_5913

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.

IMG_6133

fullsizeoutput_1498

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!

IMG_5940

Adry, looking for his basket

Adry, looking for his basket

IMG_5944

IMG_5945

IMG_5948

IMG_6136

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

Easter Egg Hunt 2017

April 22, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

Eleanor takes tumbling classes (which, by the way, is adorable. She calls it ‘BOUNCE!’ class, and she proudly shows off her splits, kicks, forward rolls, and top-notch bouncing skills). At the beginning of April we participated in the annual Easter Egg Hunt and Open Gym at the place she has BOUNCE!, and both of the kids had a great time.

IMG_5990

Eleanor is cheating and trying to snatch some eggs before the go-ahead.

Eleanor is cheating and trying to snatch some eggs before the go-ahead.

Grandma is helping her go through the loot.

Grandma is helping her go through the loot.

So is Big Brother.

So is Big Brother.

...using all her strength to try to open an egg by herself!

…using all her strength to try to open an egg by herself!

 

IMG_6022

IMG_6024

IMG_6026

The Mom and Dad Selfie

The Mom and Dad Selfie

Shamelessly Eating My Kids' Chocolate

Shamelessly Eating My Kids’ Chocolate

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Another Year Passed

February 25, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

I gladly welcomed Year 2017 and Age 32.

(This girl loves being photographed:)
 photo IMG_5565_zpsf4dollyg.jpg

 photo IMG_5568_zpseigyewcy.jpg

 photo fullsizeoutput_e_zpshqdoiqbi.jpeg

 photo IMG_5571_zpsorqn8xh7.jpg

 photo IMG_5572_zpseqbyubek.jpg

 photo fullsizeoutput_c_zpspce63of8.jpeg

(This boy, not so much:)
 photo IMG_5595_zpsvvkcvmfv.jpg

 photo IMG_5597_zps8phmxegm.jpg

 photo IMG_5590_zps3wf0exqs.jpg

 photo IMG_5583_zpspwvydbmw.jpg

 photo IMG_5592_zps8urvzwxh.jpg

 photo IMG_5600_zpsytybjjki.jpg

 photo fullsizeoutput_20_zpsxt3pdk8b.jpeg

 photo fullsizeoutput_5_zps26di4z4i.jpeg

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