Search my journal



January 2018
« Dec    

© 2012 CiaoBellaMamma - All rigths reserved.

Firstyme WordPress Theme.
Designed by Charlie Asemota.

A Shower for Ella Bella Part II

September 26, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page


Weeks before the shower my mom had Keith make a list of 23 things about having a daughter that he was excited for, and 1 message to me. She cut the list into strips and taped each of the 23 things to a pink rose, and taped the message to me on a single red rose. She put the roses in centerpiece vases on the tables and during the shower I walked around and read them. It was the sweetest thing.

What Daddy is Excited About:

1) Eleanor, I cannot wait to hold you in my arms. Your mom has carried you enough and I want my turn.

2) Eleanor, I am so excited to see your smile and hear your laugh.

3) Eleanor, I look forward to holding your hands and seeing you learn how to walk.

4) Baby Eleanor, I can’t wait for the day that you learn to say mama and dada.

5) Eleanor, I am so excited to take you out and show you off to the whole world.

6) I am already planning father-daughter dates. Don’t judge me.

7) I can’t wait to watch you grow up and see which of us you look like. I hope it’s your mom.

8) I am excited to see what your interests and passions are.

9) I am beyond excited to see the friendship that you’ll have with your big brother. You haven’t met him yet but he is the awesomest big brother you could ever want to have.

10) Dearest Daughter, I can’t wait for you to meet your grandparents. Be warned, though, they will spoil you silly.

11) Eleanor, I’m excited to take you to your first day of school, even though it means you’ll be growing up.

12) Dear Eleanor, I can’t wait to see the color of your eyes.

13) Daughter, I can’t wait to teach you how to ride a bike, and feel proud when we take the training wheels off.

14) Eleanor, I’m excited to see what your favorite bedtime books are even though I’ll probably get sick of reading them.

15) Dear Daughter, I can’t wait to teach you how to swim.

16) Dearest Eleanor, while it’s true that Mommy runs the bank in our house, I promise to sneak off with the credit card as often as possible to get you whatever you want. (Jessica, please don’t murder me to death.)

17) Eleanor, I’m excited and terrified in equal measures to see you make your own fashion choices. Please, for my sanity, make wise choices, or at least don’t let me see the bad ones.

18) Dear Daughter, I can’t wait to take you to the zoo so you can choose your favorite animal.

19) Dearest Eleanor, your daddy is old and his imagination doesn’t work so well anymore, but I look forward to our tea parties.

20) My dearest daughter, I can’t wait to see the relationship you build with your mom, and the bonds you’ll create with her as you grow up.

21) Eleanor, I can’t wait for the day that you can understand the words “I love you”.

22) Dear Daughter, I can’t honestly day I’m looking forward to you dating, but I swear that I will be a shoulder to cry on and a bringer of ice cream when some damn fool breaks your heart.

23) Eleanor, I can’t wait to see you take your first breath and take you home.

24) Dear Jessica, I used to think my life couldn’t get any better. Thank you so much for proving me wrong and giving me the greatest gift of my life. I am so excited to meet my daughter and add her to our awesome family. I love you.

Group Photos At The End Of The Shower:

 photo IMG_4179_zps3db27a62.jpg

 photo IMG_4180_zps5f324d63.jpg
 photo IMG_4181_zps39fc8cc2.jpg
 photo IMG_4182_zpsee4caf54.jpg
 photo IMG_4185_zps4093212b.jpg
 photo IMG_4186_zpse61174e5.jpg
 photo IMG_4190_zps566341f4.jpg
 photo IMG_4192_zps99de117b.jpg
 photo IMG_4193_zps44d5b398.jpg
 photo IMG_4198_zpsd7e97b0d.jpg
 photo IMG_4199_zps5f4f97ef.jpg
 photo IMG_4205_zpse9d7b4d3.jpg
 photo IMG_4206_zps71e67d15.jpg
 photo IMG_4207_zps8a8fc39c.jpg
 photo IMG_4208_zpsb48cf311.jpg
 photo IMG_4209_zps35422c04.jpg
 photo IMG_4210_zpsc704610f.jpg
 photo IMG_4211_zps633363fe.jpg

Keith’s mom, my mom, and I got to share a special moment. While we were standing there together I asked Sherry if she would join Mom, me, and Keith in the birthing room to be my third labor partner and witness Ella’s delivery. She was so happy!
 photo IMG_4212_zps9071eb6f.jpg
 photo IMG_4214_zps274dac7e.jpg
 photo IMG_4215_zps94a40e5e.jpg photo IMG_4216_zpsef52998a.jpg
 photo IMG_4219_zps6f47c63c.jpg
Jamie was standing nearby and said, “I will pass the trash can to Sherry!”
Jamie was my third labor partner for Adry and she spent a large chunk of that time holding the trash can for me while I puked! It was a glamorous job and she did it well! I will miss her, but I know it will mean the world to Sherry to be there with her son for the birth of her granddaughter.
 photo IMG_4217_zps32c26b15.jpg
 photo IMG_4218_zpsbb1021e2.jpg
 photo IMG_4220_zps10300208.jpg
 photo IMG_4222_zpsf2fea58c.jpg
 photo IMG_4223_zps15cecffb.jpg
 photo IMG_4224_zps586a3121.jpg
 photo IMG_4226_zps54ebc2cb.jpg
 photo IMG_4228_zpsf58b30c2.jpg
 photo IMG_4230_zpsd41eecf3.jpg

Thank you, Mom, for the very lovely baby shower!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

A Shower for Ella Bella Part I

September 23, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

On September sixth my mom, Keith’s mom, Les, Pam, and a few of their friends put together the most darling baby girl shower for Keith, Ella, and me.

They invited a comfortable, intimate group to meet in the basement of Keith’s parents’ church (Grace Church in Powell).
Sherry made her smash hit cupcakes and whoever came closest to guessing the number of pink popped corn won a prize!
 photo IMG_4156_zps14d19ebd.jpg
 photo IMG_4157_zps5c580bf6.jpg
 photo IMG_4159_zps81fd7e56.jpg
 photo IMG_4162_zpsca5cfdf2.jpg

Melon Baby “Eleanor” Made By Sherry
 photo IMG_4163_zps3ce658e9.jpg
 photo IMG_4164_zpsdd68fce8.jpg
 photo IMG_4166_zpse70db81a.jpg

Baby Shoe Filled with Kisses Shower Favor

I took some photos of the setup before anyone got there:
 photo IMG_4167_zpsa683dc44.jpg
 photo IMG_4170_zpsf4c8f086.jpg
It was a taco bar!
 photo IMG_4175_zpsb0be6ec5.jpg
 photo IMG_4172_zpsbdf59d5c.jpg

Name Tags and Address-Your-Own Thank You Cards! Haha
 photo IMG_4174_zpsc1c06e8a.jpg
 photo IMG_4176_zpsda3540dc.jpg
 photo IMG_4177_zps5a3159ef.jpg

Mom had also set up a corner with a TV that played the DVD of Eleanor’s 3D ultrasound.
As soon as it started playing Adry told me he needed to talk to me and pulled me to the side. He motioned for me to bend down to his level and I saw that tears were welling up in his eyes and spilling over: he was legitimately crying! I said, “Oh my gosh, what’s wrong, buddy!”
He said, “Mommy, the pictures of Ella are making me really sad.”
“Because they remind me that she’s not here yet and I can’t see her!”
I explained to Adry that the 3D images are supposed to be happy because she’s not ready to come out yet and we have the privilege of getting a preview of her before we even meet her!
He thought about that for a second and said, “You’re right. I guess these must be tears of joy!”
Aaaw, my Adry! He’s experiencing all the emotions of a new baby and his little 6-year-old self doesn’t quite know how to make sense of them!

More to come later!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella Belly 7 Months and 3D Ultrasound

August 30, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

Another Ella update!

FIRST. The Belly.

 photo 008eb264-8c4d-4bc5-a790-de959d9d58ac_zps46b7fcf8.jpg
 photo cd4739ea-d39a-4b74-92eb-d3318e2854ca_zpsffdcc1e5.jpg
 photo e3f1b95d-7c72-4023-ae12-9339117cd25c_zps930e139b.jpg
 photo b13fe94d-e636-40df-bff6-6ebe31deb410_zpsb17b9828.jpg
 photo 349a7902-f665-4300-9d88-7da3d6fdf635_zps7ad9acbe.jpg
 photo 8b6955ac-b063-46a0-83e4-ffcf65f1ab32_zps9f177461.jpg

This is what I looked like at 7 months pregnant with Adry:
 photo 7monthbelly_zps01522ea1.jpg
Different angle, hard to compare… Still huge!

ALSO. I wanted to share some of the 3D ultrasound images we got.

 photo IMG_2125_zpsd88ae599.jpg
(MOM took this photo! She wanted to make sure everyone knew SHE WAS THERE!)
We went to First Expressions earlier this month and got a whole CD worth of images, but it’s not compatible with my MAC. I haven’t had a chance to use someone else’s computer to email the photos to myself, so I just scanned the few prints we had.

My Eleanor Joyce:

 photo img007_zps02e7082b.jpg

 photo img004_zps394be5d6.jpg

 photo img006_zps653095a7.jpg

 photo img005_zps54bbce61.jpg

I wasn’t expecting her to be so adorable! Not that Keith and I aren’t each just entirely smokin’ hot ;-); I just figured there were very few combinations of our features that would crank out a cute kid.

Dad said during the 3D ultrasound he immediately thought, ‘I KNOW THIS BABY!’
Sure enough, we went home and got out an album with my newborn photos and, apart from the pouty lip, Ella and I are extremely similar. So maybe just maybe I’ll have a daughter who looks like me!

Adry really enjoyed seeing a glimpse of what his little sister will look like.
 photo IMG_2126_zps80775a26.jpg
(MY BIG FIRST GRADER! We went to Mellow Mushroom after the ultrasound.)
He is SO incredibly excited and sweet and protective of who he calls his “Ella Bella”. He sings to her and cuddles with her and gives her hugs on a daily basis. He’s also been keeping a very accurate due date countdown- I’ve been impressed!

Other 7 Month Pregnancy Updates:

You may have noticed the heart monotor.
 photo IMG_2173_zps91bb7c25.jpg
It’s not a big deal other than it is really REALLY annoying.
It’s just monitoring, checking for any electrical problems, for 30 days. Mom and I both get frequent PVCs, palpitations, and a little tachycardic throughout the day. Mom also has a grandmother who died of Mitral Valve Regurg and it may be genetic, but the cardiologist said mine was mild and not a concern at all. She ordered another echo just in case, and put me on the monitor basically just to rule out any other issues. My follow-up appointment is in October, and I really don’t expect any news worse than I might have to go on medication to regulate rhythm. Might. Hopefully not!
Other than that, I could complain all day about the misery of this pregnancy, but the truth is we’ve gotten nothing but good, comforting news. Even though I’ve swelled out of my rings and I can’t squeeze my hand shut because of all the fluid, my blood pressure is perfect! And I OFFICIALLY do NOT have gestational diabetes! Which is just… so great, not only for Ella and I now during this pregnancy, but also for ME and my future health! The odds of developing Gestation Diabetes in subsequent pregnancies, or Type 2 Diabetes at a younger age, are lower.
I have 3 goals for Ella and I at this point: 1) Keep her in until her due date! All of these early cramps and contractions are scaring me. 2) Get all the baby things we need and get this apartment baby-ready. And 3) Try to relax and enjoy the rest of this experience as much as I can.

We can’t wait!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Bicentennial Water Park Fun

June 30, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

 photo IMG_7761_zps6ca1980e.jpg
Adry had fun playing with his friend (Les’ cute little Grandnephew).

 photo IMG_7763_zpsb81c24fa.jpg

 photo IMG_7764_zps9b5b86c0.jpg

 photo IMG_7765_zpsf900ffdf.jpg

 photo IMG_7766_zps2e5d2124.jpg

 photo IMG_7775_zps188e1265.jpg
God, I love this man. It had been a long day for Keithy and I. I’d worked the night before then spent the day- my sleepy time- in the hospital. Keithy and my mother were both nice enough to insist that I go get things checked out, and they also both left work early to sit with me in Labor and Delivery for hourrrrs. I love them both so much- I am so thankful! I have the BEST support partner an expecting mother could hope for, and the best momma too! (And everything is okay, by the way. Long story short: 1) Breathing/dizziness issues unrelated to position or rest= possible overabundance of progesterone effecting the way my body is processing oxygen and carbon dioxide + getting a referral to see a cardiologist to check up on the mitral valve leak; 2) Pressure/cramping/spotting= bladder infection + low lying placenta. Taking antibiotics now and the low placenta should clear up on its own as the pregnancy progresses, crossing fingers! Ella is SAFE and I’ll be okay and that’s all that matters to me. Many of my worries were relieved, so I’m glad I made the hospital visit.)

 photo IMG_7783_zps173347f5.jpg

 photo IMG_7784_zps55c8f908.jpg

 photo IMG_7785_zpse98a96a7.jpg

 photo IMG_7786_zps06d45bae.jpg

 photo IMG_7797_zpsc46f755c.jpg

 photo IMG_7800_zps01a753a2.jpg

 photo IMG_7801_zps7e2a3c1a.jpg
And I love this boy, too. SO MUCH. I love how he feels my belly and talks to Ella. I love his snuggles and his giggles. My heart is so full.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Baltimore 2014

June 13, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

My big little brother (T.Matt) had been living in Baltimore for almost two years while Alexz was in grad school at MICA. Well, she got to graduate with her Masters in Education a few weeks ago, so the whole family took a road trip to MD to see her walk!

I didn’t get pictures of half the stuff we did, but here are the few I got:

 photo IMG_4008_zps7cdfb0c2.jpg
Alexz with her Art Education classmates

 photo IMG_1917_zpsc14fbf0f.jpg

 photo IMG_1931_zpsd50cca51.jpg

 photo IMG_1925_zps068028af.jpg

 photo IMG_4011_zps6a906fbc.jpg

 photo IMG_4017_zpsb14894e8.jpg
We found our favorite dessert at a place on the harbor.

 photo IMG_4019_zpsb14b42e9.jpg
X, Keithy, and Adry on the USS Constellation

 photo IMG_4022_zpsb5e655d7.jpg

 photo IMG_4024_zps9808839e.jpg

 photo IMG_4025_zps35fef617.jpg

 photo IMG_4027_zps7e391fbc.jpg

 photo IMG_4029_zps5c161f3c.jpg

 photo IMG_1930_zps464be079.jpg

 photo IMG_1928_zps90c99e10.jpg

 photo IMG_1935_zps390449fa.jpg

 photo IMG_1911_zps88407a9e.jpg

 photo IMG_1912_zpsf817c0e1.jpg


 photo IMG_1915_zpsd8698ac3.jpg

 photo IMG_1918_zps75667721.jpg
Keithy was soooo excited to spend some time with X

 photo IMG_1919_zps75667721.jpg

 photo IMG_1908_zpsf55c6a14.jpg
Our family + Alexz’s family on our last day in Baltimore

 photo IMG_1902_zpsf7ca804b.jpg
Keithy and I snuck away to sit and rest. Mom creeped on us, snapping photos of us enjoying each other’s company. 🙂

 photo IMG_1903_zps5a455224.jpg

 photo IMG_1904_zps8244d963.jpg

 photo IMG_1905_zpsaacf4fc0.jpg

 photo IMG_1906_zps0e491c2d.jpg

It was nice to see Matt and Alexz’s cute little place in MD, but I’m so glad to have them home! They’re in the midst of moving back and setting up their new place in the Cbus now. Yay!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Mom’s Birthday!

January 21, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

On Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Dad surprised Mom with a little birthday celebration. He gathered a few close friends and treated us to Mellow Mushroom pizza and a movie at Dublin AMC.

 photo IMG_7618_zps053f4613.jpg

Adry took this picture of the birthday girl in the car:
 photo IMG_7620_zps0f637e74.jpg

And also an Adry selfie:
 photo IMG_7622_zpsc1c5e473.jpg

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

One Big Holiday Update Part II

January 5, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

We kept New Year’s Eve low-key this year. We hung out at my parents’ house, had some mixed drinks at their little self-serve bar, made our own pizzas at a pizza buffet, listened to music, and played games. Simple. Relaxing. Fun. Didn’t get many photos.

 photo IMG_7614_zpse0b2bf70.jpg

 photo IMG_7617_zps1ab3f3fc.jpg
I got my camera out at Becca’s prompting because she insisted that a picture of her and J be taken by the end of the night. Unfortunately, after snapping a few pictures of the Jenga game I put my camera down and forgot about it… So THIS is J and Rebecca watching the moms’ Jenga game, the only photo of them I got. Hah.

 photo IMG_1628_zpsaed06eb5.jpg

Anyway, a few days later I turned 29. My birthday started off with a car accident. A cop had stopped in the middle of an icy road. The car in front of me apparently didn’t see him ’til it was too late and put on their breaks and fish-tailed ’til they hit the car. I saw them breaking and fish-tailing from a ways back, so I started tapping my breaks, which didn’t help at all, and I slid right into them. I slid for so long that I had time to consider turning off the road into the embankment to avoid getting a ticket. I decided it was safer for me to just keep going straight, so I braced myself, hoped for the best, and screamed, lol. Ugh! So of course I got the ticket, a towing fee, and a busted car on my birthday morning. My very first car accident. On my birthday. No one was hurt, but it was still frustrating.

However. As frustrating as it was, I got to fall in love with Keithy all over again which was a fantastic birthday present. I had called him right away and waited in my frigid car ’til he got there. My hands were literally blue and numb by the time he got to the scene and I hadn’t noticed because I was just so annoyed and nervous. He just kind of swooped in, scooped me up, gave me hugs, tucked me in his warm car to thaw, took charge, and figured everything out. Handsome, smooth, calm, patient, in love with me. In the accident aftermath I was feeling relaxed and incredibly lucky. Cars, tickets, money- none of that matters. I have everything that matters. I am so fortunate, so blessed, and so in love.

After that was all said and done, I got to enjoy the birthday dinner I requested from The Food Woman (stir fry and no bake cookies). It was delicious. The next day Dad decided to treat me to dinner. I chose Cheesecake Factory hoping to see Keithy who was working that night.

 photo IMG_1630_zpsae8dcfba.jpg

It was a fun evening of relaxing, talking, visiting… And I did get to see Keithy, if only for a moment! Worth it.

I loved all the time this season that I got to spend with my family. I can never get over how many awesome people I have in my life.

I’m thankful 🙂

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Thanksgiving 2013

November 30, 2013
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

This year’s Thanksgiving was an interesting and adventuresome one. From The Great Dog Chase to tipsy cooks, it all made for a memorable event for sure.

Keithy’s parents and The Jordan Family joined us this year. It was good to be with everyone.

Mom and Keithy worked for a combined 30 hours prepping and cooking our meal. (Several other dishes made by Mom Martin and 4 hour clean-up by Dad.)
Salad, french onion and asparagus soups, 3 different kind of stuffing, cornbread casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry salad, brussels sprouts salad, deviled eggs, turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, savory sweet potatoes, lentil loaf, homemade Hawaiian bread rolls, homemade outback bread, peanut butter pie, homemade Jeni’s Buckeye ice cream, apple pie, Italian nobake cake, and water with fresh cucumber, lemon, and mint.

All for one hour of BLISSFUL indulgence!

 photo IMG_3683_zps28020e18.jpg

 photo IMG_3685_zps2e7c89f0.jpg

 photo IMG_3689_zps615e03ba.jpg

 photo IMG_3690_zpsa4c832e1.jpg

 photo IMG_3696_zpsb193cfa7.jpg

 photo IMG_3697_zpsc0f6a80d.jpg

A Series of Poorly Composed Selfies:

 photo IMG_3701_zps4e6a2569.jpg

 photo IMG_3702_zps8f828d6c.jpg

 photo IMG_3706_zpseafda660.jpg

 photo IMG_3707_zpsde025f82.jpg

 photo IMG_3708_zps698a4c8b.jpg

 photo IMG_3712_zpsa5632bb6.jpg

 photo IMG_3713_zps3236cabf.jpg

 photo IMG_3714_zps1b8a02e0.jpg

 photo IMG_3716_zpscf95ea0a.jpg

 photo IMG_3719_zps589fef3a.jpg

 photo IMG_3721_zpsf5667a56.jpg
This is either Poppy or Pearl. I can’t tell which one.

 photo IMG_3722_zps6f759e1a.jpg

 photo IMG_3724_zps87214574.jpg
Adry loved Alexz’s parents’ dogs.

 photo IMG_1579_zpsf10967fe.jpg

 photo IMG_1578_zps8bdcae5f.jpg

 photo IMG_1580_zps04c77b79.jpg

 photo IMG_1581_zps39797393.jpg

 photo IMG_3726_zpsd7a224bb.jpg

 photo IMG_3728_zpsab52d80b.jpg

 photo IMG_3729_zpsfa43fbe5.jpg

 photo IMG_3734_zps7446ba2d.jpg

 photo IMG_3738_zps22de83b2.jpg

After eating we watched A Christmas Story (as is Sanders Family Thanksgiving tradition) and played a few games.

 photo IMG_3740_zps646999f4.jpg

 photo IMG_3741_zpsc4bcf827.jpg

 photo IMG_3742_zps6d18b176.jpg

 photo IMG_3743_zpsbfd5b237.jpg

 photo IMG_3744_zps2cbeabe4.jpg

 photo IMG_3745_zps6e23f8af.jpg

 photo IMG_3747_zps29f424ed.jpg

At the end of the day all of the humans were stuffed and exhausted, and all of the dogs were home and alive and well. Success.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

I love this boy.

November 28, 2013
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

A few weeks ago Adry got to spend the night at Holiday Express with Grandma Sanders, Leslie, Mer, and little Charlie.

He had a blast.

Keith and I stayed awhile, hung out in the pool and hot tub for a bit, and watched Adry enjoy himself.

He must have gone down the tube slide two dozen times. Each time just as exciting as the next. In the video he’s just beside himself explaining how awesome it is to Grandma:

 photo IMG_1570_zps54a50a95.jpg
He was so proud of himself because he was going ALL the way under water.

 photo IMG_1571_zps715b986c.jpg

 photo IMG_1572_zpsdbb8f387.jpg

 photo IMG_1573_zps9e9f9412.jpg

 photo IMG_1574_zpsd3cfbaa4.jpg

 photo IMG_1575_zpsf8c987b4.jpg

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

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

November 20, 2012
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

…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