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A Shower for Ella Bella Part I

September 23, 2014
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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!
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Melon Baby “Eleanor” Made By Sherry
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Baby Shoe Filled with Kisses Shower Favor

I took some photos of the setup before anyone got there:
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It was a taco bar!
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Name Tags and Address-Your-Own Thank You Cards! Haha
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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.”
“Why!?”
“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
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Another Ella update!

FIRST. The Belly.

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SEVEN MONTHS!
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This is what I looked like at 7 months pregnant with Adry:
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Different angle, hard to compare… Still huge!

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

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(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:

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THE CHEEKS!

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THE POUTY LIP!

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THE BUTTON NOSE!

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

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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.)

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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
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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:

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Alexz with her Art Education classmates

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Alexz

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

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X, Keithy, and Adry on the USS Constellation

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Keithy was soooo excited to spend some time with X

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Our family + Alexz’s family on our last day in Baltimore

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

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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
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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.

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Adry took this picture of the birthday girl in the car:
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And also an Adry selfie:
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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

One Big Holiday Update Part II

January 5, 2014
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
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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!

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A Series of Poorly Composed Selfies:

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

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Adry loved Alexz’s parents’ dogs.

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

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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
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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:

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

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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: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m0fzb5moievy3ge/Anniversery.m4v.mp4

While watching the video:
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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.)
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And a few more fun photos from the end of the night:

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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.)

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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.

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<3

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Being silly

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Mom and her kids

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The fam

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

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T. Matt’s mustache

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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