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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

Hutchy Hall Wedding Part II: ‘Dancing!’

August 17, 2013
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First the kids tore up the dance floor!

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Adry survived the ceremony and cocktail hour and ended up having a blast.

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Then the rest of us joined in.

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Heading to the dance floor

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Selfie: Suitably Sloshed

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Dancing Brothers

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The Journey of the Hat: Whoever got J’s hat throughout the night danced spotlight in the circle!

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I love this, Mom!

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The bride got the hat!!

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MOB with the hat!

AFTERWARDS

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We took a few last pictures before seeing the bride and groom off.

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The girls – Jamie

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Duke and Adry. Guy talk!

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We decided we weren’t ready to end the night so we wrapped up the night visiting and laughing and telling stories at Old Bag of Nails.

And they lived happily ever after!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Hutchy Hall Wedding Part I: ‘Before the Dancing’

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Last weekend I watched my friend since the seventh grade (Hutchy) marry her sweetheart, Mr. Corey Hall.
And since I have a crapton of pictures to document that day I am splitting the event into two parts: ‘Before the Dancing’ photos and ‘Dancing!’ photos.
I’ve compiled my favorite photos from my camera, my mom’s, Ashley’s, and Jessie’s cameras to post here to my journal for memories’ sake.
I’ve collected so many photos because it was a special day– Most importantly we got to celebrate a good friend’s new beginning with her life partner, but ALSO having the whole Sanders Clan (+ many of its affiliates) all together in one place doesn’t happen as often as it should! And we had a bunch of fun together.

Before the Ceremony
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The whole family! Together! Dad, Keith, J, Matt, Mom, Me, Adry, Becca, Alexz
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J and Becca

Cocktail Hour

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Mer, Chip, Dad, J, and Becca

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Adry with Ben and Duke

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My beautiful mother

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One stud of a husband!

Dinner

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My two awesome brothers and their lovely girlfriends

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Dad and Mom

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Chip and Mer, Rescue Rangers

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Duke and Ash

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Jessie and Jamie and their guys

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Bess Fran

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Proof that it was post-cocktail hour and Jamie got ahold of my camera

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I love these guys

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Awesome

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Adorable Bride!

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Hah!

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Hutchyyyy!

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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

Marrying Keith 6- cake cutting, keith’s brother, and happily ever after

October 13, 2012
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Last installment of ‘Marrying Keith’!

Later in the night, after our fist dance, it was time to cut the cake!

Of course, since cutting the cake is a seriously important event lyke omigawd I had to have a very serious discussion with Keith beforehand… which made him laugh at me.
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And I was all no no no no, you don’t understand. That whole vow thing? That was just a formality. You could have had your fingers crossed. We suspect certain ex-husbands had THEIRS crossed. You have to repeat all your vows (it is permissible to paraphrase), then PINKY PROMISE ME and then seal it with the cake cutting! So he put on his serious face.

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He repeated his vows and pinky-promised on it.

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SIDE STORY: And this is going to sound all mopey but it’s totally not- I’ve just accepted the fact that insecurity is going to be a part of my relationship with Keith. I will always wonder if or when he might leave me, stop loving me, get sick of me, blahblah. I mean, it’s not just that I’ve personally experienced adultery and divorce; it’s that I’ve also seen it happen over and over and over again, same story every time. I feel like my generation has just become really good at justifying ending a relationship that has gone sour… and letting relationships go sour in the first place. I’m not sure how long I have to be married to be convinced I won’t be left, because I’ve seen 3-year marriages collapse, 10-year marriages, 17-year marriages… you know? I get afraid that I’ll be 39, going through a rough time, raising 2 Martin kids and Keith will say, “I haven’t been happy for a long time- I think we’d be happier if we weren’t married anymore.” I am NOT saying that it is within Keith’s character in the slightest to do or say something like that, but the terrifying thing is that I didn’t think it was in the other men at all to do that to their wives, either! Each affair, separation, and divorce I’ve seen has been a complete shock to me.

I know it’s not fair that Keith has to live in the wake of my past experiences when he’s done nothing but be consistent, committed, and work hard to make sure I’m happy. But he always assures me that he entered into the relationship with his eyes open- he knew what I’d been through and the struggles I have. He’s incredibly patient. All I have to do is tell him when I’m feeling insecure and afraid and he reminds me of how much he loves me, WHY he loves me, how happy he is, and how, even if one day he might happen to feel unhappy, he will never leave me. It makes me feel better to discuss actions we will take to secure a healthy marriage and ALSO the actions we will take if things go bad.

SO ANYWAY! Nowadays (post-wedding) when I have bouts of insecurity he reminds me that he PINKY PROMISED! And it has become a little joke.
So after the super serious pinky promise Melissa came over to help us cut the cake. This is Melissa:
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She is also the one who worked hard to make our very lovely cake.

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(loving on me)

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Friends Photos!
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To kind of wrap up the night the crowd gathered around the bonfire and Keith’s brother gave a really great heartfelt “best man speech” that Keith talked about for days.
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(SO many girls find out that Keith is awesome and ask me if he has a brother. The answer is yes. Keith has a brother. Here he is! No, you can’t have him. He’s married.)

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It has taken me three weeks to get all of these wedding posts up! Also- I’ve been married for three weeks already! Each day is happier than the day before.

I love my husband so so SO much. forever.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Marrying Keith 5- blue ginger and first dance

October 6, 2012
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After family photos we met at Blue Ginger for dinner.

Blue Ginger is an Asian bistro in Dublin and is the restaurant Keith and I went to celebrate our engagement. We thought it was yummy, so why not celebrate our being married there, too!

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I love him!

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Jamie and John

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Keithy got some sushi. I got duck dumplings, the same thing I got on engagement day.
I also tried to eat sushi for the first time in my life, but that story doesn’t end well.

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After Blue Ginger we headed to my parents’ house for our Fire Night Party (AKA reception).

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Melissa Foley (wife of one of Keith’s bandmates) made our cake!

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My mother (and dad) organized, decorated, set up, and put together the entire Fire Night Party. She did an amazing awesome job and I wish I had more photos of everything she did! (I just didn’t think to grab my camera and/or tell the girl who did our pictures what I wanted. =my one and only big wedding regret.) My mom had the yard all in pretty sparkly lights, she had beautiful autumn-like table cloths and centerpieces on the tables, she prepared make-your-own kabob tables with different meats and vegetables and people cooked their kabobs on the grill. Dad prepared sangria and filled his fishing boat with sodas, beers, etc. T.Matt put together my music mix and Ryan let us use his DJ equipment so the party had music! Dad set up a tent with foosball and the skittles game he made by hand, and also made a big bonfire and fire snacks (smores). Everything was super classy, sparkly, pretty, and yummy! My mother is right in her element when it comes to events. She doesn’t do anything halfway.

Keith and I had sort of been doing our own separate mingling as soon as we walked through the door of my parents’ house. So an hour or two into Fire Night I’d had a few +spiked sangrias to keep warm (and it totally worked) and I also had REFUSED to take off my super long heeled shoes because I loved them. I packed sneakers just in case, but… the shoes! They buckled at the ankle and had an adorable bow across the toes and… they just weren’t coming off, even though no one could see them and the heels were super thin so I kept getting stuck in the grass as I walked through the yard… Aanyway. It was about this time that Keith and I crossed paths on the patio as a song started and we took each other and started dancing.

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Now, Keith and I never had “a song”. We tried to have a song, but I always told him that the best couple songs were from shared experiences, not picking and choosing. By Wedding Day the closest I’d come to having a song that reminded me of Keith was Jack Johnson’s Better Together because Keith always seemed to sing it to me on late nights when we first started dating. But KEITH said the song that reminded him of ME was Red Hot Chili Peppers Hard To Concentrate… and so we just never pinned down a couple song. So anyway, on Wedding Day when this song played and we started dancing it took me a minute to piece together what it was because I’m really bad with intros… and also: sangria.

Then Keithy started singing it to me. The first song we danced to. The first song he sang to me. And it turns out it was Jason Mraz I’m Yours.

Sidenote: it’s funny that that song ended up being the song because it’s always been one that’s been kind of unofficially off limits for me because it belonged to my old high school friend/ fellow online journaler who is a SUPER SUPER CRAZY-FOR-JASON-MRAZ FAN (who ALSO happened to date the same high school boy as me, happened to get pregnant a little before me, left baby daddy a little before I left mine, fell in love and got engaged a little before me, got a job very similar to the one I got, HAPPENED to get married on the exact same day as me, who I think ALSO danced to that Jason Mraz song with her son on that day!!!) so I’m slightly concerned (but not really) that she will think I am stealing her life! Ha! But I promise- the parallels are a complete coincidence (and a little weird). Also, she’s not catty, so I don’t think this will be an issue. It’s just kind of funny to me.

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When Keith and I were first falling in love he’d say, “I love you so much I have that ache behind my sternum.” That’s how I felt dancing with him. That’s how I feel about him every day. (I am so fortunate.)

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I completely adore him.

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The next post is my LAST wedding post!!! It will be of cake cutting, Keith’s brother, the rest of fire night, and happily ever after.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Marrying Keith 4- family photos

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Keith and Uncle Phil

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Love that smile

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Keith and his “brother of another color and a different mother”, Xavier

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They man-love each other

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Keith’s bandmate Ryan (videographer and husband of photographer) on the left

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Keith with Ryan and his son

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Childhood Family Friends (Or as we call ourselves, “The Kids”): Tay, Hutch, Ash, Me, Adry, Ryan, Jamie, Jessie, Mer, Tori

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Supporting Mothers: Les, Sandie, Me, Mom, Pammy, Ginny

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Ash and I

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Next Post: Blue Ginger and Fire Party!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Summer Picture Post

July 8, 2012
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ADRY!

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Adry in his ring bearer tux (with two of the other ring bearers) for Chip and Mer’s wedding. Adorable.

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Playing around in my grandpa’s fishin’ boat

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…takin’ pictures in his underoos

CLEVELAND- LAKE ERIE!

Keith and I helped Chip and Mer move to Cleveland this weekend. We spent a lovely evening watching the sun set over the lake.
(I am lucky and in love.)

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Keith and Chip walking along the lake

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Keith and Chip

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My love

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I’m braving the quarry rocks to get out to the water

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It was windy!

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal