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Miss Eleanor Joyce~7th Month

June 20, 2015
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I’m posting this a bit late. These pictures and updates are reflective of Ella Bella between May 5th and June 4th!

My dear happy, curious, squealy, bright-eyed Eleanor:

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Your personality is beginning to show!

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(snuggles with Grandpa Martin)

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You love attention, you love to be watched and admired… just like your daddy πŸ˜‰
You also can never decide which toy to play with when there are options. You pretty much just want to grab and explore any toy or thing in sight all at once- they’re just all so exciting and interesting it’s hard to focus on only one at a time! (which is also a lot like your daddy, actually.)

Except when it comes to Green Ducky!
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Green Ducky comes out at bath time and you LOVE him. He is your favorite and he trumps all other toys. I have to sneak him away from you after you fall asleep in order to put him back with the bath toys (because your brother got him for you and he’d be heartbroken if Green Ducky got lost).
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(snuggles with Daddy)

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You’re also developing your own little sense of humor. You think people’s reactions when you pull their hair (or ears, noses, or eye sockets lol) are hilarious.

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You also think being an Ellacopter and crash-landing with your daddy is hilarious.

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You are sensitive to sudden, loud noises including but not limited to your Grandpa Sanders and Uncles getting riled up. …But regardless of whether you toughen up and get used to it or continue to be a sensitive and delicate, I know they are and will be some of your favorite people ever just like they are for your big brother. πŸ™‚

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Your brother loved to watch Baby Einstein when he was your age. It was rhythmic, repetitive, slow and soothing. But Baby Einstein bores you – you like Power Puff Girls. Maybe you love that it’s busy, bright, and colorful? Maybe you like the cute little high-pitched voices? I have no idea why, but putting Power Puff Girls on is the easiest, fastest way I can entertain you and get you to sleep.

(Your grandpa Sanders dubbed the next strip of Photos based on your expressions in each one, and it’s perfect! I love it!– “Mo’ style than Liberace. Mo’ soul than Brother Ray. Mo’ funk than P Funk. It would be hard to find better taste in music.”)  photo IMG_2942_zpss2v1d25o.jpg  photo soul_zpscad3zmph.jpg
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‘They’ say that life with kids is hard, and they’re right! It’s exhausting. It’s stressful. Sometimes it’s downright overwhelming. ‘They’ also say that nothing worthwhile is easy, and they’re right! Oh, I can imagine my life without you. That life is calmer. Quieter. More peaceful even! There would also be significatly less giggling in this house! …Fewer times my heart would swell with love and adoration. There would be less joy in my life.

Speaking of which: Baby Girl, before you were born I wondered what it was like to have a mother’s love for two children. I’ve enjoyed learning that I can love two different people equally but in completely different ways. Your brother is my passion-my heart aches with my love for him, and I feel a fierce momma-bear sense of nurture and protection for him. But YOU are my joy. You make my heart swell and I celebrate you.

Yeah, I can definitely imagine my life without you two, and I don’t want it. I am so incredibly thankful for you.

Love always,

Mommy

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella’s Sixth Month

May 9, 2015
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Eleanor, Ella, Ella Bella, Bells, Ella Joyce, Nora, and Nori:

Those are all the nicknames you’ve come by in your first six months of life. I hope you like nicknames as much as I do! I think they are all very cute. I’ve even begun calling you ‘Nori’ a lot of the time, but your daddy still sticks with only ‘Eleanor’.

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‘It takes a village’ is about right when it comes to how you’re being raised. I’m definitely no longer your main caregiver. With my work schedule your daddy seems to get a lot more time with you than I get, and other than that you are being brought up by a little bit of everyone: Grandma and Grandpa Sanders, your uncles Matt and J, your aunts Alexz and Beeca, and even the ladies in the Rock City Church nursery and at Kiwi’s. I miss you so much, but I am so thankful that you get to be loved and influenced by so many awesome people!

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But you’re still my girl, Baby Bells. I’m home for you. There are times during which all you want is your mommy and no one can comfort you but me. There are days you are grumpy and restless while we are apart, then calm instantly when you see me. I don’t like when you’re upset, but I cherish being your comfort.

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While I’m your comfort your daddy and big brother are your joys! Your whole face smiles when you see them; you squeal and laugh when they play with you.

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This month both of your bottom teeth came in, and you can sit up on your own.
You grab EVERYTHING- shake it, flail, throw it.
And you loved the little taste your grandma Sanders gave you of chocolate, mmm!

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Half of a year with you has gone by already! It’s been the best 1/2 year yet!

Love you so much <3

~Mommy

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

So Long, Baby Teeth!

April 26, 2015
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I’ve got quite the big kid on my hands these days.

Dad picked the kids up this past Wednesday and watched them until I got off work.
In that time, not only one,
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but TWO baby teeth came out of this boy’s head!
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He was so proud!

He showed them to me as soon as I got there to pick him up. I must say, I got a little sentimental looking at those teeth remembering when they came in when he was a baby.

What’s that they always say? They grow up too fast?
That may be true.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Easter 2015 ~ Baby’s First Easter!

April 19, 2015
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This girl!
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has my heart.

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And this guy
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started being skeptical about the Easter Bunny’s existence.

“Mommy, I don’t think the Easter Bunny is real,” he said.
“Why do you think that?”
“Because. How does he deliver all the baskets? He just hops around? How does he carry everything? Santa- he has elves and magic, but what is the Easter Bunny? Just a giant bunny for no reason!?”
“You bring up some good points, but why don’t you think he uses magic?”
“Well, why do YOU have all the baskets and eggs, hmm? (looks at me knowingly)”
“Because I bought them. They’re mine. According to tradition the giant bunny for no reason fills them.”

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On the other hand, if the Easter Bunny is indeed real he’s completely inept and let this year’s chocolate bunny melt in the sun. Reeeeal smooth Giant Bunny For No Reason! You have ONE job!

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But you get to live on for another year, GB4NR. At least another year.

Adry getting to this age just makes me look back on the day I discovered all of the traditional holiday figures only resided in our minds and not in real life. My discovery wasn’t a slow process of questions and skepticism like Adry’s has been. I found out in one day, one fell swoop, and not until third grade! I asked my mom outright and she told me they were real, but only in our hearts- WE were Santa, WE were the Easter Bunny- and their magic was our imagination. My only regret going forward was that that childhood magic and wonder and imagination hadn’t lived on just a little longer.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella’s Fourth Month

March 12, 2015
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Dear Ella Bella,

I took you to your Four Month check up and your doctor told me you are in the sixty-fifth percentile for height and the fifth for weight!
You are so little!
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Your personality is starting to show.
You LOVE being called ‘cute’ and ‘pretty’. You know we are talking about you and you can’t get enough.
You’ve also begun to talk to us! You only know one baby word- “AAAAEEAAAEE”- but you communicate so many different emotions using that one baby word. You let us know when you are grumpy. bored. excited. happy. and pissed off. And you love carrying on a dialogue. You listen when we talk and take your turn to do talking of your own. “AAAaaaeee eeaaaaa AAAAEEE aaaEEEaa AAAhh.”
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You love your baby books. They are the best to EAT.
As a matter of fact, everything is good to eat! Your fist, your clothes, your bibs, your blankets, your toys…
You are perfectly content to explore the world by putting it in your mouth. I’ve heard your daddy did the same thing. (I couldn’t even get your brother to suck his thumb OR a binkie.)
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Also, your daddy had nightmares about it happening but you made friends with Horsey Night Night.
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Adry, at almost 7 years old, has gone through at least 10 old, ratty, germy, crusty Monkey Night Nights + friends (there was Bellring, Fetch, Fetch II, Fetch III… only the blue monkeys had the privilege of being the main Monkey Night Night) so your daddy was hoping you would avoid getting attached to a lovie, but apparently those animal head blankies are irresistible.
This month you have also enjoyed playing with toys and musical buttons on your new walker
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and on your play gym at Grandma and Grandpa’s.
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And you’ve always been an excellent sleeper. You nap all day and sleep 8-10 hours at night.
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People love on you everywhere we go.
Everyone exclaims, “THOSE EYES!”
I think my favorite time this month was when were were in the doctor’s office waiting room and the receptionists came out from behind the desk to baby talk to you and touch your button nose, and then the rest of the lady patients in the waiting room joined in. Soon you had a crowd gathered around you praising your perfection and all I could do was grab onto your arm to keep someone from stealing you away! Eventually the receptionists had to go back to work and the patients were called back by the nurses. You, your brother, and I were left in the waiting room with a very serious professional man sitting across from us… He was probably like 6’4″, straight-faced, square-jawed, broad shouldered, barrel-chested, and thick all around. He was dressed in a pristine suit and tie and was all-business no-play. After all the commotion happened right in front of him I guess he couldn’t help but get a look at you when everyone had scattered. I caught him in the act. He cleared his throat and in his manliest matter-of-fact voice he admitted, “She uh. She really is very beautiful.”
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We are so blessed by you. Your huge grin can bring us up out of the most terrible of days; snuggling you is therapeutic; your joy and excitement are contagious.

I love you, Ella Bella.

<3 Mommy

 

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella Bella’s THIRD Month!

February 5, 2015
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Sweet Little Eleanor,

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This was a big month for you!

Your eyes are officially BROWN! We knew they were headed in that direction, but until the last few weeks they’d be tricky and show us a rich slate-blue in the light. Now they seem to be slowly lightening to a honey brown.

Also, your brother gave you your first tattoo this month:
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Your jaundice has FINALLY completely cleared, and you are getting incredibly strong. You hold your head up and you’ve developed a lot of core strength as well as a little bit of coordination. You can turn a 360 in your crib by kicking your legs along the mattress (You made it all the way around twice tonight, visiting all your stuffed animals in every corner of the crib along the way while I read bedtime stories to your brother!) and you’ve learned to (try to) hold the bink in your mouth with your hand.

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What was really special about this month is that your brother made you giggle for the first time.

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You think he’s hilarious and you are always so happy to see him. He could wake you up from a dead baby sleep, as he has a habit of doing, and you still look up at him like he’s the greatest thing that could ever happen to you.

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The hardest part of this month was going back to work and leaving you.
I was so nervous. I didn’t know how you’d do without me and our routine. I didn’t know how I’d do.
I am so incredibly thankful for all the people in your life who love you and help me take care of you. You got to have all kinds of experiences when I was at work!

You and Daddy bonded.
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Grandpa Sanders loved on you and took this while you were in his lap.
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When it was her turn to watch you, Grandma Sanders apparently got you naked! But you didn’t seem to mind.
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You also had Uncle Matt and Aunt Alexz time. They said you listened to vinyl, watched TV, took a nap on Aunt Alexz, and smiled at their dog, Brady. That sounds like a great day by any standard!

And you even took a trip to campus to spend time with Uncle J and Aunt Rebecca who snapped these photos:
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Your Daddy drove you all over town while I worked. He worked, too! And he stayed up with you at nights and fed you, played with you, cooked meals for us, and kept up with house chores… I thought the extra work load would be an adjustment for him, but do you know what he said? He told me this month that he wanted to have another baby one day! All on his own before I’d even brought it up! He hadn’t spent even three months with you before deciding he loved it too much to only do once.

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Happy Three Months, Miss Eleanor Joyce!

<3

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Bath Babies

January 11, 2015
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Adry hopped in the bath today to help me get Baby Sister sparklin’ clean.

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He’s been such a phenomenal big brother this weekend. Ella is kind of a particular girl and gets annoyed easily, and he’s learning to be more gentle and less busy and playful. He makes sure her bink stays in her mouth, keeps her upright, watches her while I shower or do work around the house…

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He’s willingly and gladly becoming more independent. I freely admit that I’m kind of a control freak and have done everything for him up to this point, but lately he’s been getting his own drinks, making his own snacks, putting his own eyeglasses patch on, getting his homework and writing utensils out himself after school… I actually didn’t realize how much I did for him until I had this baby! I haven’t had to ask him to begin doing these things on his own; he just does them without complaint. Part of it may be that he has realized that if he doesn’t just do stuff himself then it’ll never get done! πŸ˜‰

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Last night I had a really sore throat, so Adry said he would read bedtime stories to himself. Since he was in control he glossed over the ‘two bedtime books’ rule and gathered, oh, about 15! By the time he was finished reading ALL 15 Ella and I were dozing off. He put all the books away, made sure we had glasses of water nearby, put a blanket over us and curled up beside us and fell asleep.

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In light of all Adry’s newfound maturity I decided to see how far I could push the boundaries. He wanted a sandwich for lunch and I said, “since you’ve been such a big boy lately, you should try eating it… with the crust.”

He gave me this look like, ‘I see what you did there.’

“No, Mommy,” he said, “I still eat my sandwiches without the crust. I’m really not that big yet *eyeroll*.”

I tried.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella’s First Month Photos

December 6, 2014
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Dear EllaBella,

First of all, you are just a doll. You sleep well and eat well. You transition from nursing to bottle well. About the only thing you don’t do well is burp (obviously because you are a lady!) but you make up for it in all-day farting. And you only fuss if you are in present physical discomfort. You were once complaining very loudly when your daddy was touching you with his freezing cold hands. He felt so bad that he finally threw his hands in the air to give you some relief and you immediately stopped crying the moment his hands lifted from your body- absolutely no recover time.

You really are a trooper, my dear. This has been a challenging month for you! You’ve had 5 different blood draws so far because your jaundice wasn’t clearing: 2 from a vein in your arm and 3 squeezed from the heel of your little foot. We had to do formula feed for a couple of days to get your bilirubin number to drop, and it finally is. Despite what your uncles tell you, you are NOT Mongolian! Nor Eskimo. Nor Mexican. Only jaundiced. And unless you have your uncle J’s olive skin, or your uncle Matt’s Gilbert’s, you’ll be our pale little caucasian in no time.

Sweet Eleanor, you’ve been alert and curious, and your huge beautiful eyes have been focused and able to track sounds all around a room since the day you were born. You’ve actually impressed people by your ability to do so! There are those who claim you are a genius already! Speaking of your beautiful eyes, it looks like you have Daddy’s eye shape and cute little curly lashes, and we are anxiously waiting to find out if they will be brown like mine or blue like Daddy’s. We both want blue to go with your dark hair, but they will be stunning either way.

It also looks like you have your daddy’s nose and your hair curls just like his when we give you a bath. Dark curly hair runs on your grandpa Sanders’ side of the family, too! I think you have my lips, chin, head, and face shape, though. We will see how you grow into things! It could be completely different next month!

You are social. You don’t like to be left out when you hear people talking around you. And your first real smile was Tuesday, December 2nd. Your daddy was holding you and telling you how pretty you were and you flashed him the biggest grin. I was so excited I made all over you and you immediately lost your smile and became very concerned… probably for my sanity. Since then you’ve smiled extremely sparingly. You are mostly just concerned about things right now, but I can’t wait to see more of your pretty smiles.

Also, I need to tell you how much your big brother absolutely adores you. He is head over heels and he can’t get enough of you. He’s been sooo sick this past month, so his contact with you has been unfortunately limited, but he is so excited to cuddle with you and feed you and shower you with big brother kisses. It’s been so hard for him to hold back, but he’s done such a good job protecting you. He’s been such a good brother.

And your daddy is in love with you. I think that when Adry and I came into his life we softened his hardened heart, but you… you’ve gone and melted it completely. When he gets home he puts you against his chest and kisses your head and he says, “How have I lived thirty years of life without feeling this until now?”

We are so excited to have you in our lives, Little Eleanor. We waited so long, and it was so worth it. You are precious to us.

I love you.
~Mommy

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4 days old, comforted by Sweet Big Brother

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1 WEEK OLD!

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Dad calls this the “You Look Like a Pink Nightmare” outfit.

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Keithy loves it when she uses her super long Martin toes to clasp onto his thumbs.

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Her hair gets little Betty Boop curls when it’s drying after a bath!

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Sleeping Pose!

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1 MONTH OUTFIT!

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She had to put on her fancy boots so we could go out to dinner and a movie to celebrate being one month old!

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She finally got to meet Tio X!

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So tiny against him

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Grandpa and Ella and listening to jazz. Ella got so comfortable she passed out.

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with Uncle Phil

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with Les

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

One BIG Adry Update

September 13, 2014
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Adry is in FIRST grade!

I believe I’ve mentioned once or twice before how PROUD I am of him! <3 He loves school and is doing so well. He has a cute little classroom, he really likes his teacher, and he has a great group of friends whom he plays with every day after school. Among those friends is his “best friend”, a little boy from his kindergarten class last year. They’re in separate classes Β this year, but they still walk into school every morning holding hands (it.is.adorable.) and have a blast together during lunch and recess and after school. I’ve enjoyed watching how much they delight in each other. There’s no other way to word it; it’s just pure delight.

I’ve yet to stop being impressed by how quickly he is progressing. (I think) he was the only kid who started kindergarten last year unable to write his name. He’s not only caught up, kept up, but has (and I don’t mean to compare! But I totally am) surpassed kids who went to preschool and full day kindergarten.

He says he hates writing because ‘it’s boring; he has to just sit and think, uuugh!’ Haha. So, he doesn’t put a whole lot of effort into his assignments. I never see eraser smudges like I see on other kids’ work when they’ve put forth thoughtful revision… yet his work is neatly organized, in full sentences (minus the occasional accidental missed word), and mostly easily decipherable.

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One day in class they chose people to write letters to and he chose me! πŸ™‚ Also, my baby belly made it into the picture!

 

Lego Day with Keith

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They spent literally 9 hours last week building with legos and “making stories”. It was neat stepdad-stepson bonding time. I’m proud of both of them… even if the damn sound of legos started to grate on my brain after ALL DAY. I’m glad they had that time.

 

Adry got a “NEW” bike!

I know, I know. I’m totally late to the whole bike scene. Other first graders are out and about on their big boy 2-wheelers and the last time I went biking with my boy I still put him in the bike trailer. Now he’s outgrown the bike trailer. Sad face. But just in time to pass it along to Ella Bella! So my dad completely cleaned and refurbished (brand new tires and training wheels and all!) the bike on which both the brothers learned to ride.

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And now Adry’s learning to ride it with the training wheels!

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Flag Football!

Adry requested to do flag football through Cypress this year, so of course I signed him up. Today was his first game! His dad brought him and shared this photo and video he got:

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Adry’s First Run

And Keith, his parents, and my parents all came to cheer Adry on. Adry enjoyed himself and we had a nice sportsball morning.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal