Search my journal



February 2018
« Jan    

© 2012 CiaoBellaMamma - All rigths reserved.

Firstyme WordPress Theme.
Designed by Charlie Asemota.

Thirty Years of Throwback ~ 2009-2011

April 10, 2016
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page








 photo March 2009_zpsucht2fs8.jpg
Adry’s first birthday party!

 photo April 2009_zpsx5ezsifx.jpg
Didn’t everyone have a pair of those navy sneakers for a minute?

 photo June 2009 2_zpslvyutjdo.jpg
This is a photo from the scavenger hunt that Dave and Ginny hosted. I believe Matt, Alexz, Mer, and I called ourselves “Team Awesome” and we did not win, haha.

 photo June 2009_zpswqfkagpl.jpg
This is one of my favorite photos of young Reese and Baby Adry.

 photo July 2009_zpse9jwqcd7.jpg
I loved being a stay-at-home momma with Adry this year. I will forever feel grateful I had those couple of years with my baby boy.


 photo January 2010 3_zpsod2hoes1.jpg
Another young Reese and Baby Adry. I can’t resist posting these pictures.

 photo January 2010_zpscal4egpe.jpg
Our bowling party! So much skill displayed that night.

 photo April 2010 4_zpslrxu30l6.jpg
A very Sanders Easter. I believe this is the year I put edible grass in Adry’s Easter basket. Jamie came over later that night and we all sat around in the living room laughing and joking ’til our abs hurt about who-knows-what-probably-something-really-immature and obnoxiously eating the Easter grass ’til we got sick. I actually really miss random hangouts like that.

 photo April 2010 2_zpsyhp88mdm.jpg
Adry, Dad, and I did a TON of biking with the bike trailer and Adry’s bike buddy Charlie the frog that year.

 photo October 2010 2_zpsamkhnokb.jpg


 photo January 2011_zpsfewy1c5d.jpg
The year Nick and I decided to spend an entire season in a High School Throwback and he was kinda my 2nd best friend for a minute. It was good for us, though. Well, it was good for me at least; I can’t speak for him.

 photo October 2011_zpsrgadxc93.jpg

 photo July 2011 3_zpsbmfcqvpr.jpg
I fell head-over-heels for ^^THIS^^ guy! It was a whirlwind adventure and I fell hard.

 photo July 2011 2_zpsla7wl0qt.jpg
Tay, J, and I at the theater for the last Harry Potter movie!

 photo August 2011 2_zpsf9xw5nwd.jpg
Little Bro J and I spent a lot of time together in 2011. We roomed AND worked AND hung out as friends together. People used to marvel at how well we got along. They’d say, “If I spent that much time with my [sibling] we’d fight all the time, but you guys are like best friends!” I am thankful for the year I had with my littlest brother.

 photo Auhust 2011_zpsv51uhrpd.jpg

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

THIRTY Years of THROWBACK! 2003-2005

September 13, 2015
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page




 photo img040_2_zpsxafhvneb.jpg
The Sanders kids used to think it was the greatest thing ever to get Coke in our Easter baskets. (I know I’m older here, but J was still a kid, so Matt and I still got Easter goodies.) Contrary to popular belief – probably an assumption based on the Sanders’ undying love of Coke – Mom and Dad did NOT keep Coke on tap in our childhood home. As a matter of fact, sugary treats such as soda, cereals, and candy weren’t brought into the home at all, as far as we knew, except on 3 holidays: Christmas, Halloween, and Easter. So when we got it we made that shit last!

 photo img041_zpsitlxwwq7.jpg
 photo img041_2_zpsdhsev9ud.jpg
My two favorite pictures of me n’ Jamie.
We were both dating our future ex-husbands – Stephan and Ben – at the time. Unbeknownst to each other the boys each got the Snoopy and Woodstock shirts for me and James as gifts. Then Jamie and I, entirely unaware of the fact that we possessed these matching shirts, packed them to wear on the same day in Chicago. So of course we had to get corresponding facepaint at Ed Debevics.

 photo img041_2_2_zpsqhepdgnz.jpg
Mer, Dave, Ben, Les, me, Hilary, T.Matt, Jason, Kevin, Eric, Amber, J, and Mom the day I turned 18. Incidentally it was also the day OSU won the National Championship against… er… some other football team. So of course we had a party that was completely about me and not football at all!

 photo img043_2_zpsjbysq31o.jpg
Throwback to Creation Fest days! And thrift store plaid pants, midriff spaghetti straps, dangly belly button rings, pigtails, band t-shirts, and MATT’S MOHAWK in its baby days.

 photo img040_zpsxxmu8k7m.jpg
Throwback to J&Tay on the far right and their Best-of-Pals days. I miss those kids together!



 photo img042_zpsskk7tfvi.jpg
Jamie, me, and Jessie. Keeping it classy. Jamie is wearing a Jr. Asparagus t-shirt ~ throwback to Veggie Tales!

 photo img042_2_zpszrhen312.jpg
 photo img043_zps4qk7xzv1.jpg
The year I wore my mother’s wedding dress to marry Ben! It was a very happy day and I enjoy remembering it.

 photo img044_zpsipj7zedi.jpg
Left: Me, Ash, Ryan, Mer, Pammy; Right: Les, Jessie, Jamie, Harriet.
breakfast with the bride’s maids.

 photo img044_2_zps62suth3l.jpg
Throwback to the Alternative Christian scene with babydoll band tees, studded belts, and dickies.

 photo 2004_zpsqvtlnuvj.jpg
This was the year Pammy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Sarcoma and began an intense fight for her life. The girls and I stopped by the hospital to pamper her with a pedicure.
(Mer, James, Me, Pam, Ash, Jessie, and Harriet)



 photo 2005_zps0mhmmv4j.jpg
This was our last family-friend outing before Dave died.
It was the cookout for which we forgot spoons, so we got creative with plastic cups!
(Tony, Pam, Me, Dad, J, Matt, Les, Dave, Tay)

 photo 2005 2_zpscqjcefao.jpg
Out for Tony’s birthday!
(Me, Ben, Matt, Mom, Les, Mer, Ash’s boyfriend, Ash, Tony, Ginny, J, Tay, Ryan, Ryan’s girlfriend, Pammy)

 photo 2005 3_zps15szze7s.jpg

 photo 2005 5_zpshw871bwd.jpg
Me ‘n Momma <3

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

THIRTY Years of THROWBACK! 1985-1992

April 25, 2015
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page


 photo img008_zpszsq8v9b5.jpg
Hello, Baby Jessica! And Dad looks like he was about 12 when he had me!


 photo img009_zpskezky86a.jpg
Sittin’ with Grampa, then in my Miami Vice outfit!


 photo img011_zpszuvuipcz.jpg
Coloring. Those eyes remind me of Ella’s.


The year I became a sister!

 photo img012_2_zpsscqlheit.jpg
Mom was pregnant with T.Matt.
 photo img012_zpszywqjwyy.jpg
Snugs with Baby T.Matt!


 photo img013_zps744lnfmw.jpg



 photo img014_zps63ub8w45.jpg
Halloween! Me in my little homemade angel costume with Super T.Matt, Clown Harriet, and some other cowboy I don’t remember at all!


 photo img015_zpsabiuwmto.jpg
This was that one minute that I liked cats! This cat’s name was Jinglers. He made me forever detest cats. I have memories of watching that thing torture and kill little helpless animals purely for sport. I remember crying and begging him to stop when I saw him batting a baby bird around until it died. Thank you, Jinglers, for my earliest nightmares!


The year I became a sister again!
 photo img016_zpskhnxwss3.jpg
Holding newborn J
 photo img017_zpsms4yagzd.jpg
THIS is Throwback fun for everyone! My dad, mom, and little brothers to the left; Dave’s trying to duck a little because he’s super tall and right behind the chandelier; Les weighs about 10lb in her little Mickey Mouse sweatshirt; Tony and Pam to the right; the kids (me, Mer, and Ryan) are cleverly giving each other bunny ears, and Toddler Tay is trying to put up with it all!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

The Birth Story of Miss Eleanor Joyce (PART III)

December 6, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page


After the grandparents had their chance to visit with Ella the rest of our friends and family came in to see her.



I would like to say how incredibly thankful I am for all of the love and support we received on Miss Eleanor’s birthday.
First there were the troopers who came in the wee hours of the morning: Jamie (and Tori), Les, and Pam along with the grandparents.
My brothers and Rebecca came soon after.
The group took over and had one of the waiting rooms all to themselves while they took shifts coming back to the labor room to visit me.
My brothers came back during the honeymoon of my epidural. They discovered rolly chairs and played bumper cars with them which made me laugh. THAT’S when they also discovered that when I laughed it showed up on the contraction monitor so they began trying to outdo each other with who could make me laugh the hardest. They tried to time it at the height of my contractions so that my laugh would reach the highest point on the graph and they totally succeeded which goes to show how great I was feeling in the earlier parts of labor! Gotta love The Brothers.

ANYWAY. Back to after Ella was born…

After everyone had a chance to meet her they cleaned me up a bit and wheeled me to my postpartum room where she had her first bath.


And Daddy did his very first diaper change.


Ella and I got to enjoy some skin-to-skin time while Jamie and Ella’s BFF Tara joined us.






Several other people joined us that evening to meet Eleanor including Alexz, Jessie, Keith’s brother and his wife, and Ash.


As the evening was wrapping up we told Adry it was time for him to go home and to bed. It absolutely broke his little heart to have to leave his new sister. He crawled in bed with me and Ella, and I saw huge crocodile tears welling up in his eyes. I could tell he was trying to hold it back but the tears spilled over and he just couldn’t stop crying. Poor little guy. So much emotion for a 6-year-old! I just held him there for awhile.


Jamie took Adry to his dad’s for the night. She stopped by the store to print off pictures of Ella for Adry to keep with him and look at when he missed her. (The next day he went to school and stood in front of his class to shared the pictures: A proud big brother!)

That night, after all our visitors had said goodnight and left the hospital, Keith and I enjoyed some time- just the three of us- to love on our new daughter (and eat up all the delicious chocolaty bark Alexz made for us!). Then I took everyone’s advice and tried to take advantage of the nursery to get some rest. I reluctantly handed Eleanor over to the nurse.

1.5 hours later I was in bed wide-eyed, anxious, and envious of Keith’s peaceful deep-sleep breathing I was hearing from the fold out bed on the other side of the room. So I did what any good wife would do– I woke him up and told him I needed my daughter! When she was back beside me I admired her a little longer before finally falling asleep.


Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

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

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

Baby Bro is 21!

September 28, 2013
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

I can’t believe it. My littlest brother is 21 years old. Living on campus with his love. Holding down a full time job. Bona fide ADULT.
When I was a young teenager- 13ish?- I got in a fight with my mom and told her I was leaving. I probably told her I was going to live with a friend and I never wanted to come home again. I went up to my room to get something or another that a young teenage girl would need in order to leave home forever (like chapstick or something, duh). In the process I walked past my parents’ bedroom and out of the corner of my eye I spotted little five-year-old J’s tuft of hair on the floor of their walk-in closet. Curious, I decided to investigate. Apparently he had been hiding on the floor among the dirty clothes baskets during my teenage tantrum. He’d heard everything I said and was really upset that I was going to leave home. He looked up at me with his huge sad brown eyes (MY GOD he was absolutely adorable) and held up what looked like a copper ring you’d get from a quarter machine. He said, “Take this ring with you and remember me forever.” And I cried!

Y’all. The BEST cure for defiant, strong-willed children is adorable little brothers!

When Mom was pregnant with him I had wished he was a girl. I was at the hospital with friends while Mom was in labor and when he was born I demanded to know if he was a boy or girl. They told me he was a boy. Frustrated I said, “You mean I waited all this time for a stinkin’ boy!?” But then I crawled into the hospital bed with Mom and saw him for the first time. It was literally love at first sight. 21 years ago J won a soft spot in my heart and he’s had it ever since. Happy birthday, Little Bro J.


 photo IMG_3486_zpsbf827c20.jpg
Music before the festivities

 photo IMG_3489_zps1a7ef894.jpg
J’s monkey shelf, haha

 photo IMG_3491_zps80409ac9.jpg
We got this game for him.

 photo IMG_3493_zps36335394.jpg
Keithy and I

 photo IMG_3494_zps35380858.jpg

 photo photo-88_zps9a766c1b.jpg

 photo photo-102_zpsda6e086e.jpg

 photo photo-89_zpse6282713.jpg
Yard games

 photo photo-92_zps28cf0120.jpg

 photo photo-93_zpsd9b37d03.jpg

 photo photo-94_zps92433842.jpg

 photo photo-95_zps86ac5138.jpg

 photo photo-96_zpscacb34fe.jpg

 photo photo-97_zpsbf29497f.jpg

 photo photo-98_zps3c205c37.jpg

 photo photo-100_zps5dd6dc82.jpg
Grandpa with the kids

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal