Search my journal



February 2018
« Jan    

© 2012 CiaoBellaMamma - All rigths reserved.

Firstyme WordPress Theme.
Designed by Charlie Asemota.

Summer of ’17 (Part II)

September 16, 2017
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

Ella Bella <3s Tara Bear

Playing Doggies

Playing Doggies at Tara’s Birthday Party



playtime at Tara's house

Playtime at Tara’s House


Version 2


Taylor J. got married!

This kid:


grew up, got even taller, and became a husband. And I can’t even process it because, like, wait, wasn’t this ^^^ just last month or something?

Ryan was his wedding DJ and introduced the newlyweds and their bridal party to the Blues Brother’s theme song, which was perfect.

It’s always nice to be reunited with the good ol’ Family Frens. I love them all and I am thankful for each of them.







Dad turned 55!

He set up some yard games, and Ella was the true badminton champ.


This is what it looks like to be 55. He was riding this kids’ bike trying to dodge golf discs that were being hurled at him. Happy birthday, Dad! 😀

Ella The Artist 

Fun in Grandpa Sanders’ Garage



Labor Day Poolside Fun

We like to say goodbye to summer by enjoying the Grandview pool on the last day of the season that it’s open.

Adry n' Grandma

Adry n’ Grandma









The pool wears Eleanor out. She has to take catnaps during each break period.







Goodbye, Summer 2017! 


Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

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! 1996-1999

July 25, 2015
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page




 photo img027_3_zpsonds6hrp.jpg

Throwback to church plays. Matt, Mer, and I are dressed up for our Go Go Jonah play. Matt was a Ninevite and got to chase Jessie around with a sword, which was appropriate. Mer was a Yeoman of Joppa, and I was Jess: the visitor of The Museum of the Bible. I remember Dad working his tail-end off to re-write that whole script in order to include every single kid who wanted a speaking part or solo, and he also created a great stage set-up complete with visual and sound effects for the ocean and storm. It was such a cute little play that we even got to take our show on the road and put it on for another church.

 photo img028_zpsonbpkvll.jpg
Throwback to church Sunday School at DCN led by Dave. I’m sure Dave put in a lot of time and effort preparing lessons and discussions for us but my only clear memories of those days were his field trips to Krispy Kreme and having us take bets (like good Nazarene kids) on how long it would take for the donuts to be devoured by the congregation… oh, and his sassy jokes throughout haha. Thank you, Dave, for the memories <3

 photo img027_zpsljtvv9ge.jpg
Throwback to American Girl Dolls– back when there were only FIVE! Samantha, Felicity, Molly, Kirsten, and Addy- and Addy was brand new back then. I had Samantha and she is currently packed away in my parents’ garage with her school desk, bedroom set, tea party table, and several outfits… and Little Jacob is quite enjoying his tea party with her in this picture.

 photo img027_2_zpsi5rys8qb.jpg
The year I was a midget for Halloween. (Jessica Harris the Joker, Jamie the… spider-vampire-witch?, Little Jacob Spiderman, Matt the Pirate, Me, and Taylor the football player)

 photo img028_2_zpslafmwhyf.jpg
The Brothers and I. Throwback to GIANT hair bows, Honey We Shrunk ourselves on VHS, and Matt’s buzz cut!



 photo img029_zpsjj9lv9g0.jpg
My Nutty Bar, Me, ‘n Ash the year that Mom attempted to force-feed me Nutty Bars any chance she could get because I was painfully underweight.

 photo img029_zpsgdieqcwv.jpg
Jacob with his little friends, Me, Ash, Matt’s friend Mark, and Matt. Matt and J are both wearing their super cool visor sunglasses, and Dad is organizing the wagon. We also each have our white socks folded in half several inches above our shoe line in proper 90s fashion.



 photo img030_2_zpsgdn7purl.jpg
My cousin Jack and I are standing in front of the chapel at The Naz (where we would both end up as students together several years after this) holding up the medals we won at BLAST. BLAST is essentially a 3-day Nazarene talent/skill contest. I assume we both entered in Writing Poetry and Prose, although Jack could have done something in music. Also, throwback to BIBS! which I think I loved and wore at least through 8th grade (not that pair). And I’m not gunna lie- I’ll be the first to hop back on that train if they come back in style because so comfortable that is all.

 photo img030_zpsvzivrskh.jpg
James and I sharing a seat, and we are both in the awkward and uncomfortable throes of young adolescence as well as a more enjoyable and exciting blossoming best-friendship.



 photo img031_2_zpsuizucg7t.jpg
The Sanders Clan Oh-My-Gosh-We’re-All-Dressed-Up-And-The-Weather-Is-Nice Photo Opp in the Yard and are J’s socks pulled all the way up his shins!? Haha! I love that family.

 photo img031_zpstapkyqaj.jpg
Yes. The year we were N’SYNC for Halloween, complete with several dance routines we spent months choreographing and practicing, and a fangirl. We won 2nd place in the Hilliard Parks and Rec Costume contest, losing to “The Millennial Girls” who wore matching sweatshirts and shook pom-poms with cutesy smiles on their cutesy faces AND THE INJUSTICE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN, DO YOU HEAR THAT CITY OF HILLIARD!? Haha. James had to duct tape her boobs down to be Justin, Taryn was Chris, Ash was Joey, Jessie was Lance, and I was JC. We carried a boom box and occasionally broke out in dance along the neighborhood streets during trick-or-treat night, and ladies squealed and ran in to get their camcorders to capture us on video.

 photo img031_3_zpsblmomfbf.jpg
Neighborhood buddies! Steve, me riding piggyback on James, and Matt in the van window

 photo img032_zpskkrndwqp.jpg
This picture is the perfect throwback to the nineties. First, I must point out my high school “sk8er boyfriend” Nick’s wide-leg silver pants and skater shoes (he actually skated a lot. All the time. He was a legit skater boy), Ryan Parks’ forward comb hairdo and wide-leg painter pants, Jessie and I are both wearing all-white cloth shoes with 3-inch thick clunky soles, AND there’s a disposable camera on the table!

 photo img032_2_zpsqm1ol8ua.jpg
Jamie, Jessie, and I! Throwback to Y2K and bringing in the new millennium!  And to all our friends’ families that stocked up on supplies in preparation for the end of the world. We all held our breath when the ball dropped but we survived! Haha.

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

Gaaame Nite!

July 29, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

Ash held the latest “Kid Game Night” at her place this month.
She took a handful of phone pics for us and I wanted to paste them here for memory’s sake.
It was a fun night, and I am thankful for all these folks. They enrich my life with SO many laughs and a lifetime of support and friendship. Invaluable.

 photo IMG_2061_zpsc0cee075.jpg
Playin’ Cards Against Humanity (from Jamie’s phone)

 photo IMG_2056_zps84654de6.jpg
The Girls- Jessie Alpha (Ryan’s new bride), Alexz, Ash, Becca, me and Ella, Jessie

 photo IMG_2057_zps0b872e7e.jpg
The Boys- Ryan, Keithy, Ash’s Ryan, Ben (Jessie’s husband), and the brothers T.Matt and J

 photo IMG_2058_zps342993ce.jpg

 photo IMG_2059_zpsa8685f8e.jpg
The Rymance. (They both showed up with Ironman shirts, haha)

 photo IMG_2062_zpsb03761f4.jpg

 photo IMG_2063_zpsf665fa22.jpg

 photo IMG_2064_zps504785e8.jpg

 photo IMG_2065_zpscdcacca4.jpg

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ryan & Jessie’s Wedding

June 5, 2014
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

On the weekend of May 10th Keithy, Adry, and I had a mini road trip to Cleveland so I could be a participant in one of my oldest buddies’ weddings.

 photo IMG_1880_zps6ff87f34.jpg

On Friday night after rehearsal dinner we let Adry enjoy the little hotel pool for awhile.

 photo IMG_7649_zps72a341dd.jpg

 photo IMG_7656_zps900b7989.jpg
Me looking huge

 photo IMG_7668_zps1cdca858.jpg
Handsome husband

 photo IMG_7664_zps4f59e457.jpg

And at the reception we gathered the Sanders clan for some photobooth fun.

 photo IMG_1893_zps8149aa82.jpg
Poor Adry didn’t make it in the photo. That’s the top of his hat in front of me 🙁

 photo parkswedding_zps56ae0c87.jpg

Congrats ‘Little Ryan’ and ‘Jessie Alpha’!

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

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

November 20, 2012
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

…When everyone finished eating Matt played the video that he put together for Mom and Dad.

I had helped him by going through their photo albums and digging up old pictures. I scanned them, emailed them, and left the rest to Matt. I love what he did with it! Unfortunately, I do not have access to the final edited and revised version of the video at this time. Fortunately, I DO have one of the ALMOST final versions of the video that I can share with you now. Matt just made a few more tweaks to this version (You might not even notice them when I show you the final one):

Hi! I’m a LINK! CLICK here ON ME to watch the VIDEO!

URL of video:

While watching the video:





Song at the end of the video: Johnny Cash ‘In My Life’ LYRICS:

There are places I’ll remember
All my life
Though some have changed
Some forever
Not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends
I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life
I’ve loved them all
But if all these friends and lovers
There is no one
Compares with you
And these memories
Lose their meaning
When I think of love
As something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life
I love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life
I love you more
In my life
I love you more

Before I move on to the group photos I’d like to mention how proud I am of my parents.

Both of them.

Their life together has not been easy. I could write 10 novels on the hardships they’ve endured as a couple and as individuals. They’ve worked HARD. All on their own. I absolutely could not be more thankful for the PERFECT childhood and growing up experience they provided for me and my brothers. As a mother of only one young boy, I cannot wrap my mind around the work, time, energy, commitment and sacrifices my parents made to raise three children the way they did– My dad used up his hard earned vacation time from work to work even HARDER taking his kids to camp out at music festivals. He used his evenings creating stage sets and scripts so that the church children could put on plays for the congregation. He carved pumpkins through cramping hands, sawed down Christmas trees in the dead of winter, coached soccer on his weekends, and so much more. He was our spiritual leader; our go-to guy when we had questions. He challenged us to open our minds and think critically. (And boy, we do! All three of us willful Sanders kids, haha!) My mother made her career her children. She visited our classrooms, made meals for teachers, took us to every school, home school, and extra-curricular activity, and nursed us when we were sick. She was our encourager, nurturer, and defender. (She was MamaBear. We knew who had our backs. We still do.) My parents raised three kids who are best friends for life, and that just an extremely precious and rare gift. I am eternally grateful for them, their teamwork in raising their family, and their marriage.

Now for group pictures!

Before toooo many people left Mom requested we all gather for one big happy photo.

A few of the ones I liked:

(To not-so-tech-savvy people: You can click on the photos to go to my photobucket account where you can view them BIGGER.)







And a few more fun photos from the end of the night:





Adry had SO much fun running around and playing with all of the children that were there, and he cried and cried when they all went home and he was the last little boy left. (He is far more fearless and social than I am. I don’t know where he came from!)

Anyway, I’m glad my brothers and I had the chance to celebrate my parents that night. They are awesome. Happy 30th Anniversary to them, December 31st! 🙂

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Mom & Dad Surprise 50th Birthday and 30th Wedding Anniversary Bash- Part 1 of 2

November 10, 2012
Save pagePDF pageEmail pagePrint page

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.)


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.
















Being silly





Mom and her kids



The fam


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



T. Matt’s mustache









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