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Ella’s <3 Princess <3 Party

November 25, 2017
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My Eleanor Joyce turned 3 years old on November 4th.

I had a really good time celebrating her young and incredibly vibrant life with an apartment full of people who also love her. I am so incredibly grateful. My mother generously provided delicious pizzas, chips, drinks, cake, ice cream etc. for everyone to enjoy. Thanks so much, Mom!

Upstairs I set out a make-your-own Princess/King/Queen crown craft and I think the adults had more fun with it than the kids did.

In my basement I had a ball pit, tunnel, art corner, dress-up station, toy kitchen, and our various other play room toys, and the kids pretty much hung out down there until presents, cake & ice cream time.

There was probably a little bit of cheating before we cut the cake. But what fun is it to turn 3 if you can’t break convention a time or two and get hot pink icing all over your face and your friends’ faces, too! Right?


Ella Belle is healthy. she is full to the brim of joy and enthusiasm and wonderment of the world around her. She is curious, tough, brave, observant, and outgoing. She is sassy, dramatic, bossy, strong-willed, defiant, and possibly a bit a lot temperamental. She makes her own rules, and, as a gymnastics teacher of hers once said: “Eleanor does what she wants.”
She consistently wins the hearts of strangers in an instant, and drives Mommy and Daddy certifiably crazy on the daily. She is the most challenging, thrilling, and the most joyful experience of my life. She is quite literally a great adventure in and of herself — We have gone through SO many things with her these past three years, both terrifying and rewarding. I am quite certain she has stripped years from my life, but I’d give even more for this experience of life with her in it.

I know I’ve mentioned this before— I don’t know if other parents have the experience of loving their children in equal but incredibly different ways. Before I had Ella I honestly didn’t know how I’d love anyone like I love Adry. Quite frankly, I don’t love anyone in this world like I love Adry. He is my passion. I love him fiercely; my heart aches with it. And Eleanor, hands down, is my joy. She makes my heart fly.

I love you SO much, El. I’m glad you had a very happy birthday!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Mom is Fifty-Something!

March 18, 2017
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I can’t keep track of my parents’ ages anymore. Mostly because I can’t keep track of my own age. I’m still in my early thirties, that’s all I need to know. I spent a solid two weeks mentioning to people that I was 33. As it turns out, I’m still 32. Huh. So, how old is my mom now? 53? 54? 55? Fifty-something is adequate, right?

I organized an outing for Mom’s birthday. We took a wine glass decorating class at Wagon Wheel Wines in Canal Winchester (recommended to me by one of my co-workers). The wine was delicious AND I didn’t even really mind how my glass turned out! Usually when I attempt something crafty I am horrified by my finished product and I’m tempted to give my two-year-old all the credit. But THIS time- not to brag- but it could easily pass as fifth grade art work.

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Mom and Sandie, whom I love and am consistently thankful for. Thanks for making the drive yet again from WV to celebrate Mom, Sandie!
(My fat snowman wineglass is on the left.)

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Mom’s other friend, Missy joined us. She is a very sweet person and I’m glad to have met her!

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Mom and her gals

 

Love you, Mom!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Thirty Years of Throwback ~ 2009-2011

April 10, 2016
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1985-1992

1991-1995

1996-1999

2000-2002

2003-2005

2006-2008

2009

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Adry’s first birthday party!

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Didn’t everyone have a pair of those navy sneakers for a minute?

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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.

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This is one of my favorite photos of young Reese and Baby Adry.

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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.

2010

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Another young Reese and Baby Adry. I can’t resist posting these pictures.

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Our bowling party! So much skill displayed that night.

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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.

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Adry, Dad, and I did a TON of biking with the bike trailer and Adry’s bike buddy Charlie the frog that year.

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2011

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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.

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I fell head-over-heels for ^^THIS^^ guy! It was a whirlwind adventure and I fell hard.

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Tay, J, and I at the theater for the last Harry Potter movie!

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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.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

A Shower for Ella Bella Part II

September 26, 2014
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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:

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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!
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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.
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Thank you, Mom, for the very lovely baby shower!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

in which I dote on my husband:

September 23, 2014
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Before I met Keith he had decided that the food industry was where he belonged.
At first I tried to be super supportive of that desire of his…but a few things had to change!
I wanted him to be somewhere in which he was valued as an employee, his worth and abilities were recognized, and he was given freedom of creativity (–Food and service was (is) an art to him. He’s passionate about it.)
In those aspects Skyline wasn’t cutting it for me so I encouraged him to look elsewhere. He soon got a job in the kitchen at Grandview Stauf’s. It was a great job for a long time! He really enjoyed it and took pride in his work, but then things went stagnant. The pay sucked, and there was really no opportunity for advancement.
So Keithy moved on to Cheesecake Factory. The pay still sucked, but we’d hoped it would serve as a stepping stone and learning experience and he could work his way up.
Well, it ended up being an experience from Hell. For me at least.
He pulled extremely late nights and I never ever saw him.
I got so lonely I ended up living half the time with my parents and driving back and forth between our homes.
His schedule was never consistent and some weeks they’d short him on hours and our budget would suffer- we struggled buying minimal groceries and not going hungry.
He never got the few days off that he requested far in advance. He missed out on so much family time.
To boot, his manager treated him like crap.

I got to the end of my rope and told Keith I’d had enough- if this is what a chef’s life would be like, I was not cut out to be a chef’s wife! I wanted him out. asap.
I felt guilty, like I was stomping all over his dream, but I couldn’t take it.
To appease me, Keith accepted the next steady job to come around: a Monday-Friday warehouse job. It was a job; it got us by.
I took a minute to breath, get us back on a routine, and get our budget back on track. Once things calmed, I began to think about the food industry again and Keith’s passion for it. At just the right time I was surfing through FB and saw a job fair ad calling all lovers of food to join a new team at the Market District opening up in Grandview Yard right down the street from our house. I thought how perfect! A job where Keithy can enjoy all the things he loves about the food industry without the hell and hassle of the restaurant biz!

Now Keith is officially a Gourmet Chef at the new Market District!
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It is perfect for him! For us! We couldn’t be happier.
After all this time I feel he is finally where he should be: at the start of his dream career.
It’s a job he takes pride in.
It’s a job that allows him to explore his creativity.
He gets to be out front to cook AND interact with customers. He loves to do both!
Plus, it’s a job in which he is valued, recognized, treated well, and there is ample opportunity to learn, grow, and advance! Those are all the things I ever wanted for him.
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(A view of Keith’s station from the cafe seating area)
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(Mom and Sandie in the cafe seating area)

Plus, I LOVE Market District. I love their emphasis on local and/or organic produce and natural products. I love the high quality and selection! I love the atmosphere. It really is a great place.
If you want to see more pics of the new Market District, check out this article: http://www.columbusunderground.com/first-look-grandview-yard-giant-eagle-market-district <--I'm fairly certain Keith made it in the photo of his station! haha. Anyway, I just want to say how proud I am of my husband, and how happy I am for him!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Sunday Lunch at The Sanders’… halloween edition

November 1, 2011
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Well… I got my festiveness and coordination from my mother, if not the art of hospitality and cooking.

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It’s the details that make the difference. Tay once said, “I like lunches at Teresa’s. It’s not just good food- it feels more special.” It’s because she thinks of all the little things like bat cloth napkins. I’m not even kidding. Haha.

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appetizer: homemade pita bread and dips…

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The perfect fall meal: roast, carrots, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, warm rolls, coconut pie, and pumpkin pie. I wanted Mom to get a candid picture of all of us enjoying each other, but she made us get all posey which always turns out awkward. But hey, it’s a memory!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Hocking Hills Camping Trip (Part 3 of 3)

July 23, 2010
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Cedar Falls!

After Old Man’s Cave we hiked to Cedar Falls.
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We’d been walking along for a while and Adry Padry became tired. Check out that yawn!

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When dad was preparing to get in the water Tay said, “You are taking off your shoes? …AND your socks!?” Like, I mean, it’s one thing to go wild and crazy and take off your shoes to get in the water… but to take your socks off with them- whoa.

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All the ladies eventually filed out!

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The Last Night

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Adry got to stay up late with his glowstick.

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We had smores and jiffy pop.

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Me at the peak of my disheveled-ness. My hair started to curl up.

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Taylor prides himself on being the best smore maker ever. And it’s true! Here he is heating up his graham cracker and chocolate before delicately applying a perfectly roasted marshmallow. He was kind enough to make me one, and it was delicious! Much more delicious than your average smore.

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We ended our last night with ghost stories around the campfire. I had the Campfire Song song stuck in my head. And Adry Padry climbed up in my lap and fell fast asleep.
Big sigh. I want to go back! I want to go back to crickets and frogs and trees and fellowship.

We drove home the next day. When we parked at our apartment and unbuckled Adry, he realized what had happened and where we were. He moaned, “Nooooooo! Tents! Mommy, please! Tents!” as he tugged at his seatbelt trying to re-buckle it. I totally agreed with him.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Hocking Hills Camping Trip (Part 2 of 3)

July 20, 2010
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Old Man’s Cave

Now, of the dozens of times my dad took my brothers and I hiking at Old Man’s Cave, I never fully appreciated it like I did this time as a twenty-something mother of an exploring toddler.

We hiked it in drizzling rain, which was actually perfect and beautiful.  I wouldn’t have survived the hike on an 85* sunny day. And the mist in the trees, the sprinkles hitting the water to make it look like it was sparkling, the contrast of the huge bright yellow butterflies fluttering about the damp rock: it all made for a breathtakingly majestic experience.
I wish my camera could have captured a fraction of the beauty.  But alas, I post these pictures to jog my memory of the real thing:

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Ben and Adry are all packed up and ready for a day of hiking. (I MISS HIS HAIR!  Ugh!  After this camping trip I requested that Ben give Adry a buzz cut, and I will NEVER do that again!)

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Crazy roots around a big rock

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Several More Pictures Below the Cut!  Butterflies and Caterpillars, Too!

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Do you see Sphinx Head in the rock formation to the right?

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Adry LOVED the hikes. He refused to be held – he wanted to do all the steps and climbs himself. A couple of days ago he wanted to play at Castle Park by himself. I tried not to get choked up; his growing independence is bittersweet.

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Awesome spider web! Obviously 400X more awesome in person.

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Devil’s Bathtub

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My dad is showing this huge dead bug off to a few fellow hiking kids.

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Ben found an enormous caterpillar.

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A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad picture of the enormous butterflies fluttering about the falls. Oh. My. Gosh. They were gorgeous, and they’d fly SO close to us. I felt like I was in a fairy tale land, like if I would just stretch out my arms and start singing they would land on my arms.

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Part Three: Cedar Falls, Coming Soon!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Hocking Hills Camping Trip Part 1 of 3

July 15, 2010
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Day One: Sunday

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Grandma and Adry check out the shelter house.

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Tay plays with Adry by the car while others set up their sites.  (Tay had been working hard to set up his site and help with my tent as well!)

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Adry loved this little nook in Pam and Tony’s tent.

VIDEO: Adry chases Tony’s niece.
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Mom by the Fire

That night, after setting things up, Adry and I were absolutely exhausted. As soon as I crawled into the tent to lie beside him on our mattress he put his arm around me. I love being his mommy.
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Day Two: Monday

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Eating a Peanut Butter Sandwich for Lunch

VIDEO: Just a little looksie into the random life of Adry Padry. He is off in his own little world eating his PB samich. He must have a song in his head because he claps his hands and tries to headbang but almost loses his balance. Then he decides hitting the top of his head is a good idea.  And OH, WHAT’S THIS IN MY MOUTH? He takes his chewed bite out of his mouth to examine it- OH YEAH, IT’S JUST THIS SAME SAMICH I’VE BEEN EATING! and he pops it right back in to continue chewing.  Also, please take note that he offers his drink up to the sky god before taking a swig, and then before asking for more graham crackers (even though there is still some on his plate) he breaks out in a merry toddler tune. All within 1 minute 30 seconds.
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He is saying PEEEEEEEEAASE

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Chillin

SEE MORE PICTURES AND VIDEO UNDER THE CUT!  Prepare for Taylor’s DARING FEAT and see if he makes it back alive!

 

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We found a fallen tree back in the woods and Adry loved it.

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Adry is playing with the hidden treasure Grandma found in the woods: a squishy rubbery bean-filled shark.

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Tony is walking back to the creek.

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Taylor Performs a daring feat: crossing a thin tree to the other side of the bank… FIVE HUNDRED (minus the hundred) FEET IN THE AIR!

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Phew. He’s lucky he made it out alive.

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Adry has claimed Tay as one of his favorite friends. I told Tay he should feel lucky – not everyone gets to hear a toddler call after them and beg for attention all hours of the day.

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I spotted this bug (obviously he was nature’s selection for dinner that day. He is clearly supposed to be hanging out on tree bark, but like a genius he made his way to the bright green tent. I saved his life. You’re welcome, bug.)

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I know I am biased, but I think this fella is adorable.

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Dad is using the bug book to try and identify our barky buggy friend.

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Tony got out his sport chair.

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Mmmm. The ladies prepared DELICIOUS melt-in-your-mouth hamburgers and corn on the cob for dinner that night.

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Here I am back in the tent for the night. I gradually look more unkept as the days go on.

Day Three: Tuesday

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The Food Woman made eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes for breakfast.

VIDEO: Adry listens to Grandpa play harmonica.
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Stay tuned for Hocking Hills Camping pictures Parts 2 and 3, coming soon! You will get to see the rest of Day Three and our hikes to Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

I Appreciate Some More! Appreciation Project

June 9, 2010
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May 28 AP 148– Watching my brother receive his High School diploma, and all who came to support him!

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Each graduate received a white rose

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Mom put together this bag of noise makers, bubbles, and goodies for everyone who came to cheer Jacob on! I loved it!

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The group who came to see J walk, minus me and Jamie! Dad, Mom, Sandie, Pammy, Les, Tay, Mer, Jackie, Amanda, Ryan, Tony, Matt, Alexz, Hutch, Ash, Duke, Ginny, and Dave.

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Ash and I

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All of the graduates! WHoa! You don’t realize how big your class is until you are all together.

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Me enjoying my sound makers!

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Miss Tori Buccilla snugglin’ her momma

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J is walking up to get his diploma!

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Hi, J!

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Jamie is trying to use all of her sound makers at the same time

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Almost there!

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When they called his name we tried to be as loud as we could. The principal shook his hand and told him he sure had quite the support group. Yep!! We also cheered our heads of for Becca, but I didn’t get any pics that turned out :-(. She was too far away.

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And then we blew bubbles. And then we got in trouble.

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The grad!

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Jamie told me I could cut her out… so… don’t tell her I didn’t.

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This was the “grown up” table. We went out to Spaghetti Warehouse after the ceremony!

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Ash and I again! Because we are awesome!

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The “kid” table

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The whole group who went out together afterwards including Becca’s family

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Ash and Tori

May 29 AP 149– My mom worked super hard to put on an awesome grad party for my brother, and we finally got to see it come together! It was so fun!

VIDEO, Two Parts: I tried to do a walk-through of everything before guests showed up. The video is so grainy and I wish I had just taken pictures of everything instead. It’s hard to see all of the little details we worked to hard on :-(. Boo.

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Ben and Cousin Sammie

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J sitting with Pammy, Ruthie, Jackie, and Phares

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Hello, Diane

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Abby and Adry playing

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Playing Tag

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They are going to make a drop-dead adorable family one day!

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Jacob and his teenagery friends

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The Girls

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The Girls Plus Sammie

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Oh, it is love

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This is when they were excited… before Hutch realized she was in the prison of no escape.

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“I know Jacob Sanders”. When Jacob walked to get his diploma, as the cheering was dying down, Matt belted out, “I KNOW THAT KID!!!!” and everyone laughed. This shirt reminded me of that.

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My cousin Ben with his son Nic

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VIDEOS: Helium Fun Post Party!

May 30 AP 150– Our AMAZING “Family” Support Group. I love each of them dearly, forever! We will always be there for each other, encouraging and cheering and loving.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal