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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

Summer of ’17 (Part II)

September 16, 2017
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Ella Bella <3s Tara Bear

Playing Doggies

Playing Doggies at Tara’s Birthday Party

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playtime at Tara's house

Playtime at Tara’s House

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Version 2

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Taylor J. got married!

This kid:

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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.

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Dad turned 55!

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

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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

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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.

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Adry n’ Grandma

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

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Goodbye, Summer 2017! 

 

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Another Year Passed

February 25, 2017
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I gladly welcomed Year 2017 and Age 32.

(This girl loves being photographed:)
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(This boy, not so much:)
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32 Feels…

Exhausting. Still. And a little more isolating than I’ve felt in previous years.

I am doing this project for myself: (not necessarily with the hope or expectation that my children will want it and cherish it, but just in case they will) I am printing the entirety of my online journal into hardback books year by year. I have to go through each month of each year to edit out all of the cuts in order to do so, so I am revisiting all these events I’ve recorded with my family and with my friends, and remembering how close I felt to them, and how secure I felt in my relationships. Little by little, over the years, that security as been chipped away because of one thing or another… I no longer feel unconditional support or love. I’m no longer honest and open about my life-my joys, my hurts, nor my disappointments. I’m leery of everyone. I bottle things up. I keep secrets that aren’t my own but that effect me greatly. And I deal with everything all by my damn self, largely because I don’t know who to go to.

32 also feels passionate. Motherhood is a saving grace. It gives me a strength I can’t seem to procure from any other source. It gives me the selfless determination to improve whatever situation I can, for my children’s sake. I keep going for them; I continue to care for myself and my life because there are little, beautiful, innocent people that depend on me to make the most of each day. And I love those little people so much my chest aches with it. My family is my everything, and my happiest moments are when we are all together. I feel so fortunate to be their mommy.

32 finds me taking delight and comfort in the little things. I love Grandview and its homes and holiday decorations, and the neighborhood pets that greet the school children on our morning walks. I love opening the curtains to allow the sunlight in my home, and opening windows at night for the fresh cool air. I enjoy organizing the closets and choosing outfits for my kids. I like watching Doctor Who while I paint my nails on the bed. I like being silly with my husband and hearing my kids laugh. And I enjoy the rare occasion I allow myself a warm cup of coffee with flavored creamer, or a fountain soda with ice in a styrofoam cup, or a glass of good chilled wine.

I also have a lot of personal and family goals I’m working toward, one day at a time. It feels good to have direction, a “big picture”, and attainable hopes and dreams for our future. There is a probability that Keith and I will grow our family by +1 while we are still in our thirties. But we both decided that once we reach 40 I’m gettin’ a tummy tuck and Keith is hittin’ the gym and our forties will be all about us! We’re gunna go to movies, take road trips, have dinner dates, and drink fancy cocktails in jacuzzis! (We remind ourselves of this on the days Ella whines nonstop for 3 hours straight, and then inevitably bashes her head on the corner of a piece of furniture the moment she settles down.)

But for now… 32 is all about raising a young family that is growing too quickly. It’s waking up early every morning to get them where they need to be, and crashing in bed late after tucking them in and kissing their foreheads. It’s about missing them all work week, and forgoing date nights on the weekends to be home with them. It’s about trying to witness every milestone, and being eternally grateful when loved ones relay milestones missed. It’s kissing booboos, wiping snotty noses, enforcing Xbox schedules, and eating drive-through treats in the car while the toddler sleeps in the backseat! It’s an endless stream of worry, frustration, and pride. It’s fast-paced, it’s flying by, and I’m hoping to not take this phase of life for granted.

32 is hard, but it’s good.

 

 

 

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Recentish Events

October 2, 2016
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I’m starting to see a ton of ME in this girl.

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All the Ellwood/Buccilla/Martin/Miller kids were together at Tara’s birthday party.

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Spoiled by Aunt Alexz and Uncle Matt.

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Snuggles with Grandma Martin

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Adry at his Eye Exam

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Buckeye Girl ~ Tutu, Frills, and Sequins!

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Lapping water from the chair (like a doggie!)
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So very excited about the rain!

Dad’s in his mid-fifties!

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Ella started tumbling lessons!

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Ella’s First Birthday Party

December 6, 2015
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Baby Girl’s very first ever birthday party was last month.

My Birthday Pumpkin!

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with Aunt Becca

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Aunt Rebecca shared a special moment with Ella during which Ella said “hi” back to her for the first time. It meant a lot to her, especially since she’s an SPL grad student, and in turn it made me very happy that Ella has her Aunt Becca in her life 🙂

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This is my momma’s One Year of Ella project!

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Aunt Alexz made this adorable and delicious pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing! Another amazing auntie in Ella’s life… she’s a very lucky girl.

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Time for opening presents!

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playing with Tara

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one of our attempts at a group photo, haha

Here are a couple of other attempts for fun!
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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Adry’s 7th Birthday

April 7, 2015
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ADRY IS 7!

 

THIS GUY:
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IS 7!

He is 7 years old, in first grade, and his favorite things include Xbox, Youtube videos of people playing Xbox games, books written about Xbox games, earning and saving money to buy Xbox games… Lol. He loves zombie games and Minecraft! His favorite color is still green, favorite song is Eye of the Tiger, favorite super dudes are the Ninja Turtles, favorite food is air, and favorite person evar is his sister. (Don’t even try to compete with Ella, by the way. If there is a person in the universe past present or future who is the cutest, smartest, and overall best at anything that can be thought of, it is ultimately Ella, according to Adry.) Adry also enjoys mazes, tic tac toe, Goosebumps, and playing tag on the playground with his friends.

This year I invited a bunch of family and friends and a few kiddos to come hang out and enjoy cake and The Amazing Mr. Magic (Magician Ron Frank) for Adry’s birthday.

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The kids watching the magic show

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^That’s Baby Tara- Jamie’s baby- and the group

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Uncle Scott and Ella

The magic show was super cute. He had the kids giggling the entire time.

We also had refreshments and cake.
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Uncle Jacob enjoying some watermelon pizza!

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I think it was a pretty successful party and a fun day for Adry and the kids. I’ll have to take another long break from kid party planning after that, though, haha. I mean, I have to do the obligatory first birthday for Ella, then I’m not doing another party ’til Adry turns 10! (10 is a good birthday party year, right? Right on the cusp of adolescence, a final hurrah of young childhood…)

Anyway, Happy Seven Years Old, Adry Padry Puddin’ Pie! I love you so much, Kiddo.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Remembering 2014, Turning 30!

January 5, 2015
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January

I miss you. I miss your smile. I miss chasing you and fighting for kisses. I miss looking into your eyes and seeing the same love and devotion for me that I have for you. You are the perfect other half for me and I adore you. ~Keith

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I turn 29! …my last year in my twenties.

February

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We found out we were pregnant for a second time, this time with Eleanor! We weren’t really talking about it because we were still emotional about our miscarriage in December. I was so exhausted from pregnancy and working night shift that I celebrated Valentine’s Day in bed by myself with chocolates Keithy surprised me with.

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Adry was still enjoying Kindergarten.

March

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Adry turned 6!

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Adry also got glasses! We found out he had 20/200 vision in his left eye. A long road of patching and strengthening his eye to gain sight began. We are still working on it!

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We saw Ella for the first time via ultrasound and heard her heartbeat. We began feeling a bit more comfortable talking about our baby on the way.

I will never forget today. Hearing that heartbeat and how strong it was…it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. I will treasure that memory for the rest of my life.” -Keith, 3.27.14

April

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Adry and Reese on Easter Sunday

May

We found out our baby was a girl!

The message said everything looked completely normal and it looked like we were having… a baby GIRL. My jaw instantly dropped and a huge grin spread across Adry’s face. I was so glad to share that moment with him, just he and I. It was really special.

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Mom and I hung out with these crazy boys on Mother’s Day.

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We took a trip to Baltimore to see Alexz graduate with her Masters!

June

OKAY. We still need HEADBANDS. The kind with flowers. And SHOES. She needs white sandals. I like white sandals. And I think that’s all she needs. OH AND A TOOTHBRUSH. ~Adry

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We spent so many great Friday nights together dancing to music in Bicentennial Park.

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We took a Father’s Day trip to Yellow Springs with the fam.

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We got to see Ella’s profile and all her adorable little body parts during her anatomy ultrasound.

July

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Adry learned to swim!

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We enjoyed many fun game nights in 2o14!

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Keith and I had a lovely date in Park of Roses.

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And James and I did a lot of pregnancy commiserating!

August

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We got to get a peek at Ella in a 3D ultrasound!

I enjoy hearing Keithy daydream about his daughter. He wonders what she’ll look like, what kind of person she will fall in love with one day, what kinds of things she’ll do with her life… I like hearing all the possibilities and ‘what ifs’ rolling through his head.

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I wore a heart monitor for 30 days!

We also took a trip to Indianapolis Museum of Art for Dad’s birthday!

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Tara was born!

September

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Eleanor, I can’t wait to see you take your first breath and take you home. ~Keith

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I was given a lovely baby shower.

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I was so proud of my FIRST GRADER Adry!

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I was also proud of my Market District Gourmet Chef Husband!

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Keith and I celebrated two years of marriage <3.

October

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November

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I finally met my beautiful daughter.

And Keithy turned 30!

I love you very much and I hope you feel valued and celebrated today! I hope you have a wonderful birthday and an awesome 30s. I’m such a lucky girl to be able to spend it with you.

I turn 30 today. this morning I got to wake up to this and I was enraptured by these two ladies. The moment lasted for an eternity; golden, pure and clear.
I would have never considered my 3 decades of life lacking anything until this moment. ~Keith

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December

Becca graduated from OSU!

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We had a nice Christmas season and Baby’s first Christmas.

 

We ended the year at Les’ house. Family and friends enjoyed a taco bar and pinata and gathered in the living room together with champaign to watch the ball drop and kiss our loved ones. I welcomed 2015 beside my husband and snuggled close to my children.

Three days later I celebrated my own 30th birthday and it was really one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a long time. I relieved myself of mom chore responsibilities so that Ella and I could spend the morning and afternoon snuggling and dozing off together. Then for my birthday dinner I requested broccoli cheddar soup and sour dough bread. Mom made it for me even though she was so sick and stayed in bed the rest of the night. Keith’s dad made me a buckeye square dessert that I loved so much when I tried it at their house on Christmas. Dad got some other goodies, added chili to my dinner menu, and set the house up so that he, both my brothers and their ladies, Jessie and Jamie and their guys, and Keith, me, and Ella could come over for a little birthday hang out. We had drinks, ate my birthday meal, played Things and Spoons and had a Skittles tournament. I EVEN GOT PRESENTS FROM EVERYONE and it made me so happy! haha! I’m not really used to getting so many nice gifts on my birthday! I got money, gift certificates, a crafty home-decorated mug, giant Reese’s Cups, the most delicious chocolate buckeye pie, picture frames, a baby supply gift basket and the promise of a pedicure! So many things!

For 2015 and the start of a whole new decade (my thirties!) I am looking forward to more adventures with Keith and watching Ella grow and develop a relationship with her brother. That’s really about as far as my goals and ambitions go this year; I just want to love and enjoy these beautiful people in my life. I’m gettin’ older, keepin’ it simple!

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

A Sanders Thanksgiving 2014

December 20, 2014
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Once again my mother, The Food Woman, and my husband, Chef Daddy, spent HOURS planning, shopping for, and preparing an absolutely delicious Thanksgiving meal for 23 people who got to enjoy it at a beautifully decorated table.

I cannot remember all the dishes, but to name a few: three kinds of stuffing (to accommodate the vegetarians and those with aversions to onions), two kinds of sweet potatoes, church potatoes, brussels sprout salad, deviled eggs, two kinds of soup (one made by Alexz who brought a couple of other yummy dishes), homemade rolls, salad and corn casserole made by Sherry, and several desserts… the list goes on. It was a proper Thanksgiving with stretchy pants and food comas.

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Rebecca and J dressed Ella up in her Chef Baby outfit.

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Adry stood by the window for the longest time anxiously awaiting Tori’s arrival.

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Apparently Mom asked J and Rebecca to set out extra toilet paper rolls in the bathroom.
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The Bird

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Reese decided to cuddle with my poor sick boy.

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Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal