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Bringin’ in the New Year. 2011/26

January 4, 2011
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First, in defense of my camera, I must admit that some of these (a lot of these) aren’t the greatest of photos. BUT that’s because I don’t use automatic mode- I use all of the creative modes- because I am trying to LEARN. And I am still finding the right balance between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO for the right depth of field for the amount of movement going on in whatever lighting there is. It’s a delicate balance and I am a beginner and I’ve never taken a photography class (which basically means I just learned what that stuff even means). So! I am at fault for whatever flaws there may be in these photos. Not my camera.

Anyway!
New Year’s Eve Pictures!

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Me messing around…

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Mom and Dad made a really fancy meal for NYE. Asparagus soup, dinner rolls, salad, filet mignon, bakes potatoes, mixed vegetables, and wine. Mom of course made sure the table looked all pretty.

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Jacob is something special.

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The boys played together all night. Adry adores Jameson and follows him around like a worshipping puppy.

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Nick and I

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Nick and I… after I made J try to get a “better” one of us.

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This is how the cool kids bring in the new year. CANDY LAND.

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Tony

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Pammy

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Ruthie

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Nick is attempting to teach my brothers how to play Euchre.

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Les

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Dad playing harmonica

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Whatever Jameson does… that’s exactly what Adry wants to do. I think he watched him play phone games for like an hour.

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This was my parents’ 28th Year Anniversary and I failed to get a pic of them together.

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Chip and Mer

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Chip and Mer candid after pose-for-the-picture time.

Then a few days later I turned 26 years old!

And I went to Jessie and Jamie’s apartment to eat Pei Wei Pad Thai and watch a cute movie with some girls. Jamie surprised me with Coke, a theater gift certificate, and a Reese DQ ice cream cake with ‘2’ and ‘6’ candles on it. Totally sweet of her. It put me in a sugar coma and I promised myself to not eat sugar again until I turned 27. I almost successfully forgot to take my cake home but Jessie made sure I remembered. That Jessie– always lookin’ out.

OMG it is 2011.

OMG I am 26 years old.

OMG I would have been married for SIX years.

I’m not going to lie. The last few weeks of December/ the first week of January have been really incredibly hard. Emotionally draining. I’m glad it’s all over. Sort of. The fact that it’s over also means… it’s over. And that’s still hard to swallow.

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

DCN to Cypress, Sandie, and Lennox

February 24, 2010
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February 22 AP 53– The group of Dublin friends. I grew up in an itty-bitty Nazarene church in Dublin, Ohio. When I say I grew up IN the church, I literally grew up IN a church. I was in that little DCN building, which was nothing more than a sanctuary and a hallway, probably four times per week. You see, good ol’ Nazarenes like to have themselves some CHURCH Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, AND Wednesday nights. Plus, my parents liked to drag me along and make me help while they cleaned that church building once a week. It was my home away from home. The people there were my family. Then, when I was thirteen years old, the district shut us down. I can’t really begin to describe the kind of devastation I felt. It was as if… I was being ripped away from my home and my family. I remember, during the last DCN service, I slipped away to the bathroom to sob huge gut-wrenching sobs. It hurt.

So anyway, the DCN lot was left to try to find new church homes. My parents dragged Jacob, Matt and I to Cypress Wesleyan kicking and screaming. We hated Cypress. It was huge, it was impersonal, and my family wasn’t there. But I understand why they chose Cypress– it was huge and safe and they’d never have to watch their children endure the pain of another shutdown. So, after several weeks DCN families began to trickle in. Pretty soon the Parks’ began attending Cypress, the Jordans, the Dillons… so it started to feel a little more like home with all of the familiar faces. Twelve years later we all still attend and see each other regularly there.

(( SIDE NOTE: Cypress began to really grow on me otherwise, namely because of Pastor Holdren and Pastor Dale George.  As a young teenager I watched them week-by-week and the way they interacted with people, and I listened intently to the things they spoke about from the pulpit, and I decided that if two awesome men like that could be dedicated to a church like Cypress then it was worth giving a try. ))

So, I am thankful for the group of Dublin friends who became family at DCN and then traveled together to Cypress. Pammy, Tony, Ryan, Les, Mer, Tay (and Dave, too!), Ginny, Dave, and Ash. I love them all like aunts, uncles, and cousins. I know they will be in my life forever.

February 23 AP 54– Sandie. I can’t go on talking about my DCN family without giving a special mention to Sandie. Plus, she came to Ohio for a visit this past weekend and stayed until Tuesday morning. Sandie is a dedicated, generous, supportive, awesome friend. She and my mom met when I was a baby and have been great friends ever since. She moved out of state when I was a kid, but they’ve always kept in close touch like sisters. I also love HER just like an aunt, and her daughter Harriet like a cousin. She comes and stays with my mom frequently, sometimes for specific reasons and sometimes just to spend time. Dude, she drove all the way from WV just for Adry’s first birthday party– see the dedication of this friendship!? 🙂

February 24 AP 55– The Lennox/ movie theater experience. I love going to the movies, specifically at Lennox. I cannot really explain why  Lennox is MY place, but my movie-going experience is just not the same anywhere else. They could double or triple their prices and I’d be loyal. (Okay, maybe not triple, heh.) (Lennox, please do not double your prices.) I even stayed loyal when they stopped selling Reese’s Bites. (Lennox, please bring back Reese’s Bites.) I have so many memories in that theater– all of the midnight viewing camp-outs, ordering pizza and having it delivered to the theater, dates with Benjamin when we were teenagers, peanut butter chocolate milkshakes from Johnny Rockets, walks and talks and laughs…

I love everything about going to the movies– the smell of popcorn, commenting to your neighbor about all of the new trailers, feeling the rumble of intense action scenes from your seat… And tonight Ben and I are going to see Shutter Island.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Midnight Bowling!!!

January 26, 2010
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In celebration of my mom’s birthday, and also just to hang out and have fun together while doing something different, a bunch of us went to Midnight Bowling at Sawmill Lanes on Saturday. Great time! Although I am a young, hip, partyin’ 25 year old girl (wink, wink, winkety wink) it’s been a loooong time since I have been out at a public event ’til after two in the morning… WITH MY PARENTS! 🙂

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The group that went, minus Ben and Sammie who left early to pick Adry up. (This was taken at the very end of the night.)

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A handsome fellow. He is wearing his super nice Calvin Klein suit because he and Becca spent the day celebrating their year anniversary.

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See? All dressed up.  In bowling shoes.  Love them.

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Me, Dad, Mom. My dad looks drugged here, but the problem was that he wasn’t drugged. He couldn’t bowl because he was having terrible back pains (herniated disc- he’s had to deal with it for years). He didn’t want to take pain meds because of the side effects, so he suffered through it the whole night just to hang with us. Trooper. Poor dad, I love him and hate to see him in pain. HATE it.

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Les was very excited that her bowling ball knocked some pins down!!!

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Having a good time

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Pammy <3

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Momma, off to a good start!

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Mom and dad <3

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Ben in action

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Ryan’s action shot

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Mom in action!

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Tony also had to sit bowling out due to surgery and pain and pain meds and all that yucky stuff. But he came to hang out with us, too! Trooper dads! They are the best.

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AAAAAND SANDIE was there and ALSO had to sit it out I think due to a car accident knee injury years ago. She took millions of pictures, maybe as much as I did. (I took 113. See, you may think I post all of my pictures, but I’m not even posting half!) Sandie is my mom’s lifelong friend from WV and we love her dearly.

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Matt, Ben, Sammie, Ginny, and the back of Duke’s head

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Sammie, how are you so freakin’ cute?!

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Ben and Matt

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Ash and her mom, Ginny, who organized the night, bought pizzas, and brought a cake for my mom. She is too great. Much thanks to her 🙂

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Cute kids. Tay, Jeremy, Jacob, Becca

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Ash, Ryan, and I

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I tried to get Ash in action, but my camera is too slow, so… here she is standing and looking at her score. 😉

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Matt is doing Ben’s ‘strong guy’ pose- the pose Ben breaks out after he does or says ANYTHING that he thinks is AY-MAY-ZING, which is a LOT of things let me tell ya’.

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Breakin’ out the birthday cake! Happy birthday, Mom!

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Me and Sammie

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Ryan and Matt

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<3 The Ladies <3 Pammy, Mom, Les

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The Four Ladies (Pammy, Mom, Sandie, Les)

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Jacob smile 🙂

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Ash and I

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Jacob’s exaggerated bowling form. Awesome. Especially in the suit. I like how Becca said, in her own LiveJournal ( ): “but I also discovered that Jacob is the single most adorable bowler in the world, what with his over-dramatized…ball-toss….thing…and his reactions.” Becca also said in her journal that she was reminded that she is horrible at bowling. I had a much different experience for myself; I patted myself on the back for my top score of 36. Total. At the end of the game. 36. Um, yeah, you got nothin’ on me.

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Who can get enough of Jacob bowling in a super nice Calvin Klein suit? Not me!

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OK, Becca says Jacob was an adorable bowler, but I must say that the Most Adorable Bowler Award DEFINITELY goes to Rebecca Hoffman. LOOK AT THIS ADORABLENESS! The momentum of that little 6-pound (or whatever) ball with “extra extra tiny” finger holes is going to make her fly backwards! (with much affection, Becca. You are adorable. I love your smallness. I love smallness in general, too.)

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Rebecca, don’t kill me for posting these!! I couldn’t resist! LOOK AT HOW ADORABLE!! LOOK!

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And Jacob Sanders wins the Best Follow Through Award.

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Look at that. Flawless. That probably got me 3 pins. 6 if I was lucky. I win the Most Awesome Bowler Award. Obviously.

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How high can I swing the ball behind me? As high as I want!

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T. Matt in Action!

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Good times. Sammie, Ben, Ash with her eyes closed, Becca in the back, and Ash’s step-dad, Dave

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Sammie fails at the ‘tough guy’ pose. Notice Tony in the background. Matt noticed that Tony was staring into the camera while I was taking photos so he said something to him and…

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there Tony and Matt are, in the background, laughing about it. I didn’t even notice! But at least Sammie managed to do a ‘tough guy’ pose this time 🙂

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Taylor’s action shot!

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Love this one

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Les is a champ!

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Ginny (Ash’s mom), Ash, and Matt are boogyin’ in the music

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Gettin’ down

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My mother was having a very unlucky game so she began to experiment with her form. In this case, she pushed the ball down the lane with her foot. I don’t think it was a very successful move. Teresa Sanders wins the Most Unsuccessful Technique Experimentation Award.

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Ash and I also began experimenting with our bowling technique. I think she was more successful than I at the backwards, between-the-legs bowling form. Perhaps my follow through was poor.

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Jacob says he is NUMBER ONE!

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Sammie in action

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High-fiving after a good bowl

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🙂

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I’m not sure how this happened… perhaps someone else was experimenting with bowling technique, but this ball just STOPPED right in front of the pins and no one (even though we are all incredibly awesome bowlers) could seem to get it to budge by bowling another ball. So, Les walked down the gutter to retrieve it. Because she is Super Amazing Bowling Ball Retriever Lady come to save the day. That’s how awesome she is.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

NEW YEAR’S EVE 2009

January 4, 2010
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Happy 2010!
Happy 27th Anniversary Mom and Dad!
Happy 5th Anniversary to Me and Ben!

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I am wearing my zipper necklace that cousin Sammie got me for Christmas.

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on our way to my parents’ house

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all bundled up and PASSED OUT!

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Mom, Les, Sandie

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Matt and his awesome mustache

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I wanted to get Matt’s whole outfit in the picture because I thought he looked nice… he is about to kick someone in the head.

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yep. Kicking someone in the head.

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Les, Sandie, Mom, Maurine

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Playing Uno. My family is currently obsessed with that game. Or at least Matt is.

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Jeremy, Tay, Becca

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Before going out to eat we all gathered around the table for a game of Left Right Center. I won 7 or 8 dollars in quarters! WOOHOO! (Jeremy, Tay, Jennaka, Pammy, Tony, Norm, Dad, Ben, Matt) We also played Bunco.

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Ben, Matt, Becca, Jacob, Mom

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Matt took this one. I was trying to make sure I got a picture of everyone at the table. (Patty, Jennaka, Pammy, Tony, Norm, Dad)

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Me, Jeremy, Les, Tay

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Matt is still trying to make sure we got a picture of everyone there! (Mom, Maurine, Sandie, Me)

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After games we once again went to the Japanese Steakhouse to bring in the New Year. It was fun! AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, YUMMY!

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The anniversary couple

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The other anniversary couple

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Onions! MMM!

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You can take a stab at the kinds of thoughts going through Matt’s head about his noise-maker.

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Pammy, Ryan came!, Tony, Patty, Norm

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with their New Year hats on

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Makin’ NOOOISE! That place got loud. Pammy and Ryan look like they are on a very serious mission to fill the last minutes of 2009 with as much noise as possible.

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VIDEO COMING SOON

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Brother Sister Love

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My favorite part of a Japanese Steakhouse NYE (BESIDES THE FOOD) is this little Japanese man who dresses up and dances around every year.

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VIDEO COMING SOON
And then he got in a brutal sword fight with a patron. BEAT DOWN!

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Ben found this flower for me on a bench outside of the restaurant. OH THE ROMANCE! SWOOON! 😉

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After we brought in the New Year (and ate to our tummies’ content), Ben, Matt, Becca, Jacob, Tay, Jeremy, Ryan, and I went back to our apartment for the first game of 2010: Catch Phrase. I felt super young and hip when I thought I was staying up ’til the wee hours of the first morning of the year, but then I fell asleep on the floor. Anyway, we told stories, we laughed, we told more stories, we made fun of our game-playing ridiculousness, and we laughed some more. Turns out I had a really great night 🙂 Happy 2010!

MISSING VIDEOS:: I can’t read the HTML very well to know where to put these suckers.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal

Halloween Party 2009

October 26, 2009
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Dad’s Halloween party was really, honestly, a great success.

He worked SO hard on it; he must have planned, prepared, and purchased for that party for an entire month, and he did it all on his own. Usually mom is the social get-together planner, but this was dad’s baby.

He had activities for everyone and excellent food that received a TON of compliments all night. I just had a great time watching everyone visit and laugh and enjoy themselves. When Tony was leaving at the end of the night he said, “I really needed this. We need to do this again soon… for Thanksgiving!” lol. And the next day Les said, “I had a really great time at the party last night. I hadn’t laughed like that since… well, I can’t remember when.” And feedback like that, that’s what makes it all worth it- keeps my parents doin’ what they do, and I’m thankful they do :-).

Pictures Under The Cut!

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Mom and Dad Preparing the Food

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I can never get this kid to smile for the camera!

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He smiles for me, though.

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And Grandma.

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Hugs

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Food Table

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It was yummy stuff- chili and taco salad, and Hutch made Buffalo Something Dip (I forget what it was called to be honest, but it was good and was gone by the time the party was only half over).

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Worm Juice!

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Phares was very proud of his “possessed” picture pose 🙂

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Diane!

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Ruthie

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Hutch!

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Tay took a break from important college business to come enjoy the party. It was good to see the kid!

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I think Tony was Worm Juice’s biggest fan.

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LOGAN is 9 months old, now! He’s SO CUTE!
I tried to catch a picture of everyone at the party, but I missed several people. Including Jack. But this is Jack’s leg AND Jack’s kid, so that counts right?

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T.Matt enjoying his taco salad…

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T.Matt enjoying his taco salad in Becca’s hat…

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Abby was there!

This was the Movie Room wherein we watched Tales From The Crypt, Sixth Sense, and The Shining (Hutch was not a fan of The Shining, but I told her she should at least be thankful that she was educated on a cultural icon—now she will understand references, right?):
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This was the ‘Sit, Eat, and Chat’ room. Foosball and Chess were played in here throughout the night, too:
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The lady on the floor is Les! It’s the only picture I got of her 🙁

And this was the ‘Campfire, Smores, and Movies’ area where the movie Young Frankenstein was played three times I think, haha. What a great movie!
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Taylor J is not as heartless as he appears in this photo:
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He finally decided that maybe he should pick up the crying baby.

Badminton was played ALL throughout the night, which I thought was pretty cool. In this picture some of the “kids” are playing, but eventually the kids migrated to the campfire and the “adults” played several games. The lit court was a success!
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Glow In The Dark Cornhole, of course.

Dad made funnel cakes with fruity-flavored dipping sauce. It was pretty yummy!
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I just realize I didn’t get any pictures of Ben, either. DANG IT- I missed so many people! Event photographer failure. Oh well, it was a good night.

Categories: Ciao Bella Vita : Daily Journal