Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Well, today is the last day of 2009. Where did the time go?? It was a wonderful year for us here in the Martin Family. We had no major events that occurred, and that's just how I like it!


I normally don't make resolutions, but I do LOVE to make lists and plans, and we all know what God does when he sees our plans (he laughs!). But, I think I'll go ahead and get some things down in order to be held accountable.


So for 2010, I would like to:


1) Get my prayer life in order...meaning, have an established routine and prayer time.


2) Continue to exercise 6 days a week.


3) Complete a half-marathon.


4) Lose 5 more pounds. I just would love to see 1-3-anything on the scale. I was 136 on my wedding day, so this might not be an attainable goal :)


5) Eat more fresh fruits and veggies.


6) Cook more balanced meals that we can all eat together and enjoy (is this possible with a picky hubby, and 3 picky kids out of 4?)


7) Have more patience.


8) Go on more dates (with Phil of course).


9) Read to my children more.


10) Go to Daily Mass whenever possible, not just whenever convenient.


Do you have any resolutions?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Thanks Gammy & Grandpa for the Fun Adventure!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gratituesday: December 29th

Today I am grateful for the life of Mary Louise Burckhart.
Back in November, 2004: That's her in the pink sweater...isn't she cute?
Mary Louise and her brother, Fr. Bill (standing in the photo) have been like surrogate grandparents to me. Fr. Bill was the priest who "married" (what's the correct word here?) my parents, and then baptized all of their 6 children. When we grew up, he "married" us to our spouses, and then baptised about 90% of all of our babies.
Wherever Fr. Bill went, Mary Louise would go along. Although they were brother and sister, they were more like a sweet old married couple. They got along well, he physically took care of her (as she had Osteogenesis Imperfecta), and they lived in a small handicapped-accessible house.
Mary Louise was a beautiful, funny, and feisty lady. She would tell you how lovely you were in one breath, and then in the next, joke about how fat you were getting! She was a devout Catholic, and offered up all of her physical suffering. Even though she had many reasons to be depressed or angry with her state in life, I have never known her to be anything but joyful. She used to love to take the little kids on rides in her motorized wheelchair!
Probably my biggest memory of Mary Louise was that she always wanted to be the first to hold the newly baptized baby, since she knew she could never have children of her own. And we were all happy to let a living saint like her hold our child on their Baptism Day.

(Here she is holding Andrew right after he is Christened)
Mary Louise passed away on December 23, 2009 just in time to spend Christmas with Our Lord. The doctors said she wouldn't live past the age of eight, and I'm sure she's laughing at them now!
We will miss her, but rest assured that she is enjoying her new and perfect body in Heaven. I am a better person just to have known her, and for that, I am thankful.
What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's the Most Wonderful Day of the Year!



I heart Christmas Eve. It's the best day of the whole year, according to moi!! No work, no school, just a day to play at home and get ready for Christmas. The anticipation around this house is so thick you could cut it with a knife!! We are all in good spirits and happy to be together. Later on this afternoon, we will have a Birthday Party for Jesus, complete with cake and ice cream :)


We will go out three times today, first to the gym this morning to work off some of the goodies we are about to eat. Secondly, for what should be the focal point of all our celebrating, Christmas Mass. Finally, we will be off to Laura's Open House in her new house to mingle for a bit before coming back home and getting the kids all snuggled in their beds.



Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.


.....and well, you know the rest!

(Christmas morning last year....my what a difference a year makes!)




Do you remember how hard it was to fall asleep on Christmas Eve??? Oh the excitement is just too much fun!




Merry Christmas to you all!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Christmas Came Last Night

Phil gave me my Christmas present last night, and it was something I have wanted for a very long time, but never thought would happen.
He took me to see the musical, WICKED!!!
We got dressed up, my awesome parents came over to babysit, and we drove to Providence. We went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory which is an absolute favorite restaurant of mine. The menu is like 20 pages long!


We ordered the nachos with spicy chicken and the Chicken Bellagio (chicken with prosciutto and basil over pasta) and split them both. It was soooooo delicious, and filling, so we had to order our cheesecake to go. We'll eat that tonight, perhaps!



Then we went over to the Providence Performing Arts Center. As we were walking towards it, I got super excited and said to Phil: "We are usually the type of people who walk right by a show like this, but tonight we are actually going inside!!" I was giddy, to say the least. And the show was AMAZING! It's about the story before the Wizard of Oz story we all know so well. I tried to read the book, but it was so weird and twisted and dirty, I couldn't get through it. DON'T read the book....DO see the musical....it's funny, and clean, and clever!
(These were the actresses we saw last night. Such great voices!)
I have been listening to the music for years, so I thought I knew the story, but I didn't know everything that happened which made it much better. I just loved how both Glinda and Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) slowly progressed into how we know them (in Wizard of Oz)throughout the show. We also got to see the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion before the spells were cast upon them. The musical explains why Elphaba was seen as so wicked, but you truly feel bad for her and love her in this show. Ahhhh, it's so good!!
My favorite song is "Popular" and they performed the scene so well.
I wanted one of the shirts, but for $35 bucks, no thank you! If you have a chance to see this show, I would highly recommend it. Thanks again, Phil!



Flip, flip, giggle! (see the show and you'll know what I'm talking about)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gratituesday: Presents and Presence

Last night was the night that Phil and I chose to wrap gifts together. We get out all the gifts, and all the gift-wrapping supplies, pour ourselves a glass of wine, put Elf on the TV (please tell me you've all seen Elf) , and get to work. It's always a fun little date night.
"We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup."


This year I was lusting after these two gadgets:




But alas, it was good old fashioned scissors and tape for us. And it worked just fine!





When we wrap presents for the kids, we number them in what order we want them to open them. I know it's a little OCD of me, but it ensures that someone doesn't open underwear right after someone else opens a new Leapster. So to keep things fair (at least while they are still little) they all open similar presents in order. We start with the smallest presents and work our way up to the biggest and best.





We also don't do the whole name-tag thing on the kids gifts. We just write on the present with a Sharpee who it's for. That way they don't question if it's from Mom & Dad or "Santa".





Speaking of Santa, we have always been on the fence about telling our kids about Santa, and not wanting to lie to them. We emphasize that Christmas is Jesus' birthday, and we talk to them about St. Nick. They know that the Santa's they see in the mall are just helpers and not real. But without wanting to squash their dreams, we just try to talk around Santa.
John-Paul, who's in first grade, recently got sent to the Principal's office for telling kids that Santa wasn't real. I think he was telling them that the Santa that was about to come to their school wasn't real (as we had told him). Anyway, while I do not think he should have been in trouble for saying it, I completely understand that other kids shouldn't find out the truth from a boy in their class. Hmmmm, we're still not sure how to handle the whole thing. Any suggestions?


Back to the point of this post.....I am grateful today for so many things:


~A husband who helps with all the household stuff, like wrapping presents. And enjoys spending time together, no matter what we do.


~Children who are so.excited. about what is to come!


~Presents to give to said children.


~God's love shown by sending His only son to be born unto us, teach us, and redeem us all.


What are you thankful for??

Monday, December 21, 2009

After 7 long years...

...of boy toys, we finally have a dollhouse in our toy room! Although Maggie LOVES it, I think I may have been even more excited!!
We got her the Loving Family Dollhouse (comes with a family of four, and some tables and chairs) and she got the bathroom set from her friend, Robby. This has gotten played with everyday, and not just by Maggie. The boys love it too!


Here she is receiving the dollhouse on her birthday:
Eamon (beside her) shows her how to set up house:

Mommy with "pretty hair" gets a timeout in the bath (sounds luxurious!!):

Baby goes potty (it is a little annoying that they have society's view of a perfect family - one boy and one girl. We'll have to find more kids to add to this family):



Whoops, Maggie fell over in all the excitement:


Mom, stop taking pictures and come play with me!:
And play we did.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hi Lo: December 18th



HI's:



1) Phil and I had such a great time at the wedding we went to last weekend. I know this is mushy, but I just keep falling in love with him. I feel so blessed with the man God has chosen for me! We danced a lot, and were so excited when Brad Paisley's song, "Then" was played. It's such a great song...and of course we think it was written just for us :)






2) I do not feel stressed out this Christmas season at all. Maybe it's coming....





3) The kids handed out presents to their teachers. Between the clothes, earrings, slippers, and homemade chocolate chip cheesecake brownies, I think they made everyone happy!





4) We discovered we have ten extra tv channels we didn't know about!! We only have basic cable, about 20 channels. And we found that we have some HD channels, including (drum roll please) The Food Network!!!! I am beyond excited, and Phil is thrilled to have ESPN and ESPN2.


5) We received a Christmas card from our friends, The Slominski Family, that had a gorgeous image on it I have never seen. It is called "In the Hands of the Father":
Love how Joseph is taking care of the family, and letting mary get some rest. Just endearing!





LO's:



1) We just recently had a lot of work done on Phil's van. Between all the mechanical stuff and 4 new tires, we spent just over $1000. Ouch!






2) Thursday was the boys Christmas Party for Jesus at their school, and because I was at work, I couldn't attend. I hate missing out on things like this because of work. I hope one day they will understand. I would totally quit if I could.






What were your ups and downs this week?
(Link your blog below!)





MckLinky Blog Hop

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sometimes I Get in Trouble for Being So Honest...

....and sometimes I get rewarded for it!
Jen at Harried Mom of Four passed along this lovely award to me:


In order to accept this, I am to list 10 honest things about myself and then pass it along to 7 fellow bloggers. So here we go:







1) I am scared of the dark, and trying to sleep without Phil in the house, well it's near impossible!







2) Even though I have cut out a lot of foods in order to eat healthier...I will NEVER give up my coffee with extra cream and 2 splendas.







3) I always wanted to be the fourth member of Destiny's Child, and even came up with a stage name for myself: Colleeniqua.







4) I was disappointed that my third baby was a boy. I know that's a horrible thing for a mom to say, but I'm nothing if not honest. I was super excited when baby #4 turned out to be a girl!!







5) When I got married, I wanted to have 12 kids. After the first baby, I wanted to have 8 kids. After my second baby, I wanted 6....and I think I'm still holding strong at that number. Although my four babes keep me busy!







6) If we had the money, I would totally adopt a baby girl from China. That would be perfect - a sister for Maggie, and a nice place to grow up for the baby girl, a place where girls are respected and treasured.







7) I love my husband more today than I did on the day we were married. He seriously gets cuter, nicer, holier, and funnier every year!







8) I love to shop, it's a problem when finances are limited. And I'm a gift giver, I just adore buying things for other people. Aaaaah, if only we had more moulah ;)







9) I'm really bad at keeping secrets, and I just found out an awesome secret that I am dying to share...but I won't!







10) I talk about, refer to, and love my bloggy friends as though they are my next door neighbors. Is that weird? Well then, guilty as charged!











So now to pass this along to 7 AMAZING people (Click on the picture to visit their blog!):


















Thanks for the award, and thanks for playing!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gratituesday: December 15th

Yup, my hubby would do the same for me :)
And for that, I am grateful!!
Warning, if you're not Team Jacob, you may not be as interested in this as I was....
What are you thankful for today?

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Ant and the Grasshopper or What Happened to America

THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER
OLD VERSION:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.
The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself.
~

MODERN VERSION:
The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long , building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
CBS, NBC , PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.
How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'
Acorn stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Rev. Jeremiah Wright then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.
Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ants food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hi Lo: December 12th




HI's:


1) Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe!







2) My "little" sister had her third baby on Wednesday. Her first boy, William Joseph IV. He was born by emergency c-section and weighed in at 9 lbs 6 oz. 22 inches. Oh yeah, we grow them big around here!




Could his face be any chubbier?? SO adorable!






Here he is with his favorite Auntie (me!)






3) We are going to a wedding today! I am so excited for a night out, and to witness two people in love make an everlasting commitment. There's nothing better than true love :)





4) Our great friends, Sarah and Katie are here visiting with us this weekend, and we are so.happy.to.see.them!


5) I got totally pampered this week. First a pedicure with my friend Marijanna, and then a visit to the hair salon for highlights. These things seriously only happen about twice a year, so it's a big treat!


LO's:



1) Been too busy to blog lately, and I miss my bloggy friends :(


What were your ups and downs this week?