Friday, February 26, 2010

Hi Lo: February 26th





HI's:



1) John-Paul and I celebrated our birthday together.




I got an itunes gift card, an Old Navy gift card, new sneakers, chocolate, a Mass offered for me, two shirts, a Willowtree figurine, a cookbook, a painting from my artist friend, and some nice cards (including one from Phil that read "Happy Birthday to my wife who's still got it...From your husband who still wants it!"). He always gets me cards like these - the nerve!! :) Is it any wonder why we have 4 kids?? ;)

John-Paul got Tae Kwon Do lessons, lots of chapter books, an origami kit, a watch, seeds to plant in the Spring, and some snack money (which he generously shared with his brothers). We had a great day!






2) We bought our first home! And since we were already renting it, there's no need to move, which makes it even better. The kids don't quite understand why we are so excited to buy a house we already live in - ha!






3) I ran 8 miles on Saturday morning. It felt great (when it was done!) and inspired me to finally register Phil and I for the Half Marathon on March 21st. Now it's official - we have to run it or we'll lose $75.






4) Got to go out with a bestie on Sunday night to celebrate turning 31. Fun!






5) Prayers have been answered for that request I made a couple weeks ago. Praise God!






6) LOST and 24 are getting so good!!!






LO's:



1) Major computer glitches at work. These are not good ever, but especially frustrating during the busy season.






2) One of my Lenten sacrifices was trying not to eat after dinner, but somehow this week, I have completely forgot/didn't care about it. It doesn't help that we have ice cream and chocolate in the house during Lent (thanks, honey). Gotta get back on track.






I hope you are all having awesome weeks!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Birthday John-Paul!

Well, my first-born turns 7 today...which must be a mistake since I am only 19 ;)

We went out to Friendly's Restaurant to celebrate last night, and we will have a big family birthday party on March 7th for John-Paul and his cousin Katie.

John-Paul around 20 months old being tickled by his cousins!




John-Paul warned me that he did NOT want the waitress to sing to him. I guess it's around seven that you start to get embarrassed about things like that! So although there was no singing, we did let him pick out the biggest sundae on the menu for dessert (and Andrew had to get it too!).






It just so happens that today is also MY birthday, and I am getting the second best birthday present ever (the first greatest present being John-Paul who arrived on my 24th birthday).




So what is this amazing present I am getting tonight? A HOUSE!! Yup, we are closing on the house tonight and will finally be homeowners!


Gosh Phil, how are you gonna outdo yourself next year? ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Dollar Menu and 50% off Valentine's Candy Make for Some Happy Kids (not healthy, but happy!)











Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beware of Little Old Ladies

I try not to talk about work on my blog, because I want to keep a professional distance, but I just have to share this story.


Last week, this little old lady came in to have a meeting with me so that I could prepare her tax return. Her husband has a Private Investigation company, and I mentioned that it sounded like exciting work. She said her husband loves it because he's nosy, but she hated it.




I was surprised to hear that she also worked as a P.I. and she told me her husband made her deal with all the "problem" clients who would recognize him, but not her. SO she would have to sit in her car and spy on people and then sometimes go to their house to present them with a summons and a court date.




One day, she went to a house and knocked on the door and the man inside opened it (who would suspect anything from a sweet old lady?). When she stated why she was there, he said "You see that big fence? That's because I have a huge dog in the back, and if you don't get lost, I'm going to let him out". She calmly replied, "You see this purse? You let your dog loose and I'll take the gun out of it and shoot your dog in the head."




Ha! I laughed out loud at the thought of this elderly woman wielding a gun. Gosh, you just never know about people!




Note to self - prepare her taxes extremely well ;)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hi Lo: February 19th




HI's:





1) It was school vacation week around here, which means not only are all my kiddos home, but my hubby is too - YAY!










2) Aubrey is having her baby today! Go wish her luck here.










3) Phil and I got to go on a belated Valentine's Day date last night. We went out to dinner while my parents watched the kids. It was delicious and relaxing - thanks Mom & Dad :)










4) In Olympic highs - America is racking up the gold medals this week! It makes me so proud to watch these amazing athletes excel after devoting their whole life to a sport.










5) Had a couple of playdates for the kids this week. Oh, who am I kidding, the playdates are really for the moms ;)










6) We got Life Insurance (finally) since Phil has joined the Knights. This was something that really worried me when we did not have it, so I can sleep a little easier at night now.










LO's:





1) After the stomach bug last weekend, I still do not feel 100%. I can't eat too much and I have no energy/strength to exercise. I'm hoping to see some improvement soon, because I NEED to be running.










2) Still working too much, but what else is new??










3) This "No Comments for Lent" is really hard, but I still feel I'm doing the right thing for my personal growth.










Hope you all are enjoying your weeks, and sticking to your Lenten goals :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Great Olympics Related Story

U.S. Speedskater Took Leap of Faith
By Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports
Kirstin Holum of the USA at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan.(Mike Powell /Allsport)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia: Twelve years ago at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, a 17-year-old speedskating prodigy named Kirstin Holum was tapped for future greatness.


When Holum placed sixth in the 3,000 meters at one of the most grueling disciplines in the womens program, a lung-scraping four-minute bust of lactic acid torture: speedskating.
Insiders predicted a golden future and speculated she may not even reach her peak for another decade.

Kirstin Holum competes in the 500m race in Nagano, Japan.(Mike Powell /Allsport)



Like many of the longer distances, the 3,000 is regularly dominated by older athletes, as it can take years to build up the requisite reserves of aerobic capacity and deep-tissue resilience. At Nagano, 32-year-old Gunda Niemann-Stirnemann of Germany claimed the gold.


Holum was born into speedskating royalty. Her mother Dianne was a world-class speedskater who won Olympic gold in 1972 and reached even greater heights as a coach, mentoring the legendary Eric Heiden to his clean sweep at Lake Placid in 1980.


Despite an ongoing battle with exercise-induced asthma, Holum was a champion waiting to happen. Instead, Nagano would signal the final time she would pull on a pair of skates with competitive intent.From that point on, her life began an entirely different journey.

"Speedskating was such a huge part of my life", Holum said in a telephone interview with Yahoo! Sports. "I still loved the sport, but I had this incredibly strong calling that it was time to move on and take a different path in life."


There is no television and no internet at St. Joseph's Convent in Leeds, England, meaning Holum won't get to watch the Winter Olympics where she was supposed to become a star.


The peaceful surrounds of the convent is where Holum, now known as Sister Catherine, devotes her life to religious service as a Franciscan nun. That calling had begun on a trip to Our Lady of Fatima, a holy site in Portugal famed for a series of religious visions that appeared nearly a century ago. It was outside the Fatima basilica where Holum decided that a path of religious dedication, not frozen skating lanes, would be her destiny.


"It is funny now to think of how different my life is now", she said. "I had the wonderful privilege of being able to compete as an Olympian, and now I am blessed to able to serve God and help those less fortunate."

After completing an art degree, including a thesis on the Olympics at the Art Institute of Chicago, Holum joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, a faith whose mission is to work with the poor and homeless and evangelization.
Based first in New York, Sister Catherine and her fellow nuns stepped onto the mean streets of the Bronx to work with some of the Big Apple's most underprivileged children in areas steeped in gang culture. Such work and sacrifice in homeless shelters and soup kitchens gave her a deep-rooted sense of satisfaction that skating had never been able to provide.

She attacked each new project with the tenacity of an Olympian, and, according to Sister Lucille, who leads operations at the order's Bronx chapter, she has the compassion of an angel and it is wonderful to see people's faces light up when Sister Catherine shares her experiences of her time in speedskating, said Sister Lucille said. "She never boasts about it but she has come to realize that we are incredibly proud of her and are lucky to have her as part of our religious family. The sisters and the people we try to reach love hearing about what she accomplished."
"When I give my religious testimonies, it is fun to watch the reaction of the kids when I tell them I was in the Olympics," she laughed. "Their eyes get really big and they start paying a lot more attention. It is a great thing to share with them and it gives me a lot of pleasure to think back and talk about it."

"It is not exactly something you would normally expect from a sister. But I think it is good for people to see that members of the religious order can come from any background and any walk of life. It is all about your commitment to the message. It brings back so many memories and it is such a long time ago it sometimes feels like it happened to someone else. Skating was part of who I was for such a long time but having something to look ahead to made things very clear."

Despite her time away, the speedskating world has not forgotten Kirstin Holum. Shani Davis and Tucker Fredricks, both chasing gold for the United States here in Vancouver, grew up skating with her in junior competitions and asked to be remembered to her.

"I wish them all the very best too and I will be thinking of them when they compete," said Sister Catherine. "There is not really much opportunity for me to follow how things go but my thoughts and prayers are with them. It is strange for me to think that things could have been different for me and I could have been at the Olympics again, but it wasn't the Lord's path for me and I have no regrets."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Going to be Tough



Today is Ash Wednesday, and the First Day of Lent 2010. I will be trying to improve my relationship with God and others this Lent by committing random acts of service, and giving of my time, money, and talents whenever I can.




While I have talked about the unimportance of giving something up solely for the purpose of giving something up, there is a lot to be said for giving something up in order to do something else in it's place. And for me this Lent, that means I will be giving up COMMENTS.

(I will be putting this button on my sidebar, feel free to copy and use if you want!)






As sad as I will be not to be able to read your lovely comments, I think I need to do this for 40 days. Seeing how many people read my blog, and what they have to think really makes up too much of my self-worth. It also takes me a lot of time to read and leave comments on other's blogs.




I should leave comment's on someone's blog simply because I want to cheer them on, agree or disagree, or thank them for sharing some advice. I do use comments this way, but there are many times where, even though I LOVED reading a post, I sometimes leave a comment just to make sure they will come comment on mine. How selfish and immature is that? Which is exactly why I need to give it up in order to work on bringing myself closer to Christ.



I have long been a fan of certain blogs that do not allow comments, and even though sometimes I wish I could leave a note for the author, I really find reading the post and then closing the blog quite liberating. They don't care (in a good way) who reads it, what their readers have to say, or how they are perceived. And I don't feel any pressure to let them know that I have been reading and enjoying, their thoughts on life. Besides if I really feel like I need to get in touch with them, I can always send an email.



So, as of today, my comments will be closed, merely for my own personal growth. Of course, I will continue reading your blogs, but will also be limiting my comments there, in order to free up some time for increasing my prayer life.


I love you all, and know you'll understand my decision. It's going to be tough for me, but not nearly as painful as what Christ went through for all of us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In Need of Some Purging



Fat Tuesday is the last day of indulging (defined as: To yield to the desires and whims of, especially to an excessive degree) before Lent. And so indulging we will be! We had a big breakfast of coffee, juice, scrambled eggs and english muffins. We have leftover Valentine's cake in the house, and will be making chocolate dipped strawberries today with the kids. For dinner, I will prepare Phil's favorite: Maple Chicken (I could give out the recipe, but then I wouldn't be his hero any more!).


During Lent my focus is going to be on deeds of service, and offering up all my cravings by not satisfying them. I'm also going to get more focused on healthy eating and increasing my running...not so much for Lent, but because the half marathon is next month! I am hoping that Lent can help me with the discipline part of the training, that even when I want to stop, I will persevere.
(Lent = discipline through denial and good deeds)
~

Speaking of perseverance, did you all see Alexandre Bilodeau, the first Canadian gold medal winner of this Olympics?
He is such a stand up guy, and I love how much he respects and looks up to his brother with cerebral palsy. In one interview I saw, he told the reporter that his brother never complains and that has made him so much stronger as an athlete. Because if his brother can face every day with the courage he needs, then what is stopping him? I was so proud to watch him win that gold medal. You can read a little more about his story here.


~


Now it's time for a confession. Somehow this season I have been sucked into watching the Bachelor for the first time ever. And while I love dating/love/romance...this show is DISGUSTING. Never mind the fact that all these girls are dating and kissing the same man, but they are all apparently falling in love with him too. Do they not realize that he is saying/doing the same things with the other girls??
Last night the remaining three girls travelled to St Lucia with the Bachelor and each had a date with him. Every date ended up with the girl in a bikini (Phil refused to watch the "pornography" on tv) and then the Bachelor (Jake) gave each girl, on separate nights, a key to stay in the luxury suite with him for the night. And each girl accepted!!!
So they all stayed overnight with him (hmm, wonder what they did all night?) and it was all played out on tv like this was a normal next step in a relationship. Puh-lease! I know it's mainstream to live together before marriage, but to be seen on national tv, staying overnight in a man's room that you have so recently met and knowing that he is sleeping with 2 other girls at the same time?!?! Those girls are crazy!
One of the girls, Tenley, had been married before and had even saved herself for her husband. Then he ended up cheating on her and they got divorced. So she was constantly talking about how she had only been with her husband, and how she had such high values and morals, and then she still slept with Jake.
I was getting so mad at the girls for giving it all away so easily, and then Phil pointed out that Jake was the man-whore who was seducing all 3 women at the same time, claiming to be a man of integrity and values, and then sleeping with them all in order to help make his decision on who should be his wife. And of course, while committing all these heinous acts, he is claiming to be falling in love with all of them. Eeew, yuck, disgusting. Seriously, how is this show allowed on tv? I was so stunned and sickened by it.
~
I feel so dirty and need a spiritual cleansing - Lent can not come soon enough for me!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Picking Up the Slack

I was talking to an awesome mom of six kids recently, and we were discussing all of those parts of being a mom that cause us to have Mom-Guilt. It's pretty much inevitable....if you're a mom, then you have guilt. It's sort of like being a Catholic, and having guilt due to sin. Except that when you're a Catholic, you can go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, confess your sins, and have them completely taken away! With Mom-Guilt, you confess your fears and shortcomings with other moms and (if you're lucky) make changes to ease some of the guilt.
For me, one of the biggest sources of Mom-Guilt is not being able to spend as much time with my 3rd and 4th children as I did with my 1st and 2nd kids.
John-Paul, being the first born, was given so much attention every single day. I would play with him for HOURS, read to him, teach him, cater to his every need, and keep him near me all the time.



Once the second baby came along, I couldn't devote as much time to each child, but as a stay-at-home-mom, I was still available to them all day and night, and we still played and read for hours each day.

When the third child came along, our budget was soooooo tight that it was necessary I go to work part-time. My sister was able to watch the kids for me while I worked, and I watched hers in return on the days she was in nursing school. So now, there were days when I wasn't even at home with my kids, and then on the days I was at home, I had even more children in the house, which made me feel like I wasn't giving anybody enough time and attention.

Then the fourth baby came 14 months after the third, and I was so busy with so many little people (the oldest being only 4). Never mind playtime with the kids, I was struggling just to change diapers, nurse babies, feed and clean all of them, and try to keep up my house. Then my work wanted me to work 3 days a week instead of 2, and Saturdays during tax season. For financial reasons, I had to do it.


This is the state of life I am still at, except that the boys are in school now and only Maggie is at home everyday. But I feel so guilty about sending little Eamon to preschool, and leaving Maggie at family or friend's houses. Then, when I'm actually at home, I have so many chores to do that we barely spend time just *being* together.


Just the other day, I had been complaining to Phil about how I used to read story after story to John-Paul, but can't remember that last time I really read a story to Maggie. And then, guess what I saw....John-Paul (6) reading a book to Maggie (2)!! It melted my heart and made me realize that if I am doing the best I can as a mother, God will send someone else to pick up the slack. Whether that be in the form of a helping husband, a friend who is willing to babysit, or a son who plays with his sister.

Will I still have Mom-Guilt? Of course! But I do know that one of the reasons I am stretched so thin is because I have so many kids, and it's precisely because I have been blessed with so many kids that someone is always around to pick up the slack.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Vomitting Day...


...that's what today is for us here at the Martin house. Last night, I was up puking alongside my hubby and middle son, and trying not to pass out from dehydration. It's cute that we like to do everything together, but sharing a stomach bug is not exactly what I had in mind for Valentine's Day.


This virus is very bad, and has already brought down Maggie and Eamon as well. John-Paul is the lone survivor. Lucky him.


Speaking of lucky - it's time to announce the winner of the Giveaway. I used the Random Number Generator, which picked #16, then I counted down to the 16th comment and voila!


The winner is Sarah from With a Hopeful Heart. I am so happy that you're my winner, Sarah!! We have been bloggy friends from the beginning, and she always has such sweet posts that I love to read. Congrats! Just email me your address and I'll send out the apron and gift card. Then I'll order you a St. Gianna softie.
Thanks to everyone for entering!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hi Lo: February 12th



HI's:

1) Phil got a day off from teaching on Wednesday when supposedly a snow storm was coming. I say supposedly, because the storm turned out to be a dud, but I got to spend the day at home with my hubby. Yay!

2) Got a note from John-Paul's teacher saying he is doing really well in school. She had called us a couple of weeks ago to tell us that he was having a little trouble controlling himself in class. Turns out he was speaking out of turn, and even correcting the teacher on occasion! He is totally a know-it-all type of boy, and he's very intelligent, so he thinks it's his job to correct people. He's not trying to be malicious, just useful. Anyway, rudeness and disrespect are not allowed at school or at home, and so we are glad to hear he is doing much better!

3) At the end of the school day today, it is officially February Vacation week. The kids are so excited to be at home for a whole week with Daddy also being off!!

4) My Giveaway ends tomorrow! To enter, just leave a comment on this post, or tell people about it and leave the link for an extra entry. Winner will be announced on Valentine's Day.

LO's:

1) Been working a lot.

2) Please pray for something we are dealing with right now, I don't want to talk about it yet, but we would appreciate your prayers. Thanks!!

What are your highs and lows this week?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cute but Stinky

I have these Sketchers shoes that I love and wear almost everyday - to work, or around town, these shoes are versatile:

The only problem is that they STINK! I usually don't wear socks with them because if my pants are not super long, I think it looks silly.


So what should I do? Spray them with something? Sprinkle them with something? Leave them outside to air out? Or am I stuck with having stinky feet for fashion's sake?
For my family's breathing pleasure, please share your smell-good secrets :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

On Lent


Lent is fast approaching (a week from tomorrow)!! I am in the process of trying to decide what I should "do" for Lent . Ever since I was little, I used to give up a favorite treat. It could have been chocolate, or candy, or baked goods, or packaged foods, or tv, or even that Lent I tried to give up carbs (what was I thinking?). And usually I have found a way to fail in my humble attempts. There have been a plethora of reasons for my failures: it was my birthday, or a special date, or "Sundays don't count", or "Saturday evening is kinda like Sunday", or I was pregnant, or nursing, you get the point. Basically I was and am just a weak human being.


This Lent, I want to really stick to whatever I decide. I was talking to a priest friend of ours, asking his advice about what I should give up for Lent. He told me that I had to stop thinking in terms of just giving something up, that I needed to think about committing to something that would make me a better person. Something that would bring me closer to Jesus at the end of Lent than I was at the beginning of Lent. Something that would turn my imperfections and flaws into virtues and strengths.


Wow.


It was exactly what I needed to hear. I previously thought about giving something up and sharing in Christ's sacrifice, but not about what to put in it's place that could make me a better faith-filled child of God.


While it's wonderful to give up chocolate, does it really bring me any closer to Christ? I think the answer is no. In fact, it might just make me a meaner person which could be harmful in my relationships ;)


If I give up tv, could that make me a better person? I again think not. TV is a bonding and relaxing time that Phil and I share after the kids are in bed for the night. If I had no prayer time, and gave up tv in order to pray in it's place instead, then yes, that would be great. But if it's not interfering with my relationship with Christ, and those around me, then I do not need to get rid of it.


So I'm trying very hard to think about what holds me back from Heaven at this stage in my life, and how I can turn it around to get a little bit closer by Easter time.


Some of my ideas so far are:

~Wake up early to make Phil's breakfast before work

~Make the kids lunches at night so Phil doesn't have to

~Wake up in the middle of the night when someone cries out (but I might be too scared for this!)

~Give more money to charities

~Work on my friendships

~Be more generous with my time to everyone and anyone who needs it

~Play with each of the kids individually each week

~Read about the lives of the Saints

~Help out a sibling with babysitting/picking up kids/giving them a break

~Get more involved in my parish


What else can I do?


What's worked for you in the past?


What are you going to do this year?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Super Bowl Commercial

Between talking with friends (we had about 20 people over) and eating my way through the piles of food, I actually got to see a few commercials last night. This was my favorite one. (Of course it was, because it has babies in it!):



What was your favorite commerical of the night?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hi Lo: February 5th




HI's:


1) Went out to dinner on Wed night with the family. We were able to get 6 meals, complete with drinks and dessert for under $30. The restaurant has a $1.99 kid's meal special every Wednesday. They probably groan when they see us coming with 4 kids in tow, but hey, we gotta take advantage!!



2) I get a kick out of every one's comments - especially those of you who are speculating that I'm pregnant. I'm NOT. But I definitely am getting baby fever again. I've had a bad case of baby fever before: from the age of 2 until 24, when I had my very own! Then, instead of having baby fever, I just had babies. But now my baby is 2, and the fever has returned :)


3) Abby is home from the hospital, all re-hydrated and feeling better. She is still really skinny though, so her mom is pushing food her way all day long (wish I had that problem!).


4) A text conversation between me and the hubby:

Me - "Sorry I've been in a bad mood lately."

Him - "What do you mean?? You're awesome. Love you."

Pretending not to notice my irritability: PRICELESS!


5) I got to spend time with my niece, Clare, recently. She could be the sweetest baby ever!
(When I have nieces and nephews this adorable, how could I not have baby fever?)


LO's:


1) Maggie & Eamon have colds, but 'tis the season.


2) Speaking of seasons, tax season is officially underway. I will be working about 45 hours this week (that includes some at-home work and a Saturday at the office). Fun!


What were your highs and lows this week?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Top Ten: More Reasons to Have Another Baby

I've already made a list of ten reasons for Phil and I to have another baby, but I can't stop at only ten! Here's some more:


1) Laura told me about this shirt I could wear during the next pregnancy. It's pretty perfect, don'tcha think?


2) It would make Maggie the happiest little girl ever! She is baby CRAZY!
3) My blog subtitle says "A Catholic Mom, changing the world...one diaper at a time" which I will have to change once Maggie gets potty trained. Unless we have another baby in diapers.
4) The local pediatrician's office will not accept my children as patients (no new patients) unless we have a newborn. I love my current pediatrician, but he's about 25 minutes away.
5) I could eat a lot and not care that I look bigger :)
6) I could get out of running the Half-Marathon coming up next month. Heeheehee, can you tell I'm nervous about this race?
7) I'm thinking that once I have at least a half dozen kids, I could get a TV show or a book deal. Kidding!
8) John-Paul is old enough to change diapers.
9) I can create another baby book. I love looking through these!
10) And the best reason of all: Phil and I can stop using NFP for 9 months!! How fun would it be to actually try to get pregnant?!?!?!?! Goodbye abstinence :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On My Mind Today

My little sister, Maura, turns 29 today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY Moe :)
I think 29 was the best year of my life thus far. And since I still can't happily admit that I'm 30, I will pretend I'm 29 for the rest of my life. Okay? Here we are at 5 and 3 years old:

~

Maura's daughter, Abby, (and my Goddaughter) has been really sick lately. She's only 14 months old, and she's currently in the hospital for dehydration. She has lost a lot of weight and looks so sickly :( Please pray for her! Here's Maggie with Abby about 8 months ago:


~
I still can't believe that we celebrate Groundhog's Day. It could be the stupidest holiday ever. Am I right, people?

~

Tonight's the night Phil and I have been counting down to because LOST starts it's final season. We love this show, and hope that all of the questions we have do get answered before the finale. It's such an interesting and exciting series. And I have a little girl-crush on Evangeline Lilly:

C'mon, who doesn't?