When I first began blogging almost 7 years ago, I was looking for a way to update family on our then four bambinos as well as create a scrapbook of our memories because I had failed completely to do it on real paper in real life. I also yearned for a connection among like-minded moms that would fill the void I felt as a stay-at-home mom who liked to stay at home, and therefore didn't create any opportunities to meet people. What I didn't expect is that I would find such good friends and create such close relationships online to people I would probably never meet in reality. It seems a little strange doesn't it? Sort of an online dating for friendships, and it's hard to explain how or why you connect to someone in particular more than others, but I see it happening all over the place in blog land, and it warms the cockles of my heart.
One of my very first online friendship was with Sarah from With a Hopeful Heart. We happened to start blogging within months of each other, and as she watched me struggle from afar with my super-fertility and four babies aged 4 and under, I watched and prayed for her as she experienced secondary infertility after having her first two children. Our lives couldn't have been more different in one sense - me, trying to learn how to stop getting pregnant every year or so, and her, trying to expand her family in frustration. I sent my kids to Catholic schools, she homeschooled. I worked outside the home and she worked inside her home. But somehow we just clicked, and became fast friends (BBFs to be precise - Best Blogging Friends) through commenting, emails, and texting. We found similarities in our faith, love of pop music, exercise habits, hatred of talking on the phone, and family life. We would occasionally try to plan a meetup, but Minnesota and Massachusetts aren't exactly neighbors. This past summer, Sarah finally pulled the trigger (God bless her) and bought a ticket to come out and visit. We were going to meet in real life!
I went to pick up Sarah at the airport and prayed that she wouldn't be a phycho killer or anything of the sorts, and I was pleasantly surprised that she was just as she appeared on my screen (well, even prettier and thinner in person - whatever). I got out of my car, gave her a hug and said "Oh I'm so glad you're not like a man, or a killer or something" and thus began our weekend of oversharing :) From the airport, we drove to an Indoor Climbing center in the pouring rain, made a pit stop to change into workout clothes, walked through a flooded street to get onto the place, only to find out that when I had made reservations for us, I had not called back to confirm (didn't know that was a thing), and they didn't have an instructor ready for us. Great first impression - Hey, welcome to my home - let's get soaking wet and then go somewhere only to get sent away. Urgh. We drove home, and she got to meet the family and have some spaghetti and meatballs. We stayed up talking that night and I really felt like I already knew her so well, it was so easy and fun.
The next day, I took off from work and we headed to Boston to see the sights. I'm scared to drive to Boston so we went by bus and then took a Trolley Tour around with a tour guide who had a wicked killah Bahston accent. It was super informative and we got off in the North End to do some eating and walked the Freedom Trail for a while. We headed over to Fanuel Hall, saw the Cheers Bar, and had some Starbucks coffee (per Anne's sweet baby gift).
Then we headed back home to go to my kid's school where they were having a Halloween dance, haunted theater, and trick-or-treating.
|Mad Scientist, Tom Brady, Clinton Portis, Dorothy, Cowardly Lion and Declan as himself.|
I think Sarah was probably feeling very settled with the fact that she homeschooled as the dance was super fun but I can imagine, overwhelming for her! We came home and ordered some tuna sandwiches and salads and ate and crashed.
|Martin kids love Miss Sarah.|
On Saturday, while the big kids had soccer games, we took Xander and Declan over to Marijanna's house for some playtime.
|First time in a swing! Pink don't matter.|
Marijanna is due with twins this month and her belly is amazing! She's already got about 14 pounds of baby in there!! After soccer ended, we ate some malassadas to celebrate Sarah's birthday (hey, any excuse to eat fried dough is a good one) and headed out to the pumpkin patch. We saw some farm animals, took a tractor ride, went through the corn maize, and picked some pumpkins - it was just like Minnesota - we even saw some cows ;) I thought the hay ride was exciting, and didn't realize that Sarah's family does them all the time, geesh, Minnesotans have all the fun!
We made it home just in time to get to Mass, where the boys served and then I took Sarah shopping for souvenirs while Phil wrestled all the kids to bed (he's the unsung hero of the weekend). Reed, Sarah's husband, was slightly more amazing as he watched/homeschooled/entertained their four kids while Sarah was away. He even sent flowers to our house for her birthday! So sweet! We picked up Five Guys burgers for dinner and fell asleep on the couch watching Frequency (do we know how to party or what? I'm slightly embarrassed.)
On Sunday we had a nice relaxing morning, dropped Eamon off for CCD, and ran our Little Flowers Virtual 5k race together. That was great, I think I talked her poor ear off, but we were done before we knew it!
We showered and went out to lunch with Marijanna at a cute little restaurant in my town, where Sarah finally had some of our fresh seafood from the harbor. Then we picked up the older boys from Latin Mass Server Training, and drove out with Maggie to see Cape Cod. After another Starbucks stop, we walked on the Cape Cod Canal, then drove over the bridge to the actual Cape, and then stopped on the way home to see a lighthouse up close.
Two of our priest friends came over for dinner, Fr. Jay actually cooked dinner, and it was delicious! Phil had made a cake to celebrate Sarah's birthday weekend one last time, and we all went to bed stuffed and a little sad that Sarah's departure was fast approaching.
Monday morning came too fast and it was time to head back to the airport to say goodbye. Although I knew our time together would end, it was too little too soon. I'll have to start planning my trip out to Minnesota soon. But not in the winter, I've been warned. We all miss you, Sarah, and we are so glad you finally made the trip out to see us. The door is always open, except when it's closed, and then you'll have to text me to open it because I don't answer phone calls or doorbells. But you already knew that, my BBF ;)