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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Paying and Praying it Forward

Phil and I were running late this morning, so I suggested I would pick up coffee and egg sandwiches from Dunkin Donuts on the way to work.  This is a rare treat for us, as we try to be very good about making our own coffee and protein shakes every morning.  As I went to pull into Dunkin Donuts, a lady in a VW bug pulled in right before me from the other direction.  I was annoyed because like I said, I was already late!  Being late + uncaffeinated = miserable Colleen.

I sat behind her car in the line and read her bumper sticker: Spay and Neuter Animal Abusers along with a stick family of her with a bunch of cats.  This just annoyed me even more as I'm not the biggest animal lover and I don't think pets should be considered someone's "babies".  When she pulled up to the window to pay, she took a long time and then waved at me in her rear-view mirror.  I was confused as to whom she was waving at, since there was nobody in front of her and only me behind her.  She waved again at me and I thought that perhaps she was apologizing for taking such a long stinking time at the window.  

Finally she pulled off and it was my turn to pay, and the DD cashier told me I was all set.  The lady in front of me had paid for me!  I was moved to tears and in shock, as this had never happened before.  As I drove away, I felt really bad for judging that woman without knowing her.  I had her pegged as a rude (she cut me off) hippy (the VW bug and wild hair) who hated children (hence all the cat babies).  And here she was such a generous person who made my day and reminded me once again that we are all made in God's image and likeness.  I can't judge the person, only the actions, and her actions were so good.  I was the one in the wrong, and I quickly offered up a prayer of contrition and one for the nice hippy cat lady ;)  Her Pay it Forward led me to Pray it Forward.

We don't all have to look a certain way, like the same music, have a certain number of children, give of our time and talents in the same way, have a sense of humor, donate to the same charity, read books, or worship God the same way.  We are all unique!  I often get stuck in a rut where I only want to be around like-minded people, but how is that really living life to the fullest?  Did Jesus only hang out with the holy rollers?  Nope!  He could see every person's worth just because they were a child of God.  There's no sense preaching to the choir when the choir already knows the lesson.  

We have huge volumes of books full of saint stories - people who crossed the finish line into Heaven - with all sorts of temperaments and quirks.  There's literally hundreds of examples of ways to earn eternal salvation, and I thank God for that because it gives me hope for myself.  Now it's time to take that good deed received and lesson learned and Pay (and Pray) it Forward.  Cheers to that!

 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekend Confessions & Lessons

Remember that Sexy Sailor Dress I had to buy for Maggie's musical?  Here she is in it:

Photo from my friend, Laura.  And yes, Maggie is a giant :)

Doesn't look soooooo terrible on her, but it sort of lived up to the name when she sat on stage with her legs wide open for the whole song!  Eeeeek!  I took a video of the performance, and luckily, the director's head was protecting Maggie's innocence.  Lesson learned: You get what you pay for and Judge not yet ye shall be judged.

~

We were at a church cookout last night, and all the lovely ladies, upon seeing my ginormous 27ish week belly, asked me how I was feeling.  They were just being nice, and I was just plain old exhausted from a busy weekend, and instead of replying "Great!" I heard myself complaining about how big I was, how tired I was, how uncomfortable I was, how done I was with this pregnancy already.



You know when you're PMSing and you can hear yourself being so witchy but you can't stop it?  Yeah, that was me last night with all the pregnancy complaining.  The worst part is that I know the people who were asking me had suffered miscarriages, had medically needed hysterectomies, and were past childbearing years.  Why couldn't I just smile and be grateful?!? I was answering their questions honestly, but I know the "How are you feeling?" pregnancy question should just be treated in the same regard as a "Hi, how are you?" passing question.  Ain't nobody got time for a complainer when you're merely trying to make small talk.  Lesson learned: Be grateful and gracious and save the complaints for close friends who actually want to know the nitty gritty.

~

John-Paul had to make a video for science class on the pectoral group of muscles.  Apparently they could have had a partner to work with, but he said he went to the bathroom and when he came back everybody had a partner and he was the odd man out.  (Isn't that what the last kid picked for dodgeball always says?)



I was actually happy about it because trying to coordinate working with another kid gets too hard.  He did great and wrote the script and filmed himself and did all the hard work, then handed it off to me to edit together into a video using iMovie on my Mac.  I put it all together in about an hour, then spent the next THREE HOURS OF MY LIFE I WILL NEVER GET BACK trying to finalize and export the movie so he could actually show it to his teacher/class.  It was so frustrating that I had done this 42 times before (quite literally) but the one time it was for a school project, it wouldn't work.  Phil finally figured out that I had to make a copy of the project, then delete clips one by one, each time trying to finalize after until it worked.  I guess small clip sizes won't allow you to finalize the project???  Anyway, lesson learned: Don't wait until the day before a project is due to finalize it.  (I added the video below in case you want to waste five minutes learning about pecs and laughing at my kids)



~

Between the late nights for the musical this weekend and the full moon, our kids were driving us absolutely bonkers on Sunday.  I'm sure this is shocking to you, as you think we have the perfect family.  
{Insert maniacal laugh}
The boys wouldn't stop wrestling and fighting, Maggie and Declan wouldn't stop crying, and everybody needed a nap and a stiff drink.  Ahem.  Since that wasn't going to work, we packed them all up and went to my nephew's lacrosse game where the kids could just run around outside for 2 hours, and boy did everyone's moods improve.  Lesson learned: When in doubt, head out!  Vitamin D and free spaces make for happy kids.

~



Do you follow blogs or Instagram or any social media of someone and feel like it's always you making the effort?  Like how come I always comment on your posts, but you don't even follow me or comment if you do?  Yeah, I hate that feeling, and I realized that I have so many nice commenters here that I have good intentions of replying to, and then...life and stuff.  So I really want to try and respond to each commenter in the combox because I love hearing from you so much, but how would you ever know that?  Lesson learned: Be a good friend to have a good friend.

Now for a slow and hopefully uneventful week, followed by a nice long three day weekend!  And all the people said Amen.  Especially this cranky mama :)

Friday, May 20, 2016

7QT: What to Give a Grand (or Great Grand) Multipara

It's Friday!!  Linking up with Kelly and Friends to bring you seven gift ideas for moms of many.

When I was in labor with Alexander (baby #5) the nurse and midwife referred to me as a grand multipara, and I was like "Mmmm, what now?"  So for those of you who are as clueless as I was, here's a couple definitions:

grand multipara is a woman who has already delivered five or more infants who have achieved a gestational age of 24 weeks or more, and such women are traditionally considered to be at higher risk than the average in subsequent pregnancies.

A great grand multipara has delivered seven or more infants beyond 24 weeks of gestation.

Crazy that I'm about to become a great grand mutipara.  Nothing makes someone feel old than adding GREAT GRAND in front of their title.  Anyway, this title seems to be given to less moms nowadays (since the average number of children is 2.5) and so I will proudly claim my place in this exclusive club.  We are the moms who have walked this road plenty of times before...we know everything there is to know about mothering (not)...and we don't need any help (opposite)...or any new items for baby's arrival (wrong).  


I've never had a "Sprinkle" for any of my babies, in fact I didn't even know the term until a couple of years ago.  I'm kind of opposed to them though (and not just because I didn't have any!)  My feeling is that people have the opportunity to give a gift when the baby is born and/or Baptized and a sprinkle is a little bit...much?  I can see the value in one when you have kids of one gender and then have your first of the opposite gender.  That makes sense.  


We had a very nice baby shower while John-Paul was in utero and we got pretty much everything we needed to keep a baby alive.  Subsequent babies used his hand-me-downs and knowing my high fertility rate, we haven't gotten rid of our baby items.  That being said, some of those items are in need of replacing and there are some new gadgets (like this gem) out there that I think moms of many could use.

1)

A New Bag



Not quite a purse, not quite a diaper bag...some sort of tote that works for everything.  Phil just gifted me that Brahmin bag above similar to this one for our anniversary.  I lurve it longtime.  I don't like lugging around a baby in a carseat + my bag + a diaper bag.  Give me one less thing to carry and my life just got infinitely easier.



2)



Diapers


Sixth babies need diapers.


Because no matter how many times you have a new baby, you always need new diapers.  Unless you use cloth diapers.  But even then, I think a new baby could mean you need a couple new ones.  For us, we lived, learned, and got Luvs.  We do spoil our babies with Pampers Swaddlers in the beginning, they're just so great for little tushies.  But then they get Luvs once they hit size 2.  



3)



Feeding Stuff



I don't know about you all, but once a few kids have used bibs, burp clothes, sippy cups and baby spoons...they are a mess.  The cups and spoons get all chewed up, the bibs and burp cloths are stained, and it would be nice to have a few fresh items.  I'm not picky about any of these things...function over fashion.



4)



Swaddling Accessories



Breaking out of the swaddle.

I think the swaddling trend comes and goes, but we love to swaddle our babies while they sleep.  To me it just makes sense...they are all squished up and warm in the womb and sleep perfectly fine in there, why not try and replicate it when they make their worldly appearance.  We discovered this swaddler with Declan which we loved, and these blankies make awesome impromptu nursing covers/swaddling cloths/burp cloths.  



5)



Pacifiers and Such



Don't even thinky about taking my binky.

We always push the pacifier on our babies because I'm not available 24/7 to nurse, and though thumb suckers are absolutely adorable, it's a hard and dirty habit to break (ask me how I know).  We only use these pacifiers for our kids and a cute clip to attach it to their clothes or bib is a germy lifesaver.  I've never tried the animal pacifier combos, but they look cute too!



6)



A Gift Just for Mom



Wow I have a lot of kids.

I'm not big on massages, but a haircut or pedicure does wonders for a weary mama's soul.  Give her a gift certificate to get pampered since she probably feels like the Old Woman in the Shoe, with so many kids she doesn't know what to do.  Giving her the gift of "me time" is precious.  And every mom needs a few new items of clothing after the baby is born because NOTHING FITS OR LOOKS GOOD and it's very depressing.  A new pair of jeans in a size bigger than normal can make all the flattering difference in the world.  If you know that mom well, a gift card to her favorite clothing store works well, but if you aren't sure of her preference, a gift card to any store (even amazon or target or the grocery store) will help alleviate any financial worries that may accompany having a new baby to care for.  



7)



Meals, Meals, Meals




I can't even begin to explain the wonderful gift that is meals after a baby arrives.  My two easiest and best recoveries were after babies that I had a bunch of meals delivered by friends.  My friend Michelle arranges the Meal Train for our church, and it's pretty much worth having a baby just to get the meals for two weeks.  Kidding.  Sort of.  The maternity leave from work is a nice plus too :)


Well, my seven are up.  Haha, SevenUp.  What would you add to the list?  Have a sunny and fun-filled weekend everybody!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fourteen

Whenever May 17th rolls around, I have to do my anniversary math:

John-Paul's age  +  9 months  =  # Years Married

or

# of Kids  x  2 years  =  # Years Married

I know some of you can relate to those stats!

Fourteen years ago today, Phil and I vowed to be faithful and fruitful, and God has blessed us abundantly.

We were soooo ready to be married at the ripe old ages of 23 and 21.  Just babies in the world's eyes, but we were mature and determined and as knowledgeable about what a Catholic marriage entailed as any two people could be.

Mostly we were just crazy in love.  Jay Z and Beyonce got nuthin' on us :)

May 17, 2002 on Cape Cod

The Catholic high school where we work just performed The Sound of Music recently, and there was a song in the play that didn't make it into the movie, so I had never heard it before.  It's titled "How Can Love Survive", and it begins:

In all the famous love affairs
The lovers have to struggle
In garret rooms away upstairs
The lovers starve and snuggle.


They're famous for misfortune which
They seem to have no fear of
While lovers who are very rich
You very seldom hear of.



Upon hearing that song for the very first time, I couldn't help but think of how true that was for Phil and I.  We started out our marriage with nothing but love and debt, no real jobs, no house, not much in worldly possessions or a bank account.  Were we foolish?  Perhaps, but somehow, God provided and we worked hard, struggled together,  lived simply, and here we are 14 years and 7 kids later.  Would we have been such a great team now if there was nothing to work for back then?  I don't think so.  We've grown up together.  


May  15, 2016 in Boston

My parents celebrated 50 years of wedded bliss this past weekend, and it was so sweet watching them dance to their wedding song:



I truly hope Phil and I can make it to 50 years as happy and healthy and loving as they are...we're off to a good start!  On the way home from the anniversary party, Brad Paisley's song "Then" came on and I cried like a baby (pregnancy hormones y'all) because marrying Phil fourteen years ago was the easiest and best decision of my life.  On our wedding day, I just couldn't even comprehend how I could ever love Phil any more than in that moment, but, as Brad Paisley sings:


Now you're my whole life
Now you're my whole world
I just can't believe
The way I feel about you girl
Like a river meets the sea
Stronger than its ever been
We've come so far since that day
And I thought I loved you then


I can just see you
With a baby on the way
I can just see you
When your hair is turning grey
What I can't see
Is how I'm ever gonna love you more
But I've said that before

Happy Anniversary Phil!  Thanks for always keeping it together even when I fall apart.  I pray we have many more anniversaries to celebrate together.  Kiss kiss!

Friday, May 13, 2016

7QT from a Sunny Week in May

It's FriYAY!  Linking up with Kelly to bring you Seven Quick Takes from the week:

1)

We have a baby name.  Sorta.  We have a first name and a changeable middle name.  I have not felt very connected to this baby (that's sad to admit) and thought finding out his gender would help, but it didn't, so I was desperately trying to figure out his name to bond.  And it worked!  Now I rub my belly and say his name and it just feels right.  I feel like I did not choose his name, but it was revealed to me, even though that sounds sort of biblical. It definitely is not a name that was on my radar...is not Irish...and is very common.  And you'll know it in about 14 more weeks :)



2)


Alexander's preschool class has been learning about chickens and eggs and are counting down the days until their eggs hatch .  Some quotes from him:


"Mom, in seven more days the baby chicks are gonna hatch and I'm gonna be a FARMER!"

"Mom, are babies cute when they're born?"  (Me: "Yes!")  "Well, baby chicks are NOT cute when they're born.  They are wet and sticky.  But then they dry out in the sun and they are cute."

"Mom, did you know that baby chicks are EXHAUSTED after they are born because of all that pecking."

3)


We've started an Exercise Incentive Program in the Martin house for the kids.  Basically Phil and I were sick and tired of the three older boys wanting to run 5k races but then never wanting to train for them.  So we said that they could track their miles, and every time they hit 20 miles, we would take them out for ice cream.  Of course, Maggie and Xander wanted in on this deal too, but since they aren't runners (yet? ever?) they get to use Irish step dance, walking, soccer, and swimming lessons to count towards their total.  Xander has the hardest time getting to twenty miles, so we started letting him earn a mile for each good day at school.  Now he comes home from school and says "I lost a mile today."  That boy.



4)

Speaking of running, it's the last week of track practice and the boys have their big Catholic Schools Track Meet on Sunday.  They are each running in a couple events, and I'm hoping their ice cream training will pay off.

5)

Maggie is one of the children in The Sound of Music skit in her school's musical.  I searched high and low for a sailor-style dress for her to wear, and they were either too expensive or these sexy mini-dresses from Japan and China.



I guess Sexy Sailor is a thing over there?  I ordered her this one in a Woman's small and the mini skirt is knee-length on her, but the top is low cut.  Nothing a tanktop can't fix!  As my coworker said, who's been following along on my plight for the perfect costume, now that Maggie will be wearing it, you should probably stop calling it a Sexy Sailor dress.  Riiiiight.

6)

And speaking of Maggie, look who got to crown Mary at her school's May Procession?



I guess the photo made it to EWTN's facebook page too, pretty cool!

7)

Last but not least, I just want to wish my parents a Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow!!  


Not many couples make it that long, still in love, still healthy, still happy.  Congrats Mum & Dad!

Have a wonderful May weekend full of love, health, and happiness :)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Maternity Swimsuit Shopping

So I'm 25 weeks pregnant and the weather has finally started feeling like Spring, which means it's dreaded swimsuit shopping time.  On the one hand, being pregnant makes me feel more confident in a swimsuit because big baby bump = no need to suck in.  On the other hand, it's not only the belly that grows and stretches while pregnant, so I'm looking for a lot of coverage because I don't think you're ready for this jelly (fish).

When we went to Great Wolf Lodge last month, I was so shocked to see quite a few pregnant mommas wearing bikinis.  That is so not for me and my stretch marks mementos from having birthed six children.








Another bathing suit issue I have while pregnant is one-pieces.  With the extra bathroom runs and the added uncomfortableness of stretching the suit over all the curves, I don't understand wearing a one-piece.  



This one is cute, but impractical methinks.





I did find this suit below that looks like a one-piece but is actually two pieces, which solves the bathroom problem.  I just like a little more coverage on the backside/upper thigh area.  I'm not saying I have cellulite, but I'm not saying I don't.




Sooooo, what's a pregnant girl (with possible cellulite and stretchmarks) to do?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hello from the Other Side

We had such a dismal week last week - between the gray rainy days, the cough and cold that spread through the house, and the kid's school project deadlines that consumed our evenings - the weekend couldn't come soon enough!  And what a wonderful weekend it was!

On Saturday, I dropped off the older boys to musical rehearsal (JP is the director's assistant and Andrew is backstage crew) and then continued on to the Cape for Maggie's first Feis (an Irish Step competition).  She did great, scoring two 1st place medals and a 2nd place one.  Her cousins both racked up the medals as well and everybody had a grand time.  I loved seeing all the Irish people at this event...the judges, the piano players, the teachers.  It was brogue heaven.  

Here's a couple snippets from her dances.  My phone's storage was full, so it kept closing when I was trying to videotape, but you get the idea.


When I was growing up on the Cape, the economy in Ireland was really rough, and every summer, tons of college students would come over from Ireland to Cape Cod to work.  My family owned a busy ice cream shop and we would always hire some Irish kids and even rent out an apartment behind the shop to them.  I just thought it was totally normal to be surrounded by Irish people all the time.  My Dad was from Ireland, my mom's parents were from Ireland, almost every family we knew was Irish.  Then I went away to college and came out of that bubble and realized there was more than one heritage in the world ;)  Now it feels like nobody around here is Irish anymore, the majority is Portuguese, and it was nice to feel a bit of my culture again.


While we were doing that, Phil took Xander to soccer, where he said he actually improved since the fall because instead of picking flowers/pretending to be Star Wars guys, he was running with the swarm of kids around the ball.  Progress!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Maggie's First Holy Communion

Yesterday was Maggie's big day!  First Holy Communion!  After cheering her brothers on in a 5k race that morning, she got to open her presents from Phil and I:



She got a new swimsuit (rash guard + bottoms), two rompers, an American Girl journal for us to fill out together, The Daring Book for Girls, a handmade pearl rosary, a watch, and Nancy Drew books.  




Then it was time to change and get ready for Mass.  We were so lucky that my sister-in-law gave us this dress (never been worn!) and it fit Maggie perfectly.  The shoes and tights were from Easter, and the veil was my wedding veil, I just cut off the long layer and left the top shorter one.  My mom gave her a miraculous medal necklace with pearls (because Margaret means pearl).  It all came together beautifully and of course Maggie was the prettiest girl at the ball church.  Not that I'm biased ;)