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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Online Family Shopping Guide

While I wish my Christmas shopping was already done in time for Advent, let's be honest and say that I haven't even started.  A new baby is an excuse for not getting much else done for like what, a year...at least?  I asked my kids and husband and myself (in the mirror) what their past fave Christmas/bday presents have been and complied the list below.  Since it is Cyber Monday, and I basically do alllll of my purchasing online, happy shopping!!  



Big Boys

Pull-up bar (I can't recommend enough!!  Perfect energy burner!)

Kindle fire and case (So cheap right now)


Michael Vey series (use code HOLIDAYBOOK to save $10 off of $25)








Rubik's Cube (Andrew is obsessed!)




Nike Elite socks (They can't get enough colors!)


Fleece hoodies (for the boys who hate coats)






Girl's choices




American Girl doll (Maggie wants a WellieWisher this year)

Shining Light Dolls (great Catholic present!)



Dice to play Bolo


Hubby's faves

Fitbit (We both wear ours everyday!)

Hair Clippers (for the price of ONE haircut)



Running shoes for him

Ice ball maker


Younger Boys


Pogostick (We make them go out and jump when they're getting underfoot)

Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry DVDs (Huge faves here)

Disgusting Jelly Beans (Fun stocking stuffers)






My picks



Running water bottle (Handheld and I don't run without it)


 Running shoes for her

Garment steamer (For the gal who hates ironing...which is like everybody, yes?)


I'll keep adding as I remember more and more...


Saturday, November 19, 2016

7qt: Saturday is the New Friday

Saturday is the new Friday, right Kelly?  Tardy to the party, as usual.


1)

So proud of my Franciscan University classmate on his new position!!  This gives me some faith and hope in the Trump administration.

2)

Maggie loves her Bernadette books, and now the author, Emily Ortega, has written a new book about a boy named Victor.


Victor is Bernadette's brother, and this book is his journey through Lent.  I just love Emily's style, her books weave Catholic imagery throughout but they are so loved by kids, they just get engrossed in the story.  Maggie's birthday is coming up soon, so I'm giving her Victor and the Fix-It Challenge, but I'm sure Eamon (who's in 4th grade like Victor) will be stealing it.

3)

I've found a great postpartum shirt and pants this time around.  And by great I mean flowy and elastic-waisted.  And by postpartum I mean all the years following when you've had a baby.  9 months on, 9 years off so I say.  Elastic waists and flowy tops are great for Thanksgiving too :)


#maternitypantsforever

4)

Phil's littlest sister just got engaged!



Diana and Ryan will be getting married in May, just about 15 years to the day after Phil and I tied the knot.  She was just a little peanut back when I met her, and I can't believe she's all grown up and ready to walk down the aisle.  I love weddings!!  Fun fact: all six of the kids in Phil's family went to Franciscan University, so chances are, if you're a Steubie grad from 1996-2011, you knew (or would recognize) a Martin.


5)

This week has been full of swimming practices, basketball practices and basketball games.


 Tomorrow is a 5k race for the three eldest boys and then their CYO Jamboree kickoff game for Andrew and Eamon.  After that, I plan to sit on the couch and watch the Patriots win while eating some chips and pizza.  And wonder why I can't lose the baby weight this time around....but this little 3 month old was worth it!!

My cup overflows

6)

Last weekend, our church held their Variety Show and our Pastor did a funny skit called "Monsignor's Revenge" where he knelt with all his altar servers to pray.  Then their pre-recorded voices came on as if we could hear them praying.  He got to poke fun at the altar servers, and it was great!  Most years the altar servers create a skit where they get to poke fun at him, hence the "Revenge".  I love that my boys have such a great relationship with him and he's a fun and normal man in their life.

7)

Some very November photos to record for the fading memory:






Have a wonderful rest-of-the-weekend and Happy Thanksgiving if I don't see you before then!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Homes Sweet Homes

Phil and I were married young.  I had just finished getting my Master's and he had just completed his Bachelor's at Franciscan University.  It was May 2001 and we were 23 and 21 and ready to do this thing called married life.  Only there was a problem.  We didn't have anywhere to live.  Phil was going to be starting his Master's program in the fall at Providence College in Rhode Island, and I would be job hunting while running my parents ice cream shop on Cape Cod.  My parents graciously allowed us to live with them for the summer months, as renting a house on Cape Cod in the summer would have been ridiculously expensive.

We lived with them for a few months, and then (thanks to my brother-in-law's connections) found a job for me at a CPA firm in Providence, and a small third floor apartment in a city nearby.

All the way at the tippy top

That little apartment served us well until John-Paul was born, but then lugging a baby seat and bag and groceries up three flights of stairs became tres difficile.  Phil was about to finish his Master's and I had left my job to stay home with JP so we were able to move elsewhere but with no money to do so. We spent the summer on the Cape and lived in an apartment above the ice cream shop where we worked and ate ice cream all summer.  I remember making waffle cones at night while JP slept upstairs.  We had no idea where we would live in the fall once Phil started teaching.

We lived upstairs and worked downstairs at Maggie's (now Katie's)


My mom had the idea that we should become house-sitters in the cute beach town nearby where everyone left their summer homes vacant during the school year.  I put a little ad in the local paper and voila!, a nice lady contacted us and said we could stay at her house for free from September-May in return for taking in the mail and keeping up with the landscaping.  What luck!  We lived in that beach side cottage for Phil's first year of teaching and then had to move out for the summer.

We lived on the road that led out to this island, so gorgeous

 At this point, my parents had opened up another ice cream shop in the little village where we were house-sitting, and Phil was to run it with my younger sister on his summer break from school.  We were able to rent a home in a town nearby for the summer and lived there with my sister while I was very pregnant with Andrew.  Once the summer ended, we moved back into the home we house-sat.

My biggest memory of this house is that JP got physical therapy weekly because he didn't want to walk!

Andrew was born, and although a free house was great to have, we knew we needed to plant some roots.  All of this moving around so often was hard and only going to get more difficult as we increased the number of kids we had.  Lucky for us, my parents have always dabbled in real estate, as my dad was a builder and property was their investment for retirement.  They found a two-family house in a nice town and bought it, renting out the top apartment to us (we had two floors, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and about 2000 square feet of living space - it felt huge!) and the bottom apartment to the elderly woman who was currently living there.  Thank goodness she was hard of hearing, as we had many babies in a short time in this house!


At some point, my brother, who was working in New Hampshire, decided to move back to the area with his family and wanted to rent the bottom apartment until they built a house to move into.  It was agreed that my parents would turn the two-family house into two condominiums, and sell one to my brother and the other to us, so that they didn't have to be landlords anymore and we would actually own something!  We looked around at other houses in our price range and couldn't find anything remotely close to what we had, so we bought our condo when I was 31 and we only had four kids.  This is the same house we live in now!


We've seen a number of tenants come and go in the downstairs apartment, our favorite ones being Sarah and Katie.  We have tried to put our home on the market twice to buy a single family home, but both times were met with no success because it's an unusual situation to only sell half of a house.  My brother, who's since moved out, wants to hold onto his condo as an investment property.  Eventually we gave in, seeing that we weren't moving anywhere, and did a remodel by adding a bedroom, and renovating the kitchen and dining room.  Now the space fits our growing (full-grown?) family.


Just recently, my parents sold their house and began renovating the downstairs condo so that they could move in.  It seems funny how God's timing works full circle.  While I was frustrated over not being able to sell and "upgrade" to a single family home, God's plans of having my parents move in downstairs is way better than what I wanted.  It was in the works the whole time! Now our kids can see their grandparents all the time, and hopefully we can all help each other out with chores and errands and just enjoy three generations under one roof.  Looking back on our house adventures, I can see how our love for each other and trust in God has paid off.  I'm glad I didn't believe the world's lies that we needed the perfect house/cars/big salary/finished degrees before we started our family.  I am a big believer in hard work and making things happen but at some point you've just got to just do your best and let God do the rest!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

It Takes a Village, But Mostly Just a Team

Oh I can't wait for campaigning and voting to be over.  This whole election has been a freak show made-for-tv situation, and I can't believe this is the future of our country.  But as the VeggieTales sing, "God is bigger than the boogeyman" (or WOman).


As I'm typing this I just ate some of Declan's leftover popcorn.  Declan had a fever yesterday.  Am I going to make it?  Better stock up on my precious probiotics.  By the way, I had the epiphany, nay the EPIPHANY, that popping corn would make for a great snack to send in the kid's "lunches".  It's super cheap, looks like a lot of food (Maggie can finally realize her dreams of having a full-to-the-brim ziplock bag of snack food!) and not unhealthy.  I'm actually going to pop (haha, pop) on over to amazon to see if they have any cheesy popcorn flavoring I can sprinkle on top.  They do!!

Let's try this again,  I have no idea what I'm about to write anyway.  Sometimes I have grand ideas for writing topics, but they always occur when I'm not near a computer...like exercising...falling asleep...nursing the babe...pretending to listen to people talk...you get it.  But most of the time I just sit down and type-vomit some words on digital paper because if I think too much, I wouldn't write anything at all.


Wait, I do have a thought!!

I was thinking about how great it is that when our kids sit down to dinner, they don't even know which one of us to thank for the meal.  They usually start by thanking me, but then I have to stop them to say that it was mostly Dad's cooking, and then he says that I did the majority of it, and we really can't even remember who cooked what because we just did it all together.  One stirring while the other peeled, one changing a diaper while the other chopped the veggies, one yelling at someone to stop hitting someone else while the other cleaned the dishes.  Somehow it all gets done, bellies are fed, and we're both to thank for it.  The best part is, when we're just moving around the kitchen taking care of business, it doesn't even feel like work.  It's actually a little fun!

I know I'm so lucky to have Phil home with me in the evenings, a lot of moms don't have that and I do not take it for granted.  Either one of us can get home and whip up a meal (even if it is just chicken nuggets and french fries and carrot sticks) or take care of the baby's needs, or check the google calendar and do sports drop offs/pick ups as needed.  If I had to do all of that myself, well I probably wouldn't have seven kids!  People say it takes a village, and it's so true, but it's nice to know that our parenting team can do most of it alone.  Our busy schedules can be exhausting, but we're in this thing together and there is great comfort in that.  He's my teammate, my number one draft pick for always and forever.  Besides, at the end of the day we can check off a whole litany of merciful works - just by serving our own family.  Now only if I could do it joyfully and without complaint, I could be a saint :)

The Works of Mercy, by the Master of Alkmaar made for the Church of Saint Lawrence in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The wooden panels show the works of mercy in this order: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, bury the dead, shelter the traveler, comfort the sick, and free the imprisoned. Circa 1504.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

7QT: One Day Late with Giveaway Reminders

Linking up with Kelly a day late and a dollar short because my kids steal all my money, honey!

1)

Wednesday was the day from down under, and I don't mean Australia.  Look at our schedule of after-school events:


On top of that, JP ended up going to Urgent Care because his back was hurting him so bad that he couldn't walk, go upstairs or do anything really.  He had injured it a couple months ago when he jumped down a few stairs (to avoid falling) and then re-injured it playing with cousins over the weekend.  They x-rayed him to make sure their was no fracture or anything, and gave him meds for the terrible muscle spasms he was having.  Phil had to carry him upstairs to bed and he laid around all day on Thursday.  It was so sad.  But I said a prayer of thanksgiving that this was what we were dealing with instead of the family of this little girl who went to my children's school.  What a tragedy.  Go hug your loved ones!!

2)

On that note, life is a gift.  So I'll be voting pro-life even though I don't really like the candidate with those views.  I just can't in good conscience vote for anybody else.  That's all I'll say about that.

3)

How about something happier?!?!  Geesh Colleen, lighten up!  Well how about some of my giveaways?  Winners will be picked on Sunday night.


If you want to win:

4)

$50.00 to Diapers.com

5)

O Emmanuel CD
 enter here and here (ten winners!)

6)

50 Christmas Cards
enter here and here

7)

Wow, what a boring set of quick takes this morning.  Hmmmm, in fashion news, I got these shoes and love them.  So cute and comfortable with pants or tights, like a dressy shoe but also an ankle boot.  A Droot perhaps?  I always find that my interest in shoes grows along with my waistline, because when it's too depressing to try on clothes, shoes will always fit.




Have a giveaway winning, shoe buying, last soccer games of the season kind of weekend everybody!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sinners and Saints of 2016

On Friday night we went to a Halloween dance at the kid's school.  JP's eighth grade class hosts this dance and haunted stage as a fundraiser.  They each make a funny tombstone for themselves and the teachers at the school, here's JP's:


John-Paul Martin
February 25, 2003 - October 31, 2016
"I wonder what this button will do..."


On Saturday, my family had a Halloween party/October birthday party, and Phil and I threw together this costume:


Ice Ice Baby.

Last night, the kids went trick or treating as a mishmash of characters:



We went to about ten houses and still had enough candy to feed a small country.  Declan loved the whole experience, and after getting candy at each house he would run off proclaiming "More houses!"

This morning was a mad rush to get out the door in time for their All Saints Day celebration at school.  They dress as saints and walk to Mass and then go Trunk-or-Treating in the parking lot back at the school.  Parents and teachers dress up as saints and decorate their cars and hand out candy from their trunks.  This year's communion of Martin saints include:

Alexander as St. George






Andrew as Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati



Eamon as St. Michael




John-Paul as a young Pope St. John Paul II




And Maggie as St. Gianna




Here's the whole litany...


Happy All Saint's Day to you and your future little saints :)