Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Negative Start. Positive Finish.

My Dad came to America from Ireland when he was 19.  He had $50 in his pocket and went to work with his older brother who had immigrated a couple of years earlier.  Through lots of hard work and sacrifice, he learned how to build houses and was able to start a career and family here.  

I always thought of his story while I was growing up, in awe that he was actually one of those people who came to America looking for better opportunities, having nothing yet making something of himself and all the challenges that come with that.  You hear stories about immigrants just like him in history books and movies, but for it to actually be my father was very inspiring.  I remember thinking that I could NEVER do what he did.  I could never move and start out my adult life with nothing to fall back on.

And so, I became educated to give myself a better start.  Once I graduated with my Masters from Franciscan University, married Phil and became pregnant a month later, I realized we were in an even worse spot than my dad, the poor young immigrant, had been.  Sure, he started out with nothing, but we were starting out $80,000 in debt.  

Suddenly, starting out with nothing actually sounded good!  

Friday, November 2, 2018

7 (Really) Quick Takes

It's a rainy Friday morning - still dark but full of promise because...

1)

I woke up to this beautiful email



Nothing on the calendar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a rare treat!

2)

That means I should be able to check my long run off this week's training plan, but alas, the rain.  SO it's cross training at the gym instead.  Unless I can talk myself into running 9 miles of the dreadmill?  


Me, after mile 6, minus the happy dance.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween and All Saints 2018


We've got a CIA agent & Chase, Mickey & Minnie, Iron Man & Captain America.  Brendan was not letting me put up his hood, which has Mickey's face on it.  I was frustrated and complained the whole way to the pizza shop that I didn't get a good photo...and he would never be 2 again...and I just need a good photo on every holiday...and on and on.  Why does this mean so much to me?  It's like I can just see how fleeting time is, and while I'm pretty ok with my kids growing up and moving along, I need photos from when they are young to cry into.  Moms.  Ya know?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Book of Love (and Respect)



I am currently reading a book, For Women Only, which is designed to help women understand the mind and emotions of men.  There's also a book titled For Men Only, which helps men better understand the female species.  Phil is reading that one.  Don't worry!  Our marriage isn't in trouble!  This stuff just interests us, and since love is knowledge, the more we know about one another, the better.  Much as a physically fit athlete continues to work out, a healthy marriage continues to grow and improve when both spouses put in the work required.  

Friday, October 26, 2018

7QT: Run, Dance, Eat

It's Friday!!!!  We are heading to our kids' school's Halloween dance and Haunted stage tonight.  Andrew and his 8th grade class have been working hard on the stage, and I'm excited to get frightened!  Linking up with Kelly and the other ghouls, mwahahahaha :)


1)


Marathon training has begun!  Guys, I still really, really can't picture myself running 26.2 miles in February.  Realistically, I can see myself running another half-marathon instead.  But!  I will try and follow this training schedule, and see what happens.  So far, so good...I mean it is one of the lowest mileage weeks in the whole plan, and I've had two rest days already ;)  But tonight I'm getting my first long run done before the Nor'easter comes tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Book, Cook, Look - A Review of What I'm Currently Reading, Eating, and Wearing {October Linkup}

UPDATED:
This will become a new monthly linkup!  Add your October post of Book ~ Cook ~ Look below.  Thanks!

Happy Feast of the great Pope Saint John-Paul.  Also known as my boyfriend.  I tell my family that IF I ever make it to Heaven, they will know where to find me because I'll be perched next to JP2.  

Is my crazy showing?

Anyway...

I don't know if this will become a regular segment around here, but I have a couple of good books in my stack, some yummy recipes we've been eating, and an outfit inspired by Walmart!  Please feel free to post your own Book ~ Cook~ Look and link up back here!  Can't wait to check you out!

Friday, October 19, 2018

7QT: Spirit Week, Macron Madness, and Crazy Calendars

Happy Friday!  What a week!  (Do I say that every week?  I'm like the girl who cried wolf!)  Linking up with Kelly and the betters...

1)

Phil's birthday was last week and I never mentioned it!  


He's the third birthday within two weeks at our house, so he basically gets nothing even though he deserves EVERYTHING.  Love him so much.  We had swimming and soccer and basketball to drive the kids around to, but did manage to fit in a little homemade pizza and cake.  The kids made him sweet cards, and I got him some gifts (pizza stone, Redskins joggers,  a Catholic Journaling Bible, and a book he wanted) and then we went out to dinner the next night and between the birthday deal from the restaurant and a gift card, we only spent $6.  Talk about a cheap date!!  Happy 38th bae!

2)


#postcardsformacron has been my favorite way to find some awesome ladies on the grams this week.  What was that guy thinking to upset all these well-educated women who are raising a lot of future voters??  Educated women aren't defined by the number of degrees they hold, and Moms aren't defined by the number of kids they have.  If you disagree with Macron's statement, send a virtual postcard.  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Our Daily Bread

We can say the same prayer since childhood, grow so accustomed to its rhythm that we can't hear the words anymore, until one day, it's like a certain phrase is glowing with a message meant just for us.  Today, that message for me is in one of the simplest prayers, the Our Father.


The line that glows for me today?

GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Apple Picking 2018

I'll just let the photos do the talking...



Friday, October 5, 2018

7qt: Fourteen, Sleep Apnea, and a Winner!

Happy first Friday in October!!  What a lovely month it is, let's play a little 7 Quick Takes Friday with Kelly, shall we?

1)

Andrew turned 14 on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi...since he was little, we've told him he HAS to pick Francis as his Confirmation name...mostly because I still feel guilty for not using Francis in his name #catholicmomfail.

He asked for pizza and ice cream sundaes for his birthday dinner, which was late because he had soccer practice first and this sports fanatic couldn't skip a practice!


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Running After Pregnancy (and Pregnancy After Running)


Do you know what it’s like to get an injury that prevents you from running, sidelines you for months, and once you finally heal, you have to start from level one of your fitness journey?  It’s one of the most frustrating experiences for all athletes. 

Now imagine doing that again, and again, and again.

(and again)

That’s what pregnancy can feel like to the life of a runner.  Although pregnancy is a natural and healthy occurrence, and not an injury, the whole process is very much the same.  I always feel like I get into great running shape, get pregnant, have to start from scratch, rinse and repeat...

Read the rest over at Catholic Women Run :)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Uncommon Goods: A Review and Giveaway!

Over the summer, I went into a little shop with my mother-in-law and could have perused for hours.  The shop was full of little odds and ends from jewelry to household items, apparel, children's toys, to magnets and games and knickknacks galore.  There were so many beautifully crafted handmade items, and I kept thinking about this little shop, wishing there was a way for me to shop all of it's goodies online.  One day out of the blue, I got an email from Tom at UncommonGoods, and I realized this was it!  This was an online collection of handmade items you would find at your local shop or craft fair...all in one place.  I chose a few items to review, and honestly y'all (can a northerner say y'all?) it was hard.  It took me a couple of weeks to choose because I wanted everything!!! I decided to focus on things to make entertaining more fun - and here's what I chose...


Friday, September 28, 2018

7QT: Walmart Groceries, Sins of Others, and Halloween Costumes

Happy (rainy) Friday!!  Linking up with Kelly and the betters...

1)

My sister told me about Walmart Grocery pickup and my life became instantly better.  If you have a Walmart near you that offers this, you must try it.  There is no extra cost or hidden fees and you're not even allowed to tip the workers.  All you have to do is order online or through the app and as long as it's over $30 (isn't it always?!) you just choose a pick up time, and tell the app when you're leaving home. Walmart will know when you pull in and they bring the groceries right out to your car.  It's amazing.  If you use the code Walmart1, you can save $10 on three shopping trips, $30 total.  

2)

The other online shopping tool that has made my life better, in the form of extra cash, is Ebates.  You just sign up and get the app on your phone, and go through that to shop online and they send you a check in the mail every few months.  I just got 20% cash back from Macy's which is huge!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

E-man the Tween

Eamon (rhymes with Damon) Philip Martin turned 12 years old today.

This 6th grader was excited to have gym on his birthday... no uniform!

My heart could just burst with love and pride for this guy.  I asked him if he felt any older this morning, and he said "nope".  I don't think he's any taller than he was on his 11th birthday either, but all good things come in time, and I'm not ready for him to grow up quite yet anyway.  Yesterday, I mused out loud in the car about how it was his last day being eleven, and Andrew claps his hands giddily and says "Called it!"  Apparently, Andrew had bet Eamon that I would make note of his last day being 11 because I "always do that" on the eve of a birthday.  Guilty as charged, I suppose, but a mother is allowed to feel the passing of time of each child at least once a year.  I always feel a twinge of sadness, but then it's immediately replaced with excitement at all that lays ahead for them in this new year.  Twelve is a great age, innocent enough so as not to make a parent worry too much, but grown up enough to be able to participate in fun adult conversations.  Eamon has always had a sweet and mature soul, and although I've started to (shockingly) hear him argue back with his dad from time to time, for the most part, he's still our most obedient and happy-go-lucky kid.  He's probably our easiest, if I had to choose, which is a long departure from how hard he was as a baby!!!!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Maggie's Surgery: Tonsils & Adenoids & Auricular Pit

One morning in August, Maggie started complaining about her "ear hole" which is the auricular pit she's had since birth.  Apparently it's just a part of the ear that never finished closing up during the sixth week of pregnancy when the ear is developing.  It's not super uncommon and it tends to run in families, Brendan has it too.  When a baby is born with one (or two) the doctors test their kidney function as it can be associated with some other abnormalities, but in Maggie's case, it was just a little "ear hole" and they told us not to worry about it unless it became infected.  

Ten years later, it became infected.  

We took her to the doctor after trying warm compresses and draining at home to no avail.  She was immediately placed on antibiotics because an infection that close to the brain is no bueno and two weeks later, we were sent to the ENT from Boston Children's Hospital.  The doctor there explained that once it becomes infected, they like to remove it/close it up, as frequent infections are most likely in her future and that leads to scarring which leads to a tougher surgery.  Upon going through her medical history and discovering how many times Maggie has had strep throat (so many times!) she suggested we have her tonsils removed during the same surgery so as not to make the poor girl have two different surgeries in a couple years.  She said she would look at her adenoids while she was in there to see if they needed to be removed as well.  The surgery was scheduled very quickly for September 20.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Week of Too Much Medical Stuff

I have been dreading this week, and yet, here we are!  

Time slows down for no mom.

I should make that into a sign.

On Wednesday, I will have my yearly physical, and even though I love my doctor and would love any chance to chat with him, nobody likes a physical, right?  I told myself back in August that I would start eating really clean in order to bring the numbers on the scale and on my lipid screen down, but alas, I am still eating ice cream and pizza as of yesterday.   What can I do in the next two days to undo what I’ve done for the last 363?  Lots of water, protein, fruits and veggies and nothing else.  I’m hoping that will somehow make a difference, but I know it doesn’t work like that!

On Thursday, Maggie has her surgery.  Poor girl.  She is getting her auricular pit removed and closed up, and also her tonsils removed and possibly adenoids too.  We are going to Boston Children’s Hospital so she is in grrrreat hands, but surgery is surgery and it’s a 2 hour one with a 2 week recovery.  Maggie is sad to be missing school for two weeks, but we are very hopeful that these surgeries will mean an end to the antibiotic train she has been riding for the past few years with recurring strep and an infection in her “ear hole”.  She mentioned recently that she is going to ask for a new robe for her 11th birthday in December, so I got her a new one now so that she can have as comfy a recovery as possible.  I'm sure her Dad will be getting her some flowers, since flowers make everything better :)



We are grateful that this is an in/out same day surgery and that my parents live downstairs and will be taking over her care starting at Day 5.  Her school will send homework via her brothers, and she will be able to stay up to date that way. We are heading to Confession tonight, Adoration tomorrow night, and therefore I think we have all the spiritual bases covered.  If you could spare a prayer for my Maggie in the Middle, it would be much appreciated.  Kelly’s son, Fulton, could also use some recovery prayers.  Thank you! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

In Good Times and In Bad

Growing up, I looooooooved babies.  I was obsessed with babies, always trying to hold any I could get my hands on.  After hearing about my sister's medical school experiences, I dreamed of volunteering in a hospital to hold the babies who were born addicted to substances.  I babysat, worked in a daycare, and talked about how I hoped to have 12 kids one day.  I eventually grew up and met Phil, knew I wanted to have HIS babies, told him about my plans for a dozen kids, which he was cool with (!), and then we got married and started Natural Family Planning. 

Why would we use NFP when we wanted a huge family, you might be asking?  Because I had just graduated with my MBA and didn't have a real job yet and Phil was about to start his Masters Program.  We still knew we wanted lots of babies, but just not quite yet.  It actually bothered me a lot that we couldn't start our family right away, that was the point of marriage, right?  I couldn't wait to become a mom!  We figured we would try to wait a year and then Phil would be finished with his Masters and would be able to get a job. 

Monday, September 10, 2018

If You're Worried About What Your Family is Seeing Online...

...join the club ;)

We don't send our little kids out into the world alone, so why would we send our big kids out into the online world alone?  We have a lot of rules in place in our home for screen time, and make sure screens are only accessible in family living areas, but for every other scenario, we turn to Covenant Eyes for help.  



I've written about why we started using Covenant Eyes here, and it's been an awesome addition for our family safety and holiness goals.  It does cost $15.99 per month for a family subscription, but it buys peace of mind.  Sites that could be dangerous are blocked, and each user's history is tracked and reported weekly to the main account holder(s).  Just knowing that we are all accountable for our online actions is a major win in preventing things like porn addiction.  We are not naive, we read the stats and see the results of teens on screens (we both work in a high school) and we know the dangers.  We have been entrusted these seven souls that we are called to protect and nurture, and Covenant Eyes helps us in this technological world.  

I'll be writing more about this topic later, but for now, if having kids search the internet causes worries for you, just get it.  I really don't think you'll regret it.

Friday, September 7, 2018

It's All About the Children

And since I have seven lovely cherubs, I am linking this family update up with Kelly and her 7 Quick Takes.  Happy Friyay!!

The Catholic School Crew 18-19

Should we go Oldest to Youngest, or Youngest to Oldest?  I'm someone who always lists my kids ages from oldest to youngest (yesterday I heard a mom say her kids were 1, 3 and 4, and thought "I would have said they were 4, 3 and 1") so Oldest to Youngest it is...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I Feel So Bad!!

Since the beginning of this summer, I have not been getting any comments on my posts.  I don't usually get a lot, but ZERO was a little saddening.  I know that the trend in social media has moved away from blogs and onto Instagram and Snapchat.  The feedback there is instantaneous, there are more people to connect with, and the likes can be addictive.  I see why so many former bloggers have closed up blog shop to have a more instant and faster way to share.  I have thought often about just calling it quits here since I was feeling a bit defeated, but then I pulled up my big girl panties and reminded myself that these posts are my family's scrapbooks and I would be sad not to have any Martin Family Moments recorded here.

I just got an email this week from Blogger asking if I wanted to continue using Comment Moderation (where they email you when a comment is left and you can post it or delete the spam) and I chose yes, and all of a sudden I had tons of comments show up ready for moderation.  I read them ALL and I wish I could respond to you all individually, but alas, my time for this is limited.

So I will just say this:  I LOVE YOU!!  

I love you, my faithful readers over the past 11 years, I love you, any new readers who take time out of your day to check in here, I love you, people that comment to agree and disagree, I love you, people who don't comment but I can make smile.  Even if you just come here to see a cute photo of your nephew or niece or grandkids (hello family!) I'm happy you are here.  It makes my heart sing to have this little corner to call our own. 


Monday, September 3, 2018

So Long, Long Weekend

Hi!  Hello, just checking in from the end of a fun and long weekend.  We had a weird start to school last week, full of half days and non-uniform days due to the heat, and tomorrow is already promising another sweltering one, unfortunately.  JP is taking a photography class this year, and brought my camera to my family's Labor Day/September birthday party yesterday and took some great ones....I'm happy to pass on the photography torch.  The kids actually pose for him, whereas for me, it's lots of bribing and eye-rolling to get a good one. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Ask And You Shall Receive

Right after my post about trying to develop new (and grow older) friendships, God gave me the opportunity to do just that!  We were invited to a big party to celebrate a friend's visit from Alaska, and had a wonderful evening with lots of nice people from our parish.  The next day, we brought a meal to our friends who just had their seventh baby, and watched our children run around and play while sharing in the joys and sacrifices required to having a large family.  

Thursday, August 23, 2018

My Friendship Project

I am reading a book right now, The Friendship Project, which was (appropriately) given to me by a very close friend.  She read it and then passed it on to me to read and keep.  As I'm reading through the book, I'm questioning if the friend gave it to me just because she thought it was a good book (it is!) or because she considers me a good friend (I'm not!) or because she thinks I need some encouragement in becoming a good friend (I do!).  I guess it could just be a mix of all those things, but it's obviously a topic that I'm sensitive to because I know I'm not the friend to others that I want to be. 


Monday, August 20, 2018

The Seventh Turns Two


Brendan Joseph turned TWO (and so did Lucy Doodle Martin - they're practically twins!)

Friday, August 17, 2018

7QT: Priestly Scandals and Beautiful Vocations

Welcome to the weekend!!

1)

Our former pastor (and Harvard grad) Fr. Roger Landry wrote about the newest scandal and I think it's worth a read.  I truly don't have anything to add about those disgusting priests.

2)

I do however, want to say something about the good guys.  The faithful, holy priests who are actually chastely living out their vocation.  I'm sure you know some, or at least one.  We are lucky enough to know quite a few because we take the time to have them over to our house and make them part of our family life.  Priests need the support that families can give them, just as we need their support to live out our vocation.  So please, please welcome one of the good guys into your home soon.  

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Growing in Miles and Holiness


Back on January 1, I began my New Year’s Resolution: to run a marathon’s worth of miles every week.  That’s it.  26.2 miles each week without any concern over pace or hills or distance per run.  I just had to work those 26.2 miles into my weekly workouts.

It required some planning to figure it all out.   Would I run 6 miles today and then have a shorter run tomorrow when our schedule was busier?  Should I try to get the majority of my miles in over the weekend?  What if I just broke it up evenly and ran 4ish miles everyday?  I would try to plan out the week while keeping in mind my family’s needs and when I could carve out pockets of free time.  But the beauty of this plan was that it was totally flexible.  If it didn’t work out one day, I just doubled up the next day or added a mile to each of the remaining days in the week.

Read the rest over at Catholic Women Run

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Great Between


I can step back and see our family in sort of a snapshot right now.  This moment in time, these days we are living, are so great.  With every day comes new adventure, lots of love and laughter, memories being made and sibling friendships being formed.  There are no newborn babes keeping us awake at night (I love my kids, but the baby days are not my forte), everybody is healthy (how is that even possible?) and my big guys are big enough to be independent but not enough to cause us any real grief yet (let's keep it that way!).  Our oldest is 15 and our youngest is turning 2 on Sunday.  We're not just starting out our family and we're not anywhere near finished raising them either.  We're in the Great Between.  The spread is large and loud and lovely.

(and hard)

Friday, August 3, 2018

7QT: Patriots, Pups and Prayers

Happy Friday!! 

1)

We went to Patriots Training Camp yesterday, and it's always a fun morning
 if you're a Pats fan (sorry Phil!  But you were a good sport!)  Phil came up with their poster design...


On the way up to the Camp, one of the kids commented about how I have Redskins apparel (Phil's fave team) but Phil doesn't have any Patriots apparel.  I'm not saying that is factual evidence about who loves who more...but you could freely assume that if you wish.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Finding My Chill, Part Two: Falling on Sidewalks


Wow, I meant to write this series in a much shorter timespan, but here we are two months later and I'm just now getting to Part Two.  I guess you could say I've found my Chill a little too much ;)  Here's the intro to this series:

After Alexander was born, I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for a couple of years, to the point where it was interfering with my daily life - my choices, my actions, my future plans.  I did talk with my doctor about it, got some medication to have "in my pocket" which made me feel better, but tried to change small things in my lifestyle before jumping on the daily medication bandwagon.  I didn't want to reach that point, and luckily my anxiety wasn't severe enough to warrant it.  I've slowly been able to mostly overcome it, thanks be to God, in baby steps with small lessons learned along the way.  So this is a tale of my journey to finding my chill again.  (Should I include a disclaimer about how mental health issues are a real struggle, as much as any physical health issue, and anyone who finds themselves feeling depressed or anxious should consult a doctor, which I am not?  Or do you all already know that?  You do.  Great!  Moving on...)

Friday, July 27, 2018

7QT: Seven, Summer, Sacristan

TGIF, it's Friday and here we go....
(linking up with Kelly)

1-3)

There's a lot of photos, so I'm counting this as three takes.  You're welcome.  Alexander Blaise turned SEVEN this week!  Because it was a busy day, he agreed to let us pick up Burger King for dinner and celebrate for real the next night.


For his birthday, he asked for a metal detector, a drone, a camera, and a cruise.  

#highmaintenance

Hey, two out of four ain't bad.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Camps for Catholic Kids

I've had a few people ask me to write more about the camps our kids attend, and since I feel especially lucky to have these camps offered near us, I am more than happy to share.  Here goes...

Friday, July 20, 2018

7QT: New Project, Lyme Disease, and Sheenazing 2018

Linking up with Kelly and crew because it's Friday and that's what I (usually) do :)

1)


This is our busiest July ever.  For real.  I'm looking forward to August.  Phil is running his summer camp for three weeks (currently finishing up week two),JP had a week of Quo Vadis Camp last week and is currently at Pro-Life Boot Camp, Maggie had a week of Volleyball camp, Andrew and Eamon have a golf practice and a golf match every week, and Maggie, Eamon, and Andrew have a basketball practice and at least one (but usually two) games each week for their summer league.  We have spent June and July running around like crazy people to all these events and kicking ourselves for allowing it to take over our schedule this summer.  As I'm typing this at 10:23 on Thursday night, Phil is at Eamon's basketball game.  It's unreal people.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Prime Day Deals from a Frugal Mom of Many


We love our Echo Dot.  My parents have the regular Echo, but I honestly don't know why it's worth spending the extra money when the Dot seems to do everything.  It's only $29.99 and this is a great family gift idea if you can hold onto it until Christmas.  My kids are constantly dancing to music on it, playing trivia games with Alexa and learning answers to their questions (Xander's current obsession is asking Alexa what everybody's names mean).  Even the baby yells at Alexa to play his current favorite song, "Baby Shark".  We really love having it.  As a side note, my fiend's mom has MS and is in a wheelchair.  She said they have two echos, one on each side their home, so that the mom can turn on/off lights, call for help, and have company for someone to talk to throughout the day.  What a great idea!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Running Makes Me A Better Mom

My name is Colleen, and I’m a Mother Runner.

I have always enjoyed running since high school, which makes me a runner for about 25 years now.  Yikes!  Where has the time gone?  Oh right, into building a beautiful family, comprised of 7 kids (6 boys and 1 girl) as well as working as the Business Manager for our Catholic high school.  I’m busy, as are all mothers because life can be demanding. 
Kids are awesome but they also need a lot of our time, attention, things, and it turns out they like to eat multiple times a day.  Who knew?  When you multiply a child’s needs by seven, and subtract out the eight hours spent each day at work, there’s very little time left to get everything done. 

So amidst all the demands of life… how does a mother even have the time to run?  Well I’ll give you my answer....

(Continued over at Catholic Women Run)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Infancy Infantry


March, March, March I hear them say,
On their way up to bed after a long hard day.

We didn't intend this military process,
But kids need structure or all is a mess.

We have to appear one step ahead of the crew,
Lest they discover we actually have no clue.

During times of peace, we remain ever vigilant.
Not knowing when the chaos will return as fast as the calm went.

We meet in secret, away from little ears,
To discuss new strategies through the passing years.

Then we return, ready to enforce new rules,
But they challenge and make us feel like fools.

We constantly strategize and talk to comrades wiser,
Learning from those who have become close advisers.

As our soldiers grow older, we can see the potential,
To join us on our side of this parenting differential.

Soon their side grows smaller, with the passage of time,
As wisdom and maturity, out of the ashes begin to climb.

There are more of us now, than there were back then,
But it's easier somehow, as the infants become men.

Now when a new little one makes the family invasion,
Many hands are on deck to step up to the occasion. 

This parenting style takes time, and it takes work, 
But raising children pays not in riches but perks.

It's no longer Us vs. Them in the tale of our infantry,
It's just become one Us as they age up from infancy.

As we watch our rising leaders, in the front of the pack,
We congratulate ourselves with a pat on the back.

For this parenting assignment never ends, we all know that's true,
Yet these small steps forward each day bring hope anew.

March, March, March I hear them say,
On their way up to bed after a long hard day.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Storyland 2018: A Lovely Little Family Getaway

Last week, the high school where I work was closed for some construction, so we all had the week off.  We decided to quickly make a trip up to New Hampshire to visit Story Land with the younger kids.  


The weather was really hot during the week, but Fri afternoon and Saturday were supposed to be  GORGEOUS - sunny and 75 degrees.  

Saturday, June 23, 2018

7QT: School's Out, Summer's Here, and Surgery's Over

Linking up with Kelly a day late, but who cares because it's summer time!!!
1)

School is finally over.  JP finished up his freshman year with his last finals last Friday.  I think we would all agree that his grades could have been better this year, but he was in all honors classes, played three sports (soccer, winter track, spring track), took an engineering course on Monday nights, and made a lot of new friends while remaining a good kid that we still like to hang around.  So far the teenage years are fun!  He had a good year overall and is about to start his new job as a bagger at Market Basket, and I can't wait to see him in action.  I'm already telling him that he needs to keep frozen food together, produce together, etc. to make the shoppers happy.  Phil is telling him to smile, be friendly, and look people in the eyes. My dad keeps reminding him that if he wants to get ahead in this world, he needs to show up on time and work hard always.  So JP basically has a lot riding on his 15 year old shoulders :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The First Year of Preschool is Completed!

Declan graduated from preschool on Monday.  Does this mean he's going to Kindergarten next year?  Nope!  He's moving on to another year of preschool.  He finished the 3 year old preschool and will enter the 4 year old preschool in the Fall.  Two years of preschool ain't bad though, three of our kids had three full years of preschool before Kindergarten...at every graduation, we would joke they should be ready by 3rd grade by the time they leave preschool.  So many years of school under their belts before school ever really starts.  Maybe that's why they're all great students?  Ha!


Declan is soooooo sweet and sooooo shy, as I'm sure these photos make obvious!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Motherhood Is A Journey, Not A Destination

I was trying to take a nice photo with Brendan, but the little lapper wasn't having it.  He kept running away.  So instead, I hid so that he would have to come to me...

Where's Mommy?


Friday, June 1, 2018

7QT on the First of June!

How is it June 1 already?  How????  But you can get a free donut at Dunkin Donuts today, so go ahead and indulge.  It's a holiday after all ;)  #nationaldonutday 

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I get serious FOMO in nice weather.  Last Saturday, it was a beautiful, sunny, hot day and Phil and my dad did yard work for the majority of it.  I felt like I was seriously missing an opportunity to do some fun outdoorsy activity with the kids and it really bothered me all day.  Do you get that feeling too?  Maybe it's a New England thing because our beautiful spring days are so numbered between freezing winter and humid hot summer?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Finding My Chill, Part One: Type A for Anxious

After Alexander was born, I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for a couple of years, to the point where it was interfering with my daily life - my choices, my actions, my future plans.  I did talk with my doctor about it, got some medication to have "in my pocket" which made me feel better, but tried to change small things in my lifestyle before jumping on the daily medication bandwagon.  I didn't want to reach that point, and luckily my anxiety wasn't severe enough to warrant it.  I've slowly been able to mostly overcome it, thanks be to God, in baby steps with small lessons learned along the way.  So this is a tale of my journey to finding my chill again.  (Should I include a disclaimer about how mental health issues are a real struggle, as much as any physical health issue, and anyone who finds themselves feeling depressed or anxious should consult a doctor, which I am not?  Or do you all already know that?  You do.  Great!  Moving on...)

Yeeaaahhhh.....twins.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day Parade in Photos


We are so lucky to have our town's Memorial Day parade pass right in front of our house, so all we have to do is dress patriotically and show up!


My littlest Patriots :)

Monday, May 21, 2018

A Royal Recipe to Feed a Crowd: Chicken a la King

I made Chicken a la King for dinner this weekend, inspired by the Royal Wedding of course!  You all think Prince Harry was telling Meghan that she looked amazing, but what you don't know is that he really said "Colleen's Chicken a la King is amazing" which was kind of awkward, so the media portrayed this instead.


It's a real crowd pleaser in our house, I have always loved it and even chose it as my bridal shower lunch way back when.  I have  had requests to share some big family meals that everybody likes, are healthy-ish, and won't break the bank.  This is a good one!  I usually start making it the day before I plan to serve it, because I cook the chickens, but you can always just use a rotisserie chicken or quickly cook some chicken breasts - it's super adaptable!  This is less of a "recipe" and more of a "suggestion" because I never measure or make it the exact same way. Just read through it and you'll get the general idea of what to do!  Here goes:

Friday, May 18, 2018

7QT: A Pope, An Anniversary, A Tour and a Tale

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Happy Birthday Pope Saint John Paul II - I love you and miss you! 


How do I always remember that it's his birthday today (besides that he's my heavenly boyfriend and I'll be sitting next to him IF I ever make it to heaven)?  Because Phil and I wanted to get married on his birthday back in 2002...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Spring Cleaning (Again) and Life Has Meaning (Again)

For Mother's Day, I asked the kids to clean my van as a gift to me.  Really, I should be more particular about the state of my van, but mostly the junk collects and the dust accumulates until I can't take it anymore and we do a big family clean out.  I'm just realizing if I ask for a car cleaning as my Mother's Day gift, Christmas gift and birthday gift, I'll have a clean car tri-annually (I guess that's not a word?).  

Anyway, the day after it was cleaned, I filled it up with gas and bought an air freshener to hang.  Can I just tell you that every time I get into my car, I take a deep breath and smile?  It's true.  My dad always says when his truck is clean, he feels like it runs better.  That's also true.  Just keeping this little space of mine clean and fresh is bringing me so much joy and peace.  It's like Ahhhhhhhh, I can even breathe better!  I love life again!!

Friday, May 11, 2018

7QT: Brooklyn 99, Martin 5k, and 3 Book Winner

Happy Almost Weekend!!!

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The news that seriously bummed me out this morning...Brooklyn 99 is being cancelled!!  Guys, this is my favorite show on TV right now, Phil and I literally laugh out loud at every episode.  They did this opening a couple of weeks ago, perhaps the funniest opening of a show I've ever seen:


If you don't watch this show, please get a Hulu subscription and binge on every episode.  I'm really thinking that they will get picked up somewhere else, because it's just too good!!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Heroism in the Ordinary

I have the privilege of working with a whole bunch of really nice, really diverse colleagues.  One of my closest friends at work is old enough to be my mother, (well maybe just an aunt) but she feels so motherly that many of us think of her that way.  She spends everyday after work visiting her own mother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, and helping her elderly dad and the nursing staff with anything needed.  In her limited spare time between these two "jobs", she babysits her grandkids to allow her son and his wife to go on dates, go grocery shopping alone, or even just to have a break.  She might think that what she's doing is just "being a mom/daughter/grandma" but I think she's heroic.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Things I Wish I Liked But Just Don't

Do you ever feel like there's things that everybody (and their mother) like but you can't even pretend to enjoy?  It happens to me all the time.  


As a grown woman in the last year of my thirties (sob!) I feel that I should like the following...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Final Question: Are You Prepared to Accept Children Lovingly From God?

Scene:
Her in a beautiful white gown.
Him in a handsome tux.
Their friends and family watching with hearts full of joy.

A priest begins to speak...

"Have you come here to enter into Marriage without coercion, freely and wholeheartedly?"  
"I have", answer both sweethearts, gazing into each other's eyes.
                  
"Are you prepared, as you follow the path of Marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?"                        
"I am", they answer again in unison, unable to control their affection for one another.

"Are you prepared to accept children lovingly from God and to bring them up according to the law of Christ and his Church?"
Silence.  With panicked looks in their eyes, they both whisper "I am" knowing that's the last question they have to answer before they can get married already.  Let's just focus on our marriage, they think, we will worry about starting a family later.

Friday, May 4, 2018

7QT: Sacraments, Saints, and Stretching

Happy FRIDAY!!!!

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John-Paul got Confirmed on Wednesday evening!  He is now John-Paul Michael Martin. 

Congrats to these cute 9th graders!

My goddaughter (and JP's cousin) received the Sacrament together

With his awesome sponsor, Haley