Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27th Daybook

Outside my window...
...about a foot of snow!  They called it a blizzard, and although we have seen much worse, we did lose power twice and had heavy winds all night.  Perfect timing for a day when nobody had to go to school or work anyway.

I am thinking...
...about how much I want to eat a tuna sandwich and a diet coke.  Tuna is a once a week treat while pregnant and diet anything is a no-no.  So sad :(

I am thankful for... husband who shoveled this morning, my kids who have been busy playing with their Christmas gifts, a friend who is giving me her newish baby car seat, and a wonderful holiday shared with family.

From the kitchen...
...I'm going to bake chocolate chip zucchini bread later today.  Phil made blueberry pancakes this morning.  Yum!

I am wearing...
...Maternity jeans (yes, maternity...sigh) and a black shirt.  No socks and my feet are freezing!

I am creating...
...another baby.  Can I just keep using this answer for the next 7 months?

I am going... my sister's house to let the cousins play together, to do some work for my kid's school, and then vacuum.  I love to vacuum!

I am reading...
...The Eat Clean Diet book and America's Test Kitchen Healthy Recipe Book.  Both are great!

I am hoping...
...for some good news from our ultrasound on Wednesday.  The good news being that everything looks great and I'm further along than I think.

I am hearing...
...Phil and Andrew playing a card game, John-Paul sorting legos, and the little ones sleeping on the monitors.

Around the house...'s a Christmas mess, but we're enjoying it!

One of my favorite things...
...tuna and diet coke.  Did I already mention that?

A few plans for the rest of the week:
   ~Dentist visits
   ~An appointment to a new primary care physician
   ~An ultrasound and midwife visit
   ~A trip with my handsome hubby to Indianapolis over New Year's Eve and Day to a friend's wedding :)

Here is picture for thought I am sharing:
Christmas Morning on the stairs waiting to see the presents!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

Waiting to come downstairs on Christmas morning:

Woo-hoo, presents galore!!

Maggie gets a new book (which has been great to bring to Mass):

Eamon is thrilled with his personalized piggy bank from Nana.  Now he's just like the big boys!

This was a popular movie this year...we received three of them!  Good thing Wal-Mart accepts most returns :)

Horses from Nana (I wonder if Aunt Diana had any part in picking these out??):

Yes!  More lego's!!

This little girl only asked for one Christmas gift - a baby Cinderella doll!  How fitting; a princess for a princess:

Boys and their toys...

This Christmas was very special, because we had a BIG gift to give to the kids.  But we didn't just want to tell them what it was, so we set up a scavenger hunt with clues.  Each clue led them to a scrabble letter, and another clue, until they found all 11 letters.

Then the unscrambling of the letters began:

What ever could it spell?

They finally figured out the second half with a little help:

And Andrew thought he had solved it with this:

With a little shuffle, they finally got it right!

Please don't mind the tired and frumpy mom with the video camera:

Grandpa and the boys are all smiles!

Now they just have to wait until February.  It just.might.kill.them!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Eating Tips

1.  Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls. 

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare... You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas! 

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat. 

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission. 

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello? 

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog. 

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again. 

8. Same for pies. Apple
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards. 

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by: 
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" 

Have a great 
Christmas and New Year Season!!! 

, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Christmas Card (if you didn't already receive one!)

Oh Holy Night Religious Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Daybook (is that what it's called?)

Outside my window...

...snow showers...same as last night, and tomorrow, and the next day.  But we love it!

I am thinking...

...about how awesome the Patriots are!  31 to 27 last night, they are going to take it this year!

From the lesson plans...

...ummmm, you'd have to ask my kid's teachers :)

From the kitchen...

...stuffed shells for dinner tonight, and I will be making Cranberry Squares to give out to co-workers this week.  But all I really want to eat is a cheeseburger and french fries dipped in ranch dressing!

I am wearing...

...jeans, a black t-shirt and red fleece top.  It's dress-down week at work since all the students are home for Christmas break.

I am creating...

...another Martin baby!

I am reading...

...blogs, and I just finished the Faith and Family Magazine.  I am about to review a book, but I'm giving it to my husband as a Christmas gift first (yes, I'm cheap frugal like that!)

I am hoping...

...that this baby will be healthy because I am not feeling anywhere near as sick as I was with the other four babes.  (Funny thing is, it's exactly what I prayed not be sick...but now that I'm not, I'm praying that everything is ok.  I need to TRUST more!)

I am hearing...

...Christmas music playing on the radio at work, the heat blowing, co-workers munching and typing.
Around the house...

...Christmas decorations everywhere!  Even outside now because my lovely husband finally took the thousand hints and put up some festive lights, lighted trees and a wreath.  It makes me feel so cozy and happy.
I am going... look up a good recipe for Cinnamon Rolls to be made on Christmas Eve night and baked in the morning.  Anyone have any good ones?

One of my favorite things...

Christmas pageants.  The kids had their school pageant yesterday (complete with a live baby Jesus) and it made me tear up, it was so beautiful.  John-Paul sang in the choir and the other kids were "Children of the World" - all dressed in their finest.

I am praying for...

Only one baby in the womb!  (Twins scare me!)

A few plans for the rest of the week...
...Baking, watching Elf and The Nativity, wrapping gifts, and spending time with family!! 

A picture thought…

(See the new header above)
Pictures from before the pageant and a visit to LaSalette Shrine to see all the lights.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What, you expected a new header and a new post?  You're crazy!  ;)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Santa Squabbles

My husband and I are in agreement about how to raise our children 98% of the time.  But around this time of year, we can’t quite seem to agree on two things.  The first is Santa.  If the big jolly guy knew how often he was debated in this house, he would be embarrassed!  We both agree that the focus on Santa and gifts should NOT be the focus of Christmas.  We talk about the true meaning of Christmas, make a birthday cake for Jesus, pray as a family, and try to spend nice quality time together.  If we home schooled, we feel that we could shield our children from the knowledge of Santa, at least tone it down a bit.  But since they attend school, they hear about him constantly.  Hey are told that He is watching, that he will literally come down their chimneys, that the teachers have a special phone number to let Santa know who’s been naughty or nice…and on and on. 

Now, as a child, I believed in Santa.  I remember the excitement and almost tangible joy in the air around Christmas time.  My dad used to call the North Pole so we could listen to the elves working (it was the operator playing Christmas music!) and we would leave cookies out for Santa and carrots out for the reindeer.  It was a truly magical time of the year.  But then, on the first day of second grade, Sarah Grimes told me there was no such thing as Santa.  I was beyond devastated.  Devastated that my dreams were crushed, and even more hurt that my parents lied to me. 

Phil, being a high school teacher, hears countless stories from kids who were traumatized when they found out Santa wasn’t real, and he doesn’t want our kids to go through that.  We have tried to say that Santa is a story, just like Snow White or Hansel & Gretel, but the kids want more details.  Andrew in particular asks us outright if Santa is real.  We just ask him what he thinks, and play it off as best we can.  The parenting part we disagree on is that I think talking about Santa should be encouraged.  He represents hope and faith and joy, and I can’t imagine not believing as a child.  Phil wants to let them know that Santa doesn’t exist to spare them years of being lied to. 
                The second Christmastime argument we have is about the kid’s wish list.  In the spirit of making dreams come true, I would love to get the kids one thing from their wish list.  Unfortunately, this year all the boys want a Nintendo DS.  And they are very expensive!  I think John-Paul  and even Andrew are old enough to enjoy them, but Eamon is too young right now.  We recently received  gift cards to spend on Christmas gifts for the kids, and we could afford to buy two DS’s with them.  My guilty (full-time worker’s) mother’s heart wants to splurge and give them what they want.  Remember when you were a kid, and there was a present you wanted so badly?  And then you woke up on Christmas morning to find it!  Oh the thrill!  I would love to do that for my kids.  But, Phil thinks we shouldn’t give them what they want because then they will just want the next best thing.  He thinks it’s too materialistic of them to want a DS.  I don’t want to spoil our kids (except with love) but I also don’t think getting what you want for Christmas will turn a kid “bad”. 
I do want to point out that I love my husband and really respect his opinions, and in the end I usually find out he was right!  But I'm just not there yet ;) 

 So opinions are wanted!  What do you think about spreading the Santa stories and giving kids exactly what they want from their wish lists?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So, to answer a few questions:

1)      How am I feeling?

Actually, I am feeling so much better this time around than I have previously.  I’m not sure if it’s just because I am earlier in the pregnancy than I think (more on that later) or because of the routine I have been doing to minimize sickness. 
The routine includes:

~Eating breakfast in bed and then waiting as long as possible before getting up (which is hard to do when I have to get myself and all the kids out of the house by 6:45)

~Wearing these bands around my wrists:
They REALLY help, and I'll do anything I can to avoid taking drugs while pregnant.

~Eating all day long, a mix of carbs, protein and fats (I know it’s not the healthiest, but fatty foods make me feel better – think muffins, cheeseburgers, and croissants)

~Sleeping as much as possible (usually falling asleep on the couch around 8)

~Continuing to exercise.  Some days all I can muster up the energy for is a 45 minute walk on my lunch break, but when I feel great I run or elliptical or bike.

~Changing to a new prenatal vitamin.   I’ve never had a problem taking pre-natals, but I ran out of my old ones and picked up some new ones, and they seem great.

2)      How will this affect my new job?
That is undecided at the moment.  I just told my boss today and she took it very well.  It probably helped that I was crying when I told her...makes for a more sympathetic ear!  I do not want to be working full-time after the baby comes, so it’s probably a matter of when I can afford to leave and when they want me to leave.

3)      What is the exact due date?
We’re not sure.  We’re going to have an ultrasound done on December 29th to find out.  I was so stressed about leaving my old jobs and starting this new job that things were a bit off-kilter.  Of course, that was good news for the conception of this baby!  I’m most excited about finding out how many babies are in there because everyone keeps talking about twins around us, and is it possible that I’m already showing???

4)      How are the kids taking the news?
They are beyond excited!  After they got over the initial shock and disbelief (Andrew kept saying we were just trickin’ them!) they moved right into celebratory mode.  They talk about how “We’re having a baby in July” and they’ve already picked out names:  Sarah for a girl and Patrick for a boy.  They keep saying that we are going to have SEVEN people in our family, and that is so big and so fun!  I love how kids are just instinctively pro-life J

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Best Christmas Gift Ever!!!

It's a little early, but we are too excited to keep this news bottled up any longer. 

Are you ready?

You sure?

Here goes...

Martin Baby # 5 due July, 2011

(and we couldn't be any happier!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hi Lo: December 10th

1) Giving to charity makes me feel so good!  Each of the kid’s classrooms has it’s own charity for Christmas time.  Andrew’s class is collecting baby clothing and items, John-Paul’s class is filling backpacks with school supplies and hats and gloves, and Eamon & Maggie’s class is helping out children in need with the specific gifts they have asked for.  Sometimes when I am feeling sorry for myself, I think that we are a family in need, but then I get these reminders that there are so many families in much worse shape than we are, and I am more than happy to help them out.  These kids are asking for warm clothes, diapers and supermarket gift cards…they need the basic necessities of life, not the newest electronic gadget, and isn’t that the least we can give them?

2)   Phil and I got to go to a Christmas party at the kid’s school (because I do the accounting work for them) and it was very nice.  Good food and great people!

3)   John-Paul has been such a good boy lately.  I don’t know if it was the First Penance that made him more conscious of his good/bad deeds, or just because it’s Advent, but he has been exceptionally good.  We expect a lot out of that kid, and he has been giving even more J  The other morning, I went down to start the car before school, and John-Paul came with me and opened up the door on the other side of the car.  I asked him what he was doing, and he said he always opens the door for the little kids because they need help, then he opens his door.  So sweet!


1)   I'm having a hard time adjusting to this new job.
(Disclaimer: I know I am lucky to have a job at all!)

How were your weeks?  Ready for Christmas yet?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Clean Slate

John-Paul made his First Penance yesterday.  Although his First Communion won't be until May, our pastor likes to do it in Advent so that the kids can go in preparation for Jesus' birth, than again in Lent, and then again on the day of their First Communion.  I really like this approach.

Through his Catholic school, his CCD class, and having us as parents, J-P was thoroughly prepared!  When we would go over the Ten Commandments to help him think about what sins he had committed (we didn't ask him his sins, just gave examples) he was so cute.  He said "I could never break the First Commandment because I love God waaaaaay too much.  I think all my sins are under the Fourth Commandment (Honor thy Father and Mother)."  Ha!  He's so honest :)

When he was done, he reported that he was not nervous at all, the priest told him he made a great confession, he had six things to do for his penance (I had to stop him from telling me what it was...telling him that it was between him and God), and that he wanted to go again tomorrow!  Phil told him that if he didn't commit any sins between today and tomorrow, he wouldn't have to go to Confession at all...and that's the whole point!

Speaking of points, our pastor made a great one while talking to the kids before Confession.  He said that just because a priest gives us a penance to make up for our sins, it doesn't really make up completely for our sins.  Using his example, he said: If you punch Johnny in the face, does saying One Hail Mary really equal the sin committed?  No.  But if a priest said to say 3,000 Hail Mary's as the penance, the person might get discouraged and never go back to Confession.  So the priest's "job" is to give a suitable penance but then our "job" is to make up for what was lacking in our penance in our daily life.  That's when we can sacrifice our wants, pray, and commit good deeds.  And once in a while we can get lucky and participate in a plenary indulgence to really wipe the slate clean.

We celebrated after by getting ice cream at Coldstone's.  Nothing better than a clean soul and a yummy dessert, am I right?!?!  Heck, I'll bring them to get ice cream after every Confession if it will help keep them away from mortal sin :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Working Full Time

Last week I officially began my full-time position as an Accountant at a very prestigious boarding school.  I would love to tell you all that I love my job, but unfortunately, I can't.  I can handle the accounting aspects of the job, and I'm definitely picking things up quick, but this place is so overwhelming.  There's 125 acres of land for me to get lost on...millions of names I have yet to computer programs that seem archaic to me...and I'm in a position where I have nobody training me because the old person left before I started.

All of that makes the job difficult, but what is the worst is the schedule.  I work from 8 to 5 with an hour lunch break.  On top of that my commute is 45 minutes each way.  So every morning I get up, get the kids out the door by 6:45 to drop them off by 7 at school and then drive to my job.  By the time I get home again, it's 6:00 at night, which leaves me about a half hour to see the kids before bed. 

And not only do I miss time with the kids, but I feel so badly that Phil has so many of the house responsibilities now - picking up the kids from school, getting homework done, getting dinner on the table, and he somehow manages to have the house clean too - all after working a full day!  We knew that my acceptance of this full-time job meant Phil would have to pick up a lot of the slack, but it doesn't make the guilt any easier. 

I want nothing more than to be home when my kids are home, to do all the grocery shopping and cooking, and *most* of the cleaning (I'm not a saint, ok?).  I would love to be a stay at home wife and mom and take pride in all these "old-fashioned duties".  Luckily, I've been able to have that role before Eamon was born...but even then I had some bookkeeping clients, tutored kids in math, and babysat to make extra money.

Phil would love nothing more than to be able to provide a salary that would allow me to stay home.  He already works full-time as a severely underpaid Catholic school teacher, does security in the morning hours before school starts as well as a couple afternoons, and is the CCD Director at our parish.  Oh yeah, and he is getting his second master's to one day be able to take a job (in school administration) that he will hate but that hopefully will provide more money.  (He is a saint, ok?).  Especially because he doesn't think he is.  He thinks if I'm helping him earn the money, than he should help me in the home.  Love that guy.

For now, I'm going to struggle through this job, but changes are coming soon.  I'm not sure in what direction I want to go (or what we can financially handle) but I can't do this much longer.  My kids, my husband, my sanity, and our happiness are worth way more than this paycheck.