Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Holy-ween!

The kids are dressed as saints today for school, then tonight we change into Halloween costumes!  A little bit of Heaven and Earth :)

Our Litany includes: St. Joseph Moscati, St. George, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Agnes, St. Michael 

(and Declan was St. Declan - no costume required, he really is that good!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Every Day is a Crazy Checklist



We've been busier than ever, and it's mostly my fault because I can't seem to say "no" to my kids when they want to play sports.  Wait, that's actually not true, they are not allowed to play football or ice hockey, but pretty much everything else is up for grabs if we can afford it and fit it into our schedule.  Gymnastics is out for Maggie because at $17 per class, ain't nobody got time for that.  Right now, John-Paul and Andrew run Fall Track, J-P, Andrew, Eamon & Maggie play soccer, and J-P and Andrew have been having basketball practices for over a month already.  This means there is one day a week that Andrew has three different sports practices.  Crazy.  Every year I say I'm going to limit their sports, and every year they beg me to do it, and every year I say yes because in the end, I want them to be active and healthy and involved and skilled at sports.  Exercise is important to our family and I need to just stop complaining.  Besides, Phil and I have perfect work schedules to make all this happen - we finish work around 3 pm, don't work nights or weekends and don't travel.

Maggie's soccer coach walked over from practice one day to ask me if she was going to try out for the Competitive Spring Travel League.  I was in the middle of feeding Declan a bottle, stuffing McDonald's fries in my mouth, and handing back cheeseburgers to the other kids in the car because that was the dinner du jour since Phil was in Parent Teacher Conferences for 4 hours that night.  I looked at him and tried so hard not to laugh.  I explained that we had 6 kids and it wouldn't be possible to get Maggie to games that could be an hour away.  He said she was years ahead of the other girls on the team (thanks to her big brothers, no doubt) and he really encouraged her to try out.  I said that was nice to hear, but no can do.  Don't you know that same coach emailed me and then texted me reminding me of Maggie's skills and letting me know he would be the Spring Coach and would gladly help drive her to the games with his daughter.  Well, that Bible passage about persistence is true, because between his praises and nudges and Maggie's pleas to try out, guess who caved.  Yup, Softie over here.  And then Phil and I discussed that we should let the boys try out if they wanted to also, since we don't do any Spring sports.  Andrew and Eamon jumped at the chance and tried out as well.  J-P didn't want to (yes!) and now we are waiting to hear who made what teams and who is on their teams to coordinate rides.  

Back to my 11 year old, John-Paul.  He is probably our least enthusiastic about sports, but still wants to play on the teams.  The older he gets, the more he knows himself, and the less interested he becomes.  Which is fine with us!  He has interesting hobbies like art, and chess, and digital computer class.  All things I know nothing about and am so glad to see his talents in these areas.  He's an altar server, a member of the Middle School Youth Group, and part of an act in the variety show next month (he is the self-proclaimed best actor in the group...I'm waiting for the reviews).  I brought him to the orthodontist this week for the consultation visit and since he has all his adult teeth grown in and an overbite and some crooked teeth, he's a prime candidate for braces.  Next month he'll be our first official Brace Face.  I had braces for 5 years (from ages 8-13) so I feel his pain, and I'm glad he can get them on and hopefully off before high school.  Did you know braces cost $5000?  Yeah, me neither.  We figure we'll be on a payment plan for braces for the rest of our lives, because as soon as J-P is done, Andrew will need his, then Eamon, etc. etc.  It's at times like these I am so glad we prioritized to pay off our debt while the kids were still little and relatively inexpensive.  There's no way we could pay for braces if we were still paying off student loans!

Last Sunday, I went to a parent meeting for Eamon's big sacramental year of First Reconciliation and First Communion.  There is so much to do!  Eamon has been in Catholic school for 6 years and therefore doesn't have to go to Religious Education unless it's a sacramental year.  That means he's required to this year.  He has to go to 10 of the Religious Ed classes, 2 days of reflection, and 4 nights of Adoration.  Phil and I are required to go to 6 out of 10 talks for Adult Education (even though Phil gives one of the talks every year) and have the Fatima Statue visit our home for a week.  All these things are great and wonderful, but, but, I kinda feel like there are some families that need all of this prep work and some families that don't.  I know, excuses, excuses.  

Let's not even mention the Current Chaos Maker in the house, Alexander.  Let's not even talk about how he has a penchant for flushing things down the toilet like his sibling's toothbrushes.  Let's not discuss that if there's a pen or marker laying around, there will be carpet/wall/body scrubbing to do.  Let's definitely not say unless he is eating or sleeping, he is walking around just looking for trouble.  And those professional portraits we had taken of the kids this past weekend, let's not mention WHO ruined all of them.  Let's not go there.  At least Declan is still super easy and adorable.

It's just overwhelming this year.  This is the first year that I really feel like having 6 kids is a LOT.  Duh, right?  But when they are little and not involved in much, it's easier in a logistical way.  I kinda miss those days, even though they were so hard too and I can't believe I miss them at all.  Maybe one day I'll look back and miss these days too, but for now we are just trying to survive.  We're doing things as simply as possible wherever we can.  Like their Halloween and All Saint's Day costumes this year are going to just be random repeats of years past.  Crafty ain't my bag.  Thank God for coffee and helpful husbands and Google Calendars and priests in the Confessional who let you know that your daily acts of service to your family ARE your prayer life.  Amen and Alleluia.

Friday, October 17, 2014

7 QT on a 70 degree day in the Middle of October

Wow the weeks are flying by...joining Jen cuz that's what I do (and apparently all I did since last Friday!)


Phil and I went to a beautiful wedding on Sunday for two coworkers.  They met when she interviewed him for a position in her department.  He got the job and the girl!  I'm always so happy to see love blooming.  It is such a great gift to go through life with somebody you love at your side, and I thank God for that every single day.  Weddings always make me fall in love a little more when I hear the vows being recited.

Especially the part when we vowed to "lovingly accept children".  Wow, that one gets me every time!  Even though we have a lot of kids and are totally pro-life, I can't honestly say that each positive pregnancy test was met  with "loving acceptance".  I am constantly a work in progress.


My friend, Michelle, just started a book club for moms at our kid's school.  We had our first meeting this week, and are doing the Momnipotent program.

 I know a lot of great women came together to make these videos and share their thoughts on motherhood, and I'm excited to see them all.  Week one was Kate Wicker and I loved so much of what she said in the video.  One line especially jumped out at me when she said "We are human BEings, not human DOings."  I have a hard time with just being and accepting and always want to be doing more.  It's important not to be focused too much on the doing because then you can get into a mindset that it's only what we do that matters, and not who we are and who God made us to be.  That's a slippery slope when it comes to people's worth even if they can't "do much" in the eyes of the world.  We must remember that their value is in their being made in the image and likeness of God.  Anyway, the first five minutes of the video had me bawling like a baby, so you've been warned.


We had some old cell phones sitting around our house, and I found out that I could sell them to for moolah!  It's easy, you just look up what your phone/tablet is worth, they send you a box with postage paid, and you ship them off an wait for payment.  You can even use this link to get an extra $10 added to your payment!!


Phil turned 34 on Saturday and thus ended birthday season in our house.

Coldstone cupcakes for the win!

His big birthday gift from me was a wet/dry vac for our basement.  Aren't I romantic?  What made it even more special is that I ordered it from Amazon, and it arrived when Phil was home, in the actual box where he could see exactly what it was.  Wife of the year!


We are trying to get our house ready to put on the market, and it's a daunting task.

Wanna buy it?

  So far we (read: Phil) have cleaned the basement, and we decluttered a couple of rooms in the house.  Phil fixed up a dented wall and painted it, and we have to go around and touch up all the doorways with paint.  Kids are bruuuutal on a home!  I can't even imagine what it will be like to show the house once it's listed.  Ugh.  But it will be worth it if we can sell and upgrade to a home with 4 bedrooms and a master bath.  That's our short list.  I would love central air, a big kitchen, a mudroom, a big yard and 3 bathrooms, but for what we can afford we're definitely not getting all of that.


The kid's school won a contest held by a local homemade ice cream shop!  They got the most votes and won $1000 and an ice cream party.  Maggie just loves to get in the middle of any attention:

Blondie McBlonderson


The Patriots barely won last night by blocking a field goal:

Football really is like Stand Up Wrestling

I slept through the entire game because when they start at 8:30 on the East Coast, I dream of being a California girl who can watch at 5:30.  Speaking of California know, the Beach Boys song, not Katy Perry's version...Phil and I argue over if the Beach Boys are wishing all girls could be like California girls or if all girls could live in California.  I know, deep thoughts over at the Martin Camp.  

On that note (see what I did there?), have a great weekend!!

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quickies: Pants That Make You Slimmer and a Giveaway Winner

Happy Friday!  It's 7 Quick Takes time.

These are the best work pants I've ever purchased.  For reals.  They are pull-on, no zippers or buttons, slimming, barely bootcut, and the exact right length that I don't look like I'm waiting for a flood.  I'm 5' 6" and 6 months postpartum, and they are even flattering on me now.  I know they'll be around for a while because you can gain a few and lose a few and these will still fit.  

That wide band is a perfect muffin top hider.  Which is great since I like to hide my muffin tops in there, and then I can snack on them throughout the day.  Ewwww.  Gross.  Why did I just write my stream of consciousness?  Anyway, in summary, these are thee best pants, go get you some here!

My Boston buddy ('sup), Bridget, and my Canadian pal (Eh?), Christy, told me about the best kept secret to defend my family from the flu this winter.  Two words: Elderberry Syrup.  I ordered the elderberries online, bought some raw honey from the store and had the spices in my pantry.  The recipe is easy and the result is a delicious spicy/honey/fruity syrup that the kids fight over.  I give them each a teaspoon every day and Phil and I get a Tablespoon.  Elderberry syrup can be bought premade, but it's way more expensive.   Plus I feel very homeopathic-y when I brew it myself.  

I bought a groupon for an imitation Buildabear type shop, and took Maggie and Xander to try it out.  The store is new, and the employee who helped us is new and let's just be nice and say they have a lot of learning and growing ahead of them.  But, the kids had fun!

Maggie made "Polka Dot" and Xander made "Bat Cat".

Cute but we will not be returning.  Ahem.

Now for a couple kid quotes...

We were talking at dinner about Phil and I having a date night out and the kids getting a babysitter to come over, and the kids started asking what we did on date nights:

Phil: We usually go out to dinner.

Me: And hold hands and fall in love all over again.

Phil: (smiling at me)And then I kiss her.

At this point all the boys start groaning and Maggie starts smiling so big.

Me: (wanting to embarrass my boys even more) And he kisses me alllllll over my face.

Eamon: Wait a minute, wait a minute.  He kisses your EYEBALLS??

Oh Eamon, I love you and your distaste for romance.  It's the main reason you want to be a priest, just so you don't have to kiss any girls.  I hope that never changes!

I was taking the kids into the gym the other day, to play while I worked out, and there was a sign to entice people to hire a personal trainer that read:

Do you want to lose inches?  Do you want to get rid of your belly?

And Andrew said:

"Who would want to get shorter and not have a belly anymore?  Then they couldn't even eat!"

True dat.  No body issues for this kid.

John-Paul was talking to me in the car (his favorite place to blab his little heart out) and said he thought maybe he had ADD or ADHD because he has a hard time focusing sometimes.  I reassured him that unless it was affecting his schoolwork, he shouldn't worry.  He then said that sometimes he does weird things, like shut his eyes when he looks up at the sky just in case laser beams will go into his eyes.  

Me: I'll let you in on a secret.  You ARE weird.  So am I.  Everybody is.  And also, we all have a hard time focusing sometimes. 

John-Paul (deadpans): Wait, what did you say?

Gosh I love that funny little weirdo :)


And finally, the giveaway winner for the Hardcover Angel in the Waters book is:

Laura Mike!!!

Congrats!  Just email me your address at collmart at gmail dot com and I'll have the book sent on over!

Have a wonderful long October weekend everybody!  We will be celebrating Phil's birthday tomorrow!

Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Perfect Ten

It just keeps happening.  Year after year, they continue to disobey me and get older.  Harrumphh.  On Saturday, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (why didn't we name him Andrew FRANCIS?) my "golden child" turned ten.  

I said "Happy Birthday Andrew!  Double Digits!" and he said "Why does everyone make double digits a big deal?" "Because", I replied, "you'll be double digits for the rest of your life!" To which he stated "Not if I live to be 100."  

Always gotta be right, that one.  Wonder where he gets that from ? ;)

How many fingers?
Declan can do ten fingers  too, can't sit up though ;)

In the morning, we made him a big breakfast of his choosing (eggs and hashbrowns and sausage) and then went to First Saturday Mass, said the Rosary and went to Confession.  A very holy start for a very holy boy.  Andrew loves his faith and is a very serious little altar server.  Monsignor is training him to serve at the Latin Mass now, and told him he is the youngest server for Latin Mass he's ever trained, which made Andrew stand really tall!

Xander: I give you a birthday hug Andrew.  

Just a gratuitous cute baby and toddler capture.
Ok, now onto the gift from Mom and Dad!  We have a deal with our kids ~ we don't do "friend parties" because it's too much money and planning and headaches for our family.  We just do family parties.  Until they turn 10 and can either have a big friend party OR a big gift that they've been wanting.  When John-Paul turned ten, he chose a Kindle and Andrew was planning on having a friend party until he switched schools this year and was torn about which group of friends to invite.  So he also opted for a Kindle, the new one, and we bought the case too because we ain't no fools about boys and electronics.
He totally already knew what he was getting, but was still so excited to have it in his hands!

Declan's like "What's happening?"

Mom, take a picture of me taking a picture of you!
For dinner, he wanted Chinese food and we were all happy with that choice.

Dessert was a trip to a frozen yogurt place in our town.  He got Orange Sherbet with gummy worms and chocolate caramel cups.  Eeeewww!

Good to the last drip.

Declan was just happy to be out and about.  Side note, why is it always the BOYS who get the darkest and longest eyelashes?

We came home and finished opening his helicopter present from Nana and Gramps:

He loved it!

...and a coin sorter from his godparents FILLED WITH COINS!  (The kids couldn't get over that part!)

The next day was so beautiful out, and we headed out for a scenic drive to a farm and did a 2 mile hike with some friends.  It was so pretty and fun.  Andrew loves to be active, so this was right up his alley.  Just yesterday he had 3 hour-long sports practices - track, soccer, and basketball.  I couldn't convince him to skip one of them because sports is his favorite!

I call this one Contemplative Alexander.
All in all, it was such a nice family weekend and the birthday boy was in Heaven.  Happy 10th Andrew, you are growing into an amazing young man and we love you deeper than the ocean!