Monday, April 27, 2015

Messy Faces, Happy Hearts

When I was a younger mom, I tried my hardest to make sure my kids were always clean and well-dressed.  That was my job, I felt.  I was their mom and I was supposed to be taking care of them, and taking care of them meant they would be neat and clean and well-mannered and practically perfect in every way.  

Even though we struggled seriously financially in the first (many) years of marriage,  and my kids didn't have the finest clothes or shoes, bathing them and putting them in clean clothes didn't cost me anything.  They were my world, my vocation, and I was always self-conscious that people would judge me if my crew looked like a bunch of ragamuffins.  So I spent my days tidying and cleaning and wiping and cleaning some more.  

Playing with my kids? Well there wasn't much time for that.  Besides, they had each other, and as long as I could control the level of mess, I was being a good mom.  Finished playing with one toy?  Put it away before taking out another.  Painting?  You'll do that in preschool.  Every night was bath night, and every day they were dressed in fresh clean clothes.

Fast forward a few more kids and some mom growth and release of control, and while I'm still a bit of a neat freak when it comes to making sure my kids look put together in public (we need to be a good example that big families are normal and fun and have it together!) I have come to appreciate a messy face.

We took a family walk the other night to an ice cream store, and on the way home, Alexander asked to get out of the double jogger and walk with me.  I took him out, grabbed his sticky, dirty hand and he smiled so big at me with his messy chocolate face. I thought, yes, this was a great day, as perfectly evidenced by his adorable, dirty face.  

A messy face doesn't always equal an inattentive mom, as I had previously thought.  It actually means I was more attentive to doing the things they wanted to do, letting them be kids and relaxing enough to enjoy it with them.  At the end of the day, messy kids = happy hearts.  And then they go straight into the bath, and this mom's heart is happy too :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nature's Call of Duty (She Said Doody)

With the exception of Alexander (he's always the exception to the Martin rule) my kids were all scared to go #2 on the potty.  It took quite a bit of encouraging (and a whole lot of prunes) to get them going.  I had heard about a book called Everyone Poops that was all the rage when we were newbie parents, and though I never read the book, I used the main idea to encourage my kids.  "There's nothing to be scared of...everyone poops!"  "Mom poops, Dad poops, the dogs and cats and birds poop...everybody poops, and so can you!"  You get the idea.  

Being a parent and having 5 boys in the house means lots of poop talk and potty humor.  But it has helped me in other areas of my adult life.  You know when you have stage fright and the infamous "they" say to picture everyone in the audience in their underwear?  Well, I could never do that and still suffer from public speaking panic.  But what does help me on a daily basis is to remind myself that everybody poops.

That exceptionally beautiful woman who always looks perfectly put together?  She poops.

The handsome guy who wouldn't give you the time of day back when you were interested?  He poops.

The manager or boss at work that intimidates you?  He poops.

The doctor who is giving you a way-too-through physical exam?  She poops.

The parent with the well-behave kids at church?  They both poop.

You're friend's child who can seem to do no wrong?  She poops.

If you're disgusted by all this potty talk and can't believe I'm discussing it?  I know you poop too.

There's no greater equalizer than realizing that everybody poops.  Ain't no shame in my game.

Friday, April 17, 2015

7QT About Communion, Confirmation, Coldsores, and Color Coordination

Eamon is receiving 1st Communion in two weeks, along with two of his cousins, and he is super excited.  Eamon is a quiet boy who has said that he wants to be a priest for as long as I can remember.  He has been so attentive and wonderfully behaved at Mass since he was 4 years old, and watches the priest and the altar servers like a hawk, memorizing their every move.  Once he receives 1st Communion, he is allowed to take part in the Altar Training Bootcamp this summer, and will be an altar server with JP and Andrew, and I think his little heart might burst from the joy.  Anyway, that was a long way to say that in my shopping around, online, of course, always online, for a gift to give him and his cousins, I decided on these:

We have this book already and all of my boys who can read have read their way through it at least once.  It's awesome, a comic book style version of the Bible.  Not every story is in there, but the kids learn so much without even realizing it.  I'm giving it to his cousins.

For Eamon, I'm giving him this one as an addition to the first.  If you're looking for boy gift ideas, I seriously recommend these books.

My niece asked me to be her Confirmation sponsor as she is being confirmed on May 12.  Phil has sponsored two girls in the past, and I have sponsored one in the past, and for all four girls, we have always given them a rosary bracelet.  

I ordered this one from Discount Catholic Products, and it shipped soooo fast, I was amazed.  It's gorgeous!  They also sell Tiny Saints charms/keychains which I love and so do my kids.

Ok, enough Sacrament Shop about an embarrassing story to make you feel better about your life?  On Monday night, I realized I had a coldsore starting, which I get about once a year because I'm blessed like that.  Since I get them so bad and so often, I have been given a prescription for Valtrex, which is a drug for herpes of all varieties.  I usually ask Phil to pick up the scrip for me because I am so embarrassed that the pharmacist will think I have genital herpes and not oral herpes.  I also make him buy the cream for jock itch when I get breastfeeding thrush, because I am so nice.  Sorry honey, love you!  You married an introvert!

Anyway, long story even all my KonMari cleaning, I had thrown out my prescription for Valtrex because it was old and it didn't "spark joy" at the coldsore-free moment .  So I started panicking a bit because if I don't take the Valtrex right at the onset of coldsore symptoms, I get a huge blistery sore that takes over my face, is painful, makes my lymph nodes all inflamed, and totally wears me out.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Plus, vanity!  So I had to swallow my pride and go to the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist what I should Abreva or call my doctor and get a new scrip?  The pharmacist was super nice, also a coldsore sufferer, and said I should just call the doctor because Valtrex is the only thing that stops the coldsore from forming.  So I called my doctor's office after hours, talked to the answering service who asked me if it was an emergency, and while I wanted to scream YES!!!, I said not really but she took pity on me and paged the doctor anyway.  Total count of whom I've had to tell I had herpes to thus far: 2.

The doctor called back, I poured out my sob story, he paused and said "Go get some Abreva.  I've used it.  It works" and got off the phone.  Aaaaahhhhh!  What the what?  I have never called the doctor on call in my entire life for anyone in my entire family, and that's the response I get.  At this point, it's too late to go to the walk-in, so I go home, very sad that I'm about to get this thing and nobody will help me.  Then I remember, I have a friend who is an ER doctor!  I text her husband to see if she's working, which she is, but he says to text her anyway.  People who know about my herpes condition now: 4.
I text my friend, who was probably busy saving lives, and she texts back that she is sorry, but she can't prescribe me anything without seeing me in the ER.  Understandable, but what's the point of having friends in high places?  I kid, I kid.  I know it's illegal to do that.  So I slathered on some Abreva and went to bed.  The next morning, I went to work where I had to ask permission to my boss about going to the walk-in for my COLDSORE THAT WAS SPREADING OVER MY FACE.  People who know more than they want about my herpes: 6

I go to the walk-in and tell even more people about the non-genital herpes 7) the check in lady, 8) the nurse, 9) the other nurse (who gets really confused as to how I know I'm not pregnant but I'm not on birth control), 10) the doctor - finally, alleluia!  The doctor is super nice and asks a couple questions and goes ahead and writes the scrip.  I bring the scrip to the pharmacist, wait for it to be ready and pick it up from the pharmacy tech.  Total peeps who now know TMI about my sores - 12.  But then the tech told me a story about a brother and sister who were married without knowing they were related and suddenly my stupid coldsore problems didn't matter so much.  Lesson in pride, vanity and humility - check!

I have a giftcard from Loft burning a hole in my wallet pocket, and I'm digging these right now:

I'm just realizing I have a problem with navy and aqua/teal.  I should have know based on the Easter outfits I coordinated...

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!  I'm off to my Coldsore and Color Coordinated Anonymous Meeting :)

Friday, April 10, 2015

7QT Because it's Friday and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun


JP and Declan had physicals this week, and Phil brought them in.  JP is 12 and is 4'11 and Declan is 1 and weighs 19 pounds.  That's all the stats he could remember.  I like to know my numbers, but the doctor says they are great!  I think they are both a little on the tall side, a little below average for weight and BMIs are good.  The doctor, whom we love, did ask to pull JP aside, and Phil agreed.  JP reported nothing strange was asked, she just "checked my privates and told me puberty was starting".  She also asked Phil if he wanted JP to get the HPV vaccine now or wait a year.  He was caught off guard since we haven't discussed it, and said we would wait a year.  Which leads to my questions...

A) Will you vaccinate for HPV? Why or why not?

B) Do you let the doctor speak to your child in private?  Maybe it's a law?


Andrew has started lacrosse this week, his first game is on Sunday, and I'm nervous.  He has to wear so much gear!  That's to protect him from GETTING STICKS AND BALLS WHIPPED AT HIM!  We've never done a physical contact sport before, as I've told them football and hockey are out of the question, but I thought lacrosse was less dangerous.  Then I found out it's a warrior sport and now I'm scared.  What was I thinking?


I put on my favorite jamberry nail wraps to date:

They really look like I had them professionally done!  I'm so excited to show them off at...


...two auctions we are attending this next week!  One for the high school where we work, and one for my kids' elementary school.  I love a night out with a purpose, having fun, getting good deals, hanging out with friends and supporting Catholic schools - it's a win to the win, win, win.


My outfit today is one of my new Spring favorites :)


I am praying for Fulton, a pregnant friend, St. Rebecca Irene, and our house to list and sell quickly.  Please join me if you wouldn't mind :)


Don't forget to enter the driveway safety net giveaway!  These things are expensive and make your driveway so much safer!!!  I'm sure if you don't need one, you know a family who does :)

Have a wonderful Springish weekend!!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Stop It! Driveway Net GIVEAWAY!!

When my husband and I recall our childhood, there is one major difference between our experience and what our kids get to experience, and that is the joy of freely playing outside. 

I remember running all over my neighborhood, riding bikes to the country store and only coming home when it was close to dinner time.  Our kids, not so much.  We live on a busy street, and if they want to ride a bike, we have to bring them somewhere to do that.  If they want to play outside for hours, we take them to a park or playground so they can have access to sports equipment and wide open spaces.  

Our yard is very small, and as much as we tell them to "GO PLAY OUTSIDE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!" we totally understand that there's not much for them to do out there....nowhere to hide, nowhere to ride, nowhere to shoot hoops.  Besides, one of us had to be out there watching as a certain toddler has made it clear that playing with traffic seems interesting.

Finally after six kids, we have made our outside time more enjoyable for the kids and (more importantly!) for us.  We bought the kids a basketball hoop and gave it to them Easter morning.

It's an Easter Basketball!

We raised the net right after this.

She doesn't always swish the ball, but when she does, she's doing it in style.

They love shooting around, and four of them play team basketball, but because we live on such a busy road, we had never gotten one for fear of the ball rolling into the street.  Over time we researched driveway safety nets and found them to be ridiculously expensive, until we found the Stop It! driveway net.

The Stop It! driveway net is a lifesaver, possibly quite literally.  It is a 23 foot long, retractable, portable, bright red net that stretches along your driveway and prevents balls from rolling out, cars from pulling in, and kids from running off.  My husband said it's super easy to put up and take down, and that's quite a compliment!

We now feel so much safer when our gang is outside playing, and the sense of boundary makes them feel safer too.  The wonderful folks at Stop It! are willing to give away a driveway net to one of my lucky readers.  Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below, and good luck!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A.D. The Bible Continues - A Catholic Guide

(We received these books as a gift from Sophia Institute, and Phil was happy to review them below)

In our increasingly secular society, Christianity continues to be of great interest.  There are those who love Christ, those who scoff at him, and those who hate him.  But there are very few people who are ambivalent towards him.  He continues to be in our time as he was in his time, a “sign of contradiction”.  Even in our society that has moved further from Christ there is still great intrigue about his life and legacy.  We can see this clearly by the fact that NBC is airing a new miniseries dealing with the beginnings of Christianity called:  A.D. The Bible Continues.  Whenever there are major television and film productions dealing with biblical events, it is a great opportunity for Christians to grow in their own understanding of our faith and to evangelize others. 

As my wife and I sit down and watch these episodes, we have found two resources from Sophia Press that will help us understand the importance and meaning of the events we are watching.  Trying to understand the Catholic faith in today’s world is difficult enough.  Trying to understand what it was like for Christians 2.000 years ago is nearly impossible.  In his book Ministers and Martyrs, Mike Aquilina has made the time of the Apostles and the early Church accessible to all his readers.  This book clearly explains the beginning of the Church, the persecution that Christians faced, and the great heroes and saints of that time period. 

The Catholic Viewers Guide by Veronica Burchard will make a great companion to this miniseries as well.  This would be great to use with your family or friends or even with men or women’s groups.  As a high school Theology teacher, I could definitely use this when teaching about the Early Church.  I love how this book breaks down each episode and identifies the time period being covered and the key characters that you will see.  It gives background information, important vocabulary, scripture references and questions to discuss after watching each episode. 

So if you are planning on watching A.D. The Bible Continues, be sure to get your hands on the only Catholic viewers guide out there.  It will not only make the this miniseries come alive, it will also strengthen your own faith by helping you reflect on the saints and martyrs who gave their life to hand it on to us. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015

I'll let the pictures tell the story because I'm a wee bit tired.  We hosted Easter for the majority of my family (30 people) and it was awesome - everybody brought a few dishes and it was casual and fun!  We celebrated Declan's 1st birthday and my nephew, JP turns 18 this week.  So the oldest and youngest of my parents grandkids (the bookends of 21) got to share a cake.  Good times all around.  Oh, and the Easter Basket(ball) hoop we surprised the kids with on Easter morning was a HUGE hit.  OK, now for the photos....

What We Wore:

Phil's shirt
Colleen's skirt
Boys polos
Maggie's dress
Declan's polo