Friday, April 29, 2016

7QT: April's Over and May's Around the Corner

Hi!  It's Friday!  Let's get at it with Kelly and Crew...


These maternity jeans are my favorite
May 1 is National College Acceptance Day, and our high school is celebrating it today since May 1 falls on a Sunday.  All the seniors can wear their future college gear, and all the faculty and staff can wear their alumni gear.  Nothing says Steubenville more than a couple who met there, dated throughout Austria, got engaged at the Port and is currently expecting their 7th child.  Heehee!  We are living the FUS stereotype but also the dream.


John-Paul, who's in 7th grade, takes Latin at school, taught by our pastor.  The 7th and 8th graders take the National Latin Exam, and he got an Outstanding Merit award.  I was so proud of him!  I mean, Latin?  It's all Greek to me.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Mother's Day Gift Idea

I was coveting my mom's new cookbook, and then Sophia Press sent me a copy of my very own Vatican Cookbook.  God is good!  And so is this cookbook!  

It is written by the Swiss Guards, and includes stories and recipes from the last three popes.  Plus, there are pages of gorgeous photos - of the food - but also the Vatican, the popes, and in and around Rome.  

Imagine preparing a meal that was served in the Vatican to Pope Saint John Paul  II and then serving it to your family...that would blow my kids' minds :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Trust of a Child

While packing up for Great Wolf Lodge last week, I mentioned out loud "Declan is going to have so much fun at the water park, but he doesn't realize he will be in the car for 5 hours!"  My Dad replied, "You could lead that boy to slaughter, and he would happily go along."  A gruesome image, but so accurate of a toddler's mindset.  

Declan has just turned two, and though he probably understands more than he can communicate, he truly doesn't know our future plans.  He gets in the car, not knowing if we are just headed to the kid's school, or the grocery store, or Mass, or on a family vacation five hours away.  

He was an angel in the car, in case you were wondering, only slightly annoying with his demands for "elmo music".  When we got to the hotel, he wandered in with the kids, probably not understanding that this was where he would be sleeping that night, and happily followed them, bathing suit-clad, down the elevator to the water park.  He splashed and played for hours before we scooped him up and went out to dinner.  

The whole time, I kept experiencing the trip from his viewpoint.  Thinking about how strange it would be to wake up one morning, be thrown in the car for a long ride, get to a water park and be allowed to play like crazy, get taken out for chicken nuggets and fries and then brought back to sleep in some random room.  But he was so happy, because he was with his family.  He trusts us and doesn't worry about getting his needs met, he knows we are in control of making that happen.  He's never lacked for any need, never felt unloved, never worried about what the future holds.  He just lives in the moment.  For whatever reason, his unbridled joy and trust were just really visible and remarkable to me.

I was unloading my thoughts unto Phil about all of this on our drive home, and Phil just looked at me and said "And that's why God wants us to be like little children."

Of course!  God is the parent, and we are his children, He's got the trip of our lives all planned out, and we are just supposed to trust that everything that happens will be used for good and for our ultimate salvation.   We need to live every day, happy to be alive, happy to be part of God's family, happy to trust in his wisdom.  Each day is a gift (the "present") and regretting the past or worrying about the future is pointless.  Little kids just do this naturally, why does it have to get all confusing and tangled up as we grow older?  Declan gave me a wonderful reminder on how to live, and I'm once again humbled to receive a lesson from my children.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring Break Snippets

Spring Break was last week, and it was a great mix of fun and getting a lot done on our honey do lists.  I actually took the whole week off of work, which I never do unless I'm on maternity leave.  It was so nice! 

House Stuff

The kitchen and dining room floors got refinished, so we had to be out of the house for three days, which turned into four days because the smell was too bad to sleep there on that third night.

The kitchen island was installed, but the counter top hasn't been delivered yet, due to a mix up in the order.  So we are staring at the tops of open cabinets until that comes.  The electrician still has to come and do a whole bunch of light fixture-switches too.

We moved all the furniture back to where it belongs (actually, Phil and a really good amazingly helpful friend) moved everything back, hung the tv in our bedroom (contrary to popular belief, we DO have a tv in our bedroom).  I washed all the china cabinet's contents and put it all away...there was wedding china still with stickers on them!  Mental goal:  eat off of our good china.  What the heck are we saving it for?  Our funerals?  We also whipped together these bench cushions for our kitchen:

We did some yard work, and cleared out all the dead leaves and weeds that just love to take over our lawn.  Phil cleared out the whole area by our statue of Mary, which consisted of tons of ivy and looked like a lot of hard work from where I was sitting eating my bon bons.  Just kidding, I was pulling weeds and my inner thigh muscles in the front yard.  Squatting while pregnant is no joke.  We got some mulch delivered and now we have to wait for it to warm up enough to plant some flowers and herbs and we'll be all set.  Ahhh,the perks of having a small lot of land :)

I bought 8 Magic Erasers and we've only used two, so my project of cleaning all the walls didn't go as well as I'd hoped.  But we've still got time this week - looks like a lot of fun "date nights" in house.  Did you know if you call it a date, it's 120% more fun that calling it a chore?

Our goal was to have the house work completed before Maggie's First Communion on May 1, and we are cutting it too close.  

Fun Stuff

Since we were forced out of the house while the floors were being worked on, we stayed at my parent's house for two nights and the kids watched one of my favorite movies as a kid, The North Avenue Irregulars.  Oh my gosh, it was so funny to see my kids cracking up with my parents, that was the show I was watching!

My Dad finally got the okay from the town to have a bonfire to burn all his sticks (and ours too!) and so we had a cookout and s'mores party with the cousins.  It's as close to camping as I'll ever get :)

We also got to get away for one night to Great Wolf Lodge thanks to a great deal from Groupon.  We stayed in a loft that fit all 8 of us, and the kids had an absolute blast.  A huge breakfast buffet was included, and I tried my first ever cheese blintz.  Where have those been all my life?  Yummo.  We met up with friends and it was so nice to try and hang out while we were chasing around the little kids.  Declan had no fear, he was thrilled to be allowed on the slides.

Andrew ran his first 5k of 2016, and was a little upset about his finish time.   It's amazing that I would have died in shock if I ran that time (and maybe died from heart failure too) and to him, it was a few minutes slower than his PR.  His next 5k is this coming weekend, so he's hoping to improve his time, yet he doesn't seem to want to actually train ever.  He just likes the races and the free food after :)

And now back to school and work like normal.   Mondays, meh.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Winner and Things I Want to Review

We have a winner on the Scentsy giveaway! picked number 24, so JEN is the winner!  Contact Madeline for more details, and for the rest of you looking to purchase some great Scentsy products for your home, make sure you order through Madeline's website.  Thanks!

I love hosting reviews and giveaways, and I'm thinking I might as well ask for specific items I wish I could review and see what happens.  If you type it, they will come, right?  Here we go...

A BOB Revolution Pro Duallie to take the little two kids on walks/runs:

Blanqi tank top and leggings to help support this ginormous belly:

The Madeline baby bag from Lily Jade:

An overnight with the kids to Great Wolf Lodge:

An overnight without the kids to , ummm, anywhere that doesn't require a plane...I won't fly anymore!

And finally, if anybody would like Phil to review a Nissan NV, I bet he would agree ;)

What would you like to review?  Ask and you shall receive!

{But don't hold me to that!}

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Express Deliveries and Why I Hope to Do Things Differently This Time Around

Let's talk birth stories, shall we?  Click away if this is not your cup of tea, but all of my mom friends and I can discuss labors until we are blue in the's such a bonding experience.  Here's a quick (emphasis on quick) history of my last 6 labors:

Induced at 35 weeks because I needed to have my gallbladder removed.  In labor for 36 hours, got an epidural, barely pushed (my midwife told me to "laugh the baby out") and JP was born on my 24th birthday.  
6 pounds 5 ounces.

Went into labor 5 days early.  24 hour labor, got epidural and a few pushes later Andrew was born.  
8 pounds 4 ounces.

Went into labor 10 days early.  After 12 hours, a scary epidural (blood pressure drop for me and baby) and a couple pushes, Eamon arrived.  
7 pounds 11 ounces.

Went into labor 5 days early, contractions came fast and painful, Maggie was born 2 hours later in the jacuzzi at the hospital (against hospital rules - whoops!) with no drugs.  
7 pounds 13 ounces.

Went into labor 5 days early, Alexander was born 3 hours later after maybe two pushes with no drugs.  
8 pounds 14 ounces.

Went into labor 10 days late, got to hospital at barely 2 cm dilated, Declan was born in a couple pushes 2 hours after arrival, drug-free again, though I asked for some IV pain meds but didn't get them in time.
8 pounds 4 ounces.

Soooooooooo, those last three labors were FAST.  Sometimes people think that fast labors are a good thing, because who wants to be in pain for a long period of time?  

Unfortunately, they have their own set of challenges.  The nerves and anxiety of making sure you get to the hospital on time is a big one.  Not going to the hospital for a "false alarm" is hard to judge because after having a precipitous labor, you are told to come in with the very first contraction.  (Got sent home with my fifth baby - embarrassing).  The pain of labor is so intense because your body goes from normal to pushing out a baby in a couple hours, with no break or relief.  The choice of having pain medication is usually taken away because there's not enough time.  My babies have had jaundice because they were born so quickly.  It's a very hard and chaotic and traumatic way to have a baby.  

Honestly, the first precipitous labor I had with Maggie was awesome in hindsight.  It was scary going through it and not trusting myself to know if I was in hard labor that fast or just being a wimp.  But once she was born, it was like "Oh, that's it?  I'm all done now?"  And if she had been my last baby, all would have been wonderful.  But, here we are three babies later and now fast labors get me all nervous because I know what will happen.

For Baby Martin #7, I have decided to change up my birth plan to see if it will help ease the anxiety of impending labor.  For starters, I have switched from my midwife (who only allows for natural labors) to a doctor who will give me the option of pain medications if I want them.  I have changed hospitals from one that was 30 minutes away to one that's about 7 minutes away to allow me to get there faster when things start up.  I am hoping that as delivery day gets closer I can talk to my doctor about options for controlling the speed of my labor...maybe a planned induction so that this baby isn't born in the car in the middle of the night ;)  But I'm not sure what he'll suggest and I'm trying not to worry about it until August and we all have a better sense of the health and size of this baby boy and can make informed decisions then.  

In a perfect world, my ideal birth plan would be to have an unmedicated water birth, but the hospitals here don't allow that, and I don't want to have a home birth because I'm much more comfortable in a hospital if medical intervention was necessary.   I also know that anything can happen, and a healthy mom and baby are the ultimate goal and I'll do whatever it takes to ensure that.  I also know God has already planned out this little boy's birthday and I'm praying and hoping that everything works out smoothly, but not too quickly.  And that we can come up with a name in time :)

Girl you know it's true.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

That's What He Said

Getting ready before school:

Xander: Where's my hulk sweatshirt?

Me: I don't know, just wear your jacket instead.
Xander: But the Hulk sweatshirt is the only thing that works.

Petting the cat as she walked by:

Hey Dad, Evie's really soft.  But she's not as soft as Mom.

After getting in trouble the previous day in school for repeating a bad word...

Me: Xander, did you have a good day today?

Xander: Welllll, did the teacher email you again?
Me: No.
Xander: Then I had a good day!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Monday Inventory

Let's take a quick inventory on this Monday since I can't form a coherent thought lately :)


About a baby's name.  We have known it's a boy for 2 months, and still no name.  And Kate and her readers even did their best to give us some great sugestions!  It's getting ridiculous, and there are lots of names we like, but nothing we love.  


That a mom I know can successfully fight her battle with cancer, but it's not looking good, and I cry every time I think about her and her two boys and her husband.  Things like this shake my faith a little, and can't help but get mad when bad things happen to good people.


For a healthy and non-colicky baby to be born early.  We've had two colicky babies out of six, and I feel like we're due for another but don't think my nerves could handle praying for a happy and peaceful little guy who will come safely before his due date.  Is that too much to ask?  


A modified 17 day diet for me but Phil is doing the real thing and lost ten pounds in a week.  So he follows the plan, and I do mostly, except I add in chocolate and bread and chips every once in a while. Because the baby needs it ;)

Friday, April 8, 2016

7QT: Good Mail, Good Meal, and Good Males

Joining Kelly because it's Friday and I'm a follower of fun linkups :)


Two lovely things came in the mail to me yesterday.  The first was a request for me to be a lovely girl's Confirmation sponsor, and the second was the image of Divine Mercy (that I had written about this week) from a friend.  

I was floored by both!  

Usually the mail is full of bills and junk, and it was so nice to get a handwritten note and a surprise gift.  


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A GIVEAWAY to Make Your House Smell Amazing

Have you ever heard of Scentsy before?  I hadn't until Madeline's blog post back in December.  I am a huge fan of the house smelling clean and pretty and comforting.  The kids can be going nuts, the laundry can be in a huge pile, dinner can be leftovers disguised as an exciting smorgasbord,...but by God my house will smell nice.  One of our priest friends always comments that my house smells like a Yankee Candle store.  Perfect, just the way I like it! 

When Madeline asked if I would review and giveaway some Scentsy goodies, I jumped at the chance!  Her site is full of so many great products, and I chose a Sand Dollar nightlight warmer and had Madeline pick out some clean, fresh scents for me...she is the expert after all!  She picked Summer Holiday and Amazon Rain.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Stories from the Image of Divine Mercy

This past weekend, we got to see the movie, The Original Image of Divine Mercy, at our parish.  (You can go here to see if there is a screening near you).  

It was a very good documentary about how the image of the Divine Mercy came about.  Sr. Faustina had revelations from Christ, and kept a diary under obedience from her spiritual director and confessor, Fr. Sopocko. In one of these revelations, she had a mystical vision of the image of the Merciful Christ.  With Fr. Sopocko modeling as Christ, and Sr. Faustina describing the vision, an artist named Kazimirowski  painted this Divine Mercy Image over siz months with much input from Sr. Faustina on what he was doing wrong:

Monday, April 4, 2016

DK turns DOS

Declan Kolbe turned two on Saturday!  In the morning we had all his favorite breakfast foods - scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, and strawberries.  Then we went to Mass and Confession to complete the Divine Mercy Novena (we actually prayed it every single day which is new for us!).  Declan confessed that he was growing up faster than his mother wanted ;)

Chocolate Sheet Cake via The Pioneer Woman

We had a small family party for him and Maggie scrounged up two candles that were appropriate.  We always call Declan our little monkey since he is a climber, loves bananas, and loves his stuffed monkey named George, as you can see here on his first birthday:

Just monkeying around.

Friday, April 1, 2016

7QT on the First of April


So we had the big ultrasound yesterday!  It was a Level 2 because I'm maternally ancient and we got lots of good peeks at him.  He was extremely uncooperative, according to the ultrasound tech, but did give us an awesome money shot that I won't post here to embarrass him in the future.  (Phil and I were very impressed by his masculinity though!)  Here's a more modest photo:

Hi Baby Boy Martin!

Everything looked good...except he has a marker on his heart that can sometimes be associated with Down Syndrome.  Normally, my age (37) would make me high risk but the blood tests I had showed I was very low risk (a 1 in 10,000 chance) and this heart marker doubles that risk.  So it's a 2 in 10,000 chance.  I actually think that my second baby, Andrew, had the same marker.  We love this baby boy no matter what's going on, and we're just going to wait and see!