Friday, June 17, 2016

7QT: Summertime!

Linking up with Kelly and the Kool Kids...


Alexander Blaise graduated preschool!!  

Here he is on his first day:

And his last day:

Ready for Kindergarten

They had these posters that the preschoolers made hanging around the gym and Xander did NOT want me to look at it.  "I don't like my face in it!  Don't look at my face!"

They sang songs and were so cute.  Alexander warned me the day before that I might cry because "sometimes people cry when things are just too beautiful."

Here he is with his patient and loving teacher.  I'm not sure how she made it through the year sane ;)


The big four finished their year on Wednesday!  They all did so great academically, I am so happy for them :)

First day:

7th grade, 2nd grade, 5th grade, 3rd grade

Last day:

All the clothes are just a little bit shorter.


There he is, the troublemaker!  I got to see my sweet boy during an ultrasound this week, and of course he's in the breech position.  But since I've had so many kids that my uterus is, shall I say, experienced?, so he has a lot of time to turn.  He is only in the 31% for growth, which is good news because with gestational diabetes, a big baby is what they fret about.  He's not big yet!  The first of many non-stress tests to come went just fine as well.


My food intake has been pretty boring on this diet.  My favorite meal so far was this one:

Chicken sausage on the grill, sweet potatoes and onions, and caprese salad.

My breakfasts have been either eggs or protein shakes, and my lunch has basically been salads and yogurt.  Snacks are nuts, cheese, and protein bars.  

Let's just say that I'm going to put on a good ten pounds once this baby is born and I can eat all the forbidden foods.


Alexander has been cracking us up lately.  Yesterday, the kids were fighting over a beach bucket and I told them to let Declan have it because it was his birthday present.  Eamon said "No, it was Xander's present" and I said "No it's Declan's present.  Xander hasn't even had his birthday yet (it's in July)".  Xander perked up and said "Yes I did too have my birthday!  Remember my third birthday, when I turned four?"

Spring soccer season


The weather here has been sooooooo beautiful!  We've gone to the beach twice this week already and plan to go a lot more.  I'm not into going to the beach when it's too hot out, so the end of June/beginning of July are my jam.

Needs goggles to play on the sand.

From an evening walk


While we were at the beach on Sunday, a couple walked over near us and started kissing.  Alexander, being the precocious four year old that he is, loudly proclaimed "Those people are marrying each other on the beach!!"  I quickly sent the kids down to the water and asked Phil to get a couple photos on his phone:

While he was doing that, I happened to notice the kissing couple again, and saw the man get down on one knee and propose!  I yelled to Phil to turn around and he snapped this photo of them:

I started crying and congratulating the couple, and Phil texted them the photo.  How cool would it be to have a picture of your proposal?  It was all so exciting and romantic, Maggie and I were thrilled to see our very first proposal.

And on that note, have a love-filled, romantic, relaxing weekend everybody!  And Happy Father's Day to all the superdads out there!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What I Wish I Knew Then: John-Paul Grows Up

While I try not to be a helicopter mom, and really do enjoy watching my kids grow up, I have to admit that my first born gets a little more worry and attention from me.  He's my guinea pig!  I figure if he gets it right, then I can just coast through motherhood on autopilot with the rest.  Wink.

John-Paul was born a month early, induced because I couldn't keep down any food due to gallstones.  He was still a whopping 6 pounds 5 ounces at birth (I cringe when I think how big he would have been at full-term) and arrived on my birthday.  I knew he was special from the start, giving me the gift of motherhood on my birthday...that's some great multitasking!  Because of his early arrival (and inheriting my ginormous head) John-Paul didn't roll over, sit up, or crawl at the right times.  So we started physical therapy with him, and eventually he began scooting on his bum around a year old (which led to the temporary nickname of Scooter) and finally walked around 18 months.  He was always a skinny boy, but never a picky eater.  He was such an easy baby and because of his limited mobility would just sit still and play and loved to be read to.  He was verbally advanced, and of course we knew he was a little genius from the start.  Not unlike most first time parents, I'm sure ;)

When he started school, he made a few friends, yet was never the most popular.  He definitely was a great little student, and had an innocence about him that still carries over to this day.  He is a sensitive boy who still has to leave the room if there are any emotional scenes on tv (someone getting in trouble, someone liking another person, someone about to get caught).  It's just too much intensity for his soul to take.  He's a total bookworm, and would much rather be inside reading a book then playing with the other boys outside.  I used to worry about him socially because I could see he was at times, painfully shy, and knowing how sensitive and empathetic he was, I worried others would think he was weird.

Somewhere along the way, John-Paul totally came out of his shell.  The awesome Catholic school environments he was in, excelling in the classroom, altar serving, it all led him to have this quiet confidence and sweet spirit.  I always tell my kids to just be nice to everybody.  The "cool" kids or mean kids or the funny kids might be more popular for a little while, but the nice guys will always be surrounded with friends in the end.  J-P has grown up to be such a nice guy.

At the ripe old age of thirteen, he is finishing 7th grade with a bang!  Just this week, he won first place in the middle school's Amazing Race competition out of 32 teams.  Then he found out he would be placed in the honors Algebra class for 8th grade due to his math grades, and finally he ran for Student Council Treasurer and won!  I couldn't be more proud of this kid!  He is so helpful at home (he's our laundry guy) and has started babysitting when the little ones are in bed so Phil and I can take an evening walk together.  He serves Mass at least once a week (and once a month in Latin) and he seems to have a great group of friends, both boys and girls, around him.  He is currently working on increasing his muscle mass by doing P90x videos and eating all the food in the house :)

I guess I just wanted to say to the moms out there...don't spend too much time worrying about the skills you think your child lacks.  John-Paul has become a wonderful young man in spite of me, not because of me, and what a load of time I wasted worrying about it at all.  Just help them become their true selves, pray for them, lead them towards Heaven, and you'll be amazed at how they might turn out.  Let go and let God!

Friday, June 10, 2016

7QT: Gestational Diabetes Version

Woo-wee, how has another week passed by so quickly?  Here we go again with Kelly's 7QT:


Let's get the bad news out of the way first.  I failed the Gestational Diabetes Test.  I got off the phone with the doctor on Monday morning and bawled my eyes out to an unsuspecting coworker who happened to be walking by.  Poor lady!  I was so sad and angry to receive this diagnosis, mostly because it means a LOT of extra appointments and testing and ain't nobody got time for that.


After a couple hours, I calmed down and accepted it.  I have gestational diabetes.  That means it's only a temporary problem that should be fixed as soon as baby is born.  It does increase my chances of having Type 2 diabetes at some point in my life, but hopefully through diet and exercise, I can avoid that.  There are so many worse things in life, and so many terrible permanent medical situations, that this is really small potatoes.  Make those sweet potatoes as they are healthier.


So what does it mean to get this diagnosis?  Well, it's pretty common, 1 in 10 pregnant women have it.  The biggest risk seems to be a big baby, so they will be doing a lot more ultrasounds to keep an eye on the baby's growth.  I also have to go twice a week for non-stress tests, a 20 minute appointment where they hook the baby up to a monitor and make sure he's not in distress.  I also had to meet with the endocrinologist and a nutritionist, and I have to prick my finger and test my blood sugar four times a day (once in morning, then an hour or two after each meal).  If my numbers look good then I just keep on keeping on until they decided to induce, which is usually done at 39 weeks, latest.  If I can't seem to get my blood sugar numbers in check with diet and exercise alone, then I'll need to add insulin.


So what's a healthy diet and exercise plan look like?  Well I meet with the nutritionist later today, but from what I've been told by the endocrinologist and my research online, breakfast can have 15 grams of carbs, and lunch & dinner can have 30 grams of carbs.  My snacks should be around 15 grams of carbs.  I normally eat 30 grams of carbs for breakfast (protein shake with half a banana, peanut butter and spinach) and about 35 grams for lunch (half bagged salad mix and greek yogurt) so I have to adjust my protein shake ingredients (just leave out the half banana).  My snacks are simple - small apple with string cheese, protein bar, cottage cheese.  I need to be more cautious about dinner, as that is when I usually up my carbs because it's my big meal of the day, so I'm just relying on proteins and veggies with a small side of carbs.  I never drink juice or soda, and I love water so that's been fine.  I'm walking at least an hour a day, 6 times per week. I know eventually I'll crave a bowl of ice cream or handfuls of fritos and then it's gonna get tough.


I was talking with Phil last night when it dawned on me that I've been so nervous about having a quick labor again, and not having time for drugs again, that I have been praying to convince my doctor to induce me at 39 weeks.  And then I go ahead and get this diagnosis which means I'll be induced around 39 weeks.  Phil said "So you basically got exactly what you prayed for?" ummmm yeah, how can I complain anymore?  God is good, focus on the positives!


The endocrinologist weighed me, and at 29 weeks, I had gained exactly 20 pounds.  Great, thought I, I am right on track to gain 30 pounds like normal.  But then do you know what he said?  Do you?  He said 20 pounds was the MAX amount of weight I should gain with gestational diabetes.  What?

Oh no you di-int!

The nerve.


All in all, I am glad I actually took the test (as opposed to the last pregnancy where I refused it) because it looks like I do have issues with controlling my blood sugar no matter how healthy I think I am.  I know a lot of times doctors get a bad rap, but sometimes they actually know what they're doing ;)  If you have any good tips for me, success stories, blogs or Instagram accounts I should follow to get more advice, leave a comment.  Knowledge is power!  

Have a great sugar-free, low-carb kind of weekend everybody!  Oh wait, that's just all the treats y'all!

Friday, June 3, 2016

7 Rambly Quick Takes

Here we go, it's Friday so I'm hopping on Kelly's train and chugging along to the weekend.


Maggie's class had a Wax Museum at school.  Her teacher is new this year and so none of my kids had done this before, but it turned out so great!  They researched a historical figure, wrote a paper and made a poster board (all at school, alleluia for no at-home work) and then dressed as their figure yesterday.  People could go around the room and press a button to hear them talk about who they were and why they were important.  Maggie chose Albert Einstein, and I ordered a white wig from amazon, but it didn't come in time, so I used lots of hairspray instead.  Maggie is the girl who never lets me do anything to her hair, and she was not pleased with the look, but I think it looked great!

I'm not going to smile.


Declan is such a sweet little boy, I keep praying to God to make this next boy be even half as wonderful.  Toddlers are the best.  

Fish face



Oy, so if you follow me on Instagram you already know that I failed my first gestational diabetes test this week.  This test is something I failed with Andrew and then passed at the 3 hour follow-up, failed with Maggie and then was a borderline failure on the longer test (I failed by a couple points, so I just watched my diet) and now I need to take the 3 hour test yet again tomorrow morning.  I have such a hatred for this test that I flat out refused to take it with Declan's pregnancy, and my midwife allowed it upon seeing how anxious it was making me.  This new doctor would not allow me to skip it, and maybe that's a good thing in the end if I really do have it.  My only risk factor is being maternally ancient, and there's nothing I can do about that!  I eat healthy, walk 4 to 6 miles a day, take all the vitamins, drink all the water, avoid all the bad stuff.  I'm the perfect patient, so I'm hoping to pass with flying colors tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.


The school kids had a music concert last week and they sang the song "Africa" which always makes me think of this video that Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell made:

and this one about her birthday present from him:

Gosh those two are so cute together :)


We are trying to make summer plans while knowing a baby boy is due in August, and here's what we got going on:

Opposite Day.

Me: Work until I push out this baby, then vacation maternity leave!

Phil: Take care of the kids and run a 3 week summer camp at their school.

JP (13): Strength & Conditioning camp for a week, Soccer camp for a week, mile race each week, soccer season starts in July, summer camp at school, and a possible Counselor in Training program for two weeks.

Andrew (11): Soccer camp for a week, Basketball camp for a week, mile race each week, summer camp at school, soccer season starts in July.

Eamon (9): Basketball summer league, tennis lessons twice a week in August, mile race each week, summer camp at school, soccer season starts in July.

Maggie (8): Tennis lessons twice a week in August, swimming lessons twice a week, summer camp at school, mile race each week.

Xander (turning 5 in July): Tennis lessons twice a week in August, swimming lessons twice a week, summer camp at school, mile race each week.

Declan (2): Being brought along to all of the things :)

It seems like a lot, but most of them are just drop off/pick ups or the camps are held where I work, or with Phil and we've found that an unplanned summer does not actually make our family happy.  We are an out-and-about type of family who needs to be active and outdoors or we're all hungry and cranky and bored at home.  Besides, next summer we will have a 9 month old and that might make doing a lot of activities more difficult.


From around the net:

Mary wrote a piece about the Culture of Outrage that hit the nail on the angry head.

Susan had her seventh son and gave him an awesome name!

Jolie wrote about how an IUD caused her PPD.  It's such an obvious connection to me that if you take hormones to change your body's healthy fertility, there are going to be some negative side effects.  Medication is supposed to fix something that's wrong, not change something that's healthy.


 I'm going to *try* and read more this summer, and my first book will be this one after Ellen recommended it.  Any other books you think I must read? I've literally read next to nothing since grad school, and those were all business books, so yeah, help a mother out!

Have a great yard-working, glucose-drinking, graduation-filled kind of weekend everybody!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Who Designed Pregnancy, Anyway?

I mean, the answer to that question is God, duh, but sometimes I wonder what He was thinking with this whole pregnancy thing...

Perhaps I could have come up with a better plan...but nobody asked me!

The most important formation of a baby's nervous system occurs during a time period when you don't even know you're pregnant!  Mamas could be smoking, drinking, not taking certain vitamins all while little bambino's brain is developing.  That's crazy!

Once you know you're pregnant and want/need to eat healthy for the baby, all food makes you want to throw up.  For me, it's either not eat and feel sick or eat carbs all the time and feel less sick.  Neither are the best nutrition plans for growing a human.

If you're lucky, and the morning sickness all day sickness is only temporary, you know you should be eating a healthy, wholesome diet, but look down at your huge belly and think "Why even bother?" as you grab the ice cream and a spoon at 9 pm.

Can't sleep during the time when you know you should be sleeping because sleepless nights with a crying and hungry baby are a' coming!

Exercise is important for mom and baby, but there are so many restrictions on what you can do, plus that big ol' belly doesn't make doing anything easy.

Drinking lots of water is also crucial for mom and baby's health but the pressure of baby on bladder means it's hard to get anything else done between the sipping and peeing.

You want to cherish the time with your current toddler before he gets ousted from his baby throne, but are told not to pick him up.  Because, you know, when the baby arrives, your arms will be freer then ;)

A common pregnancy phenomenon is getting the "dropsies" where you literally drop all the things all the time.  Every time you try to pick it up, it's like a remake of the "I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up" commercial.

After going through labor (and they definitely termed that correctly), all you want to do is recover and sleep, as a normal human would from any other major physical feat.  But nope, here's your hungry baby that wants to be fed at all hours of the day and night!

If breastfeeding babies is best, then why does it hurt so much for the first few weeks?  Couldn't we at least skip that pain?  Perhaps the men could have the mammary glands?

The best design of pregnancy, however, is the miracle of life that you get to hold after 9 long months of torture, and a sibling is the best gift you could give to your kids.  All of this suffering is for something that is so amazing, it never gets old...and is so worth it, we keep doing it again and again and again!  What can be greater than being a mother?

The Most Important Person
on earth is a mother. She
cannot claim the honor of
having built Notre Dame
Cathedral. She need not. She
has built something more
magnificent than any
cathedral—a dwelling for an
immortal soul, the tiny
perfection of her baby's
body...The angels have not
been blessed with such a
grace. They cannot share in
God's creative miracle to bring
new saints to Heaven. Only a
human mother can. Mothers
are closer to God the Creator
than any other creature; God
joins forces with mothers in
performing this act of
creation... What on God's
good earth is more glorious
than this: to be a mother?
—Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

Maybe God knew what He was doing after all ;)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Our Kitchen Remodel

The first half of 2016 was a time of remodel in the Martin casa.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  No, scratch that, it was pretty much the worst until it was all finished.  I learned a lot about myself during this process, namely that I have no patience, design skills, or enough energy to care about these kind of decisions.  Poor Phil.

We had put our house (condo, actually) on the market twice and it didn't sell, so we decided to remodel to allow us to keep living in it with our growing family.  At the start of the year, we painted the upstairs bathroom, painted the little boys' room, reorganized furniture in all the kids' bedrooms, had a bedroom built for Maggie and ripped up carpet to install new flooring.  You can see those changes here.  

Then we moved on to the downstairs.  I had been dreaming of opening up our kitchen since we moved in ten years ago, but was never sure exactly what to do.  As you can see from these pictures, it was a pretty small space for our big table and the counter space was minimal...

One day, I had the bright idea to knock down that wall where those brown cabinets are and expand the kitchen into our bedroom (on the other side of that wall).  There was an unused chimney to the left of those brown cabinets that would also have to come out, and a beam would need to be placed on the ceiling for support as it was a load bearing wall.  I even made a video asking HGTV for help but then never sent it.

When you walked through that single white door, you walked into our old bedroom...

Look at that dinosaur of a tv!

That mirror there to the left hung on the built-in shelves and drawers where so many of my clothes were stored.  It also was the wall that included the unused chimney and would need to come down.  Then this bedroom would be turned into the dining room area, which you can see in the AFTER photos...