Wednesday, July 27, 2016

X to the 5th

My handful of a fifth child turned five yesterday!  I was the fifth child, and a perfect one at that, so I'm not sure why Alexander isn't following suit ;)  He certainly keeps us on our toes.  Case in point, two days before his birthday, he was sitting beside me on the couch and went to stand up.  His little legs were tucked beneath him, and as he went to pull one out, it got stuck on the leather (pleather?) and he fell face first into our coffee table.  There was mucho blood and after the tears and blood stopped, he looked like this:

I sent out an SOS on Instagram and emailed my dentist's office a photo, and the Office Manager called me back from home, on a Sunday, because she's awesome and we share the same name.  

Side Note 1: every time I call the dentist's office, I have to clarify who I am by saying "Colleen Martin, the pregnant one"  or "Colleen Martin, the one with all the kids" so they know which one I am.  

Anyhoo, she said to bring him in for an xray the next day.  The next morning, he wasn't in any pain, and Phil took him to camp with him until his appointment later that afternoon.  After morning Mass, I get a text from Phil that Xander had opened up his water bottle with his teeth (as one does) and the tooth got wiggly and started bleeding and he pulled it out himself!  I won't share the tooth photo here again but you can hop over here to see what a baby tooth looks like, root and all.  I took him to the dentist and they just cleaned it up a bit, took an xray and said there's nothing more to be done now.  God is good, because he may have had to get it pulled if it didn't come out on its own!  We went for some (soft-serve!) ice cream to celebrate:

Xander was very excited to show everybody his tooth in the cool tooth holder they gave him, that he almost lost it twice at my parent's house within minutes.  That would have been devastating because how would the tooth fairy have come??!!??  

Side Note 2: I once lost my little sister's tooth under out kitchen island when we were kids.  She got so mad at me and I had to write a note to the tooth fairy apologizing.  It was traumatic for the both of us and I can't not think of that story every time my kids lose teeth.

On the morning of his 5th birthday, Xander awoke to a whole dollar from the tooth fairy!

Side Note 3: JP declared that he only got a quarter for his first tooth and then a nickel for each one following.  Total lie, but he really believes it.

  And now his smile looks like this:

Hey Shorty, it's your birthday, and we know the rest.  

He picked pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream for his birthday dinner (he called it "dreakfast") and Declan be like, where's my berries and cream, woman?

He got some too, don't fret, we just wanted him to eat some pancakes first and once the whipped cream comes out, that's all he will eat.  Who can blame him?

 Then came presents from Mom and Dad:

Eamon was at a basketball game, and JP was taking the world's longest shower when gifts happened.  It was already past bedtime so we kept the party rolling right along.  You snooze (or ball or shower) you lose!

He got a Superhero Book, an Avenger Wii game, another Avenger Wii game, a stomp rocket, and a pack of dinosaur flashcards.  He also got a bouncy ball from Andrew and one from Eamon, so sweet.

My parents and his godfather will be coming over on Sunday to celebrate again, where we will have Chinese food and ice cream sundaes (birthday boy's choice!).  My parents couldn't make it on his actual birthday because my Dad had surgery to remove the staples placed in his chest after his open heart surgery a couple years ago.  They were causing him pain, so out they went, and he looks like he did fantastic:

Grandparents of 22 on St Joachim & St. Anne's feast day.

Side note 4: That's grilled cheese and chicken soup for dinner, in case you were wondering like some of my siblings were in the group texts last night.  We love to eat :)

Happy 5th Birthday, Alexander Blaise!  We can't get enough of you and your funny, shy, accident-prone, quirky personality.  I'm pretty sure God broke the mold when He created you! You're our one-in-a-million kid and we love you so much!

Friday, July 22, 2016

7QT: Summer Camp Ideas

Phil's in the middle of his three week summer camp, and he's been doing some really neat crafts with the kids that I thought might be fun to share.  If anyone is stuck at home this summer with bored (and hungry!  always hungry!) kids, here's some ideas to liven things up.



This seemed to be the favorite activity so far.  The directions are here.


Superhero Capes

I never would have thought to use cheap disposable tablecloths for this, but they worked out great!  Directions here.  This project can take up a lot of time (if that's your objective) because you can have the kids come up with a superhero, write down their superpowers, design their costume and then create it.  Fun!


Bubblewrap Dance Party

Phil hasn't done this activity yet, but he bought bubblewrap to tape to the floor and have kids play freeze dance on top of it.  When the music stops, whoever pops is out.  He also is going to tape sections of the bubble wrap to the floor and have contests to see which group can pop all their bubbles first.


Sun Art

Phil made us 7 little shamrocks :)

Using this special paper, you can let the sun make designs from objects in nature (or any objects) that you place underneath.


Making Homemade Ice Cream

Using directions like these, but in empty protein powder containers (we love our protein shakes!) the kids made actual ice cream yesterday and said it was great!


Sponge Balls

He tries to take the kids out for water play a lot, and though he's a HUGE fan of these water balloons, this year he also tried making sponge balls and they turned out great because you can keep using them after all the balloons have popped.


Spaghetti & Marshmallow Towers

This is a really cheap activity.  You can do it in groups or individually and judge it in any way you'd like - most creative, tallest, longest, etc.

And a bonus, here's some:

Silly Songs that Get Stuck in Your Head

The kids are loving these videos to dance and sing to at the end of everyday:

Have a dance-filled, craft-filled, anti-boring kind of weekend everybody!  Linking up with Kelly as one does on Fridays :)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Identity Crisis

When I was pregnant with Baby 5, I remember my four biggest kids discussing if the baby was a boy or girl.  I told them they had to wait until the baby was born to find out.  My three year old daughter piped up and said "That's right!  If the baby is bald, it's a boy.  But if the baby has long hair, it's a girl!"  We smiled at her innocence and left it at that.  He was born a bald boy, so it all worked out in the end :)

On Friday, I posted a quick little comment thinking about how we know this baby in utero is a boy based only on his biological boy parts scanned by an ultrasound technician.  "Oh, he's definitely a boy" she assured us even though I was pretty certain this bambino was going to be a girl.  We didn't even think to question her judgment.  It was plain as day on the screen that he was, no IS, indeed a boy.

Yet, I am left to wonder, why is it that once those babies are born and grow up, it's not so simple?  Why is there now a disparity between sex organs and one's gender?  What used to be so black and white is now all shades of gray.  We've always taught our kids since they were little that you "get what you get, and you don't get upset" when it comes to playing the hand they've been dealt.  But now the world is trying to tell them that the most basic issue in our life: our gender, is questionable, is changeable?  How did we get here?  Has nobody read the Emperor's New Clothes?  He's naked people!

Don't get me wrong, I truly feel so badly with anyone who struggles with this issue in their life.  A boy who thinks he should have been a girl or a girl who identifies as a male...but that doesn't mean we need to change our definitions of male and female identity.  We need to help these people who feel at war with their bodies.  Offer them counseling, prayer, medications, anything to help them mentally and emotionally accept their state in life.  Because their struggle is a mental disease.  And to proclaim their mental anguish as a heroic testament to the human race isn't fair to anyone.

If we allow people to look down at their bodies and decide they were created "wrong" and allow them to identify as another gender, then we have to be okay with allowing anyone to identify as anything whenever they want.  Are we ready for that?  Consider the following:

When I am in need of some time off from work, can I identify as a 67 year old woman and qualify for retirement benefits?

When my kids apply to college, can they identify as minorities/geniuses/star athletes to obtain more scholarship money?

When my doctor says I am obese, can I identify as a 6'9" tall man who is actually underweight?

When my baby won't stop crying at night, can I identify as a college girl and pack up and head for a semester abroad in Europe?

When my husband forgets to pick up his dirty socks in the bathroom again, can I identify as an unmarried woman and find a new spouse?

When there are no close parking spaces at the mall, can I identify as handicapped to scoop up the last remaining spot by the door?

When I love my pet dog, I mean really just think he is the love of my life, can I marry him?  Love is love, right?

Why can't I choose to identify as a different person with a  different lifestyle when that is exactly what is being pushed through our culture right now.  It seems crazy, right?  But how can anyone judge me for wanting to be a completely different person than what I was born to be when I'm not allowed to judge them for doing the same?  When does identifying as somebody or something we are clearly not become a lie and not just a life choice?  When did coming out with a different identity earn a person accolades for being "brave" and "heroic"?  How do we stop the madness yet still be compassionate and kind to all those suffering?  

Monday, July 18, 2016

PinkBlush Winner!!

Congrats to...

Becky Lyons Borgia

who said she would pick this dress if she won:

Well Happy Shopping!  You just won a $75.00 gift card to PinkBlush Maternity :) 

Email me at collmart at gmail dot com and we can get the money into your hands.  Thank you everyone for playing, and to PinkBlush for the great giveaway!

Friday, July 15, 2016

7QT on the Ides of July

TGIFing the heck out of today and linking up with Kelly as one does on a Friday.


Baby Boy Martin is finally cooperating!!  I feel like every test, every ultrasound, every appointment I just get bad news (not life threatening news, just never what I'm expecting) but finally yesterday, the little stinker stopped being a stinker and started towing the line.  

That's his profile (white nose) with a hand up to his forehead.  It's like he was saying "I just can't even."

He's no longer breech!  He's head down and weighs about 5 lbs. 11 oz. (70% on growth chart) and is measuring 10 days ahead based on the size of his belly.  Less than six weeks to go!  But hopefully more like 4?!?!?!


JP came with me to the ultrasound yesterday, and was so intrigued.  It must be weird to be 13, understand where babies come from, and then have a pregnant mom.  But he takes it all in stride and is excited to meet his littlest brother.  He does keep reminding me that he'll be going to college when this little one is going to Kindergarten, to which I tell him to stop talking.  Mama can't take that kind of reality check.  When the ultrasound tech paused over the male baby bits and confirmed he is still indeed a boy, JP blushed.  So sweet.


Speaking of boy parts...if sex organs no longer determine if humans are a male or female, and instead people can decide for themselves what gender they want to be, isn't it "wrong" or "judgemental" for medical staff to tell parents what gender a baby is?  Shouldn't we let the baby decide when he/she is born?  Wouldn't it be rude to proclaim at the moment of birth that the baby is a boy if he identifies as a girl?  How are we going to handle this one, liberal America??


Phil is finishing his first week of summer camp, and the kids are having a blast.  Our friend, Liz, is assisting him this year, and she's a 5th grade teacher with tons of great ideas.  Phil says he couldn't do it without her.  Some people are born with that creative, arts and craft gene and some of us are not.  Thank God for all types.  Anyway, yesterday they had superhero day:

They've also had a puppet show come in to teach the kids about how to treat people with handicaps (they are handicapable! we are all human!  treat everyone normally!  right Kelly?)  Last year it was about wheelchairs and this year it was about blind people.  The kids got to learn a little braille, and were so impressed by anyone that can read it - that is very tricky!  They play water games, go to daily Mass, play sports and at the park, dance, sing, have time to complete their summer work for school, and generally just have fun and busy days.  I'm so proud of Phil for putting so much time and energy into making this camp happen.  He makes it look easy!


Did you know McDonald's has a large selection of flavored iced coffees that are unsweetened?  I'm drinking my Blueberry coffee with cream as I type.  Take that gestational diabetes!  Mmmmmmm, summah time!


Twice a week, Maggie and Xander go to swimming lessons at the outdoor pool at the YMCA near us.  After their lesson is finished, there's open swim time and I jump in (well, slowly descend in) to the pool and float around for half an hour.  It's the perfect way to end a summer day, and I am thinking about extending their lessons just so I can keep swimming until the baby is born.  


So I'm not officially nesting yet...there's no bassinet or baby clothes in sight at Casa Martin, but I am trying to check things off my to do list.  Baby's due date is also the kid's first day of school, so I am buying and organizing school supplies, shipping a damaged backpack back to LLBean (love their lifetime guarantee), ordering uniforms, and bought everybody a pair of sneakers and school shoes.  Ever want to feel broke?  Go buy all that stuff for six kids.  Geesh!  I actually got really great prices on the footwear at and Old Navy sells uniform pants for only $12 right now and my boy's favorite underwear is on sale there too.  Bargain hunting is my Confirmation name, so it's actually fun for me.  It'd be funner if someone else was footing the bill, but hey, we made all these kids :)

Have a wonderful relaxing, staying cool, swimming, kind of weekend everybody!  See ya on the flip side (with a winner to my giveaway!)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pinkblush Maternity: Review and GIVEAWAY!!


Pinkblush Maternity gracously sent me a dress to review, and I chose this cute maternity dress:

The best part about it is it's also a nursing dress, so I can wear it after Martin Baby #7 is born...I'm thinking Baptism :)  Here's what I will look like postpartum in this dress:

Again, me at 33.5 weeks pregnant:

And me, momentarily after I give birth:

What's so funny?


But seriously, the dress does come in quite a few colors, and there are so many other adorable dresses to choose from, it was hard to only pick one.  Luckily, you don't have to if you enter and win this giveaway! 

 Pinkblush is giving away $75 for you to shop your little heart out on their site.  How cool is that?  They don't just carry maternity clothing either, they have a large selection of women's and plus sizesactive clothingaccessories, and baby items too! And can I win my own giveaway?  No?  Darn.

All you have to do is leave a comment listing one item you'd love to win from Pinkblush, and then head over to my Instagram for a second entry.  You can not win if you've previously won from Pinkblush within the last three months, otherwise, good luck and happy shopping!  Giveaway ends at midnight on July 17, 2016.

{also linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best}

Friday, July 8, 2016

7QT: Updates and Bumpdates

Wow it's been a while since I've written something in my little corner of the internet.  And mostly that's because my computer desk at home is messy and sits right in front of the window AC for our bedroom, and I really don't want to sit there for any length of time.  Plus we're kinda having a lot of summer fun in between working and I've been enjoying my time spent in reality instead of in blogland.

Why do you always feel the need to justify why you haven't been writing, Colleen?  Everybody's busy with heir own life and couldn't give a care.  Geesh, Colleen, you're a tough mutha.

Anyhoo, I figured I'd do a little update on each person in the Martin house and link it up with Kelly for 7QT even though their are 8 of us currently breathing oxygen, so enjoy that little bonus :)

Without further ado, here we go, Youngest to Oldest:


Declan Kolbe, age 2

My baby is soon to be bumped from his princely position.  He's adorable but can be very two sometimes.  His favorites include: fruit snacks "gummies", cookies, popcorn, bananas, yogurt, singing Happy Birthday to You when he sees a cake or cupcake or balloon, jumping all over the place, dancing, filling buckets with sand at the beach, his nuby (pacifier) and blankie, and wrestling with his brothers.  Dislikes include: speaking in full coherent sentences, hearing no for an answer, eating a full meal in one sitting, being quiet at Mass, and sleeping in past 7 am.  This weekend, the relics of St. Maximillian Kolbe are coming to the city next to us, and I'm so excited to show Declan who he was named after!


Alexander Blaise, age 4

If you talk to him, he will tell you that he is almost five, and as soon as he's five he can go to Kindergarten, wear his new uniform shoes, and ride a bike.  Actually it would take him a long time to open up enough to tell you those things as he is a very shy kid right now.  But shy in a way that manifests itself in some bad choices/crazy behaviors.  Like instead of just getting quiet and burrowing his head in my leg, he will make a crazy face or say something funny but inappropriate and then run off.  If I could define him in one word this summer, I would say it's exhausted.  He won't nap, and even though he goes to bed at 7 pm, he is just constantly tired from all the swimming and outside play time but fights it until we make him go to bed.  Luckily, he is adorably funny and sweet, always ready with a compliment or a keen observation on life, and I just think he's having a major growth spurt of the physical and mental kind right now.  Soon he'll be reading (he's really close!) and biking without training wheels, and swimming without floaties, and this summer he's on the cusp of all that greatness.  It's a lot.


Maggie Rosemary, age 8

Oh my girl who used to seem so hard compared to the boys is my little right hand man woman now.  She sets the table while I cook without prompting, always wants to help me bake, gives me so many sweet hugs, is the most interested in this pregnancy ("This is the best summer because we are going to get a new baby!") and just loves love and attention, as any girl should :)  She finished all her summer work super fast and without complaint, is always looking for something to draw or read (I just remembered how I used to love The Boxcar Children and we went to the library last night to get a few of those).  She's desperate to become a sacristan at our church now that she's received First Communion. One morning she came downstairs and declared that she wanted to spend her First Communion money on a fish tank and fish.  Soon, all the kids were excited about this and pooled their money, and now we have a fish tank with six fish who can mate and have baby fish.  Maggie is convinced hers is already pregnant, and considering her fish is drinking the same water I am, it's entirely possible.  She's taking swimming lessons this summer, and doing really well with her strokes.  I told her she must be such a good swimmer because she was born in the water to which she replied, astonished "I was?!?!?!"  Guess I never told her about her birth story!


Eamon Philip, age 9

This little sweetheart is just that - little and a sweetheart.  His best friend is his cousin Tommy, who is in his class at school, and almost everyday the two of the face time each other just to talk about sports.  Tommy recently sold some raffle tickets as a fundraiser for his lacrosse team, and unbeknownst to me, Eamon used $5 of his own money (serving funerals pays!) to buy a ticket.  One day a check arrived in the mail for Eamon for $150.00 because he won the raffle, he was so excited!!  Now all the kids want to buy raffle tickets and chances for everything they see, and our old warning of "You're just throwing your money away" doesn't deter them anymore since their brother just won big!  He used that money to buy himself a Kindle and case, tithed 10% to the church, and the rest went into his savings account.  Love that kid.  He still really wants to be a priest who lives close to home and is currently playing in a summer basketball league and started soccer practice for the fall.  He's a great athlete despite his skinny nature and we just encourage him to eat all the livelong day.  We also try to encourage him to read, but unless it's a dumb graphic novel or a school assignment, it's a losing battle.


Andrew Pauric, age 11

Andrew is currently about three shades darker than any of the other kids in the family as he somehow inherited the Italian tanning genes that completely missed the rest of my Irish kids.  He is excited to start soccer and basketball camps in the next weeks, loves being at the beach if there are waves and/or cousins to play with, and is the favorite brother of all my kids if I were to ask them.  But I wouldn't.  He's just fun and easy to be around, ready with a smile and a funny comment.  He finished his summer reading book, but writing the paper is like pulling teeth...the boy just hates to write!  If we can't find Andrew, it means he's playing some kind of sport outside with Eamon.  They shoot hoops like it's their job and do fist pumps when it's a practice or game day.  He is super obsessed with his Madden game on his kindle and honestly sometimes I don't even understand him when he talks because it's all about athletes and stats that I don't care about.  But he does and it's cute.


John-Paul, age 13

Every time anyone sees this boy-man who hasn't seen him in a while, they comment on how old/tall/deep-voiced he's gotten.  It's true, he's just about as tall as me now and sprouting a blond mustache that I told him he needs to shave off before 8th grade starts.  Is there anything grosser than teenage boys with mustaches?  Methinks not.  He's starting soccer practices and has a soccer camp next week.  I had to buy him some new cleats in a men's size 9 (!!) because his feet are growing so fast they are skipping sizes.  His current hobbies include eating all the food, reading all the books, weightlifting, and taking an online Algebra math course to help him get ahead for next year.   He wants to know everything before the teacher teaches it, which won't be annoying for the teacher at all, I'm sure ;)  He's a super good big brother to Declan, especially, always willing to put him to bed or carry him around for me.  He is not enjoying our family activities like he used to and sometimes asks to stay home instead of piling in the big old van and heading to the beach.  Sometimes we let him stay home and sometimes we make him go.  We're learning to find the balance alongside with him.


Phil, age 35

Phil is starting the summer camp he runs at our kid's school next week and has been busy scheduling out daily activities and gathering supplies when he's not busy taking care of six kids, grocery shopping, keeping the house clean, and rubbing my pregnant feet every night.  The man is my hero.  He recently had a "perfect beach day" with the kids - hot weather, huge waves, and general happiness from everyone.  He is looking forward to Operation Get Baby Out which will start  the 2nd week in August (read more about that below).  Always taking one for the team, that guy.  Always rising to the occasion.  OK, now I'm blushing.


Colleen, age 29 and holding

I'm 33 weeks and 2 days pregnant and feeling physically good.  Mentally, I'm tired and done with this pregnancy. It's just been so looooong and I want to eat all the naughty foooooods.  Just make like a baby and head out already!  I have an ultrasound next week to determine if baby is still in breech position or not.  I think he is transverse, but I'm terrible at knowing those things.  Last night Phil and I were laying in bed watching the little guy move around so much, and we could see his whole leg or arm moving back and forth, it was really weird!  I remember always seeing bumps poking out, but this was like a leg bone moving around.  As I shared on Instagram, I've been doing really great with controlling my gestational diabetes through diet that my doctor said he's not going to induce me unless I hit 40 weeks.  This was a shock, as the endocrinologist and friends who have been diagnosed with gd all told me that I would be induced at 39 weeks, and we have been planning on a mid-August birthday.  Now we are back to the August 24 bday.  Of course he could come early on his own, and you can bet your bottom dollar that we are going to try our hardest once I hit 38 weeks.  How does one get baby out?  Well, apparently the same way baby gets in.  But I'm open to all other suggestions, so give 'em to me!

Have an awesome summer fun-filled weekend everybody!

P.S.  Stay tuned for a couple giveaways next week!