Thursday, December 31, 2020
Monday, December 28, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020
Monday, December 7, 2020
Friday, December 4, 2020
Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?
Thanksgiving was a bummer. There, I said it. I tried, really tried to rally my enthusiasm and have a wonderful day at home, but little things kept going wrong - like the restaurant we were going to order the chicken fingers from was closed even though they were supposed to be open, and it was pouring outside so we couldn't run the family turkey trot or football game. Phil was working on a project for most of the day (not blaming him, he is doing it for me!) and we couldn't see anyone...and it all added up to the lamest Thanksgiving ever. Which is saying something, considering that one Thanksgiving morning years ago, as we were getting ready to head up to New Hampshire to my brother's house who was hosting my whole family, Alexander started throwing up and we had to cancel and eat whatever food we had in the house instead. But yeah, this one felt even worse than that one. I tried to salvage the day by decorating for Christmas that night, which helped my spirits for about an hour before the inevitable fatigue and stress of decorating kicked in. Now, let me be clear that my kids and husband seemed to have a great day, and I wasn't literally moping around, but internally I was Debbie Downer. I just don't want another pandemic holiday for Christmas, but I don't see how it's going to be any better??
Geesh Colleen, snap out of it!
I know, you're right. I have so many things to be grateful for, and I am normally such an optimist, but that day just hit me hard in all the feels. Onward and upward and offer it up!
How about some photos of the day?
Thursday, December 3, 2020
If somebody has figured out how to stop kids from growing up, I'll buy stock in that company because man oh man, I can't believe that I have another teenager! My beautiful Maggie Rose turned 13 and "felt so spoiled" by all the lovely well wishes and gifts and prayers that came her way. Her godmother is a sister and her godfather is a priest (we got all bases covered!) and her godfather is also the chaplain at our high school, so when I walked into morning Mass on her birthday, I heard him say "Today's Mass is celebrated for Maggie Martin" and I realized just how lucky she is. The nice thing is that she also knows it. She is a sweetheart, who is so appreciative and spent the last part of her birthday evening writing thank you notes.
Maggie got donuts for breakfast before school, and chose tortellini (with cheese and meat) with two choice of sauces (pesto and red) and a salad and rolls with cinnamon butter as her birthday dinner. Mmmmm it was a crowd pleaser.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
I wasn't going to put together our Martin Family Gift Guide for 2020 because families have enough struggles and worries this year and I don't want anyone feeling guilty if they can't make this Christmas "as wonderful" as Christmases past. I also feel bad because I do 95% of our shopping through Amazon, Walmart and Target and I know it's small shops that are struggling this year. But I have to be real, and this authentic, busy, tired mom of many needs to be able to shop online on her lunch break, or add something to a cart while waiting at piano lessons, and this is the easiest way for me to get it all completed. So I'm just listing the gifts my kids received this year, and hoping it blesses some of you readers who need some inspiration to get the job done so we can create a bit of magic as we say GOODBYE TO 2020! And maybe you can give your kid a moment like this:
FOR THE TEENS
The favorite present was definitely this Ping Pong Set
FOR THE TWEENS
LED Lights for their room
Amazon Fire Tablet 10
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AGE
Christian Name Sign (great First Communion or Baptism gift)
FOR THE PRESCHOOLERS
A cool racing car kit
Floppy hat (seen below on the youngest two)
FOR THE ADULTS
Best gift this year was this tabletop fire pit for our screened porch:
FOR THE READERS
The Grumpy Old Ox (kids)
Little Blue Truck books (little kids)
Justice on the Accropolis (age 8-12)
A Journal for Boys (ages 8-12)
Will Wilder Books (tweens and teens)
The Outlaw Series (teens)
Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALS Lead and Win (teens and adults)
Looking for more ideas?
Here's our BIG Family Shopping Guide
Thanks for shopping through my links and helping me make Christmas more magical for my family :)
Friday, November 20, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
The Vatican CHRISTMAS Cookbook, Filled with Delicious Stories and Tales from Rome (Great Gift Idea!)
From the Back Cover
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
If you're a gambling type, or if you just want to help support my sons' high school fundraiser, may I kindly implore you to purchase a $10 raffle ticket to be entered in 39 drawings (prizes from $150 to $2021). Each raffle ticket is entered for all of the drawings, so the odds are in your favor :)
To support JP - choose John-Paul M. Senior Spartan as the participant
To support Andrew - choose Andrew M. Sophomore Spartan as the participant
Thanks in advance and Good Luck!
Friday, November 13, 2020
Brothers gotta snuggle!
Thursday, November 12, 2020
We were asked to review The Grumpy Old Ox by Anthony DeStefano and I jumped at the chance because he is one of my favorite children's book authors.
When the ox sees Mary and Joseph with nothing, forced to give birth in the barn, he feels compassion for their hardships. He pushes the manger over to Mary for a bed for Jesus, and he shares his water with her. When shepherds and kings and other animals show up, the ox realizes that this baby must be really special, perhaps even a king! When the holy family leaves, the ox misses the love that was shared in the barn and decides to change his mean ways. After a long sleep, the ox woke and realized he could see and his lame leg was healed. He knew it must have been a gift from the little king, and as he exclaims that he can now see, at last, we all understand he is not just talking about his vision. Jesus had transformed him spiritually as well. The Grumpy Old Ox is an adorable story of conversion with lots to talk about once the book was finished. We loved it.
Whenever I have envisioned the nativity of Our Lord, I think I romanticized the whole thing. A cute couple in a warm lit up barn, surrounded by adoring animals where Jesus lay in a manger. But there was so much more to it than that. Mary and Joseph had to endure the fear of traveling while pregnant, to an unknown place with nowhere to stay. Giving birth alone without family around, knowing the baby you are carrying is God, yet still being treated as if you are nobodies. Having been through labor so many times, I know the normal anxiety that comes with delivering a child, and I have a team of medical professionals at my side! I can't imagine understanding what was to come and feeling so unprepared for it to happen. But Mary is a much holier woman than I (duh!) and uses the whole story to teach us a lesson (or two or a hundred). I read recently a reflection that Mary, if she wasn't sinless, could have easily told Joseph to step aside, or chastised him, after he failed to find a room at the inn, and taken care of business herself (as I imagine I would!). Instead, Our Lady was such an example of gentleness and peacefully trusting in God's plans that she just quietly and obediently rolled with it. Her whole life was a series of yesses to doing God's will, and saying no to her own desires. Anyway, there are lots to think about in this upcoming Christmas season, and reading this sweet story with rhymes, beautiful illustrations, and a powerful message of conversion is a great way to start.
Friday, November 6, 2020
We left our house around 5:30 and it was cold (in the thirties!) but still light out. I was so happy we brought the wagon and the youngest two kids jumped in and out all night.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
My Name is Colleen and I'm a Mom of Many...Failures (Or Why I Am Changing Our Approach to Kids and Phones)
To be clear, it's not that my children are my failures, it's just that I have so many times in my parenting journey where I feel like I have failed them. I've realized (early on!) that having a lot of children doesn't make me a better mom, it just gives me more chances to keep improving. Much like a student who has to repeat a grade in school wouldn't be considered a perfect student, having to raise seven toddlers doesn't a perfect mother make. Oh sure, I've learned some tricks of the trade, but I've also learned what does not work just as frequently.
Now that's a mom fail ;)
Friday, October 30, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
It's easy to despair lately. A pandemic that has been going on for seven months. An upcoming election with two candidates who make me feel a little nervous and embarrassed for our country. So much hatred and fighting on social media that makes me wonder what happened to social decency. Canceled events, missed sports, increase in COVID testings, people out of work, depressed, lonely, and scared. It's been too long and too much and I just need to link up with Kelly and keep focusing on the positives, such as...