Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A Letter to My Son, On the Eve of His 18th Birthday

 Dear JP,

     Is it too cliche to ask "where has the time gone?"  Weren't you just my little baby, born five weeks early, to two young kids in love but clueless on how to raise a human?  How are you turning eighteen years old tomorrow?  Why has your childhood flown by in the blink of an eye, when there were so many days that I couldn't wait for you to outgrow a certain phase, reach a certain milestone, become more independent?  And now that you've arrived a young man, are you ready?

    Have your dad and I done enough to prepare you for the real world?  Have we protected your innocence for as long as possible while still getting you ready to go out on your own?  That's a very fine line to walk as a parent, you know.  To shield you from danger but teach you how to be strong.  There were plenty of times, I'm sure, where we held on a little too tightly, but it's only because we couldn't bear the thought of your heart being broken.  

    From the beginning of your life, you have honestly been such a wonderful child.  Born on my birthday, I always tell you that you are my favorite gift.  You were a content baby, so easy to please and quick to smile.  I could lay you down anywhere and you would put yourself to sleep, no fuss, no drama.  You grew into the sweetest toddler who wanted nothing more than to please your parents.  I have so many videos showcasing your obedience and willingness to help.  At the ripe old age of four, you became the oldest of four children, and though the world probably thought I was in over my head, I knew I had such a mature little helper in you.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Lenten Lesson from My Littlest

Like most of you, our family has had a lot of conversations about Lent.  As a family, we give up desserts each year (we allow fruit), and then we all think of what we will voluntarily give up in addition to that.  It's definitely interesting to see the different personalities and how hard or easy they make their Lenten sacrifices :)  We also "cheat" by partaking in our Lenten sacrifices on Sundays and birthdays and feast days that occur throughout Lent.  

So on Sunday, I said to my four year old that he could play on the Wii.  He told me "I gave away screens for Lent, so I can't" but then I reminded him that it was Sunday, and he could indeed play on screens, and off he happily ran.  

His words have been echoing in my mind ever since.  He said that he "gave away" screens for Lent instead of "gave up".  It was just cute little toddler misspeak yet it made me think about how I have given up things for Lent but then dive right back in as soon as Easter arrives.  Things that I should have really given away completely.  

Social media is the perfect example of this.  I used to give it up for Lent because I could see all the negatives it had for me, but then on Easter, I was eagerly posting photos once again and catching up on whatever I had missed.  This past year, I finally just quit for good after watching The Social Dilemma and receiving the grace and strength that I needed to do it.  For me, social media was something I used to "give up" regularly but really should have "given away" a long time ago.

So how do you know when there is something in your life that should be "given up" temporarily or "given away" for good?  

I think a simple answer is to imagine yourself on Easter Sunday, doing whatever it is you've given up for Lent.  Do you like picturing that version of yourself?  

When I give up sweets and then indulge on Easter...I don't hate sweet-eating Colleen.  But when I gave up Instagram, and then scroll for hours once I have it back...I do not like that Colleen.  If someone were to give up swearing for Lent but then starts cussing on Easter, well I think we all know that's gotta go!

  That's a silly example, and sometimes it's only by continually giving something up that we learn how to finally give it away, but other times we need to be honest with ourselves and see what needs to go away forever.  Just a little Lenten lesson from my preschooler :)  

{Linking up with Rosie for more}

Friday, February 19, 2021

7QT: Winter Break, Best Pancakes, and Breast Isn't Best


It's February break here in Massachusetts!  We get this week off from school, and in a normal year, most people either go skiing or somewhere warm.  This year, we're all just staycationing and enjoying the snow and lack of work and deadlines and commitments.  Lucy Doodle Martin loves it when we're all home and she gets extra long walks each day.  She gave us a scare this week when she seemed like she was having seizures, and then eventually threw up the stuffing from the bed in her crate.  Ugh.  Why, Lucy, why?  

Or better yet, " got some 'splaining to do!"

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Rich in Love: Valentine's Day 2021

My parents love to tell a story of when I was a young girl growing up on Cape Cod.  

You see, Cape Cod has a lot of beach towns where some of the richest of the rich have second or third homes, like this.  We happened to live in a village (Osterville) where a lot of wealthy and famous people lived and/or vacationed.  Because of this, I had friends that lived in gated communities, in gorgeous huge homes, or right on the water with private beaches.

I always knew that we did not share the same lifestyles.  My parents were hard-working business owners who were able to provide a beautiful life for us six kids, but the joke was that "we lived on the wrong side of Osterville".  Not that there's really any bad side of Osterville :)

But back to the story.  One day, after hearing me describe in detail the home one of my friend's lived in,  my parents asked me if I wished we had a house like that, and I said "No, we may not be rich but we're rich in love."  

I knew from a young age that even though I (thoroughly) enjoyed lavish lifestyles, I would rather have a loving family than lots of stuff.  I think God was preparing me for a life with a theology-teaching husband and seven children of my own.  Because while we certainly aren't rich, we do have lots and lots of love to share and I couldn't love my valentines anymore!!

We shared sweet treats and cards, and my Valentine of 21 years gave me an Adventure Challenge: Couples Edition for many more dates to come!

 Thank you Lord for the virtue of contentment with the gifts I've been given, gifts that money can't buy!  I hope you all had a LOVEly Valentine's Day as well :)  

Friday, February 12, 2021

State of the Martin(s) Address

 How about some life updates on my seven wonders?  Yes?  Ok!  

John-Paul (age 17 for 2 more weeks)

JP is finishing up his senior year in high school, keeping up his 4.0 GPA with a hard load of AP classes.  He has heard back from 9 out of the 10 colleges he's applied to and has gotten great scholarships to all of them.  He earned $39,000 off tuition at one school (woah!), but the tuition is $72,000 (woah!) sooooooo big scholarships don't necessarily translate to being able to afford the school.  His top choice is still Franciscan where we think he can graduate in three years because of his AP credits.  He definitely wants to pursue a career in medicine, most likely Physician's Assistant, so he has grad school or med school ahead of him and that will be the expensive part.  He continues to work at the grocery store (and the ice cream store when it opens this Spring) though he took a two-month hiatus from working so that he could attend EMT classes, which is why he's dressed like that in the photo.  His normal attire is sweatpants and a hoodie.  His EMT classes end next week and then he will take the exams right after he turns 18.  He's hoping to rack up a lot of patient care hours through a future EMT job because that's what he'll need to get into a PA program.  Oh!  And he's dating a beautiful girl from Texas, but I won't mention her name here so as not to embarrass her.  They are so sweet together, and we know and love her family.  Every teenage parent's dream is for their child to date someone far far away, amiright?

Monday, February 8, 2021

Weekend Wrap Up: Excavators, Lots of Food, a Snowstorm and a Superbowl

What a nice weekend we had!  I started a new medication to help with the lingering shingles pain, and I finally am sleeping at night.  Sleep deprivation is serious torture!  Life seems, shall I say, liveable?  Since being homebound for a month, I was able to start venturing out again, which I know my family appreciates.  After putting the littles to bed on Friday night, Phil and I went grocery shopping to get ahead of the Sunday craziness - Superbowl plus a big snowstorm.  $350 worth of groceries later, and that may have been our most expensive date night ;) 

On Saturday morning, we took the kids to see Haley and Jonathan's lot, which they have begun clearing in order to start building their dream home to be ready for when they get married.  For a certain four year old named Brendan who LOVES excavators, it was kind of a big deal :)

I mean, look at the shirt he wore for the occasion...

Friday, February 5, 2021

7QT: Shingles Update, Chaffles Recipe, School Scenario and Give Me More Blogs to Read!

 Happy First Friday in February!


In case you are wondering, yes I'm still suffering the effects of shingles at the 4-week mark.  I'm trying to stay hopeful that the itchiness and burning and pain will be gone by 6 weeks.  Otherwise, it's possible that I have PHN and will have neurological issues lasting months/years.  Please pray it goes away, I can't take much more suffering!  The sad thing is that I offered up my suffering when I was first diagnosed for a mom and baby who need some medical miracles, and now I'm like "Just kidding God, can you use my suffering for someone who doesn't need it very much?"  Boy, this road to (hopeful) sainthood is humbling.  In my story, nobody will say how I suffered heroically.  But I'm praying the (complaint-filled) suffering alone gets me some points.


Upon reading horror stories of shingles (one lady who had it in the same area as me scratched her scalp so much that she created a hole in her skull!) I learned that eating a low-inflammation diet might help.  While I'm not going Whole 30 yet, I immediately tried to remove a lot of grains and sugar from my diet.  I bought this little waffle maker to make chaffles (one egg + 1/2 cup shredded cheese = 2 chaffles) and I am in love.  I add a little garlic powder to make cheesy garlic bread and I promise you, I don't miss bread...yet.  Here was my lunch today - an egg salad chaffle:

Monday, February 1, 2021

Meals Lately and Supplements Daily

We've been cooking up some delicious meals and desserts over at Casa Martin, and since I can't post my #martinfamilymealsfornine on Instagram anymore (RIP), I thought I'd try to keep up with it here every once in a while.

My sister-in-law Diana sent us this Pannukakku recipe and a cast iron pan for Christmas, and we made it for breakfast this past weekend.  The kids loved it and next time I will definitely saute apples to add on top, as I do not like syrup.