Monday, January 31, 2022

Blizzard Kenan Weekend Wrapup

On Friday, we celebrated Maggie's Science Fair win!  She placed 1st in 8th grade, and her cousin placed first in 7th grade.  Those are some scientific genes. We always tell our kids to do well enough to get an A on the project, but DON'T WIN because then they have to go compete at regionals, which is a long drive on a weekend.  Our boys all listened to us, but this girl has a mind of her own.  We still love her!

You can see part of Maggie's display behind her "The Rising Power of Baking Powder"

On Saturday morning, we awoke to no power, which made me super cranky that I wouldn't start the day with coffee before Phil boiled water on the gas stove and poured it through the coffee maker.  He would totally survive in the wild and I would be some bear's dinner.

Andrew (17) helped Brendan (5) with his Kindergarten 100 Day Project...

A solar system with a Sun + 8 Planets + Pluto and 90 stars = 100

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Preparing for and Praying up a Storm

Yikes, we are getting a big snow storm on Saturday!!!  We went last night to get groceries, knowing the stores would be crazy busy on Friday afternoon and not having time to go tonight due to basketball games and a meeting.  So we should be all set to ride out the stormwith plenty of food, just praying we don't lose power!

 Speaking of prayer, I have been alternating daily praying of the Litany of Humility and the Litany of Trust...and wow...just wow...these prayers are difficult and convicting!  I'll leave them here for you to read through.  When I get discouraged about how far away I am from sainthood, I try and remember that we are called Practicing Catholics for a reason ;)

{you repeat the phrase in all caps after each line, after the ...}

What intention of yours can I pray for?

Monday, January 24, 2022

Mysteries and Music and Meals, Oh My

 Guys, I am having the weirdest dreams since I had Covid.  

And they all involve babies.

When I had a Covid fever one night, I dreamed about 5 cold babies and 5 hot babies and I was trying to care for them.  I was scrambling to put hats on the cold ones and give ice packs to the hot ones.  Nobody was there to help me and I was very stressed at trying to help all those precious wee ones.

A few days later I dreamed that I was back in the house I grew up in, taking care of a baby that didn't want to nurse.  The baby wasn't even mine, so of course it didn't want to nurse from my dry wells, but I was very aware that the baby would die soon if I couldn't provide food.

Last night I dreamed that there was a toddler and a baby riding bikes, and the baby was holding a tire (like from a car) and kept dropping it, falling off his bike, right in the middle of traffic.  I was trying to drive behind him to make sure nobody hit him.  I can still see his little body in footie pajamas, flopping on the ground.  The toddler kept looking back, getting upset every time the baby fell off.

Well these dreams have got me all shook up,

Hey Joseph, won't you tell me what it means?

Sorry, slipped into my favorite musical for a second.  I'm back now.  What does it mean to dream about babies in distress?  Help me solve this mystery so I can go back to dreamless sleeps!


I haven't brought Xander (10) to his piano lesson in a while, for some reason Phil usually does it, but I thought the little duet he and his teacher played on Saturday was nice:


Wanna know our meal plan this week?  I enjoy seeing others, so here goes:

Breakfast: same smoothie recipe as last week

Lunch: Crockpot Chili


Sunday - Pot Roast with mashed potatoes and corn

Monday- Perfectly marinated grilled chicken on salad

Tuesday - Shepherd's Pie (adding leftovers from Sunday in the dish)

Wednesday - Cheese ravioli (kids) and cheese and veggie omelets (adults)

Thursday - Sheet Pan Sausage (kielbasa) and Veggies with brown rice

Friday - Pizza for kids and Paleo Salmon Cakes with salad

Saturday - Date Night

Sunday Dessert - Chocolate Peanut Butter Blondies (delish!)

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Watching, Wearing, Eating

~ Watching ~

We are currently going through a period of Not Watching much TV in casa Martin, you know trying to read more books, have prayer time, organize the house, go to bed earlier, etc.  But before that began, I finished a series and watched a movie that I wanted to recommend.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I watched this, one episode per week, with my 13 year old and 10 year old.  We all LOVED it.  It is an interesting, funny, quirky, educational, mysterious, pleasing series to watch.  I try to pick a show where we watch one episode per week, instead of binge-watching, to teach my kids patience and how to appreciate anticipation.  We developed lots of inside jokes "Carmelita!!!" and looked forward to each episode very much.  


Finding You

My mom, who is currently stuck at home with my dad to protect his health, recommended this movie to me.  It's a clean chick flick.  The story is set in Ireland and the fiddle playing and scenery are beautiful.  The plot contains many twists from romance to mystery to family values. If you like a good Hallmark movie, this one's for you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tuesday Tidbits - Bye Covid, Hello Exodus 90 and Magnify 90

We only had one more positive case of Covid (Alexander) and the rest of the clan is staying negative which is weird.  Could they be naturally immune?  Whatever the case, I'm very glad that the plague has passed over our house and didn't stay too long.  

This article about a pub in Donegal, Ireland (where my Dad's from) made me smile.  We're just all so sick of it, aren't we?

I don't normally listen to Jordan Peterson (I leave that to my husband) but this was good.  Living in Canada right now might actually stink more than living in America, eh?

How about some non-Covid tidbits? 

Maggie has been working hard on her science fair project.  She is testing the effects of baking powder, which combines her love of baking and eating cupcakes :)  

Declan (7) and Brendan (5) looked so cute doing a workout video with me that I had to snap a photo:

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The COVID Chronicles, Part Two

 I wasn't going to write a Part Two until somebody else tested positive...but there are some things I want to remember about these here goes.

Martin COVID cases - holding steady at 2 (Colleen and Brendan)

The Highs

We're not that sick.  Very thankful for that.

The kids are all jealous that Brendan got it right away and have been trying to catch it.  It's funny to hear them saying "Come cough on me! I want Covid!" when we have been avoiding it and germs for so long.

My senses of taste and smell are coming back.  It's very weird not being able to taste.  I assumed that if it happened to me, I would just eat the most disgusting yet healthy things I could think of, but your brain doesn't let your mouth trick it.  I still wanted to eat chips and chocolate and all those things even though I couldn't taste it.  And I would taste things like "Can I taste this or am I just remembering the taste and what even is *taste*?"  I'm able to taste everything at like 60% so I still can't decipher between the flavors of my seltzer, but I'll take it. 

One of my sisters brought us over dinner last night!  Olive Garden's Gnocchi and Chicken soup with salad and breadsticks.  Perfection:

Not Covid related, but it did happen during the pandemic so it counts. 

We have a new addition to the Martin family.  

Another niece!  Introducing the beautiful Petra:

Trey Kennedy's Covid Variant video made me laugh so hard:

Sunday, January 9, 2022

The COVID Chronicles, Part One

I'm naming this Part One because I am assuming there will be many parts to this story in a family our size.  

*cue dramatic foreshadowing music*

On Tuesday morning I awoke with a sore throat and one stuffy nostril.  It was the left one.  I knew you were wondering.  I took an at-home Covid test and it was negative.  I went to work, sat in my office alone all day (left to go to the bathroom and take my walk at lunch) and went home feeling not unwell but not really well either.  I decided to skip my workout that afternoon, which is a rare event and signals to my husband that I might actually be sick.  I rested in bed, took lots of Vitamin C and Zinc, ate chicken soup, and woke up in the morning feeling better!

I went back to my lonely office on Wednesday, but as the day wore on, I felt more tired and like I wanted to lay my head down on a pillow.  I searched online for Covid tests happening near me and discovered that my town had one that day after work.  Perfect!  Maggie started having cold symptoms that day, so I picked her up and we both got tested.  When I got home, I again rested in bed (more Vitamin C and Zinc!) while Phil held down the fort.  I texted my boss to tell him that I was having cold symptoms and got tested and he let me know that he had just tested positive that day.  That night, I had a strange dream where I was in charge of ten babies and five of them had cold heads, so I was putting on hats, and five of them had warm heads, so I was giving them ice packs. I awoke with a startle up at 2 am realizing I had a fever and chills.  Phil stirred next to me and I took that as a sign he was awake and told him I had a fever.  He got the thermometer (finally we have a reliable one) and I registered at 102.5.  He brought me a granola bar and some ibuprofen (can't take it on an empty stomach) and I fell back asleep.

On Thursday morning, I woke up with congestion, a slight cough and an off an on fever.  I stayed in bed all day.  Dare I say it was glorious?

Friday was a snow day here, which meant school and work were cancelled, so I continued to rest while realizing I had lost my sense of taste and smell.  I definitely had Covid but no official test results yet.

Here's the thing(s)...
We live in a 2000 square foot, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home.
We have 9 people in our family.
There is literally nowhere for me to truly quarantine away from my family.
Plus, I am The Mom so ya other mothers know how that goes.
Also, the rules for all these kids returning to school while being a close contact vs. actually getting Covid made it seem like life would be way easier if they just got Covid.
I had already been infecting everyone before I knew I had it.  
Which is when you're the most contagious.

Case in point...before I *knew it was Covid (*due to lack of taste, no positive test result yet) I made all the kids multiple meals and cocoa after they went sledding and hung out/snuggled lots with them.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Week(s) in Review: Christmas Break Shenanigans

After Christmas, Nana and Deacon Gramps came up for a visit!  There were lots of new games to be played...

And Phil took them to see a Newport mansion, The Breakers, which was the Vanderbilt's "summer cottage".  

You can take a virtual tour here or come visit us and see the real deal!  Maggie took these photos of one of the girls' bedrooms...

This was the kids (they had seven too!) playhouse...

And of course it was lavishly decorated for Christmas...

Some of had to work over break and some of us got to go to the Breakers.  Harrumph!

Eamon (#3) and Andrew (the one dribbling the ball in the bottom photo) had basketball practices and games before Covid hit the team and cancelled that.

We took the kids bowling with some cousins.  Brendan (age 5) and Declan (age 7) are very good bowlers, having practiced on Wii.  I mean just look at Brendan's form...

And Declan's spin...

What a fun group of cousins!

We baked the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from the recipe (and ingredients) that my sister-in-law sent up from PA...yummy!

On New Year's Eve, some of our kids slept over with cousins and we took some of them out to dinner and then to see...

It was good, but the plot had me suspending my disbelief quite a bit.  Ah well, still worth it.

A quick story about the dinner before the movie.  When we got to the restaurant at 4:30 (the only open reservation time left) it was BUSY!  This restaurant almost always is, but we were sat fairly quickly and then waited and waited and waited.  The waitress came to take our drink order and then we waited some more when all of a sudden, a kitchen worker came out to the middle of the restaurant yelling (I paraphrase):

"Happy New Year's Everybody!!  (we thought she might be offering us all free drinks?) "I just wanted you to know that we have had a serious outbreak of COVID among our kitchen staff and management is not doing anything about it.  I have already had COVID and therefore can't transmit it, but there has been a serious outbreak in the kitchen!"

We were

The manager comes running over to escort her out, as she yells "Will you listen to us now?" and leaves the building.


Actually just recounting what happened is giving me chills.  Yikes.  It certainly killed my appetite.

By 6:00 we had not received our food yet, and we had to leave to catch the movie at 6:15, so Phil went and told our waitress that we had been waiting for an hour and a half and still had not eaten so we needed to take our meals to go (the tables around us had come in after us, eaten , and left so we weren't being unreasonable).  The manager came over to us and apologized and said that the meals were on the house.  *I immediately wished we had ordered differently, as we were trying to budget with water and no apps* They brought us our to go bags and we ran out and stuffed food into our face in the van before getting to the movie theater.  We needn't had worried because the previews were soooooo plentiful.  But still, what a weird and crazy dining experience.

Phil and I snuck out for a quick and early dinner date on New Year's Day, feeling justified in spending the money for dinner since last night's was free.  The waited brought around a huge bottle of champagne and asked if we'd like some.  I said "sure!" and Phil gave me a look, later explaining that we were going to get charged for those glasses of champagne.  I didn't think we would because it was offered as though it was free, so we made a bet.  If the restaurant charged us for the champagne, I'd have to mop the floor the next day (a chore I was planning to do anyway) and if we were not charged, Phil would have to mop.  When we got the bill, Phil said "Looks like I'm mopping tomorrow!"  Free champagne and a clean floor - win win for moi!  And just like that, 2022 is already looking promising :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

2022 Resolutions and Please Lord Don't Let 2022 Be 2020 Too

 Why do I feel pressure for my first post of 2022 to be something worth writing about?

I don't know Colleen, you've never let that stop you before.

True, true.  So here's much ado about nothing!


We're eating healthier this year.  So far.  It's only been 1 day because we wanted to begin in January, but you can't start a diet on a weekend, everybody knows that.  Without going into too much detail (I will certainly go into tons of detail if we discover a great healthy living plan and reach our goal weights) I read Dr. Gott's No Flour No Sugar Diet and ordered the Bright Line Eating book, after having read a lot about it online, and have devised a plan from these.  Dr. Gott has a very simple and realistic approach to losing weight and getting healthy while the Bright Line Diet is more complicated and rigid, and I don't agree with not exercising or having to always weigh your food.  However, I would like to read the science behind it all and see if it changes my mind.  These are definitely more "lifestyle" changes than short-term diets and that makes me hopeful as long as we can stick to the plan.  Having a supportive and equally chubby husband definitely makes it easier! 


The other New Year Resolution I made was to take back control over the laundry.  Once we moved the washer and dryer upstairs where the kids' bedrooms are, and they became teenagers, I relied on them to do the laundry as their daily chore.  Some kids are better at it than others (who will literally step over huge piles of dirty laundry to get to their bedroom) and in the end, it is just one of those chores that needs an adult to claim it.  I am that adult.  I used to hate going up there to do laundry because it was messy and chaotic, but now that I've taken it back, the area is staying clean and controlled and I'm happy to not let it get out of hand again.  Phil has joined me in this resolution by putting away the little guys' laundry more frequently and matching all the weird socks each week.


This is a photo of my feet at work.  I don't know why it took me 20 years of working as an accountant to realize that I can keep slippers and an electric heater under my desk and have comfy warm feet most of the work day.  I do change into my work shoes when I leave my desk, because I'm not a barbarian, but I also try not to leave my desk much except for my lunch walk in the cemetery.


Covid cases are crazy high in our area right now.  I feel like remote schooling is on the verge of happening again.  
*shudders while thinking that I can't go back to 2020* 
Just this morning, my freshman had to stay home to learn remotely because the test-and-stay program at the high school wasn't available today (nurse out??) and he is currently part of that program since someone on his basketball team tested positive.  So the whole team is learning remotely today, along with 40 other positive students, and any of their close contacts.  It's going downhill quick.


Last year's resolution of reading the whole bible in a year through Fr. Mike Schmitz podcast is *almost* complete.  I have 5 days left to listen to, and then I can say I did it!!  I listen to a podcast on the way to work each morning, and listen to the weekend podcasts on the way home from work at the beginning of each week.  I think I want to re-listen to the whole year again...because some days I arrive to work without being able to tell you what I just heard.  Turns out I'm a distractible human after all.  I may want to wait until next year to do that though, so in the meantime is there any other podcast you'd recommend that would help me grow in spirituality?  I'm all ears!


Finally, my word of 2022 (from Jen Fulwiler's Word of the Year Generator) is...

What a wonderful word!  I am grateful for it ;)