Friday, September 30, 2022

That's What He Said

Brendan (age 6): You're the second best mom...ya know...after Mary.


Brendan's card that he made for Eamon's birthday:


Xander: Some kids in my class have only small roles in the Wizard of Oz.

Me: There's no such thing as a small role, only small actors!

Brendan: Yeah, like the Munchkins!


Xander (age 11): Mom, I think I should be able to get a phone early.

Me: No way, you're not responsible enough yet.

Xander: But you always tell me how responsible I am!

Me: When do I tell you that?

Xander: Whenever something bad happens, you say "Xander is responsible!"


JP: This weekend I'm going to travel with some more guys.

Dad: That's good.

JP: Yeah, it's tough being the only guy and having to carry all the bags and open all the doors.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A Tale of Two "Sisters"

Almost eleven years ago, I took my cutie-patootie four year old Maggie to get her first American Girl doll with my little sister and her two daughters.  I wasn't 100% positive back then, but I had a strong hunch that Maggie would be my only daughter.  When she was born, we had chosen her name to be Margaret Rose but before making it official, I had a little moment of panic and realized that if she was our only girl, I wanted to include Mary in her name to honor Our Lady.  That's how she became Margaret Rosemary and my prediction of her being the only girl seems to have come true *she types hesitantly knowing that things can still happen at the ripe old age of 43*.  

Being sandwiched in between so many boys has made Maggie awesome in so many ways, but she still prayed for a baby girl every time I was pregnant.  It just wasn't meant to be!  Luckily, she is able to call those two female cousins (one older and one younger) her "sisters" and has been following in the path of her older cousin her whole life.  They went to the same schools, played the same sports, danced Irish Step together, push themselves to be top of the class, and enjoy being around each other as much as possible.  Just like her big cousin, Maggie was asked to play up to the Varsity Volleyball team as a freshman after their middle hitter got injured.  Our whole family was there in full support of her first game, and she killed it!  Both Maggie and her cousin even got a shoutout in the local paper from that game.  She now practices with Varsity and plays for JV since their hitter came back, and she is loving life.  

Look at those sweet girlies...

...turned into killer volleyball players!

I thank God every single day for the friendship between my kids and their cousins, something I never had as my cousins all lived far away, but especially for Maggie's "sisters" who surround her as good influencers and best friends.  God certainly provides.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Sweet Sixteen

Our joyful, intelligent, hard-working, holy, funny and pleasure of a son to raise turns SIXTEEN today!  Happy birthday Eamon :)

We started celebrating on Saturday by going out to lunch at a restaurant where his friend's band was playing.

On Sunday we celebrated his birthday at home since today, his actual birthday, involves school and soccer practice and a violin lesson and a volleyball game, oh my.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Week in Review: Boys Soccer, Bruschi Sighting, and Birthday Season

One of the Varsity soccer dads from our high school takes great pictures and videos of the games.  Here's my Senior defender, Andrew, who (much to his mother's dismay) loves heading the ball:

And here's my Sophomore striker, Eamon, who has been getting pulled up from JV to play with Varsity and was able to score his first Varsity goal (hence the celebrating in that first pic):

I need to get some professional photos of Maggie playing volleyball, but for now here is a photo she sent me from yesterday's game of the opposing team's coach who happened to be Heidi Bruschi, former USA Team Volleyball player and Tedy Bruschi's wife.  Which is kind of a big deal if you're a Patriot's fan:

We are about to begin Birthday Season around here.  We have three birthdays in two weeks and that means my brain is constantly thinking about gifts and menus and how to make them feel especially loved on their big days.  Work is pretty busy lately because I have my huge annual report due to the state next Friday.  It feels like most of my work happens in the month of September and then I can sail through the rest of the year without getting too stressed.  Of course my body has decided to break down right when I need it most *shakes fist at sky* in the form of a sinus infection last week and a coldsore/extremely sore throat/exhaustion this week.  I've taken five negative Covid tests and been disappointed every time because at least a Covid diagnosis would buy me 5 days of rest and relaxation.  Kidding, kinda.  But it is annoying to get sick and rundown and still be expected to function because it's Not Covid.

Meanwhile JP is in Santorini, Greece living it up:

Phil and I are trying to reschedule our 20th Anniversary Canada trip so that brings me a lot of joyful anticipation and feels like the light at the end of the September tunnel.  We are going to Montreal for two nights and if you have any must-see places between Massachusetts and Montreal, please let me know!  We basically just eat our way through our getaways, so food suggestions are always welcome...poutine perhaps?

I took this photo of our town's high school last night after the rain:

I hope everybody has a double rainbow type of weekend, or more importantly has someone in their life who will run in and point it out to them so they don't miss it.  Thanks, Declan.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Monday Motherly Meanderings

You know how when you serve your family a meal and they are all quiet, you wonder if it's because it's so good or so bad?  Well when my blog gets quiet, you know it's because life is neither good nor bad.  Just insanely busy.  To be completely honest, this school year is kicking my derriere a little.  With three in high school, and all playing a fall sport on different teams, and only one can drive, it's so much coordinating rides.  Then I feel guilty if I ask one to stay half an hour later to catch a ride with the other, but it doesn't make sense to pack up the littles and spend 30 minutes driving to pick up someone (plus the cost of gas) when they can just sit tight for 30 minutes and get a ride home with their big brother.  I know, I know these things teach kids patience and that the world doesn't revolve around them which are important lessons...and yet I still feel guilty that we can't provide for them in the way smaller families can.  

At the kids elementary school this year, they will be performing a play, and my 3rd grader was overheard telling teachers that he couldn't be in the play because "it cost too much".  The play costs $100 to be part of but that's not why we said he couldn't do it.  He can't do it because we literally can't pick up the other elementary kids from school (no buses) then pick up teens from sports then go back for the kid in play practice then back for the other teens.  Plus, the play practices twice a week and on one of those days he has his violin lesson, and on the other day he has his soccer practice.  So it's just a NO.CAN.DO for him this year, and I wasn't even feeling badly about that until I heard what he told people at school.  I think our kids just assume we don't do things because of finances, since we do use that reason a lot (Disneyworld is too expensive for all of us, we do family birthday parties at home because renting a place for a friend party costs too much, we buy this cereal because it costs less than name brand cereal, etc.)  Again, great lessons for kids to learn in the long run, but it breaks my heart to hear it come out of their mouths.  I also don't want them to resent having a large family.  I don't think any of them do, and I know I sure didn't resent growing up in a big family myself, but I don't want the number of children we have to prevent those same children from getting to do what they want.  All moms must worry about this stuff, right?  Tell me I'm not alone.

Wow, okay Colleen, you were just going to come here and post a few photos from the week and call it done, and now you've become *un*done in the process.

Sorry, Colleen, but writing is cathartic.  I guess I had some things to release, and you know what?  I feel better!  Back to regularly scheduled programming...

JP is in GREECE for his 10 day break while studying in Austria this semester.  He is spending the first half of the week in Athens, and the second half in Santorini and sent a couple photos and texts to his obsessive loving mother.

Honestly though, my thoughts are so often with JP and worrying about him from afar.  I didn't think about him nearly as much when he was on campus at Franciscan.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Stupid Quirks or Smart Lessons Learned?

I was eating raspberries the other day, and found myself looking through them very carefully before I popped them in my mouth.  What was I looking for?  Bugs, of course.  You see, one time I was at a friend's house and she had made a beautiful salad topped with raspberries and blackberries, and I ate a huge helping of the healthy deliciousness.  Later in the evening, I thought to myself that some of those berries would be delicious in my drink, so I picked a few off the salad and they floated in my drink so prettily and I thought "Girl, you fancy!" as I took a sip.  I set the drink down and when I went to take another sip, there were quite a few drowned fruit flies that had floated to the top of my beverage.  I realized they must have been IN the belly of the berries, and then I realized how many berries I had eaten earlier in the salad, and then my belly didn't feel so great.  Lesson learned.  Now all berries are inspected closely before consumption.

Totally related, I was reading a magazine article back in the day when we had to buy magazines because we didn't get our entertainment news from our phones.  The article mentioned that one should carefully wash grapes because spiders tend to spin webs in vineyards and go home with unsuspecting consumers.  Wouldn't you know it, later that very same day, I found a spider in my grapes!  Now all grapes are inspected closely before consumption.

My parents took me out to eat one fine evening when I was just a darling little girl, and I ordered chicken fingers and fries as all kids do.  When my meal came I was so hungry and I bit into a chicken finger as if I hadn't been fed in days.  I chewed and and thought "that doesn't feel right" and looked at the remaining half of my chicken tender and it was completely raw in the middle.  I spit it out and my mom (a former nurse with a strong hatred for all things salmonella) and I were both so upset.  My dad had the waitress bring me over a fresh plate of *cooked* chicken tenders, which I properly dissected into teensy pieces before eating.  From then on, I always order my meat well-done, take the temperature of every meat I cook, and cut into any meat I'm served to make sure nothing is left uncooked.  Overcooked, dried out and tasteless?  That's the meat for me.

I have a deep-seated fear of mice.  It's genetic from what I can tell because my mom and sisters feel the same way.  Or I guess that means it could be gender specific?  Anyway, I'm not here to study musophobia, I'm just here to report on it.  So imagine sweet little Colleen aged ten (I hope you're imagining her with huge buckteeth and freckles or you've got the wrong girl).  She goes out to the garage and pulls her rollerblades off the shelf and pulls the first rollerblade on violently, as rollerblades need to be pulled on.  She reaches for the second rollerblade and duplicates the procedure when all of a sudden she feels something squishy near her toes.  She yelps and pulls off the rollerblade and turns it upside down to watch in horror and slow-motion, a dead baby mouse fall to the floor.  Tears!  Panic!  Much yelling and jumping onto high surfaces!  One of my brothers is assigned the task of getting rid of the deceased and I never wore those rollerblades again.  Later in the day, I was laying on the couch in our family room and "resting my eyes" clearly emotionally exhausted from the finding of the day, when I opened my eyes to see my big brother dangling the dead mouse in front of my face.  Cue dramatics yet again.  Somehow I managed to forgive my brother eventually, but to this day, I will turn any boot (or shoe I can't clearly see into) upside down and shake it out before I put it on.

Friends came over yesterday to watch the football game and they brought over jalapeno poppers.  As I ate one, I reminisced about the time I cut my first jalepeno to make a new soup recipe and then HOURS LATER while getting ready for bed, I took out my contacts and burned my eye so bad.  I squirted saline solution in my eye and tried washing it with water but nothing would stop the pain.  Phil googled what to do and he said that he needed to squirt milk in my eye, and I was like uh, no, that's nuts.  But then a minute later I was like "WHY ISN'T THERE MILK IN MY EYE ALREADY?" and it actually did help after many milky washes.  That was my first and last time ever cutting a jalapeno.  

How about one last one?  If I have to input a cook time on the microwave, a time for a timer, or set an alarm time on my phone, I can not for the life of me set it ending in a 5 or a 0.  If I'm supposed to set a 10 minute timer, I have to do 9 and then add 1 later.  If I want to work out on a treadmill, you better believe I'm choosing a speed not ending in 0 or 5.  All of my alarms are set for weird times like 6:39 and the all food is overcooked in the microwave by 1 second.  I'm not sure where that weird quirk came from but I'm sure there's a traumatic story hiding in my subconscious somewhere.

Yes, often.

But as I tell my husband "One day you'll miss this."

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Weekend Wrapup: Poland Pics, Fall Sports, and Partying with Friends and Family

Labor Day weekend was so fun if perhaps a leetle beet too social for this introvert, but worth it to wrap up summer on a high note.  I think maybe I'm an extroverted introvert and my husband is an introverted extrovert if that's possible.

Let's check in with JP's #AustrianAdventures as he had a long weekend in Poland!  He arrived in time to see the unveiling of the Black beautiful.

Prayed in front of Saint John Paul II's cassock that he was wearing during his assassination attempt... 

Visited Auschwitz and saw the cell of Saint Maximilian Kolbe (one of my favorite saints)...

And visited the Pope's birthplace.  That's JP with JP and I'm totally JP (Joyfully Proud).

Friday, September 2, 2022

Week in Review: Apparently All We Do is Eat

Some kids started school on Tuesday and the rest started on Wednesday, but by Thursday they were all ready to head off into the new year together.

Eamon, Brendan, Maggie, Declan, Xander and Andrew - I should have bought stock in Merrells and Sperrys.

JP spent last weekend in Salzburg, Austria visiting the home of Mozart, Mirabell Palace and an 11th century fortress while eating schnitzel.  For real, he ate schnitzel in Salzburg.  Living the dream!

On the last day of summer, we took the little guys (the older ones were in sports practices) for pizza at an Italian restaurant that has a really good Monday pizza deal.  We ordered extra to take home to the starving teenagers because we ain't jerks.  It was delicious and we will most definitely be back!