Thursday, August 31, 2023

First Day(s) of School(s)

I usually look forward to these first days of school so much, but this year seems emotionally hard to take.  I think it might be because I feel like summer was really busy with the opening of the ice cream shop, and we weren't able to spend much time off together.  Normally we use the summer to plan a vacation or retreat for the family, as Phil and I both work in education and can't easily take time off through the school year.  But this year there was no Catholic Family Land or Lake Winnipesaukee or even a family beach day like in years past.  As a mom of children of many ages, I know all too well how fast the years go and I feel heavily on my heart the missed opportunities of making fun memories together.  

On the bright side, opening the shop gave us a lot of time working alongside each other, and we truly spent more time together than ever.  The kids all grew so much from the added responsibilities and new experiences of working and running the shop.  Owning a business gives kids an education they can't learn elsewhere, and we dreamed of this for so long that I can't help but be grateful.

Sadness and joy.  Guilt and pride.  Letting them grow and letting them go.  A mother's heart in a nutshell.

Ok Colleen, knock it off and get on with it already!

Here's to the 2023-2024 School Year, or as I say at work, Fiscal Year 24!

Two in College:

John-Paul is starting his Senior Year at Franciscan University.  He is majoring in Biology and will take a gap year after graduation, in order to work in patient care before applying to Medical schools and/or PA schools.

Andrew is a Freshman at Franciscan University, majoring in Biology and (hopefully) playing soccer.  Of course, he sent me a picture with two thumbs up, his usual photo pose.  I'll update his medical story tomorrow.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Week in Review - Medical Updates, Tryout Updates, Lobster Roll Updates

OK so let's start with Andrew's chest pain saga.  Earlier in the summer he told me that it felt like his heart was fluttering, but it would go away and we didn't really think much of it, I think we've all experienced those random weird heart feelings.  Closer to the end of the summer, he was really putting in intense workouts to get ready for soccer tryouts, and he complained of finding it hard to breathe sometimes.  It was hot and very humid out while he was running sprints, and we assumed that was the reason why.  When it happened more than once, Andrew started to think maybe he had asthma.  Andrew has played sports his whole life and never had a problem with running so it seemed weird that he would develop asthma at age 18.  Phil and I struggle through humid summer runs (which is why we mostly don't run in the summer) and hoped it was just the weather conditions affecting him.  Then right before he left for college, he complained of chest pain.  This is when I started to put all the symptoms together, which before had seemed like random incidents, and he went to the doctor.  The doctor thought he probably pulled a chest muscle from lifting weights but ordered an EKG to be sure.  Andrew left for college a day and a half later and we all assumed that he would get an EKG at some point in the future.  Well college athletics are very thorough and told him he couldn't play until he got an EKG and was cleared, which makes sense.  His doctor called the Athletic Trainer and they were able to do the EKG on campus and they cleared him to play!  Woohoo!  

Andrew is standing, 2nd from left

Bonfire on their team retreat

Hanging out at Applebee's with his new teammates, after an impromptu haircut

Sadly, his being allowed to play was short-lived.  He is listed on the Franciscan Men's Soccer Team roster but he is currently not allowed to play because when his doctor got the EKG results, she said there were a few slight irregularities and she wanted him to see a cardiologist to follow up.  Guys, it is SUCH a pain to figure out doctor appointments and insurance stuff when you live in MA and your kid lives in OH.  But he has an appointment with a cardiologist on Monday and we will see what they say.  All of his symptoms point to an arrhythmia, so we are praying it's not serious and he can get back to playing.

Heart arrhythmia symptoms may include:
Heart palpitations
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Fainting episodes
Shortness of breath
Chest discomfort
Weakness or fatigue

P.S. Whenever our family has a health scare, I always think about our life insurance plans.  It's not the happiest topic to think about, but I'll use this as a reminder to make sure you have life insurance before any health issues pop up.  I was able to get life insurance without a medical exam through this company and it certainly puts my mind at ease.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Suddenly Seven

The seventh baby turned seven this past weekend!

We woke up at Camelback Resort and spent a few hours at the waterpark before driving home.

Brendan still has one top front tooth that looks raggedy-andy and he hoped it would fall out on his last day of being 6, because it will be the 6th tooth he loses.  When that didn't happen, he hoped it would fall out on his birthday, but no such luck.  So now he's hoping for it to come out before school starts!  And let me tell ya, we have tried to pull it out for days (I love pulling teeth) and that thing is stubborn!

We arrived home late on his birthday, after attending a very strange Mass in Hartford, CT (!!) and celebrated his birthday the next day...which really means you get two whole days of being celebrated :)

Monday, August 21, 2023

A Fast Farewell For Our Second Son

Somehow this summer flew by and we reached the point where it was time for Andrew to head off to his freshman year at Franciscan University.  The night before we brought him to college, we had a family dinner (with whomever wasn't working) and ate this delicious Thai Coconut Curry Ramen which he picked because he likes it, but mostly because his sweet girlfriend loves it :)  Then we went down to The Cottage so he could have his last ice cream, and posed for this photo.  I just love how all of the workers are getting in on the action, peeking through the windows.

Andrew got an Ice Cream Flight to share with Darian, who wore the perfect shirt to send him off:

These two are going to miss each other while he's in Ohio and she's in MA.

Very early the next morning we left for the long drive to say farewell.  I may or may not have cried behind my sunglasses to Rascal Flatt's My Wish on the radio.  But that song can make me cry on a good day when I'm not even about to send my baby bird out of the nest.  We brought along the three little boys and left JP, Eamon and Maggie to run the shop in our absence.  They handled it like the champs they are!!  This sign was a welcome sight for weary travelers:

That big building on the right is a newly acquired hotel that Franciscan is turning into dorms.

Ahhhh his home sweet home for the next four years:

Monday, August 14, 2023

Celebrity Sighting at The Cottage

I was so happy to read Beth's post today, and so sad to have missed her when she was in my town! I probably would have fangirled and embarrassed myself so maybe it was better this way - ha!  Go check out her post :)

Friday, August 11, 2023

Week in Review: Eyebrow Talk, Broken Bones and The End of Summer

Last Friday, I picked up the boys from sailing camp and took them out for pizza.  They are just so full of stories and literally fight over who gets to sit near me.  Can I please freeze them at these ages forever?

I got this Caprese Mango Burrata Salad, and I can't stop thinking about it!

We went to a friend's house on Friday night to use their new cocktail smoker.

It was like drinking a grapefruit paloma while sitting around a campfire, minus the campfire.  Quite a cool experience!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Five Fall Tops from Amazon (That Won't Break the Bank!)

I just rewarded myself for all of my hard work with a few new tops for the fall, and thought I would share my good finds with you.  It's almost Fall Y'all :)

This sweatshirt comes in over 20 colors and styles, perfect for the fickle woman that lives inside me, and right now it is under $25:

This faux suede biker jacket is so cute and on my wishlist for only $34:

I have a few different colors of these tops, but this gray one is calling my name, for only $26:

I ordered this soft and cozy wrap sweater last week for $25 and can't wait to wear it with jeans on a weekend:

These tops are so flattering (I own four!) and though they are short-sleeved, they look great with a blazer or cardigan in the fall, only $24:

Happy Shopping!

Friday, August 4, 2023

Week in Review: Summer Activities, Surgery Updates, Sailing Camp and Shows Completed

Last Friday my friend texted me and asked if we could meet at the beach after work to let the boys play.  I picked them up from sailing camp and we drove to the beach to spend time with friends, then to my brother's house for a big family cookout and it ended up being such a nice summer day!  I'm glad I always try to say yes to invitations and experiences even though my introverted first answer tends to be "no".

Snack Time

On Saturday, Phil brought Eamon, Xander, Declan and Brendan to the Seekonk Grand Prix, because we had a gift certificate that was expiring soon.  They had lots of fun!

On Sunday morning, Maggie took the little guys on a bike ride while Phil and I went for a long walk and then Phil took Maggie, Xander, Declan and Brendan to an outdoor YMCA pool while I went to the shop and made waffle cones.

It warms the cockles of my heart that the kids are able to do fun summery things because I was worried we wouldn't have time with the shop open, but we are carving out ways to make it happen.