Tuesday, October 31, 2023

About Last Weekend

Last weekend we had a planned getaway to celebrate Phil's birthday to Ogunquit, Maine.  I booked a nice hotel and planned activities (a trolley ride!  a run on the Marginal Way! a piano bar!) and then the horrific Lewiston, Maine shootings happened.  We were supposed to leave on Friday morning, and the killer was still on the loose.  Even though Ogunquit and Lewiston are about 90 minutes apart, we didn't know what direction the manhunt was heading and thought we better be safe than sorry.  We canceled the hotel and quickly booked one much closer on the Cape, in Falmouth to be exact.  We drove down and rented bikes and rode on the Shining Sea Bikeway for a couple hours.  The weather was like summer and it was just so beautiful.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Week in Review: Holiday Decor, Homecoming Dates and Halloween Desserts

The fall sports season is winding down and life seems much more manageable lately.  But manageable makes for boring blog posts, so you've been warned!  

I saw this pretty holiday centerpiece idea and want to copy it:

It's just a Glass Bowl, Cedar Branches, Floating Candles, plus a bag of fresh cranberries and water to fill - voila! 

I had to take an appreciation photo of my salad yesterday.  I can order a sandwich or salad each day at work for $5 and it's delivered to my office...what a perk!  The salads are HUGE and come with fruit and a pita too.  Though Phil doesn't believe it can be true of anyone, I honestly love salads, especially when I don't have to chop everything.

The Homecoming Dance is around the corner, and Eamon asked a very sweet, smart, athletic and beautiful girl to be his date and for some reason, she said yes :)  These boys of ours certainly know how to pick the cream of the crop!  Andrew's girlfriend was there when he asked and thought to send me this picture of them, isn't that so nice? 

At work I have to learn a new system for recording grants:

Learning anything new seems like it requires more brain waves than I have remaining at my age, and reminds me of this:

I actually do have a really big head too, you would think I could fit more in there.

The Halloween candy has started trickling in from the kids various parties and events, and I have been enjoying the KitKat's and Reese's PB cups so much.  Our desserts are now "Go pick out a candy from the bowl" for the next month.  It was fun to read Elisabeth's best and worst Halloween candies, especially because of the Canadian variations...ketchup chips?!?!  Who knew?  Speaking of blog posts, Joanne surprised me with her big news!

I saw this and had to immediately send it to Maggie, whom I missed so much while she was away last weekend and I'm not ready to have her away from home anytime soon, but I know it's coming:

After Xander's improvised leaf blowing set up with the shop vac, I bought him a new leaf blower that he's going love.  Isn't it great when you buy your kids a leaf blower or vacuum cleaner and THEY ARE EXCITED ABOUT IT?  The best!  Very Tom Sawyerish.

I hope you all have a wonderful last weekend of October!  Get those Halloween and All Saints Day costumes ready (she types to remind herself).

Monday, October 23, 2023

Fun Fall Family Adventures...Finally

We did it!  We had a fun weekend!

On Friday, after watching Eamon's soccer game, the little guys had a Halloween Dance at their school.  Declan and Brendan's costumes are "Outta this World":

Xander is in 7th grade and had to work at the dance, running games for the kids.  He dressed as The Cottage Crew and ran a bowling game with his friend:

On Saturday morning, Phil and I ran 9 miles in the rain which was kind of terrible but felt really good to check off our training plan.  Later on, Xander had his 2nd swim meet, proudly sporting his jammers and splashing us all with his dives ;)  He's a pretty good swimmer, and once he gets his dives and turns down-pat he will be great:

See those moms and dads standing around?  We were all roped into being Timers for the meet.  I had no clue what I was doing (seriously I just don't know the sport of swimming, but I'm learning fast!) and I was recruited under distress.  Being a Timer means you have to stand and time the races for 3-4 hours without a break, unless your lane doesn't have a swimmer in it for a race.  It stunk and I will not be roped into it again *shakes fist towards the heavens*.  I did have a wonderful partner for my lane, a 22 year old woman who just returned from a 9 month tour in Iraq.  She was there to watch her brother swim, and had lots of stories to tell about her time away serving. 

But Colleen, I thought you said you had a fun weekend?

Yes, we did eventually!  

Here's where the fun adventures begin...

Friday, October 20, 2023

Week in Review: Everybody is Growing Up

Happy Friday Everybody!

Do you guys remember how we had to spend last Saturday cleaning out our crawl spaces because insulation was going to be installed on Monday?  Yeah, they had to cancel.  Womp womp.  They are supposed to come tomorrow, which now means we need to be out of the house/their way as much as possible.  Luckily we have a swim meet to attend and an ice cream shop to clean.  It's always fun times around here ;)

Cleaning through the archives led me to find my grad school diploma, and I ordered this frame which looks so great.  My name changed to Martin when we got married six days later :)

This week was full of home volleyball games, where Maggie is truly blossoming in confidence on the court.  She is a smart and consistent player, but this week it's like she figured out how to hit a lot harder and is getting tons of kills.  I think it's a benefit from all the ice cream scooping, and it's so fun to watch!

Maggie and her cousin played in a "Spike Out Cancer Night" game for their grandpa and aunt who have both thankfully beaten cancer.

Now those two girlies plus Andrew's girlfriend are all out in Ohio touring Franciscan University, but mostly visiting with JP and Andrew for the weekend.  Sounds like they are having a blast but I miss having Maggie at home and I pray her next 2.5 years of high school go by suuuuper slow.  All moms of high-schoolers know that's not possible, but one can hope!

Monday, October 16, 2023

The Shop is Closed, So We Must Must Be Enjoying Our Free Time

I have been looking forward to our first weekend WITHOUT the ice cream shop open for a loooooong time.  As anyone knows who owns their own business, especially an actual store with hours set in stone, there's never a day off.  But we are merely a seasonal business, so working 7 days a week is more palatable knowing it comes to an end in October.  I had grand ideas of doing something fall-festivy with the family, a pumpkin picking trip, maybe going to Hobby Lobby on my annual decor shopping trip, having a family dinner with everyone at the table.  But no, life is not that simple.  

Phil and I were able to attend a Franciscan Alumni reunion event in Rhode Island on Friday night which was fun.  There was Mass and then dinner at a restaurant that had a drink with my maiden name on the menu:

The work began on Saturday, after Brendan's soccer game and an 8 mile run that was on our training plan, as we started pulling out 19 years worth of accumulated clothes and mementos from our crawl spaces in order to have insulation installed on Monday.  We donated over 20 garbage bags full of clothes - maternity and kids - and got rid of our crib, baby items, and all sorts of junk we saved for no apparent reason.  These projects are draining both physically and emotionally and I'm just glad it's done.  

On Sunday, Phil had Religious Ed in the morning and then Open House at the high school in the afternoon, so he was gone all day.  I finished cleaning and went to Declan's soccer game (2 goals for our little man!) with his devoted fans ;)

I came home and cooked Phil's birthday dinner - maple chicken with rice pilaf and green beans.  

His birthday was actually on Wednesday but he had Parent-Teacher conferences that night.  I have to admit that I was not in the greatest mood to host his birthday dinner, as I felt very let down to not have done much besides house work and schlepping kids around on our first weekend without "work".  It feels like I've been a single mom every weekend since February, when work for The Cottage began.  I have accepted and been up for the challenge, understanding Phil has been working hard at our family business during those weekends and knowing I needed to do my part at home.  I honestly don't mind being reasonably busy, I prefer it to being bored, but if we can't find time to have some family fun on the weekends, then what are we working so hard for?  Next weekend better BRING IT.

OK Colleen, pull yourself together.  Life is good, your problems are the type of problems some people would pray for.

You're right Colleen, moving on.

Phil's gifts included lovely cards from the kids, an electric pepper grinder, an olive oil dispenser, a few new customized glasses to replace some broken ones, and Franciscan soccer zip up:

Happy Monday to you all, a fresh start on a fresh week may just be what we all need :)

Friday, October 13, 2023

Week in Review: Swim Meetings, Hoop Earrings and Fall Eatings

Last weekend was Alexander's first swim meet, and as he is the only Martin child that has ever been on a swim team, it was also my first swim meet.  I was completely overwhelmed and undereducated about this world, but we rallied and learned how things are run, wrote races on his arm with a sharpie and went home completely exhausted after a five hour day.

The view from above the gym where families set up to rest between races:

My favorite swimmer, who did great and loves the sport:

I was embarrassed that he wasn't wearing the speedo-shorts that all the other boys were wearing (which I learned were called "jammers") and ordered him a couple pairs plus a swim cap.  You live, you learn, you wear tight swim suits.

Meanwhile Phil and the older kids were working at The Ice Cream Cottage for the last weekend of the season.  One of my coworkers, who has been our #1 ice cream fan, brought in treats for the kids at The Cottage.  Isn't that so sweet and thoughtful?

The crew on the last night:

Maggie is really into gold hoop earrings right now, and I have always loved more unique styles like my newest earrings that I was able to review...which are the perfect blend of hoop and unique!  Maggie will be borrowing, I'm sure.

Phil and I were able to escape for a delicious dinner to celebrate the end of the season...fried scallops and onion rings will be my last meal on earth if I have a choice.  And his will be chicken fingers and fries!

Phil's college roomie has a daughter, Maria, at Franciscan right now (who happens to be dating our nephew!) and she is studying in Austria this semester.  She went on a trip to visit the Holy Land and arrived in Israel just hours before the fighting began.  You can imagine how worried everybody was for their group, and how relieved I was to see this message from her mom:

I was nervous enough while JP was travelling safely through Europe last fall, I can't begin to imagine the terror I would have felt if I was Maria's mom.  Thanks be to God they are safely back in Austria.  Now we need to pray for everyone who is actually involved in the horrific fighting and can't escape.

Some meals (no photos, bad blogger) from this week:

Taco Wreath with raw veggies

Asian Pork Tenderloin with rice and green beans

Chicken Chili for lunches this week - just followed this recipe but replaced ground chicken for ground beef and added spinach too.

We also had chicken fingers and fries and carrot sticks one night and will have pizza tonight.  Just in case you thought I could work full-time, have five kids in sports this fall, and cook gourmet meals every night ;)

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

An Ode to Our First Season

The end of our first season at The Cottage has come,

The planning, building, and serving customers is done.

What began as a dream too unrealistic to ponder,

Became a reality that makes us look back and wonder.

It's amazing what hard work and bravery can do,

Once the leap is made, and the plans are followed through.

We stumbled and fell but we kept moving along,

Made decisions aplenty, some right and others wrong.

The lessons learned are long and invaluable,

The successes and failures are certainly memorable.

None of it would be possible without our family,

Their guidance and expertise, even loaning us money.

Our children stepped up and matured before our eyes,

Opportunities for life skills that wouldn't have come otherwise.

So many new friends and supporters have come our way,

Followers on social media or customers both night and day.

The ice cream business is a fun one to be in,

Making people happy while making a living is a win-win.

While we can look back in awe at all that we've begun,

We are more than happy to say that our first season is done.

Eventually we will clean the shop and begin to tweak things,

Make improvements and rest up for the coming spring.

Thank you all for the support, thank you for the love too,

We owe much of The Ice Cream Cottage's success to YOU!

Friday, October 6, 2023

Week in Review: Sports of Course, The Tramp is Dead, and Living the Life

Happy Friday!  Fridays are always my favorite day of the week, but they are especially nice when they begin a long weekend!

Are you sick of hearing about fall sports yet?  Me too!  Haha, but it is what it is.  Declan's team won their first two games (the season has started late due to all the rain) and my little man scored goals in both games.  At the beginning of the game, they all put in their hands and yell "1, 2, 3, ICE CREAM COTTAGE" and parents will cheer "Go Ice Cream! Go Ice Cream!" and it all just cracks me up.

Cotton Candy for the fans

Our doctor's wife passed away years ago from breast cancer, and their two boys are in the same grades as Andrew and Eamon.  The family hosts a big 5k race each year that we have run in multiple times, but this year only Eamon ran and he did awesome, coming in 8th place overall:

I was finally able to watch one of Eamon's soccer games...and they lost horribly...maybe I'm bad luck?

Maggie's volleyball team played against the team from our town, so we invited them to come get ice cream after the game and opened The Cottage up just for them (and for the older gentlemen who thought we were open to the public and bought two pints!)  This is our last weekend of the season and we are ready.

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Andrew with the Misspelled Middle Name, Born on the Feast of St. Francis

 It's birthday season in the Martin family, and today we celebrate Andrew's 19th birthday!

Andrew was due on October 9th and we thought it would be so funny if he was born two days late on his dad's birthday, especially since JP was born on his mom's birthday.  We didn't know his gender before birth and had decided on Andrew Philip for a boy or Emily Margaret for a girl.  That pregnancy has a few memories that stick out for me, the first being that my younger sister got engaged and asked me to be her matron of honor at her wedding nine months later.  I looked at Phil and said "Well we just can't get pregnant this month or I'll be giving birth at the wedding!"  Hardeeharhar guess who got pregnant that month?  So this is what I looked like at my sister's wedding:

I was very thankful to still be pregnant and not have to miss the wedding, and I danced like crazy that night and ended up giving birth nine days later.  Also during Andrew's pregnancy, my dad's brother passed away whose name was Padraig but everyone called him Poric, and that's how he signed his name.  We decided to honor my uncle by naming the baby Andrew (which is my grandfather's name) Padraig.  When he was born, I was so concerned with getting the spelling of Poric/Padraig correct that I didn't even realize he was born on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi.  I felt so bad to have missed the naming opportunity of including Francis in his name that I spent the next years convincing Andrew to take Francis as his confirmation name.  He listened and is Andrew Pauric (spelled wrong) Francis.  And now he goes to Franciscan University where they celebrate St. Francis's feast day each year (I think classes are cancelled?) which means Andrew's birthday will be extra fun.