Monday, April 29, 2024

Mother's Day Gift Ideas and a Note from a Mom of Many

Amazon Gift Card - always appreciated!

Fresh Flower Bouquet - or plant a bush or tree outside

Laneige Lip Gloss - my daughter and I love this lip gloss

Kate Spade Wristlet - I have this for special events

Owala Water Bottle - all the rage now, Stanley who?

Rosemary Mint Scalp Oil - my hairdresser told me to use 5 drops of this with my shampoo

Travel Jewelry Box - better than the ziploc situation I currently employ

Veggie Chopper - our old one broke and I miss it!

Essential Oil Diffuser - we have this exact one in our bedroom and it lasts all night long

Nail Polish Set - these are my kind of nail colors, pretty and neutral

Summer Pajamas - these are soft and comfy and come in lots of colors

Just some notes from a lucky mom of seven...

Sometimes a perfect Mother's Day includes a planned family day with a nice meal and an activity for everyone to enjoy.

Sometimes a perfect Mother's Day is sending mom off to have lunch and her nails done with her mom/sister/friend while the kids are taken care of by Dad/Uncle/Grandpa.  

Moms go through seasons with the ages and stages of their kids, and the best way to figure out what she wants is to offer both scenarios and see what would actually make her happy.  Is she in a season where she needs a break from the demands of the children?  Or is she in a season where she relishes moments spent together before they are gone?  Either way, she most likely doesn't want to cook or clean or change a diaper that day.

As for you moms - the best way to have a nice Mother's Day is to lower your expectations :)  I mean that in the best way.  Hug your kids and remember when you wished and hoped and prayed for them.  Let the house get a little messy for one day, use paper plates, order takeout or even better, go out for an ice cream cone!

Friday, April 26, 2024

Week in Review: Say my Name, Say my Name

Happy LAST FRIDAY OF APRIL!!  Before we know it,

Let's play the name game, shall we?  Do you know who's who in the Martin Family?

1. Somebody had his college Senior Formal on Friday night...

2. Someone was evaluated and excited to make the spring swim team and get some jammers like his big brother...

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

What's Your Most Popular Post?

 I'm in a bit of a writing funk currently, one could say a funk in general, but that mostly has to do with the black eye I developed after the Mohs Surgery on my face.  I'm praying it heals by Friday night when we have a fancy schmancy school fundraising event to attend.  But that's enough boohooing for me!  OK just one more.



Anyways, I thought it might be fun for you all to check your own blogs and leave the link in the comments below to your most read post of all time (or maybe the one you think is the most popular if you don't know how to check those stats).

Here's mine: If Only

I look forward to reading your most popular posts while this case of writer's block passes :)

I'll post the comments here so the links work easily!

From Elisabeth: 

Well, isn't this funny because your guest post on my blog is my most-read post. My recent name post might be the post that has elicited the most comment action?

From Dixie:

My most popular recent post was about C.S. Lewis and reading for young teens:

From Jennifer:

My most popular post is my big list of free nature lore books. It makes the librarian in me happy to share book lists:

From Busy Bee Suz:

From Life of a Doctor's Wife:

My most visited post is this one:
The post that generated the most comments was this one:

From Laura Pearl:

From Ernie:

I have no idea how to figure out which one has been the most popular. I'm sharing that one, because it had the most comments of recent posts. I'm also gonna share this once, because this is a story that still makes me die laughing.

From Ally Bean:

My most popular post is: Comment Confidential: The Perks And Pitfalls Of Reaching Out To Newfound Bloggers

From Kate:

Here's my most popular post -- it was right after we moved to Rome so lots of extended family and friends were very interested in our escapades!

Friday, April 19, 2024

Week in Review: Bros, Mohs and Woahs

It's Spring Break week in Massachusetts, and all you get is this lousy blog post :)

Eamon (17) and his cousin went out to visit their siblings at Franciscan for a long weekend/college visit.  JP and Andrew fly so frequently back and forth from Providence to Pittsburgh that I didn't even realize until he got home, but Eamon hadn't been on a plane since we went to Florida in 2011:

Take me back

Sending proof-of-life photos to his mom like a good boy.

They stayed in Andrew's dorm room, which already has five people, so it was very tight quarters!  Eamon said he slept on the couch and Andrew gave his bed to his cousin and slept on the floor.  Whatta guy.  Eamon said Andrew's roomies and friends were all so nice, sharing anything they had (including cleats and shoes) and giving them meal punches at the cafe.  They went on a hike to a waterfall one day:

They then took turns swinging from a random vine that looked really scary and I'll spare you the video that made my heart jump into my throat.  BOYS! They also went to cheer on the girls soccer team:

JP sent this video of a rainbow lightning storm, how thrilling!

Friday, April 12, 2024

Week in Review: No Soggy Waffles, No Ugly Shops, and No Wasted Food

Another rainy April day here, but it's FRIDAY!!

My dad, who was a builder and an ice cream shop owner, built us this box to keep our waffle cones in down at The Ice Cream Cottage.  A lightbulb goes inside at the top and keeps them fresh and crisp.  In the humid summer months, the issue with waffle cones is that they get soft and nobody wants a soggy waffle...that's actually how I learned the order of North, East, South, West when I was a kid:

"Never Eat Soggy Waffles" 


We are so lucky to have my parent's expertise and skills.  Isn't she cute?  I think I'm going to get a sign made to put on that will read "The Cone Cottage".

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Wednesday Workout Wrapup: With a Side of What's the Best Time to Workout?

These last two weeks of working out have been a little bit, as the french say, all over the place.  We traveled down to Maryland for Easter and then found out we would need Mohs surgery (and subsequent rest from strenuous exercise) so we are trying to quickly complete our EPIC III program a week earlier than the planned ten weeks.  As of this morning, we only have 4 workouts left!  I'm proud of us for stepping out of our comfort zone, working out with heavy weights at home and early in the morning before work.  We definitely feel stronger but I must admit that I miss getting that afternoon workout feel-good endorphin rush at the end of a work day to put me in a good mood and release the stress in time for being with my family for the evening.  There's something so calming about finishing a workout, showering and putting on pjs.  However, it is nice to wake up, work out, shower and complete that task for the day right away.  Pros and cons of everything I suppose!  What's your preferred time of day to exercise?

 Wednesday, March 27:

5 mile run/walk intervals on treadmill

Thursday, March 28:

EPIC III - Day 34 before work

Packed and cleaned house to leave early the next morning

Friday, March 29:

3.5 mile walk with dog in Maryland after the long car ride

Saturday, March 30:

5 mile run 

Sunday, March 31:


1 mile walk with dog and littles

2.5 mile run (all before Mass)

Monday, April 1:

Drove home from Maryland and did EPIC III - Day 36

4 mile walk with dog

Tuesday, April 2:

Declan's Birthday!!

EPIC III - Day 37 before work

3 mile walk at lunch

Wednesday, April 3:

EPIC III - Day 38 before work

3.5 mile run at lunch

Thursday, April 4:

EPIC III - Day 39 before work

3 mile walk at lunch

1 mile walk with dog in evening

Friday, April 5:

3 mile walk at lunch

4 mile walk after work with dog

Saturday, April 6:

EPIC III - Day 41

2.25 mile run

2 mile walk with dog and kids

Sunday, April 7:

EPIC III - Day 42 with my shadow:

Me: Please take a photo so we have proof that we used to do this program.

2.25 mile run

1.5 mile walk with dog and kids

Monday, April 8:

3 mile walk at lunch

EPIC III - Day 43 in evening (too tired to do it before work)

1 mile walk with dog

Tuesday, April 9:

3 mile walk at lunch

3.5 mile walk with dog after work (it was a gorgeous spring day!)

Monday, April 8, 2024

Weekending Whirlwind: Puzzle Completion, Piano Competition, Plenary Indulgence and Pretend Farmers

On Friday night, I completed a puzzle...finally.  

While Andrew was home for Spring Break, he worked on a puzzle at the kitchen table, and then I didn't want to just pack it away, so I placed it under a clear tablecloth.  Then Phil said these would make cute "placemats" and so I will continue working on more puzzles until I have eight puzzle placemats.  At my current rate, this project will most likely finish next fall ;)

One piece missing and two pieces with the picture scratched off after being vacuumed up

Related: Friday nights have changed sooooo much through the years, but I must say that I really enjoy the whole "put on pajamas, eat pizza or something else easy, watch a movie and stay home".  Now I guess I need to add puzzling to the Friday night roster.  I am adulting so hard.

On Saturday, after taking the little kids on a scooter ride around town, we headed up north of Boston for Alexander's annual piano competition, the New England Music Festival.  

Every year, he gets a little older and better but so does the rest of the competition.  He competed twice, first in a group of 12 kids, then in a group of 10 kids.  

The competition was fierce, and during a break I reminded him that everybody is playing so well, and that "somebody has to come in 8th and 9th and 10th place" so maybe don't expect to win in the top two like usual.  He understood and completely agreed with the talent and song choices he was facing.  As soon as he had finished, he wanted to drive home and not wait for the awards.  His piano teacher was going to be at the awards ceremony and said he would let us know.  

The Student and the Teacher

When his teacher called him, we were unbelievably surprised to find out that he won 1st place in the first group and 2nd place in the second group.  What?!?!?  I wish I had captured Xander's face when he heard the news because it was priceless.  

I had recorded his competition song a week ago because I knew once he had finished the competition, he wouldn't want to keep playing it, so please enjoy "Magic" by the 12 year old Alexander Blaise:


On Sunday, we went to Mass in the morning, and then Phil had to give a talk to the parents of the religious education kids, so I went home and made Divine Mercy pancakes:

I did not plan on making these, but we just happened to have strawberries and whipped cream in the fridge, so liturgical living for the win!  Sacrilicious!

We took the kids to scooter again, this time in the hilly cemetery and they had a blast.  Gosh little kids are so fun!  Later on, Phil and I went out on a lunch date to a mexican restaurant and then came home and I took a nap while he took the kids to the park.  I know I married way up.

Because we all wanted to obtain the Divine Mercy plenary indulgence, we went to Confession at a nearby church in the evening and then out for ice cream after.  Eamon and Maggie went in a separate car to meet up with Andrew's girlfriend so that she wouldn't have to go no photos of those good kiddos.  My college boys also went to Confession and I am so grateful for the gift of our faith and kids who choose to live it.

Confession Confections

Cheers to Clean Souls

JP took a road trip with some friends this weekend out to a friend's farm in Illinois and sent me the photos and videos to prove it.  I am so happy that he has made wonderful friends out at Franciscan and got to celebrate a little with them before they graduate in a month...

We all woke up very tired this morning, so hopefully the week will be calm and relaxing.  Hahahahahahaha, a girl can dream!!

Friday, April 5, 2024

Week in Review: Spotted! - Toes, Faces and Kids

Hello April!  
And with April comes showers.  
And with showers come May flowers.  
And with Mayflowers come pilgrims.  
Gotta love a New England joke :) 

 This week was a little short because we drove home from Maryland on Monday so the week didn't really start until Tuesday.  I like my weeks like I like my baby's births - short and uneventful.  

Guess the Feet

Before we left for our Easter trip, Maggie and I had mani/pedis as is our annual tradition:

Maggie has always had "finger toes" that she can control like fingers and spread them out like they are's a cool party trick.

A Dermatologist Date

Also before we left, Phil and I went to the dermatologist to see about a tiny spot on our faces.  I found this photo that shows the little raised spot near my hairline (sorry for the closeup of my wrinkles, but I wanted you to see how insignificant it was).

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Declan Turns Ten

On April 1, we were in the car travelling home from Easter in Maryland.  

I said to Declan "It's your last day being nine!" 

He replied "Oh yeah!  And it's April Fools Day!"  

I said "Actually, they cancelled April Fools Day this year"

Declan whines "What?  They did?  Whyyyyy?"


That's our Declan Kolbe in a nutshell!  The sweetest, most generous, innocent, holy, nervous, athletic, kind, indecisive, active, outdoorsy and handsome little boy who just turned double digits.  He's the type of kid who cherishes every compliment, treasures every gift, holds on to memories and retells stories of the good times past.  You just want to give him the world because of his simple and transparent joy at literally anything.  He was thrilled that I bought some birthday cake flavored animal crackers to send into school as a treat for his classmates ("YES!! I was hoping I could bring in a treat for everyone!") so excited to pick "any donut he wanted" on the way to school (he got a Churro donut), and kept covering his eyes so as not to ruin the surprise when he walked by the kitchen as I was making his cake.  On the morning of his birthday, I asked him how he felt and he said "I think I do feel a little bit taller!"  Declan was such an adorable and easy baby...











Declan chose shepherd's pie "with only corn, no yucky green beans" for dinner and a chocolate sheet cake with Andes mints on top for his dessert.  Easy peasy!

Phil bought some trick sparkler candles :)

Gammy and Grandpa joined us and gave the birthday boy some cash which he was very excited to receive.

Nana and Gramps gave him a present while we were visiting, a book about St. Maximilian Kolbe, one of his patron saints.  As is the tradition when a Martin child turns TEN, Declan received a tablet and case.  As a huge Snoopy fan, he also got a Peanuts water bottle with $10 inside.  

As is also birthday tradition, Declan got to use my foot massager before bedtime...which gets pushed back from 7:30 to 8:00 now that he is double digits.  What a special day!

I threw together some videos from my phone of our DK, just to make myself reminisce for days gone by way too fast:

Happy Birthday Declan Kolbe Martin!!  We love you to the moon and back and back again!!