Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Memorial Day Weekend 2024 - Graduation Parties, History Lessons and Parenting Two Families

On Saturday, my family had a graduation party for this year's grads - a college grad, two high school grads and an 8th grader grad.  Unfortunately, Phil and I couldn't attend the party because we had to work at The Cottage to allow all of our kids and nieces/nephews who work for us to attend the party, but I hear it was a great time!

The Grads

Maggie's sister/cousin

My brother and his family came to stay overnight and he always loves to walk down to the historic fort in our town, so the littles and I (and Lucy Doodle) joined him on Sunday morning.  It's a 3 mile walk round trip, and though Phil and I often run/walk this route, we hardly ever stop to explore the fort so it was fun to do that.  We live in such a beautiful and historical spot and I don't take it for granted one bit!

Friday, May 24, 2024

Week in Review: A Date, An Induction and An Accident

Happy Friday of Memorial Day weekend everybody!  This weekend always makes it feel like summer has officially started.  Growing up on Cape Cod, the population would increase so much from Memorial Day to Labor Day and while those visitors were our bread and butter, it sure made the bridge traffic unbearable.  I love living on this side of the bridge now, in a beautiful coastal town where we can afford to raise our family.  I still love to visit the Cape though :)

I also love to visit Newport, Rhode Island and that's what we did for our anniversary date on Friday.  It was a beautiful day and we went to Pasta Beach for an early dinner where we filled up on (too expensive) dinners.  Phil's bowl of pasta was $23.  That's cuckoo, right?

Even when we reserve seats at restaurants, we always seem to get thee worst table available.  It's a running joke at this point.  This table was right by the employee/delivery door and I had to keep getting out of my seat to let deliveries in.

We walked around the town, stopped by an Irish pub, walked some more and then drove back home while listening to our wedding song ("It's Your Love" by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill) and I played "22" by Taylor Swift even though I am the opposite of a Swiftie (a Slowie?) but it did fit the 22 year anniversary theme.

Of course we had some ice cream from the Cottage to end the night.  This is our new special flavor - Candy Shoppe.  Vanilla ice cream with mini M&Ms, snickers and KitKats.

Monday, May 20, 2024

The One About the Wedding Dress (and Veil)

OK, so I casually mentioned in my last post that my wedding dress cost $99 and you guys made me feel like it was such a beautiful dress and wanted more details.  More details, I have them.  

I want to preface this by saying...please don't think any less of me.

Back in March 2001, a young Colleen (Senior at Franciscan) was home for Spring Break on Cape Cod while her boyfriend Phil (Junior at Franciscan) was home in Maryland on the same break.  Phil had very recently given Colleen a white rose (story here) and they had been dating for just over a year and knew they wanted to get married one day.  Fools in love, indeed.  They had already travelled around Europe together on their semester abroad in Austria (chastely! with friends! all kosher!) and felt like they truly knew each other and were a good match.  Seeing your significant other wake up with morning breath on a train in the middle of Eastern Europe will do that to a couple.

Valentine's Day Dance 2000 in Austria, about ten days before he asked me to be his girlfriend.

Colleen, this is supposed to be a story about a dress.

Ok, I know, I just want to make sure you all understood that we were on the verge of getting engaged, but I honestly knew not when or how as Phil still had another year of college left and I was about to start my MBA program.  

Friday, May 17, 2024

Week in Review: Happy Anniversary and Advice Needed

Happy Friday y'all!  Today is our 22nd Anniversary!

Who lets babies get married?  Look at how young and naive we were.  As much as we were in love back then, it's amazing how deep love can grow over the years, especially when you both are working so hard to provide for and raise a family.  They say marriage isn't easy, but it sure seems easy with you, Phil.  Love you forever.

My $99 David's Bridal dress

When I was looking through our wedding album last night with the littles, I found a copy of our program I had tucked away in there.  I remember writing the story of the white rose, but I do not remember picking the poem below, though it is sweet:

Monday, May 13, 2024

Mother's Day Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

 Ahhhh Mother's Day.  It was wonderful.  I realize that I am in a very perfect stage of motherhood right now.  Not only do I still get to celebrate my own wonderful mother, but I have seven pretty independent children with unique personalities who all love to call me Mom.  Doubly blessed.

We went out to breakfast on Saturday morning all together, knowing we couldn't all go on Sunday morning due to Mass times and DRE duties.  We went to a restaurant I have always wanted to go to, and it was delicious.  I had the pesto omelette with tomatoes and mozzarella, so good.  At one point while we were eating, I looked over and Declan (age 10) and Brendan (age 7) were cutting up their own french toast and everyone was behaving like little angels and I just thought "we made it!"  Don't get me wrong, toddlers are my favorite and a cute baby will make my ovaries ache, but honestly, school age through young adult aged kids are really awesome.  Don't let anyone tell you to worry about the teenage years, from my experience, they have been more fun than anything else.

Then we had our annual family photo in front of The Ice Cream Cottage:

Friday, May 10, 2024

Week in Review: Opening Day of Season Two and A New Job

Anyone else feel like there head is in a constant state of spin?  Somehow we made it to Friday!  With a First Communion last Sunday and the boys returning from college on Wednesday, and the Ice Cream Cottage opening yesterday...it's been a whirlwind. 

The night before opening day, I sat with Phil and pretended to order things off the menu to make sure he felt prepared no matter what anybody ordered.  Let's just say we almost forgot to buy bananas for the banana splits and shortcakes for the strawberry shortcake sundaes, so that was a good lesson.  

We moved some things around inside the shop this year, as last year we opened in such a hurry and just kind of made do with the layout.  The soft serve machine is now moved away from the takeout windows because it was loud and made it hard to hear the orders.  We now offer chocolate dipped waffle cones (that live in the new cone cottage) and we got rid of the chowder and quahogs because the restaurants on either side of us are now open and serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We created a new frappe station with a bigger fridge underneath and added blenders to make more frappes quickly.  We got a new toppings fridge which looks so much better.  Here's a little tour:

Leading up to opening day, the weather showed rain through the weekend, but then on the morning of - sunshine!  It looks like a dry (slightly cool and cloudy) weekend which we will take.  We can't control the weather but it does affect our takeout business for sure.  We had to take the littles to get a treat on opening day (and Ascension Thursday!) after swim practice:

We had a great first day, so many loyal customers came back.  We are very blessed to be in this supportive town.  

Other than getting the shop open, JP had an interview on his first day back from college, and he got the job!  He will be working for an elderly doctor who needs his help as a medical scribe/assistant.  JP said this doctor (a general practitioner and a DO) was sooooo nice and when he talked to his former scribe and an office worker, they said he is awesome to work for and that JP will learn so much.  So we are all very happy for him!  And the office is only about 12 minutes from home, even better.  It's actually at the medical group that gave him a scholarship for college when he was a high school senior.  Full circle!

He wore a suit to the interview, and when he was leaving, the doc said "You clean up nice but I never want to see you looking that formal again!" haha, sounds like the perfect job for JP :)

Have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend everyone!  I hope you get exactly what you want!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

JP and His BS - Bachelor of Science, That Is

When they tell you that the days are long but the years are short, they aren't kidding...

JP is currently driving home from college as I type, and I have all the feels.  He is not walking in graduation (which was his choice) mostly because his friends are all graduating next year, but also because The Ice Cream Cottage opens tomorrow, and we need Andrew and him to start working.  My motherly guilt is strong and I don't want JP to go unrecognized for this incredible accomplishment, so I'm gonna brag a little here.

 We are so, so, so proud of him and all of his hard work.  He was able to graduate in three years by taking lots of classes each semester, a couple summer classes and having transfer credits from AP exams and some college classes earned while he was in high school.  He always knew he wanted to pursue the medical field, and took steps toward that dream by becoming an EMT and shadowing at a doctor's office.  He will now be looking for a job getting patient care hours so that he can apply to Physician Assistant programs sometime in the next year.  Those seats are notoriously hard to get, so it might take a few years.

JP had a wonderful college experience at Franciscan. He made such great friends, met his wonderful girlfriend, studied abroad and travelled all over Europe, grew in his faith, gained incredible scientific knowledge (organic chem y'all!) and matured into a young man that we like to be around!  Isn't that the goal of parenting, to raise children that become adults you like?  JP has always been such an easy kid and I'm happy to say that nothing has changed, we never had any hard times with our first born which is probably the reason we have such a big family :)  

We love you so much John-Paul and we thank God for the gift of you every day.  

Monday, May 6, 2024

The Last First Communion of the Martin Family

Our last Martin family First Communion took place yesterday, and it was beautiful.  Brendan Joseph, at the wee age of seven and a bit on the smaller side, borrowed a suit from one of Declan's friends that he had worn to his First Communion.  He looked very sharp and was so excited to receive Jesus!!

Phil is the Director of Religious Ed at our parish, and had one of the parents take these professional photos, which was such a great addition.

Brendan did the second reading and Eamon was serving the Mass (along with Xander and Declan) and making sure the readers got up on the step and close to the microphone.

At the end of the Mass, each child received the Brown Scapular and then sang Ave Maria as a group, which was as adorable and emotional as you might imagine.

Now for all of the lesser quality phone pics!  

Friday, May 3, 2024

Week in Review: A School Gala, A Graduation Scare and A New Restaurant

Happy 1st Friday in May!  This month is always a rollercoaster filled with social events, graduations, sacraments, anniversaries, the return of the college students and the opening of The Ice Cream Cottage.  It's all good stuff and I feel so grateful to be included in the celebrations and milestones of my family...but sometimes I deeply empathize with her:


True story, after the very social weekend we had, Phil and I went to a workout class at the gym on Monday night while Brendan had swim team practice.  While in the car en route, I was telling Phil that I was excited to catch up with my friends from the gym whom I hadn't seen in a long time.  

As we entered the class, I stopped and peeked through the glass part of the door to see who was inside.

Phil: What are you doing?

Me: Just trying to see where my friends are so I can avoid them.


On Friday night, Phil and I (and Eamon who was a volunteer) attended our Catholic elementary school's annual gala.  How do you pronounce that word?  I say gala like *gosh what rhymes with the way I say it* "pal uh".  But I've heard people say it like gay-la.

I had bought a cute new dress for the gala, but then ended up wearing this flowy number instead because my cycle just loves to show up at the most inconvenient times.  I was very happy that my black eye turned the corner and was able to be covered with makeup.  Phil is sporting the facial hair because he can't shave near his scar yet.  I like the look of it on him, but how on earth do you ladies kiss a man with facial hair?  Ouch!

My lips WERE harmed for the sake of this photo

On Saturday, we did some yard work and chores and errands and work at the shop and then went to Mass and had friends over for dinner.  We were able to sit on the screened porch with our firepit for the first time this spring, so nice!

Grandpa can always get them to work hard!

Maggie had her last (hallelujah!!) volleyball tournament on Sunday and we didn't get home until almost 7pm.  Her team came in 3rd place and now she just has to finish up her Spring Track season.  Every year at this time we swear we won't do this off season volleyball team next year.  And then every year we do.