My Son, His Basketball, My World:

By: Carolyn Coleman

A father’s pride and a mother’s joy. The birth a male child speaks to lineage, longevity and perceived success. As soon as he breaks the womb into this world the dreams start to rise.

student athleteSometimes I don’t think people realize the dedication it takes from a parent and child to raise a student athlete. My son is now 15-years-old and will be a sophomore in high school this fall. He has been playing organized sports since the age of 5. My husband and I put in countless hours traveling with him, bringing him to practice, and making sure he understands that his education comes first.

Playing sports requires a commitment of time and energy, but the benefits far exceed the disadvantages. Playing sports will teach my son commitment, dependability, motivation, and teamwork. He will also gain a wealth of knowledge about his overall physical health.

I feel as though the last two months has been a whirlwind of traveling for basketball. My son has been to Providence, New Jersey, Virginia and, most recently, to Pennsylvania twice. I welcome the break from basketball for a few weeks.

Basketball gives a mother a chance to scream from the stands and a father a chance to raise a man. As I watch my son approach each and every game with such determination to help his team to a victory, it brings me joy to know that we are raising such an amazing young man.

As I close, I’d like to remind you to help your child balance life as a student-athlete. Be sure they find time to unwind, stay focused, socialize, and remember that school always comes first.

I welcome your thoughts on the student athlete, artist, dancer, etc. you are raising.

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Life’s a Beach

By: Rachel Ventura

I may make some enemies for this, especially right now in the middle of Summer, but I’m just going to come right out and say it. I don’t like the beach. I’ve just never been a fan. My relationship with the sun and history with melanoma is one of the reasons, but even more than that, I just don’t enjoy the sand and water. Unless I am in Florida or someplace tropical, I think the sand is dirty and gross, and the water is cold, dirty, and murky. Not to mention all the planning, travelling, lugging, changing clothes, and sand everywhere. It’s all just more of a hassle than I care to deal with.

At one of our most recent trips, I was disgusted at the site of the sand. I won’t mention the name of the beach, as it’s a place we enjoy and I’m really hoping it was a fluke. But the beach was covered in cigarette butts, animal feces, dirty band aids, and bones. Yes, bones. I’m pretty sure they were from ribs and chicken wings. Seriously, who eats those things at the beach? And way more importantly, who throws them on the ground and leaves them there? How inconsiderate can you be? There were plenty of trash cans all around. I just don’t get it. It was so gross that I felt sick to my stomach the whole time we were there.

But all that being said, my kids LOVE the beach. Since I’m not going to let my idiosyncrasies (read: craziness) rule their life, I do manage at least a handful of beach trips each summer. I’m sharing with you the few favorite places that we frequent. Also, one of the best tips I ever got is to pack light. I am an over-packer. For sure. But for the beach, I truly believe less is more. I take 1 bag, and it’s my trusty zip-top organizing utility tote from Thirty-One. It is seriously the most perfect beach bag. It’s not too big (but big enough), has tons of pockets, zips closed, and is water resistant. Inside, I pack 2 towels, all of my necessities, lunch (if needed), snacks, and any other items we may need. We also bring a beach bucket, with assorted beach toys inside, and a blanket to sit on. That’s it. It makes the trip so much easier not to have too much stuff to lug in and out of the car. I bring a change of clothes for the kids as well, but leave them in the car, and change the kids there before we leave.

That’s it!

That’s it!

Our favorite spot is Town Neck Beach in Sandwich. It helps that my parents live there. My kids love to go visit Grammy and Pop at “the cottage,” which almost always includes a trip to the beach. We always walk from my parents’ house. I do they know charge for parking during the day, though I’m not even sure how much it is. I don’t think it’s too much, and whatever it is, it’s worth it. It’s a beautiful beach! There are port-a-potties and though there is no permanent snack shack, there is almost always a truck in the parking lot selling food and treats. One side is the real beach where you can see the beginning of the Cape Cod Canal. It’s fun to watch all sorts of boats coming in and going out. The beach starts off with dunes and very nice sand, but then it gets very rocky. The water is also very cold. For these reasons, we usually stay on the river side of the beach. Here you have the Sandwich Boardwalk, which is fun to take a stroll, or for the adventurous, to jump off during high tide! The beach on this side is sandy, the water isn’t too deep, and it’s much warmer. There are always crabs, fish, even shrimp to check out, which is always fun. It’s also a wonderful place to take family photos, as we did just the other night with Captured Memories! Here are a few photos from the shoot, as well as some other favorites that showcase the beauty of this beach!

Beach

Beach

 

Beach

Beach

Beach

Beach

We recently checked out Nelson Beach in Plymouth for the first time and really enjoyed it! We’ll definitely be going back. The splash pad and playground is a definite plus, but we had the most fun on the beach. We went during low tide and were able to walk out pretty far. We found all sorts of shells, sea glass, periwinkles, and seaweed. Tons of fun!

Beach

Beach

Beach

It’s not the ocean, but we love visiting Houghton’s Pond in Milton. There are lifeguards, bathrooms, a bathhouse, and a snack shop. There are also trails to hike and explore and a really nice playground. It’s a beautiful spot to spend the day! My kids love to swim and build sandcastles while here, and on the way out, we grab an ice cream at the snack shop. Perfect day!

Beach

Beach

Beach

Beach

What are your favorite local beaches? Please share so my clan and I can check them out and hopefully, add them to our list of favorites!

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Breastfeeding Failure

By: Jessica Aldred

Jessica AldredI just finished breastfeeding my newborn son. It’s such an intimate experience that can only be explained by woman blessed with the opportunity to do so. Shortly after I finished feeding him, my husband handed me a 3-ounce bottle of milk-free formula to complete the feeding. You see, I’m lucky if my little man gets an ounce per feeding from me.  This is my third attempt to take advantage of the health and financial benefits of breastfeeding my children.  While the reality that I can’t do something that comes so naturally to so many moms, and critics, was easier to handle this time, it was by no means easy.

Please know this, I did not choose for this happen. I did not set out to fail. I am just a mother trying all I can to keep my children healthy and happy, which means having a healthy and happy mother as well. In hindsight, I realized that while I did have a maternal need to feed my children, I also felt pressured to do so, like I was less of a woman and less of a mom because I couldn’t do it. I’d read articles about it in which they made it seem like breastfeeding was a decision, like you were selfish if you chose not to, or perhaps lazy if you opted for formula. Not once in any of the articles did they address those of us who didn’t have a choice, and that hurt me. I just wanted to scream, “Don’t you think I want to do this? Don’t you think I want to do it the way nature intended?” In the years that would follow my first delivery I constantly ran into woman just like me! They gave breastfeeding a whole-hearted attempt and when they realized it wasn’t working out, they either supplemented or moved on. Time after time I sat with or talked to another mom with tears in her eyes as she realized she wasn’t alone, that she wasn’t some freak of nature that couldn’t provide for her child. I remember how much it meant to each of them to find a kindred mother who she could vent her frustration to who would not only listen but could also empathize with her experience.

I found out within the first week after I delivered my eldest son via scheduled c-section that I wasn’t providing what he needed in the food department. I found a great support group and an amazing lactation consultant. I also tried all sorts of supplements, vitamins and even some prescription medications that were known to enhance milk supply. Despite my best efforts, I just couldn’t provide more than a few ounces a day for my son. In my lowest postpartum moments I felt like such a failure, like perhaps I wasn’t meant to be a mother if I couldn’t provide for such a basic need of my child. I felt so much pressure to fix my problem and create milk, but at the end of the day I just needed to feed my healthy, happy little boy. We supplemented with formula and were very quickly dealt another blow in the feeding department. My son had a pretty bad milk allergy and had to switch to a milk-free formula, which costs twice what normal formula does. Because our insurance did not cover it, we had to deal with an unexpected financial blow on top of the emotional roller coaster that came with not being able to breastfeed.

With my second son, I felt like I knew what I was up against and I had a realistic expectation.  I’d attempt to feed him and if it didn’t work, it didn’t work. I’d go right with the milk-free formula and that would be it. Again, I gave it a shot and gave him all I could produce but, alas, it was not meant to be. As I approached my due date with #3 I figured this was my last shot to do this and gave it my all. I visited my lactation consultant weeks prior, saved what I could produce prior to delivery and froze it, and did all I could to prepare my body to produce as much milk as possible.

My beautiful little man was delivered healthy and perfect! I breastfed the second I was able to hold him and every time he made a peep for the next three days. I recollect a moment where my husband expressed frustration that he couldn’t help me feed him as I sobbed through my exhaustion. But he knew that this was what I wanted, that I had to give this all I had before I could go the formula route. I still remember standing next to the scale each night as they weighed him, praying we could stay above the 10% weight loss limit. If he lost more than 10% of his weight, they would make me supplement and I was working so hard to not let that happen. Luckily, because I had some frozen from prior to delivery I was able to supplement with my own milk stores. However, the fear that I was heading down that all too familiar road set in.  But this time was different. I was mentally prepared for this and to date, I have followed through with my plan. I’ll do whatever I can naturally to enhance my milk supply and I’ll get him whatever I can for as long as I can. I’ll pay for the doubly priced milk-free formula that my insurance won’t cover, and I’ll supplement as much as I need to in order to fill his cute little tummy. And I won’t feel guilty about it.

My amazing husband often reminds me that I have two perfectly healthy older sons who were ultimately formula fed and if this one needs to follow suit then so be it. As my baby approaches 6 weeks of age I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck to my plan. We enjoy the time we’re able to spend quietly breastfeeding, but I certainly don’t feel guilty when I’m running out the door to karate leaving my husband to finish up a feeding. My boys are healthy and perfect regardless of what they were fed as infants and I’m finally able to say I’m okay with that.

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Dear Laundry

By: Kathy Trainor

Dear Laundry…

We need to have a chat. I have wanted to have this talk for a very long time.

Dirty-LaundryI have been very unsettled for about 25 years now. I will not hold back. This is ALL your Fault. You never leave, you are never clean and you never give me space. I’m sick of it. I am rather annoyed by the piles of garbage you leave all over the place.

You take too much of my time.

You demand I work out by lifting, bending, pushing, pulling, and twisting more than yoga and kickboxing.

Why? Like my children and my cat, learn to clean up after yourself. Don’t be so needy and selfish. We foster a house of independence! WHY are you so hopeless and helpless and not handy in the least bit? You are constantly picking a fight and have the be separated . You are a lump of wasted space. Even my cat does more than you.

I dislike you… NO…. I HATE YOU. When I look at you I want to vomit. Your presence in this home makes me so upset and sucks every nice bone out of my body.

Smarten up, shape up, ship out and leave!

Thank you,
Kathy

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Meet the New Signature Mommy Bloggers: Angela Semeta

Meet Angela Semeta, a local mom who dedicates her time to her kids and to improving her community.

Hello everyone! My name is Angela Semeta and I’d love to take a moment to introduce myself proudly as one of Signature Healthcare’s newest Mommy Bloggers. First off, I’d just like to say that I am new to the blogging world..a first timer! I intend on sharing with you my resourcefulness when it comes to free and low-cost ways to entertain kids of all ages. I will share with you ways to get involved in your community and ways to teach your kids to get involved as well.

As for myself, I’m a single Mom of two, ages six and seventeen. I know…check out the range!! I can’t believe that my son is going to be a SENIOR come September! He takes after his Mom with his artsy creative side and his love for music. However, unlike his Mom, he tends to be on the quiet side. My daughter, on the other hand, is very much like Mom in the sense she’s extremely outgoing and talkative :) What I love about her is that she loves to help others. I’ve very proud that she always puts others before herself.

Being a parent is not an easy task…single or not! I’m sure that even though many of us are different in so many ways, we share so much in common. One thing is for sure: we all LOVE our children and do the best we can to keep them smiling :)

I hope you will enjoy my posts and find the information useful for you and your families. I will keep in mind that we are parents of a wide age range of children – from infancy to teenagers – and will try to post a wide range of information that will be of interest to all.

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Meet the New Signature Mommy Bloggers: Carolyn Coleman

By: Carolyn Coleman

Carolyn ColemanI enjoy being a Mom and feel I have a lot to share with having sons who are more than 12 years apart.

My husband and I are both from New Orleans, LA. We relocated to Boston for my husband to get his Master’s Degree from Boston College. We packed up his then 5-year-old twin boys and headed east for what we thought would be no more that 3-4 years. Well, it’s been 24 years!

My husband and I have been married for 24 years. We have twin boys who have graduated college and a 15-year-old son who just completed his freshman year of high school. My husband and I both work full-time outside the home, so raising a teenage boy today is very challenging.

I enjoy reading and exercising with my husband and son. Basketball is a big part of our family. Both older boys played all through college and one has continued to play in the Ukraine, while the other coaches at a prep school in Florida. Our youngest has been playing organized basketball since he was only five. I always say to my friends, while some Moms are relaxing on weekends or doing the girly thing, you can usually find me in a gym somewhere is New England watching basketball.

I’ll be writing about the generation gap between my sons – how different it is raising a son today compared to 10 years ago. I also want to write about raising a student athlete. I don’t think most people realize the dedication a parent has to have to raise a student athlete. The most important thing is keeping my son focused on his academics so he knows the importance of maintaining his grades and having choices when he completes high school.

I am looking forward to being a Signature Mom Blogger!

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Meet the New Signature Mommy Bloggers: Jessica Aldred

By: Jessica Aldred

Jessica AldredAs a wife and mother of three, I often find myself turning to Internet blogs for insight and ideas from other moms in Southeastern, MA. I’m so excited to be able to share some of my life experiences and opinions with others in this capacity through the Signature Mom’s Blog! I recently delivered my third son in May of 2014 and I look forward to sharing the challenges and successes that my family faces as we juggle life as a party of five! In addition to being a stay-at-home mom, I also work part-time out of my home. While the balancing act of it all can have its bad days, I thrive on it all and find solace in my innate need to be organized and always have a plan. I hope our readers enjoy following along as I chronicle my family’s life experiences.

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