Another Great Year for the Signature Moms Blog & Bloggers!

Thanks in large part to our wonderful bloggers and readers, this was a terrific year for the Signature Moms Blog. In total, the blog had more than 93,000 visits this year. Just amazing. That’s more than 250 visit per day. What is most gratifying is that the blog now has 2,776 subscribers. We are grateful to each and every one of you. Check out the infographic below to learn more about our year in blogging!

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I love my plus size!

By: Kathy Trainor 

With the New Year just a few days away many are busy talking about dropping holiday inches and pounds. NOT ME.  That is right you saw it.. I love being fat.  Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to drop a few pounds or be less round.  However, overall I am very happy to be pleasantly figured and know my body. I am healthy, my labs and blood pressure are all normal. I am a busy mom and teacher. My doctors have stated I’m healthy and despite maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I just have a hard time losing weight.

  • Reason 1: People don’t see you. Most of the time people notice someone with an nice body or a fit figure. Being festively plump means you are passed over. Rather nice sometimes isn’t it.
  • Reason 2: No Guilty Feeling.  No I never worry about what I eat.  I have my cake and eat it too. I dip and chip and I even scream for ice cream and love every second of it.
  • Reason 3: Dress with no stress. You know your figure and your fashion. Latest trend pass you by, but you get to stay with the classics and look classy . This is really cheaper overall.
  • Reason 4: Slow Pace. There is no rush. No one expect you to rush and it is ok to take is slow. The expectation level is that you can’t move fast (when you really can)  enjoy it and sit back and extra second.
  • Reason 5The Force. Your weight works in your favor. You can help move things and can put your weight behind it.. The thin people of the world are great for tiny spaces around doors but you can shove that item  into that space.
  • Reason 6The “ROOM” card. This is the BEST excuse! You can back out of travel or even last min joy rides… “Oh I am all set no room.” Better yet- you can drive and have FULL control.
  • Reason 7The Flattery. Our “condition” actually give us more complements. For some reason people always focus on other things to compliment us on. : “beautiful face” or ” lovely eyes” or “Smart” or “funny”…   I will take it I know I am pretty even in my  full figure.
  • Reason 8The Bubble. The fatty  layers act like “a bubble” that would break your fall and protect you from harm.  Less broken bones or bruises. It is all covered up by fat.
  • Reason 9: The layer HOT HOT HOT… that is right you are perfect to snuggle with and are always warm. You even know the best places to stay cool on a hot summer day. Plus you are more fun by a fire.
  • Reason 10: The Humor. You learn to feel nothing when people comment, you learn to joke about yourself before they do and whenever you hear a nasty comment, you tend to ignore and move on..Survival instincts call for adaptation you see.
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Holiday Haze

By: Jessica Aldred

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring……….Oh come on, who am I kidding. As the days of Hanukkah start to pass and Christmas nears, the to-do list gets longer, the days get shorter and my children, who are now confined to demolish my house, are more than stirring. They’re climbing the walls actually. As I hide in the shadows to wrap gifts when they’re not looking, covered in flower and smelling like the coffee that is now fueling my every day existence, I struggle to get through these final days before Christmas without totally losing the spirit of the season.

As a working mother of three, my daily life is a juggling act of shifting children from school, to their respective activities, and back again. While I often wonder how I haven’t forgotten someone, somewhere, or sent someone to soccer in a karate uniform, there are those rare times when I sit back and realize that I’m pretty stinking good at this household management business. I’m a mother, nurse, human calendar, cook, driver, shopper, accountant and all around housekeeping service. While I’ve come to juggle my daily tasks quite well, the addition of holiday stress brings a whole new dimension to the game.

Come the second week in December I’m expected to provide a detailed list of what each of my children would like for Christmas and their current clothing/shoe sizes. Conversely, getting that information out of others is like pulling teeth. Day after day I debate what to get those hard to shop for family members with little to no input from those same people who requested a detailed list of me. I bake endless of amounts of cookies to share with coworkers and peers, which while I enjoy on some level, also becomes just another item to scratch off the to-do list and rush out the door. I wrap gifts into the night and organize them meticulously to ensure there is equality for all. I fight excess traffic everywhere I go as others rush to get the best deals on the hottest holiday gifts. I attend fundraisers and volunteer where I can, while shelling out donations at every turn. I organize teacher gifts and deck our halls with our standard holiday décor. Did I mention the elf? I wake in the wee hours of the morning to move the elf who, to be honest, is only remembered because the baby still wakes to feed at night. As I count down the days until Christmas, unfortunately as an adult, the eager anticipation of Christmas morning has past and the seeming calm that follows the holiday stress becomes my goal.

A time that should be about creating memories with friends and family, filling our bellies with delicious treats and fostering the wonder that the season holds for our children, has become a source of dreaded stress for many of us. I suppose those whose daily lives afford some extra time for the holidays are able to truly enjoy the season, however when your life is already overflowing with things to do, the holiday stress causes seemingly more suffering than it’s worth. That’s not to say I don’t love seeing my children open that one special gift that they only asked Santa for, or the squeals of delight each morning when they find what that meddlesome elf has been up to. It’s just an honest admittance that there is too much to do, too little time, and too many fire drills that pop up along the way.

I’m thankful for a happy, healthy family this holiday season and countless amazing friends who make getting through each day possible. As I take a deep breath and wait for Santa to arrive this Christmas Eve, I wish all those friends and family peace as the stress of the holiday season passes and makes way for an amazing 2015!

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Winter Lights Display

By: Kathy Trainor 

ph-tt-B-holiday-hoesch-lights

Each holiday season thousands of families drive across Massachusetts for light displays and musical light displays. Sometimes neighborhoods get together to create those magnificent ideas or it might just be the kindness of just one family.

This holiday season my boys and I set out for five Mondays in a row to see lights from Bellingham to Braintree.   Most of these displays are done out of the kindness of their own heart. Others do ask for a small donation to help those in need during the holiday season.

We used our GPS and gassed up and brightened our holiday season one light display at a time.

As our travels when on their way we lerned a few rule for the musical light displays.

1. Dim your lights

2. Use your radio at a modest tone

3. Do not block driveways

4. Use caution when exiting and entering a musical light area as other are viewing or entering the area. 


MUSICAL LIGHT DISPLAYS

Oak Street Holbrook MA
Computerized light and music show with over 20,000 Lights    Shows play nightly from 6-9pm from Mon-Thurs, and from 6-11pm from Fri-Sun and the Radio Station is 102.1

Messina Woods Drive, Braintree , MA
This is a looping strew that can have some traffic. I suggest early in the week or mid week to avoid weekend traffic. There are 3 houses that are musical lights.  The lights will be on from 5:00pm to 10:00pm and the  radio station is 87.9

Loganberry DR Abington , MA

This boasts over 100 wooden figures that are hand made and painted. They also have over 1000 musical lights. Shows play nightly from 6pm to 10pm and you can turn to the radio station 98.1

Forest Street, Norwell, MA 

This is a musical light display.  Please note there is a stone wall in front of the house and it makes it very hard for little ones to see fully the lights at this home. Each show is about  25 mins  5-525, 6-625… You can use the 88.7 radio station at this home.

1 Lilah Lane Pembroke, MA

Collection of 5 houses with a musical light display. This is a looped street so traffic can get backed up. It is suggested to use a weeknight to have more time to enjoy these light displays.  Tune into 89.1 on your radio. Be sure to look for Santa in the window of the yellow house! The show runs from 5pm to 10pm nightly

The Crazy Tech Christmas  Lakeville, MA

This display is on Furlong Circle  . The almost 50,000 LED lights are programmed to Christmas music, and even Santa is up in the window checking his list! Show runs from 4:30pm to 10:00pm nightly  and you can listen to radio station 87.9 to . The owner of the light display respectfully ask that you use care and respect in the area of the homes as his neighbors fully support his work but want to keep doing this for years to come. When he spoke to me and my boys he was thankful for all he could do for families to enjoy a free holiday event.

Mann Street, Bellingham, MA

This house has 40,000 lights and two miles of extension cord to make their Christmas display a reality. Listen to the show on 101.7 FM  and runs from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m daily.

Light Displays

Millis Wonderland, Millis Ma

It starts at 6pm and will be open every evening, weather permitting, through 10pm December 25th, Christmas Day.  The lines can get long this is a mid week activity . They ask for a small donation that goes to the salvation army . They have over 40 shed decorated and 40,000 lights. This is the last year for this giving event . After this year the light displays will be donated to a charity a Meehans will choose.

Edaville USA, Carver, MA 

One of the longest light displays running on the south shore admission is $20.00 per person over the age of 2 include 14 rides and a magical train ride. It is suggest midweek as weekend trains can have over a 2 hour wait.

La Salette Shrine, Attleboro, MA 

In the heart of Attleboro this shrine has nightly lights during the holiday season. Run by nuns and monks.  Nightly from 5pm to 11pm. Lines on the weekend can be over 2 hours long it is highly suggest you try to visit mid week.

Middleboro Festival of Lights , Middleboro MA 

KOA Boston Campgrounds    please check their website for price per car load. It can run $1.00 to $3.00 per car load. Days and times may vary .

The Wonder of Christmas Lights Brockton, MA

Come and walk through our winding Christmas park. View displays about christmas past and present.Every three minutes the lights will dance to the synchronized christmas music. The whole park comes alive with light!  1090 West Chestnut St Brockton. We did not have time to visit this location and our plan is to do this before the holiday season is over.  Like most light displays I would suggest mid week over a weekend based on traffic and keeping small ones happy .


Jordan’s Enchanted Village, Avon, MA 

The family at Jordan moved what was once into Boston and kept this display active for all to see within New England.  Admission is free. You can buy muffins, see the Polar Express, and a laser show for a low added cost ranging from $5-10 per person. There may be  height and health restrictions for the Polar Express 4d Experience so please read the website.

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Christmas Traditions

We asked the Signature Mom Bloggers to share their favorite Christmas traditions. Check out what they had to say and then tell us about your favorite holiday traditions! Do you leave special cookies for Santa on Christmas eve? Or do you have a favorite movie you watch with your family? We want to know! 

Tanya Pimenta:Tanya Pimental

We have a great holiday tradition that we share with our dearest friends. This is our sixth year of having a “Cookie Playdate.”  We all bring some fixings and spend the afternoon baking and decorating cookies.  The kids eat lots of frosting and cookies.  Even though the cookies are not so edible in the end, the warm feeling the day brings sets the tone for Christmas and the New Year.  As wild and crazy as it can be with so many little ones, it’s something I look forward to each year!

Sandy Churchill:

One of our family traditions is the German practice of filling bunten tellers for each other. The name means “colored plate,” named for the colorful fruits, nuts, and candies placed as a gift on each person’s special plate. We created our own designs–decoupaged with pictures onto glass plates, and we use them each Christmas Eve. We each choose one small treat for each person in the family from a local sweet shop and we surprise each other typically after Christmas Eve Mass. This is one of the traditions our three children most enjoy each Christmas and it commemorates some of our German heritage!

Kathy Trainor:

Every Christmas Eve, since my husband has to work all day, we make lots of baked goods to bring to the local Fire and Police department. My kids also make sure to have a stuffed animal to bring to the police and fire departments for a child who may be in need this holiday season.

Kathy Trainor1 Kathy Trainor2

 

Janice Johnson-Plumer:

My tradition is to watch Charlie Brown Christmas every year. I remember how much I loved Charlie Brown growing up and how much I looked forward to watching the Christmas Special. I would sit with my mother and watch it every year.  These days I have my husband and son watch it with me, even though my son doesn’t get into it as much as I do.

My son, who is 12, still believes in Santa. I don’t place the gifts under the tree until the day of Christmas. The night before I shake bells to sound like Santa has come to our house while he sleeps.

This year, my husband and I will also take some time to just sit back and reflect on 2014 and what we need to do to move forward to 2015.

Jessica Aldred:

Jessica AldredHere’s a picture of my three elves! Our holiday traditions consist of: “Chippey,” our Elf on a Shelf, making gingerbread houses, and trimming the tree as a family.

Heather O’Neill:

One of my favorite traditions is when “Buddy the Elf” brings Christmas jammies to the boys on Christmas Eve. These special, magical jammies let Santa know that they are sleeping and that it’s safe for him to come into the house and leave gifts. It’s a great motivator for the boys to sleep on such an exciting night!

Martianne Stanger:

One of our favorite holiday traditions is Martianne Stanger3preparing our hearts for Christmas by making and acting upon our Advent chain.  Right before Advent begins (and sometimes just after during years when we are not as on the ball!), we cut purple and pink strips of paper.  Then, we brainstorm ideas for how we can serve and show love for others and write them on the strips.  We hang these up, and each day, take one strip down to act upon.

Martianne Stanger2Martianne Stanger1Even though the children already know what is written on the strips, since they come up with the ideas themselves, they get excited each day to see which act of service and love will be the suggestion of the day.  They also thrill to see the number of paper links on the chain — and therefore the days until Christmas — getting fewer and fewer.

 

 

Posted in Christmas, Heather Desmond O'Neill, Janice Johnson-Plumer, Jessica Aldred, Kathy Trainor, Martianne Stanger, Sandy Churchill, Tanya Pimental | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Social media is the new newspaper clipping

By: Kathy Trainor 

Sometimes moms have a moment where they are playing on social media and a local news station will post and ask you to show you a proud fan moment. I can remember getting the paper when I was a kid and seeing other families in the paper for for similar things. These days, news outlets are turning to social media to promote their fan engagement by sharing pictures and posts from loyal supporters.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 7.32.34 PMBeing from the Boston area we all have our fan gear to support our favorite teams. For us, our sport of choice is hockey! We love hockey. The boys have jerseys or shirts from each season.  Recently, I even added the boys to a photo album in the new stations list of fans on their website.

Then it happened!  My boys were chosen to be on the Facebook and Twitter feed of the local station before the start of the Bruins game on December 11th! They even tagged the Bruins in the post.  To me, it was like being on the front page of the sports section in the Boston Globe!

Definitely a proud Mommy moment !

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Tears of Autism : When a whole classroom knows it is YOUR kid

By: Kathy Trainor autism-awarenessMy son’s school did an event for Thanksgiving called the “Family Feast” where they invited all the students and their families to come to the school and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast.

The day started with the class greeting the parents in the school foyer. My son was next to the teacher on the walk up. When he saw that big crowd he promptly flopped on the floor against a wall and started crying.  Now at home we know how to prepare him for big crowds. The teacher suggested I walk him down to the classroom before everyone else so we could get settled.

I felt lost, sad, and isolated.  I knew the other 24 parents in the class saw my kid on the ground.  I got my son up and walked him to his classroom where a support staff person showed us a quieter place to sit. We sat and waited for 50-60 other adults and children to enter the room. I watched my son curl into a ball and the tears start to roll down his face.

I looked up to see parents walking by with looks on their face that seemed to say, “Oh great- he is THAT kid. He’s the CRIER! He’s the one who takes time away from my child.”

Once everyone was seated the teacher asked the students to gather at the front of the classroom. My heart sank because I KNEW he wouldn’t do it. He walked to his teacher in tears and wouldn’t even stand near the other children. He stood buried between the teachers with his back facing the class and parents. The students sang a lovely song about being thankful and I had to choke back tears as I watched my son struggle and observed the other parents looking at him cowering in the corner.

The lovely poem ended and the children were told to go back to their seats, but my son was so frozen in time he couldn’t even walk back to me. He couldn’t even weave his way past four people. I had to get up to get him and the teacher help guide him back…GREAT now everyone knows I’m Mom and my son is the one who took away from a lovely day with his classmates and families.

The meal service gets underway and I have to walk with my trembling, sobbing son to get food I know he won’t eat.  The turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy and corn bread are just not things on my son’s diet. I am lucky if he will drink the juice box at the end of the table.  I go through the motions as I get a plate and walk him with me.

We get back to the table and it is now time for a family picture. Wonderful- let’s add another thing to the list of things he struggles with.  My son still has puffy cheeks and eyes, but I gathered him on my lap and threw a smile on my face! Fake it until you make it right?

The day ended with a little boy in my son’s class approaching him and asking “How come you didn’t sing with us?”  The little boy’s dad was standing right there and he just looked away. I was crushed when I realized that my fear of my child being “different” wasn’t just in my head. I knew 24 peering eyes saw my son and knew that he was different. My son didn’t say anything. I just kneeled down to my son and the little boy and said, “Sometimes things are different.”  The boy’s father just gave my son and me a blank look. I took my son’s hand and waved to the little boy as we walked to the car.

I wanted to ask my son why, but I knew I couldn’t!  I knew he couldn’t, wouldn’t, or didn’t want to tell me why he didn’t sing today.  The reality of the situation is that it didn’t matter- we just had a day where Autism brought us tears, but not of joy. Someday…. right?

This quote stuck with me as I sat in the car trying to choke back tears again…

“Don’t look at my child with Autism and feel bad for us, look at this child with Autism and be happy for what we have overcome!”

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