Tips for Helping Families Spending Time in The NICU/PICU

By: Kathy Trainor

I am offering a word of advice and would welcome more ideas on a serious topic.  About 5 years ago I had a lovely little baby boy, Patrick. He was rushed away from me so fast I never got to hold him.  You see Patrick was born early and was found to have breathing, feeding, and development concerns.   He was so severe he had to go to the PICU  (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). I remember the time being a blur of beeping monitors and people running past you and saying each day things should get better.   I also remember it as a time when no one was around about because the PICU or NICU doesn’t allow may visitors for health and safety of the child.  

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 8.43.59 AMThe NICU/PICU is no place any family thinks they will be. And it’s no place you ever want to be. However, if you end up there you will find other parents to connect with who have walked through those doors with their child. 

You have that bond, no matter what. I was texted or called to ask what they could do to help. I have found a few things that did help us and may help others. 

If you find out a friend, neighbor, coworker or relative has a child in the NICU/PICU you can help in the following ways:

1. Set up money with the hospital for parking

2. Set up money at the hospital for meals

3. A small zip lock bag of personal items like deodorant , tooth paste, feminine products, or personal care items 

4. If allowed- a meal to be dropped off at home or hospital

5. Positive thoughts

6. A gift card to a local pharmacy or super market 

7. Gas cards for travel

8. Gift cards to local sub shops or fast food places


10. Babysitting for other children

I know I missed a few, but know this is a lonely and stressful time. It moves so fast and so slow at the same time, it’s hard to manage.  Advice is not often welcomed and don’t get mad if they don’t get back to you … Just wait… and be there when they are ready. Their thoughts are focused only on getting home and holding the child of their dreams. 

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Flatten Out For Your Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an important time to learn about the risks women (and men) face. But while these facts can be frightening, there are reasons for optimism as well. When breast cancer is diagnosed early and treated, survival rates can be near 100 percent. That is why regular screenings and quality treatment are critical to the millions of women who will be diagnosed in their lifetimes.

To kick off this important month, we are taking a look back at Kathy Trainor’s award winning blog post from October 2014, “Flatten Out For Your Health,” which stresses the importance of yearly mammograms.


By: Kathy Trainor

Pink Ribbon

For most women, the word “mammogram” elicits the following thoughts:

  1. I’m too young
  2. I really don’t want to do this
  3. I know I need to do it

I fall under 1…2… and 3.

I’m only in my thirties and even though most professionals will say that you don’t need a mammogram until you’re at least 40, I go every year. I really don’t like to go, but I suck it up and do it anyways. I flatten out for my health.

You’re probably wondering why I take my mammograms so seriously. It’s because breast cancer seems to be all around me. Besides recently having a very close friend who had a double mastectomy, my mom’s family has a long history of breast cancer. For this reason, the women in my family are watched very carefully. My grandmother was only in her thirties when she died of breast cancer. So, for my 21st birthday, instead of taking me out for my first drink, my mom took me for my first mammogram.

I was young, scared, and very rude about the whole day. I hated to have to skip deodorant. I hated that my mom was with me (I was 21- I could have driven myself!) I hated the cold, dark room and I hated how violated I felt when the woman grabbed a handful of my breast and put it on a cold, dark table and photographed me.

I remember sitting there and thinking, “I’m fine! I don’t even know why I need to do this. I’m not even going to hear anything back about my results.”

Then it happened, one week after my mammogram I got a phone call fro the doctor. “We need you to come back in for a follow up mammogram. We have a few concerns.” I called my mom in a panic. Now, I needed her there. Now, I understood why my mom had wanted me to go get checked so young.

We sat in front of my doctor and she explained that the tissue in my breast was causing them cancer. It wasn’t cancer, but we would need to do a biopsy to get a better idea if we were looking at pre-cancerous tissue or just dense breast tissue.

I was in tears by the time we finished speaking with the doctor. I was so thankful that my mom was there and I was mad that I had been immature about something as minor as a mammogram. I got my biopsy and my second mammogram, and within one month’s time I met with the doctor again.

Thankfully, I was ok for now and the pre-cancerous tissue didn’t need surgery. She informed me that due to my family history I am at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. I will need a yearly breast mammogram and lab work. We agreed and we understood that I was healthy for now, but that my health could change at any time. Now, I make it one of my top priorities to have a mammogram every year.

I challenge all women to get your monogram TODAY. It could save your life.

Posted in breast cancer, flatten out for your health, fuggs and foach, Kathy Trainor, mammogram | Tagged , , | Leave a comment


By: Tanya Pimental

Today, we never forget the tragic events of 9/11.  Everyone remembers where they were and how the day unfolded. For many, the pain and grief that came with it lingers still today.  For me, this day brings emotions that have changed over the years.  I still experience a sort of grief fourteen years later.

My mom passed away on 9/8/2001. Her services were held a few days later.  I stood at the top of the hill across the way from the funeral home and took in the silence that fell over the world that day. The sky is something I will never erase from my memory.  It was as clear as could be.  Not a cloud, not a single thing in the air except crystal blue color.

So as this day approaches each year, I find myself thinking about my Mom. Surely I miss her.  But I hate to admit that what I miss more than her is the the things that never were between us and what would be today.  When she passed, I was comforted to know she’d suffer no more. Her pain was gone.  She’d been sick for so long.  With each year that has passed, I long to have been able to have my mom here.  I don’t know what it is like to call your mom, to ask her for advice, to share the joy of my kids with her. She’s not here to witness me adult and be a mom.

We never had a strong relationship.  She was strict and I wanted to have freedoms and grow up faster than she’d allow.  Those that knew her would attest to the fact that she was harsh sometimes, disapproving, and demanded near perfection.  However, when I look back, I know now that underneath that demeanor, she truly loved me and was proud of me.

About a month ago, I was on the hunt for something in the cluttered hallway closet.  I stumbled across a special keepsake.  My mom always carried a certain newspaper clipping in her wallet.  It was a Dear Abby poem entitled, “Myself.”  I’ve had in all these years and often carried it in this bag pocket or my wallet, but it had gotten lost in the shuffle at some point.  Seeing it there made me smile. It’s in rough shape but, despite it being covered in tape, I’ve tucked it back into my wallet.  The message is just the kind of pick me up I need right now in my life.

by Edgar Guest

I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
MyselfI don’t want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know 
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.


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Toddler Transition

By: Jessica Aldred 

“No!”, “Get Down!”, “Don’t eat that!”, “Stop touching that”…Yes folks, we officially have a fully mobile, chattering, defiant, yet still incredibly cute toddler! The days of tossing him the high chair with some veggie sticks while I made dinner are over. The 5 point harness is now strapping him in just long enough to nourish him. Although he has yet to figure out how to hoist himself out of his crib, anything he can get a leg up on is climbable at this point. This includes shelving, chairs that lead to tables, and even the dog!

While I’ve always joked that I should outsource my children to children’s safety companies for quality assurance purposes, every child is different and with each additional child it Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 10.11.33 AMseems my child-proofing gets a little more relaxed. You’ll still find a handful of baby gates to jump over and the cleaning supplies locked up but, if I’m being honest, you won’t find cabinets strapped to walls, blind cords rolled up or padded foam on every cornered surface. Lessons have been learned in our household (sometimes the hard way) and some of these child-proofing mechanisms are just not realistic, especially when your child can pop open a blind cord protector quicker than you can open the safety latch on a cabinet.

The truth is: none of these safety mechanisms sold to the public can take the place of parental common sense and vigilance. We all do our best to keep our children safe and more than a few of us have turned their back only to find their toddler standing on the kitchen table, but that doesn’t mean we’re bad parents. It means we’re human. It means we’re doing our best to juggle the children, the job, the pets, the house and whatever else falls upon our plate. These days it’s rare that we find ourselves with a few quiet moments in the bathroom alone or enough time to empty the dishwasher without a tiny human climbing in. Conversely, it’s also highly likely that your toddler will find the one choking hazard you hadn’t noticed on the floor and scaled a steep staircase because a sibling couldn’t lock the gate before you blink an eye.

We do the best we can with the hand we’re dealt and while it drives me crazy that I’m constantly picking up the same toys before the dog gets her fangs on them and I certainly lose my cool more often than I’d like to admit, the pure fact that I keep these three tiny humans fed, happy and alive each day is a pretty good testament to my dedication to parenthood. Being a parent is tough. Being a parent of three is tougher. But, being a parent of three 7 and under, including a busy toddler, borders on an impossible mission some days. It’s a mission I gladly accept but I gracefully reserve the right to complain, vent and freak out about at any given moment. It’s overwhelming to say the least, but I asked for these little minions to join my clan not the other way around, so I’m in for the long haul. How have you handled the transition from dormant baby to fully mobile, into everything, toddler?

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3 Low-to-No Cost Local Spots for Historical Fun

By: Martinanne Stanger 

Fall fun traditionally brings apple picking, hay rides, walks about cranberry bogs and forays to pumpkin patches. It can also offer ideal weather for getting out and about to explore history!

As you put together your fall calendar, I encourage you to check out some of the fabulous free and low-cost options for learning about local history.  Some places my family and I enjoy are:

The Mashpee Wampanoag Museum

We’ve been on one field trip to this hidden gem before, which I recently shared about on our family blog, and we are planning a return visit in October.  It’s truly a place that everyone, including adults, can enjoy and learn.  There is plenty to see, do, hear about, and try out.  Plus, admission is quite reasonable!

Several years ago, I shared a post on the Signature Moms Blog about “something to see during the Thanksgiving season.”I was referring to the 81 ft., solid granite Forefathers Monument over in Plymouth.  Dubbed the “Statue of Liberty of Massachusetts,” it’s truly impressive and makes a fantastic location for a picnic on a sunny autumn day.  Whether for religious, historical, or artistic reasons, the monument itself is worth a gander and the hilltop park it sits in provides ample space for lounging and playing.

On brisker fall days, when being outside is just not appealing, you should stop by the Old Colony Historical Society Museum for some fun right around the corner. It’s a small, but kid-friendly museum for history enthusiasts like my family.  Twice now, we have enjoyed glimpses of the past through checking out the artifacts there and hearing the tales of the passionate docents that are more than happy to answer questions and offer tours.
Where might you enjoy some history this autumn? Do you know any hidden gem locations that you’d like to share?
Posted in low cost family activities, Martianne Stanger, old colony historical society museum, the forefathers monument | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Easy Weeknight Broccoli and Sausage Recipe

By: Kathy Trainor

Whether you’re a stay at home parent, or you spend all day at work, everyone has those days when you just do not feel like cooking. For me this usually tends to fall on Mondays. What I am about to reveal to you is my secret recipe for killing a case of the Mondays. Just keep in mind to fully cure the Mondays, not only do you need to use this VERY simple and fast recipe, but you must have a tall glass of wine or some other alcoholic beverage followed by a warm bath to completely appreciate it.

It starts with boiling noodles.  I like penne noodles because I find them to be the most attractive.boil1

Next you are going to cut up some pieces of kielbasa sausage.  I just throw it in with the noodles when they are close to done.saus

Next you are going to take your broccoli (I use frozen but you can use fresh also) just steam it or boil it.  I microwaved mine.  Like I said, this is an EASY weeknight recipe…


Then when the noodles and sausage and broccoli are all done, I throw them all in the strainer and drain them. drain

After that I put them in a dish together as a family. From there I pour some sauce over the top- Alfredo is my choice.daucey

And then I serve it up!


This is always a hit with my family! Do you have any go-to weeknight recipes to share?

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The Week of Wisdom Teeth

By: Sandra L. Churchill 

That is what we are calling this week: the Week of Wisdom Teeth. My middle child, or middle young woman as I should call her (since she is 20) is a spirited, fun-loving college student whose angelic voice fills the rooms of our house when she is home. But this week has been sadly silent, as my puffy-cheeked, weary “chipmunk” of a daughter is recovering from having four wisdom teeth out.

For family and friends, this has been a week of compassion, as I’ve witnessed extra kindness given to Brittany as she deals with the pain and dry mouth post-surgery. Everyone has given hugs, run to fetch applesauce, ice packs, pain meds or macaroni and cheese, and her boyfriend made an ice cream run so she could get some fresh air.

I had the privilege of French-braiding her hair on one of the hot, humid days, and I say “privilege” because time and schedules often prohibit any lingering to fuss with hair at all. I miss those days of trying out new styles with my girls as they got ready for school or to head to a party. This “slowing down” during Brittany’s recovery week was an incredible gift, even though the pain and healing were rough on her. Our whole family took more time to sit with her and communicate as she texted her thoughts to us, because she was too sore to talk.

My 10 year-old and I stayed home more this week to keep an eye on her and to keep her company, and this “slowing down” was a wonderful way to savor the summer days and the soothing routines of home. I was able to catch up on small tasks—sending cards, writing bills, some cleaning, phone calls, updating my calendar—that I’m often too much in a frenzy to do peacefully.

The medical care from her oral surgeon and the nurses was thorough and compassionate. They were instructive about follow-up, super-attentive to pain management, and the doctor called the night of the surgery to ensure his young patient was okay.

Brittany survived her first time with anesthesia and was a pretty cheerful patient despite the grueling process of swelling and pain in a steamy-hot August week.

Her boyfriend showed extraordinary patience and kindness in just sitting with her as she juggled ice packs and suffered silently.

We are blessed to have a nest of family, friends, and medical providers to help her through a rough process, that, however small in the big scheme of things, was a big deal for my daughter. So the Week of Wisdom Teeth ends with a surge of gratitude, for so many blessings.

Posted in Health, Sandy Churchill, wisdom teeth, wisdom teeth removal | Tagged , , | 1 Comment