What a place… RONALD MACDONALD HOUSE in HAMILTON

I promised I would so I will… While in Hamilton awaiting my baby’s discharge from the McMaster NICU, we stayed at the Ronald MacDonald House for $12 a night and man it was AMAZING!

First of all, the service and professionalism of the staff was stupendous. We were greeted late at night with a professional, kind, caring lady (Arlene) and we were given a great tour of the place. It looked and felt like a five star resort- incredible. As if it was not enough that we had a nice bed to sleep in and a comfortable place to stay so we can be with our sick baby in the NICU, they also had a chef that cooked us delicious dinners. Between the multiple amenities and cozy surroundings, we felt like celebrities. I would like to share some photos with you.

20130924_084013_resized  Well-kept hallways

20130924_084022_resized Beautiful décor

20130924_084045_resized Spacious

20130924_084107_resized 20130924_084115_resized Movie Room for families and siblings of NICU Babies

20130924_084201_resized Piano in the sitting area

20130924_084218_resized  Gorgeous furniture

Children's room Children’s Play Room (1 of 4 different areas for children)

Dining Room Sunny, gorgeous dining room where they provided a great breakfast daily

library  Library (1 of 2)

park  Outdoor playground for children

Reading Room 2 Fireplace and a cozy place to sit and read

Reception  Reception area with a waterfall

There is also a “secret” room for kids that ends with a magical place filled with new toys and they get to choose whatever they want. There is a room with a pool table and other games for adults. There is also a full out MOVIE THEATRE. There is a magnificent shared kitchen where families who are staying there for long can cook and store their food in the many refrigerators. There is also a laundry room that is clean and functional as well as a mother’s pumping room with a TV and a hospital grade pump. I was not able to take pictures of all the different spaces, but you get the idea!

The place is staffed with volunteers and sponsored in part by the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and City of Hamilton. I am so impressed with the facilities and I wanted to give them a huge kudos in my blog for being there for the families of sick children. No one can imagine how difficult it is when your newborn baby is fighting for their life and their health. Each day is filled with mixed emotions from confusion, despair, fear, tension, anxiety, depression and insistent gloom. The last thing you want to worry about as a parent of a child in the NICU is where to sleep or eat. To be honest, if they were not there, I would not be eating or sleeping.

Thank you to the people of Ronald MacDonald House in Hamilton who gave us the luxury of not having to worry about our own health and well-being while we take care of our newborn baby girl. I was moved to tears by their kindness and generosity. They even gifted us with a beautiful quilt for our newborn.

I owe them so much and I would recommend them to anyone who has a similar experience.

Their website is: http://www.rmhhamilton.ca/

Here are some ways to donate and give back: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/tribute.aspx?eventid=57066&langpref=en-CA&referrer=http%3a%2f%2fwww.rmhhamilton.ca%2f

 

Until Next Time,

SMartignani

 

Merry Christmas

ImageHard to believe that this was us last Christmas. Now she is 17 months old and getting taller, louder and more temperamental by the day. I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for reading my blog and I also wish you a Merry Christmas.

I understand that “Happy Holidays” is a more politically correct statement but I believe that Christmas is a Christian holiday and we are celebrating the birth of a very important little person who grew up and died for our sin. We do not wish our Jewish friends “Happy Holidays” when its Hanukkah and we certainly don’t wish our Muslim friends “Happy Holidays” when it is their Eid el-Fitr. It is what it is. I know that in the States, they have decided to literally cross out the word Christ from Christmas (Xmas) in order to ensure the consistent growth of mass consumerism and optimize capitalistic gain from the sales of the most inane and unnecessary objects for gifts from “Santa”. However, even Santa is based on the life of St. Nicholas who is in fact a Christian saint that decided to bring needy and poor children gifts on Christmas Eve. So when we decide to celebrate a Christian holiday we should give it the respect and honour we give other religious feasts.

I am not offended when my neighbour wishes me a Happy Hanukkah because he has a right to celebrate his feasts and I have the privilege of honouring that by wishing him a Happy Hanukkah in turn. It does not mean my instantaneous and irreversible conversion to Judaism, it just means that I respect the reason for his celebration and respect his values. All I ask, as a Christian on Christmas, is the same respect.

I know for a fact that a lot of my colleagues who are not Christian still celebrate Christmas for its festive and loving underlying message. I also know so many who celebrate it properly. How you ask? Great question.

Christmas is not about how much we receive under the tree, it is about how much positive change we can bring around to the world we live in and for those who need all the help they can get. The true spirit of Christmas demands a “giving” of oneself to service and to charity. So instead of spending exorbitant amounts of money on gifts that will be discarded within the months, save a little through the year and buy a cow or a goat for a family in need (http://www.oxfamunwrapped.ca/) or sponsor a child in need (http://www.worldvision.ca/Pages/welcome.aspx) or save children from the heinous acts of sexual slavery and trafficking (http://www.traffickingproject.org/p/mission.html). If none of these options appeal to you, then maybe you can search the closest women’s shelter or food bank and volunteer there for Christmas Eve. They are always looking for people to come and serve the lonely, homeless, hopelessly addicted, mentally ill and abused men, women and teens who are strewn on the streets of your very city.

True Christmas is about the joy you receive by gifting your time and love to others. It is truly a time to raise your children to believe that it is not what we receive but what we give that matters. So I encourage you to buy one cool gift that they always wanted but get them to shop and choose a gift for a child in need. Get them to come with you and hand it out themselves so they can experience the true joy of giving, the true joy of Christmas.

Before I end this blog, there is one thing I would like us all to pray for whether we believe in God or not- Sandy Hook Elementary School parents. I am compiling these blog posts and one day my baby girl will read them (hopefully) and become aware of these events as they occurred. There is nothing, I mean NOTHING, more horrendous than burying a child but burying a child who has been shot multiple times by a sick man with an assault rifle is a fate I do not wish on my worst enemy. The murdered was a mentally ill man who ‘lost’ it and shot 20 children. Twenty angels found their way to heaven that day and all I can think about are the parents. Since this blog is dedicated to parenting, I wish to say one thing- END THE ERA OF GUNS and ESTABLISH A WORLDWIDE BAN ON GUNS. Even when soldiers used knives and muskets, there were fewer fatalities among our troops. Everyone out there shooting or being shot is a son, daughter, father, mother, brother or sister. When will it end? Let’s end it now!

 If you are doing nothing about it- do something. Personally, in reaction to this incident, I tweeted the president almost 50 times so far. I try for 10 tweets a day. It’s really not that much but it is something. I can’t count the amount of times that I shed tears as a result of this horrible travesty and all the other times that children (innocent, guileless and completely undeserving victims) are shot or abused. Funny enough, the day of this mass catastrophe, a friend told me that something similar happened in China but the perpetrator was using a knife instead of a gun- there was only one fatality and everyone else survived the madness.

I am sorry to end my blog on such a sombre note but my blogs reflect my feelings and I tell you what, this year my feelings of dread for my daughter growing up in such a cold, hurt, ill world that has decided to trade its soul for wealth and trade in its humanism for consumerism makes me wake up in cold sweats.

Let’s change that. It starts with me. It starts with you.

“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
Mother Teresa

Thank you and God bless you and your family this season and every day. May you always be granted health, wealth and wisdom.

SMartignani

 

 

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