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The Sarahs tell it like it is, sharing the salty + sweet, big city + small town, ups + downs, the pretty + not so much of modern motherhood. 


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Feather Her Nest

It's time for the third and final installment of Sarah Throws A Baby Shower!

My husband is one of four boys and a  baby girl. Well, the baby girl is having her own baby girl. Me and my sister-in-laws Jennifer and Ginger threw a bird nest themed baby shower to celebrate the impending arrival.

Again, I looked to the invitation from Paper and Pigtails  for most of my design inspiration.

My favorite touch was the little birdseed ornaments. My sister-in-laws made them inspired by this post and I thought they were just perfect.

All in all, it was a lovely party.

More importantly, it was my last baby shower FOR A LONG TIME.

~ Sarah Stewart Holland


The Biter

Last Thursday I received a call. The call. My son’s preschool teacher wanted to inform me that he had been involved in an “incident.” Incident. Incident. In-ci-dent. Sounds so formal, doesn’t it? I immediately thought of the worst, even though I’m not sure what the worst is when you’re barely two. I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach, as if I was being called into the principal’s office. And then she told me. The Little Dude bit a classmate.

Image by Toddler Biting

His teacher was doing her job—quite well, I might add—by letting me know the details surrounding this criminal inconsistent behavior. He bit a friend who wouldn’t take turns driving the bus, which just so happens to be his favorite playground toy. She naturally wanted to understand why the Little Dude bared his fangs when he’s normally such a lover (he just so happens to hug and kiss everyone). The interrogation discussion went something like this:

Q: Is he a biter?

A: Well…yes and no. It’s true my shoulder has proven to be prime nipping ground. He occasionally bites me when he’s overtired, inconsolable, or frustration gets the best of him and he doesn’t have the words to express his big feelings. However, he’s only bitten another child once. About five months ago, he bit his girlfriend when she took a ball from him. A week later his girlfriend bit him when he took a ball from her. They never again bit each other and he’s never laid teeth on any other wee one. So, I wouldn’t categorize him as a repeat offender.

Q: Are there other reasons you think he might bite?

A: He’s hungry…

…He’s really into pretend play and sharks right now…

…It’s hereditary? His dad’s nickname was snapping turtle…

…Hmmm…Baby Vampire? It's all about Team Eric here (sorry, Bill)...

Image via Amazon

…Because preschool is still so new (it’s only his third week), he hasn’t adjusted to regularly taking naps. That, coupled with a week of suffering through a bad cold, left him sleep deprived and out of sorts. He’s overtired and overstimulated, which we all know makes for an unforgettable combo in toddlers.

Q: Is he teething?

 A: He’s been teething for the past 20 months. The kid has a serious case of oral fixation. He puts everything! in his mouth and because he’s too young for cigarettes, gum, and lollipops, it’s possible that he satisfies this need with an innocent arm. When does this stop, by the way? But, yes, it’s true that he’s cutting his molars.

Of course, the phone call really was no big deal and I am writing most of this post in jest because it helps me cope with my slight embarrassment (see below) and in my right mind I know this is nothing to be overly concerned about. It’s just a passing phase, as his teacher, who showed nothing but kindness and understanding during our conversation, reminded me.

Even so, I truly felt embarrassed and worried when I learned that he had bitten another boy named, according to the Little Dude, “Boone.” (Boone if this is your real name and your mom is out there reading this, I’m sorry.) The mommy side of my brain was both hearing “Ladies and Gentleman, we have a biter!” and seeing a neon sign flashing this information above his head for the world to see and label him. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that biters have such a bad rap and can be ostracized from the playground set, and I definitely didn’t want my son to have that stigma attached to him. And if I’m being honest with myself, I’m sure my reaction to this (unflattering) news is due in part to my own fear of being labeled a bad deficient B+ mother for having a biter on my hands. I must have done something wrong, right?

Thank goodness I have the sense, on most occasions, to know that my insecurities are baseless (the Little Dude isn’t destined to wear a scarlet “B”). The experience ultimately reassured me that I have a wonderful partner in his preschool teacher, a person who is legitimately committed to helping the Little Dude navigate this new developmental stage by teaching empathy instead of punishment. This is something I truly value and appreciate.

~ The Other Sarah


The Everyday


Sarah's Favorite Things

I am so. ready. for. fall.

Great post from my friend Erin on the evolution of curiosity.

Man, I love an upcycle.

This book is changing my life. Seriously.

Would someone volunteer to stick one of these in all my food? Anyone?...Anyone?

P.S. Did everyone see how Downton Abbey won every Emmy known to man? Who told y'all? WHO?

~ Sarah Stewart Holland


Why I Vaccinate On An Alternate Schedule

Vaccines are in the news again, specifically the HPV vaccine. Thanks to Governor Rick Perry who tried (unsuccessfully) to mandate the vaccine in Texas, there is renewed discussion on the safety of vaccines and the necessity of mandating inoculation. What caught my interest was an expert arguing against mandating the vaccine. Despite being one of the researchers who initially discovered the effectiveness of the vaccination in preventing cervical cancer, she argued that only 5% of women infected with HPV will ever develop cervical cancer and that this number was simply not high enough to require a mandatory vaccination policy.

I couldn't agree more.

Now, let's just get this out of the way. I do not believe that vaccines cause autism. I've read the studies and I know the science (at this time) simply does not support that conclusion. However, I also do not believe that every child should be pushed through a system that treats every child (and their immune system) the same. I also believe that what the expert touched on is important: Just because we can vaccinate, does that mean we must vaccinate?

I understand that our modern vaccination system has saved millions of lives. Overall, it is a medical marvel that does an incredibly good job at what it is supposed to do—prevent deaths from infectious disease. However, just because it is a good system doesn't mean it's a perfect system. It can and should be improved upon and not just by adding more vaccinations to an already crowded schedule.

For me, I approach vaccinations the same way I approach health care in general. In a nutshell, if we're talking about any kind of medical intervention, I'm going to start at "no" and you're going to have to convince me. If you want to perform a surgery on my child or inject my child or medicate my child, you better have a darn good reason. I'll listen to science and the opinion of my physician, but I'm also going to listen to my gut.

My gut said I did not want anything entering the body of my minutes old infant except my own breast milk. So, I said no to Vitamin K drops, eye ointment, and the Hepatitis B vaccine. The reasons provided for interventions were just not good enough for me. That's not to say my children will never receive the Hepatitis B vaccine, but I decided the risk of infection wasn't high enough for me.

My gut also says I don't want my child receiving upwards of four to five shots at a time. First, because OUCH!. Would you want that many shots at one time?  Second, side effects are rare with vaccines but should my child have one how the heck would we figure out which vaccine was causing the problem? And third, our immune systems are tricky, tricky things and what I don't want to do is piss it off. (Scientific, I know.)

So, I've decided to follow Dr. Sears alternative schedule, which only allows for two shots per visit. As a result you come in once a month instead of once every two months, but I've decided it's worth it. I also think he does a great job of analyzing the risk of each infection with regards to the child's age and using that information to schedule the vaccines. Therefore, because whooping cough or rotavirus are particularly dangers for infants, those vaccines are given at the beginning, while chicken pox or Hep B are pushed to a later date.

As with every controversial parenting topic, we've come to the No Judgement Here part of our program. This is the decision I've made for my family. I'm not trying to convince you to use an alternate schedule and I'm sure as heck not saying you're a bad parent if you chose the regular schedule for your child. I'm simply sharing my thoughts on the topic and would love to hear others'.

So, what did you do? Do you use the regular or alternate schedule? Do you know someone whose child had an adverse reaction? Did a whooping cough epidemic break out in your community and now you're a vaccine disciple? Let us know what you think!

~ Sarah Stewart Holland