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Monday
Mar102014

It's Harder to Say Goodbye to the Second Baby

In a week, the baby turns four months. And I return to work full time.

I already have a lot of anxiety about this change, which surprises me because I’m not usually a person who’s rattled by these sorts of planned things. I attribute this resilience, if you can call it that, to the go-between lifestyle I lived with my divorced parents.

Mom’s house during the week. Dad’s house every other weekend. It was no big deal. It just was. So, I made the best of it because I didn’t know any other way. In turn, it prepared me for missing people.

Plus, this isn’t my first time returning to the office after maternity leave. When the Little Dude was six months, I resumed lawyering but it didn’t hit me this hard even though I loved being with him just the same. Thinking about why, all I can come up with is that my separation anxiety didn’t immediately register since I didn’t yet know what I was going to miss as a first-timer. I’d been an attorney for a few years, but a parent only for months. My identity probably was more closely tied to my work, while I was still learning to be comfortable as a mom.

Now with four-plus years of parenting under my belt and knowing how quickly the tiny beloved moments pass, I’m not ready.

I’ve followed the universal advice from friends with kids and truly enjoyed the baby stage with Little Dude #2 since it’s so fleeting. I’ve found I’m even more relaxed as a parent and love everything from the diaper changes to the middle-of-the-night feedings that make me look and feel like a zombie (sometimes) to doing nothing together. The latter, of course, is my favorite. This is when we sit, looking at one another. I study his small hands and folds around his wrist. I smile. He smiles. He coos. We chat. We laugh. There are dimples to adore! I am not preoccupied with getting him on the “right” nap schedule, making sure he is getting enough milk every two to three hours, or enrolling in classes for our enrichment and sanity. We just hang and it’s the best.

These mixed feelings are far from unique; in fact, they’re so normal that they're cliché. Moms and dads across the globe say goodbye to those sweet cheeks in the morning, go to work, and run back through the door to embrace the chaos that is home, that they love. In many ways, our little ones make us tick, inspiring us to make a difference in our jobs and encouraging us to be über productive so we don’t miss anything more upon our return.

And, like many of us, I want to enjoy the best of both worlds. I want to work and be good at what I do. I want to be a mom and be good at what I do. I know I’ll figure it out and find my footing as we establish new rhythm for our family routine. But in the meantime, I wish I could hit a pause button so I don’t miss things at work and I don’t miss things at home.

~ The Other Sarah

Friday
Mar072014

Sarah's Favorite Things

You know how I feel about tacos.

Modern must-have for hiding toys.

A melt-your-heart tribute from a father to his sons. (Read the captions!)

Best. Wallpaper. Ever.

Long-distance improv learning.

A health PSA.

~ The Other Sarah

 

 

 

Friday
Mar072014

The Everyday

Wednesday
Mar052014

Kitchen Wisdom for Inspiring Little Chefs

This post is sponsored by The Campbell Soup Company.

Life with boys and babies — yes, plural, now that Sarah Stewart Holland is expecting number three — means our days have been BUSY. Throw in work, school, T-ball, church, holidays, snow, rain, and it’s been difficult to slow down and make time for the small things that really matter, including family dinner.

Experts say family dinners build connectedness and help kids make healthy choices. And personal experience tells us that our children thrive when we sit down to dine together on the regular. They talk. We listen. We talk. They listen. We laugh. We learn. We create family rituals.

But this couldn’t (or wouldn’t) always happen without the help of our Wisest Kid(s) in the Whole World. Thanks to Campbell’s Soup and their little guru we were reminded during our time as Ambassadors how it’s easy to whip up a hearty meal instead of phoning for pizza delivery. Not only did we eat better with the recipe inspiration they dish up, but we also made chefs of our kids.

First, we warmed up with the classic tomato soup and grilled cheese. Our kids can’t resist this good-for-the-soul meal, which we spice up every now and then with extras we have in the fridge. They like getting creative by adding avocado, bacon, basil, spinach, pesto, turkey, meatballs, and more to their sandwich or even as a topping on their soup!

Then they couldn’t get enough of mini macaroni and cheese cups because who doesn’t love bite-sized nibbles of their favorite comfort food? Making finger foods proved really manageable for our toddlers, so we decided to do it again by whipping up mini enchiladas.

While these aren’t authentic Mexican food, they satisfied our appetite for it with a few California-inspired substitutions. And, more importantly, the nibbles got a thumbs-up from our little ones who don’t always appreciate the spice or heat of a traditional red, verde, or mole sauce. Here’s how they came together:

We whipped up our famous shredded chicken. While that simmered in the slow cooker, we passed the knives (yes, kid-friendly knives!) to our boys to slice and dice tomatoes, onions, and cilantro for fresh pico de gallo in lieu of salsa. Once that was done, we threw some cumin in the enchilada mix for a richer flavor. Because we used what was in the pantry, corn tortillas made for tasty edible (and gluten-free) cups. Finally, we topped it with a dollop of homemade guacamole.

Nom, nom.

After these were gobbled up, the requests to help in the kitchen kept coming. Since then, they’ve made chili and cornbread, citrus kale salad, and penne pasta. Oh, and they’ve launched the wisest plan yet. After cooking, they asked to do the dishes. What more could moms ask for?

What are your tips for making little gourmets? Tell us by tweeting your kid-friendly culinary tips to @TheWisestKid using #AskWisestKid and #MmGood. And check out these wise ideas for getting kids in the kitchen.

Thanks Campbell’s!

As our brand ambassadorship comes to a close, The Sarahs thank The Campbell Soup Company for sponsoring this series and supporting the work of Salt & Nectar. While we were compensated for this opportunity (not in Tomato Soup, sadly), all opinions are 100% our own. 

Mini enchiladas image courtesy of Campbell's.

Monday
Mar032014

Adding (just) one more baby to the brood

I remember the moment Amos was born. I looked at that beautiful little face, felt a flood of love, and thought almost immediately, "This is not my last baby."

Even through the sleepless nights and breastfeeding haze, I never faltered. I was not done at two. When my husband insisted two was good, two was perfect, two was PLENTY, I equally insisted that our two were perfect but that there was a perfect third waiting to be added as well.

His defenses started to crumble a little after Amos turned one and took his first step. Watching our "baby" turn into a toddler, my logical husband got a little emotional. "Maybe one more wouldn't be so bad..." he said suddenly. Then, a few months later, as we watched a child of a friend grab a handful of first birthday cake, the wall came crumbling down. "Ok, let's have another baby."

I knew he'd come around. He always does. This time we wanted three years between little ones instead of two so we had a little more time to think about it and as Amos got older, my husband got more sentimental.

But then a funny thing happened...

I started to wonder if three was the right decision. Amos was getting easier. We were spending long funfilled days hiking and geocaching and enjoying activities as a family that had seemed off limits forever. Plus, we were getting close to potty training and our kids sleeping through the night. Why would I want to start over?

Luckily, the arguments I had been making to Nicholas for so long started to sound in my own head. Babies were tough for such a short amount of time. It would be over before we knew it. Plus, think about years from now when we had a house full of kids at holidays and celebrations.

Well, as you can see from the video, my positivity won out over my fears. We decided to take the leap ... one more time. And because I know you're thinking it, it's not one last desperate attempt at a girl. It really is about how many children will complete our family. In fact, I've decided not to find out the gender of the baby this time. (More on that in a later post!)

This is about taking one more trip down the road. One more pregnancy. One more birth. One more newborn safe in my arms looking into my eyes for the first time.

The only difference is this time I will be thinking, "Wow. My last baby."

~ Sarah Stewart Holland