Archives for August 2009

On Immunizations

So, it’s been awhile since I discussed immunizations on my blog.  Some of you will remember reading about my concerns with the current immunization schedule promoted by pediatricians, which I wrote about here, here and here (the second post is particularly lengthy as I was in the middle of my quandry on what to do).  Lee and I took quite a journey in our decision on how to vaccinate Landon and how to continue vaccinations for Sloan and Tia.  I’m still on that journey a bit, actually.

For the most part, we’ve stayed true to our convictions with Landon and we’ve vaccinated him completely different than the first two.  He has not received more than two vaccinations at a time since his disasterous two month check up, except in the case of the MMR vaccination, which is a combo of three that my doctor was unable to split for us.  But, when he had to receive the MMR, he received no other vaccinations on the same day.

This was a very comfortable schedule for me.  It meant we had to return to the peds office a little more frequently as I wanted at least a month in between shots in order for his little body to be able to process the inoculations properly.  But, despite the fact that we delayed and held off on a few shots, Landon is now, at 20 months, completely up to date on all his vaccinations.  And I feel like we did it on a schedule that was healthier and safer for his little body.

The only vaccination he has not received, however, and the one he absolutely will not receive, is the chicken pox vaccination.  (Well, that and rotovirus, which I just think is the most ridiculous vaccination they’ve come up with yet).  I listened to a recording yesterday, which discussed the dangers of the chicken pox vaccination and it further confirmed to me that Landon will not be receiving that shot.  And at this point, Tia will not receive the booster for it, in the hopes that she will get a mild case of the illness when she is young.

It makes me sick that Sloan has received all the chicken pox shots, knowing what I do now.  I wanted to attach the recording to this post, but couldn’t figure out how to do it.  If you’re interested in hearing it, leave me your email and I’ll forward it to you.

My concern with the chicken pox vaccination is the fact that it is not proven to be effective for lifetime immunization.  It’s only shown to be effective for about ten years.  Which puts children at risk for getting chicken pox or shingles later in life, which is much more dangerous and serious than getting it as a child.

So children will now need boosters for the chicken pox for the rest of their lives.  Where is the logic in that?  Getting chicken pox naturally, however, is proven to give a lifetime immunity to the illness.  And, given the fact that the mortailty rate of chicken pox is extremely low, the vaccine seems unjustified.

This recording gave an explanation for why the chicken pox vaccination came into effect that I found interesting.  I’m not sure if there is complete validity in this explanation, but I think it’s worth knowing and researching more (which I will be doing).  The doctor speaking gives the explanation that the chicken pox vaccination was originally developed for leukemia patients as it was extremely dangerous for them to get chicken pox due to their comprimised immune system.

But pharmaceutical companies would not make money if only cancer patients were innoculated, so they began innoculating all children.  Now, do I think that doctors are vaccinating all children simply because of a money issue?  No, I don’t.  I don’t believe that those in charge of implemeting these immunizations are soley out for the dollars.  I do think, however, that there are factors that played into the decision to make the chicken pox vaccination mandatory that had more to do than protecting children from a childhood illness that is not known to be fatal.  I also think that making an immunization like the chicken pox mandatory is a bit hasty given what little they knew/know about it’s long term effects.

It makes me angry that enrolling my child in school will now be more difficult simply because I am making the choice to do what I think is best for him.  Vaccinating for the chicken pox is, in my opinion, unwarranted and unnecessary.  I do not feel like it should be a mandatory shot.  Parents deserve the right to decide whether or not to vaccinate their children for something as minor as the chicken pox.  Putting us in the position where we feel threatened is unfair.

So what are your thoughts on vaccination and on the chicken pox shot specifically?   I know this is a heated topic and people feel strongly about both sides.  I hope there can be some discourse in the comments and that we can be open to differing opinions.  So give me your thoughts!  I really want to know what others think…

I laughed till I cried…

This morning we took Tia in for the procedure to clean out her ears.  I was a little apprehensive before going in.  It seemed like such a silly thing to do, putting our child out just to clean her ears.  And because none of my children have ever been under anesthesia, I was just a little fearful about how she might react.

I needn’t worry.  In fact, the morning was down right enjoyable…at least for Lee and I.  Not only was it enjoyable, it was hysterical.  Hys-ter-i-cal.

Because we know of Tia’s penchant for freaking out at the last minute, we decided to let them give her a sedative to ease her nerves before taking her back for anesthesia.  Now, I’m not one for medicating my children.  In fact, I generally try to not give them any medications unless they absolutely need it.  So don’t think I’m a terrible parent for what I’m about to tell you.

Every parent should have the opportunity, just once, to see their child under the influence of a sedative.  Because it’s about the funniest thing you’ll ever see in your life.

And no, I’m not advocating drugging children for fun.  ‘Kay? So no one get bent out of shape.  I’m just sayin’.  It’s pretty daggum funny.

All that to say, seeing my daughter drugged was one of the sweetest, most hilarious things I’ve ever witnessed in my life.  She wasn’t just punchy, she was just plain out of it.  Giggling, waving her head around, making funny faces and so on…I laughed until tears streamed down my cheeks.  It was awesome.

I didn’t have the video camera with me, unfortunately, but I did take some video with my camera and as soon as I figure out how to download it, I will share.  Because, seriously – it was hysterical.  At one point she waved her hand in front of her face and found that to be the oddest, funniest thing she’s ever seen.  She kept waving it back and forth in front of her eyes, giggling the whole time.  When we asked her her name she said, “Bootiful Tia,” then broke out in a peal of silly laughter.  When we asked her her brother’s names she answered, “Bootie,” then dropped her head back and let out a high pitched, totally un-Tia-like giggle.  Awesome.  Just awesome. 

On top of having a thoroughly entertaining morning, the doctor was able to fully clean out Tia’s ears and informed us that she did indeed have severely impacted wax and that she was likely experiencing a 25 decibel hearing loss because of it.  So we were very glad that we had the procedure done, even if it did seem extreme.

So now we’re home and the drugs have worn off and Tia is back to her old self, tormenting her brother playing with her brother and having a good old time.  She doesn’t remember anything about the procedure and has no pain.  She’s a little groggy, but a good nap this afternoon will take care of that.  

And I now have one more memory of her childhood that I’ll take with me to my grave.


I’m not sure how it happened, but it seems that I blinked my eyes and this baby grew up…

Sloan Alexander Stuart

Sloan Alexander Stuart


Blink...He's 1

Blink...He's 2

Blink...He's 2

Blink...He's 3

Blink...He's 3

Blink...He's 4

Blink...He's 4

Blink...He's 5

Blink...He's 5

Blink...He's 6 and he's in Kindegarten!
Blink…He’s 6 and he’s in Kindergarten!

I never thought I’d get emotional sending Sloan off to school.  In fact, I haven’t been at all emotional about it…until yesterday when I sat in the cafeteria of his school and it all hit me.  Even though he’s only going a half day (which I’m so thankful for), it’s still a big step in life.  I’m now the mom of an elementary school student.  I am getting information on the PTO. How the flip did I get here?

Sloan had a blast at school.  When asked what his favorite part of the day was, he replied, “Everything.”  He thought riding the school bus was “rockin’ awesome,” and “super loved” gym. 

So there it is.  I blinked and my baby grew up.  And I spent the entire morning blinking hard against the tears that kept pricking my eyes.  Especially after the big yellow bus drove away with my boy inside it’s belly.

Summer '09 143


The Campout

On Friday, Lee bought a tent.  For some time now, we’ve talked about wanting to campout with the kids.  I have great memories growing up of camping with my family and I wanted to create similar memories for my children.

So, with a little help from some very excited kiddos, Lee pitched a tent in our backyard.  We figured that was the best place to try a first campout in case we needed to bail in the night.  But we did not need to worry!  The kids did fantastic.  They had a ball.  We ate S’mores, put a movie on the garage, let them play until well into the darkness with the neighbor girl, then hosed them off and tucked them into their sleeping bags. 

They fell asleep around 10:30 and slept all night!  I was very proud of them.  Lee, of course, slept in the tent with them.  I did not…

Not because I didn’t want to, ahem, but I wasn’t comfortable with Landon asleep in the house by himself and we don’t own a monitor anymore so I worried he might wake up.  I can’t say I was overly diappointed, though, when Lee stumbled in the house Saturday morning with a sore back and circles under his eyes.

It went so well that this Friday, weather permitting, we’ll do it again.  Only this time we have scheduled Sloan’s very first sleepover so he and two friends will sleep in the tent.  Because we’re gluttons for punishment, I guess.  Lee will sleep with them, of course – only this time, I think he’s using an air mattress!


Daddy pitching the tent.

Daddy pitching the tent.

So excited...

So excited...

It's up!

It's up!

Much fun was had by all

Much fun was had by all



Tia thoroughly enjoyed hers. Who's surprised?

Tia thoroughly enjoyed hers. Who's surprised?

Time for bed

Time for bed

Landon and Mommy slept well in the house...

Landon and Mommy slept well in the house...

Pancake breakfast in the tent

Pancake breakfast in the tent

It was a fun way to “end” our summer vacation. Today is school orientation and tomorrow is the first day. Stay tuned for a weepy mom post sometime tomorrow. I know…you can hardly wait.

I need your help

Lee and I have decided to take up running again.  Well, a more accurate way to say that would be – Lee has already taken up running (he ran 4.6 miles the other night!) and I am gearing myself up mentally to do the same.  I may never get around to it, but at least I can say I tried, right?

Anyway, we have a bit of a dilemma.  The music on our MP3 player? No good.  I mean, we’ve got some great albums downloaded, but they’re not conducive to running.  In fact, we never really realized how much slow music we listen to until we started trying to exercise to it.

The worst is when you’re running along (or walking briskly, in my case) and Alvin and the Chipmunks comes on singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  It makes you want to run in front of oncoming traffic…

All that to say, I would love some suggestions on some fun, upbeat music to download for running.  The sky’s the limit on artists, genre – whatever.  I just want it to be fast and fun.

So get to commenting and tell me what you listen to while exercising.  I’ve convinced myself that if I actually have good music to listen to, I’ll be able to finally start running again.


He-ey Wait a Minute Mr. Postman!

Several times a week for the last month or so, when Sloan is home, he’s run out the door as the mailman came by to collect the mail.  I haven’t paid much attention to this – I’ve just assumed he likes having this little responsibility and I’ve been grateful to him for it.

Yesterday afternoon, however, I got a further glimpse into this amazing little boy I get to call my son.  Sloan and I were enjoying a rare moment of quiet together on the front porch when the mailman drove up.  Sloan leapt to his feet and said, “Oh, Herman!”

As he raced down the driveway, I wondered what on earth he meant by “Herman.”  Then I heard him call out, “Hey Mr. Herman!” as the mail truck came to a stop.

Our kind old mailman leaned out the window and replied, “Well hey there Mr. Sloan!”  He handed Sloan our bundle of mail, then he and Sloan proceeded to talk for several minutes.  I just sat on the porch and marveled at my son’s ability to engage this man in conversation.  I’m a grown woman and I’m not even that good at talking to strangers.  And here is my 6-year-old, sharing life with the mailman.

It was so sweet and tender to watch Sloan talk with Herman and to see the delight in Herman’s eyes.  And I felt convicted as I realized that my kindegartner is better at showing the love of Jesus than his stodgy old mom.

After about 5 minutes, Sloan waved good-bye to Herman saying, “Have a great day delivering mail, Mr. Herman!”

“Okay, Mr. Sloan,” Herman replied.  “I’ll see you again soon.”

As he walked up and handed me the mail, Sloan said, “That’s Herman.  He lives in Afton, Missouri.  I like him.”

I’m proud to be Sloan’s mom.  Some days are really, really difficult.  He is a passionate child, which can lend itself to passionate responses, both negatively and positively. 

But Sloan is a lover of people.  He genuinely loves to be with others and he has an uncanny ability to make others feel loved.  He’s so much like his daddy in that regard. 

Needless to say, I was very proud of him yesterday.  It’s amazing what we can learn from our children when we take the time to observe the positive qualities they possess.  Because days can be difficult with Sloan, I sometimes forget to stop and recognize all the goodness and sweetness that God has instilled in him.  He’s a neat kid and I’m so excited to see how God is going to use Sloan’s passion to impact the world.

I also resolved that I need to walk down to the mailbox with Sloan and meet Herman myself.  Because I am not ashamed to follow the example of my child.

Not really Wordless Wednesday: The Last Few Days of Summer

I’m late getting this up but my computer was having issues this morning.  I think it had something to do with the 400 pictures I uploaded.  I’m pretty sure I heard the computer cuss me out as she crashed – twice…  Ah well, enjoy the photos.  I’m sorry about the alignment – not only has the computer given me trouble, but my blog is having issues as well.  It appears all technology is out to make me crazy today.

Oh - he is yummy!

We've visited Gran't Farm...

where we saw bison...

and watched Tia feed the camels. After she fed them 3-4 times without me giving her monye for food, I noticed that she was stanindg under the food bin, blinking up at people with her big blue eyes and they were giving her quarters! Little mooch.


After finding the kids asleep like this several nights in a row (Tia is sounds asleep on the hard wood in this shot!), Lee and I finally told them they could camp out under the bed on Friday nights only. I think this is going to become  a fun little tradition for them.

Summer '09 354

They've had sweet fun together this summer, but I think we're all ready for the routine of school to get going!

They've had sweet fun together this summer, but I think we're all ready for the routine of school to get going!

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Not Here – Just There

My kids spent the night at my parents’ house last night.  Which means I slept in this morning.  Until 8:00-please, try not to be jealous…

After taking a long, leisurely shower where I actually shaved without nicking my leg because I was trying to rush, and running a few errands (including getting my driver’s license renewed because it expired more than two months ago – awesome…) I am now home, kids are in their beds (or bedrooms) and I’m tired.  Even though I slept in, I’m tired.  So I’m going to go lay on the couch, because – well, did I mention I’m tired?

So no real post from me today.  But I did post over at the St. Louis Bloggers Guild this morning, so you’re welcome to jump over there and read to your heart’s content.  Then go lay down on the couch and study the back of your eyelids, like I’m going to do. 


Those Little Pink Bags

It was tax-free weekend here. Which means the masses were out, ignoring the weak economy and indulging in some good old fashioned retail therapy. Even Lee got into the groove and so we packed up our adorable brood Saturday morning and headed out to buy a few things we needed and a bunch of stuff we didn’t.

After filling little stomachs at Bob Evans (where Sloan specifically requested chocolate chip pancakes, which they didn’t have on the menu so they grabbed a bag of M & M’s from the store and tossed those in and even gave him a smiley face in whipped cream – that, folks, is how you keep your customers coming back!), we headed to the Promised Land.

That’s right – we went to Target. Because Target makes me happy. It’s like a drug; a beautiful, glorious good-deal drug. Forget that other mega store (the one that rhymes with Smallcart) – Target is the place that brings sweet joy to my soul…

After stocking up on Sloan’s school supplies (12 glue sticks??? Really? Why again? Do they eat it? (thanks Melissa for the great line:) ), we decided to brave the mall for some new school clothes. Us and the whole of West County.

But you see, we were smart because we hit the stores as soon as they opened. And we spent all of our money as fast as we possibly could. Which is pretty fast when the first two stores you go to are Old Navy and White House Black Market.   Oh yeah, and when you don’t have any money to begin with – that helps too…(And yes, I took advantage of the no tax weekend for myself as well and I got the rockin’ red shoes at the top of this page – aren’t they awesome?)

After all the retail loveliness, Lee and the kids went to unwind in the vortex of automated rides meant to suck the life out of anyone over the age of twelve and I headed to the store with the hidden Secret.  Because I was in need of some unmentionables…because I tend to buy those about as often as I buy a new car…which is about as much information as I’m sure any of you are going to want…

I’ll confess, shopping for underwear is not my favorite thing.  I find it horribly intrusive to have sales people hanging around me as I purchase my intimates, asking me whether I prefer a thong or full coverage, lace or cotton and would I like this specially made bra? It’s on sale for only 30 dollars!

And can we talk about the prices?  I can buy a kickin’ pair of shoes for as much as two undergarments (or one in some cases). Really?  Reeeaaallly?

So it was with a bit of reluctance that I entered the store Saturday.  And I made my plan to find what I wanted and get out of there in record time.  It’s not that I’m not seduced by all the pretty, girliness of the store – I just feel a little weird about everyone knowing what I’m buying.  Especially since it is apparently a stipulation for hire that you must be just out of puberty and as bubbly, if not more so, than the Starbucks baristas.  Maybe they all train at the same school.

So imagine my surprise/horror when I was approached by a DUDE the other day, asking me if I needed help finding anything.  If I hadn’t been trying so hard not to make eye contact with him, I would have studied him more closely to try and figure out what this guy was doing selling underwear in the store with a Secret and OMG no I don’t need your help AND CAN WE PLEASE SAY UNDERWEAR INSTEAD OF PANTIES! GAH!

Then there was the woman who dragged her poor son in the store.  Bless his heart – he was around 12 and his face was all shades of red as his mom dug through the stacks of silky underwear.  He looked like he would gladly crawl through the floor and die a thousand horrible deaths simply by being amidst all the negligee. 

 Then I remembered the one time I brought Sloan in the store about a year and a half ago and caught him oohing and aahing as he stroked the leg of one of the manniquins and I giggled.  But then the DUDE approached me again to tell me about the sales, and I got all uncomfortable and jumpy again and JUST WANTED OUT OF THE STORE WITH THE SECRET!

So I quickly went about my business, found what I needed, checked out with the DUDE (DUDE!) and left the store with the Secret.  And as I walked through the mall, I felt conspicuous with my little pink bag swinging by my side.  It’s as if everyone knew my secret.  Only I don’t know my secret. 

All I know is that I really, really hate underwear shopping.

The Health Care Debate

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know that I rarely dive into politics.  There are two reasons I avoid political posts:

1.) I’m not the most articulate when it comes to expounding upon my political beliefs.  I know how I feel and I believe in my convictions, but I don’t always articulate them well.

2.) This blog was not and is not a forum for me to talk about politics.  It’s a forum for me to talk about my family and about motherhood.  Sometimes, however, politics and motherhood intersect.

Yesterday, Obama’s proposed health care plan hit a little closer to home for our family.  A report came out calling into question the effectiveness of a common medical procedure used to treat those with osteoporosis and compression fractures.  This procedure is called Vertebroplasty and it is the main product that my husband sells.

So yesterday was a stressful day for Lee, to say the least.

The study was apparently conducted in America and in Australia.  Using a group of patients who were all candidates for Vertebroplasty (a procedure in which doctors inject bone cement into the spine to relieve pain from compression), some of the group received the Vertebroplasty injection and the others received a placebo.

According to the study, those who received the placebo had the same measure of pain relief as those who received the cement.  This, they say, reveals that the Vertebroplasty procedure is ineffective and unnecessary.

There are some major flaws in this study, however, and many of those are being revealed today.  First, using the group in America, only 131 patients were willing to even take part in this study.  Out of 1800 people eiligible for Vertebroplasty, only 131 were willing to take their chances on the study.

Second, 6 months after the procedures, the patients, who were still unaware of whether or not they were given the placebo or the Vertebroplasty, were given the opportunity to have the opposite procedure done if they still experienced back pain.  Of the placebo group, 40% opted to have the procedure redone.  Of the Vertebroplasty group only 11% opted to have the procedure redone.

This fits perfectly with Vertebroplasty statistics, which say that the Vertebroplasty procedure has roughly an 89% effectiveness rate.

Finally, as stated in this rebuttal of the study, 131 people is a very small control group.  Even those conducting the study admitted that they had hoped for a group of at least 250.  The fact that so few people were willing to even take their chances on such a study is telling.  Also, not all the facts on the results of the study were given in the report (surprise, surprise):

Per the above cited rebuttal: Pain is often measured on a 0 to 10 scale, with higher numbers indicating greater pain. The studies demonstrate that patients who received the vertebroplasty procedure had reductions in pain of 2.3 and 3.0 points in the two studies, compared to reductions of 1.7 and 2.6 for the facet injection procedure.

So one must ask the question – were the findings of the study really accurate?  Vertebroplasty has helped countless individuals who suffered from severe and chronic back pain.  To say that the mere injection of a placebo, which as the article points out, was not really a placebo but rather a facet injection – a different but still effective treatment (which did not have the same lasting results), is all it took to make these patients feel better is to call all those who experienced relief from Vertebroplasty liars.

What disturbed me most about the Katie Couric piece, however, was this quote regarding the potential to cut medical costs:

These results point to the kind of savings President Obama has said can be achieved, when there are well-designed studies on whether expensive treatments really work.

President Obama’s proposed health care plan has many dangerous facets.  One of them being that the government would get to decide what kind of procedure someone should or shouldn’t receive based on studies that are not accurate or complete.

The government has no business taking control in such an arrogant and presupposing manner.  President Obama is taking our country in a direction that I find frightening and disturbing.  I don’t want the government taking over the private sector.  I don’t want them dictating how I receive medical care, or how my children receive medical care.  It’s dangerous, it’s socialist (and I do not use that term lightly, I guarantee you) and it’s not what many, many Americans want – not just me.

I have a very high and deep respect for the office of President.  Therefore, I try hard to not speak ill of the man who was elected leader.  Though I did not vote for him, I believe that he was placed in his position not by the American people, but by God Himself.  That does not mean, however, that I will silently watch him take my country in a place that I find disturbing.

My respect for the quality of leadership that President Obama is exhibiting, however, is waning fast.  I am proud of the many, many Americans who are standing up for what is right through grassroots movements like the Tea Party movement. I have desired to participate in the St. Louis tea parties, but have not wanted to expose my kids to that so I’ve stayed home.

(It’s not that I don’t want my kids exposed to partiotism, but I want to teach them to respect the office of President as well and find it difficult to do that at a protest rally.  It’s just my personal opinion.)

I urge those of you who are participating in the tea party protests to continue to lift up the desires and concerns of the American people.  Political office is not about exerting power.  It’s not about getting your way or laughing in the face of the constituents.  It’s about listening to the desires of those you lead and in wisdom and humility being willing to take their concerns into consideration and truly do what’s best for the whole of your country.

I know President Obama will never read my blog – but if he did, I would urge and implore him to open his eyes to the conerns of America.  Do not placate us with political rhetoric.  Don’t talk down to us as though we are selfish children in need of reprimanding.  We love our country and all we want is for our leaders to listen to us.

I also urge those who are protesting to do so respectfully and civilly.  Angry riots and aggression will not accomplish our goals.  We cannot stoop to that which they are trying to push us – namely fighting , yelling, screaming and rioting.  We must show them that a civilized America respects one another.

Obviously this Vertebroplasty study hits me a little differently than it would most people.  But it is one more example, in my opinion, of how the government is losing sight of what’s in the best interest of the people.

And that, my friends, is the end of my soap box.  I shall not climb up again, at least for a little while.