Samara Tilkens Postuma is raising five kids from infant to teen in the St. Michael area with her husband, Jeff. When not found driving kids to and from activities, helping with homework or at the park or pool, you can find her sharing her life online where she does some freelance writing and social media work and also writes at her own blog,

Posts about Society

Measles in Minnesota: A mom's perspective on vaccines

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: January 30, 2015 - 9:25 AM

Earlier this week my 6 year old daughter was home sick with some sort of wicked case of strep throat. She had an on again, off again fever topping out at 103, was tired, lethargic and just not herself. My biggest concern was that she might possibly have influenza but after a few doctor's visits, it was confirmed that it was strep. The wicked, worst kind. It was a few days of sickness, some lost work time and missed school but it could have been worse. So much worse.

The next day I read story and story and article upon article about the measles outbreak in California and then later this week learned of the University of MN student with a confirmed case. 

I don't know about you, but this scares me.

While I understand he had travelled internationally, we already know that there are more and more cases of measles here in the states.

We made the decision to vaccinate and this was not a decision taken lightly yet, it was the best decision for us. 

And while that gives me some peace of mind, knowing my kids have been protected against this disease, I also can't help but wonder how this epidemic will continue to spread.

I respect other parenting decisons and values, I try to be open minded in my opinions but this is one that I just struggle to understand. In the year 2015 when we have so many medical resources and so much knowledge and have rid our society of so many terrible diseases, why would one choose NOT to do it?

I get that a vaccine isn't a guarantee of health. I get that there are some risks associated with vaccines.


The benefits of being vaccinated way outweigh any second guesses I could have. Knowing my child can travel without fear of contracting a once deadly disease, knowing that they are not only keeping themselves healthy but those kids who CAN'T be vaccinated. Because there are families who wish and pray and hope their child can be vaccinated but due to health reasons, CAN'T. Knowing that my child will likely not have measles or mumps or rubella. 

Any hey, new moms, you can't tell me the perks of a sleepy baby post shots isn't a benefit too.

So, let's try to keep it civil, but help me understand. Why is it you choose not to vaccinate? Please don't quote Jenny McCarthy or any other celeb who's got a strong opinion. Tell me what it is you've decided, why you've decided and how do situations like this one affect that decision. If you don't vaccine, when you hear of a measles outbreak, are you concerned or do you question your choice?

When I hear from parents who choose to not vaccinate I seem to hear this recurring message of why do I care, it doesn't affect you, sort of message. But here's the deal, "Measles is so contagious that outbreaks may occur if any more than 5 percent of the community is unvaccinated." via Children's.  

I'm glad we live in a country that allows us to make choices about such things but can't help but hope it doesn't backfire on us either.

The Parenthood Draw

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: January 22, 2015 - 10:24 PM


As I write this, there's just one episode of the popular NBC hit, Parenthood left and if my Facebook feed is any indication, we're all sad.

It's been a good run and I'm attached to every character. When I sit and watch the show, I have to confess that after most every scene, I'll say aloud, "I love her," or "oh I love him," or "they are my favorite."

Over and over again I'm drawn in to these characters, the relationships they share, the moments and hardships and even the joys they encounter.

From relating with some of Kristina's overbearing mother moments {I've often said, I'm going to pull a Kristina Braverman, ahem!} to Julia's ambition, to Sarah and the way in which she levels and shows up for her kids, I'm pretty sure I've quoted her as we navigate the waters of teenagehood in our house more than once. We've sobbed through miscellaneous diagnosis', marriage crisis' and plenty of parenting issues but as someone who's lost a parent as we get to the end of the road and know that Zeke is ill, it's nearly impossible not to relate personally.

I often tell my husband that I hope and pray our five share the same sibling relationship the Braverman kids do and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

What's made us all fall in love with the show and the family?

It's not just a woman thing, I've talked to plenty of men and dads who are just as sucked in.

I'd like to think it's the relatable characters, the real life situations encountered and the true comraderie between them.

Sure there's been some nonsense because it's tv. {Kristina running for mayor anyone?} But most every episode has left us wanting more. It's left us with tears spilling out of our eyes.

And I think that the reason we're all drawn in is because it's all real life, it's relatable, it's real and even if we aren't experiencing particular parts of the story, chances are someone in our circle is. We, as a society are obsessed with reality tv, but I'm afraid most reality tv doesn't even compare to what most of us are living as we navigate the world that is life and relationships and parenthood quite the same way this show has.

When people I know talk about how much they loveParenthood, they talk about things that are so intimate — cancer, death, breakups, sad kids, people you don't know how to help, people who don't know how to help themselves — that despite the fact that "the drama of emotions" can seem like the softer of the two, it's the less escapist. Walter White's problems are ones I will never have. Don Draper's problems are ones I will never have. The Bravermans' problems, on the other hand, whistle uncomfortably closely past my ear. The older I get and the more I have on my mind, maybe the more I need the escapism of the drama of action, and the less I can tolerate the bracing idea that's shared and shared with me aboutParenthood, which is, "You're gonna cry!" -excerpt from HuffPo

Do you watch Parenthood? What do you think has drawn you in?

Six Things To Do Over Winter Break

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: December 22, 2014 - 11:09 AM

Winter break has arrived. Yay for kids home and out of those germ infested buildings, it's time to let the sick bugs air out and get over all the winter sickness that's been spreading like wildfire this fall. But what to do? Here's a list of six things to do over winter break:

1. Go see the new Annie Movie. It's a modern day remake of the old classic movie. It's suitable for kids and families of all ages. It's worth seeing in the theatre.

2. Just because we haven't got much snow doesn't mean you can't go out and play in the snow. Elm Creek Park Reserve has snow ready to go for tubing and skiing and even snowboarding for the adventurous ones. You can even sign up for skiing or snowboarding lessons over break.

3. Go check out a museum. Minnesota Children's Museum and Science Museum are both in St. Paul making it easy to spend the morning at one and the afternoon at another. 

4. Go ice skating FOR FREE at Landmark Center in St. Paul. What's more fun that skating outside right downtown in St. Paul? Go in the late afternoon or evening and you'll especially enjoy the lights from Rice Park.

5. Visit the Ice Castles in Eden Prairie. They open January 3 and promise to be a spectacular winter sight. 

6. Sign your kid up for a cooking class at Way Cool Cooking School. From cupcakes to Chopped and Master Chef, kids will have a blast and learn some cooking skills at the same time. 

What do you have planned for break? 

Children's Fundraiser at the Fine Line

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: December 4, 2014 - 9:46 PM

My family and I are big fans and supporters of Children's Hospitals and Clinics here in Minnesota. Each and every time we have had a health insurance change, one of the first questions I've asked is if Children's is included in the policy. I know that if and when things come up, like ear tubes or emergencies, I want to know that I can take my kids to Children's.

Next weekend there's a local opportunity for the Twin CIties to help raise money for Children's. This is your last opportunity of 2014 so if you've been looking for a way to help, to give back to an organization and hospital that gives back to so many children and families all year long, here's your chance.

Charlie Hopper, booking manager at the Fine Line put together this event with Children's because he's been so inspired by the care Children's has provided his 18 month old son, Edison who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth. {You can read more about the Hoppers story over on Red Current here.}

The Children's fundraiser at the Fine Line takes place Friday, December 12 at 7 p.m. and features national touring band Blitzen Trapper and will be presented by 89.3 The Current and McTerry Music. Farewell MilwaukeeBigtree Bonsai and Old Desert Road will also perform. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and $50 for VIP (balcony access and $20 bar tab); doors open for the concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.

There's a pre-event silent auction next door at IPR that begins at 4 p.m. Admittance is free with your ticket to the Fine Line or $10.

Should Schools Be Talking with Our Kids About Ferguson?

Posted by: Samara Postuma Updated: December 3, 2014 - 8:32 AM

When I was in the 3rd grade, we went to war with Iraq for the first time. I remember this because it was announced on the intercom system throughout the K-5th grade building I attended at the time. Kids in class cried, our teacher teared up and I think we said the pledge a second time that morning. Years later we watched the OJ Simpson verdict in a middle school social studies course and we discussed, some argued and after that newspaper articles on the subject had my rapt attention. 

Current events were a part of school it seemed, whether that was classroom discussions based off of articles we brought in for social studies or if something big was happening in the world around us. 

Today in a world that bombards us with messages via social media and news updates and all the convenient ways in which we can get those updates, I was absolutely floored that none of my kids talked about the events taking place in Ferguson last week at all. Like not even a hallway conversation.

Now clearly my younger kids aren't of the maturity and understanding to even attempt to comprehend the happenings but our oldest two are in 8th and 10th grade. And while we definitely talk about these things at home, there's just something to be said about discussion that takes place outside of the walls of our home with others who might help us to see things in a different light, maybe disagree, maybe challenge our way of thinking. Especially a subject like the events in Ferguson, I can only imagine the emotion and feelings some students may have on both sides of the issue.

I've since been reminded that the day after the announcement was the last day of the trimester and I do understand finals and such were taking place. Yet, I find myself wondering and hoping that the discussion of current events isn't being done away with in the name of making it through curriculum and academic rigor.

What do you think? Do you think that school discussion of current events such as Ferguson is important or would you rather see that classroom time used elsewhere? Did your kids discuss the events in Ferguson in school last week? If you're a teacher, do you like having these kinds of discussions or is it difficult to add in differing views and opinions?


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