CSA Weeks #2 & #3

In a pre­vi­ous post, I wrote about our rea­sons for join­ing a CSA and how we were doing after the first week. Since then, we’ve received weeks two and three, and tomor­row we will pick up week four’s box.

Well, it turns out we did the best with our first box. Our sec­ond box was almost all greens (and LOTS of them). We ate the spinach and the romaine-like let­tuces. We didn’t even make a dent in the bag of leaf let­tuce we received. How­ever, I’m pretty sure the rasp­ber­ries we got were eaten as quickly as any that we’ve ever bought at the store. They were also enjoyed immensely. The radishes were not though. No one in our fam­ily eats radishes so we gave them to Jason’s par­ents so some­one would enjoy them.

Our third box was a lit­tle sur­pris­ing. I expected that it would just get fuller and fuller and more and more var­ied. When I went to pick the box up last week, I had made arrange­ments with a friend to leave some if not most of the pro­duce with her because we would be leav­ing town for a few days. I opened the box, and I was sur­prised to see a bag of let­tuce, sum­mer savory, beets, and rasp­ber­ries. As I write it, it sounds like plenty, but it didn’t even fill the box. We ate the rasp­ber­ries right off the bat again (as I’m sure we’ll do tomor­row when we get our next box), and we left the rest in the fridge while we were gone. Jason had a salad last night, and I’m plan­ning to roast the beets for sup­per one night. I’m not quite sure what to do with the sum­mer savory though. I’m also not sure if we’ll eat the let­tuce. I thought I liked sal­ads, but at this point I am strug­gling a lit­tle to find enough vari­ety in them to keep me inter­ested with­out mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant amount more work.

The more I think about the CSA, the more I real­ize that the prob­lem (if there is one) isn’t really that we are get­ting too many greens. The issue is more that I am not doing as much meal plan­ning, prep, and cook­ing as I have in the past. Dur­ing this preg­nancy, I have had morn­ing sick­ness since I was 3 weeks preg­nant, and in addi­tion to the morn­ing sick­ness, noth­ing has tasted very good to me. If you add that to cook­ing in an apart­ment that doesn’t cool down very well, it equals more con­ve­nience food. Unfor­tu­nately, sal­ads aren’t usu­ally the type of con­ve­nience food I’m talk­ing about. Usu­ally when it comes to sup­per time, I haven’t cleaned or cut the veg­gies. I am tired, and I can’t think of any­thing except the stan­dard salad of let­tuce, veg­gie, some cheese maybe, and dress­ing. It’s good, but it also has its lim­its. I’m pretty sure I should prob­a­bly make some sort of goal about this. Maybe I should aim to clean the veg­gies within a cou­ple days of get­ting the box or doing my meal plan­ning on Wednes­day. Right now, I’m not quite sure I can think straight enough to make those sorts of goals, so as of now, my goal is to have goals for next week.

Wearing Nail Polish

It’s sum­mer! It’s san­dal sea­son, and I don’t have great toes. I’m not sure what great toes are, but I’m pretty sure mine are not it. So, in an effort to com­pen­sate for what I con­sider my non-foot model feet, I wear pol­ish on my toe nails dur­ing the sum­mer. I also have 3 and 4 year old sons.

Some peo­ple may won­der what one has to do with the other. Many moms of sons or daugh­ters who are this age have prob­a­bly fig­ured it out. My sons like to do what I do. On the days I wear makeup, it’s not unusual for one of them to grab my eye­lash curler and pre­tend with it for a while. On days when I dry my hair, they are really inter­ested in my hair dryer. On days when I paint my toe nails, they want theirs painted also. And, I do it.

In our house, I try very hard not to make gen­der state­ments or to assume that because they are boys they will choose one activ­ity or toy over another. We have both babies and cars. We have a stroller (which my Kael calls the “rac­ing stroller”) and we have tools. We have books, puz­zles, Duplo Legos, air­planes, emer­gency vehi­cles, and prob­a­bly a hun­dred other toys. For his birth­day, Asa is going to get a ring sling for his baby and his mon­key which he cur­rently car­ries under his shirt. My boys often ask for blan­kets to be used as capes or to be put on as dresses so they can be princesses. I nei­ther encour­age nor dis­cour­age any of these types of play. If they ask, I will help them be princesses, but I don’t get the blan­ket out and say, “Asa, do you want to play princess?” Just as I don’t get out the fire trucks and say, “Asa, do you want to play res­cue heroes?”

I have to admit as I write this, it feels uncom­fort­able. I am uncom­fort­able with label­ing these things as girly or boy­ish even if it’s only by con­trast­ing one with another. I don’t like that they play they way that they do, but nei­ther do I mind. It’s their play, it’s not mine.

But. Yes, of course, but. There’s always a but, right? In this case, for some rea­son or another, I don’t want them to wear toe nail pol­ish. I don’t know what it is. Is it peer pres­sure? Is it gen­der stereo­typ­ing? Am I afraid some­one might say some­thing to one of the boys about it? Maybe it’s all of those. I don’t know. I am uncom­fort­able with the nail paint­ing, but I do it. I know that there are many gen­der roles and stereo­types in the world, but I don’t want to be my child’s first intro­duc­tion to the lim­its that soci­ety may place on him.

Am I alone in my feel­ings? Does any­one else hes­i­tate to (or not allow) paint their preschool boys’ nails?

I think the rea­son this both­ers me is that of all the things that my boys do that is not typ­i­cal of their gen­der, this seems so minus­cule in com­par­i­son. I want to be okay with it, but for some rea­son I’m not.

CSA– Week 1

Wel­come to the July Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Par­ent­ing: Let’s Talk About Food

This post was writ­ten for inclu­sion in the monthly Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Par­ent­ing hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our par­tic­i­pants have writ­ten about their strug­gles and suc­cesses with healthy eat­ing. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other car­ni­val participants.

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**This post was writ­ten on July 5 in prepa­ra­tion for the Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Parenting.

Suc­cess. :)

This sum­mer will be a sum­mer of amaz­ing veg­eta­bles in our apart­ment (I hope). Jason and I decided that we would share a com­mu­nity gar­den plot with some friends and also join a CSA (Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture). Our CSA is from a farm about 40 miles from where we live.  While I would like to give some great rea­sons like grow­ing tech­niques or pest man­age­ment tech­niques for choos­ing this par­tic­u­lar CSA, but that’s not the case.  It was the only one we knew about.  So, we signed up for it.

While I hope one day to be able to rely on my own gar­den as our family’s pri­mary source of sum­mer veg­eta­bles and to be able to store other veg­eta­bles for the rest of the year, it’s a good thing that we are not rely­ing solely on the gar­den for this summer’s veg­eta­bles for a few rea­sons. First, North Dakota isn’t exactly known for it’s long grow­ing sea­son. Between some late frosts and early June rain that left our gar­den plot with stand­ing water for quite a while, we only planted our gar­den on June 16th! Sec­ond, we have a 20x20 gar­den, and I’m a novice planter. I didn’t use any sort of space sav­ing meth­ods. I didn’t do a square foot gar­den. My par­ents and I went to the gar­den one night. We made some rows, put down some seeds, and cov­ered them up. Last, if we hadn’t put sticks in at the ends of the rows it would be nearly impos­si­ble to tell where any of our (tiny) veg­eta­bles were start­ing to grow in the midst of all the grass and weeds. While I’m cur­rently in the process of weed­ing the gar­den by hand, it will be at least another week of work before I get through all the rows the first time.  To give you some idea of the amount of weeds and grass I am remov­ing, imag­ine a gro­cery bag 3/4 full.  I am about 40% of the way through the gar­den, and I have pulled that many weeds.  Twice.  While I am grate­ful to be able to have a gar­den while liv­ing in a north fac­ing apart­ment, it’s frus­trat­ing to me to spend hours upon hours upon hours pulling hun­dreds of weeds from our plot.

Thus, a few of the rea­sons for the CSA. :) Over the past cou­ple years, Jason and I have also been talk­ing about things we want our chil­dren to know and one of them is where their food comes from. We want them to be able to enjoy eat­ing a vari­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles and to under­stand how they come to exist. So, in addi­tion to hav­ing a gar­den, we decided to join the CSA. We have been fre­quent­ing our local farmer’s mar­ket more and more, but with our chil­dren being as young as they are (just about 3 and 4 1/2), we weren’t sure they would dif­fer­en­ti­ate between buy­ing broc­coli from a local farmer at a stand and buy­ing it at the store. One of the ben­e­fits of the CSA is that the farm is pretty close and the farmer is open to vis­i­tors. At the end of the sum­mer he hosts a potluck at his farm, and he put out an open invi­ta­tion for his CSA mem­bers to make an appoint­ment to come visit him. I’m hop­ing we’ll do this at least once.

This week was the first week we received a deliv­ery from our CSA. We picked it up on Wednes­day, and I’m happy to say that we ate most of the veg­eta­bles we received! We got a con­tainer of deli­cious, melt in your mouth straw­ber­ries, a bunch of spinach, a head of let­tuce which I believe was romaine, and a bag of some kind of let­tuce. The straw­ber­ries received imme­di­ate atten­tion from our fam­ily. They were gone within 2 meals. The romaine (?) was used in sal­ads for Kael, Jason, and myself. Unfor­tu­nately, Asa hasn’t yet come to love sal­ads yet. I’m sure his day is com­ing though. :) The spinach was used to make green smooth­ies which the boys (and Jason and I) love. The other let­tuce was eaten in both salad and wraps. We didn’t eat all of it though. Tonight, I took it out of the fridge to add to our taco salad and found that the con­den­sa­tion in our fridge had caused it to get limp and slimy. I’ll be work­ing on another stor­age method for next week’s greens. All in all, I would say our first week of eat­ing from our CSA was a suc­cess. I’m def­i­nitely look­ing for­ward to Wednesday’s drop to see what comes in our next box.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can par­tic­i­pate in the next Car­ni­val of Nat­ural Parenting!

Please take time to read the sub­mis­sions by the other car­ni­val participants:

(This list will be updated July 13 with all the car­ni­val links.)

From Nervous to Normal

Wel­come to the July 2010 Car­ni­val of Nurs­ing in Public

This post was writ­ten for inclu­sion in the Car­ni­val of Nurs­ing in Pub­lic hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5–9, we will be fea­tur­ing arti­cles and posts about nurs­ing in pub­lic (“NIP”). See the bot­tom of this post for more information.

When my older son, Kael, was born four and a half years ago, I knew I wanted to breast­feed him. I knew that it was best for him and for me, and I had some innate desire to do it. Hon­estly, I didn’t think once about nurs­ing in pub­lic. I didn’t have a plan for how to han­dle it. I wasn’t con­cerned about it. I wasn’t con­fi­dent either. It just never, not even once, crossed my mind.

When Kael was born four weeks early, I found that other issues were weigh­ing more heav­ily on my mind. Most of my wak­ing thoughts revolved around the fact that he was a sleepy baby with jaun­dice who couldn’t latch. Dur­ing my days in the hos­pi­tal, I had help (?) attempt­ing to get him latched every 3 hours around the clock from the nurses on duty. Even­tu­ally, he latched but only with the help of a nip­ple shield. But, by that point, I felt like every­one in the hos­pi­tal and maybe in the city had tried to help me breast­feed my son. It seemed as though nearly all of them had seen me attempt­ing to breast­feed, so I fig­ured at that point I was ready to feed him anywhere.

The sec­ond week I was home with Kael, my mom came to stay with us. She was SO sup­port­ive of breast­feed­ing. I’m not sure I can empha­size that enough. She kept telling me, “You’re the mom. You know best. Trust your­self.” So, think­ing back, that is what I remem­ber from her visit, but some­how by the end of the week when my dad arrived, I had the impres­sion that I should be using a blan­ket to cover Kael while he was eat­ing. I’m not sure what was said or if it was my mom that said it, but some­where in that week, I ended up feel­ing like I should do what I could to cover myself while breast­feed­ing. Even in my own house!

Between feel­ing like there was some­thing that should be hid­den while breast­feed­ing, hav­ing a baby who strug­gled with latch, and using the nip­ple shield, I ended up avoid­ing breast­feed­ing in front of other peo­ple as much as I could for the first few months. How­ever, it turned out that Kael was pretty coop­er­a­tive with that. He was a very con­sis­tent eater. He ate about every 3 hours for 30–40 min­utes. This made it easy for me to plan my out­ings, because as a mom of a new pre-term baby, I rarely went any­where for longer than three hours. Also, I knew that if he was going to eat, it was going to take a while. Know­ing this, I some­times arrived late or left early to avoid hav­ing to breast­feed for that long time period in a poten­tially incon­ve­nient place. As he grew, he nursed less and less. I don’t ever remem­ber him ask­ing to breast­feed in a store or restau­rant as he grew.

Then came Asa.

Asa was a com­pletely dif­fer­ent nursling and com­pletely dif­fer­ent baby. He was born at 40 weeks and 3 days. He latched on pretty well, and he ate every hour or so for much of the first six months after he was born.

This was quite a shock to me. I assumed that Kael had been “nor­mal” and that “nor­mal” babies ate on a con­sis­tent and pre­dictable sched­ule. I also had a 20 month old (Kael) who wasn’t crazy about being at home all day each day. That meant that I needed to breast­feed where oth­ers might see me. Gulp.

I bought myself some nurs­ing tank tops, and I wore them under another shirt every day. I made plans, and I took both boys out. And, I breast­fed in pub­lic. Any­where and every­where. It seemed like no mat­ter how well I thought I planned things out, the first thing Asa needed when we got any­where was milk. I breast­fed in Sub­way, Applebee’s, the mall, the mall play area, the park, Sam’s Club, the splash park, the gas sta­tion, and every­where else we went.

At first, I felt very awk­ward doing it. I was pretty sure most peo­ple around me were look­ing at me, talk­ing about me, or at the very least think­ing about me. Look­ing back, I’m pretty sure most of the times I was nurs­ing no one else gave me a sec­ond thought, or maybe not even a first thought!

Over time, I felt less ner­vous and awk­ward while I was nurs­ing. I stopped blush­ing, and it really became as much a part of our rou­tine as nurs­ing at home was. I’m sure I could claim that it was because I just did it more, and I got bet­ter at it. While I’m sure that was a part of it, I know there was at least one other major fac­tor that really helped me feel com­fort­able feed­ing Asa wher­ever we were. My friends.

Not only did my friends breast­feed their chil­dren, they did it in pub­lic. They breast­fed at the park, in the mall, at my house, at their houses, in stores, in restau­rants, on the bike trail, and every­where in between. They also had chil­dren who were older than Asa. I’m sure I had no idea at the time that see­ing other moms nurse their babies while read­ing a book to their tod­dler at the library or see­ing moms nurse their babies while sit­ting at a table in a restau­rant had such a large part in my change in atti­tude about nurs­ing my own chil­dren, but as I look back, I am con­fi­dent that hav­ing such great role mod­els as friends was so impor­tant for me and for Asa.

I have always heard other breast­feed­ing moms encour­age peo­ple to nurse when their babies need to. At one time, I even felt like it was some sort of agenda. Now, I feel like I am more able to see it for what it is. It’s nor­mal. It’s part of moth­er­ing a breast­fed baby. It’s feed­ing and com­fort­ing. I’m due in Octo­ber with baby num­ber three, and I am not sure if this baby will be more like Kael or more like Asa, but I know that regard­less of his nurs­ing needs, I will be more pre­pared to meet them wher­ever we are.

Art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

Wel­come to the Car­ni­val of Nurs­ing in Public

Please join us all week, July 5–9, as we cel­e­brate and sup­port breast­feed­ing moth­ers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to con­nect with other breast­feed­ing sup­port­ers, learn more about your legal right to nurse in pub­lic, and read (and con­tribute!) arti­cles about breast­feed­ing and N.I.P.

Do you sup­port breast­feed­ing in pub­lic? Grab this badge for your blog or web­site to show your sup­port and encour­age oth­ers to edu­cate them­selves about the ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing and the rights of breast­feed­ing moth­ers and children.

This post is just one of many being fea­tured as part of the Car­ni­val of Nurs­ing in Pub­lic. Please visit our other writ­ers each day of the Car­ni­val. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts — new arti­cles will be posted on the fol­low­ing days:
July 5 — Mak­ing Breast­feed­ing the Norm: Cre­at­ing a Cul­ture of Breast­feed­ing in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Sup­port­ing Breast­feed­ing Moth­ers: the New, the Expe­ri­enced, and the Moth­ers of More Than One Nurs­ing Child
July 7 – Cre­at­ing a Sup­port­ive Net­work: Your Sto­ries and Cel­e­bra­tions of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breast­feed­ing: Inter­na­tional and Reli­gious Per­spec­tives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Pub­lic, and How to Respond to Any­one Who Ques­tions It