Archives for July 2010

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 20×20 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