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.


**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.


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 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

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 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