Sunday, June 18, 2006

farm shares

I wanted to tell you all about my day yesterday. I took the kids (D is out of town at a conference) up to a family owned organic farm about an hour from here. We got a mailer from them earlier this spring. It's the kind of place where you can buy a "share" in the farm for a season of fresh produce. We had heard about it last year but didn't know much about it. Then we got the mailer and really started to consider it. We decided to do a working share, which also gives us a 50% discount on our fee.

We will go there 3 days a month (we get one week off each month) for the next 3 months. We work doing whatever needs to be done then can bring home our package for the week. We can also do extra picking if they seem to have excesses of something.

Yesterday the kids and I picked a flat of strawberries. They are soooo yummy. We've been eating them like crazy and I think I'm going to try my hand at making jam later today. It was also so relaxing to spend time in a field just smelling the earth and the strawberries. The great thing about a farm is that my kids were encouraged to just play around and pick strawberries and just be kids outside. It's such a kid friendly atmosphere--it's a farm!

So on Thursday morning I will head back up there. D will still be out of town so it will just be me and my 6. I am really looking forward to it. I can't wait to see what kinds of veggies we will come home with. There were some yellow squash looking almost ready yesterday! Mmmmmm...

Friday, June 16, 2006

mama guilt

Have you seen the breastfeeding ads from the Ad Council? There has been a lot of debate on the issue...from newscasters, doctors, formula companies. A constant theme has been "we shouldn't make women who choose not to breastfeed or who can't breastfeed feel guilty for that decision". I agree with that. I hate mama guilt. Working with new mamas, there is guilt and judgment on mothering issues all around them. We are constantly feeling evaluated. (And as a mama who has birthed 6 children in 9 years, let me tell you that I feel those eyes on me!) But taking an ad off of TV because it may make someone feel guilty is probably not a good enough reason, IMHO.

This has sparked a lot of debate even among breastfeeding mamas from what I've heard through a doula group I belong to. I really liked what one of the doulas posted that we feel guilt and pain for a reason. We shouldn't ignore those feelings. We need to process those feelings. She shared her breastfeeding history with us and the way she has processed some of the guilt she felt over weaning early. Someone else also shared a great online article.

I think that the idea that guilt is there for a reason and what do we do with it, is really resonating with me. Some of the mamas that I have worked with have chosen to formula feed. It is usually due to lack of commitment and sometimes lack of support. I have tried to be there to support them in the decisions they have made. It is one time when I have to remind myself this is not my baby...not my choice of how to feed. But what do those mamas do with the guilt they feel? I think that the Ad Council ads can remind them that they made a poor choice...and why did they make that choice? Why did they choose artificial milk over human milk for their baby? And what do they do with those choices now? One thing I love about my job is the counselor role I get to play on occasion. I love listening as mamas process the thoughts and feelings they are having. I love encouraging them to explore things on a deeper level. And very often those feelings are feelings of guilt over something they have done or not done.

Yes, I am definitely thinking about all of that.

I have my own mama guilt with breastfeeding as well. I only nursed my first two kids for about 7 months each. The oldest I weaned early because I was pregnant again and I didn't really even know about tandem nursing. The other was taking a daily bottle of formula (because I was too lazy to pump) while I was at work 3 mornings a week. It became easier to give him a bottle than to breastfeed him. I think I was really relieved when my 3rd rejected all artificial nipples. I was able to nurse him a year. And my 4th and 5th went to a year and 14 months respectively.

Since I've been working the past month, baby Jack has been taking a daily sippy cup of breastmilk when I am not there to nurse him. The other day D was out with the kids and had Jack in the stroller. He was shopping for his trip to California. I met him when I was finished with work for the day. I looked at Jack in the stroller and he had his daily milk in a bottle instead of his cup. That bottle took me by surprise and made me a little sad. He still prefers his milk "fresh from the mama", but I was a little sad to think that he would actually take a bottle even if it contained his familiar milk. Knowing that Jack could be my last baby and my last nursing experience, I have a hard time imagining weaning him in 4 or 6 more months.

Yes, my mama guilt is there. Why did I think my body that was breastfeeding and pregnant wasn't able to nourish the babies it conceived? Why did I ever think it was easier to just give Trey a bottle of formula and then another of formula and then another of formula to the point that I wasn't breastfeeding him any longer? And how will I ever wean my little Jack E? I don't want to lose that portion of our lives.

mama guilt

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

14 Years of Marriage

In honor of my dear husband, I am going to do a little me-me for him. Today is our 14th wedding anniversary. In some ways I can't believe it has been that long, and in other ways I can hardly remember a life not linked to his.

14 Things I Love About My Husband

14. He looks really hot riding his motorcycle.

13. He is an amazing friend.

12. He is really task oriented and works unbelievably hard.

11. He is great at getting our kids to do household stuff so I can spend more time relaxing.

10. He is a great teacher and mentor.

9. He is probably the most honest man and has more integrity than any man I have ever met.

8. He is really burdened for those he shares this world with.

7. He stood next to me and rubbed my back through 2 back labors. He waited patiently with me while I labored with 3 others. He only really got bored with the whole process once!

6. He knew how to crochet and bake bread before I did.

5. He was amazingly patient when he taught me to drive a stick shift. Then again, that was before we got married.

4. He knows more about coffee than any man really should.

3. He can make soup out of anything and our kids will actually eat it.

2. He has patiently watched me grow up and into the woman I am today.

1. He supports me, encourages me, and challenges me on a daily basis.

And he loves me and puts up with me through all the mood swings, OCD moments, and ups and downs of life.

Happy anniversary, hon. I love you whole bunches!!!

MIA again!!!

I can't believe it has been 2 months since I posted anything here. What a bum I am. I guess that's how life is with 6 kiddos underfoot. It seems I never have the time, energy and mental ability to compose more than 2 sentences all at the same time! See even now, I am at a loss for words!