Around Town: Tosa Farmers Market

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Produce haul

 

Summers in the Midwest are short and sweet. Earlier this year I created a family bucket list to ensure we made the most out of this short season. Louie is just-about two and Dan has a full schedule of art fairs and showings so we don’t have a lot of free family time on the weekends (and Lou needs his naps!). I feel a bit silly sharing this “bucket” list as so many of the items are summer staples and honestly, not very exciting.

  1. Explore new state parks.
  2. Take a road trip to a pizza farm.
  3. Take Louie to his first Brewer game.
  4. Storm the Bastille.
  5. Day trip to the Madison farmers market.
  6. Visit Dan at his art fairs.
  7. Celebrate Louie’s golden birthday.
  8. Go to an outdoor or drive-in movie.
  9. Create weekend rituals – Saturday, Tosa Farmers Market, Sunday run day.
  10. Berry picking!
  11. Beer gardens.
  12. Music in the park.
  13. Take an outdoor yoga class.
  14. Start and finish the kitchen refresh project.

I thought it was funny that “farmers markets” popped up twice. I have yet to make it to Madison’s Farmers Market but we are becoming regulars at the Tosa Farmers Market. Here’s why our family loves it:

  1. There are treats for the kids (Pete’s Pops!)
  2. There are treats for us (iced coffee!)
  3. Power of Produce (PoP) Club – kids ages 5-12 can get $2 in free tokens each Saturday to spend on fruits and veggies. It’s been a great way for Ingrid to learn about new foods, interact directly with adults and it’s surprisingly been a nice introduction to money and purchasing.
  4. Local eggs – go early because they always sell out.
  5. Kombucha (and kombucha samples)
  6. Music
  7. Yoga in the park
  8. Close to walking trail
  9. Makers Market – held on the first Saturday of each month. If you stop by, be sure to say hi to my husband (Dan, “the brick guy”).
  10. Seasonal, local produce! I love being able to talk directly to farmers, bakers and makers. It’s so wonderful to understand and learn about their growing process, and learn how to cook new foods. Last year, I was introduced to sunchokes and fell in love!

Check out the Tosa Farmers Market website to learn more. I’m excited to check out the Honey Making event later this summer (August 19). If nap times align, I’ll see you there!

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Tokens, check!

34

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Admittedly, I’ve been pretty quiet on this blog.

Over the last year, there’s been an inward focus and I’ve dedicated time and energy to better understand what happiness means to me. I have not arrived at a concrete answer but I have discovered what brings me joy and what drains my energy. This list is under the lens of self-discovery (not intended to be preachy!). On my 34th birthday, I’m giving myself permission to reflect and maybe get a little sentimental. If you’re in that mood too, read on!

 

  1. Life is precious.
  2. Prioritize priorities.
  3. Raising a little kid and a big kid is a challenge and a joy.
  4. Taking trips with girlfriends is always worth the logistics and time.
  5. Change is a constant.
  6. We don’t need any more things.
  7. Understanding different perspectives on motherhood is humbling.
  8. Having a strong point of view takes guts.
  9. Having a strong point of view and an open mind makes a lot of things easier.
  10. Food is medicine.
  11. A month without coffee isn’t so bad.
  12. We are all stronger than we think we are.
  13. Always accept hand-me-downs.
  14. There are many definitions of minimalist.
  15. I’d like to be a minimalist.
  16. Green smoothies are a great way start to the day.
  17. Bloody Mary’s are a great way to start the day.
  18. Podcasts are a great way to start the day (and pass the time when cleaning).
  19. I scroll on my phone way too much.
  20. But I just love @picturesoftext on Insta so much.
  21. Running is still really hard.
  22. There is no finish line.
  23. I’m probably more of an introvert than I think I am.
  24. Learning my husband’s MBTI type was eye-opening.
  25. Flowers from Trader Joes are a good investment.
  26. Cheese from Trader Joes is a no brainer.
  27. Getting older isn’t that scary.
  28. Buying stuff doesn’t make me feel happy.
  29. But planning purchases does.
  30. Date nights on the couch with fancy takeout are actually fun.
  31. You’ll never be wrong by trusting your parenting instincts.
  32. In yoga, going upside down is really fun.
  33. Trusting myself to go upside down is really hard.
  34. Finding the root cause is more fulfilling than constantly searching for a band-aid.

Cheers!

Five Things

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Happy Friday, friends!

What are your weekend plans? On Saturday my husband is showing his artwork at The Waxwing during Milwaukee’s Summer Solstice Festival so the kids and I will load up the stroller for a visit. I have plans to re-declutter (if that’s a thing) our house and then walk down to the Gran Prix bike race, with a few beers in-tow.

Enjoy the weather and the weekend pace!

Five Tuesday Reads

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Happy Tuesday!

What’s your email style? I like to keep my inbox to a few hundred messages and marvel at co-workers that can sift through a few thousand. I organized my space today, re-read saved articles and wanted to share the best with you:

  1. Have you ever created a stop-doing list? I love the idea.
  2. The bittersweet space in motherhood of wanting to press the pause and fast-forward buttons.
  3. Eight ways to bring more joy into your home. Why am I so scared of #5?
  4. I’ll gladly accept this definition of supermom.
  5. The sweetest little book! I ordered one for Louie and can’t wait to see his eyes light up at the familiar faces and photos.

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the last few days before the holidays!

Current Podcast Playlist

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Do you listen to podcasts? I jumped on the Serial bandwagon back and took a podcast hiatus after the first season wrapped up. Then, I stumbled upon StartUp  and loved the concept of following a new business from the start. Now, during lunch breaks and office commutes, I turn to these favorites:

  1. When you need motivation: Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert
    For anyone who loved her latest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, this series continues the “struggle is real” conversation going with real creatives. It’s easy to get in your head and stuck on the “whys and whats” of creative pursuits (as in, this one right here!). Gilbert takes the wind out of fear’s sails and reminds us the creative process is just that, a process to enjoy. Favorite episode: Season 1, Episode 4: Rob Bell on how “The Action is Right Here.” 
  2. When you need a laugh: Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me
    Dan and I saw a taping of the popular NPR radio news quiz this spring and since then, I’ve become an avid podcast listener of the show. Topical public radio humor mixed with comedians and celebrity guests – what’s not to love? Favorite recent episode: August 13 featuring Katie Couric. 
  3. When you need to hear from another mother: Coffee + Crumbs
    I started listening to the podcast first and now I’m a regular reader of Coffee + Crumbs essays because of their honesty and content. I’m drawn to motherhood stories and communities that share perspectives in efforts to provide connection and empathy. Favorite episode: Episode 03: It’s their day too with Katie Blackburn.  

For me, podcasts are sanity-savers and positive bursts in the current news climate. I’d love to know your favorite podcasts.Share in the comments below!

Pumping at Work: Plan vs. Reality

 

Do you believe if you fail to plan then you plan to fail?

Failure, by it’s very definition, is an all-around bummer.

Planning provides structure and alludes to the promise of change. A solid plan can help to get meals on the table, save money and achieve fitness goals. In order to reach goals, plans need action and follow through.

Even with the best intentions and planning, reaching my pumping and nursing goals has been a challenge.

I work outside of the home and my son is six months old. He currently receives a mix of formula and breast-milk. An ideal schedule.*

  • 6 am – nurse
  • 10 am – pump
  • 2 pm – pump
  • 5:30 pm – nurse
  • 10 pm – pump

Reality (based on observations from the last week):

  • Nurse anytime between 4:30 and 6:30 am
  • Pump between 10 am and noon
  • Pump by 4 pm
  • Nurse when I get home around 5:30 pm

I’m embarrassed to admit this reality because I’m in complete control of my schedule. My employer provides ample time and opportunity to pump. On paper (and in Outlook), my pumping and work schedule is manageable. In reality, it’s tough to duck out of meetings, client calls, work trips, brainstorming sessions or personal work time to pump.

Plain and simple, pumping takes a certain discipline that I have yet to truly master. I’ve essentially “leaned out” and communicated my revised goals to my managers. For me, finding a true work-life balance is harder than barreling through to-do lists and working late. This is a topic for another day!

Back to the matter at hand, pumping at work.

In order to reach my nursing goals, I’ve re-committed myself and outlined a plan:

  • Create short-term goals. Commit to a 21 day plan and re-evaluate.
  • Schedule all nursing and pumping sessions in my calendar.
  • Make all calendar times public (vs. private). A small effort to normalize breastfeeding.
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Eat whole foods that maximize milk production
  • Have fun with smoothie and cookie recipes that boost production
  • Stay motivated!

With a revised plan, renewed commitment, supportive coworkers and family members, I have confidence in my nursing and pumping goals. Breastfeeding is a grueling commitment and daily grind but I know it’s a short season. One that I’ll look back on with fondness.

Do you have any tips on maintaining a pumping schedule? Where do you turn for motivation? 

*Based on personal lactation consultant recommendations. She suggested ten sessions a day in order to increase (or, “kick-start”) supply in order to reach my goal of reducing formula feedings. The schedule outlined above made sense for my schedule and family.

Valentine’s Day

Valentin's Day Pancakes

 

With kids, each holiday is amplified and Valentine’s day is shaping up to be one of my favorites. Dan and I have been so laser-focused on getting through the day-to-day tasks, it’s nice to hit the pause button and express our appreciation for one another.

Yesterday, we visited our friend Mike’s antique and floral shop and went for a lakefront drive. Today, I had big plans to serve festive meals and take a trip to Rocket Baby Bakery but, we’re a little under the weather. Ingrid and I are spending the day watching movies and cooking shows while Dan attempts to do the laundry.

Watching cooking shows with Ingrid is one of my favorite passive activities. She loves to see how our favorite chefs (Giada and Bobby Flay) create themed menus. And if those chefs start to bake, Ingrid will ask to bake a batch of cookies or a quick bread with her favorite ingredient – chocolate. And if we start to bake, probably say: “What’s that amazing smell? CHOCOLATE!” Her chocolate-dotted hands always give away her chocolate chip-stealing secrets.

If we take naps and have the urge to get moving, we’ll whip up a batch of lactation cookies (for me, of course) and a dozen protein muffins for the family. See my favorite recipes over on Pinterest.

Have a relaxing and peaceful Sunday!

The Fog

Ingrid and Louie

 

Over the holidays, my one of my girlfriends took me and the kids out to lunch. I was attempting to eat while holding Louie and had not perfected the “Mom juggle.” Moms who can effortlessly balance their forks, cocktail and children are like narwhals to me – unreal but they somehow still exist. She offered to take him off of my hands and pay for lunch. I politely declined. She insisted, took Louie and made an off-hand comment that I was “still in the fog.”

That comment stuck with me and provided me with perspective. Much-needed perspective. I have this unrealistic expectation I should be back to my normal weight, the house should be a certain way, my meals should be a certain way, my marriage should be a certain way. Self-induced pressures and anxiety, for no real reason.

As a new mom of two, the message from family, friends and society is clear: do not worry about the house, the laundry, meals or your weight. So-and-so and this-and-that will come naturally. Take it easy, let yourself get back to normal.

Lovely idea in theory but we need clothes, meals and a functioning home. That, and, societies expectations don’t align with the messaging.

Returning to work, by definition, gets you out of that new baby mode. There are positives, it’s good for getting out of yoga pants, routines are established. Things that would have fallen into place organically. Probably when my son started sleeping through the night, which happened a few short weeks ago.

So, what’s the fog? A compounding cycle of lack of sleep, long hours at work, quick meals, repeat. It’s tough.

To say it’s tough, is tough.

We’re forced back to work while we’re still in the fog. And that, not sleepless nights, is the real challenge.

We as a nation need to have kindness for new families. Everyone in the family needs to have kindness with each other, as a new baby is stressful for all. You need time as a family to become a new unit.

Think about how you welcome a new houseguest. Make sure they have fresh sheets, pick up their favorite cereal, they visit, pack up and head home. As a new parent you’re making room in the house and having hundreds of boring, necessary conversations. Conversations about where to store the bottles and “Do we have enough bouncers?” I still don’t know. All of that stuff becomes a conversation and everyone needs time to learn how to welcome this new house guest, permanently.

When Louie was born, he needed space we didn’t immediately have. We were a unit of three and enjoyed a flexible routine. We needed time to welcome this wonderful new being into our home wholeheartedly. This process takes time. It takes time to bond, takes time to understand his quirks, and until the ripe old age of twelve weeks, he’s a unpredictable, beautiful, needy mess. Right around the time the fog lifts, moms are forced back to work – awkward black pump bag in hand – and it’s downright laughable.

The fog needs to be recognized, realized, appreciated and valued. It does not magically drift away at six weeks, eight weeks or twelve weeks. It takes effort, time, and patience. A lot of patience and kindness.

New Baby. New Discovery.

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The most stressful times in one’s life include starting a new job, moving and welcoming a new baby. Collectively, Jamie and I tackled all three over the summer. Our family welcomed little Louis Lee on August 2 – all nine pounds and two ounces. Rather than explain the lack of activity on the site, let’s dive into the joys of parenting.

Last week I listened to an interview on NPR. The host with a lovely, unique name, a requirement for all NPR hosts, was interviewing a travel journalist. The topic: career changes after having kids. I always marvel at the questions women are asked and often think “Would she dare ask this of a man?”

During the interview, the host chimed in to answer her own questions – she provided personal anecdotes about her own birth experience and maternity leave. She never thought of herself as athletic or having significant physical strength yet, after having her baby, she felt invincible. She couldn’t believe what she had accomplished. That made her wonder – what else can I do? How strong am I, really? What else can I accomplish?

Then, what happens after this monumental moment of self-discovery? Your world becomes small. Daily geography shrinks to a few rooms in your house. The focus, rightfully so, is on the baby. A very important, isolating time.

I had a C-section with my daughter and a VBAC with son. Although the experiences were vastly different, I felt the same sense of amazement and pride. My body was capable of so much more than I gave it credit for. In hindsight, that’s why I became a runner. I never considered running before having kids and told myself I wanted a quick, effective form of cardio. As I type these words I realize that’s was only one little reason. The real reason is because I finally had the confidence in my body and my mental toughness. When I’m facing a tough run or steep hill, I tell myself “You made another human. You can run up this hill.” And, it’s true. Moms do run up hills.

We research doctors, create meal plans and tour daycare centers. We write out birth plans while understanding we only have so much control. We eventually recover from pregnancy and birth. We nurse our babies. We fed our babies. We work hard to craft a life that makes us happy and fulfilled. Then we wonder, if I can do ______, what else can I do?

Nostalgia

How was your weekend? This weekend I was able to spend time with family and a few dear friends who live out of state. I rarely talk or email with these friends but our friendship runs deep and we’re able to pick up where we last left off. After a few minutes of “status updates” we’re able to laugh and say things like “you know how it is.”

This morning, Ingrid, Dan and I watched a few old homemade videos before getting out of bed. We watched Ingrid’s first steps and a silly video of Ingrid at the zoo. Then, we hit play on a video called Playdough and I completely lost it.

While I was ugly crying, Dan explained to Ingrid that I had happy tears, tears of nostalgia. Sidebar – the ponytail wasn’t doing anything.

Tonight, I’m gearing up for the series finale of Mad Men. Over the winter I re-watched the series and fell in love with Don, Rodger, Peggy, Joan and even Pete all over again. I love everything about this show – the costumes, Draper’s facial expressions, Draper’s face, the characters and the ability to keep me – the audience – on its feet. Although I’m not weeping over the show’s end (yet) I do have a twinge of nostalgia and was reminded of this famous and classic scene.

Old friends, videos of Ingrid and the series finale of Mad Men. I’m itching to make a Jeopardy joke right about now (what are “things that make me cry uncontrollably for $600?”), but instead I’ll cut this post off early and leave you with these Top 10 Quotes from Mad Men(#4).

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Sunday runday + Sunday funday + meal prep and getting real with the laundry situation = pass me another beer. 🤗

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Jamie LeRoy

Writer of things