We've been invaded ... well, my parents have anyway

Just a few short days ago my sister-in-law texted me to see if we had any super awesome plans for this week. We of course do not (with the exception of planning for a giant dose of Mother Nature's icy white stuff), so she decided to pack up her two kids and make the six-hour haul from Missouri to Ohio. (Mainly because my brother had a work convention in Las Vegas he had to go to for a week (seriously, Vegas, sign me up). They officially invaded Ohio last night, which means TWIN COUSINS UNITE!

I unfortunately did not have enough time to run out and buy matching outfits for the girls, so I guess some good, old-fashioned individuality will have to do this visit! Due to my nephew's devotion to his grandmother however, I have yet to see anyone because they stayed with her last night. As soon as Pearyn wakes her teeny-weeny, lazy butt up, we'll make the mile venture to my parents house for some bonding time.

Pearyn had a pretty busy week last week, which must be the reason she's so worn out. The first and most awesome part about last week would have to be her finally riding in a grocery shopping cart sans car seat. It hit me as we placed her in the front basket part and buckled her in that she's officially not a "baby" anymore. In every definition she still is, but she's a sitting-up, crawling, standing-up, cart-riding-alone machine now, and it feels like she might just up and head off to college tomorrow.

Either way she thoroughly enjoyed sitting the seat like a big girl, but probably liked the attention she got from everyone the most. How could you not sneak a peek at this wide-eyed girl in her goofy winter hat? Needless to say, this made shopping about a million times easier because instead of tending to a fussy, bored child, we were able to browse our freaky-deeky produce and "health" food section for more vegan treats (aka, drool over the $10 jar of vegan Nutella).

In addition to other firsts, Pearyn finally wore a pair of shoes for the entire day for (Seriously, my little girl is breaking some ground this week). She struggles every now and then to stand up in them (probably because she tries to stand like a ballerina with her feet splayed out the wrong way), but she's pretty much mastered everything else. Wouldn't you know that the first pair of shoes she successfully wears would happen to be cupcake Chucks?

It gives a whole new meaning to "Cupcakes for Pearyn." Don't worry, after searching the Converse outlet store endlessly for a sweet treat pair myself, I resorted to designing my own chocolate, cherry covered cupcake Chucks for myself (my first pair of Converse shoes, my husband is so proud). We're not really the kind of people who spend a fortune on baby clothes that they'll grow out of in 10 days, but when it comes to shoes we wanted to find some sturdy ones to aid in Pearyn's learning to walk. You can't beat $14 for this awesome outlet find!

To wrap up all the fun we had on our first shoe-wearing, grocery-shop-cart-riding day, we settled in for a nice read -- "I Love You Stinky Face." Although it might sound a bit off kilter, it's the first book Pearyn actually listened to in its entirety. This is a real breakthrough for this book-loving, book-buying obsessed family of T's. I'm pretty sure Pearyn's bookcase is starting to rival ours.

Other than the Stinky Face book (which is actually much, much deeper than it sounds), Pear has an extensive collection of Berenstain Bears, Scooby Doo, Dr. Seuss and crazy, animal-loving, vegan books. My husband started out buying all the veg-friendly books he could (we're talking like 10 weeks into being pregnant), which is starting to amount to a fair collection. There aren't nearly as many as we'd like however, so we've started toying around with the idea of making our own series.

While "Herb the Vegetarian Dragon" is a personal favorite, we figure with how mainstream veganism is becoming, it wouldn't hurt to create a few kid characters for children to relate with. And luckily for us, the veg community is pretty supportive, so as long as we can come up with something that has a great message I'm sure we'll find the audience.

It's not that we want Pearyn to grow up in an alternate, vegan universe, but when it comes time to go off to school or birthday parties and the kids are eating a lot of different things than her, we want her to understand why. And mainly, we want her to know that neither way is "right," it's just a choice we decide to make. We're preparing early for how to approach these sensitive areas (ie, why we don't eat meat, where it comes from, etc), in hopes that we'll have a game plan by the time the occasion arises.

Who knows, maybe by then we'll have a book or two to help convey that message ...


This mom gives the "cry it out" method 19 thumbs down

It's official.

Whoever invented the "cry-it-out" method of baby sleep is a flipping moron. (That or they had an incredibly weak-willed child).

Now that Pearyn is just a few weeks shy of turning nine months old, I decided it would be a good time to help her build her independence. That, and I'm getting really tired of rocking her to sleep for 45 minutes every night (and by rocking I mean sitting in a rocking chair and putting my child in what closely resembles some sort of awful wrestling move, just so she can't slap me in the face or twist her head around 360 degrees to see what incredibly dull event she is missing out on in our living room).

So now I just rock her a little, get her kind of tired and then lay her in her crib, deciding I'll let her work it out on her own.

My daughter has no desire whatsoever to work anything out on her own. Instead, she just spends the next hour dancing between a "what the hell are you doing out there don't you hear me crying mommy" yell and squeals of utter joy. That's right. My child doesn't "cry it out," she just sits up and plays until I get aggravated enough to come in and rock her to sleep. So instead of using up 45 minutes rocking just rocking her to sleep myself, it takes nearly two hours to put her down the "responsible, raise-an-independent-awesome-child" way, and usually by then it's time for her to eat or change her diaper.


I'll just have a spoiled, dependent little brat then.

And I realize most of you might not see the harm in just letting her "play it out," but if my daughter's nap schedule even goes slightly off trek, well, there's just no hope for the rest of the day. Pearyn has this amazing ability to just stay awake forever, which would be fine, if she were a halfway pleasant child to be around during those times. But she's not ... not even in the slightest. She's kind of what you imagine a bear would be like if you woke it up during it's hibernation -- really pissed off and really dangerous. And trust me, Pearyn might only be armed with tiny fists and two dagger-like teeth, but those puppies can do some real damage.

Unfortunately, my week has been filled with a lot of "missed naps" and a lot of unsolicited crying. There's not much I can do to escape my short-tempered baby, so I've spent the last few days baking, baking and baking some more. Now that I've finally figured out what sin I was committing to make my cupcakes fall flat and gummy (I wasn't whipping them with the beater like you're supposed to, damn my inability to follow recipes), there have been oodles of cupcakes, muffins and pies filling our kitchen.

So after I'm done stress-eating over my daughter's lack of sleep, I can stress out and lose sleep over the 15 pounds I've gained from all this baking.

It's a seriously good thing I'm vegan, because if I weren't, I'd probably just eat everything in sight. The vegan diet is pretty restrictive in a lot of ways (ways like limiting most of your grocery shopping to the produce aisle and most of you restaurant options from the salad menu), but it can be incredibly mind opening as well. Before going vegan I'd rarely eaten anything outside my continental, meat loaf and mashed potato bubble. I may have lost a lot of foods after choosing a cruelty-free lifestyle, but I've gained just as many if not more, including entire cuisines I wouldn't have even thought of trying (Indian, Thai).

Some days, I worry about alienating my child due to the lack of "convenience" foods in the vegan diet. I battle with making Pearyn an outcast because she won't be eating a McDonald's Happy Meal. But then I think about the way most parents raise their children nowadays (with menus completely devoid of foods from around the world -- hummus, quinoa and curries) and start to worry a little less.

The way I see it, I might be closing Pearyn's diet to meat and dairy, but I'm opening it up to a whole lot more.

Willy Wonka eat your heart out

Meet Marianne and Hartz.

These are two of the most phenomenal people I've had the pleasure of knowing. They're full of love, share our compassion for four-legged (domesticated or not) friends and are the kind of family you choose. We may not share blood, but we might as well.

These are only a few of the reasons we chose them to be Pearyn's "Guideparents." What on Earth is a guideparent? It's similar to a "Godparent," but because my husband and I share different religious beliefs, we're focusing more on the "guide" part. We want a set of adults in Pearyn's life who not only help reinforce all the good we're trying to teach her, but inspire her to do even more. Another set of eyes to watch her grow and another place for her to call home.

As if the two weren't already perfect enough Guideparents, two days ago they checked that last box of our list of "couldn't-get-any-better."

Marianne and Hartz got engaged.

With loads of wedding dresses, cakes and bachelor/bachelorette parties in their future, I had to take a small amount of blog space to express how damn happy we are that he finally popped the question and what a positive impact this decision will have on Pearyn's life.

Marianne is going to make an honest man out of Hartz soon enough.

In further news, Pearyn had her first bite of chocolate pie this past weekend. (I know, I know, stone me later, it was a creamy texture and she was climbing up my leg to get a bite. She had plenty of exposure to all things chocolate in the womb, so I think this one time isn't going to make her an addict).

This chocolate pie to be exact.

This was a ridiculously decedent "campfire" pie, it's basically composed of just-crumbly-enough graham cracker pie crust, a far-too-rich chocolate "cream" filling and a perfectly-goopy marshmallow top. It ranks pretty high on my list of pies, mainly because it required about five ingredients, took five minutes to make and even less time to eat. This was the finale to our over-the-top vegan feast we made with our friends Jen and Kevin (our practically weekly, date night couple), and really the only thing I could snap a photo of because we had demolished the rest of our food.

Know what one of the best parts about having vegan couples to create feasts with? When it's 1 a.m. and you've worked up an appetite after an evening filled with board games, drinks and conversations, there's always something in the fridge you can all whip up to nosh on. Who needs Dennys when you have The T's? Between mini pizzas and corn dogs, we had all our bases covered.

Week one of sippy cup transition isn't really going anywhere. We have yet to progress past the "chew on the tip and crawl around with the sippy cup" stage, but I got a tip from a veteran mommy friend to try "straw" sippy cups, so we're holding out for those. Pearyn, on the other hand, is pretty convinced she should just move onto daddy's water bottles.

Between a welcome proposal and a really, really good chocolate pie (which you can find the recipe for under "Goodies") I'm happy to report life is pretty good right now.

But when chocolate pie is involved, how could it not be?


I tried to burn down the kitchen today, what'd you do?

It was simple enough really.

I was merely trying to boil some water when I inadvertently set one of the stove burners on fire. Apparently there was some leftover goodness from one of my other attempts at cooking (probably unsuccessful) stuck to the part of the burner that catches on fire, so there may or may not have been a small flame taking over my pot.

Luckily for me Pearyn was asleep and there was nothing good on the television, so rather than sitting in the living room waiting for my pasta to boil while my kitchen burned down I was able to tend to the small fire after noticing the smoke-filled room.

I grabbed a water-logged kitchen towel from the sink and tossed it on the little flame, not sure if that was what you actually do when fighting a fire, but it's what they do in the movies, so that had to be right, right?

I thought back to all that fire safety they teach you when you're like five (and shouldn't be playing with anything that can catch on fire anyhow), but all I could remember was to stop, drop and roll, which probably would have put the fire out, had I figured out how to successfully drop and roll on the stove without breaking it.

Surprisingly enough, dinner turned out pretty amazing considering my somewhat large snafu. Of course, it bears mentioning that dinner consisted of cooked veggies, sloppy joes and macaroni and cheese bites. The real standout being the macaroni and cheese bites, because I'm pretty much devoted to all things pasta and cheese, so this was basically the perfect marriage. And despite deviating from the hardly recipe I had scribbled on a piece of paper, I ended up whipping these things into ooey-gooey, bite-sized deliciousness. If you're feeling daring enough to flirt with a vegan recipe, this one is proudly posted on the "Goodies" page of my blog. Cue mouth water.

And since my attempt to burn down the kitchen was previously unsuccessful, I decided to tempt fate and bake a cake. It's a rare occasion that I use chocolate frosting (I usually thing it's too gloppy, heavy and rich, and that's my homemade recipe too), but today that so rich it almost induces nausea was exactly what I was in the mood for.

Cholesterol-ridden cake counterparts, eat your heart out. This spongy circle of perfectness is brought to you by the letter "F," as in flaxseeds, the ultimate egg replacer. And let's be honest, who doesn't want an extra dose of animal-free omega 3s in their dessert?

In further news, Pearyn is completely obsessed with her new sippy cup. While she doesn't have the slightest idea how to actually obtain liquid from it (because she hasn't really grasped the whole "tilting" concept of drinking fluids), that hasn't stopped her from chewing on the tip and attempting to take it with her everywhere she goes -- not to mention her howl-like shriek if you, Heaven forbid, try to take it away to wash it. So far she's pretty devoted to her vanilla almond milk, and I have to admit the frothy "milk" beard she has after dumping it all over her face is priceless.

This past Saturday was date night for my husband and I, and we were fortunate enough to spend it with two recently-turned vegan friends. It should probably be noted that we liked them just as much before they handed in their meat-eating, milk-drinking ways, we don't discriminate.

The best part about our date night? The snack food. Despite seeing a funny flick, eating a super yummy meal and sipping on a few martinis, the highlight of the evening was most definitely hoarding our stash of vegan-friendly snacks in our too-big purses and oversized coat pockets. (Don't you judge me, you take one look at that movie menu and find something that doesn't have meat, dairy or gelatin). Between the four of us we shared "gummy" worms, Sour Patch Kids, homemade buckeyes and Cajun sesame sticks -- we had all our bases covered -- from salty, to sour, to sweet.

I know, it sounds totally dorky that the best part of our night was eating teeth-rotting, empty-calorie garbage, but after years of sharing a soda and twizzlers with each other, it was refreshing to have another couple to trade with. The day we chose a cruelty-free lifestyle we handed in convenience. When you look at the big picture (the giant, gory, abusive, tortured animals picture), convenience is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Except, will the 15-year-old Pearyn trying to fit in of the future see it this way?

Probably not.

I realize we have our hands full in the upcoming years, there will be several roads never traveled, battles never fought and more importantly, a lot of messy, teenage feelings. We can only hope that Pearyn will find a supportive network of friends with like-minded views, or at the very least, a partner in crime who's willing to sneak a snack in for her crazy vegan friend.


The chubby vegan

A few days ago I was having an interesting conversation with my mother. We started discussing how we don't really know anyone who has been raised vegan since birth and whether or not we'd be able to pick one out in a crowd.

She commented about how we all look the same and no one would really be able to tell, but once someone found out they might dig for something that "stood" out.

The catty, high schoolesque, mean girl in me snorted something along the lines of "oh, the girls would be easy to pick out, with their emo tattoos, tiny frame and 90-pound, 12-year-old girl, waif look." It's not that I really meant it, considering first, 99 percent of the vegan population doesn't, in fact, look "vegan," and most of the girls rocking the haven't eaten in years look are on some crazy fad diet and aren't following a "lifestyle."

It's not right to classify an entire group of people, but let's face it, we're probably all guilty of doing it in some capacity. And if you happen to be one of the teeny-weeny vegans I'm referring to and take offense to any of the above statements, do me one favor. Hop on any vegan clothing site and just do a quick rundown of the sizes. This past winter while on the hunt for a vegan pea coat (ie: one made without wool, because no, wool is not vegan, remember, we don't use anything that comes from in animal, regardless if they were slaughtered or shaved in order to obtain said item) I discovered a correlation between myself and apparently every other female vegan in the world (or so the extra small to barely large sizing would lead me to believe).

I'm the chubby vegan.

I was unable to order my winter coat from any sort of vegan clothing store because if I wanted one which could cover my chest AND button up without popping, I'd have to order a very ugly, very not feminine male winter coat. A blah-black, boring, made for a man with no shape, pea coat.

Where's the rule book that says a vegan can't be curvy (ie: chubby)?

It almost seems like an oxymoron, right? Someone who consumes absolutely no meat or dairy (essentially no cholesterol) being a little big boned? Well, I may have made the choice to lead a compassionate lifestyle, but that doesn't mean I swore to give up junk food. And trust me, if you're willing to pay, there is a plethora of vegan junk food.

Trust me, there are plenty of healthy ways to do vegan, and it's one of the biggest perks to the diet aside from the moral standpoint. But to be completely, chubby-girl honest, no where in the definition of veganism does it say it's about health. Do we all need to be a little more conscious of what we're putting into our bodies and the havoc most of it is reeking? Sure. Does going vegan mean I'm suddenly not allowed to enjoy an Oreo? The last time I checked, no. (And yes, America's favorite cookie is vegan, there I said it. I let the cat out of the bag).

Being vegan is about reducing suffering. It's living a life which doesn't require the killing or impairing of another sentient being. It's about being put on this Earth not to treat animals with violence and ignorance, but with respect and compassion. Being vegan is about recognizing the right that every living being should have - to simply live (without being turned into your hamburger, jello, purse or trophy).

So what if I'm not your typical, itty-bitty, animal rights lovin, hippie dippy vegan. I'm a cupcake, nacho, macaroni and "cheese" soup eating, beer drinking, chubby vegan and I'm proud of it. I'm happy that I'm not the "waldo" of the vegan world, that you couldn't pick me out of a crowd.

Maybe Pearyn will be the "stereotypical" vegan, maybe she won't. Maybe she'll be a corporate, powerhouse vegan with a kickass "pleather" briefcase and a network of underlings. Or maybe she'll be a meat-eating momma. I don't know what my little girl will grow into. I just hope she figures it out for herself, instead of letting everyone else do it for her.

This post was reviewed and edited July 2014


You Know Women aren't really bright ...

Sometimes, I think I set out looking for a fight.

The other night, while settling into bed, I found myself shuffling through all the fancy channels for something to watch. I stopped on a documentary on HBO called "Google Baby." (Seriously, how can you not watch something called Google Baby)?

The premise behind the documentary was to show how globalization has made it possible for any and everyone to have a baby (well, and a decent amount of cash) and how the act of sex really isn't even necessary for reproduction.

In true emo-docu fashion, rather than filming married couples struggling to conceive after years of hormone injections, fertility treatments and fancy turkey baster attempts, the documentary followed the most dramatic interpretations of "globalization reproduction" it could find.

You meet a homosexual couple who have been together for years and have decided to select an egg donor and then implant an Indian surrogate (because apparently Indian surrogates are all the rage now). Seems simple enough. The two appear to be in an incredibly harmonious relationship and seem to really be excited at the prospect of having a child.

Zoom forward to the woman they select as their "egg donor," you know the other piece to their future child's puzzle, and soon the cameras begin following her around and detailing exactly how much money she's making for her "donation" and exactly what she's doing with that flow.

She's probably putting it in the bank for her two daugthers' educations, right? Or maybe paying off the house they purchased in the woods? While her donor money is helping fund some of the renovations to their "rustic" cabin in the woods, the rest of it is going to buy something much more beneficial -- guns.

Now, I'll readily admit to you that I'm not exactly a gun person myself, but I also understand and accept other people's rights to them. Do I think those rights should include a teeny-weeny shooter for their four-year-old daughter? Not so much. Why invest in an education when you can purchase a gun instead?

The best part? Probably the scene where the whole family is standing on the back porch playing with their "toys" and after the four-year-old shoots at a can (with the assistance of her father of course, gun safety is important when shooting with kids), the 18-month-old daughter begins to cry and the mother blames it on the camera. Yeah, I'm pretty sure the shiny black thing filming her made her cry and not the shiny black thing making a really loud, scary noise. Awesome.

The documentary then shifts to the life of the Indian surrogates and the process they go through in order to birth strangers' children. The surrogates all stay in the same housing unit, with a handful of women feeding them vitamins, milk and all other sorts of things that are supposed to aid in their pregnancy. The women are also kept on bed rest for a large portion of the day, due to their paycheck not coming unless a child is in fact born. Many of the women have to lie about their location and actions, because this type of "work" is considered to be on the same level as prostitution in India. The surrogates spend nine months away from their husbands, children and other family members, just waiting for the big day they get to collect their paychecks and go home.

After following the journey of one surrogate and watching the baby come into the world in a less-than-joyous fashion (drugs, lots of tugging on the woman and not a lot of emotion), we get to witness her return to her family in their new home -- purchased for them by the couple who just received a baby. Buying a home might sound like quite a bit, but keep in mind it takes very little U.S. dollars (you know, like $5-6,000 to buy shelter in India. (That and many of their homes consist of just two or three very tiny rooms).

After spending more than two minutes in the room with her husband, I'm starting to see how it might be "easy" to be away from him for nine months at a time. While sitting under the roof that his WIFE earned for them, he begins to discuss his feelings about surrogacy and how "you know, women aren't really bright, but they are good for some things." Well goodness, I should probably get on my knees and thank the good Lord above for blessing me not with a brain, but a uterus, because I wouldn't be worth a damn if I didn't have it. Seriously, you're living in a home because of what your wife just did and you're going to insult women?

Well, at least he appreciates what she went through for them, right? Now he's going to earn his keep too, right? Sure, except according to him in order to send their son to military officer school she'll probably need to be a surrogate once or twice more -- if he lets her. Because, you know, I'm actually sitting at home waiting for Ryan to tell me what he's going to allow me to do to earn money for our family.

How is it humanly possible that we're all living such different lives? It's 2011, yet, after watching that documentary, I can't help but wonder if there's some sort of time warp and they're really living back in the 1800s. And the worst part? These women all believe it. These women think they're only valuable because they have two ovaries and a uterus to house a baby. I think every night instead of thanking the Lord for all my fabulous female parts (you know, the one's that according to Mr. D-Bag make me worthwhile) I'm going to thank him for the brain he gave me that tells me I'm worth more and for living in a society that allows me to prove it.

I've never been more proud or happy to be an American.


Thank God my baby girl lives in a country where she'll be taught and encouraged to read that same book she's tearing up.

You also might like:
  • How to raise little men and women
  • Zombies, feminists and breastmilk


Why is Motherhood so Scary?

What? My license plate shouldn't be folded up, smashed, laying on the concrete AND next to my rear reflector? Looks pretty normal to me.

Monday night seemed typical enough. My husband and I decided we should run out to Babies R Us and the health food store so we could pick up necessities, you know, vitamins, diapers, ice cream - the usual. In our flurry to get our errands accomplished quickly so we could return home to do nothing, we forgot not only to bring the bottle we made for Pearyn, but the entire diaper bag her bottle was placed in. Parents of the year award? Sure.

We figured we'd be OK though, we still had a good hour and a half before she would need to eat, so we flew through our errands and were on our way home with 20 minutes to spare.

Well, until we stopped at that red light.

I'm not sure what made me do it, but while waiting for the light to turn green I glanced in my rear view mirror and noticed the white car behind us was getting a little too close a little too fast. Not knowing what else to do, I honked my horn and let out a slur of curse words (which was apparently my way of telling my husband that we were about to be rear ended), hoping to somehow hinder the damage that was about to occur.

Too late.

The 76-year-old woman in her white car slammed into my car without hitting the breaks, causing us to lurch forward and turn. The entire event from seeing this in the mirror to it actually happening took a mere 5 seconds, but it felt like 5 minutes.

Everything I could possibly love aside from my mom and dad were in that car with me, my whole world. And in a split second this woman could have changed that.

To most this might sound a bit dramatic, it was by definition a simple "fender bender," but if you've ever been in an accident with your young child in the car, I have a feeling you know exactly what I'm talking about. And in my defense, even my car mechanic said this was a pretty powerful hit, as it caused my license plate number to be indented into my bumper, my bumper to crack and bust and a whole lot of the interior body to be damaged as well.

The cops said she had to have hit us at at least 30 mph.

Pearyn was screaming. She was screaming so much she couldn't catch her breath and all I kept thinking about were those horrible statistics about how many people don't have their child seats installed properly and what severe injuries it can cause. The paramedics were called because of how young Pearyn is and to our relief, sanity and the 76-year-old woman's conscience, she seemed perfectly alright, just a bit shook. We were given a tabulation of things to look out for, bruising, stiffness, vomiting, all sorts of things that would indicate there was something wrong that we couldn't see. A little over 48 hours later and Pearyn (and everyone else) is still fine.

Physically, anyway.

My heart is with any and every person who's been involved any kind of accident, from a fender bender to something more fatal ... while some outcomes are far worse than others, they all have one thing in common.

Sometimes, no matter how conscious of a driver you are, someone else isn't.

It was the first major realization which proved to us the one thing a parent absolutely doesn't want to think about - we can't protect our daughter from everything.

I think that's the worst part of all.


My Anti New Years Resolution

Since adding a tiny human being to our clan eight months ago, my husband and I have spent countless hours coming up with family-oriented crafts and "traditions" we could do to celebrate the holidays. For Halloween we made special "spooky" treats, for Thanksgiving we cut, colored and filled "hand turkeys" with the amazing things in life we had to be thankful for and for Christmas we purchased a new porcelain house to add to our Christmas village and baked cruelty-free cookies for friends and family.

For New Years, we had toyed with the idea of simply making out a list of resolutions and taping them to our fridge - that way we would be confronted with our "goals" anytime we wanted to eat or drink something. While contemplating what exactly my list would detail this year, I realized something about all the other years I've made resolutions.

Not only did I rarely follow through with them, but usually, the best things I ended up doing over the years were never things I initially set out to.

Take for instance getting married. Sure, I knew I wanted to get married, but it's not like I woke up on January 1, 2009, and decided I should get married that year.

And how about becoming a mom? I certainly didn't roll over in bed, look at my husband and tell him "we have to have a baby this year because it's on my resolution list."

What's the point in making a list when the majority of things on it are trivial anyhow. Most of the big moments, the one's that change your life forever, are rarely planned or placed on a list to complete in 365 days.

So when it comes to my New Years Resolution, I've decided one of two things must happen. I either need to quit making them or I need to start making them count.

I'm not going to "shed 30 pounds," "read one book a week" or "work out more," but instead focus on things that matter in my life.

I want to enjoy every minute with my daughter more - I want more patience. Instead of getting frustrated that she only took a 30-minute nap instead of her usual 90-minute one, I'll be thankful for the extra hour I get to see her experiment with life.

I want to get published already. There are a few things I need to do in order to land myself a column I've dreamed of, and beefing up this blog and getting some followers are a few of the steps I need to take to make this happen. I need to quit talking about all the writing things I want and am trying to do and just do it. (Do me a favor and follow this blog, the more readers I get the better ground I have when I make my column-move. It takes two seconds to sign up or you can use your gmail or yahoo account to follow).

I want to quit stressing out over things I have no control over. When it comes work (or lack of work and fear of not being needed), softball lessons, family issues and pretty much every other detail of my life I choose to worry about before there's just cause, I need to just sit back and let things run their course.

For the last month I've been trying to figure out whether or not we'll have another baby in the future, whether we'd be able to squeeze another baby into the house we're renting (and absolutely love), when the right time for all this is and when to make the next move. Why am I worrying about things that might not even take place over the next year?

And when I'm not obsessing over a non-existent addition to our family, I'm usually contemplating the ways I'm ruining my daughter's life due to our lifestyle choices. In my heart do I believe we're hampering Pearyn's life in anyway by excluding animal products from it? No. But boy does public opinion have a way to make you question yourself day in and day out.

For both moral and health reasons I believe this is the best path for our family to follow, but having to hear from both acquaintances and complete strangers each day about how our choice to "impose" the vegan lifestyle on Pearyn is cruel and unusual punishment can really wear a person down. Are we doing anything different than every other parent does when they decide to feed their child a diet consisting of red meat and dairy? No. Perhaps ours isn't exactly the norm, but we're doing what every parent does at one point or another - making a decision on what we think is best for our family. Just because our decision is a little out of the ordinary does not mean it's not perfectly health or nourishing (and if the American Dietetic Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and Pearyn's doctor can all agree with and accept it, then that's good enough for this mom). Take a moment to read this before arguing ...


Baby's First Christmas

The last two weeks of December zoomed by.

Our tiny family of three was consumed by the holiday spirit and spent the last few weeks with family and friends from all over. We were finally able to make it to northern Ohio for the T's annual family Christmas party, which allowed Pearyn to meet many of her aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time. It was nice to be around the entire family ... and Ry's niece has officially turned me on to the idea of cloth diapering (now we'll just see how long it takes me to actually follow through with it).

After spending the weekend with Ry's family, we had about three days to settle back in at home and complete a cleaning spree for my family's arrival. My brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew stayed with us for five days, which gave me a new respect for mothers with multiple children. After watching my brother and sister-in-law struggle to both discipline and pay just the right amount of attention to their three-year-old son Eli, in addition to meet all of their 7-month-old daughter Evee's needs (she happens to be 15 minutes younger than my daughter), I've realized there's never really an "easy" time to add another child to the family. Regardless of how old your first born is, it's going to be difficult for them to understand why mommy and daddy have to divide their attention now.

Eli and Evee did manage to have some fun while they were here and I even caught a moment of quality time on camera.

I'm also completely blown away every moment I spend with my daughter and niece. It's absolutely amazing to see two babies, born on the same day, in a room together. What's even more baffling is to see how different these two girls are. Evee is much more patient, much more easy going and an overall pleasure to be around, meanwhile Pearyn, a pleasure to be around as well, is a little more nosey and a little less easy going. It was truly a blessing to be able to watch the two relate to each other, as well as experience things through each other.

In addition to a little cousin bonding time, I also got to spend some time getting to know Evee. She's completely different from my daughter, and it makes me completely envious and thankful all at once. Nothing like something different to make your realize how great what you have already is. Don't get me wrong, I love that Evee is so much more laid back and likes being held and cuddled, but I'm also incredibly thankful that my daughter is sleeping through the night and conquering first-times at lightning speeds.

The kids seemed to have a phenomenal first Christmas (or fourth for Eli), the babies were of course much more interested in the crinkly wrapping paper and shiny bows than the actual gifts inside.

All and all, our first Christmas as a family of three was a success. Delicious cookies were made (sugar nog and mocha mamas with caramel drizzle) and lots of Silk nog was consumed ...