Pear’s first time to the beach

At least this week I have a good excuse.

The T clan packed our bags and left on a jet plane this past Monday, destination: Pensacola, Florida.

It was a nice little vacation thrown together by my brother, and we were just lucky enough to have the kind of jobs that let us jet away to Florida for four days with barely a weeks notice. One of the many, many, many upsides of working from home (I can take home anywhere), not to mention one of the perks of being a general manager (and the one who makes the schedule).

While we returned on Thursday, it really felt like a Sunday to me because we’d had a few days off in a row. So even though today is really Saturday, it kind of feels like a Tuesday or something to me.

At any rate, here are my Fab Five reasons Pensacola Beach is a totally rocking place to take a family vacation.

No. 1: The beach, the beach and the beach some more. While I’ve had the pleasure of going to several Florida beaches throughout my softball career and family vacations, none of them compared to the pretty white sand and turquoise water this beach had. Not quite clear like the tropical waters, but not nearly as cloudy as the non pan handle beaches.

No. 2: The hotels. There were more than a dozen hotels lining the above beautiful beach, from the pricey Margaritaville and Hilton hotels, to the more affordable Hampton Inn. There was something for everyone, and well, more than enough for us. Not to mention the balcony on our hotel. Can we say ridiculously perfect?

No. 3: The pools. While spending an afternoon poolside might seem a tad mundane when you’ve got the giant force that is the ocean 50 feet away, it’s ideal for not-quite-one-year-olds who are terrified of said ocean. In this case, our little P. She was less than pleased with the cool water and rippling waves, so if we wanted to catch any fun in the sun it was by the two pools our Hilton had. (Which happened to include a kick ass kids pool with sprayers and shallow water).

No. 4: The views. I’m convinced that regardless of where you’re located in Pensacola, there’s something beautiful to look at. Whether it’s the ocean or the bay side, you’re surrounded by gorgeous water and pristine white beaches no matter where you turn. And the up side? It’s a more family-oriented beach, so instead of views of partied-out spring break goers you see moms, dads and kids.

No. 5: The people. And I’m not referring to the Pensacola natives, although, they were pretty helpful and pleasant for the most part (sans airport security), but the wonderful people we spent our vacation with. It’s much harder leaving paradise when you’re also leaving behind your brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. I’m now a firm believer — there’s no such thing as a «family» vacation without the whole family. So this one would have been just perfect, had grandpa and grandma made it down.

Oh well, there’s always the summer.



The second annual Fab Five Friday (on Saturday … oops)

SO Friday ended up being a busy day for this mama. Between snapping shots of every little thing that Pearyn ingests, to typing up reports and enjoying a date night with friends, I couldn’t scrape together the 10 minutes needed to blog my Fab Five Friday list!

I brainstormed this week about what exactly I should make a Fab list for, and after scattering to find a babysitter last minute for our evening out last night, I knew precisely what this blog would be about.

MY Fab Five reasons living in my hometown rocks:

No. 1: The family. I live within 15 minutes of four aunts, a handful of cousins, a grandmother and within one mile of my parents. Pearyn won’t be able to reach her arms out with some sort of family member there to reach back. And while I certainly wish she could know the T’s side a little more, just knowing she’s growing up in a decent little town surrounded by at least one set of family is assuring enough.

No. 2: The memories. I can’t even make a trip to the grocery store without passing some sort of memorable spot. Whether it’s the outdoor venue where I went to my first concert, the porch where I got my first kiss, or the softball field I won my first softball game, I’ll never be short of stories for my little girl so long as we never leave this town.

No. 3: The friends, the friends and more friends. I don’t know if it’s just something in the water, but it seems like more and more of the people I graduated with, people I grew up with, are moving back to the Dayton area. While most people dread their high school reunion, I basically attend one every Tuesday with a group of other mothers I graduated with. I have to admit, it’s more than nice to reconnect with people who don’t just know where I come from, but come from the same place as well.

Can you find Pearyn in the photo below? (Hint, she’s not far from her dragon-eating boyfriend).

No. 4: The town itself. I’m so over listening to friends and not-really-acquaintances complain about there never being anything to do. There’s always something little going on around our neck of the woods, and in the event our little city has nothing of interest, we’re less than 20 minutes from several other little towns with even more offerings. If you can’t find something to do in this town, it’s because you’re lazy and don’t want to leave your house or you’re the most impossible person in the world to please.

No. 5: The neighborhoods. In my neighborhood alone, there are dozens of kids. As I drive past the little houses, I see tiny tots in swings hanging from trees, play stations built with someones own hands and bikes, tricycles and big wheels. Neighborhoods filled with little kids means parents watching over them — and yours. It’s a secure little area to raise a beautiful little family, safely.

A day in the life of Pearyn’s stomach: Wednesday

I think I’m cursed.

As a female who has been on the thicker side of the spectrum pretty much her entire life, I don’t know the pains of the skinny. In fact, if you’d asked me before having my little girl, the only pains they face are whether to wear their super cute, super revealing green bikini or their more flirty pink one. It must be so hard to not worry about love handles hanging over your bikini bottom or the «girls» falling out of your top.

I was a little cynical to say the least (and a lot bitter).

And then, Pearyn was born.

Some how, this full-figured mom was blessed with a string bean, calorie-burning machine of a daughter. Personally, I think it’s just my karma that after an entire lifetime of battling weight and body image issues, I would give birth to a naturally thin little girl. Someone, somewhere, is really laughing up a storm.

So now, while I sit around worrying about every last calorie that’s going into my mouth, I’m practically shoveling them into Pearyn’s.

With those worries on my mind, and Pearyn taking less and less of her bottle (aka her lifeforce) each day, my husband and I made an appointment with a certified clinical nutritionist to discuss our daughter’s diet (or according to everyone else who doesn’t understand a vegan diet) her lack of one.

Turns out, we are on the right track. In fact, we’re better than on the right tract. Our diet for our rambunctious, active little girl got an A++ from the nutritionist. The only small tweaks we had to make were simply suggestions to ease our own worried minds (things like taking away some of the soy and adding some more natural protein sources), not to mention assuring that she’s getting all her essential vitamins (things like B12 and calcium that meat-eaters and dairy drinkers find impossible for us to get).

While tempted to take the «I told you so» route for all the non-veg believers, I decided instead to keep a food diary of all the things that enter Pearyn’s mouth for the next week (lint excluded), to help ease all those worried minds about our vegan diet «killing» our child (see tomorrow’s post for more on that garbage).

So here it is in all it’s glory, Pearyn’s Wednesday menu:

Pearyn starts her morning off with a bottle and some oatmeal with fresh raspberries, blackberries and a sprinkle of milled flax seeds for her Omega 3 needs.

After her long nap and to prepare for her big playdate later that day, she snacked on some organic tofu cubes, spinach mashed potatoes and coconut milk. (And during her playdate when she needed a little pick-me-up, she noshed on homemade lemon poppy seed mini-muffins, filled with oat flour, bran and all sorts of goodness and a sippy cup of water).

After a relaxing snooze (or what I refer to as her post playdate coma), our little one gobbled down some organic, no sugar added, berry applesauce mixed with green bean puree (because she just doesn’t have the stomach for green veggies quite yet), a vegan Gardenburger patty (the nutritionist OK’d a minimal amount of mock meat, as long as it was more veggie, less mock) with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top (for that extra B12 boost) and a nice sippy cup of coconut milk.

Just because we’re vegan doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy rich, not-good-for-you-in-large-doses milk shakes, so daddy even let Pearyn have a few spoonfuls of his chocolate iced goodness.

Pearyn rounded her evening out with a nighttime bottle of her lifeforce juice, chock full of her vitamin to ease that «just in case» nagging voice.

We’re working everyday to ensure our little girl gets exactly every little thing she needs (and then some) to grow not only into a healthy woman, but a compassionate one — which is why we choose to keep any and all animals off our plates, bodies and out of our cleaning supplies and personal products.

A day in the life of Pearyn’s stomach: Thursday

I have to be honest here.

I’m incredibly pleased with the fact that I’ve actually completed two days of keeping track of Pearyn’s food, not to mention blogged two days in a row now. It’s not that I don’t have the time to do it, it’s that I’m so scrupulous when it comes to my writing I feel like I need to have something crazy important to say every single time.

Which let’s face it, my life just isn’t THAT exciting.

Lately, the appropriateness of the vegan diet for infants and children has come under fire. Regardless how many times I cite the American Dietetic Association’s views on veganism through every stage of life (just in case you still think I’m a nut job), more and more people question it.

Mainly, I blame the newspapers and stupid parents. (When in doubt, blame the newspapers. I used to work for one, so I’m allowed to say this). From awesome articles like Court examines whether vegan diet killed baby to some crappy European paper Vegan diet killed baby, is it any wonder we’re getting a bad rep?

You want to know what more than likely killed most of the supposedly «vegan» babies over the recent years? Ignorant parents.

Take for example the most recent couple put on trial, the ones from France who fed their 11-month-old baby breast milk from her vegan mother her entire life. Breast milk is an awesome lifeforce drink, but really, didn’t think maybe it was time to throw some actual food in there too? Not to mention they were «alternative» healers, which is a perfectly respectable lifestyle, but after taking the baby to the hospital because she had bronchitis they still refused to admit her after being told how sick she was. Shortly after, the just over 12lb baby girl was rushed in an ambulance and pronounced dead.

Seriously, you’re 11-month-old baby weighs 12 pounds and you don’t think anything of it? Just thin for her age? There are plenty of unhealthy ways to do vegan, but there are just as many unhealthy ways to do a meat and dairy based diet. In fact, more children following a «mainstream» diet make up the percentage of obese children than their vegan counterparts.

I’ll readily admit that the vegan diet is not for everyone, but why then, can’t the meat and dairy diet be viewed in the same light? I completely believe there is a responsible and healthy way to include meat and dairy in a diet, so why is it so hard to imagine that there is an equally responsible way to do without it?

(Little P is already making healthy fridge choices!)

And let’s not forget my favorite «vegan» couple, the ones who fed their baby soy milk and apple juice and was seemingly shocked when their child was far underdeveloped and drastically underweight. Is it really fair to call this a vegan diet? Sure, it doesn’t contain any animals, but do you know what else this «diet» is lacking? Common sense from a parent.

At any rate, let’s see how Pearyn’s Thursday menu stacks up to these other two «vegan» children (who suffered from more than a poor diet, but atrocious parenting).

We started Thursday morning off with some soy mixed berry yogurt with fresh raspberries,blackberries and a sprinkle of milled flaxseeds, in addition to a nice tall bottle.

After a rousing hike with a few other mommies and babies, we had lunch at a little cafe. Mommy packed ahead though, so Pearyn threw back some more applesauce green bean puree, falafel, white bean hummus and coconut milk.

Pearyn just couldn’t contain herself before dinner, so she snacked on a few blueberry and banana mini muffins and a little H20. The mini muffins are a mix of oat, quinoa and whole wheat flours, because our growing girl is also an active one. So her carbs help give her the energy to keep mommy and daddy on their toes.

For dinner Pearyn had her favorite concoction: a banana, blackberries and almond butter smashed up and mixed together, in addition to some «cheezy» sweet potatoes (we added nutritional yeast to give it a cheesish flavor in addition to an awesome boost of B12). She washed all this down with a sippy cup of coconut milk.

For dessert, Pearyn had a zucchini plank from mommy and daddy’s dinner (which consisted of grilled zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and potatoes). While she hasn’t really been the biggest fan of smooshy zucchini, the grilled flavor made her positively giddy.

Just because a few «vegan» parents don’t know how to adequately nourish their children doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t.

The first of many fab five Fridays

In an attempt to fall into a more regular blogging routine, I’ve decided to make Fridays my «Fab Five» day. And pretty much like most things I plan, I do them far later than I initially set out to, so I should probably point out that I did in fact start my first Fab Five Friday list at 11:55 p.m. Friday, so technically, it counts.

In addition to helping me frequent my blog, I have a feeling it’s going to help me focus on some positive aspects of my life — and let’s face it — who doesn’t need a little positivity in their life?

So for my first Fab Five Friday (say that five times fast) list, I’ve decided to dedicate it to my entire basis for this blog — my beautiful little girl.

MY Fab Five reasons being a parent is so kick ass:

No. 1: You’re completely and utterly in charge of this tiny human being. You can help shape and mold them into anything you want, whether it be a fairy princess or the first female president. And while it’s absolutely the most scary thing you’ve ever had to do, it’s also — without a doubt — the most worthwhile thing you will ever do with your life. (Heck, you can even make them into a Yankees fan!)

No. 2: You have an entire network of people who you all the sudden have something in common with. In fact, I’ve spent the last 10 Tuesdays with a few women who are becoming incredibly close friends, all because we feel each others pain (literally). We usually end up doing more playing than our children at our playdates. It’s like the best «no boys allowed» club you’ve ever belonged to.

No. 3: You can wear them. Simple as that. What other living being is going to not only fit into a tiny carrier, but then let you cart them around everywhere? From hiking to baking, my little side kick (or front kick in this case) is never more than an inch away from me.

No. 4: I fell in love all over again — and not just with my intelligent, beautiful, charming little girl, but with my husband. Seeing your partner become a parent opens up an entirely new side of that person to you. There is nothing more endearing than the look on Pearyn’s face when her daddy comes through that door after working 10 hours. And the best part? He has the same on on his.

No. 5: You develop an appreciation for all the small things again. Having a child allows you to experience everything through them. I don’t care how cliche it might sound, it’s the truth. You start to see what makes the smallest, most insignificant thing amazing again. As adults, we require so much to entertain and woo us. As children, all it takes sometimes is a giant, plush cupcake.


A day in the life of Pearyn’s stomach: Friday

Friday was a busy day for the T household, we spent it catching up on work and with friends. Ryan and I went to a baseball game with another couple, while Pearyn spent the evening with one of my favorite families — the B’s. After spending most of the evening running from her two-day-younger boyfriend, I hear she settled down and bashed a lot of tofu and even more muffins. All and all it was a great day for mommy and daddy and an even better for P.

As promised, I snapped a photo of all the healthy (and sometimes more tasty than healthy) foods that visited Pearyn’s stomach on Friday.

Pearyn started her morning off with an organic, whole grain waffle topped with ground flaxseeds and leftover banana, almond butter and blackberry topping. She washed this bad boy down with a nice bottle of lifeforce.

Pearyn woke up from her nap famished, so rather than dealing with the starving beast I fed her and snapped a shot halfway through. Once again, I’ve found if I mix basically any and everything with her «pear»sauce she’ll pretty much eat it. In this case, we made some brown rice and black beans (the perfect protein according to our nutritionist, because what one is lacking in the other makes up for, but you have to eat them together!) and mixed it with a broccoli puree and pearsauce. The lunch of champions! She also
threw back a cold sippy cup of coconut milk.

Throughout the day, Pearyn snacked on banana, blueberry and lemon poppy seed muffins (when mommy bakes, she bakes A LOT), organic apple chunks and a few tangy tomato crunchies. (We do give her some processed foods from time to time, we just monitor how much and keep it in moderation).

For dinner, Pearyn had some extra firm tofu plus (formulated with special vitamins for vegetarian and vegan diets) in brown sauce and some whole wheat pasta in a nutritional yeast sauce with corn. She enjoyed this dinner with her coconut milk as well.

Pearyn killed a few more ounces of her «lifeforce» and then turned in for the night, not in a crib or play pin, but ON Mama B. Apparently they both appreciated the cuddling, however.

Do they have to grow up?

It’s spreading like the plague.

Babies all around me are turning one, growing up and quite frankly, doing it way too fast.

In less than two weeks, my little girl will be joining the ranks.

My precious, once 8lb 5.6oz, 21.5″ measuring baby is going to be toddling around soon.

She’s going to be a toddler.

When did I graduate from raising a baby to a toddler?

There used to be a time when her body fit perfectly along your forearm, when she could barely hold her head up and was just beginning to understand a smile.

And now, I’m lucky if she lets me carry her in a sling, let alone fits into one. Where did all the time go?

Do «sane» mothers exist? I constantly feel conflicting emotions, from excitement for all the new «firsts» ahead, to disappointment from all the one’s we’ve already passed. One minute I’m applauding my little girl’s independence and the next I’m crying and trying to convince her to stay little. Really little. Forever.

Is this why people keep having children? Because secretly we’re just grasping at attaining these first year feelings as much as we possibly can? We’re just junkies for first smiles, first giggles and first steps?

The rational part of me knows that up ahead, we’ve got a million firsts to tackle still. From running, to reading, to saying «I love you,» but I can’t stop this demented, first-time mother urge to cling to this first year for as long as I can.

I think I’m on board with my friend Crystal’s decision to deny my child’s aging and simply refer to her as «13 months, 18 months, 94 months» old instead of the harsh reality of one, two or 10 years old.

What’s in a number anyway?

When you’re a mom, a whole, whole lot.