This blog post is sponsored by condoms, vegan ones, lots of them.

OK, not really.

But I figured it'd get your attention.

And I really do wish this particular blog post was sponsored by vegan condoms because I know a handful of young women (and probably even more I don't know) who could use them.

This isn't going to be one of your" keep your vagina disease-free by making him wrap it up" disclaimers, instead, this is going to be a plea.

From me.

And I'm sending it out to all you teeny boppers, barely over the legal drinking age, wannabe, getting-yourself-knocked-up mommas.

Please, start using condoms (vegan ones if possible), but in reality, any will do.

Just please, please, please stop having kids on purpose.

And let me just clarify something here. In no way or shape am I trying to insinuate that you won't all be perfectly wonderful mothers, that those of you who are teenage mothers aren't phenomenal or that being a certain age will make you ready for motherhood. (Nothing, I repeat, nothing, will prepare you for that constant, uphill marathon).

I genuinely believe that there are women out there who made mistakes (I am not saying your child was a mistake so chill out) and maybe had children a little earlier than they wanted. In the same hand, I know there might be a few (a very, very small few) who at 21 or 22 have settled down, have a stable environment to raise a child in and are at least ready on the outside for the challenge.
Wait until you're ready to rock the
unkempt, who knows where your make-up
went,  haven't showered in three days, don't
give a damn if everyone in the world just saw
 your vagina and have fluid leaking out of
 every orifice of your body look.

Unfortunately though, a lot of us aren't. (Notice how I said us. I'm a 26-year-old mother, with lots of 26-year-old mother friends, and at some point or another, we've all questioned whether or not we were truly ready to tackle parenthood).

The girls I'm addressing, are the ones I have sprinkled throughout my life. The ones who are, in fact, barely women yet, and decide getting pregnant would be a great idea for whatever reason.

Maybe it's because you think that super awesome boyfriend of yours will stick around if he finds out you're pregnant with a mini (pooping, screaming, messy, expensive) human. Because yeah, I think that's every 20-year-old guy's dream, something that's going to take away from beer and video games, or at the very least, your sex life.

Or perhaps you just don't have enough love in your life. If this is the case, let me know, I'll do all parties involved a big favor and come love you myself. That way, you can get all the love you want without having to raise a small child while you're still one emotionally.

Who knows, maybe you just think you're totally ready for one. You're 20 (which means you're basically a sage), you have a job, a kind-of boyfriend, a place to live and parents with a lot of money. Having kids can't cost that much, right? Your job will support you (and if it doesn't your parents can, right)? And your kind-of boyfriend, well, he'll stick by your side?

No. No. No.

You're 20 (or 18, 19, whatever). You should be growing up with your girlfriends, staying out too late and figuring out your life. You're not ready to create another human being because you're not even done being created. The person you are now is only a shadow of the one you're going to become. Do me a favor. Look back at your life three years ago, it's probably a lot different than it is now, right? Now imagine your life in three years. It's probably going to be even more different, right?

At the very least, do me a favor.

Wait until you have your own place (not one that you share with your 14 best friends).

Wait until you have someone in your life who has not only seen you at your worst (and no, that night you spent hugging the toilet does not count) but has stuck by the morning after. If you can be patient, wait until you're married and can share this experience as a husband and wife.

Wait until you're not a dumb kid anymore. Chances are, right this very moment, you think you know it all. You think you're big, bad and totally prepared for whatever comes your way. Wait to have a kid until you know you don't know it all. Until you know when to ask for help.

Wait until you have a stable environment (and I'm not just referring to the roof over your head). Wait until the drama that ensues your life is which big girl job to take, what kind of dressing to put on your salad and which shows to DVR because it can only do two at a time, rather than what boy you want to sleep with tonight, which "hoe" is getting all up on your man and which "totally cute" top to buy to go clubbing.

Do me a favor and wait until you know what I meant by "sage," hint: I'm not talking about the spice.

Wait until you don't have friends who still ask you to buy beer or at the very least, wait until you're old enough to buy it yourself, drink copious amounts of it or none at all. Just wait until you have the choice to legally drink or not (the key word there being legally).

I promise you it'll be better. I promise that in a few years you're going to feel a lot different about yourself. In a few years you're going to have that someone who makes raising a kid seem not so scary.

And note to you, if having a kid doesn't scare the bejeezus out of you, hold off on getting pregnant until it does. You are so totally not ready to become a parent if there's not this massive part of you doubting your ability to be said parent, provide for said child and frankly, push a seven, eight or nine pound baby out of your very tiny vagina.

But most importantly, use condoms (vegan ones), lots of them.

Disclaimer: I do not know it all. I am not the queen of motherhood. But one thing is for sure. I know how it feels to want a guy to stay, to be lonely and to think I know it all. I know what being 20 feels like and I know you might feel like you're on top of the world. But I also know how it feels to be a first-time mom at 26, one with a husband who started a college fund for our child and one that is finally starting to grasp exactly who I am as a person. It may not qualify me to make life decisions for you on your blog, but it does for mine. 

Also, young, single mothers who are doing an amazing job raising kids, way to go! This is not a post meant to attack or belittle you, I think the world of you for being able to raise a child without wanting to pull your hair out. This is just my message to young girls who are purposely trying to get pregnant before they give themselves a chance to grow up and really appreciate their time as a young, single woman. 


What kind of parent are you?

Well friends, it's happened again.

With Thanksgiving all up in my grill last week (I get sort of gangster when I get riled up) I've found yet another aspect of modern day child rearing and living that's just not acceptable to me.

I can't tell you how many posts, blogs and comments I've seen over the last four days from a "worried" mother about how to get her two, three, 12-year-old child to eat meat (particularly turkey). From chopping it up super tiny, mincing it and bribing the child with toys, candies and ice cream, I could not be more disheartened by the lengths people will go to in an attempt to trick their child into eating meat.

I get it people, you're worried. You're worried that because your four year old doesn't eat something that can bleed, he or she won't get enough protein, will be malnourished and then die. You're worried because here in America, the only (seemingly) acceptable way to get protein is either from a dead animal or from a liquid supplement. 

Let's talk about that five year old who pushes their plate away at the sight of chicken. Or your 8-year-old who is figuring out where exactly their food comes from and has no desire to ingest something with a face. Heck, let's just say that for whatever reason your child has jumped ship and refuses to eat meat. What are you to do?

Well, how about a little research?

There is nothing that discourages me more than indolent parenting. Reality check, when your child is concerned, ignorance is not always bliss.

Now don't misunderstand me here folks. I'm not here to argue about the safety or healthiness of raising a child on a meat and dairy diet; we've been doing it for thousands of years and I get the point, it works. So let's just throw that argument out the window because I've fully accepted and admitted several times that there's a responsible way to incorporate those things into a healthy diet (I just can't work it into the moral aspects of my life).

What I am here to raise a big ole fuss about, is completely active, get-your-hands-dirty parenting. Months ago I had a friend whose son showed little interest in eating meat. After asking her pediatrician what to do about this, the lackluster response was something along the lines of "Oh, give him PediaSure on the days he refuses to eat meat." 

PediaSure, the liquid supplement? That's a pediatricians best answer? Perhaps I've missed the PediaSure bandwagon or maybe doctors have stock in it.

If you're a parent and that response is good enough for you, maybe you should revisit the food pyramid. 

This is what I know.

My family doesn't eat meat. Ever. We don't use liquid supplements to achieve our daily intake of vitamins, minerals and proteins. We try to balance our diet with nutrients from vegetables, fruits, grains and every now and then we get wild and throw a legume in there. (What is a legume??) 

My daughter doesn't drink PediaSure. Ever. She doesn't drink whole milk or even two percent. Sometimes she has soy milk, sometimes coconut milk, every now and then we throw in some almond, flaxseed, oat or hemp milk. And at 18 months old she is thriving. Boy, is she thriving. 

How, you may ask? Since apparently the answer to growing a healthy child is be either tricking them into eating meat (through mashed potatoes laced with minced chicken) or by giving them PediaSure.

The answer is simple. It's the right combination of plant-based proteins, a family doctor who supports our vision of a vegan family, a clinical nutritionist who broke through the animal-biased protein barriers and a mother and father determined to raise a healthy girl the compassionate way.

I'm not asking you to go vegan. I'm not even asking you to eliminate all meat from your child's diet. I'm asking you to stop trying to trick your kids, stop funding the PediaSure campaign and start educating yourselves. 

This isn't 50 years ago when being a vegetarian or vegan was a seriously scary, undeveloped and totally experimental thing. This is 2011.This is the day and age when soy, almond and coconut milks can coexist on the very same shelves as the "real" dairy stuff. This is the land where vegan cheeses appear in large grocery chains like Kroger and where restaurants offer vegan alternatives. This is the future, the time when vegetarians and vegans are no longer a myth, but walk among you, populate your work office, get coffee at your Starbucks and (gasp!) live on your street. 

There are more than a handful of options when it comes to picky non-meat-eating children, from the tried and true peanut butter and jelly, to more exotic foods like lentils, tofu and tempeh, to protein-rich vegetables like beans, peas and spinach and to grains like barley, quinoa and oats. 

Maybe you don't know what some of this is, maybe you're afraid to try new things. 

But let me ask you this. If you're not willing to open your own mind up to new foods, tastes and nutrients, then why on Earth should your own child?

Even a hamburger is (at some point or another) a "new" food to every child.


Nothing like the holidays to bring out the crazy

I know what you're thinking. 

It's Wednesday, I haven't posted in like 100 years (or six days, whichever), I was supposed to be "getting real" and then I just crapped out on you.

Well, what can I say, nothing like "getting real" with some real realness. Life got in the way. Unpacking, holiday shopping, decorating and all the other duties of being a working mom and wife took over. I got burnt out and exhausted, so the last thing I could think about was writing all you fine people a summary on how much of my day I spent being fake.

Which as we learned last week, is a lot more than we all thought. 

I'm proud to say we've pretty much wrapped up our Christmas shopping, get it, "wrapped up." Ha. Aside from a few miscellaneous stocking items for Pearyn and my gift for Chubby Vegan Dad, we have checked off everyone else on our Christmas list. Hip hip hurray?

We even have a plan for our holiday photo cards we send out every year -- and guess what folks, the 2011 is going to be a doozy. Yes, I did just say doozy. It's midnight and I'm running on five hours of sleep from the night before. We're doing a photo theme to the ever-popular Christmas song "Nuttin for Christmas." It promises to be a good time. Heck, any song that starts out "I broke my bat on Johnny's head" has to be a good time, right? 

And in true Chubby Vegan Family fashion, we also picked out our Christmas jammies. Pearyn and I had a pajama party and sported some of our favorite threads, including her cupcake set and my snowman pants and a tank top. What can I say, we like our pajamas in this household.

The holiday spirit has seemed to escape us this year. One minute we're totally digging the Thanksgiving and Christmas vibe, the next we're cursing and shaking our fists at everyone (yes, like we're 75 years old). If I had to be honest, I think it was the ridiculous extortion of Pearyn's beloved deluxe Mickey Mouse Clubhouse playset that put me over the edge. It was listed on the Disney website for $59.95, but sold out in basically a minute. (Am I the only one who didn't know things could see out on the website?). So we were forced to scavenge other places for it, which basically meant paying more than double the price of it on eBay.

Nothing says Christmas like turning a profit on a toy designed for a three-seven year old. Thanks, no, serious, thanks so much jerk faces. I love being reminded on a constant basis just how insanely greedy our nation is. 

Bah hum bug.

OK, that's it, we have family coming in tomorrow and A LOT of cooking to do over the next few days. I'm going to turn in (and check my attitude at the blog).

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, I hope it's as turkey-free and delicious as ours is (details to come!)



Because I'm real, lazy and real lazy

I was a seriously busy bee today.

I got lots of Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping done today, which may not sound like much, but when you're carting an 18-month-old around to said shopping, it is. A lot. A lot a lot. Especially when one of those stops includes a trip to Toys'R'Us, aka crack for toddlers. Everywhere we turned there was Mickey Mouse something, books, games, dvds, toilet paper (OK, I'm exaggerating a bit there), which meant I had to move through the aisles really, really fast. Like speed of light fast, to avoid a meltdown from Pearyn.

We did, however, get her a Mickey Mouse stocking. I plan on keeping it until she's 18 and absolutely detests Mickey Mouse and everything he stands for. Isn't it nice how I'm already planning on torturing my teen and she's not even out of diapers yet?

But I can't lie (especially during my 'get real' week), she was a real trooper. She hardly threw any fits and she definitely kept a smile on my face. So I got her more Mickey Mouse stuff, of course, because good parents feed their children's obsession. I just hope this loving Mickey phase lasts long enough to get our money out of all these things.

And then, while Pearn was taking a late nap, I got dinner ready. Baked coconut lime tofu with sesame ginger broccoli. If I weren't being real I'd probably tell you it was delicious, but it wasn't. Well, Chubby Vegan Dad said it was amazing and he could eat it every day, so I guess the real truth is, I'm just really, really picky when it comes to tofu. Don't get me wrong. I can put back a lot of tofu when it's lightly friend and thrown in some vegan yellow curry with potatoes and carrots. We're talking serious.tofu. But when it's me, squeezing the water out of the tofu with 150 napkins and then cutting it up, letting it soak in frothy coconut milk and then baking it for a bajillion hours to evaporate that marinade, well then, I don't like it so much.

The broccoli was good though.

But the tofu, I ate three bites of it and then pawned the rest off on my daughter and Chubby Vegan Dad.

I know what you're thinking, 'but Chubby Vegan Mom," that doesn't look like a Chubby Vegan Meal. It's not folks, it was actually incredibly healthy. If I made more meals like this a week (and less lentil "cheeseburger" and onion rings), I'd probably be above-average Vegan Mom.

But as you can or can't see from my super organized meal plan (assorted with Pear's breakfasts throughout the week of either oatmeal or coconut yogurt, sometimes we get crazy and give her waffles), we don't eat tofu very often. We eat tempeh plants, lentil burgers and fries, Indian with homemade naan (drool), tomato barley risotto with sauteed mushrooms, "cheezy" chick pea casserole and sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. Those, my friends, are the kind of meals that make Chubby Vegan Mom, chubby.

So to balance out all that broccoli and three bites of tofu I ate, I had a mini ice cream sandwich and like 14 cookies. OK, I'm exaggerating again, I had 19.

I thought to be incredibly "real" I'd include a snapshot of that freezer my ice cream sandwich came from. This probably wouldn't be picture worthy if we didn't have a random glass of ice (used to be water I'm thinking) and a hot dog bun just hanging out by themselves. And one of Pearyn's old binkies. We're cool like that. I feel like our freezer would make a good seek and find.

That's all I got today folks. In fact, I fell asleep on the couch at 9 p.m. watching football with my husband. I don't have a creative word left in my body and I've still got an opinion column to write for the Saturday paper by noon tomorrow.

Maybe I'll "get real" in it too.


Like mother, like daughter

There's really no easing into this topic.

My 18-month-old daughter, Pearyn, is a complete and utter weirdo.

She wears her pajamas all day (OK, I can't really blame her on that one), eats with a ladle, wears her winter hat indoors and speaking of 'doors,' she licks them. And her hand. And the dog. And basically anything she can get her hand (er .. tongue) on.

At not even two years old, she has this amazing little personality. Toddlers are the definition of "getting real" if you ask me. They don't know to be embarrassed or self conscious, which in turn, means they don't have a reason to be fake, try to be cool or try to fit in. They're these bundles of completely pure, innocent, naive and untarnished little humans. They're 100 percent real and absolutely perfect without even trying to be.

Now, on a completely "real" side note, sometimes I am astonished and completely ashamed by my ability to be too serious, too realistic and just no fun. On really bad days, I have to fight the urge to spoil my daughter's carefree spirit. When I'm completely drowning in bills, responsibilities and woes, I find myself envious of my daughter's whimsy to a point of jealous and borderline spoil-sport. I don't ever want to be the cause of my daughter's neurosis, so if I'm being truly "real" here, I should probably make myself a note to stop being such a caustic bitch every now and then.

On a completely unrelated note, we're slowly gaining control over our home. Our counters are visible and our dinner table is set up. The living room is pretty much a disaster area though, so don't worry, I'm not going all responsible and clean on you.

And while we're talking about weirdo, here are a few "get real" Chubby Vegan Mom moments from my adventure cooking dinner tonight. Please note I STILL haven't styled my bangs once in four posts now. Yay lazy Chubby Vegan Mom!

Is it really any wonder where my precious little P gets her quirky, endearing and completely off-the-wall crazy attitude from? I suppose it's true ... like mother, like daughter.


Getting down and dirty with Chubby Vegan Mom

Now that I've got your attention.

Don't worry friends, I won't mislead you.

I am not going to be getting physically down and dirty in this blog, nor will I be ripping the clothes off my body and wrestling some hot vegan chick in some mud.

What I AM going to do however, is give you a few snapshots on the kind of house we "keep" in the Chubby Vegan Clan, despite what my weekly Thursday cleaning stints might lead you to believe.

If you are someone who is allergic to absolute clutter and disarray, you should probably just switch to a different blog post now, because we're two weeks deep into a household move and you're going to see even more madness than you can probably handle.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's day three friends, and it's time to "get real."

Do you see those photos over there? No, that's not just a bad day. It's not our house after a playdate with 50 toddlers and we haven't been ransacked either.

That is the utter chaos in which we live. And on my really, really good days, I almost convince myself that one day I'm going to learn to embrace the chaos and see the beauty in it. One day, I'll wake up and be not just accepting of the calamity which enthralls my life, but I'll welcome it.

It's a fun lie I like to tell myself. In fact, sometimes, I even manage to persuade myself that I'll know I'm ready for a second child when I can fully give into the anarchy. I know that having a second child will tear away whatever remaining shred of control I have in my life, so on a good day I feel just on the edge of ready for pandemonium and on a bad day, well, I have one of my infamous Chubby Vegan Mom meltdowns. Yes, they're really as fun as they sound.

The worst part of it all?

I don't even know where these slightly obsessive compulsive tendencies came from. I've never been one who needs to "keep" a clean home, in fact, I could probably life without hangers, drawers or irons forever. But ever since Pearyn came into the picture, I feel like I have to maintain a certain level of housekeeping. (Trust me, I'm not trying to say I want to live in a bug-infested, pig sty, but does it really matter if every.last.toy is arranged in the exact.spot. I feel it should be)?

The worst part about my compulsion? It doesn't extend to every facet of housecleaning. It's like I do just enough that makes me sleep better at night, just enough that I don't want to pound my head against the cabinets when I get up and ready for work in the mornings, but not enough to actually qualify as "clean."

So there you have it. I'm a big, ole "laid-back," OK with chaos faker. And I'm a really bad faker at it anyhow.

My house is a mess. Most days, my life is too. While there might be an appropriate place for every item in our kitchen, I couldn't tell you where it was. We have pliers, nail clippers and canola spray within inches of each other. Sometimes I wash laundry twice because I can't remember if it's dirty or clean. I clean up all of Pearyn's fake kitchen food, but leave her random assortment of stuffed animals, balls and books strewn about the floor.

I'm kind of neurotic in every sense of the word.

But, I know this about myself and I embrace it.

And to be completely "real," I'll fess up to one more thing. We moved our kitchen table into the dining room (see photo two) and while I'd love to report that we've unpacked every frame and decorative item from those boxes that once occupied it's space, we haven't. We just shoved them into the third bedroom and decided to ignore them until next week when my brother, sister-in-law and their kids invade our home and need somewhere to sleep.

And don't even get me started on our first "family dinner" at the table. It's probably a little "too real" for anyone to handle.

How can I expect to deal with the calamity of life, when I can't control the food (and books) on my kitchen table. Pearyn wasn't in the mood to eat her dinner tonight. Instead, she decided to take this opportunity to play peek-a-boo with our newly placed Christmas table cloth, napkins and placemats.


Monday's "Let's be real" moment is brought to you by ...

Well, I didn't have to try very hard to find something to "get real" about today.

Monday's "Let's be real" moment is brought to you by my burnt cookies. 

The worst part? I was using the incredibly rare and elusive vegan butterscotch chip (that I ordered online forever ago from a tiny kosher store) for the first time.

That's at least 1/3 a bag of waste.

Now, if I weren't being real with you, this is probably the image you'd see, in addition to my super perfect recipe for the most amazing butterscotch chip cookies you've ever had.

Which, in all realness, isn't completely unreal because I think about 15 of the 25 cookies actually did come out as delectable as the one I'm eating looks. But the first batch, oh boy did those not look even remotely edible. They're basically the color of gingersnap cookies, except, you don't realize they're in fact not gingersnap cookies and just burnt ass, ruined butterscotch cookies until you've already bit into them and broken a tooth. OK, maybe that's a bit of stretch, seeing as how my husband ate at least five of these horrible cookies and didn't chip a tooth or break a bone. 

But still, they were really, really bad and under normal circumstances, I probably would have just faked a post about how wonderful they all came out because I'm clearly the most perfect, amazing and fabulous vegan baker in all of the world.

Yeah, that's real "real." Ha.

So instead, I'll regale you with my "get real" photo, the one featuring my first batch of black sheep butterscotch cookies. The one that would not only never, ever make the blogroll, but would probably fail to be mentioned because let's face it, I need y'all to believe that I'm the most perfect, amazing and fabulous vegan baker in all of the world.

And because you're probably still questioning exactly "how real I'm getting," you can fact check these photos with my first fake post from yesterday regarding how I have super cute bangs that I never, ever actually wake up and style, even though ALL my Facebook photos say otherwise. And I still rock ribbons, even though I'm a 26 year old and a mom! You might be asking yourself if I really wear a cupcake apron and the answer is yes, that's totally real. I figure my husband spent way too much on it in the first place (because, hello, it's pink, ruffly, covered in cupcakes and totally adorable) so I might as well wear the heck out of it. 

And if you want to get extra-real, I'm going to let you in on another Chubby Vegan Mom secret. I have to force myself to write amounts of ingredients down the first time I make something because after that, I never follow the rules again. I hate measuring things out (my husband calls it impatience, I call it kitchen creativity), so more often than not, my recipes are one, two or three time wonders (with a few one hit flops mixed in there too).

So there you have it friends. Not only does this Chubby Vegan Mom only do her hair and wear outrageously uncomfortable heels when she's out in public, but she also burns cookies too. 

Our Monday nights aren't anything special. We usually spend them in our favorite pajama pant (as soon as we get out of work of course), playing with Pearyn, making dinner and smothering her in kisses. And to be as real as possible, yes, I do rock my Christmas pajama pants year round because they're that.comfortable. 

High fashion, eat your heart out.


How much time do you spend faking?

Something struck a chord with me today (you know it's going to be a super insightful blog when I start it off with a cliche).

It was Sunday, our family day (I have a very strict no one works on a Sunday rule) and I was walking into the fourth grocery store I'd been to in a matter of 30 minutes. OK, I lied, it was the third grocery store because I made a desperate plea at a beer, wine and cigarette carryout about five minutes before. (I think the carryout had bread though, so it could for all intensive purposes, be a 'grocery store.')

In case you live in a state other than Ohio (or for some odd reason your world doesn't revolve around the Buckeye State), we're all in a tizzy because Yuengling (America's oldest brewery) has finally made it's way to us. Draft hit bars on Halloween and bottles were supposed to decorate store shelves on Saturday. So being the dutiful  wife that I am, I left the husband with my father to watch their football teams play while I drove   all over hell and back around looking for said Yuengling.

Anyway, so I was walking into Kroger, my fourth and final stop, when I was basically trying to hold back tears because my feet were literally raw. Since we've been enjoying brisk fall weather the last few days, I decided it was time to bust out my favorite faux-leather, super snazzy, slouchy boots. They're crazy cute, but they always give me crazy blisters if I wear them too much before breaking them in again. (Which is basically what I do every.single.time).

But they're too cute not to wear the hell out of, especially since I was rocking my dutiful wife pink and glittery Tony Romo Jersey and a pretty pink bow. I felt girly, what can I say. (My husband bought the jersey for me as a gag gift one Christmas, but it's now become superstition that I have to wear it or I curse Romo).

So despite the fact that I basically lost all the skin on my pinky toes, I have gigantic blisters eating through the balls of my feet, I decided I was not going to be that girl. You know, the one that everyone is thinking "God, why is she wearing those heels, doesn't she know it's don't dress like a hoochie mama Sunday?" Who does she think she's fooling? Well, apparently everyone, because I even had a mom comment on how I could be walking in such high heels without breaking my ankle.

It made me proud.

But then it made me wonder. How much time in a day do we spend faking something? Whether it's protruding confidence for that Mr. Right, pretending to know what the hell you're doing at work or simply convincing you're husband that you're super into his boring sports stories, how much time are we wasting pretending to feel something or be someone we're not?

So I'm challenging you Chubby Vegan Mom friends, to get real. In an effort to hop back on the blogging train (after my 14-day-still-lingering illness left me keyboard stricken) and be less fake, I'm going to dedicate my posts this week to real things happening in my real life.

The rules are simple. Either leave me a comment detailing something in your life that you want to be real about or go all out and write a post of your own about getting real and leave a link to it in my comment. Next Sunday (supposing I have people play along), I'll compile a list of all you fabulous people who were brave enough to "get real" and share it with the rest of my readers.

Feel free to even give that cute little photo in the top right corner of this blog a right-click with your mouse, a "save image as" and then rock it on your blog too, whatever. This will be a lot more fun if we can reach out to more people, so feel free to click that little "tweet" button in the corner and share with your tweeps. The more real we get the more fun we'll have.

I'll start today by coming clean about my "look." Sure, my current Facebook photo has the right balance of sassy, sweet, mysterious and a wee-bit of "she was just caught in the moment looking wistful with that whisk" carelessness to it, but it really took a good 20 photos or more to make me not look like an ogre.

And how about those oh-so-adorable bangs and pig tails I'm rocking? Well, for starters, I do love my bangs, but I don't like washing them every 10 minutes, so they usually end up clipped to the top of my head giving me a weird, spazzy, did she stick her hand in an electric socket look to it. And those pig tails might have a sort of sexy anime look to them, but my long strands are usually pulled into a messy side ponytail that looks more like Punky Brewster gone wrong. And just look at those big blue eyes and my mischievous smirk, it's so quirky yet intriguing, right? Well, fear not, I'm usually rocking an awkward "what's the funny smell look" and I suffer from left-eye-doesn't-open-quite-enough-so-I-wind-up-looking-drunk-itis. Don't worry though friends, at 26, I still rock ribbons, so that pink bow is 100% Chubby Vegan Mom.

So let's hear it ladies, gentlemen, family and friends, what do you want to come clean about?


I'm failing at a lot these days ...

I hope you'll all forgive me for falling off the face of the Earth for the last week.

For the entire month of October I was attached to this keyboard, uploading photos, recalling measurements and trying to convince all the other amazing vegans that I was as capable as they were at making delicious food.

It was a fabulous Vegan Month of Food.

And then November happened.

We moved all our belongings into a new home, cleaned the old one top to bottom and tried to settle back into our routine.

And then croup happened.

It started with Pearyn getting sick randomly in the middle of the night. We thought maybe it was just too much sugar, too much food too late or a little stomach bug.

We fed her vegan jello, mashed potatoes and crackers for days on end. We let her suck down an inhuman amount of juice, anything as long as it was a liquid. We let her lay around, using us as her personal couch as she watched countless Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes.

Somewhere around the third or fourth day the terrible cough started. The rattling in the chest, sounds like shes struggling to breath type wheeze kicked in. They told us she had croup, to give her a medicine to help keep her airway open and to make sure her fever didn't get too high. And here I always considered a 101 to be too high.

And then I got sick.

It started about the same time as Pearyn's, although I chalked mine up to the routine sinus-cold-flu-esque bug I always get when the weather changes. Ten days later and I'm pretty sure I'm dealing with a completely different beast. I'm still waiting to get better.

And then Ryan got sick.

Between cleaning, moving and being sick, life is really taking a lot out of the Chubby Vegan Clan. Every night after putting Little P to sleep and sending my husband off to bed, I stare at the computer screen waiting for something witty, charming and funny to come out.

And then nothing comes out.

Nothing happens.

So I apologize, dear friends. I am too sick, run down and boring to come up with something witty or clever for you.

Sometimes that's what life is. It's filled with heavy lifting, croup-suffering toddlers and 10-day-crappy-sicknesses (that show no signs of ending) that infect your loved ones.

I promise I'll be back to myself next week.

But for now, I'm going to be sick, whiny and having-a-hard-time-swallowing vegan mom.