Fab Five Friday ... the female edition

Before you get all excited, I'm not going to dedicate this edition of Fab Five Friday to the fabulous women in my life -- for two reasons.

First, there are way more than five fabulous women in my life, so it might turn into the Fab 15 Friday. And second, I don't have all the items I need to complete that blog. But rest assured, sometime (probably in the near future) you will get to read about the fabulous females I surround myself with.

Instead, this Fab Five Friday (female edition) is going to take a look at all the reasons I am slap happy, super ecstatic, head over heels in love with having a little girl. (No offense to all the little men out there, however).

No. 1) It's like a thousand generations passed down. I have a little girl. My mom had a little girl. Her mom had a little girl. Her mom's mom had a little girl. And ... you guessed it, her mom's mom's mom also had a little girl. I'm sure you're sitting there thinking, so, what's the big deal, everyone has girls in their families, big whoop. Except, they don't. As a matter of fact, my husband has a niece who has three children -- all boys. My mother once told me that seeing me become a mother has been one of the neatest experiences of her life. So now she gets to watch her baby watch her own baby grow up (there's a mouthful).

Please pardon my unwashed hair, sweatpants wearing, swollen self. This was two days after giving birth to Pearyn.
No. 2) The clothes. Seriously, the clothes. I'm not taking anything away from all those cute little boy plaid shorts, polos and suits, but if you think that's the best fashion has to offer, you have yet to purchase a super tiny, super cute, super girly girl dress for a little girl. Oh, and have I mentioned the swimsuits? Ruffles and flowers and frills -- oh my! While I like for Pearyn to have a nice variety of clothing to wear (ranging from tomboy to the girliest of girly), picking out this flowly little number for her birthday dress was a super fun purchase.

No. 3) The relationship she has with my mother. Now don't get me wrong here. I am in no way saying that Pearyn has a better relationship with her grandmother because she's female. But, she certainly has a different one than a little boy might. I remember watching my nephew, Eli, with my mother. He was rough and rowdy, the typical boys boy, with a slightly sensitive side every now and then. For the most part though, he was all cars, trains and airplanes. Pearyn, on the other hand, is much more the "feminine" female. She likes dollies and their houses, she tries to give baby dolls their binkies and helps them play patty cake. And because of all the sugar and spice and everything nice inside of Pearyn, I get to watch not only my mother fall in love with her, but her reciprocate those feelings.

No. 4) Because while she's still a little girl, I can decide that she likes all the girly things like unicorns, rainbows and say ... cupcakes. And while I'm certainly not going to reinforce the whole "pink is for girls and blue is for boys" stereotype, I had no problem making the theme of her first birthday party cupcakes. Pink, sparkly, sprinkle-topped cupcakes. And boy did I ever go to town.

Why yes, there are cupcakes all over my apron, the door, on the welcome sign AND on the tray in my hand!

No. 5) Evee. By far, one of the fab five reasons about having a little girl is her having a female cousin born precisely 15 minutes after her. Seriously, how many people can boast that they have a twin cousin? It's like that super old show I used to watch with my mother -- "The Patty Duke Show" -- identical cousins, all the way, they walk alike, they talk alike, they even seem to think alike. And I have to admit, it's pretty cool to have a sister-in-law who is going to be facing all the same worries I am when it comes to raising a little girl in today's society ... at the exact same time I am. I have a feeling I'm going to be turning to her for A LOT of advice.

Looking at these photos reminds me of that old Helen Reddy song, "I am woman hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore ... "


There's no black and white when it comes to veganism

Pearyn had her one-year check up today. She wasn't exactly enthused about getting up this early, especially when it's to go to the doctor. Doesn't show at all, right?

I should mention that we have like the best doctor ever. I mean seriously ever. He's not just respectful of our choice to raise Pearyn as a dirty hippie baby (I mean, vegan), he's supportive. He doesn't dare look at me like I have a third eye when I say she has two to three glasses of hemp (what on Earth is that??) or coconut milk a day, not to mention a sprinkle of flaxseeds in her oatmeal or a sloppy joe of lentils.

Plus, he doesn't push the whole vaccination thing on us like most of the other doctors do. (Seriously, I think a few almost committed me when I was pregnant with Pearyn and admitted I didn't -- I repeat, didn't -- get the swine flu vaccine). He talks to us about the risks, weighs the pros against the cons and advises us not just as a medical professional, but as a father who recognizes vaccines in general go against our vegan beliefs. (A large majority of them contain animal ingredients, not to mention are painfully and cruelly tested on animals).

 But before you go all "call child protective services on these people.", there are certain vaccines we have decided to include as part of our daughter's care, despite our conflicted moral beliefs. We will always put the well being of our daughter over everything else.

And before you super-duper, all-natural, no doctors involved moms go all "that's not right you're a hypocrite and your baby is going to be a slow developer" and this or that on me, our daughter is perfectly healthy and meeting her milestones at the right time, if not way before she's supposed to.

Running and carrying two balls? Now that's talent.

We decided to go ahead and have her blood drawn to test all her levels, iron and whatnot. We were on the fence about having such a not-so-fun-to-watch procedure performed on our little girl, but in the end we decided we'd feel a lot better (and I'm sure all of our naysayers would as well) if we went ahead and confirmed that she's literally as healthy as a horse (is it vegan to use animal cliches?).

In other news, our itty-bitty, string bean of a daughter has broken the 20lb mark! She's 20.05 lbs and 31 inches tall to be exact. She's even in a heftier weight class, moving up from merely the "25th percentile" to the "25-50th percentile." Height wise she's still on track for her yearly progress, hovering just under the 99th percentile.

We came home and daddy mowed the lawn, while Pearyn played with her new sunglasses grandma bought her. She's getting really good at putting them on, leaving them on and then pushing them up on her head like mommy wears them. I hate to admit it, but I'm pretty sure she already knows she's too cool for school in her shades.

Have I mentioned lately how hard it is to be a parent these days? And not even just a parent, but a vegan one? It seems like nearly every day we're faced with a situation which forces us to choose between our way of life and "everything else." Sometimes, although I wish it was, being a "vegan" isn't as black and white as it seems.

Case and point: vaccinations.


Sometimes all it takes is an outside view

When I went vegan it had nothing to do with the health benefits, although I hear there are plenty.

I did it for the animals. 

I was tired of contributing to the heinous amount of cruelty factory-farmed animals are exposed to every single minute of their lives. I figured if I could survive, thrive and prosper without eating them or anything that comes from them, then that was the right thing to do.

And for the last four years, I've been doing just that.

Except, I kind of haven't.

I'm certainly surviving, but I'm not sure you could consider that "thriving."

But before you think I'm hopping off the vegan-thumping band wagon, let's take a moment to figure out what the heck I'm actually talking about.

My reasons for not "thriving" as much as I should on the vegan diet has absolutely nothing to do with the vegan part of it and everything to do with the "diet" part. 

Recently I had a close friend commit herself to a 28-day vegan challenge. While she certainly didn't sign herself up for a four-week challenge just to be "on a diet," she did find after two weeks that animal-free had affected her body.

She gained weight. 

She did what a lot of us rookie (and four year veterans) vegans and vegetarians do. She focused a little too much on what she couldn't eat and clung to familiar things which she knew she could still have. Mainly, carbs. 

Listening to her describe her experience as a two-week vegan reminded me a lot of my own even now, four years later. I've certainly grown and come a long way from where I started (I'm pretty sure I didn't eat tofu my entire first year as a vegan because the texture creeped me out), but I can't help feeling like I've got a long way to go. 

I'm starting to feel guilty about living such a "supposedly" healthy lifestyle, meanwhile I'm overweight and munching on as many cookies as I can get my hands on (gee, I wonder if the two have anything to do with each other?). 

Just because something is "vegan" doesn't automatically make it good for you. Is one cookie going to kill me? Probably not. But would 10 cookies a day for 10 years be the death of me? Well, it certainly might contribute to it. 

So I'm going to try something else out. 

Instead of stuffing my face with fake, processed mock meats and loading up on carbs and cookies, I'm going to feed myself the foods I feed my daughter. I wouldn't dare give Pearyn a dinner of corn dogs and Mountain Dew (well, not regularly anyway), so why should I be allowing myself to have it? 

I'm going to try and go back to a simpler, cleaner way of eating. More produce, less processed. 

I'm probably going to fall a lot on the way. In fact, giving up my addiction to soda might just put me over the edge. 

It's time to stop talking about how healthy the vegan diet is and start proving it, to myself and everyone else.

But mainly, to my daughter. 


It's another Fab Five Friday ... on a FRIDAY (gasp!)

I'm quite the multi-tasker today. Currently, I'm blogging, in the process of making dinner and making sure Pearyn doesn't die. It's a pretty tough job, but I figure since I went to the trouble of birthing her I should probably feed her (and of course make sure she lives to eat the food I've prepared).

Tonight it's a spaghetti bake, using Daiya (the most amazing vegan cheese in all the world, no dairy, no soy, I'm convinced it's made of rainbows and hugs) and the new Tofutti Ricotta cheese! Correction, I don't know if the ricotta is actually new, but it's new to our health food store.

So today's Fab Five Friday will celebrate the reasons it's so awesome to have such a curious child (one that's so adventurous you have to watch out for her well being at nearly every moment)!

No. 1: She does new things ALL the time. In one week alone she's already tackled climbing up on the furniture (I have a feeling broken bones and stitches aren't far off), giving mommy and daddy kisses (albeit open-mouthed, really drooly ones) and feeding herself. It's not that any of these one things is super amazing or advanced, it's just the fact that she has these spurts where she does a million new things in such a short time!

No. 2: She finds things I've lost (or didn't know I've lost). Earlier today I noticed Pearyn was eating something. It was whitish-yellowish and looked kind of like a french fry. Only, we hadn't had a french fry of that caliber in a LONG while. After determining it wasn't a mold-riddled fry, I discovered it was actually a veggie straw (a delicious hybrid of potato chip and vegetable stick) that I had dropped somewhere during the week. I let her eat it, because, well, I obviously had to take a photo of her and I'm a firm believer that a little dirt won't hurt.

No. 3: She keeps mommy on a diet. OK, she doesn't actually keep me on a diet, although maybe it's something you could train a child to do? But she does steal Oreo's from me when I'm laying on the floor noshing on them. There's a good 60 calories she "took for the team."

No. 4: She runs from you. No seriously, she thinks literally everything is chasing her (even my parent's crazy ancient cat that couldn't run if his life depended on it). If you happen to be walking in her direction, she turns like a mad woman and runs to the next closest person or safety point. And while the whole running away from you thing isn't exactly all that special, she has this high-pitched squeal on the verge of a cackle that she lets out as you come. I could listen to that sound every single day.

No. 5: She reminds you of how important the little things are. All it takes to amuse this tiny little human is a pair of fingers "running" across the floor and up her body (she really loses it if you do this while singing 'Itsy Bitsy Spider'). In the mornings after I've changed her butt and gotten her food ready, I tell her we're going to eat breakfast and she runs to her mini couch and waits for me. Between spooning soy yogurt or oatmeal into her mouth I gulp down coffee and we watch "Crashbox," her favorite morning cartoon. These small, ordinary, everyday moments are usually the ones I love the most. Just sipping on some coffee and watching my girl watch the world.

What could be better?


The perennially late Fab Five Friday

I know, it's Thursday, you probably think I'm doing my Fab Five Friday early. But alas, I've fooled you again. I'm actually just THAT late on last Friday's Fab Five!

Last week was a busy, busy week in the T household. Between preparing for our guests and getting things ready for the twin cousin's double b-day bash, I didn't have much time to do any of the things I actually wanted to do. Except for bake, and now that I've done far too much of that in the last five days, I think I may never pick up a muffin pan again.

Who am I kidding, I like sweets far too much to every really overdo it.

So this Fab Five Friday (six days late) will pay homage to the reasons it was such a phenomenal idea to throw a double birthday bash instead of one party for each girl!

No. 1: The help. Do you know how much easier it is to throw together a party in four hours with the help of your guideparents, parents and brothers and sisters? A LOT. Because we weren't trying to throw two different parties we had like six pairs of extra hands to help with the decorations, food and babysitting. So instead of having to wake up at 6 a.m. the morning of the party, we got to sleep in until 8!

No. 2: The food. The best part about the food for a DOUBLE birthday party? You need double the amount, which also means you'll have a lot of leftovers. Delicious leftovers to snack on for days after the party. And with all that extra help I mentioned above, making 120 cake balls, 48 cupcakes and four JUMBO-sized cupcakes doesn't seem nearly as daunting.

No. 3: The ease. No one has to miss out OR plan around each other. We didn't have to bother planning around each other so guests could come to both parties, instead we let everyone celebrate both girls under the same roof! Twice the fun and half the planning!

No. 4: The guests. I'm pretty sure more people ended up coming to our little shindig simply because they got to see two super cute babies dressed up and smash cake instead of just one. And while both Evee and Pearyn were super troopers for their big day, I think even if they had thrown temper tantrums every two minutes people were a little more understanding since it was twice the baby personalities to work around. 

No. 5: The adorable factor. One little girl in a dress, plus balloons, plus smash cake equals serious cuteness. Multiply that by two and you're adorable factor goes into overdrive. Not to mention how fun it was to feed them the same smash cake, dress them up in the same smash cake outfit and then throw them in the tub together naked. Two bare baby butts? Too much cuteness to handle. 


A second helping of the Fab Five Friday ... Sunday edition.

In my defense, I did actually type this blog and edit the photos on Friday.

And in my computer's defense, I'm sure it didn't really intend to crash 16 times while I tried to post it. So with it being the weekend before the twin cousin's double birthday bash, I decided to salvage what was left of my sanity and take a break from my computer.

OK, really, I was just afraid I'd break it.

With Pearyn's actual day of birth looming (and my emotional breakdown not far behind it), I decided to devote this Fab Five Friday list to the reasons my daughter turning one year old isn't the end of the world.

Although, I'm still not really convinced.

No. 1: Watching her become her own little person. She's no longer a little blog of baby relying on my every whim to entertain and amuse her. She does her own thing now and it might be the most refreshing thing in the world to watch a baby just be herself... or at least learn who that is.

No. 2: She can feed herself, well, fruit loops anyhow. Now that Pearyn is grasping hand-to-mouth control, this mom gets to use both of hers for the same.

No. 3: The presents! OK, honestly, it's not the presents at all. It's watching Pearyn see something totally new to her for the first time. Take for instance her early birthday present from grandma and grandpa, a Cars couch. It's the perfect Pearyn-sized perch for her to play on, but it took her a good six hours before she could actually figure out what it was for.

No. 4: She's making friends. While she doesn't have any idea what the word even means yet (and well, lets face it, some people actually never really do), she's actually starting to realize that there are some people she likes a little more than others. Babies have a completely unbiased approach to life at this age (and very little reason), so everything they feel is completely raw and unbiased. Of course, sharing puffs with her certainly doesn't hurt.

No. 5: She's not a teeny, weeny, fragile, oh no I might break her at any moment, baby. While this is partially the reason I'm on the brink of a breakdown, it's something I should be celebrating because she's slowly creeping out of the scary phase. While her running around like a mad woman convinced everyone and every thing is chasing her might result in a few bumps or bruises here and there, I can let her run around like this crazy person in a diaper and rest easy that she's not freezing, overheating or going to ruin her dainty baby skin. Now ... I just have to be on the lookout for broken bones and stitches.

Well, and maybe boys too, because we all know they're far more dangerous than a few stitches here and there.


Fab Five Friday -- the Sunday edition

I have approximately 9 minutes to type up this blog and get it in on a Sunday -- which is a mere 48 hours late as opposed to typing it up and posting in on Monday (72 hours late).

With news of Osama bin Laden's death painted across every possible news outlet (even my Facebook friends are informing me of the latest updates), I've decided this Fab Five Friday (Sunday edition) will celebrate the most influential things that have happened in Pearyn's first year of life.

No. 1: Osama bin Laden's death. Duh. With the 10th anniversary of September 11 just around the corner, it only seems fitting that one of the men suspected to be behind the horrific attacks would be killed on the cusp of it. It's one of those moments that Pearyn is going to ask me if I remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news, kind of like the President Kennedy fiasco.

No. 2: Her beautiful, 15-minute younger cousin was born in Missouri. Hey, just because it may not make headline news doesn't mean it wasn't ridiculously important to our little family. Often times, cousins are the first best friends you have!

No. 3: Japan; the natural disaster heard round the world. The fact that nature can grow, evolve and build so much only to tear it down all on its own in mere seconds is incredibly frightening. I find myself wondering what on Earth I would do if faced with this sort of crisis.

No. 4: August 30, it's the day I officially became a member of the work-from-home club (all thanks to my good friend Cynthia). Once again, it's certainly not going to be a topic of Twitter for anyone later, but the day I decided to walk away from my kick-ass job with the newspaper (and my equally kick-ass TDN family) to take an even more kick-ass job with my friend's company, was a HUGE turning point in my whole "being a mom" gig. One day, Pearyn is going to thank me for it. Or be ridiculously sick of me. Either or.

No. 5: The Oil Spill. OK. So Pearyn technically wasn't an air-breathing member of society for this absolute catastrophe, but she was a card-carrying member of the womb. And she probably had ears and all that jazz by the time this tragedy struck, so I'm going to count this big oops as the last of the Sunday edition of the not-so-Fab-Five list.

And on a completely unrelated Fab Five Friday note:

Pearyn really, REALLY, likes her own feet. A lot.