Just enough to get me out of bed

In case you’re not up to date with life here at the Chubby Vegan Household, let me give you a quick rundown of events. Chubby Vegan Mom got a new awesome job. A new awesome job that’s going to allow her to work from home full time, but also means she’s got to get her butt out of bed A LOT earlier if she wants to have enough quality time with Chubby Vegan Dad and Pearyn the rest of the day.

(OK, enough with the third person already!)

So the gist of it is this; I’ve got two weeks (well, one now) to shape up and get my butt out of bed — not just because I have to (although I do) — but because I want to! I’ve always been secretly envious of all my friends who actually welcome the sun and not just groan at it like I do. Now, one week later and armed with loads of go-to-sleep and wake-the-heck-up tips, I’m slowly (SLOWLY) seeing some improvements in my attitude toward mornings.

Yesterday I touched base on what was working for me when it came to getting some shut eye, so today I’m going to clue you in on which wake-up tips have proven beneficial to me.

For starters, the whole scent thing might work when I’m turning over the covers, but when it comes to getting out of them I have yet to see any positive results. I will say however, that I’ve been adding a few squeezes of lemon juice to my water after I exercise and that seems to be providing a serious perk to my morning pep.

Through comments and emails I’ve learned that the snooze button is near and dear to many of your hearts. Well folks, it’s time to break up with your snooze button, because it really is bad for your early morning mojo. In my sleep trial run, I’ve found the only day I’ve been dragging this week also happened to be the day I hit the snooze button, disregarded my «wake up» curfew (and got too much sleep) and didn’t exercise. I also spent the rest of the day making poor choices when it came to snacks and dessert. I can’t prove that all of this is connected, but after four days of following a pretty simple morning routine the only thing that changed was my wake up time (or lack of one).

Waking up earlier in 20-minute increments has proven pretty successful, mainly because I’m getting the rest I need the night before. The best part? I have yet to have the terrible headache and grouchiness that is associated with trying to change your wake-up time!

And how about that tip regarding where you place your phone? Well, it’s been really, really successful. In fact, I think it might be the only thing that has stopped me from crawling back into my bed and snoozing under the covers for another two hours. I can’t recommend this strategy enough — particularly in the winter. If you set your phone up far enough away, you have to figure you’re already cold, so why not just stay awake then? Seriously. It’s kept me awake four out of five mornings.

Have I mentioned that you should be moving too? I know, what a bummer. I cannot stress enough how important getting up and getting your butt in gear is for enjoying the rest of your day (and having the energy to)! Just a brief 20 minute walk or 30 minute workout is enough to get your blood flowing and your mind perked up. I’ve been doing a combination of yoga and aerobics for four mornings and have seen seriously positive results. Not only does it give my body and mind a boost I need in those wee morning hours, it actually keeps me going a little longer the rest of the day.

You don’t have to run marathons, just 20-30 minutes of some physical activity will do and can you really argue with physical activity? It’s good for you!

And while I’ve been struggling to shove something in my face this early in the day (and I’m the Chubby Vegan Mom herself!), try to nibble on something — a piece of fruit, a cereal bar, some oatmeal — just get something semi-healthy into your body to fuel it. And no, coffee DOESN’T count.

A gift from the Valentine’s Day (and Mother’s Day AND Father’s Day) Fair just arrived this afternoon. It’s going to be providing this Chubby Vegan household with A LOT of healthy breakfasts, snacks and sometimes even dinner (yup, this bad boy cooks soup!) Seriously though, the Vitamix is not a purchase for the light-hearted. It is not your everyday blender and it  REALLY doesn’t cost what your everyday blender does, so enter this relationship wisely. We got it for a steal and since I blend so much already, we figured we could finally consider ourselves real, live vegans AND adults now that we own one. Tune into a blog later this month to find out exactly what we think of our Vitamix!

Now, back to where I was … waking up! The last thing I’ve really found helpful when trying to wake up on the the right side of the bed would have to be «rewarding» myself. Now that I’m missing out on some serious me time by going to bed so early, I’ve been «rewarding» my early morning routine and workouts with an episode of whatever pitiful teenage tv drama I DVR’d the night before. It sounds silly, but it gives me something to look forward to in the morning. It’s a lot easier to get out of bed and get my workout done when I know that McDreamy, McSteamy and all the hot McDoctors on «Grey’s Anatomy» are waiting for me.

Have any of you been successful making the switch from nights to mornings or heck, even mornings to night? What things did you find helpful?

Butterfly kisses and Eskimo smooches

Sometimes things move way too fast.

Sometimes WE move way too fast. 

I’m completely guilty of this, of moving too fast, of not savoring the moments. 

I’m always focused on the mistakes of my yesterday and the plans of my tomorrow, that I rarely find time to enjoy the now, the present, the small things. 

Like rocking my beautiful, healthy little girl to sleep.

I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to our society; there are very, very few stages in our lives in which we truly allow ourselves time to just be. Time to live in the moment, not worry about what you’ve done or what you’re about to do. When we’re really, really little (like, Pearyn little), we don’t know any better than to live in the now. We don’t have much of a concept when it comes to time, so who really knows if one week actually feels like one week or if it only feels like a day. 

And then we start to grow up a little bit at a time, and once we get a taste of that growing up, we spend the next 18 years of our adolescence trying to hurry up and get there. When we’re five we want to be 10, when we’re 10 we want to be 13 and when we’re 13 we want to be 25.

Something happens when we’re little and we stop wanting to be truly little. Which, is really, really sad in a way, because what is better than being young, naive and believing in all things magic? There are days I’d give anything to go back to that time. (Although, I guess that’d just be me living in the past again …)

And then we get to college (or, if not college, our late teens and early 20s), otherwise known as the selfish, deprived years. This might be the last time in our lives that we truly, TRULY live in the now. Most of us party way too hard, drink far too much and sleep far, far, FAR too little. The most we bother to look ahead in our schedule is to the time after classes, when the sun goes down and we can start our abusive cycle of partying too hard and not sleeping enough, again. 

We’re mostly selfish and defiant, the fact that our bodies don’t rebel against us and completely shut down is beyond me. Some of us graduate, some of us find another path. But in the end, we all walk away wondering what exactly we did with those four years and what the hell we’re supposed to do next.

And now, enter adulthood. We panic. After spending nearly half a decade procrastinating and denying that we were growing up, we’re officially adults. We get big people jobs, marry the loves of our lives and make babies. We save up for houses, for cars, for «rainy days.» We take family vacations, we have conversations with our parents just because and we lose our grandparents. 

We don’t realize it, but we’re about to spend the next 30 years of our lives planning for a future, for a future most of us don’t realize we’re living right then and there. What’s the point in saving up money for family vacations if you don’t stop and find the time to make the family to go on it with. Why start a college fund for your child if you miss every birthday working to earn it? Why do we work so hard to achieve all these things, when we rarely have the time or the sense to stop and enjoy it?

Let’s slow our lives down a bit. Let’s walk through the daisy fields a little longer. Let’s watch the snow fall. Spend time with each other. Laugh with each other. Love on each other. Watch bad movies with each other. I want to get to know the family I’ve worked so hard to make and raise. Soak in every last minute of my baby being a baby. Be selfish with our time as a family of three (who knows if and when a larger family is in store). Be selfish with my time as a mother, as a daughter, wife, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, friend, best friend. Appreciate the chance to comfort Pearyn’s bad dreams, because one day, she won’t want me to. 

Instead of planning this amazing future and family for my husband, myself and Pearyn, I think I’ll take a break, sit back and watch it get made. 

Enjoy each other.

And butterfly kisses.

And Eskimo smooches.

And my family. My beautiful, beautiful family.

 

Stupidity and the Universe

Ever read something that just makes your head start spinning?

Like in that «How on earth does someone actually rationalize that,» I’m going to projectile vomit a green, pea-soup-like substance out of my mouth at the same time, type of way?

Or, more simply put, have you ever wondered just how damn backwards some of the things people say really are?

In high school, I was an insanely jealous girlfriend, I admit it. I had been dating the same guy for three years and despite being an incredibly devoted, caring and all-around-good-guy, I was still that nutcase girlfriend. It didn’t help that he worked at a pool all summer, with girls, of all varieties — skinny, tall, tan, pretty, slutty, all of the above — meanwhile I sat around being pissy with my fat-girl complex.

One of the girls, I really, really couldn’t stand. Whenever I’d visit him she’d be hanging all over, either literally or, well, just literally. Arms around his neck, begging for a piggy back ride, taking off all her clothes and trying to have sex with him (OK, maybe my insanely jealous mind made that last part up), you get the picture. She wasn’t even a girl I found remotely attractive, in fact, I didn’t even find her remotely interesting. . She dedicated the majority of her summer to throwing herself at my boyfriend and then spent 45 minutes of a high school class acting like my best friend.

And then one day she said something that just pushed my B.S. meter over the limit. She was telling a story about a «scandalous» girl they worked with that had been sleeping around with someone else’s boyfriend. Apparently, this was bad, but the attention said skeezy girl tried to rally from my boyfriend was A-OK. In fact, it was actually not her fault (no really, it wasn’t her fault that she had to constantly touch my boyfriend, it was just ‘how she was.») Seriously girlfriend had the nerve to look me in the face and say «I’m a naturally flirty person, I can’t help it if I flirt with your boyfriend.»

How do you respond to that? While I tried not to fall out of my chair I was laughing so hard, I managed to respond with a simple (half-psycho), extremely poignant «Well, I’m naturally violent person, I can’t help it if I slap that smug smile off your face.»

Moral of that story? Sometimes, the crap that comes out of our mouths is just so absolutely, mind-blowingly asinine, that it deserves a slap to the face. (Well, that, and apparently girls are just really, really dumb when we’re teenagers).

And then I started thinking, what other kinds of garbage are we uttering on a daily basis?

Turns out, a lot.

Take for example one of the 26-year-old female Facebook friends I have. She’s got a job, a boyfriend and at 26, you’d hope that she was at least a semi-adult, right? I know that age is only a number, but with her inching closer to 30 everyday, you’d hope she was maturing, right? Right?

If you guessed «no» you’d be right. I actually resorted to deleting her from my friends list because I just couldn’t take all the «biatch, get ur skank-ass off mah man, he dont want anything to do wit u and ur skank ass immature games anymore» rhetoric.

Anyone else think it’s funny that someone talking in half-gangsta, half-just-plain-stupid (honey, have you heard of the word doesn’t?) can’t even type out the word «you» is calling someone else immature? Oh sweetie, sweetie, sweetie … can you say «Delete?»

I wish it was that easy to delete everything.

What did someone say to you recently that made you feel certified slaptastic?

Are you a lark or an owl?

My name is Amanda and I have a confession.

I’m a serious owl.

Like, a serious, serious owl.

And while there are studies which link owlness to genetics, mostly, I’m an owl because I’m a little bit selfish and a lot a bit lazy.

Are you privy to the owl and lark sleep metaphors? While I’m a recent-declared owl, it’s something I’ve known for a while. These terms are used to assess your sleep patterns, like, as an owl, I usually don’t crawl into bed until midnight (at the earliest) and my head doesn’t even hit the pillow until at least 1 a.m. Larks (aka, that annoying bird variety) on the other hand, greet the sunrise with the same zest I have for the moon and usually turn in when most of us owls are just warming up.

All your life you’ve probably been a morning or night person, well now, you’re a bird of some sort. Jump on the bandwagon, it’s fun.

I’ve been pretty comfortable in my owl status for most of my life. I went to PM kindergarten, made sure to take easy morning classes in high school so I wouldn’t have to pay attention (except that year I had calculus first period, yeah, that was a big old fat C-) and didn’t bother signing up for a college class unless it started after 9 a.m. This worked for most of my life.

There was the occasional 5:30 a.m. softball conditioning during the winter (I naively thought there was some kind of rule or law that would protect me from such torture, alas, I was wrong), not to mention my best friend Lauren trying to wake me up for a 7 a.m. jog after a long night of partying (she is a SERIOUS lark), but for the most part, my owlness has never been a cause of concern.

This photo depicts one of the last times
 I was successfully a lark. I was a person 
with good sleeping habits. I also think I
 look thinner as a lark. This could just
 be wishful thinking, however. 

The only time in my life I’ve been a successful lark was during my first year as a copy editor with the Troy Daily News. On Mondays we had to get our butts in the office at 5 a.m., coupled with a 30+ minute commute meant a wake-up call before 4 a.m. Don’t worry though, I got to sleep in the rest of the week, a whole extra hour. It took some adjusting, but I was a full-fledged lark for almost an entire year of life, until our deadline changed and required shifts of the owl variety, the 1-2 a.m. kind.

Even after becoming a mommy, I’ve enjoyed my late nights. With Pear turning in sometime between 8-9 p.m. (and my husband following soon after her), I get a good three hours to myself at night to defrazzle from the day, destress, blog, bake, watch all my terrible television and just enjoy some me time. I love my me time. I need my me time. I’ve just always thought I had to have my me time at night, because any kind of time before 7 a.m. would just be torture.

Well, friends, things are about to change around here.

I’ve accepted a new, kick-ass editing opportunity that while allowing me to work from home, will be full-time again, which means this momma is going to start as early as she’s allowed in order to allot plenty of family time in the early evening. This coupled with my goal to get my butt into at least some kind of shape (even if that shape is only five pounds less and still curvy), means my owlish ways are going to have to come to a halt.

It’s going to be bad, folks.

Really, really bad.

I’ve got two weeks to whip my owl behind into lark shape, but don’t worry, I won’t be doing this cold turkey. Not only have I consulted with several larkish friends, I’ve gotten tips and pointers from a few pros of the medical variety, so I’m going to kick my owl habit one step at a time.

Tune in tomorrow for a look at all the ways I’ve been setting my body up for lark-failure and how I plan on beating them. (Not to mention some super simple ways to help you get some more sound Z’s, I know all you mommas out there need that — chubby, vegan or none of the above).

Why do I feel like I’m failing at motherhood?

Do you see my poor, sick baby? She looks absolutely desolate, doesn’t she? There’s something both heart wrenching and sweet about a tiny little girl in a big ole’ bed. Despite her being a bit of a bed hog AND a human boiler (she’s been running really high fevers), I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy what a cuddle bug she’s become — I just wish she didn’t have to be deliriously overheated and exhausted to be one!

Tomorrow will be four days of poor, sick baby, but hopefully we’ll have an answer. After a few glimpses of «maybe our baby is on the mend» the last two days, they were each followed by chills on top of chills and higher and higher fevers. After having a temperature of 103 at 8 a.m. this morning, we decided she either has the worst strain of flu ever or something else is going on.

That’s when it all started — the guilt.

Normally, I’m probably what you’d call a feminist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an extreme, anti-bra, armpit hair growing, caustic woman (although I fully respect any of you that choose that lifestyle!), but I’m definitely more vocal about gender equality than others might be. I’m one of those women who think wives and mothers shouldn’t just cook the bacon, they should be able to bring it home if they want too (or just order out the bacon for that matter). I don’t think we’re any better or worse than men and I don’t want special attention because I have a vagina.

But then that damn guilt got to me.

My husband and I woke up this morning, throwing on our work attire and gulping our cups of coffee. We were fumbling for extra diapers, extra clothes, extra medicine and a thermometer, you know, the mountain of things you need to care for a sick child. My mom was due to watch Pearyn today and because it’s basically a second home to her, I wasn’t worried about shipping my sick child off, she loves, LOVES my parent’s house. But then she wouldn’t get out of bed and when she did, she cried, a lot. And then she shook. And cried. And her skin felt hot enough to cook tofu on.

And then it hit me.

Shit, we weren’t going to be able to drop her off with mom in that condition, I couldn’t ask that of my parents, so now one of us had to stay at home with her, and naturally, it was going to be me.

Wait, say what? Naturally it was going to be me? Naturally I was going to call off work to stay at home with Pearyn? What’s so natural about any of that? Does my having a vagina make me more equipped to calling off work and staying at home with the child? Is it the fact that she literally came from MY body? Or, is it some sort of societal brainwashing I’ve experienced my entire life that I never knew I was absorbing?

Why did I feel like it was MY duty to stay at home? I had three calls with clients today to set up new projects, data and text coming in from others, not to mention I’m wrapping up eight projects alone in the next four weeks. Why do I have this nauseating urge, this unsung responsibility, to be the one to call off?

Before I had time to ponder gender stereotypes, my husband took one for the team and called off. Pearyn was running an abnormally high fever and the doctor shipped us off to have tests on her respiratory and urinary system run.There was no doubt about it, our little girl is sick.

We’re still waiting on results to find out whether it’s a bladder infection. We’ve ruled out most other common causes, so now it’s simply a case of a really, really terrible strain of flu or an infection. At any rate, we’re hoping to get to the bottom of it by tomorrow.

I cried half the way to work. Partially because I’m just way too sensitive and partially because I felt like I had let my baby girl down. What kind of mother gets in her car and goes to work when her baby feels like crap? I’ll tell you what kind, a crappy one. I know it sounds dramatic; I know there’s nothing wrong with leaving my little girl at home with her daddy, logically, I know I’m not a crappy mom because I went to work. But in my heart and in my warped, 1950s housewife mind, I felt like I let her down.

I can’t help but wonder what other things I’ve programmed myself to be «dutiful» to. The kitchen? Dinner? My muffin pan?

Out with the old and in with … more old?

I’m sorry folks, I just can’t accept it.

I can’t accept that it’s 2012.

I am just not willing to accept that it’s been 12 years since I rang the millennium with old high school best friends.

Yeah, I bet you feel old now, don’t you?

In honor of new beginnings and fresh starts (not to mention a fresh coating of the white stuff early this morning — symbolism much?), I’m going to start my first post of 2012 by looking back at my favorite 11 posts from 2011. Take that, fresh start.

In order from awesome to most awesome, I present you with my list of the 11 Chubby Vegan Mom blogs from 2011 that you just have to read.

No. 11: In July I got in touch with my religious side (or my not much of one) in A journey of faith. Religions is a constant battle for some people as it is, let alone when you start to add the vegan variation into it. Is there a religion suitable for vegetarians and vegans? Should veganism even play a role when it comes to faith? My family is on a continuous search to find a faith that not only supports our lifestyle, but one that we support as well.

No. 10: July also saw an in-depth look at the roles veganism and sexism play in play things, namely a toy kitchen. In Part one of When is a Kitchen just a Kitchen, I explored the genitalia-based manufacturing behind a seemingly non-confrontational toy kitchen. Were they really designed to be boy-friendly or were toy makers just throwing a grill on the side of one and saying it was? Part two of the kitchen series focused on the meat-eating, dairy-drinking side of toys. Instead of being chock full of veggies, fruits and everything else healthy, we were faced with toy canisters of whole milk, hot dogs and burgers. What’s a vegan to do with all that plastic meat?

No. 9: In March we introduced nuts, legumes and all sorts of wonderful plant-based protein into our daughter’s life. With her nearing her first birthday and her liquid-based diet tapering off, we slowly worked magical things like almonds, lentils and beans into mealtime (with the doctor’s seal of approval that is). Unfortunately, I was faced with someone (a know-it-all shopper who, last time I checked, didn’t have a medical degree) who decided my decision to feed Pearyn almonds wasn’t a good one. This led to Pardon me while I hope up on my soapbox, a what-I’d-like-to-say-to-all-you-naysayers response to those of you who scoff at our vegan baby raising habbits.

No. 8: My eighth pick for 2011 blogs was one of hot debate. In This blog is brought to you by an angry chubby vegan mom, I begged and pleaded (and maybe barked a little) with people to just fix their damn pets already. And I still mean every.word.of.this.

No. 7: In July I also admitted to one of my biggest flaws ever: I’m not a super mom. I came to the realization that when you become a wife, mother and all sorts of other «labels,» it’s easy to lose yourself behind them. Somewhere along the way I lost the Amanda I was and I’ve been on a quest to find her since. If you happen to come across her (she’s the carefree, creative, not ready to pull her hair out version of myself), please, let me know.

No. 6: In February I faced my first encounter with the bitchy kind. After introducing tofu to our little girl’s diet (again, with doctor recommendation), I was harassed by two women in the grocery store when they overheard exactly what I was planning on doing with that block of tofu (feeding it to my daughter — GASP)! In Go home, we don’t like people like you, go to a doctor to be normal, you get this, I expressed my frustration with feeling like less of a mother because two women thought I was.

No. 5: Just this past year (like a month ago in December), I made a Not New Year’s Resolution with myself to quit giving myself such a hard time. In When reducing my stress increases it, I detailed my plight at trying to be the perfect daughter, wife, friend and mother, and how hard it can be trying to be perfect all the time. I decided my goal of 2012 would be to cut myself some slack.

No. 4: A year ago this month, I came to the realization that I am, in fact, the chubby vegan. As a girl growing up I constantly didn’t feel thin enough for anyone’s standards. But after joining the vegan lifestyle, I really, really didn’t feel thin enough. It’s already hard enough to be a woman in today’s stick-skeletor society, but when you have to explain to people that you don’t eat meat or dairy and you STILL manage to not skinny, it’s a real blow to the self esteem.

No. 3: In September I held my fellow vegans accountable for once. I detailed the inner-vegan-circle struggle to be «vegan enough» in a sometimes judgmental society in the blog Aren’t we all on the same team. For the most part, we’re a welcoming, friendly bunch who will give another vegan the last cookbook on our shelf to help them out, but as with every group, there are extremists, the quintessential «mean girls.» I took a stab at addressing all those vegans out there who are just «so much better» than the rest of us.

No. 2: In September I made the shocking discovery that My daughter is a trend. They say that any press is good press (even bad one), but is this the case when an article claims that more and more parents are hopping on the vegetarian and vegan bandwagon? It may sound like a good thing, but it’s frustrating to have to convince every single person you come into contact with that you are in fact, serious about your vegan lifestyle, and that you’re pretty sure having been one for five years now doesn’t count as a «phase» anymore.

No. 1: While it was tough decision, my all-time favorite post of 2011 was What kind of parent are you. In this post I called for not just vegan ones, but parents of all kinds, to start paying attention to what they’re putting in their child’s mouth. I’m willing to concede that it’s possible to raise a child with meat and dairy in their diet responsibly (morally I still find it conflicting), but it’s going to take some work. I encouraged parents not to adopt a vegan diet (although that would be fabulous), but to start educating themselves about the world around them and the food in it.

These are my top 11 of 2011, did you have any Chubby Vegan Mom posts you found particularly entertaining? Did you have any posts of your own from 2011 that you found noteworthy?

And now my promise, tomorrow, I will accept that it’s 2012 (but today, I will mourn all my year’s past).

2012 isn’t playing very nice

Remember all that spiel I said yesterday about embracing 2012 starting today? Well, apparently I embraced it a little too tightly because it puked all over me — literally.

My usually healthy child has spent the first three days of 2012 with the flu. The poor thing has had a fever ranging from 101-103 (of course, only at night time), with a bout of projectile vomiting for two days. The worst part? She’s only thrown up twice — in the morning — and she’s seemingly fine throughout the day. But then the night falls and she’s sprawled out on my chest fighting both a fever and the chills.

See? 2012 isn’t playing very nice.

We’ve been alternating fever relievers round the clock to keep her temperature in check (as in check as it can be), but I feel utterly helpless. Are there any more holistic approaches (or hell, anything that gets results) that you mommas can recommend when fighting the flu bug?

Because she’s been so utterly clingy the last two days, she’s been snoozing in the big bed with mom and dad. I know, I know, terrible habit to break, but it’s the only way we can stay sane, get rest and medicate her. This wouldn’t be an issue if our little girl would use even a slightly average amount of space, but this simply isn’t the case.

We’re dealing with a serious bed hog here people. At 19 months old, our daughter manages to leave both my husband and I dangling off the edge of the bed, quite an accomplishment for her 25-lb frame.

So we end up with a maze of arms, legs and torsos, tangled in masses of covers, Mickey Mouse stuffed animals and other essentials our daughter just can’t do without.

You seriously can’t tell where one body begins and the other ends.

So I’ll concede this time, 2012, you win.

This week, anyway.

Do you know what you’re giving your children?

Pearyn loves bath time.

She absolutely adores any and all things involving the tubby.

You don’t dare even utter the words «bath,» «tubby» or «splashy» unless you’re ready to commit a good 45 minutes to an hour camping out in the bathroom while Pearyn reenacts the sinking of the Titanic, the drowning and rescuing of her beloved Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck Seahorses and doodling all over the side of the tub and walls with her bath crayons.

She is seriously obsessed.

So for Christmas this year, there were two things we were definitely getting our little girl: Bathtub crayons (check, these are seriously awesome folks) and a bathtub finger paint soap set (check, this is trashed, for good, forever, until she’s like, 40). They seemed like two awesome gifts we could get our little water bug.

Sweet, sick baby

Key word: Seemed.

I say «seemed» because while the tub crayons are an absolute hit, the finger paints were quite possibly the biggest fail on our part ever. We’re talking EPIC failure. Like, gargantuan, moronic, biggest catastrophe of the year fail.

Remember how Pearyn has been sick for the last week? Like, crazy high fever (100-103), vomiting, chills and lethargy? And remember how we all assumed she just had a strain of the flu? Remember how she had an even crazier, higher temperature (102-104) three days LATER, not to mention more chills and more lethargy?  Remember how we took her to the doctor and they ran test and four days into the scary fever, chills, vomiting, lethargy epidemic we found out that Pearyn in fact didn’t have the flu, but a bladder infection? (I know, a 20 month old with a bladder infection, wtf, right?)

Well, remember those bathtub finger paint soaps, again?

Are you catching my drift yet?

In case you haven’t put two and two together, our doctor is nearly 100% certain that those super fun, super awesome (NOT) finger paint soaps are to blame for our little girls current state of distress.

That’s right, fun, designed-for-little-kids, finger paint soap has absolutely ravaged my little girl’s urinary tract system.

Are you aware of bladder infection symptoms? I was shocked to find that many of them (when the infection ranges from mild to severe) fall in line with the common flu bug. From high fevers, chills, vomiting and extreme lethargy, the only signs that generally set it apart from the flu is the burning and frequent urination. But how on earth is my 20-month-old daughter (who is just learning to tell me when she’s going to the bathroom) going to communicate that it’s burning when she pees?

What’s a mother to do?

A week of sleep can cure anything.

We picked a natural brand. It said kid safe. It was non-animal tested for Pete’s sake. It was soap. Like the five other kinds of soap Pearyn has had in her bath at one time or another. It had little characters on the bottle and a cute little dish to hold the colors in.

I realize there’s a rumor going around that bubble baths should be avoided for itty bitty children, because it can reek havoc on their urinary systems. I thought we were in the clear. I thought natural, non-animal tested and environmentally friendly finger paint soap would be the last thing I had to worry about. Pearyn has been in the bath with bubbles before. Granted, it wasn’t a big, poofy bubble bath, but there was some definite foam. Her body has never acted negatively to bubbles, so how could I have known it would this time?

After Pearyn’s doctor and nurse assessed the situation and came up with the most-likely cause for her infection, I began to do some research of my own (aka Googling). I was absolutely blown away to discover hoards of reviews and parent comments with children who had the same reaction Pearyn did to the soap. From 10 and 20 month old sisters, to a three-year-old little girl, to a two-year-old boy, there were dozens of accounts of urinary infections after using these soaps dubbed «kid-friendly» and «natural.»

The worst part? The manufacturer gets away with this crap because of the half-assed disclaimer on the back of the box of paint soap that says «Warning, prolonged use may cause irritation of the skin or urinary tract.»

Prolonged use? What qualifies as prolonged use? 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, or until your hands become all pruney? How can a product designed for a small child be so incredibly vague about something so incredibly important?

I’m not blaming the company here. I will completely own up to the part I played in this. I recognize that for every child who did develop a UTI from these finger paint soaps, a good 10-20 kids did not. I’m not trying to play the «I spilled my hot coffee on myself and burned my leg, so YOU owe me money for not telling me it was hot» card here.

I am, however, asking for parents to be more careful with what they’re giving their child on a daily basis. I bought an all natural, kid friendly product, I didn’t even bother to read the small print on the back, the disclaimer, the directions. Would I have changed my mind about giving her these paints had I read the flimsy warning on the back?

Probably not.

But had I read the plethora of reviews citing all of these sorts of problems before hand, would I have changed my mind?

Probably.

We’re in this together, parents. Let’s help each other out.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for … lentil balls?

Well tweeps, you spoke and I heard you loud and clear.

Not in the Twitter loop? I may or may not have posted a tweet regarding my wish to have a personal sub shop in my own home (if I were rich), so that I could have these fabulous lentil ball sub sandwiches whenever my heart desired.

Apparently, what your hearts all desire, is my lentil ball recipe. FYI, I’m a serious advocate of lentils. If you haven’t tried them yet, this recipe is a must. Lentils are magic in my book, interchangeable in basically any recipe that calls for «ground beef,» from sloppy joes and meat balls, to meatloaf and stuffed peppers.

I’ve had these photos on my phone for months … like, before we moved into the new house months. These lentil balls are crazy delicious, but kind of tedious, so make a big ole’ batch and freeze away!

Lentil Balls (just like your vegan grandma used to make em’)
(Serves: A lot. Depends on how big you prefer your balls, no pun intended)
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups lentils (some people swear by red or green or a particular variety, I swear by whatever is on sale!)
5 cups water
5 shallots, diced up (or a medium onion will suffice, I swear by shallots when it comes to cooking them)
1/4 cup minced garlic (it’s good)
2 TBS olive oil
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Flaxseed «eggs» (2 TBS ground flaxseed, 3 TBS warm water, let it sit for 10 minutes)
2 TBS vegan «steak» sauce

Directions:
Cook 2 1/2 cups lentils in 5 cups of water for 20-30 minutes (or until lentils are tender and smooshy).
Preheat oven to 375.
Using a mashed potato masher (or your hand if you want a good workout) smash the lentils into a stick almost paste consistency. Stir in cooked brown rice, olive oil, garlic, shallots, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, flaxseed «eggs» and steak sauce. Mash and mix until well blended.
On a greased cookie sheet, roll lentil-rice mixture into golf-ball size balls (you can go a little bigger if you want).
Drizzle olive oil over the top and pop into the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning balls halfway.
Balls are done once the outsides become slightly crispy and light brown.
Enjoy in barbecue sauce as an appetizer, in a sub sandwich with pizza sauce or with your favorite pasta.
These bad boys are a hit with parents and kids alike!

Is it 2013 yet?

Seriously, this Chubby Vegan Clan is getting hit hard in 2012.

Remember a few posts ago I commented about how 2012 just wasn’t playing fair, well it just couldn’t get enough and decided to go below the belt.

Literally.

Pearyn’s «flu bug» turned out to be a bladder infection. Yup, my 20-month-old baby girl has a urinary tract infection. The worst part about this whole ordeal? She suffered for three whole days (while we were «waiting out the flu bug») before even getting diagnosed. So by the time we got the antibiotics into her system and they’ve actually started doing their job, it’s been seven whole days of infection.

While it’s hard to track the exact cause of a UTI, because they’re pretty rare in children, Pear’s nurse who happened to work for a urologist has a pretty good idea where it came from. I’m going to save this whole scenario for my next post, as I’m absolutely drained after dealing with a poor, bladder infection-ridden child for the last week.

And to make matters worse, I’m getting sick too. Like scratchy throat, want to claw it out and shove a bazillion tissues up my nose at the same time, sick. And alike Pearyn’s bladder infection, I’m pretty sure where my sickness came from — the weather — and my lack of sleep. Seriously, it’s January in Ohio. If we have another 50-degree day this month I might scream. Or pop, literally, because my sinuses are all sorts of backed up and wigged out thanks to the 20 degrees and snow one day, spring showers and 50s the next. FYI Ohio, it’s winter, in case you forgot.

So we’re all on the mend her in the Chubby Vegan house. Big things are on the way though, friends, including a new giveaway, my «you’ll never believe THIS gave my daughter a bladder infection post,» an in-depth look at disciplining children and a few more posts investigating exactly where we draw the line with veganism and the rest of our life, or if we do.

So fear not friends, you won’t have to wait on the edge of your seats much longer, just until 2012 starts to play nice or one of us in this household recovers.

I wouldn’t hold out for 2012, though.

I hope everyone else is having a much more stellar start to the new year, I’m looking forward to restarting mine once our entire clan is back in the swing of things.