Birthday Parties and Being the Vegan Kid: Age 2

When you are the vegan person in the room people seem to be hyper aware of their food offerings. Hosts like to say sorry for not offering more vegan friendly options. Sorry really isn’t necessary AT ALL. We go to parties for the company, the friendship, the camaraderie not to be fed all the food. Although we may completely devour your humus tray after a few cocktails. Plus when WE have a party…it’s all vegan.

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LADC only went to two birthday parties at the age of one. One was hers. What she knew both times was that we took her to a room full strange people (big and small). But there were toys for when and if the initial shock wore off. We did the responsible thing for the friend party. We brought her snacks and some ice cream. I do not even remember her eating either.

She is two now and her social circle is slightly larger. We have attended a few birthday parties inthe last few weeks. We, as her parents, will try our best to make sure she has what she needs to feel included and not different during parties. Our methods will, no doubt, evolve over time. Right now, she is only two so she mostly just eats what we give her with no question. She just wants to play. She does not yet get the concept of birthday cake so that has been a non issue.

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We will keep adjusting our plan as she gets older. For now…she just wants to jump in the bouncy house, eat all your blueberries, and pet your dogs and babies.

To Party Parents: You have a lot to think about when planning a party these days. So many dietary restrictions to plan for…from nut allergies, to gluten issues, to vegan friends. I would say let’s worry about those nut free kids first. That’s life and death. We know that you can not please everyone. As party planners, just be open to questions about your food options, the other parent is just trying to plan ahead for their kid. Also, don’t be offended when someone walks in with their own snacks. When possible let the guest parent take the lead in offering their child food. Some children will not know exactly what is the safe choice without a little parental guidance.

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To Pour or Not to Pour…The Toddler Decides

During a rather idyllic breakfast on Wednesday morning, LADC asked to pour her water onto her grits. My gut reaction was to shut that mess down but instead I simply said, I don’t think that’s a great decision but go for it. It may not taste very good. 

Sounded gross. But totally harmless.

She poured.

She stared.

She tasted.

She gagged.

She waved her hand over it and muttered some toddler-ese which I interpreted as…”You were right, mom, that was a POOR decision.”

When I asked her if it tasted badly she said, “Yea,” connected to this half laugh half sigh that she does when she know something was so ridiculously silly. (seriously, it is the cutest)

We can call it a culinary experiment so it sounds really brave and smart. We do encourage exploring and learning at home. Making messes and doing the silly thing is kind of part of our every day life. Some of us shoot water cannons at others while they mow the grass just because it makes the toddler insanely happy. We will be cleaning up glitter for the rest of our lives.

If I had said no to pouring water on the grits, there would have been tears and frustration. I do not like to say NO all the time. Sometimes our instinct is to say no because of inconvenience, a bad mood, laziness…those times I have to stop myself and remember I am trying to raise a tiny human. I have to stop to remember that pouring water on the grits might just turn into a moment that I can tell her about when she asks about when she was a small. Saying yes to the silly odd random thing might just be the best decision I make all day.

I read an article once about parents who never said no. They discussed the good and bad consequences of decisions with their kids and gave them the choice. Keeping an open dialogue for when the tough subjects come up. I mean some things are inherently dangerous and require a strong NO. We have some non-neogtiables like brushing teeth. Has to be done even if there are tears and ear piercing screams. BUT Some things are just things that can be turned into a teaching moment. Some things are just silly so you do them anyway.

LADC thinks grits are the best breakfast ever. As most parents know, getting a toddler to eat can be challenging so having their favorites on had is essential. I have had to permanently add grits to the grocery list. I remember not liking grits as a kid but I also remember them being white and bland unless you put a slice of cheese in it. (We use Bob’s Red Mill Polenta following the suggested directions and also adding some nutritional yeast and flax meal to make it extra nutritious.)

Guess Who’s Back!?

Hello all (if you’re still out there)! I haven’t read a blog or written a blog in like 6 months. I have been momming, working and wifing hard…not always in that order but always doing all the things. If you follow us on Instagram, you’re fully up to date on her growth and what we’re doing now.

Working from home was hard. I made it work. I did some office management work for a about 6 months which demanded a lot of computer time. However, I am now back working in the real world…and by real world…I mean I play for a living and I love it. I was presented with an opportunity this past February and I seized it. My little one goes to work with me every day!

I finally have some room to give updating, writing and musing some attention.

I mostly want to hold on to memories that I know my brain can not possibly hold on to forever.

Like would I always remember that she laughed in her sleep the other morning. Then Lisa and I giggled back and forth. I wonder what she was dreaming about?

I want to remember the pee-pee in the potty dance she did for hours last night EVEN before she actually peed in the potty.

Or those moments when we have one big group hug and there are so many giggles, kisses and love is just oozing out of us.

Maybe moms always remember this stuff…Maybe I will remember it but just in case my brain gets so full of wonderful memories that some start falling out…I’ll write them out just in case.

Worry, Fear, Panic…

I woke up opened Facebook and burst into tears this morning. My wife held me while I cried and tried to come to grips with what I am feeling. I’m crying because we have a new President. They are not tears of joy or elation. They are tears of a broken heart, a battered soul and a head wringing with worry. (I’m not a crier so this is kind of a big deal).

I grew up thinking I was Republican. I wanted to be involved with the Republican party. I immersed myself in South Carolina’s political atmosphere. As I moved about the world my feelings on social issues changed but I could comfortably call myself a fiscal conservative. Then I met three attorneys who changed my heart and mind for good. They lived and conducted themselves professionally with such compassion and such pure hearts. I watched them tirelessly answer the call to protect the most vulnerable of our state. Working with people from every walk of life in our state with no hesitation. You see, I could no longer think only fiscally because there were lives hanging in the balance. Lives that have no voice of their own. Lives that time and time again get lost in the fray. When I came out, all of the sudden I became one of those lives. A person who suddenly had to fight for equality. I was a socially marginalized individual.

An election cycle that perpetrated worry, fear and panic, now has me waking on the day after the election filled with worry, fear and panic. Seems as if that platform was successful on all fronts.  I respect that people want change, to buck the establishment, to find a better way for their families and their businesses. Those are ideals I can get behind. Those are things we all want out of this life. If that is why you voted for Trump, I get it. Some things aren’t working and maybe he has a better plan. I can’t see it…though.

I can’t see past…

  • The people who can see that my family (LGBT community) is at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that my family (LGBT community) is at risk and don’t care,
  • The people who can see that women’s rights are at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that women’s rights are at risk and don’t care.
  • The people who can see that latinos are at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that latinos are at risk and don’t care,
  • The people who can see that muslims are at risk but think that it’s OK, inconsequential or a great fucking idea,
  • The people who can’t see that muslims are at risk and don’t care,
  • The person who commented on a photo saying to someone go back to Africa,
  • The people who think everyone in a hijab is a terrorist,
  • A Vice President who believes in conversion therapy for gays,
  • A President who spoke of Roe v. Wade as if it offers carte blanche abortion,
  • The Trump supporter in my news feed who posted a picture of a black man’s face superimposed on a white woman’s body that I’m pretty sure is racist even though I have no idea what it supposed to be,
  • The people who started yelling, “Lock her up,” during election night at the Trump rally,
  • The people who still think my marriage shouldn’t be legal,
  • The people who want to build a wall to keep out those escaping countries to be in the land of the free,
  • The people who are just plain and outwardly scared of the color brown,
  • The people who are scared of brown and don’t have the balls to admit it,
  • The people who think the political parties are Christian or heathens (or more accurately heaven bound or hell bound),
  • A President-elect who disrespected a sitting President over and over by challenging his citizenship,
  • A President-elect who speaks so callously of women, minorities, immigrants and the LGBT community,
  • The people who called Hillary Clinton, Killary and thought it was just in good ol’ fashion political mudslinging, and
  • The people who think they put God back in control of our country. You put a man in control of this country. Please remember that. (Quite frankly, the only person who actually personified what that means to me was Tim Kaine so I guess it’s subjective.)

I can’t see past those people. Those people do not represent an angry, disenfranchised and frustrated electorate who want change. They represent xenophobia, racism and general deplorable behavior. Yea, I used the word deplorable. It’s appropriate here. I am worried, I am scared…but I don’t have time to be past this moment. I have a wife, a daughter and the rest of the world to show who I am. It’s not someone who mocks or belittles or even the person who wallows in defeat. I have to be the wife, mom and person I need to be to show the people above what true compassion and love look like.

The beacon of hope is those who sent messages of love this morning and last night. Thank you.

Goodbye for now…

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m not blogging…I haven’t posted in months but I’m not closing the account or deleting the content…I fully intend to return when I have the time and energy to devote.

Being a stay at home working mom is a 24/7 job that requires my full attention. Some things had to take a backseat like random musings.

You can find me constantly posting pictures on Instagram (LezBVeganMoms) and even some SnapChat filter fun with LA (H3ath3rD978).

Before She Turns One…

I am such a bad blogger mom…I skipped her 9 month update and her 10 month and now I’ve let 11 months slip through my typing fingers…but don’t worry there were photo shoots.

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This first year has passed by so quickly. She went from fragile baby we held firmly in our arms like she would break at the slightest movement to indestructible toddler who constantly falls on her butt and bumps into everything forever keeping a little bruise on her forehead. She busted her lip for the first time a few days ago which about gave this novice mommy a heart attack.  She cried for a minute and then was over it. Her little lip is healing nicely and she doesn’t even seem to notice. She was still giving kissing and sucking on her bottle like a champ.

The other morning when she woke up instead of pulling her out of bed to get breakfast and start our day, I just climbed in with her to snuggle. We laughed, made noises and said, “Hey”, with different inflections. It’s amazing all that can be said in a three letter word. She put her head on my chest several times just being still something you don’t get much of from a girl on the go. For those 15 minutes or so time stopped. We were just in the moment and it was perfect. I did it again yesterday morning because we have no where to be. We do not have to live by the alarm clock at the moment. The lighting was in just such a way that when I looked at her face I could see that baby from the sonogram picture. Being home with her has been the best decision we have made in a long time. I feel like it maximizes everyone’s time together. There is a financial cost to the time but the benefits are amazing.

So expect some happy birthday gushes later in the week!

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Momming So Hard – SAHWM

I am thirteen days in to my new path as a Stay at Home Working Mom and boooooy am I tired. As you know or may not know, I left my full-time position a little over two weeks ago to stay at home with our little #LADC. For the first ten months she had the best childcare a little baby could have – her grammy. But grammy needed to get back to doing what a grammy does when not being a grammy extraordinaire. So we made the difficult, easy, logical, scary, wonderful, cost efficient decision for me to stay at home.

So far I am rocking this stay at home mom thing.  We are working on our daily routine making sure to carve out time for play, learning, exploring, me to do some work, to clean up the house, and MAYBE carve out some time to write. I will be working from home. I have a few P/T gigs that I’ll be doing so I can pay back those evil minions at Navient.

So what do I think about my new role?  I LOVE IT! I think it is where I am meant to be right now. I GET to be with an awesome little human every single day. Plus with her as my office assistant it means nap and snack times are totally a work day must.

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Happy New Year…

So I am firm believer that the new year doesn’t start until I go back to work after the holiday. That means 2016 really didn’t start until today. So Happy New Year! The last three days were just freebies…which is good because one of us was down for the count…so we spent our time at home…putting away Christmas, cleaning up for the new year and sleeping in. So naturally I am exhausted today! I finally had my glass of champagne celebrating the new year yesterday. I even found 5 minutes to color in my adult coloring book that has been taunting me for a month. I colored in some green…I look forward to at least one new color in the new year!

I like the idea of a new year, a clean slate, unwritten stories…I want to keep that vibe alive the whole year. The last 10 months with #LADC have flown by…our newborn is suddenly an independent toddler. I do not wish for time to stand still…That would be selfish and I would miss so many moments. I just wish for myself to slow down, take it all in and be present for each moment. Whether that means putting down my phone, my computer, turning off the TV or even putting down the camera. Maybe slowing down means extra tickles, running down the hall, more dance parties…but it definitely probably most likely means more love.

I do not make resolutions. I am horrible at them. But I would like to …

  • Recommit myself to not only blogging/writing more but to creating. Making sure I wake up those corners of my mind that sometimes fall asleep during the day while sitting in front of a computer.
  • Writing more about being vegan and the vegan lifestyle.
  • Getting even more active outdoors when it warms up again.
  • Be crafty with the little one!
  • Work on my photography skills again. It’s something I enjoy doing a lot!
  • Go on little adventures with my family!
  • Have more date nights with my wife!
  • Listen to more music. All of the music!
  • Be weirder. You know, in a good way.
  • Be kinder.
  • Be the mom/person my daughter thinks I am already.

Like Oprah said on that new WW commercial…If not now, when? And we all know Oprah is always right. So Happy New Year!

Please feel free to share your goals, hopes, desires…and even resolutions in the comments below!

 

Our Home One Year Later

ISh3ewal3g4vsh1000000000Last year at this time we were moving in to what we affectionately refer to as the “home that we own”. Owning a home is an adventure and learning experience all rolled in to one. What a wonderfully stressful experience it is to own property, am I right? Always something to do, to fix, to update…

But when I walk through those doors in the evening the warmth and love it holds creates a force field that blocks out noise from the world outside. In just one year we’ve stuffed our home with laughter, tiny footsteps, love and countless memories.

Our little home will always be the place…

We brought our daughter home to on a snowy March day…

Where she learned to crawl, scoot and then walk on her own…

Where she said mama for the first time…

And where I rocked her to sleep so many nights…

Not that we’re moving any time soon but this house will always be our first home.

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Ten Years Ago…And Scott Weiland

I love this time of year. I love the twinkling lights and wonder why we can’t have them all year…The ribbons, the bows, the music, the shopping, the hot cocoa, the family get togethers…it all makes me giddy. I feel the joy…I feel Christmas…I feel all of the warmth and love. But December remembers…Ten years have passed since that December day when I received the call that would forever make December have a very Charles Dickens feel…the best of times and the worst of times.

If I had to try to explain the feeling, December by Sara Bareilles actually describes the way it feels best…It’s not really the lyrics so much as the tone of the song that really pins it down.

The afternoon has settled long and heavy on my shoulders
The winter’s light feels different on my skin
It doesn’t seem to strike as far below the surface so
I have to conclude that shadow won’t let it in
That shadow won’t let it in, shadow won’t let it in

December…
You’ve always been a problem child
December…
You run me down right restless and wild
And I remember when you used to be mine

I know I am not the only one who spent a Christmas mindlessly unwrapping presents…trying to be normal when life is anything but normal. Everyone going through the motions so you don’t just stop and cease to exist. You have to appear human because the other side is out there…you just have to get there…even if it begins with faking it.

The sadness wanes…It’s just that you can never recover fully from certain losses. I know I’ve said that before but it’s a weird place to be in sometimes. It doesn’t heal like a scratch that doesn’t even leave a scar…Your mind can’t neutralize a loss like your immune system can a cold. It is not something that can ever be over…it is just a permanent hole in your world. It is an internal scar that if on the outside would probably make people stare. It’s the phantom limb that only you can feel but have to remind yourself is no longer there.

You stop mourning in the traditional sense but there will always be reminders, anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, what if, and should be. They dart around your mind at unexpected times. But most thoughts and memories are happy now…because the good stays and the pain fades.

There are Scott Weilands…people you hope can make one day at a time last a lifetime…but they can’t/don’t. Then their body just says, I can take no more. I feel empathy for his family because I can…it’s not fake or manufactured…it’s because I know. Loss caused me to have a keener understanding of empathy and I kind of have low tolerance for over empathizers now. But I know what it is like to lose someone over and over again  until they really are gone.

On this tenth year, I can laugh at our childhood memories, talk about our traditions…and laugh about how you sang Almost Paradise (the love theme from Footloose) in your carseat as you tried to do sit ups.

We’re all OK now.

And there is much to celebrate…Today, sometime this morning…two little souls came into the world. My beautiful lovely friends now have twin boys! They are so beautiful and already have an army at the ready to guide them through this world! Welcome boys! Can’t wait to meet you!