Time is an asshole

OK, so I’ll be honest. When my daughter was a baby, there may or may not have been several nights where I prayed to any and every God that she would hurry up and be like, five years old. At least then she could tell me what was causing her to shriek like someone was tweezing her tiny baby eyebrows; I wouldn’t be changing diapers 24/7; I wouldn’t be up rocking her all hours of the night simply because she felt like staring at my face for three-and-a-half hours.

Everything would get just a littttttle bit easier when she got just a litttttttle bit older, right?


Well, sort of.

I mean, she IS able to tell me what’s wrong with her, she’s been out of diapers for years and I don’t have to rock her anymore … but … I kind of wish she was a baby again.

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t forgotten the long, miserable nights where sleep was something I fanaticized about.  I don’t actually miss changing her diapers and I get more than my fill of rocking babies while coaxing Braeburn to sleep.

However, it’s more than that. I don’t simply miss babies; I miss HER being my baby. It’s probably because she was my first. She’s the little doll who MADE me a mother. She’s the first person to prove to me love at first sight DOES exist and she’s continued to make every other tired cliché about motherhood true, time and time again.

And now, she’s five. She’s five and I’m sitting at her kindergarten screening and finally starting to absorb what this means for her, for our family.

Sure, it’s only five half-days a week; and sure, she still has a week of preschool left, but those things don’t matter. What matters is my daughter is about to REALLY start her education; my daughter is about to go to an entirely new school, make entirely new friends and have entirely new experiences – without me.

I know, I know, it’s important for her to spread her wings and all that fluffy, mature junk, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept as a parent. It doesn’t mean I’m READY for her to, even if she’s COMPLETELY ready for this next step.

The more my children age, the more I start to empathize with all those annoying people who tell you to “soak up every minute” your children are tiny, whether they’re throwing tantrums or resisting sleep – one day, you’re going to miss this. Maybe where people make the mistake, however, is what they’re implying you’re going to miss. Of course you’re not going to miss the sleepless nights. You ARE going to miss your baby’s sweet little face as they stare at yours for the seventh hour (even if it means no sleep). You’re going to miss the wondrous way they drink in every aspect of your face, smiling, cooing and giggling at even the slightest flinch of your mouth. Of course you’re not going to miss the tantrums. You ARE going to miss them being so absolutely enthralled with you, so determined to get your attention, that they’ll do anything it takes – whether it’s a sweet, sneaky snuggle or an outright, body-stiff-as-a-board, red-faced, breakdown.

One day, you won’t be the center of their world and that’s OK. That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. But it doesn’t mean you won’t miss those days when you were. It doesn’t mean you won’t long for their neediness. And it doesn’t mean you don’t want your child to spread their wings.

Ultimately, it just means you want your past-self to appreciate all those things you found so damn annoying. It means you become nostalgic as you check AM or PM for your daughter’s kindergarten; it means you become defensive, mama-bear when you think of people “evaluating” her readiness for school; it means you’re REALLY grasping for the first time that your children won’t need you so much one day.

And that might be the absolute hardest thing to truly grasp.

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Is your #PlateProud?

Let’s face it. In this day and age, knowing where your food comes from can be pretty important when it comes to knowing what the heck is in it. With misleading “titles” that don’t really mean anything (I’m looking at you “cage free”), it can seem really overwhelming to find good ingredients.

And that’s what makes Green BEAN Delivery so flipping awesome. If you’re not familiar with Green BEAN, it’s a membership-based subscription service (with no sign-up fees) that provides you super delicious, super organic, super healthy groceries right to your DOOR. Yep. YOUR FRONT DOOR.

The best part about this service? The power is in YOUR hands! You get to decide how frequently you want to order, WHAT you want to order and when the heck you want these awesome groceries delivered! There’s a variety of bin options, all loaded with certified-organic produce and there are plenty of awesome healthy add-ons too, like gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and MORE!

And because Green BEAN likes to encourage healthy, delicious meals, they’re currently running a pretty sweet recipe content called #PlateProud. With over $1,200 in prizes being given away AND five different categories you can enter, Green BEAN wants to find out what’s on your plate! With a deadline of May 22, you have just under a month to enter your original, tasty recipes (one per category). Five winners and five runners up will be chosen and announced on June 15. The recipes must be original and no longer than 400 words, and a photo is required. This is open to U.S. residents only and winning recipes will be highlighted on Green BEAN’s website! Holler!

The five totes awesome categories you’ll be submitting your #PlateProud recipe to (and their awesome prizes) include:
  • Grillin’ & Chillin: winner receives a premier grill set, including a plancha wok, accessories, a cookbook and a $50 Green BEAN Delivery gift card
  • Quick, Easy & Kid-Friendly: winner receives a BPA-and-phthalates-free and leakproof bento-style lunchbox, Mr & MRs. Food Face plates, food truck-shaped bowl, chalkboard placemats, training chopsticks, some simple cookbooks and a $50 Green BEAN Delivery gift card
  • Locavore: winner receives a vertical herb garden, chalkboard planter, cookbook and a $50 Green BEAN Delivery gift card
  • Veggie side: winner receives a French-made de Buyer Viper Dicing Mandolin slicer with interchangeable blades for cubes, diamond cuts, julienne, strips, sticks and rounds, a guide to cooking veggies, a cookbook and a $50 Green BEAN Delivery gift card
  • Pack-and-Go Healthy Lunch: winner receives a stainless steel bento-style PlanetBox lunch box with soft carry bag, two hinged Italian-made glass jars with airtight seals, six wooden and reusable chalkboard tags, a cookbook and a $50 Green BEAN Delivery gift card. 

All runners up will receive a $50 Green BEAN Delivery gift card.

Are you ready to enter? You can do it one of two ways: online by following this handy dandy link, or through snail mail at GREEN BEAN DELIVERY #PLATEPROUD RECIPE CONTEST, Green BEAN Delivery, PO Box 26700, Indianapolis, IN 46226 (all entries MUST be RECEIVED by May 22.)

Make sure you share all your awesome recipe ideas and outtakes on social media with the #PlateProud label!

I know which prize I’ve got my eye on (I’m coming for you, mandolin slicer!), what would you be most excited to win?


I wore a bikini and the world didn’t end

You may or may not know I turned 30 last week. I’ve slowly started to embrace that this isn’t a terrible thing, but rather, a time for me to be confident in who I finally am. (Or at the very least, start to get comfortable with the idea that the person I hear in my head and see in the mirror is pretty much who I am).

You may or may not have read in the past about my struggles with body issues. Growing up I was never thin, and while I also wasn’t really what you’d consider “overweight,” I was always on the thicker side.  And in my eyes, being even slightly thick, meant I was fat. Whether it was all in my head or in my head because of media, society and marketing, I wore a bikini for three summers before forfeiting to my own body-shaming ways and wearing one pieces or tankinis.

Now, of course, nothing is wrong with one pieces and tankinis, however, the way I felt about my body and myself in ANY swimsuit WAS wrong.

I look back at photos of myself and wish I would have realized then how cute I was. And I don’t say that in a conceited way, I say it from the place of a 30-year-old mother who never wants her children to loathe themselves the way I did. When I was 14 and wore a bikini, I didn’t see the beginning of my figure forming or the ridiculously large bust size I’d recently “busted” out with (hardy har har), I saw stretch marks on my butt and breasts from growing too fast; and I saw too-wide hips that weren’t womanly, but boyish and ugly in my eyes.

I didn’t see cute freckles dotting my face, arms and legs (something people have always complimented me on my whole life), I saw ugly brown spots that formed splotches after being stuck in the sun for too long.

And before there was even a thigh gap to be gaped at, I hated the way my thighs touched, it didn’t matter that they were muscular or looked pretty in tights, I hated that they weren’t skinny.

So you see, part of me being 30 and embracing myself, largely includes me embracing my hips, my bust, thighs, freckles and all the other things I spent too many years hating and hiding.

So despite the fact that I’ve now got even MORE stretch marks on my hips and breasts, despite the fact that I’m a few pounds heavier than I was, despite the fact that I’ve got what Pearyn lovingly refers to as “my stripes” decorating my stomach, I wore a bikini again for the first time in 10 years last week. And I wore it confidently, damnit.

And guess what?

The world didn’t end. People didn’t point fingers and hush giggles, nope, none of that happened.

In fact, I’m pretty sure nobody even thought twice about me because most of the women there were busy worrying about their own bodies, the men were thinking about dunking each other and the kids were so engrossed in playing they wouldn’t have noticed if I entered the pool in a chicken suit.

And you know what? It felt great. It felt liberating. And it felt like for the first time in 10 years, I’ve started to see my body for what it is: a body. It’s not “fat” or “ugly” or “skinny” or “pretty,” it’s just me. It’s the same body that pitched tens of thousands of strikes over my lifetime, the same body that wore my wedding dress and married my husband, the same body that carried my children and the same body that has run countless 5Ks.

And even if I’m 30, even if I’ve got a few more marks and still don’t have that thigh gap, after years of loathing it I’m going to love it.

Because it’s MY body and I think it’s pretty fucking amazing.

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Turning the big 3-0

Well, it happened.

I turned 30.

Yep. The big 3-0.

To be honest, I never really worried about age in the past. I was a firm believer in the old adage “you’re only as old as you feel,” which, if that’s the case, I feel about 14-23 depending on what’s going on in my life at the time.

Except I’m not. I’m in my THIRTIES. When the girls I coach found out about my birthday and what age I was turning, I received a plethora of compliments “wow, you don’t look that old,” or “I only thought you were like 25, I didn’t think you were 30.” Hey, thanks ladies. It’s good to know that 30 IS considered old to middle and high school girls.

So instead of being all “woe is me, I’m turning 30,” I decided I was going to look on the bright side. Afterall, most of the adults I know have told me their thirties were some of the best years of their life. In your twenties you’re still trying to figure out who the heck you are and in your forties you’re coping with being “middle-aged,” so thirties are when most people I know really spread their wings and had some fun. (Without giving a damn what anyone thought about em’ might I add).

So in honor of me turning 30, I decided rather than creating a bucket list for all the things I wanted to do before I turned 30, I decided to make one for all the awesome things I’m going to do now that I AM 30. I’m in a much better place emotionally, financially and career-wise than I was in my twenties, so I can actually put things like “take the family to Europe” on my to-do list and be confident I’ll cross this off SOME time in the next decade.

Not everything on my bucket list is quite so advantageous. I’ve also got simple things like: try a new hobby, wear a bikini (and be confident about it) and enter a contest. Meanwhile, I’ve got a few more time-consuming things on there, like publish that kids’ book I’ve been working on forever and a day, take my family to Portland and renew our vows and a hoard of other things.

It’s not complete yet, but I’m excited to have a renewed outlook on things.

And it’s pretty hard not to be excited when my husband, family and best friend spent a good month planning a SURPRISE 30th birthday party for me. You should understand something about me: I’m the planner of everything. Somehow, despite the fact that I’m late everywhere and incredibly disorganized, I love making plans for birthdays, date nights, vacations, whatever.

Every now and then though (like on my 30th birthday), I like to whine because no one else will take the reigns and plan something. Well, this year, they got one over on me.

My best friend’s birthday is four days before mine, so we’ve been celebrating them together. We headed off for a girls spa day, shopping and then planned on picking up our husbands later for dinner. Well, when I walked in the door to get our husbands, I was greeted by my close friends and family. Even my in laws made the almost four-hour haul down to usher me into my thirties. We’re talking balloons, lanterns, glitter-crusted champagne bottles, signs, hats, sashes, the works. Not to mention pizza, seitan wings, fried pickles and vegan carrot cake from all our favorite establishments.

I was literally speechless (which is quite the accomplishment as well). And I literally had NO idea this was going on. AT ALL. In the past I’ve been known to ruin surprises, so this party will go down in history as the most amazing gift I’ve ever received.

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Five simple tips to getting happier today!

Happy April! Time is seriously flying in the Chubby Vegan Abode.  I’m about to turn the big 3-0 in less than two weeks and Pearyn will be FIVE next month. What on Earth happened to my lanky little baby girl? OK, she’s still really lanky, she’s just not so little.

Between traveling for work, softball lessons, coaching, birthdays and everything in between, we’ve been some busy bees lately. While I absolutely thrive on being busy, sometimes that can lead to cranky pants parents and kids who don’t want to listen; which in turn, leads to a lot of unhappiness.

One of the most common questions I’ve been getting from friends and followers lately is what the heck I’m doing to stay sane and happy. What tips can I give to others to help them find their happy place? And to be honest, I don’t really know what will work for everyone out there. It depends largely on why you’re unhappy and you taking responsibility to feel better. Disclaimer, I’m not a medical professional, so this ain’t treatment, these are just a few simple things I do every day (or close to every day) to improve my morale. Some of these things might seem silly, but you want to know what’s working for me, so here it is.

1. Get up and make your bed in the morning! Yep. This probably sounds really stupid and really lame, but I’m telling you, a clean bed is an awesome sight to see throughout the day, but it also feels 10 times better to get into than a messy one. If you’ve got a little cash to spare, go get yourself a colorful, bright throw or bedspread to make your bed with. Or hell, some accent pillows will even do the trick. Giving our bed a spring makeover has done serious wonders for giving my attitude a makeover in the morning.

2. Get dressed. OK, so this is one I don’t follow this particular tip every single day,  (I work from home and sometimes it’s nice to roll out of bed and attend my meetings in pajamas), but if I’m in a funk, I’ve found throwing on my favorite pair of heels or a touch of mascara can seriously boost my mood. Maybe your thing is that perfect pair of jeans, or maybe it’s just your favorite t-shirt, either way, putting on something you feel good in will help you stand a little taller and smile a little broader.

3. Talk about what you’re feeling. Seriously, quit holding so much in, you’re not doing anyone any good. Not to mention, why do you feel like you need to hold it in? Are you embarrassed about how you feel? Afraid someone will make fun of you? Let me provide a little insight from my experience with these emotions. First off, you shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling a certain way. A lot of times, our body’s make-up is just throwing us off a bit, so you might not even be able to control some of your feelings. And did I mention they’re feelings? They’re messy, they’re supposed to be, and that’s OK. And if you’re scared of what someone might think of you because you’re expressing your feelings, well, you don’t need those folks in your life anyhow. People who love you won’t turn you away, won’t make you feel bad and WILL make it infinitely better.

4. Instead of harping on all the things you aren’t happy about or don’t like about yourself, find three things to be absolutely ecstatic with. Sometimes, for me, it’s as simple as “well, I like my hair today.” Sometimes, for me, it’s “wow, I have an amazing career.” It doesn’t matter what you’re happy about, but focusing on what you’re blessed with is the fastest way to combat what you’re less than pleased with. It won’t work like magic, but if you train your brain to start thinking that way, it gets a lot easier and less negativity invades your life.

5. Do something you love, EVERY day. Trust me, I know what you're gonna say, "but I don't have time to do something I love every day." You do, seriously, you do. It doesn't have to be something costly or amazing. Just something little, that you enjoy the hell out of. For example, I LOVE baking, but I don't ALWAYS have time to do it. So sometimes I just peruse Pinterest to get some ideas of what I'd like to bake when I get some time. Or I'll read. I LOVE reading. Even if it's only five pages, I sit and read for five pages and it gives me a completely relaxed and fresh feeling. 

I know, these things probably seem really silly ... or maybe really basic. But they're working for me. And as long as they keep working, I'm going to keep doing em.' 

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