We've been invaded ... well, my parents have anyway

Just a few short days ago my sister-in-law texted me to see if we had any super awesome plans for this week. We of course do not (with the exception of planning for a giant dose of Mother Nature's icy white stuff), so she decided to pack up her two kids and make the six-hour haul from Missouri to Ohio. (Mainly because my brother had a work convention in Las Vegas he had to go to for a week (seriously, Vegas, sign me up). They officially invaded Ohio last night, which means TWIN COUSINS UNITE!

I unfortunately did not have enough time to run out and buy matching outfits for the girls, so I guess some good, old-fashioned individuality will have to do this visit! Due to my nephew's devotion to his grandmother however, I have yet to see anyone because they stayed with her last night. As soon as Pearyn wakes her teeny-weeny, lazy butt up, we'll make the mile venture to my parents house for some bonding time.

Pearyn had a pretty busy week last week, which must be the reason she's so worn out. The first and most awesome part about last week would have to be her finally riding in a grocery shopping cart sans car seat. It hit me as we placed her in the front basket part and buckled her in that she's officially not a "baby" anymore. In every definition she still is, but she's a sitting-up, crawling, standing-up, cart-riding-alone machine now, and it feels like she might just up and head off to college tomorrow.

Either way she thoroughly enjoyed sitting the seat like a big girl, but probably liked the attention she got from everyone the most. How could you not sneak a peek at this wide-eyed girl in her goofy winter hat? Needless to say, this made shopping about a million times easier because instead of tending to a fussy, bored child, we were able to browse our freaky-deeky produce and "health" food section for more vegan treats (aka, drool over the $10 jar of vegan Nutella).

In addition to other firsts, Pearyn finally wore a pair of shoes for the entire day for (Seriously, my little girl is breaking some ground this week). She struggles every now and then to stand up in them (probably because she tries to stand like a ballerina with her feet splayed out the wrong way), but she's pretty much mastered everything else. Wouldn't you know that the first pair of shoes she successfully wears would happen to be cupcake Chucks?

It gives a whole new meaning to "Cupcakes for Pearyn." Don't worry, after searching the Converse outlet store endlessly for a sweet treat pair myself, I resorted to designing my own chocolate, cherry covered cupcake Chucks for myself (my first pair of Converse shoes, my husband is so proud). We're not really the kind of people who spend a fortune on baby clothes that they'll grow out of in 10 days, but when it comes to shoes we wanted to find some sturdy ones to aid in Pearyn's learning to walk. You can't beat $14 for this awesome outlet find!

To wrap up all the fun we had on our first shoe-wearing, grocery-shop-cart-riding day, we settled in for a nice read -- "I Love You Stinky Face." Although it might sound a bit off kilter, it's the first book Pearyn actually listened to in its entirety. This is a real breakthrough for this book-loving, book-buying obsessed family of T's. I'm pretty sure Pearyn's bookcase is starting to rival ours.

Other than the Stinky Face book (which is actually much, much deeper than it sounds), Pear has an extensive collection of Berenstain Bears, Scooby Doo, Dr. Seuss and crazy, animal-loving, vegan books. My husband started out buying all the veg-friendly books he could (we're talking like 10 weeks into being pregnant), which is starting to amount to a fair collection. There aren't nearly as many as we'd like however, so we've started toying around with the idea of making our own series.

While "Herb the Vegetarian Dragon" is a personal favorite, we figure with how mainstream veganism is becoming, it wouldn't hurt to create a few kid characters for children to relate with. And luckily for us, the veg community is pretty supportive, so as long as we can come up with something that has a great message I'm sure we'll find the audience.

It's not that we want Pearyn to grow up in an alternate, vegan universe, but when it comes time to go off to school or birthday parties and the kids are eating a lot of different things than her, we want her to understand why. And mainly, we want her to know that neither way is "right," it's just a choice we decide to make. We're preparing early for how to approach these sensitive areas (ie, why we don't eat meat, where it comes from, etc), in hopes that we'll have a game plan by the time the occasion arises.

Who knows, maybe by then we'll have a book or two to help convey that message ...

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