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May 5

!!!!!!CAGE HAD HIS FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!

Happy Birthday little vegan, I love you so much.

April 20th was a great day. Jake had school, Chris had work, so Cage and I got to spend the day alone together. It is so neat to look at the old photos and see how far he has come. We took a nice nap together, played roll the ball, read a few books, but mostly it was me watching him. The cakes I ordered from Moo Cluck came, they looked as good as they tasted. The Soya too (vegan) whipped cream from Pangaea was a great topper (although we all stood around the fridge taking turns with a can too).

First we went to Chris's parents house. We stayed about an hour and a half, Cage got his presents, Jake played baseball, ate a slice of the chocolate cake. Then to my Moms. My Grandmother was there, she just got into town a few days before. They ate pizza (barf, and I told them so), then cake with Cage, more presents (Jake got him a Elmo cell phone...he was so proud), play, play, play, and one tired baby was ready for bed.

Chris and I sat up late and talked about all the things he can do now. Stand, sit, point, grab, pinch, dance (his FAVORITE...all I have to do is sing and he shakes his moneymaker), eat solids, drink from a cup with no help, crawl (in his own way), walk around the furniture, walk independently for shorts bursts, pet the animals, roll, bounce, recognize certain objects, understand the word no, be defiant, be sweet, OMG the list could go on for miles. He is so big now. His one year journey has been truly incredible.

Thanks all for sharing this remarkable journey with me. I can't wait to work on another year :)

April 10

Well I have to admit I am excited. For about 10 years I have been admiring a house in the midst of a marsh. It is very secluded, has several barns (some are really old!) and a several acre pond (5 or 6 acres maybe more). The house is considered an earth house, it is built into a hill and sunk into the ground. The front is nothing to look at, but the back that is exposed overlooks the pond and has a huge screened in porch. There is marsh and forest all around, no neighbors close, no chance of neighbors close. The sounds are exceptional and there is a ton of wildlife. This house is for sale now and in my price range. So...who knows what will happen. If it doesn't need much work, well much serious work, I am probably going to buy it. I know the only reason this is in my price range is because it is a fixer-upper. Chris has built houses from scratch, and is excellent at repairing everything (THANK DOG) so we like fixer-uppers. Keep your paws crossed for us!!!

Today it was so warm! We cooked on the grill and it was delicious. We had fake chicken patties, potatoes, corn, peas, carrots, and I made a big salad. Cage ate it all but the salad, he was too full by that time. He eagerly chews his food and gets mad if I over mash it. Its so cool to watch him eat. He loves crackers and peanut butter. He does think throwing food on the floor is way more entertaining than feeding himself...although he does like to feed whoever is closest to him.

He walked (Cage) all by himself today! From the coffee table to the sofa. My friend came by for a it and he was playing shy with her. then he just got bold and walked close to where she was sitting, looked at her, sat down, then scooted away from her. It was the cutest thing! She came up to him and asked him if he would give her 'five'. Instead he would cover his face and turn away, giggling. He was playing with her :) He did end up giving her 'five' (and that is pretty tricky, because whenever you say 'gimmie five' in this house you have to fight off a sea of paws).

At three AM this morning I woke up with the worst migraine. I was sick, seeing with tunnel vision, I could get no relief. I had heard that certain vitamins can help so I took some Emergen-C. Nothing happened. I took some Nat. Mur 6x, nothing happened. So I remembered that my Doctor told me that a product she gave me works on just about everything, so I took some vitalzymX. In a half hour the migraine was gone and I was sleeping. I shouldn't have slept. I forgot to reset the alarm and Jake was late to school. But, this discovery is wonderful! No drugs, all vegan, no animals suffered to make this product and it works! I am going to write them a letter:

Dear VitalzymX,

You took away my migraine. I love you.

Love,

Lesley

I have written similar letters to Veganaise, smart deli, and several others. Its great to write silly nice letters. I mix them in with the serious ones.

So we are gearing up for Cages Birthday. Still can't believe that he is going to be one (snif-snif-tear). He has come so far, it is amazing how fast he grows.

Tomorrow I think I am going to make soup. I have a bunch of dehydrated summer veggies I thought would be good if I soaked them in water and added some herbs. Maybe a cube or two of veggie bouillon and a bay leaf. Everyone here likes soup night because that means I have to make bread too.

Have a great day everyone. We are planning on it!

Friday April 07

I am so stressed out! Disco had to have surgery but her attitude totally changed after. She went from being a happy go lucky girl to a raging maniac (I am calling her Disgruntled Disco). She got totally aggressive and we had to separate her from the family (other animals included). I spent many nights crying over this. Native Remedies offers Pet Alive products (homeopathic) and one was for aggression. I ordered it and in two days I see a big difference! Whew....

Well, today after we got back from the vet I let Bobeye and Sassy out in the yard and went in for a minute. We heard Sassy barking and barking...it was a funny bark. We ran outside and Bobeye was having a seizure! She was trying to walk but it looked like her feet were trapped in glue. I carried her inside and ended up on the floor with her, holding her until it passed. That took ten minutes, some of the longest minutes of my life. Her gums went pale. After the seizure she was confused and dazed but tried to lick my tears and tried to wag her tail. Chris had left for a work meeting earlier so I ran inside to put all the other animals in my bedroom, I wanted Bob to be alone. On the way back outside I managed to fall down the basement stairs. It was painful, but I knew Bobeye needed me more than the pain did. I scooped her up (all 80 pounds of her) and took her to the sofa. I ran and got a wet cold washcloth and started wiping her all over. Cage was watching and disturbed by my mood. Bob started wagging her tail and giving kisses. I felt relief and so did Cage. He went up to Bobeye and made the 'kiss' noise, she bent down and softly gave him a kiss. I was an emotional madwoman at this point, but we all ended up laughing :) Cage was so delighted with Bobeye, out of all the animals I think he likes her the best.

When I was talking on the phone to the vet (I use three vets and the one I was talking to this time had never met Bob) and she wanted to know her history. I could give her history for the last two years, but before that is a mystery. Thinking of how we got Bob made me sad again. By this time I was so sore from falling down the stairs I couldn't walk. What a day!

Cage drank from a straw today! He drank my grape juice (he drank it all, lol) and asked for more. I was so proud of him!!! Tomorrow I plan on getting him a no spill cup with a straw.

Today was my Mothers Birthday. Jake made her a card. He wrote "Happy Birthday Love Jake". Sometimes it amazes me to see my little guy grow. Granted we had to spell every word but love and Jacob, but it was still awesome. He also drew some balloons with smiley faces on them. We picked some flowers and put them in an antique vase, it was beautiful. My Mom does not like material gifts, she says she has too much stuff. She had a busy day and I had a busy day so we decided to put her 'party' on hold. When we get together next week I am going to give her the real present, a rescue farm animal I adopted in her name. I don't know how she will feel about it, but I think in time she will really appreciate it. I am having the picture of the animal framed and put in her office (she is the boss so everyone will see it).

Cage is sleeping soundly right now. Jake is spending the night with my Mom. Chris is sleeping too. I am trying to figure out how I will hobble to bed and when I get there where will I fit? There are four dogs and two cats with him right now.

Well I ordered two cakes for Cages birthday from Moo Cluck Corporation. Then today I ordered two cans of vegan whipped cream from Pangaea (yes, its new...whipped soy cream in a can...I can't wait!!!). In less than two weeks he will be one year old. I just can't believe it. Time is flying by.

I am so thankful everyday for what I have. What do I have? Two beautiful children, a wonderful husband, wonderful animals to share my life with, a roof over my head, money to pay my bills, and enough energy to be a good activist.

Speaking of activism... we are going to be leafleting outside local stores that have rabbits for sale for Easter. One store in town has them for $10. This is a great time to direct people to rescues that will virtually adopt a bunny to them complete with picture updates, letters, certificate of virtual adoption or a wildlife fund that will let you virtually adopt a wild bunny. If you have some spare time PLEASE leaflet for the rabbits this week. It will make the difference between life and death for thousands of bunnies.

What is great about leafleting with children? No one can refuse a leaflet from an adorable child. Jake has never got bored leafleting either. He can run around and pass out information to everyone he sees. Cage is pretty good too, he will sit in his stroller or on my hip and take in everything around him. It really is a great family activity. Teaches the children responsibility, to have the courage to stand up for what they believe in, showing them that it is great to stand up for what you believe in, and actually teaches them social skills.

When not to take children? If you think you will get arrested, or that things could get out of hand. Get a babysitter or don't go. If you decide not to go make up for it by writing letters the whole time of the protest or action, plus the driving time it would take you to and from. That's what I do ;)

Take Care All

Ps. Bobeye and Disco are both doing very well tonight

April 2

Today was a positive day. I take leaflets with me everywhere I go. You never know where and who, but every time I go out I get several good opportunities. Well.... I received a phone call today.

"You handed me a 'Even if you like meat' and 'why vegan' leaflet. I took them home and put them on the table to try to forget about them. I did end up reading them and I got a little bit mortified. Last night, the festival I was working at had food for sale. I ordered a half a chicken, ripped the leg off, took a bite and the only thing I could think of was the leaflets you gave me. Now I can't get that nasty taste out of my mouth!"

YAY!!!

So, I am going to take her to the health food store with me to teach her about a delicious and cruelty free lifestyle. Her grown daughter also wants more information on a vegan diet.

These leaflets are fantastic. I ordered them from Vegan Outreach. They came fast and my only complaint about their leaflets is that they are just too easy to pass out :)

Jacob is a big help with this kind of work. If someone does not want to take a leaflet from me they will always take one from him. To some people what I am about to say may sound silly but leafleting really can change peoples lives. Jacob is a fantastic asset to the AR movement. He is not afraid to tell people that eating animals is unhealthy, wrong (for so many different reasons), and welcomes debate. I am a very proud and glowing mother.

Cage will be the same way.

Jacob got this way simply by being a nosey kid and listening in on my conversations. When he got old enough to ask questions I never sugar coated the answers. He is proud to be vegan. All the creatures he makes at school are vegan, including the recent Tyrannosaurus Rex (yep, I probably did not even come close to spelling that properly).

Yesterday at the store I bought some things for Dusty (the bunny who lives with us). The woman at the checkout asked if he had a bunny. Jake was eager to reply and told her all about Dusty. The woman said she always had bunnies as a kid, they raised them as pets and then ate them. She told stories about "eating snowball and fluffy". Jake was shocked (you could see it in his eyes) but calmly asked her "why". She said they tasted good, that's why. Jake told her meat gives you a bad habit and what gives you the right to harm a living being. She looked at me and said I bet you are vegetarians. I went on to tell her how cows can hold grudges, play with toys, wag their tails when they are happy to see you, and give kisses like a dog does. I also left her with some leaflets (yeah, she was a bit blown away). I hope I hear from her.

I have leaflets from SHAC and Vegan Outreach right now. I am running dangerously low, so I will be ordering some more soon. I also need to get some more stickers. It can be fun to go into a grocery store and see how many products you can sticker (I always hit the P&G products). Put them on the bottom of the product so they will not be noticed right away, after all you don't want the store pulling off all your hard work (that does not work with milk unfortunately).

Right now Cage is sleeping next to my bed, in his bed. Yesterday I talked about extended nursing and realized that I might have come off a bit bitchy. I didn't mean it. If you choose not to nurse that is your decision. If you choose not to extend your nursing time that is your choice. They are all personal choices that every woman needs to make for herself. The studies show great benefits of breast feeding, but I know very smart, great people that were never breast fed too. PLEASE though, if you choose not to breast feed use a organic soy based formula.

Cage had a great day today. If I sing to him he dances. I love it! So I spent all his waking hours singing to him. Jake got to go to the movies with my Mother. He was only gone a few hours, but he had a great time. She is very good to him.

In 18 days Cage will be one year. I am planning on buying a cake from Moo Cluck. I was going to make it, but I would like to give them a try. I have heard wonderful things about them and this would be easier ;) I don't know exactly what we are going to do for him, but I am going to let him feed himself cake (his first sweet ever).

I just can't believe my little guy is going to be a year. Time just flies!

Well, I have about 25 snail mail letters to get out, so I better be going. More soon, including the pictures I keep forgetting to upload.

April 1, 2006

Well I thought about doing an April Fools joke...something along the line of we decided to go into cattle farming or dog breeding, but as silly as the thought of my family breeding or farming 'food' animals I just can't find humor in it. Maybe I am in a mood or a funk, but I just can't see the laugh at their expense.

When I lived at home with the parents (eons ago) I used to wake up in the middle of the night and plastic wrap the toilet seat in my parents bedroom, put toothpaste on their hair brush, and when I got older I used to tell them I was pregnant by the plumber or someone like that. Hehehe, my Dad would come in every year screaming at me that he just peed all over and it wasn't funny, but he was who gave me the idea. This started when we bought the house in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. We still had our apartment in New York City, we were going back and forth and I was a little tense about leaving the city. My Dad, to ease my anxiety told me stories of him being the ultimate prankster. To this day I still use his tactics (sometimes they come in very handy for Animal Rights purposes).

I bought a disco lamp today. It was one of the last things he ever bought Jacob. Unfortunately, the original broke. I swore whenever I saw the exact same one I would buy it regardless of price. Well, it was on sale for cheap (yay).

Jake doesn't remember my Dad. He was dead before Jake was a year old. My Dad was who taught me compassion for animals. When we moved to Indiana everyone around was dumping off animals at our door. I remember my Dad coming home with a new cat once. She was very wet and confused. He had watched someone throwing a lumpy bag into a lake (might have been river). He asked what was going on, found out that there was a Mother cat and her litter in the bag with some rocks. Dad couldn't save the kittens but he got the cat in time. He also had bought horses from farmers that were mistreating them and gave them happiness the rest of their lives. If he saw a situation he could reverse he did. If there was a situation he couldn't reverse immediately he would do all he could (and he could be a real pain in the ass, had lots of adverse 'tactics') and he usually got his way. He would never call himself an activist, he said he was a business man on a mission.

So this April Fools Day I would like to dedicate to my Dad. He loved to make people and animals happy. No, he was not even vegetarian but you can learn a lot from all types of people as long as you do not shut them out. He enjoyed loads of vegetarian foods, and I believe he was evolving.

I miss you Dad. I can't believe you will be gone 5 years in a few days. If you were alive I would still be sneaking into your house to plastic the toilet seat, and I am sure you would have been waiting to let the air out of my tires :)

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Needless to say I have been a bit depressed. I had my Birthday on March 3...the big 29!!! That is an anxiety attack all in its own. I am one year away from 30! 30 is old!!! (LOL, my closest girlfriend is almost 60.) The day went ok. I got a big vegan cake from Chris, Jake, and Cage. I got a four hour nap (best thing ever!). Originally I had asked for money to give away to charity (all animal related), but my Mom said she was going to buy us a hotel room in Chicago. I was stuck with the task of picking out the room, which was fine. Well, last minute she decided to give me the money and I just cannot spend it on a hotel knowing that it could be doing a lot more good with a great animal related charity. So we stayed home, and I enjoyed it.

There is this horrible flu/cold bug floating around. Jake brought it home from school and gave it to my Mom. Jake felt fine but then my Mom gave it back to him. He was down for a week, and while he had it he passed it on to Chris. Chris was down for a week and he passed it on to me, I passed it on to Cage, Cage passed it back to Jake and that's where we are right now. I know there is an assumption that vegans don't get sick....well we do but from what I can tell it is much lighter than non vegans. The duration is shorter, the illness is not so harsh, and we recover nicely. Yes, this particular one was nasty, and we were feeling yucky, but the non vegans were in to see the Doctor (we were not, it was yucky feeling but not that bad) and some were in the Hospital. All were on antibiotics, we were not. We definitely have the advantage.

Well, Cage has 4 new teeth for a grand total of 8. Teething is rough for him, but it will all be over soon. He likes to show off his new teeth by biting and chewing on everything...he is like ten puppies rolled into one. Its so funny how he has to bite everything. I did buy a shopping cart protector...I don't like him biting public things.

Cage is growing in leaps and bounds! He is a little parrot mimicking every sound and action. He says 'hi', 'bye bye', 'bless you', 'bite', 'blot', 'kitty', 'mom', and a few other things. Granted, we can understand but the untrained ear may not (well Mom is 100% understandable).

He eats and eats and eats. Broccoli is his new favorite. He loves it when I make sweet green smoothies. He will dance when the blender is going and motion towards it until he gets some. He is eating everything we are, which is very easy.

I am still nursing him. In fact, that is how he gets most of his food, Yes, he is going to be a year soon and no, I do not plan on stopping. I thought about it...who recommends stopping nursing at a year? The people with a vested interest in his milk (non human) consumption. I was told by a MD that weaning at a year promotes independence. Well, studies have shown that is not true...but the opposite. Most other countries also do not stop nursing at a year, they continue for at least another year, some up to two additional years. Well, Jake told me when it was time to quit before and I am going to take the same cues from Cage. I am already catching flack from family and friends but I really don't care. I have made up my mind and I am sticking to my guns (and if you don't quit pestering me I am going to shoot you with my guns too...you know who you are). I just don't understand why people look down upon it. It is a totally natural thing! Yes, there is overwhelming support for my choices, but for every bunch there is a bad apple.

Well, something amazing happened. After 4 years my search is complete. I found a naturopath/homeopath/alternative medicine/MD (doctor)!!!!! And I like her!!!!!!! This is a huge accomplishment in this area. I saw a card posted at the bulletin board of my health food store, called, interviewed her staff, met her, and decided she was perfect! No more battling Doctors pushing pharmaceuticals! No more battling Doctors pushing vaccinations! No more explaining my diet! This Doctor is a vegan too! I had a moment when I realized how very perfect for us she was, where I felt the rest of the room go dark, a spotlight form over her, and angelic music played (yeah, I am feeling corny tonight). Seriously, she was head of emergency medicine at a large city hospital for ten years. She was sick and tired of knowing that people were ill and only covering up their illnesses with pharmaceuticals, then giving more pharmaceuticals to cover up the side effects , repeating that over and over. So she decided to open her own practice and offer very reasonable prices. We talked for three hours my first appointment. I had a lot of questions, she had great answers. She has suggested a raw vegan diet for us and we are thinking about transitioning. (Well, I figured about 80% to 90% raw.) Are you a raw food vegan? Email me, I would like to talk to you about it.

Well I am off for the night. I know I didn't do all the catching up I would have liked too, but I feel better just typing this out. I will blog again soon, I have some awesome photos to share and some funny stories.