Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Scary Bits

We went to see The Tale of Desperaux today, Bug and I.

I have a strong respect for Waldorf education, though we do not practice it ourselves. I do protect my children from a lot of media and how we watch a story together is also important to me. But, I digress. On the other side of this Waldorf pull is the fact that I have dealt with Bug in life/death situations due to the severity of his allergies and it always taken by surprise. This experience with Bug has shaped my parenting to be much more practical than most parents I run across. Movies? Drinking toilet water? Games? Swear words? Where do babies come from? These are all things I can handle and want to handle because my son dying is something that has been tangible and something I just, well, I just won't even finish this sentence...

So on the wall there were posters for a very scary movie. The posters had a mask and smoke pictured and when I saw them, I thought, "Right, how do I deal with this one?" The pictures were terrifying for me and all I wanted was an afternoon at a sweet movie with my son. Bug looked at the scary poster and only commented on the letters he knew on the poster. That's it. Then, during the movie, the things that scared him were things that surprised me. Things like the King's sadness, the princess' anger, the mouse falling... I was surprised to find that there is also a motif within the film on fear and how it is learned. Bug has not learned to fear scary nameless things. He knows in his heart that the biggest scares are the real ones, the ones that deal with the lives of your loved ones. Not the imaginary ones dreamed up on some Hollywood set.

I'm learning a lesson from my son. oooo look at the empty mask in smoke....ooooo...Really? Please, Hollywood. Please. There aren't any letter M's at all on the poster...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

candy cane

Candy canes are hard to come by, vegan or otherwise, in the UK. They're marketed as the oldworld goodie in the States, but it's not true. I found one out of the way bar that had them at the till, but that's about it.  The bar didn't have the ingredients, so....

We hung vegan candy canes sent by Nana and Bopa in AZ on the tree.  Really, really fun and easy and nice. I'm letting the kids eat them, essentially, for dinner tonight.  It makes me feel like Santa is real.  No harm, no foul should be ammended to little harm, no foul.

Friday, December 26, 2008


I love skype! Love, love, love skype. Yes, I would marry skype for those of you asking yourselves, "Do you love skype enough to marry it? har har har." We had the best Christmas. We overslept, unheard of for me on Christmas Day, and somewhat surprising for the littles.  We got up and opened presents from friends and family as they woke across the globe, skyping all the while. We saw grandparents, and aunties, and uncles and friends and puppies and kitties.  It was a good, good day. Waiting to open presents on skype also meant that our present-fest lasted allllllll day rather than the 20 minutes it usually takes.  It was just a great day.  I spent loads of time with those I loved and had little time to miss the ones that I didn't talk with or see.  Homesickness was at bay for a whole day! Yay for Skype! We are off to celebrate Post-Crimbo (Christmas in Scots) 
Boxing Day (just to see the spectacle).  xoxo 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I really, really came to love Thanksgiving this year. We've hit that magical time when Santa can squeeze through keyholes in chimney-less houses and I don't think horse sedatives could calm the Bug down. This year we also celebrated our first Thanksgiving in Scotland where no one celebrates Thanksgiving. It really is the holiday that marks us as Americans.  This foo-foo of Christmas not being as commercial over here is just unfounded. It is the commercial extravaganza that it is in the States, except with Victorian decorations and dinner parties at restaurants with crackers and paper hats.  The French have Le Pere Foutarde (sp?) who is the "Whipping Father" that rides on the back of Santa's sleigh to keep the silliness just under control as only a Whipping Father could. Otherwise, it's nutty here. American or otherwise. I find that I love Thanksgiving because even though it makes a busy time of year even busier, it also gave a large, audible pause before the Christmas dash. 

Friday, December 19, 2008


I had the best day today because I changed the G's "nappie" a la Scottyland English. It was stinky and messy mind you. Usually, my modus operandi is to change the stink-fest as quickly as possible which also includes the G squirming and worries of the yuck getting everywhere. The theory being, the less time exposed, the less risk of, well, a huge mess. But today, M was going to be late home again. We didn't have any plans. It was dark, rainy, cold, and an hour til eats-time. I was a bit mopey, "What else do I do with myself except change yuckie diapers." The internal whining and self-absorption continued as I settled down to a very smelly diaper. G was quiet and calm. Bug helped by getting the wipes and the dipes. I took my time washing her bum.  
We talked about our different body parts. 
Bug said, "You are very gentle with her bagina."  
I said,  "Yes, I am." 
He said, "You are gentle with her because that's how we take care of people."
The G sucked on her fingers and giggled as Bug kissed her cheeks. 
I don't mind messy diapers, though, please don't get me wrong. I also don't want to change ALL of her diapers and I know that the time will come soon when I want her potty-trained "yesterday." But I don't mind changing her diapers. Babies, from the moment they are born are on a slow journey of independence from their parents. These moments of complete innocence when they are close enough for me to teach care and a healthy respect for everyone's body through my actions are limited. Soon, society's vision of what a girl should be and what a boy should be will come crashing in. I had a good day because I had some time to be the parent that I want to be. I think I'll settle down to another messy diaper with care, not speed, in mind today. Provided it doesn't smell too horrible. 
G "helping me clean up" after she's dumped an entire box of cheerios on her bedroom floor.

Dancing nakey with a bagel. 

At my parents' this summer.
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008




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So, the first cheesey comment is that the very tippy top picture is of our water angel. Aw. The second is more of my standard prose. This summer we visited my cousin Parm on his family farm. THIS VISIT WAS A HUGE DEAL for Bug. We talk about it once a day and usually it involves him checking on his imaginary livestock in our backyard. The teachers at his school even thought that we did indeed rent a Scottish farm because of the vividness with which the Bug told him about the animals. So, for the school nativity, the teachers put him as the shepherd. Good choice. Bug with the seemed natural. Until they wanted him to hold a sheep and Parm does not have sheep on his farm and if he did they wouldn't be stuffed animals like the stuffed sheep he was given to hold. Would he hold a stuffed horse? No, not when he has a real live pretend horse named Daner (Paint his other real pretend horse is too old for the stage.) Would he hold a duck? Maybe, our friend Beth has ducks on her hobby farm, but they aren't stuffed either. They are real. The teachers and Bug finally negotiated with some of my help to hold a pretend-real-stuffed-highland-cow. Begrudgingly. I can't predict if Bug will be a lawyer or a farmer....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The above pic was taken by The Bug himself, on our way to the Edinburgh Aquarium. The fish are waaaaaaay tangible. But they don't recycle. Just prepare yourself when we take you on your next visit. They don't recycle. Go figure.
So, the Aquarium has an aqua tunnel that totally rocks. It's long and winding and yes, that is a 12 foot shark swimming towards my head. You can indeed sign up to feed the sharks, underwater, with scuba gear and "shark food" that is supposedly not your own tender self - for a fee.
And, in the spirit of eating, I will include my dairy-free chop and drop meal. I know loads of you have special diets, though not as severe as the Bug's requirements. So, rather than email you your requests individually, I'm just going to keep posting and you can pick and choose. You know it'll be easy and hopefully good.

1/4 cup rice per person
1/2 cup vegan broth per person
1 chickie breast per person (omit for your non-meat eaters)
1/2 lemon per person
1/2 onion per person
minced garlic to taste
2-3 carrots per person
1-2 small potatoes per person
handful of fresh tarragon chopped
other veggies see note below

Preheat oven to 400F. Mince the garlic. Quarter the onions. Quarter the lemons. Clean the carrots and cut in 1inch to 1/2 inch bits. Same for the potatoes. Get a roasting pan with lid. Put rice and broth in the pot. Put garlic in and stir around. Place chickies on top (I don't salt and pepper them because the broth here is super salty. Season according to the broth you're using.) Drop the veggies and lemon on top of the chickies. Cover the pot and cook for approximately 45 minutes. Our butcher here has very thick au naturale, grain fed, roaming you might cook more or less according to the size of the breast. (If not using breasts, cook til rice is done. When I make it vegan, about 30 minutes for the short and thin grains here labeled as "rice."Ah, the joy of the UK.) Take breasts out of pot to rest for ten minutes. Meanwhile toss the rice and veggies with tarragon and any other seasonings you prefer.

To keep the plate from looking bland, I will add things like raisins or sun-dried tomato or red peppers and corn to the roasting mix. Served with a nice bitter green salad like rocket or watercress is super delish. As is a dab of onion confit on the side.

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