Posts Tagged ‘holidays’

Cold cold cold

January 19, 2009

This is me these days:

Very cold and a bit resentful. The former because the house just won’t heat up properly, and I wear many layers of clothes, hats, and jackets to preserve my body heat. The latter because we’re paying what I’m guessing is more than £200 per month just to run the boiler and I feel that for that money I should be luxuriating in nothing but camisole tops should I choose to. So, due to cold, giving all our money to Scottish gas, and feeling generally lethargic, we haven’t been up to terribly much aside from the odd virus. Remember that song, ‘If we make it through December..’? Yeah, that month for me would be January. At least next month I can eat lots of chocolate and pester James for cheery flowers.

We’re fully back into homeschooling at least. Keeping the kids’ brains busy makes me feel less bad about not going hardly anywhere. They’re about to finish a math text which makes me feel vaguely accomplished. Though to be fair, we’re impatient learners and will have techically done less than 1/4 of the prescribed work as we have no desire to do busy work once a concept is mastered. The fact that I always performed worse in classes that required a lot of pointless scribbling is probably biasing my teaching methods, but we work with what we have..

When we’re not learning, we are doing crafts, building Lego and playing Wii. Oh yes, I got a Wii and Wii Fit for Christmas. You can guess who the only person still without a Wii Fit profile is :P. I’ll get around to it just a soon a I can remove a few layers of clothing without risking frostbite.

Some few pictures from the last month:

A rather badly taken photo of our Christmas spoils. ‘Spoil’ is a fairly appropriate word in this case, as the kids managed to end up with even more this year than usual. I think James wins as gift-giver this year with the boots he bought for me. He had noticed that I had ordered some boots on clearance only to have the order cancelled as they had run out of stock. Seeing that I was bummed out, he then went to Glasgow a few weeks later and managed to track down a pair for me–in the right size, in the right color! It was on this trip that he also managed to snag the Wii stuff. I was so dead impressed, particularly as his normal shopping strategy involves me having to kick him out of the house on Christmas Eve with the bank card.

I did manage to finish his quilt in time for Christmas, the piecing and binding hastily sewn up while he was away on business. The back is seriously amateurish, and the actual quilting was minimal. Fortunately, I had bought a high quality wadding which tolerated my half-assedness well, at least where the quilting was concerned. Technically, this is my first quilt that had a proper wadding and backing, and I found it enormously frustrating. The cotton and the wadding stuck to each other so much that trying to align and smooth them required almost more patience than I could muster. I was sure I must have been missing some key insider tips on making the whole experience zen-filled. Ah well. Also, you might notice the quilt is square rather than a standard bed size. I could pretend that I just like it that way, but the truth is that I screwed up a couple rows of cats and couldn’t bear the thought of picking out all those stitches. Fat quarter quilts are great, so long as you don’t screw up any of your pieces. Anyway, James likes it, or at least is wise enough to say as much. I DO like the cat motif. It’s hard to see, but the fabrics are all very beautiful, and have an asian theme. He picked them himself, actually! His Christmas sweater is almost finished, the knitting on the second arm due to be finished today.


This is one of the cuter advent calendars I’ve seen. James’ mom Anne sent it, and the kids really liked putting it together every day. They even hid little surprises in most of them and made up a game for us to play, which we finally got around to doing the other day. Very sweet.


Oh oh, Mo got me a gorgeous stack of fat quarters for Christmas. We seem to have a decent system–she sends me fabric that is so hard to get here (in person anyway) and I send her British yarn. Her birthday is coming up, and I’m having a terrible time trying to decide what to get. I want to get her loads and loads is the problem because I adore spoiling her, even more so now that she’s about to have her baby.

The cats have been up to the usual naughtiness.


I thought I was very clever repurposing a birdfeed holder for cat food. I forgot to consider the fact that birds aren’t capable of lifting lids of that size. It is now weighted with a jug of juice. I would love to have an immaculately styled home, but it’s precluded by my need to have the house strewn with McGyver-esque naughty cat solutions. The downstairs toilet is the absolute worst. I have, in this tiny room, two cat litter boxes; one open and another huge covered one. I also have to have a big empty plastic bin next to the toilet. Why?? Because Mittens prefers to urinate on bare floor. I suppose I should be grateful that he will at least use the bin, but sheesh. What really gets me is that if he sees that he has peed in the box and no one has gotten around to mopping it up yet, he will suddenly deign to use a litter box. Argh!


Mittens has extreme food tracking skills. We rarely get cat food in the Tesco order (grocery home delivery–a godsend, even if I do hate Tesco), and yet on the recent occasion that I did, he zeroed in on the bag, which was wrapped in another bag, neither of which was leaky, and prompty tore into it. Here James is extracting the kitten from the bag. Being on a diet must trigger some latent desperating hunting skills, or something. Poor fattypuss.


I found the kids these excellent super-challenging dot-to-dot books that are pretty addictive. Mittens even likes to give them a go..


Representative of who is in control of this household.

The kids were invited to a little Build-a-Bear party, which was very cute, have to say.


Funny, it was the adults who thought this part looked a bit dodgy. Growing up twists the mind..


Nyssa went for a typical cat-in-pink-dress sort of thing. Joseph chose a bear and dressed it in slippers, an army helmet, stuck a wee cat to its arm, and gave it a little backpack stuffed with another tiny animal. Hehe. Oh, also Grandpa Mike and Grandma Mel should note that I was serious when I said that Joseph wears his new hat everywhere! 🙂


Lovely robin, very grateful for his food (better be–I buy him premium stuff) and look at how tubby he is, even though it’s midwinter! ❤

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Run-up to Christmas ’08

December 24, 2008


Looks like our heroes are SOL.


A Christmas ornament box *shrug* That’s my seester and me in the photo.


If there’s one thing keeping community halls open in this country it’s the need of the British person (apparently) to hold fundraising events. These events have led to the evolution of a number of games that one must pay to play. We went to a village Christmas Fayre and came out with what are, I have to say, the worst Tombola prizes ever. The chocolate buttons would have been a winner, but for the fact that the box had obviously been opened already and hastily taped shut again.. I’m not sure what’s worse, the Miller beer Joseph won, or the scary finger puppet.


The household naughties in a moment of cute repose.


Nyny’s first choir concert! Look at her stance and her gaping mouth–she’s a natural! 🙂


My pear cheese! It’s got pear schnapps in it or something..I dunno, I saw it in a deli and just needed it!


This we did not need–a pork liver jelly. Afficionados of American 60’s-style Jello side dishes should take heart; their British cousins are keeping the beastly tradition alive and well.


The annual gingerbread day–this is the girls’ cake.


The boys’–I like the snow drifts. Also like Joseph’s bug cookies.


Me screwing up with the camera..looks sorta trippy.


Our Christmas tree (dur)


Owls are way better than angels. Besides, I stuck my swarovski (love) star on the leader.


Joseph appropriated the mantle to display the contents of his Lego advent calendar. I gave up trying to control the decor of the room not long thereafter–to be fair, Joseph has at least as much flair for that sort of thing as I do. He made a very nice little centrepiece with tree clippings and a little bird ornament.


Ha! Caught with a corm! If I haven’t said, we call those packing corn-based pellets ‘corms’..because we’re LOL-idiots. Mittens has been put on a diet and so has taken to inspecting our many packages for these things. He hoards them and snacks on them when he wants food. He also rips open bags of the corn-based cat litter when particularly desperate..poor fattypuss.


Look what we found in a junk shop in Perth! I’m a tacky SOB, so rather than paying the 6 quid to own a bit of my heritage, I just took a picture.


But we did buy these! James was dead impressed to find what he calls my new ‘titchy boots.’ They’re just like his army boots, but, er, titchy! 🙂


Trippy photo of the kids while we’re waiting for the panto to start. We saw The Snow Queen this year.


Merry Christmas from Dynarod–a big hole into the sewage system in the yard, which they won’t likely get to filling in until the new year. 😛


Joseph, defying the homeschooler stereotype of the anti-videogame household. Xbox Lego games are his primary holiday occupation (apart from actual Lego).


Nyssa, performing her primary occupation–devouring books.


Christmas cookie-making, as overseen by Mitu. The messy kitchen would be his fault. *cough*

Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas!

Some peechers..

December 14, 2008

..that didn’t fit in thematically with other photos.


Nyssa and Joseph looking rather gorgeous at Ben and Meg’s wedding.


I need to dig out the rest of the wedding photos. There are some funny ones that document exactly how quickly it was that Nyssa managed to make herself unkempt once she was allowed to.


I bought the little heat pad for me..


Roald Dahl and wine, excellent.


She’s looking much too mature these days, if you ask me.


That’s a bit more like it.


Pumpkin spice cookies with chopped chocolate and galaxy buttons. I dunno, they were very nice.


I post this picture of a tired me to show mom my hat and that I still wear Grandma’s coat.


A most surprising thing–I adore scones with clotted cream. There is nothing attractive at all about the words ‘clotted cream’ but the stuff is gorgeous.


Joseph turned 10 this year. He was quite adamant that we get these candles when he saw them in the shop. Poor kid..

Halloween–Scotland Style

November 2, 2008

This year we decided to fully participate in Halloween. When we lived in a downtown area, it didn’t really make sense to. Now that we’re in a village, with streets with houses with front doors and porch lights, I thought we’d finally have our first British trick-or-treat.

Difference one: I don’t know how things have progressed in the States, but out here in the Scottish sticks, you’re not necessarily out of luck if you need huge amounts of groceries and don’t have a car. What this means is that we had our Halloween pumpkins delivered, which obviously took away a key aspect of the activity back home–getting to pick them ourselves. No matter, they worked out well enough. Here James is helping the kids plan their designs. That is, he’s trying to explain why perhaps carving a Darth Maul face is a bit ambitious for the amount of energy he had that evening.. I’m glad he was willing to do it, because I still had to sew up a rudimentary costume so Joseph could dress up as the aforementioned Sith.


Even in trying to be scary, Nyssa is incapable of not being cute.


You wouldn’t expect it, but Joseph will play to a camera..

On Halloween the kids were hopping around all day waiting to get dressed and go out. I was still fairly nervous about going, partially convinced that I had heard wrong and people would open their doors to us with utter bewilderment. The plan was to wait until well after sundown, but what I was actually waiting for was for some kids to come to my door first. Joseph pointed out the obvious logical flaw there–what if everyone does the same?? I told him I was fairly certain that no one else would be as out-of-the-know and neurotic as his dear mother. He wasn’t terribly impressed, but at about 6:30 some kids turned up and that was that.


Darth Joseph.


Cute devil fairy? I dunno, it was the best I could find on ebay at the last minute.

So off we went. I was unsure which houses to knock at, so I went with the old standby of only going for houses with porch lights on. This is a bit problematic, as most houses don’t actually have porches, but we made do. Some houses in the village were actually quite decked out in Halloween decorations. And at most houses the kids were invited in by older women who insisted that it was too cold the kids to be mingling about outside. That of course would be huge difference number two. I was strictly instructed as a child to never step over the threshold. Child molesters surely laid in wait if I did. At one house, there were some 20-somethings that had decorated, from what I could tell, their entire house and asked kids in to have a cookie and gave them each a party bag full of treats. I have to assume that this doesn’t happen in larger towns, particularly the unwrapped baked goods and fresh fruit we received (also huge no-nos from childhood–apples can contain razor blades, don’t ya know!).

I had made sure the kids had memorized a couple jokes because I had heard that a remnant from the old Scottish tradition of guising was that some folks expected kids to do some sort of trick–song, dance, joke, whatever. It’s a good thing I did, because that indeed was the norm. My assumption growing up was that trick or treat meant give me a treat from that big WalMart bag of candy or I’ll play a trick on you. This of course was bolstered by that lovely ‘trick or treat, smell my feet..’ rhyme that we all enjoyed so much. The kids’ small efforts were inordinately rewarded, I have to say. Between them, from not more than 15 houses or so, they had earned in excess of 8 pounds. There were also many full-sized candy bars in their stash.


Here they are with some of their spoils.

It was sort of amusing to run into other trick-or-treaters. I did notice that there were no fairies, Elvises, clowns, etc. Everyone was dressed ghoulishly, which I suppose makes some historical sense. I mean, a Tinkerbell wasn’t likely to scare anyone into giving her anything. Since all these kids go to school together, they all wondered, quite loudly have to say, who the heck Nyssa and Joseph were. One surmised that they were those American homeschooled kids he met once at the park, but that was quickly dismissed by his friend. Hehe.

The trick-or-treaters to my house were more confusing than anything. I certainly wasn’t going to make them tell me a joke. The majority of them were teenagers, I noticed. Back home that tends to get dirty looks. At one point I opened the door to a dozen or so teenage boys with horror masks on, standing around with their hands in their pockets. I looked at them, they looked at me. I finally asked them if they might like some candy. Some shuffled forward, some refused, saying that they were good guisers. One asked if I wanted to hear a joke. “Go on then,” I said. His joke: What comes out of your nose at 250 mph? A Lamborgreenie. *sigh* Another kid offered one: Why do you look down the toilet? To see poo. “Wow, that’s crap. Get it?!!” I replied. He just looked confused. Teenagers, eh? Most of the rest were less awkward, and we actually managed to rid ourselves of a big colander full of treats. I was quite impressed, and more than that I know what to expect for next year. I also don’t need to worry myself over the fact that the kids have missed 4 years or so of trick-or-treating–if we stay in this country they’ll be able to go out guising until they leave for university, apparently. 😛

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Having gotten some sleep..

October 15, 2008

..morning deliveries notwithstanding..Ugh. Here are pictures from Nyssa’s birthday!


Nyssa grinning in anticipation of trying her bike.


James is good at this. 🙂


I swear, they did manage to be upright at times.


Victory strut.


Woohoo!


Birthday lunch–PBJ on white and mac and cheese!


Looks cute enough, but it was a Tesco cake. British supermarket cakes are dry as sawdust. I’ve done this a few times. Even M&S is sub-par. It’s not even like I expect the fantastic shortening-laden creations from back home. After a few years of break from making those insane theme cakes it seems I’ll have to get back in the kitchen, so to speak.


Birthday battle. Battle is a recurring theme in my house 😛

It appears I didn’t really take many photos of her birthday. In a way that’s a good thing–it means things were low key. We’ve all been after that lately.

A few other things..


Harvesting potatoes at the farm yesterday. Kids did good, even with the midgies biting. I’m so itchy today! On the recommendation of Kosmick, Skin So Soft is in the mail!


Tubby cat tummy..in a tub.


James wasn’t home last night, so I made a classic–tuna casserole. Nyssa was less than impressed. Joseph it ate it all up. I ate the cheesy topping :P.


Mittens posing with my new yarn. I ordered some Christmas crafty presents for Nyssa and Mirasol’s (fair trade!) baby alpaca yarn was deeply discounted. I couldn’t resist, as Grandma R had indicated that it was that sort of fibre that made James’ scarf she made so lovely. I have just a skein of each, so they will probably end up as fingerless mittens or something.**Edit..as it turns out, Miski is baby llama. How funny that I didn’t notice *boggle*

Poor Nyssa. I think she’s getting sick. The other day she finally decided what to get with her Amazon money (thank you Grandma MK!) and it came today, but she can’t dredge up the energy to be excited and complains of feeling depressed. A combination of missing James and not feeling well, I think. I’ve got a killer headache myself. Why am I sitting at the computer then? The sunshine is warming this spot, and I’ve got a sunsoaked kitty next to me.

Nyssa’s new room, random things

September 22, 2008

The situation of our house is a bit odd. Our house faces sideways, with a long pie-shaped garden to the front. We look out directly onto the Lomond Hills ahead, and to the right is farmland. At the bottom of the garden is park area with a burn (stream). This is the view when you walk back up the hill a bit and look off to the right.

Looking down at the stream. Our house would be sorta behind that. There’s quite a lot of water at the moment, no doubt from earlier flooding still draining into the Eden.

I did a lot of present wrapping this week. This is Mitu inspecting Nyssa’s birthday present haul from Mum and Dad and Joseph. Dad was so excited for her to have the Lego Hospital (the purple one) that that one’s already been opened, 7 or so days short of her bithday. Sillies.

Apparently I decided that buttons are excellent wrapping accessories. I do love them, I have to admit..

Also wrapped some things to send to the States, because Cody’s had his baby girl, aww. Hers is on the left–I’m not one to stick to baby wrapping paper convention, as you can see. Big brother also needed a present, I decided. Cody also needed a copy of The Twits in Scots. Hilarity!

I’ve discovered the merits of super glue as a lazy-ass alternative to proper measuring and sewing. This is a pencil box I made for Nyssa by glueing fabric onto a microwave popcorn box. Hehe.

Nyssa’s room was basically a box room for the first few months we’ve been in the house. I decided to completely gut it out and decorate it in her chosen style before she came home from her trip with the grandparents. Most cooperatively, Elvis was dressed in Hawaiian garb on the September calendar page.

Another button-fabric-super glue creation. I love the fabric. Nyssa’s already using it, which makes me happy.

If you couldn’t guess the theme already, here’s a big smack of tiki tiki. The Ikea shell light looks sort of insanely lit, not sure why. The butterfly lights are quite nice, actually. I need to stop using my phone’s camera. I was fairly proud of deconstructing the patio parasol and wrestling it back into the required 1/4 of its original size. The floor to ceiling curtains and very, er, bold.

More of that nifty fabric. Bonus hula bear.

This is by her door, so when she comes and goes she can be reminded of what a pretty girl she is. 🙂

This is quite pathetically sad. The blue and yellow smudge of feathers is from a blue tit flying at full tilt into my window this afternoon. I jumped up and saw the little guy in a pile of wings on the grass, shaking his head as though he had those cartoon stars circling above it. I ran outside to hopefully save him from a neighborhood cat-related death, but he had already flown away. Poor stoopy little thing, I can’t imagine the headache he must have.

Lessons of the Holiday Season ’07

January 6, 2008

It’s sleeting down here, and freezing cold. The heating system is being beastly and only selectively heating rooms, and I’m getting a virus as well, so I’m feeling a bit hibernatory (excellent non-word) and reflective. Let us explore what I’ve learned this holiday…

1. I’m not bound to have energy, no matter where I spend Christmas.

2. No matter that I spend hours simmering down red cabbage, beets, and red onions with gorgeous balsamic vinegar–no one will touch the shit.

3. Regardless of the recipe, brussel sprouts defy me.

4. It is not the course of wisdom to use a new ‘magic fudge’ recipe, particularly when one is in the UK and marshmallow fluff is hard to come by.

5. There is an inverse relationship between the number of candles in the house and how likely adult males are to behave around them.

6. Grandmas are the best. Grandma M got me american christmas candies and a cozy scarf, Grandma Ml got me money to spend on Amazon, Grandma R got me Godiva and Sour Patch Kids, and Grandma A got me an excellent pile of books.

7. Buy surplus cat food to get you through that extra Scottish bank holiday. What is the purpose of Jan 2nd being a holiday anyway? Particularly since all it means is that the banks and Tesco are closed. Honestly.

8. The husband will not read your wishlist, no matter what form you submit it in. You will have to shove him out the door with the bank card on the last possible shopping day.

9. The most ingenious methods of secretly labelling Christmas presents will be foiled by small girls stealing the implements and the back-up code being forgotten. My efforts will yield me a Christmas Day of people opening the wrong presents and James’ derisive laughter.

10. DIY Christmas crackers continue to defeat me.

11. It is still *excellent* to be in the right country to watch the Christmas Day Doctor Who.

12. It is perhaps not so excellent to be in the right country for young men who adore old war movies.

13. Related to #12 I suspect, James’ use of an emphatic ‘brilliant!’ and drinking of old man drinks increase several-fold over the holidays.

14. The kids will have several meltdowns in proportion to the amount of new crap they have to find homes in their bedroom for.

15. Related to #14, Joseph is seriously deserving of his own room.

16. While the holidays extend only to the 2nd the mess, the pervasive headache, the bits of decorations, the surplus cheese, and the inability to get back on routine will endure until..well, it’s now the 6th and I really hope we don’t have any surprise visitors…unless they’d be willing to wear a blindfold and eat their weight in cheese toasties.

This post has taken about 4 days to finish. In the meantime, I had the virus and have mostly recovered. James is gone tonight, and the kids had the notion of eating nachos for dinner and watching Nacho Libre. I have to say…that’s a brilliant idea.

Hope you are all surviving the weather and the winter travel!

Gee, thanks Santa

December 31, 2007

Some recent things..


Our lurvely container-grown fraser fir. Yes, that’s a snowy owl in lieu of an angel. He had since been repositioned to look less in-your-face. At the moment, the tree is sitting bare downstairs, making my entry look rather gorgeous. I’m fond of evergreens, if that wasn’t apparent.


The curtain call of the kids’ performance of The Sacred Stone, a panto-style play that was created by the participants. The kids doing the hand jive to Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ was a surprise ending, must say :).


The gingerbread house party was at our place, and we successfully built them upright. I mean, as opposed to the ground-zero looking creations of the year before.


A fair representation of everyone after xmas dinner.


I might have mentioned that this was the first Christmas in I don’t know how many years that we were at home and I did all the cooking. I thought I managed fairly well. And then last night I was looking at my hair for noticeable roots and found the above–my first grey hair. Nice one, St. Nick, cheers.

A couple weeks ago we went to the local panto, which was actually quite good. A couple noticeable differences between this one and the ones in Oxford though. For starters, I don’t recall herds of boy scouts running amok through the theatre down south. They also made a huge deal of the accent here..a bit over the top I suspect, i.e. I’ve never actually heard anyone in real life say ‘coupon’ instead of face. The best though was this tiny child sitting in front of me in the second row. He must have been about four. In pantos, it’s traditional to boo and hiss when the baddie comes on. The little lad in front of me did not–he just flipped him off. It wasn’t a shy, quick little gesture either; he resolutely held his little middle finger right up the whole time the bad guy was on stage. His sisters giggled at him, and his mum didn’t look in his direction once the entire show. At least I think it was his mum. Equally it could have been a catatonic relation that they took to the panto in order to get her out of the ward for an evening. Could have been both. I mean if those were my kids, catatonia would seem like a good escape mechanism. I really can’t talk though. That particular evening I had not one, but two girls in my care, and I decided not to suppress Nyssa’s audience participation. You’ve heard her scream, yes? The bleached and flat-ironed teenyboppers in front of her spent a good portion of the show with their hands clapped over their ears, and I must admit I didn’t do a thing to diminish their discomfort. Rather enjoyed it actually. I’m not a nice lady anymore. Bua ha.

In news of the fantastical variety, Joseph recently declared that he believed in the tooth fairy, but not in Santa. He’s an empirical sort of lad, and he had been exchanging correspondence with the former but couldn’t remember anything remarkable from the latter. This Christmas, however, Nyssa had made some glittery oats for the reindeer and in the morning they found that the oats were all gone, save for a wee trail leading to the fireplace. This was substantial enough proof to rekindle Joseph’s faith, bless ‘im. It also helped that certain relatives labelled some awesome presents as being from the Jolly One. Of course now they don’t get credit for the gifts..for a few years anyway.

Oh yes, one last piece of wintry news. Nyssa went ice skating for the first time at a birthday party. If you know Nyssa, you can probably guess how that went. She was surly when she got back, had a sore bottom for a week, and declared that to be an activity she would never, ever repeat. Ah well.

Happy Hogmaney, everyone!!

Amazing thing..

November 8, 2007

..how much time I spend on the internets and still manage to not post pictures. Ah well. They’re sitting on my desktop anyway, queued nicely.

So. Nyssa has been having some strange and even more bizarrely predictable nighttime behavior. First, she’s been needing the bathroom *a lot* recently (we’re waiting for lab tests regarding that, actually), so she gets up once after bedtime to use the bathroom, won’t go into it. She eventually ends up in bed and a bit later will start to scream. I’ll run in to see what the matter is. She’ll invariably be sitting up, but will have stopped yelling. She’ll say strange things though. Last night it was, ‘Terrible, terrible, terrible! Pancakes!’ I lay her down and she conks right out. In the wee hours of the morning, she comes out for the bathroom again and then comes and flops on me. It’s hard for me to tell her to go to bed, because we have some weird and wonderful conversations in this late me and her time. Sort of reminds me of my dad coming home from his gigs. I’ll never forget that image actually. The crappy green carpet, Dad’s grey and black coat and beat-up cowboy hat, the smell of cigarettes and a bit of alcohol, and the hushed and husky voice of someone’s who’s been up into the wee hours of the morning. Ah. Anyway. Nyssa is mellow and slower in speech late at night. In fact one night she woke up because she was all wet. I found her in the bathroom with copious amounts of blood pouring off her face. I was shocked by the blood, but more so because of how composed she was. She commented in an offhand sort of way that she was concerned about getting her bedding stained. Bemusing little girl.

I’ve found a brilliant item to have when waiting at a train station longer than I intended. The kids were at a birthday party and got wee bottles of bubbles as favors. Apart from when they were being told off for venturing too close to the platform when chasing the bubbles, it was excellent.

People who don’t know James very well will probably be shocked to know that he is, in our vernacular, full of squee. That is, he gets all hello kitty cute at times. It’s true! You just have to involve cats somehow. For instance he is a very proud and doting father to his naughty kitten (hugantic, as Joseph says, 2-year-old cat) Mittens. He even has a painfully adorable song, the lyrics to which go: “Fishie time is here! Come and celebrate!” The singing of this is then followed by James going off into the hall with Mittens’ fish-on-a-stick toy with Mittens happily trotting along behind. The cat really is James’. He’s learned to fetch–on his own terms, but I can’t for the life of me train him to stay off the kitchen table. And he doesn’t just daintily hop up to sit, oh no. He jumps up, stomp-stomp-stomps about, knocks all the spare change and other kitty annoyances onto the floor, then nestles down in a bag of recycling. To top this off, when I come in and chide him, he looks at me like ‘what’ and somehow plants his huge rear end down to make extracting him as awkward as possible.

I finally got my invite to ravelry, woot. Sort of a myspace for yarn floozies. Check ‘er out here.

Nyssa was looking at the news and wants to warn you about this: apparently Gap hasn’t cleaned up its act.

Speaking of the Gap and its affiliate companies, I found Joseph an excellent coat in a charity shop yesterday. It’s reversible, red (awesome for Joseph), down-filled, and from the Old Navy. You find the odd and end American items second-hand here, it’s sorta funny. I have a strappy top from Banana Republic that I found in the Oxfam shop. Anyway, I paid a whole £1.25 for the coat. That’s $2.50, y’all. Yesss.

Hehe, I might have mentioned how huge of fans the kids are of High School Musical. It’s sick how the kids in this country love it. Nyss and Jos were even eyeing matching sequined tops with the HSM motif the other day. At some point I would have told the kids that someone had found a naked picture of Vanessa Anne Hudgens and put it on the internet. Femi-nazi Nyssa was appalled. Joseph said, ‘I wanna see it!!’ Nyssa was shocked, and chided him as he is her fan. He told her, ‘yeah, and if I see it I’ll be an even bigger fan!’ So so so wrong, but I could have died laughing.

Nyssa had a wee moment in the spotlight last week. We went to a schools showing of Meet the Robinsons and Nyssa was picked to radio the dude in the booth to start the film. She did a super cute job, but was a bit embarrassed about it because she was in her Halloween costume, being a home-schooled kid and having no dress code, and none of the other hundreds of kids aside from Joseph were. This year she was a little devil, and as is typical for Nyssa, the main features of her costume, i.e. horns and pitchfork, had become bothersome early in the day and were in my bag and her hair which had been spray-painted red wasn’t noticeable in the subdued light of the cinema. Nyssa needs her complexes I guess. That reminds me–for the love of wash’n’wear, do not buy the spray hair color from Boots. After drying it stained her clothes. It stained her scalp (a week later it’s still red). It stained the tub, it stained her jammies, it ruined her jacket because even after the hottest wash (or three) and the most caustic soap, the color wouldn’t completely come out.

And smoothly segueing yet again, Joseph was in the tub the other night and calls for me, sounding fairly urgent, to come to him. I find him with his hair all lathered up and a goofy grin on his face. ‘Mom look!’ he says then leans his head back sensually and running his fingers through his hair says, ‘yes yes, ohhh yes!’ I quirk an eyebrow. ‘I’m like the herbal essences commercial, get it?! Ahahahaha!’

One thing I like about homeschooling is that it halted the self-consciousness that was starting to impede their personalities. They were born whimsical, surreal creatures and I like that. Yesterday we were in Tesco, and I asked them to step aside to the seats by the window to wait for me to pay for the groceries. By the time I turned to look at them Nyssa was engrossed in a reflection of herself in the window doing a crazy hula dance. Joseph was trying to get out of an invisible box. When I walked to get them so we could leave, Joseph wordlessly opens a ‘door’ , gets into his ‘car’, motions for Nyssa and me to get in, and ‘drove’ us home. He’s an excellent chauffeur really. 🙂 And apparently he considers miming to be on his list of occupations for serious consideration. That would be very excellent.

Oh oh oh, we actually got an NHS dentist for the kids. Woww. James and I can’t get one of course, but the dude’s private rates aren’t too extortionate. This is considered better than average provision over here. Eh.

Guy Fawkes night was Monday, which as you might know is Britain’s bonfire/fireworks night. Wikipedia it if you’re interested. We were going to go to Burntisland, and indeed were on the way with our picnic dinner, when Nyssa was just feeling too unwell to be far from a bathroom, poor bean. So, we walked down a couple blocks to the waterfront in our own town and had no trouble finding a place to sit as the place was fairly deserted. It wasn’t actually bad for firework-spotting because even though they don’t have the sense to have anyone out on the forth shooting them off from a boat, lots of random folk were having their own little shows in the area. James confirmed for me a growing suspicion–you know those fireworks that back home in the States we can only get on the reservation? Yeah, apparently you can get them at the local supermarket here. Maybe they figure, ‘eh, it’s going to rain soon enough anyway.’?? So, we ate our picnic on an empty promenade, strained to see stars through the clouds, saw a few decent fireworks, and went home when we were too frozen to remain outside any longer. Then James made a fire and we played games. Pretty dorky, but for us it was a family night out on a week night. Wow! 🙂

Such a week (or three)!

September 29, 2007

Some recent photos:


People who live and shop on our street may be lucky enough to see these cute, happy little things popping out their front door.


We tried this photo about a dozen times before we managed to get all three people in the frame.


Dalkeith Country Park was amazing. It was the anti-Health and Safety. Wobbly sky walks, unfinished splintery wood, 2-story high slides..ahhh, that was a *proper* play park. And it was set in the trees!


Two lovely little maidens in the trees.


I love this photo.


I also love highland cows.


At the country park, this massive bridge was apparently a wedding gift. Is concrete not traditionally the 15th anniversary gift? 😉


This is Nyssa when I was trying to capture her Aunt Mo face on camera. Pretty good actually, hehe.


We went to an animal-themed birthday party. Nyssa was adamant that she didn’t want to dress up, but she did do an interpretation of a parrot with her normal wardrobe.


Joseph’s concession to themed dress was a dinosaur shirt.


I found this poor little child in the luggage rack and decided to keep him.


When our kind friend gives us a ride to events in the Edinburgh area, this invariably is the place we go to escape rush-hour traffic.


One big event of the week–Nyssa turned 8! This, of course, Joseph will be bemoaning until he turns nine. This incidentally is Grandma R burning herself.


It never fails to be the case that each holiday there is one small and seemly insubstantial present that the kids go head over heels for. The squeal-inducing gift this year was a Hello Kitty pez dispenser.


The other news of the week is that my son is famous! He was in no less than two papers, The Scotman and The Herald. I thought Nyssa would play to the camera, but apparently Joseph has more of an inner model. Whoulda thunk?? The other child is one of our little home ed friends. The shoot was for Historic Scotland and was done at Edinburgh Castle. Cool beans, eh?