Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Falling Leaves, Falling Down...

10/31/2012 - Astral Defiance & Defy Aster 31 months

On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, a super storm that ravaged the Caribbean and basically shut down most of the east coast of the United States for a couple of days, we are lucky to have no damages and no loss of electricity.  Things got pretty intense a couple days ago but now seem to be getting back to normal around here. While waiting out the storm, I had a moment to get my thoughts together and write this overdue blog. 

One minor injury occurred during my blogging hiatus. Back in September the boys were roughhousing, as per custom in this house, when Astral fell on top of (or tackled) Defy.  As they fell to the ground Astral apparently hit his front tooth on the side of Defy’s head.  He informed us that his tooth hurt and we noticed a small drop of blood on his gum-line.  I immediately took him to the dentist which incidentally was his first visit ever.  I’ve always imagined that their first visit to the dentist would be one with all of us together as a family or at least one that was scheduled.

Earlier this month the boys had a chance to visit their beloved animal friends at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary during their annual fundraiser/open house event. Despite being “a little bit scared”, Astral and Defy absolutely love being in the presence of all the animals. They talk about Malcolm the goat and Bobby the pig on almost a daily basis, and they’ve been quite excited about meeting newly rescued baby pig Isaac. They also had their first up close and personal interaction with a clown which went better than we imagined it would. The balloon animal offerings must have won DnA over because they really seemed to enjoy the whole experience. Some clowns are super creepy (even to adults), Apple Dumpling was anything but. There were tons of delicious vegan food to enjoy and a silent auction of some interesting miscellaneous items. All in all, it was a lot of fun! We also had the pleasure of meeting a sweet vegan family that recently moved to the area.  Hi to Julia, Ian and baby Leo!

These kids started talking and never skipped a beat.  They understand everything and we can pretty much have conversations with them.  It is pretty amazing to have two more people around for discussions. Their comprehension is impressive. Just now while typing this, I was talking to Lucas about needing a tissue and the next thing I knew Astral was holding up a piece of scrunched up toilet paper he had brought to me from the powder room. How cute is that? Also, they now have a stronger sense of time, which is really cool.  They get that Grandma is coming over tomorrow or yesterday we went to see Malcolm. They get before and after too. They are learning how to write their alphabet and really enjoy their daily lessons with Daddy, although they do sometimes get distracted by their silly brother.

When the boys officially turned the big 2-point-5 we retired the cloth diapers and switched to cloth training pants and “big boy” undies.  They have very few accidents now, a very important milestone, especially for those lucky parents that have been cleaning cloth diapers by hand for a couple of years. Yes, it is every bit as delightful as it sounds…

DnA are still eating really well and enjoying their green juices.  We all caught a flu-like virus over the course of a couple weeks, which was pretty disrupting. Thankfully the boys only showed symptoms for a couple of days before returning to somewhat normal, but with decreased appetites.  Since they’ve been better, it has been decided that they don’t like two staples in their diet for what seems like forever: peanut butter and their favorite multi-seed whole grain bread. Not a big deal, it happens.  Toddlers sometimes love something one day only to passionately hate it the next and fall back in love the following day, without missing a beat. They love granola, beans, salads, fresh fruits and have been obsessed with pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pancakes lately.  I think they enjoy helping to make the food almost as much as they enjoy eating it.

smashing plantain for patacones

what vegan 2.5 year olds eat: chickpea cutlet, spaghetti squash and salad

pierogies, lentils, salad
whole wheat pasta, sauce, nooch

Here’s to a Happy World Vegan Day (November 1st)! I hope you find a special way to celebrate and promote veganism…



Friday, August 31, 2012

Moving Forward...

Astral and Defy love this INVSOC card!

These little dudes love stuffing their mouths with mangos!
Astral and Defy are right on the cusp of the big 3-0! 30 months, that is. In 3 days they will be 2 ½. How did time fly by so quickly? The past 30 months have been so precious; we’ve experienced and learned so much while raising our sweet little rascals. We are happy to have shared our journey so far with readers from all around the world. It has been very important for us to represent veganism as a healthy and ethical way of living, and to show that raising children as vegans is entirely possible. We have been told by many readers that this blog has helped them out on their own journey, so we feel it is necessary to keep on posting, at least until the boys are a little older. 
DnA are natural born gymnasts. These little daredevils have perfected their forward roll, and since that wasn’t nearly amazing enough, they have now mastered the forward roll with no hands. They are basically catching air while tumbling. We need to quickly find a gymnastics class to nurture their flexibility and acrobatics in a much more padded environment. They still enjoy stretching, doing push-ups, hanging on bars, and doing pull ups. Never doubt the strength of a vegan toddler, especially one powered by kale juice!!!
As usual, the boys have been eating so well. They usually finish every single bite on their plates or in their bowls and quickly slam down all of their coconut milk and green juices/smoothies. This isn’t a food blog by any means (yes we know our photos aren’t vegan cookbook worthy), but since this is going to be a short and sweet post we’ve decided to post some photos of our simple, go-to toddler-friendly vegan meals.
 seed and raisin mix
 back to the basics: red beans and brown rice
 pasta salad
 tofu scramble, tortillas, oven potatoes
 brown rice and stir-fried veggies, tofu, kale salad
 no queso blackbean quesadilla, salsa, carrots, salad with walnuts, blue corn chips
 toddler smorgasbord: salad, salsa, lentils, blue corn chips, plantain
 veggie noodle soup with bok choy, corn, edamame
Lucas found 30 pounds of this Sulfur Shelf aka 'chicken mushroom' in a park last year.  We dehydrated it and are still enjoying this delicious find.
 Soy 'chicken' analogs have nothing on this mushroom! Look at the texture!!
This is some of the 'chicken mushroom' right before Luke harvested it! Best find EVER!
Warning: Please make sure you do serious research before foraging for mushrooms!!!!
chugging coconut milk
Art is definitely in Astral and Defy’s genes. These budding artists can draw pictures of faces, cars, etc. There's really nothing sweeter than having them draw a picture of a face while saying with a smile, "that's mommy" or "that's daddy".

We are getting settled into our new place. We had no clue how much extra (unnecessary) stuff we had accumulated after preparing for and having the boys. The movers were with us from 10am until almost 6pm on the day of the big move. I never imagined it would take more than a couple hours for them to move our stuff. Boy was I wrong. Astral and Defy behaved really well and thankfully we had helpers to keep them out of the way at the new house. They have their own playground in the backyard and a great playroom that has kept them entertained over the past few weeks as we try to figure out our new routine. At first they asked about their old house, but now they tell us that they love the new place. They still ask about old friends and we tell them we will visit soon, since we only moved 35 minutes away. We are relieved that they are adjusting so well to their new environment.
 plotting and scheming 

Having a sizable yard is something new for all of us, and we have already put it to good use. Star and Sunny love sunbathing for unlimited amounts of time and, aside from the playground, the boys enjoy playing in the dirt and observing all their insect friends (there are some amazing and huge butterflies here). Daddy is already composting away and planning his garden that will go along well with the (now berry-less) blackberry bushes that are already here. Hopefully by this time next year we'll have copious amounts of home-grown kale and other organic goodies! Until then, at least we can pick pears from our neighbors' tree to our hearts' content...

they requested "little vases" to make arrangements
 all photos are of Astral Defiance and Defy Aster at 29 months old
For those interested in getting in touch with either of us directly:
Twitter - @vegantwins or @speakpr