We bought an iPad. Most of the money came from Nathan and Mary's most recent "brain study". They donated their full earnings, I threw in my half, and we found a little extra hiding in the form of an old gift card. We were planning on an iPad Mini, but found a better deal on a regular one. It arrived in 2 days and the kids nearly died with joy. Shame that Mom doesn't give them free access to it, isn't it?
The iPad arrived just a few days before our computer kaputzed. We concluded the issue was a dead inverter. $9 later we had a new inverter and VIOLA! I have my computer back. The iPad is fun, but I don't like "typing" on it (I feel like Schroder from Peanuts) and when I "tap" I want it to do what I want, not bring up something random. But I do like the Blocks game and the kids love Monster Physics ("Monster Fig-ets" according to Elisabeth) and "Bugs and Bubbles." I will probably add a few more math apps and some history/geography games. We really bought it for the kids for school.
Our garden has been producing well. We've gotten several zucchini, lots and lots of tomatoes, a half dozen eggplants, two meals of chard, one meal of kale, and a yellow squash. The kids claim they've had a lot of beans, but I've not seen any. We have one pumpkin that may or may not make it, and two watermelons well on their way to yummy-ness. There are at least a dozen or more peppers ripening now, dozens and dozens of tomatoes still on the vine, and more eggplants. But the zucchini are done. Squash borer worm. Very effective (and ugly) little cuss. I hate it. Mary has been diligent about bug picking and has been able to keep cucumber beetles and squash bugs at bay with her soap water and quick fingers. But that dang borer worm is beyond detection until it is too late--it's inside the base of the plant. Second year it has destroyed an otherwise bounteous crop. Such a beautiful plant it was, too. Sigh.
All the flowers are still growing strong, though. Please let me know if you want any marigold seed. We are going to have it by the pound!
Mary has started oil painting. I've introduced her to Bob Ross's Joy of Painting. She was helpless against it. Her first two paintings... she had so much fun we couldn't get her to stop for dinner! She's just been using paper and only stopped b/c Charlie and Elisabeth somehow managed to go through our last 1/2 ream using markers and scissors. No more paper, pause in the painting.
I'm blogging. Nathan is putting away the dishes. They've been in the dishwasher since Fri.
We went camping on Fri night and got home yesterday afternoon. Funny. I talked the kids out of swimming on Fri b/c we got there kind of late and I felt it was important to have a calm, relaxing evening. So we sat by the fire, cooked and ate dinner (all packed by Lil'Nathan), told stories, and then made s'mores until we ran out of grahm crackers. (I forgot the camera, but trust me. Elisabeth really enjoyed her s'mores.) The next morning we broke down camp and were at the pool as soon as it opened (a little before, actually). They only wanted to swim for about 2 hours and then they wanted to go home. I wonder if the drone Daddy had at home needing to be built had anything to do with that.
For work Nathan is working on a project that involves a drone. His team's first attempt didn't work out the way they wanted, so they decided to try again, building it themselves this time. The parts and components arrived right before we left for camping Fri and he needed it built before work on Mon. So, when we got home, they jumped right on it and before we left for wedding reception last night, they were finished. The "brains" are at work, so they could put it all together, but couldn't fly it.
Lil'Nathan has spent a great deal of time camping in the past few weeks. He admitted he's a little done with it. He was at Scout Camp with his current troop the first week of July. We went as a family on an overnight trip toward the end of July. He joined his old troop for a week of Scout Camp two days after we got home. Three days after he got home from that, he was off again for an overnighter with this troop. The day after he got home from that, we were out again as a family for another night (this most recent trip). We go again in two weeks, but as he has nothing scout related in the interim, perhaps he'll be more enthused, and less tired, when we get there. "Where's Nathan?" has become a common question by Elisabeth. Then she answers herself, "Oh, at scout camp."
We spent most of the last week dealing with plumbers. The downstairs toilet went out (think shooting water and leaky seals) last Sat. We had a plumber Mon who told us to go buy a new toilet and he'd install it. So we went off to Home Depot. Instead he found himself in the hospital for a week and his partner came by and installed it Tues. But he was overworked (taking his partners jobs in addition to his own) and left a leaky valve. Another plumber came by Wed to fix that and take care of a few other things the others didn't have time to fix for us. I'm still awaiting the bill (gulp), but it's a lovely toilet. :)
I subbed for Joseph's primary class last week. He was most disappointed. "They said they'd get good substitutes!" he complained. Well, I guess I did something right, b/c that night he said, "That was the best primary class I've ever had." Cool. No candy. Just brought some silks and had them act out scripture stories.
Lil'Nathan has been appointed Troop Web Master. He got an email address and is in charge of making/keeping the troop blog. A very happy man.
Joseph is sailing through his piano lessons. We just got him a metronome to help him keep time. Now he needs to work on keeping his hands in one spot and not jumping all over the place. He loves his lessons and is really enjoying learning new things about music. I asked him to tell me what he's learning and got, "No, you wouldn't understand."
Last night after the wedding reception, we were driving away when Charlie suddenly yelled from the backseat, "Oh, no, stop! I just stole a plate!" He'd left with a half dozen potato chips on a "fancy" plastic plate.
Elisabeth has given up naps. But not the need for them. If she crashes any time after 4 (which she is want to do since she won't sleep earlier) she is up until 11. She sits next to us downstairs and reads and re-reads piles of board books. Then she hits her wall and says, "I'm ti-wed," and folds over on my lap and goes out. So cute.
All of our school books for this year have begun to trickle in. I think most of them are here. Histories and sciences for Nathan and Mary. A lit curriculum for both of them to share. New language/vocab for everyone. Art book for Mary. I still have to get something for Charlie, new penny whistles for Dad (if you know where Charlie left his other ones, please let us know, we can't find them anywhere!!), and of course we need more paper. Then we'll be ready for school.
Summer reading... This year I decided to take an idea from a friend of mine. So, the kids read what they want, write a report--one sentence per year of age--and get paid a penny per page. So, Mary is writing 10 sentence reports and Nathan is writing 13 sentence reports (up from 12, earlier this summer, much to his dismay) and they are racking up the pennies. (And I won't let Lil'Nathan read whatever he wants, he is also undergoing a "mind cleanse" and I'm carefully watching how much "snarky teenage, stupid grownups" stuff he is reading--ahem, none--and he has to read something with value. I get to determine what that means. Oh, the power!) Mary is at $68.55, Lil'Nathan is at $51. (Scout camps, you know.) Mary is saving for a Bob Ross kit. Lil'Nathan is hoping to buy a soldering iron and some stuff for his drone.
Did you know he bought a drone of his own? It has a camera. He also got two batteries for it. Good thing, b/c when it was just 3 days old, he landed it in the fish tank. Drone survived. Battery, not so much. In saving it from the water damage, he also accidentally discombobulated the camera unit. Hence the soldering iron.
Lil'Nathan started a blog of his own with his new email account. That means Mary will be taking over their joint blog. Watch for changes coming soon.
I've bored you long enough. And not a single picture to make up for it. Ah, well. Next time.