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Matthew is enjoying having Elizabeth mostly around for the summer and was not impressed when Elizabeth disappeared to camp this week without him! As a consolation, I told him we could do "toddler camp". Elizabeth was quite unhappy to hear he went to parks and museums without her, but we needed some activity to keep him from literally climbing the walls without his "Dee-Dee". Not to mention that it's quite difficult to return client calls with him in the house as we are still working on the concept of quiet when Mom or Dad are on the phone!



   



Elizabeth is enjoying being a big sister to Amelia because "she is nice to me. When I hold her she says arr arr arr and she smiles at me." "I made up a song for her. Shh shh no worries no worries I am here. Shh shh Mommy is coming soon. Shh baby shh here I am. Shh baby shh baby I am here."


   



Our church celebrated Christmas in July today - the kids were thrilled that they even went to the trouble of putting up a Christmas tree and decorations. Then they got to eat all kinds of goodies while the adults learned more about our Christmas dinner outreach program and sang Christmas carols. It was a lot of fun, even if the end result was that the kids had cookies for lunch!


After church we went to the Agriculture museum for the Ice Cream festival. The kids blew bubbles and bounced in a farm-themed bouncy castle. I think this was Matthew's first time in a bouncy castle with kids other than his sister. We watched a cream separating demo (Elizabeth: "Can we try that with Mommy milk?" Mom: "No." Matthew: "Whyyyyyy???") and the kids were given ice cream shaped bubbles. I think there might have been real ice cream somewhere but we didn't find it. We could hear thunder and it looked like a rain storm was coming, plus I didn't want to have Amelia out in the sun any longer so we decided to go play in the sprinkler and eat ice cream at home.



   



Brendan has developed quite the interest in gardening lately, though he refuses to do it anywhere other than the basement bathroom. That is to say, he's gotten very into aqua culture of plants in our aquarium. Algae are his weeds and there is a lot more chemistry involved than we expected. He's finding it particularly challenging to figure out what online advice is helpful and what is totally bogus. There are a lot of arm chair experts out there! I already told you about the large tanks of CO2 and many fertilizers that he previously was playing with. Then my baking soda disappeared from the kitchen after we theorized that our cool big snails were biting the dust due to a calcium deficiency. Under his careful fertilizer addition regime the plants have really taken off - to the point that we may be able to sell some of them back to the local fish store. We can dream, anyway! He says his first goal is for the plants to fill in so that the bathroom doesn't have a window effect when you use it. Then he wants it to look nice. Lastly he wants to get things to a point where it is relatively low maintenance. I hear there are ways to automatically feed and fertilize, which I think he would like to set up because it's cool and techy. But on the other hand those are the fun parts of the aquarium so maybe not...


   



This is what school looks like during the summer.


Matthew likes to do his "math" at the same time as Elizabeth. Usually he just scribbles or put stickers into his book but sometimes I let him use scissors. He requires a great deal more supervision doing this sort of thing than Elizabeth did at the same age though so I find it a challenge to occupy him while teaching.


We decided to do the cursive sheets from handwriting without tears again as Elizabeth hadn't been practicing for a few months and was a little rusty. I'm very pleased with her penmanship - she obviously didn't inherit mine!!! I remember in grade three or four the teacher selected a few kids with good printing to learn how to use a fountain pen (a highly coveted skill). I was initially not chosen, but the other kids put up a fuss so the teacher relented. But made it clear that I was being picked for my social skills and not my penmanship! Probably I should have spent more time learning to print because in middle school I had to redo reams of work as the initial take was considered too messy.



   

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