I had bought The Art of War in very recent history (can't remember precisely when but I feel like it's been at least a year by now) as 14yo had expressed a desire to read it. He didn't get around to actually reading it until recently, when he suddenly went on a health kick (both physical and mental) and on advice of J and 18yo, started trying to get in at least a little bit of exercise, eat a healthy breakfast (the kids and I don't really eat breakfast as we never feel particualrly hungry for a while after waking up) and read a book every day.
13yo continued on his dessert presentation experiments, jumping on the Halloween bandwagon with this "vampire" themed one (the bananas were meant to be fangs), and the goblet was a prop we'd bought some other Halloween).
Towards the end of the week where we're running out of stuff and need to do more grocery shopping, there was this much simpler but still very delicious fare (can't go wrong with peanut butter as long as you're not allergic to peanuts).
August started off really slow and cruisy and them ramped right up into September.
It started with the death of one of 13yo's fish. He was devastated as it had gotten sick but had looked like it was starting to recover before succumbing. We had a little funeral in the side yard, burying it under the rosemary bush.
17yo had another quarter life crisis (he has had at least one in the last two years) where he decided he needed to "get his life together" and once again asked for organisational tips (he has asked me previously for things that I have already told him about in trying to get them to learn my organisational hacks and how to research and experiment with their own). He asked me for a corkboard (full corkboard as I'd bought them corkboard/whiteboard combos previously, apparently it wasn't big enough for what he wanted to do) so he could pin things he wanted to organise on it. 15yo overheard and said the same.
15yo and I decided we desperately needed a shoe rack so after dropping 17yo at TAFE we headed over to the KMart down the road and got a bamboo one.
It didn't end up getting put together til later that day and 15yo did most of it on her own but was struggling with a bit of it, and 17yo happened to be on his way to or from the kitchen, noticed and leant assistance.
The cat was "helping" too.
It came together nicely and is now by the door doing an amazing job.
it's so much easier to sweep the corridor now as I just have to sweep under the shoe rack rather than moving a lot of shoes around
We really didn't do a lot in April because it kind of sucked. Both of our dogs died within weeks of each other. Everyone was pretty devastated, the kids had grown up with those dogs.
The big dog was an early birthday/Christmas present for me as I'd decided I wanted a dog. The kids were 5, 3 and 1 at the time.
The small dog came to us three years later. J's dog had since died and we were considering getting another puppy when a friend asked if we wanted another dog as her parents were downsizing and unable to keep all of their animals. We said sure and after a trial run, the small dog moved in.
September was States month and it felt unusually close to Regionals because it was (we had the slightly awkward situation of that we needed to put people forward for states before we had the results from regionals to make sure they'd actually qualified, and to add chaos to the confusion, because it had been another unprecedented year, people were allowed to apply for states if they hadn't done regionals (there were a number of people that missed out due to being sick or having to quarantine).
I forgot to mention, over badge test and regionals, 16yo learned how to make chips in a commercial deep fryer from one of the people he would accept chips from and helped out on regionals and states weekends. He makes a great bucket of chips. Below is one he handed me during a break. We hung out at the door I guard before he headed back to the canteen to get ready for the between-round rush.
During May, 12yo decided to get into fruit sculpture, and made a ridiculous amount of stuff out of bananas. Because I was really preoccupied with I can't remember what at the time, the only thing I caught a photo of was this "sword".
I did have time to make a trip to Spotlight to pick up some elastic and some fabric for 14yo to make a blanket thing that apparently only needs tying together.
April was a bit of a blur of late nights and continued chaos. When the budget cycle rolled around we did manage a zoo trip. 16yo refused to wake up, and 14yo, 12yo and 14yo's SO and I were literally just about to walk out of the house when the outlaws arrived with my 4yo nephew. We told them we were just heading out to the zoo and they were welcome to come along if they wanted, so we all ended up piling back into their car and heading on over.
We used to have zoo passes so our trips to the zoo always started off with deciding what each person wanted to study and then checking out the map to work out the most efficient paths between what everyone wanted and then make up anything else in between or afterwards, so there was an automatic gravitation to the map to do this.
I would love to say things are picking up but they're really not. Issues are abounding, some of them standard teenage ones, some of them teenage politics I thought we might have a prayer of avoiding if we avoided using the school system (very naive thought there, because to completely avoid it I guess we'd have to exist in an insular community with only mostly like-minded individuals), a lot probably stemming from the other thing even though we're trying to both ignore it and deal with it as much as possible.
The smalls had a bit of an arty month. 12yo actually sat still long enough to twine a piece of blutack around a skewer (in fairness there was some mild distraction as he was watching Youtube at the same time and just wanted to do something with his hands while doing so) and in a completely separate session also started drawing DnD item and magic cards while waiting for a box that he'd bought to arrive.
One of the good things about The Big Reset (although the kids don't really feel it at the time) is the slow and very limited internet (my parents actually have a quota as they don't use nearly as much internet as we do or more specifically as the kids do), which means they tend to spend slightly less time on their devices. The boys actually spent a few nights playing chess against each other and JJ, and Sprat taught them how to play a game with a Chinese name somewhat similar to Poker (the similarity that I could pick up being that you had similar collections of cards you could use).