Lots of stuff has happened in the last nine months and I regret not writing any of it down. However, I will tell you about the most significant events. The first concerns our dog, Moody. When we first got him in October of 2002, he was afraid of everyone and everything. He also had a tendency to eat things that were not food, particularly soft things like stuffed animals, clothing, and towels, but also some hard things like door frames, the couch, and a couple of books (only ones we really liked, though.) Early on, we banned stuffed animals (and Benjamin's blanket!) from the downstairs (Moody was afraid of stairs, so he never went upstairs to the bedrooms.) We stopped folding clothes in the living room and only folded them upstairs. We always closed the door to playroom and he was not allowed in there. However, mistakes were sometimes made. Last March, he got hold of a stuffed animal, some pajamas, and got into the kitchen garbage all within a week. The combination blocked him up. An operation was necessary and 3 feet of infected intestine was removed. Recovery was slow, but after a couple of months he was relatively back to normal. However, "normal" included continuing to eat non-food items when he could. He was also eating the loquats from the tree in the yard, which at least are food, although I can't image what his intestines thought of the pits! The final straw came in June when he managed to get into the playroom (we think our new housekeeper left it open - the kids were very good about closing the door) and ate a 18 ft nylon ribbon. This ribbon destroyed what little intestine Moody had remaining, and we had to put him to sleep. Jonathan handled the loss stoicly. Benjamin was more visibly sad, but showed his typically positive attitude and said, "Well, at least I can bring Nap (Benjamin's blanket) downstairs now!" At first, we said that we would not get another dog, but time has changed our initial reaction, and we are now looking into getting another dog (another rescue, of course).
The next significant event was a happy one. We've been trying to get Benjamin into Balboa Elementary school for three years now. Our local elementary school isn't bad, but Balboa is a gifted magnet, and we thought that Benjamin would benefit from the additional challenges and opportunities that a gifted magnet offers. There are far more applicants than spots, and a lottery is held to determine who gets in. Every May for the past three years (including this one) we received the same flush letter, saying that Benjamin had been placed on the waiting list. However, on a Saturday last June, we were at dinner at a restaurant and a call came through on Marc's cell phone, saying that Benjamin had been accepted into Balboa. We were doubly floored, first that Benjamin had actually made it in, but also that we would receive the call at 6:30 on a Saturday night! Benjamin has adapted to his new school well, except for minor details like forgetting his lunch box on the bus, and forgetting to get off the bus at his stop.
Thirdly, Marc has started a company to produce a new type of teaching aid he has developed. About a year ago, at dinner we were discussing a math problem that Jonathan had been working on, and Benjamin followed most of the discussion, but did not understand division. In order to help him, I found a foldable ruler that Marc had bought the boys and used it to demonstrate how you could divide the 12 pieces into groups of 2 or 3 etc. A couple of days later Marc developed a prototype of a tool to teach division based on the idea of the folding ruler. He showed the idea to some teachers who really liked the idea, so he found a tool designer who could make a CAD model and he had some prototypes made. After a handful of design cycles. Marc showed the idea to some more teachers, including his sister, who teaches third grade. The idea turned out to be completely unique and teachers loved it, so he found a manufacturer and they are now on the market. You can learn all about them (and buy them) at www.MathFlaps.com.
I hope life is treating you well,