Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

July 31, 2008

July 2008 – Lilah and Luke

Filed under: Lilah and Luke — dave9169 @ 5:38 am

July is definitely giving December some competition when it comes to being busy. Here are the highlights for this month:

  • We attend fireworks show at high school stadium for 4th of July
  • Lilah and Luke enjoy riding Manu in what’s become an annual visit to Mona’s ranch
  • Luke attends Lego camp and learns how to build all kinds of fun things, including a catapult
  • Lilah performs three songs on the piano in front of an audience at our local street fair
  • We celebrate Nicolas’ birthday
  • We return to Lake Tahoe and stay on a lakefront cabin for a week — I created a separate page with more than 30 pictures to document the trip


There were all kinds of interesting Luke stories this month. Among them are Luke’s newfound fascination with chess, which he still insists on pronouncing “chest.” It’s not like Luke totally understands what he’s doing, but there’s something about the game — getting the board out, setting up the pieces, contemplating his moves, etc. — that keeps him coming back for more. In the beginning he would become frustrated pretty easily so I changed my approach and really made sure that I just played the game a little faster and then showed him where to move his pieces when he got stuck. He likes asking about hypothetical situations. For example,  “what happens if I move here?” is a question he’ll frequently ask whether the move he is thinking about making is legal or not. Then we go back and forth on what will happen and what might be a better move.

Another activity Luke really enjoyed this month was attending Lego camp. In this camp, there are two guys that take the kids through guided activities centered around building different structures, tools, and vehicles with Lego pieces. What I really like about the camp was that they not only taught the kids how to build different things, but also taught him the name of the different pieces and professions that use the skills they are learning. It was cool to have Luke come home and educate me on what all the different Lego pieces were called — 2 x 4 brick, 1 x 4 plate, and so on — and how “there are these people called engineers” that work on building things. It’s definitely nice to see your child become engaged in what they’re doing and become more interested in the nuances of what they’re learning. One of the things Luke really relished building was a catapult, but I think what he liked even more was getting a chance to use his own catapult to knock down a set of Lego walls.

This was also the month Luke finally learned to swim. I mean he’s not to the point where you can just leave him on his own, but he can cover quite a few yards in the pool and is enthusiastic about getting in the water and showing you what he knows. It’s great because it really gave him a lot more confidence in the water which obviously came in handy on our vacation to Lake Tahoe.


Lilah had a pretty great month of her own: she got to perform three songs on the piano at our local street fair, she road Mona’s horse Manu, and she took 3 seconds off her 25 yard swim time ;-). It still boggles my mind how much Lilah has changed since her young, shy preschool days. The fact that she had no problem performing in front of an audience at the street fair tells me that the “I’m scared,” statement she typically makes before an event is more of an act than how she really feels inside. This became clear to me when the owner of the music studio thanked Lilah after performing two songs, but before the owner could turn to address the crowd and thank them for coming, Lilah told her that she still had one more song left to play. The owner apologized, of course, and let her play out her set. That was a great moment.

This month we also enjoyed another nice visit with Mona and Feroz. The kids really love doing this trip because they get to play with the dogs, float in the creek, and ride Mona’s horse Manu. Lilah also enjoyed playing with the new addition to Mona’s farm — three very big and furry rabbits. Lilah is always asking us if she can have a bunny and obviously playing with Mona’s rabbits didn’t help discourage her from asking us again. For now, we just keep telling her she has a dog she needs to take care of and look after, but that rationale is wearing thin with Lilah.

The competitive side of Lilah is still alive and well as I found out when she told her latest pool story. Apparently, she now swims her free style faster than before because when she goes to swim her lap there is a boy that swims next to her that she is motivated to beat. She said that she used to swim her 25 yards in 33 seconds, but now she’s 3 seconds faster because she tries to beat the boy. Right now they appear deadlocked as they each swim the length of the pool in the same amount of time. I’m sure that if she does beat the boy, I’ll be the first to hear about it ;-).

Okay, that’s about all I have time for this month…more next month…

July 30, 2008

Tahoe 2008

Filed under: 2008 Lake Tahoe,Lilah and Luke,Vacations/Trips — dave9169 @ 5:50 am

Lake Tahoe was a big hit again with the family. We stayed in the same town (Tahoe Vista) and cabins as last time (The Franciscan Lodge), but decided to splurge a bit and stay in a lakefront unit. We’re all glad that we did. There is nothing like waking up to a calm, glassy lake under blue skies every morning or sitting out on your porch at dusk and contemplating your existence with your beverage of choice. We couldn’t have asked for better weather as the temps were pretty much in the 80s every day.

What we Did

We indulged in a lot of the same activities as last year — rafted the Truckee River, hung out on the beach and played in the water, played miniature golf — but also introduced some new ones like Kayaking on the lake and riding our bikes over a pretty nice trail with lots of nice places to stop in between. This year, Luke also was much more comfortable in the water as he had learned to swim so we were able to spend a few hours in the water going over and under waves. I did get the kids wetsuits this year though because the water can still be a little on the chilly side (mid 60s) and being that Luke is so thin, he doesn’t really last too long in the water if he doesn’t have any added protection.

This year, we also hiked down to Emerald Bay. This is where Luke’s new catchphrase, “stop talking and start walking,” backfired on him. He had been using this phrase throughout our stay in Tahoe, but when we had to make the hike back to our car — 1 mile uphill — he began stopping and talking a little too much because he didn’t want to hike uphill. That’s when I turned to him and jokingly told him to stop talking and start walking. He didn’t find that too amusing though ;-).

Why Go to Tahoe

I’ve been asked about why we don’t go other places with the kids for our big vacation — you know, places like Yosemite, Sequoia, etc.? I think the simple answer is that Lake Tahoe simply offers kids this age so much to do without having to hike miles and miles to get everywhere. The kids really appreciate and love the natural beauty — Luke asked me if we could move there the other day — but they also like to do things. This point was drilled home to me time and time again when after finishing off an activity Lilah would ask “what are we going to do tomorrow?”

That’s when you realize there is no shortage of things to do. I mean besides the things we did, you can also go horseback riding, fly above the lake in a parasail, or take a tram to the top of heavenly valley and do some day hikes. Not to mention, there are casinos there for the adults (if that’s your kind of thing). Our location on the North Side of lake Tahoe is pretty removed from the South side strip, but we still have a few casinos within two miles we can go to. In our case, we simply visit the casinos for the inexpensive eating. There are also more advanced activities the kids could take part in as they get older — like more challenging hikes, or other water activities like snorkeling, fishing, and, of course, the motorized ones like jet skiing and water skiing.

Anyway, it was another great time in Tahoe and I think we had more than our fair share of fun. I’m pretty sure we’ll be back again next year…perhaps for an even more extended stay…Enjoy the pictures.

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