Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

October 31, 2010

October 2010 – Family Update

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 5:13 pm

Here are the October highlights:

Lightning Storms

Lightning storms in southern California are a rare occurrence, but this month we had two or three of them within the span of a week. The kids were absolutely riveted by the first one. We were on our way to our car, when Lilah yelled out “lightning!” That led to about 20 minutes of standing in the parking lot watching the lightning flash above the mountains and listening to the accompanying thunder.

Our next experience with lightning came on a very tropical day early in October. I decided to take the kids to the beach to get a break from the mugginess. For the first hour or so the kids had a great time running along the shoreline and splashing in the water. But soon after that we were treated to lightning/thunder round two, with a little light rain thrown in for good measure.

Weather-wise, the first week of October was definitely an interesting week and it allowed the kids to see a natural phenomena not often witnessed in this region of the country.

Swim Meet Drama and Luke’s First Little League Base Hit

Liah had her first swim meet in months and did very well. She had three events and took first, second and third. Her first place ribbon came in the breast stroke (her favorite stroke), second was her butterfly, and third was freestyle. Not a bad day considering how grumpy she was about being at the meet in the first place. The sour mood was on account of having to wait in line for 30 minutes for her event to start. After that, she said she asked if we could go home and insisted she did not want to participate in swim meets anymore. She said she still wanted to go to practice but she was through with swim meets. Keep in mind that this was after getting a ribbon for her first event (something that should of made her happy). She was also not too happy about having to practice diving before the event because she does not know how to dive (something that was pretty evident when she smacked the water with a nice hard belly flop). She said that I needed to teacher her how to dive, take her to the aquatic center for lessons, and cited a number of other things that I needed to do or had apparently neglected to do for her.

I swear, when Lilah gets in a funk, she is no fun to be around. Luckily, her mood got progressively better as the meet went on and she won more ribbons. Although she almost reverted to her sour mood after the pumpkin push event where relay teams take turns pushing a pumpkin down the lane. She insisted that the boys in the far lane had cheated by throwing the pumpkin down the lane when the rules state you’re supposed to push it. Fortunately, she did not let the bad feelings fester and we left the event relatively happy ;-).

Luke had a great week of baseball. He is playing little league fall ball which is relatively low key — we don’t even keep track of the score, although the kids always seem to know who won or lost. This month, Luke insisted that he wanted to pitch. I told him that he had to be strong enough to get the ball over the plate. He said he knew that, so we practiced for a couple of weeks to make sure he could do it. Then I let the coach make the determination on whether he was ready or not. When the coach said he was good to go (right before the game), Luke got this nice big smile on his face. He got to start the game and although things started smoothly for him with a quick first out, the rest of the inning was a challenging experience. At this age, many kids simply do not swing the ball even when they get good pitches. This means you really have to be consistent in your pitching so that you three strikes instead of walking the batter. Luke seemed to have no problem getting two strikes, but the third strike proved elusive. He ended up throwing close to 40 pitches in that first inning. He did manage to get a strikeout however and made it through the inning without getting pulled out so that was good (the other pitchers didn’t fare any better mind you). He told me later that he almost asked to be relieved of his pitching duties due to fatigue. I was proud of him for just doing it and wanting to do it again next week. It’s not easy to be pitcher with all those eyes focused on you, but he did just fine. He cracked me a up a couple of times because when he would walk a batter he would slap himself in the face reprimanding himself for allowing that to happen.

In the same game he pitched, he also got his first base hit of the season. A nice line drive toward third base for a solid single. Of course, that cheered him up big time. It’s also motivated him to play and practice more. Good for him. Seems like he’s found a sport he really likes and that’s why I think he continues to improve.

A Visit to Mona’s to Hang Out and Ride Manu

Every year, we make a trip out to Ojai to see my friend Mona and her mini farm. The kids really enjoy their time here. Mona has a rabbit, ducks, chickens, 3 dogs, and a horse name Manu that the kids always get to ride. Normally we ride Manu in the coral, but this year we changed things up a bit by riding him on the nearby trails. The kids learned a few new tricks, like how to make Manu walk backwards and how to trot.

We rode in the afternoon and the weather was absolutely perfect — sunny, not too hot, with some scattered clouds above the Topa Topa mountains to add a bit of  texture to the atmosphere. Manu cooperated brilliantly and allowed each one of us to have a turn on the saddle. He’s such a nice strong horse and a much bigger animal than what we’re used to seeing in our daily lives. We all took turns not only riding him, but also feeding him snacks and squeezing and rubbing his big muscles.

Since our last visit, Mona has adopted yet another furry friend, a lapdog named Momo. Lilah was all over Momo and really enjoyed picking him up and holding him on her lap. Both Luke and Lilah have expressed an interested in having a lapdog — Lilah wants a Yorkie and Luke would like a Chihuahua. I told them that for now, Momo can be our surrogate lapdog. We absolutely love going out see Mona. It’s one of those experiences where you not only get to hang out with a good human being, but also get to slow down, experience the countryside, and appreciate the other critters that share this planet with us. Thanks again for a wonderful time Mona!

A Funeral for a Mouse

Speaking of critters, I need to mention that Lilah had her first experience of “loss” when one of her mice (Julia) died this month. Julia was the mouse that really didn’t like to be held and we always had to be careful holding because she was prone to jumping out of your hands. This month, however, Julia allowed Lilah to hold her for long stretches of time. Little did we know that the reason for this change of heart was because she was sick. Lilah teared up after we told her about Julia’s death, but I told her that the nice part about this experience was that Julia allowed Lilah to hold her and comfort her in her last few days of life. I also told Lilah we would hold a small service for Julia to honor her memory. This seemed to make Lilah feel better. The next day, we buried Julia in our backyard. I said a few words about how thankful we were to have had Julia in our lives and Lilah capped off the ceremony by putting her own creation on top of her burial site – this very simple gravestone.

Halloween 2010

Last year, Lilah wasn’t too thrilled with her Halloween experience. To summarize, we traveled out of town to a new neighborhood where she didn’t get much candy and also didn’t have her buddy Tory with her. This year the two girls were reunited and the kids got loads of candy — 214 pieces for Lilah and 161 pieces for Luke (according to their official counts). I learned the amounts when I came home the next day and saw this scene on our bed.

Luke dressed as a Storm Trooper for the second year in a row with a new gun accessory, while Lilah dressed as a vampire. The kids went out for two and a half hours and apparently had a great time. I got to stay home handing out candy and making small talk with the kids that knocked on our door. Now it’s on to Thanksgiving. Goes fast doesn’t it? More next month…

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