Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

March 31, 2011

March 2011 – Family Update

Filed under: Lilah and Luke — dave9169 @ 2:39 am

Here are the March highlights:

  • Kids do well on their report cards
  • Lilah “kills it” at swim meet
  • Luke gets autograph of former major league baseball player, Al Downing, who pitched for the Dodgers from 1971-1977
  • Kids win prizes at school fiesta
  • We celebrate Sebastian’s birthday
  • Cathy achieves her goal of a sub-one hour 10K with a time of 58:59 on a very hilly course

Kids Get the Month off to a Good Start with their Report Cards

Report card time is always interesting. I started out the conversation at the dinner table by telling the kids they had both done very well on their report cards. Of course, Lilah had to ask, “Yeah, but who did better?” I insisted they had both done a great job and so they would get whatever it was we promised them for the good grades. Lilah got a shopping spree at J.C. Penny’s and Luke got his Wii points that he could use toward downloading a new game. It’s funny how even when you try to say the right things, the kids will still find a way to sabotage you, as was the case when Lilah stated that she had done better because Luke got a few Gs and 3s, whereas she received all As and 4s. In second grade, they don’t use As and Bs, instead they use E for Exceeds grade level standard and G for meets grade level standards and a few other letters for the “bad” stuff. As far as the numbers are concerned, a 4 stands for outstanding, a 3 equals satisfactory, a 2 needs improvement and a 1 is unsatisfactory. It’s true, Lilah did very well, getting two A pluses, one in Social Science and another in Health Science, in addition to the regular As and 4s, but I did not want her to diminish Luke’s accomplishments in the process.  In the end, I reassured both kids that their hard work had paid off with some solid grades and I was proud of them both. Below are the short written assessments provided by their teachers.

Luke is doing very well in both reading and math. He scored 85% and 94% on major Language Arts assessments. And he scored 89% on the district math assessment. He always finishes assignments and makes appropriate choices when finished. He is well behaved and popular with classmates. It’s nice to have him in the classroom. (I love the line about “appropriate choices,” which is code for he is well behaved).

It is truly a pleasure to have Lilah in my class. She displays exceptional ability to learn and is a dedicated student. I appreciate her quiet, hard working nature, coupled with her appropriate and thoughtful classroom participation. She is quietly confident, kind and conscientious. She is an especially talented writer and expresses herself with dynamic vocabulary. I am very proud of her progress and look forward to her continued success throughout 5th grade and into the future. Her perfect attendance is commended.

Luke Plays the Sheriff at School

There is a apparently a kid at school who is quite a troublemaker — lets call him “Mr. Troublemaker” just in case anybody from school is reading this. According to Luke, Mr. Troublemaker does not seem to follow rules too well and has a fondness for scratching, slapping and/or pushing other kids. Luke said that they have spoken to Mr. Troublemaker before and let him know that if he does not behave Luke and his friends will not play with him. Well, I guess the message has not gotten through because the other day Mr. Troublemaker scratched one of Luke’s friends so Luke and another friend grabbed Mr. Troublemaker by the arms and took him to the principal’s office. Luke said the principal thanked them for bringing Mr. Troublemaker to the office. I swear, Luke has told me this story two or three times and I still have a hard time re-telling it. Somehow, I can’t picture my skinny little Luke grabbing this kid and taking him to the principal’s office, albeit with the aid of another friend. Luke describes it so matter of factly, as if everything went smoothly and according to plan. Well, he did have one hiccup in that the first friend he asked to apprehend Mr. Troublemaker said no, but the next friend agreed and so the culprit was brought to justice. I just picture a big commotion with a lot of scuffling, a kid being dragged away against his will, etc., but we didn’t get any calls from his teacher or the principal to contradict his story so for now I just call this the Sheriff Luke story ;-).

Lilah “Kills it” at Her Swim Meet

Lilah, has been swimming for three or four years now — time goes so fast I lose the exact count. As part of the winter session, the kids were asked to come up with goals for the season. Lilah informed me that she completed the task, but that she hadn’t really written down one of her goals the way she wanted to state it. My interest piqued, I asked her what it was she wanted to write. She said that she wanted to beat the fastest girl on her team at the 100 yard breast stroke. It was quite a big goal because the fastest girl on her team also happens to be the fastest girl from any of the YMCAs we compete against.  In other words, the girl Lilah was aiming for is the Janet Evans of our small swimming world. I really had no idea how close Lilah was to achieving her goal. All I knew is that Lilah was consistently coming in second place, but usually quite a few seconds behind Kaylee, the girl she was trying to beat.

That’s why it was such a nice surprise to see her really turn it on against Kaylee in a recent meet. The girls were neck and neck for pretty much the entire race and even exchanged very narrow leads a couple of times. In the end, Kaylee beat Lilah by one second, but what I loved about the moment was seeing the smile on Lilah’s face after the event was done. Sure, she lost, but the smile was there because of how close she had come, reaffirmation that her goal was now definitely within reach. As if to confirm this was the case, Lilah later told me that she is thinking about skipping her Wednesday hip hop lesson in order to swim one more day a week and accomplish her goal. It’s nice to see her so motivated. Here is a video I took of the event with Kaylee being the first swimmer on the left and Lilah on the right adjacent to Kaylee. It doesn’t get any more fun than this ;-).

And if she didn’t already have enough motivation, she also received the Coach’s Award for her efforts during the end of season pasta dinner. Only two of these awards are given out – one is given by each of the two coaches — so it’s definitely a special honor. The award reads:

You’ve worked so hard in practice and it’s been showing in the meets and workouts! You’ve been an amazing swimmer to have on the team and we can’t wait for you to achieve all your goals!

Luke Meets Major Leaguer in Opening Day Little League Ceremonies

It’s been tough for Luke this month as he’s still trying to recover from the cough he got right before our trip to the snow last month. Somehow, he’s still managed to find some energy to go to school and play baseball during the week and on the weekend. He’s one of the team’s better catchers and insists that he now also wants to pitch. One step at a time is what I tell him. The coach likes Luke’s motivation but wants him to get rid of a few bad habits when he throws — namely his partial side arm delivery and his tendency to step too far to the left when he throws. The coach wants Luke to keep his elbow high, and bring his arm down and across his body on the follow through of his pitching motion. He also wants to make sure he steps directly toward home plate with his left foot when making his pitch. These are tips Luke seems to graciously accept and practice when the coach is standing right next to him. He’s not so good when the tips come from dad, but little by little we’re making progress toward his big moment on the mound.

During the first week of March we also attended the opening day little league ceremony. All teams are encouraged to attend the 1 hour event. Luke was not that into it as it meant getting up early on a Saturday and putting on his uniform to listen to a bunch of people talk. I had the same feeling myself, but we went anyway. The day was sunny and it was pretty cool to see all the teams represented on the central field. Everyone was in their uniforms and our job as coaches was to keep the kids as quiet as possible so that the various directors could go up to the mound and talk. That part was not so fun as it’s tough to get kids this age to stand there for that long and pay attention. Luke even asked me why we were even there because nobody on his team seemed all that interested in what the adults were talking about on the mound. Luckily, the speeches did not last long and the event was capped off with Al Downing recounting his little league experience and what it meant to him as a player. The kids gave Al a little more respect, but just a tad more as by the time he came to speak, everyone was ready to leave.

I thought for sure that Luke would want to go right home when the ceremony ended, but when they made the announcement that Al Downing would be signing autographs Luke said he wanted to stay for that. Al was very cool. He hung out at the snack bar and allowed me to lift Luke up on the counter so that he could take a picture with him. Al also signed Luke’s cap, which made Luke happy. I’m always amazed at how quickly a child’s mood can change. One minute Luke is grumpy asking me when we’re going to leave, then the next thing you know he’s getting an autograph and yucking it up with an ex big leaguer. Nice.

The School Fiesta

The kids’ school held another fund raiser in the form of a fiesta complete with jumpers, slides, and games kids can play to earn tickets toward prizes. We’ve gone to this a number of times before, but this year I couldn’t help notice the difference. In the past, we’ve hung out with the kids and watched them as they go from one event — ping pong toss, football throw, etc — to another trying to get as many tickets as they can so that they can cash them in for prizes at the end of the night. This year, however, the kids pretty much did their own thing. Lilah hung out with her crew of friends, while Luke hung out with his buddy Garret. I managed to get a few glimpses of them during the fiesta and snap a few pictures where I could, but for the most part the kids had their own night out while mom and dad just hung out and talked and people watched. We did regroup briefly for dinner, which was provided by In N Out Burger, but after we ate the kids went off with their friends again until it was time to cash in the tickets. Judging by their smiles, I think they made out okay.

More next month…

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