Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

June 30, 2011

June 2011 – Family Update

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 3:58 pm

June highlights:

Kids Cap Off Another Successful School Year at Yamas

The kids finished off the school year with strong report cards. Lilah got all As and Excellents and Luke did well too, although not as well as Lilah, which Lilah was quick to point out (as always). We decided to take the kids to Yamas, a Japanese restaurant that features Teppan cuisine and plenty of showmanship as the chefs clink the condiment containers together to make music, juggle eggs on the edge of a spatula and turn onions into locomotive steam engines. We thought it would be a fun and tasty way to celebrate the kids’ achievements, but, as is the case more and more these days, Lilah had other plans. She insisted that she did not want to go to eat Japanese food, that she didn’t like it, that she just wanted to stay at home and relax, etc. She also said that she would not be going to Yamas and that we should go without her. After a few futile attempts at negotiation, we resorted to the more heavy-handed, “Lilah, you’re going, now get in the car.”

Not too soon after we arrived, Lilah’s demeanor changed completely. She smiled as the chef began preparing the food and seemed fascinated by the entire process. It’s almost like the more she says she hates an activity beforehand, the more she ends up liking it when she finally consents to do it. I have a feeling we’re in for some more “fun times” with Lilah. Since our family activities usually end up being positive, my hope is that Lilah will slowly begin to see that her complaints, fears, and anxieties about certain events are mostly unwarranted.

Luke and I Hang Out at Adventure Guides’ Summer Camp

We had a nice weekend in Lake Cachuma. Perfect weather, plenty of kids and lots of games and activities to keep the kids occupied. Luke participated in the tug of war competition and potato sack race. We also attempted to do some more fishing, with the same results – 0 fish caught. It didn’t help that the water level was higher, which meant there weren’t any easily accessible spots to fish from. And the spots we did find were not ideal as we had to cast out over a ledge and hopefully not get the line tangled in the brush on the way up. Keep in mind I am not a fisherman — it’s not something I did regularly as a kid. Although I do remember my dad gamely trying to take us fishing once from the local pier, but we had the same results as Luke and I did. After that, I don’t think we ever went back again, but rest assured, Luke and I are determined not to let this happen to us so we are now on a mission to catch a fish.

The Kids Wow us with Their Teamwork

Sometimes it’s easy to lose your patience with the kids when you see them bickering or fighting with each other over silly stuff. When I see them engaged in this behavior I remind myself that it’s only normal for this too happen. After all, even people who get along great, can start irritating each other once they are forced to hang out 24/7. For the most part, our kids are pretty good together, but they definitely do have their difficult moments — Cathy can attest to that, as she is with them more often than I am. This month, however, we had many instances of the kids being nice to each other and working together to achieve a goal.

One day, the kids decided they were going to take turns being the “butler” and the “maid,” – their words. What this consisted of was a pseudo-spa set up in our den. The kids brought out the foot massager, cream, towels,  and eye shades, and then they proceeded to take turns pampering each other. They gave each other shoulder and back massages, rubbed each others feet, and gently applied cream to their dry spots. It was funny to watch it all transpire. Lilah would call out “Oh butler, I need a pillow,” and Luke would come over with a pillow and place it behind her neck so that Lilah could relax on the easy chair. There were a few minor disputes that centered around perceived lack of service, but they were short lived. The kids played this game for well over an hour and walked away feeling good, clean, and well lubricated ;-).

Bridge building was another project the kids worked on together. It arose somewhat spontaneously as we walked along a stone and boulder-strewn path beside a creek near our house. The kids began by simply skipping stones across the surface of the water, but eventually that turned into gathering stones and rocks of all sizes so that they could create a bridge that would lead from once side of the creek to the other. The kids worked on getting rocks into the creek and positioning them just right. Both Luke and Lilah got started by placing big rocks into the creek. Then Lilah got the idea of filing the gaps between the big rocks with smaller rocks, which would serve as a kind of mortar to hold the bridge together. There was no way they were going to get all the way across the creek with their bridge as the water was pretty deep and it would have taken a lot more than an hour to get it done. But it was fun to watch them problem-solve things, and test their theories. It was such a delight to watch that when they came over to solicit the help of their sit-and-watch parents, we gladly got up and helped them out, turning the activity into a true family project.

Lilah Turns Eleven

This was an eventful month for Lilah in which she displayed a variety of skill sets, including creating a contract, making jewelry and crafts, and organizing a team of friends to sell their wares to help raise money for local animal shelters. By nature, Lilah is a planner. She’s already told me she does not like surprises because she needs to “know what is going on so she can plan appropriately.” Well, for her birthday, Lilah had a sleep over planned for the first weekend of July. She wanted to make sure that her brother did not mess things up for her so decided to create a very one-sided contract that she somehow persuaded her brother to sign — I would have loved to have seen the negotiation. The contract basically stipulates that Luke will pay Lilah and each of her friends $5 if he bothers them during the sleepover. There is no incentive in the contract for Luke’s good behavior either so it is indeed very one sided agreement.

Luke didn’t seem to mind signing the agreement as is evident by the heart-warming birthday card he gave her. Not only were the words in his card sweet, but Luke actually got this card on his own. You see, Cathy keeps blank greeting cards in the closet just so she always has one handy for special occasions. Apparently, Luke knew that as he went into the closet, grabbed a card for Lilah and wrote his own words. What a sweet little guy.

Lilah showed some sweetness of her own by helping to create, organize and plan a fundraiser for local animal shelters. The plan was for her and her friends to create a wide assortment of jewelry (earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc.) and crafts such as bookmarks with catchy phrases like “My brother is a bother,” and then set up a station on the street corner from which to sell their wares. This all went on while I was away at Luke’s summer camp. Cathy said the selling on the street corner thing didn’t pan out very well so the girls switched gears and walked around the neighborhood to sell their trinkets door-to-door. Lilah said she enjoyed the experience and also got a chance to talk to her customers about who the nice neighbors were and who the mean ones were, making it easier for the girls to target the customers most likely to make a purchase. In the end, the girls made eight dollars for their street-selling efforts, four of which go to the animal shelter and the other four go to her and her two friends (which means they each made a buck and some change). They were very happy with the results and even happier when “grandmie,” a die-hard animal lover bought $25 worth of stuff later that month.

For her birthday, Lilah received a Wii Sports Resort video game, a new bed, plenty of JC Penny gift cards so she can buy more clothes, a real spa treatment from grandmie (more on that next month), and a “Swim Girl” t-shirt and a book from grandma Carol. She also got to eat at Baja Fresh, and will get the opportunity to host her first ever sleep over at the beginning of July.

As you can see, there’s a lot in store for next month, including the annual lake Tahoe vacation . . . Hope you are all having a great summer!

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