Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

November 30, 2011

November 2011 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 10:09 pm

November Highlights:

Luke Performs in His First Piano Recital

After only 4 months of piano lessons, Luke performed in his first recital this month. For the recital, he was required to play two songs from his piano book and one that he composed himself. My job was to make sure he practiced his songs so that, come recital time, the pieces would be second nature to him. You really never know exactly how kids are going to react when asked to perform. I remember that Lilah would always tell us she was scared whenever it came time to display her talents to an audience, whether it was a talent show, dance performance, or piano recital. However, once she was called to the stage, all that anxiety seemed to melt away and she would do just fine. Luke, on the other hand, played it cool all the way through. At no time did he ever come up and hint he was nervous in any way. I also didn’t ask him if he was nervous because I figured it was better not to let that thought creep into his head. What I did notice was Luke acting a little more serious than his usual self on the day of the recital. His instructor said that she thought Luke was remarkably calm and relaxed. She said she was surprised to see him smile when she asked him how he was doing. She said that when kids are really nervous, they can’t even smile. So good job Luke, you did just fine in your first solo show.

Here is a short clip of him playing the song Christopher Columbus at his recital, and here is a clip of him practicing “Running Spike the Dog,” which was his original composition.

iPod Touch to the Rescue

As I mentioned last month, Lilah has been on the bandwagon to get a cell phone for some time now. She has persistently bombarded us with direct requests for a cell phone, demanded that we give her a date or approximate time when she would be allowed to get a cell phone, and also presented us with a PowerPoint slideshow on why she should not only have a cell phone, but why it should also be an iPhone. Lilah is a child ruled by reason and logic. Cathy and I also know that she also loves to save her allowance money and spend it wisely so we came up with a plan in which we gave Lilah the choice of having an iPhone or an iPod Touch. The catch was that if she wanted the iPhone she would have to come up with $30 a month to cover the additional monthly expense it would add to our phone bill (we would buy her the phone, of course). We told her that if she opted for the iPod Touch option, she would not have to pay any monthly fee. At first she pouted a bit because I explained that the iPod Touch needed an Internet connection in order for her to send texts and do the various other things she does online. In other words, she would not be able to access the Internet while in a car, bus, etc..

But her protests began to fade once I sent her the link to Apple’s iPod Touch page where she learned about all the different apps available for the iPod Touch and all the cool accessories it offered. We’re now about 3 weeks into the purchase and she seems to be happy with the choice. She uses the device primarily to chat with her friends, but I’ve also showed her Facetime so she can now use it with her grandmy, aunts, and her dad who has been known to call her from the iMac in the family den just for kicks ;-). Anyway, Cathy and I figure that’s all she needs for now, and, if at some point she really needs a phone for emergencies or anything like that, we can always give her one of our phones. Giving Lilah the iPod Touch was also our way of rewarding her for working hard at school and being an all around good kid (well, we have to justify the purchase to ourselves too). We also reminded her that it’s an early Christmas present from us so she does not expect anything really big when Santa visits in December.

Luke Finishes the Basketball Season as Teams’ Best Defensive Stopper

Luke had a great time playing YMCA basketball this year. He got along well with his team mates and even created his own little sub-team called the “Pokemon Bros,” comprised of him and two other kids who are very fond of the Pokemon TV shows and the related card games. Luke progressed as the season went along. When we first started he was hesitant to dribble forward with the ball or handle it too much for fear of it being taken away, but by the time we finished he was dribbling, passing, and looking for his own shot. He wasn’t the best scorer on his team as he lacked the strength needed to consistently get the ball up to the rim in a controlled manner, but he did make his fair share of buckets and was recognized as being our best defensive stopper. His defense was definitely on display in the last game of our season as the coach gave Luke the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s best offensive player. His speed and long, active arms on defense was a big reason we squeaked out a victory in the final minutes of our final game, which was a nice way to end the season.

Thanksgiving – A Great Time to Hang Out and Share Some Really Good Food

As is the custom, we hosted Thanksgiving, which gave us all a chance to try out some new dishes and perfect others. In addition to the turkey and stuffing, Cathy made some great yams (mashed potato-style with a pecan encrusted top layer) and a special corn dish that includes onions, peppers, bacon, and a little cayenne pepper for kick. I had briefly contemplated bringing back the pulled pork again this year, but opted instead for an Asian-style tri-tip recipe which a friend provided to me when I told him I wanted to make a roast with a tinge of sweetness. Here’s the recipe he gave to me, which came out awesome (thanks Moshe!).

  • Put your tri-tip roast in a large zip lock back with the following ingredients: 12 oz can of coke (this tenderizes the meat and gives it the sweetness, green onions, fresh ginger and fresh garlic)
  • Marinate the meat for 24 hours if you can to get it tender
  • Before BBQing, let the meat come to room temperature (about 2 hours of so out of the fridge)
  • Dry the meat with some paper towels then sprinkle generously with kosher salt and fresh pepper

My mom brought mashed potatoes, my sister provided a green bean casserole, and if that wasn’t enough, we capped it off later with dessert (pumpkin pie, mud pie, mixed berry pie, cookies), coffee and tea. Man, that was good.

Stay tuned. More big dinners and fun next month…

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