Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

December 31, 2010

December 2010 – Family Update

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 4:58 am

Here are the December highlights:

Cathy’s 40th Birthday Surprise Party

We kicked off the month with a surprise party for Cathy’s big 40.  If any of you are thinking about hosting a surprise party of your own, you should know that it’s almost impossible to pull off this type of event without a lot of planning, help from friends and family, and large quantities of self control (especially when you’re working full time). This party was no exception. For the event, I enlisted the help of two of her good friends, her sister, my mom, Wood Ranch Catering, and a friend of mine who also happens to also be a graphics artist. Cathy’s sister made sure Cathy stayed out of the house until all the guests arrived. The two friends decorated the place while we were out at Lilah’s swim meet during the day. Wood Ranch provided the food. And my friend provided a beautiful photo collage that encapsulated the last 40 years of Cathy’s life.

The self control part was me fighting against my own mind as there were countless times where I came close to slipping up and revealing some aspect of the party. When you’ve been married so long it’s easy to slip up and fall into patterns like letting your partner know that a special guest is coming into town, or asking your partner for a photo you need for her collage, or soliciting her opinion on decorations, food, etc.. Luckily, I won the battle against my own mind and did not let any secrets out of the bag – and neither did any of the guests, which meant that Cathy hopefully walked into one of the biggest surprises of her life.  Thanks everyone for making it happen!

Plenty of Reunions

One of the other big surprises we gave Cathy this month was a visit from her sister, Christine. Christine came into town the night before the party on a Friday night. To set up the surprise, I told Cathy to take the kids to one of our favorite local restaurants where I would meet her after work. I then drove to the restaurant early and camped out with Christine and her boyfriend in the car waiting for Cathy’s car to pull up. Once I caught a glimpse of her car I had Christine and her boyfriend duck in the back seat of my car. I yelled over to Cathy to let her know that I had a surprise for her and that she needed to close her eyes. While she complied with my request, Christine got out of the car and walked over to Cathy until she was right in front of her. I then told Cathy to open her eyes. An emotional reunion ensued.

Grandma Carol was our next visitor as she is in the “lower 48” as she calls it until things thaw out in Alaska. Carol lives in Fairbanks in the spring and summer but gets out of there come winter and fall as Fairbanks can get pretty cold — minus 40 and below is not uncommon. Carol was traveling with her friend Bruce who she had met up with in Florida. I joked with them that California was the halfway point of their journey, since they had driven out from Florida and their plan was to drive back to Florida, stopping along the way, of course. The visit was brief, but at least were able to share a few meals together, exchange gifts, and catch up on old times.

Lilah was happy we also got a chance to see her cousin Rebecca this month. Rebecca is studying at UC Davis and was in town for the Christmas break. The “girl cousin” is a big deal to Lilah as her first cousins are all boys and most of the extended second cousins she gets to see are also boys. In fact, one of Lilah’s chief complaints when it comes to visiting family is that she is forced to hang out with boys.

Luke and Lilah Participate in Local Christmas Parade

Both kids got a chance to walk in the local Christmas parade. Lilah participated as a representative of her school, and Luke and I participated as part of the Adventure Guides. Luke was excited as he was given the honor of carrying the banner along the parade route along with another boy. Well, it didn’t take too long for the excitement to fade into weariness as the parade was held on an unseasonably warm 88-degree day. I was proud of the fact Luke was able to walk the 2.5 miles or so in the heat, but felt bad I had volunteered him for the sign carrying duty. I tried my best to make it easier on him by giving him water and holding the sign during pauses, but he was clearly drained by the end of the event. He was a trooper though as he continued to wave to the crowd and wish them all a merry Christmas as he plodded along the parade route.

Lilah, on the other hand, had it pretty easy (according to Luke). She just had to walk with her group and wave to everyone on the parade route. She insisted, however, that it wasn’t so easy because originally her group was supposed to ride down the parade route in a truck instead of going by foot. Since both kids did such a good job of walking the parade trail, we took them both out to McDonald’s and let them order whatever they wanted, which is not something we do very often.

Kids’ Christmas Presents

The kids were both happy with their presents. They didn’t get everything on their lists, but they did get some of the big ticket items they wanted. Lilah received her much anticipated telescope. After setting it up, she used it too view some houses perched high on the hills. She loved how she was able to zoom in close to the homes and observe details that were clearly not discernible to the naked eye. But the main reason she wanted the telescope is her current fascination with astronomy. For example, she has 18 episodes of a Science Channel special called “The Universe,” which she simply can’t get enough of. She was not thrilled that her star viewing mission was delayed by bad whether, but eventually things cleared up and we were able to observe a few stars. I have to admit, I wasn’t all that impressed with viewing stars through the telescope as they basically just show up as points of while light against a black background. Sure, they may look a little bigger with the telescope but we weren’t really able to see much more. We’re both looking forward to the next full moon to appear which should hopefully allow us to see some more contours and textures. Lilah also received more books, clothes, and a JC Penny’s gift card so that she can buy outfits there — apparently, that is where she finds the clothes she likes (she’s very particular these days).

Luke received catching gear for baseball and his first real skateboard — not a trick board, but a Santa Cruz mini longboard which is the type of skateboard you use for cruising and carving down hills. He likes the catching gear but has really fallen in love with skateboarding. The first day we rode our boards together (yes, daddy bought a board too), we skated until our feet were too sore to skate anymore. One thing about skating hills is that you have to walk up each hill before you come down. On the first day, we must have walked 3 miles as we descended several hills in our neighborhood countless times. Here’s a clip of Luke rolling down our hill so you can see how much fun he is having. And here’s one that Luke shot of me, complete with his own narration. We’re really having a great time skating together. Luke, picking up on this vibe as we were cruising on our boards, told me I am like Spencer from iCarly (the TV show he watches with his sister).

“How am I like Spencer?” I asked.

“Well, because you’re funny, you can skateboard and you’re like a cool dad.”

Now I know that being a dad, or a parent for that matter, isn’t about being cool. I mean, first and foremost, we have to lay down the law, make unpopular rules…make the kids go to school…Yet as we glide down the hills on our new chosen tools, it’s still nice to know my son Luke thinks I am cool.

More next month…

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