Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

December 31, 2011

December 2011 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 1:08 am

December Highlights:

All Kinds of Activity this Month

It took me forever to begin this entry because we did so much that it’s hard to know where to begin. As in years past, we got together with my sister on Christmas Eve, but before that we had numerous other events to get to and plans to make. Lilah got into planning mode early this year, using her school-supplied netbook to create a very detailed Christmas list complete with pictures and a key at the top of the list that helped define her level of enthusiasm with the gifts she was requesting. Not sure she really needed the key, as her letter was sprinkled with pretty descriptive statements — such as “this shirt is so cute,” and “these are SUPER CUTE shoes that I love” — that would have let us know her desires quite clearly.

The kids both received many presents. Santa must have loved Lilah’s note, because, among other things, Lilah received a radio alarm clock that also serves as a pretty powerful boombox for the songs on her iPod Touch, Hello Kitty merchandise, a bean bag, and more JC Penny gift cards. Luke also received a bean bag (from my parents) and a few other cool things as well, including a DS game, a Nerf machine gun, a radio/clock, a catcher’s mitt, and the Headbanz game. Cathy’s big gift was an iPhone that she was not happy with at first because texting was much more difficult than her old phone (which had a real keyboard). She was also not shy about letting her discontent be known as I kept hearing stuff like “Uuuugh, I can’t text with this thing,” or “This stupid phone doesn’t work,” throughout Christmas morning. Later in the day, her mood started changing however, as she became more comfortable with the keypad and the different nuances of the phone. Soon after, a smile, and then an actual acknowledgement that the gift might be alright after all. But suddenly the discontent came back with a vengeance when she discovered she was not receiving her texts on time. For some reason, texts that had been sent to her in the morning were not received by her iPhone until the afternoon. This kept happening as the days went by until she finally had enough. We were on the verge of returning the phone when we finally discovered a solution — don’t turn the phone off. Cathy was turning the phone off at night to save battery life, but by doing so it caused all her texts to be stored somewhere in limbo. The only thing that would trigger a release of these messages is when Cathy would send her first text of the day, which sometimes wouldn’t be until the afternoon. In any case, Cathy is now okay with leaving the phone on at night and, despite a turbulent beginning, she appears happy with her gift once again.

There was much less drama on my end. I was happy with my gifts, which included a Kindle Fire I gave to myself, and some cool clothes that were given to me by Cathy and my parents.

Both kids participated in our city parade again. Luke as part of the Adventure Guides, and Lilah, as part of a dance troop. This year’s parade weather was warm, but a lot cooler than the 85+ degree weather we had last year. I was also pleased that the parade route took about 45 minutes to an hour less to cover. I later learned that the reason the parade took so long last year was because somebody had a stroke and so the parade was paused several times mid-stream to make room for the ambulance and paramedics to arrive and depart. In addition to the parade dance, Lilah also gave a performance as part of her YMCA hip hop group. This year’s routine featured a moment in which Lilah and her friend Tory jumped off the stage — no, it wasn’t an accident, it was part of the choreography which they executed quite well.

We gave my mom two tickets to the musical, Wicked. The arrangement was that she would take Lilah to the show so that they could have an afternoon out. The outing included lunch before the show. I asked both ladies what they thought of the show afterwards and they said they really liked it. They both thought the show was a little long, but then again they are not used to watching musicals. I later learned from Lilah that what may have contributed to the show feeling long was the fact that it wasn’t “super comfy” to sit in those theater seats. Overall, Lilah did like it though and I think she followed the story. This became evident when I asked her if she thought Luke would like the show. She said no, because the musical is funny but it is also dramatic, something she did not feel her little brother would understand because he was “too dumb.” As you can see, Lilah’s not one to hold back any punches.

On a similar, but unrelated note, Luke is also the paragon of honesty these days — something I got to witness firsthand while I sat in on one of his piano lessons. Luke’s instructor, Shelley, was trying to find Christmas songs for Luke to play so she played him a song that had lyrics about Jesus in the manger. She then asked Luke if he liked that song. Below is the approximate exchange the followed (remember, he was only asked if he liked the song – a simple yes or no would have been fine):

Luke: No, we don’t really go to church.
Shelley (trying to be nice): Well Luke, it’s not just a church song. This song is also played at shopping centers and malls.
Luke (thinking for a few seconds…then deadpan): It didn’t play at the mall I go to.

Shelley did end up finding songs for Luke to play — “Up on the House Top,” and “Jingle Bells” — but I almost felt bad at just how honest he had to be for that moment ;-).

A Visit from Grandma Carol
Grandma Carol spent a few nights with us again this year, part of her yearly pilgrimage where she leaves Fairbanks, Alaska in the fall and returns in the spring once those up to 60-degree below 0 temperatures give way to more temperate weather. While she was here we saw the movie Hugo, which was excellent by the way, and visited Universal Studios where the kids had a blast. Amusement parks are definitely not my thing as I find them so crowded and get tired of standing and waiting in lines. Fortunately, the lines at Universal weren’t too bad so we were able to see several shows and get on most of the rides the kids wanted. The kids favorite ride was the King Kong 3D simulation which you encounter as part of the tram tour. They also enjoyed the Simpson’s ride and had a good time watching the Shrek 4D show. They call it 4D because the show includes the dimension of touch. For example, in addition to the 3D viewing of the film, you also feel things happen to you as if you were experiencing the scene on screen yourself. The things you feel include your seat shaking as the carriage on the screen travels down a rough road; drops of water landing on your face at just the moment when donkey sneezes right at you from the screen; and imaginary spiders crawling on your feet and up your legs. We spent about 7 hours at the park and still left ourselves with more to do on our next visit. We purchased an all season pass as it was pretty much the same price as paying for a full ticket. Next time, when it’s warmer, we will go on the Jurassic Park ride which includes one of those free fall log jams guaranteed to get you wet. In addition, maybe we’ll see Terminator 2 and who knows Lilah may even get the nerve to visit the haunted house which she was just a few steps from going into before she chickened out. Luke, of course, was not remotely interested in seeing anything scary.

And so concludes the last post of the year. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season with the ones you love and wish you all the best for the new year . . . more next month.

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