Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

July 31, 2016

July 2016 – Family Updates

Filed under: 2016 Lake Tahoe,Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 10:17 pm

This month’s blog post includes 2 pages of pictures — click on the numbers above to see all pages.

July Highlights:

  • We return to our beloved Lake Tahoe
  • Luke starts to come of age in the ocean, paddling out for the big ones
  • We celebrate Nicholas’ birthday
  • Kids give in to the Pokemon Go craze and we help enable it 😉
  • We take a side excursion to Reno, Nevada
  • Attend Brandon and Kevin’s beautiful wedding in Corona Del Mar
  • This one is not a highlight but a low light — my sister’s family lost their beloved 13.5 year-old dog Buddy to illness. We will all miss the sound of his feet on the hardwood floor, his rascally ways of stealing food off the counter, and his loving, gentle demeanor.

Lake Tahoe 2016

Writing about vacations is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s cool to see the pictures and reflect back fondly on the new memories we made in Lake Tahoe; on the other hand it’s tough to not still be there having more good times with the kids. But that’s just how it is and little by little all of us have gotten back to our familiar routines.

We had absolutely wonderful weather for our entire stay in Tahoe with temps in the 80s and some very clear and blue skies. This year, we did three new things in Tahoe, well kind of. One thing we did was purchase an adventure day pass for Heavenly Valley which has now expanded their operations to include summer tubing and a single-person roller coaster in addition to their other activities such as ropes courses, zip lines, and various tours. The park was fun, but our fun quotient was tempered a bit by waiting in line and not being able to traverse down the zip line. If you remember, a few years ago we signed Luke up to go down the zip line but he did not make the weight cut off so he was not able to participate. This year, we thought all of us would get on the zip line but because the winds kicked up a bit, Heavenly closed the zip line which means that Luke has now been thwarted twice in his attempts to shoot down the mountain (oh well, I’m in the same boat — only the girls have managed to experience that ride).

Instead of flying through the air on the zip line, we ended up sliding down the mountain on inner tubes and also taking a one-person roller coaster down a pretty sweet track. The roller coaster can actually fit two people which comes in handy for parents with small children who want to accompany them on the ride. We all got our shot at the roller coaster (kids went down twice), the tube ride (fun, but the wait is just too long for such a short thrill), and, of course, the ropes course. Overall, we were happy we had a chance to try most things, but we pretty much spent the entire day up there to do those few things. The lines didn’t look long, but getting people on and off the rides took a lot longer than what you might expect so we definitely did our fair share of waiting around for stuff.

One thing Luke couldn’t wait to try this year was jet skiing, especially since it meant that both he and Lilah would get to drive the vehicles — not on their own, mind you, but at least they got to control the action. Renting the jet skis wasn’t a first, but letting the kids drive definitely was. As I suspected, both kids rode the jet skis quite differently. Lilah was cautious and only once went above 30 mph (31 mph to be exact). Luke, on other hand, unleashed his speed demon as he kept testing the limits of his and my tolerance for high octane fun. First he hit 30 and was happy. We rode a bit more and soon enough he achieved forty, then 51 mph. I really had to hold on, but we had a lot of fun. He also enjoyed doing donuts. When we got back to the shore Lilah shook her head and told Cat and me that we going to have to watch it with Luke because he’s “going to be a crazy driver.”

The last new thing we did was visit the Donner Lake area. We checked out some hikes around the lake where we saw people camping, paddle boarding and also exploring the various trails. After that, we took the road to the summit and explored the view from the top. The kids climbed a few of the rocky bluffs and Luke enjoyed challenging Lilah by climbing higher than her and taking in the views his exploits afforded him.

In addition to the new activities we went back to some old favorites as well, such as beach days and Sand Harbor and another white water rafting trip with the same Irie Rafting company we used two years ago. Our guide was very experienced in this area, which meant our raft was usually the first or second one down river. This allowed us to check out how the other rafting teams did negotiating the rapids. The highlight for the kids was when our guide Maddie pointed at one of the rafts from the group and let us know that it had not chosen the correct line and was not going to make it through without people “swimming.” Sure enough, Maddie’s prediction proved correct and everyone in the raft, except for the guide, ended up falling out of the raft and having to swim for it. This elicited a lot of laughs from the kids. We don’t have pictures of the adventure yet, but if we purchase the CD we will post them. Maddie complimented us on our paddling skills and said that we are ready to step it up a notch next time with class 4 rapids instead of the class 3 ones we did this time around. The kids are actually looking forward to that.

Luke is Becoming Quite the Waterman

When Luke managed to stand up on a surfboard in May, I thought that would lead to him learning how to surf over the summer. Well, that hasn’t exactly panned out, but what he has become very interested in doing is boogie boarding. For a while, Luke had been telling me about how he had started venturing far out into the lineup with his friends, but a part of me still could not believe that the boy who used to have a healthy dose of fear of the water was now paddling out to where the bigger waves broke since I hadn’t witnessed it for myself (the trips he had taken with his friends were all done on weekdays while I was at work). However, all of that changed one day when I took him and Lilah out to Mondos. As I watched from the shore, I could see that Luke was becoming smaller and smaller until he was eventually in line with the surfers some 150 yards out to sea or so. Instead of watching in a relaxed and proud manner, I grew anxious. Did Luke really know what he was doing out there? Was he stuck in a rip? Was he okay? These questions got the better of me until I asked someone on the beach if I could borrow their longboard so I could check up on Luke. When I at last reached him, I asked him if he was okay. With a very annoyed look, he replied, “yeah, why?” Soon after, I paddled back to shore but not before asking a lady who was heading out to keep an eye out on him, still not completely trusting what I was witnessing ;).

Since then, I have seen Luke paddle out into some pretty good sized surf and, at times, he has done this while a friend frolics in the shallows, too afraid to paddle out further. I am used to this now, as we have gone out together on a number of different occasions. I think if he keeps at it, he’s going to end up paddling out into bigger stuff than I’m used to surfing. This almost happened the other day. We were both looking at the surf at the Ventura County line on a crowded day with sets easily hitting 6+ feet. I wasn’t totally comfortable paddling out with Luke into that kind of surf, but Luke said that since we were there we might as well try it. Well, we walked down to the beach, put on our wetsuits and then watched the surf for a while from the shore where it looked even bigger than it from farther away (it always does). Slowly, we started walking in and that’s when I “called it” and said, “No, Luke, I gotta be the responsible dad here and say no. We have to go somewhere else. ” He didn’t fight me too hard so I think he knew he would have been a little out of his league out there.

That day we ended up driving to a nearby beach where the surf was about half the size but with some good bite to it. It took Luke a while to paddle out and he noticed that these more tubular waves were packing a bigger punch. I think this made him realize that he would have been in way over his head at County Line and I think I realized that Luke almost peer pressured me into “a disaster” ;). Glad we made the right call. Still, as I mentioned before, if he keeps at this long enough, one day he’ll be ready to go out into that type of surf. Not sure if I’ll be able to do the same or, if instead, I’ll end up watching him from the safety of the shore as he keeps taking those baby steps toward manhood. That’s all for now. More next month…

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