Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

May 31, 2016

May 2016 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 4:22 am

May Highlights:

Lilah Ending the School Year Strong with Scholastic and Sports Awards

From the other side of the kitchen counter, Lilah nonchalantly said “Oh, I got this,” and handed me an invitation she received. It was a short note indicating that Lilah had been selected to receive a special award at her school during an awards’ ceremony school officials were calling “The Academy Awards,” in honor of all three academies (Arts, Science, and Engineering) represented at Lilah’s high school. I proceeded to walk around the counter to offer Lilah a big hug and all she said in her deadpan delivery was, “I didn’t show you that because I wanted you to give me a hug.”

Her remark and lack of interest in returning the hug made me laugh. She is so internally motivated and independent that the last thing she wants you to think is that she is doing something because of some external force — especially one like receiving praise from a parent.

The awards ceremony was a nice event. Lilah and the members of the Kiwins club she is a part of volunteered to pass out programs before festivities started. Once done, they all sat down in a designated area close to the front of the stage to watch the event and wait for their names to be called. Since there are just under 400 people in the school, there were only around 20-25 students selected to receive awards, which meant the ceremony didn’t last too long. In any case, time passed quickly anyway because, in the spirit of the real Academy Awards, the organizers broke things up with singing and dancing performances from students in the Art Academy. Lilah is part of the Art Academy but actually received a Science Academy award for her achievements in biology.

In addition to her scholastic achievement, Lilah also ended her swim season strong and just held on to win her last event by 30/100th of a second to finish the season undefeated in both the 50 yard breaststroke and 100 yard individual medley. She couldn’t have cut it any closer as she trailed the last swimmer going into her last length of the pool. Somehow, in the last 25 yards Lilah mustered the resolve to dig deep and touch the finishing wall just a split second before her challenger. That was the closest anybody had gotten to beating her all year so it really made for a suspenseful and exciting finish to her season. Afterwards, she said that when she realizes she was behind she said “No,” and pushed as hard as she could to come out victorious and accomplish her goal of finishing the season undefeated.

This all happened at the season-ending championships where both the girls and boys swim teams learned they had finished the season in first place for their league. To celebrate, all the kids lined up at one end of the pool and proceeded to jump in. The coaches capped off the canon balls into the pool by jumping in with their regular clothing while all the swimmers cheered.

For all her hard work, Lilah was also given the “Outstanding Achievement Award” by her coach.

Luke Learns to Surf and Joins Classmates for 3-day Camp in the Santa Monica Mountains

When Luke was around 8, I paddled out into some small surf with him to see if he would take to the surfing experience. Well, it didn’t take long before he let me know he was scared and wanted to return back to shore. Shortly afterwards, the two of us took on a different sport together – snowboarding. I wasn’t that into the idea for many reasons — hard to learn a new sport in your forties, mountains were hours away instead of minutes away like the ocean, and snowboarding required expensive new equipment and lift tickets to purchase — but Luke was motivated to learn it and so I followed the journey with him, from the bunny slopes to the top of the mountain.

In the back of my mind though, I always thought it would be cool for Luke to learn to surf as well since we live so close to the ocean and it would also give me a surfing buddy to paddle out with. That’s why I was so happy when Luke mentioned in passing that he might like to try surfing again. Within a week of that pronouncement, I took Luke to Mondos to learn how to surf on a soft top board. We began with just the basics, which meant catching the wave. I helped him do this by giving him a push to get started, but that seemed to throw him off a bit, making his board a little too squirrely in the surf. Soon after, he let me know that he wanted to get into the wave on his own instead. I obliged. And within a few minutes or so, Luke stood up on his first wave and then managed to catch two more, all in the span of about an hour and fifteen minutes. Needless to say I was stoked for him and unable to contain my grinning as I began to imagine the two of us surfing together for years to come. In any case, I’m not getting too far ahead of myself. Luke still needs to build strength, stamina and a resistance to the cold water (something he hates to fall into because it’s “so cold” – lol). But as they say, baby steps.

Another new thing Luke got to do this month was participate in a 3-day overnight camp in the Santa Monica mountains with his middle school classmates. Many years ago, when I was in the sixth grade, I remember doing something similar at Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu. Luke’s camp was in the same mountain range but in the Topanga area. I wasn’t a chaperone for the camp so what I am sharing from this event comes second hand from Luke and some of the pictures I downloaded from the camp’s website.

At the camp, the kids played wiffle ball (Luke said he manged to hit 4 home runs), swam in the pool, performed nightly skits, visited tide pools at the beach, and did some pretty long hikes. Luke said that his hike started at nine in the morning and they didn’t return back to camp until around four in the afternoon — a long enough hike to give him some tender blisters. He was also convinced that his group did the longest hike because there was another group that started around the same time as them but took a different route and ended up back at camp an hour or more before they did. The good news is that his blistered feet healed fairly quickly and he was able to walk normally a day or two after he returned home.

The kids also learned responsibility in the camp as they were all designated different jobs to perform. Luke’s group was required to set up the breakfast area so they were always among the first group of kids to get up. Overall, Luke said he enjoyed the experience and that it was obviously better than sitting in class all day at school. Cathy and I like the fact the camp did not allow the kids to have cell phones, which forced them all to interact and actually talk to each other instead of using their thumbs to communicate via text like they so often do nowadays.

Can’t believe summer vacation is almost here. Looking forward to making more memories with Luke, Lilah and Cathy this summer.

That’s all for now. More next month

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