Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

October 31, 2012

October 2012 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 4:02 am

October Highlights:

Airsoft Gun Wars and Olympians

We had a couple of first time activities this month: an airsoft gun war amongst 4th grade boys and a 3-hour swimming clinic with olympians Chloe Sutton and Tyler McGill.

Airsoft Gun War
I attended “the war” with Luke as this was part of his friend’s birthday party. A guy I know had the perfect property for staging this event. He lives in an old farm house with plenty of open land surrounding the property. For the event, they set up two battlefronts complete with barricades consisting of assorted pieces of wood and large metal cans. The boys divided themselves up into two teams and each team positioned itself behind its battlefront barriers. Each battlefront also had 3 bottles on top of wooden perches that were separated by several yards. The goal of the game was to use a stockpile of acorns to knock down all three bottles from the opposing team. The team who knocked down all the bottles from the opposing team would be declared the winner.

Of course, it’s not easy to knock down those bottles when you have the other team firing their airsoft guns full of plastic pellet bullets. The boys took precautionary measures such as wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, goggles, and helmets, but occasionally one of those plastic bullets would make contact with some exposed skin and you would hear a boy yell out, “I’ got shot.” But they would continue with the battle, and only later would they show each other their war wounds consisting of small red welts left behind by the plastic bullets. The boys played several rounds of this game and had a blast doing it. I created a separate airsoft gun battle website, if you want to see more of the action footage. In addition to watching the boys battle, it was also fun to see them interact. There was the typical one upsmanship stuff such as this exchange:

Mason: Luke is this the first time you’ve shot an airsoft gun?
Luke: (A look like he had just been insulted)…No, I’ve done it twice, no wait, I’ve done it three times.
Mason: Have you ever shot a real gun before?
Luke: We were supposed to go shoot with Cooper, but he got sick and so we couldn’t go. (I loved how Luke couldn’t directly concede he had never shot a gun before with a no answer — instead he had to provide some context for this apparent lack of boy manliness…Later on Mason’s mother would inform me that Mason had indeed shot a real gun once, but had gone off crying afterwards because it was too scary.)

Then there was one boy who shly said he had been shot in the nipple. The word nipple triggered a fit of uncontrollable laughter amongst the boys — ah, some things never change.

Meeting Olympians
When Lilah was still swimming, we signed her up for a swim clinic that was still many months away. Even though she isn’t swimming anymore (now that she has moved on to volleyball), we thought it would still be a good experience for her to attend the swim clinic, which was sponsored by Fitter/Faster, and featured Olympians Chloe Sutton and Tyler McGill. We were definitely not disappointed. The kids received some real coaching from Chloe and Tyler in the pool, and they also got a chance to hang out with them for thirty minutes or so each. The kids listened to Chloe and Tyler’s stories and also had the opportunity to ask them several questions about how they train, what they like to do (besides swim), what they eat, and if they know the big names on the US swim team, like Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin.

Chloe and Tyler confirmed that they did know the other members of the Olympic squad since they all get to hang out as a team for 7 weeks during the Olympics and in the preparation leading up to the Olympics. During this time they travel together, eat together, are lodged together, etc., so they definitely get a chance to know each other really well and form strong personal bonds. It was nice to see the kids so enthusiastic to ask questions. Both Chloe and Tyler were bombarded with questions and they took their time to answer each question in a really thoughtful way that made a big impact on the kids. In addition, the kids got to pose with the Olympians and wear Tyler’s gold medal around their necks. Lilah said the medal was a lot heavier than she thought it was going to be. After the event was over, and she had received her autographs, I asked her if the clinic had inspired her to get back into swimming again. Lilah quickly shot me down however, letting me know that it was a great event, but that her brief swimming career, for now, was over as she is much more into volleyball these days. In other words, back off dad ;-).

Plus, I have to remind myself Lilah is also into doing other things like piano and making her own birthday presents and cards for friends. Her latest creation was making the character, Sparky (from the movie Frankenweenie), out of clay. She made this on her own and then gave it to her friend, who is a big fan of the movie, for her birthday. In addition, when she was at Target she saw a birthday card she thought her friend would like, but instead of buying it she simply took a picture of it and then drew the card herself when she got home. She never fails to amaze me with her creativity.

Dad’s 69th Birthday

This year we celebrated my dad’s birthday at our house. All the grandkids were there, plus a few friends, including a surprise guest, Toni, my former “landlady,” and friend. Back in college, I needed to find a place to stay when my parents and sister moved to Chile. My friend Derek recommended his step mom, Toni, who lived in a big house and had a room I could rent. My stay with Toni came at a special time in my life. She was the one who gave me advice on switching majors and she was also the first adult I introduced Cathy to — since my mom and dad were out of the country at the time. In fact, Toni got a chance to witness the entire courtship and see, smell, and sometimes taste, all the special meals I prepared for Cathy when we were first dating. She also became good friends with my parents in the process as they would stay with her whenever they visited me from Chile. I don’t think my parents had seen her since our wedding however (18 years ago), but when they did see each other again it’s as if they had never been apart — we spent much of the night laughing, reminiscing, and closing the time gap with stories of the adventures we had been on since the last time we had seen each other. Needless to say it was a special and nostalgic night.

We Purchase Our First New Piano

We finally took the plunge and purchased a new piano. Up until now, we had all been practicing our songs on a Casio keyboard, and that had been fine until dad got a little excited at the piano store one day and decided the time was right to buy this shiny new black upright Knabe piano. Lilah seems to be really into the new instrument and so am I. Luke likes it, but he is a little dispassionate about it as he told me that the piano sounds like it’s a little out of tune. It’s okay though, within another week or so we will get our complimentary tuning. Apparently, just moving a piano from one location to another will cause it to lose some of its tuning. It’s also not recommended that you tune the piano right away because the strings need to get used to the new environment and ambient temperature variations that inveitably cause the piano strings to stretch and contract and go out of tune. So essentially you need to give your instrument a break-in period of a few weeks before you tune it. I actually love playing our piano despite it not being pitch-perfect. The touch is also incredible. Well at least when you compare it to an electronic keyboard. There is a level of control you can get with an acoustic instrument that you simply can’t replicate on an electronic device. I am really enjoying this process of learning the piano along with the kids and am looking forward to playing it for years to come.

More next month…

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