Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

September 30, 2009

September 2009 – Lilah and Luke (and some mom and dad)

Filed under: Lilah and Luke — dave9169 @ 12:37 am

Here are the September highlights:


Before I get into the latest with the kids, I think I need to talk a bit about Cathy, our star of the month, who completed her first 5K this month. A few years ago, I would’ve never believed this. In fact, Cathy used to tell me all the time that she couldn’t run because she had messed up one of her knees during pregnancy. She has also told me on numerous occasions that she hates running. Well, a little more than a year ago, Cat began going to the gym. She started easy by doing some light weight and a little walking on the treadmill. Nothing major, just something to get her moving. She then  progressed to taking spin classes and slowly began incorporating other classes into her mix, including boot camp, body sculpting, and piyo (a combination of pilates and yoga). Cat has found her inner fitness fanatic and she seeing her cross the finish line of her first 5K made us all proud of her. At our celebratory breakfast, Cathy surprised me by saying that she might up the ante next year and take on a 10K. Wow!


This was definitely an athletic month for the entire family as I finished my last triathlon of the season, Cathy ran her first 5K, and Lilah and Luke both ran in the kids 1K event. Lilah wasn’t too happy about her brother beating her in the 1K but luckily she did not pout about it. She just said that her “thing” is swimming — that’s what her flipper feet are made for. She will get a chance to show off her swimming prowess next month in her first swim meet.

Lilah’s mouse, Julia, got sick this month. Poor Lilah, I could tell that Julia’s health was worrying her as she seemed to check on her every five minutes to see how she was doing and kept asking if we needed to take her to the vet. Cathy ended up taking Julia to the vet and he prescribed some antibiotics that made her better. In that visit, Cathy learned that all mice are carriers of a certain bacteria and that Julia was probably suffering from a mild case of a bacterial infection. This meant that we had to give antibiotics to both mice. Initially, the treatment consists of securely holding the mouse with one hand while using the other hand to administer the medicine with an eyedropper directly into the mouth. Not as easy as it sounds, but eventually you don’t have to hold the mice because the mice remember the sweetness of the antibiotics which means they will come to the edge of the cage and purse their lips for the candy from the eyedropper feeder.

Lilah got a chance to spend the night at grandmy and grandpy’s house this month. Originally, the plan was to have Lilah and Luke both spend the night so that Cathy and I could drive together to my last triathlon of the season the following morning. Unfortunately, Luke came down with a 102 degree fever that night so Cathy stayed home with him, but Lilah pulled the big girl move and said she would still spend the night with her grandparents. She loves her grandparents, but I’m sure knowing that they were going to take her to I-HOP (Lilah’s favorite breakfast location) in the morning probably influenced her decision to stay just a little ;-). When I picked her up the next day, she told me she had a great time — she even had gifts for us (flowers to plant, a small cactus for mom, and dozens of live ladybugs in a bag for our garden).


Luke was a little stud on his 1K run. He was confused at first because the race official was letting people go in waves according to age ranges — 2 to 3 year-olds go first, 5-9 year olds second, etc.. Well, when the race official announced his age group and said go, Lilah took off and Luke just stood there waiting for his turn, not realizing that age six falls in the 5-9 year-old bracket. We had to raise our voice to get his attention and tell him to go. Well, that’s when the adrenaline kicked in and Luke took off. Of course, I had seen him take off like this many times in other races only to have him dramatically slow down half way through because he was out of breath. But in this race, he just kept going and had this great focus all the way to the end. It was cool to look at the photos afterward and see him closing his eyes with determination close to the end of the race. Good job Luke!

This month we also resumed going to the Adventure Guides, the father and son group that meets once a month so that the kids can play and talk about what they did with their dads during the month. In this gathering, each child gets to tell his story (known as the “scouting report”), one at a time.  Most of the kids struggle a little bit with their reports as they have to stand in front of the group to do so. Typically, a boy will get up, share one or two things, and then want to sit back down again and let the next boy tell his story. But before he can end the story, what usually happens is his father will step in and begin asking questions in an effort to help the child expand the story, or the dad will simply supply the child with more anecdotes to talk about.

I decided to take a different approach with Luke. Since we started attending the group, I have let Luke tell his story the way he wants to tell it — short or long. I figured that as he tells more stories he will become better at it. That’s not to say I don’t help him — I do provide him with some direction before we meet with the group by asking him what he wants to talk about. When he starts rattling off a list, I tell him it’s okay to slow down and linger a little bit with the details if he wants to. The point of this “light coaching” is not to tell him everything to say, but to instead provide him with a sense of how to approach the task. Once he is in front of the group, my philosophy is that this is his moment to shine or not (all I can do is make sure he’s prepared). Well, this time, Luke got up in front of the group and blew me away. He was like a wind up doll — he spoke up, was confident, and shared a lot of details ( stuff that I had no clue he was going to share). It was absolutely one of those moments that will make a dad proud.

I guess my key learning in all of this and the purpose for sharing this story is that as a parent you sometimes have to resist the urge to jump in and help your child when they are trying to do something on their own — be it telling a story, playing sports, or building Legos. If you just give them some time to figure things out and don’t rush in to rescue them, you’ll be surprised at what your kids can figure out on their own. It may not happen right away, but you just have to realize that it’s okay and that the journey is more important than any immediate results.

Sweden Trip

I had a great time in Sweden. Last year, my friend Derek moved away to Sweden with his family. Before he left, I told him that maybe for my 40th birthday I’d come out to see him so that we could hang out and celebrate. So that’s exactly what I did, and, another buddy of mine, Tyson, surprised me by joining me at the last minute which make the journey a lot more enjoyable — especially when you’re flying for 13+ hours.

Derek lives in the heart of Stockholm, just minutes from Gamla Stan. This cobblestone town dates back to the 13th century and is one of the most picturesque places in the city. Initially, we found Sweden a little eerie because it’s so quiet. I mean, if you’re at the airport all you really hear is the sound of luggage conveyor belts. If you’re on the bus, you just hear the humming of the engine. If you’re on the streets it’s quiet too for the most part, with the exception of traffic noise. But if you go up and ask a Swedish person for directions, they light up and will go out of their way to help you. What also makes Sweden nice is that everybody there speaks English which makes everything so much easier. I jokingly told an English friend of mine that Sweden reminds me of England, except everybody there is pretty ;-).

The beautiful Swedish people are complemented nicely by the gorgeous scenery of Stockholm. The city itself is essentially an archipelago composed of several small islands. As you walk through the city you are constantly crossing small bridges to get from one island to the other. And at this time of year (early September) the sun was almost always out, which meant constant breathtaking panoramas of water glistening amidst a backdrop of multi-colored pastel red, and yellow buildings. The Swedes all seemed to be enjoying the last bit of summer before the “darker” weather comes. Along one street, in particular, we found many of them sitting in outdoor cafes facing the sun with their eyes closed and their heads slightly tilted back to absorb the warmth of the midday rays — human sunflowers in peaceful repose.

I won’t bore you with all the details of the places we visited, but briefly we visited the King’s castle, went to an excellent Thai restaurant for my birthday, took a side trip to a small beach (nobody was there though as finding people on the beach in September is rare), and visited the Vassa museum. The Vassa, is a ship which sank in 1628 and was resurrected in 1961. After decades of restoration, the ship is now one of the biggest attractions in Stockholm. The Vassa was supposed to be the pride and joy of the King’s fleet, but shortly after it set sail it keeled over to one side, recovered briefly and then keeled over again and sank. All because the ship was too top heavy — not enough weight at the bottom of the ship to counteract the weight from the sails.

Public transportation is also excellent in Stockholm. We really didn’t need a car for anything as you can get pretty much anywhere using the trains or buses. We really had a nice time!

That’s all for now…enjoy the pictures…more next month.

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