Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

September 30, 2010

September 2010 – Family Update

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 3:19 am

Here are the September highlights:

First Day of School

The first day of school coincided with my birthday on September 1st. Since I took the day off, it gave me the opportunity to document the event — sort of. I forgot the camera in the morning when dropping the kids off, but remembered it when I picked them up from the bus stop in the afternoon. I can’t believe school has arrived again. As always we got to go through all the anticipation of what teachers the kids would get. Well, we’re pretty low key on that kind of stuff. The way we see it: life is full of all kinds of different characters and there is something to learn from everybody. Lilah hasn’t bought into that philosophy however. She was the one that worried the most about getting the nice teacher, not the mean one Luke ended up with. Well, Luke’s teacher isn’t really mean, but she is known as being strict and into academics, which in kid language means “you’re mean and to be avoided at all costs.” Luckily, Lilah ended up with the teacher she wanted (who is nice and also good on the academic side), and, as an added bonus, her best friend Tory also made it into the same class. Luke ended up in a combo first/second grade class because of his independence. At least, that’s the story his teacher told me and it’s the one Luke believes as well so all is good ;-).

YMCA Redwood Camp

One of the big highlights this month was attending fall camp with Luke in the Sequoias. I gave Lilah plenty of opportunities to “volunteer” to join us on our trip, but she refused as she did not want to hang out with a “bunch of boys.” I told her there would also be girls at the camp, but since Lilah did not know what girls would be there she took a pass on the trip and decided spend a night at my parents’ house instead.  Her choice greatly simplified the trip for me as I did not have to listen to the kids bicker back and forth — something that usually becomes inevitable on a 4 hour car ride.

Luke had a blast at camp and really took a liking to fishing (even though we did not catch a thing). At one point, it felt like we had a nice-sized bite, but when Luke finally reeled the line in there was nothing there. This did not deter Luke’s enthusiasm. In fact, Luke turned our experience into a nice little story (or rather, a statement). You see, whenever anybody asked us if we caught anything Luke would say “No, but we had a really BIG bite!” Way to keep it positive Luke. Keeping it positive seemed to be a theme for Luke on this trip. In another adventure, Luke went on a canoe ride with another dad and his son, Jacob. When 2:45 PM approached and they were not back yet, I began to get a little worried we would miss the 3:00 PM hike. Then, with only about 5 minutes left to spare, Luke showed up with very wet clothes and muddy arms and legs. It turned out the dad he was with got a little overzealous in trying to grab a bull frog, which led to the canoe tipping over near the shoreline. Later, the dad explained to me that he was very happy to have had Luke on the journey because Jacob started to lose it a little bit when he saw all the water in the canoe. Basically, Jacob began to ramble some incoherent thoughts about the canoe and the water in the canoe. In the process, his voice began to crack as he was on the verge of tears. That’s when Luke stepped in and told Jacob, “It’s just water, it will be okay.” I guess something in the way Luke said his words reassured Jacob enough to calm down and put him in the right frame of mind to get back in the canoe and paddle back to camp again. Needless to say, I was proud of Luke for remaining calm in the situation and helping his friend Jacob stay calm as well. Nice job Luke. Also nice job on not being afraid to hold the bull frog (Jacob’s dad’s water soaked camera failed to take a picture of Luke holding the frog, but the camera did capture this image before it got drenched).

Another highlight of the trip was witnessing our first bald headed eagle as it staked claim to its territory by relentlessly pursuing another bird back and forth across the lake until the pursued bird eventually dropped the fish it was carrying back into the lake. It was like witnessing our own National Geographic special on birds of prey. Luckily, the eagle flew directly over us in one of its passes, enabling me to take this quick shot (I only wish I had brought my larger lens).

In addition to fishing, canoeing, and observing wildlife in action, the YMCA Redwood camp also provided us with many other activities such as archery, hiking, camp fire night, and participating in team building challenges such as a ropes course and rock climbing wall challenge. We didn’t get to participate in the ropes course or climb the rock wall, but that gives us some new things to do next year. Another perk was getting to sleep in cabins instead of tents, eating home cooked meals family style in the cafeteria (instead of preparing and eating meals on our own outside) and having YMCA guidance counselors there on hand to coordinate all the activities (talk about the dads having it easy).

On our way back home we stopped by Sequoia National Park to see the giant Sequoia trees. I had never been there before so it was a first for both Luke and me. It was really hard to capture the enormity of these trees in photographs. The best attempt was this picture that shows you our Ford Flex parked in the foreground (for scale) with a group of sequoias in the background (keep in mind that you’re only seeing about 1/3 of the trees in the background). The Grant tree we saw in the park is the second largest single stem tree in the world. The base of the trunk alone could fit a small house. Truly a breathtaking experience to see these majestic arboreal masterpieces up close.

Coastal Cleanup Day

Coastal cleanup day was interesting in that our location was nowhere near the coast, but rather at our neighborhood park. Apparently, last year, the volunteers collected a ton of trash from the park, but this year I’d say the pickins were rather slim. We found some trash, but very little. The highlight was Lilah finding a pair of tidy whitey mens’ underwear. Oh well, the point of the exercise was to show kids the things they can do to clean up their own environment and I think the lesson was learned. I think the kids also liked it because we ran into Jacob (the boy from fall camp) and his sister, who is Lilah’s friend from the YMCA swim team. The funniest point of the encounter was toward the end when I told Lilah and her friend that they both had “dorky little brothers,” which meant they also shared this in common. At that point, Lilah’s friend turned to Lilah and said, “I feel your pain.”

Season End Races for Mom and Dad

Cathy actually had two races this month. One was the same local 5K she ran last year. Her time from a year ago was 31 min. 15 sec. This year she shattered her time by about three and half minutes coming in at 27 minutes and 47 seconds. Way to go Cat! And if that weren’t enough, she capped off the month with her first 10K run in 80 degree weather with numerous hills. She wasn’t expecting that, but even with the adversity of the heat and hills she finished her race in 1 hour and 21 seconds. Cathy ran the 10K as part of a three-woman relay team with two other friends taking on the swimming and biking portions. Cathy was surprised to see us at the race, but somehow I got the kids into the car and made it to Carpinteria in time to surprise her and take a few pictures too. The kids aren’t always in the greatest mood when it comes to attending races though as you can see by this picture of Luke.

I capped off my triathlon season with my first Olympic distance triathlon in more than 20 years. I was a little nervous about the distance, but it turned out to be easier than I thought it would be. It was still a challenge that took me 2 hours and 32 minutes to complete, but I think my pacing and conditioning were just enough to keep me feeling strong to the finish. It was also a well run event that left me feeling inspired and looking forward to next year’s season.

That’s all for now. More next month!

One thing that wasn’t too cool about the camping was our noisy neighbors. This camping stuff is all luck of the draw. Meaning the Adventure Guides reserve the spot, but not everyone in the Adventure Guides is a considerate neighbor. The guys and kids next to me were loud X 100. Lilah and Luke were ready to go to bed by 9:30, which I extended to just before 10:00, but that was already a stretch (they were beat). So there we are in the tent trying to get to sleep, but the kids next to us are screaming and cackling and talking really loudly as they continue playing one game after another. This went on until about 12:30 or almost 1:00 AM. And the dads were no help. In fact, I could hear them saying stuff like “If our wives only knew how late we let the kids stay up, they’d kill us.” And somewhere along the line, two of the guys began singing. They sang, The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers, and My Angel is a Centerfold, by the J Geils Band. What was funny was how proud they were of recollecting all the verses to these songs and the sense of contentment they seemed to get from it all. Luckily, the kids fell asleep before the singing began, but daddy was left there to endure the serenading from the drunken cowboys. I chuckled about it because that’s all you can really do, but I’m not sure if I want to camp that way again.


  1. que hermosos primos pequeños tengo primo grande…. son muy lindos… y el lugar donde estan es maravilloso… saludos por esos lados …. ojala que todos anden de maravilla, un abrazo gigante desde chilito

    Comment by Renata — October 6, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

  2. Que guapisimos todos, cada día los niños mas grandes…espero verlos, algun día mientras aun sean niños. Cariños a todos y para ti un beso, por ser tan lindo, conmigo, y compartir parte de tu vida…Te quiero mucho

    Comment by Pamela Luz — October 6, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

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