Sunday morning, the family hops on board Jilly's speedboat for a sail out to the Paradiso Boardwalk for a day of fun.
Winter is off-season for the tropical isle, and there are not many tourists around, so the Brannons have the boardwalk arcade pretty much to themselves.
The water is also quite a bit colder this time of year, but Julian braves the waters for a brisk, but brief, swim.
Back on shore, Jilly convinces him to try the Love Tester machine.
"I just got out of the water and my hands are cold; that might skew the test results," Julian warns.
"Silly, it tests love, not body temperature."
"Jill, I'm not convinced that it tests anything, really. It's just a gimmick..."
"Just put your hand on the thing and lets do this."
Love Tester declares that its passion sensors have overloaded.
"See! I told you!" Jilly gloats.
"I still think it's just a gimmick. There's no such thing as a 'passion sensor'"
"Well, my passion sensor is tingling," Jilly answers, and silences any further protest from her husband.
The arcade has lots of games that require quick thinking and good had-eye coordination, and those are entertaining enough for awhile, but Kai prefers games that require careful planning and strategy to win. When he's taken in all the arcade has to offer, he invites his father to join him in a game of chess.
"Dad, I love my laptop, it's great for surfing the web and stuff, but it doesn't have the processing power I need to run the games I want. I've done some research and it looks like I need a desktop to get what I'm really after."
"Well, Snowflake Day is coming up," Julian says with just a hint of a smile. He's already been building a powerful rig for his son in preparation for the gift giving holiday.
While the boys play chess, Jillyan and Dylan shoot some hoops together.
Dylan has a hard time keeping up with her mother's score. It doesn't help that the force of Jillyan's throw literally sets the ball on fire.
"I'll never be as good as you," Dylan sighs dejectedly after her loss.
"Oh, honey, that is just not true," Jillyan reassures her, "I'm not going to lie, I got this good by working for it. You've seen me workout every morning. If you want to kick ass like I do, you will have to work hard and train for it like I do. But it's totally in your reach, if it's what you want. Nothing can stop you. And I'll always be here to help you."
When they get back home, Dylan engages in some impromptu kick ass training by challenging her brother to a pillow fight. It's not quite martial arts, but it's a start.
When Monday rolls around, Dylan is not at all excited forher first day of school.
"I don't want to be cooped up in some classroom all day," she complains with a mouth full of pancakes. "Why can't I go scuba diving with you?"
"I didn't like being in school, either, when I was your age," Jilly admits, "But you know, you need more than physical training to do some of the awesome stuff you might want to do some day. Like, if you wanted to be an astronaut, you need all kinds of scientific education for that. So, school is boring, yeah, but it is important, Dyl. Don't worry; you're smart as well as strong, and you'll kick ass, I promise."
Dylan made it through her first day of school, and when she got home she was rewarded with the pet dog she'd been wanting that her parents said they would 'think about'.
"I'm going to call you Biscuit."
When he's not playing games online with his best friend Alejandro, Kai is usually up in his room painting scenes from his vast imaginary world.
"What's that you're working on?" Jilly asks as she comes in to tuck him into bed, "I looks like a really mean cat."
"It's part of the adventurer's tragic backstory," Kai explains, "See, the demon vampire cat has destroyed his village and killed his family. The adventurer is just a kid when it happens, so he can't do anything, and he has to run away and hide to save himself. But he vows revenge, and one day, after many adventures, he'll find the monster that killed his family and destroy it."
"That's a cool story, Kai," Jill says, "Are you going to write it down?"
"Kai nods seriously, "I've been working on it in my spare time. And doing the illustrations. I don't know when it will be finished though."
"No hurry, take your time. Your Dad and I would love to read it when it's ready."
Snowflake Day arrives, and Kai is thrilled to wake up to find the empty spot on his desk occupied by a new PC.
Dylan's present was a new playground set so she could play outdoors as much as she liked.
And, just because they could afford it, Jill and Julian also bought an arcade table for the whole family to enjoy.
Even Biscuit got a new toy to celebrate the holiday.
"Did you get Kai's computer upgraded in time?" Jill asks as Julian eases himself into the hot tub beside her.
"Everything on schedule," he nods, "The kids are having a blast with their presents."
"Mmm," Jill agrees, "We've done really well here, haven't we?"