Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Corn on the Dad

It was my birthday yesterday.

Don't ask, but know that next year I'll briefly be a member of the Over 50, Under 5 club. Yay!

I'm not mentioning this to get any birthday greetings from you readers, I received plenty of those from all my closest friends - through Facebook, of course.  Almost no one at my work even realized it was my 'special day',  which shows where the Venn Diagram between my FB friends and Co-workers intersects I suppose.

Anyway, the real reason I mentioned my birthday, is because although I received a whole lot of love, hugs, smiles, and cool stuff from my loved ones, there was one teensy little present which I just had to enjoy right away. No, I was IMPLORED to.

It was from Annabelle.

Lukas actually got me a hilarious card that featured a Honey Badger having eaten my cake. We laughed a lot at that one together, because....how can you not laugh at a Honey Badger?

Then I opened the card from Annabelle, which was an awesome High Fiving Unicorn card!

Maybe High One-ing?

It was magical.

And if that wasn't cool enough, when I opened the card, out slid a Tattoo set.  Annabelle shrieked with delight as she grabbed the pair of tats and proclaimed that we were both going to get one of them right away.

Then she looked at me in all sincerity, and asked "Can we do it now Daddy? Right now?".

How could I say no to that?  Well, I couldn't. End of discussion.

All I had to do was first choose which of the two I wanted, since it WAS my Birthday and all.

Now, I must admit that this was a pretty difficult choice.  But in the end, Annabelle was perfectly happy that she got to adorn her arm with the remaining colorful Rainbow tattoo.

As for me?  More magic. Not the run of the mill kind either.  But the pure, unfiltered kind. Yeah, the good stuff.

It's as if (s)he was shot from the rainbow

I chose the Unicorn because of all those Magical powers.  And, I'm pretty sure the world was at complete peace for a second or two after it's application. Plus I heard harp like music from nowhere in particular.

Unfortunately for me once I had this pink beast tranfered onto my arm all the existing tone and muscle definition seemed to disappear from my bicep instantly.

Must be a side effect.

Thanks Sweetie!  And, Happy Birthday to me.  I'm not going to wash this arm for quite some time.

At least until the Mariners make the playoffs.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Eyes Don't Have it

The Blind Boys of LIAYF

Oh great, now my eyes are going to crap too.

In fact, I struggled again last night while trying to read Annabelle a bedtime story.

At this rate I'm sure I'll be blind by the end of the year.   I'll probably have to add the blind moniker to the beginning of my name. Something like Blind Willie Seattledad. Or Blind Lemon Seattledad.

But on the bright side, I might  finally take up that harmonica that's been staring longingly at me all these years.

Ok, so in reality I am not going to lose my eyesight, which is a good thing, but they are noticeably weaker with each passing month these days.

While most days I just think of myself as a dad period. In the back of my mind I know that the tell tale signs are there.  The signs that I'm on the back side in years, of where I should be for having an active 3 year old, and a lightning fast 9 year old.

I say active, but what I really mean is she NEVER. SLOWS. DOWN.

Achy knees? Check.  Creaky bones the morning after a long night with an overly drawn out bedtime for the kids, followed by dishes and laundry and lunches, and more dishes and more laundry? Check.

That extra little groan I have to make now while picking up one or both of my kids - because they are too tired to walk anymore (even though they just had 10 or more hours of sleep)? Check!

You know who's really too tired?  Me, that's who!

Just a couple of nights ago I was engrossed in reading Annabelle Frog and Toad (with my reading glasses), when the next thing I knew she was over playing with her doll house and apparently had been for some time!

I vaugely remembered her yelling at me a couple of times to keep reading, but that didn't help.  I was just out cold.

And now, the fact that I can't even read my kids a bedtime story anymore without holding the book at arm's length (unless, of course, I go off in search of my one pair of reading glasses) is another reminder that my body is in an all out race with my kid's childhood.

Sometimes I wonder which will be expire first?

This is sad. Poor me*.  I say so, because my eyes were the one superior thing I had left over my wife and kids. Something I could Lord over them as they got older. They all have glasses, but I've always had the perfect vision in the household.

Not anymore though.

Yep, these eyes are going to crap out on me soon.  Leaving me not only nearly blind, but tired and achy too.

Sounds like the perfect topic for a Blues song, doesn't it?  "I can't see my kids no more.  Da duh duh duh!"

*The truth of the matter is that I don't have to be able to read without optical support to see my kids smiles.  I could see those even if I really were blind, which thankfully I am not.  

Plus, I can hear their laughter perfectly even though they seem to think I can't hear very well.  Or they must think so, since they are always talking SO darn loud.

But that's a post for another day.  Eye promise.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ride Like the Wind Again

Our Annabelle has always been a great athlete for her age.  Sure, she has a compact frame, usually being the shortest kid among her peers, but boy she is coordinated. And freakishly strong too.

She stepped onto a 3 wheeled scooter shortly after her grandparents got it for her 2nd birthday, and was instantly adept, amazing onlookers as a little while later she fearlessly weaved through crowded sidewalks with ease.

Aware that she had natural athletic gifts, Mrs. LIAYF and I enrolled her in a gymnastics class a year or so ago.  And, of course, she has mightily impressed the coaches there with her abilities as she quickly moved through the ranks.  So much so that, still 3 years old, they want her to enroll in a class for 5-6 year olds this month.  I just watch in awe as I consider the things this little girl can do at such a young age.

We actually had to wait until she turned 3 and a half years old before we could get her on Lukas' old balance bike, because her legs were too short.  But once we did a couple months ago, like most other things, she took to it almost immediately.

So, recognizing that the Summer was winding down and that we wanted to get her riding a pedal bike sooner than later, we picked her up a super cool Specialized 12" pink Hotrock of her very own last night.

Today, we took her to a playground with a lot of asphalt.  Perfect for learning how to make the transition.

What happened?  Well, you can probably guess.

Yeah, that's a very short clip.  But I was WAY to busy following her around the whole playground with a huge grin on my face to get a longer version.  It was pretty awesome!

Bottom line, in nearly no time she has once again proven that she is a natural athlete and is willing to conquer any challenge that comes her way.

Way to go Annabelle!  

Ride like the wind my beautiful girl.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Better Than a Toy Unicorn

I love my Annabelle.  We have a pretty good Father/Daugther thing going.

And even though she can be a tad TOO independent for my taste at times (read: at the end of a long work day when she doesn't want to go to bed on our set schedule for her), she is a funny, bright, hard working, strong and lovely little girl.

And my days would be filled with so much less happiness without her.

Apparently, she appreciates and enjoys the affection I heap on her as well.

Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have promised her a real unicorn for her next birthday.

Okay, I didn't really promise her a unicorn.  But I really do need to teach her about the value of wishes and the decision making process that goes into choosing one.  Thinking bigger, if you will.   I mean, really, she can hug and kiss me (and does) anytime she wants.

On second thought, perhaps I will leave this lesson until much later.

Monday, June 27, 2016

9 is a Magic Number!

As they say, the more things change the more they stay the same.

That is so very true.

Happy 9th Birthday to Lukas, My inspiration, My source of happiness, My comic relief, My hope for a better future for this world.

My wonderful son.

Lukas ~ Age 2

Lukas ~ Age 9

9 is indeed a magic number.  As were the 8 others that preceded it.

I love you Buddy!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Trophy Dad

Hey there other Dads. Today, you can forget all the well intentioned mugs and hats you might have received as tokens of your kids appreciation.

Forget the T-shirts and framed pictures as well.  And the ties and frisbees too (yeah, it's happening out there).  In fact, forget everything you may have been told about the identity of the best dad in the world.

Why forget these things, you may ask.  Well, forget them because a definitive #1 Dad has now been crowned people. And it is your truly.


I've got the trophy to prove it*.

Just take a gander below, but don't stare directly at it because it's brightness may burn your eyes.

Reminicient of the Stanley Cup.  Or a butterfly.

Okay, okay.  This may, in fact say 'Dad 1 #'.  And the alignment is a teeeeesny bit off, with the 1 acting like it needs some space from the # symbol.  Whatever.

But without a doubt it's coming from coming from the cutest girl EVAH!

(no her name isn't Evah, that is just my way
of slanging the word 
ever.  Roll with it.)

So we can certainly give her a little slack.  I did.

I've got a combined 4608 days chalked up to being a Dad.  I think the title is deserving. Plus, I can now pour some cold beverage into each end of this paper cup trophy, and have myself a refreshing, relaxing day.  At least until the paper handles give.

Who am I kidding.  I'll still be chasing them around today.  The beer will be my reward for that time after they are in bed.

Yep, this Father's day will be the best of all time. Once again.

*I am also open to the slim possibility that there might be more than one #1 Dad out there, or 1 # Dad.  And if there are, I raise my trophy in toast to those great dads.  

Happy Father's Day, guys.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dear Kid on the Playground

Dear Kid on the Playground,

My daughter and I were swinging at a local playground a couple of days ago when you came over to play as well.  I'm sure you remember this, since you are still young.

You stood on the yellow plastic chair swing next to us, as I pushed Annabelle higher and higher at her emphatic request.  You seemed interested in our antics, as you smiled at us.  Then you told my daughter that you liked her glasses.  She didn't really respond, but that was because she was busy gaining altitude, her arms stretched out in front of her pretending to fly.  Plus she was being a bit shy.

So, that's why I answered for her.  "Thanks!"  Grown ups do that a lot.  It's called being polite for your kids.  Anyway, then you asked her how old she was, and she did respond.  Just not too loud.  "Three" I helped out once again.

Then you proceeded to shimmy up the swing bar, the one that angled backwards, so effortlessly that I was duly impressed.  As you hung there  at the top, nearly 10ft high I asked you your age.  You responded seven with conviction and an ease of tone.  Then as you swung back and forth on the bar, you engaged us in even more conversation.  You told us about your school, and how you were almost done with 2nd grade and about how you like to climb a lot.

Once back down, you even started showing Annabelle just how to climb up the pole.  Taking her shoes off was a helpful tip (although I groaned just a bit because you know who has to put them back on, don't you?) Even though I then helped her climb up with some bottom support, she was smiling because the 'big girl' was showing her how.  She loves climbing too, by the way.

Once you even looked over at me when Annabelle was turned away, and whispered exaggeratedly "Her glasses are SO cute!", which was pretty cute in and of itself.

If I had thought to pick out your parent(s) from the crowd conversing not far away at the edge of the playground I might just have gone over to them and indicated how impressed I was with your kindness towards Annabelle, and the ease with which you struck up a conversation with this dad and his daughter.  As a grown up you often think of those things later.  Things you wish you had done in the moment. Then you say 'Oh well."

But there was something else you said during that interaction that afternoon which actually made me laugh inside. Inside, but out loud inside.

It was when you turned to me with a smile and said "You know, you look a lot like my dad, when he was younger."  I paused for a moment, only because I was fully processing that statement.

"Yeah? How old is your Dad?"  I curiously replied.

And when you responded matter-of-factly "Thirty Four", I just smiled outwardly, did the mental math, and had that internal moment of blissful amusement.

Anyway, thank you cute kid on the playground.  You certainly made this 48 year old dad chuckle.

Typically, this is a job reserved only for my own children.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Father's Day Time Machine

I could travel back eons ago, to a
time when humans lived in shells.

Inevitably the question always arises around this time of year.  It usually goes something like "Hey Seattledad, what do you want for Father's Day?  A day away from the kids? A night out with the guys?"

And, just as inevitably, I always answer with a simple 'Nope, I enjoy spending time with my kids. They're awesome."

But this time, just such question from a work colleague got me thinking. Daydreaming actually.

Yeah, it wasn't at all unlike those crazy thoughts that run through your head right before you read the winning numbers of the Power Ball lottery and you eventually realize that, yes, you do have to go to work the next morning. I'm sure you know the ones.

Anywho, I started dreaming about getting a time machine for Father's Day, and how perfectly awesome cool that would be.

I know, right?

I mean, think about it.  If I had a time machine I could dial it back to when Lukas was Annabelle's age, and compare their levels of cuteness.  That would be a toss up, by the way, with both being absolutely adorable at 3.

I thought about how I could also dial it forward to a time when my kids are parents themselves, so I can see my grandkids for the first time.  This is assuming I am still there which, given my late start in life as a parent and the fact that my kids will hopefully wait until well into their careers to start families, is not altogether a lock.  In fact, it's probably a toss up at this point. Plus, I guess that would depend also on what you consider 'first'.

I pondered many of these types of scenarios with a smile.

But then I started to consider all the pitfalls associated with my choice.  Which was, in all honesty, a buzzkill.  I mean, what if my time machine dial didn't have a specific day and hour setting on the dial?  I might accidently land in my house during pre bedtime. Otherwise known as 'The time that shant be mentioned'.

Then, like all prudent time travelers, I would also have to make sure that I didn't get too close to my family.  Since I am pretty much always around my kids, I would have to make sure that I didn't see myself, or accidently wander in and have Lukas think that I was 5 years ago dad.  He would probably notice that I looked 'older'.

I might screw up the timeline, and have something go horribly wrong.

Then, that the time machine idea was a bad one was cemented in my mind when I considered one final thing.  I realized that If I actually saw my kids during a different timeline I couldn't NOT run over and give them a big hug and kiss.  I wouldn't have the will power to stop myself.  And if I did, the timeline consequences could be devestating. And not just for my family.

So, I ended my daydream with the resolution that if anyone does give me a time machine for Father's Day, I am certainly not going to use it.

I wouldn't even re-gift it.  The consequences are way too risky.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't think about it though.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Having That Effect

Annabelle and I were on our way to her Soccer class this morning, which does not happen to be in our neighborhood, so it took us approximately 15-20 minutes to travel over the high bridge and down into the valley below to the indoor arena where her class was being held.

It was a gorgeous Seattle morning with temps expected to reach the mid 90's later in the day, so I had her window partially rolled down so she could enjoy the breeze.

As we crossed the bridge she pointed out at the water below and squealed "River" with delight.  Out beyond was the towering white mass of Mount Rainer smiling down upon us. It was a picturesque start to our lazy Sunday and left smiles on both of our faces.

And Annabelle was still smiling widely as we exited the freeway and pulled up to our first stoplight.  Just then, a very large city bus pulled up beside us, stopping just shy of me, so that the driver was right next to Annabelle's window, but sitting much higher up.

Once he looked over, and saw our sweet girl gazing over at him with her smile still beaming, his mood seemed to immediately change for the better.  He smiled right back down at Annabelle, and slide open his window.

"Hi there Sweetie" he started.  "Are you enjoying the beautiful day?"  "I'm goin to Soccer!" Annabelle shot back.  "Well, that sounds like fun!"  the driver retorted.  You're pretty cute!"  to which my daughter merely raised her hand and waved a bye-bye to the nice  bus driver, as the light had turned green and we were starting to move.

I glanced back to see a big smile on his face as well, as he waved goodbye to her too.

It was a small exchange, but not uncommon with us.  No, it has never before been a city bus driver, but on almost every trip we take out of the house, people are stopping to at least flash a smile in the direction of my 3 year old cutie pie.

I'm sure this happens to most other 2-3 year olds as well.  Especially if they are animated, which Annabelle most certainly is.

It's cliche', I know. But I really do wish I could bottle this.  This adorable time in our lives.

Without a doubt I can see what effect popping the cork on this bottle has as we walk through the lives of others who are not now, or never will be, in this phase of their own lives.

It's akin to having a garden hose of happiness and spraying it on an unsuspecting crowd.

It's pretty awesome.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Drop EVERYTHING and Dance, Sucka!

We built this city. built this city on kindie and folk.

We listen to a lot of music in our household.  From Kindie, to Blues, to Folk, to Americana, to Classical, to Indie, to Grunge, to Classic Rock, to.....well anything really.

That being said, we do have a kid themed Pandora station we listen to on most weekend mornings.  It is a mix of kindie artists such Caspar Babypants and Elizabeth Mitchel, with some Johny Cash, Jack Johnson, and the like thrown in for good measure.

And, once the algorithm gets cranking, it ends up being a fairly fun and breakfast appropriate mix.  The only problem I guess would be that there is not a lot of new music added to the profile, so after time you end up hearing the same songs on a regular basis.

I say 'problem' but, in all honesty, even this has it's advantages.  It's silver linings, if you will.

The most obvious of these to the LIAYF household is that the kids, as well as Mrs. LIAYF and I have identified for each kid a song that is "Their Song".   For each these are songs that elicit a healthy round of dancing and general merriment.


Usually, as I mentioned, this is in our kitchen. On a weekend morning during breakfast.  So, if Annabelle's song 'Ho Hey' by the Lumineers comes on, we drop everything, crank up the volume, and proceed to enthusiastically dance around the kitchen like complete fools, laughing and intermittently hugging all the way through.

Thankfully, Ho Hey is a relatively short song, because by the end Mrs. LIAYF and I are pretty much worn out.  In fact, after a minute or so we are usually eagerly awaiting the conclusion.

Similarly, we laugh and dance enthusiastically and sing to Lukas' song 'The Best Day of My Life' by American Authors.  This is a great song, sure, but it's even longer than 'Ho Hey', so takes a lot of effort, especially for a....um.....seasoned dad such as myself.

Bottom line, it's fun, but it can be a little much if done on too regular basis.  And now the kids expect dancing to happen anytime either of these songs come on.  Nay, they DEMAND it!

That became apparent a few nights ago, when, after walking around our local business district, we all stopped into a local Starbucks where most tables were quietly taken up by singles on their laptops. But the music was playing, relatively loud.

And of course, as soon as we had ordered, 'Ho Hey' started piping loudly out of the speakers.  Annabelle, in here cutest 3 year old voice, immediately screamed "My Song!", grabbed our hands, and led us to the middle of the store where she started to dance around still holding our hands.

Well, what could we do?  What would you do?

I'm sure we looked rather foolish to the rest of the onlookers, but we all danced around until the song was over.  We were a little more muted and not quite as enthusiastic as we usually are in our kitchen.   But drop everything and dance, we did.

Annabelle was pretty happy with that, which made it all worth it.  Although I sure hope we don't start making a habit of dancing around public places.

Even if it is pretty darn cute.