Thursday, January 1, 2015

On Worm Holes, Awards, and Scooters

Happy 2015 readers!

It's been a while since I last posted here, but there is a very good reason.  You see, I was sucked into raising a 2 year old  a worm hole completely by accident a couple of months back and since then time has moved at a strangely disproportionate rate for me since.*

In the corner of the galaxy I occupied (approaching the singularity of a black hole) only hours had passed, while back here on earth it has strangely been a couple of months.  Wierd I know.  And, since then many important things have happened here including Annabelle's 2nd birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas too.  Believe me, If it weren't for this whole space/time differential thing I would have written about all of those things.  But, hey when you soar with the eagles, sometimes you travel too close to Saturn.

Or something like that.

Anyway, I hope to be back to posting a bit more regularly now that the new year is upon us.  I kinda owe it to you all after all.  Many of you took the time to vote for me in the recent Best of Western Washington contest for best Parenting Blog.  Amazingly, I came in in 4th place in that contest and am extremely thankful for all the support.

As you can imagine. there is a LOT keeping us busy here.  Having 2 small children while leaving my mid 40's in the rearview is surprisingly taxing.  Who'd a thought that?

One thing that has keep us occupied over the past couple of weeks, besides the holiday's has been Scootering.  Yes, scootering.  Annabelle, who was determined to ride Lukas' razor scooter for the longest time, recieived her own three wheeled version( a Tri-Fly)  for her birthday from her grandparents, and has literally taken off on it.

After a few trial runs and words of advice from her older brother, she has mastered kicking the ground for speed, stepping her back foot on the brake, and also turning corners.  She has even started doing tricks - holding one leg out to the side while coasting.

It is pretty amazing to watch her ride around sidewalks, underground building tunnels, and empty parking lots on her new mode of transport.  And she has turned more than a few heads along the way too, drawing many smiles and shakes of the head with how adept she is at such a young age.

Pretty soon, she may even join Lukas at the local skate park, going up and down ramps and over jumps.  Okay, maybe the jumps are a couple of years off, but I wouldn't put anything past her at this point.

Soon, I may have to get my own adult sized scooter just to keep up.

Wish me luck!

* Any similarity to ther to the plot of the cool new sci fi blockbuster Intersellar is purely coincidence.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blowin' After The Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a Dad?

It was a stormy night last night here in Seattle, readers.  With winds gusts up to 60 miles and hour in our neighborhood, Lukas was having trouble sleeping.  He even described looking out his window once to see what he thought was lightening.  But since there was no lightning in Seattle last night, we think he actually saw some transformers blow.  Either way, it was an impressive show to him.

There were a lot of power outages as a result.  But not ours thankfully.

I sat with him in his bed for a while, reassured him that the windows weren't going to shatter, then left him to go to sleep, which he eventually did.

For Annabelle, on the other hand, the effects of the big blow seem to have had a more lasting effect. Because she was actually blowing stuff herself when she woke up today.

She slept through all the wind but who knows, maybe something cosmic took place.

I could say "Mind Blown!"  (Making an explosion sound while also making that obnoxious gesture where I open my fists which were previously closed at either of my temples)

But to be  more accurate I would say "Nose Blown!" (Now making that nose blowing sound while opening one fist that was previously closed at the base of my nose.)

Yes, Annabelle has finally successfully blown her own nose!  The importance of this early childhood development, is mainly that it signifies to weary parents that there is hope left in the world, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  That the Snot Gods are finally smiling on you for a change.

And the fact that this development is coming right as the cold season is upon us, makes it all the more special.  No more will we have to wipe at a runny nose every few seconds lest a stream of gooey goo roll over the top of her lip and make it's way quickly towards her chin.

Instead, I can just stick a Kleenex up there and ask her to "Blow Sweetie", which will at least give me a few extra moments where I don't have to deal with seeing my child lick a stream off her upper lip in the middle of a public place, while I try to make it look convincingly enough like I tried to get there in time.

As a bonus, I just looked up when a child should be able to blow their own nose and Master Google says 'by about age two'.  Annabelle doesn't turn 2 until next week, so she is obviously developmentally right on track , or ahead even, in the nose blowing spectrum.


And it that weren't enough of a boon to start my day, Annabelle also successfully blew something else for the first time today.  It had nothing to do with her temperament, either, like blowing her top. Yes, she does get frustrated on occasion these days.  Like nearly every other 2 year old.

No, think Blues on this one.

If you guessed 'a harmonica' -  ding, ding, ding.  You win the internet for the day(use it wisely).

That's right. as we were getting ready to leave the house this morning for a Halloween party, Lukas blew on a harmonica then stuck it in Annabelle's face.  She smiled, gave it a blow, then shrieked in delight when music came out the other end.

She proceeded to blow on it a few more times, and for some reason many of the resulting notes came out sounding like a Dylan song.  Maybe all of them.

It was pretty awesome to watch.

Yes, how many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a Dad?   The answer my friends, is blowin' in wind.

No, the answer my friends, is blowing in the tissue.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Poop on Pop

At the bottom of this hole lies the true meaning of life.

Here at LIAYF, we are now fully in the potty awareness stage with Annabelle.

Every night she pulls out her new favorite book 'Go Girl, Go Potty', slides the potty across the bathroom floor, and looks at me with a very serious face while saying 'Pooop, Pooop' and pointing towards her bum.

And with that I go through the motions getting all those toddler clothes off, and allowing her to sit on her new potty, where she will dutifully grit her teeth, close her hands into fists, and make a pretty convincing pushing motion (one in which her arms and elbows are even noticeably moved inwards towards her stomach.)

It's so convincing, it actually gets me every time.

Every.  Time.

After a few seconds of this show, she stands up and proclaims that she is "ahhh dun", after which I excitedly peer into the mini loo only to find it once again devoid of any excrement.

Worse yet, it has so far also been as dry as the Mohave desert.  No, I've never been to the Mohave, but I'm guessing it's a pretty dry place....kind of like the bottom of said potty.   Tell me I'm not right.

After going through this exercise once again last night, I was admittedly exhausted.  It was after working a long day, getting dinner together, and doing various other unnamed household chores (dishes, laundry...) and I had just enough energy to get through the potty routine before collapsing on the bathroom floor next to a bare bummed 1 year old.

She obviously took that as her cue that it was time for a side show.  That's because she carefully picked up her potty and placed in onto my back and climbed aboard, as if I were some kind of poo poo choo choo train or something.   Okay, I admit that I found this somewhat humorous.  That is, until she started laughing and hopping up and down on, while sitting on her potty - on top of her Pop.

Lukas then came into the bathroom ready for his bath, and decided it was the perfect opportunity to pile on top of me as well, and soon they were both nekked and hopping on top of their collapsed, tired, and laugh drooling (this is a hybrid of laughing while kind of half asleep and drooling on the floor) old man.

In the midst of all this hopping action I had a faint hope that something might even shake out, but alas when I was finally free of the two little hopping stinkers I pulled the potty off my back and checked it.  But there was still no poop.

No worries though, as I actually think we are ahead of schedule.  If she is still shy of 2 years old and giving it this much effort, we should be seeing results in no time, right?

Right?  Okay, I won't hold my breath, so to speak, just yet.

Not unless I am being jumped on by a pack of wild kiddos.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Bestie Shot

Well hello there readers.  You don't know this, but I know you pretty well.  Yep, I do.  And with that knowledge I'm guessing that you have long felt, in the far reaches of the back of your mind, that you'd like to give back to 'Luke, I am your Father' for all of the heartwarming, funny, poignant, and smile inducing moments.


Well, fine.  But perhaps if you've read and enjoyed the blog in the past you could still do me a solid.

You see, this blog is currently in the thick, the thick I say, of a reader contest for the title of 'Best Parenting Blog' in Western Washington (that would include Seattle as well as every point from the impressive Cascade mountains, West to the Mighty Pacific Ocean, and from the underside of Canada South to the winding majesty of the Columbia River).

Yes, of all the Parenting blogs that reside in this vast region of nearly 6 MILLION people, little ole LIAYF is considered one of the best.  Is it the very best?  That, of course, is a matter of opinion.  But if you enjoy reading here, your opinion matters.  Well, to me at least.

That all being said, if you feel like casting a nod in my direction, it would be very much appreciated. Heck, it might even inspire me to post more regularly here.

Don't laugh, it could happen.

Anyway, if you are so inclined you can vote by clicking here.  And as a bonus, you will even have a chance to win a trip to Mexico.  Voting ends October 24th.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.  The Management.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Would Die a Happy Man

Kids, they certainly call it as they see it.  For example, take this conversation between Lukas and I in the car on the way home from soccer yesterday.

Lukas: "Dad, if you had a choice would you rather be a grown up or a kid?"

Me: "Hmmmm.  Well Buddy, I think that I'd rather be a younger grown up."

Lukas: "Why's that?  So you won't die so soon?"

Me:  "Actually, it was so I'd have more energy to keep up with you little stinkers!"

Me:  "But........I guess yours is a pretty good answer too."

Lukas (smiling) "Cool."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Long Time Ago (earlier tonight), in a Bathroom Far Far Away

Together we can rule the loo.

An epic battle between good and evil has been waging in our house for some time now readers.

And in a time when all seems lost, I hold out  hope that I can convert Lukas to see the light.  There have been a few times, without his knowledge, when I have actually witnessed him using the ancient and trusted ways.  Of course, not long after he was most certainly unduly influenced into using the unnatural method that he now practices.

You see readers, Lukas has been taught to be a Folder.  I, on the other hand, have tried to teach him to be a Crumpler.

I know, I know.  I am sure you are aghast as I am that this young boy is for all intents and purposes now doing Origami with his toilet paper.

I caught him folding his paper again this very evening, in fact.  "Young one" I said to him.  "You need to become a Cumpler!  Come with me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son Crumplers."

"You can even become a Crumpli Knight!"

"No way!"  he rudely responded  "I will never become a Crumpli Knight!"

"Stay with Folding" I bellowed "And you WILL see the dark side!"  I thought that was appropriate.

"NEVER" he whined loudly.

"You will regret this decision for years to come Young Lukas"  I warned.  "But wait.........I sense that there is another."

"Noooooooooo!" he screamed.  And as he ran off down the hall, he was yelling "Annabelle, don't become a Crumpler.  Don't do it. Don't do it."

His will is stronger than mine.

But alas, the other is just becoming aware of her powers.  And is the perfect age to be taught the ways of the Crumple.

She may very well be my only hope.

Image via Walyou

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Paws & Enjoy the Moment

Happy Sunday readers.

It's been yet another gorgeous weekend here in Seattle as we were once again treated to plenty of Fall sunshine and warmish temperatures.  Please, no one say anything, as we want this to carry on well into the holiday season.

Yeah, I know that is NOT going to happen, but while bathing in October sunshine, anything seems possible.

Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, Annabelle, and I took advantage Friday night by loading up our red wagon and heading out for another walk to our local business district for dinner out.

On our way home we passed our neighborhood independent record store, where we noticed that a band was setting up for a live show.  We stopped in for a few minutes.

The band was called 'Paws', and although we had never heard of them, we quickly learned that they were from Glasgow, Scotland and the show they were setting up for was actually a benefit concert to help them because just a few nights earlier, also here in Seattle, their whole back catalog of music and artwork had been stolen.

What a miserable thing to happen to some young guys traveling in a foreign country. Obviously we felt bad for these blokes, who were touring the States in a black van.

So, while the band was filming an interview, we hung around the music store with Lukas and Mrs. LIAYF picking up a copy of The Who (Lukas has become a recent fan because of the song Boris The Spider - The class is studying spiders and recently released several into the classroom) and a used copy of the movie Goonies, while I followed Annabelle around and replaced the CD's she pulled off the shelves.

After the interview, Lukas was able to give the members of the band a 20 spot, which was our little way of letting them know that most Seattlites were good people.  They were very appreciative and in return allowed Lukas to choose from one of their two releases.  He chose one called Cokefloat.

After getting ice cream, we came back to see the band, who was now playing.  The kids loved the music, as Lukas was rapt and Annabelle held my hands and danced up and down over and over.   It was actually getting late so we only stayed for a few songs, but it was a pretty cool experience.

Annabelle didn't actually want to leave, and was prepared to let out a scream of anger as we loaded her into the wagon(she does that on occasion), but with the band playing loudly behind us Mrs. LIAFY astuely pointed out "No one will hear her this time!"

Then, while on our way home, we looked at the songs on the back of the disc and one stood out. 'Miss American Bookworm'.  That seemed appropriate for Annabelle, who is all about her books right now.   After she was safely home and in bed, we listened and enjoyed.

And, at about the 3 minute mark, the lead singer let out a healthy scream, which was certainly worthy of our Miss A. Bookworm. Check it out, they are actually pretty good.

And when they become famous you can say you heard about them first here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Daddy Need to go Night Night!

You WILL go to sleep now.  Capisce?

I have a feeling that one day, in the distant future when Annabelle is a mother and we all have flying cars or at least our own jet packs, she won't have any trouble getting her kids to quiet down and go to sleep.  We should all be so lucky right?

I make this bold prediction, not without anecdotal evidence to back it up.  Quite the contrary actually as our little sweet cheeks has been practicing the art of putting things to sleep for months now.  

For the most part the beneficiaries of her sleep training techniques have been Lukas' stuffed animals as she will plant herself solidly in the middle of his bedroom floor, or alternatively his bed, and line up several of them for night night time and carefully lay a cloth over the back of each one and pat them.  

The only problem?  She can be a wee bit (and I by wee bit I mean no such thing) firm while patting them to sleep.  It's almost as if she is trying to desperately dislodge something stuck in their windpipes.  I think one of them even let out a squeal of pain earlier this evening, but who knows, I could have just imagined that.

Any-hoo, after the stuffed panda and leopard were beat solidly into slumber tonight, our little Miss A was not yet done as Lukas lay on his own bedroom floor with a blanket, hysterically laughing at her antics and saying "Lukas needs to be put to sleep too, Annabelle".  Of course that was all and good until my daughter then looked at me and gave a deliberate point at the floor.

"You want to put Daddy night night too?" I asked.  She nodded.

How could I resist?

And that's how Lukas and I ended up on the floor on our stomachs tonight with a 1 year old between us laying on a blanket and beating on our backs like a Swedish masseuse.   We, of course were laughing uncontrollable about this, and at the same time trying to emphasize to her to be 'gentle' with her sleep subjects.

But for now Annabelle would have none of our nonsense, even going so far as to shove our heads back to the floor  while saying 'Ni-Ni' when we were so bold as to lift them to see what was going on. She was obviously very serious about her parental duties.

It was a lot of fun, and also pretty scary at the same time. Like I said, I think someday she isn't going to have a bit of trouble with her kids sleep routine.  

She will have plenty of practice by then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hearing Voices

I'm lucky he talks so much!

As I was closing my car door tonight and pulling the seat belt strap over my chest, I heard the phone ringing in my jacket pocket, which was sitting on the passenger side seat.  I had worked late, and was exhausted from the day.  

I finished my task before attempting to answer.  But unfortunately, I was too late and missed the call.  I did see that the number was Mrs. LIAYF's , which was not unexpected.  I figured she was checking on my progress as she was picking up both kids tonight.

But when I dialed the number back, I got something unexpected.  Something which made my heart sing just a little.  "High Dad" Lukas' voice bellowed over the phone.  "What do you want us to order you for dinner?" .  I hadn't anticipated he would answer, and it was a pleasant surprise when he did.

Lukas still has a perfect kid voice, which is high in pitch and crackles just a little bit when he speaks.

He could talk about the intricacies of financial accounting, or the latest developments in IRS tax code law and it would come out sounding like awesomeness.  Heck, he could ask me what I wanted for dinner that night and it would be music to a weary set of ears.

Which is precisely what happened tonight.

I'm not sure exactly why hearing my kids voice over the phone makes me so happy, but it does. Annabelle too, even though she still has a limited vocabulary, being only one.  You might hear the same thing, and think nothing of it.  But if it were your kid, it would be most likely sound awesome to you too.

I guess it's just another sign of how much I love my kids.  How much they mean to me.

I have a lot of short videos of them which includes audio, but that requires watching too.  I think it may be time to record some simple audio clips to file away in my archives.

I'm sure they'll be gold to me someday.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Those ARE Pilllllowwwwws!

"Does Dad ever sleep at work?" Lukas asked Mrs. LIAYF the other day.

I'm not sure what her answer was, but it should have been "Nope".  Sure, I find myself dragging myself around like a character from the Walking Dead on some days.  But I survive, and am still very productive.

He had a good reason for asking, but I will get to that in a moment.

But first,  I'll admit it.  I haven't been getting enough sleep lately.

I'd like to blame the kids for this, and really they do play a big part in the fact that I am tired a lot, but honestly I can't lay the blame firmly at their feet.  I just stay up way too late anymore, and get up just as early.  I could avoid this, of course, if I just went to bed right after Mrs. LIAYF and I got them to bed, got the dishes and laundry done, lunches made, and our calendars up to date.

But I don't. I find I still need some time to wind down after the long day.

This results in my often attempting to function the next day on a few precious hours of sleep.  And that doesn't work out as well for me as it did when I was in my 20's, or even my 30's.  Strange, right?

Lukas has noticed too.  That's because, as it was relayed to me, he spent a recent recess during school sitting with a 'cute' girl who had an interesting book of goofy inventions.  And when a page turned to reveal a particular bright idea, Lukas knew just where it might best be used.

"That would be perfect for my Dad" he announced to the girl - who was a friend.  And, upon hearing about it, I guess I would have to agree.  I could use one of those sometimes.

What was this wonderful invention? The one that seemed absolutely perfect for his old man?

Wait for it........

It was essentially a hat,  but made with pillows surrounding it.  That way, if the wearer happened to, oh I don't know, FALL ASLEEP in the middle of going about their day! they wouldn't bump their head.  Rather, they could just take a nap.

Yeah, apparently dad needs one of those.  He must think of me as a Narcoleptic.

"That is brilliant!!"  I told Mrs. LIAYF with a chuckle late last night when she told me.  "It's so nice to know that my loving boy is thinking all about me and my well being."  "Maybe I should go to bed now."

But alas I am tired once again today.  In fact, I think I could really use that awesome pillow hat invention thing.

I wonder if today they'll get to the page with the toothpicks that hold open eyelids.