Friday, August 28, 2009

Luck Might Have Been a Lady

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"

I couldn't help but notice. On the way to daycare every morning that huge yellow billboard taunts me with it's ever climbing figure. It is no problem ignoring it when it flashes a paltry number such as $15, or $33, or even $75.

But beyond that I start to take notice. Anything over $100 and wistful thoughts begin to take seed in the back of my mind. But in the back they stay. After all I am a practical guy. A father now, and not easily given to throwing perfectly good money into an obvious black hole. Plus, who has the time with a demanding toddler to make that extra stop at a convenience store or a separate line at the customer service counter at the local supermarket?

Not to mention that I have a reputation as a horrible gambler. Lady Luck doesn't find me attractive. I'm not her type of guy I suppose. She is the type who knows she's smokin hot, and merely bats an eyelash at me ever so often. So when I have traveled to places such as Las Vegas, I wisely limit myself to a small amount of cash that I am ok with spending for the entertainment of watching it quickly disappear.

But the other day the number, as it occasionally does, reached a level that could not be ignored by even the busiest of new parents. $252 million, it seems, was the number would push me to action. But not until the last minute. I realized on the night of the drawing that it was 6:49 PM and I vaguely remembered the drawing time to be 7:00 PM. I couldn't let the opportunity pass. Mrs. LIAYF and I dream enough about what we would do with such a wad of cash that if we didn't actually buy a ticket now, then we should cease all such fantastical notions.

"How much cash do you have on you Sweets?" I called to the kitchen. "$2" "Me too. I am headed up to the 7-11 to buy Lotto tickets". To actually make it in time (not sure how long the line would be), I sprinted down our stairs and to jumped into the car, tires letting off a slight peeling noise as I took off down our street. Thankfully the store was only a couple of blocks away and I was able to get there in enough time to slap my $4 down on the counter and tell the clerk to "Make it a lucky draw, friend."

I arrived home a couple of minutes later, finished eating dinner, went through Lukas' bedtime routine, and arrived back downstairs at my computer in excited anticipation. Who knows, this could be it. The answer, baby. However, as Mrs. LIAYF read off the numbers, the excitement was immediately gone. The wistful air sucked out of the room. Perhaps my allotted luck for the week was spent collecting a pretty cool mixed tape from SciFi Dad.

Out of the $4 ticket we had exactly one number. One. Yes, major letdown. But, on the brighter side, it seemed that no one else was lucky either. The number rose again to $333 million. Suddenly, I was feeling better about my chances.

But, in the havoc of the day I failed to realize that the drawing was Friday and not Saturday...and didn't stop to pick up any tickets. Easy go. Two other lucky people will share the life altering prize. Not that I had a shot anyway, since Mrs. LIAYF read somewhere that a person has more chance of getting struck on the head and killed by a falling meteor than of winning such a lotto prize.

Maybe I'll stay indoors today.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Timeless Debate

"Luke, it's time for bed"


"Mommy and I read you 3 stories, that was the deal. Now it's bedtime"

"I want go downstairs."

"No buddy, it's night-night time now"

"Nooo. I not tired daddy"

"It's night-night time, do you want daddy or mommy to rock you to sleep?"

".........Daddy rock me sleep"

"Ok then, daddy will rock you to sleep"

"No, I want Mommy rock me sleep"

"Nice try buddy. Daddy will rock you to sleep"

"Want mommy rock me....want go downstairs...Peas daddy!"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Tuesday: 13 Edition

Lukas is all about his tools right now. We have given him his own toolbox with a hammer (wooden), a mini level, toddler sized screwdrivers, nuts and bolts, and also a compact working tape measure. It's fun to watch him engage in rather serious play, 'fixing' everything from his toy tractor to his very own furniture. He is also constantly using his tape measure, pulling out the tape to measure the length of practically anything he comes across.
The only problem is that the answer to the question "How long is that Lukas?" is invariably thirteen. "Lukas, how long is daddy's hand?" "Dirteen" "How long is Lukies table?" "Dirteen" "How long is the laptop?" "Dirteen". So, I was surprised when Mrs. LIAYF asked him yesterday "How long is that block?" and the answer came back "Twooo", which was surprisingly close.

Lukas and I once again saw the 'Honey Bucket Truck' on the way to work this morning. It Sucked.

I wrote yesterday about my brush with fame when we met Chris Bellew, lead singer from The Presidents of the United States of America. Well, that was not my only brush with fame this past week. This past Thursday I actually, for the first time since I began this blog back in January of 2008, met another dad blogger I have been interacting with online. In fact Whit from Honea Express was the very first person to leave a comment on Luke, I am your Father, and it was exciting for me to meet him. And yes, he is just as funny in person as he is on his blog.

With our son in daycare during most of our housecation, Mrs. LIAYF and I took the opportunity to do something we have rarely had the chance to do since he was born. Yeah, real funny. I know my readers and where you would go with that. No, we actually we took in a couple of movies at the theater. We saw the new Harry Potter movie which was alright, but not great, and we also saw 500 days of Summer, which we both really dug. I hadn't heard of it, and honestly my expectations were that it would be just another chick flick. But it turned out to be a smart, funny, and different sort of love story story about love. Well worth putting in your queue. Plus, it stars that kid from Third Rock from the Sun.

Is it a bad thing to check out CD's from the local Library and rip them to your PC? Not that I would do that, of course, I was just wondering what you thought.

There is this couple in our neighborhood who we run into often. Probably 7-8 times in the past year. They have a son slightly older than Lukas and we have conversed with them for several minutes on more than one occasion. The thing is that they never remember us. Each time it is like we are meeting them for the first time. It is becoming sort of a joke between Mrs. LIAYF and I. We even know their son's name. Just the other day we ran into them again at our local farmer's market and the father looked over at me with a sort of recognition, paused a couple of moments with a puzzled look on his face and said. "Hey, don't I know you from coaching?"

"No, I don't think so" was my only reply before Mrs. LIAYF mentioned to the wife that we have run into them on a few occasions around town. I may just have to start messing with them soon.

Photo by Elliot Ng

Monday, August 24, 2009

Get Your Babypants On

I have spent most of the past two weeks on vacation from work, working on house projects: My housecation. Mrs. LIAYF and I completed many home projects during this time, but as often happens, did not get as much done as we had hoped. The reason? Most notably we didn't figure enough time in for running back and forth to the local hardware stores to pick up that one item or another that particular day which we didn't realize we needed until we actually realized we needed it. You get the idea.

Anyway, as previously mentioned, we did manage to fit in a few fun activities with Lukas during a couple of extended weekends along the way. Notably, this past Saturday we attended PEPSAPALOOZA, a local music event to raise money for the Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS). We joined PEPS after Lukas was born and found it to be a helpful way to meet other local families with newborns and share stories and ideas. And, now that we are experienced parents, Mrs. LIAYF decided to give back and became a volunteer coordinator/facilitator for a local group of new parents. She arranged for her PEPS group to attend this festival of Kiddie Rock bands.

A funny thing happened on our way to the music festival. I had a senior moment and misread our directions and was pretty sure I was lost. That is, until a car passed us on the freeway with emblazoned on its back bumper. We immediately knew to follow that car to the venue since the headlining act was caspar babypants.

I followed that car so close all the way there I would have made the FBI proud. And when we finally arrived and pulled into the parking lot, the driver got out and said. "You were following me, weren't you?" I copped to it and then asked if I could get a picture of him with Lukas, since he turned out to be caspar babypants himself, otherwise known as Chris Ballew lead singer of one of my favorite rock bands The Presidents of the United States of America.

(At least Mrs. LIAYF seems happy to have met Chris)

The show was excellent. The kid focused bands these days really know how to rock. And although it was well past Lukas' nap time by the time he went on stage, we stuck around to hear caspar babypants. It was well worth it as he even mixed in a couple of cleaned up Presidents songs. It was an excellent way to round out our two weeks away from work.

If you haven't already, I would strongly suggest you check out the caspar babypants album. Of all the kid music I have heard, this is by far the most fun and catchy album. It is loaded with quirky, fun songs reminiscent of the Presidents vintage stuff, only geared towards the little ones.

Plus, it may just help you find your direction.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just A Boy

Mrs. LIAYF: "Are you my cutie patootie??"

Lukas: (rolls eyes, smiling) "Nooooo!"

Mrs. LIAYF: "You are my cutie patootie!!!"

Lukas: (cranes neck away, smiling) "Noooooooo!"

Mrs. LIAYF: "You are definitely my cutie patootie!!"

Lukas: (emphatically) "NOOO-OOO-OOOO! "

Mrs. LIAYF: "You're not my cutie patootie?"

Lukas: "No. I just a boy."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Don't Blink

Over the past 25 months there have been many times where Mrs. LIAYF and I have had long, difficult days of parenting. Of course there were the sleepless nights, the frightening illnesses and the constant hovering in fear of our son hurting himself while learning how to crawl, walk, and run. At times, even the smallest step forward in a developmental stage seemed insurmountable and that Lukas would never progress and be able to do it for himself.
I know most of my readers are parents and you have been there. Those are the moments, in the trenches, where you earn the right to call yourself a parent. Time can seem to stand still. You feel at times like you are trying to walk through a field of quicksand. But you persevere because you love and adore your child. They are the world to you and though difficult, you wouldn't have it any other way.

But then something happens and you realize, little by little, that the things have changed. That even though it seemed like you would be raising a completely helpless child until the end of days, what you actually have is an independent little person.

You have yourself a child who wants to use the adult toilet instead of his potty. A child who can actually help make his own meals. A child who wants to build a train track and will actually play with it for several days without ripping it apart and tossing it about the living room. A child who is speaking to you in eight and nine word sentences, and making sense.

Then you also realize how amazingly fast that transition occurred. That all those moments when you were tired or were convinced you had had enough, but still put your child's needs above your own, those were well worth it. Your baby is now a little boy.

And you realize in that moment that you are happy (and a little sad too).

Saturday, August 8, 2009

This Time with Animals

A few days ago I posted about our trip through the vehicle zoo. Well, today for the first time in nearly a year Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I took a trip a zoo with a more classic theme, Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo (otherwise known as "Meltdown Central" - we arrived in the afternoon after nap time, however many children were obviously not so fortunate).
It had animals.
A large variety of animals, many of which litter the pages of our ever expanding toddler library. A year ago when we last visited much was lost on our son and we spent much of our compressed time there in an indoor play area. Fun, but not worth the small fortune we forked over to get in. But today it was a different story. Lukas is much more mobile now, and was able to pick out many of the different species of animals as we approached them. The excitement level was palpable as we were able to get up close and personal with the likes of Lions and Tigers and Bears (Oh My!).

The Gorilla exhibit was especially fascinating as there was a 2 year old little guy who we watched interact lovingly with its mother. He didn't set a very good example however, as there were three "no-no" incidents: little gorilla tried to bite his mother, little gorilla threw a stick at another member of his family, and little gorilla picked his nose and ate it. We explained to our own little monkey that this was very bad behavior. You take advantage of a learning opportunity when it presents itself.

The hungry tiger was also a hit as it paced back and forth and growled loudly, causing Lukas to proclaim to the obvious amusement of the gathered crowd: "It's BIG! Like Daddy!" The Columbus Monkeys held promise due to the fact that Lukas carries around an almost identical stuffed monkey, but they just sat huddled in a tree without moving as our son waved his stuffed toy back and forth in their general direction. They obviously were not amused.

Another disappointment lay in the fact that there was no Polar Bear exhibit, which was one animal Lukas mentioned over and again that he wanted to see. This interest was most likely due to his recent fascination with the Eric Carl book "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear?". The thought crossed my mind that we could take him to see a brown polar bear, but Mrs. LIAYF didn't think that a very good idea. So we just focused on the other animals, which seemed to work just fine.

On the ride home, when Mrs. LIAYF asked Lukas which animal out of all he had seen he liked best, he responded:

"The Polar Bear!"

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ursa Minor

Even the brightest stars deserve a treat after a hot and sweaty day of hard play.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Vehicle Zoo

Living in the city has certain advantages. One being that if you have a 2-year-old who reads a lot of books featuring interesting vehicles, there are ample opportunities to see them in action.

This morning, my city was happy to oblige.

The excitement began with a garbage truck loudly rumbling down our street right before we loaded up to go to daycare. I could tell it was also going to be a fun commute once we turned left onto the main road near our home right between an ambulance and a fire truck. Lukas' grin went from big to off the charts when the fire truck pulled up beside us at at stoplight and he caught the attention of a fireman who looked surprisingly like a tired Vin Diesel.

As Vin the fireman looked over at us and saw a tiny hand waving emphatically at him, he brightened noticeably and waved back, flashing his own rather large grin. As we pulled away, Lukas inquired "More Fire Twuck?", but his attention was quickly diverted as we pulled up next to another large truck. "Look daddy!" he cried as he pointed at a older model large pickup with high sides plunking along. "See that lettering? It says it's a "Junk Truck" I replied as the tune from Sanford and Son started up in the back of my mind.

From there our driving tour of the vehicle zoo continued on as we passed several large city buses, a cement truck, and a dump truck. We then crossed over a large bridge and I pointed out tug boats, barges, and container ships. Next it was onward past train cars, loading cranes, and forklifts. However, we didn't have time to focus on those for very long, as off to our left we spied a couple of ferry boats right before we entered the city, where we also passed several yellow and orange taxi cabs. Moving on, we passed through a couple of construction zones, where we saw diggers filling up dump trucks, backhoes, and more cranes along with plenty of construction workers in bright orange neon and hard hats.

If you have ever had a two year old boy, you know well the level of excitement these vehicles can create. It's a joyful thing to witness.

However, besides the early encounter with the fire truck, the most excitement on our morning tour of the vehicle zoo was reserved for the very last odd but interesting vehicle we encountered before arriving at our destination. "What's Dat?!" came the enthusiastic inquiry.

"That? Well, that's a Honey Bucket truck son." was my reply. "It sucks poopy out of portable potties." Mrs. LIAYF added.

Lukas let out an "Uhhhh Huhhh!" and as it passed out of sight, "More Hummy Bumkit?" "All gone buddy. Maybe we will see it again later." I offered in reply.

Sometimes, as with the real zoo, it's the strangest exhibits which attract the most attention. Lukas may want to see it again, but personally the Honey Bucket sucker truck is one vehicle I could do without seeing again for a while.
At least not first thing in the morning.