Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Year in Review

I'm fairly certain that I had an original idea for a post today. However, like a fleeting dream it was there...but then it was gone.

So, in it's place you get the LIAYF 2009 Year in Review. Not exactly original, but I hope you enjoy the month by month look back at what I consider my most memorable posts. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

January: At just over 1 1/2 years of age, Mrs. LIAYF and I somehow thought it would be a good idea to introduce a little 'culture' to Lukas' life by taking him to the symphony. This met with predictable results.

February: As Valentines day approaches Lukas learns firsthand that despite cupids arrow, long distance relationships are cause for singing the blues.

March: The waning months of Winter find me waxing nostalgic about a time when spontaneity was a realistic concept and also appreciating the true finer things in life.

April: I give convincing photographic evidence to Mrs. LIAYF that her dream of Lukas being a cute 'moppy-headed' boy is unrealistic.

May: I announce my arrival on the scene of the hottest social media phenomenon, and give insight on just how I became @Seattledad.

June: The post where a single picture defines what happiness means!!

July: I expose a frightening threat to little guys everywhere, and consider shopping for a new Bro!

August: We take time out of our busy summer to visit the Zoo. It is our first visit where Lukas can actually understand and look forward to seeing his favorite animals. Like the Polar Bear! (which, unfortunately doesn't reside at our local zoo)

September: Who knew Elmo could be so darn scary! Not me.

October: October was the month that our family had an F-ing problem, and I was a bother to Lukas.

November: After 42 years, I finally get my first Tattoo. And it is fierce.

December: How your kids see you does not always coincide with how you picture yourself.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I Wanna Play Cards Daddy

I should have known better. I mean, I practically invented this tactic when I was a kid. But at 2 1/2? Since I actually 'remember' doing this I must have been more like 4 or 5 at the time.

After a late night Christmas Eve, followed by an eventful Christmas day and culminating with a rather large helping of wonderfully cooked pot roast with all the trimmings - lovingly prepared by Mrs. LIAYF - Lukas played hard with his Christmas toys for a final few minutes. At last it was time to start the bedtime routine, so his mother scooped him up, ignoring protests and pleas such as "5 more minutes!", and headed toward the stairs while I worked on the last of my 'Dish Mountain'.

However they returned mere moments later. "He says he is still hungry, Daddy" said Mrs. LIAYF. I am going to get him some granola and yogurt. "We can't put him to bed hungry!"

She set him gingerly down in his booster seat with his healthy bowl of yogurt and called over to me to watch him while she went to do something upstairs. To his credit, Lukas ate most of the bowl but was a bit wired from the day and began to play with his food, smearing it all around his face, his shirt, his hair, and also the table.

He was clearly enjoying the moment. "It looks like you are done, buddy" I said to him as I cleaned him up. Raising him into my arms, I said "I guess it is time to get ready for bed".

He whined briefly. Then realizing that this tactic would have little effect on me he paused for a moment then said "I'm still hungry Daddy!"

I looked at him dubiously.

"My belly is hungry daddy!" "It hurts!" he continued, before the subtlest hint of a smile betrayed him. That was it. The gig was up. "Nice try" I said to him as I carried him up the stairs straightaway.

And all the while I could almost hear the tiny wheels turning in his head above the whining protests.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Making a List

I was just asked, for probably the 10,000th time in the past two weeks, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

Are we ready? Hmmm, let’s see…….

1) Put up Christmas Tree – Check!

2) Decorate Tree – Score!

3) Buy outdoor lights – Done!

4) String outdoor lights – Easy Peasy!

5) Hang stockings and Jingle Bells – With care.

6) Pound in nail ‘next to’ new front door for wreath – With one or two swings of my mighty wrist (and a few from Lukas)

7) Christmas music – Got my 5 disc changer loaded with everything from The Nutcracker Suite to The Rev. Horton Heat (We Three Kings)

8) Gifts for Lukas – Yes, after scouring the city. (Red toothbrush for the win!)

9) Gifts for Mrs. LIAYF – Mostly. Getting stocking stuffers this afternoon.

10) Christmas Card mailing list finalized – Did a hatchet job last night on last year’s list. Tip: If you have to ask ‘Who is this?’ It’s time for them to ‘go’.

11) Christmas Newsletter created – Mrs. LIAYF working on it as I type this.

12) Christmas Cards sent – See above. So they get them ‘after Christmas’. It’s the thought that counts, right?

13) Christmas Box mailed to out of State nieces and nephews – Er, once again left in the foyer. I’m a Bad Uncle.

14) Gifts Wrapped for Lukas – No. Honey? Sweets? What, you didn’t think I was actually going to do this myself, did you?

15) Gifts wrapped for Mrs. LIAYF –Not yet. Wondering if I can get away with wrapping these in tin foil, like the anniversary gifts.

So, I guess the answer to the question is…..No, we are not exactly ready for Christmas.

In fact, with being sick for the past month, as well as the final preparations leading up to the opening of Mrs. LIAYF’s new business venture, I've been finding it a bit difficult to get into the holiday spirit.

That was, until this morning. As I was getting ready for work I heard, over the monitor, Lukas wake up happy then promptly break into a toddler rendition of Jingle Bells. Yeah, now I'm in the spirit.

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Seeking a Few Laughs

I love the opportunity to come home from a hard day at work and spend some quality time with Lukas before dinner is prepared. It doesn't hurt that I am nearly always greeted by a sprinting 2 year old, arms outstretched, smiling wide, whose only request is: "Play with me daddy!"

Who could resist such a heartfelt request? Not me, that's for sure.

What was on the agenda for tonight? Hide and Seek. One of my favorites.

Now, I wasn't feeling particularly well tonight. I had gone to work despite having developed what I believe was a Strep-related infection in my nasal passages and I am now on some serious antibiotics. If you have ever had one of these you will know how painful they can be. (If this post hints of a Vicodin-induced writing style, now you know why).

However, after a few minutes of Hide and Seek with my boy, I was soon forgetting my aches and pains and enjoying a few good laughs. Now, like all parents, I secretly think my son is a very bright boy, but it is pretty obvious that finding something or someone right in front of his face is not exactly his strong suit. The force that is everything male is clearly strong in this one.

For example, as he hurried to the other room to count to 5, I went over to the entryway coat rack and held a duffel bag in front of my face. My whole torso and lower half were showing, but Lukas must have run right past me giggling uncontrollably three times wondering where I was. Another time I hid behind the sofa with the window curtain wrapped around me and only my feet sticking out. He ran by, tripped on my feet, steadied himself, then ran off calling for me. Not even my muffled laughs tipped him off.

Then, when the roles are reversed and it is his turn to hide, after I finish counting to 5 and call out "Where is Lukas?" He jumps out from behind a door or piece of furniture and yells "HERE I AM!"

It's hilarious. And also so much fun that it makes it difficult to dwell on how bad I might have been feeling when stepping through the door.

How about you readers? What sorts fun of activities with your kids are guaranteed to melt away a miserable day at work?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free Agent

Every time I read another giveaway post on a fellow parenting blog, I get a small pang of jealousy. "Hey" I think to myself "I would have done that. I would have reviewed that product and spoken earnestly about it on my blog, if you had sent me a sample - for free."

In fact, I'm sure that had I gotten the product for free, I would have (subconsciously, of course) probably even liked it that much more. Chew on that for a while publishers, flower shops....makers of cold weather wear.

But alas, when I hear other parent Bloggers complain of the constant barrage of offers that come in from companies looking to have their wares reviewed, and how difficult it is to chose the right ones to review and blog about, I sometimes respond "Hmph. Yeah I know what you mean!"

But the truth is, I have no idea what they mean. The LIAYF inbox, besides the endless Twitter follower notifications and the notices of blog comments, has been rather silent. Yes, I was excited a few weeks ago, when SAAB offered to send me one of their new 2010 models if I would review it here on 'Luke, I am Your Father'. Unfortunately, that was the last I heard from them.

(I will gladly test the local waters with your Yacht and give my honest take on the experience)

No matter. It is a new year in a couple of weeks. A new decade. A time for hopeful people all over the world to resolve to make their own change in their lives. With that in mind, I am officially declaring myself a free agent as of January 1st, 2010. What does that mean? Well, I will tell you what that means.

Let's say you are a new house cleaning service in the Seattle area and want to offer free service for a year if I would do a review of your services on my blog. SEND ME YOUR OFFER. I will give it careful consideration. Similarly, if you are a computer manufacturer and want to hook me up with your latest notebook if I would only give a fair assessment here at LIAYF. I'm listening.

What's more, I'll give the same consideration to car companies, high end clothing designers, gaming companies, restaurants, yacht builders, coffee roasters, toy manufacturers, or makers of jet packs out there who are looking for an honest opinion of their goods presented humbly to a worldwide audience of informed readers. This is your golden opportunity.

The sky is the limit corporate marketing types. Bring on those offers. I'll be waiting by my inbox at 6:00 AM 10:00 AM on January the 1st.

Photo credit: Yachtfan

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Red Toothbrush

@SeattleDad - Asked my 2yo what he wanted for Christmas. "A red toothbrush!" Wow, I hope I can still get one this late in the game.

I posted the above Tweet on my Twitter account yesterday. It was quickly retweeted (passed on) by a few other Twitter users. I'm not sure if it was because of my added humor at the end, or because people found it endearing that a 2 year old's request for Christmas was a simple red toothbrush, but the statement seemed to resonate with at least a few parents on that social networking site.

If you have been following me here or on Twitter for any length of time, you probably know that we are a family without television. We cancelled it before Lukas was born. It was a difficult decision, but then again it wasn't. We had waited a very long time for a child to enter our lives and we collectively decided that we wanted to give him as much undivided attention as we could.

I had serious doubts that we would be long without our television. After all, we had spent quite a bit of time watching our favorite shows before making the decision. However, it is nearly 3 years later and I don't see us turning it on anytime soon. It has been extremely rewarding to spend Saturday mornings reading my son books and having him help me make breakfast rather than ignore me as he watches his favorite cartoons. It's not that there are not a lot of quality shows out there for kids, it's just us wanting to spend that extra time interacting with him.

One of the results of this is that, other than Elmo, he has little concept of the characters which adorn kids television shows. Yesterday, he received an invitation on a Dora card, and had no concept of who she was. Neither does he know of Thomas the Train, 'Cars' characters, or Sponge Bob. Don't get me wrong, he has lots of toys. Enough so, that he doesn't want for anything to captivate his attention without having television in his life.

So, when asked what he wanted for Christmas his answer was the toothbrush, since it is his favorite color and the dentist mistakenly inserted a PINK one in his go home bag. This needed rectified.

I hope that no one reading this interprets it as me passing judgment on their parenting. I am absolutely not. I know that everyone has their own parenting style and legitimate reasons for making the decision they have about the amount of television they allow their kids to watch. Our time will come to turn it back on. This is just not it.

For the record, Lukas is an extremely happy, outgoing boy, with terrific social skills. We spend a large amount of our time together laughing and being goofy. I know this will not last forever, so I am going to enjoy it as much as I can while he still thinks the world of me rather than considers me lame and corny, which I know will come.

Now excuse me while I run out on a desperate search for the last red toddler sized toothbrush in Seattle. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Fireball Edition

Lukas: Uh, hey guys there is a humongous fireball in the sky heading right for us. I'm taking cover!
Rex: Yeah, nice try Chicken Little. We're good.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Accelerated Depreciation

It's very sweet. Mrs. LIAYF has this picture of me on my 29th birthday, taken not long after we started dating, which she keeps in a small picture frame on her nightstand. It was snapped 13 years ago.

I understand that 13 years is a long time. But realistically, in the grand scheme of a man's life, I don't see it as a period of time which should drastically alter his perception of himself as being that same man from 13 years prior, or even alter his appearance dramatically.

However, 2-year-olds are not always known for being realistic. They just call it as they see it.

So, though I laughed heartily at it this morning since it was funny, it also stung a bit when Lukas ran up to that same picture of 13 year ago me sitting on Mrs. LIAYF's nightstand, stared at it briefly, and proclaimed:

"Look, it's daddy when he was a little boy!"

I've been doing some rather unscientific math in my head since, and calculate that 1 dad year must = close to 10 pre-dad years on the aging scale. Or something like that. Yes, brutal!
But it's still worth every minute of it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Answering For Myself

Although it's been less than a week since my last post, it seems much longer to me. Once again real world responsibilities have reared their ugly heads and seriously limited the amount of time I've been able to spend here this week. Life happens, I deal.

That being said, after some suspicious daddy blogging activity was recently reported, I was hauled in for questioning today by Matt over at DC Urban Dad.

So, click on over and witness me answering more questions than a Magic 8 Ball. Well, that is if you only ask the Magic 8 Ball 5 questions, and one of the answers you get is "Ask again later".

And, if you haven't yet subscribed to DC Urban Dad's feed, you definitely need to get on that. He writes an extremely entertaining and humorous blog about being a dad. And so much more.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Loser Dad

Being the father of a fun loving 2-year-old who also happens to make the Energizer Bunny seem like he's on Valium, though taxing to my 40-plus year old body, does hold certain advantages.

I get plenty of opportunities to strap on a cape, along with Lukas, and practice my Superhero running takeoff. This will come in handy when the day arrives where I'm once and for all bestowed the power of human flight.

I am constantly traveling up and down my flights of stairs, be it to the basement, or to the upstairs bedrooms to grab that item which was missed but is sorely needed 'just in case' as we head out the door. If the elevators ever cease to function in this city, I will certainly leave many other unfortunate souls in my wake as I climb up skyscraper steps two at a time.

If deranged zombies ever rise up from their graves and attack Seattle, looking for scrumptious brains to feed their insatiable hunger, all my recent bouts of 'hide and seek' with Lukas will certainly have given us the skill to locate a safe place to wait out the bloody onslaught.

Say Mrs. LIAYF and I get into a major blowout - you know, the kind where I would be compelled to stand outside our bedroom window with a boom box held above my head until she came to the window and recognized how much I love her despite being a big dork - all that lifting Lukas onto my shoulders during walks should allow me to hold the box there until she finally determines I have suffered enough for my transgressions.

All of the getting out of bed in the middle of the night to calm Lukas should have prepared me well for those coming days of oldmanhood when I will have to be up multiple times during the wee hours of the night to empty my bladder.

All the wagon rides up and down the hills of Seattle with Lukas will have honed my technique in the unfortunate event that I ever fall on hard times and have to carry all my belongings along with me wherever I go.

If there are ever tryouts for a new reality television show called 'So You Think you Can't Dance', all the practice I have received over the past 2 years have perfected my ability not to dance with any semblance of rhythm.

Oh, and one other advantage of being the father of an active 2 year old...I have dropped nearly 2o pounds since becoming a dad. I am actually now hovering at around the weight I was when I graduated from High School nearly 25 years ago.

At this rate, I should be light enough for liftoff fairly soon. I just need to find a high enough cliff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Big Dirt Pile Blues

Smile, Smile Big Dirt Pile
In my alley all this while
Hired some dude to take you away,
Broke his axle - made you stay
This was after I had paid!
Said he’d come back real soon
Called him, called him- same old tune
Neighbors rant and neighbors pace
Neighbors get into my face
Don’t really have the stomach for this
Guess it means more cash I’ll miss.
Nothings easy, never is
In this whole ‘home owning’ biz
Puts me in a real foul mood
Trying, trying, not to be rude.

Fatherhood really saves the day
Big hug from Lukas- it goes away!