Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hi, 5!

I also got my first gum today!

Lukas, or as Mrs. LIAYF and I affectionately call him 'The Best Boy EVER' turned 5 years old today!

Mrs. LIAYF and I went in to work late today so he could open presents, and I could make him his favorite breakfast - Banana Walnut pancakes with Peanut Butter, and scrambled eggs.  Kudos to Mrs. LIAYF, who worked into the wee hours making a very cool crown for Lukas after he informed us as he went to bed that that was what he wanted most for his birthday.

We dropped him off at Pre-k for a couple hours with home made Rice Crispy treats also made lovingly by his mother.  I then picked him up early so we could go see 'The Pirates - Band of Misfits' on the big screen. One word review - "Okay".  Afterwords a trip to the rocket novelty store yielded some extra gifts before dinner out then we made our way home to finish out the day.

But the fun doesn't end there.  We still have a few fun things planned over the next week to celebrate.

My regular readers know the immense amount of happiness I get out of being a father.  After all I write about it all the time.  The past 5 years have far and away surpassed any in my previous 40 for the amount of sheer joy, and number of sublime moments they contain.  Of course I owe that all to him.

Even though I said it to him in person several times today.  I wanted to echo that sentiment here.  Happy 5th Birthday Lukas!   You are a self assured, hard working, funny, loving, compassionate, silly, articulate, strong-willed, kind boy.

And your mother and I love you very much.

Monday, June 25, 2012

There's a LIGHT at the End of This Post

I mentioned in my last post that Lukas will turn the big 05 this week.  And, as I am sure many of you parents out there know when your child is due to, or has just turned a certain age you are sure to be involved in the "Birthday Circuit".

We are currently running in the 5th Birthday Circuit.  Along with the 30 other kids in Lukas' Pre-K class, he also has a lot of local friend in their 5th year too.  That makes for a lot of birthday parties.  In fact, we attended another one Sunday. And at this one a funny thing happened.  Ironically, it was the same funny thing happened at Lukas' 5th birthday party just the previous week.

His was a Star Wars themed party where he was dressed up as Luke Skywalker.  The party was also for two other kids in his class who also turned 5 in June.  A boy, who was dark haired, taller, and bigger framed than Lukas.  He was Han Solo.  And a girl, who came decked out as none other than Princess Leia herself.

Sound awesome? It was, but you will have to take my word for it.  We didn't get many pictures.  We gave the kids blow up light-sabers, had a ton of Star Wars themed crafts, decorations, and treats,  and even.....wait for it......projected Episode IV onto the wall of the community center where it was held.  Sure, it was loud in there and the kids couldn't really hear the movie, but that didn't deter from the atmosphere.

The kids did get a bit...err...wild at times with the blow up sabers, but it was definitely a memorable party.  Not having many pictures was a shame, since they would have been awesome too.  We are actually hoping some of the other parents got some great shots they can send along.

But none of what I just mentioned is the funny thing that happened at both parties.  Especially since the one on Sunday was not a Star Wars themed party.

What did happen?  Well at both parties, which were attended by a large number of parents, the hosts were gathering everyone up to sing happy birthday, but when we got to the part where we actually light the candles we came to the realization we didn't have any matches.  And, a survey of all the parents in the room (more than 30 in our case) yielded nothing either.  No smokers.  Not a one.

Now, thankfully our party was at an urban community center, and there was a shady looking dude lounging out on one of the couches who was a smoker and loaned us a match. (Later I delivered him a cupcake with Yoda on a toothpick stuck on top to show my gratitude).  But it took that one guy to save the day.

This certainly would have been unheard of at my 5th birthday party nearly 40 years ago.  Although thankfully my parents didn't smoke, they were in the minority.  At many of our extended family parties back then someone might have just as easily cut the air mistaking it for the cake.  That was just the culture.  Can we get a collective  "We have come a long way from those days"?

And, as Mrs. LIAYF reminded me, as kids we used to suck down candy cigarettes like they were, well, real cigarettes.  Crazy.  That would be like us giving our kids little candy bottles of tequila, or Night Train.

Anyway, when the time came to sing we thankfully received what we needed,  a light.

Have a great week everybody.

Photo Credit:

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Dad Streaking Outlier

Lukas will turn five years old next week. 5 years!

In many respects that is amazing to me.  How can it be that I have been a father for nearly 5 years?  It really does seem at times like yesterday Mrs. LIAYF and I were holding a tiny newborn in our arms at the hospital, myself a little dumbstruck thinking about how I was going live up to the awesome responsibility of protecting and nurturing the fragile life that was gazing back at me through bleary eyes.

So far so good.

Today, I can report that after countless hours of sleep deprivation, worrying, tough decisions, and endless laughter filled days, I think I have grown nearly as much in these past 5 years as Lukas has. Which is significant.

But my growth, of course, has been as a parent. In the world of Malcolm Gladwell, I am actually now a Parenting Outlier.  That theory posits that to be truly successful at an endeavor one has to spend at least 10,000 hours practicing or participating in it.

Well, guess what? Lukas is now 4 years, 11 months, and 26 days old.  In hours that translates to 43,728 hours, and counting.  That would actually make me a dad Outlier 4 times over!

Yes, that's all well and good but I'm not foolish enough to think I have it all figured out.  I know that I don't.  But I have to say, the father that I am today is a far cry from the one who was initially afraid I was going to hurt Lukas every time I held him in those first couple of days.  Today, I am confident that I will make good decisions on my sons behalf.  That I am doing right by him.  That is a pretty amazing feeling, one that I am sure many of you share.  But it's certainly not one I will allow myself to take for granted.

I know that I have to continue to learn both with him and from him.  That I need to continue to look out for his well being, and let Lukas know that, along with Mrs. LIAYF, I am here for him whenever he he needs me (even when he thinks he doesn't) and most of all that I love him for exactly who he is.

That reminds me.  A while back I wrote a post over at Dad Revolution called #DadStreaking.

I'm happy to report that I am still streaking.  Those 4 years, 11 months, and 26 days that I mentioned earlier, well they also translate to 1822 days.  That is my current streak.  I have told Lukas that I love him 1822 straight days.

And counting.

How about you readers?  Are you a Streaker too?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Like Highlander, only Better

Happy Father's Day other Dads.

I hope you all have a relaxing Sunday filled with the kinds of fun activities (or not) that you enjoy most.  That IS what this day is meant to be about.

Now I'm sure you are all really great fathers and role models for your children.  If you are a fellow Dad Blogger, know that I read a lot of your posts and I have to tell you, am duly impressed.  This New Face of Dads generation is great to see, watch, and read about.  Any kid would be lucky to have any of you readers for a their dear old dad. But I have to say,  in the realm of great dads there can be only one.

Yes, like Highlander.

If you haven't seen Highlander, you can just stop reading now.  This is not your type of Dad Blog. As I said:


So, sorry other dads, but that would be me.  If you happen to receive a mug, or a drawing with a certain inscription on it for Father's Day, that's nice but you should know that history is littered with examples of frisbees, yes frisbees, symbolizing excellence in fatherhood.

It's true. Ancient Greek children were actually known to go out on their own on years long pilgrimages to search for rare "Throwable Disks" to be presented to their fathers.  But only when the father was held in the highest regard.*

And, If that isn't proof enough, consider that recent cave paintings dating back some 80,000 odd years have been found in Central Europe depicting what can only be described as a child and his father tossing a circular slab of rock back and forth in apparent play.** Amazing! 

So, apologies to all others, but  I am now World's Best Dad.

I have the Frisbee to prove it:

Now my most prized possession.
I was presented this 'throwable disk' at a special BBQ Friday at Lukas' Pre-K.  I could tell he put an amazing amount of love into making it for me.  We then played with it joyfully for nearly 45 minutes before I had to return to work.  It really was a great afternoon and yet another reminder of how much I love being a dad.

All previous kidding aside fellas, I look to you all for inspiration.  Happy Father's Day!

And Happy Father's Day to my own father too.  Thanks Dad.  To me, YOU are the World's Best Dad.

*   I may have dreamed this
** This may have been a depiction of a hunting scene

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dad's A-Z: M is for Mountain Climbing

It was a beautiful day in Seattle on Sunday, so we decided to go "Mountain Climbing".

Headed to the top.

Sure, for all intents and purposes we actually went on a day hike, but it was a pretty intense hike for a 4 year old (not to mention his parents) being about 4 1/2 miles, with a 1200 foot elevation gain.   Plus, we hiked to the top of aptly named Mt. Si, in the foothills of the Cascades outside of I am calling it mountain climbing.   You don't have a problem with that, right?

Anyway, this was our first time climbing Mt Si, so we didn't know quite what to expect.  This trail is a little brother to the more famous Mount Si trail which gains a pretty strenuous 3200 feet of elevation during the 8 mile hike.  I can only imagine how difficult that would be to summit with a kid Lukas' age.  That's because this one was a bit tougher than we expected.

Mount Si.
It wasn't impossible by any means though, as Lukas never complained a bit on the way to the top, or on the way back down.  Overall, with time to lunch on top, it was about a 4 1/2 hour round trip.

"You're almost there!"

This trail was a definite step up for Lukas, as the previous longest hike Mrs. LIAYF and I had taken him on was a fairly flat 3 mile round trip to Cranberry Lake on Camano Island north of Seattle.  I have to say, we were both very impressed with how he handled himself with all the climbing, especially through steep, slippery, and muddy spots.

It took us about 2 hours to climb to the summit, and after about the first hour we met quite a few people on the trail who were also impressed with Lukas' ability.  They would say "You're almost there."  Of course we heard that several times during the next hour. We started to think they were feeding us a line.

 Lukas was easily the youngest hiker we encountered doing the hike all by himself. 

When we did finally make it to the top, we were treated with some pretty amazing views of the valley below, and of Hawks circling several hundred feet down.  We also had a great picnic lunch overlooking a steep bluff, and met several chipmunks darting about.

Lukas on top of Little Si.

After that, it was time to head back down.  And, despite falling a couple of times and scrapping his knee and getting gouged in the neck with a walking stick, Lukas kept in very good spirits.

If fact, every time he saw a group of people coming up the trail - even when we were almost to the bottom - he had to say hello, before giving them some much needed reassurance.

With a big smile, he would tell them.  "You're almost there!"

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dad's A-Z: L is for LEGO, Of Course

What we really did in Maui

Our neighborhood had a  'Garage Sale Day' a couple of weeks back.  You could pretty much throw a stick in any direction from our house and hit a pile of old plastic cups, ratty t-shirts, and half used perfume bottles going at ridiculous prices.  Ridiculously high prices.

But thankfully there were also some bargains to be found. Case in point at a sale a couple of blocks away, we found a couple of brand new LEGO board games for one Washington each.  This was exactly the type of bargain we were looking for.  That's because Lukas likes Legos. 

Ha ha ha, I can't even type that with a straight face.

Lukas is actually OBSESSED with his Legos.  They are not only his favorite toy, but pretty much the only toys he plays with these days.  He has even stopped asking to watch videos in lieu of more Lego building time.  Of course we are happy to oblige.  In fact, our recent flight to Maui was made so much easier because we bought him a new set to build for each leg of the trip.  He easily sat for 3 hours straight and just built Legos..

We even have a chore chart set up where he can earn a nickle for helping out with various chores around the house.  He has now saved up for 3 separate $20+ sets in the past couple of months, including the Lego Space Shuttle, and most recently the Alien Conquest Tripod Invader.  Almost as coveted as the bricks are the instruction manuals which include pictures of other sets that can also be collected.  Mrs. LIAYF and I already have a couple of sets ready to give to Lukas for his upcoming 5th birthday.

But do you want to know the most amazing thing about Lukas and his Legos?  It's the hybrid creations he makes out of all the pieces.  Most sets barely get put together before they are torn about for their pieces.  Seriously, it's like he is running a little Lego chop shop, breaking down sets for the parts.  Thankfully though, so far he is only 'procuring' the parts from his own sets to use in his very own creations.

But he has really surprised me with the sophistication of some of his vehicles.  He actually made us agree to take a picture of his creations before he breaks them down to build something else.

That is Luke Skywalker flying an Alien Ship

Recently he has even had the nerve to challenge me to a ship building contest, with Mrs. LIAYF being the judge of who creates the "Coolest" ship.

How could I say no to that.   Here is what Lukas came up with:

Game On!

And, here is mine:

That is some serious firepower!

Of course, Mrs. LIAYF deemed Lukas the winner. 

With his highly functioning imagination, and boost in brain development from playing with these amazing toys, I have to agree.

Viva la LEGO!