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!

Monday, November 30, 2009

New Directions

Today was a day which both epitomized and cemented the tidal wave of change that has been slowly building force and is now sweeping through our family.

It was a day in which Mrs. LIAYF voluntarily left behind the tensions and palpable stress of the corporate world to return to her roots. To return to that which she was doing when we first met, a time when she was truly excited to get up in the morning and leave for work.

And as the clock struck 3:00 today, she was officially another step closer to realizing this dream. It will come to pass in a little over a months time. In the new year she will open a green focused, eco-friendly daycare and preschool. Among other things, she will be offering cloth diapers, organic food and a program that focuses on compassion for others and community involvement. All things we had trouble finding when we were looking for a daycare. It is a venture that speaks to the heart of who she is. And I am extremely proud of the sacrifice and hard work she continues to put into this project. She is a lovely woman who will put her heart and soul into this business.

(Reading nook figures to be well used by Lukas)

Understandably, the response has been overwhelming and all positive. That helps since a career change coupled with starting a small business is a hugely draining proposition in both time and resources. Sleep has been at a premium over the past several months. Personal time? Nearly non-existent. But we have all persevered and now see the light at the end of the tunnel. The fruition of a lot of hard work is upon us.

This will also mean that Lukas will be able to a part of this program and therefore get to spend more time with his lovely mother. And, as a result, today was also Lukas' last day at his daycare center. It has been a good spot for him over the past two years, and he has made friends of many of the playmates who are also in his toddler room - he has in fact grown up with several of them. This does make me a bit melancholy about the whole transition as he certainly doesn't grasp the meaning of what has transpired. As far as he knows, he will see his friends again sometime soon. And that weighs more than a bit on my heart.

I will also miss the times we spend together driving to and from his daycare. Though just an hour a day, it was an hour of father/son bonding time. Time where we could discuss the world around us. I enjoyed this time immensely.

However, I don't want to let these melancholy thoughts pervade the happier ones that are also present about the new and exciting direction our family is turning. This is a time of great change. A time of new beginning and old loves. And we are all extremely excited.

But most of all I am excited about the prospect of a good night's sleep.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Most Memorable Thanksgiving...Almost.

If you happen to be driving through Seattle anytime soon and glance over to see a middle aged, tired and sickly looking man walking down the sidewalk, palm open, slapping himself in the middle of the forehead, chanting "Stoooopid, Stoooopid, Stoooopid!", just roll down the window and call out "Hi there, Seattledad!.

I awoke this holiday morning still suffering from a draining bout of Strep Throat, coupled with what I believe to be a separate virus still affecting my eyes. Despite the illnesses, the of the morning went off without much of a hitch. That is, until Mrs. LIAYF and I were in the final frenzied throws of getting ourselves and Lukas loaded into the car for our visit to the farm for Thanksgiving dinner.

You've been there, right? Leaving by a deadline, in order to coordinate a child napping on the ride, and still making it on time for you event. Well, things were going swimmingly but we were running a tad late. To make it into the car by our 11:30 deadline, we were piling things into our hands before rushing out the door.

As I was doing said piling, Mrs. LIAYF calls down to me"Honey, grab my wedding ring from above the sink". So I did. I also grabbed the keys, slung Lukas onto my hip, and also grabbed his coats in my hand as I scurried down the stairs. Then as I reached the car and fumbled for the keys, my mind in ten different places, I felt something slip in my grasped hand. What was it? As I set Lukas into the car seat I realized it.

The ring was GONE!

Was that what it was, or had I dropped it somewhere else? A quick scan of the area revealed nothing. Mrs. LIAYF arrived, and with my heart dropped somewhere below my stomach, closer to my bowels, I told her I had no idea where her ring was. We did not panic at that moment (in fact Mrs. LIAYF never did - she is a wonderful understanding spouse) but began to search. With a fine tooth comb we looked everywhere from outside in the wet bushes to inside the car, to inside the house, to shaking out the coats. Nothing. The ring had vanished. I was close to distraught.

After nearly an hour searching with a tired toddler in tow, we reluctantly gave up and left for Thanksgiving dinner, letting my parents know we would be late. Mrs. LIAYF had resigned herself to never seeing her diamond again.

About the time we left the driving rain converged on the region. The traffic for the 1 1/2 hour drive stretched into 3 hours bumper to bumper. By the time we arrived, we were all tired, hungry, sick, and had to pee. Thanksgiving dinner had been served. Plus, it was nearly time for Grandpa to leave and tend to the Farm.

But then, as I reached back to grab Lukas' fleece jacket, I happened to reach down into his sleeve, and there inside the upturned cuff, was Mrs. LIAYF's diamond. Safe and sound, but precariously close to being lost forever.

It was a Thanksgiving Miracle!

Though I still felt pretty stupid for not being more careful with such a valuable possession of my wife's, we all then sat down and enjoyed warmed up turkey with all the fixings, good company, and the knowledge that we had one more things to be thankful for this November 26th.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Imagine All the People...

Lukas doesn't live a sheltered life, so that can't be what it's about. His daycare room has 18 toddlers in it after all. He seems to be a very well liked boy, always smiling, with tons of friends he interacts with on a daily basis.

So, I am not exactly sure why he needs the company. But, we have had a visitor in our house recently. Our neighbor Nate. Nate is about 8 months older than Lukas and given the hectic schedules of both families we have not been able to hang out nearly as much as we would like with this terrific family. Nate did have a birthday party recently where the boys played nice and enjoyed each others company.

Since then Nate has been visiting quite frequently. He plays with Lukas, has snack with Lukas, and goes down for nap time with Lukas too.

The only problem with Nate visiting so much is that he is not really here. He has become Lukas' not actually imaginary, Imaginary Friend. It is actually pretty cute. Lukas even got a bit upset this morning after breakfast when I went to clean up his plate. "No, leave it there!" he proclaimed. "Nate is going to finish it."

I know having imaginary friends is not uncommon for toddlers. Many of whom are probably real people. I just wasn't expecting it from Lukas as his age (not yet 2 1/2). I suppose there is no harm in it and it doesn't mean that he is in dire need of another little one to hang out with. At least I hope not. And I'm sure he will grow out of it soon enough.

Now excuse me while I go check my Twitter account.

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Laughing Matter

Seattledad: “Hi I’m James and, uh,… I'm a Laugh-Aholic”

All: “Hiiii James”

Seattledad: “ Well, I guess it's been a tough week for me. Unfortunately, I had a minor relapse”

All: “Ohhhhhh” (disbursed mumblings and quiet whispers back and forth)

Seattledad: “Yeah, everything has been going so well recently too, what with all the long hours spent on remodeling. And the money…yeah the stress that finances add to a situation, coupled with my recent bout with a persistent virus have really kept my recovery ON track. I seemed to be doing so well. So well (fading).

Face in the crowd: “What Happened, Man! Tell us what happened”

Seattledad: “Well, my 2 year old was sitting on the potty yesterday...”

Voice from the back: “Not the potty! Curse those things. You gotta be strong man. Strong.”

Seattledad: “I know, I know. I should’ve seen it coming. He was sitting there, still groggy from naptime and out of habit I sort of exaggerated my stride as I passed the door. Immediately, the kids cracks up.”

Guy in row 5: “You should have extricated yourself right there, Dude!”

Seattledad: “Yes, I should have. But I was too weak. I didn't see it coming. I thought about calling someone, but-no phone. Next thing you know I am passing by the door backwards the other way…and the little guy completely loses it. Loud, exaggerated laughs echoed from the bathroom. Right there guys. Right there I was hooked. I started going back and forth past that door, each time altering my stride or direction in increasingly exaggerated ways. I even did circles till I got dizzy! Sure, I should have found an out. Might have been able to, but I found myself completely lost in the high of the moment."

Face in the Crowd again: "He was on the TOILET fuh crying out loud!"

Seattledad: "And he kept on begging me for MORE! Calling out ‘More Daddy, more!’ and ‘You’re silwi daddy’." (wiping at eyes). "Sorry, I get emotional thinking of it."

Moderator: “That is enough for today James. And don’t let it get to you big guy. Yes, you messed up alright, but that is what we are here for. To get you through these tough times.”

“Yeah! Uh, Huh! Word!” (strong looks of support)

Seattledad: “Thanks. That’s why I love you guys. (Looking away, fist clenched, arm in L shape).

All: (Applause)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

About Face

I got another one of those emails yesterday. Someone wants to be my 'friend' on Facebook. Let me tell you, for someone who often complains at home about the fact that I don't have many friends, I certainly have enough people who want to befriend me online.

This is a good thing right? Well, not necessarily. For me at least. You see, I am nearly maxed out on the time that I can give to my social networking applications. In fact, I only created a Facebook account because I wanted to see if I could locate a friend of mine from kindergarten. Make that my best friend from kindergarten who moved away just after we started 1st grade. Nick Fringle (Not sure that is the correct spelling). I remember him telling me he was moving to Hillsboro, Oregon. Then I never heard from or of him again. That was something like 36 years ago.

So, I created the Facebook account. Searched for my little buddy Nick. And came up with nothing. Nada. Zilch. It was a big disappointment. I have since spent little to no time on Facebook. The fact is, since I created my Twitter account, the time I have devoted to this blog has suffered. And since I created my blog, the time I have devoted to my family has suffered. And since I created my family, the time I have devoted to myself has suffered.

You get the picture. Devoting another chunk of my already dwindling 'free time' to yet another social networking application would be just too much for me to shoulder, lest I begin to seriously neglect something more important in my life.

So, I guess my question is: Facebook or Twitter? Do you have a preference? Do you do both? How much time do you spend on each, as opposed to blogging? It seems to me that Facebook is used by many more non-blogger types, ie friends and family from real life. (My parents even have an account!) While with Twitter I feel that I can create more of a relationship with interesting folks who are, for the most part, like minded.

In the end, it is one or the other for me, because unless I give up networking on Twitter, or worse yet something else more important like sleeping or spending time with my wife and son, I simply don't have time to be your Facebook Friend.

But, if you're in Seattle anytime soon give me a call. Maybe we can grab a beer and catch up.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My 1st Kiss & A Bowl of Hot Random to Go.

Lady Mama tagged me with the following Meme. It has been quite a while since I did one of these, plus I really like her blog, plus I am home pathetically sick with little else to amuse me besides the sound of construction in my basement, so I decided to give it a go.

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you. My former boss. It was awwwkward.

2. Where was your first kiss? Oh yeah. In my bedroom. I am pretty sure it was 'Destroyer'.

3. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property? Not that I can remember.

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? I am proud to say NO.

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? Does mumbling the hymns in church as a child count?

6. What's the first thing you notice about your preferred sex? Uh...her smile. Yeah, er...her smile. Was that convincing?

7. What really turns you off? Women with too much makeup.

8. What do you order at Starbucks? Grande Americano (2 pumps mint, 2 pumps mocha, w/room)

9. What is your biggest mistake? Not having kids earlier. This is a blast.

10. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose? Does home remodeling count?

11. Say something totally random about yourself. I once entered a frog in a hopping contest when I was deeese big (Palm down by my hip.)

12. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? Funny you should ask...

13. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows? Only a couple episodes of Elmo with my boy.

14. Did you have braces? No.

15. Are you comfortable with your height? Well, if I was 6 inches taller, studies say I woud have a lot more spending money about now.

16. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? When we met Mrs. LIAYF was completely broke, but still brought groceries over and stocked my fridge. I asked her to stick around.

17. When do you know it's love? When you can remodel a house together without plotting your partner's untimely demise, it's love.

18. Do you speak any other languages? I'm getting skilled at deciphering toddler babble.

19. Have you ever been to tanning salon? Yes. (I grew up in Washington State. And we are as white as falling snow by the time Spring rolls around). It has been years though.

20. Have you ever ridden in a limo? No. But I REALLY want to do that thing where I stand through the moon roof with my arms outstretched as we drive through Time Square. Perhaps someday.

21. What's something that really annoys you? Boy Bands.

22. What's something you really like? Me lady. And me boy.

23. Can you dance? Once my wife stops hysterically laughing at the thought, then I will ask her opinion.

24. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room? No, thankfully.

25. Tag 5 people! Hmmm, let's see. Who might actually do this? How about:

Steve @ Myboys3
Karen @ If I could escape
Migthy M @ The Mighty M Family
Matt @ DC Urban Dad
Eric @ Juggling Eric

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Faint of Head

Things were never like this before. The only explanation I can come up with is that I may be going soft in my old age.

Before the birth of my son a couple of years ago, I had a extremely strong composition. I was born, raised, and spent my early adulthood on our family dairy farm in the southwestern part of Washington state. I worked hard, slept little, and witnessed more than my share of what could be called gruesome things. Whether it involved animal or human, there were many times where I watched blood, including my own, being spilled during those years. Enough blood and gore, in fact, that I became accustomed to witnessing it, and though it always bothered me to a degree, it did little to affect my psyche.

However, those days are fading into the rearview mirror for me now. Nearly 10 years have since gone by. And the pendulum that is my composition, my make-up, my ability to deal with such circumstances, seems to have swung the other way along with the passing of time.

The first clue that this shift was taking place came in the hospital after the birth of Lukas. I had just accompanied Mrs. LIAYF through a difficult 80 hour labor. We were both dead tired, but the time had come to make the decision on circumcision. Mrs. LIAYF left it up to me, but only requested that if I decided to have it done, that I be there with him. So I did. It was a new and painful experience seeing my baby boy laying there helpless and in such pain.

In the end it became too much. I felt light headed and the next thing I remember was looking at the spinning shoes around my head, of the doctor and nurse. They set me in a chair, and we all had a long, genuine laugh at my expense.

However, it didn’t end there. I had knee surgery later that same Summer, and as I was being prepped for the procedure, out came the needle. I had not slept at all the night before. My head started spinning, and again down I went. This time it was not as humorous as the last time. Though still worthy of a few laughs.

Fast forward to last week, when I went in to get a seasonal flu shot. I again had not been sleeping well. I was escorted around to sit on a bed. Out came the smallish needle. I felt light headed once again. Had a sense of what was coming. But this time I stopped the nurse. Told him that I needed to lie down and was allowed to. After a few minutes of laying there regaining my sense of normal, I got up and left. Without fainting. And without laughing about it either.

What bothers me now is that I may not be able to respond appropriately when and if that day comes where my child is hurt and bleeding in front of me. I'm not sure what has brought these recent fainting episodes. Though, they didn’t begin to happen until after I became a father at nearly 40 years old. Correlation? Have any of you experienced anything similar?

I guess they weren't kidding when they said 'Everything changes after you have a child.'

Photo by ZaldyImg's

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Floundering Father

"These are the times that try men's souls."

Ok, ok . Fair enough. Those are not my words. Thomas Paine, in fact, penned those words, in reference to struggles of a newly declared independent nation against the treachery of a dastardly and oppressive invader from foreign soil, right after the birth of our nation in late 1776.

I looked it up to refresh my memory, so I figure I am at least as smart as a 5th grader.

As for the quote, I find relevance in those words even to this day. Perhaps it's just that I am battling a rather dastardly and oppresive bug which is making me feel as if my throat was given the once over by an angry drunk with a belt sander. Or it could be that we are going through some fairly substantial life changes here at Casa de LIAYF resulting in late nights, long weekends, no down-time, and plenty of Thanksgiving sized helpings of mental stress being served up over said change.

However, as the Black Knight would say "That? That's just a flesh wound!"

No what really got to me today (aside from the rude, middle aged grocery checker ironically enough named Darwin) was witnessing Lukas go from his shiny, happy normal self to sick little boy in a matter of minutes.

He had mentioned his stomach hurt a couple of times earlier in the day, but then went about business as usual laughing, smiling and being his goofy self. Then it was "Mommy, pick me up!" And as he ran for her he inexplicably veered off in a near perfect 90 degree angle towards me, arms still outstretched. I obliged and picked him up only to be immediately rewarded with a projectile vomit shower. It appears that 1 out of 1 kid in this house prefers to puke on daddy, at least the first time. Mrs. LIAYF was christened three times this evening after the initial incident.
The poor little guy didn't stop until he was all emptied out and asking to be put to bed, which, after calling the consulting nurse and also verifying his fever was not too high, we did.

In his 28 months this was the very first such vomiting episode for our son. I think that after a good nights sleep, he will be feeling much better. However, this was a tough thing to witness for this dad. You never like to see your kids sick, but this whole stomach flu thing is just disturbing in a whole NEW way for us.

No, I'm not a Founding Father. Just a father who has found another reason to worry.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Hardy Boys

The promise came from Mrs. LIAYF. It was more of a bribe really.
"Lukas, eat all of your dinner and I'll give you a surprise". "I want a tattoo!" was his reply. Fair enough. It was a deal.

And at that, the remainder of our 2-year-olds Friday night pizza was devoured without delay, followed by his mother bringing over a basket, filled with skin art booklets toddler dreams are made of. Sharks, Pirates, Trucks, and Firemen to name a few.

Sticking with his recent fascination, Lukas chose a large firetruck to adorn his forearm. A wet washcloth and 30 seconds later and he was grinning from ear to ear. Then, apparently wanting to share his new found happiness with his old man, he declared "Daddy needs one too!"

Not wanting to disappoint our little guy, I agreed to get my very own 'Tat' . I was very excited since, truth be told in my 42 years I have never made the commitment to get a tattoo. I have toyed with the idea of getting some cool symbol which fostered my individuality, but the time just never seemed right. I had resigned myself to the reality that my opportunity had passed.
But now I had lost myself in the revelry of the moment, visualizing what tattoo I would get to complete the father/son bonding ritual we were about the share. Perhaps a Sun for my calf, or Da Vinci's Man in Balance on my shoulder, or even a string of barbed wire abound by bicep. I would definitely be increasing my cool factor immensely.

"Dat one" Lukas then called out, startling me out of my daydream and preempting my very own choice. Not exactly what I had in mind, but I had no say in the matter. And so it was.

I'm guessing I won't be taking the extra effort to roll up my sleeves and show off my 'Gun' adorned with this Tat...

But at least we compliment each other. And what chic doesn't dig a guy with a Dalmatian?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Darndest Things

Humorous things often come from the mouth of a 2-year-old. Thought I'd share a few recent quips from ours:

"Man were Choo-Choo Train, Daddy!"
(After hearing a Pavarotti clip on the radio this morning. Opera/Train Whistle. I make that same mistake all the time.)

"That's Grandma Woo!"
(Looking at an old HS Basketball photo and pointing at a team mate of mine. Er...not quite son. Note the Adams Apple.)
"You almost too cool, daddy!"
(I grinned at this one…that is until he repeated it and amended 'cool' to 'school')
"Well…we did not go under it."
(Duh! After being asked if he went over the bridge that morning)
"I saw a cwown yesterday!!"
(At the Sunday Farmer’s market. I kinda hoped he would forget about that. It was a seriously creepy looking clown.)
"You siwii Daaaddy!" (laughing)
(While acting goofy together last night. Pure fun.)

"One square for pee-pee Daddy!"
(Behind me while finishing my #1 business. Note to self: Must teach that boy to shake!)

"Cover me up. Cover me up Mommy!"
(3:30 AM last night. Followed by several pointed pokes in my back from Mrs. LIAYF...Ugh! He should have just asked for me in the first place.)
And Finally...
"Kiss it!"
(After bending over naked and telling us his bummy was hurting.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Real Treat

This year was the real deal. Lukas' first Halloween Trick-or-Treating. Yes, we did take him around the block when he was four months old but that was more to show him off in his cute penguin costume.

Then last year we discovered what real Halloween horror was as our son was admitted to Seattle Children's Hospital with a serious staff infection. We were quarantined in our room for 36 hours over the holiday while the hospital confirmed the infection was not MRSA. It was the scariest Halloween Mrs. LIAYF and I ever experienced.

Saturday night, however, was simply pure fun. Lukas was dressed to the nines as a Firechief and after an afternoon party we pulled onto our block to the flashing lights of local 'Engine 31' responding to an emergency call a few houses down. We walked up to take a closer look, then 4 firefighters came out to load back into the truck and one of them came over with a huge smile and handed Lukas an official Firefighter sticker, calling him "Chief". Then as Engine 31 pulled away, all 4 firefighters waved at him enthusiastically and honked the truck horn as they passed. He beamed.

Next it was off to the houses for his first taste of trick-or-treating . We explained the concept to him - "You knock on the door and say 'Trick-or-Treat' and the family will give you a surprise" - however, we were not sure what he would make of it since he has NEVER had any candy. In fact, after grabbing a tootsie roll from one house he enthusiastically pronounced "Look, a brown stick!"

It didn't matter though, as Lukas was having a blast just visiting strange houses, most often yelling "TRICK-OR-TREAT!" as we approached a door. Then when it opened making a quick dash inside past the surprised occupant, leaving Mrs. LIAYF or I to sheepishly chase after him into the person's home. It was ok however, as we were always let off with a smile and a laugh. Especially after we explained our 'Family' costume - Fireman, Kitty (Mrs. LIAYF), and Tree (Me covered in autumn leaves).

All in all it was pure fun for all of us, and a much needed break from the hectic hours we have been putting in evenings and weekends.
We already can't wait for next year!
P.S. The foil wrapped chocolate eyeballs were also met with disappointment as he tried to bounce them but they just thudded on the floor.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Case of the Happy's

Happy! Happy!
Yes, it's Halloween and we all have good reason to dress up, eat candy, and scare the crap out of people. However, here at Casa LIAYF we have even more reason to spread the cheer, smile, eat cake, sing, and most of all be happy.
It's Mrs. LIAYF's Birthday!
I would like to say I have some great surprise planned. That she will be getting more than a small birthday bag full of gifts and this lame heartfelt post. (Yes, that is the same image I used on last year's Halloween birthday post).
But in reality both of us have been putting all of our resources into our basement remodel project recently (tired of hearing about it yet?). And it is a project that, when done, will be a true gift to her. She knows and understands this.
So, here is a Happy Halloween to you all. Be safe when taking the little ones around the neighborhood. But most of all, Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife. Sweets, next year we will have a big party at our house.
I promise.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chalk (H1N)One up for Team LIAYF

A co-worker mentioned it Monday morning during a meeting. The H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine had finally arrived at the HMO we share, and her husband was in at 8:00 AM sharp to get their kids vaccinated. However, word was that the limited supply wouldn't last long. Perhaps only through the day.

I had been anticipating the arrival, but was still unsure what I would do about it. My uncertainty had nothing to do with the risk of the vaccine. Mrs. LIAYF and I had done the research and decided that the risk of Lukas contracting the virus at his daycare was greater than the risks associated with the vaccine. No, my concern lie with the fact that he is only 28 months old, just over the cutoff age for the mist, which was the only form of the vaccine available. We had serious questions of whether he would be able to successfully inhale it through his nose. A nose that was also runny.

I called and consulted with the injection room and was told "Not to bother". He needed to be congestion free. End of subject.

However, I thought about this all day. There are 18 toddlers in close proximity in Lukas' daycare room. Once one of them got H1N1, then the rest would soon have it. If I had the chance to get my son the vaccine now, then I owed it to him to at least try. So I picked him up after work and drove the 10 blocks to our clinic, arriving just past 5:00. As I approached the clinic, 2 year old in my arms, I was told "We are closed!"

I needed more information about future availability, so still holding Lukas I attempted to flag someone down for information. All the nurses were finishing up with the last of the people and paid us no attention. I waited. Finally, a woman came over and I asked if the mist would still be available in the morning and would it work for Lukas. "Can he breath in through his nose?". "I believe so. Lukas, breath in through your nose" He just buried his head in my shoulder. I let them know that he had done this outside before entering. Dubious looks ensued. "He is too young. You will just have to wait for the shot in a couple weeks" was her verdict.

At that point I took him outside the glass doors and set him down. "Can you breath in for daddy like a bunny?" I said, sucking in through my nose. He did a huge inhale, followed by a laugh. "Very good, Buddy!" I glanced up to see the nurse looking at us. I motioned toward my nose that he was doing it. She reluctantly opened the door and said. "Let's give it a try". We used the bunny trick (suggested earlier by the same co-worker) and he successfully took all the vaccine, then flashed a big "I did it" smile. I was proud of him.

"Lucky you", said the nurse. "There were only 2 doses left in our supply."

I don't know yet about 'Lucky'. No one really ever knows how their child will react to a new vaccine. All we can do is weigh the various risk factors and make the best decision given the information available.

Then hope it is the the right one.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Full Stream Ahead

So, as I was mentioning in my Underwear Power post, we have been going full steam ahead with the potty training, having Lukas wear his tighty whiteys at all times not involving sleep. It had been going swimmingly for the first week and a half or so.

Until a couple of days ago.

Now rather, things are more like full stream ahead. We're not sure what changed with our little guy at that point, but since that time he seems to have lost interest in the whole Underwear Power concept. Instead, he seems to not really care much if he has an 'accident', letting things flow as they will while continuing to do whatever it was he was involved in, wet and or dirty. There appears to be no embarrassment factor. No uncomfortable moments for him. No desire to hold it in.

After 4, count em 1,2,3,4 accidents today, we have had to sit Lukas down and have a serious talk about the possibility that he will need to start wearing the dreaded diapers again. He didn't like the idea. He cried some real, as well as some crocodile tears at the idea, whining that he wants to "keep wearing" his underwear.

Perhaps that will make the difference here. We don't know. We really don't want to put him back into diapers at this point, so we are hoping that the threat of it has the desired effect.

Conversely, there is one other alternative that presented itself tonight. Shame.

Alright, alright, before you judge me on this hear me out. I am not talking about making Lukas feel ashamed about not being able to hold his bladder. No, that would be a bit uncalled for wouldn't it.

Rather, I think I am just going to show him this picture several times a day.

It's a picture of the pants he was sent home in from daycare today. The 'institutional' pants they keep on hand when a child soils all the clothes he has on hand at the center. Yep, those are pinkish corduroy 'pants'. Somehow I think these beauties may just work in our favor.

At the very least they will make Mrs. LIAYF and I motivated to keep him on schedule.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Master Plan

I’ve heard a few references recently where people were referred to as ‘Puzzle Master’. Now, I don’t doubt that these folks are amazing at solving puzzles slightly more complicated than ‘which microbrew goes well with Pepperoni as opposed to Hawaiian’, but I wonder who decided that we, the general public, should now refer to these folks using the Master suffix?

Well, what ever the reason, every time I hear such a reference I find myself thinking “Wow, Puzzle Master. That sounds cool”. And you know why? Because they are being openly labeled a Master. And who doesn’t respect a title like that?

This got me thinking. Thinking about how I too would love to be referred to using the Master suffix. True, I don’t do complicated puzzles. But, there must be something I’m good enough at that would allow me to be labeled Master.

Brainstorming, I came up with a few ideas off the top of my head. How would these sound? “Today we chat with….”

1. Coffee guzzling Master SeattleDad

2. Mumbling kid songs to 2 year old because he can't remember the words Master SeattleDad

3. Cleaning up ‘scattered everywhere’ toys Master SeattleDad.

4. Piling washed dishes on top of already dry dishes in the drainer Master SeattleDad

5. Shrinking wife’s favorite clothes in the dryer Master SeattleDad

6. Stepping his socks directly in cat vomit at the bottom of the stairs first thing in the morning Master SeattleDad

7. Frantically searching the house for his one set of car keys so he won’t be too late for an important meeting Master SeattleDad

8. Burning the candle at both ends until the hot wax singes vital body parts Master SeattleDad

9. Overspending on gifts for spouse because he orders online at the last minute Master SeattleDad

10. Avoiding fostering male friendships, to spend more time with wife and son Master SeattleDad

Those all sound great. But mostly, I just aspire to one label: “Today we chat with Fathering Master, SeattleDad.”

I’m certainly not there yet, but I’m working on it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Getting Warm Around Here

A guy dies and when he realizes he has passed away a panic starts to set in. This is because, not surprisingly to him, instead of being transported to the heavens, his journey is down to the fiery depths of Hell. When he finally gets to the bottom of the Hellscalator he is greeted by a hideous demon who snarls at him a welcome to hell, and lets him know he has to choose between one of the three doors in front of him to spend his miserable eternity.

So, the guy reluctantly decides to take a look behind door #1. What he sees terrifies him! A whole group of bedraggled looking souls wrapped in chains, flames shooting up all around them, swinging sledge hammers, trying to chip away at boulders. He decides that the other doors must be better than this and indicates to the demon that he wants to move on.

Then, slowly, door #2 is opened and the guy realizes that door #1 wasn’t all that bad after all. The scene was similar to door #1 with the fire, and chains, and sledgehammers, only behind this door those same bedraggled souls were constantly being poked in the midsection with sharp pointed spears by demons who were laughing uncontrollably. A bit freaked out, the man quickly decides to move to door #3.

Terrified, and unsure what he would find behind door #3 the guy has his eyes closed tight when he hears the sound of pleasant music and chatter. He opens his eyes to find that behind door #3 there are also a bunch of bedraggled looking souls, standing knee deep in reeking putrid sewage… but they are chatting with each other and sipping coffee. The smell was enough to turn his stomach, but the man was no fool, and he quickly recognized that this was his best option. “I’ll take door #3” he told the demon. The door closed behind him with a crash.

It was at that point a crackle came over the speaker system as flames began to fill the room and demons with spears arrived. “All right guys, this is the Devil and you know the drill. Coffee break is OVER. Now get back on your heads!”

Sadly, my coffee break of a weekend is over too, and I need to get back to spending nearly every free moment I have (including evenings) on my basement remodel if we hope to EVER get it completed, much less on time. I’ll still be around, just not as visible.

And if, by chance, you never hear from me again...please remember my plight before trying to do any sizable portion of a remodeling project for yourself, especially with a toddler in the house.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Underwear Power!

If I had a super power, I would choose Flying.

Wouldn't that be sweet? I could strap Lukas in a backpack carrier and leave the house maybe 5 or 10 minutes before I had to have him at daycare in order to get to work on time, bypassing all the irritating commuters out there who haven't a clue how to drive when the sun comes out, or when it rains...or when it snows for that matter.

I would just have to work out a few of those minor details, such as how high to go without freezing my child, would Lukas sitting in the carrier get tangled in my cape, would I even need to wear a cape to achieve flight (I'm assuming the answer is yes), and mapping a route around air traffic and phone wires. I could go on, but you get my point. You have pondered these very things yourself, right?

On the other hand, maybe Invisibility would be be better. Or Super Strength - strength like The $6 Million Man had (who, adjusted for inflation would be valued at, what, several hundred million or so in today's dollars?). Maybe you can tell that I'm a bit out of date with the whole super powers debate. I have no excuse, other than that 40 is now in my rear view mirror and I have a toddler.

Now Lukas, on the other hand, is only 2 but he knows what power he now possesses. Underwear Power. We have been going full steam ahead with the whole potty training bit recently, making sure that he sits or stands and does his business on a regular basis. He has progressed nicely. Then the other day at school one of his little buddies proclaimed that he had Underwear Power, and Lukas had to possess it too. Apparently the whole peer pressure thing is alive and well in the toddler room.

So, Mrs. LIAYF and I started having Lukas wear underwear to school starting Monday. And the force has proven to be strong with this one, as he had no accidents at school thus far. (I think they are a bit more rigid than we are with scheduled pit stops, as we forgot to have him go at home this evening and an accident ensued. Two to be precise. Our bad). Overall, it is an impressive step ahead in the whole training process. And we are proud of him.

As for me, I would still choose Flying as my super power.

I'll save Underwear Power for when I am a bit older and really need it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Some things are just better when brought together.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Big Harry Spider

I received an email from Lukas' daycare on Friday. It indicated that the following week (starting Monday) was 'Spider Week.' Apparently, during Spider Week, all the toddlers are supposed to bring a spider from home. The toddlers will observe them throughout the week until Friday, when they have a release party.

When I stopped by to pick up Lukas Friday afternoon I asked his care provider about the project. With a big smile she picked up and showed me the 'habitat' where the 18 different spiders would spend the week.

It was just a big jar.

At that point the thought immediately occurred to me, and I suspect you may be thinking along the same lines, that we need to find Lukas a Big Ass spider because it is going to be something akin to Survivor: Spider Island in there.

I confirmed from the teacher that "Well, we did only actually release a couple last year by the time the end of the week came around." Ya think? Because unless they are making a side trip to Petco to pick up some Spider Chow, the littler ones are going to be looking mighty tasty by Wednesday or so.

So, during all the remodeling and yard work this weekend my goal was to find an appropriate arachnid candidate. I needed Lukas to have a ringer, lest he be watching as another kid's spider chomps off the head of his spider and does a happy cannibal dance around the jar. The horror!

What seemed the perfect candidate (out in our garage) nearly knocked me off a precariously stacked pile of our basement belongings. I was perched atop it looking for the right board for one of the ten thousand project we are working on when the ginormous sucker jumped right out at me, sending me back and off balance. I recovered nicely but he quickly hid away, apparently waiting for his next victim. I decided this particular spider was a bit too dangerous even for me.

Then, later as we were doing yard work, Mrs. LIAYF found our Goliath sitting right there on our yard waste container soaking up the sun. I ran inside, grabbed a jar, and poked holes in the lid so the big guy could breath and we had ourselves a survivor. At least we hope so, since I would feel kinda bad if he doesn't make it to the end of Spider Week.

All that was left was for Lukas to give his spider an appropriate moniker. I was hoping he would go for something befitting a warrior. Like Maximus, or Atilla, or something equally fear inducing. But in the end he opted for a name more befitting the spider of a two-year-old.

"Lukas what do you want to name your spider?"

"Harry, Daddy."

Sounds menacing. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Late Edition

Our basement remodel is wearing on us. Seriously, for all the work we are having contractors do, it seems like Mrs. LIAYF and I have also been going nearly non stop for the past 3 months with very little down time. It's getting late here, and I should be downstairs doing more painting right now, but can't bring myself to do it tonight so I am writing this post instead.
We bought a new laptop recently and the default browser search engine is Bing. Sorry Microsoft, but if this is what you are banking on to get market share from Google you may want to go back to the drawing board.

I have been eating popcorn rather than ice cream in the evening recently to try to cut back on my amount of sugar intake. Now if I could only eliminate my afternoon Mocha, I might actually start feeling better. Baby steps self. Baby steps.

Speaking of afternoon coffee, I took the Starbucks Via taste test the other day. I couldn't believe how easy it was to identify the instant. I killed. No, it's not Folgers, Sanka, or Kava, but come on, it's still instant for crying out loud.

Back to painting. Because I just can't get enough of the subject. I painted for 12 hours on Saturday. Let me rephrase that: I primed new drywall for 12 hours. One roller pass and all the primer would be sucked right off the roller. My hand was like a hideous claw by the time I was done. I really should have taken the drywall contractors advice and rented a sprayer. Instead, I was all "I can paint a room in a couple of hours and save the 60 bucks" stupid. Yes, stupid.

Lukas and Venus are finally reunited on a daily basis now that he is in the toddler room and she is back from Summer vacation. He better watch out though as she may just be the jealous type. I dropped our son off at the daycare the other morning and the mother of another little girl in his room was telling me how her daughter talked about Lukas all weekend long. It was at that point that Venus pushed her way in the middle of them and gave Lukas a long welcome embrace. I smell trouble.


Courtesy of Mrs. LIAYF I have been taking Lukas to Daddy and me Soccer the past two Saturday mornings. It's only 30 minutes long, but a good format to introduce him to organized sports, which I expect he will be participating in for the next 30 to 40 years. For the record, he is probably the youngest of the 15 or so kids there but he took right to it. He even got to kick the ball in the goal to end the practice. It was a lot of fun.

And Finally, courtesy of my being old and apparently hard to buy for, I find myself in possession of some Barnes and Noble gift certificates (which I appreciate). I have never read a graphic novel, but would like to get one. Anyone have a recommendation of a good one? Just one caveat: I am not into Super Hero stories.

Thanks in advance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We Have an F-ing Issue

I was pretty amazed yesterday afternoon while picking up Lukas from daycare when, as I walked through the door, our son's best little friend declared something to the effect of "It's Lukas' daddy, come to take him home".

Now, Lukas has a lot of word and strings them together into pretty complex sentences for a 27 month old, but his friend, who I have never heard say more than a word or two at a time (as opposed to Lukas' constant dialog), said this sentence with such clarity that I had to do a double take. He sounded like he was 5 years old. Very impressive.

At home later that night I relayed this revelation to Mrs. LIAYF, who had heard the boy say something very similar a couple days earlier. She was equally impressed. Then, as we listened to Lukas, it dawned on me (since I hadn't really thought twice about it) that, like a lot of kids his age, has trouble with his F's. He was replacing them with B's. Henceforth, a fox becomes a box in Lukas toddler speak.

This is very cute, but realizing that he may need some assistance getting his enunciation of F correct, Mrs. LIAYF decided to try a little experiment with him as we were getting him ready for bed:

"Lukas, can you say flower?"


"No, say Fffflower"


"Can you say, friend?

"Briend, Mommy"

"No, friend with an F. Ffff-riend"


"Hmmm, Lukas can you say F?"


"Exactly! Now say F-friend"

"Eff briend"

"No, F like in father. F-father. Can you say that?"

"Eff Bother" (I'm not reading anything into that)



"Lukas, you are just adorable! And perfect in every way. Ready for bed Sweetie?"


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Sweater

With cooler Fall temperatures making their appearance here in Seattle, I didn't think twice when I came across a comfortable looking sweater, priced to sell, at a local used clothing store. I made my purchase happy to have gotten a good deal, but didn't give it much more thought.

That is, until I had washed it and slipped it on a couple of nights ago to warm up for the evening after putting Lukas to bed.

As I came downstairs, Mrs. LIAYF greeted me with a smile and a laugh, then said:
"Well, at least now we know where Waldo is!"
If anyone is looking for me I'll be, ahem, hiding out somewhere here in Seattle. With my comfortable sweater.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sweet Spot

Does parenting have a Sweet Spot?

If so, I think I have entered it. Terrible 2's? What is so terrible about them? Actually, Lukas is at a stage of development that is abundant with wonderful moments. Fun moments. Happy moments. Moments that warm the cockles of my heart.

No, I don't know what cockles are, but mine are toasty folks.

Could that spot occupy this age, this stage in a child's development? The stage when they can talk to you in a sweet little voice - smiling wide and giving you gems such as "I love you, daddy!" or "Sit down and play with me, daddy" all with genuine heartfelt emotion.

Before they ever even think of saying things such as "I hate you!" or "You're mean" or "I hope you die!"?

When you mean the world to them almost as much as they mean it to you?

When practically everything they do is just so darn adorable, that even those frustrating moments where you have every right to be upset, you just can't bring yourself to be?

Well, that my friends. That is the spot I find myself in right now.

And it sure is Sweet.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pearl Jam Puts out Kids Album

A new Pearl Jam tape, album, disc, download, - whatever we are calling it these days, is a big deal in my hometown. After all they are Seattle boys (if you can still call 40 something men boys) who made it big. At EasyStreet Records, my local independent record store, there was even a midnight release party for Backspacer with an overflow location. Not opting to get a sitter, we waited patiently till Sunday to drop by EasyStreet, where my final birthday gift awaited me. Oh, how things have changed.

As for the album, I am really enjoying it. I mean REALLY. I have to admit I have been a huge fan since their inception. Mrs. LIAYF even had partial lyrics to Smile ingraved on the inside of my wedding ring ("Don't it make you smile"). Yes, this album was eagerly anticipated, and it didn't disappoint. The songs range from energetic and catchy (Gonna See my Friend) to soulful and beautiful (Just Breath).

I usually forgo listening to the radio or music on our drive to daycare, but this morning I couldn't help myself and slipped in the disc and hit the play button. Upon hearing the opening riff of gonna see my friend, Lukas smiled widely and proclaimed "Guitar!". I beamed, and asked him if he liked the music. His head nodded up and down with emphasis, but before the next song ended we had arrived at our destination.

On the way home, I turned up the music early on and let him listen. Looking in the rear view mirror I could tell he was liking what he was hearing. All smiles. As the song ended, Lukas let out a big "Yeah!" and clapped. Then he softly opined "It is nice moosic, daddy."

Some things, it seems, are inherently genetic.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Scare Tactics

Thankfully, during his first two years of life, Lukas has not developed many fears. Actually, I am not sure I could name more than one or two things that he has shown genuine fear of.

So, it surprised us yesterday afternoon when, having let Lukas watch an episode of Elmo's World for the first time in nearly a month, a distinctly frightened cry came from our living room. Mrs. LIAYF and I rounded the corner from the kitchen immediately to see Lukas sitting there in his little chair with an utter look of horror on his face. "Turn it off! Turn it off!" he cried.

It seems that, in this particular episode of the show, titled Hair, Elmo dons a wig of long braided hair. Not a particularly scary story line to be sure. Well, everything was fine up until the point when the little red guy decided to pull the wig off, holding it out in his furry little hand.

It must have seemed like he was pulling his head apart -or something equally disturbing, since it really freaked Lukas out. "It's ok Sweetie. It's only a wig. Kind of like all the funny hats you wear during dress up" Mrs. LIAYF assured him. He didn't seem convinced. Eventually though, he calmed down and we put on a different episode. But it was a pretty bizarre event based on what we have come to expect from our son.

As for me, there are only a couple of things I can remember that really scared me as a young child. One was the Maurice Sendak book Where the Wild Things Are. I'm not sure how old I was at the time, but I distinctly remember being deathly afraid of those jagged tooth creatures that roamed in the dark woods, presumably waiting for a tasty child to eat. A coincidence that the movie version comes out close to Halloween? I think not.

The other thing, and I know you will understand this one, was the Brady Bunch episode where Bobby has a dream that a UFO lands in their back yard and two little red headed aliens visit him in his room. I can remember staring at my window scared stiff for several nights in a row after that episode wondering when those frightening creatures were going to show up and cart me away. But I am sure that was a common fear for kids my age. No? Really? Did I mention how their hair was red?

Tell me readers, what scared the bejeezus out of you as a child?

Friday, September 18, 2009

We're Golden

Me: "Hold on buddy, daddy will cut you some more chicken. Where did I put the knife?"

Lukas: "I want da kniife"

Me: "I-I-I want the knife" (busting out in a hearty laugh)

Lukas: (laughing now) "I-I want kniiiife, Daddy!"

Me: "I-I-I want-want DA Kniiiife. . .Pleaaase!"

Mrs. LIAYF: (rolling eyes) "You need to stop encouraging him!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just Plum Helpful

Each fall for the past 6 years that we have lived in our current house, September has ushered in a feast of Italian Plums from our lone backyard tree. I have no idea how old it is, but it is mature and has produced ample fruit for Mrs. LIAYF and I to eat whole, cook with, and give away to family and friends. Unfortunately, that has still accounted for only a fraction of the fruit this tree bears and thus each year way too much fruit has gone to waste. Something needed to be done.

Then, earlier this year we heard about a local program called Community Harvest. The goal of Community Harvest and their volunteers is to pick fruit trees, such as our Italian Plum, and to make that harvested fruit available to local food bank patrons. We loved the idea and signed our tree up for the program.

When the volunteers came to do the picking, I had just arrived home from work and Mrs. LIAYF pulled up with Lukas moments later. "How many volunteers are there?" she asked. "Just two, but they look young and spry" I replied. (they did) "Yeah, you don't sound old at all" she laughed before explaining to Lukas, who had been eating plenty plums off the tree, what was going on. He initially got pretty upset at the prospect of sharing his plums. Tears were shed.

However, Mrs. LIAYF explained to him that we would be sharing these with families who need them, and asked him if he wanted to help with the harvest. He was excited to help out, even requesting I lift him up high to get the hidden fruit.

When finished, over 200 lbs of fruit was harvested for our local food bank. Eight boxes full, not counting the half box we kept for ourselves. It proved a bountiful harvest, and a great opportunity to teach our son a valuable lesson in sharing.

Especially when you have more than you can consume.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Meaning of Everything

Today I realized the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Well, at least according to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Yes, today I turn another year older - 42 actually. Blow out the candles. Get enthusiastically sung to. Open fun gifts from my wife and son. And, in case you aren't quite comprehending what I am getting at: Today is my birthday!

Why am I making such a blatant pronouncement about this? Well, last year my birthday fell on a Friday, and attempting to be a bit clever with my own birthday post, I posted this Haiku Friday entry which was greeted by a resounding cyber silence.

That birthday post from last year continues to be the only post since the early days of this blog that garnered absolutely NO comments. Kinda laughable if you think about it now, but in the days following that post I was a bit melancholy that none of my blogging friends had figured it out and left me a comment.

Mrs. LIAYF just shook her head at me and told me that I needed to more obvious. She was right, as she often is.

So, again, today is my BIRTHDAY! Do as you will.

P.S. The meaning of everything isn't actually 42, as Deep Thought calculates in The Hitchhikers Guide.

No, actually it is this:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not Stroller People?

Ever since Lukas was a couple of months old, we have owned a very nice BOB stroller. If you aren't familiar with the BOB, it is a jogging stroller with sturdy construction, excellent suspension, a swivel front wheel, and two large back wheels for easy off road/sidewalk navigation. Plus, it folds down to a compact size that fits easily into even the smallest trunk. Sounds pretty cool, huh?

Well, it is. And I am sure that many people get tons of use out of theirs. But us? Not so much. Yeah, we used our stroller more often when Lukas was in his first year. Still not a lot. But ever since he started to walk, we just haven't had much inclination to use it. Most of the time we have been content to either:

1. Let him walk - Yes, this was difficult at times. Especially when he was about 12-18 months since he wanted to grab everything in sight. But we opted to redirect him rather than subject him to sitting strapped into a place that limited his movement and visibility.

2. Carry him - We often will just carry Lukas around when we go somewhere, switching him from hip, to shoulders, to the other hip, to the other parent. He really loves to be on our shoulders where he can see all that is going on.

3. Red Wagon - We live close to a neighborhood business district where we can walk and shop locally. Lukas much prefers to ride in his wagon than the stroller. Plus, he gets to say "Hi!" to all sorts of people, who generally brighten considerably afterwards.

Combine all these things, and we have used our stroller maybe one or twice in the past 9 months. In truth, I am questioning whether we will ever use it again with our little guy. He is past 2 years old now and gets around extremely well on his own. I have been wondering if this is a normal transition or if we are just not stroller people. I do see other parents pushing around much older kids, but can't really envision that being us.

I suppose if I suddenly took up jogging, I might use it more often (Yes, that was intended as a joke. You can stop smirking now Mrs. LIAYF). Or possibly we don't use it much because we only have one child. Maybe we will use it much more once there is another family member in the picture. Assuming that happens in the foreseeable future.

How about you readers? I'm curious. At what age did you give up using a stroller for your kids?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Toddler Nirvana

We visited Grandpa and Grandma's farm yesterday. Being a city boy, this is a trip which always gets Lukas excited. And, as always, he had a terrific time. Of course, as soon as we arrived he was all about taking a ride on the "BIG" tractor with Grandpa.

Grandpa was happy to oblige.

Lukas was able to sit and steer by himself as they drove around the farm for quite a while. Afterwards, he ran through the barns and generously fed the animals.

And, of course, played in the mud puddles with sticks. A perfect day for a two year old boy.

Then later, after a birthday lunch - as is usually the case - I realized I was missing a prime video moment while Lukas was singing for the family. By the time I got the camera set up, he was winding down, but I did get a bit of him butchering his ABC song. It's cute though, and you even get a shimmy from Mrs. LIAYF.