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?"