Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Posts in Review: Jul - Dec

Happy New Year's Eve Readers.  I trust you've all finalized your party plans, stocked your fridges with Cristal & Beluga caviar, and locked up the pets, because it's going to be a WILD night. Wooooooh!
Ok, so we are staying home and most likely watching a movie. As usual. 

No, it won't be When Harry Met Sally, or any other Meg Ryan movie for that matter. Unless, of course, a party of aging matrons traveling on horseback from 1876!, accidently open a wormhole directly into our living room, become fascinated by the television, and thus force us at needle point to watch Kate and Leopold on our Roku. But let's face it,  there's less than a 50% chance of that happening.
So good times should still be had.  We do have some poppers to blast with Lukas. Go ahead and color us lame if you will but hey, have you ever actually tried to get a babysitter on New Years Eve?  I know you understand, because you're all parents too.  Why else would you be reading this? (I'm now doing that two fingers pointing back and forth from my eyes to yours thing).


Okay, with that out of the way, let me get back to business.  I still had a whole half a year of posts to list in my review of 2010.  I have done that, and for your reading pleasure (tonight even, if you are lamer than us) I have listed them below.

Thanks for reading.  I look forward to interacting with you in 2011.

July: Catch 42  - Baseball, and three simple words that span three generations of LIAYF men.

August: You Shouldn't Mosh Past 40 - A buddy and I do it up right, with consequences of course.

September: Easy Choice - Sound decision making takes new shape when you are a father.

October: The Apple Falls Closer to One Branch - The Gravity of this post can't be understated.

November: Girly Things - "You want me to pick up what?"

December: Directionally Challenged - We let Lukas act as GPS to get us home. What could go wrong?

Honorable Mention: The 3rd Night - Lukas proves obidient but very resourceful after graduating to a twin bed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 1st Autograph

Already his handwriting is nicer than mine.

Monday, December 27, 2010

SeattleDad's 2010 Best Album Post

Happy Monday Readers.  I trust you all have had a joyous holiday season so far.  Christmas was once again a wondrous time for us here at LIAYF.  No one short of Jacob Marley himself can bring the holiday spirit to your home like a 3 year old, and Lukas didn't disappoint.  He is an absolute joy to have in our lives. And, as a bonus we all get to spend the better part of this week at home and together.

Being a big fan of new music, I have always wanted to do a best album post.  This year I actually bought, was given, downloaded, or just listened to a ton of great releases.  Below I list my top 10 for 2010.  I have linked each to their MySpace music page and when possible directly to the page where you can play the album.  So give a listen, and tell me what you think with a comment.  You will see that my musical tastes tend towards a blues, rock, alternative, folk, indie vibe.

Enjoy, and be sure to let me know what your favorite releases of 2010 were.

10. Beach House - Teen Dream - I didn't purchase this album but listened to it several times on MySpace.  I love the ethereal feel to this release and want to hear more from this Sub Pop band.

9. Blitzen Trapper - Destroyer of the Void - This Portland outfit doesn't disappoint on it's 6th studio album of 'electro country' indie tunes. I especially enjoyed Sadie.

8. The National - High Violet - Strong follow up to Boxer containing one of my favorite songs of the year Blood Buzz Ohio. Makes me want to go to Ohio on a swarm of bees.

7. The Black Angels - Phosphene Dream - My first taste of The Black Angels and I was taken with what I heard.  Has an edge to it, and a unique sound that can't be mistaken for any other band.

6. Mt St Helens Vietnam Band - Where Messengers Meet  - Seattle band on the rise. Give them a listen and let me know what you think.

5. The Walkmen - Lisbon -  Strong release from start to finish. The first couple of tracks, Juveniles and Angela Surf City are especially good.

4. The Black Keys - Brothers - I own everything from The Black Keys.  I keep waiting for the next record to fall off in quality, but it doesn't happen.  Brothers is a good as any and worth having in your collection.

3. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs  - I had heard the hype surrounding this band, but never owned one of their records.  I understand now where the accolades came from.  The sound is large, diverse and addicting.

2. The Head and the Heart - The Head and The Heart - If this release is indicative of what this Seattle group is capable of, you will see them around for a long time to come. It is loaded with songs that you will remember and sing along with.

1. The Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt - I played this album over and over and over again when I first picked it up.  It lives in the seams between folk and alternative, and is filled with terrific melodies and lyrics. My favorite release of 2010.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's a Wrap. Sort of.

For some people the holidays are a particularly stressful time of year.  In at least one aspect, I am one of those people. 

Is it financial concerns?  Thankfully no.  We are much better off this year than we were a year ago.  Stress from all the preparations?  Not really, It has actually been fun to decorate the house and put up the lights and tree with Lukas.  It has been equally as fun to make and deliver goodies to friends, neighbors, and family.  Not to mention getting to visit Rocket Santa and his spaceship sleigh at the top of Seattle's Space Needle last week.

The lack of daylight?  The rampant consumerism surrounding the holiday?  Nope. Sure, these are not my favorite aspects of this time of year, but I'm actually a pretty laid back guy so they don't stress me out.

So what is it that stress's me out?  Wrapping gifts, of course.

Now, I really can't complain since Mrs. LIAYF is a such a peach.  She, of course, wraps 90 percent of the gifts we give in gorgeous fashion, complete with classy paper, beautiful hand curled ribbon, and homemade holiday tags which could turn the lamest gift into a work of art.  I almost feel guilty on Christmas morning when I rip into them like a hungry Jackal into a limping Wildebeast calf.

It doesn't stop me.  But I feel guilty about it nonetheless.  Truely, my lovely wife is like a machine. One of those cool wrapping machines that every husband wishes he had.  And I have one!  The only problem?  And it is admittedly a small one.  Teensy really.  She refuses to wrap her own gifts.  I know! I know! I don't blame her at all for this.  In fact, I admire and appreciate all she does.  She even laid out all the supplies on a table for me in the basement and gave me some handmade tags.  Did I mention that she is a peach?

But the thing is, I suck at wrapping gifts.  Seriously. And next to hers mine look, um....sad.  Imagine blindfolding Lukas with a handful of crumpled paper and a long string of twisted tape and having him wrap presents.  That's kind of how mine end up turning out.  I was actually stoked on our 10 year anniversary a couple years ago when I realized that not only was the symbol for 10 years Tin, but also Aluminum.  I was Carpe Diem all over that. I wrapped all her gifts in aluminum foil.  Unfortunately, I can't get away with that this Christmas.

I did luck out and find some teenagers doing gift wrapping for donations while leaving a store with a couple of gifts for my wife.  I must say, that was a couple of bucks well spent.  Then last night, determined to get it over with and relieve my holiday stress levels, I sucked it up and wrapped the rest of her gifts. 

It could have gone smoother, but I got it done.  I only had to cut a strip to cover the back side of one gift where the paper didn't reach clear across.  And on only a couple of others, I had to heap on the scotch tape to cover a crumply and bowing seam.  The important thing is that it is done.  Well, almost.

Tonight I tackle the bows.

Happy Holiday's to everyone.  May you have safe travels and fond memories.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Directionally Challenged

We had a nice family dinner Monday night.  We know of a local place that is kid friendly, and has great prices on food during Happy Hour.  It's about 7 or 8 blocks from our house in the middle of our neighborhoods business district.  Lukas and I met Mrs. LIAYF there on our drive home from work and school and enjoyed some good conversation and comfort food.

As we left the restaurant and put him into his car seat, we were all laughing and joking.  Mrs. LIAYF kidded Lukas that if he didn't stop squirming they would walk home - which would not have been wise since it was fairly cold out.  "Okay!" he exclaimed in all seriousness, to which my wife had to finally acknowledge that we were NOT going to walk home.

Lukas was disappointed at this, as he was actually eager to walk the several blocks of the roundabout route back to our house.  "Well, if we let you walk all by yourself how would you get home?" I asked. "Go that way." he responded pointing in the general direction of our house.

So I said "Okay buddy, let's do this.  I'm going to drive and YOU get to tell me which way to go.  How does that sound?"   "Good!" he excitedly exclaimed.  And at that we started down the alley.

Then, as we reached the end of the alley I asked "Which way do we turn Lukas?"  "Uhhhhh....that way!" was his reply pointing us East onto the road, not our normal path home but still a valid option.  At the first stop light we came to, again I asked for directions.  "Turn this way" he instructed me pointing right, which was the correct direction home.  As we waited at the light I asked for confirmation "This way?"  "No....go straight" he responded, changing his mind.  Mrs. LIAYF and I glanced at each other with slight smirks, but as the light turned I readily obliged.

One block away was another light.  "That way" came his instruction and as I looked over my shoulder I could see him pointing to the right.  I obeyed and drove to the end of the block.  This time he didn't wait for us to ask.  "Go Right Daddy! Down the hill!".  I did.  Then as we approached the bottom came the command "Take a Left" (Yes, he knows his right from his left better than I do).

He had taken us a block over, to a less busy street.  To avoid delays? Perhaps.

From there it was a piece of cake as he had delivered us onto our daily route which we take to and from school.  Grinning from ear to ear he easily directed us the rest of the way back to our house where, once stopped, Mrs. LIAYF and I gave him high fives and let him know how proud we were of him and how big a boy he was becoming.

No, it wasn't that far.  But watching our 3 year old successfully navigate a trip home was still a proud moment for us.  And further indication of how fast he is growing up.

Moments like this are a lot fun.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Seattle Dad Bloggers

Happy Friday readers.  I have been wanting to do a post linking other local area Dad Bloggers for some time now, and since December is the month for list-posts, this seemed as good a time as any to get this done and published.

Below are the Seattle Area Dad Blogs that I know of and read.  A couple haven't posted in a while, so I am not sure of their current status, but all have at least posted withing the past year. 

So if you are in the mood for some Seattle flavor in your Dad Blog reading on this Fatherhood Friday, click on one or more of the links below.  I think you will agree that our region is rich with interesting and involved dads, who can also turn a quality phrase.
1. Honea Express: Whit is the quintessential blogger.  In fact he makes a career out of it.  I have mentioned before how he was supportive of me when I started out.  I remember and appreciate that. Honea Express is his personal blog and reading it you will understand that while blogging may be his day job, he is first and foremost a writer.  And a damn good one at that.

2. The Blog of Craig Playstead: Craig is another professional writer and blogger who appears, among other places, over at the Good Men Project.  I really enjoy his subject matter, mostly because he is a guys guy and has similar taste to mine when it comes to music, sports, food, etc.

3. GoodFather: I only recently discovered Goodfather.  Jeff is a blogger with a hilarious sense of humor, and down to earth sensibility.  This blog has quickly become one of my favorites.

4. Glad Dads: Danny took a hiatus from Glad Dads for a while earlier in the year, but he is back to providing top notch information and articles for dads everywhere.  Plus, he isn't afraid to stir up a little controversy now and then, which is a good thing in my book.

5. Dad is in the House: Nick is a SAHD (Stay at home Dad) and loads his blog up with useful information with posts on how to do things like Pimp your Christmas Tree and Make a Dinosaur costume.  These posts are helpful and entertaining as well.

6. Nordquist Blog: I rarely comment on Bret's blog, but I do read.  His posts are always extremely well written, and often moving.  Definitely worth checking out.

7. Down With Pants:  Brandon hasn't posted in a while, but I am holding out hope that he will get back into the swing of it since his blog was always entertaining.  Plus, isn't this the best header you have seen in a long time?
Click on over and read these dads.  And if you have the time, leave them a comment and let them know SeattleDad sent you. 

Of course, I must be missing more than a few quality Seattle area Dad Bloggers.  If you are, or know of one that I missed, please let me know in my comments.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monthly 5: What I'm Enjoying in December

Drinking: New Belgium - 2 Below  This Winter ale is another tasty addition to the impressive New Belgium lineup.  Plus, it was on sale which makes it taste a little like money. Frosty cold money, that is.

Watching: V: Season 1.  The aliens arrive, and thankfully they are friendly.  Or are they? We love a good Sci-Fi series here at LIAYF and this one hasn't disappointed so far.  Also, we just finished up watching the 2nd season of Castle with Nathan Fillian.  Great show, and Fillian sells the character of Castle, a mystery writer helping solve actual homicides.  We don't usually watch crime drama's, but this one is good.

Listening to: The Reverend Horton Heat - We Three Kings (Christmas Album).   There is nothing quite like Rockabilly to get you in the holiday spirit.  By far my favorite Christmas album.

Reading:  Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel.  This retelling of the story of King Henry VIII has been widely acclaimed.  Mantels writing style is a bit offbeat but after 75pg I am getting the hang of it and am enjoying the read.

Visiting:  Pearl Jam Radio.  What could be better to a Gen X Seattle Dad who loves Pearl Jam than to find a site that streams them constantly?  Material is gleaned from the countless live shows that my hometown band has recorded.  Viva la Grunge!

Tell me readers.  What are you enjoying this month?

Monday, December 13, 2010

This Dad's Not Soft

One thing should be abundantly clear from reading this blog. I love my son. And, while it is natural and common for children to go through certain stages where they gravitate to one parent as the preferred parent, I have thus far in my experience as a dad prided myself in the fact that Lukas, for the most part, hasn’t done this.

And, even though it may be typical for young boys to turn to mom when needing a little TLC, I have always attributed the fact that my little guy will also often call out for me when he is hurt or scared to the fact that he is just as comfortable with me as he is with Mrs. LIAYF.

Not so fast Dad.

Lukas woke up from his afternoon nap on Sunday after only an hour and a half which, thankfully, is still a short nap for most weekends. When I went to check on him he was rubbing his eyes but instead of laying back down he wanted to go downstairs. As we reached our foyer he ran over to his mother, who was otherwise engaged in project, and jumped into her arms.

“I’m tired” He indicated to her. “Yeah? Do you want to go back to bed and lay down?” I asked him.

“No, I just want to cuddle” he responded as he wrapped his arms tighter around his mother’s neck. “Okay. Why don’t you lay down on the sofa and cuddle with Daddy.” Mrs. LIAYF suggested.

With that he turned to look at me, squinted his eyes together, and let out a whiny “Noooooo”. This prompted Mrs. LIAYF to ask him what was wrong with Daddy. The response was telling.

“He’s not soft!”

Grinning, I managed an amused “And where is Mommy soft that Daddy isn’t?” to which, still in her arms, he leaned back, looked down, and gave a classic Vanna White signature hand gesture towards her chest, before burying his face into her sweater.

I had to fold, since with that I couldn't compete.

So there you have it. No matter how close the bond are that dads share with their sons, there will always be certain assets that we won’t have to work with. Like being soft in the right spots.

No worries though,  I am still extremely lucky to have had the Wheel of Fortune shine on me with these two.

Picture credit: cindyribelt 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Light Critic

Steeple Closephoto © 2007 Allan Harris | more info (via: Wylio)

Prologue - Sunday:  Ever since Thanksgiving, Christmas lights have, at first slowly but recently at an ever increasing rate, been popping up all around our neighborhood.  To Lukas, at 3 years old, it has been fun to look for and spot new sets of lights.  He gets very excited, and has turned it into sort of a game to notice them before we do calling out "Ooooooh, look at those lights Daddy!'

Of course, at the same time he has been excited for us to put up our own light display.  We don't normally do this early, but we actually broke with our normal tradition of decorating the 2nd weekend in December, in order to both excite and appease our little man.

It seemed to work too.  All the while, he Oooohed and Awwwwed at our strings, which we use to frame our porch before stringing down the stairs on either side from that point to the street level below.  He was especially excited to help plug one strand into another, lighting up a new section of the clear icicle lights.

The whole experience left Mrs. LIAYF and I quite pleased.  After all, we were lighting up our home with the warm glow of love, happiness, and the holidays.

Until - Wednesday:  As we approached our neighborhood on the drive home last night Lukas was, as usual, looking out the window and taking in the passing world.  It was then that we pulled up to a stop light and he noticed, through a thin grove of trees, a house that was aglow with light.  Now, this was not your garden variety house.  This house was lit up like the house from Christmas Vacation, with what must have been thousands of lights of various colors.

"Whoooa!" Lukas gasped.

"That's a lot of lights buddy" I responded.  "Do you like them?'

"Yeah!  Daddy?"

"Yes, son"

"We should go home and put up lights on our house too!"

"But Buddy, don't you remember?  We already put up lights the other night."

"I know." He said, hanging his head a little and lowering his lip slightly. And then, pointing at the illuminated house he finished with....

"But not like that!" 

Post Script: Everyone, it seems, is a critic.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Posts in Review

2010 marked my third year of blogging here at 'Luke, I am Your Father'.  As I suspect is true with a majority of bloggers, there were times during the past year where I nearly closed up shop.  In all honestly, it takes a load of time and an abundance of creative inertia to sustain any blog, much less a parenting blog when you are working full time outside the home. 

But in the end, the ideas always seem to come, and with supportive encouragement from Mrs. LIAYF along with plenty of post worthy fodder coming from Lukas, I have kept the lights on here.  Beyond that, I think I have actually put out some decent posts this past year.

With that in mind, below is the first of two posts that will highlight what I considered my best of the year. Look for the other one towards the end of the month.

January: Character Flaws  I started the new year out with one of my most commented on posts ever. Let's just say I ran into some trouble when Lukas wanted me to read him a Sesame Street book.

February: Cold Feet Sleep is usually at a premium with young children in the house. This is especially true when they wake you up in the middle of the night for the oddest of reasons.

March: Base Camp - Day 1000 I reflect on reaching a rather lofty milestone as a father.

April: Everyday Heros With a little guy around, you don't need to slay dragons to be considered a hero.

May: Can I at Least Get a Belly Rub? Will you please read this post? Ask and I should receive, right?

June: Warning: This Post is Just for Men  Getting old is never glamorous.  Especially when you are a dad.

And finally, one of my favorites.  It is about appreciating what you have, realizing that not everyone is so lucky.  
Honorable Mention: A Chase Scene to Cherish

If you want to dig deeper, here is a link to my best of 2009 post.

Monday, December 6, 2010

File Under: But That's Just Me

Something rare occurred this past Saturday night in Seattle readers. Mrs. LIAYF and I actually had a night out together.  A date night. 

We have been having trouble recently finding a sitter who Lukas knows to watch him for an evening while we get away and spend some time together.  Thankfully, we finally had some luck.  We had a nice time too taking in the new Harry Potter film on the giant screen at Seattle's Cinerama, before walking downtown to grab some hot chocolate and see the Christmas decorations.

But, other than spending some quality time with the lovely Mrs. LIAYF, there was something else that I took away from the evening.  Something that really didn't sit well with me. 

First, after the movie had ended, we witnessed a couple exiting the theater followed by what appeared to be no more than a 3 or 4 year old boy.  I had to do a double take.  Now, if you haven't seen The Deathly Hallows, I will tell you that it was perhaps the darkest, scariest movie of the Harry Potter series so far.  It was chock full of scenes filled with both frightening as well as adult content.  All of those troubling scenes made this movie a lot to process, even for a desynsitized dude like myself.

Mind you, this was not the first time we have witnessed something similar.  When we went to see the previous Potter film as well as Avatar (in IMAX 3D), there were several very young children in attendance at each of those shows.  Again, those kids were easily under 5 years old.  Like I said, we don't get out much since Lukas was born and attend very few movies in theaters. Therefore it makes me wonder if what we witnessed was common. 

On top of that, while I was waiting to get our hot chocolate Saturday night at nearly 11:00 PM, I was behind a mother and her son who may have been pushing 2 years old.  The boy was obviously tired and a bit upset, so she appeased him by buying him a rather large chocolate Santa Claus.  She gave it to him to open and eat while I stood behind and watched in amazement.

I don't like to pass judgement on people.  Honestly that is not my style, and I usually like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but these parenting choices I just don't understand.  If you remember, we nearly pulled the plug on Up a couple of months ago and have opted for milder movies since then. Maybe we are just parents who fall more into the conservative spectrum.

I will actually give Santa Mom more benefit because I don't know what their normal sleep routine is.  Maybe he slept in until 10:00 on Sunday, but as the father of a 3 year old I just don't see any justification for subjecting children that young to that degree of dark and frightening movie. I couldn't imagine Lukas trying to process and understand all the images he would have seen. Like I said, it didn't sit well with me.

But that's just me.

What do you think readers?  Have you seen many very young children at clearly adult movies?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Feeling The Burn

The Rowing Macine
Long time readers are probably aware from my occasional whining as well as blabbering about my lack of will power with regards to pie, that I could stand to work out more. 

Though not seriously overweight, I am probably carrying at least 15 unnecessary pounds of weight around.  And although one would think that the simple act of carrying around extra weight in and of itself would lead to burning more calories, thus making themselves disappear like some low budget birthday party magician, apparently it doesn't work that way.

So it appears that in order to turn myself into the lean, mean, fathering machine that I will need to be to keep up with Lukas as he continues to grow and becomes bigger, stronger, and faster than before (Yes, that is a line from the 6 Million Dollar Man.  I'm not only in less than ideal shape, but old too) I am going to have to step up my game, so to speak. 

And,when I said mean I did not mean mean. Rather, I meant not so mean, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, what I will have to figure out in order to drop those excess pounds, is how to take my workouts to the next level.  Considering the workout I have already put in today, I can't quite figure out what to add to accomplish this.

So far today I have completed:

One Spinning session *
Several sets of Stair stepping **
One or two Chin ups ***
Several Push ups ****
Numerous Pull ups *****
10-15 sets of Squats ******

And, several 30 pound dead lifts *******

Sadly, even with this intense workout I am not down to my ideal fathering weight. 

Maybe I would be better off keeping this workout and instead cutting out some of the sources of calories intake.  Like pie.  And ice cream. And cookies.

And beer coffee creamer.  It would be a good place to start.

* Twirling in circles with Lukas
** Amazing how often you have to climb the stairs with a 3yo.
*** To get him to look me in the eye when I am talking to him.
**** Balance bike ride this morning.  Lots of hills.
***** 3 year olds fall a lot and need helped up.
****** Mostly picking up toys and games.
******* Do you realize how often a 3 year old asks to be picked up?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Living Under a Rock

Wow, can it really be December already?  With only 3 short weeks until Christmas?  I'm not sure how that happened.  But then again, I am also unclear about a lot of newsworthy events that are happening each and every day. 

So, if you run into me on the street, don't ask me about the latest headlines because, even though I may attempt to feign knowledge, I probably will have no idea what you are talking about.  I am ill informed.

That also happens to be the topic of my post over at Dad Revolution today.  Here is an excerpt:

I, SeattleDad, will admit it. I once was a junkie. A news junkie that is. I just couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

When I grew up in the 70′s and 80′s on our small dairy farm the local news was almost always on. At 6:00 AM, 5:00 PM and again at 11:00 PM I would learn which storms were on their way, who was robbed, injured, or killed in the big city - and most importantly how our regional sports teams had fared.

Those time slots were then followed by the national news, which to this farm kid was even more foreign, fascinating, and a must see. At first I watched only because my parents did. But eventually watching became habitual for me, and by the time I was a teenager I completely craved being informed about what was happening in the world around me.
If you want to follow my path from being ultra informed to living under a rock, you can click over and read the rest [here]
Thanks.  And as always, all comments are read and much appreciated.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quick! Name a Seattle Father & Son

Happy Tuesday Readers. Say, If you were to stop a group of people on the street in Middle America and ask them to name a Seattle Father and Son tandem, what do you think their response would be?

Do you think some would respond by naming these two houseboat owners?

"You look tired"

Probably, but if you stared blankly at them, waiting for a better response, they may think harder....and chances are they might come up with this other well known father and son pair.

I built this city...I built this city on Rock and Roll.  And Windows.

Of course, some of them might even be big martial arts and film fans, knowing enough history to also toss out this late dynamic duo as having deep Seattle ties....

Enter the original famous Seattledad

Some would most likely be sports fans, so give them a couple minutes and they would most certainly be able to name perhaps the  greatest father and son combo in the history of professional sports...

"Let's go back to back son"

There is even a possibility, a few might have visited the Seattle Waterfront (perhaps as jumping off point for an Alaskan cruise) and have strolled through the Olympic Sculpture Park.  Those might be able to recall this newly iconic duo...

"I said no treats until after you've finished showering!"

But there is at least one other Seattle father and son team who they won't know, and unless the son goes on to great things, will never know anything about.

Not so famous Seattle Father and Son

But that's okay.  Along with Mrs. LIAYF, they are already extremely wealthy where it matters most.

And content with staying relatively anonymous.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The End is Nigh

I certainly don't want to jinx things with the title I chose for this post, but for the first time I have a solid feeling that the last diaper we change for Lukas is lurking out there somewhere.  That it will actually happen. This is opposed to Mrs. LIAYF or I changing him out of his teen Huggies before sending him off to morning calculus class - which a couple of years ago seemed like a plausible scenario while we changed diaper after diaper...after diaper.

I have no plans to stand on my porch holding a cardboard sign that reads 'Mission Accomplished!' And I don't want this post to serve as a digital version of that either.  I am just speculating, based on recent developments. 

Save for naps and night time sleep Lukas has been in underwear for well over a year now.  It was a real struggle back then as we literally had to take him to the bathroom every 30 minutes to make sure that he didn't wet himself.  Even with those measures, we had to change clothes often in the early days.  And, even though he started to stay dry most of the day into these past Summer months, when we sent him back to his pre-school in August the change in routine caused a bit of a backslide. 

But recently our son has been stellar in his bathroom habits.  He has stayed dry nearly every day and the only recent accident he had was during our crazy snow ordeal last week.  And who could blame him for that?  Additionally his pull up diaper has been dry 9 times out of 10 recently when he wakes from his nap, and it has been some time since his morning diaper has been fouled by anything other than dampness. Plus, there have even been a few recent occasions on the weekend mornings where, lying in bed we have listened as he has awoken and gone first to the bathroom before coming to our room to snuggle.

Dare I say that the whole changing routine has become easy?  That these are the diaper days that we could only dream of 3 years ago?  What the heck. Yes, I will say it with conviction.  Even if some cosmic force wants to teach me a lesson, and an extra messy crap explosion is in my near future.

This is parenting, not baseball.  I'm not superstitious.  And besides, I have dealt with a lot of poop in my day.  I could handle that.

So, time will tell.  But I've gotta say, I have a good feeling about this one.  Good enough that I huddled up with Mrs. LIAYF at nap-time today and we decided that we would leave Lukas in underwear for his mid-day sleep.  He was excited about it.  That's where he is as I write this post.

So far so good.  Yes, the end is nigh.

P.S. It turned out to be a 1 1/2 hour nap and he woke up dry to much praise.  He grinned from ear to ear.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fell on Holi-daze

Happy Friday all.  I hope all of my fellow American readers had a fantastic Thanksgiving yesterday, filled with delicious food and stimulating conversation.  We certainly did.  Lukas initially wasn't too hungry when we sat down to eat, so didn't get the full benefit of the feast which was laid out before us, but later he ate healthy amounts of turkey and, my personal favorite, stuffing.  Thankfully my mother, who always sends us home full and in a food coma, cooked two birds so that there would be plenty left over for everyone to take home.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. After all, how can you go wrong with a holiday centered around stuffing yourself to capacity with a plethora of delicious and fatty foods.  And that was merely the main course. Later, a ferocious battle took place in my mother's kitchen.  It was between my will power and pie.

Yes, I fought the pie - and the pie won.  I couldn't help it.  There were all nine kinds of pie that SeattleDad liked best.  Have you ever see those baseball players with the shaving cream pie in their face? That was me, but with pecan instead, and without the aid of someone shoving it there for me. 

I survived, but that means that today I have been walking around with the top button on my jeans unsnapped.  Not to worry though, my wingmen Belt and Sweater have my back. I mean my front....and my back.  You get the picture.  It's time to do more thinking about getting back in shape.  You see I am a planner so that's easy.  It's the implementation I could use some work on. 

Later, after we had driven home and put Lukas to bed for the evening, Mrs. LIAYF and I finished out our Thanksgiving by watching the movie Kick Ass.  Although it may strike a blow to any geek cred I may have garnered, I will admit that I have never been a huge fan of super hero/comic book movies.  Most don't do much for me.  Add to that the fact that this movie glorifies gratuitous violence, especially from an 11-year-old girl, and one might conclude that I wouldn't like this particular movie.  Well, sorry one you are wrong, because this movie lived up to it's name.  It was a Kick Ass movie with a terrific blend of humor, geek, action, and yes - violence.  Unlike many in the genre, it worked.

That brings us to today, Black Friday.  I, like almost everyone I know, usually ventures out to check out the deals on the day after Thanksgiving.  But for us, this year was different.  Besides some basic clothing items (socks) which weren't even on sale,  the only thing we really needed was an item that thankfully could be found at a minimal price today. 

I am thinking of getting a T-Shirt printed that reads 'I shopped on Black Friday, and the only thing I have to show for it is this stupid Blue Tooth'.  Sure we could have used a brand new HDTV, or an upgraded camera or laptop.  But we really didn't need those things, even though seeing them and all the other fancy products nearly sucked us in, so I just picked up the blue tooth.  It's against the law to talk on your cell and drive here in Seattle so I have been using my current phones speaker capacity for the past few months.  The Blue Tooth I needed, everything else not so much.

Plus, in these tough economic times it is a great idea to make use of what you already have.  To cinch your belt. 

Even when it's especially difficult after losing an epic battle with pie.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not as Fun as it Sounds

The announcement came to me at about 2PM on Monday.  Due to inclement conditions my work was closing at 3:00.  Perfect, I thought. That should give me enough time to pick up Lukas and drive him the 7 miles home while it was still light out.  Perhaps we could even make a foray out into the snow with the brand new sled I had purchased the day before.

But by 3:00 it was snowing big flakes and the traffic outside Lukas' daycare was already creeping along.  I prepared myself for a longer than normal commute.  Little did I know how much longer than normal we would be dealing with.

When all was said and done, Lukas and I has spent 4 1/2 hours driving those 7 miles home.  Much of it was spent frustratingly unaware of when or if we were going to move. Luckily I had a fully charged i-pod with some kids videos loaded, and enough snacks to keep Lukas occupied for a while. What I didn't have was any kind of diaper or change of clothes.

At one point, after moving no more than a few car lengths in a couple of hours and with the radio reports indicating that the bridge we were moving towards was a sheet of  ice and blocked by a jackknifed bus, I considered pulling the car to a safe spot and walking.  After all, people all around us were beginning to abandon their cars to instead brave the elements and walk towards the bridge and the hill beyond.  But by that time the sun had already gone down, the skies were dark, and the wind was gusting up to 25mph blowing the snow sideways. 

I decided to stick it out in the safety of the car for a while longer.  This was not an easy decision as our gas level was nearing the crucial stage.  I began to turn off the car to save fuel, starting up again only when we were able to move a length or two.  As we inched towards the sheet of ice that was now the bridge, a 16 wheeler merged in and cut us off.  This meant that it would attempt to ascend the bridge directly in front of us.  This was not a good development.

Once to the bridge, and as the big rig made it about 3/4 of the way up the slope it stopped.  It then gunned its gas and its wheels began to spin wildly.  There were moments when I was sure it was going to stop and roll back towards us, but instead, ever so slowly the truck began inching its way to the top. I contemplated attempting to go around, but coming down the opposite way, with no barrier, were another line of vehicles.  One started to slide sideways towards us, but thankfully slid the other direction into the outer barrier.

All of this time, I kept my car in low gear and tried not to brake, slowly making my way up the hill and hoping the Semi would not stop and block me.  At the same time an older guy in a pickup truck was behind me spinning his wheels.  He actually pulled up on my right but was blocked in by the outer barrier and the big rig.  He stopped, jumped out, and opened his hood.  I saw sparks and flames come out from his hood but could do nothing for him so I soldiered slowly on.

It was a pretty harrowing experience, but after about a half an hour on the bridge the Semi made it over the top and we were able to take an exit into our part of town.  The only problem was that we were still at the bottom of a very steep hill that we surely couldn't crest with the icy conditions.  So, we made an approximately 5 mile circle around the hill, trying to avoid anything too steep.  Unfortunately Seattle is full of hills and I finally had to attempt descending one to make it the final couple of miles home.

As I came over the fairly steep hill, I saw that a bus had jackknifed a couple of blocks down.  I tried to slow down by pumping on the brakes, but started sliding myself.  It was at that very moment that Lukas looked up and announced that he had to pee and couldn't hold it.  I then went sideways but was able to straighten myself out at the next cross street and drive up onto a sidewalk next to a tree stopping me. After making sure we weren't going anywhere, I pulled Lukas out in the gusting wind, standing in the abandoned street and pulled down his pants.  It was too late, but instead he screamed as his buns instantly felt the cold chill.

Finally, after getting him securely back into the car, I drove down another icy side street, sliding down but missing a parked car at the bottom.  From there it was another 5 minutes of relatively flat driving before we pulled in front of our house 4 and a half hours after our adventure began.

Mrs. LIAYF, who during our ordeal could do nothing more than worry about us and provide moral support over the phone, was waiting there with warm dinner and freshly baked cookies.  It was only then that I could take a deep breath, unclench my jaw, pour a glass of wine, and be thankful that we had made it home safe.

We stayed home on Tuesday and had a much needed Snow Day.

Photo: West Seattle Blog

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Three Step Program to Happiness

There is only one thing that actually makes raking up leaves on a blustery November Saturday enjoyable.

Yeah, you guessed it:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Never Challenge a 3yo to a Gross-Out Contest

I would Love to eat this guy.  Mmmmm.

 Howdy readers.  Do you remember the fist time that you played a gross out game with kids?  Wasn't it a lot of fun?

Last night after dinner, Lukas wanted some cereal to top things off before bed.  Problem was, Mrs. LIAYF had put milk on his cereal.  Sure, he usually eats his cereal with milk, but apparently this time he wanted it dry.  So, when she held up a spoonful of Chex swimming in milk, he made a classic pucker face.

"You look like you just ate a Slug!" Mrs. LIAYF chided him.  "I once had a kitty who ate a Slug and his face looked just like that" I quickly added "Mmmm, I love Slug." These revelations brought on a snort of laughter, and grudging acceptance of the now soggy wheat squares.

It also touched off a case of one upsmanship on gross things we would Loooovvvveee to eat. Among the flavorful dishes we called off were some fairly disgusting fare such as:

Booger Chip Ice Cream
Nose Hair Salad
Ear Wax and Jelly Sandwiches
Squished Spider Yogurt
Snot Ball Corn Muffins

By this time we were having a pretty fun time thinking up new gross dishes that we thought were so yummy.  It probably would have been a good idea for me to survey the situation more closely before calling out my gross dishes though.  That's because just as Mrs. LIAYF was shoveling a spoonful of cereal into Lukas' mouth, I called out "Dirty Diaper Cake!" causing him to spit said milk and cereal all over his mother as laughter burst forth from his little mouth.

Sorry Sweets, I couldn't help myself.

As would be expected of a 3-year-old, most of Lukas' entries in the game were variations on something gross that his mother or I had just said, such as repeating Spider Yogurt before busting out laughing at himself.

But, just as I was about to declare myself the undisputed winner and gross out champion for the evening, Lukas tossed out his ace in the hole.  I was totally caught off guard.  He must have been sand-bagging the whole time.

"Swiss Cheese Clown!"

Ewwwww!  Holey Clown Cheese!  There was no way we were going to top that. 

Game over.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tweetcycling IV

Happy Tuesday readers.  I haven't Tweetcycled here since the beginning of the Summer, but in honor of yesterday's National Recycle Day I thought another edition would be timely, especially since I am usually a day late on most things anyway. 

This is the series where I give some of my little used humor tweets a second chance at life. You can read the first three installments here I, II, III.

Personally, we are big into recycling of all kinds here at Casa LIAYF.  If you are looking for more information about recycling options in your area, a good place to start would be the National Recycling Coalition's homepage.

As for these tweets, most are barely used and in decent condition.

To show off my strength, I plan to print off the homepage of and rip it in half with my bare hands.

Future conversation. Me: Tell me! Where did you learn this stuff! Him: ...From you! I learned to act like a goofball from YOU, okay.

Suspecting the neighbors are installing Patriot Missile battery in attempt to intercept our raining fire of wayward Stomp Rockets.

It's after Labor Day now, so coffee stains on a white shirt are okay, right?

Someone with a accent just called to ask about my recent out of body experience. Turns out they were calling on behalf of a collision cntr.

The next time my 3yo repeatedly asks me "why?" I am going to respond "Ancient Chinese Seeeecret"

Someone brought a Rum cake into the office. Having another piece. Pretty sure this is the closest I'll ever be to being Don Draper.

I just attended a healthy living fair at my work. They served cookies and brownies.

The Ghost of Coffee Future took me to the mirror this morning and showed me what I'd look like without caffeine and a shower. Scary.

Wife to 3yo: Only 2 cupcakes left, should we share with Daddy? Him: Yeah! You share yours with him, okay?

I'm an AC/DC parent. Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap.

Your ass is grass and I'm an eco-conscious Seattle homeowner who will watch you slowly wither and die for lack of water.

 I get a warm feeling from reading to my 3yo. Oh man, just realized he peed on me. Nice.

Excited. Wife searching online for a space mobile. Then she tells me it just hangs from the ceiling. #notasfun
'Help me help you' has surprisingly little effect on a 3yo.
I must be a blue chipper. The AARP scouts are once again recruiting me, even though I'm still years away from the show. (WheelofFortune)
Already naming his tricks. Nearly 3yo coasting on balance bike -stretching legs out to side "I'm flinging the gate!"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wishful Thinking

Lukas was visibly excited as we approached the large fountain during an outing Sunday morning.  Most likely because we had spent nearly an hour at the very same location this past spring, tossing pebbles into it.  The fountain in question resides in the entrance to a secluded walkway at an outdoor shopping area close to where we live. 

Back in the Spring we had worried when we saw a security guard approach.  Perhaps we had been busted.  Caught red handed.  I was fully prepared for a harsh interrogation. Instead, this Paul Blart had simply smiled and struck up a conversation.  Apparently a dad playing with his toddler hadn't raised any suspicious red flags.

"Let's throw rocks in!" my now 3 year old little guy yelled as he sprinted over.  But unfortunately, this time around, there were no pebbles to be found.  "Looks like there aren't any rocks here buddy, but lets see what else I have available" I mentioned, as I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful of coins.

"Here's a penny you can throw in" I told Lukas and as I gave it to him he immediately cocked his arm to toss the copper coin in.  Putting up the stop sign I then said "Hold on a second! This is also a wishing fountain. Do you know how it works?"  He slowly shook his head from side to side.

I then told him to 'think of something he wanted more than anything in the whole world', then to say inside his head 'I wish I had....' while tossing the penny into the water. 

A grin slowly rose towards his ears as thought about what it was he wanted more than anything else in the whole world. And then he tossed the penny into a high arc and as the coin splashed down into the water, he called out the one thing that he desired more than any other.

"Nice" I responded.  "Can I do that again?" was his predictable reply.

I pulled out the coins once again, but there were no more pennies.  A nickle would have to suffice.  "Lukas, I am going to give you a nickle.  Do you know how many pennies that equals?"  After he correctly responded 5, I told him that he could then wish for the 5 things he wanted more than anything else.  "Think hard" I implored him, all the while hoping that peace, happiness, and ever lasting health were among the riches that would populate our families future.

Again, he cocked his little arm and let the coin fly.  And as it came spiraling down he called out with certainty....


Ah yes, ever since Halloween he has been a bit preoccupied with treats.  But wait.... "That was only three wishes" I reminded him. "You still have two more."

"Oh!"  And then, while trying to keep from laughing uncontrollably, he finished:


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fly, Fly Away Old Friend

I was on the phone with Mrs. LIAYF tonight when I got the news.  It came to me via a Tweet in my Twitter stream.  Dave Niehaus had passed away. My, Oh, My.

At first I was shocked, then deeply saddened.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Dave, he has been the Seattle Mariners play by play announcer since the inception of the franchise way back in 1976.  I was 9 then, when Seattle finally got a major league team. And just like they did this past year, the team stunk up the field year after year back then.

But that didn' matter.  That's because Dave Niehaus was a true master at his craft.  Day in and day out, with his enthusiasm and love for the game, he would turn a boring match-up into an event worth listening to. He was amazing at what he did, and I had the good fortune to grow up listening to him ply his skills. 

Come to Seattle and you will hear it echoed wherever you go. This hall of fame announcer was like family.  And he will be greatly missed. In fact, he may very well have been the most beloved figure in the history of Seattle sports.

As I soaked in the news, I started to read some of the stories online about his career and I found myself a bit overwhelmed.  There have been few times in my life as an adult man that I have openly wept.  This was one of them.  They were not only tears of sadness, but happy tears remembering the amazing moments that are seared into the memory of my youth and young adulthood.  Dave Niehuas delivered those memories to my radio or television screen in truly exciting and mesmerizing fashion. 

As a father, I am more than a bit sad that I will not be able to now share future Dave Niehaus calls with Lukas.  Hopefully I will get a chance to take him to see his exhibit in Cooperstown one day.  But thanks to the wonders of technology, I will still be able to show him, and let him listen to, examples of how a Hall of Fame announcer brings the game to life.

This is probably his most iconic call, and one that always makes me a bit emotional. 

Here are a few other famous plays in Mariner history that Niehaus made all the more special with his love for the game.

 Thanks to Mrs. LIAYF, for a recent birthday I was given a baseball with his autograph.  It is one of my most cherished possessions. 
Thanks Dave.  Fly, Fly, Away good sir.  May you rest in peace.  Your legend will certainly live on forever here in the Great Northwest.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts: Running in Place Edition

Ever since we started our basement remodel a year and a half ago, our treadmill has been moved around down there, covered in dust or shoved into a closet. I can't tell you how psychologically difficult it has been to jump back onto it amidst the hectic demands of my life as a full time working parent.  But yesterday, I did just that.

Baby steps.  Wish me luck.

We have a 100 year old house. Not surprisingly some of the doors slightly stick, including the one into Lukas' room.  To date this has actually served us well, discouraging him from leaving his room when he has been less than enthusiastic about going straight to sleep.  But last night he wasn't about to let that deter him. 

When we heard the gate at the top of the stairs squeak open, I headed up to tell him he needed to go back to bed.  "I don't want tooooo!" was his response before disappearing.  It was dark so my eyes were having trouble adjusting.  All I saw was a streak of white from his stuffed panda whiz by followed closely by a slight breeze.  I followed it only to have the streak of white instantly flash by me in the other direction. It was reminiscent of any number of creepy horror films. By the third pass, my eyes adjusted and I was able to catch up to him.  We had a man to man about why he needed to go to bed, before sharing a couple bowls of cereal.  Then he went to sleep.
A lot of dads out in the Blogosphere are participating in Movember.  They are growing Mustaches during the month to raise money to fight prostate cancer.  Although I didn't get in on this movement from the outset, I did just donate to fellas over at Dad Centric who are participating as a team.  It is for a great cause, and also tax deductible so if you can spare a few bucks, please consider making a donation. 

In another development, I didn't shave 1/2 of my face this morning.  Meaning, a goatee may be in my near future.

Random Seattle Band on the Rise:  The Head and The Heart

One of Lukas' best Friends will move to another state this week.  We will miss the whole family as they have been very good friends to us.  It will be interesting to see how he adjusts as I think it is finally sinking in that his buddy will not be around to visit.  We (Mrs. LIAYF) bought a book of postcards, and pre-addressed half of them with our address.  Hopefully, the exchange of mail will ease the loss.

And finally, with the advent of return of Daylight Savings Time, it is once again getting fairly dark in Seattle by the time I leave work. Add to that the cold temperatures, lack of natural light in my office, and ever present grey clouds and rain that are already setting in over my city, and I suspect that along with exercise (see above) I will need to healthy doses of laughter, smiles, and play time with my family to keep a positive outlook during the next few months.

On the bright side, Spring is only 131 days away.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's Good to be King

We needed quick thinking to create a distraction last night.  It was 5:30 PM and Lukas, Mrs. LIAYF and I had just arrived home from work/pre-school.  As a reward for having a good day at school, we had given him some jelly bellies on the ride home.  Apparently, they met with his approval.  "They have sprinkles!"  he enthusiastically let us know.

However, any thought that the beans would appease his sweet tooth was wishful thinking. That's because as soon as he walked into the house Lukas turned into a Candy Zombie and walked with his arms outstretched toward the refrigerator, on top of which his candy jar resided, calling 'Caaaaannnnnndddddyyyyy'.  I might be slightly misremembering but I'm sure you get the gist.

"Why don't we play a game instead?"  Mrs. LIAYF suggested.  "Maybe you can have another treat if you finish all your dinner.  How about we play Candy Land?"

Now, I was skeptical about the notion that we could actually distract our son from pleading for candy by playing a confection themed board game with him, but I am frequently proven wrong these days, so I decided to play along.  Literally.  I was the Blue Gingerbread Man.  Lukas, of course, chose the Red figure. His Mother, the Yellow.

It was a brand new game so we got the pleasure of removing the plastic and getting a whiff of that new game smell.  The board even crackled as we opened it flat for the first time.  We all brimmed with excitement as we got our first glimpses of the Lollipop Woods, Gumdrop Pass, and the Chocolate Swamp.  I however, was bit disappointed when I learned that there was no Big Rock Candy Mountain in this particular version.  I had brief visions of little streams of al key haul trickling down the rocks.

Mrs. LIAYF was in charge of shuffling the deck, which apparently she didn't do too well because upon drawing the 2nd card off the deck, yours truly pulled the Ice Cream Cone card moving me nearly to the end of the game on my very first draw.

So long Suckas! 

From there it was an easy couple of draws until I reached the Candy Castle and declared myself King Kandy.  Bwaahahahahaha. I briefly thought about collecting a candy tax from Lukas' Trick-or-Treat bowl, but feared an uprising.

To his credit, that didn't phase Lukas much.  Especially since we started up a 2nd game right away.  Plus, after a few mediocre draws by each of us it was he who was the beneficiary of a long jump up the board leaving both parents in his wake.  He was now enjoying game.  However his mood changed instantly when he got stuck on a pesky licorice square, causing him to lose a turn and for the reigning King Kandy to catch up quickly.

In retrospect it may have been my taunting that caused the wailing and the tears to flow.  Perhaps I laid it on a teensy bit too thick.

Whatever the reason, we convinced our little guy that the game wasn't over and that we didn't know what would happen next.  And fittingly, with his next draw the reigning King was humiliatingly forced back to the start of the game, leaving the usurper an unobstructed path straight into Candy Castle.

There were smiles.  There were laughs.  There were hugs.  A new King was crowned.

And after finishing his dinner, he had candy.