Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Expiring Minds

Sadly, I don't have rock hard abs. I know, it's hard to believe but it's true nonetheless. However, if you were to take the time to dig a little deeper - perhaps just a few inches - you would undoubtedly find something made of a much stronger material. Steele. I'm referring, of course, to my stomach.

Mrs. LIAYF and I reside in two different camps when it comes to the food we serve in our household. She is borderline fanatic about making sure we are provisioned with only the best, and healthiest foods to prepare. Think organic, free range, low sodium. She keeps us stocked up on the good stuff and I am very appreciative of that.

I, on the hand, was raised on a farm and was leading a bachelor's life when I met my lovely wife. I'm pretty sure I could douse the carcass of a bloated rat with some Kikkoman's and call it a delicious meal. Who knows, there could have been times during my pre-nuptial days in which I unknowingly did just that.

The point is, I'm not picky. Or very discerning. But, being an equal partner in our household, I do my fair share of the grocery shopping. Usually, said shopping is accompanied by a list of which I rarely deviate. Unless I'm hungry at the time. Then there is no telling what I'll come home with. Most of this stuff gets shoved to the back of the fridge, or cupboard and forgotten about. That is until the next time we are cleaning out the cupboard, or the fridge.

Then the real fun starts.
Mrs. LIAYF is very literal when it comes to the dates they put on food packages. You pass that date, the food is getting tossed out. This, of course, drives me nuts. "These expired yesterday" she will say. At which point, not wanting to waste perfectly 'good' food, I will attempt to convince her that it is still good. I usually get a stern "Nope, not happening."

Any guesses who wins these debates? Bingo!

I remember one interchange recently where she was cleaning out the fridge and turned her gaze to an unopened jar of pickles. "These have been in here for a while." She proclaimed and started looking for a date on the jar. "They're pickled!" I exclaimed "How bad can they be?" at which point she pointed to the June 2007 date imprinted on the lid.

I muttered something under my breath about 'pickles not going bad', but had to admit she had me on that one.

The one incident that really hurt happened just the other day. I started frying up some brats I had bought at the store a few days before. She came in and looked at the package. "These say to only refrigerate for 3 days. When did you buy them?" "A couple of days ago." I replied.

"How many?"

"Uh, a few"

"More than three?"

"About three"


It was at this point she started looking through our receipts to find out when I had purchased them. Honestly, I wasn't really sure but they looked good enough to me. And they were PORK sausages! So I went to look for the receipt myself to reassure her, but when I had returned she had composted them. "The thought of them being bad was making me queasy. I would never have been able to eat them."


We ate cheese and crackers that night. Grrr. But, I suppose I didn't get food poisoning either, so I can't be too hard on her. And I really do love that she ensures that we eat healthy most of the time.
I will, however, keep trying to convince Mrs. LIAYF that the labels are an approximation. That a Best By date doesn't mean something should be tossed out. Take me for instance. My Best By date probably says Age 32, but I'm not rotten. Well, most of the time anyway.
And, I'm certainly not expecting to be tossed out anytime soon.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Breaking: Best Boy Ever Turns 3

We all had a great day Sunday as nearly twenty 3ft tall Pirates helped Captain Lukas celebrate his 3rd birthday. It was outdoors, in a park shelter between a playground and a wading pool.

Everything turned out nearly perfect, including the cake:

My only complaint? I was so busy working the grill all afternoon that I didn't get a lot of time to spend with the birthday boy.

That's okay though, since I only have to share him with Mrs. LIAYF for most of the other 364 days of the year. Sunday was all about Lukas.

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Terrible Myth

I am here today to debunk a myth.

Lukas turns 3 this weekend. I know, it would be cliche to say that it's hard to believe that three years have passed since he was born, but I'm going to say it anyway.

Man, it's hard to believe that it's been nearly three years since my son was born.

And, unless things go horribly wrong in the next 3 days and our son turns into some kind of Tasmanian Devil child who sprouts horns and spins around the house breaking everything we own before tying us up and forcing us to watch The Accidental Husband on an unending loop while force feeding me a bowl of warm cucumber slices and my wife cold black coffee, then I'll not have to eat that heaping plate of General Tso's crow by now declaring the following:

The Terrible Two's are a myth. And I'm here to bust that myth.

Of course, I have not done exhaustive research. Scratch that, I have done exhaustive research, but only on a limited data set. One child. And, like any good global warming detractor, I can extrapolate what ever the hell I want from this data. What I've come up with:

The Terrible Two's = Not so Terrible.

In fact, compared to the first two years with a child, which were fraught with sleep and communication issues, the past year has been simply Golden. I can talk a good talk, but you say you want evidence? Allow me to list a few of my talking points regarding the study and the benefits of the the third year.

1. 100% of the subject in the study have become fully conversational - No more incoherent babbling in our house - unless it is me before I've had my morning cup of Joe.

2. 100% of the subjects in the study now sleep in until 8:00 - No more 5:30 wake up calls. Enough said.

3. 100% of the subjects in the study are now fully coordinated - Hello! No need to hover within 3ft of him at all times.

4. 100% of the subjects in the study can now entertain themselves - Very rarely the case in the first two years but nice in the third. Helpful when you want a few minutes online.

5. 100% of the subjects now understand reason - Very helpful to be able to say stop whining or no ice cream and see the wheels turn resulting in your desired outcome. Nice.

And finally...

6. 100% of the parents in the study have thoroughly enjoyed the two's, and wouldn't trade them for a repeat of any other year.

I think that should silence any detractors. An unequivocal busting of the Myth that the two's are Terrible. I'm not sure what the three's will hold, but at the rate we are going I can't envision them to be all that terrible either.

So, it's finally goodbye to the two's. Truth be told I'm actually a little sad to see them go.

Check out Dad Blogs for other great Fatherhood Friday posts

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Father's Day Edition

Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday

Check out the other Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday entries.

Photo: Chris Landry Photography Seattle, Wa

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Quest For Fun

There is an old joke about where I live. It goes: There are only two seasons in Seattle. Winter and August.

That joke, like many, is funny because it rings true to a certain extent. This Spring has been one of those memorable ones which reinforce the humor in that joke. It has been a sad and soggy affair here in the Pacific Northwest of late and this Father's Day was no exception.

In fact, the moisture threatened to put a damper on our 'holiday' plans of taking Lukas to a kiddie themed amusement park. However, glancing to the west at ominous dark clouds, we soldiered on as we loaded up the car amidst a developing fine mist, and prepared for the 45 minute drive out to the park.

Not surprisingly, along the way the mist turned into rain, the rain into outright showers. And as the weather continued to deteriorate, our mood conversely became more and more anxious. Mrs. LIAYF planned this as a Father's Day event and really wanted it to be fun. "Should we abort and go somewhere dry?" Mrs. LIAYF asked about 10 minutes in. This was not an easy call as we were also meeting another couple along with a friend of our sons at the park. They would most likely already have been there.

We drove on.

There were times, as we got closer that it appeared the rain was letting up. Then we would round another bend and the intensity would once again pick up, perhaps two-fold. The mood was obviously deteriorating even further as we pondered a soggy afternoon of pretending we were having fun. I think I once or twice threw out a gem like "Man....It really IS raining.".

And after Mrs. LIAYF, for the second or third time asked "Should we just find them and go somewhere else?" I realized we needed a change in attitude and, censoring myself for the 3 year old in back, delivered a scaled down version of Clark Griswold's inspirational speech about making it to Wally World in the first Vacation movie.

It turned out to be exactly what we needed as we both laughed and continued to make jokes about how much fun we'd have at the 'Water Park'. Then once we arrived we met a dad with an iphone who checked a weather radar map and let us know the rain would stop in less than an hour. 45 minutes later it did just that.

I need an iphone.

Anyway, we went on to have an awesome time in the nearly empty park. I had a blast going on rides with Lukas, spending time with my lovely wife, and visiting with our new friends. It was a nice lesson in letting go and making the best of what you have planned.

It turned out to be the perfect Father's Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

In Your Face Little Bear!

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

(This post brought to you in conjunction with Fatherhood Friday over at Dad Blogs. Visit Dad Blogs to read other great fatherhood friday posts.)

As I've mentioned on this blog more than once, we are a household without television. Yup, we are that family who gave it up before our son was born. Sure, it was tough in the beginning. But now? Not so much. It's just not a part of our daily lives. We get by.

Video's, however, are another story. Mrs. LIAYF and I will generally watch an episode or two of an old television series late at night, long after we put our little guy to bed. We are currently working our way through Scrubs, which by the way, is an awesome show with the perfect mix between funny and poignant.

As for Lukas, he went his first two years of life without watching any media at all. Since then we have let him watch some short episodes of different kid series', either on DVD or the ipod, generally as reward for having had a good day. Most of the time he is playing with his toys, or we are reading to him.

But, as generally is the case when you give treats in small portions, Lukas went through a period where he always wanted more of these episodes to watch and was fairly 'unhappy' when it was time to turn them off. Thankfully, once these were turned off he would quickly turn his attention to something else and get over it.

Something different took place yesterday after I'd come home from work. I was dead tired from a short night of sleep and another long day of problem solving. All I wanted to do was to relax. Lukas, on the other hand, wanted to play a game of 'baseball' with me. It was an invented game complete with rubber balls, a paper towel roll bat, and an improvised cardboard mit. We had a blast running around the house playing this game he had concocted in his imagination.

After a good half hour of constant running back and forth, I needed a break. "Do you want to watch a video buddy?" I asked. "Hmmm...only if I can hold my bat." was his reply. At that point I slipped in a Little Bear DVD we'd checked out from the library and I made my way to the kitchen to check my email. It is not often that Mrs. LIAYF or I try to push media on our son, but this was one exception. Plus, they were short episodes.

Very short episodes.

Not 10 minutes later I could hear the episode ending. It is usually at this point where he runs in and asks for "Another one?" But instead he came in, bat in hand. "Do you want another Little Bear, buddy?" Mrs. LIAYF asked him. "No, I want to play more with Daddy!" was his excited reply.

That was all I needed to hear. Suddenly I wasn't tired anymore. Realizing that my son would rather play with me than sit around and watch a cartoon was energizing and amazingly validating as a father. It was the best thing I'd heard all this week leading up to Father's Day.

And with that we played another game of house baseball, acted goofy, and once again filled the house with the sound of laughter.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tweetcycling III

It's Tweetcycling Day once again readers. This is the series where I give some of my little used humor tweets a second chance at life. However this time I'm going to try something new. I'm going to give you the chance to recycle and post your own tweets and link them up right here.
If you decide to play along, feel free to include as many as you like in your post. Hey, I'm not delusional, but It would be great to see at least a couple of your posts linked back here.

And who knows, if this I get decent enough response/feedback I may make this a more regular meme. You can read the first two installments here and here.

Just remember: One man's trash is another man's treasure:

Feels odd. For the first time in forever I forgot my wedding ring at home today. What's even more odd? I haven't been hit on yet.

Edison took 10,000 tries to perfect the light bulb, but my wife and I only 1 to perfect the Perpetual Motion machine.

Regardless of how they taste, shouldn't meatless meatballs just be called 'meatless balls'?

I must have earned an advanced belt in fatherhood for negotiating a urinal with a 3yo sporting a balloon sword and scabbard.

Apply sunblock to a squirming 3yo - now off my bucket list.

'And he spoke in a voice that was sharpish and bossy'. Hmmm.....My 3yo might be moonlighting as The Lorax.

Wife asked for a beer with dinner but has only taken a couple sips. I'm now circling it like an opportunistic hawk.

Wife looks at picture of B&B in Ireland "Wow, look at that view!" Me: "Um, that's a pasture. Find one next to a pub."

Wife ate a Hershey's kiss. 2.5 yo runs in and says "I smell chocolate".

Saw a squirrel on the sidewalk this AM eating from a candy bar wrapper. Ironically, it was a Skor.

I'm getting pretty good at this dad thing. Just successfully recognized the warning fart.

I really need to dust here. This is also known as 'rubbing my index finger over a given surface in successive lines'.

Beer way over in fridge. Now would be an ideal time to develop telekinesis.

2.5yo "Look, my poopoo made a T. And There's an S too!" Wife: "Wow. Now lets see if you can make an I and an H".

Listen here Horsefly. You come into MY house uninvited, eat my food, drink my water, buzz my head. And I'm just supposed to let it go?

Uncountable months later, I have finally finished what may just be the most inappropriately named product ever - Speed Stick.

Just got buzzed by that huge horsefly. I think it wants to be my Mountain Banshee.

Love that playing Hide n Seek with 2yo I can, from behind bed call "I'm in the toilet" and he will still run over and look inside.

Forget Swiffer, nothing beats the versatility of a good old fashioned sock mop.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Backyard Pirates

Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wednesday. If you want to know about more fun plans we have for the LIAYF backyard, I have a new post up today over at Dad Revolution . You can click over and check it out. And, as always, comments make my day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Warning: This Post is Just for Men

Staring blankly ahead at the abyss that constitutes 2 score and 3 years on this rock, today doesn't find me buying into the whole Fatherhood Keeps You Young myth. Rather, today I am finding it pretty hard to ignore the obvious. At the end of this month I will be the parent of a 3 year old, and *gasp* I am beginning to show my age.

It was just this morning while working at my desktop that I realized that I was leaning at a noticeable angle into the screen. In fact, I was probably less than 6 inches away. It took me a minute but then I remembered that I actually had a pair of glasses in my desk. I'd had them there for maybe three or four years, ever since my left eye started getting weaker. I had only worn them for a short while but had discarded them because they were a pain.

Apparently, Lefty has gotten worse because when I put them on *ZOINKS! KAPOW!* I was instantly floored at how much better I felt. Plus, the colors were brighter, the textures much more visible, the images so much sharper. Blah, blah. You get the picture.

But it was definitely a marked improvement. And moving forward I'll just have to deal with the fact that my right eye has become decidedly more powerful than my left and since it's no longer compensating for its weaker sibling it could start going rouge on me. Perhaps seeing right through clothes, into people's souls, or possibly even burning holes through people's skulls. This could have dangerous implications if not dealt with properly.

Then, a short while later, as I parked myself in front of the Men's room mirror here at work with my glasses on, I was also able to notice that as much as I had wanted to think Mrs. LIAYF was simply giving me a hard time lately, that yes, there actually was a bit of salt sprinkled in with the pepper that is my hair.

No, this was not my first realization that I had gray hairs. That actually came a few months ago while in the bathroom back home. At the time, I heard Mrs. LIAYF let out a mini chuckle, before announcing that I had a gray hair growing out of my ear, while she tried to suppress a larger laugh. "No way!" I protested, sure that she was simply either messing with me or else misjudging its color.

It was at that point - cat quick - she reached up, clamped on, and ripped that bugger right out of my ear, roots and all. After screaming like a 9 year old girl for a couple of seconds, I opened my eyes to see what was unmistakably a fairly long gray hair dangling in front of me. Seriously? It looked like one of our cat's whiskers. This was one of those moments. I couldn't help it. We both burst out laughing - so hard tears eventually formed. Thankfully, that was the one and only gray (or any color) ear hair I've had to deal with.

But standing there this morning, in the men's room with my glasses on, I could actually see the small sprinkling of gray dusting my landscape. This was a harsh reality. One that was hard to ignore. I am an older father, and unfortunately for me and for Lukas, one who ought to be in better shape.

I'm not sure yet if this revelation will spark me into any kind of action. Perhaps from a fear that I will be the butt of jokes from my son's high school friends. I can hear it now "Hey Lukas, why is your Grandpa picking you up from school today?".

I'm thinking about it. That's all I can muster right now. I'm too tired.

This post was brought to you by FatherHood Friday over at Dad-Blogs. Head on over and check out some of the other great posts. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Further Proof Clowns are Creepy

(Not the clown in question)
I'll be blunt, clowns are not held in high regard around the LIAYF household.

Sure, I can see where young kids might be enchanted by the bright colors and goofy antics which most clowns employ to keep their audiences attentions. I can take em or leave em myself, however Mrs. LIAYF doesn't mince words. She has made her opinion of clowns known on many occasions "All I see are creepy old guys in makeup."

Naturally, given this, my lovely wife and I have attempted to keep our home as clown free as possible. There are no clown toys, or books, or videos here for Lukas to be exposed to. And no, neither has he ever been to a McDonald's restaurant. Of course this is not because of a possible clown sighting, but helps us to avoid them nonetheless. And even though he is aware of what a clown is (he picked it up somewhere), there is a possibility given the yellow suit that, upon seeing him for the first time, he might even mistake Ronald McDonald with The Man with the Yellow Hat.

So yes, we avoid clowns. And I think I can safely say that Lukas is no worse off for living in a clown free environment. But the inevitable was bound to happen sooner or later. We were at Seattle's Folklife Festival over Memorial Day weekend eating a picnic lunch and enjoying the sights and sounds when Lukas turned to see a brightly dressed clown across the lawn.

"Oh, what's that?!" he exclaimed and jumped up to run over towards the clown. I yelled to Lukas to STOP which he did about half way there, but by the time I had reached him the clown was walking towards us at a steady pace.

"Who is it?" my son asked once again, to which I responded that it was a clown. "Does he look funny?" I asked him. "Yeah". "Well, here he comes. I'm here so why don't you say hi to him." "Ok!"

At this point the clown was a few steps aways and spotted Lukas, who had a big smile on his face. He then reached into his pocket and while barely slowing down, and not saying a word handed something bright orange to my son as he passed by.

It was a business card.

Lukas looked at it with a puzzled look as the clown, in full stride, was off across the lawn. No hello, no smile, no squeezing his big red nose. Just a lousy business card. I was thinking to myself about how this jerk just reinforced all our notions of creepy clowns, and that perhaps this blow off would be the perfect opportunity for my little guy to gain an early appreciation for what clowns are really like. Then I looked down at Lukas.

"Look! Look! Look what he gave me, Daddy! he excitedly shrieked. "It's an orange card!'

Not wanting to ruin his moment I simply responded. "Wow, that is pretty cool son! Can I see it?"

P.S. You can see Lukas holding the clown business card

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Finding My Direction: A Father's Day Review

The nice folks over at RedEnvelope recently contacted me and asked if I would be willing to review and post about an item from their Father's Day selection. I have never done a review post before, so I was a bit uncertain if this was a direction I wanted to go with LIAYF, however I have been a long time customer of RedEnvelope and have been extremely happy with the products, packaging, and service I have received thus far, therefore I decided to take them up on their offer to send me one of the products from the selection.

Of all the items on the list, one thing in particular caught my eye. It was the Pocket Compass by Dalvey of Scotland. Ever since Lukas was born, I have been excited about the prospect of taking him out to explore the natural beauty of our region in the form of hiking, biking, and boating. A good compass is a must have as trips gets more involved and the thought of having one that might also serve as an heirloom to hand down to my son excited me. -
The compass, which is constructed like a pocket watch, is made of stainless steel, 2 3/4" in diameter, and has has a world map on the inside cover arrived yesterday. As is always the case the packaging from RedEnvelope was nicely presented with the compass box packed inside a Red Envelope box neatly tied with a cloth ribbon.

As for the compass itself, this wouldn't be a true review post if I didn't give my honest opinion. Frankly this wasn't quite what I initially expected it to be. It was a bit larger than I had expected making it difficult to fit into a pocket. But the most disappointing aspect of it was the overall feel of the construction. Even though the compass was made of stainless steel, the shell felt thin and not at all substantial while the interior glass was not glass at all but rather plastic.

Contrary to my initial reaction I actually like the compass and will undoubtedly use it on many excursions in the future, however was expecting something more befitting the heirloom tag that the company used in the advertisement.

That being said, I have actually returned items to RedEnvelope in the past and, as I mentioned previously, have had only stellar customer service.

By the way, readers of Luke, I am Your Father will receive 10% off of their purchases by using the code: 10offred. I hope you are able to use this 10% off, read the reviews, and find the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one for this Father's Day.

Full disclosure: All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. I have been compensated and given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Clone Chores

Are you like me? Do you sometimes wish that there were multiple copies of you, so that you could actually put a dent in all those time consuming tasks which seem to endlessly clutter your to do list?

Mrs. LIAYF and I watched the movie Moon a while back and it got me wondering: Wouldn't life be a heck of a lot less complicated if I had a storehouse of fully grown and ready to use SeattleDad clones on hand? Ones I could assign all the crappy jobs on my task list.

Wouldn't this leave me so much more time to savor and enjoy the pleasant aspects of life and of parenthood?

I know, I know - the technology doesn't exist yet. But hey, you're not in the business of crushing a tired father's dreams, are you? Because that would just be mean.

Anyway, here is my list of the top 10 tasks I would assign to a SeattleDad clone:

10. Dishes/laundry/Trash- Ah yes, the relenting tasks of maintaining a household. Every time you turn around there they are, staring you in the face. Most of the time I feel like I'm just plugging a hole in the dam. I would probably need to assign at least a couple clones to handle these duties.

9. Cleaning the Litter Box - I barely tolerate our cats when I'm not cleaning up their filthy waste. If there was ever a job for a clone, this is it.

8. Applying sunblock to Lukas - He is nearly 3 and incredibly squirmy . I'm nearly too exhausted to venture outside after finishing an application. The perfect job for a fresh clone.

7. My job - This easily could have been #1. Just think of all the free time I would have while one of my clones punches the time clock at work. Plus he would essentially be me, so he should have no problem looking stressed and busy.

6. Paying the Bills - I could have one of my clones take over this household job, thus freeing up Mrs. LIAYF to make me coffee, rub my shoulders, fluff my pillow, that kind of thing. Or, I could just get another clone do those. But that would be a little weird, wouldn't it?

5. Commenting on other blogs - This job is a huge time consumer. One of my wittier clones could be assigned to this task 12 - 15 hours a day, thus exponentially expanding my social network.

4. Wrapping gifts - Of course these would only be for Mrs. LIAYF, since she is the one who lovingly completes this job for everyone else. I would say that given several months to achieve this with nothing else to do, even one of my lazier clones should be able to wrap an unwrinkled gift for her by Christmas.

3. Sherpa Duties - It would be great to take an extra clone of me along whenever we go out. That way HE can carry the heavy bag and other gear while I schlep around a frosty iced coffee instead.

2. Finishing crappy movies - Has anyone seen The Accidental Husband? How about Pineapple Express? It would have been terrific to tag a SeattleDad clone about 15 minutes into either of those train wrecks and let him wait there like a moron for them to 'get better'.

And finally...

1. Wiping butts - Sure, Lukas is nearly fully potty trained, but I have who knows just how much longer I'm going to have to stare into the Eye of Sauron while he's doing downward dog after his business. Better to have a clone take care of this job until the danger completely passes.

There you have it. How about you readers? What tasks would you like a clone of you on hand to take care of?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010