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.