Friday, September 30, 2011

Linkin Blogs

Tim, over at Life of Riles recently gave me cool Meme/Award.  The 7 x 7 link award tasks you with looking back at your archeived posts for ones that had an impact in certain ways.

It's been a while since I have participted in a meme, but I really like Tim's blog so I decided to oblige. 

So, without too much forethought, here they are.

Most Beautiful: Sure, it was the product of yet another meme, but this post about Where I am From is perhaps my most poetic piece.

Most Helpful: Hmmmmm.....helpful? That's not really what my posts here at LIAYF are about.  Probably as close as I've come is this post about My Top Ten Father Son Movie Moments.  Don't give me that look.  I'm sure it was helpful to somebody.  Somewhere.  Maybe. 

Most Popular: Without question it was my post from earlier this month, about our plans to adopt our 2nd child.  I had my highest number of pageviews in 4 years on that post.  Very encouraging.

Most Controversial: Let's face it, I'm not a controversial writer.  That is, unless you consider self deprecating humor as 'controversial'.  Maybe the closest I came was just recently when I posted about not having taken Lukas to McDonald's. Ever!

Most Surprisingly Successful:  The popularity of this post, about others realizing what you have as a parent, was very popular.  Probably more so than I expected.

Most Underrated: Personally, I liked this post about a thrilling game of Preschool Hot Potato quite a bit.  And although it did get some comments, I wish more people would have read it.

Most Prideworthy: This post about reaching a noteworthy milestone as a parent ranks up there with any I've written in terms of ones I'm proud of.

Now I guess the rules are to pass the award on to 7 more outstanding bloggers. They are listed below. 

If you haven't heard of some of them, click through and give them a read.  You'll be glad you did.  Heck, maybe even one or two of them will play along with thier own post.

Fillets to Fishsticks

DC Urban Dad

Mom Next Door

Eduacated Abroad

Super Daddy

Portland Dad

Zen Mom

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Random Tuesday: Sloppy Edition

Chis Singer ( @Book_Dads ) visited Seattle last week with his lovely wife and daughter.  We had them over for dinner and Lukas and I instantly hit it off with Chris.  Literally!  In fact, I bet he is still having nightmares about Lukas' stinging blue uppercut.  "Rockem Sockem!  Rockem Sockem!" Lukas chanted as they pummeled each others robots.  Despite that, Chris then sat him down and read him a Star Wars book.  Nice Guy.

Lukas: Daddy let's play Light Savers.
Me: You mean Lightsabers buddy.
Lukas: No, I said Light Savers!
Me: It's a Lightsaber. A sword is called a saber. So, it's a sword made out of light. See?
Lukas: Yeah, but I want to play Light Savers daddy.
Me: Okay then, let's see who can turn off the lights first!
The other day Mrs. LIAYF and I were engaged in some rather pointed discourse (to our credit, we didn't once yell) guessed it, Sloppy Joe's. What, you mean you didn't guess Sloppy Joe's? Now we haven't had Sloppy Joe's in years, but my lovely bride put it right there on our dinner planning menu for the next week. Not being able to read properly, I gathered up a shopping list, including what I assumed we needed to prepare the dinners on the menu, and was off to the grocery.

My mistake? I came home with a can of Hunts Manwich Sauce. Ha ha. You see, apparently she was planning to make the meal from scratch. With all healthy ingredients.  It was from a recipe no less. Sure, this is what she does with nearly all ours meals, but the can just called out "Easy" to me. We were both tired so, as you can imagine, my manwich was in trouble.

It was during our discussion that Lukas came between us with his Buzz Lightyear and began to use his laser on yours truly. "I'll save you Mommy" he said as he pointed the wrist with the flashing light which was making the laser sound at me. I guess there's no doubt whose side Buzz will always take in such an exchange. Apparently, I'm Zurg. We all had a good laugh at that.

If you ever want to find me, just take a gander under your nearest rock. I do reside there after all. It's true, with no television and a 4 year old, I am usually way behind the times on what is going on out there in the world beyond my narrow silo. That's why I was shocked when I heard about Spotify the other day. A music site where you can sign up for free and listen to a catalog of nearly 15 million songs, including full albums from nearly most any band you can think of (except the Beatles)? It didn't take me long to sign up. Now I am listening to many of those albums that I had always wanted to listen to before I decided to buy or not. Yeah, I'm already a big fan.

You might have noticed in a recent Wordless Wednesday post that Lukas in now wearing glasses.  He has been diagnosed with Amblyopia.  Basically, his one eye is weak and shutting down and the brain has to relearn to use that eye.  The doctor prescribed the glasses, along with patching his good eye for 2-6 hours a day.  Unfortunately, we may have to follow this routine for up to 5 years.  But on the bright side, since we caught this early enough his vision has a chance to correct back to 20/20.

While patching the eye doctor also indicated that he wanted Lukas concentrating on something small, and close up.  He recommended at least a half an hour day of video game.  Yes, video games.  Doctors orders.  Lukas hasn't always been too excited about this though.  Just the other day he wanted to go outside and play.  "Not until you play your video game!" I had to say.  How humorous is that?


And finally, I am hosting my biggest giveaway yet over at Luke, I am Your Father Reviews. I am giving away a Clarisonic Mia!  Valued at well over a Franklin people.  There are several ways to enter, including grabbing our adoption badge.  So, if you haven't stopped over there yet, now is definitely the time folks.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Blue Badge of Anticipation

So, I really put the LIAYF family out there in my last post. First, I want to thank all who read and commented. It's nice to know that you are thinking good thoughts for us and keeping us in mind as you carry on. Heck, there might even be a chance that one of you will hear about something along those line that you would normally have not thought twice about.  Maybe not today or tomorrow, but maybe one day.

Moving forward - and at some point we must move forward - the question became "How long should I leave that post up, before posting again?"    I mean, I want to give people ample opportunity to read the post, but at some point I do need to post again.  Then I had an idea.

This is the point where I tell you that old (emphasis on the old) bloggers can learn old tricks.

I decided that the best way to keep our adoption post out there, while moving forward with other content, would be to create a badge, that would live in my right hand column and also appear at the bottom of any new posts.  Here is the finished product:

Then I thought "Why stop there?"  I could even create a badge that other blogger, if they were so inclined, could post on their sites as well.

For those of you who, like me, have never created a badge before, here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make your own.  Yes, with a quick google search you can find a more detailed tutorial, but I know you, and you don't have the time for that.

1. Create the image Pick a picture or background you want to use for the badge.  For mine, I just took this picture....
loaded it to Picnik, cropped the upper right hand corner, sized to 175X175, added the text, then saved it to my computer.

2.  Load the Image to a Server - There are several ways to do this, but I just loaded it to imgur, which I was able to create an account on by signing in with Twitter.  After loading the image had it's own URL, which I then copied.

3.  Get the HTML code - I found the code I needed with  a search, and used my URL's to replace the text that indicated [Destination URL] and [Image URL] aready listed.

<a href="[Destination URL]"><img src="[Image URL]"/></a>
Then, if you want to create a text box to display so that other bloggers, if they are so inclined, can grab and display your badge, use the same steps for replacing URL's to create the following  text box code:

<textarea cols=”15? rows=”8? wrap=”virtual”><a href="[Destination URL here]"><img src="[Image URL here]"/></a></textarea>
4.  Add Code to Your Site - Now take the code you just created and add it to your site.  Here is my finished product.

There you have it.  Not so hard, right?

Like I said, I will be using the first badge I created to anchor future posts.  And, of course, Mrs. LIAYF and I would greatly appreciate it if you grabbed our badge for display on your site as well.  If you do, please let me know. 


Sunday, September 18, 2011

We're Adopting - You Can Help

Save for a mention in a previous post I haven't talked about it much here at 'Luke, I am Your Father', but we are in the process of adding to the size of our family. We are doing it through adoption.

Given Mrs. LIAYF's history with adoption (her mother and uncle are both adopted) we had always planned on having one biological child and then adopting another. However, this outcome was not easy to achieve. Before Lukas was born, we spent four years, multiple thousands of dollars, and countless hours of 'practice' (yes, we could be qualified as Outliers in that field) trying to nudge along the process of conception. But, sadly, this was to no avail. We were eventually told by our doctor that we would most likely never have a biological child of our own.

As it is with many would-be parents, this was a frustrating, heartbreaking, and at times demoralizing experience for both of us. We couldn't fully comprehend why we were having these difficulties, especially when we knew we had so much love and happiness to give. Finally there came a time, after riding the emotional rollercoaster for so long, that we had our closure moment. Now, we would simply adjust to adoption as our primary option to start our family. And, we were very happy with our choice.

Then, miraculously, Lukas picked us as his parents. We literally found out Mrs. LIAYF was pregnant the same morning that we were sending our profile to an expecting mother who we had found was looking for adoptive parents. We were shocked. We held each other for what seemed like hours and cried tears of joy. Despite the stories you may have heard, statistically this almost never happens.

We quickly contacted our adoption attorney and had him refer this birth mother to another family looking for a child to love. Our plans for adoption would be put on hold.

Fast forward nearly five years. The parenting experience has been every bit the amazing journey Mrs. LIAYF and I had envisioned. We count our blessings each and every day to have Lukas in our lives. We laugh and love more than we could have ever imagined, even five years earlier.

If you read this blog, you will know that I write a lot of self deprecating humor. I often poke fun at myself, my age, and many other things. But all joking and humility aside, Mrs. LIAYF and I are pretty fantastic parents. And Lukas is a pretty amazing kid. We realize that, but we also realize that we are far from done. We have plenty of room in our home, and in our lives, to share with another child. And that child will be extremely well loved.

Since earlier this year, we have been completing all the necessary steps, including background checks and a lengthy home study, to bring that child into our happy home. Like we were pursuing before Lukas came along, we are opting for a process called Domestic Infant Adoption. This means we have an adoption attorney and are staying local, while waiting for a birth mother to pick us as the adoptive parents to her soon to be born beautiful baby.

With this path we are not contracting with an agency, but rather opting to find our child through other avenues. This involves networking. In essence, getting the word out about who we are, and most importantly that we are looking to provide a loving home to another child.

This, readers, is where you may be able to help. You, as the readers of 'Luke, I am Your Father' are perhaps our biggest network when it comes to locating the child who has picked us, and is waiting for us to find him/her. And networking, in the form of getting the word out that you are looking to adopt a child, it has been told to us by the professionals who we've been in contact with, is the key to speeding up the domestic adoption process. In fact, the first young birth mother we were made aware of 5 years ago was the daughter of a friend of a co-worker of Mrs. LIAYF's. That's usually how it works.

So readers if you have heard, or do hear in the future through your personal grapevine about a expectant mother who may be looking at adoption as a means of giving the child she is carrying the chance at a secure and loving home, please think of the LIAYF family and the healthy, happy home full of laughter and learning we could give that child.

In the off chance this does happen, please contact us using the email listed on my profile page. You can click 'View my Complete Profile' on the upper right hand corner of this screen. You can give my e-mail to any prospective birth mother. You can also give her our attorney’s contact information – Albert Lirhus in Seattle, Washington (206) 728-5858. The birth mother can ask to speak to Joan and request the adoption profile for our family – “Jim, Anne and Lukas.”

All that being said, and certainly this is the tricky part, we would prefer that birth parents not be referred here, to LIAYF. At this stage of the process, there would simply be too many yet unanswered variables to consider. That would be a decision left for another time. So, if in the off chance you do know of a prospective birth mother, please hold off on giving out this web address, or blog name.

So, there you have it, the story of our journey to adding a fourth member to our happy family. Thanks for reading, and for keeping our story in mind as you go about your daily lives.

Who knows?  If you were actually able to help, I may even give you creative license in choosing a psudonym for LIAYF's newest edition. 

That is, as long as it's not Jar Jar.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top 10 Funniest Movies - In My Dreams

"What? We weren't included?"
Tell me readers, is it a sign that you blog too much if you are actually dreaming about gathering information for a post?

Yeah, I thought so.

As you might have guessed, that is precisely what happened to yours truly last night.  I woke at 3:30 AM from a very intense dream I was having.  In that dream I was actively debating with some unidentified person (probably Mrs. LIAYF) what the funniest movies ever made were.  Naturally, many of the details were a bit fuzzy, but I distinctly remember that I had to refine my list because I was going to post about it.

I also remember being adamant that, NO, Sister Act would definitely never be included on the list.  (What can I say? I'm not a big Whoppi fan. Sorry.)

Anyway, I think there were some fairly interesting choices on my dream list but...unfortunately I couldn't remember most of them. 

All that being said, I thought "What the hay" I should just post my actual, not buried in the far reaches of my mind, list.  With any luck, it'll resolve some 'issue' I'm having.

Without further adieu, here are SeattleDad's top 10 funniest movies:

1.  The 40 year Old Virgin

2.  Planes Trains and Automobiles

3.  Dumb and Dumber

4.  Old School

5.  Monty Python's and the Holy Grail

6.  Animal House

7.  National Lampoon's Vacation

8.  Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

9.  Napoleon Dynamite

10. A Fish Called Wanda Little Miss Sunshine
So, tell me readers, do you ever dream about your posts? And what movies would make your 'Dream List'?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Here's to Good Times

Today is my Birthday.  YAay.... Okay, it's not that exciting once you start creeping up into the mid 4(cough)0's.  It actually kind of sneaks up on you, and at my age that is not always a good thing.

What is exciting though is getting to spend quality time with my family and friends - which I did a lot of yesterday.  It was a gorgeous sunny Seattle evening last night, and I was fortunate enough to be joined for a dinner party on our deck by the lovely Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and several of our closest friends. 

In addition to an abundance of good conversation and plenty of laughter we had grilled Coho salmon, corn on the cob, fresh baked bread, fresh picked blackberries, ice cold craft brewed ale, and a sinfully good chocolate cake with blackberry jam filling, made fresh with love that afternoon by my two favorite people in all the world.  I even got to lick the spatula.  It was what every birthday party should be.

Plus, earlier in the day Mrs. LIAYF surprised me with a very cool gift.  It was a Pearl Jam concert poster from a show we attended together way back in the mid 90's when we were dating.

Apparently we had intended to frame it but never did.  Not a big shock.  But then she found it in a dusty box in our garage the other day and thought it would be a great gift.  Which, of course, it is!

Last night when the sun had gone down, the kids broke out their flashlights and got to explore the backyard.  They were all having a good time until Lukas told them about the raccoons we had seen on our deck a few nights before.  Mrs. LIAYF had seen one actually washing it's paws in the cat's water dish.  To which my response was "At least he's being hygienic."

Once they heard about the raccoons most of the kids were a bit weary about leaving the deck.  Most, but certainly not Lukas. Typical of his personality, he immediately ran into the house and came out fully outfitted to do battle with a herd (what do you call a group of raccoons?) of the beasts.  He had a Lego headlamp, winter gloves, a toke, his soccer shin guards, elbow pads, and finally his cardboard shield.

"Let's go!" he told everyone.  Thankfully for the raccoons, no doubt hearing all the commotion I think they decided it would be best to steer clear of our backyard for the night.

We have a few more things on tap for tonight to celebrate, but yesterday will definitely be hard to top.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mermaid Spotting

This sounds a bit funny to say, but you can go right ahead and judge us if you will.  And I'm fairly positive some of you are about to form certain opinions of us be they positive or negative, but Lukas is 4 years old now and Mrs. LIAYF and I have never taken him, hmmm (wondering how to put this diplomatically), well let's just say we can safely pass any local pair of golden arches without the slightest hint of begging or pleading to stop coming from the back seat.

That's right, we have never taken him to a McDonald's restaurant before.  Not even once.

There have been no Happy Meals.  No McNuggets.  Nary an Apple Pie, Fillet O' Fish, or Shamrock Shake.

He has no idea who Ronald McDonald is, nor Mayor McCheese, or the Grimace, or even the Hamburgler. He hasn't once been through one of the drive-through windows or became at all familiar with a local Micky D's Play Land. 

He doesn't even have the concept of fallen fries, and what a treat they are to find at the bottom of your grease stained white paper bag as your vehicle is perhaps miles from where you procured your salty meal.

In fact, when we are out driving around and Lukas happens to see the ubiquitous Golden Arches, he is 100% more likely to be impressed that he saw a giant yellow M out the car window, than to immediately associate them with hamburgers, nuggets, and french fries.

To those who ask why.  "Why have you denied your offspring one of the fundamental vices of childhood?"  I have one simple question to ask that really speaks volumes.  "Have you not watched Super Size Me?"  Talk about horror movies.  That was one scary flick.  What happened to Morgan Spurlock in just 30 days was crazy.

Seriously though, we try to always pack healthy snacks and meals for Lukas so that we won't be tempted to stop in and buy the unhealthy option at McDonald's.  We have just been very good at enforcing this policy.  So good, in fact, that he really doesn't have any clue, ANY, that McDonald's even exists.

Sure, Mrs. LIAYF are a teensy bit proud of that fact.   Once in a while we will even slip it into conversation, not at all to be judgemental of other families meal choices (we don't judge), but more to show the other like minded people in question that, yes, we care deeply about the health and well being of our child and we have been able to find better options for the past 4 years.

That all being said, I nearly spit out my coffee and laughed out loud a couple of days ago when, as we were driving somewhere around Seattle, Lukas pointed out his window and excitedly exclaimed:

"Look, a Starbucks!  Can we stop?  Can we? PLEASE!"

That was just Golden.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hunting Bunnies and Batting Rocks

We came from over there.
Good September to you loyal readers.  It's been about a week and a half since my last post.  (Wow, that sounds an awful lot like the beginning of a confession. All I need is a dark box to sit in.  Oh yes, I forgot where I am writing this from).

For those of you who read my last post, you will remember that we were on our "Camping" vacation last week.  I have to tell you, cabin camping is the perfect kind.  Very civilized.  Heck, if you throw in a washer and dryer, access to the Internet, and a place to get Happy Hour close by, I could've stayed there long term.  Yes, It was that nice. 

Seriously though we all had a terrific time hiking, biking, boating, grilling, roasting marshmallows, sleeping in, and hunting bunnies.  Check that, we didn't so much hunt the bunnies as try to feed them pieces of lettuce.  But hunting them sounds much more 'outdoorsy', which is the kind of trip this was so please forgive me the slip.

Despite our wishes, there was no bear around this corner.

The boating part was especially fun as Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I rented an outboard and crossed Puget Sound and the shipping channel to motor over to 'Baby Island' , which is a small rock with some sand beach where the local seals have their pups.  We were able to turn off the engine a couple hundred yards offshore and eat lunch as dozens of seals popped their heads up around our wooden boat to check out what we were having for lunch.  (I'm pretty sure they were disappointed to find we were eating Peanut Butter and Jelly rather than fish sandwiches, but they were polite and didn't say anything).

Those are Seal heads.  About to get much closer.

Do you want to know what the best part of the trip was?  We were completely unplugged for 5 days!  No Internet, television, or even radio permeated our family unit for the duration of the time we stayed at our destination.  This made things amazingly peaceful and nice as we spent most of the time just hanging out with Lukas.  If you have ever wondered how many rocks and shells can be collected and deposited back into the ocean in 5 days trust me, it's a lot.

Along those lines I was lucky to find the perfect baseball bat shaped chuck of driftwood floating near the shore one day, which I used to hit a ton of rocks far out into the ocean water.  This was a lot of fun, and Lukas sat and made "Oooohs" whenever I was able to connect especially well with one of them.  I brought that piece of driftwood home with me, though I'm fairly certain I'll never use it again.

Finally, on the way home we stopped off at a local farm and picked a load of blueberries.  Mrs. LIAYF used them to make jam yesterday.  Along with several jars of blackberry jam she made from a recent picking closer to home, we are now stocked with enough delicious jam to last us through most of the Winter months.

Mmmmm, Jam!

Lukas started Pre-K on Tuesday, while Mrs. LIAYF and I are back to work. Thankfully our little guy was placed in the group called The Red Tigers rather than getting stuck in The Rainbow Butterflies.  As a dad, I care about those things.

Yes, we are back to the grind now, but it was a great 10 days off.