Monday, October 24, 2011

Fun is Reading

We have been reading to Lukas daily for a long time now.  How long? Well, since long before he was born actually. 

It's true.  Mrs. LIAYF and I had ourselves read a lot about the benefits of reading to your baby in-utero and thus decided it would be a great idea to employ that practice.  Quite a bit.

In fact, as silly as it may sound, for a long stretch of her pregnancy I would read 'Guess How Much I Love You' nightly to her ever growing belly in hopes that it would calm our yet unnamed baby and get him used to Daddy's voice talking to him.

Now, I don't know how much these neo-natal story times actually helped Lukas, but it sure made Mrs. LIAYF and I feel like we were proactively teaching and calming our unborn child.

The practice of reading to him didn't stop after he was born either.  On the contrary, we have made it a habit to read to our son as much as possible in the intervening 4 years.  We have also collected a large number of books for him, so that he has a large variety of material to choose from whenever he wants to hear dad or mom read a story.  In fact, our hefty kid book count was once tallied at around 600, and we have probably added a couple hundred volumes since then.

And now that Lukas is 4-years-old, we may be seeing some of the benefits of all that reading paying off. That's because under the loving tutelage of his mother, and to a lesser extent myself, our son has been excitedly learning about phonics and has been doing a terrific job of associating the letters of the alphabet and their accompanying sounds.   We have had many recent impromptu sessions with him where we have helped him sound out and spell words that hold meaning to him, such as the names of his friends from Pre-K.

Mrs. LIAYF even found a cool set of magnets to help us along with the process.  They start with some basic word groupings.  Letters can be then be added to create different words.  For example, to 'ad' you can add an M, or a D, or an S and so forth.  And Lukas has really enjoyed sounding out these different letters to reveal what the underlying word was.

All that being said, Mrs. LIAYF proudly came to me on Sunday and declared that our son had probably read his first real word.  Not one he recognized because we had read it in a story, but one that he had actually saw written down and to which he had applied his emerging set of reading skills to. 

And, what was that word?

Well, what sound does an 'F' make?  Good job, and what about a 'U'?  Right!!  Now, what about the 'N'?  Awesome job!  Yay!!

Yes.  It is FUN indeed. 

And I couldn't have thought of a more appropriate word for him to start with.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: If You Build it

They will want a picture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

4-Year-Old Mind Tricks

Happy Tuesday readers.  Do you know what I LOVE about being a dad?  Well yes, most of it so far has been pretty terrific, but what I am actually referring to *this* time are those little moments, or things your kid does which take you by complete surprise and make you laugh out loud.

I had one of those moments last night.

Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I were heading upstairs to start his bedtime routine when he decided that he wasn't quite ready to give up playing the game of 'Hide and Seek' we had earlier been engaged in.  So, laughing, he ran into his bedroom and hid himself from yours truly. 

Right under his covers.

As I walked in and saw the squirming pile of covers, I called out "Where's Lukas? I can't believe he just disappeared! "  At that point there was an audible giggle from underneath the pile.  "What was that?"  I said in a raised voice.  "Is something under here?". 

Then, I slowly raised the comforter from his bed to reveal a smiling little boy.  But, before I could say anything like "Found you!" his arm extended towards me and gave a slight wave, before speaking to me in a serious tone through his grin.

He said "This is not the Droid you are looking for."

After letting out a quick laugh, I composed myself for my response.  "No, this is not the Droid I am looking for" I said with a blank stare, before dropping the covers back over him, turning, and walking out of the room.

I thought that was quite an ingeneous trick, since we hadn't read his Star Wars book in quite some time.  And I was still ginning about it when I sat down to write this post.

Spontaneous, funny moments like this one with Lukas happen often around here, and are just another reason I LOVE being a dad.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Next, We'll Show Him a Unicorn

We had just been greeted by an impressive rain, which had passed over nearly as fast as it had arrived, leaving the sun shining brilliantly to our west. 

Looking up and seeing the heavy mist trickle down in front of the sunshine, and smiling almost as brightly, Mrs. LIAYF announced "Quick Lukas, let's go out front.  I think I have something to show you."

And sure enough, there it was.  His first rainbow. A bit hard to tell here, but it was actually a double.


We had recently asked him if he had ever actually seen one, which he hadn't. So we were on active rainbow watch.

As you might have guessed, there were no pots of gold to be found anywhere. 

Sad, because they really could have come in handy.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Day of Note

By all accounts today was not a day of note.  Nothing special or memorable happened. No work projects completed. No milestones were reached. No pictures taken. No purchases were made.

In fact, the only obvious accomplishment worth mentioning which took place this day was that the soggy Seattle skies cleared just long enough for me to leave work early, come home, and finish painting my deck and porch. Like I said, it was a Thursday.  Of a full work week. The sun barely made and appearance.  This was definitely not a memorable day.

Or was it?

After my painting job was finished, I had enough time to get a few other chores done around the house.  Some that had been nagging me for a while.  Then Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas arrived home and while Lukas laughed uncontrollably while watching an episode of Shawn the Sheep, and Mrs. LIAYF watched an episode of The Closer, I made a fresh salmon dinner with kale and fig bread, while I sipped on a craft beer and listened to the baseball playoffs on the radio.  Pausing to take in the scene at that moment, it dawned on me that despite my sometimes hectic schedule, I was extremely happy.

Then, after the media distractions were over, my family and I sat down to dinner together in a quiet dinning room to enjoy our meal and talk about our respective days.  Lukas, of course, was his animated self using impressive hand gestures to describe the antics of the claymation show he had just watched. After dinner, a game of pirates and dragons between father and son then turned into a game of chase and lasers which lasted until it was time to wind ourselves down for the evening bedtime routine.

After the game of chase I was worn and out of breath, but as I lay on our guest bed next to Lukas - both of us laughing and silly - I again realized how happy these little moments were making me.

No, today Thursday October 6th, 2011 was not a day of note.  It was just another day in my life as a parent.  A busy day where I did many of the same chores I do nearly every other day: Laundry, dinner, dishes, and work around the house.

But, of course, that's really not all it was.  It was also one of those many collective days that make up Lukas' childhood that I will one day look back upon with fond memories. 

I won't remember a specific scene.  I won't have a picture with which to recall the day.  I will just remember how nice it was. 

And that it made me happy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Little Pink Porches

Happy Monday readers.  I have to admit, I am more than a bit sore today. 

"Why?" you may ask.  "Have you been working out more?  Maybe riding your bike to work again?".  Well, no on both accounts, but thanks for asking (you're so good about that).  Actually, I am sore today because I spent the weekend busily engaged in an activity I had absolutely no business doing the first weekend in October.

That's right, I was painting.

The temperature here in Seattle barely cracked 60F over the weekend, with the constant threat of rain.  But hey, my deck and porch REALLY need to be painted before the Fall rains come in earnest leaving everything around the Pacific Northwest waterlogged until next July.  So I carefully followed the local weather forecast and decided I had a Sunday window with which I could squeeze in most of the job.

Now the reason I needed to squeeze the job in because, of course, when August and September came and the weather was actually prime around here for outdoor painting, I was much too busy enjoying the sunshine and moderate temperatures with Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas to bother myself with such annoyances.

But, unfortunately, when Fall comes here in Seattle, it can come on fast.  And before you know it, it's October, temperatures are barely reaching 60 degrees, and raindrops dominate the 7 Day Forecast.

So, I prepped the areas all day Saturday, doing quite a bit of scrapping, sanding, and cleaning.  Then, on Sunday the weather was cloudy but dry with a few sun breaks.  The rain was due later that night, but I figured I had enough time to get at least a primer coat on everything and maybe a coat of paint on the porch. 

Our house is dark orange in color, so when I had the primer tinted it turned out to be a lovely shade of pink.  I tried to tell myself it was 'Salmon', but honestly it was pink.  I spent all the late morning and early afternoon putting that coat down.  Then after a late lunch I made the call that I had enough time to get a coat of orange on the porch.  Maybe.

I really should have stopped there, but my painting inertia had kicked in.  It was about 4PM when I was finishing the last of the coat of paint.  And when I felt the first drip of rain drop onto the top of my nose.

I frantically finished the last of the surfaces and held out hope that the skies would clear for a couple more hours at least while the paint mostly dried.   And, thankfully that one drip was a fluke.  A temporary fluke, but a fluke nonetheless.   I cleaned up and Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I walked up to a local food fair that was going on.  About an hour later the skies opened up, and an onslaught of rain poured forth.  I had thrown caution to the wind, and the wind had thrown it right back at me (along with a river of water.)

After the rain let up a bit and we had finished eating we walked back to our house.  All the way I was grimacing at the thought of what I might find there. I knew the paint wasn't dry, but how bad was it going to be?

It turned out to be about as bad as I imagined it would be.  There were a LOT of pink streaks from the primer coat showing through.  In fact, I'm pretty sure there hasn't been streaking that ugly since they filmed 'Old School'.  But on the bright side, the higher up the steps I looked (where I began) the better it was.  Plus, the rain actually washed away all the orange puddles and it looks like I might get another dryish day this coming weekend so I can finish up.

Until then though, my pink streaked porch is on display for all the neighbors to see. 

Yes, I should have done this job a month ago while I was enjoying my summer with my family instead.  But life is short, and so is childhood, so I guess I'm okay with painting in the rain every so often.

**So many of you are calling for a picture that I decided to relent.  It was darkish when I left home this morning, and I caught this blurry image with my cheap phone camera.  Your welcome.