Friday, December 28, 2012

A Girl by Many Other Names

Since Mrs. LIAYF and I announced we were adopting Annabelle back in early November one of the most consistent questions we have been asked, surprisingly, is "What are you going to call her?"

Uh.....Annabelle, of course.  That's her name.  If we wanted to call her something else like Anna, or Belle, or even Cybodain Model 103, well we would have named her that right?  Annabelle is what we are most often calling her.

Lukas' Nickname for her 'Best Girl Ever'
Now, that isn't to say that we won't be employing any nicknames for our sweet little girl.  In fact we already are, in spades.  One of my earliest posts here referenced nicknames for Lukas (Lukie Long Shanks his medieval name was definitely my favorite).

For Annabelle, we already use her candy name, Jelly Belly, and her Post Civil War name Anna Bellum, and her Debutante Name Northern Belle.  Then there is her Classic Literature nickname Anna Bellinana, and her Pirate nickname Anna Nobeard, as well as her Rapper nickname Lil Snacks-a-Lot.

Of course, there is also her Sci Fi nickname 2 of 2, and her Russian nickname Vladimir (because of all her Poot'n), and her Post Phone Monopoly nickname Baby Belle (by the way, this also doubles as her Cheese nickname), and HER Medieval nickname Annie Short Shanks (because so far she is very petite)

Speaking of the nickname Annie, her grandfather is very much in favor of calling her Annie.  We are not to hip on this idea though. It's not exactly what we had in mind when we named her.   But, if Grandpa wants to live up to a new nickname of his own, Grandpa Warbucks, we might not protest too much.

It's true that we have used all of these nicknames for Annabelle in the few short weeks we have had her.  Some more than others.  But mostly, like I said, we just use her given name Annabelle - because we like it so much.

That, and also one other that often fits her mood.

Miss Fussy Pants.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: "Gotcha Day" Edition

Our Adoption of Annabelle became final today!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Step Away From The Sleeping Baby

I can't believe how clueless people can be sometimes. 

I guess it just comes with the territory.  And by territory, I am referring to the territory that surrounds you when you take a newborn baby out in public.  Especially cute ones.  People get all strange when they see them.  It causes them to act in unpredictable ways. Kinda like Tom Cruise around couches.

For example, I was out running errands today with Annabelle.  She was dressed all cute, in a hot pink trimmed fleece jacket with a matching pink bow band on her head. As I was sitting in line at the grocery, a woman came up and smiled at her, sticking her hand very close but thinking better of touching her.  Then she asked "Is it a boy or a girl?"  

Really?  The pink bow didn't give it away?    And don't try to convince me that people just don't want to make assumptions.  I mean, go out on a limb once in a while.

I smiled back at her.  "A girl" I replied. "We think."  Then I started checking out my groceries.

A little while later, thankfully Annabelle was juuuuuuuuust about to fall asleep -  at least she was trying hard to - and I was rocking the stroller back and forth with my breath held tight when out of nowhere a little old lady appears - surprisingly cat like givin her age - and sticks her head practically into the car seat and says "Ohhhhh, what a cwoooooooot whitttttle baaaaby".   If Annabelle had longer hair, I'm sure I would have seen the wind from that old womans breath blowing swiftly through it. Yikes!

Of course Annabelle fussed something awful.  Thankfully I had one of those jogging strollers which allowed me to pivot the thing about 180 degrees the other way in a hurry.  "Sorry" I mouthed to the old woman, then made one of those sleeping gestures with my head tilted to the side.  

As if it wasn't obvious. 

Come on, what is wrong with people!  It's as if the fact that you are around a cute baby automatically makes your brain go to mush.  

Okay, I'll admit that there is a small chance that it's my brain that is going to mush being around this cute baby.  This cute baby who is still waking me up a couple of times a night with her incessant demands for food and clean clothing.

I understand baby language by the way.  Where some might hear whimpers and coos.  I hear "Feed me."  "Change me." "Pinch my cute cheeky's."  "Protect me from scary old ladies who want to disturb my precious sleep".  

And I plan to do just that.

Next time I am out with her running errands while she's trying to sleep, I am thinking about draping a painting tarp over the stroller and pretending like I am off to a job. After all, no one is much interested in a cute can of paint.  Especially little old ladies.

Don't worry Annabelle, Daddy is here.  And your sleep is VERY important to me.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review + Giveaway: Caspar Babypants 'I Found You'

Seattle Based Kindie Rocker Caspar Babypants, aka Chris Ballew (front man for the Seattle based rock group The Presidents of the United States of America), is at it again.

'Babypants' is set to release  'I Found You',  his 5th studio release since 2009 filled with a meaty 19 fun tracks, on Tuesday the 18th.  He was kind enough to send me an advance copy for review.  I'm glad he did.

'I Found You', like his previous releases, is a peppy and fun filled album full of quirky kid themed songs in the vein of most 'Presidents' songs.  It has a good mix of his version of classic kid songs such as 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' and  'Row Row Row Your Boat' & fun original tunes such as the title track, 'Hobo Baby', 'Yes and No' and the Halloween themed 'Skeletone'

As in previous releases, Ballew enlists other well-known Seattle area artists to help out on this release, notably one of my all time favorite Seattle musicians Steve Turner of Mudhoney and Green River fame, who plays guitar on the song 'Too Dirty to Love'.

All in all, I really enjoyed this release.  In fact it quickly is becoming one of my favorites of his.  And, in the ultimate test of it's effectiveness it took listening to just three songs before Annabelle fell asleep strapped to my chest.  That's worth 5 stars in my book.

As a bonus I have also been given a copy of  'I Found You'  to give away to one lucky reader.  Just leave a comment here telling me your favorite Seattle Band or Musician.  Make sure you leave a valid way to get back in touch with you.

You can get another entry by tweeting the link to this giveaway and mentioning @SeattleDad in the body of the tweet.  I will pick a winner on December 22nd.

As I mentioned I was given a copy of the CD for review, but that did not affect my opinions of the album.


Friday, December 14, 2012

You Gotta Feed THE Baby!

Okay, I'll admit it.  Juggling everything to keep Annabelle fed and clean is no easy task.  I'm 5 days in and at times I feel like a Keystone Cop Dad.  The thing is, when they are hungry babies tend to cry.  A lot.

Plus, babies don't exactly give you the opportunity to get your own stuff together and have it all right there ready to go the instant they decide "Hey, I'm kinda hungry.  Milk dad. Chop Chop!  What's the hold up?  NOW ALREADY!"

So, as I am attempting to gather myself and, let's be honest here, keep the piercing cries from penetrating to the inner most parts of my brains core, I am still kinda rushing around making sure that everything is in order.  The formula is mixed and warmed, the pillow and clean burp cloth are on the chair and at the ready, and the binky in within arms reach.

Then, when I do believe I have it all ready and can commence with the feeding routine, inevitably something goes wrong in the process.  Sitting down with her the pillow will get knocked off the chair, or her pacifier will  fall out of her mouth and onto the floor, where I will then have to decide how dirty it is down there and deciding 'not clean enough' will have to get up with here and go wash it off.  Or the burp cloth will hit the floor, or the blanket.  It never fails. I seem to drop something, often many things, in the course of each feeding.  It's humorous.

In the middle of all this I will have to do a diaper change, and of course by the time I have finished with that lovely job and sit back down for more feeding, still holding the baby, I realize I have left something on the changing table. I think I have muttered 'You gotta be kidding me' on more than one occasion.

On the bright side I am starting to anticipate these little faux pas and hopefully fewer of them will be occurring going forward. I guess that is just a part of finding our routine.  Annabelle, for her part, is like a relentless Drill Sargent working me into shape.  'Drop something?  - Give me 50cc grunt!"

And speaking of shape, this whole caring for a baby is not exactly like a workout at Golds Gym, but since I have less time for frivolities like eating regularly, I have dropped about 5 pounds recently.

I did say I was dropping all kinds of things caring for Annabelle.  I've wanted to drop 10-15 lbs for quite a while now.  I'm getting a good start, so there's that.

That't the update for today.  I'm hanging in there.  We are having good times and honestly there's nothing quite as sweet as having a newborn sleeping on your chest.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2012 Best Albums Post

Happy December readers.

What camp are you in?  Do you love year-end lists, or wish all list makers were water-boarded until they agree to never post one again.  Me?  I love em.  And for my sake I hope you are of the prior persuasion because I am about to present you with my annual list of best albums.

Are these truly the best albums of 2012?  The answer, of course, is that to me they are. Everyone will have a differing opinion on the releases they enjoyed during the past twelve months, and to me that's what makes it so much fun.

I read every best album list I can, so I can discover music that I had never heard of before.  And since I have heard only a fraction of the 2012 releases out there your favorites are likely not on my list.  But I would certainly love to hear them so I can listen and from my own opinion.

So, without further delay, here are my picks for the best new releases of 2012. I tried to describe some.  If you don't like it, tough this ain't Rolling Stone.  Just give a listen.

10. Ty Segall - Twins:  One of my favorite finds of the past year, Ty Segall lays on a thick dose of garage punk that treads heavily, and quickly worked it's way into my listening rotation.

9.  Beach House - Bloom:  I'm not big on including follow up efforts on my top albums list, but this follow up to the 2010 release Teen Dream is packed with many more of the hypnotic melodies that gave the duo a spot on my list that year.

8. Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams:  I actually found this band after perusing other top ten lists.  It's a beautiful sounding album and has a melodic quality that sets it apart from many of the contenders I was considering including here.

7. The Tallest Man on Earth - There's No Leavin Now:  Okay, long time readers may remember that I am a huge Tallest Man fan.  I have even referenced his songs in previous posts, and his previous albums are all in heavy rotation here at LIAYF.  This album took a bit longer to grow on me, being a bit more mellow than his previous works, but once it did I was hooked.  Gotta love the gravely voice.

6. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist:  Hip Hop doesn't often make it onto my top lists, but this release from Seattle artist Macklemore is just plain good music.  It didn't hurt that Macklemore also coined one of my favorite songs in the past couple years: My oh My! (about Mariners broadcasting legend Dave Niehaus) which is not on this release but is worth checking out.

5. The Lumineers - The Lumineers:  Last year it was The Head and the Heart, and The Fleet Foxes.  This year another Seattle based band has gained nationwide attention with a blend of folksy, rootsy music that makes you want to sing along.  My favorite song is Big Parade.

4. Alabama Shakes - Boys and Girls: A very nice blend of Southern Rock and Folk with elements of a 70's vibe that sticks with you like a hearty breakfast.

3. Cloud Nothings - Attack on Memory:  It's a bit hard to describe why I like this alternative release so much, but I do.  It has a nice up tempo, heavy droning sound that weaves its way into my psyche and makes me feel oddly upbeat.

2. Of Monsters and Men - My Head is an Animal: I could have easily made this my #1, I like it that much.  The best way I can describe it is 'Arena Folk', it comes at you with a big symphonic sound in what is essentially a folk record.

1. Japandroids - Celebration Rock:  
There was no real debate for me on this one.  The first time I heard this record I was blown away.  The title really says it all, as it is an upbeat Rock record that begs to be played on repeat.  If you haven't already, check it out.  Now.

11. Honorable Mention
Tame Impalla - Lonerism
Band of Horses - Mirage Rock
Ryan Bingham - Tomorrowland
Silversun Pickups - Neck of the Woods
Soundgarden - King Animal

Please feel free to leave a comment, letting me know your favorite Albums from 2012.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Home is Where Our Baby Is

I have great news readers.  After nearly 6 weeks in the hospital, our precious Annabelle came home this past weekend!

I already have a plan for how to train daddy.

Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I are just thrilled to have the newest member of our troop under our roof, right where she belongs.

She wasted no time in making herself right at home and giving her room the stamp of approval - pooping there almost immediately.  Pooping in a room always authoritatively seals the deal. She seems to rather enjoy sealing that particular deal, by the way.

And now that the week has begun, I am a temporary SAHD.  That's Stay at Home Dad for those of you unfamiliar with parenting acronyms.  I will be staying home with Annabelle through the middle of next January.  That is, as long as the Myans weren't somehow RIGHT and we all cease to even make it to the holiday's - in which case my strategy of not buying any gifts until the very last minute will have paid off brilliantly.  For the record, I'm still banking on my Amazon Prime membership coming in handy.

How are things going with Annabelle?  All things considered pretty good.  It's early, and we've had a roller coaster ride the first couple of days getting used to each other's idiosycrasies, but there have been some great moments. Like when she smiled the time I spoke to her in a German accent.  "I sink you just filled zah diapah". Then again, she might just have been making a poop face.  Good times.

Also, last night our little sweetie slept from 9:30 - 2:10. (That's actually 5 full hours on the Myan clock.)  Mrs. LIAYF and I were in bed by 10:00 and so got a decent amount of sleep, and thus I am sane, drinking coffee, and writing this before she wakes up from her 5:30am sleep. Yes, there was another sleep and wake cycle between 3 and 5 am.  So, not all the kinks are worked out just yet.

But we have time, she and I.  Time to hang together and bond while Lukas is at school, and Mrs. LIAYF is at work.  Time before my lovely wife, who seems to have a magic touch when it comes to babies, takes over  full time care in the new year for a few months.

My goal is to have Miss Annabelle on a fairly regular routine by then.  No, we aren't quite there just yet.

But we are working on it.  Together. Wish us luck.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dad Who Needed to Get a Grip

"We need tires.  Now."

Those were the words that greeted me when I answered the phone in the middle of rocking  Annabelle to sleep on Friday evening.

Of  course, the call was from Mrs. LIAYF who was with Lukas on their way to meet me at the hospital.  The rain was coming down in sheets and she had just been stopped on a hill where, when she started back up the wheels has spun for a long count before finally catching and allowing her to proceed.

We had both known this for a while, but in the rush to get everything ready for our daughters arrival home, that was one of the tasks that had fallen to 'sometime soon' status.  It shouldn't have.  And now we were faced with the reality that our daughter was coming home in a few days, the weather was suspect, and our vehicle was dangerous.

We decided to visit Costco after leaving the hospital.  Once there, I spoke with the Tire Center manager about stopping in on Saturday to get the full on rubber replacement deal.  He just looked at me and sort of shook his head.  "We are making appointments for next week." he let me know.  "Well, that won't do for me" I lamented.  "I have a baby coming home from the hospital in a couple of days.  Do you take walk ins tomorrow?"

"Yeah, but you may have to wait up to 4 hours".  I cringed at that, listing off in my head all the things we had to get done that same day in our lone car.  And with a baby on the way, I knew it HAD to get done Saturday.   "What if I showed up right when you open?"  I offered.  "Not a good idea at all.  About 20 other guys will have the same idea.  But you could give it a try.  We open at 9:30."

So with that I formulated a plan along with Mrs. LIAYF that I would arrive when they open, get the tires done right away, then we would be off to visit Annabelle to be there for her mid morning feeding.  I decided to arrive around 9:00 just to be safe.

I hadn't expected it to be like 12:00 AM on Black Friday at Walmart.

When I arrived I spied several other folks parked in the Tire Center lot and decided it would be a good idea to go stand by the door.  As soon as I did, that seemed to open the floodgates as all those other people followed suit.  Then, for the next half an hour, we all jockeyed for position by the very large door all the while trying not to be too obvious that we were there for the same reason.  To be 1st in line to get tires.

It didn't look good.

I started out right in the middle of the door, but the employees had to open it up a couple of times forcing me to move to let them out as a buch of people mingled around me. Plus a couple of guys crowded in on my right side (the way I would have to turn to get to the Tire Center) so I moved closer to them so that no one else could squeeze in there as well.  One of the guys then got called by his wife and had to go back to see what she wanted.  I wasted no time in shuffling right to take his spot.

That left myself and the other guy staring awkwardly at each other as we waited.  "What about this weather?" he offered.  "Pretty nasty" I agreed.  You here for the tire center too?"  "Yeah, my wife got a flat.  I need it fixed".  But just then the door opened and the woman working said "You can enter now".

Without hesitation I immediately cut the guy off and made for the tire center like a shot.  When I arrived I let the tire guy know what I needed and then glanced back.  About 25 people already waited in line behind me.  "How long will it be?"  I inquired.  "About 45 minutes" he responded.


Finally, after an hour had passed and I gathered my paperwork I passed the foul weather guy still waiting.  He was with his 19 month old boy.  He was a really cute kid and was siting on a Quad pretending to ride.  "Is he your only one?" I asked.  "Yeah, so far" he responded.  "My boy is 5 now, and it just keeps getting better." I let him know.  "Plus, we just adopted a baby girl.  She is coming home from the hospital in a couple of days."

"Oh, so you really NEEDED to get those tires.  Well congratulations!" He seemed genuine.
I knew I needed to be first in line that morning, and In the end I have no qualms fighting for what's best for my kids.

But I'm glad he understood.  Oddly that made me feel a bit better.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Calm Before the Reality

In a matter of mere days, yours truly is going to be a Stay at Home Dad....albeit temporarily.

True, In effect I will simply be on Paternity Leave for a few weeks, but the important thing to note is that I will be the primary care giver for Annabelle, who has yet to make it home from NICU.

For all those wondering, our little darling is doing quite well these days after a rough beginning. In fact, she is starting to pack on the rolls of fat like she was playing Morgan Spurlock in a miniature version of Super Size Me. You want fries with that Hon?  (I think there are definitely Wrarms! in our future.)

Of course I want to Super Size the Formula!
A few years ago - let's just throw out, oh I dunno....6 as a random number - the simple thought of such an assignment would have terrified me beyond compare.  But now?

I am non-plused.  Along with Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas I have been spending quite a bit of time at the hospital rocking, feeding, changing and calming Annabelle.   And I have been doing a decent job if I do say so myself.  There have been no signs of panic during those times when my little girl gets seriously upset and I have to try different tactics to calm her.

For example, just yesterday such a scenario unfolded while I was all alone with my girl. The nurse who was unfamiliar to us took one look at me and rushed over to lend a hand to the fumbling dad.  However, I calmly made eye contact and told her "I've got this" while simultaneously turning Annabelle and beginning a rhythmic soft patting of her behind.  It was a seriously smooth move people.  I think I even gave one of those cool head nods.  You know the kind.

To Annabelle' credit though, she calms easily.  Thankfully she seems well dispositioned that way.  I'm crossing my fingers that trend continues.

But, given all this I am seriously at times treating this like it will be a piece of cake, which honestly worries me a slight bit.  Have I repressed the memories of the effects that a lack of sleep will have on a new dad who is on the wrong side of 40?  Am I forgetting how quickly a fairly well put together adult man can devolve into a slothenly, unkempt, walking zombie of a dad with bags under his eyes chugging coffee straight out of the decanter to keep sane? Am I fooling myself into believing that I will sail through this time along with my brand new daughter?

Probably.  But it's certainly nicer this way.

And hey, I survived the early months with Lukas didn't I?  Didn't I?  Darn right I did.   I don't remember them very well, but I did survive.  That I am fairly certain of.

Of course writing this all down is kind of bringing back some of those memories.  The picture perfect moments have been what I have mostly remembered from those days, but making jokes about being tired has had the strange effect of flooding me with those memories once again.  Suddenly, I am not so confident that it will be smooth, or easy for that matter.

Still, I not going to freak out at the thought.   I just need to continue to tell myself one simple thing.  One thing  that fake it till they make it folks convince themselves of all the time.

Don't worry people.

"I've got this."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for Quiet Alert Time

Happy Thanksgiving folks.

The LIAYF family are very thankful that we were able to spend the afternoon with Annabelle, who is still at the hospital but doing well.   We took the nurses a stack of pumpkin pies with real whipped cream today.  It never hurts to be on the good side of the hospital staff, plus they are wonderful human beings.

And the best news it that it looks like we will be bringing her home soon.

This video was obviously shot with my camera phone.  I'm sure you will enjoy the old school quality and grainy effects.  In reality though, it's the casting that makes a film watchable.  Enjoy.

Like ours, I  hope your Turkey day was filled with things to be thankful for too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Going Price for Teeth

Lukas is already showing that he is going to be a terrific big brother to Annabelle.  In addition to all the hugs and kisses he has bestowed upon her tiny little body, there have been other things too.   For instance, in an apparent attempt to bond with his new sister, who has zero teeth yet, he went and lost one of his own Wednesday!  How is that for showing love?

Acutally, Mrs. LIAYF and I have know for a while that the tiny chunk of enamel was about to go, as he has been wiggling it around for a couple of weeks now.  And we  have been keeping him on guard too, reminding him daily that if it falls out to save it by any means necessary.  That strategy paid off Wednesday morning as his mother woke him up.  His first words were "What?, Wait!" before sticking his tongue out with the tooth sitting on top.

When I shared the news on Twitter today, I got a reply from my buddy and fellow Seattle Dad Blogger Daniel over at Post Post Modern Dad, who indicated that his 5 1/2 year old son also lost his first tooth that same day!  What are the odds of that?  Lukas, however, fared a bit better than his toothless counterpart, who I am told actually LOST his tooth, probably swallowing it.  Poor little guy.  Never fear though, as Daniel relayed a plan to trick the tooth fairy.  I can't wait to find out how that went.

When we told Lukas about Daniels son losing his tooth, he genuinely felt bad for him, even making a super sad face.  So, to make him feel better we explained what the tooth fairy would have to do to recover that particular tooth.  We dubbed that fairy 'The Poop Fairy'! That, of course, made Lukas laugh and feel much better.

Speaking of the Tooth Fairy, a few days ago Lukas came home from school and announced to us that "Holden said the Tooth Fairy gave him $100 for his tooth!"  We, of course, were flabbergasted at the notion.  "When you lose your tooth we are taking it to Holden's house"  I let him know with a smile.  "He's either mistaken, or his fairy is better off than ours".

What does a tooth actually go for these days?  We wondered that as well, so Mrs. LIAYF turned, or course, to the Interwebz for an answer.  Any guesses?


If you guessed that I commend you. And, I want to talk to you about picking some lucky numbers for me.

As for Lukas?  His wasn't exactly the High Rolling fairy that "Holden" had, but neither was she the $1.88 Super Saver fairy either.  Rather, she was the perfect Fairy for Lukas, leaving him an assortment of interesting coins and even a $2 bill.  Oh, and she left him a nice little note too.

Yes, our Tooth Fairy Rocks.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Has 8 Legs and Protects Daughters?

As a first time father to a new baby girl, I am already hatching a plan to ward off would be suitors when I finally allow Annabelle to date 30 or so years from now.

Sure, my first inclination was to immediately drive out to my nearest Big 5 Sporting Goods store and purchase that tried and true symbol of fatherly protection - the 12 gauge shotgun -which has undoubtedly served it's purpose for countless teeth gritting dad's over literally hundreds of years.

But then I also thought of Lukas & Annabelle and what having a gun in the house would actually mean, and I knew that this just wouldn't do. (Yes, in the scenario I just laid out one would assume Lukas would be 35 and still living at home, but just roll with it okay? Need I remind you that I'm the father of an newborn?)

So, of course I next thought of Spiders.  My internal conversation was something like  "Spiders!! Brilliant.  Yes, that would be perfect. Spiders!!"

Allow me to explain.  Back when I was starting High School I had a sister who was 2 years older than me and beginning to date.  In fact, I still have her but she is well past the dating age now, being happily married for 27 years.  But back then she would bring a her potential boyfriends home to hang out and meet our parents.

And notably our Dad.

We grew up on the family dairy farm, which my father and brother still operate today, and actually owned a couple of shotguns at the time.  But did my dad ever try to intimidate these boys with a gun?  Nope.  He used spiders.  Yes, spiders!  You see, the farm has a signature old red barn with high ceilings built by my great grandfather back in 1922.

The Iconic Family Farm Barn

The ceilings are the floorboards of the hay loft above, and in the rafters of that ceiling the spiders have been spinning webs since the beginning of time itself. That would be 1922 for purposes of this story.

It was in that old red barn that my dad would send these boys, armed with a pair of goggles, a broom, and instructions to clean out the layers of ancient cobwebs.  This was surely the nastiest job ever invented, and few survived more than a few minutes at it before deciding it was time to go home.  Brilliant!

Not the actual inside of the barn, but you get the picture.
Photo credit

Now, I don't suppose I would drive any of Annabelle's potential suitors an hour and a half south to the farm when the time comes, but....I am thinking that if I gather enough large spiders, release them into my garage, then lock the door for a couple of decades, I just may have a pretty decent deterrent for any punk who thinks he is good enough to date my little girl. Ha!

With that said, there will be no more smashing in my house.  We will henceforth always use the cup trick to cover, catch, and release our eight legged friends into the garage.

Sure enough the boys will come in a few years.  But when they do this dad will be ready for them, complete with a pair of goggles and a trusty broom.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Annabelle, I am Your Father

Annabelle - 1 day old.

You may have noticed that I have been absent here for a spell.  Sorry for that, but I have been a bit pre-occupied as of late.  Mostly the normal stuff.  You know, work, household chores, taking care of a 5 year old, errands, and the like.

Oh, and then there is the part where I am also a Father once again.  Did I mention that one?  No?  Well, I probably should get to it already.

Our newly adopted daughter, Annabelle, was born last Tuesday the 30th of October at 4:05 PM Pacific Standard Time. She weighed 7 lbs 1.9 oz, and was 19.5 inches long.   She has dark brown hair, and when she opens her eyes they are a heavenly shade of blue.

She is perfect!

The finalization of the adoption is still a ways off, but just a formality.  Mrs. LIAYF and I gained custody of our daughter Friday afternoon as our attorney pretty much raced through the streets of Seattle, diving through the closing doors of the local courthouse in order to get the matter onto the docket.  He's awesome that way.

This was a good thing, because we were holding off on telling Lukas until we knew the decision was final.  When he found out he was over the moon, rocking his new sister for nearly an hour, feeding her a bottle, and showering her with kisses. The torture will have to wait a few years.

This says it all.

Baby Annabelle won't be coming home quite yet, and will be staying at the hospital for while, which will actually give Mrs. LIAYF and I time to get some of our ducks in a row for her arrival.

But, bottom line:  She is ours to keep.  She is ours to love.  She is ours to raise in a loving home filled with laughter and passion and compassion and curiosity and wonder and a generous spirit.  And we couldn't be more thrilled!

Our 1st picture together.  

I also wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who wished us well, gave us words of encouragement, commented here on the blog, or posted our adoption badge on their own website.  That has meant a lot.

Now, another journey begins.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yard of the Flies

Ours being a double block, which is also flat, there are a lot of families with kids on it.

I said kids but what I really should have said was boys.  There are a lot of BOYS on our block.  Tons really.  That is, of course, if one were to add up their collective weights.   Those of us with boys in our family unit however, know that this would be next to impossible...since you could never get them to stand still long enough to get an accurate read on their weights in the first place.

They are always moving, these boys.  Much like boys in every corner of the globe I assume.

And no where is that reality more evident than on our double sized block.  There is one front yard in particular where they congregate to commence with their wilding and mayhem, boy style. 

I have taken to calling it The Yard of the Flies.

On any given afternoon there are upwards of 10 boys of various ages who gather with swords and sticks and lightsabers and tennis rackets and any other household item that can be remotely imagined as a weapon, ready to participate in mock battle sequences and the like.  Honest to goodness, yesterday one of them was wielding a chainsaw over his head chasing around the other kids cackling before catching up to a couple of unlucky fallen ones and pretending to cut their limbs off.  

Okay, that WAS Lukas but in his defense it was only a toy chainsaw and he found it in on the house's porch.  During all this madness I'm usually a safe distance away, guarding the signal fire.

Yes, these boys play like warriors a lot but it is certainly not all they do.  They have also set up obstacle courses, played classics like tag & hide and seek, as well as climbed trees and demonstrated to each other their various skills in a wide range different activities like solving the newest rage The Perplexus maze ball.  Lukas has one of those now too, and it's his new favorite toy.

This house is across the street, which is routinely busy, so up until recently we hadn't let Lukas partake in the wild rumpus and fun that takes place in The Yard of the Flies.  Now though, we think he is old enough to account well enough for himself to join in - but only if he is still supervised by either myself or Mrs. LIAYF.

Oddly, on many days we are the only parents standing out there keeping an eye on the boys.  The other parents are watching from the relative safety of their houses.  Perhaps we are a teeeesy bit overprotective of him but he is still our first and only child. Plus I did mention the battles, didn't I?

It may sound crazy and at times dangerous and not for the feint of heart, but in actuality these are all very good boys from good families who are outside playing and making friends and using their imaginations and getting much needed exercise for kids their age.  I am especially impressed with the older boys, some closing in on their teens, who treat the younger ones like Lukas with a measure of gentleness. 

Best of all, during all this imaginative play these boys are not sitting in front of screens munching on chips and drinking soda.  And that's a pretty good thing in my book.

I just hope they don't all decide to turn on me one of these days.

How about you readers?  Do you have a Yard of the Flies where you live?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Small Boy Spotted Flying High Above Seattle

After a few timing and booking delays held us up for some time, this past Saturday the LIAYF crew and I were finally able to take advantage of a Lukas' FINAL 5th birthday gift. Yes, we tend to draw things out on occasion.

Mrs. LIAYF and I bought the Helicopter Ride for 3 as a birthday gift for Lukas last fall.  This was actually part of a Living Social deal, proving that if you are patient enough to wade through the 50 or so email 'deals' a week you might just find something worthwhile to purchase.   Anyway, we have been sitting on it all this time and our year window was about up, so rain or shine we were touring the Seattle skyline on Saturday.

Thankfully, it shined!

We took off from Boeing field just south of the city, hovering about 20-30 feet above the ground for a minute or two, which was a sensation unlike any we had ever experienced.  Needless to say it was pretty cool.  

We were immediately so taken with the gorgeous views of the city and surrounding region that we didn't say anything as our pilot headed East over Lake Washington towards the city of Bellevue.  We had wanted to ask if he could instead fly West and do a flyby of our neighborhood and modest home.  But instead, within minutes we had crossed the lake and our pilot, Charles, was pointing out a somewhat less modest home bordering the lake.

If you hadn't guessed, the home in the center of the picture above belongs to one William Gates Jr., otherwise famous for being the richest man in the world.  And just to think, a 5 minute helicopter ride to the west would bring you to a house owned by a family in the other 99.99999% (number of .9's a completely random guess). 

Anyway, just after that I remembered to ask if we could fly west and was informed that we didn't have the time.  Not on the Living Social special anyway.  Given that, we would simply have to enjoy some to the other sights, the region had to offer.  So we turned and headed back towards Seattle.

Lukas was relatively quiet during the trip, which was proof that he was pretty impressed since he is usually talking non-stop, and would certainly have been checking out all the cool buttons and levers the small copter had to offer.  We did, however, communicate with him through the headsets and he was particularly impressed seeing several playgrounds and soccer games being played as we passed over.

Minutes later we were back over the city, taking time to circle the hills on the north end and watching the cruise ships leaving Elliot Bay before flying close to, and around another famous Seattle Icon, The Space Needle.

After banking around the Needle we proceed down along the city waterfront to the south end where the Seattle sports stadiums are located.

And to my utter surprise and enjoyment, since I am a huge Seattle Mariners fan, the pilot flew us almost directly over Safeco Field allowing us to look down into the stadium, where the team was busy practicing for a game with the Texas Rangers. 

I'm sure it's not a coincidence that the Mariners won this game.

From there we continued on south back to Boeing Field to finish out this fantastic trip from Helicopters Northwest, which we would definitely recommend to anyone visiting the region.  

Best of all, Lukas absolutely loved his final birthday gift, calling it "Cool" and giving it his final seal of approval.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tweetcycling VI

I just realized that it's been quite a while since I did my last Tweetcycling post. Over a year actually, and probably for good reason.  But hey, I won't let that deter me.

Somebody stop me! (In my best Jim Cary Mask voice).

For those of you new to LIAYF since my last version, this is the series where I give some of my crappy little used humor tweets a second chance at life. You can read the first four installments here I, II, III, IV, V.

As always, you will find these tweets barely used and in decent condition. 


Forget the bed of hot coals. If you really want to inspire a parent, teach them to walk barefoot painlessly over a carpet full of Lego's. 

5yo: " I really liked the cheese you packed me today!" His Mom: "Those were pats of butter, buddy"

Earlier ~ 5yo: "Dad, you remember the time when we saw those Crawdad's fighting in the lake?" Me: "You mean from 10 minutes ago? Yeah, I do" 

Just used my rudimentary Origami skills to make an old favorite. Coffee Filter from Brawny Sheet. 

Pondering his missing favorite shirt, 5yo's first proper use of "Maybe a Robber broke in and stole it" Proud Dad.

Just heard a gal ask a guy if his dog was a 'Datsun' 

Betting my 5yo has a dog-eared copy of 'The Extending Bedtime Encyclopedia' under his mattress. Hungry, Thirsty, Pee, Question. Whats next? 

Found a phone book on our porch today. It has already served a purpose, as we laughed at the absurdity of it's existence. 

If the nations capitol were located in Seattle the national bird would be a Bald Seagull. 

I'm thinking of boycotting Science Fiction. Seriously, when was the last time you heard mention of a Father ship? 

Just killed a giant fly. It looked a bit like Jeff Goldblum. 

As soon a I get my Crown later today, I am throwing my dentist in the dungeon to rot. I can do that, right?  

I have a beer named after me! Sure, It's just one bottle and I named it, but it is still an honor.

I bet that right about now, Gaddafi is really kicking himself for not getting the Flux Capacitor. 

The label at the end of the string on my green tea bag says 'Private Collection'. Because I've reached that station in life.  

Took a bite of my 4yo's half eaten & abandoned corn dog tonight. Tell me there's a support group for this.

Tell me readers, if this didn't finally drive you away of course, some of your own favorite humor tweets.  Happy Saturday. 

I have to work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 1 Down - Thousands to Go

"Go on, lean in.  Listen.  You hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary."

 ~ Dead Poets Society

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Scarface Dad

Say Hello to my Leeetle lines.

We went to a Superhero birthday party Sunday for three former Pre-K buddies of Lukas'.  It was at one of those bouncy house places. He had a terrific time.

Of course, he was beet red in the face and probably already on the road to dehydration withing the first 5 minutes.  It was no where close to a record, but a respectable time nonetheless.  And those places can get pretty wild too.  For instance I saw a bloody nose, a kick to the head, and one parent dragging another sweaty and crying kid over to a bench to administer juice treatment, during one 10 minute span alone.

The whole thing was something like a mix between MMA and WWF -  with capes thrown in.  The only thing missing was a cage.

Thankfully he survived though, and so did we.

Afterwards, back at home while we were eating dinner, Lukas mentioned how the other boys thought his scar (the one from the camping trip incident) was pretty cool.   A scar always gives you good cred with other boys.  After all, you have been bloodied, and lived to tell about it.

"I think it's fading though dad" he let me know as he pulled back the hair on his forehead to let me see where the gash had been.  The redness of it was indeed becoming less pronounced. Then, as I leaned in to take a closer look he squinted his eyes and looked back at me with a concentrated look.

"You have a scar too dad"  he announced.   This got the attention of Mrs. LIAYF who was also seated at the dinner table.  "Oh yeah, where is that?" I asked, genuinely curious as to what he was referring.

Had I forgotten about an old wound that upon up close examination he was now witnessing? 

With that he lifted his finger and pointed to the edge of my left eyebrow and ran his finger across, just above the bridge of my nose.

"Right. There." he announced.

I was just about to ask if that made me cool too when a smiling Mrs. LIAYF, who couldn't contain herself, chimed in with.  "That's not a scar Buddy, that's a wrinkle.  Daddy has a few of them." And, with that, she started laughing.  Of course this made Lukas laugh too which, in turn, made me laugh as well.

I'm sure glad we could all have a laugh about my ever advancing age.

You know, I'm fairly certain getting old would be no where near as funny without a 5 year old around to share it with.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Skull Hunters

Lukas had his pirate happening on Friday night.  We were out for dinner to celebrate our  'First Night of Vacation'  and he was decked out in his black shorts which were adorned with skulls.

To top it off, he was also wearing a new belt (his first) that sported a very neat metal buckle - complete with skull and cross bones, and which also held a solid plastic ruby studded sword within easy reach in case an opportunity to plunder just happened to present itself.  You'd be amazed at how often that actually happens.

The whole look was very Blonde Beard.

Anyway, as we were roaming the neighborhood post dinner, we stopped into our local independent record store when Lukas decided we needed to play a game of find the treasure.  (Treasure can be various things, in case you were wondering.  Anything from real coins, to make believe items.)  On this night though, he decided we were searching for skulls.  SKULLS.  Apparently, we needed to find 10 to get ALL the treasure.

"Ooooh, there's one!"  he excitedly called out spotting the following album cover:

Onethorix.  Anyone?
As he kept walking he was not having any more luck though, he looked back and forth, and was immediately discouraged.  "I can't find any more Dad" he bemoaned.  "Hmmm" I responded. "well this is the Rap section bud.  If you want to find Skulls, you need to head on over to the Metal section."

On the way over there, after asking the record guy the way, he looked up and there on a high wall he spotted a large poster version of the album art for the Ting Tings Sounds from Nowheresville.  "That makes 3!" he called over to me.

Once at the metal section we started thumbing our way through the bins to see what we could find.  After a few seconds I pulled out a Metallica Greatest Hits CD which raised the count to 5.

A few discs later Lukas pulled out another CD with a skull on it. "Six?" He asked with a puzzled lookon his face as he studied the album cover art.

 "Uh, yeah" I responded.  "I guess that would qualify.  That looks pretty silly doesn't it?"   "Yeah", he responded.   And as I was looking over realizing we had somehow ventured into the Death Metal section, I was also pulling another disk out of the pile.

I took one look at it, slipped it back down, and decided that maybe it was a good time to move on to something else.

"I think we have found enough Skulls for now buddy."  I offered.  "How about we look for something else instead?  Birds maybe?"

"Yeah, that would be good"  he agreed "I have an idea" and was off to another section.  When I caught up to him, this is what he was holding up as his found treasure:

"Good One?" He asked.  "Yes, it is" I responded with a smile.

No it wasn't a parrot, but this bird was still more the type of plunder I was comfortable with my little Pirate procuring there.

At least for now.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

So Long, and Thanks for All the GoldFish

As I mentioned in my previous post, after nearly 5 years with his current care provider, Friday will be Lukas' last day at Pre-K there.  Wow.

I have to say, despite what I wrote in my last post, up until now it hasn't REALLY sunk in.  And, given that, there hasn't been a lot of emotion about the day from anyone involved.  However, now that I am writing this post it is starting to seem very real.  Change is here.  It feels....a bit scary actually.

Mrs. LIAYF and I have treated this week here pretty much like any other, with only a few mentions about how he will not be seeing a whole lot of his friends after Friday.  We have, though, talked about setting up some play dates to try to soften the blow.

In reality, almost all his gang are from other parts of the city, so Friday will probably be the last time he sees some of them - although there is a birthday party for 3 of them in a couple of weeks where many others will attend.

Lukas is aware of this fact for the most part.  Mrs. LIAYF and I  have not belabored it so as not to make too big a deal out of what may end up being one of the most stressful times of his young life.  Most of the time our son is very good about dealing with all kinds of changes so we are hoping that he won't hit a point where he is really sad about it even though we know having such emotions is not a bad thing.  Just something to work through with understanding and love.

We will be a bit sad about leaving the facility as well.  Not as much as we would have thought a few months ago, but it's change for us too.  Different routines to get used to.  Different adults to learn to trust handling the one thing we treasure most in life.

For the past 5 years Lukas received good care from this group of caregivers.  For that we are grateful.  In the end however, we had a decision to make.  To keep him there another year, or to send him to kindergarten.  That decision was shaping up to be one of the most difficult Mrs LIAYF ever had to make.  In the end though, there were a few recent instances we experienced with them which made it clear that Lukas would not benefit from another year there.  Despite all the arguments for Red-Shirting, we couldn't ignore that.  Plus, intellectually he is extremely ready to move on.

Instead he will be going to kindergarten in a small class in our neighborhood where the teacher/student ratio is 10 to 1, and the mix is K-2.  We were elated to get the spot, as it seems to be just the type of environment he needs.

So Lukas will have his last day at his Pre-K Friday.  He should have a lot of fun since a pajama party is planned, along with an undisclosed movie (we are never told about them) and tons of sugary treats.  I'm sure it will get a bit on the wild side at times.

Afterwords we will clear out his cubby one last time, probably give a few hugs, then say so long...

And thanks for all the goldfish.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hey Everybody! It's My Dad!

I entered Lukas' Pre-K classroom for one of the last times on Monday.  We have been there for nearly 5 years, but the time has come to move on.  

I guess I was feeling a bit nostalgic thinking of how quickly time has passed, because I lost myself for just a moment thinking of all the memories that have been made having him across the street from my work.  All the times I have spent my lunch hour reading him books before mussing his hair, giving him a huge bear hug and kiss, then walking back across the road to continue my work day.  Having him this close has certainly helped alleviate many a stressful morning, giving me the perspective needed to finish out the work day with.

That's why I was so touched that, when I entered the room and picked him out amongst the wriggling mass of tiny moving body parts, his eyes met mine and he let out a smile that ran wider than the mighty Pacific. 

Almost immediately he raised his arms over his head in triumph and shouted at the top of his lungs "Hey everybody!  It's my Dad!"  before sprinting over to me and leaping resolutely into my arms.

I have to say, that never gets old.

"You're happy to see me, Buddy?" I asked, beaming myself.  This is the way it's supposed to be.  The only thing better would have been to have it play out in slow-motion, with touching music. In the background I could hear the teacher calling out something authoritatively to the rest of the group.

There, in my arms, he again he raised his arms over his head and let out a enthusiastic "YES!" 

But there was something different about this yes.  It seemed more like a "Yes" of triumph.  Then, I realized that he wasn't even looking at me.  His eyes were fixed across the room, towards his friends.

"YES" he said again pumping his arms downwards - then up again. This was followed immediately by an equally enthusiastic "I DON'T HAVE TO CLEAN UP!"

Afterwords, he reached down and gave me a big hug around the head.  He was definitely happy to see me. 

In a perfect world, the music would have drowned out that last part.  But I'm good with nearly perfect.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Word You're Searching for is Space 'Commander'

Imagine for a moment if you could meet one of your idols. Someone who currently holds a position and the prestige that you yourself someday aspire to.  Someone that millions of people around the world look to as a symbol of the very best in their craft.  How cool would that be?

Very cool right?

Perhaps it would be like me meeting the most efficient middle manager in the all the world.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure he (or she) would be the most interesting person on the planet.  Oh, the stories I'm sure he could tell.  Wow.

Alright, alright.  Maybe using me as an example in this story is not such a good idea. about you imagine instead that you just turned 5 years old and you have been into everything rockets and space since the tender age of 2.  And, also imagine that also since that time you have only wanted to be one thing when you grow up.  An Astronaut.

The Shuttle Atlantis

Then, imagine your parents tell you that the module used to train all the Space Shuttle astronauts is coming to your local Museum of Flight, and will be a  permanent exhibit.  Permanent.  Do you think you would be excited then?  Darn right you would be excited!  You'd be thrilled.

But do you know what would thrill you even more?  No?  Well, I'll tell you what would thrill you more. That would be if you were told that you would be able to meet a real live Space Shuttle astronaut - more than one actually.  But, specifically, the one who grew up in your neighborhood AND who piloted the Shuttle Trainer to the museum landing sight that very same day inside the NASA Super Guppy.

NASA Super Guppy

Do you think you would be even more excited?  SURE YOU WOULD!  And if you had yourself a 5yo sized NASA flight suit you would probably even wear it to greet him.

And when that astronaut saw you approach and, reading the patch on your flight suit, greeted you by saying "Hello Commander"  you might blush just a bit and be slightly timid in your approach.  But, as you got into position for your picture with a real astronaut, your smile would give away just how excited you really were.

Lukas and Commander Greg Johnson - Astronaut

You can't tell me that wouldn't be cool.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

'Felixing' Catches On

I posted last week about our having attended the Felix Hernandez Perfect Game for the Mariners and how special that experience that was. 

Well, after Felix struck out the final Tampa Bay Rays batter of the game, he struck a familiar pose that is now oft imitated around Seattle, and the world really.

Striking that pose is being called "Felixing", and it's catching on.  It's even been noted that, as a result of Felixing one can "LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN"

If you have any doubt this is catching on, just Google Felixing and check out the results.

Seriously, this trend is so cool even my man Eddie Vedder was seen Felixing at a M's game this week.

The mania did not evade our home either.

And, you think this trend is catching on now, just imaging what would happen if The King throws another Perfect Game tonight against the struggling Cleveland Indians!  That's right, he takes the mound at home, in Seattle on Tuesday night seeking to guide the Mariners to their 7th straight win.

I've got a good feeling about this one.

And if any of the above happens, you can sure bet that there will be a whole lot of Felixing going on.

Happy Felix Day! readers.

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Camping" We Were

Just this past weekend, Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I went on our now annual "Camping" trip to Cama Beach State Park on Washington's Camano Island.  

As I have explained in previous posts, the quote marks are necessitated by the fact that instead of pitching a tent and roughing it properly, we actually stayed in a small one bedroom cabin...with electricity.  But, before you jump the gun and make a hasty judgement regarding our camping cred, I will point out that we had to pack in everything for the trip, even the bare essentials, there was no bathroom in the cabin, and worst of all.....wait for it.....there was no WiFi! 

Yes, roughing it we were. (Does the Yoda voice convince you? No? Even the slightest bit? I doubted it would.)

Okay, it may not have been roughing it, but it was a pretty fun trip anyway.  It was definitely our type of camping.  Despite the cabin accommodations, we still cooked all our meals outdoors, stayed up late around a bonfire roasting marshmallows, stargazing, and spent time roaming the surrounding trails and beach.  And, for the first time in the 3 years we have been taking this trip we invited friends too.  Our party actually had a total of 7 of the 40 cabins that are available at the site, which added a whole new level of fun and camaraderie to the trip compared to the previous two years.

We did, however, have a bit of a scary moment on the first night as Lukas who was running towards the public bathroom tripped and fell forward just as the metal door was being opened from the inside.  The sharp door hit him smack in the middle of the forehead opening an inch and a half gash into his  hairline.  Luckily, Mrs. LIAYF was right behind him and scooped him into the women's room as he bled profusely all over the place.  It was so bad, I was even called into the Ladies bathroom to help out. 

 By the next morning, the bleeding still hadn't completely stopped, so we drove him an hour to an urgent care center where they glued his wound closed, apparently the equivalent of a few stitches.  Through it all he was very brave, and thanks to the quick reactions of Mrs. LIAYF and the help of other campers, it wasn't much worse and he recovered his spirits very quickly. 

He even seemed to like the reaction he got when he would tell all who inquired what happened, "Well....I just cracked my head open."

The next afternoon he and Mrs. LIAYF even got to go sailing on a large sailboat visiting the neighboring Center For Wooden Boats.  The captain was kind enough to allow him to take the wheel on a couple of occasions.

Above, was my view of his trip.  That's because there wasn't enough room on the boat for one extra person.  Instead I was offered the chance to sail on a much smaller 'Pelican' sailboat of which the crew included the captain, myself and two other tourists who had never sailed before.  This may have been the last time I saw them as the current and wind were strong and our captain was a bit green around the edges. 

3 hours later, we gave up and I had to Google the Center and call on my iPhone to tell them to come give us a tow back.  We were quite a ways down the sound by then and the 4 of us were joking all the time about our 'Rescue', the one pack of crackers we had between us, whether the militarized dolphins would surface on either side of the boat to allow us to grab their dorsal fins and give us a tow, and if there would be a crowd with survival blankets to greet us when we arrived.   All there was was an empty boat house though. 

Everyone else in our party, oblivious to my peril, were back at the cabins grilling up dinner.  I joined them with a story to tell around the camp fire that night.

Despite all the added drama, it was still a peaceful, relaxing, trip which served to melt away the stresses of normal everyday life.

We're already making plans for next year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Perfect (Game) Attendance

If you follow me on Twitter, or just happen to have noticed one of the widgets on the right hand column of this blog, you are probably aware that I am a big professional baseball fan.  Specifically, a fan of my hometown team, the Seattle Mariners.

However, as big a fan as I am Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, and I don't get out to the ballpark very often.  In fact, before up to the point, we hadn't been attended a game all season long. That all changed on Wednesday when we, along with my parents, took in an afternoon game at Seattle's Safeco Field.

We picked the Perfect game to attend.

That's because The King, Felix Hernandez, pitched the 23rd Perfect Game in Major League History, and the first for the Mariners!  It was absolutely amazing to watch.  We were standing and cheering loudly the whole 8th and 9th innings, and erupted in euphoria after the final out.  We were even high-fiving complete strangers, but it didn't matter since, for a franchise and city aching for good news, this was something worth celebrating.

If you want a condensed version of what we saw (minus the time in line for Pulled Pork sandwiches, beer, and lemonade of course) you can see all 27 outs back to back in this video:

As a baseball fan, this has to rank as the best moment I have ever witnessed in person, barely edging out Ken Griffey JR's 8th homerun in as many games, at the old Kingdome on July 28th, 1993. Yes, for a sports fan, this was like finding the Holy Grail.

But what made it even more memorable, was the fact that I got to share it with those I love.  Especially Lukas, who at the tender age of 5 can now say that he has been witness to history.

I have no doubt that he will remember this day forever.  Especially since I will be reminding him of it so often. He will probably eventually be sick of me saying "Remember that time we went to the 23rd Perfect Game in baseball history?  Did you know that that was out of approximately 400,000 games played? Yeah, we were there."

Hopefully not though, since he was able to cross Attend Perfect Game off his bucket list before he even understands the concept.

How about you readers?  What is the most memorable sporting moment you have witnessed with your kids?

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Sublime Parenting Moment

One of the things that kept me sane during many of those sleep deprived evenings I spent rocking Lukas in a seemingly vain attempt to get him back to sleep when he was a newborn was thinking of all the amazing experiences I would someday get to share with him.  I would imagine the excitement he would display when Mrs. LIAYF and I finally introduced him to his first taste of ice cream, or took him to his first baseball game, or to his first movie in a theater. Those sorts of things.

Of course, what really sustained me during those wee hours was imagining what I  myself would be feeling as I stood beside my son as he experienced those memory making events.

Well on Sunday night at 10:30 PM - long past Lukas' bed time, while the three of us were on our annual camping trip far from the lights of the city, we stepped out of our small cabin which sat at the edge of a rocky beach on Washington's Puget Sound and listened to the waves slap against the shore.  It was a warm afternoon, with the temperatures reaching into the mid 80's but had cooled quickly with the setting of the sun.

We brought our pillows, blankets, and a sleeping bag for Lukas which we lay upon the top of a picnic table just outside our door.  Lukas crawled in and laid on his back as instructed.  Mrs. LIAYF and I each also laid on our backs on a bench to either side of the table to make sure he didn't accidentally roll off.

Then, looking up into the sky, we waited.

Before long a streak of light shot across the sky in an amazing display.  "Did you see that buddy?!" I called up to him.  "Yeah! I saw it!" was his reply.  "Wasn't that pretty cool?" Mrs. LIAYF asked.  "It was! It was" he responded.   After not too much longer, another star shot across the sky headed towards the horizon.  We all let out a collective "Oooooooh!" as the flaming rock glanced off Earths atmosphere. 

A couple minutes later a bright light, too high to be an airplane and with lights not flashing, steadily made its way from West to East across the night sky.  "Do you know what the light is Lukas?" I asked him.  After getting no reply I told him it had to be the International Space Station.  As it moved further East, we watched the reflecting light of the Sun dim until it was no longer visible.  "Wow, that's cool" he finally responded. "And do you see that white streak running through the sky? That's the part of our galaxy of stars.  It's called The Milky Way."  "Mom, we can see Milky Way!" Lukas excitedly called out, even though she was right there for the entire conversation.

This night of watching the sky was the embodiment of what I had imagined 5 years ago as I held my newborn son in my arms.  To me this was sublime.

We stayed there, the three of us, laying on that picnic table for another half hour or so watching the Perseid Meteor Shower on full display.  In that time, we saw perhaps a half more dozen shooting stars, a few satellites moving in random directions, and also a couple of passing jetliners. 

Then, it was time to gather up our son and take him back to bed.

But before I left him with Mrs. LIAYF, who lovingly read him a story, I held him in my arms and told him that I loved him.  I might have even rocked him back and forth slightly.  We've certainly come a long way in the past 5 years.

Afterwards, he slept the whole night through.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Things I Didn't Write About

The Arrival of the Shuttle Trainer -
Another Event I Didn't Recently Write About

First, let me say that I am shocked pleasantly surprised that at least some of you are still hanging around judging by the comments and hits on my last post. Thanks to all those who took the time.  It is appreciated. I'll be the first to admit it was starting to look run down and abandoned here.

It's kind of crazy that I waited so long to post.  Okay not crazy, but after posting at least once a week for over 4 years it felt like an eternity.  It's weird how quickly it can all slip away when  your priorities change.  I nearly even forgot how to start a new post.  Then, unless I was just imagining things,  when I figured it out and opened up the 'New Post' window I'm pretty sure I startled a couple of squatters here.  They proceeded to high tail it out, leaving a pile of dirty blankets at the bottom of the page, a few crumpled papers that appears to have been written in Russian, and a really peculiar smell.

This hiatus was not planned either.  I'm not one of those bloggers who has his schedule planned out perfectly, meaning there was not a announcement post letting everyone know that I was taking a month off.  In retrospect hat might have been a good idea.  But, in reality, every time I went to write something, the inspiration just wasn't there.  It became worse than writers block, in that I didn't even get to the point of writing.

It's not like I didn't have anything to write about.  There were plenty of things I didn't write about in the past month.  Like my 2 WEEK stint on Jury Duty.  That's right, I was that guy.  You know, the working stiff who finds himself stuck on a jury, trying to catch up on work with the jury room WiFi during legal wranglings.

The civil case involved a boy and his single mom suing a school after he put a drill press through the palm of his hand.  He claimed it was due to negligence on the part of the school, but turns out he was messing around and stuck his hand right into it.  Although I could empathize with the mom and wanting financial security for her son, there wasn't a lot of honesty in their claims.We found for the school.  I was even voted the foreman.

I could have also wrote about our trip to the farm to celebrate Lukas' 5th birthday.  Or our recent viewing of the Blue Angels air show, which was amazing.  Maybe even the fun we had at our local street fair, or parade complete with a ship full of Pirates blowing off an awfully loud cannon! 

I could have written about a couple of our family bike rides, one where Lukas biked nearly 10 miles on his new 16" bike (which I could have also written about!)

A couple of things I didn't write about but probably still will, are the time Lukas got to meet some real Astronauts, and also the final chapter in our hard wrought decision on whether to Red Shirt Lukas for kindergarten this year.  Another post might even revolve around the disappointing circumstances which finally helped us decide.

But those are topics for another day.  One hopefully not too far in the future because thankfully with that last post I am feeling a bit like my old bloggy self again.  I doubt that this means that I will be back to a semblance of my old posting schedule, but I hope to not leave month long gaps in my timeline either.

Besides, I need to guard this place in case lest those squatters come back.