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.