Monday, January 28, 2013

Zen and the Art of 2nd Child Mainteance

I admit it.  As first time parents 5 years ago, Mrs. LIAYF and I were a wee bit high strung about parenting Lukas.

We were your prototypical urban professional new parents who worried about every little thing and, assuming we could over-achieve our way to successful parenting, we attempted to do just that. Anytime Lukas fussed, or cried, or made a move to another room once he was mobile, we were right there to help him, guide him, or when needed - solve his problems.  No, we didn't do everything for him, but we were there without delay at all times.

In fact, we were so intent on doing everything the RIGHT way as parents, that we were driving ourselves bit batty at times.  We were seriously intense, and often on edge.   However, we kept this very close watch on our son for most of the next few years, always doing things as a threesome.  Never actually letting him out of our sight.  And I mean that much more literally than you might expect.  We didn't worry that he was getting into a bottle of cleaning supplies, because we always had eyes on him.

We've all heard of helicopter parents.  Well, I was essentially Roy Scheider in Blue Thunder.

No, this is not the part of the post where I tell you how detrimental this has been to our son.  That's not where I am going here. In fact, if you read this blog regularly you will understand that Lukas is a wonderful boy.  Amazing really.  He is loving, empathetic, compassionate, inquisitive, and funny.  And that's just scratching the surface.  To put it in clear terms, Mrs. LIAYF and I couldn't be more happy with the way our son has turned out nearly 6 years later.

But now that we have a second child, we realize that we just can't do it the same way again.  Parenting with as much intensity that is.  Maybe it's because we are both in our 40's now and even more tired than before (if that is physically possible.) Or maybe it's because we are just mentally drained from all we have put into raising Lukas.  But, if we try to parent the same way with 2 kids in the house we would find it impossible to achieve.

We both realize this, and so we are approaching this experience a bit differently.

With Annabelle's arrival, Mrs. LIAYF and I have become noticeably more Zen in our parenting approach.  Perhaps it's out of necessity.  Perhaps it's because Annabelle is a better sleeper at this stage than Lukas was 5 years ago.  Perhaps it's because we are now experienced parents, and know what WON'T happen if we are not doing things perfect.  But whatever the reason, we are not nearly as stressed this time around.

One example of this took place a couple of weeks ago while I was still on paternity leave.  With Annabelle and Lukas in the car I drove into the city to pick up Mrs. LIAYF from work.  Annabelle had been sleeping nicely in the car, but once her mother got in, she woke up, and was hungry.

Unfortunately, I had no extra bottle to give her, so we had to wait until we got home for her to eat.  Of course, she began to wail and scream. Loudly!  Thankfully we were only 15 minutes from home.

Then we hit a back-up on the freeway. The car slowed to a stop.  And Annabelle started screaming with renewed vigor!

And, as she screamed and cried the intensity in the car became more pronounced. Lukas began to cover his ears.  It was then that I looked at Mrs. LIAYF, and she looked back at me.  And we both started to laugh uncontrollably.

The absurdity of the situation warranted it.  Of course, this made Lukas laugh too.  And after a few minutes, Annabelle screamed herself out, and was none the worse off for waiting that extra time to eat.

A few years ago, a similar situation may have put us both over the edge, second guessing ourselves, lamenting about it, and feeling like horrible parents.  But this time....not so much really.  We made a note to always have one more bottle in the bag than we think we need.  And we have.

Similarly, there have been many other day to day situations we have encountered as parents of a newborn that we are not getting ourselves worked up over.  We just take note, take a breath, and deal with them.  I have to tell you, it's a lot easier this way.  And I still think we are doing a fantastic job as parents to a newborn.  And a five year old too.   Plus, I think this new attitude has benefited both of them in at least one important way.

If their parents aren't stressed out and on edge, everyone can laugh more, love more, and enjoy ourselves more each and every day.

And we all know the positive benefits that can bring.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marshall, Luke and Me - On a Lego Expedition

A couple of days ago, I tweeted the following, about a Lego building challenge I received from Lukas.

Did he really say that!?  To a valley DEEP BELOW?  As in one of the all time best kids television shows The Land of the Lost Deep Below? 

You bet he did.  You know, I really have no idea where he picked up that phrase either. (wink, wink).

To The Land of the Lo-ahah-st!  Ahhhhh! Splash!!

Anyway, the point is that at this moment this challenge came completely out of the blue.  And I couldn't sit by and let it go unanswered. I had to do it...for all the Dads out there.  So yes, it was most definitely ON!

The only problem was that Lukas had been building his ship for some time.  And it was looking pretty cool.  He had at least a 15 minute head start on me. So I grabbed an open bin of spare parts close by and started to build.  Unfortunately, I went in cold. No plans, no sketching, no nothing.  You can see where I am going with this.

The plan was to have Mrs. LIAYF be the Judge.  She would tell us whose ship was cooler and thus declared the winner.  She was a natural at this, for obvious reasons to us - and since she has filled this role before.

After finishing my ship, I was first up.  I set my ship down in front of her and explained all the cool features.  I called it The Golden Grill of Doom!  I realize now this sounded like the Golden Girls of Doom.  As in Betty White. Doesn't exactly strike fear, does it?

But...the ship came complete with Mounted Egyptian Mummy, and Laser Blaster - which turned things into Cotton Candy.  How cool is that? Huh?

Next, it was Lukas' turn to present his ship The Nobody Gets Away to our judge.

Impressively, It came complete with a swivel cannon in back, another side mounted cannon, a motorcycle in rack for ground chases, and not one - but count em..two - detachable flyers to chase down any bad guys (like Mummys) who have the nerve to think they can escape.  It was formidable.

Before the verdict was even rendered I knew I'd been bested.  Especially since  The Golden Grill of Doom kinda broke into pieces on its inaugural mission of Eeeevil. YupI was indeed going down.  Down To a valley deep below.  Very deep.  I tried to concede, but alas it was too late.   Lukas and his ship were declared the winners of this round.  He raised his arms in triumph.

I congratulated him on a great ship,but vowed that I would be back, with a more amazing ship next time!

And I will too.


Just as soon as I figure out the right combination of crystals to get back home.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Not Your Standard Deduction

Oh the Joy!  We're entering tax time in the U.S. again readers.

This past year was certainly not a routine one, tax-wise, for our household. So today, Mrs. LIAYF and I have been sorting through our receipts looking for credits and deductions wherever we can find some.

We think we found a big one.

Thankfully we finalized Annabelle's adoption during the final week of 2012.

What's baby sign language for 'Refund'?  Anyone?

Friday, January 18, 2013

High Fiven Dad Blog

Up High!

Happy Friday readers.

I would like to start out by telling you some fantastic news.  I have been contacted by a publisher who wants me to turn Luke, I am Your Father into a book!  AND, they have offered me a big fat advance. So I can officially quite my day job and become a Stay at Home Dad.

Sure, I would like to like to start by telling you that.  But, of course it's not true.  This isn't a fairy tale after all.  This is the real world people! Snap out of it.  Stuff like that doesn't happen in the real world.  C'mon, tell me you didn't buy that line.  Actually, I know you.  You read this blog, and therefore immediately recognized that statement for the transparent stunt that it was.

Because this is the real world.

In the real world guys like me get up at the crack of dawn.  We grab a banana and a cup of Joe and then trudge out the door and grab the bus to work where we pour our heart and soul into our jobs, giving 110% and then some while pounding away bleary eyed at the keyboard because we haven't slept well the night before, with an infant in the house and all.

In the real world, guys like me then go home and help with dinner, read to the kids, fold laundry, and do the dishes.  In the real world, after playing the role of bad guy in a Lego adventure only their sons could dream up, guys like me will then help to get the kids bathed,  fed a snack, diapered, and put to bed.

Then in the real world guys like me will put the kids back to bed a couple more times, and convince them there are no monsters or aliens, or real life bad guys in their rooms intent on causing them harm, or give them a pacifier and tighten the swaddle just a bit.

Then, and only then, in the real world will guys like me sit down in front of the computer for a couple of the few moments we do have before going to bed and starting the process over once again, and write something hopefully profound and humorous about the whole process.

And, in the real world, if a guy like me is lucky - which I most certainly am - he will have more than his share of heart achingly beautiful, touching, and gloriously sublime moments in between, playing with and raising his precocious and adorable kids along side his amazingly generous, beautiful, and tolerant wife.

All this will, of course, have inspired him to keep writing about it.

For 5 whole years.

Yep, it's my Blogaversary today. So slap me some skin.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

We Sold Our Co-Sleeper to Pay for a Vacation

Mrs. LIAYF and I had a co-sleeper sitting in our garage for the past 5 and a half years.  It'd been there with all the outdated baby stuff we crammed in there after Lukas grew out of it all.  We were saving it for child #2.  I'm not sure exactly why we saved this item though.

Let me clarify.  He didn't actually grow out of the co-sleeper, rather it made it's way there within a couple short weeks of his birth.  You see, we tried the whole co-sleeping thing.  First with our newborn in the actual co-sleeper right next to the bed, but then in our bed when in the course of late night feedings he would simply end up staying in the bed with us.  That didn't work out to well for us.

The No-Sleeper

We just weren't getting much sleep doing it that way.  Not that we ended up getting a lot more sleep for a while afterwards, but at the time we bore a striking resemblance to a couple of Zombies from The Walking Dead.  We tired of that in a hurry, so to speak.  This might have been our blaming co-sleeping for the general tiredness that comes with having a newborn, but the fact was we were tired, and blamed it on our attempts to co-sleep with our infant.

We'd been doing it, the co-sleeping thing that is, for a couple of weeks when things finally came to head and we realized that this wasn't going to work.

We awoke one morning to the realization that co-sleeping has serious drawbacks.  At some point the previous evening co-sleeping became bed sharing.   I had apparently been snoring and on several occasions my snorts had woke up Lukas.  I say apparently since I still have no proof of this (Sweetie).  Anyway, with both Mrs. LIAYF and I sleep deprived, at some point in the dead of night we all passed out into a deep slumber, with Lukas sleeping between us in the bed.

When Mrs. LIAYF awoke she was mortified to see me asleep with the weight of my arm covering Lukas' face and mouth.  Further investigations confirmed the suffocation dangers of bed sharing with an infant as well.  Suffice it to say, that was the end of our whole co-sleeping/bed sharing experiment. We moved Lukas into a crib in his own room that same night.  He has not slept the night with us since.

And now, with Annabelle's arrival we have started her in her own room from day one.  Sure, it's a pain to get up out of the warm bed at 3:00 AM to go feed her, but that's temporary.  Like it did with Lukas, we figure this will pay off in due time in the form of sounder sleep for us all.

The benefits of this strategy became apparent to us again a few days ago when we sold it on Craigslist.  The father who came by to pick it up and his wife also had a newborn, a boy.  They needed the co-sleeper because, as he put it, they didn't have room in the bed for the baby.

The extra spot was already occupied - by their nearly 4 year old.  The dad was lamenting this fact to us as he was handing us the three Jacksons, and was quite surprised that we had a newborn as well.  We informed him of our choice not to co-sleep, but he told us that this was not the same choice he and his wife had made, unfortunately.

I know co-sleeping/bed sharing is a good or necessary choice for many families, and I am sure that those families probably make it work just fine.  It just wasn't for us.  I couldn't imagine Lukas, or Annabelle for that matter, still sleeping in our room let alone bed at the age of 4, 7, or even 10! - as sweet as they both are.

The Beautiful Scablands of Eastern Washington
We'll put the $60 from the sale away to pay for a vacation.  Invested properly it should net us a couple of days in beautiful Eastern Washington in a few years when we are once again able to travel.

Plus, both kids do quite well in their own rooms.  And we do still get short cuddles with Lukas between us in our bed a couple of times a week. We make those count.

What about you readers.  Do you, or did you co-sleep?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Dark Knight Falleth

The request came from behind me as I was holding Annabelle, who had a bottle in her mouth.

"Dad, can you play with me?"

I wondered how many times had I heard that request in the past few weeks while on paternity leave.  It had to be a lot.  Although I do my very best to try to accommodate my son's enthusiasm to include me in his imaginative games, with a new baby in the house it has been much more difficult of late.

With that in mind, and the lovely Mrs. LIAYF otherwise occupied preparing to leave for work, I turned to see Lukas  - with a smile as long and impressive as the Great Wall itself - looking at me with an extended plastic blue light saber pointed directly at me.  On the dining room table next to him sat another identical light saber, also extended.

I knew what this meant.

Thankfully Annabelle decided at the same time to take a break from her bottle, so I gently set her into her baby swing, turned on the power to medium swinging action, then made my move for the unclaimed saber. I knew my window with the baby was limited.

As I grabbed the plastic blade, Lukas took a swipe at me, serious but gentle of course.  I jumped backwards with light saber in hand.  "Missed me!"  I chided.  And with that we moved around the kitchen in a somewhat graceful dance, dueling with each other.  He moved fluidly, like a young Baryshnikov in the classic 80's movie White Nights. while I was more his Gregory Hines - not quite as skilled but determined nonetheless.

 "Take that!" he finally responded, swiping the blade across my legs.  We have played this game many times before, he and I.  And as if on cue,  I dropped to my knees in feigned agony, then started hopping on both of them right towards him, while he blocked my oncoming blade with ease and the skill developed from of many hours of practice.

Only, in this game I was not the dark figure you would expect.

Then he swiped his weapon across my right shoulder with glee, and laughing said "Gotcha!".  I dutifully switched the saber to the other hand placing my right arm behind my back.  "Just a flesh wound!" I loudly replied.  And when he next cut the other arm from my torso I also placed it behind my back, and hopped closer still...threatening to 'gum him'.

You see, in this game I am always The Black Knight of Monty Python fame. Lukas eats that up with endless laughter.  And so do I for that matter.

All of the sudden my window quickly began to close as Annabelle started to loudly protest her lack of attention.  At the same time Lukas decided to heal me for yet another duel.  And with both kids now demanding my full and utter attention, the stress level mounted a bit.  Then I thought of my role as the Black Knight, and also of the White Nights reference.

And it hit me.

Quickly replacing my blade with my trusty iPhone I deftly pulled up an app which Lukas has been quite enamored with of late.  I looked him in the eye to get his attention, "Lukas, do you want to play Chess on my phone while I feed Annabelle?".    "Sure", he replied, taking the phone from my hand and immediately becoming engrossed in a duel against the app.

Then having successfully made that transition, I once again took up the most trusty of weapons in this new fathers parenting arsenal, the bottle.  And Annabelle feasted heartily on victory, and on milk.

While Lukas battled Kings, Queens, and Black Knights clearly more skilled than I.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Needed: LEGO Mister Andersons

Lukas: "Dad, look at this Lego piece I built"

Me: "Cool, what is it?"

Lukas: "It's a machine that traps this robber, and sucks out his power while he thinks he is having a dream!"

Me: "Wow, that is cool buddy..."

Me: 'Can you find me one more red and one blue shiny round piece?"

Lukas: "Sure, why?"

Me: "Is his name Neo?"

Lukas: "Huh?"

Me: "Nevermind"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Parents: Bringing Hope to the World

A couple of days ago while on Twitter, I passed along a link to a post by Robert Duffer ( @RobertDuffer ) over at The Good Men Project titled 'What They Don't Know: The Dad Movement Has Never Been Stronger'.  The post seeks to call attention to the fact that despite the perception in the mainstream media that this is a down year for dads, there is much evidence to the contrary.  This includes pointing out the positive presence that Dad's have on the internet, including the work of many very involved Dad Bloggers.

Kudos to Duffer for pointing this out, and I suggest you read the article and visit many of the multitude of links he provides referencing the involvement of today's fathers.  

But that article is not actually the focus of this post.  It's the response I received on Twitter after passing the link along.  Here it is:

I was a little surprised by this tweet.  I'm not really sure I understand your perspective @PivotalDude -  Whether you have kids or not, or if you are just trying to look for reasons someone would want to be a parent in today's society.  That you mention you are not being snide indicates that this was a serious question. Well, the more I thought about it the more I wanted to respond in more than 140 characters.  I'll try here. 

To the first part of the question, what motivates me to bring kids into the world,  I actually posted -or possibly tweeted - about this in the past.  I didn't become a parent until I was nearly 40 and before then, honestly, I was ambivalent about kids.  I had no burning desire to be a parent, although I knew once it happened that I would be good at it and love my kids.  Like a lot of people I also asked myself those existential questions 'Why am I here?'  and 'What IS the purpose of all this?'.  

Amazingly though, once Lukas was born 5 years ago, those questions became crystal clear to me.  THIS is why I am here.  To raise kids and to carry on, in my own minuscule way, our species. It may sound like a platitude, but it's not.  I really feel this way.  Plus, as parents Mrs. LIAYF and I are not solely motivated to bring kids into the world.  We know there are so many kids out there already in need of a loving home. As my regular readers already know, after having our biological child my lovely wife  and I recently also adopted our daughter. 

As for the part about this being a  horrible world, I don't agree. Obviously, there are many horrible things going on in the world, and much suffering.   Unfortunately, there always has been and although we should continue to strive to eliminate as much suffering as possible, there always will be.  While many deliberate acts make me question the humanity of the parties involved, I still see most people as inherently good.

From my perspective, and if your were to ask my kids - although one can't talk and you would have to time it just right so that you ask the other when he is pausing to take a breath - they would probably tell you the same thing.  We are a family who is blessed to live in the age we do, with the technology, medical advancements, and access to healthy food, and warm shelter from the harshness of the outside world. I know how lucky we are compared to so many others but as citizens of the 'first world' we have seen so much suffering of the past eliminated. 

I could give a million examples of the advancements and also comforts we have today as opposed to the past, but of course I don't need to.  I will, however, say that our daughter spent 6 weeks in the hospital after her birth.  A hundred years ago, or even 50 she probably would not have had the opportunity to do so.   Personally, I think the world is far from horrible.

Finally, the idea that the world is 'hopeless' doesn't register with me either.  As a father I see an abundance of hope in it each and every day.  I see hope when I witness the smiles Lukas nearly always brings to those he interacts with.  I see hope when I watch as he runs over to another child who is alone and crying to ask if they are hurt or lost, all the while patting them on the back and telling them "It will be okay".  I see hope when my 2 month old daughter Annabelle looks into my eyes and grips my finger with her tiny little hand before letting out a smile.  I see hope when my son designs complex and interesting spaceships from spare Lego parts and talks of being the fist person on Mars.

Of course I'm not the only parent who sees this kind of hope in their children.  In fact, I would expect that most parents look at their children and see an abundance of hope.  Parents the world over.  That being the case, the world is far from hopeless.  Conversely, I would say it is filled with hope.  The hope that our kids will leave the world a better place than they found it.

Before I had kids I pondered those same sorts of questions.  Is it fair to bring kids into a world filled with so much grief? But today those kinds of questions seem laughable to me.  Our children deserve the chance, just like we had, to make their mark on the world.  To make it a little, or a lot, less hopeless and horrible.

And as parents we get to enjoy watching it happen.   These are the things, @PivotalDude,which motivate me to raise kids in today's complex world.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I Wasn't Up To This Challenge

This past week of Paternity Leave was, by far, the most difficult of my journey as a temporary Stay at Home Dad.

The main reason it was so difficult was that with Lukas still out of school until Monday I was on my own for much of it with two kids, not just the baby. They have different interests right now, these two. But Lukas needs to be active.

So yesterday I decided to take them to Seattle's Museum of Flight, where we have a membership.  I won't even get into the hi-jinx that came along with the trip.  Just suffice it to say, it wasn't exactly calming to the nerves.  

Nevertheless we were excited to see the recently completed Shuttle Trainer exhibit, after meeting the astronaut's who flew in the first section this past summer.

Lukas, who is still very enamored about all things astronaut and space - and who holds out some fleeting hope that he will travel to Mars some day - was pretty excited to walk into the cargo bay of the shuttle trainer and take an up close look at the attached robot arm, getting a first hand idea of the size and scale of the Shuttles.

After exiting the trainer,  Lukas parked himself in the front row of seats and in front of a large video screen which was showing film footage of a shuttle mission.  I didn't pay immediate attention, but went around the corner to retrieve the stroller while carrying Annabelle in the car seat.  

When I returned there were several other people in rows behind him and I realized that what was being shown was a lead up to the 1986 Shuttle Challenger tragedy.  They were profiling teacher Christa McAuliffe and leading up to the day of the explosion which killed all 7 astronauts.  I vividly remember where I was when I heard this terrible news.  Freshman ECON in college.

The video hadn't reached that point yet, but was just showing McAuliffe and her training and the support she had received.   Lukas, of course, was rapt by the video.

I hesitated, not knowing quite what to do.  Upon returning to school tomorrow he will learn that one of his two primary teachers has left.  This was unexpected and he doesn't yet know.  Plus, even though he loves rockets and space and the now retired Shuttles, we haven't yet discussed either of the tragedies with him.

And I didn't necessarily want him to learn about them this way.  By complete surprise at the Shuttle Exhibit.  I just wasn't sure he would handle it well.  He is an extremely empathetic boy.

After a minute I decided that, with a now fussing baby to deal with, this was not the time for me to navigate those dicey waters.  So I punted.  I told him that we had to move on.  And, when he protested I told him I would let him play a game on my iPhone (which I then did not do because we were thankfully distracted by the next exhibit). Of this I am not proud.

Perhaps I should have let him learn the story, then had a long discussion with him about the realities and real life dangers of space travel.  Given that choice 10 times, I might have opted to do so at least once.  But today I didn't, and I'm okay with that.  After all, he's only 5.  

He doesn't need a dose of reality messing with his dreams.  Not yet anyway.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dad Bloggers Best of 2012

Good afternoon readers.  

One of my best Dad Blogging buddies, Oren Miller aka Blogger Father from A  Blogger and a Father, recently started a Facebook Dad Bloggers group.  Dad bloggers from all over the world have quickly been joining up, and together we have formed quite a diverse and interesting group of dedicated fathers, who also just happen to like to share our parenting experiences in the form of Web Logs.

With 2012 now in the rear view, Oren also compiled from the group a listing of what each contributor considered his favorite posting of the past year from their individual blog.  The list has been posted at more than one of the participating blogs and for your reading enjoyment I am also posting the list here at LIAYF.  
Please take the time to visit as many of these Dad Blogs as you can - and to leave a comment when possible. I have been 'Dad Blogging' for nearly 5 years now but am continually amazed at the influx of talented new writers who are choosing to write about their variety of experiences as fathers & role models to their kids.
With all that said, here are the best post of 2012 as submitted by The Dad Bloggers Facebook Group:

A Sublime Parenting Moment - My own favorite here at Luke, I am Your Father

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Dad Resolutions for 2013

Welcome 2013!

Happy New Year Readers!

Last year I wrote my 1st Dad Resolutions post in honor of the upcoming year 2012.  And, although I didn't fully accomplish all the goals I set out to attain, I am proud to say that I did pretty well.  Along with getting to bed earlier on a regular basis and being more consistent in my style of discipline, I did significantly cut my online time including blogs and on Twitter - which has a lot to do with why my posting schedule here has was sporadic during the past year.

What I did not accomplish was getting into a regular workout routine.  I had many stops and starts, but in the end I always found it a bit too difficult to get myself into a routine I could stick with.

That brings me to 2013.  Now that I am a father of 2 in my mid forties, with an infant in the house, I need to continue to make some changes if my goal to be the best father I can - and also a good example to Lukas and Annabelle - is to be realized.  With that said, here are 5 Dad Resolutions I want to focus on in the coming year.

1. Lower my Expectations - Although this sounds bad, it's not.  One thing I have realized as a parent is that the most important thing in my life, by far,is the well being and happiness of my kids.   As parents we all know that this is often at odds with the many other expectations that we place upon ourselves.  Expectations to have everything in order, up to date, and crossed off our lists.  But the truth is that the lists will never be complete.  Ever.  As easy as it is to tell the kids "just a minute" when they are trying to get your attention, the time that you end up giving them is invaluable.  I resolve to lower my expectations in 2013 about having everything up to date and checked off my list, so that I can invest that extra time in my kids.

2.  Focus on my Health -  As I mentioned, I am in my mid forties with an infant and a 5 year old.  True, it's never to late to start taking care of yourself (and it's not like I have a terrible diet) but when I was in my 20's I envisioned myself as being a lot healthier at this age than I am now.  Now is the time for me to get serious about preserving my health so that in 10 or 15 years, I will still be an active participant in my kids lives.  This includes cutting out a lot of the junk I eat, being consistent in my stretching, exercise, and hours of sleep, and also focusing on preventing myself from getting worn down and sick.  Therefore I resolve in 2013 to focus on my health so that I will fully be there long term for my kids and also Mrs. LIAYF.

3.  Connect More - It's funny so say this, being a public blogger, but I am a fairly private person.  Outside of immediate family, I don't reach out a lot in my personal life to connect with the people who are important to me.  It's not that I don't want to, just that it is outside of my comfort zone to do so.  As a result, even though I am an outgoing personality, I don't hang out with friends much at all.  I don't see this as a great example to my kids, or necessarily healthy for myself.  Therefore I resolve in 2013 to reach outside my comfort level and connect more with my friends, in order to set a good example for my kids of how to have healthy friendships.

4.  Always Discipline while Calm - I'm usually good about this, but there are times when I get upset and want to discipline Lukas for something before I have had a chance to get my own emotions in check.  This is never a good idea and not a good example to set as a parent.  In 2013 I resolve to notice before I am doing this and to not let it happen.

5. Establish more Family Traditions - Growing up we didn't have a lot of family traditions, but the ones we did I still remember fondly to this day.  They focused mostly around watching sports and also the holidays.  Today, the LIAYF household is already beginning to establish some basic family traditions such as Sunday morning pancakes, a Summer camping trip, and Christmas day spent at home.  But, I would love to continue to establish routine family activities that the kids will remember fondly for the rest of their lives.  In 2013 I resolve to focus on creating tradition in our household.

There you have it readers.  My Dad Resolutions for the coming year.  What are some of yours?