Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 2192: We Celebrate 6

Incredibly, Lukas turns 6 years old Today.  6 years!  This is also known as 2192 days, or 52595 hours, or 3 million 556 thousand 694 minutes.  And I remember every one of them.

Okay, I don't really remember all of them, just most of the good ones.  Which, honestly, compose of most of those minutes. Memory is a funny thing.  I so vividly remember that day 6 years ago and countless sublime moments with him since, that just reflecting on them instantly brings a smile to my face.  But then again, all those minutes also seems to have gone by so quickly.  Too quickly, really.

Lukas mentioned this yesterday as well, saying he was excited about turning 6, but was sad to see age 5 go. Asked why, he simply replied that getting older meant that he had to leave things behind.  A wise boy he is.

But, at age 6, our son is not only wise beyond his years, he is also a pretty amazing kid.  Even though I am his father and I'm biased,  I can't emphasize enough the effect he has on people.  He is bright, funny, loving, passionate, compassionate, kind, and so much more.

Lukas certainly leaves an impression on everyone he encounters - we hear this constantly -  and he has enriched our lives beyond words.  I certainly have never laughed, or loved as much as I have in the past 6 years.

And, even though we are a bit sad to see him grow further away from being a little boy, we are excited to continue to see him grow into the incredible person he is becoming.  That's the great thing about parenting.

Mrs. LIAYF and I are helping him to celebrate his big day with breakfast, gifts, then spending the day together at a local kid amusement park along with one of his good friends.  It should be a great day.

Before I sign off, I thought I would share what Lukas has been asking for for his birthday.


Seriously, he has not asked us for anything leading up to his big day.  And, knowing him, as always he will simply be thrilled with whatever it is he receives.  I love this boy.

Happy 6th Birthday Lukas!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Love my Flipp'n Baby!

I'm Flipp'n Cute
Well, at least Mrs. LIAYF and my mild concern over the fact that Annabelle hadn't yet rolled over is now a thing of the past. 

That's right, as of about 20 minutes ago, our chubby little peach started on her back and somehow ended up on her stomach.  I say 'somehow' because neither of us were actually there to witness the roll, which happened in her crib.  As I mentioned in a recent post, we were actually watching when this happend  for Lukas, and let out a shout and high-fived each other, which scared him into a screaming cry.  Not our proudest parenting moment.

Annabelle, on the other hand, was supposed to be sleeping but instead was jawboning  for several minutes refusing to go to sleep - a rather disturbing recent development - before she started to scream like she meant business.

Since I had given her upsettedness (is this a word?) the allotted 10 minutes in our 2nd child tough love policy, I went up to check on our Belly and found her on her stomach and protesting the predicament she was in.  So I rolled her over and gave her a bottle, which she promptly grabbed by the nipple and started to swing around the crib like a ball peen hammer, once nearly whacking me in the arm.  That display was soon followed by her raking said bottle against the rails of the crib like a hungry inmate.

I was not amused.

Especially a few trips later, when I was once again in her room to roll her back over onto her back.  I have a feeling this bit might get old awful quickly.

Anyway, on that last trip I rolled her over and decided to check her diaper, which sure enough was full of something toxic.  Rolling over is apparently a workout.   However, as upset as she was, a few seconds later that was remedied by a smiling 6 year-old face as Lukas, who was not supposed to be out of bed, popped his head in and checked on us.

Seeing her brother, Annabelle immediately gave a wide smile and a let out a joyous baby squeal (He has that effect on people) and again started to babble.  For his part, Lukas took great joy in this as well, announcing to me that he has a way with making his little sister happy.  "She needs me." he let me know, which I am half convinced was just a ploy to be able to pop out of bed at various times without fear of our wrath.  But, seeing his proud little smiling face right next to hers, rather than calling him on it, I just soaked it in, agreed, and rubbed his mussy head.

Life was apparently once again good for Annabelle, who a short time later went to sleep happy. Well, good at least until the next time she rolls over. Which I am sure will be about 20 minutes after I've gone to sleep tonight.

Her brother, after all, has also taught her much about comedic timing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Label Me 'Dad Blogger'

There was a minor stir on Wednesday in the Dad Blogging community.  Yes, there is a community - which is very active and usually very tight knit.

But yesterday a blogger previously anointed in some circles as the internet's top Dad Blogger publicly renounced the label and, with a rather peculiarly broad brush, effectively dumped on the whole genre, calling the whole of the rest of us "a horrible collection of delusional men with questionable writing skills".   He goes on to take umbrage with Dad Bloggers for championing the image of dads in the media.  Shame on them.  

Personally, I don't read his blog and neither do many of the other Dad Bloggers in the group who have weighed in on the article, though I am told he is a talented writer.  That fact doesn't mean I have to agree with his opinions though.

I'm not going to get into a debate here on whether this guy should, or should not have publicly lumped such a large group dedicated dads into the same negative stereotype.  It's his blog and he can write whatever he wants.

But, what I will say is that I am proud to be called a Dad Blogger.  You can label me that any day.  Every day for that matter.

I have been called a writer by some, but I don't really consider myself one.  Perhaps my writing skills are questionable, but I'm okay with that.  I write anecdotes about my experiences as a dad.  I do it because I love to share my joy of being a father with whom ever happens upon my little corner of the world wide web.  I don't typically champion dad causes, not because I don't believe in them, but because that's not the theme of my blog.  

But again, I am a Dad.  I write blog posts about my experiences as a dad.  I am a Dad Blogger and I welcome that distinction.  I also read a lot of the articles and posts written by many of the other talented writers who also call themselves Dad Bloggers.  And there are an amazing number of articles about a broad range of subjects being published on a daily basis by these gentlemen which have real value to the readers.

Dad blogging is far from  just a bunch of whiny guys looking to change the image of dads in the media.  Of course, those who take the time to read their work already know this.

So, while some may want to ditch the label of Dad Blogger, don't count me as one of them.  In fact, I'd be thrilled if you call me just that.

Like I mentioned, I am a 'Dad Blogger', and proud of it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Wrap: Coffee, Kids, Swinging, and Beer

Father's Day was a pretty terrific day here at the LIAYF household.  I heeded the advice of a few fellow Dad Bloggers, and decided that, rather than use the day as an excuse to get away from the kids for a few hours, I would instead use the day as an opportunity to spend some extra quality time WITH them.

Can you tell I like this?

With that in mind, I decided that I would ditch the electronics for most of the day (I did glance at my email a couple of times during naps and quiet time) and concentrate of giving Lukas and Annabelle my full attention.  

It turned out great, too as Lukas and I played an extended game of tag in the morning, and Mrs. LIAYF and I loaded up the kiddos to go on an afternoon picnic and hike in the afternoon.  We also stopped off at a local playground where Annabelle had her first playground swing action!  We then rounded out the day, of course, with grilled brauts & beer ( for dad, not the kids).

As I mentioned earlier that this was a great idea, and it ended up being a very satisfying Father's Day. I'll leave the getting away part for another time.

My Influential Male Role Model
But the celebration didn't start for me on Sunday, but rather on Saturday as I traveled home to our family dairy farm to see my own dad and to drop off his Father's Day gift.  My namesake has always been a terrific dad and a stellar all around man too.  He is someone I have looked up to ever since I can remember, and easily the man I admire most in this world.

So when the folks at Keurig sent me a note saying they were looking to honor influential male role models and asked if I would like one of their coffee makers to give to my Father, I jumped at the opportunity to give one as a gift to him.  He loves coffee.  He loves things that are easy.  Boom, sold!  

They look perkier already
I get a ton of  requests to do reviews and giveaway's here on the blog, but rarely will actually do so.  However, the reason I jumped so quickly at this opportunity is that I have my own Keurig Platinum Plus brewing system, and I know how easy and convenient they are to use.  

I'm actually the only coffee drinker in the house (Mrs. LIAYF doesn't even drink decaffeinated tea - because there is too much residual caffeine in it) which makes having the ability to make quick, single cups of coffee at the press of a button a godsend.

Last word I received, both my Dad and Mom were really enjoying dad's gift, and were as happy to see me on Father's Day weekend as I was to see them.

All in all, Father's Day weekend for me was a huge success.  I got to spend quality time with Lukas and Annabelle, see my own dad, and enjoy plenty of rare Seattle sunshine.

I'm sure glad I don't have to wait another year to do it again.

*Full disclosure.  As I mentioned, I received products from the Keurig corporation, but they didn't ask me to write about it here.  I voluntarily did so because I fully endorse the K Cup brewing system.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Want Scarves for Father's Day

With Father's Day fast approaching, the internet is literally overflowing (It's true, I saw a dab ooze out of my computer just now.  Remind me to wipe that up after your done reading this.) with talk about what dad's want, or what to get dad for the special occasion.

Dad wants a steak dinner, or a new set of tools, or a golf outing, or a fancy new coffee maker.  What dad could really use is a new 75 inch television, or a shiny new tablet pc, or a day to sleep in, watch baseball, and hang with his pals.  That's what would make him happy this year.

Would I love these things too?  Of course I would.  Wrap it all up and be sure to have it delivered by this Sunday.  But, of course, I don't NEED any of that stuff.  That, or any of the other myriad of special gifts ideas being bandied about online.  Would any of it make me happy?  Perhaps a bit.  But none of it is on my priority list for Father's Day. None.

What do I want then?

A couple of scarves.  Yes, you heard me right, scarves.   You know, those things that wrap tightly around your neck and make you feel all warm and cozy.  Take close note kids, that is what I really want - Scarves.

Lukas, I want one that is just about your size that I can wear at nights when carrying you to bed.  One with arms that can wrap tightly around my neck and keep me cozy and warm and feeling all good inside.  One that is cool, sweet, stylish, but also a little bit goofy.  Those are the best kind.

And Annabelle, I also want a smaller one that can wrap around my neck too.  That would be a perfect Father's Day gift.  I used to have a very small scarf that I would wrap around my neck a few years ago, but it got all stretched out.  I still love it dearly, but there is something about having a brand new soft and puffy little scarf that can wrap around your neck, even if you have to hold the extra material up with your hands so it doesn't fall on the ground.  Those can't be beat.

Well, there you have it.   This dad would certainly be thrilled to get any number of cool gadgets or to participate in any number of fun events.

But what I really for Father's Day are a couple of homemade kid scarves.

They are guaranteed to make any dad feel like a million bucks.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's an Un-Wrap

It still hasn't happened quite yet, but at 7 months old, Annabelle is juuuuuuust about to roll over from back to stomach!

When it happens there will be controlled jumps for joy (true story: when this happened for Lukas the first time we were both right there and both immediately hooted loudly, then turned and high five'd each other.  This caused Lukas to cry uncontrollably in fright. Needless to say, we were not selected parents of the year that year).

However, Mrs. LIAYF and I had been kinda dreading the day she does roll over.  Because when she does, we knew that we would need to start sleeping her un-swaddled.  You know, so she doesn't roll over onto her face in the middle of the night with no free arms to roll herself back.  That could be dangerous, and nerve wracking too.

Anyway, so we have been meaning for a long time to begin the process of un-swaddling her.   We talked about leaving one arm out first for her to get used to, then moving her to a special sack we bought made specifically for the transition.

I can't remember what that sack is called, but we tried it on her for size after buying it, and it made her look like a cartoon baby starfish.  Lot's of extra fabric in the body of the outfit, but very short arms, with a smiley face somewhere in the middle.

I wasn't looking forward to that.

As convinced as I was about the horrible trauma that we were about to have inflicted on us in the form of multiple night wakings, last night as I readied my daughter for bed she started to nod off.  Without much forethought I decided to simply lay her down with her bottle, lights out, white noise on, and leave the room.

And, do you know what happened?


Not the whole night through mind you, but she did sleep a pretty normal schedule for her, waking only a couple of short times once to get another bottle, before going immediately back to sleep.

And all that without her swaddle! No one arm bandit, or cartoon starfish tricks needed. Heck, if I knew it would be that easy we would have tried this a couple of months ago.  Okay, scratch that.  I honestly don't think she would have been ready for that a couple of months ago.  Although come to think of it, there were nights it couldn't have gotten much worse.

But she is obviously ready now.  PTL!  As I type this, Annabelle is once again un-swaddled in her crib.

Sleeping like a  baby.