Friday, September 20, 2013

Big Hairy Educational Moment

Lukas laughed so hard he about fell over.  And of course it was contagious, spreading like wildfire to the adults in the room, including myself.

I'm not sure what was more funny, the commercial itself, or watching my 6 year old boy's face as he bent over, unable to contain himself but keeping his eyes up, watching the conclusion of the short Beef Jerky ad. After it was over, we were both nearly in tears.

The LIAYF household doesn't have cable, so I hadn't see this television commercial before either.  But I have to admit, it was pretty funny...the first time.

But a few hours later when, still laughing about it, he animatedly began to tell Mrs. LIAYF about the funny thing he saw on the TV, I realized that as a Pacific Northwest father, I had failed miserably in educating my son about local folklore and legend.

"Mom, Mom" he started, barely able to contain himself.  "There were these guys with a hose!  And played a prank where they turned it on...." He paused, apparently for effect.

"And it sprayed a WOOKIE in the face!!" he blurted out, again laughing so hard she could barely understand him.

I laughed again too.  This was another level of hilarious, which was quickly followed by an educational moment.  "Uh....That's no Wookie buddy" I informed him.  "It's a big hairy man like creature who some people think lives in the woods."

Rest assured, he knows about the legend of Big Foot now.  

And, things should be pretty interesting the next time we go on a family hiking trip.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sadly 4 + 6 Doesn't Equal 10

I have to admit it.  The thought of this one wasn't exactly 'uplifting'.  

But when you get to spend your evening with the 3 most important people in the world who obviously love you very much (and one of your gifts is Bacon flavored toffee!), there is no real reason to be melancholy.

Thanks to my wonderful family for making this a terrific day.

By the way, yes that cake was as good as it looks.

Mmmmmm, CAKE.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Annabelle Stands and Other Amazing Feets

Stand by me, Brutha

Happy Tuesday readers. Today started out as just another day.  But, like almost any day as a parent, no day is just another day.  And if you think closer about it, something significant will have happened during the time it takes the Earth to come full circle.

For us, today was about kicking, and also standing.

Standing.  Everyone had to start somewhere, right?  Even Custer had to have a first stand before he could have his famous last one.  Lukas made a famous one himself,  which was caught on tape by Mrs. LIAYF and documented right here several years back.

And now, after a few weeks of intense and focused determination, our sweet Annabelle stood herself up for the first time tonight!  Let it be noted!

Unfortunately, unlike with Lukas, Mrs. LIAYF was no where around with a camera to catch the monumental moment on tape.  It was only me there with her, and I actually missed seeing her do it the first time. Sad face.

That's right, I helped her stand up and grab the front bed rails in Mrs. LIAYF and my bedroom so she could see Lukas and her mother out the window coming into the house from the car. She stood there for a few moments babbling out loudly as Lukas passed below, to which he replied "You can see me Annabelle?!"  She then plopped her behind down on the bed, which is when I turned to grab a T-Shirt.

When I turned back around she was standing there once again, looking out the window!  I had to do a double take.  Then, as if to prove that I wasn't seeing things she plopped back down and pulled herself up to a full stand once again.  I was duly impressed.

Then later, when I put her down for the night, she was pulling herself up in her crib once again, rather than laying down and going to sleep.  Hmmm, I might want to retract my enthusiasm.

As for the kicking I mentioned earlier, that has to do with Lukas and his first Soccer practice of the Fall. That also happened tonight.  It has been a few months since he last played, and at that point he still had some learning to do.  But tonight I was pretty impressed with his skill level compared to the other dozen kids on the team.  His coordination seemed to be a notch or two higher than it had been last Spring.

Being the first practice, the team also had to choose a team name, as voted on by all the kids.  The winning name? It was 'The Peregrine Falcons', because they are such fast birds of prey.  Nice.

Lukas did inform us of the other two names up for consideration, which were rejected.  There was 'The Red Foxes', which when I asked him if they rejected it because Sanford was a junk man, he just stared at me blankly. Sigh.  So many of my 70's television humor references are lost on him.

And there was also the name submitted by the coaches daughter and one of the only two girls on the team 'The Purple Rainbow Feathers'.   I didn't count the votes, but my guess is that that one came in last.

So no readers, today was not just another day for us here at LIAYF.

Instead, It was full of amazing feets.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Small Game Hunter

As a father  of small children it is my responsibility to protect my family from hazards around the house, and beyond too.  That's why when there is a threat, however minor, of harm to my wife or kids it is my duty to deal with it, promptly.

The latest threat started in the form of a wasp who wanted to sample our dinner as Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, Annabelle, and I were enjoying a meal on our deck.  Thankfully, I came up with a neat way to remove the threat.  Tupperware.  When he landed, I used my superior hand eye coordination to box him up tightly.

However, as I was reveling in the victory after having amazed Lukas with my wasp catching skill, another came along.  So, I caught him too.

Then, apparently not realizing the fate of their compadres, a few more arrived.  So, I just kept catching them.

Needless to say, this is high quality dinner entertainment when you have a 6 year old sitting next to you. "Wow, Dad!" Lukas exclaimed with a giddy laugh after I had caught the final one.

We actually haven't had that much of a problem with the wasps this Summer.  But, on Saturday when I was preparing to move the kids playhouse to a new location by climbing in an using my shoulders to lift the giant plastic house, I thankfully looked up first.

What I saw there was enough to give me pause.  It was a wasp nest.  Yes, in case you were wondering, that really IS the last thing one would want to shove their shoulder straight up into whilst in a  4X4 square, mostly enclosed chamber.

However, I was able to turn the house over though leaving the nest exposed to the sky, without getting the residents too upset.   Not wanting to use anything toxic to get rid of the wasps, after a quick internet search of an appropriate way to take out the hive, I was soon standing over the overturned house with a potful of boiling water.

The idea was to pour and run.  I could envision this going seriously wrong.  However, it didn't.  I was able to douse the hive with the water and run back to the safety of the house with only a lone angry wasp on my tail.  Wheeew!  Don't try this at home folks.  I'm sure I just got lucky.

I carefully checked the playhouse out a couple hours later and was amazed at the level of efficiency of my carnage as there were quite a few lifeless wasps floating there.  And the hive was loose and easily removed. But apparently I didn't get them all, and some of the homeless wasps were looking for a free meal at tonight's dinner.

Okay, so it's not exactly protecting the family from a serious threat.

But it does make for a good story, and me a hero in the eyes of one important 6 year old boy.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I Won't Miss the Baby Crap

Finally, FINALLY the time has come to off load some crap.  Okay, 'crap' may be a bit strong a word but, in effect, that is what something becomes when you no longer have use for it, right?

It's been fun, but you can't stay here.
After Lukas was born Mrs. LIAYF and I knew we were going to have another child in the house at some point.  So, as he gradually grew out of, or graduated on from, certain items we (and I am talking about the 'Royal' we here since it was primarily my lovely wife) packed away in plastic bins in the basement closet or alternatively in the garage.

These baby 'things' were kind of out of the way, but in the same breath they were taking up valuable real estate. And in Seattle, real estate is at a premium.  At one point I think I even recall Zillow sending us a Zestimate of what the all that hoarded space was worth in the current market.   (Okay, that may have been a dream.)  Yet it all just sat there.  Taking up space.  Day after day, week after week.

Of course we didn't expect was that it would be over 5 years before Annabelle came along. I will admit that it WAS nice to have those tubs full of baby stuff we didn't have to buy all over again.  But when we pulled out the bins of 'gender neutral' clothes of Lukas' we had saved, we had a good laugh because it was mostly blue and green, just lighter shades.

A lot of it promptly got donated.  The rest, plus many new items, were salvaged for Annabelle.

Subsequently the months have passed, much more quickly than they did when Lukas was that age too strangely enough. And with each passing month of physical and emotional development more and more of that those baby items become baby 'crap'.

Crap that we can get rid of!!

Let me tell you, I was never happier to get rid of something as I was when that Boppy thing got donated. Oh how I loathed that semi circular puffy pink pillow.  Seriously, I have enough of a spare tire already without wrapping an extra puffy pink one around my waist in order to feed the baby a bottle. Thankfully that only happened once.  Or twice.  I'm just glad there are no photos.  At least there had better not be any (looking at Mrs. LIAYF).

The baby activity mat was another thorn in my side, which I was thrilled to see go.  Have you ever tried to store one of those for the evening, with the curved arches that make it impossible to fold up and place out of sight? The devils handiwork those things are.  I smiled the day it left the house.

We have also sold, donated to charity, or given away a ton of clothes that she has already outgrow including most of those gender neutral pieces that sat in our closet all those years.

And it is just going to get better too!  We currently have the cradle swing listed on craigslist.  I can't even remember how many times I've stubbed my toe on that cursed thing.  And the bottle warmer needs to go now too.  Now that I've used it as a prop in my Starbucks Via video.  In reality we haven't used it for months.  And we are almost done the Bumbo chair as well! - that foamy little round green mound with the tray. Unstorable!

Hasta La Vista Crap!  Heehee, I'm a bit giddy here. Yes,  I love it, love it, love it!

Sorry, I guess I got a teensy bit carried away there. Especially since Mrs. LIAYF just reminded me that we needed  the extra room for the high chair, baby walker, beaded three dimensional maze, and all the other toys we've been storing that Annabelle is finally old enough for now.

Fine.  But give it a few more months, and it will be time for all that crap to go too. I won't miss any of it.

Unfortunately, that will also mean Annabelle has grow up a bit too, which is sad.  I'll miss her being little.

She is so darn adorable right now.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Son is Telling People I Used to be a Nut

With the start of the School year, Lukas is back to wearing his uniform to school.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with school uniforms, it's not as bad as it sounds.

That's because they aren't wearing athletic jerseys, or aprons, or greasy coveralls with a patch displaying their name on their chest.  They are simply wearing certain articles of clothing such as khaki pants and polo shirts that are color schemed for the school.

Logos are off limits.  Unless, of course, it is the logo of the school.  For Lukas his school logo is that of an Owl, and we found out that for a few extra bucks Land's End will put the logo onto an article of clothing.  So we got him one, big spenders that we are.  The plan is that he will only wear this particular polo shirt, with the owl logo, on special occasions.  Like the first week of class.

And, apparently to after school care if he forgets to take it off.

Since his after school program is unaffiliated with his school, the folks there had not seen the owl logo on his shirt before and were duly impressed.  Read: They thought it was cool, which I will have to admit certainly is the case.  But as the aftercare director was telling me how cool the logo was, he also chuckled and said "Hey, I heard you used to be a nut".

This took me by surprise at first as I wasn't sure what he was referring to.  But then he elaborated. Apparently Lukas mentioned that his logo and mascot were indeed cool, which was fortunate because his dad was ONLY a nut, and didn't have a logo when he (I) was a kid.

I had to laugh at that, because it had been a while since I told him about my grade school and high school mascot.

You see I came from a very small town.  A town known for it's Oak Trees.  And, of course way back in the early part of the 1900's, or whenever the school and town elders, in their infinite wisdom, were deciding on a name for our school mascot they knew that we need one that sounded fierce.  One that would strike fear into the hearts of  local opponents.

That's why instead of simply the Acorns, we were known as The FIGHTING Acorns.

Pretty nuts, right?

When I told Lukas this he really got a kick out of it.  "You were nuts dad?!" he had asked with an incredulous smile on his face.  "Not just nuts, Bud. Fighting nuts!" I responded putting up my dukes in a mock pose.

Yeah, I guess you can imagine the reaction we got from our opponents.  Can't you?  The truth was we had to fight.  We had to be a little NUTS!  And we were.

Of course, as Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas will undoubtedly tell you, I still am.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Then We Battled the Ocean

The past week has been terrific.  We have been on Staycation here in our city.

With Annabelle so young, it felt like a good idea to stay close to home, and just schedule day trips.  It was a good call, as we were able to enjoy many of the fruits that the Pacific Northwest has to offer during a mild and beautiful late Summer.  We mostly  hiked, and biked, picked berries, and hung out at the beach.

For instance, on Saturday we loaded up our bikes and all rode down to the local beach where we spent the afternoon and early evening.  It was warm and sunny with a slight breeze, but the air had a certain Fall crispness to it that made the outing picture perfect.

Even though our bikes were pretty loaded down, including Annabelle being towed behind in a kid trailer, we were also able to pack a beach tent, which we set up at the far (and least crowded) end of the beach.  It was Annabelle's first extended trip to the beach, and she really enjoyed taking in the sights and rolling around under the shade the tent had to offer with Mrs. LIAYF by her side.  However, when I took her to see the waves and dip her toes into the ocean, she protested quite a bit.  I guess I don't blame her, as the water was on the cold side.

After a picnic lunch, Lukas went off to play in the sand while I sat there and watched.  In truth, I had something on my mind.  Something that I couldn't quite shake, and which was bothering me enough to diminish my enjoyment of this near perfect day with my family.

But, as I sat there with my mind elsewhere, Lukas came to me and grabbed my hand.  He led me the few feet out to the hole he had started in the sand.  "Dig with me Dad!" he demanded in a sweet voice, and with an inviting smile on his 6 year old face.  This was a request I couldn't ignore, so I sat next to him in the sand and began work on a castle. But my mind was still elsewhere.

Soon Lukas, seeing an approaching wave, ran headstrong into the ocean and raising his right leg gave the oncoming wave a healthy kick.  "Hi Yah!" he yelled as he did so, then beckoned me to join him in his battle. "Come on Dad!  We need to stop the waves!".

At that request I quickly slipped my phone and keys out of my shorts pockets, stood, and ran with abandon myself into the water, kicking determinedly at another oncoming wave next to Lukas.  Alone, he was no match for the full force of the mighty Pacific, but together it felt like we could stave off the relentless attack.

Soon, we retreated to the safety of the shore where we drew up plans with our fingers in the sand.  He would zig this way, I would zag that way, and when we got to the water we would throw fireballs at the waves, and use the water to throw up force fields which would protect us from its force!

All the time, Ms. LIAYF and Annabelle were watching us with piqued interest, surely happy we were having fun.

Time and again we attacked the water's edge, only to retreat and redraw our plans of attack.  In the end we were both dripping wet and shivering cold from our fearless battle against the force of the ocean.  We were also exhausted from laughing so much during our exploits.

Then, as we sat and dried ourselves off I remembered again what was on my mind.  But now, thanks to my family, and especially one energetic 6 year old, I was in a different place.  A very happy place at that.

I turned to face the sun, it's golden glow glistening off the approaching waves and felt it's comforting warmth.

It nearly matched the warmth I felt inside.