Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blowin' After The Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a Dad?

It was a stormy night last night here in Seattle, readers.  With winds gusts up to 60 miles and hour in our neighborhood, Lukas was having trouble sleeping.  He even described looking out his window once to see what he thought was lightening.  But since there was no lightning in Seattle last night, we think he actually saw some transformers blow.  Either way, it was an impressive show to him.

There were a lot of power outages as a result.  But not ours thankfully.

I sat with him in his bed for a while, reassured him that the windows weren't going to shatter, then left him to go to sleep, which he eventually did.

For Annabelle, on the other hand, the effects of the big blow seem to have had a more lasting effect. Because she was actually blowing stuff herself when she woke up today.

She slept through all the wind but who knows, maybe something cosmic took place.

I could say "Mind Blown!"  (Making an explosion sound while also making that obnoxious gesture where I open my fists which were previously closed at either of my temples)

But to be  more accurate I would say "Nose Blown!" (Now making that nose blowing sound while opening one fist that was previously closed at the base of my nose.)

Yes, Annabelle has finally successfully blown her own nose!  The importance of this early childhood development, is mainly that it signifies to weary parents that there is hope left in the world, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  That the Snot Gods are finally smiling on you for a change.

And the fact that this development is coming right as the cold season is upon us, makes it all the more special.  No more will we have to wipe at a runny nose every few seconds lest a stream of gooey goo roll over the top of her lip and make it's way quickly towards her chin.

Instead, I can just stick a Kleenex up there and ask her to "Blow Sweetie", which will at least give me a few extra moments where I don't have to deal with seeing my child lick a stream off her upper lip in the middle of a public place, while I try to make it look convincingly enough like I tried to get there in time.

As a bonus, I just looked up when a child should be able to blow their own nose and Master Google says 'by about age two'.  Annabelle doesn't turn 2 until next week, so she is obviously developmentally right on track , or ahead even, in the nose blowing spectrum.


And it that weren't enough of a boon to start my day, Annabelle also successfully blew something else for the first time today.  It had nothing to do with her temperament, either, like blowing her top. Yes, she does get frustrated on occasion these days.  Like nearly every other 2 year old.

No, think Blues on this one.

If you guessed 'a harmonica' -  ding, ding, ding.  You win the internet for the day(use it wisely).

That's right. as we were getting ready to leave the house this morning for a Halloween party, Lukas blew on a harmonica then stuck it in Annabelle's face.  She smiled, gave it a blow, then shrieked in delight when music came out the other end.

She proceeded to blow on it a few more times, and for some reason many of the resulting notes came out sounding like a Dylan song.  Maybe all of them.

It was pretty awesome to watch.

Yes, how many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a Dad?   The answer my friends, is blowin' in wind.

No, the answer my friends, is blowing in the tissue.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Poop on Pop

At the bottom of this hole lies the true meaning of life.

Here at LIAYF, we are now fully in the potty awareness stage with Annabelle.

Every night she pulls out her new favorite book 'Go Girl, Go Potty', slides the potty across the bathroom floor, and looks at me with a very serious face while saying 'Pooop, Pooop' and pointing towards her bum.

And with that I go through the motions getting all those toddler clothes off, and allowing her to sit on her new potty, where she will dutifully grit her teeth, close her hands into fists, and make a pretty convincing pushing motion (one in which her arms and elbows are even noticeably moved inwards towards her stomach.)

It's so convincing, it actually gets me every time.

Every.  Time.

After a few seconds of this show, she stands up and proclaims that she is "ahhh dun", after which I excitedly peer into the mini loo only to find it once again devoid of any excrement.

Worse yet, it has so far also been as dry as the Mohave desert.  No, I've never been to the Mohave, but I'm guessing it's a pretty dry place....kind of like the bottom of said potty.   Tell me I'm not right.

After going through this exercise once again last night, I was admittedly exhausted.  It was after working a long day, getting dinner together, and doing various other unnamed household chores (dishes, laundry...) and I had just enough energy to get through the potty routine before collapsing on the bathroom floor next to a bare bummed 1 year old.

She obviously took that as her cue that it was time for a side show.  That's because she carefully picked up her potty and placed in onto my back and climbed aboard, as if I were some kind of poo poo choo choo train or something.   Okay, I admit that I found this somewhat humorous.  That is, until she started laughing and hopping up and down on, while sitting on her potty - on top of her Pop.

Lukas then came into the bathroom ready for his bath, and decided it was the perfect opportunity to pile on top of me as well, and soon they were both nekked and hopping on top of their collapsed, tired, and laugh drooling (this is a hybrid of laughing while kind of half asleep and drooling on the floor) old man.

In the midst of all this hopping action I had a faint hope that something might even shake out, but alas when I was finally free of the two little hopping stinkers I pulled the potty off my back and checked it.  But there was still no poop.

No worries though, as I actually think we are ahead of schedule.  If she is still shy of 2 years old and giving it this much effort, we should be seeing results in no time, right?

Right?  Okay, I won't hold my breath, so to speak, just yet.

Not unless I am being jumped on by a pack of wild kiddos.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My Bestie Shot

Well hello there readers.  You don't know this, but I know you pretty well.  Yep, I do.  And with that knowledge I'm guessing that you have long felt, in the far reaches of the back of your mind, that you'd like to give back to 'Luke, I am your Father' for all of the heartwarming, funny, poignant, and smile inducing moments.


Well, fine.  But perhaps if you've read and enjoyed the blog in the past you could still do me a solid.

You see, this blog is currently in the thick, the thick I say, of a reader contest for the title of 'Best Parenting Blog' in Western Washington (that would include Seattle as well as every point from the impressive Cascade mountains, West to the Mighty Pacific Ocean, and from the underside of Canada South to the winding majesty of the Columbia River).

Yes, of all the Parenting blogs that reside in this vast region of nearly 6 MILLION people, little ole LIAYF is considered one of the best.  Is it the very best?  That, of course, is a matter of opinion.  But if you enjoy reading here, your opinion matters.  Well, to me at least.

That all being said, if you feel like casting a nod in my direction, it would be very much appreciated. Heck, it might even inspire me to post more regularly here.

Don't laugh, it could happen.

Anyway, if you are so inclined you can vote by clicking here.  And as a bonus, you will even have a chance to win a trip to Mexico.  Voting ends October 24th.

Cheers, and thanks for reading.  The Management.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Would Die a Happy Man

Kids, they certainly call it as they see it.  For example, take this conversation between Lukas and I in the car on the way home from soccer yesterday.

Lukas: "Dad, if you had a choice would you rather be a grown up or a kid?"

Me: "Hmmmm.  Well Buddy, I think that I'd rather be a younger grown up."

Lukas: "Why's that?  So you won't die so soon?"

Me:  "Actually, it was so I'd have more energy to keep up with you little stinkers!"

Me:  "But........I guess yours is a pretty good answer too."

Lukas (smiling) "Cool."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Long Time Ago (earlier tonight), in a Bathroom Far Far Away

Together we can rule the loo.

An epic battle between good and evil has been waging in our house for some time now readers.

And in a time when all seems lost, I hold out  hope that I can convert Lukas to see the light.  There have been a few times, without his knowledge, when I have actually witnessed him using the ancient and trusted ways.  Of course, not long after he was most certainly unduly influenced into using the unnatural method that he now practices.

You see readers, Lukas has been taught to be a Folder.  I, on the other hand, have tried to teach him to be a Crumpler.

I know, I know.  I am sure you are aghast as I am that this young boy is for all intents and purposes now doing Origami with his toilet paper.

I caught him folding his paper again this very evening, in fact.  "Young one" I said to him.  "You need to become a Cumpler!  Come with me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son Crumplers."

"You can even become a Crumpli Knight!"

"No way!"  he rudely responded  "I will never become a Crumpli Knight!"

"Stay with Folding" I bellowed "And you WILL see the dark side!"  I thought that was appropriate.

"NEVER" he whined loudly.

"You will regret this decision for years to come Young Lukas"  I warned.  "But wait.........I sense that there is another."

"Noooooooooo!" he screamed.  And as he ran off down the hall, he was yelling "Annabelle, don't become a Crumpler.  Don't do it. Don't do it."

His will is stronger than mine.

But alas, the other is just becoming aware of her powers.  And is the perfect age to be taught the ways of the Crumple.

She may very well be my only hope.

Image via Walyou

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Paws & Enjoy the Moment

Happy Sunday readers.

It's been yet another gorgeous weekend here in Seattle as we were once again treated to plenty of Fall sunshine and warmish temperatures.  Please, no one say anything, as we want this to carry on well into the holiday season.

Yeah, I know that is NOT going to happen, but while bathing in October sunshine, anything seems possible.

Mrs. LIAYF, Lukas, Annabelle, and I took advantage Friday night by loading up our red wagon and heading out for another walk to our local business district for dinner out.

On our way home we passed our neighborhood independent record store, where we noticed that a band was setting up for a live show.  We stopped in for a few minutes.

The band was called 'Paws', and although we had never heard of them, we quickly learned that they were from Glasgow, Scotland and the show they were setting up for was actually a benefit concert to help them because just a few nights earlier, also here in Seattle, their whole back catalog of music and artwork had been stolen.

What a miserable thing to happen to some young guys traveling in a foreign country. Obviously we felt bad for these blokes, who were touring the States in a black van.

So, while the band was filming an interview, we hung around the music store with Lukas and Mrs. LIAYF picking up a copy of The Who (Lukas has become a recent fan because of the song Boris The Spider - The class is studying spiders and recently released several into the classroom) and a used copy of the movie Goonies, while I followed Annabelle around and replaced the CD's she pulled off the shelves.

After the interview, Lukas was able to give the members of the band a 20 spot, which was our little way of letting them know that most Seattlites were good people.  They were very appreciative and in return allowed Lukas to choose from one of their two releases.  He chose one called Cokefloat.

After getting ice cream, we came back to see the band, who was now playing.  The kids loved the music, as Lukas was rapt and Annabelle held my hands and danced up and down over and over.   It was actually getting late so we only stayed for a few songs, but it was a pretty cool experience.

Annabelle didn't actually want to leave, and was prepared to let out a scream of anger as we loaded her into the wagon(she does that on occasion), but with the band playing loudly behind us Mrs. LIAFY astuely pointed out "No one will hear her this time!"

Then, while on our way home, we looked at the songs on the back of the disc and one stood out. 'Miss American Bookworm'.  That seemed appropriate for Annabelle, who is all about her books right now.   After she was safely home and in bed, we listened and enjoyed.

And, at about the 3 minute mark, the lead singer let out a healthy scream, which was certainly worthy of our Miss A. Bookworm. Check it out, they are actually pretty good.

And when they become famous you can say you heard about them first here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Daddy Need to go Night Night!

You WILL go to sleep now.  Capisce?

I have a feeling that one day, in the distant future when Annabelle is a mother and we all have flying cars or at least our own jet packs, she won't have any trouble getting her kids to quiet down and go to sleep.  We should all be so lucky right?

I make this bold prediction, not without anecdotal evidence to back it up.  Quite the contrary actually as our little sweet cheeks has been practicing the art of putting things to sleep for months now.  

For the most part the beneficiaries of her sleep training techniques have been Lukas' stuffed animals as she will plant herself solidly in the middle of his bedroom floor, or alternatively his bed, and line up several of them for night night time and carefully lay a cloth over the back of each one and pat them.  

The only problem?  She can be a wee bit (and I by wee bit I mean no such thing) firm while patting them to sleep.  It's almost as if she is trying to desperately dislodge something stuck in their windpipes.  I think one of them even let out a squeal of pain earlier this evening, but who knows, I could have just imagined that.

Any-hoo, after the stuffed panda and leopard were beat solidly into slumber tonight, our little Miss A was not yet done as Lukas lay on his own bedroom floor with a blanket, hysterically laughing at her antics and saying "Lukas needs to be put to sleep too, Annabelle".  Of course that was all and good until my daughter then looked at me and gave a deliberate point at the floor.

"You want to put Daddy night night too?" I asked.  She nodded.

How could I resist?

And that's how Lukas and I ended up on the floor on our stomachs tonight with a 1 year old between us laying on a blanket and beating on our backs like a Swedish masseuse.   We, of course were laughing uncontrollable about this, and at the same time trying to emphasize to her to be 'gentle' with her sleep subjects.

But for now Annabelle would have none of our nonsense, even going so far as to shove our heads back to the floor  while saying 'Ni-Ni' when we were so bold as to lift them to see what was going on. She was obviously very serious about her parental duties.

It was a lot of fun, and also pretty scary at the same time. Like I said, I think someday she isn't going to have a bit of trouble with her kids sleep routine.  

She will have plenty of practice by then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hearing Voices

I'm lucky he talks so much!

As I was closing my car door tonight and pulling the seat belt strap over my chest, I heard the phone ringing in my jacket pocket, which was sitting on the passenger side seat.  I had worked late, and was exhausted from the day.  

I finished my task before attempting to answer.  But unfortunately, I was too late and missed the call.  I did see that the number was Mrs. LIAYF's , which was not unexpected.  I figured she was checking on my progress as she was picking up both kids tonight.

But when I dialed the number back, I got something unexpected.  Something which made my heart sing just a little.  "High Dad" Lukas' voice bellowed over the phone.  "What do you want us to order you for dinner?" .  I hadn't anticipated he would answer, and it was a pleasant surprise when he did.

Lukas still has a perfect kid voice, which is high in pitch and crackles just a little bit when he speaks.

He could talk about the intricacies of financial accounting, or the latest developments in IRS tax code law and it would come out sounding like awesomeness.  Heck, he could ask me what I wanted for dinner that night and it would be music to a weary set of ears.

Which is precisely what happened tonight.

I'm not sure exactly why hearing my kids voice over the phone makes me so happy, but it does. Annabelle too, even though she still has a limited vocabulary, being only one.  You might hear the same thing, and think nothing of it.  But if it were your kid, it would be most likely sound awesome to you too.

I guess it's just another sign of how much I love my kids.  How much they mean to me.

I have a lot of short videos of them which includes audio, but that requires watching too.  I think it may be time to record some simple audio clips to file away in my archives.

I'm sure they'll be gold to me someday.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Those ARE Pilllllowwwwws!

"Does Dad ever sleep at work?" Lukas asked Mrs. LIAYF the other day.

I'm not sure what her answer was, but it should have been "Nope".  Sure, I find myself dragging myself around like a character from the Walking Dead on some days.  But I survive, and am still very productive.

He had a good reason for asking, but I will get to that in a moment.

But first,  I'll admit it.  I haven't been getting enough sleep lately.

I'd like to blame the kids for this, and really they do play a big part in the fact that I am tired a lot, but honestly I can't lay the blame firmly at their feet.  I just stay up way too late anymore, and get up just as early.  I could avoid this, of course, if I just went to bed right after Mrs. LIAYF and I got them to bed, got the dishes and laundry done, lunches made, and our calendars up to date.

But I don't. I find I still need some time to wind down after the long day.

This results in my often attempting to function the next day on a few precious hours of sleep.  And that doesn't work out as well for me as it did when I was in my 20's, or even my 30's.  Strange, right?

Lukas has noticed too.  That's because, as it was relayed to me, he spent a recent recess during school sitting with a 'cute' girl who had an interesting book of goofy inventions.  And when a page turned to reveal a particular bright idea, Lukas knew just where it might best be used.

"That would be perfect for my Dad" he announced to the girl - who was a friend.  And, upon hearing about it, I guess I would have to agree.  I could use one of those sometimes.

What was this wonderful invention? The one that seemed absolutely perfect for his old man?

Wait for it........

It was essentially a hat,  but made with pillows surrounding it.  That way, if the wearer happened to, oh I don't know, FALL ASLEEP in the middle of going about their day! they wouldn't bump their head.  Rather, they could just take a nap.

Yeah, apparently dad needs one of those.  He must think of me as a Narcoleptic.

"That is brilliant!!"  I told Mrs. LIAYF with a chuckle late last night when she told me.  "It's so nice to know that my loving boy is thinking all about me and my well being."  "Maybe I should go to bed now."

But alas I am tired once again today.  In fact, I think I could really use that awesome pillow hat invention thing.

I wonder if today they'll get to the page with the toothpicks that hold open eyelids.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Call Me Her Booking Agent

"Good Morning Sweet Cakes" I whispered to Annabelle as I pulled her out of her crib this morning.

Being Monday morning, a morning that Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas could actually sleep in a bit longer than myself and my little girl, I had just tiptoed upstairs ever so gingerly, avoiding all to the problematic creaky spots on the fir stairs like Baryshnikov in his prime. (Okay, maybe I was lumbering a tad more than Mikhail would have, but in my defense I hadn't had my morning coffee yet.  The point is, there were no creaks - from the floor at least).

And, as I do on most mornings such as this one, I gently laid her on her changing table while handing her her morning milk.  That usually keeps her busy while I diaper and change her into her clothes for daycare.

But this morning, as I was handing her her bottle she swept her arm at me, knocking the bottle out of the way rather grumpily.

"Book" she said, still obviously a little bleary eyed from her sleep.   I again tried to hand her the bottle, but again she swatted at it.  "Book!" she said, louder this time.

"I'll read you a book when we get downstairs Sweetie"  I reasoned.  "Right now I need to change you for school"   "BOOK" She then raised it a notch, loud enough that I thought she would wake up the rest of the family.  "Shhhhhh!" I put my finger to my mouth indicating she was breaking our agreement.  Of course, she has never actually agreed to any such thing,  but it's kind of like George Costanza's deal with the Pigeons.  It's unspoken.  THEY KNOW THIS!

"BOOK"  She continued,  smiling now.  "BOOK. BOOK", ultimately forcing me to relent under the dual forces of cuteness and self preservation.

"Okay, okay!" I whispered, reaching over to the nearby bookcase and pulling out the first book I could grab.  "But let's read it quietly"  I exaggerated my mouth at this point. Qui-et-ly.  The book was 'Good Night Gorilla', which she enjoyed while I got her changed and ready for daycare.

Mrs. LIAYF and I are actually very pleased that our 1-year-old is now so interested in books (She is obsessed with them of late).  It's like a switch has turned for her.

That's because for the longest time, she wouldn't sit still for them at all.  I would try and try again, but her attention span, coupled with her constant need to be in motion, resulted in her often losing focus before we would finish the first page.

I knew she would come around.  That she would love books just as much as the rest of the family. There are, after all, books everywhere in the house and Lukas has been reading her stories recently as well.  I wouldn't even be surprised if a big reason for her interest in books is watching her big brother bury his nose in them.  She imitates so much of what he does after all.

And now that I know that I can actually buy her silence with a good book, I'm not opposed to riding that horse until it drops.  That's a win win.

Now, if I could only get her to sit on the potty for a book too, I'd be golden.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dog Gone Antics

I scream, you scream.

It has been an absolutely beautiful weekend here in Seattle readers. Our fair city was bathed in golden sunshine on Friday, my birthday, and again today for Lukas' first soccer match of the fall season.

I am happy to report that the Silver Eagles soared this morning, although Lukas was only 1 of the 5 kids who showed up for the game.  Thankfully, they play 4 on 4, since one of his team had to leave halfway through the game.  Lukas was exhausted after having played the entire game.

Later on this evening, to celebrate said birthday and soccer victory, Mrs. LIAYF and I loaded Annabelle (and intermittently Lukas) in the red wagon, and headed out to our local neighborhood town center enjoy the weather and to dine out.

After dinner, we all walked down to our local ice cream shop for cones. Coconut for me, Nutella for Mrs. LIAYF, Peppermint for Lukas, and sampling's of all of them for Annabelle who moved from family member to family member flashing her adorableness until we relinquished tasty bites.

As it turned out, she wasn't the only one looking to sample our ice cream tonight.

About half way through, a Mom pushing an empty stroller sat  a couple of seats down from us outside the ice cream shop.  She also had a friendly looking yellow lab on a leash.

"Can I go pet the dog?" Lukas asked.  "As long as you ask first" Mrs. LIAY reminded him.  It turned out the dog's name was Stella.   Stella was a nice dog.  But as Lukas leaned over to give her a pet, she completely engulfed the rest of his peppermint ice cream cone in a flash. It happened so fast, that no one seemed to know what had happened.

Lukas jumped back, looking stunned for the briefest of seconds.  That's when his emotions took over.

And he broke into uncontrollable laughter!  "Oh my gosh!" he managed, in between hysterical laughs.  "That's the funniest thing that has ever happened to me!" he gasped.

It was a refreshing response compared to his younger days.

The mother, of course, looked mortified.  "I'm so sorry!!" she said.  "My husband is right inside, he will buy you a new cone."  But it wasn't necessary, as Lukas was about done with  his ice cream anyway.  He rarely finishes a whole cone.  Plus, he was too busy laughing to respond.

And with that, we gathered up our kids and our red wagon, and headed towards home.  Taking into account all the distractions along the way, it took us a good 20 minutes to walk the 5 minute route back to our house.

And as we finally did arrive at home, Lukas was still laughing about the lightning quick demise of his Mint ice cream cone.

You'd think that would teach him a lesson, but I'm not altogether certain he will be more careful next time.

He might even be looking for a friendly dog.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Laser Show

A rare early sighting 

I was in the middle of bathing Annabelle last night, with my back to the door, when I heard something zoom behind me.  I turned, but saw nothing.  

"Weird" I said to no one in particular, although I should have been informing Annabelle, who was busily attempting to shove 9 rubber duckies into an over sized cup.

Then I heard it again.  It made the sound of the wind blowing down the hall.  "Strange" I said aloud, having seen nothing, as I turned back around.  I looked one more time, just because, and that's when I saw him.  He was a Super Hero in a blue mask and a long blue cape emblazoned with an red "L" on a large white star, surrounded by another circle of white stars.  I recognized him.

"Laser Boy!"  I said.  "You startled me".  To that he just smiled.  "I am in need of service, Laser Boy" I continued.  "I can't find Lukas, and he needs to come in here for his bath!  Can you help me find him?"

Laser Boy nodded slowly.  Then was off in a flash of light.  Presumably to search for Lukas.

I returned to bathing Annabelle, when moments later Lukas walked into the bathroom.  His belly was extended and seemed sort of cushy under his shirt.  "Lukas" I said.  "Did you eat too much?  Cause you look a little full.  Oh, and did Laser Boy find you?  I sent him to look for you just a bit ago."

"No Dad, I haven't seem him" he replied with a broad smile.  "I'll go and look!"   And with that, he was off.

Oddly, this strange sequence of events with Lukas and Laser Boy both being in our 2nd story, looking for each other, yet NOT running into each other, happened a few more times.  I was perplexed.  Then, a few moments after Laser Boy had shown up, and I had sent him off to find Lukas and tell him he didn't have to look any longer, Lukas walked into the bathroom  holding a cape and a mask.

"I didn't find him Dad.  But I did find this."  He held up the suit with a puzzled look on his face.  "Maybe Laser  Boy zoomed so fast that he crossed into a another dimension." I offered.  Lukas just smiled as he crawled into the tub for his bath.

Then, if you can believe it, an even stranger thing happened.  Lukas, hearing his mother climbing the stairs, darted his eyes around the room to make sure we were not being watched.  "Dad" he whispered, drawing me closer with a the tiny curl of his index finger.  "I need to tell you something."

"Yes" I whispered back.  "What is it?"

And, with a smile radiating brighter than the blazing sun on the early September day we had just completed, he opened up to me.

"I'm Laser Boy!"  He whispered.

I could tell the stress of the secret had been weighing on him.  He beamed. I just looked back at him, my heart now as toasty as the evening air, and with a broad smile of my own said:

"That explains SO much!".

I rubbed his hair lovingly then, and dumped a cupful of water over his Super little head.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Eagles Have Landed

There's a lot going on around here readers.  With Summer winding to a close, Labor Day in the rearview, and school having started, Lukas is once again signed up for a Fall soccer team.

And while the first game isn't for another week or so, he has been busy practicing with his new team once a week for the past couple of weeks.  It's going pretty well for him so far, and he is having a lot of fun, which is the most important thing.  Plus, he is trying hard not to be offensive.


The coach is working on it, but it seems our son fancies himself more of a defensive player, and would rather do that than play forward and attack the goal.  I have a feeling that he'll learn the thrill of playing offense soon enough, but if not he's still pretty good at putting up 'D Fence'.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  As they say, the best Offense is a good Defense.   That is what they say, isn't it?

Anyway, this past practice was perhaps the most important for the team.  Critical really.  That's because it was the one where they would choose the team name.

I knew this beforehand and tried to prep Lukas for it by asking if he had any ideas for a name. Unfortunately, I apparently caught him at the wrong time, since his creative juices weren't flowing and he wasn't coming up with anything.  That was fairly unusual for him. It's possible that he might not have been paying attention to me.  I would like to say this NEVER happens, but hey he's 7.

I tried to throw out some helpful suggestions.  "How about 'The Zombie Jawas'?" I suggested (We have been watching the original Star Wars movies recently). "Or 'The Fire Robots'"  (No idea where that came from)


So, I decided to try again later.  Then halfway through practice I had to go pick up Annabelle at her daycare not far away.  When I returned I was informed by Mrs. LIAYF that they had used that time to choose their name.  It always happens that way.

It was........wait for it........

The Silver Eagles

"The Silver Eagles?" I asked her later, when Lukas was not around.  "Really?"

I'm not sure why I was initially skeptical of the name.  I think it's because, as I mentioned to Mrs. LIAYF, I first thought of a tribal casino.  'Appearing Friday, September 19th at the Silver Eagle - STYX'

It also sounded a bit like a name for a 60 and over basketball team.  The Silver Eagles.  I envisioned Older Eagles while I was pondering this I guess because I started thinking that they might even be Bald Eagles, and then I thought of Bald Seagulls (which I have long thought should be the official Seattle Bird).

Clearly, I was digressing.

Then I asked Lukas what he thought of the name.  Turns out he really liked it, even though the suggestion came from another kid.  Eagles were cool after all.  The good guys in LEGO Chima are Eagles.  And the only thing better than a Silver Eagle would be a Gold Eagle.

Bottom line, Lukas liked it and said it was cool.  Thinking about it again I had to agree.   All it took was a fresh perspective from a 7 year old who is obviously way cooler than me.

And, when and if I ever get out there and join a team of my own (never too old, right) I can name my team whatever the heck I want.

'The Bald Seagulls'  sounds perfect.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do 6yo Boys Dream of Electric Sheep? Nope.

He's part of our team....

Mrs. LIAYF came into our bedroom trying to hold back her laughter last night.  "What's funny?" I asked.

Once she told me, I laughed too.  It was perfect.

Allow me to backtrack just a bit.  It's been unseasonably hot here in Seattle recently, reaching the 80's most of the week, but cooling down in the evening.  So, when we put Lukas to bed last night we left his window open to cool off his room.

Then at about midnight, my wife went in to close his window before coming to bed herself.  She doesn't normally walk into his room in the middle of the night, so her entering obviously startled Lukas.

But didn't wake him up.

Instead, he sat up quickly, still glossy eyed and fully asleep.  That's when he sang out "EVERYTHING IS AWESOME" before falling immediately back to a prone position once again into his deep sleep.  That, of course, if the catch line from the LEGO Movie song and gets sung around here all the time these days.

He didn't remember any of this.

Too funny.  We've always said this boy dreams about LEGO, but we weren't meaning it literally.  Now we have proof.

Yes, everything IS awesome.  Especially our son.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Free Hugs

Lukas and I stopped in to pick up Annabelle a yesterday at her day care center.  Once we had punched in the secret code to the front door, signed her out, navigated the hallway, and entered the main room where the toddlers are usually congregating, we didn't immediately see her.

Of course, we wondered where she was.

It was at that time that both he and I heard emphatic crying from another room.  "Is that Annabelle?" Lukas asked.  "Maybe, but there are a lot of babies in here bud, so it could be anyone." I responded.

At that point we opened, door #3 (really, it was the third door we had to open to that point) and there, in front of us, was a small fry crying his eyes out.  Now, that wouldn't have normally been anything to blog home about, but you see that wasn't all that we witnessed upon entering that room readers.  Not at all.

That's because, although that boy was crying, he was getting comforted, and not by the staff member on duty mind you.

No, Lukas and I witnessed our Annabelle, all 21 months of her wrap that slightly taller boy in her arms in a big ol' bear hug and start patting him on the back with one of her hands.  Not at all un-similar to how we comfort the kids when they are in need of some love.

"Ahhhhhh, that is sooooo cute." another Mom nearby let everyone know.  I agreed.

Apparently, the two of them had run smack into each other while playing.  And like a tailback running into a solidly built linebacker, this boy had taken the worst of it.  Annabelle was unfazed.  She has a big brother after all.

But simply the fact that she notices when a friend is hurting, and is there with open arms to offer comfort and support, is just another sign that she's developing a strong sense of empathy.

And that she's tough as nails.

I'm just glad she didn't give him the stiff arm.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School Haul

Push me Brutha!  We're off to school!

Wow, summer is speeding by here like a 7-year-old chasing his little sister around a dead lawn.

And that is fast, readers!!  We don't have a dog, but the dog days of summer are certainly upon us now, with August in full swing.

August used to only mean dog days, hot weather, water fights, and stay-cations in the LIAYF household.  But in the past couple of years August has taken on a whole new, not so fun meaning.  Back to school shopping. You can tell how I feel about shopping, can't you?

In fact, a mall or department store is the last place I, or Mrs. LIAYF for that matter, want to be spending our time during the summer stretch run that is August.

Enter Kohl's.  Sure Kohl's has a brick and mortar store near you, but what you may not know is that Kohl's also has an awesome back-to-school online site where you can do all your back to school shopping from the comfort of your back deck while the kids are in bed and the sun is finally setting on a sun drenched summer day.

And that is exactly what we (and by 'we', I mostly mean Mrs. LIAYF) did recently as we used some timely deals from Kohls, who is teaming up with Office Max, to net a great haul for back to school.  Through their collaboration with Office Max,  Kohl's is now offering all the supplies you will need from folders to notebooks and pens to pencil cases.  (Note to readers - stop by next week and I will be giving away a Kohl's gift card perfect for your back-to-school shopping).

Lukas' school uses uniforms, so we were happy to find that Kohl's has a school uniform shop.  We choose several practical uniform pieces, but also selected a few fun items that he could wear on weekends and after school.  We didn't want to leave out Annabelle, so we got her some cute clothes for "back to daycare" (well, she never really left, but now she looks stylin').  And, because every family with kids is cash-strapped, we went for clothing that could mix and match with items we already owned.  For example, Lukas already has several pairs of Converse high-tops, so we didn't purchase any extras, but Kohl's has an awesome selection of Converse if you want to check it out.

Here are just a few of the looks we were able to winnow from the vast online selection:

Lukas: Pique polo navy uniform shirt,  khaki canvas shorts,
cool hipster hat and blue high-tops (already owned),
Annabelle: Striped tunic in navy,
Levi's jeggings (awww), Hello Kitty blue hairclip.

Lukas: Striped blue hoodie,  Levi's 511 slim fit,
blue hightops (already owned)

Lukas: Bicycle "7" Tee,  navy canvas shorts,
Keen sandles (already owned), steely grimace
(from taking too many pictures)
Annabelle: Bicycle Tee,  Hello Kitty hairclip,
blue check shorts (already owned)

Lukas: Whale Tee,  Levi's 511 slim-fit,
 check shirt and blue hightops (already owned)

Finally, back on the topic of school supplies, we also got these amazing water bottles we used last year in his lunch box.  We love their size, packability (is that a word?), and that they held up to heavy, heavy abuse.  Lukas also likes their bright graphics.

Juuuust right for lunchboxes!

As for the rest of the supplies, Lukas' school supply list has not been provided yet.  So, we are putting in an order this weekend for all his school supplies, using the Kohl's cash we earned online with our back-to-school purchases.  In addition to the water bottles, we anticipate we would likely be ordering one of the basic school packs offered by Kohl's, which includes pencils, paper, glue, markers, scissors, etc.  And, of course, the ubiquitous box of Kleenex (why does every teacher ask for these - oh, that's right, 7 year-old-boys and runny noses).

Disclaimer: The fine people at Kohl's provided me with compensation in order to purchase these fine products and to write here about all the great stuff we received.  It's worth noting though, that our experience was terrific throughout.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Red Bike Specials

Yowzers readers, it's been a looooong time since I posted here!  Sorry about that.  Life has been......busy.

Yeah, busy. 

A lot has happened since my last entry here too.  It's Summer after all, and we are already thinking about back to school shopping.  But the last time I wrote anything here Lukas was still a first grader.  Not anymore though, as our little guy will be in a 2/3 split class this coming fall.  Hard to believe when I look back through my archives here.

Oh, and he also turned 7 during my absence.   Happy birthday Buddy! (In case you were wondering, Yes I did wish him a happy birthday a few weeks ago when it actually happened.)  I guess I really should have posted about that.   I should have posted about a lot of things, but hey we are moving on here. 

And growing up too.  

Mrs. LIAYF and I got Lukas a new 20" red Specialized Hotrock Bicycle for his birthday. He has been riding this color and brand of bike since he was 3 when he began riding the 12" without training wheels.  Given it's light weight, low stand over height, and quality workmanship it was the perfect bike to transition from his Sun Cycle Lil Rocket balance bike.

Then, when he was 5 we moved him to the 16" Hotrock, and there was no question we would also move to the 20" as well.

Tonight I sold the 12" bike to a dad of a 4 year old, after I listed it on Craigslist as the perfect bike to transition from balance to pedals.  

It was a bit sad to see it go (although Lukas didn't seem to mind that much), so we corralled him and made him pose for the picture above. We're nostalgic like that.

And now that we have it we can also sell the 16" version.  That same dad is interested, I just have to price it, which is difficult because the memories it gave were priceless.

Perhaps, if that dad does purchase the 16" as well  he can make his son pose for a similar picture some day. By that time we will have probably moved on to the 24" Specialized Hotrock.

Maybe I'll be able to photo shop a picture of that bike onto this one.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

To Her, Daddy is the Sun

There are certain times when all the late night wakings, diaper changes, and cleaning food off the floor, in a instant, all seem worthwhile.

Of course, having kids you always know it's worthwhile, but it's often stuck in the back of your head while you are dealing with the above mentioned 'dirty jobs'.

On Sunday morning I was doing another of those unsavory jobs, loading the dishwasher, when Mrs. LIAYF called from the other room "Go show Daddy, Annabelle".   I then looked over at our dining room, and around the corner pattered my 18mo girl, followed closely by her mother.

She was holding a picture of me, from a few years ago, framed in a sunshine frame.  

I was apparently giving the sun it's glow too, because she was holding it closely to her chest.   "She looked at it and said 'Daddy!' with a smile" Mrs. LIAYF let me know.   I smiled at that too, as she reached me with the picture standing there next to the dishwasher.

And if her happily recognizing a picture of me wasn't heartwarming enough, my little girl then bent her head over, pulled the picture up to her mouth, and kissed it! It was one of those toddler kisses where there is not real puckering, just an open mouth gently placed onto the picture.

 Mrs. LIAYF and I both let out an "Ahhhhhhhh".   Yes, it was that cute.

Annabelle has been very affectionate of late.  Not that she wasn't before, but lately she is much more likely to hug back when held close, snuggle (just this morning she stopped before we left for daycare to make sure she snuggled up with her mother for several minutes before we left), and generally show off her tender side.

Of course, she still has her trademark sense of humor too.  After kissing my photo yesterday, she proceeded to toddle over and place it in the dishwasher next to the dirty plates.  She looked proud of that.

I guess it was time for daddy to have a bath.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Now Both of My Kids Suck

Yep, Annabelle has now reached that toddler milestone of sucking liquid through a straw!

What? You thought I meant something else?  Not a chance.  My kids are awesome!!

Annabelle has been attempting to drink from a straw for quite some time now, but just hadn't quite put it all together.  We knew she was overdue to do so, being 18 months old now, but we weren't too concerned knowing that all kids reach milestones at their own pace.

You could tell she knew what the concept was, but just couldn't quite figure it out.  It wasn't until we ordered a little flavored milk for her from one of our favorite local coffee houses that she had the incentive to draw the liquid out of the cup.

Since then, she has also took draws off of an apple granita from our local farmers market, which she also loved. I actually wrote about this same subject early in the life of this blog, when Lukas was a toddler himself.  I called that post The First Straw.

This all just serves to prove that even the smallest milestones can be a lot of fun.

Happy Memorial Day weekend all.  Be safe and enjoy yourselves.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'm Predicting an Earthquake


Yes, I'm predicting an earthquake readers.  It'll happen soon, mark my words.

I can tell this because of the animals.  Yes, the animals.  They were acting pretty strange today.  And haven't we all heard at least one of those stories where the animals go a bit crazy juuuuust before an earthquake, or a volcano erupting?  I know I have.

In fact, I distinctly remember reading a story about some pygmy goats freaking out just before Mt St. Helens blew it's top back in 1980.  I was in Little League that year, and it was cancelled because of the ash.  That's not really relevant, other than for me to remember my glory days of Little League.

Anyway, back to the earthquake.  It all started today while I was getting Annabelle ready for daycare.  At the same time Mrs. LIAYF was getting Lukas ready for school in the upstairs bathroom, when he happened to look over at the open window and see a raccoon peeking in on them.  A RACCOON! It apparently scampered off right away, but it was being a rather strange Peeping Tom in the full daylight, on our 2nd story roof.

When they told me what happened, I looked out the window and a large black crow was sitting in the same spot.  It flew off when I stuck my head out the window, but I could have sworn it gave me a weird stare before it did. I know!  Very odd.


Then a bit later, when we were all in they foyer getting our shoes on before leaving for school I looked down and right there between all four of us was a dead mouse!  We all let out a collective "Ewwww", especially when I picked it up by the tail with a paper towel  and tried to keep Annabelle from seeing.  Unfortunately it was barely in one piece. Yes Ewwww.

Normally a dead mouse wouldn't be considered too odd, but this was the 2nd dead mouse this week.  This from a cat we have had for over 10 years, and who hasn't ever killed a mouse before.   It was very strange.


Stranger still, after we left Mrs. LIAYF found what can only be described as a horror scene in Annabelle's play area off the kitchen, where our cat had killed the mouse.   I'll skip all the bloody details, of which there were apparently enough of them to make even the cast of CSI cringe.  But I will say that Annabelle's tiny plastic shopping cart, the one she wheels around all her shiny possessions in - kinda like a tiny transient magpie - ended up covered and looking like a prop from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.    Somehow our sweet and gentle cat had turned into some kind of feline Leatherface.


Mrs. LIAYF gingerly moved it out to the back deck so yours truly could scrub off the blood later, but upon seeing it there when she returned from daycare Annabelle made a b-line for it with a smile. However, Mom got there first and quickly hurled the shopping cart off the deck and into the bushes, obviously thinking this was a good idea.

Understandably that made Annabelle cry.   And so......that is how I found myself not too long ago retrieving a bloody plastic shopping cart from the bushes next to our deck, and scrubbing mouse off of it.  Obviously this was a Dad job.  Of course, I found myself rather jumpy and irritated while doing so.


Oh, and I while I was doing this scrubbing, I was also thinking about how I needed to be prepared for that earthquake.  It's going to happen.  Because the animals are acting pretty strange around here of late.

I hope I'm wrong.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The 4th Was With Us Today

Happy Star Wars Day readers.

That's right, if you haven't already heard (and I'm surprised how many folks I mention this to haven't), today May the 4th, is Star Wars Day.  Get it? "May the 4th Be With You!"

We have celebrated Star Wars Day with Lukas a couple of years running now, but this year was different in a pretty significant way.  That's because this year Lukas is only a couple of months shy of his 7th birthday, which just happened to be the age that Mrs. LIAYF and I had previously decided was the right age to view the original Star Wars movie for the first time.  But since it was Star Wars Day, and since we felt that he was finally ready emotionally, we decided now was the perfect time.

After Lukas greeted his baby sister first thing in the morning with a hug and a resounding "Happy Star Wars Day, Annabelle!" we had breakfast before starting our Star Wars Day with a trip across lake Washington to the nearest Lego Store, so that Lukas could spend his hard earned chore money (he gets 10 cents per household chore or homework exercise) on a new Lego set. He chose a Star Wars one, of course.

It was a bit on the crazy side there, but we did come out unscathed and ready to head home for the main event.

Once we were home and had lunch in our bellies, I put Annabelle down for a nap which hoped would last roughly 2 hours giving us enough time to watch our VHS version of Star Wars.  Yes, we actually have one of those dual VHS/DVD players, although this was the first VHS tape we have watched in it in years. Don't laugh when the movie was made this was state of the art technology.

We were all pretty excited, and Lukas was pretty quiet watching from his mother's lap.  That is, until the scene came on where Obi Wan told the Imperial Storm Troopers in Mos Eisley "These are not the droids you are looking for". He laughed pretty hard at that.  He probably remembered pulling this trick on his dad.

At about half way through the movie, we had to take a bathroom break.  It allowed me to snap this shot of Lukas, who dressed as Luke Skywalker two Halloweens running, next to his namesake.  I see the resemblance, do you?

Anyway, we had a LOT of fun watching Star Wars.  Once it came to the movies climactic scene, I couldn't resist pulling out my phone to record his reaction.  It's pretty cool, although I apologize for the quality and the sudden zoom near the end.

So much fun.

We all loved watching this movie together.  I hadn't realized how long it had been since I had watched Star Wars myself. My First time wasn't until after I had seen Empire and Return of the Jedi, so I was a wee bit confused until I was able to watch.

Speaking of wee things, Annabelle, right on cue, woke up just as the movie was ending.  She's perfect that way.  And as I carried her into our kitchen and past her dollhouse - which she doesn't normally even play with - she reached out and and pointed towards it, letting out an audible request.

As It turns out, there was something else sitting next to it which she wanted to play with instead.

Makes sense.  It was Star Wars Day after all.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Marking May's Days

With the month of May upon us now, I am realizing just how many days of note there are surrounding the beginning of this month.

Of course Mother's Day is on the horizon next week, and later in the month it's Mrs. LIAYF and my 15th wedding anniversary (exciting!), so those are obviously very significant days of note.

But on top of that, there are several other days this week which also afford the opportunity to mark special occasions.  Not sure we will observe all of them, but in an effort to establish tradition in our household, I think Mrs. LIAYF and I are going to at least dabble in the buildup and celebration of some of  these days.

May Day is now behind us.  The new director in my office is from Hawaii where they celebrate May Day as Lei Day, giving out fresh Lei's.  That actually sounds a bit more fun than the May Day demonstrations which took place yesterday here in Seattle, where scheduled peaceful protests in support of immigrant rights and raising the minimum wage eventually gave way to anarchists who were just looking to stir up problems.

At the LIAYF household we celebrated record high May Day temperatures in the upper 80's with dinner on the deck and a refreshing backyard water table.

For those of you who are unaware of this, Saturday, May 3rd is not only Derby Day, with the 104th running of the Kentucky Derby taking place (If we can spare 2 minutes this would be fun to watch), but it is also Free Comic Book Day.  Free Comic Book Day is a terrific idea, and I would love to go and pick up some free comics with my son, but the problem is that there are no participating stores in our neighborhood. So, we will have to decide whether we are going to pack up and travel to another area of the city when there are several other competing activities to choose from.  We'll see.

Then on Sunday, May the 4th, it will be a big day for us here in the LIAYF household. As many of you know May the 4th is Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!), and we plan on celebrating by watching the original Star Wars movie, also known as Episode IV, with Lukas.  It will be his first time watching the movie and we are pretty excited here.

None more than me.

Then on Monday, of course, it's Cinco De Mayo.  We have no party planned, but I'm sure we will mark the day with appropriate fare, and beverages.(Note to self: Find Coke or Fanta in bottles.)

Oh, and to top it all off, today is also Felix Day here in Seattle ( The King is on the Hill for the Mariners).  Happy Felix Day all!

All in all, it's look like a fun month is in store.  How do you all celebrate in May?

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Galaxy Quest

I'm cute, but I'm busy here!

I'm pretty excited readers.  That's because my new Samsung Galaxy 4 smart phone has finally arrived.  I say finally, when in fact I just ordered it a couple of days ago.  Even so, I wanted more instant gratification.

I was kidding about that last part.  The finally is actually because I waited around for quite some time before committing to the new phone since I was waiting for the phone to become free on our wireless plan.  I'm cheap that way.

Let me revise that.  I'm not cheap, just a dad with a couple of expensive kids who prohibit me from getting the latest and greatest toys until they become affordable.  And Free.99 is just the kind of affordable price that I like. (Yes, I DO know that I'm not getting the phone for free but I'm going with that interpretation, so don't bother trying to convince me otherwise.).

There were several reasons I was getting frustrated with my old iPhone 3.  One was that it was so crammed with apps and add on's that I didn't have room to upgrade my operating system.  

This left me with an out of date phone that I couldn't load crucial apps on.  Crucial apps like MLB At Bat 14. And without At Bat 14 there were several recent occasions where I had to wait to hear that my Seattle Mariners lost a late inning game, instead of seeing it first hand on my app.  

Okay, so perhaps that's a bad example.  Forgive me, I'm a long suffering fan.

I'm also excited  to get my new Galaxy Phone because it offers an improved internal GPS from that of the iPhone3.  I need this for when I take the family Geo-caching.  The iPhone 3 wasn't very precise for this, so we didn't end up actually doing much Geo-caching.  Thanks to my new phone,  I'll be finding treasures like little rubber figurines in no time.

Those things are good, but now I'll admit that the real reason I'm excited about getting this new phone is because of the camera it sports.  That's right, the camera.  It's a 13.1 megapixel beauty that I can carry in my back pocket.  

You don't realize how frustrated I have been with the low quality camera's we have employed in this household over the past several years.  Hint: They were terrible.

Anyway, I know that this phone camera isn't exactly a DSLR, but I'm hoping it will allow me to snap cute, blog-worthy pictures of the kids without a lot of fuss.  Like the one above.  That picture of Annabelle,  my 2nd with my new phone,  was taken by accident.  By accident!  And it was better than most from my previous non phone camera, which I swear took 90% blurry pictures.  This one's not perfect either, but I wasn't even trying.  I think she was actually pooping.  AND IT WAS STILL BETTER!

Yep, the real reason I'm excited about my new phone is that I'll be able to snap higher quality pictures of my kidos. 

And that's well worth the wait.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happiest Place on Earth? Not Without a Science Fair

I'm a bit bummed readers.

That's because I am currently on a business trip in Anaheim, CA, right across the street from Disneyland. Bummed? "Why would you be bummed" you may be asking, "Aren't you at the happiest place on earth?" 

Well, sort of. I am actually across the street from the happiest place on earth. And I have to tell you, next door to the happiest place on earth, outside the wall not able to look in, doesn't equal happy.

 I actually visited Downtown Disney last night, which was still outside the park and just might qualify as the most crowded place on earth. Or perhaps the noisiest place on earth. It was actually pretty close to closing time for the park, so I thought I might be able to walk in and look around a bit for free. Instead the friendly person at ticket counter offered me a ticket for $92.

I opted to walk back through Downtown Disney instead.  I needed to find some gifts to take back to the kids. That I accomplished, courtesy of the LEGO Store, which is always a good option.

Still, not getting into Disneyland for free isn't why I'm bummed. Nope.

I'm actually bummed, because I'm at Disneyland and Lukas is back at home RIGHT NOW, presenting his very first Science Fair project. It's very cool, he worked amazingly hard on it, and it's NOT a volcano - rather a cool electric circuit challenge where the person taking the challenge has to try not to touch wires together completing the circuit and lighting up a light and siren. It's fun, it's educational, it's well designed and constructed.

It's all these things, and I don't get to see him present it tonight because I'm away on a business trip.

That's why I'm bummed. 

But I am also amazingly proud too. 

Lukas found the challenge in one of his science books, and instead of buying all the materials listed found a way to use the components from his snap circuit kit to complete the project, which he describes on the display for the fair. Lukas is 6, so Mrs. LIAYF, and to a much lesser extent, myself, helped him with the final polish and presentation, but the idea for the project, the design, and the meat and potatoes of the project was all him. 

This is pretty cool. I miss my kids and my wife too, and even though I'm bummed that I can't be there in person I am pretty sure Lukas is having a blast at this very moment, showing off a project that he worked amazingly hard on.

Way to go Buddy.  Your Dad is very proud of how hard you worked on this project.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Need For Speed! (Stick)

It's not often that an average guy gets a chance to realize a lifelong dream.  But that is exactly what happened to me recently, thanks to the fine folks at Speed Stick.

It's true, as I was fortunate enough to be chosen by them to participate in the Speed Stick Gear Up Challenge.  The point of the challenge was to see how the new Speed Stick Gear would hold up while the user was participating in an extreme event.

Initially, I was sent a pretty cool kit which included a GoPro camera that I could use to film some footage, a heart rate monitor and watch, and of course the Speed Stick itself.  I just needed to choose the actual event.

This is where the realization of a lifelong dream comes in.  Out of the options offered to me, I chose learning to fly in one day.  That's right, in the course of an hour I was to learn how to fly an airplane.  I have wanted to fly an airplane since I was probably Lukas' age, but never have had the opportunity.

Until now.

No, I didn't actually learn to take off and land the plane in that one lesson.  But I was able to take the controls and actually fly it by myself for nearly 45 minutes, circling around the Puget Sound region, climbing, diving, turning the plane, pegging a certain altitude, and racing a jetliner which had taken off from SeaTac International airport.

Okay, April Fools on that last part as my co-pilot made sure that we were never in the vicinity of any Jet liner that was actually in the air.  We did however, to my surprise, cross directly over SeaTac (we had taken off from a different airport) because of the weather at the time, which included several dark and ominous looking clouds.

"Aren't there Jets landing here every minute or two? " I asked as we passed over the runways.  "Yep, but we have a window to get through" my instructor let me know.  Needless to say, I felt much better once we had cleared the airport.

It was at that point we turned away from the rain clouds, and flew towards the sun - its golden rays glistening over the Puget Sound waters which stretched southwards towards Olympia.  I was at the controls then, and would remain there until we actually came in for our landing.

I have to say, this was as amazing an experience as I expected it to be.  Sure, I felt pretty small and vulnerable from up there, looking down on the world in miniature below.  But I also felt both exhilarated, and empowered too.  It was definitely an experience I will remember forever.

As exhilarated as I was, I was amazingly calm during this whole experience too.  And so my heart rate monitor didn't get much of a workout.  Most importantly though, I didn't sweat either.  At least I couldn't tell if I did, as the Speed Stick Gear did it's job nicely.  I was dry.

At least until I headed back towards my car.  It was a rainy day in Seattle after all.

Full disclosure:  As mentioned, Speed Stick provided me with this opportunity, the lesson, and the contents of the box, including the camera and heart rate monitor.  All I had to do was write about my experience. Easy Peasy.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Circuit Training for a 6 Year Old

"Guess what time it is?" I asked Lukas tonight.

"Is it on?" he asked in an excited response.  "Yep, it just started" I let him know.  "Let's see if we can find it!"

And with that, I carefully carried the contraption, which Lukas had so carefully constructed the day before, to the kitchen island and let him turn it on.  It immediately crackled and let out a hiss of static through the tiny speaker.

At first, I was a bit afraid that we might come across some weird, coded message, reminiscent of an episode of LOST.  After all, that had happened to us before.

But, with some searching and careful adjustment of the multi-functional dial, the output that we were looking for spurted out of the speaker both loud and clear.  It was the unmistakably sound of a baseball game.

"You did it buddy!  You picked up the Mariners game."  This made him smile.  I was pretty excited too.

In fact, there is a good chance this will prove the most exciting Seattle Mariners moment we have this Summer.  But hey, it's not yet opening day and our team is tied for 1st place.  So, I hold out hope.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, what Lukas had built was a Transistor AM radio.  He had pulled out the Elenco Snap Circuit Kit that his grandparents had given him for his last birthday and independently decided to build the radio, because "It sounded cool."

Indeed, it was.

Yes, this is a Radio
And, the only thing he was interested in listening to on his new radio was a Mariners baseball game.  I think that was mostly for my benefit, but now we were getting the opportunity.  And, I have to say it was the most fun I have had listening to the radio in quite some time.   The novelty of it certainly factored in, but this was something my son had constructed for the both of us to enjoy.

The circuit kit has made for a great gift for Lukas.  He loves to tinker with different project with it.  We had an inkling he would, since he has always been very adept at building things.  Be it Lego's or puzzles, our son gets extremely excited whenever he gets the chance to construct something cool.

This particular kit should keep him busy for quite some time too.  In fact, there are quite a few projects in the deluxe kit.  The radio was project #623.

I think there are actually more than 692 projects too

This obviously begs the question "How the heck did they design 622 projects before they thought of making a radio?"  I'm not sure what the answer to that question is, but I'm certainly glad that someone decided to design a radio project.

The manual says AGE 8-80.  Lukas is 6, so I might have to talk with the folks at Elenco about revising that, but I'm sure glad that he is into these types of project at this earlier than normal age.

Because, if he wasn't, we would not have had this father/son/baseball bonding moment together.  

Sure, it doesn't quite live up to another Mariners moment we shared together, but this one may actually be cooler because my 6 year old followed some complex instructions all on his own.  

And was excited to share a baseball moment with his old man.  

You don't get much better than that.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Go Getter

"Can you go walk with her now?" Mrs. LIAYF asked, as she handed Annabelle to me.

It was more of a 'You're it' than a request really.  I had already taken one turn walking with Annabelle, before giving her off to my lovely wife.  Now, it was apparently my turn once again.  And so, I put her down onto the restaurant floor, and like a shot she was off.  She had purpose to her gait, like she knew exactly where she was going.

We turned to corner, and she paused only for a moment to push on the glass door that served as the entrance to the Fish and Chips joint, before she turned and was off down the sidewalk.  At nearly 17 months I can't say she was running, but she was coming as close to it as I suppose any 16 month old could.

We went up the side walk nearly a half a block, climbed some stairs, slapped some walls, then it was time to head back once again.

Spring has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest both on the calendar, and in the air.  It was a very nice, sunny, weekend here albeit still a bit on the cold side at around 50 degrees.

Mrs. LIAYF and I took advantage of the weather and an unusually long afternoon nap from Annabelle to do some much needed yard work.  I say much needed because, well, because we haven't done anything out there since last Fall.  Yeah.....I think I mentioned a 16 month old.

Let me rephrase that.  We have a baby! (I'm going to use that excuse until she is at least two at which time I'll have to think of a new excuse).

Anyway, we worked hard and got a lot of yard stuff done.  Yay!  We actually worked hard enough that we decided to reward ourselves by walking up to the previously mentioned Fish shop for dinner.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

As I mentioned Annabelle had her own ideas.  Sitting still while we dined out wasn't one of them.  I shouldn't be surprised though.

That's because she is a 'Go-Getter'.  It doesn't matter what IT is, she is the type of baby who will go get it (And usually toss it aside quickly before moving onto the next item to go get).  Seriously though, this girl rarely stops moving.

Whether it be on the changing table, or sitting in a high chair for dinner, Annabelle is not content to just sit there with a smile.  She HAS to be busy.  Lukas was like that too, and at 6 1/2 he still hasn't slowed down, proving himself to be one of the most squirmy of a highly squirmy group of 1st grade boys.  No easy feat, by any means.

Now, apparently, we will have a girl version of squirmy to deal with until that mythical day far in the future when they both have 'Settled'.  I'm not holding my breath.

I'm sure some of you out there are saying to yourselves "All kids are squirmy though".   This is not true, as too many times Mrs. LIAYF and I see children of equivalent ages to our kids quietly sitting with their parents at restaurants and events.

These parents seem to be enjoying themselves too!

For instance, at aforementioned Fish Shack, there was a nice looking family sitting in the both right behind us with another 16 month old girl.  Did her parents have to wrestle with her to keep her still? No.  Did they have to take her on  several walks in the span of the 30 minutes it took to eat their Cod and Fries?  NO!

You know what she did do?  No? She sat there quietly with a smile on her face.  Eating her food.  Ugh!

Mrs. LIAYF looked over at this little girl at one point and deadpanned "How did we get lucky enough to have 2 kids who couldn't sit still to save their lives?"  I just laughed.  So did she.

The truth is, as hard as it can be to have active, inquisitive kids, we know that those traits will serve them well as they grow year by year towards adulthood.  These aren't kids who will sit by and watch as life happens to them,  but rather will take an active role in their own fates.  This is a good thing, and as much as we look at other kids calmly sitting with their families, we really love our squirmy kids to death.  Life is never dull in our world.

As Annabelle determinedly passed by another table in the restaurant, a kindly older gentleman smiled a big smile and looked up at me following close behind.

"Wow, she's a real go getter!" he let me know.

He didn't know the half of it.