Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saved By The Belle

Annabelle doesn't have a ton of words yet.  But that certainly doesn't stop her from wanting to participate in family discussions.

Case in point.  A couple of nights ago, as we do every night, the family sat down for dinner together, sans media, to fortify ourselves and talk about our respective days.  Mrs. LIAYF went first, telling us about what she had learned that day at her work.  For all that she already knows, it's pretty cool that she never fails to think of something new that she picked up during the course of her day.

Next, we asked Lukas about his day at school, and what types of things he had learned in his 2nd grade classroom.  Usually this is difficult, because, as any of you who've had elementary age kids already know, they are pretty wiped out and often unresponsive by the time 6PM rolls around.

However, we can usually prime the pump with Lukas, and once he gets rolling, details will just sort of spill out.   Priming often takes both Mrs. LIAYF and I to talk about our day first.

It's usually difficult for me to find something interesting about what happened during my day.  Probably because I have a relatively boring job.  It's a good job and I have no complaints.  It's just boring.  So, I was once again having trouble thinkning of what to say after Mrs. LIAYF prompted me by asking to descibe something 'Interesting' that happened to me that day.

Thankfully though, I was saved by the Belle.  Annabelle.  That's because she was apparently tired of all her family chatting at the dinner table, and holding conversations without giving her a proper turn.

So she let out a healthy scream.  One that would shut us up and draw our attention.  It worked, as we quieted down and turned our attention to her. She said "My tin.  My tin"

"Do you want to talk about your day too?" Mrs. LIAYF asked, after we had all turned to gaze at our 2yo fireball.  "Yeah!"  She nodded.  Then she began to chatter to us animatedly.  She was obviously decribing, in detail, the events of her day at daycare.    "Did you see Elliot today?"  I asked her.  "Bye, Bye" she responded.  "You said goodbye when he left? " her mother asked "Yeah!" she smiled, obviously thrilled to have her own chance to detox.

Lukas laughed.  So did Mrs. LIAY and I.  We were having a true family discussion, one where EVERYONE had their say.  It was nice to have the whole family participate.

 It was also a good excercise in family bonding.  One we plan on continuing for the duation of their childhood.

Hopefully they won't be turned off of it by my rather mundane contributions.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wheels Off The Ground

I mentioned in a previous post, that since the kids were into scootering so much I was thinking about getting a scooter of my own just to keep up.   You thought I was kidding about that, didn't you?  Not to worry, so did I at the time.

However (and surprisingly), where I would normally just talk about something of the sort, and then be distracted by many other of lifes important things, I actually did something about it this time. I got myself a scooter too.  It's pretty cool.

After a quick bit of reseach on adult scooters, I found that Razor made an adult version, called the A5 which would be ideal for a guy of my physical dimensions.  Another quick search, this time on Craigslist, found 1, count em, 1 A5 scooter available for sale used in all the Seattle Metropolitan area.

But, it was at a steal!  $25 and a quick side trip on the way to Lukas' skateboard lesson later, and I had myself what proved to be a nearly brand new adult sized Razor that I could use to ride around with the kids.  Of course, it took me a few days before the opportunity presented itself, life's 'important things' not having gone away in the interim.

Lukas and I had only had an initial break in ride through our local business district, which was fun but pretty short, when an school mandated off day gave us the opportunity to go for a real scootering adventure together.  We decided on a newer park in another part of the city.  One with a kids playground, zip lines, and a few miles of paved paths (including a few higher hills that provided a good downhill cruise).

The park also had a brand new skate park, complete with deep bowl.

Lukas and I had a blast scootering around at top speed along the paved paths, and cruising down the weaving downhill sections.  It was the perfect place to go and enjoy some father/son wheeled bonding time.

Then, after riding around the paths for a while, we came upon the skate park.  It only had a few skate boaders in one section, with the deep bowl empty and inviting.  "Follow me Dad!" Lukas called as he immediately rode his smaller Razor over the steep edge of the upper bowl.  Yes this was a multi-tiered deep bowl.

I hesitated for a couple of moments, then thought "What the heck, I have my helmet on." and rolled my A5 over the edge.   The result?  Well, it was so steep that I instinctively leaned backwards which caused my scooter to jump out in front of me and it sent me flying onto my water bottle.  Yeah, I had a water bottle in my back pocket.  In retrospect, it probably saved my tailbone from a good buising.

But, I was okay, and I popped up and followed Lukas over the next steep decent into the lower bowl where we had enough speed built up to ride the edges a few times before rolling back up into the upper bowl.  It was a lot of fun!

We continued to ride around the skate bowl for a few minutes before getting out and breaking for lunch in the car.  It was all worth it when Lukas turned to me while eating his sandwhich and let me know "I'm really happy right now Dad".

I responded with an "I am too buddy.  I am too!"

After lunch we scootered around a bunch more, Lukas hit the playground, and we finally decided to call it a day after one final trip to the skate bowl.

The only drawback?  It's been days now, and my legs are still pretty sore.  Especially my left shin.

Being in your late 40's and riding around on two wheels with your 7 year old: Priceless.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Skating Through Life - Starting Now.

Lukas has always had incredible balance for his age.

This was never more evident than when he picked up riding a 12" bike without training wheels at the tender age of 3.  It took him all of 5 minutes, and he was riding a pedal bike. We never tried with the stabilizers, since he started riding a balance bike at 2 1/2.

He also has been riding a razor scooter the past couple of years, and is so comfortable with it he has been taking it to skate parks to ride amongst the older kids on boards.  If fact, he has rode the Razor so much that Annabelle watched and followed behind him on her tiny legs all the time. So much so that we had the idea of getting her a scooter of her own when she turned 2, which her Grandparents happy provided as her gift.

Lukas' comfort on wheels has been so natural that it is surprising even to us that we waited until now to get him on a Skateboard.  It seemed like the perfect time.  That happened earlier today at All Together Skate Park, a local indoor skate park  here in Seattle which specialized in lessons for kids.

The lesson was only an hour, but Lukas was excited about trying out a brand new skill.  Which he did with flying colors.  For the $20 lesson, All Together provided a personal instructor, all the gear needed - including the board and pads - and a kids 'Z-Bar' snack after the lesson as well!

Lukas started out learning the basics of how to stand and ride on the board, and amazingly by the end of the hour he was going down the 2nd stage ramp on his own.  I had no idea kids could pick up riding so fast, but other kids we also doing so which was pretty impressive.

The hardest part of the whole experience was probably having to tell Annabelle (who was watching intently the whole time) that as much as she turned to us, pointed out to the skating park, and said "My tin? (turn)" that she wasn't going to be able to have a lesson as well.  We were informed that All Together has given lessons to 2 year olds before, but we were not quite prepared for that yet.

Maybe when she is 3.

Lukas really enjoyed his first skateboard lesson.  So much in fact, that we are planning on going back again next week and continuing from there.   We are also thinking hard about a new board for his birthday, and even checked into prices of a birthday party and lessons for his buddies at the park in a few months.

Wish us luck.  It sounds like, after an hour of fun, we are already ALL IN.