Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Go Round

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays readers!  I've been working very hard over the past couple of months, and thus have had less time (much less) than I've needed to devote here at 'Luke, I am Your Father'.

But what better time than Christmas Day to check in and to let you know that the LIAYF clan are still here, enjoying our time together, sharing lots of love and happiness and, as always, growing older and wiser.

Thankfully, a couple of weeks ago Lukas and Annabelle mailed their Christmas letter, which Lukas carefully wrote to Santa for both of them.

Annabelle, who is still crazy for Superman (as well as Peppa Pig, Hello Kitty, Rainbow Dash, Mickey Mouse....) only asked Santa for a pair of Superman headphones.

Lukas, who is 9 now, decided he would leave the decision to Santa himself, since "Santa knows me so well."

I love this boy!

Shortly after mailing the letter, they got to go tell the Jolly Old Elf himself, what they wanted. As you can tell, they were both extremely happy to see Santa.  Especially Annabelle.

Then, this morning, the excitement was palpable as they both raced down the stairs to see if Santa had come, and what he had brought them.  (By the way, he DID eat the cookies and milk they left for him, leaving only a few crumbs for Dad to clean up. Which I did after eating a few-ish of the leftovers.)

It was a wonderful Christmas morning, with lots of smiles, love, sharing, and even a fire burning in the TV cabinet.

By the way, Annabelle did get her Superman headphones from Santa (she was thrilled), and Santa chose to give Lukas 'Bloxels' a cool video game creating gift, which he was so excited about, he didn't care to open the gifts Mrs. LIAYF and I had got him.

He's still playing with it (and creating) right now.

He was absolutely right.  Santa does know him so well.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Corn on the Dad

It was my birthday yesterday.

Don't ask, but know that next year I'll briefly be a member of the Over 50, Under 5 club. Yay!

I'm not mentioning this to get any birthday greetings from you readers, I received plenty of those from all my closest friends - through Facebook, of course.  Almost no one at my work even realized it was my 'special day',  which shows where the Venn Diagram between my FB friends and Co-workers intersects I suppose.

Anyway, the real reason I mentioned my birthday, is because although I received a whole lot of love, hugs, smiles, and cool stuff from my loved ones, there was one teensy little present which I just had to enjoy right away. No, I was IMPLORED to.

It was from Annabelle.

Lukas actually got me a hilarious card that featured a Honey Badger having eaten my cake. We laughed a lot at that one together, can you not laugh at a Honey Badger?

Then I opened the card from Annabelle, which was an awesome High Fiving Unicorn card!

Maybe High One-ing?

It was magical.

And if that wasn't cool enough, when I opened the card, out slid a Tattoo set.  Annabelle shrieked with delight as she grabbed the pair of tats and proclaimed that we were both going to get one of them right away.

Then she looked at me in all sincerity, and asked "Can we do it now Daddy? Right now?".

How could I say no to that?  Well, I couldn't. End of discussion.

All I had to do was first choose which of the two I wanted, since it WAS my Birthday and all.

Now, I must admit that this was a pretty difficult choice.  But in the end, Annabelle was perfectly happy that she got to adorn her arm with the remaining colorful Rainbow tattoo.

As for me?  More magic. Not the run of the mill kind either.  But the pure, unfiltered kind. Yeah, the good stuff.

It's as if (s)he was shot from the rainbow

I chose the Unicorn because of all those Magical powers.  And, I'm pretty sure the world was at complete peace for a second or two after it's application. Plus I heard harp like music from nowhere in particular.

Unfortunately for me once I had this pink beast tranfered onto my arm all the existing tone and muscle definition seemed to disappear from my bicep instantly.

Must be a side effect.

Thanks Sweetie!  And, Happy Birthday to me.  I'm not going to wash this arm for quite some time.

At least until the Mariners make the playoffs.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Eyes Don't Have it

The Blind Boys of LIAYF

Oh great, now my eyes are going to crap too.

In fact, I struggled again last night while trying to read Annabelle a bedtime story.

At this rate I'm sure I'll be blind by the end of the year.   I'll probably have to add the blind moniker to the beginning of my name. Something like Blind Willie Seattledad. Or Blind Lemon Seattledad.

But on the bright side, I might  finally take up that harmonica that's been staring longingly at me all these years.

Ok, so in reality I am not going to lose my eyesight, which is a good thing, but they are noticeably weaker with each passing month these days.

While most days I just think of myself as a dad period. In the back of my mind I know that the tell tale signs are there.  The signs that I'm on the back side in years, of where I should be for having an active 3 year old, and a lightning fast 9 year old.

I say active, but what I really mean is she NEVER. SLOWS. DOWN.

Achy knees? Check.  Creaky bones the morning after a long night with an overly drawn out bedtime for the kids, followed by dishes and laundry and lunches, and more dishes and more laundry? Check.

That extra little groan I have to make now while picking up one or both of my kids - because they are too tired to walk anymore (even though they just had 10 or more hours of sleep)? Check!

You know who's really too tired?  Me, that's who!

Just a couple of nights ago I was engrossed in reading Annabelle Frog and Toad (with my reading glasses), when the next thing I knew she was over playing with her doll house and apparently had been for some time!

I vaugely remembered her yelling at me a couple of times to keep reading, but that didn't help.  I was just out cold.

And now, the fact that I can't even read my kids a bedtime story anymore without holding the book at arm's length (unless, of course, I go off in search of my one pair of reading glasses) is another reminder that my body is in an all out race with my kid's childhood.

Sometimes I wonder which will be expire first?

This is sad. Poor me*.  I say so, because my eyes were the one superior thing I had left over my wife and kids. Something I could Lord over them as they got older. They all have glasses, but I've always had the perfect vision in the household.

Not anymore though.

Yep, these eyes are going to crap out on me soon.  Leaving me not only nearly blind, but tired and achy too.

Sounds like the perfect topic for a Blues song, doesn't it?  "I can't see my kids no more.  Da duh duh duh!"

*The truth of the matter is that I don't have to be able to read without optical support to see my kids smiles.  I could see those even if I really were blind, which thankfully I am not.  

Plus, I can hear their laughter perfectly even though they seem to think I can't hear very well.  Or they must think so, since they are always talking SO darn loud.

But that's a post for another day.  Eye promise.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Ride Like the Wind Again

Our Annabelle has always been a great athlete for her age.  Sure, she has a compact frame, usually being the shortest kid among her peers, but boy she is coordinated. And freakishly strong too.

She stepped onto a 3 wheeled scooter shortly after her grandparents got it for her 2nd birthday, and was instantly adept, amazing onlookers as a little while later she fearlessly weaved through crowded sidewalks with ease.

Aware that she had natural athletic gifts, Mrs. LIAYF and I enrolled her in a gymnastics class a year or so ago.  And, of course, she has mightily impressed the coaches there with her abilities as she quickly moved through the ranks.  So much so that, still 3 years old, they want her to enroll in a class for 5-6 year olds this month.  I just watch in awe as I consider the things this little girl can do at such a young age.

We actually had to wait until she turned 3 and a half years old before we could get her on Lukas' old balance bike, because her legs were too short.  But once we did a couple months ago, like most other things, she took to it almost immediately.

So, recognizing that the Summer was winding down and that we wanted to get her riding a pedal bike sooner than later, we picked her up a super cool Specialized 12" pink Hotrock of her very own last night.

Today, we took her to a playground with a lot of asphalt.  Perfect for learning how to make the transition.

What happened?  Well, you can probably guess.

Yeah, that's a very short clip.  But I was WAY to busy following her around the whole playground with a huge grin on my face to get a longer version.  It was pretty awesome!

Bottom line, in nearly no time she has once again proven that she is a natural athlete and is willing to conquer any challenge that comes her way.

Way to go Annabelle!  

Ride like the wind my beautiful girl.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Better Than a Toy Unicorn

I love my Annabelle.  We have a pretty good Father/Daugther thing going.

And even though she can be a tad TOO independent for my taste at times (read: at the end of a long work day when she doesn't want to go to bed on our set schedule for her), she is a funny, bright, hard working, strong and lovely little girl.

And my days would be filled with so much less happiness without her.

Apparently, she appreciates and enjoys the affection I heap on her as well.

Hmmm, maybe I shouldn't have promised her a real unicorn for her next birthday.

Okay, I didn't really promise her a unicorn.  But I really do need to teach her about the value of wishes and the decision making process that goes into choosing one.  Thinking bigger, if you will.   I mean, really, she can hug and kiss me (and does) anytime she wants.

On second thought, perhaps I will leave this lesson until much later.

Monday, June 27, 2016

9 is a Magic Number!

As they say, the more things change the more they stay the same.

That is so very true.

Happy 9th Birthday to Lukas, My inspiration, My source of happiness, My comic relief, My hope for a better future for this world.

My wonderful son.

Lukas ~ Age 2

Lukas ~ Age 9

9 is indeed a magic number.  As were the 8 others that preceded it.

I love you Buddy!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Trophy Dad

Hey there other Dads. Today, you can forget all the well intentioned mugs and hats you might have received as tokens of your kids appreciation.

Forget the T-shirts and framed pictures as well.  And the ties and frisbees too (yeah, it's happening out there).  In fact, forget everything you may have been told about the identity of the best dad in the world.

Why forget these things, you may ask.  Well, forget them because a definitive #1 Dad has now been crowned people. And it is your truly.


I've got the trophy to prove it*.

Just take a gander below, but don't stare directly at it because it's brightness may burn your eyes.

Reminicient of the Stanley Cup.  Or a butterfly.

Okay, okay.  This may, in fact say 'Dad 1 #'.  And the alignment is a teeeeesny bit off, with the 1 acting like it needs some space from the # symbol.  Whatever.

But without a doubt it's coming from coming from the cutest girl EVAH!

(no her name isn't Evah, that is just my way
of slanging the word 
ever.  Roll with it.)

So we can certainly give her a little slack.  I did.

I've got a combined 4608 days chalked up to being a Dad.  I think the title is deserving. Plus, I can now pour some cold beverage into each end of this paper cup trophy, and have myself a refreshing, relaxing day.  At least until the paper handles give.

Who am I kidding.  I'll still be chasing them around today.  The beer will be my reward for that time after they are in bed.

Yep, this Father's day will be the best of all time. Once again.

*I am also open to the slim possibility that there might be more than one #1 Dad out there, or 1 # Dad.  And if there are, I raise my trophy in toast to those great dads.  

Happy Father's Day, guys.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dear Kid on the Playground

Dear Kid on the Playground,

My daughter and I were swinging at a local playground a couple of days ago when you came over to play as well.  I'm sure you remember this, since you are still young.

You stood on the yellow plastic chair swing next to us, as I pushed Annabelle higher and higher at her emphatic request.  You seemed interested in our antics, as you smiled at us.  Then you told my daughter that you liked her glasses.  She didn't really respond, but that was because she was busy gaining altitude, her arms stretched out in front of her pretending to fly.  Plus she was being a bit shy.

So, that's why I answered for her.  "Thanks!"  Grown ups do that a lot.  It's called being polite for your kids.  Anyway, then you asked her how old she was, and she did respond.  Just not too loud.  "Three" I helped out once again.

Then you proceeded to shimmy up the swing bar, the one that angled backwards, so effortlessly that I was duly impressed.  As you hung there  at the top, nearly 10ft high I asked you your age.  You responded seven with conviction and an ease of tone.  Then as you swung back and forth on the bar, you engaged us in even more conversation.  You told us about your school, and how you were almost done with 2nd grade and about how you like to climb a lot.

Once back down, you even started showing Annabelle just how to climb up the pole.  Taking her shoes off was a helpful tip (although I groaned just a bit because you know who has to put them back on, don't you?) Even though I then helped her climb up with some bottom support, she was smiling because the 'big girl' was showing her how.  She loves climbing too, by the way.

Once you even looked over at me when Annabelle was turned away, and whispered exaggeratedly "Her glasses are SO cute!", which was pretty cute in and of itself.

If I had thought to pick out your parent(s) from the crowd conversing not far away at the edge of the playground I might just have gone over to them and indicated how impressed I was with your kindness towards Annabelle, and the ease with which you struck up a conversation with this dad and his daughter.  As a grown up you often think of those things later.  Things you wish you had done in the moment. Then you say 'Oh well."

But there was something else you said during that interaction that afternoon which actually made me laugh inside. Inside, but out loud inside.

It was when you turned to me with a smile and said "You know, you look a lot like my dad, when he was younger."  I paused for a moment, only because I was fully processing that statement.

"Yeah? How old is your Dad?"  I curiously replied.

And when you responded matter-of-factly "Thirty Four", I just smiled outwardly, did the mental math, and had that internal moment of blissful amusement.

Anyway, thank you cute kid on the playground.  You certainly made this 48 year old dad chuckle.

Typically, this is a job reserved only for my own children.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Father's Day Time Machine

I could travel back eons ago, to a
time when humans lived in shells.

Inevitably the question always arises around this time of year.  It usually goes something like "Hey Seattledad, what do you want for Father's Day?  A day away from the kids? A night out with the guys?"

And, just as inevitably, I always answer with a simple 'Nope, I enjoy spending time with my kids. They're awesome."

But this time, just such question from a work colleague got me thinking. Daydreaming actually.

Yeah, it wasn't at all unlike those crazy thoughts that run through your head right before you read the winning numbers of the Power Ball lottery and you eventually realize that, yes, you do have to go to work the next morning. I'm sure you know the ones.

Anywho, I started dreaming about getting a time machine for Father's Day, and how perfectly awesome cool that would be.

I know, right?

I mean, think about it.  If I had a time machine I could dial it back to when Lukas was Annabelle's age, and compare their levels of cuteness.  That would be a toss up, by the way, with both being absolutely adorable at 3.

I thought about how I could also dial it forward to a time when my kids are parents themselves, so I can see my grandkids for the first time.  This is assuming I am still there which, given my late start in life as a parent and the fact that my kids will hopefully wait until well into their careers to start families, is not altogether a lock.  In fact, it's probably a toss up at this point. Plus, I guess that would depend also on what you consider 'first'.

I pondered many of these types of scenarios with a smile.

But then I started to consider all the pitfalls associated with my choice.  Which was, in all honesty, a buzzkill.  I mean, what if my time machine dial didn't have a specific day and hour setting on the dial?  I might accidently land in my house during pre bedtime. Otherwise known as 'The time that shant be mentioned'.

Then, like all prudent time travelers, I would also have to make sure that I didn't get too close to my family.  Since I am pretty much always around my kids, I would have to make sure that I didn't see myself, or accidently wander in and have Lukas think that I was 5 years ago dad.  He would probably notice that I looked 'older'.

I might screw up the timeline, and have something go horribly wrong.

Then, that the time machine idea was a bad one was cemented in my mind when I considered one final thing.  I realized that If I actually saw my kids during a different timeline I couldn't NOT run over and give them a big hug and kiss.  I wouldn't have the will power to stop myself.  And if I did, the timeline consequences could be devestating. And not just for my family.

So, I ended my daydream with the resolution that if anyone does give me a time machine for Father's Day, I am certainly not going to use it.

I wouldn't even re-gift it.  The consequences are way too risky.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't think about it though.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Having That Effect

Annabelle and I were on our way to her Soccer class this morning, which does not happen to be in our neighborhood, so it took us approximately 15-20 minutes to travel over the high bridge and down into the valley below to the indoor arena where her class was being held.

It was a gorgeous Seattle morning with temps expected to reach the mid 90's later in the day, so I had her window partially rolled down so she could enjoy the breeze.

As we crossed the bridge she pointed out at the water below and squealed "River" with delight.  Out beyond was the towering white mass of Mount Rainer smiling down upon us. It was a picturesque start to our lazy Sunday and left smiles on both of our faces.

And Annabelle was still smiling widely as we exited the freeway and pulled up to our first stoplight.  Just then, a very large city bus pulled up beside us, stopping just shy of me, so that the driver was right next to Annabelle's window, but sitting much higher up.

Once he looked over, and saw our sweet girl gazing over at him with her smile still beaming, his mood seemed to immediately change for the better.  He smiled right back down at Annabelle, and slide open his window.

"Hi there Sweetie" he started.  "Are you enjoying the beautiful day?"  "I'm goin to Soccer!" Annabelle shot back.  "Well, that sounds like fun!"  the driver retorted.  You're pretty cute!"  to which my daughter merely raised her hand and waved a bye-bye to the nice  bus driver, as the light had turned green and we were starting to move.

I glanced back to see a big smile on his face as well, as he waved goodbye to her too.

It was a small exchange, but not uncommon with us.  No, it has never before been a city bus driver, but on almost every trip we take out of the house, people are stopping to at least flash a smile in the direction of my 3 year old cutie pie.

I'm sure this happens to most other 2-3 year olds as well.  Especially if they are animated, which Annabelle most certainly is.

It's cliche', I know. But I really do wish I could bottle this.  This adorable time in our lives.

Without a doubt I can see what effect popping the cork on this bottle has as we walk through the lives of others who are not now, or never will be, in this phase of their own lives.

It's akin to having a garden hose of happiness and spraying it on an unsuspecting crowd.

It's pretty awesome.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Drop EVERYTHING and Dance, Sucka!

We built this city. built this city on kindie and folk.

We listen to a lot of music in our household.  From Kindie, to Blues, to Folk, to Americana, to Classical, to Indie, to Grunge, to Classic Rock, to.....well anything really.

That being said, we do have a kid themed Pandora station we listen to on most weekend mornings.  It is a mix of kindie artists such Caspar Babypants and Elizabeth Mitchel, with some Johny Cash, Jack Johnson, and the like thrown in for good measure.

And, once the algorithm gets cranking, it ends up being a fairly fun and breakfast appropriate mix.  The only problem I guess would be that there is not a lot of new music added to the profile, so after time you end up hearing the same songs on a regular basis.

I say 'problem' but, in all honesty, even this has it's advantages.  It's silver linings, if you will.

The most obvious of these to the LIAYF household is that the kids, as well as Mrs. LIAYF and I have identified for each kid a song that is "Their Song".   For each these are songs that elicit a healthy round of dancing and general merriment.


Usually, as I mentioned, this is in our kitchen. On a weekend morning during breakfast.  So, if Annabelle's song 'Ho Hey' by the Lumineers comes on, we drop everything, crank up the volume, and proceed to enthusiastically dance around the kitchen like complete fools, laughing and intermittently hugging all the way through.

Thankfully, Ho Hey is a relatively short song, because by the end Mrs. LIAYF and I are pretty much worn out.  In fact, after a minute or so we are usually eagerly awaiting the conclusion.

Similarly, we laugh and dance enthusiastically and sing to Lukas' song 'The Best Day of My Life' by American Authors.  This is a great song, sure, but it's even longer than 'Ho Hey', so takes a lot of effort, especially for dad such as myself.

Bottom line, it's fun, but it can be a little much if done on too regular basis.  And now the kids expect dancing to happen anytime either of these songs come on.  Nay, they DEMAND it!

That became apparent a few nights ago, when, after walking around our local business district, we all stopped into a local Starbucks where most tables were quietly taken up by singles on their laptops. But the music was playing, relatively loud.

And of course, as soon as we had ordered, 'Ho Hey' started piping loudly out of the speakers.  Annabelle, in here cutest 3 year old voice, immediately screamed "My Song!", grabbed our hands, and led us to the middle of the store where she started to dance around still holding our hands.

Well, what could we do?  What would you do?

I'm sure we looked rather foolish to the rest of the onlookers, but we all danced around until the song was over.  We were a little more muted and not quite as enthusiastic as we usually are in our kitchen.   But drop everything and dance, we did.

Annabelle was pretty happy with that, which made it all worth it.  Although I sure hope we don't start making a habit of dancing around public places.

Even if it is pretty darn cute.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

What a Rube!

For his 3rd Grade Science Fair recently, Lukas was tasked with entering a project as part of a class assignment.

He was excited about the idea not only because this meant no additional homework for a month, but because after entering a project in the fair during his 1st grade year (I wrote about it here), he was not given an opportunity last year in 2nd grade, as the teacher opted instead to do a whole class project, which bummed him out.

So, this year he went all out and decided to go with an idea he has been wanting to pursue for some time, having collected various and sundry items that might someday be used in just such a project.

What was the project, you ask? Well, for his Science Fair Project, Lukas designed and built his very own Rube Goldberg Machine, which was all kinds of cool once completed.  

Just take a look at this, his first successful test of the full machine, and try not to smile a 10th of what he does in this video.   Don't worry, it's only a minute and well worth a watch.

Yes, it was test #101, like he said!  But only test #7 of the whole finished machine.  Mrs. LIAYF worked with him on many of the details, but make no mistake, this was his project and he was the point person on every part of the process.

We are all very happy with his choice of projects, because besides being a lot of work, it was also a lot of fun as you can see, and Lukas also learned a LOT about physics during the process.  As he is quick to point out, his Machine used gears, levers, pulley's, wheels, axles, and springs to convert energy into completing the task of popping the balloon. 

Thankfully, the Science Fair went off without a hitch too, with his whole class - as well as curious onlookers from around the school, expressing much interest in the machine, and wanting to try it out for themselves.  

Of course, not every individual run through went off without a hitch, but that only stressed the delicate balance that had to be attained to make the Rube Goldberg Machine work as designed.

Before you ask, no, I guess I am not smarter than a 3rd Grader.

Which is also pretty cool I suppose.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Triumph of the Jedi

"Join Me!"  "Nooooooo!"

Boom, Lukas can officially drop the mic on childhood!

That's because on our recent trip to Disneyland, which happened over Spring Break here in Seattle, Lukas was able to don a Jedi robe, draw a green light saber, and battle against perhaps the most iconic villan in movie history, Darth Vader!

Hey, but I am still his father!!

As you can see from the photo above, Lukas had amazing form as he parried all light saber srtikes by Lord Vader, and returned his own forceful blows as well.  This was no surprise to Mrs. LIAYF and I as he has been training around the LIAYF household for years now.

Certainly this was one of the highlights of our vaction, as Lukas and I arrived early at Disneyland, waited in line until the gates opened, then raced full speed over to Tommorowland where we were met by.....a rope.

Yep, that's right.  Once he and I had raced through the park to the Tommorowland, where the Jedi Training was to take place, we had to wait another 20 minutes behind a rope as hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of park goers squeezed up behind us waiting for the rope to drop.

And all around us, we heard dads and moms, and sons and daughters talk about one thing. One Thing!  Getting signed up for Jedi Training, which only happens for a few lucky Padawans each and every day at Disneyland.

Selfie at the rope, waiting for the race
through Tommomowland!

So, as we prepared for the rope to drop I implored Lukas to hold onto my hand while we ran through Tommorowland to the sign up line so that he wouldn't get run over by the hoards of crazed dads and Mom's gathering behind us.  I was carrying a heavy backpack, but I was determined to also save my son from determined mass.

Then the rope dropped, the signal was given, and Lukas surprised everyone and sprinted like a cross between The Flash and Dash from The Incredibles and left me in the dust becoming the first person to reach the place where the training was to take place.

This from a kid who was in a wheelchair with a broken femur just a few months ago!

The only problem was that this was NOT the place to sign up for the training, which we didn't know.  This allowed another Dad to pass us in line.  This was no problem though, as second in line was plenty enough to choose our time slot and get Lukas signed up to train as a Jedi.

And, to ultimately battle every Jedi's arch nemesis, Darth Vader!

Honestly, I'm not sure who loved this more, Luke or his Father.  And by his Father, I am not referring to the guy in the black mask!

Our first trip to Disneyland was amazing, and I will post more about it in the near future, but this one experience had to be the defining moment of our trip.

The Force is Strong in our son.  He fought like a true Jedi, and certainly made this Father proud.

This was fun.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pattern Recognition

Can you find the pattern?

"I found the pattern", Lukas told us mere moments into his math homework tonight.  In a blink he had completed this 'work' and was then distracted by another subject.  His bouncy and energetic sister this time.

This boy.  Finding patterns has always come naturally to him.  A small window into just how his mind works.  And a wonderful, loving mind it is too.

He will find them often.  Look for them in numbers, and in nature, these patterns.  Finding them in places, and pictures that are not immediately obvious to his mother and I.  It takes an inherent gift to see these alignments through the fog of noise that permeates our perception.

He has this gift.  We've know his mind gravitated towards certain affinities since he was very young.

It's pretty cool.

I have no doubt that one day patterns, or numbers of some sort will be a part of his trade, perhaps even his source of enjoyment.  Sabremetrics anyone?  Maybe that's just a dream of his father's, mine, a guy who loves the smell, the taste, the feel of baseball despite his team disappointing him without fail seemingly with each cycle of the earth round the sun.

But if they aren't, I'm fairly certain he will find another endeavor which will bring a heartwarming smile, which is another thing that comes natural with this one.  And his little sister as well, come to think of it.

Hmmm, seems like a pattern there.

How lucky Mrs. LIAYF and I are.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Yeesh! Teach a Kid to Read

Fueled by Pudding

Lukas, who's 8, not surprisingly has been reading for some time now.   In fact, just this past week his teacher informed us that he was reading well past his grade level now.  It was pretty fantastic for a kid so highly math inclined his early reading had suffered by comparison. 

But, that being said, when kids learn to read it can have certain drawbacks. Let me proffer an example.

It was sometime after 10:00PM the other night when Lukas came down from his room.

His approach was announced rather clearly by the thumping of the stairs as he trod down them.  Mrs. LIAYF and I were in the kitchen, having just recently finished making lunches for he and Annabelle for the next school day.

"What's up Buddy? Why aren't you asleep?  I asked him.

"I'm hungry" he let us know.

"Okay, tell us what you want? But it'll have to be quick" Mrs. LIAYF interjected.

"Some warm milk with cinnamon. That always puts me right to sleep." he replied.  It seemed reasonable.

Then he opened the refrigerator to grab the milk, and after a brief scan of the contents added "And some chocolate pudding!" He had obviously seen a plastic cup of it sitting there on the shelf above the milk carton.

"Pudding? Not the best idea right now."  I then let him know. "Yeah, too much sugar right at bedtime."  Mrs. LIAFY chimed in, backing me up.

"Uh, No" was all Lukas said in reply.  I looked over then and saw him pointing up to the chocolate pudding, laying on it's side with it's top seal showing.

I then glanced in there,  and Lukas read the words aloud as I was reading them off the packaging to myself.  "Sugar Free Snack Pack Chocolate Pudding".

I looked down at him to see a huge smile on his face. He was pretty amused, and proud of that zinger. Then I glanced over to Mrs. LIAYF who was also trying to hold back her laugh.  It didn't work, as we all immediately burst out into amused laughter.

What could we say? Our boy had undoubtedly had exposed the glaring flaw in our argument.  No, we couldn't say much, especially with the laughter.

So, I placed a cup of pudding, along with a spoon on the counter top as his just reward. What would it hurt this one time.

And, after enjoying his sugar free chocolate pudding and a little warm milk with cinnamon, our satisfied and sated son was off to bed.

Where he fell asleep pretty darn fast.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Stuff Happens. Remember it Fondly.

It happened once again the other day.  With little fanfare.  And why should it have any, I thought to myself afterwards.  It was just stuff.

Stuff that served a very important purpose, yes.  But just stuff.

What happened was that while Mrs. LIAYF was loading up our backpack - the one we take along when we travel outside the home with our kids - she had a small epiphany and pulled out several items that had been crammed down there for months, and had not been used for some weeks now.

This stuff just happened to be diapers and cream, wipes, and extra clothes.  All the necessities of going outside the home with a child who hasn't yet learned the art of holding it in.  But we were (are) now there with Annabelle.  Once she made her transition it was seamless, and she has not looked back.

It seems a fairly regular occurrence that we grow out of one thing or another that facilitated our kids nurturing.

To reiterate, I had absolutely no problem with dispensing of these items, so didn't object.  As I mentioned, it had  no fanfare at the time, save for a sigh of relief at not having to pack the extra bulk around on my back.

But the idea of this moment, the significance of it, has stuck with me for several days now.

This transition, albeit small, told a story about the development of our daughter and the stage she has now reached at the ripe old age of this many (three fingers).  She is certainly not a baby anymore. Heck, she is not even a toddler anymore.

This was another sign that she is a little girl.   A sweet, sassy, funny, loving little girl.  But certainly not too little..

And, oddly, at this stage of my own life, this seems to have happened in an instant.

Although no, I won't soon forget all those messy diapers, late night feedings, bottles prepared, and transitions (from sitting to crawling, then standing and walking, now climbing), it has all still become somewhat blurred into an instant for me as I look back.

Like *poof* I have a lovely little girl.  It's amazing.

But I don't want to forget. So, I want to hold onto those memories.  Not only the memories of those true milestone events, but also the seemingly insignificant passing of stuff. Such as what we rid ourselves of by emptying out a simple backpack.

Those items,  the insignificant necessities of raising a little person, seem to flow by me in time as if I were a polished boulder, forged eons ago, and sitting in the middle of the rambling stream that represents their childhood.

Why should I want to hold onto these pictures in my head?  Aren't they just ancillary to the more important events that implant themselves into my long term happy memories?

I guess it's because of the amount of blood, sweat, tears, and other bodily fluids ( for lack of better terminology) that accompanied each of these.  They are all a part of the experience of raising our children.

Touch and hold any one of these items before it goes.  Think about how you used it, and for what.  As if a brush, It will trigger images of the real art you put onto the canvas that is raising your children.  Your masterpieces.

Perhaps I am being too melodramatic here.  After all it's just stuff.  But, as I pondered moving on from those items that afternoon, I did flash back, if only for a moment, to remember the reasons they were there.  The times I changed our daughter in a restaurant, or on a blanket outside at a park.  There were certainly some less than ideal outcomes.

And remembered in those instances happy times.  Happy, not because I was doing something unpleasant, but because I was there for her, doing my job.

Being a parent.

Her Dad.

Monday, February 29, 2016

10 Signs You May be an Old Dad

Boys pants, and Curtains were perhaps in same
section of Sears 1975 catalog?

I love being a dad!  I really do.  But the truth of the matter is that I didn't exactly get an early jump on the game.   Sometimes I feel like an old dad.  But that's because I am.  I'm 48 with a 3 year old, so I think I qualify.  

How about you gents?  If you are a dad, younger than me and reading this, you might wonder if you should you classify yourself as an old dad too.  Well, if you aren't sure, no problem, because I've listed 10 handy signs that may just indicate you really are an old dad.  

See if any apply.

1.  Your memory is such that when your son asks you to tell him a story about when you were a little boy all you can muster is "Ancient Chinese Secret!"

2.  You're not too disappointed when your kids have bad dreams in the middle of the night, because that also means that after you put them back to bed you can make a much needed pit stop on your way back.

3.  Your 3 year old spills milk on the kitchen floor, and since bending over to wipe it up seems like too much effort, you decide a better option is simply soak it up with your sock.

4.  After looking at hundreds of digital pictures of themselves your kids want to see pictures of you when you were a kid.  Unfortunately, all you have are a pathetic few tattered, misaligned, and color-faded prints.

5.  After looking at said color faded pictures, you're very thankful the Sears Catalog is no longer the most convieient method parents have for back to school shopping.

6. Whenever your kid gets the slightest nick or scrape you pipe in with "We can rebuild him, we have the technology!" while simulating a choppy, slow motion, bionic run.

7.  After you both hear a great song on classic rock radio your kid is visibly confused when you tell him "I think I used to have that one on tape."

8.  You make a special trip to Costco just to 'Buy ibuprophen'.

9.  You kid laughs when you tell him you had a party phone line growing up, and the party consisted of 'some nosey neighbors who could listen in on you'.

10.  When challenging your son to a game, and he says 'You're going down', you respond by saying "No, you're going down.  Down, down, down, to a Valley Deep Below".  

Bonus sign:  You interrupt your son, whose very deeply involved in a game of Minecraft, just to tell him "You know Buddy, I used to kill it at Galaga."

Done?  Need more time? Nodded off in the middle? Well, If more than one of these apply, you should probably consider yourself a member of the club.

I'd stay to chat about it, but I'm tired and really feel like going to bed now. 

Hopefully someone will have a bad good dream and want to wake me up to tell me about it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Logical Dad Blogger Song

As they are young, it seems that life is so wonderful,

A miracle, oh it is beautiful, magical.

And both of us in the wings, well we are singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully, watching with glee.

Ah, but we have to send them away to teach them how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical.

And while we work away, they're shown a world where they can be so dependable, more verbal, intellectual, mathmatical.

There are times when both of them are asleep,
The possibilities run too deep
For such a simple dad.

"Won't you please, please tell me what you've learned?"
I know it sounds absurd
I want to write about what you've heard.

Need to watch what I write or they'll be calling me too comical,
unreadable, fanatastical, whimsical.

Write down all my ideas, to find something acceptable, respectable, presentable. While still making them eat their vegetables!"

And at night, when both of them are asleep,
The possibilities run too deep
For such a simple blogging Dad.

I must please, please, write down what I've learned
Write down what I've heard
I know the notion sounds absurd
But they can read it when they're old. 

When they say "Please tell me who I am!"


My deepest apolgies to Supertramp, from whom I've borrowed here. But you're logical. You know that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A REAL CHANGE of Perspective

Consider picking up one of these papers
next time you see a vendor.  Well worth the $2

Tonight was another night where we had dinner out with the kids.  

Truth be told though we would have just as well eaten back at home, but we had eye appointments for both kids this evening (You've seen their glasses), and didn't get finished until nearly 6:00PM. 

Immediate nutrients were a requisite, lest we all melt down.

So pizza was on the menu, at a joint on Seattle's Capitol Hill, which was not far from the eye doctor's office.  As usual we ended up ordering too much pie.  The kids are actually smaller than they seem when they are hungry.  I know, go figure.

Anyway, after the meal we eventually packed up the kiddos along with our leftovers, and headed down the sidewalk on our way back to the cars.  We were walking hand in hand - as it was dark and it's just nice to hold the hand of someone you love.  

As we were walking along paying most of our attention to those of us aged in single digits, I glanced up to see a man approach.  He wasn't dressed well, and it was immediately obvious to me that he was not in the best of places.  He asked for some cash.  Unfortunately I don't usually carry cash so while still passing by I told him that I was sorry, but couldn't help.

After a few steps though, Mrs. LIAYF looked over at me and told me to "give him the pizza". Of course, this immediately seemed pretty obvious to me as well.  He clearly needed it more than we did. So I back tracked to man, who was walking the other way and offered him the extra pie.  But he just kept on walking.   Thinking he didn't hear me as I usually talk softly, I approached closer and offered again a bit louder.

That is when he turned towards me an very angrily yelled "NO!!" right in my face.  Then mumbled some incomprehensible words as he walked off.

I was startled a bit by that, but accepted his decision and rejoined my family.  It was then that Lukas, who looked a bit shocked himself told us "I'm scared."  

"There's nothing to be scared of Bud" I told him, "Your Mom and I are right here with you."  We resumed our walk, and Mrs. LIAYF and I began to explain to our son about people who are struggling and whose brains don't always work in ways that others would expect them to, but that doesn't  mean that we shouldn't still try to help these folks out when we have an opportunity.  That there are a lot of folks looking for a bit of help, which might just make a huge difference for them.

Ironically, about the time we were walking and explaining this to him, we were also passing another man, selling papers.  I immediately recognized this as a REAL CHANGE vendor. The vendors are homeless, and sell the papers to earn much needed money.  Money they use to survive. Mrs. LIAYF and I usually include them in our year end giving.

So, I stopped our family for a second time and although I still didn't have any cash on me, used the opportunity to approach this man and again offer our leftover food.

"Absolutely!" he beamed, flashing a huge smile - obviously thrilled at the prospect of a hot meal on a cold evening.  "Thank you so much.  And please take a paper.  Please." he extended one to me, which I gladly accepted and returned the gratitude. 

Literally a few moments had passed since the first encounter, and here we were able to see such a different reaction to our offer.

It was powerful. 

With that, we once again we resumed our walk to our car.  And were able to use this new encounter to greatly enhance the learning experience the kids were getting.  We explained to our little ones that as they could see, you can't make assumptions about people based on what you see on the outside.  

Sure there are going to be times where people act badly, but it's usually for an understandable, if unfortunate, reason.  But that more often you will see how people are good and appreciate any amount of genuine help we can give, even when they are struggling the most.

That was a lesson worth so much more than a few slices of leftover pizza.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


It was a major, dare I say 'epic' haul last night, as we returned home from dinner out with Grandma and Grandpa.

Lukas, Annabelle, Mrs. LIAYF and I met my folks at a local 50's themed diner for burgers, fish and chips, milkshakes, and classic rock and roll. There's a jukebox in this diner where, for two bits, you can choose from any number of classics.

Somehow by randomly punching at the jukebox buttons Annabelle chose the song Teenager in Love, prompting a near hyperventilating howl of laughter from Lukas. He's 8.

Anyway, all those things were cool for sure but were NOT the highlight of the evening for the kids.  There was something much cooler in this establishment to occupy their time.

If you are thinking to yourself "I bet there was also one of those vending dispensers of cheap trinkety toys in little bubble shaped plastic containers there as well"  Ding, ding, ding and DING! crown yourself king of the Internet for the next 30 seconds, because you're good at this game.

On this particular evening our happy kids lucked into the perfect storm, or perhaps more appropriately, the Bermuda Triangle of tiny plastic treasure pieces, when the combination of Grandpa, vending machine, and change dispenser formed a soul and dollar bill sucking triangle just outside of the two tables we had pulled together to give the other patrons a barrier between themselves and our pinballing children.

And our kids deftly took full advantage of their good fortune (it's rare they get to deposit more than one quarter into such machines) by raking in such amazing treasure pieces as plastic bracelets, plastic rings, plastic heart shaped key chains, rubber aliens, plastic watches, compasses, and spinning tops.  All in multitudes.

Personally, I was a bit sad to see that not one of those tiny plastic bubbles had a sad looking tiny plastic boy in it. Not a single one.

Perhaps Lukas was looking for one for me though, because he and his sister just kept feeding the machines.  First the change dispenser, then the trinket barfing hunk of metal and glass. Over and over.  This machine even seemed to be looking up towards the grownups and laughing every time it coughed up another plastic bubble.

On a side note, If that's not already the theme of a horror movie, it should be.

When it finally did stop, Mrs. LIAYF's body was adorned with much of this haul. She looked like a much prettier,  plastic adorned version of Mr. T - circa 1982 and Rocky III.   Apparently she was acting as the safe deposit box while our little pirates were out looting.

I would have loved to have found a way to leave all those trinkets right there, at the diner. Perhaps for another less fortunate and Grandparent-less child to happen upon.  But alas, it was not to be.

The haul was gathered. It was brought home.  It will find it's way into the nooks and crannies of our home.  It will take it's rightful place there amongst all the other trinkety treasure that my kids have gathered over the years.

One day, a long time from now, no doubt there will be a headline that reads something to the effect:  'Scientists break open Seattle home  - Are appalled at the number of tiny plastic pieces they find.

Yes, welcome home endless tiny plastic pieces of junk.  You have now arrived at Trinketville.

Enjoy your stay.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lumpy Blanket

Lump1 and Lump2

I have no idea what initially triggered it, but I ended up spending much of our post dinner wind down time this evening engaged in a game of Lumpy Blanket with the kids. I played this game with both kids, but in truth it was mostly with Lukas.  

We've played on many occasions over the years.

You've never played Lumpy Blanket before, you say?  Well, the game is played something like this.  Player one (that would be me) is walking from one room to the next in the house - let's say from the kitchen to the living room, because that was where this game actually started - and right there in the middle of the floor sits a large blanket.  

It's just sitting there in a lump.

I'm sure there are other versions of this game, but tonight as I approach this blanket, it's a bit squirmy.  I take the bait and the game commences.  "What is this blanket doing in the middle of the floor!"  in mock exasperation I ask to no one and everyone all at once.  "Can't you people (referring to my loving family) pick up after yourselves?"  

It's at this point that I animatedly pick up the blanket to toss it on the couch, and it's heavy.  I mean like a 60lb sack of potatoes heavy.  But I throw it onto the couch gently nonetheless, and go about my business.  But somehow this lumpy, heavy blanket ends up back on the floor again.  Then it happens again, and another time.  But I keep playing.  

Once as I was tossing the lumpy blanket onto the couch it actually let out a muted fart, then giggled.  "Did you order the Amazing Farting Blanket from that infomercial we watched recently?" I asked Mrs. LIAYF.  "Cause if you did, it really works."  She denied this.

This elicited a laugh from the blanket.

I'm not sure why I kept playing this game.  Especially when I had to haul this very heavy blanket up the stairs to Lukas' bedroom not once, or even twice, but on three separate occasions tonight. Only to find it back downstairs in the middle of the floor again.

I have to admit that I felt this afterwards.

Why play for so long? I guess it's because, despite this seriously exhausting me after a long day at the office, I wondered to myself all the time just how much longer I would get a chance to carry a blanket such as this one around the house, up and down the stairs.  

This amazing, woolen, lumpy, heavy, giggling, farting blanket - The only game piece associated with this fun for the whole family, but seriously under-marketed game -  just keeps growing bigger and bigger.  The game is getting more difficult as time passes.  

And I fear that much much too soon I won't be able to play this version of Lumpy Blanket any longer.  

That will be sad.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

You Can Not Stop Our Apple Fun!

A Tiger, a Lion, and a Dog walk into a bar balancing fruit on their heads.
"Cider!" they demand in unison.
The bartender, who is a Bear holding a mop, looks visibly agitated.
The Tiger points towards the Lion and asks the Bear "How do you like them apples?"
It's at this point that the Bear, who is not amused, assembles an angry mob and takes out after the three thirsty patrons determined to put an end to the madness these unlikely friends have wrought.

Or something like that.

Sorry, but I have read the Dr. Seuss classic 'Ten Apples Up on Top' to Annabelle so many times lately that I am starting to make up alternate versions in my head.

She loves the story though.  Demanding it each and every night at least once before bed.  It's pretty cute how she reads along as we turn the pages.  "One on Top!  Two on Top!" and then gets visibly concerned for the Dog, Lion, and Tiger as the mob of angry birds and bears chase them, trying to stop their apple fun. 

"A Mop! A MOP!" she will exclaim in her squeaky but high pitched toddler voice, then express sheer joy when the cart is run into at full speed and the explosion of apples end up landing on top of all the parties involved.

Lukas, who loves to read to his little sister, or Mrs. LIAYF will usually start her off with a couple pages before sending her off with me to read the rest of the story.  Of course, I always have to start over.

In fact, I have read this story so many times recently that I think it's soaked into my subconscious.  And not in a good way  - ie: my lame attempt at a bar joke above.  

Another example of the saturation of this children's story into my brain came at dinner last night.  As is often the case with Annabelle after a long day at preschool, she was tired and loopy, and didn't want to eat her dinner.

Mrs. LIAYF and I were determined to get her to eat something though, knowing of course that if she didn't she would put a sudden halt to her bedtime routine later and demand a bedtime snack.  We were unsuccessful in getting her to eat the grilled chicken I had so lovingly cut into tiny pieces for her plate.

So I tried the apple slices.  

This is where my brain, which was obviously full from alternate story scenarios, failed to make the correct neural connections in my prefrontal (or maybe postfrontal) cortex where decision making is housed.

"How about eating your apples, Annabelle?" I started.  Seeing three slices there I then followed with "Just the three apples Annabelle."  I should have stopped there, but the rest just sort of came shooting out. 

You know where I'm going with this don't you?

"Three Apples up on Top!" I exclaimed, realizing immediately I had made a mistake I couldn't unmake.  

Yes, almost immediately our 3 year old tired girl grabbed those apple slices and smashed them onto her head right there at the dinner table and with an extremely loud and exuberant howl yelled "Three on Top!!"  before letting out a laugh that was well out of proportion to the joke. It came out as almost maniacal.

She then hopped down from her chair and, like the three beasts in the story, started to dance around and try to do tricks with her apple slices still mucking up her hair. Trying to stop her was nearly impossible at this point.

My face instinctively made a sheepish expression as I glanced over at Mrs. LIAYF, who was giving me a look most husbands are probably familiar with.  Without saying a word, she was saying "Really?"

Mea Culpa.  I could only blame that blasted book.  The book, the book!

Yes, we did stop her apple fun.  In this case, after triggering her I had to become the Bear with the Mop.

But, as is par for the course in our household, watching our 3 year old cutie pie do anything absurd, you can't be irritated for too long. A while, yes, but not long.

We all ended up laughing at her humorous display, but letting her know it wasn't appropriate for the dinner table, and directing her back to her meal.

We have shelves and shelves of kids books.  

It may be time to pick another for bedtime.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Cakes

"What do you want for breakfast this morning? I asked Mrs. LIAYF on Sunday.

As is customary in our household, I make breakfast on weekend mornings and we eat together as a family.  Usually banana pancakes and scrambled eggs are on the menu at least one day, if not more.

I have a nice system for getting them made and on the table.

"Oatmeal" came her reply.  "I feel like we need something healthier this morning, and we had pancakes yesterday."  I was prepared for this answer, and was, quite frankly, feeling the same way.  Some Steel Cut oats sounded pretty good.

However, when I announced this to Annabelle, she was visibly disturbed.  "NO!" came her stern reply.  Being 3 years old now, she is not shy about voicing her opinion.  And acting on it.

It was at this point she emphatically marched over to the cabinet where the pancake mix was stored (yes, I use a mix most of the time - I didn't say I was a gourmet), pulled out the heavy bag, and started trying to lift it over her head onto the counter top above.

Annabelle loves eating pancakes for sure.  But what she REALLY loves is making pancakes, which enevitably involves eating some (a lot) of the batter.  That's absolutely one of her favorite things. But we can't have pancakes every weekend morning, so I decided to make a mini stand.

As if.

"Honey, I said we are having oatmeal this morning.  Not pancakes."  I let her know, a bit more firmly.  She responded by reiterating her position.  "Pancakes!"  

I was beginning to get annoyed at the fact that she was obviously not listening to me, when I looked at her cute little face and decided that, in this case, it wasn't worth starting the morning off on a sour note.

"Okay sweetie" I relented.  "Why don't we make both pancakes AND oatmeal?" This was greeted with a huge smile.  

Yes it was a bit of extra work making two separate breakfast meals (I felt like a short order cook), and we had to make sure our kids got healthier fare down their gullets later that day.

But when Annabelle looked up at me while mixing the pancake batter with so much care - batter which, by this time, was then also dripping slowly down onto her chin - and gave me a one word status update, I knew I had made the right call.

"Happy."  She proclaimed, as she flashed another big smile.

"Yeah, me too Sweetie."  I had to acknowledge  "Me too!"

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Younger Self: May I Present what Old Really Is

Focus on the car, not the skydiver in front of it.

You know how sometimes you say something cliche' out loud to yourself? Something like 'If I only knew then what I know now....' or 'I wish I was a young as when I first thought I was old"?  No?  Well, If that's your answer then you are most likely too young to understand this post.

My guess is that you can understand it just fine though, considering my demographic.

That being the case you will totally get what I was feeling the other day as the I was looking back on an old post I wrote here nearly 6 years ago.  It was called 'File Under Dating Advice' and it had a picture of my High School set of wheels (seen above), a very cool '74 Malibu with swivel bucket seats, new rims, a cool new paint job, and a totally awesome cassette tape sound system on which I cranked the likes of Van Halen and Def Leppard while cruising through my junior and senior years of High School.

Hint: If you read that old post, you'll probably be envious of my pants so unless you want to spend the rest of the weekend green you shouldn't do so.

Yeah, those were the days(Not really as I have found much happiness since - read my archives)

You know, as I reminisced about my old car that my Dad and I fixed up I realized something that could either make me chuckle a bit, or else feel pretty envious of my younger self.  I realized that my 'Old Car' was only a mere 10 years old when we fixed it up.  And that we bought it for only about $500.


I say ouch because currently, along with Mrs. LIAYF, I own two cars, 2.  One of these cars is already 10 years old this year (we just paid it off a couple months ago), and the other is 15 years old - half again as old as my first HS car -  and we still have 2 years of payments left on it!

Plus, both my current rides have backseats sticky with crumbs and remnants of long ago used kid snacks.

Just part of the joy of being a parent.

Oh how I wish I had that 74 Malibu still sitting in my driveway, all paid off and ready to drive to the grocery store to pick up....well overnight diapers or cold medicine, or something like that. But you get the picture. I would surely have many driveway moments finishing off a Quiet Riot song.

I would just have to dig out my classic cassettes, stick my pinky in one of the holes to tighten up the tape, hoping it hasn't twisted.

And get wild, Wild WILD!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Big Squeeze

I won't deny it, I love hugs.  Who doesn't, right?

In fact, I'll take them anyway I can get them.  Taking them is often the case when it comes to the kids, as I have been known to grab a passing Lukas or Annabelle from behind and pull them to me for a big ol' daddy bear hug.

Lukas has taken recently to dangle his legs when this happens, and exaggerate being squished.  Like I am squeezing the insides out of him or something.   When that happens I usually just pick him up a bit and swing him side to side gently before giving up and letting him go on to wherever he was headed.  I can't believe that would be somewhere more important than in the arms of his loving father, but he may not (and does not) always agree.

So, it was with utter delight a couple nights ago at dinner that he got up mid meal (note: this is usually a no no.) and came over to my chair and gave me a big hug of his own while sitting on my lap.  This was after a long day of work for me, so I found it especially nice and I correspondingly have him one of those big squeezes.

But this time, instead of groaning, he let out a happy sound.  "That feels real good Dad" he let me know.  So I squeezed eve tighter, but not enough to hurt him of course.

That's when he whispered in my ear "I love you Dad".

And even though it was Monday, and I had a lot to experience in the next few days, my week was made right then and there.

Yes sir.  I can never get enough hugs.  Especially the kid kind.  The ones where you squeeze real tight and never want to let go.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Fest Fit for a Kid

Thanks to the generosity of the Seattle Mariners, Lukas, Annabelle, Mrs. LIAYF and I, along with some good friends, spent the afternoon at Safeco Field here in Seattle enjoying their annual January FanFest and getting ourselves psyched up for the upcoming baseball season.

If you are a fan, and I for one am a big one, you can't help feeling a bit of optimism with the change of direction that new GM Jerry Dipoto has so swiftly implemented.  His ideas seem so logical and many are ones that long time fans have been calling for for ages.

As for our visit today, our whole party had a blast touring the dugouts and the clubhouse, seeing and hearing firsthand how the players prepare for, and relax after, their home games.  My favorite parts were seeing Kyle Seager and Robinson Canoe's lockers, as well as a private sneak peak at the clubhouse batting cages where future Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez and newly inducted member Ken Griffey Jr spent some so many hours perfecting their craft.

After that we toured the many exhibits set up for visiting fans before making our way to the kids play area to let Lukas, Annabelle and their friends burn off some much needed energy.

Of course, that made us all pretty ravenous, so we logically feasted on some ballpark fare, and before calling it an afternoon Lukas and I, along with our friends ventured out to Left Field with our baseball gloves and had a memorable game of catch together, covering much of the very same turf that so many big leaguers have also covered since Safeco opened bck in 1999.  It was a whole lot of fun, and Lukas really enjoyed himself.

Almost as much as I did.

Lukas and a good buddy, ready for outfield catch session.

True story - I have a jar of dirt in a special place in my garage from the initial groundbreaking of Safeco back in February of 1997. (it was parking lot so I guess in this case they torn down a parking lot, and put up Paradise.)

By the way, I was happy to learn that you can sign the kids up for the Mariners Kids Club for free this year, which has a lot of cool benefits.  We could have done it at FanFest today, but the lines were long so we'll just do it online

All in all, it was a fun afternoon and it certainly got me excited for the upcoming Mariners season, as different as it promises to be

Maybe this will finally be the year that the team returns to the playoffs.

Hope springs eternal!

Disclaimer: The Mariners provided our tickets free of charge, but did not ask for any corresponding publicity.