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.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

On Worm Holes, Awards, and Scooters

Happy 2015 readers!

It's been a while since I last posted here, but there is a very good reason.  You see, I was sucked into raising a 2 year old  a worm hole completely by accident a couple of months back and since then time has moved at a strangely disproportionate rate for me since.*

In the corner of the galaxy I occupied (approaching the singularity of a black hole) only hours had passed, while back here on earth it has strangely been a couple of months.  Wierd I know.  And, since then many important things have happened here including Annabelle's 2nd birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas too.  Believe me, If it weren't for this whole space/time differential thing I would have written about all of those things.  But, hey when you soar with the eagles, sometimes you travel too close to Saturn.

Or something like that.

Anyway, I hope to be back to posting a bit more regularly now that the new year is upon us.  I kinda owe it to you all after all.  Many of you took the time to vote for me in the recent Best of Western Washington contest for best Parenting Blog.  Amazingly, I came in in 4th place in that contest and am extremely thankful for all the support.

As you can imagine. there is a LOT keeping us busy here.  Having 2 small children while leaving my mid 40's in the rearview is surprisingly taxing.  Who'd a thought that?

One thing that has keep us occupied over the past couple of weeks, besides the holiday's has been Scootering.  Yes, scootering.  Annabelle, who was determined to ride Lukas' razor scooter for the longest time, recieived her own three wheeled version( a Tri-Fly)  for her birthday from her grandparents, and has literally taken off on it.

After a few trial runs and words of advice from her older brother, she has mastered kicking the ground for speed, stepping her back foot on the brake, and also turning corners.  She has even started doing tricks - holding one leg out to the side while coasting.

It is pretty amazing to watch her ride around sidewalks, underground building tunnels, and empty parking lots on her new mode of transport.  And she has turned more than a few heads along the way too, drawing many smiles and shakes of the head with how adept she is at such a young age.

Pretty soon, she may even join Lukas at the local skate park, going up and down ramps and over jumps.  Okay, maybe the jumps are a couple of years off, but I wouldn't put anything past her at this point.

Soon, I may have to get my own adult sized scooter just to keep up.

Wish me luck!

* Any similarity to ther to the plot of the cool new sci fi blockbuster Intersellar is purely coincidence.

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.