Thursday, September 18, 2014

Those ARE Pilllllowwwwws!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wait for it........

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Call Me Her Booking Agent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dog Gone Antics

I scream, you scream.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a refreshing response compared to his younger days.

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

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

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

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

He might even be looking for a friendly dog.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Laser Show

A rare early sighting 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I'm Laser Boy!"  He whispered.

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

"That explains SO much!".

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

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Eagles Have Landed

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

The Silver Eagles

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

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

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

Clearly, I was digressing.

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

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

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

'The Bald Seagulls'  sounds perfect.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kohl's Back to School $100 Giveaway

Not every picture turned out great.....

Reader's, if you read my most recent post about the back to school haul we received from Kohl's, you'll remember I promised that I would also do a special giveaway.

Okay, so I am a little late, but I've been on vacation, mostly unplugged, and spending some terrific quality time with the kids.  But as they say (and 'They' are really all of us, right?) "Better late than never!"

So, here's the deal.  Leave a comment on this post, and also on one other post of mine and I will enter you for a chance to win your own Kohl's back to school haul with a $100 gift card!

That's right, easy as that.  To receive additional entries, you can also become a new Google Follower of this blog (see the right hand column), newly follow me on Twitter @Seattledad, Tweet about this giveaway (leaving the URL, and mentioning @Seattledad), or mention the giveaway and link on Facebook.  This contest is open only to residents of the US or Canada, and I must have a valid way to contact you.

I'll draw a winner on Labor Day.  Hopefully it's you!!

Disclaimer:  Kohl's provided me with the gift card as part of a promotion and giveaway.  I received product to review as detailed in the previous post.

Enjoy the last remnants of your Summer all!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do 6yo Boys Dream of Electric Sheep? Nope.

He's part of our team....

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

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

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

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

But didn't wake him up.

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

He didn't remember any of this.

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

Yes, everything IS awesome.  Especially our son.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Free Hugs

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

Of course, we wondered where she was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that she's tough as nails.

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

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School Haul

Push me Brutha!  We're off to school!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Juuuust right for lunchboxes!

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

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