Monday, June 9, 2014

Father's Day Gift Guide + Giveaway

Yay! Father's Day is almost here readers.

I love Father's Day for multiple reasons, including all those extra hugs and kisses I get from the kids, and also getting the chance to spend the day with them doing something fun.  I'm not sure yet what Mrs. LIAYF has planned, but honestly it doesn't matter as long as I am spending the day with my family.

Another reason I love Father's day is the fact that I get a chance to try out some cool gifts, as a part of my Father's Day Gift guide.   Below are 5 products which were sent to me,  and which I think are pretty cool and would recommend you check out if you are looking for a last minute Father's Day gift for your own Dad.

Plus, as a bonus, I have a couple of giveaways I'll detail at the end.

1.  Vibram FiveFingers V-Classic shoes.   I had seen these shoes before and thought they looked a bit odd.  But once I got my pair and tried them on, I realized how comfortable and durable they are, and have been wearing them quite a bit as I go about my business around the house, with plans to employ them during several hikes and treks around Seattle this Summer. 

2. Pelican ProGear Protector Series Smart phone case for Galaxy S4 -  This Protector Series phone case is pretty tough (being Military Drop tested from 6 ft), and was just what I needed to protect my new Galaxy S4 phone and all the valuable data I have saved on it.  So far, I have found this case to be very durable, as well as stylish and convenient.

3. Duracell Powermat Portable Charger Set for electronic devices.  One thing I noticed about my new Galaxy S4 phone was that, although the camera was a whopping 13 megapixels, whenever I use it the power in my phone is drained pretty quickly.  That's where the Powermat system comes in handy.  I can take it with me and have an instant source of power for my phone, even when I'm nowhere near an outlet.  How cool is that?

4. Baker's Small Batch Bourbon  I'm not normally a Hard alcohol drinker, but was was duly impressed with smoothness and flavor of this 7 year aged offering from the Grand Nephew of Jim Beam, Baker Beam.  I cracked open the bottle when some friends, who do fancy themselves bourbon connoisseurs, were over for a dinner party recently, and after we all toasted and took our initial taste, we all let out a collective 'That's nice'.  This bourbon is perfect for a special occasion, or just for sipping.

5. Small Talk: How to Develop Your Child's Language Skills from Birth to Age Four - This book has a wealth of information about your child's verbal development, and is smartly divided into chapters dedicated to developmental stages such as 0-3 months, 3-6 months, and so on.  The perfect gift for the new (and involved) Dad in your life.

As I mentioned above, I also have a couple of items to giveaway as well.  I have one Pelican Protector series case in black, for a Samsung Galaxy S5, as well as a Duracell Power Mat Portable Charger Set.  Please leave a comment on this post telling me which you would like, and also comment on another (non-giveaway) post here at Luke, I am Your Father and I will enter you into the drawing to be held on Father's Day.

If you'd like more chances to win, you can also tweet or leave a Facebook post directing people here, or become a new follower of this blog on Google Friends Connect (link on the right navigation bar here).

Please leave one comment per entry, along with a valid way to contact you.  Open only to residents of the US and Canada.

Happy Father's Day all.

Full Disclosure:  I was provided each of the above products for free in exchange for mentioning them here. However, I my opinions are not for sale.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

To Her, Daddy is the Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Power of Dad


Happy Friday readers.  It's hard to believe, but Father's Day is just over a week away now.  I mean, wasn't it just Father's Day 2013?  

And it really seems only a short time ago that I was taking my first bicycle ride with Lukas. After all, it was such a happy day, and one that I certainly will never, ever forget.

Amazingly, that was on Father's Day back in 2008.  Lukas not only had his first bike ride, strapped into his Wee Ride bike seat that day, as I mentioned in the post, he also had his very first Ice Cream as well! Every once in a while I love to take a nostalgic tour back through the archives here, remembering many of the countless laughter and smiles that has been my experience in raising both Lukas and Annabelle.  

All of these little moments make up my own Power of Dad.

True, I'm getting more and more forgetful as I head towards the downhill side of 40 (I don't remember being forgetful, but at least Mrs. LIAYF keeps telling me I am), but the happy memories of being a dad to these kids will  never fade.

Still, it's nice to be able to open my laptop and browse through the old posts here.  As I said, it always brings a smile to my face.  When it comes to being a dad, it's the little moments that power the biggest smiles.

This Father's Day, Oral-B is also celebrating fatherhood's little moments and the dads that bring smiles to their families every day.  Watch the video below (I loved it), and your own favorite fatherhood moment and photo/video using #powerofdad.

Great stuff, right?  Not only has Oral-B partnered with March of Dimes to celebrate mother's and father's every day, they are also joining force with Eli Manning (NY Giants quarterback), his father Archie and his daughter Ava, to celebrate fatherhood's little moments.  They are obviously very supportive of Dad's.

Since I am also partnering with them on this campaign, I'm going to tell you about their latest cool power toothbrush.  The new 7000 Black is their most technologically advanced bush yet, featuring over 8000 oscillations & 40000 pulsations a minute.  I'm pretty sure that only my kids can match that kind of movement!

It even has a 'Tongue Cleaner Mode', as well as Daily clean,Deep clean, Sensitive,Whitening, and Massage modes. I short, this is a pretty cool brush.

If you do decide, with Father's Day approaching, you wan to get your dad one of these cool new brushes, your in luck.  You can click here for a coupon entitling you to $7 off your purchase.  You can't beat that.

Whatever you decide to do for Father's Day, just have fun with Dad.  And most of all, remember the Power of Dad, and all the smiles you have shared over the years together.

Have a great one readers.  And hug your dad, we love that stuff.

Disclosure:  I partnered with Oral-B and Life of Dad, LLC for the #PowerofDad Father's Day promotion and was compensated for my involvement. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Now Both of My Kids Suck

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sol Republic Tracks Air Review + Giveaway

Happy Monday all!  With Father's Day now just a few weeks away, I have a screaming opportunity for you all to give the gift of mobile sound to a deserving dad in your life.

Or you could just keep it for yourself.

That's because the fine folks at Sol Republic, who I teamed up with over the holiday's to give away a Deck wireless speaker system, have also now provided me with a pair of Tracks Air wireless headphones to review.  And as a bonus, they have also agreed to send a pair to one of my lucky readers.

I have an Ice-White pair, like these.

That might be you!

I have to admit that I am in love with my pair of Tracks Air headphones, which have noise cancelling sound that is light years better than the wired 'in ear' phones which I had been using before I received them.  In fact, once I put them on, and turn on my choice of audio media, I can't hear any of the screaming going on from my kids, who are pretty loud.  I could literally tune them out!

Okay, I don't do this.  I'm a good Dad after all.  But the point is, that I could if I wanted to!  No, I mostly use my new headphones after they go to bed when I am cleaning dishes or doing laundry or taking out the garbage,  or any number of the other household tasks that I wait to conquer until they are snuggled safely in bed.

At that time, I am usually listening to a baseball game, or some riff heavy garage rock music that Mrs. LIAYF can only stand so much of.   My Tracks Air headphones are perfect for this because I am no longer wired to my music source, getting tangled up in them as I try to get things done.  And best of all they keep a charge for a very long time, so I'm not constantly having to plug them in.

In short, they have been liberating to me as a busy parent.  And that is no exaggeration.

So, now that you know how sweet these wireless headphones are, perhaps you may want to score yourself a pair to give to the Dad in your life for Father's Day?  Or, as I mentioned, you may just want to keep them for yourself.  Don't worry, I won't judge.

In order to be entered to win the pair of Sol Republic Tracks Air wireless headphone all you have to do is leave a comment here telling me what's on your personal playlist when no one else is listening.

For bonus chances to win, you can also tweet about this contest with a link (re-tweets don't count),  or mention it on G +, Facebook, or Instagram.  Follow me for the first time on any of those sites, and I'll add another entry.  Join Luke, I am Your Father through Google Freinds Connect (available on the Right Nav bar of this page) and I'll add two more.

If you do any of those, just make sure you link back to me and also comment here telling me you did so. And while your at it, you might as well check out some of my other content.  I'd appreciate it if you did.

This contest is open residents of the US and Canada only, and a winner will be drawn  on June 1st.  You must also provide a valid way for me to contact you or else your entry won't count.

Full Disclosure.  As I mentioned, Sol Republic provided me with free product to review for this post, but as always, my opinions are not for sale.  I really do love these headphones.

Friday, May 16, 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 for early May, 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.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I'm Predicting an Earthquake


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

I hope I'm wrong.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The 4th Was With Us Today

Happy Star Wars Day readers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much fun.

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

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

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

Makes sense.  It was Star Wars Day after all.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Marking May's Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

None more than me.

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

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

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